Tag Archives: Digital Marketing

A/B Testing Cracks the Code of Online Intelligence

A-B Testing Code Of Online Intelligence - Eminent SEO

Digital marketing is a wide-open, challenging space. For business owners, advertising and editorial campaigns are the fruit of sales initiatives meant to entice audiences and feed their hunger for products or services. Will they bite? It depends – on a lot of unknowns.

Marketing plans, in their infancy, are like seedlings: tiny, thought-provoking concepts that require warmth, love and attention to reach their full potential.

In the earliest stages of development, online presence is a collaborative process using the talents of web developers, content strategists, graphic designers, writers and more. There many human touchpoints along the way, though each embraces a common fear: the unknown.

Who is our audience?
What if our brand has no appeal?
What if the messaging is off target?
What do customers care about today, tomorrow or at 6:32 p.m. on Thursday night?

With the best marketing director, creative director and product managers that money can buy, no marketing campaign can bank on success before it happens. How do you know what creative strategy and market positioning is guaranteed to work? You don’t. But here’s where you’ll find the clues.

The Benefits Behind A/B Testing

A-B Testing Nutures Your Baby - Max Monster Egg - ESEOIf you’ve never considered adding A/B testing to your marketing plan execution, it will provide more clarity than you might think. A/B testing could also bring more questions to light, but there’s clarity in that too.

Time efficient? Cost effective? Boosts ROI? Definitively.

Perhaps you’ve tried A/B testing before but weren’t happy with the results. Isn’t that the point though?

Digital A/B testing measures more of what you need to know and streamlines marketing efforts. It forces you to delve deeper into the details of your product or service offering, audience, brand and goals. A/B testing allows creative ideation to meet with user reality – and that’s the sweet spot.

There are added benefits to ongoing A/B testing as it helps you keep a pulse on your audience and if or when your business garners relevance.

Online Marketing Without A/B Testing Is Like Target-Shooting Blind

Doing digital A/B testing measures more of the efficacies in new product or service launches and is highly recommended, even for a soft launch. Unless you’d rather bite your nails to the quick, suffer from a bad case of insomnia, take your chances on performance, and pray you still have a job when the campaign goes sideways.

Your vision for success is only as clear as the ability to target succinctly and deliver. Everything else is noise. A/B campaign rolling is the only fair and true test to measure creative messaging and audience engagement.

Know-It-Alls: Digital A/B Testing Measures More than Ego

There’s a sanctity in “being right.” Coming up with award-winning creative messaging might get you kudos from your industry peers but if it doesn’t convert your audience to act, it is so wrong.

Business-minded narcissists and braggarts can use the A/B online platform to measure just how right they are. But digital A/B testing measures more than ego. When ideas align with A/B measured results, you show a knack for marketing intuitiveness and then have just cause to say, “I told you so.”

A/B Test Everything, Often

As consumer wants and needs change with the tide of online influences, so too should your marketing outreach. What works in the summer of 2017 will most likely vary greatly from what works the winter of 2018. A/B testing allows you to stay current and top-of-mind.

To better understand the basic process of A/B testing, use the following steps as a mental illustration.

A/B Testing Mental Process:

  1. Pick a product or service
  2. Decide what you’re testing for
  3. Forecast the right answer/approach (ego ergo here)
  4. Predict the anticipated response
  5. Live with the truth and consequences
  6. Adjust where needed
  7. Test again

The knowledge you can acquire through A/B testing is astounding. You can even generate love, at first sight.

A/B Testing Gives You a Second Chance at First Impressions and More

A-B Tests Can Measure Audience Design CTAs - Eminent SEOIt’s been said that you can never get a second chance at making a good first impression. With A/B testing, you can in five seconds.

The right messaging entails many variables. Focus on who will receive the messaging, and that should dictate design and layout, colorization, verbiage and tone, and the call-to-actions applied.

With A/B testing, you can alter any single aspect of your messaging to discover what works best.

If you’re not sure of who your target audience is or if your business has multiple types of consumers and prospects, A/B testing is the perfect forum to segment your market reach through:

  • Demographics
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Education
    • Average household income
  • Psychographics
    • Personality
    • Values
    • Opinions
    • Attitudes
    • Interests
    • Lifestyles
  • Geotargeting

It’s a Matter of Time

Keep in mind that some user behavior is a direct result of predictable timing. You can use this to your advantage during A/B testing.

For example, industries that are entertainment-centric would probably fare better by marketing on Thursdays when consumers are thinking about the weekend. If your luxury product offering might appeal to middle America, A/B test its marketability within two days of the 15th or 30th of the month (paydays).

Finding Value in Pricing

Price points can dictate a do-or-die success rate for a product launch or rebrand campaign. To get a better idea of what monetary number consumers will accept or reject as a purchase point, explore your options with A/B testing.

Use the other elements of measurability:

  • Messaging
  • Audience
  • Timing
  • How they create a consumer’s perceived value

This type of value is then weighted against competitors’ offerings, product benefits, misgivings and price.

Choose focal points that promote your value and segment them within the A and B rollout. Note the psychology behind numbers and how they affect human behavior. For most people, $39.99 is more pleasing than a $40.00 price point.

SEO Makes It Easier on You and Your Audience

Why not give consumers what they’re searching for? If they don’t know you exist, how can they find you? Instill A/B varied keyword campaigns to find out what people are looking for. You’ll gain important insights as to what consumers want and how they look for it online.

A Good Approach Sets Up a Smooth Landing

Pay-per-click ads and social media posts aren’t the only places that A/B testing can prove to be constructive. As long as you’re evaluating the strength of the initial ad or post, complete the campaign assessment by A/B testing the corresponding landing pages.

Use the same seven-step mental process shown earlier in this article as a guide to formulate variances in landing pages. You may want to do two sets of the testing, A/B and A/B, to measure the performance of banner designs, headlines or call-to-actions.

To read more about A/B testing and other optimization tips for landing pages, click the button below:
Read 8 Tips for PPC Landing Pages

The Patience and Virtue of 90 Days

A-B Tests Take 90-Plus Days For Results - Eminent SEOIt might be asking a lot of anyone to exercise patience in the creation, execution and measurement of digital content. Consider this: Just because user behavior indicates impulsivity at a click or swipe doesn’t mean the artists behind the content should be just as reactionary, though the attraction to do so is understandable.

Let’s say you’ve worked hard on every aspect of a given product launch. You launch the online campaign. You’re not getting the anticipated results, even with A/B testing.

Give it time. Oh the difference 90 days can make to judge marketing effectiveness, engagement and conversion rates.

Consumers’ interests ebb and flow with pop culture trends, seasonal changes, employment adjustments and the best reason of all: just because. Your business representation online should be solid. If your digital presence shifted as quickly as consumer interest, you’ll find that it’s hard to tell what’s working and what isn’t. It might feel as though you’re spitting into the wind. Only you know where that spit’s been.

