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5 Tips to Promote Business through Social Media

Social media has been dominating the online world. Based on the 2017 statistics, there are more than two billion social media users around the world. By 2020, it is expected to exceed the three billion mark. No wonder why businesses start to explore the potential of social media in promoting their brand.

In a study conducted by Facebook, there are more than 50 million small businesses that are using Facebook pages to instantly connect with their customers. Definitely, social media is changing the game of marketing.

In this article, let us teach you how to make the most of social media in marketing your products and services.

Explore all social networks

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Make an account for every social network available – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Each social media platform has its varied strengths. Also, there are different approaches in these networks in terms of content creation. If you want a widespread reach, take advantage of Facebook that has over two billion users. If you are fond of taking aesthetic photos, use Instagram.

 

Be consistent

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It is a must that you update your followers and subscribers with daily content. You need to be consistent in feeding new posts or photos to your consumers. You can sync your social media accounts to your blog site to share new posts. But simply, you can post new content every day, even a simple status, snap, or tweet.

 

Connect with consumers

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Social media has messaging features that allow you to communicate with consumers. This redefines how businesses connect to people. In this case, you need to be very responsive to their queries or feedbacks. Apart from the messenger, you can also respond to their status, tweets, or comments.

 

Track Engagement

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One of the marketing mistakes of most businesses is that they forget to track the results of their efforts. Social media platforms have integrated tools that can help you measure or evaluate the customer engagement. For example in Facebook, it has analytics tool that can tell how engaged are users to your post.

 

Take advantage of influencers

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Influencers are widespread in the social media world. They are social media stars who can help you promote your products and services. In a survey conducted by Tomoson, they found out that businesses earn $6.50 for every dollar they spent on influencers.

What social network do you use for your business?

8 Digital Marketing Tips For Small Business

While it’s true digital marketing isn’t easy, it’s not some faceless monster that destroys small businesses either. Many businesses over complicate their digital marketing strategies to try and rival the big names at the top.

This is where many businesses make their first mistake a small tech company isn’t going to be able to rival Apple, is it? But that doesn’t mean your business can’t still succeed and grow through effective digital marketing either, you just need to go about it the right way.

So, what’s the secret to effective digital marketing for small businesses then? There is no one guaranteed way to ensure your digital marketing strategy is effective that’s just not how digital marketing works.

However, there are many ways you can better your odds of success! Digital marketing can be approached in many different ways after all and below the team at Summon Digital who are a full-service digital agency based in London have outlined 8 tips any small business can benefit from knowing when it comes to building their digital marketing strategy.

Focus On The Local Audience

The internet has given small businesses great reach and in a way, it’s levelled the playing field a little. However, while it might be tempting to see how big you can expand your businesses reach and appeal to international audiences you’d be making a big mistake by ignoring your local supporters.

With the majority of small businesses, your local audience is your key to getting through those tough first few years. So, don’t forget about them use local keywords in your SEO so people close by will find your business more easily and advertise your business through local Facebook pages and popular local sites.   

Get On Social Media

I touched upon this in my last tip but let’s go a bit more in-depth, social media sites come in many forms and they can all be great ways to market your business. Don’t use them all straightaway instead focus on one or two till you’ve built up a presence.

Think about what site would best serve your business, if you’re a clothing retailer Instagram will give you a more visual based platform to work with. If you’re a tech business focusing on Facebook might be better, but whatever you do make sure you have some form of presence on social media because it will help a lot when it comes to building a digital marketing strategy.

Use Local Influencers

Whether you call them social media celebrities or not it can’t be denied that people have been able to utilise social media to market themselves very effectively. And you can use these local influencers to great effect when it comes to marketing your business.

Search by location and find the most popular people on social media who are near to you and then get in touch with them to work out an arrangement. Social media influencers can provide a big boost to your digital marketing campaign, so seek them out.

Don’t Be Lazy

Once you’ve got all your social media pages set-up the hard work isn’t over, you’ll need to constantly maintain and update them. It might sound easy, but it can be difficult to find new things to post and avoid any potential pitfalls, social media can be hard to navigate but if you want an effective digital marketing strategy you’ll need to learn how to do it. So, get a good balance of posts going every day and don’t put it off or forget about it.   

Converse With Customers

Your job isn’t complete once you post something on your social media pages or upload a blog to your website. If you want your digital marketing to succeed then you will need to converse with your customers and show you’re listening to them. Now you might not be able to do this with everyone and no one is expecting you to.

