Thanks to some new clientele and additional projects, the Eminent SEO team is rapidly expanding. In the middle of January, we added another member to to team, and we plan to have at least five more people start this month!
Meet the newest member of our staff here:
Jacqlyn Cvitkovich – Social Media Strategist
Jacqlyn is the newest asset to our social media team. She is responsible for maintaining and expanding our clients’ social media presence on all major platforms through compelling visual and written content. With a background in music and an affinity for pop culture, Jacqlyn looks to develop unique social strategies to drive traffic to clients’ websites.
What’s New in SEO: Google Clears Up What Crawl Budget Means
If you’ve ever heard the term “crawl budget” when talking to your web department or a digital marketing agency, you may have had trouble figuring out exactly what they were talking about.
Don’t sweat it: It’s not an easy concept. To clarify what crawl budget really means, Google recently released a blog post on the topic. In the very first sentence, Google department head Gary Illyes acknowledged that he’s heard many definitions floating around for crawl budget.
Illyes continued to say that he’s not certain what crawl budget means to different SEO experts and marketing agencies, but that he set out to clear up what the term means for Googlebot, Google’s web crawler that peruses websites for new pages and content to index for the search engine.
Illyes then stated that most websites don’t have to worry about their crawl budget. Sites with “fewer than a few thousand URLs” will be crawled efficiently, most of the time, he wrote. Very large websites, however, need to take their crawl budget into account.
Highlights of the Google Blog Post
So, what exactly is a crawl budget? Here are the key takeaways from Illyes’s blog post to help you understand what crawl budget means:
Crawl rate limit determines a threshold for how often and how fast Googlebot can crawl your website without overloading your server.
Crawl demand refers to how often Googlebot should return to your website to crawl its pages, based on popularity, new content, etc.
Crawl budget, thus, is a combination of crawl rate limit and crawl demand. Essentially, it’s how many pages Googlebot can crawl on your website and how frequently it should crawl the site.
If you want to learn what your site’s crawl budget is AND set your crawl rate limit, all you have to do is use Google Search Console. Keep in mind that if you set a higher crawl rate limit, it doesn’t necessarily mean Googlebot will crawl your site more often.
We started off January with a different kind of blog post, one that explains how our company is pitching in to help a local business that suffered a major setback last year. Also on our blog, we offered an in-depth look at progressive web apps, a new technology that combines the best features of a phone app and a mobile website.
The January highlights of our blog are as follows:
Last year, Think Graphics & Printing Solutions lost its downtown Phoenix office when a fire overtook the building. When we heard the heartbreaking story, we felt called to help this fellow Arizona business! Find out how we are helping Think Graphics raise money to rebuild its office, plus how you can pitch in too.
Have you been exploring the ways that a mobile app could promote your business? Well, read this blog post first, because there’s a new alternative. Learn all about progressive web apps, a Google-developed technology that brings app-like features to mobile websites.
Our Commitment to Ethical Marketing
When you enlist Eminent SEO to help out with your website, your social media accounts, your email marketing or any other channel, it’s important to point out that we are committed to ethical hiring and marketing practices.
We don’t use black hat tactics to help your site climb up the search engine rankings, and we don’t cut corners when producing content on your behalf. We pride ourselves on transparency, and team works closely with yours to expand your brand’s reach and drive traffic to (and conversions on) your website.
To learn more about our ethical marketing practices and how we can customize a strategy to expand your digital presence, talk to us today at 800.871.4130!
For mobile and web optimization, having the best of both worlds is typically a far-fetched dream for businesses. However, in 2015, Google developers defied the status quo of mobile browsing by creating progressive web apps (PWAs). They resemble the mobile apps we are all used to, but are quite different: more accessible and no drain on your phone’s hard drive. A far-fetched dream is now a reality.
What Is Progressive Web App Technology?
Progressive web apps (PWAs) are a method of software development. PWAs differ from other applications because they unite traditional websites with mobile applications. Modern browsers, such as Safari and Microsoft Edge, offer extensive benefits that have not been usable through a mobile device in the past.
However, PWAs seek to fuse the features of web browsers with the convenience of mobile devices. The increased popularity of mobile device usage among consumers places a demand on companies to follow suit with mobile-friendly websites. While making a hybrid of the best of web browsing and mobile browsing is the goal, it’s also the primary challenge.
Mobile Sites vs. Mobile Apps
Mobile sites receive more traffic than mobile apps. Companies that are not well-known tend to do better with mobile sites than with mobile apps. An established or a widely known company can easily transition from a mobile site to a mobile app because customers are familiar with the brand and want to further interact with the company through a different interface.
However, lesser-known companies are usually discovered by prospective customers through a wider range of communication, which is the benefit of mobile sites. Potential customers who have never heard of a certain brand are more likely to stumble upon the business through the broad exposure of a mobile site, rather than the exclusive loyalty of a mobile app.
While mobile sites are usually better for wider visibility, mobile apps consume more of a user’s device time. Mobile apps are useful for customers who have interacted previously with a business. That means most small, local businesses or B2B businesses would find mobile apps unprofitable. However, if a customer, or potential customer, has browsed a company’s website or entered the doors of a business, then a mobile app could be effective to keep a line of communication going.
For example, Schlotzsky’s has an app that tracks the number of sandwiches a customer has purchased, providing a visual countdown until the consumer reaches a free entrée. The app features much more, though, such as company updates, special offers, alerts, franchise locations and a menu. Since Schlotzsky’s is a nationally recognized business, a mobile app enhances its brand loyalty and communication with customers.
The Benefits of Progressive Web Apps
PWAs maintain the strength of a full-blown web browser without restricting mobility. The computer’s web browser isn’t reduced in power, just size. In the past, users might have hesitated to use their mobile device over a computer web browser due to the latter’s complex functionality and powerful processing system. However, pulling out a laptop while standing in line at the grocery store isn’t practical.
On the other hand, users loyal to their mobile devices objected to using computers or laptops for their bulkiness and long loading times. From their perspective, the convenience of reaching into a pocket and sending an email within seconds was more practical than commuting to their desk space to boot up a computer. However, to profit from the ease of mobile browsing, the hefty sacrifice of web browsing’s power was non-negotiable.
PWAs put an end to the past give-and-take of internet browsing commonly endured by the business community. Here are the benefits PWAs have to offer:
Real time, fast updates of a user’s apps that summarize priority information instead of accessing an email address or waiting to log in on a computer.
More responsive arrangement and simpler navigation than the mobile version of a traditional website.
The PWA runs continuously, even when offline. While working behind the scenes, it tracks the user’s actions, all without direct user communication.
Hardware features such as geolocation, microphone and camera are embedded and accessible in PWAs.
Less Data Consumption
This means less lag time for users in delayed or restricted internet access locations. Less data consumption could also make a big difference when it comes to users’ monthly phone bills.
Community of Internet Users
PWAs don’t require a download and are free, making them more likely to attract a larger number of active users.
How to Optimize Progressive Web App Content
The future of online communication is paved by PWAs. App developers need to remain cautious of Google’s page indexing and implement correct coding methodology to counteract it. Companies should strive for a powerful online presence by utilizing the best SEO practices to inform users and retain customers.