Give your current marketing campaigns three months to season. If they’re not bringing you the results you’d hoped for, there’s no reason to start from scratch. Make small changes to what you already have, then A/B test again and run those versions live for another 45 days.

A/B Testing Refines Virtual Imperfections

In the quest for perfection, we tend to home in on the details of marketing initiatives and adjust them, based on measured performance. No matter how diligent you are about using A/B testing, there is one truth that cannot be changed and must be accepted:

User behavior is measured; human behavior is not.

The intuitiveness about online use provides the data needed to structure marketing campaigns. The quirkiness of human behavior cannot be adequately measured as it comes from individual thoughts, emotions and dreams that flow with changes in personal life circumstances.

Is there an A/B test available to measure that? Technology moves mountains…

Great A/B Testing Is Born with Purpose

Marketing content at its finest should inform, entice and draw engagement to elicit brand awareness, customer loyalty and commerce (direct, deferred and referred).

A/B testing isn’t meant to replace original campaign strategy or ideology, but to measure or tweak it. Based on performance numbers, your strategy, positioning and content can be realigned.

Imagine how much more your business could thrive, faster, by partnering with a one-stop digital shop that knows how SEO and creative content work best, collectively, from day one.

A/B Test Us

Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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The Good, the Bad and the Rankings: A Straight Shootin’ Discussion About Ethics in Digital Marketing

Ethics in Digital Marketing - Eminent SEOThe modern internet is very much akin to the Wild West. For every honorable, upstanding SEO expert, there are at least twice as many “outlaws.” In other words, there are unscrupulous practitioners that will stop at nothing to claim high search engine rankings and rustle up as many user views as possible.

Reflecting this rise of desperado digital marketing in the early 2010s, Sheriff Google started deploying deputies to clean up the streets. Since then, enforcers like Penguin and Panda have become incredibly sophisticated at sniffing out unethical digital marketing techniques and penalizing the offenders.

But what about these bad “dotcombres” is so offensive that the Sheriff Google feels it necessary to ding their search rankings? Some of the most common penalties assigned to websites that have violated Google’s webmaster guidelines are in response to:

  • Sparse, poorly written content
  • Numerous deceptive backlinks
  • Heavily spammed queries
  • Multiple doorway or interstitial pages

Organizations risk more than the ire of Sheriff Google (and subsequently penalized search rankings) when they opt to use questionable techniques. Unethical SEO and digital marketing tactics can also cost an organization thousands of potential customers or leads.

Whether an organization is managing its own online presence or handing those duties off to an SEO professional, it’s vital that decision makers understand the signs and cost of unethical digital marketing.

Defining Ethical SEO

SEO Practices Not OK Corral - Eminent SEOEthics can be difficult to define, especially in an ever-evolving environment like the Wild Web. However, most webmasters and users can agree that an upstanding website is transparent, helpful and honest. Advertisements, if any, should be straightforward rather than duplicitous. Content should be accurate, helpful and relevant.

That’s why organizations performing their own digital marketing should develop a list of ethical SEO best practices. Likewise, discussing the topic with potential digital marketing professionals should provide insights into that company’s position when it comes to ethical SEO.

The following are a few rules of thumb that outline the general principles of ethical digital marketing:

  • SEO professionals must always honor the webmaster guidelines of each search engine.
  • SEO professionals must commit to creating a positive, functional user experience.
  • SEO professionals must present user content accurately and without embellishment.
  • SEO professionals must always properly cite content generated by a separate party.
  • SEO professionals must communicate realistic expectations to their clients about search engine rankings.

Questionable vs. Ethical SEO Strategies

Wanted Bad Dotcombre Crimes Against SEO - Eminent SEOWhen it comes to Western movies, deciding who is ethical is a breeze. Good guys wear white hats. Villains wear black hats. Nobody else wears hats. Simple, right?

Thankfully, distinguishing between ethical and unethical SEO techniques isn’t very complicated either. As a rule, ethical (or “white hat”) SEO strategies will prioritize user experience, follow search engine guidelines and produce consistent, long-term results.

On the other side of the spectrum, unethical (or “black hat”) SEO strategies are only concerned with short-term gains. They tend to focus on taking advantage of search engine algorithms rather than serving the needs of potential visitors.

Examples of ethical SEO techniques include:

  • SEO site optimization
  • High-quality content production
  • Guest blogging
  • Internal linking

Conversely, examples of unethical SEO techniques include:

  • Stuffing keywords
  • Spammy blog post creation
  • Hidden text placement
  • Paying for links

The Consequences of Unethical SEO Techniques

Organizations that implement spam-heavy or manipulative SEO strategies risk heavy penalties from Google and other search engines if their unethical strategies are discovered. The subsequent search rankings loss could considerably damage a company’s long-term success in attracting new customers.

That’s why it is so important for SEO practitioners to hold themselves to extremely high ethical standards. The wrong move could cripple an entire marketing strategy. That being said, organizations in need of digital marketing services must search for a partner that can deliver on their promises.

What to Expect from Ethical SEO

New SEO experts are constantly riding into town. How do you tell a straight shooter from a dang varmint? A public commitment to ethical digital marketing is certainly a good place to start. Thankfully, there are multiple angles that organizations can explore to evaluate the ethics of a particular SEO practitioner.

Here are just a few things to look for when trying to figure out if an SEO company is committed to ethical practices:

  • Communicates realistic expectations – SEO optimization is a long-term strategy. In some cases, it can take weeks or months for a website to reach its desired search ranking. An ethical SEO practitioner will communicate a realistic time frame for the results the client has asked for. Organizations should remain wary of SEO professionals who promise overnight results.
  • Uses solely sustainable techniques – Search engine algorithms, especially those developed by Google, are constant changing. As a result, some techniques that may have worked well in the past are no longer effective, and may even lead to penalties if used. Ethical SEO practitioners keep a close eye on the industry and never knowingly recommend an outdated SEO strategy to clients.
  • Prioritizes user experience – Keyword stuffing is, or should be, a thing of the past. These days, search engine algorithms are far more concerned with the presence of accurate, high-quality content rather than keyword density. An ethical SEO practitioner will take the same approach as they recommend solutions for a client’s website.

Understanding Ethical SEO Will Help You Know Whom to Trust

Organizations that understand the importance of ethical SEO can make smarter decisions about whom to trust with their online presence. Doing so also protects their long-term digital marketing strategy from the hawk-like gaze of Sheriff Google.

As commerce becomes increasingly digitized, the importance of ethical SEO is only going to increase. Be sure to bookmark or subscribe to our blog for more helpful updates on SEO best practices and other relevant digital marketing topics.

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Web Copy Is Like ‘Show and Tell’ for Your Readers

Web Copy Show And Tell For Readers - Eminent SEO

Content needs to shift almost as fast as lightning, almost. But lightning never strikes in the same place twice.