But you should respond to comments and feedback when you can. If someone posts praise about one of your products or the quality or your service on Facebook like their post and leave a quick comment thanking them. Similarly, if someone asks a question through one of you social media pages try to answer them quickly and if you use the right language you might even be able to turn a negative comment into a positive.

Have A Quality Website

Social media might be incredibly important when it comes to effective digital marketing but that doesn’t mean you can forget about your website. For many customers, this will be where they go to buy products/ services or to find out more about your business.

So, make sure it properly represents your business and don’t be afraid to go simple either you don’t have to be overly flashy just make sure it’s easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye. You should also make sure it’s regularly updated a blogs section is a common sight on a business’s website for a reason.

Ensure You Can Be Contacted

This is a simple one that many businesses (even larger ones) can sometimes forget. Ensure there is an easy to find contact section on your website so anyone with any questions can get in touch. If you can you should list multiple channels like an email address, phone number, and your social media pages. Many businesses can lose potentials sales simply because a customer can’t find a way to contact them.

Build Quality Content

For my final tip one thing, every local business should remember when it comes to digital marketing is the importance of building high-quality content! Yes, local SEO and keywords are important and should be integrated into your content whenever possible, but the main focus should always be on building something interesting you can share with your audience.

You shouldn’t write solely for SEO purposes, you should write something you know your desired audience will engage with and be interested in. You can list keywords in all your content, but it won’t exactly be engaging to read will it? So, focus on the quality on the content first before thinking about local keywords and SEO.

5 Psychological Tricks to Use in Your Marketing Campaigns (and Why They Work)

Marketing is a deeply psychological field.

In essence, you’re trying to alter the psychological state of another human – creating some kind of motivation for them to engage with your brand, company or product.

Despite this, we don’t tend to look at the key psychological drivers behind the marketing we do – we’ve got some ideas that have either worked in the past or worked for someone else, so we’ll implement those.

By following this route we come to understand ‘what’ works – but often not ‘why’ it works. When you discover the ‘why’, you get to play around with your marketing, with less chance of reducing the effectiveness of your message – and a deep understanding of how you can tie your products of services to deeply rooted psychological motivations in your potential customers.

Check out these 5 psychological tricks that could very well improve your marketing efforts…

#1 – Create fear

When you think about using fear in marketing you could be forgiven for thinking of it as a blunt instrument that only the most susceptible customers will be drawn by – but you’d be wrong.

Fear comes in many shapes and sizes – and while some medical companies might be able to lever a ‘if you don’t use this product your life is at risk’ – that’s not going to work for many other industries.

So, instead, we need to lever a different kind of fear – usually either fear that someone will miss an opportunity, or fear that they’re not going to know as much as the person next to them.

This all might sound contrived, I mean, how dangerous is it if someone doesn’t use your product? Well, if you’ve got a real belief in what you’re selling this could be a genuine concern. Is someone going to die if they don’t use your web design company? Highly unlikely – but if you strongly believe that you do your job better than the next person, then could your customers be missing out on their full brand potential without you onside? Yes, they could.

Establishing your product, for example, lets say you offer pool services such as willshapools.com, the knowledge you hold or the service you provide as absolute ‘musts’ for any self-respecting customer, and you create an air that they’re not getting the most out of life unless they take the action you’re suggesting…

#2 – Create a new position

You can’t control what your competitors are doing with their branding – but you can look at what they’re not doing – then make it work for you.

Here’s an example:

Car 1 is stylish, versatile, affordable and spacious – so when a competitor tries to bring Car 2 comes to market they’re in for a tough time vs. the established value of Car 1. Instead of going head to head on those selling points, they find their own selling point; safety.

“Car 2 – for when your family’s safety matters”

Now, of course your family’s safety matters – so you wouldn’t want to be seen making a choice that suggests it doesn’t.

With just a few words your product establishes its own unique selling point and diminishes the selling points of the competitor – you’ve repositioned your competitor in your customer’s heads as the brand that doesn’t care about your family’s safety – making them an obvious second choice.

This tactic works because, in general, we like to be seen to be making choices that establish us as agreeing with popular opinion, if we don’t, we face rejection – and no one likes rejection.

#3 – Display (the right amount of) confidence

Confidence is a balance, offer too much and you come across as being insincere and not credible – too little and customers are going to see you as second best (or worse)

Product comparisons are a great way of establishing a solid display of confidence in your product – and you’ll notice it’s not uncommon to see pages on brand’s webpages with titles that follow a format like:

“Our product vs. competitor vs. competitor”

Now, who in their right mind would compare their product to a superior competitor? The answer is clear – no one – but is it really that simple?