PWAs supplement current websites but, at this time, are less effective independently. After a company’s website is established, bulked and refined, incorporating a PWA is the next business step.
Here are some tips to get started:
Don’t send clients to an unsupported browser site.
If supplying information from several URLs, utilize “rel=canonical” to avoid identical content violations in the eyes of search engines.
Don’t use the AJAX crawling arrangement on original sites.
Don’t use hashtags. Googlebot doesn’t store URLs that use this symbol, and several PWAs possess a hashtag (#) in their URL address. The result is erased content past the hashtag, or pound sign. The solution is to use a URL structure according to SEO best practices instead of URLs that include a hashtag.
Ensure a website is viewable through the lens of Google. The Fetch and Render feature in Google Search Console accomplishes this task.
Double check that sources are accessible, and not restricted by robots.txt.
Mobile apps were once the next step for companies with an established brand, and they’re still valuable in many cases. However, the recent creation of PWAs is the next logical step for most businesses, as they foster enhanced company communication, stronger brand loyalty and easier user navigation.
While the benefits of PWAs are staggering, the construction of such a website may seem overwhelming. That’s where Eminent SEO comes in. Eminent SEO can help build a new website from scratch – one that has mobile responsiveness and customized features for smartphones. To learn more, call us today at 800.871.4130.
As the Eminent SEO client base expands, our team does as well. Over the last month, we have added three new members to the Eminent SEO team, and we’re looking to hire more!
Meet the three newest members of our team:
Trista Sobeck – Content Writer
Trista is the newest writer here at Eminent SEO. We already have her working on website pages, blog posts, eBooks, newsletter, social media posts, marketing emails and more for our premium clients. Trista has a Creative Writing degree and comes to us with a background in writing for everything from small boutique agencies to Fortune 500 companies.
Holly, our new outreach coordinator, is performing administrative duties for Eminent SEO, in addition to publishing blog posts for clients and building business relationships on their behalf. Holly has a background in several industries, such as health care, hospitality, food and beverage, construction, child care, addiction rehabilitation and more.
Welcome aboard, Holly!
Theresa Nacho Montiel – Senior Graphic Designer
Theresa is the new Senior Graphic Designer at Eminent SEO who produces strategic and original imagery for website designs, blog posts, social media posts, eBooks and more. Theresa has more than 10 years of experience with Adobe programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator, and she believes that design is more than pretty pictures: It’s a business solution.
What’s New in SEO: Google Targets Intrusive Mobile Interstitials
Have you ever clicked a link on social media or in Google Search and you were served a full-page pop-up that you had to click out of to see the desired content? If you hate when that happens, you’re not alone.
Just last week, two high-ranking members of Google confirmed their company began targeting websites that use so-called intrusive mobile interstitials before serving the content that actually shows up in the search engine results. Basically, Google has started penalizing pages that are interrupted by an interstitial right out of mobile search. A penalty will either put the page out of Google’s radar or push it way down in the mobile search results.
Google officials, however, said that the penalty does not apply to pages the user could click through to after landing on a certain page from search. In other words, if you open a website from Google Search and an intrusive interstitial only pops up after clicking to another page on that website, then the site won’t suffer any penalties.
Here are some other instances where certain interstitials won’t warrant a Google penalty for a website:
When the interstitial is for legal obligations, such as to verify the user’s age or warn them about cookies
If the interstitial pops up ahead of non-indexible content that is behind a paywall
When a pop-up banner only covers a small portion of the screen and is easily dismissible
But Who Uses Intrusive Interstitials?
An obvious example that comes to mind of a website with intrusive interstitials is Forbes.com. Whether you’re going to the homepage or you’re clicking on a specific Forbes article from social media or search, you’re immediately served a “Quote of the Day” full page before arriving at your desired reading content. This is true whether visiting Forbes from your mobile device or desktop.
While the Forbes interstitial is fairly benign and it still takes you to your desired page after 5 seconds (unless you manually click out of it), it’s still quite frustrating if you’re trying to pull up an article quickly. The “Quote of the Day” page isn’t an ad by itself, but as you can see, they sneak an ad in there while you’re waiting for the article to appear, which is more prominent on mobile.
The Forbes site has been doing this for several years, but its web content team might want to put an end to it, based on Google’s recent targeting of this practice. Then again, Forbes is a news website and may not care all that much about organic search engine rankings, so it’s anybody’s guess as to whether they’ll kill off the “Quote of the Day” interstitials.
For those of you who do care about your organic rankings, the lesson here is to get rid of intrusive mobile interstitials that cover most, or all, of certain pages on your website. You’re especially going to want to do this if the pages in question show up high in Google mobile search. To read more about Google’s new penalty rollout, check out Search Engine Land’s report.
December Social Media Roundup
We had a busy, but rewarding holiday season here at Eminent SEO. How were your holidays? As the month progressed, we again saw strong engagement on our Instagram account. See the best of our social media shares from last month:
On the Eminent SEO blog in December, we covered a pair of social media-related topics. One dealt with social media directly – copywriting for social media – while the other has very close ties – GIF images. So if you want to upgrade your social game, read through the following blog posts very carefully. Below is an overview of those two posts.
While the average social media manager doesn’t have to be a writer, per se, it is still imperative to write strongly on any social platform. Learn why strong social media copy makes a difference, and get a few tips on how to write specifically for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Animated GIFs are the life of any social media thread, and they aren’t going away anytime soon. Are you familiar with the five different types of GIFs? You’ll learn all about that plus the legal considerations of sharing GIFs when you read this insightful blog post.
Quality over Quantity Marketing
Now more than ever, Eminent SEO is a firm believer in (and practitioner of) quality over quantity when it comes to digital marketing solutions. That’s why we refer to ourselves as a boutique marketing agency.
It’s easy to see that one great blog post can do more for a website and a brand than several mediocre posts. Likewise, one viral social media share can pay more dividends than dozens of run-of-the-mill social posts. This is why when we look over a client’s objectives for the month, we don’t think in terms of, for example, how many blog posts they need, but instead we ask, “How can we produce remarkable content that knocks it out of the park for them?”
In short, we focus on quality over quantity because readers now demand it, and because that’s what it takes to excel in today’s SEO environment. Anything less would be uncivilized.
To learn more about our unique approach to marketing and how we can help your business, call us today at 800.871.4130.
A Graphics Interchange Format image, better known as a GIF, consists of picture files compressed to decrease transfer rate. GIFs possess several pictures in one file to create an animated effect. GIFs are prevalent in modern day cyberspace because the images are quick to download and the animations are often entertaining. For marketers, animated GIFs can be incredibly useful for improving engagement online.
We’re not here to settle the GIF pronunciation debate: Does it sound like gift without the “t,” or should it be pronounced like the peanut butter brand Jif? Instead, we want to offer you a rundown of the types of GIFs available, how you can make your own, and the legal considerations involved in GIF sharing.