Web content does, daily. At least that’s what every business owner hopes – to have multiple hits on their web presence from the same user. Content trends indicate that the possibility is more than likely.

The Content Marketing Institute-Marketing Profs study in 2016 showed that most North American business-to-business marketers planned to increase their content generation. How they will develop content strategies going forward will be representative of a difference in today’s web copy mindset. It’s all about the storytelling – and then some.

Web Copy Plays Show and Tell with Your Business and Its Customers

Whereas content was once looked upon as food for thought to fill a blank web screen, content is now deemed more serious than ever. The disdain for “fake news” and Snopes-worthy stories (that are rumors at best) has borne a new kind of web consumer: the truth seeker.

The demand for solid, substantive web content is not only echoed from businesses and consumers alike, but from Google analytics as well. Why?

Effective and Efficient – Either It is or It Isn’t

Google has reset the way it values content. Content optimization is still important, but the quality of content versus quantity of SEO indicators has been brought back into balance.

Consumers aren’t just hungry for great content: They want to be able to bite their teeth into it, leaving them chomping at the bit for more. It’s a business’s dream come true.

Today’s content needs aren’t just about having accessibility to all things information. It’s about time: the value of our time – and not having it wasted.

We want the right information on the first click or swipe. Content needs to possess effectiveness and efficiency. No bait-and-switch copy. No guts-without-the-glory gab. It should be “just the facts, ma’am” with a little entertainment on the side.

Scroll, Stop and Share

According to an article last year in Adweek, more than 82 percent of video views come from mobile devices. More than 65 percent of consumers make purchases online through mobile as well.

When creating web content, most digital marketers struggle to have their desktop content translate well to mobile devices. It’s not an easy task.

Content strategists mull over this dilemma, looking to find alignment between effective messaging and efficient delivery. It’s now all about the scroll, how to get the user to stop and share your story. Results matter. Don’t they?

Content Breeds Opportunity

Web copy, on a company site, can effectively do two things: establish a brand presence and execute sales enablement. Sure, there are other sub-categories within each, but brand presence and sales enablement are the large-scale objectives.

Your web copy strategy should also involve:

  • Prospecting
  • Lead generation
  • Customer retention
  • Nurturing relationships (with customers and affiliate partners)

But before you can go there…

…Your web copy has to start here:

The Audience Says, ‘Are You Talking to Me?’

Ayn Rand Contradiction Quote - Eminent SEOWhether your online audience is a specific niche or broad-based, your web copy must speak their language – literally and figuratively. The story told should be compelling, yes, but it should be laden with texture and color.

With words? Absolutely. Here’s how.

Great copy should:

  • Create a picture
  • Create an experience
  • Evoke viewer emotion
  • Elicit viewer response

In sales, there’s an adage, “You don’t get if you don’t ask.” Use that analogy for web copy. If you don’t ask for a response, you most likely won’t get one.

Use actionable words that entice the user and drive engagement. Where warranted, use the talents of industry experts to help create pertinent content to generate authenticity, which speaks volumes to your business community.

Southern-Fried Chicken Ain’t for Yanks

In marketing and in life, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Once you’ve got a good grasp on who the audience is, remember it with every breath of copy exhaled. It is the crux of web success.

This was evident in an online creative campaign I once worked on for an assisted-living company located in the Southeast. They wanted to appeal to three audiences: those who need in-home care, loved ones of those needing care, and potential health care partners.

In an effort to position this company as an industry resource with empathy for its audience, we created a vlog and blog strategy based on a character named Grace who spoke eloquently with a Southern drawl, of course. Going on about “fixin’ to eat bean pie” may not appeal to a viewer in New York or Arizona, but it didn’t have to. We were targeting the South.

Expectations Are Like Opinions, Everyone Has Them

Now that the importance of audience identification and language, tone and manner has been established, let’s delve into the realm of expectations.

Web copy directly and indirectly sets up the following expectations about your business:

  • Culture
  • Brand
  • Experience
  • Products or services
  • End result

Take a web walk through your site to ensure that the above-listed expectations mirror what your content speaks.

Words Can Over-Promise and Under-Deliver

Copy can be overzealous in approach, dialect and rhythm. But at the end of the consumer web experience, did the copy tell a good story for story’s sake, or did it pitch the truth?

Put a filter on self-serving creativity. It might get you an entry into The Webby Awards, but that doesn’t mean you’ve attracted your viewers, much less represented your product or service honestly.

The No. 1 Question in Web Copywriting

With every piece of content you put out there to support your business, ask yourself (from the reader’s perspective), “Do I care?” The answer should be an unequivocal, “Yes!”

The Best Web Copy Show and Tell Safeguard

To stay a head above your competitors’ web positioning, think hats. Your brand positioning is one hat, and your audience is another hat. With the right web copy, you can show and tell your company’s story in a manner that resonates with your audience and reflects your brand.

And then your two hats effectively become one. Isn’t that the point of your website?

Let Us Create a Better Brand Experience for You

Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Be Careful Not to Choke on Your Aspirations, Content Writers

Are there any audiences less forgiving than readers on the web? Many content writers ask themselves this question on a regular basis, and their assumptions aren’t far off.

According to data collected by publishing intelligence firm Chartbeat, a majority of users (55%) spend less than 15 seconds on a web page before moving on to the next one. Dang! Talk about the importance of a first impression.

After reading this report and reflecting on how hard it can be to hook and engage online readers,  I was reminded of another audience with even less patience than readers on the web: the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Darth Vader.

After all, who could forget how quickly the iconic Star Wars villain dismisses information he deems inconsequential or subordinates who have lost his confidence. If you equate “bounce rates” to “being strangled to death with the Force” then the parallels are actually pretty hard to ignore.

It’s important to note that much like Imperial officers, content writers are enthusiastic about providing their audience with valuable information. Unfortunately, our eagerness to please and grand designs for our copy sometimes can get in the way of providing the audience with the answers they are actually looking for.

So let’s take a closer look at how a handful of Star Wars characters meet their demise at the hands of Darth Vader and see what their deaths can teach us about the wrong ways to engage with a demanding audience.

Don’t Mislead Your Reader

Capt Raymus Antilles Darth Vader Dialog - Eminent SEOThough technically a member of the Rebel Alliance, Captain Raymus Antilles has the distinction of being that very first person we see being throttled by Lord Vader in the opening minutes of “A New Hope.” He is quite bold in telling Vader that his ship is merely on a harmless “diplomatic mission,” considering the last scene of “Rogue One” features the Sith Lord watching them jettison away from the docks of Vader’s personal flagship. And to be fair, he isn’t lying, from a certain point of view.

However, his word choice certainly isn’t intended to guide his audience to the truth. In this way, Captain Antilles provides a great example of what happens when you underestimate the intelligence of your audience.