Well, no it’s not, because it’s all about perception rather than reality. You wouldn’t pick a fight unless you were in with a chance of winning right? Perhaps you would if you felt the pre-fight PR was going to be enough to notch up a win – and you definitely would if the fight never really happened as a result of your great PR.

People do not expect you to pick fights you won’t win – so when you do, they’ll assume you, your product or your service is capable of the win – and they’ll spend accordingly.

#4 – Familiarity breeds friendship

This is a quick and simple tip based on some fairly simple psychology.

The more times we see something, the more we believe it to be true – even if we have no evidence that this is the case. You might not know your next-door neighbour, but studies show you’re more likely to trust that person than you would a random person in the street.

People like familiarity. It’s why irritating TV advertisements work. Make your message, brand, product or service a frequent feature in their social media and they’ll trust you more than the next company…

#5 – Give to receive

Ever wondered why a waiter sits a mint on top of your bill when you’ve eaten in a restaurant?

It’s all about our desire to be seen a gracious. Studies show that you’re far more likely to tip (and increase your tip) if you’ve been given something you perceive to be free-of-charge – even if it’s just a mint.

The good news is, we don’t have to deliver mints to potential customers to win their favour, instead, we can simply offer them something digital – like an interesting piece of content or a discount code.

This is where content marketing is invaluable. Who are you most likely to favour? A company who’s consistently providing you with great and valuable content? Or a company who offer you nothing other than the bare-bones service? Studies show that we almost always opt for the company that’s been dishing out value – we don’t want to appear ungrateful after all…

 

7 Tips to Choose the Right SEO Keywords

Content is the king of SEO. Without quality content, your website will suffer in Google rankings. Based on a study conducted by Marketing Profs, 72% of businesses believe that content creation is the most effective SEO tactic. In addition, businesses find an increase in their blog traffic up to 2,000% through quality content.

The basic unit of content is the keyword. To run a successful SEO campaign, you need to use the right keywords.

How do we choose the SEO keywords?

Follow these seven tips!

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Search for keywords

Now that you’re on Google, try searching for the best keywords for your niche. There are dozens of free SEO keyword generator tools that will help you determine the right keywords to include in your content. Further, there are tools that can count how much specific keywords or phrases are searched within a day. The most popular choices for marketers are Google Keyword Planner, KWFinder, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, and SEMrush.

List related words

Basically, you have a specific niche or field – business, fashion, fitness, marketing, or Hollywood, for example. List down terms and phrases that are related to your niche. For example in ‘marketing’, you can have related terms including ‘seo’, ‘market’, ‘pr’, ‘advertisement’, brand’, etc.

 

Be the searcher

Put your feet on the shoes of the searchers. If you want to look for the products and services your business offers, what will you search? Think like the consumer and write all potential keywords and phrases that are most likely to be searched on Google and other search engines.

 

Localize keywords

86% of consumers use Google to look for a business within a certain locality. Thus, it is important that you optimize your content for local searches. Make sure that you include some local keywords, including address, products, people, and other keywords that may relate to the locality.

 

Use long tail keywords

In performing SEO and PPC campaigns, experts suggest using long tail keywords or more specific keywords. For example, if you are selling organic makeup online, the keywords ‘organic’ and ‘makeup’ would be weak keywords. It is important to specify your content. Instead, use ‘buy organic makeup online’ to make it more exact and specific.

 

Repeat keywords

It can also help your content if you repeat strong keywords. But remember, quality is always more important than quantity. Do not overuse keywords for the sake of putting keywords in your content. The goal is to include keywords that sound very natural in the content. For example, if you are selling animal food products, you can repeat the keyword ‘food’ repetitively like ‘cat food, dog food, bird food, and fish food’.

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Search other websites

Lastly, you can open the website of your competition. The goal is not to duplicate their content, but to check what keywords they use on their landing pages and blog posts. Also, you can do a quick search and check if their websites appear on top of the search engine results.

We hope this article helps you. Good luck!

6 Strategies to Run a Successful AdWords Campaign

Most internet users now want instant results especially in looking for products and services. According to Bright Local, 98% of searchers choose the business website that appears on the first page of the search engine results. This is a great challenge for businesses to double their search engine marketing efforts to rank on top of the results.