Prevalence of GIFs in Social Media
Although GIFs can be used in blog posts (such as this one) and in website content, people primarily think of these animated images in the context of social media conversations. Here’s a quick breakdown of how many GIFs are posted to different social media platforms, according to the New York Times:
Tumblr: An average of 23 million GIFs posted every day
Facebook Messenger: Roughly 5 million GIFS sent between users every day
Slack: More than 2 million GIFs sent between users each month
Twitter: More than 100 million GIFs shared in 2015
The Different Types of GIFs
Not all GIFs are created equal. Before you go attaching a GIF on a social media post or your website, it’s best to know the different types of GIF images and to make sure you’re using the right one for the right situation.
1. The Replay GIF
There was a time not too long ago when sports fans had only a couple of opportunities to watch a replay of their favorite touchdown catch or slam dunk. It was either shortly after the play occurred via instant replay, or later during ESPN highlights. If you missed those windows of opportunity, your last option would have been hoping someone recorded it on VHS.
In the age of YouTube, those days are gone. GIFs, however, let fans replay highlights in a condensed format. The replay GIF changes the game by continuously looping virtually any notable footage – from last night’s game winning field goal to even a memorable scene from your favorite movie.
On Twitter, the official accounts for the NFL and NBA were recently using a high volume of Vine videos for replays. But with Vine supposedly on its way out the door, the NFL and NBA are slowly turning to GIFs and native Twitter video to highlight must-see moments.
Replay GIFs are not limited to entertainment. This style of GIFs can be helpful for the marketer who wants to share current company news or connect a current event to their business.
2. The Reaction GIF
Emotions are studied on replay with the reaction GIF, which is arguably the most popular style on social media. Film and TV are the industries most responsible for content you’ll see in most reaction GIFs. Outside of Hollywood, reaction GIFs serve marketing industries by replacing textual replies with animations. For example, a creative GIF could be used as a social media reply.
Reaction GIFs are typically used to enhance whatever comment a user is making online. These looping images express whichever emotion the user is feeling or trying to convey at the time. No matter the emotion, reaction GIFs typically elicit a laugh out of the viewer, especially if the image is used in a clever way in reaction to a particular topic.
3. The Cinemagraph
The cinemagraph is the black-tie affair GIF. More formal than its GIF relatives, the cinemagraph GIF is a still shot-animation hybrid. The viewer of this GIF doesn’t experience one event in a loop, but one event continuously progressing through time. In a cinemagraph, one element of the image is in motion while the rest stay still.
Because cinemagraph GIFs have a limited number of moving parts in the image, the viewer is left with a tranquil feeling. Travel and fashion companies gravitate toward the cinemagraph GIF because of its professional appearance and quiet tone. The visual benefits and complex consistency of the cinemagraph GIF demand advanced editing skills and usually begin with footage captured by a camera on a tripod.
4. Technical GIFs
Browsing through the internet for useful marketing data is no longer a painful chore thanks to technical GIFs. Technical GIFs transform boring figures into engaging content. These types of GIFs are especially useful for marketers who want to include statistics, diagrams or graphs for product summaries.
Technical GIFs are interactive, as opposed to a black-and-white graph on a PowerPoint slide. Video marketing combined with a technical GIF creates an even deeper animation experience.
5. The Perfect-Loop GIF
Whereas the cinemagraph GIF is still and serene, the perfect-loop GIF is active and busy. This GIF consists of a seamlessly looped camcorder recording of an event. The final frame of the shot leads back to the initial frame without missing a beat. Even though the viewer relives the same 7-or-so seconds over and over, he or she can lose track of time due to the seamlessness of the GIF.
The perfect-loop GIF can be used to a company’s advantage. Since the loop is inherently nonstop, it can be used to market non-stop service. It can also be used to advertise a customer demonstration’s of a successful product.
How You Can Make GIFs Yourself
Creating a GIF doesn’t take a background in computer science, IT or engineering – nor is it limited to tech-savvy people. For example, if there’s a YouTube clip for which you can’t find a corresponding GIF, there’s an easy way to to turn that video into a looping image. Follow these simple steps:
Find a YouTube clip to make a GIF out of.
Type “gif” before the “youtube” portion of the URL. Press enter. This will transfer you to gifyoutube.com. You can use your originally selected YouTube video to make a new GIF.
Pick the start and stop times and add a GIF title.
Click “create GIF.”
A preview of the GIF will appear. If pleased with the preview, use the new URL to share across the internet. If displeased with the preview, click “go back.”
If the looping image you’d like to create doesn’t have anything to do with YouTube, you can try one of these GIF-making online tools and see which one you find easiest to use:
Giphy Create Tool
ScreenToGIF (lets you record a designated area of your computer screen)
RecordIT (similar function as ScreenToGIF)
GifBoom or GIF Me (for turning phone videos into GIFs)
And, of course, if you have reasonable skills in the Photoshop department, you can use that software to make a GIF out of original artwork, a series of still images, or any video file you’d like to upload into the program. Here’s Adobe’s guide on how to make GIF images with Photoshop.
Sharing GIFs: Legal Considerations to Keep in Mind
Legally, individual users are given a lot of slack when it comes to GIF creation and usage. Businesses, on the other hand, are not.
Companies must be aware of the legal restrictions of GIFs. Clashes over a GIF’s origin are judged according the doctrine of fair use. This doctrine allows copyrighted material to be edited and used for alternative purposes if the copy is derived from the original and does not compete financially for copyrighting rights.
The four factors considered in the doctrine of fair use for GIFs include:
The intent of the GIF: Is it for profit or not for profit?
The content of the GIF.
The ratio of GIF used to copyright material.
How the GIF would value the potential audience.
GIFs of well-known people – namely actors, celebrities and athletes – have strict publishing guidelines. Businesses intending to post a GIF of a celebrity should gain permission from everyone in the clip, the copyright owner, and the creator of the GIF.
If a business wishes to use an athletic GIF to show a game highlight or replay, there are high hurdles to clear. The MLB and NFL are fairly strict with their GIF policies. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee and FIFA do not allow GIFs at all. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects social media sites that post GIFs if a reporting structure is in place to eliminate content suspected of copyright violation.
For marketing companies, it’s best to follow these GIF-sharing suggestions:
Obtain a written release. Contact the copyright owner and actors/celebrities present in the GIF for permission to share the GIF.
Provide hyperlinks. Content shared by another should have a link to the original site. This protects the company using an unoriginal GIF and places the original site with the liability responsibility. Give recognition to the creator.
Make your own GIFs. Creating a GIF bypasses the legal trouble. Instead of asking others for permission and risking legal ramifications, you won’t have to ask anyone permission to create your original GIF, and you won’t be under the threat of impending legal action.
We’re not saying you can’t use existing GIFs that involve movie scenes, sports footage, etc., but you’ll run the risk of legal action if you use one of these images with your business’s name behind it, especially if you stand to profit off anything associated with that particular image. Therefore, we advise being prudent with what type of GIF image you plan to use as well as the platform on which you will use it.