As a content writer, you may sometimes feel tempted to quote data or a report that doesn’t entirely support your argument. You may be in a rush to meet a deadline or feeling frustrated with the research process, and settle on quoting evidence that, at best, has some tangential relevance to the point you are making in your copy. This is the way of the Dark Side.

Taking this approach assumes that your reader not only knows less than you about your subject, but also lacks the presence of mind to check your references. If you’re found out, your credibility with your audience is shot for good and your reputation as a writer is put into jeopardy.

While this outcome may be less dramatic than your trachea being crushed by Darth Vader’s prosthetic metal hand, the consequences of misleading your audience are very real.

Don’t Get Personal or Political

Admiral Conan Motti Darth Vader Dialog - Eminent SEOAdmiral Conan Motti gets choked about 30 minutes into “A New Hope” during a debate among Imperial officers aboard the Death Star about how to deal with those dastardly rebels. Ignore the fact that Admiral Motti’s extreme skepticism of the Force makes absolutely no sense given that the Jedi Council was the galaxy’s most influential nonprofit just 20 years prior. Instead, focus on his obvious misstep in anticipating the experience of his audience.

Death Star Other Planet - Eminent SEOAdmiral Motti might have been able to persuade Vader to his side if he had stuck to verifiable claims about the military and strategic value of the Death Star. Instead, he allowed his own personal distaste for Vader’s religious background to color his rhetoric.

As copywriters, we should always be aware of how our personal biases can influence how we write and what we write about.

First and foremost, we must remember that we are representatives of our clients. Part of our responsibility is to make sure the client’s voice and perspective trump our own when producing copy for their website or a digital asset.

We must also acknowledge the potential for our personal biases to color our writing, and that our readers are capable of seeing through our mistakes. After all, an easy way to lose your audience is to make them feel like your copy is antagonistic toward something they hold dear. If that audience includes an evil space wizard, you might lose your audience and get choked to death.

Don’t Expect a Fair Shake

Admiral Kendal Ozzel Darth Vader Dialog - Eminent SEOIf you’ve been writing for the web for any period of time, you’re well aware of the importance of the opening line. Hooking readers is key to keeping them on the page. At the same time, a carefully curated opening line can do wonders to disarm a personal bias that might prevent a reader from fully engaging with the rest of your page.

Admiral Kendal Ozzel demonstrates life-threatening ignorance of these principles in his abrupt conversation with Lord Vader in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Remember that shortly before Vader summons Admiral Ozzel onto video chat, the Sith Lord had been stewing in his personal chambers over the officer’s tactical blunders during the siege of Hoth.

It seems pretty clear that Vader is Facetiming the admiral specifically to choke him to death with the Force and promote his nearby subordinate. If Ozzel had any chance of avoiding his grisly fate, it would have to be with his opening line.

Unfortunately, Ozzel did not anticipate that his audience was entering the conversation under the influence of a powerful negative bias. He led with a bland, predictable opening that probably encouraged Vader to snuff him out that much faster. More importantly, he lacked sufficient familiarity with his audience to anticipate these negative feelings and subvert Vader’s expectations.

We as content writers must learn from Ozzel’s errors if we have any hope of improving bounce rates and user engagement on our pages. The opening line matters.

Don’t Fail to Deliver

Director Orson Krennic Darth Vader Dialog Rogue One - Eminent SEOOrganization and delivery are key to producing high-quality content. These qualities are equally critical when it comes to designing and manufacturing an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Director Orson Krennic learns this lesson the hard way during “Rogue One” after reoccurring spells of incompetence lead him to a potentially deadly encounter with the Sith Lord.

Leah Max Vader Spaceships - Eminent SEOAs content writers, we can draw out a few useful nuggets of information by examining Krennic’s near-death-by-Force experience with Vader.

First and foremost, it is clear from Vader’s tone that Krennic had under-delivered in the past with regard to the development of the Death Star. As a result, the trust of his audience (Darth Vader and, more importantly, Emperor Palpatine) had already began to erode.

Content writers can likewise compromise the goodwill of their audience by promising one thing in titles and headers then failing to follow through in the copy.

Second, Krennic’s first reaction when confronted with feedback from his audience was to deny wrongdoing and deflect blame. This course of action results in him being strangled by a mystical energy field that controls his destiny.

Similarly, content writers have a choice when they fail to live up to the standards of their audience. They can either run from blame or take responsibility and commit to improvement.

(Don’t remember Darth Vader’s affinity for choking insubordinate members of the Empire – both by hand and by Force? Watch a “highlight reel” here.)

Trust DARTH

We’ve discussed in detail all the wrong ways to approach your audience as a content writer. But what can we take away as far as positive examples? Unfortunately, the Galactic Empire is such a dysfunctional workplace that it’s extremely difficult to find positive examples within the organization of successful, consistent communication.

Instead, I’ve devised a simple mnemonic device to help fellow content writers remember the lessons we’ve learned from the Empire’s finest:

DARTH Standard For Web Copy - Eminent SEOBy following the DARTH Standard, content writers can feel confident that their copy will meet the needs and expectations of their audience. Writers will have to continue to adapt their tone and style to each client, but approaching this challenge with the right mindset will make it much easier to engage your audience before they make the jump back into hyperspace.

Got some of your own tips for managing your audience’s demanding expectations? Reach out with the Force and leave a comment below!

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Do the Fields of PR and SEO Overlap? A Closer Look at How One Can Strengthen the Other

Do PR And SEO Link Building Overlap - Eminent SEO

Fresh out of college with a public relations degree, I found myself stumbling into the world of search engine optimization – specifically, link building. I wondered how the two realms would overlap, if at all.

A quick refresher: Link building is an SEO tactic that refers to the method of increasing a webpage’s number of inbound links from external sources with the intention of boosting the visibility of that page in search engine results.

There are a handful of different avenues a link builder can take, but the end goal is the same: to get a certain page or website to rank higher in the search results than those belonging to similar competitors. High search engine visibility increases the likelihood of more traffic to a client’s website, which in turns leads to better brand awareness.

Coming to Eminent SEO, this process was new to me. While I understood the general theory behind search engine optimization, I was undoubtedly a rookie, in terms of actually putting the theories into practice.

Fret not. Little did I know then just how much the strategies I picked up from my background in public relations would supplement my new career as a link builder. Before I elaborate on the advantages of how initially entering the workforce as a “PR coordinator” eventually bolstered my link-building approach, I want to relay several key differences.

PR vs. SEO Link Building

In a public relations agency, you are typically promoting a brand or a company. Exposure does not necessarily lead to a link to your brand’s website, but for the most part, any exposure or mention in the press is good.

If your client sells products or services, you’ll want to research and pinpoint journalists or media outlets who would be interested in covering or testing the product out. If you are like me and work in food public relations (yum), you’ll want to send out food samples or coupons to these media outlets in exchange for a product review. Additionally, bloggers are going to be your best friends. (Hint: because bloggers like free stuff.)