GIF Images Have Staying Power on the Web
GIF images can be profoundly useful when used correctly. Clever use of these animations can undoubtedly help a business reach and advance its goals. These images also add a smile and a laugh to a monotonous work day.
The graphics interchange format has actually been available since the 1980s, and tech experts have continually predicted that the format will lose favor on the web soon. Yet, thanks to Twitter and other social media platforms, GIFs have only seemed to become more popular and ubiquitous in recent years.
With so many GIFs circulating the web and even making their way into other mediums, such as text messages, these looping images have been embraced as a new way to communicate. What’s your favorite particular GIF image or style of GIF?
To succeed in the social media sphere, businesses must populate their various accounts with consistently strong writing (in addition to strong imagery). It might surprise you to learn, however, that not all social media managers deem themselves writers.
The good news is that writing social media copy isn’t complex. Nevertheless, learning how to write for social media is worth it. Here are some tips on how to write better content for social media – and why it matters.
Why Writing Well Matters
Each social media post communicates a business’ brand to its clients. A well-written post paints a positive and polished image of a business, communicating to users that this business has something valuable to say and/or offer.
Meanwhile, a social post that is unfocused or disorganized reflects poorly on a business, hurting any rapport the company had built with existing or potential customers. Poorly written content doesn’t do a business justice and can undermine an organization’s success. Therefore, well-written social media posts are important.
A successful social media writer is informative yet concise. A large amount of value has to be communicated in as few words as possible. A strong social media post compels the reader’s attention with carefully calculated word choice. In short, writing well for the internet involves learning the right style, which we’ll get to later.
Social media writing must be consistent. A Facebook page must share the same message a connected Twitter page does. Businesses should give an even level of attention to all social media accounts (unless one platform is clearly fostering better results). If a business is raving about a 50 percent off deal on all products on Twitter but crickets are chirping on its Facebook page, then there is inconsistent communication. The only exception is if the company is pushing a platform-specific offer.
Tailoring the Message to the Platform
On the other hand, consistency in content does not mean universal writing styles for all social media websites. A Facebook post has a 63,206-character limit while Twitter allows no more than 140. A LinkedIn post is intended to be formal and informative, while a tweet’s purpose is to be eye-catching and clever.
The same style and word choice of writing will not work for all social networks, but there must be common ground regarding communicated content over all platforms. This makes mastering the art of social media copywriting all the more challenging.
How Long Can the Social Media Copy Be?
This is the wrong question. Instead of asking how long a social media post can be, you should ask how long the post should be. A tweet can be up to 140 characters, but it shouldn’t be your business’s standard to run every tweet right up until the limit.
Finding the ideal character count for a specific Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn post may sound impossible, but thankfully, researchers have done the heavy lifting to produce ideal word count figures. Here are the findings:
Twitter: Post limit: 140 characters. Ideal post length: 71–100 characters. Keep in mind that including any link removes 24 characters. Also, many social media experts recommend using 1–2 hashtags per tweet.
Facebook: Post limit: 63,206 characters. Ideal post length: 40 characters. The 60,000+ character limit includes the content that stays hidden unless the user clicks “Read More.” In reality, the character limit before the “Read More” link shows up is only 400.
LinkedIn: Post limit: 600 characters. Ideal post length: 25 words. As mentioned earlier, it’s recommended to keep your LinkedIn copy more straightforward and professional than on other platforms.
How Should Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Posts Be Written?
Each social media network is unique. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts have different end goals and different audiences they attempt to reach, and keywords can be specially utilized for each. Therefore, your social media copy should be tailored to fit these expectations.
Here is how the different social media networks operate, and how you can make the best use of keywords on each.
Writing for Twitter
Twitter is essentially a news platform camouflaged as social networking. There is a heavy emphasis on retweeting and content circulation. Twitter is the epitome of something “going viral.” A business that intends to share blog posts or promote website content should find Twitter to be a valuable tool.
As a rule of thumb, resharing article headlines as Twitter post copy should be used in moderation. It is best to tailor the social copy to the content an article is conveying. This entails giving a synopsis of the story or a unique insight, rather than a regurgitation of the article’s headline. In general, try to write complete sentences and clear thoughts on Twitter.
Using Twitter Hashtags and Emoji
It is a well-known rule to include hashtags at the end of a post. This will ensure they receive extra attention than they would otherwise. A healthy hashtag limit is 2–3 per post, so do not overuse them. Focus on using important keywords as your hashtags. With a high enough volume of sharing, the keywords can become successful.
In the same way hashtags should not be overused, neither should emoji. However, these icons can be beneficial addition to tweet copy when used economically because they add character to the content.
URLs are helpful to add to tweets. Adding them about 25 percent of the way into the tweet is better than including it at the tail end, according to research. This requires formulating a short introduction, embedding the URL, and then adding a longer explanation.
Writing for Facebook
Facebook distributes the most website referral traffic. The audience’s expectation of reading a Facebook post is for both news and entertainment. Going forward, Facebook will continue to place a greater emphasis on video content.
Keywords are difficult to track through Facebook, but not impossible. You can use keywords in your Facebook status updates, and then click the “See All” option near “Insights.” This should help you quantify the number of users your keywords are reaching, and how viral these terms are.
Contrary to popular opinion, Facebook posts should be short: 40 characters short, believe it or not. Facebook also lowers promotion-heavy posts in its feed. This means posts that include phrases such as, “Act Now!” or, “Purchase Now!” should be avoided because Facebook’s algorithm will flag it. The tone of a Facebook blurb for a blog post or article should be concise, witty and conversational.
LinkedIn is a business-centric site, so a company’s content needs to appeal to this mindset. LinkedIn is the site of choice for professional content and business article sharing. As a side note, LinkedIn created LinkedIn Pulse in 2015, which is a content publishing and distribution feature.
LinkedIn writing is clear, concise and respectful. The most important rule for LinkedIn writing is remembering that a professional audience is reading the post. Avoid confusing language, get straight to the point and maintain a professional voice.
For keywords, the most important places to use them are in your location, your professional headline (120 available characters), your personalized URL, your summary of experience, and your overall profile summary. Use these spaces to advertise yourself and your business for best results.
Social Media Copy Can Make or Break Your Business
Stellar social media copy should be a weapon in every business’ arsenal. The written word powers social media (although images and video help, too). Guiding this power effectively through deft writing skills and audience reconnaissance leads to success in the social media realm.
Eminent SEO can help give your business’s social media efforts a boost – either through consulting or even taking control of your many social accounts, ensuring that each receives plenty of enticing, head-turning content every month. Click to learn more about our Social Media Marketing Services, or simply call 800.871.4130 today.
Eminent SEO News: Help Us Help Out Families in Need This Holiday Season!
Eminent SEO is excited to support Operation Santa Single Style this holiday season, which will provide gifts to single-parent families in need in Arizona. We’re always eager to do our part and give back to the local community, especially during the holidays when so many are struggling to put food on the table while having enough to buy their children presents.
Operation Santa Single Style would appreciate YOUR support this year, as well. Please visit the group’s online registry if you’d like to pick out a toy for a child in need or make a monetary donation.
If you live in Arizona and want to know where to drop off your gift donation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also email the same address to ask where to ship the gift, if you live out of state.
Thank you for your consideration of supporting a family in need this winter. If you’d like to learn more about Operation Santa Single Style, please visit the group’s Facebook page. Happy Holidays!
What’s New in SEO: Google Kicks Knowledge Graph Snippet Overlays to the Curb
Beginning in January 2014, when a user conducted a Google search, the results page would feature gray text off to the right of the URLs of many entries. If you hovered over that text, a small pop-up would emerge that would tell you about the overall website or the company behind the page you would potentially visit.
Well, say goodbye to that feature. Search Engine Land confirmed with Google in November that Knowledge Graph snippet overlays, as they’re called, have been retired.
Why? Low usage, apparently.
So, the feature failed to last even three years in the search engine results pages. While it appeared like it could be helpful for users, it seemed to provide little-to-no benefit to publishers. The snippet overlays contained up to three links, but none would lead directly to the company’s website. One might go to the business’s Google+ page, but that’s about it. For the few users who did take advantage of the snippet overlays, the links ended up being distractions to the page Google featured in the search results.
Don’t worry, though: Google still places a major emphasis on its regular Knowledge Graph, which you might see in line or off to the right of your desktop search results, depending on the query. This indispensable feature likely played a part in the demise of snippet overlays, for which we say, “R.I.P. We hardly knew ye.”
A Knowledge Graph appears in the right half of this Google search results page.
November Social Media Roundup
Our Instagram account continued to grow in November! And on Twitter, we increasingly lent our voice and expertise to some of the latest topics in our industry. See the best of our November social shares below. Click on any of the photos to see the accompanying caption and more info about the image. We also invite you to keep up with our latest social stuff by following us on Instagram and Twitter.
In November, we revisited one of the hallmarks of SEO best practices: anchor text optimization. We then gave our take on some recent tech news: the impending death of the mobile video app Vine. If you missed any of our November blog posts, get caught up here:
Considering Google’s “Penguin” series of algorithm updates and all of the ranking factors the search engine now has, you might think that optimizing your anchor text is no longer crucial. Well, you’d be wrong. Find out the continued importance of anchor text optimization.
In late October, Twitter announced that it would be shutting down the once-popular Vine app. Although there are a few investors rumored to be interested in buying Vine, the video-sharing service’s best days appear to be behind it. Let’s look at what led to Vine’s apparent demise.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled: New-Look Website to Come
As a final note, we’re excited to share that we have made progress on the behind-the-scenes reconstruction of EminentSEO.com! In the coming months, we will roll out a new-look website that will feature sleeker navigation, new visuals and a more descriptive, yet clearer picture of the many services we offer.
The time for a refresh is now! As you’re waiting for the debut of our website redesign, keep enjoying our blog posts, online newsletters, Max swag and more. Thank you for supporting Eminent SEO.
Over the last couple of months, Eminent SEO has added two new valuable members to its team. Let’s introduce you to them now:
Danielle Knox – Creative Director
Our new Creative Director, Danielle, plans projects, oversees the creative process for clients, and gives guidance to the creative team here at Eminent SEO. As our lead creative strategist, Danielle follows the latest trends in design, advertising and marketing, is a company brand advocate, helps attract clients, and hires creative staff. Danielle comes to us with more than 17 years of graphic design experience. Welcome to the team, Danielle!
Ashton Stradling – Creative Producer
Ashton is getting his feet wet in the digital marketing industry after graduating from Highland High School in the spring. Ashton manages social media accounts for clients, optimizes web content, creates videos, designs images, and assists with administrative tasks. Welcome, Ash 10!
What’s New in SEO: Mobile-First Indexing Underway
In an early November blog post, Google announced it is testing out mobile-first indexing for its search engine. Indexing, if you’re wondering, has to do with which pages of a website Google can evaluate and rank in search. It’s easy to “noindex” a webpage, and there are strategic reasons for doing so, but for the most part, a majority of individual webpages are indexed by Google and other search engines.
Google’s new announcement acknowledges that search users are now using their phones more often than their desktop and laptop PCs. This entire time, Google has always evaluated the desktop version of a webpage and then determined the page’s ranking from there. This is true even if you entered a search on a mobile device and received a list of results. What you saw was a list of mobile results based on the desktop strength of each page.
But now, the algorithm is in the process of changing, based on users’ habits.
“We’ll continue to carefully experiment over the coming months on a small scale and we’ll ramp up this change when we’re confident that we have a great user experience,” Google Product Manager Doantam Phan wrote in the blog post.
Although mobile-first indexing is still in the experimental phase, you should expect it to be the standard before long. If your website is already responsive, the good news is you don’t have to do anything (other than make sure the site provides a great user experience).
If you have a mobile site that is different than your desktop version, then unfortunately you’re going to have to take a few steps to adjust to Google’s plan to prioritize mobile first. See the aforementioned Google blog post for some tips on how to not get left behind.
For more understanding on the importance of responsive design, see this blog post we published earlier this year.
October Social Media Roundup
Our Instagram shares were more colorful than ever in October. We recently started doing an Instagram-first approach to shooting and creating photos for social media, and we’ve seen a boost in engagement since. The best part is the images share well to Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, too.
Below is a quick look at some of our best and brightest social shares from last month. If you’d like to see the caption or learn more about any of the following photos, just click on the likes or comments icon on the bottom of the image that piques your interest.
What’s the latest insight on marketing and search engines from the experts at Eminent SEO? Check out our October blog posts to build your skills and knowledge so you can stay ahead of the competition. Subscribe to our blog, if you have not done so already, to see the posts the day they go live.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) debuted earlier this year, and there’s been a whirlwind of changes in the last couple of months. This platform is now open to everyday businesses and websites, so get caught up on all of the recent developments here.
Gatorade recently kicked off an ad campaign with a message that seemingly would stunt sales of the company’s signature product. If your business has a product with a perceived drawback, learn how you can leverage that weakness into a marketing opportunity.
Email seems like a boring, outdated channel for marketing, right? Not so fast. Studies show how ubiquitous email usage is, plus how it usually provides a much higher ROI than other channels. Learn how to build a targeted, results-driven email campaign here.
Featured Service: Email Marketing
As seen in one of our blog posts above, email has reestablished itself as the marketing channel of choice for businesses to build contacts, nurture leads and delight prospective and existing customers.
But now, we know better than to blast every email message we create to our entire contact list. The key is to segment your contacts according to where they are in the buyer’s journey, and then tailor your messages to those individual audiences. Research says that email marketing has an ROI of $8 for every $1 spent.
Social media has exploded since the mid-2000s, when Facebook began to rise to prominence. The social landscape changes every day, with old apps and platforms giving way to new technologies and services.
This was certainly the case for Vine, a Twitter-owned video-sharing service that appears to be on its way out the door. Although Vine was a once-popular and user-friendly app, some analysts say it was a bad match for Twitter.
How the Vine App Worked
Vine was arguably one of the easiest social media apps to use. A user could upload a video from a smartphone or other device directly to millions of Twitter and Vine followers. A popular Vine video or meme had the potential to make someone’s social media presence explode. Through Vine, more people were able to make connections and expand their networks, both on social media and in real life.