Link building, on the other hand, is a completely different ballpark. You are promoting a brand, yes, but more specifically: a brand’s website. As a link builder, you want more than just free press. You want the webmaster or influencer to link back to your site.

In many ways, link-building strategy is much harder than public relations because you need your contact to go that extra step: to link back to you, pretty please? You’re asking somebody for more using less, with no free samples or products to offer as incentive.

No Free Samples The Simpsons - ESEOThis why your creative team needs to produce great content that’s promotable and will make your life as a link builder easier – but you already know that. Bloggers are your friends… sometimes.

Getting the Right Backlinks

On the other hand, if you’re in the SEO industry, you’ll quickly realize that not all links are equal, and certain blogs have more domain authority than others. Getting “exposure” from certain websites can hurt your rankings, and thousands of spammy links is a death sentence for a growing site.

Luckily, the skills I garnered from contacting media outlets for exposure as a public relations coordinator ended up helping my transition into the daunting (but rewarding) field of search engine optimization.

Building Relationships with the Media and Webmasters

Public relations people often carry the stigma of having ulterior motives, and, unfortunately, it’s often accurate. We want to get our clients exposure! However, people hate feeling manipulated, and if you’re begging them for free press every other week, more than likely they’re going to get annoyed.

Black Sails Ulterior Motive Starz - ESEOInstead, what I used to do when I conducted my public relations outreach to various bloggers is begin with a friendly tweet or comment on past blog posts. I wanted to get their attention and have them recognize my name before asking for something outright.

Same goes with link building: In the end, you need something from someone (a link). Veer away from that mindset for a second and think long term. If we can befriend a webmaster, or at the very least give a good impression, they are much more likely to link to us in the future. Start up a conversation without asking for a link (yet).

This is counterintuitive because what I am essentially asking you is to not ask for a link – upfront, at least. It can be as simple as chatting them up about recent industry news, or letting them know you liked their latest blog post so much you passed it onto your coworkers. Once they’ve warmed up to you, you can start asking for shares, retweets and, best of all, links.

Use PR Tools to Your Link-Building Advantage

Max Monster On Computer - Eminent SEOSites like HARO give you direct access to media outlets and reporters looking for a source to quote. If you’re a journalist, you can sign up as a media contact and use the tool to get access to experts and quote them in your next article.

On the flip side, you can sign up as an industry expert and act as the highly knowledgeable source for these articles! This requires more out-of-the-box thinking because oftentimes reporters are covering topics that are only vaguely connected to your industry.

My advice? Don’t grasp for straws here. If it’s too much of a stretch and only kinda-sorta-maybe related to your client, leave it be. Every so often, however, you will strike gold and find a journalist who’s covering something extremely acutely specific to your client’s industry. The trick here is to be patient.

The biggest disadvantage is that you may have to mediate communication back and forth from the client to the media contact. So, after you’ve reached out to the reporter and confirmed their interest in your client, you’ll want to make sure the client is responsive and open to being cited as a resource or expert in their field. Once the client is included in the story, you can request that the journalist to link back to the client’s website upon publishing.

Of course, this strategy works optimally on media contacts who publish their articles or blog posts in reputable online publications.

Use Each Client’s Story or Mission to Enhance Your Outreach Efforts

Meg With Heart - Eminent SEOBecause you represent the client, you need to align yourself with their story. Keeping in mind the “soul” or “heart” of the client’s message will naturally give your outreach more of a voice – and therefore help you differentiate yourself from the rest of the leeches asking for favors.

In the world of public relations, we called them “pitches,” and it’s crucial for your pitch to be well-written and unique to the client. This can get tough when you’re in food PR and you have multiple gluten-free bread clients. How many different pitches can you really write about bread? If you study each client’s backstory and convey their enthusiasm effectively in your writing, the answer is very many.

Outreach as a link builder follows a similar concept. Many webmasters have their inboxes piled up with requests. To distinguish your outreach from others, abandon the boring, soulless email template and draw a clear distinction between your client and their competitors.

To Wrap It Up

While I am still quite new to search engine optimization, I was relieved to discover that what I learned in a public relations agency could be applied to link acquisition. A key variance was that I could no longer offer bloggers or journalists free stuff in exchange for a review (hello, high ROI) and easy exposure.

Instead, I had to rewire my thinking to view the website as the “free stuff.” What makes the website unique? How does it impact consumers? How can I create great resources for the website to draw organic traffic? What can my website offer that competitors cannot? Most importantly of all, what is the most effective way to promote this website and convince people to link to it?

Having to transition from promoting a tangible, material product (such as bread) to a website forced me to ask these questions before beginning any outreach.

Incorporating skills I’ve gained from both the search engine optimization and public relations fields has only strengthened my outreach methodology. A sound link-building strategy, when executed skillfully, will no doubt draw from many aspects of effective public relations.

Nicola Yap

Nicola grew up in San Ramon, CA and graduated from Boston University with a degree in public relations. As an Organic Marketing Strategist, Nicola focuses on developing and implementing outreach campaigns for Eminent SEO’s clients in order to generate organic traffic.

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Writer By Day, Writer By Night: 6 Tips for Balancing Digital Marketing and Creative Writing

Tips For Balancing Digital Marketing And Creative Writing - Eminent SEO

During my undergraduate years at the University of Arizona, my writing professors constantly warned me and my classmates about the risk of writing as a day job.

They cautioned us against living a double life as a writer. They told us to stay wary of burnout and losing our way as artists, suggesting that this was a very real possibility if we planned to make our living on SEO and marketing content.

I was an insufferable suck-up in class, so I nodded vigorously in response to these ominous predictions. Internally, however, my gut response to these warnings was akin to the infamous shrug emoji.

I was even less interested in hearing this advice during graduate school, when I was living the double life in full swing. It was hard to nod as vigorously as I did during my undergraduate days: I was already balancing a full-time job producing marketing content during the day with attending class and drafting my memoir thesis in the evening.

Today, as a full-time marketing copywriter and content strategist, I am still tasked with finding the right balance between my life as a marketing content professional and my goals as a creative academic. Is it easy? Certainly not! Is it impossible? My answer is an equally vigorous: No way!

That being said, I can now see that the bleak scenarios described by my writing professors actually helped to shape the very strategies I now use to stay sane and productive. The following tips and strategies are meant to help those content writers who struggle to balance their daily copywriting duties with their passion projects.

1. Use Your Downtime

A common mistake that writers make when balancing a double life is trying to separate creative and content writing into separate mental silos. Anyone who attempts these mental gymnastics for long will find that the effort is worthy of Sisyphus.

That’s because we as writers only have so much control over the creative process. Ideas will come and go with no regard for your convenience. As a result, it’s important to make use of downtime at the office effectively when your creative brain flips on and starts generating good ideas.

Consider keeping a notebook handy during your work day. If you have an idea, jot it down quickly before it leaves your mind and then get back to work. Likewise, make use of your breaks and lunch time to review your notebook of drafts, edit a paragraph or simply brainstorm about your next creative project.