Vine videos were able to compress time so a single video could loop millions of times and generate billions of hits. Videos often referenced each other: One Vine could contain a cross reference to a dozen or so others. This kept viewers searching for similar videos and finding new ones to share with their networks.
A classic example is former “Mad TV” comedian Will Sasso’s series of Vine videos involving lemons. These individual Vine clips have all been combined into one YouTube video.
For a short time, this simple video-sharing service seemed like it might carve out a permanent niche.
Why Vine Worked
Before Vine, there was no quick or easy way to broadcast video. Apps such as Facebook Live and Periscope didn’t exist, and people who took video on their phones were concerned about data and messaging limits. In 2012, Twitter acquired Vine, which eventually had a six-second limit. This allowed users not only to broadcast video, but to focus on the most important parts of what they shared.
Even before the six-second limit, Vine was popular for its short-streaming video. The app was aimed at teenagers, who particularly enjoyed trends and memes. However, Vine expanded to include other demographics, including people in their 50s and 60s.
Michael Pachter, a 60-year-old financial analyst, used Vine regularly and built up a following there and on Twitter.
“You’d have to be a technological idiot not to be able to do it,” he told The New Yorker about shooting Vine videos.
Additionally, Vine was popular because it was perceived as fun.
“Vine is not a tool. It’s a toy,” Vine’s then-new general manager Hannah Donovan told Variety back in June.
Vine was the place to find a quick laugh in the form of pratfalls, potatoes spinning from ceiling fans, and other slapstick antics.
For a good example of how users worked within Vine’s parameters, see this simple video that features a cameo from “New Girl” actor Lamorne Morris. (Be sure to turn the sound on.)
As for Vine’s overall brand of comedy, Donovan admitted, “The witty, wordy comedy of Woody Allen or Will Stillman it was not.”
However, it did attract different type of users than those on Snapchat or Instagram, giving social media users yet another outlet to exert influence.
According to Casey Newton, a writer for The Verge, users also loved Vine because it provided a “creative challenge.” Vine “endlessly rewound itself,” causing people to think of new and unexpected ways to use it.
Newton added that Vine had an early advantage over other social video apps due to its ability to spawn popular memes and much-applauded “cultural moments.”
Why Vine Is Shutting Down
Vine was extremely popular circa 2013-14, so what caused it to die so quickly? One former executive cited other apps such as Instagram, saying Instagram Video was “the beginning of the end” for Vine.
Instagram Video debuted 15-second video limits in 2013 and has since expanded to clips as long as 60 seconds. Users, especially celebrities, found Instagram Video much more flexible than Vine. Although Vine eventually tried offering extended videos, they never caught on.
Snapchat also played a role in killing Vine, as well. Snapchat allows users to send each other video clips individually and/or broadcast them publicly, while Vine videos were only for all users, and even non-users, to see.
Time allowances also made Snapchat superior: The platform allows 10-second clips rather than 6-second ones. Four extra seconds might not seem like much, but extra flexibility attracted users, just as Instagram did. It doesn’t hurt that Snapchat also has all of those face and voice filters to add some extra dimensions to any video.
Problems Behind the Scenes
Instability was another big issue for Vine. Managers consistently quit to pursue startups and other, more lucrative opportunities. In 2015, Twitter underwent massive layoffs, which involved firing Vine’s creative director. Gradually, Vine usage dropped.
Celebrities who once posted on Vine lobbied to be paid for using the app. However, the negotiations came to nothing. Celebrity users hoped to promote Vine videos the way they did Twitter posts and accounts, thus gaining followers. However, interest in Vine peaked around 2014. After that, it was difficult for celebrities, let alone average users, to generate significant followings.
In 2015, Twitter bought a social media talent agency in an attempt to save Vine. However, neither celebrities nor Vine and Twitter executives were interested in giving more money to a dying app. Additionally, Vine never offered its popular users options for reimbursement once negotiations stalled. Thus, they had little incentive to stick with Vine over other similar platforms. Vine never capitalized on its stars’ relationships with popular brands, thereby severely limiting itself.
Other Forms of Media that Contributed to Vine’s Demise
Although Instagram Video and Snapchat were seemingly the biggest threats to Vine, many other social media apps and forms of media played a part, too. Native Twitter videos are one such example.
Unlike Vine, native Twitter videos are not a Twitter sub-service. The social media platform now offers more ways to attach and upload videos. With Vine, videos were mostly broadcast through phones. Meanwhile, Twitter now allows uploads and attachments from computers, tablets and several other types of devices.
Native Twitter videos have a maximum length of 2 minutes and 20 seconds, making them as much as 23 times longer than Vine videos. Twitter’s new limit gives users enough time for a quick instructional video, a miniature vlog entry, or even a sketch comedy routine. Native Twitter videos do not rely on pratfalls and endless looping to keep users engaged.
Unlike Vine, Twitter video uses auto-play similar to Facebook Live. Videos also begin playing as soon as users scroll over them in the feed. This draws the eye directly to the video and makes it more memorable.
GIFs are another popular alternative to Vine. Although they lack audio, which Vine allowed, they communicate quick, memorable and often comical messages. GIFs usually start up easily and loop endlessly, so users can watch them as long as they like, over and over again.
Additionally, GIFs are often used to enhance text. That is, if you want to write a long blog post broken up with engaging pictures or memes, GIFs will most likely keep the audience’s attention. Some users have tried to use Vine videos in the same manner, but they just didn’t work out quite as smoothly.
Finally, YouTube has been a primary alternative to Vine for years. YouTube has no length limit now, and depending on your editing capabilities, a YouTube video of much higher quality than a Vine or Twitter one. Additionally, YouTube offers features Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat cannot, such as the opportunity to create your own channel.
What Was the Major Culprit?
From all the options above, even though they all likely played a role in Vine’s demise, if we had to choose one, we would say GIFs are an unheralded major culprit. As mentioned earlier, for a short period of time, Twitter users were using Vine videos similar to GIFs. That craze eventually died down as users became more comfortable with finding and attaching GIFs, thanks to sites such as Giphy, while Vine videos eventually took on a different purpose.
The problem with using a Vine clip instead of a GIF is that the latter typically accentuates whatever statement the user is trying to make, while the Vine is more of a statement in itself. It doesn’t help that thousands of GIFs capture memorable scenes from some of our favorite movies and TV shows, while Vine mostly featured footage of sporting events as well as original user content.
One the popularity of GIFs was undoubtedly more sustainable on Twitter than that of Vine videos, and when the Vine social network itself began dropping off in activity, the writing was on the wall for the once-prominent video-sharing service. The evolution of human communication is fascinating thing to witness, eh?
But Wait … Is Vine Really Dead?
Just earlier this week, TechCrunch reported that Twitter is shopping Vine around to as many as 10 interested buyers, meaning the platform could survive after all. However, offers for the video-sharing service are reportedly falling short of $10 million, which is a sharp drop from the $30 million Twitter bought it for in 2012.