Every bit of creative writing you can sneak into your day goes a long way toward your achieving your goals, whether they revolve around publishing or expanding your audience as a blogger. You might even enjoy your work hours a bit more when you allow your creative brain to churn out creative thoughts throughout the day.

2. Flex Your Skills

As a writer, it’s very easy to see the SEO- and link-focused nature of website marketing content as a restraint on your creative process. I felt this way for years. By the time I was in graduate school, however, my horizons had expanded and I’d come to appreciate the idea of creative restraints.

Consider forms in poetry. The Elizabethan sonnet, with its strict rules concerning meter and rhyme, is a great example. Forms do constrain the writer’s choices but also encourages them to think outside of their own tried and true artistic strategies.

What if you thought about SEO keyword and header requirements the same way you might think about a writing prompt or a formal assignment? Imposing limitations on the creative process not only produces results in your own writing, but can also help encourage you to exceed expectations at the office by producing some truly sublime marketing content.

You also present yourself as a prime candidate for promotion. Take it from my experience: A little boost to your paycheck will go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable about your double life as a writer.

3. Leverage Your Research

The longer you’ve been a writer, the more likely you are to take your inspiration from unlikely sources. Openness to the unexpected muse is a critical skill for those balancing a content marketing job with craft development in their free time.

In order to generate a steady stream of high-level marketing content for the web, one must become a very effective researcher. Most writers have experience doing research from their academic days, but deadlines and large workloads force content producers to become even more efficient at scouring the web for information.

If you find yourself short on ideas when you sit down to write at home, try expanding your research process at the office. As you scan the web for data and sources, make sure to scan your results for interesting, newsworthy or inspiring stories. Bookmark these links, then browse them in greater detail after your work day has ended. Fitting in a bit of creative research into your daily workflow will also take pressure off of yourself to put in that time when you get home.

4. Find Your Fortress


Batman has his Bat Cave. Superman has his Fortress of Solitude. Just as a superhero needs a secluded headquarters to retreat to, a writer needs a place to think, reflect and appreciate the quiet.

Considering how much time you’ll spend writing for work, it’s more important than ever to stay productive during your free time. Otherwise, you risk falling into the uninspired rut my writing professors warned about. With this in mind, find a place where you can disconnect from the world, including the work assignments waiting on your desk for the next morning.

After moving back home to Phoenix, Arizona, I selected my old local library as my personal bastion of productivity. Free access to high-speed WiFi, limited noise pollution and a very low chance of bumping into anybody I knew from high school made my local branch an ideal spot to spend a few hours each day reading and writing.

5. Obey Your Schedule

Another piece of advice I heard constantly from my writing professors, especially at the graduate level, was the importance of having a schedule as a writer. No pithy rejoinders here. They were absolutely correct.

This maxim goes double for writers that balance a double life. The importance of meeting deadlines at work is a given for most, but few commit the same focus to the writing they do for themselves. Unfortunately, those who fail to work on their craft consistently are at the greatest risk for letting their work writing consume their lives.

I’m sorry to say that there aren’t any easy strategies for becoming a disciplined writer. It’s something we all have to work on every day. Thankfully, applying some of the other strategies I mentioned above can make this challenge a bit less daunting.

Start by assigning yourself some deadlines. Identify a few hours each day that can be dedicated to writing, whether they be early in the morning or after you get home from work. Do everything in your power to obey your schedule.

You probably won’t get it right all at once, but that’s OK. Just setting a schedule and paying closer attention to how you choose to spend your time (when you should be writing) are major steps in the right direction.

6. Honor Your Process


It’s easy to get discouraged as a writer. After all, we can be pretty sensitive. That’s why it’s important for you to make a habit of carrying your projects to completion. Denying yourself the internal encouragement that comes with finishing a poem or prose piece just makes it harder to stay motivated as a creative writer.

On the other hand, beating yourself up over how long it’s taken to finish a novel in your spare time is not an effective strategy. Your creative process is unpredictable, and it’s not typical for your free time and your feelings of inspiration to line up consistently. This is especially true when you are tasked with a full workload of blog posts, newsletters, email campaigns and content pages during the day.

Just as the style and voice of your work are unique, so too are the strategies you’ll employ to balance a double life as a marketing content professional and a creative writer. As long as you are able to secure a quiet place to work, set a reasonable schedule and stay disciplined, the specifics are up to you.

In short, the double life is one worth living. Just figure out what works for you, stick to it and keep your pen on the pad.

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Progressive Web Apps: The New Frontier for Mobile Browsing and Marketing

Progressive Web Apps Technology - Eminent SEO

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 Mobile Sites Vs Mobile Apps - Eminent SEOusually 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:

Push Notifications

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.

Better Layout

More responsive arrangement and simpler navigation than the mobile version of a traditional website.

Offline Accessibility

The PWA runs continuously, even when offline. While working behind the scenes, it tracks the user’s actions, all without direct user communication.

Hardware Utilization

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

Web Apps Unsupported Browser Icons - Eminent SEO

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.
  • Limit hyperlinked sources, especially JavaScript files, to prevent partially loaded pages.
  • Cautiously use JavaScript, as some search engines may be incompatible with it.
  • Denote website changes with a sitemap file when utilizing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

If you feel like you’re ready to get started on your first PWA, check out Google’s dedicated Progressive Web Apps platform.

The Next Steps

Mobile Phones Mobile Technology - Eminent SEO

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.

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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GIF Images Are Clever Tools in the Right Marketer’s Hands

Beginners Guide To GIF Images In Marketing - Eminent SEO

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

David Tyree Giants Super Bowl CatchThere 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

Chris Pratt Andy Parks RecreationEmotions 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

Chicago Traffic CinemagraphThe 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

Sea Level Pressure United StatesBrowsing 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

Max Monster Rainbow Loop - Eminent SEOWhereas 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:

  1. Find a YouTube clip to make a GIF out of.
  2. 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.
  3. Pick the start and stop times and add a GIF title.
  4. Click “create GIF.”
  5. 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
  • GIFS.com
  • ScreenToGIF (lets you record a designated area of your computer screen)
  • RecordIT (similar function as ScreenToGIF)
  • GIF Toaster
  • 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

Millions Of GIFs Posted To Slack Tumblr Facebook Messenger - ESEO

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:

  1. The intent of the GIF: Is it for profit or not for profit?
  2. The content of the GIF.
  3. The ratio of GIF used to copyright material.
  4. 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:

  1. Obtain a written release. Contact the copyright owner and actors/celebrities present in the GIF for permission to share the GIF.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Laptop Collage - Eminent SEOGIF 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?

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Your Guide to Keyword Research in 2016 Going into the New Year

Keyword Research In 2016 And 2017 - Eminent SEO

In the past, keywords were crucial to search engine optimization (SEO). Times are a-changing, and now keywords are only one of the many factor for rankings. While they are still relevant, keywords should be researched alongside a variety of other optimization factors.