It is unclear whether Vine or apps like it will endure, or whether they will have a significant presence in social media in the future. In the meantime, users have more ways than ever to chronicle their lives through video and share their experiences.
What’s your favorite way of sharing video experiences online? Leave us a comment below.
Ask any SEO specialist about anchor text, and you may unwittingly spark a lively debate. It’s often a source of both angst and confusion.
With the Google Penguin series of algorithm updates, knowing anchor text best practices is even more important. Here, let’s look into all about anchor text, its role in SEO, and how to make it work for you.
Anchor Text Defined
Anchor text is simply any text that is clickable on a webpage that links to another place on the web. For example, in the phrase, “Eminent SEO can help improve your email marketing strategy,” the anchor text (“Eminent SEO”) links back to our website.
If this link were featured on another website, then you have an example of a process called “link building,” and it’s good for SEO. However, the phrasing can either help your search engine rankings or harm it. The difference is in how you approach your own website’s anchor text, as well as that on other sites that link to yours.
Different Types of Anchor Text
Say we’re trying to rank for the keyword “marketing strategy.” There are several types of anchor text that other websites might use to link to ours:
An exact match only anchors the exact keyword we’re looking for:
Example: Eminent SEO can help you hone your email campaign, an essential part of your marketing strategy.
A partial match (also known as a phrase match) anchors the keyword in a phrase:
Branded anchor text would link back to our company, Eminent SEO:
Example: Eminent SEO can help you hone your email campaign, an essential part of your marketing strategy.
A naked URL has no unique anchor text, just a web address:
Example:Eminentseo.com can help you hone your email campaign, an essential part of your marketing strategy.
Generic anchor text provides instructions, but does not include any branding or keywords.
Example: Eminent SEO can help you hone your email campaign, an essential part of your marketing strategy. Click here to go to their website.
How Anchor Text Influences Search Rankings
Search engines such as Google use anchor text as a factor in determining a page’s topic and how it should rank. In other words, using the anchor text “marketing strategy” should indicate to Google that the page on the other end of the link is a good fit for that search engine query.
In theory, the more times we score a backlink with the anchor “marketing strategy,” the higher we should rank for that query. But SEO is rarely that simple.
The Problem with Early Anchor Text
When Google’s search algorithm was less refined, the search engine relied heavily on anchor text, perhaps too much so. Around 2008, the company explained that it thought anchors provided more accurate descriptions of websites than the sites themselves. While the practice was sound in theory, it proved to be too easy to manipulate.
SEO specialists could easily cheat the system back then and tie certain adjectival phrases to a specific group or individual. Fair or not, two of the more famous “Google bombs” prior to 2010 were the association of the search phrase “miserable failure” to George W. Bush and “worst band in the world” to Creed.
Google’s Crackdown on Some Keyword-Rich Anchor Text
As a result, the search engine giant began to crack down on the way people could use anchor text for search engine optimization. The largest shift came in 2012, when the first Google Penguin algorithm update released. Its aim? Punishing low-quality and manipulative practices for link building.
Anchor text was one of Penguin’s primary targets, and companies who pursued exact match anchors aggressively saw their Google rankings plunge overnight. The Penguin update was a sort of Black Tuesday for SEO practitioners, who then had to come up with another way to put their websites at the top page of web results.
Companies, too, became twitchy about anchor text, some believing that only branded anchor text was allowed – and that all others would be punished by Google.
How Does Google Punish Anchor Text?
Does Google punish everything but branded anchor text? In a word: no. But there’s a right way and wrong way to include anchor text.
Over-optimization of anchor text, for example, is frowned upon. Search engines such as Google and Bing want backlinking to occur naturally. In other words, links should only be in your content if they make sense or if they lead to relevant content. If you have too many links, or if your links look contrived, the Penguin filter could demote the page.
While this sounds harsh, in reality, the original Google Penguin update only affected some 3 percent of websites. If own your content contains links in less than 50 percent of the copy, chances are you will not be affected by Penguin.
What About Link Quality?
Penguin also punishes links that don’t lead to authoritative websites. This discourages rank inflation. Quality backlinking to reliable information ensures your page is relevant. Don’t use anchor text just to grab a keyword. It looks unnatural to Google and will hurt your ranking.
Exact and Partial Anchor Text Still Wields Influence
So, does Penguin punish exact and partial keyword anchor text? A study by Ahrefs sought to find the answer. The study involved analyzing 51 keywords in competitive niches from finance to health, both exact matches and partial matches. Ahrefs found that both exact and partial keyword anchor text continue to have some influence on the top spots in Google searches.
The key here is density. For exact keyword matches, aim for it to be in no more than 1 to 2 percent of all anchor text. Partial matches are more forgiving: 30 percent of anchors containing a keyword phrase are safe from Google penalties.
Anchor Text Best Practices
The (not-so) final word on anchor text: It continues to influence the top spots in Google searches, especially in competitive niches. But … it’s not as heavily weighted as it used to be since Google now has more than 200 ranking factors.
Don’t be afraid to use keyword-rich anchor text in your own web content, though. If done well, it will help your search engine rankings. Observe some basic best practices:
Make Your Links Relevant
We talked a little bit about the importance of link relevancy in SEO, but it’s more easily understood with an example.
Say you own an aromatherapy store, and you love to blog about it. Ever eager to share your passion with others, you spend a little time each day reading about the newest in aromatherapy. You find an article about a study linking aromatherapy to increased levels of mood-boosting serotonin in the brain.
When you write a blog about this later, you could link back to the study in a couple of different ways:
“To read the study, click here.”
“A study outlines the effect of aromatherapy on the brain.”
SEO best practices dictate the second phrase (“effect of aromatherapy on the brain”) is more effective, because it is relevant to the topic at hand. Remember, search engines are interested in producing results that are beneficial to the user.
Vary Your Keywords
Google is wary of keywords and anchor text that appear over and over again. If your site’s backlinks all contain the same keyword-rich anchor text, it’s usually a sign those links weren’t acquired naturally.
Shoot for a variety of keyword anchor text, and don’t use the same one each time. This is where the statistics for partial match and exact match keywords come in. In general, try to earn only a few exact keyword matches. Partial keyword phrases are more forgiving, but variation helps in each phrase or term.
And when you’re linking internally or externally, don’t make your anchor phrases too long. Best practice dictates that they should be eight words or fewer for maximum benefit.
For example, if your aromatherapy store is the only store in Atlanta selling sustainable, ethically sourced essential oils, you might want others to link to your website with the keyword phrase “sustainable essential oils in Atlanta.” However, you want the keywords to be varied so you can avoid Google penalties. Similar phrases like these might help:
“Here’s a great site for sustainable essential oils.”
“Buy quality sustainable oils in Atlanta.”
Each anchor phrase carries pieces of the original keyword, yet they’re varied enough to pass the Google algorithm’s muster.
Bottom Line: Don’t Disregard the Power of Anchor Text
Although dwindling to a degree, anchor text continues to carry weight for current search engine algorithms. Early over-reliance on anchor text has led to a crackdown on the way we use anchor text for SEO purposes. Your mission is to keep earning relevant backlinks with varied keywords, which will help your site earn a place near the top of Google’s rankings.