To get a page of content noticed, understand that what’s behind the keywords is just as important as the keywords themselves: Think demographics, personas and intent. Consider keywords carefully, but also keep in mind who’s behind the keyboard. Understanding your user can help you not only bring traffic to your site, but it can also impact who is coming to your site.

Regardless of the type of business you own, you have a target audience. With careful research, you can accurately predict their searches – as long as you understand that keywords aren’t powerful enough to justify your entire focus.

The ‘Why’ Behind the Search

Consider user intent. It’s all about why a person is looking – the motive behind their search. The why impacts what keywords are used. Like a detective, you must divine a motive for the search before you can understand how to use keywords.

Google understands the intent behind a user’s search. Try Googling “hair dye” as an example. What comes up is an option for a beauty supply chain store. Google assumes that the intent of your search is to make a purchase. If a user gets more specific and types in “hair dye effects,” the search results offer information on the correlation between hair dye and cancer risks. So by adding a single word, user intent changed – and Google picked up on it.

Basically, specific words that users choose for a search reveal their intent. This is valuable information, and your goal is to make your product or service match the intent and be the answer they need. Understanding audience intent will help you choose the right keywords and phrases to generate traffic on your site and for your business.

The ‘Who’ Behind the Query

Search Queries Informational Transactional Navigational - Eminent SEOWho is searching matters. People have different motives when searching, and this is why demographics matter so much. Demographics and personas are the details about a group of people or a specific person, such as:

  • Who they are
  • Where they’re from
  • What their professions are
  • What their likes and dislikes are

Obviously, demographics matter. They can tell you whether you should be putting ads on Snapchat or Facebook (depending on age). They can give insight into who is making the purchase. For example, men’s shoes may be the purchase, but women may be the purchaser. Do your keyword research with demographics in mind. It’ll pay off.

Personas are even more helpful in determining who’s on the other side of the search engine. Maybe you want to target 20-year-olds who stay up late to read books, or 30-year-old men who eat spaghetti. A persona is different than a demographic, as it’s more specific. It’s the details that make people who they are, and thereby explains the why behind their search.

Beware of the specific demographics you’re trying to reach because, depending on your keywords, you could miss your target audience. For example, your target demographic might be women combating hair loss. If “hair loss” is your keyword, you might find that the demographic searching “hair loss” is primarily men, so you’d then have to adjust your strategy.

Why Search Queries Matter

Queries are another topic to consider. This is different than a keyword search: It’s “Mexican food” versus “where to find good Mexican food.” Queries tie back to intent. They carry a specific purpose – much more so than keywords do.

Queries are often used by people who know exactly what they want, and there are different kinds of queries with different intentions. Queries are generally categorized as:

  • Informational,
  • Transactional, and
  • Navigational

In other words, users are searching for one of the following: to find information, to make a purchase, or to find a specific website.

Understanding these different types of queries will assist you in navigating user intent and help lead you to a greater understanding of the demographics that are being led to your site.

Decide What Your Goals Are

Before you can understand demographics, personas and intent, you need to have a goal in mind. Increasing site traffic is probably one ambition, but what else?

What about sales? Gaining user awareness of your business? Multiplying ad clicks? These are all important goals to think about when establishing what you want to achieve through keyword research.

Your goals will inevitably assist you in deciding your course of action for keywords. Start putting your keywords in categories, and use them effectively. Perhaps your goal is sales and you want to use “money phrases.” Or maybe your goal is awareness, so you want to use specific phrases that your demographic is likely to use.

Money phrases matter, too. These are all about one thing: the sales funnel. An example of this is “shoe clearance.” Words that dictate selling (like “buy” and “sale”) are commonly used in money phrases.

Understanding the ‘Fully Meets’ Rating and SERPs

Your Website Meet Potential Customers Needs - Eminent SEOSearch engines judge and rate websites by how well they meet their user’s needs. This goes back to the importance of intent. Because websites are rated this way, it means keywords must be used correctly and with user intent in mind to gain more traffic from the right demographics. Aim for a “Fully Meets” rating, which is when a site fulfills all of the user’s needs. This means that the user doesn’t need to see any other site.

Search engine results pages (SERPs) are important. Review them on a regular basis to understand how your keywords are functioning: Who is searching those keywords and why. SERPs will be paramount in your keyword research. By reviewing SERPs regularly for keywords you’re considering, you’ll begin to recognize trends and more closely deliver what users are searching for.

Talk to Your Team About Intent and Keywords

You don’t have to always turn to the web to gain an understanding of user intent and how it affects keywords. Your teammates, particularly in sales, probably have valuable information about your users and what their intentions are. Use this information to form an understanding of user needs and to create appropriate keywords. Ask your team about the questions they’re frequently asked.

Creating a help center on your site can be useful as well. Such a location will give you valuable data about what questions people are asking: Essentially, what is user intent? Use this crucial information to guide your keywords.

Keyword Research Is Not a One-Time Occurrence

How Are Search Users Finding Your Website - Eminent SEOUnderstand that to be effective, keyword research isn’t something that you do once and never return to. It’s an ongoing field of research that’s always changing. You’ll need to consistently review your keywords and queries to see how they are stacking up in search engine results. Look for relevance to user intent and if your keywords are still hitting the mark.

Deciphering keyword research could be as simple as, well, Googling it. Use Google to gain an understanding of user intent. The search engine is excellent at understanding the intent behind words and phrases. The results produced by typing in specific keywords or queries can give you an idea of user intent. And since Google’s algorithms are what guide all other search engines, what the company is doing matters – a lot.

Based on your search results, think about whether your own keywords are describing your product(s) and service(s) correctly. Are they relevant? Do they present an honest representation of your business and what you have to offer?

Those are questions you should be asking yourself when conducting keyword research. Then consider who’s searching for your services exactly the way you’re describing them through keywords. This is paramount. Answering this will enlighten you about user intent.

The Takeaway on Keyword Research in 2016

Keyword research is only one factor among many when conducting research on SEO. You want to not only understand user intent to increase traffic to your site, but to also increase traffic among the right demographic. Otherwise, users are visiting your site without utilizing your products or services – and you’re accomplishing little.

By taking advantage of relevant tools, such as your team members, SERPs and even Google itself, you’re setting yourself up to gain a strong understanding of how users find your site and what steps they take next.

If the keyword-research process sounds too daunting or complex for what you can take on right now, expert help is always available. Click to find out about Eminent SEO’s Keyword Research Services or call 800.871.4130 today.

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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The Cost of Doing Business Versus The Cost of Marketing

BLOG POST PREFACE: I didn’t set out to write a blog, initially I wanted to just collect a few of my thoughts on the subject as I was talking to my team about the challenge we have helping our clients track their marketing ROI accurately. It turned into the blog post you see below when I realized that I want to share my thoughts with other businesses and start a conversation about this topic. I’d really like to hear from you on how you allocate budgets and track ROI, so please share your thoughts in the comment section here or reach out to me on my SEO social platforms:

Twitter (I am most active here and mainly tweet out SEO and marketing stuff)
Facebook (this is my professional page where I share business and marketing posts)
Google+ (I know G+ is dying, but I still find good info in the tech and SEO communities there)

The Cost of Doing Business Versus The Cost of Marketing

Eminent SEO offers a wide array of services to help other businesses find success online. Over the years we have developed and expanded our service offerings in order to accommodate the growing needs of our clients. This includes a lot of business and website services that are not necessarily marketing.

Here are some of the main reasons business owners hire us:

  • They want to increase their website traffic and leads (SEO, organic and/or paid marketing).
  • They need a new or refreshed website (design, content, development).
  • They need help with their brand (brand development and management).
  • They need help with an issue (audits, website cleanup, penalty resolution).

Before we begin, we ask: What are your needs and goals?

  • A new logo or site design?
  • Tools to track your efforts?
  • An audit of your SEO to see where you stand?
  • Help with your bad reputation?
  • Updated website content?
  • A new social media campaign?
  • Expert advice on overcoming a Google penalty?

We offer different services depending on your specific needs. Many of our solutions are marketing, but some of our services also fall into the categories of website management, creative work, preventative services or business expenses as well.

For example, is website hosting really marketing? Or, is it a necessary expense in order for your business to be online?

What about design? Although website design does enhance the user experience and can definitely help your website traffic convert, design in itself is not a marketing effort.

So, what are the differences in our services? What IS marketing, what is NOT?

 To keep it simple we have grouped our services into two buckets:

  1. Operations – The Cost of Doing Business Online
  2. Marketing – The Cost of Getting Traffic, Form Fills, Phone Calls and Conversions

Business Operations Versus Marketing - Eminent SEO

Clearly there is a lot of overlap, but this should help give you a better understanding of the intent behind each service.

So, how do we measure results?

Each service comes with its own measure of success, including operations and marketing tasks. Not all services are intended to have the same outcome, so there isn’t one single point of data or one single tool that can tell the whole story.

Lower-OnPageSEO

We suggest a combination of the following to properly track your marketing:

  • Google Analytics for traffic and visitor data
  • Google Analytics Goal Tracking for website conversions
  • Gravity Forms, fed to Google Analytics for form tracking (website form fills)
  • Call Tracking Metrics for calls and call conversion tracking (check them out, they are pretty rad)

The above tools will collect data that we can combine into a report to show you:

  • Changes to website traffic, by source (organic, referral, direct, paid, social, etc.)
  • Changes to user behavior (time on site, page views, top landing pages, etc.)
  • Where the traffic for the forms is coming from, and what action they took (subscribed to newsletter, filled out the contact form, downloaded your eBook, etc.)
  • Where the website conversions are coming from and how many conversions you received
  • Where your calls are coming from and (if you use the tool to enter in call sentiment and conversion data) what sources are driving the calls that convert

The data then helps us better understand:

  • What is working, what isn’t (with the site and the marketing)
  • What content/pages get the best visibility
  • What lead sources drive the best leads
  • What marketing channel converts the highest
  • What your ROI (return on investment) or ROAS (return on ad spend) is, per source
  • Where you should be focusing your efforts moving forward
  • How you should allocate your marketing budgets in the future

However, we would like to point out that no matter how many experts you have working on your team, no matter how many tools you have collecting data, and no matter how much time you spend evaluating the campaigns, there is no such thing as PERFECT reporting.

Why?

NONE of the tools are perfect, not even Google Analytics. Marketers report on inaccuracies all of the time. Sometimes it’s the implementation of the tool. Sometimes Google samples data. Sometimes third-party tools buy their data from someone other than Google. Some reports even say that Google only gives you about 70% of what they see. There are a million reasons, but the point is NO tools are perfect, and therefore you cannot expect to get perfect data from them.

Lead sources are never perfect. Even if you have cookies and sophisticated tracking methods, the lead source is only the first or last point of entry. For example, a visitor could find you on Facebook, follow your fan page and engage with your posts – having never clicked a link to your site. Later, when they decide to look you up they might go to Google and search for your brand. From there they could click a pay per click ad, your map (Google My Business listing) or your site in the organic results. What source gets credit for the lead?

Online Marketing Campaigns don’t come with clear parameters. At first, evaluating website and call tracking data seems pretty straightforward. If you see visits and calls from one lead source and not another, that must mean the second one isn’t working, right? Not necessarily. Big brands didn’t become household names by only focusing on the measurable data. They understand that it takes a multi-channel approach to get big results. For example, you will likely never be able to attribute a lead or call to a clean logo and website design. But, you know that your professional website helps users trust your company, leading to increased conversions. The same goes for blogging, social and even press. Although they CAN give you direct clicks (referral traffic) and phone calls, they are really part of a bigger marketing strategy intended to help your brand and website gain visibility with the search engines.

Branding is impossible to measure perfectly. I would almost never use the word “impossible,” but in this case, I feel confident saying it. Why? Your brand awareness began the first time you handed out a business card or sent your first company email. Your brand includes any mention of your company name and any image of your logo, online and off. Raising awareness for your brand doesn’t start and stop with marketing: It can be TV, billboards, radio, mailers, brochures, wearables, handing out your business card, emails, comments on blogs, listings on directories, the yellow pages, social media platforms, apps, blogs, press, attending events, newsletters, referrals, your storefront, signs, partnerships, etc. The list goes on and on. If you are using tools to track your lead sources, keep in mind that just because the tool shows one source, that doesn’t mean that the other campaigns and efforts didn’t contribute to the lead/conversion.creation-hosting

The Bottom Line

  • Website and online business services are not necessarily “marketing” and therefore should not be included in your tracking efforts as marketing, but rather the cost of doing business.
  • When budgeting for the year, always develop a separate budget dedicated to website changes, fixing issues, adding content, etc. Trust me, you need it.
  • When analyzing the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns, don’t forget there is no such thing as perfect tracking and reporting. Don’t get so caught up in the details that you lose sight of the bigger picture. What’s most important is that your overall conversions are increasing… because that is why you are really investing into marketing in the first place, isn’t it?

Need Help?

If you have a question about business services verses marketing services and how to effectively track and measure results, give us a call at 800.871.4130, comment below or drop us a note. Team Eminent SEO is here to support you, your business AND marketing needs by working together to achieve the best strategy and reporting for you.

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing work in 2005. I'm a {very} busy mom of 4 and I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I love coffee, wine, food and other people who enjoy the adventure of seeking out the best places to eat and drink. In my free time (what's that?) you'll most likely find me studying philosophy and spirituality, cooking for my family or relaxing with a nice glass of wine, a funny movie and the people I love.

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