Search engine optimization is essential for the success of your website. Eminent SEO can help optimize your content (including external links) as well as review your backlink profile. Just call 800.871.4130 if your company needs help with better content and earning stronger backlinks.
Many marketers are quick to tout the power of social media. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram provide quick and easy avenues for engaging our customers. When it comes to building a brand, there are few better outlets than social media. Facebook has roughly 1.7 billion users, according to Statista, and it’s hard to compete with that kind of reach.
While Snapchatting and tweeting may seem like best way to attract new clientele, one area where social media lags is measurable returns in the form of sales. Social media helps indirectly: It starts and drives conversions to get people in your industry thinking about your niche.
Email marketing, however, is often where you turn those visitors into customers. If social media gets your customers in the door, email marketing is responsible for making them loyalists.
On this Halloween, let’s investigate the claims of email marketing’s supposed death.
The Case for Email
Social media is undoubtedly a marketing revolution, but there’s a reason we keep turning to email: According to research from Campaign Monitor, every $1 spent on email marketing yields $8 in return.
And while we may twist our hands trying to compose the perfect viral status update, the same research shows email does more than simply edge out the competition when it comes to acquiring new customers. It squashes it. Email is actually 40 times more effective at gaining paying customers than social media.
Why, then, do we spend the bulk of our efforts perfecting our social media campaigns? It may be the result of several misunderstandings we have about modern email marketing.
Email Marketing Myths and Truths
Marketers sometimes shy away from email because it suffers from two common misconceptions:
They think email marketing is spam.
They think it’s too “old school.”
Yet, statistics say otherwise. Consider the following:
Everyone Uses Email
Millennials are often a group we try to engage due to their massive buying power. They’re also the group most likely to check their emails in bed (70 percent), in the bathroom (57 percent), and in the car (27 percent), according to Adobe. Some other compelling facts about email:
Gmail alone has more than 1 billion users, with more than 90 million users who access their account(s) from a mobile device.
Ninety-one percent of all consumers report checking their email daily.
Worldwide, there are 4.3 billion email accounts sending 196 billion emails each day.
Email Drives Lead Conversions
Statistically, email is more likely to create paying and repeat customers. Email marketing was responsible for the most Black Friday transactions in 2015. Nearly a quarter of those sales originated from the marketing channel, according to Custora.
These Black Friday sales facts are especially important when we consider:
Nearly 90 percent of marketers say email is responsible for most of their lead generation.
Email marketing ROI can be as high as 4,300 percent.
More than three-fourths of consumers say they prefer marketing-related communication to be over email.
Clearly, email is still relevant. Making it work for you is simply a matter of sending the right email, to the right person, at the right time.
Crafting the Perfect Email
Your email marketing campaign can be streamlined into four steps:
Find your audience
Segment your contacts
Pick the right time to click “send”
Turn that lead into a customer
It sounds simple enough, but it will require some legwork on your part.
Find Your Audience
We obviously want to know whom we’re marketing to, and you likely already have an idea of who your brand attracts. But marketers sometimes fall into the “Field of Dreams” approach: “If you build it, they will come.”
Creating great content might organically draw people to your brand, but is it attracting the people you want to be your customers?
Understanding your target audience requires some introspection. Ask yourself questions such as:
What problems do we solve?
Who are our current customers? What are they like?
Who is our competition?
What do we do that our competitors don’t?
Answering these questions helps determine who is going to read your content, as well as why they should choose your product or service over that of your competitors.
Segment Your Contacts
Why is segmenting so important? Research from HubSpot suggests targeted emails received 62 percent more clicks than non-segmented ones.
If you’re in the B2B community, you should segment by:
Type of company
Alternatively, you can choose to segment by role: function, seniority, department.
If you’re selling directly to the consumer, use that marketing intelligence. Social media data and SEO search terms will help you segment your contact list. Remember, your email list naturally decays by about 25 percent each year, according to HubSpot, so continually pursue campaigns to keep it fresh and to add subscribers.
Pick the Right Time to Click ‘Send’
Timing is everything, and email marketing is no exception. Sending the right content at the right time is a matter of finding the opportune spot in your targeted buyer’s journey. Here are some examples:
In the awareness stage, you’re nurturing leads. Let potential customers see the value in your product or services with free tools, eBooks, videos or SlideShares.
If a potential customer is already familiar with your brand, you need to let them know what makes you better than the competition. Add links in your emails to white papers, webinars, case studies, or reviews from third parties.
Why should a customer choose you, for the first time or once again? Offer free trial information, demos, price quotes or ROI reports.
Turn that Lead into a Customer
Lead nurturing is simple: It’s the process by which you cultivate a relationship with a potential customer so they’ll choose you when they’re ready. According to data from HubSpot, nearly three-fourths of B2B leads aren’t sales ready. Most of your prospects require nurturing, so create emails that add value.
The Importance of Mobile
If your email marketing campaign isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re far behind the curve. A 2015 survey by BlueHornet found emails that aren’t optimized for mobile will fail: More than 80 percent of recipients hit delete, and another 30 percent unsubscribe.
On the other hand, 63 percent of consumers report more interest in buying a product when it looks good on their mobile device.
Since 2011, the number of email opens on mobile devices has increased by 30 percent. In fact, nearly 60 percent of adults report checking their email first thing in the morning – in bed, or over a cup of coffee.
We no longer live in a world where we sit down at our desktop to read through emails. Everything we do is on the run, so emails must be optimized for mobile and easy to digest.
Video and Images Improve Click Rates
Consumers are more likely to interact with emails that contain images and video. According to Emma Email Marketing, adding a video can increase your click rate by 300 percent. While 35 percent of users report they prefer text in their emails, the majority (65 percent) state they prefer emails to contain mostly images. Therefore, make your emails all the more attractive by including one or both of these elements.
Personalization Is the Watchword
Want to get a prospect to open your email? The key is personalization. Consumers expect to be referred to by their first names: It shows a brand knows exactly who they are. It also helps if you send an email from a real person, not a general company name.
Research shows that personalization can help improve click rates by 26 percent. Consumers also expect to receive personalized content. It’s what makes segmentation so important.
Campaign Monitor reports that almost 75 percent of consumers feel frustrated when they receive content that doesn’t appear to be relevant to their interests. This is why three-fourths of all enterprises invested in personalized messaging in 2015. Also, personalization can reportedly lead to a 760 percent increase in ROI.
Email Isn’t Dead
Email is, and should continue to be, an essential part of your inbound marketing strategy. The right personalized email turns prospects into leads, and leads into customers.
Successful email campaigns address the right audience at the right time in their buying journey. Optimizing for mobile, as we’ve seen, can also make the difference between a sale and a deletion.
Don’t underestimate the power of email in your marketing campaign. While social media is important for creating brand awareness, emails net paying customers.
Not sure where to begin? Eminent SEO can help you with your email marketing strategy and content. Click to learn more about our Email Marketing Services.