But apart from SEO, AdWords is changing the game. Many businesses today invest in Google AdWords to effortlessly dominate the search engine results.

But how do you run a successful AdWords campaign? Let us help you!

 

Optimize landing pages

The primary goal of running an AdWords campaign is to make a sale, not just a click. You can tell if your PPC campaign is successful if it drives qualified leads to a landing page. The role of the landing page is to convert prospects into paying customers. With this, you need to optimize your landing pages for PPC conversions by packing the message of your ads.

 

Use negative keywords

Only in AdWords where you utilize the negative keywords to run a successful PPC campaign. AdWords allow you to specify the keywords that are not related or a good fit for your products and services. Through this, you can prevent your ad from displaying on the negative keywords.

 

Identify the right keyword

Just like SEO, you need to identify the right keywords in AdWords. Basically, PPC campaign relies on user intent through keywords. There are different strategies to determine the right keywords. First, you can use broad terms, including its synonyms. You can also specify phrases enclosed in quotation marks. Lastly, you can use free tools that provide you the best keywords for various niches.

 

Take advantage of ad extensions

You should also include ad extensions in your AdWords campaign. Adding extensions can increase your potential of being clicked by customers. As a matter of fact, Google found out that campaigns with at least one ad extension get an increase in click-through-rate up to 15%. Basically, Google automatically creates the extension for you. On the other hand, you can customize it.

 

Invest in certain keywords

What’s good with AdWords is that it allows you to appropriate bigger budget on strong keywords. After identifying the keywords, assess which of them are the strongest. It is best if you spend time testing those keywords. After getting the results, dedicate the majority of your budget to these keywords to successfully run your campaign.

 

Optimize for mobile

AdWords has a feature that allows you to bid separately on smartphones, mobile devices, and computers. In running your PPC campaign, don’t forget to prioritize mobile searches. As we all know, mobile searches have already outnumbered desktop searches. This means, more and more consumers are on their smartphones than their computers. It is strategic to invest in mobile AdWords.

Running a PPC campaign is really challenging. But if you get the procedure right, you can achieve your marketing goals and hit that business success.

7 Tricks to Building an Awesome Brand Identity

We live in world where a sea of infinite colours competes to catch our eye. We do not need to emphasize how much information is available out there with additional volumes of fresh content generated on a daily basis.

What is a brand? It is the heart of your company and the reason you exist. It is what drives your bottom line and makes the difference between being profitable or declaring a loss. Of course, you will want to report on the successful side and create profits.

As competition is only growing, brand management is how a company differentiates its portfolio of products and services. You have to carve your place in the market and create an identity that resonates positively you’re your audience. Defining a brand’s identity is the first and most critical component of the branding narrative.

As the first touch point between you and your customer, the nature and design of your brand’s visual identity will strongly influence his purchase decision.

What is a brand identity? Ultimately, it is how your target market sees your portfolio of product and services. It is the unsaid, emotional connect invoked when a prospect interacts with your brand.

To create a long term purchase cycle, it is essential to instil a powerful degree of brand loyalty within your customer first. This is done only when your brand becomes your customer’s friend. Remember that in this day and age, you will have about twenty seconds to convey your message and why your brand should be the choice of preference in its category of service.

A visual brand identity is much more than your logo from LogoOrbit, your colours and your font. It is an amalgamation of strategy, communication design, and targeted marketing that gets the message across.

In order to create an awesome visual brand identity, we recommend implementing the following seven tricks:

Follow Thy 3 Ps

As a marketing professional or student, you should know that the 3 Ps of branding are the Bible of the marketing world: purpose, potential and promise. 

Purpose: To let your product commence its transformational journey into a brand, you must know what its characteristics are and what problems it can provide solutions to. Drawing up a list of its benefits and features will shed a lot of clarity on whom your target market should be and what kind of value proposition you can offer. 

Potential: If you are a relatively new player to the market, then it is vital that you appraise the future growth and profit potential of the brand in question. You do not want to plug in investment resources unconditionally without some analysis on potential expected returns. You may also want to factor in a timeline. 

Promise: A brand’s essence is based on the promise it makes to its users. The integrated communication plan of a fairness cream may play on Indian society’s desire to remain lightskinned. It may “promise” that after a certain number of applications, your skin will become fairer.

Making false promises may fool your prospective client base once or even twice-but a third time, your client will definitely search for other solutions or take her case to your competitors. Hence, it is essential that you do not overpromise and underdeliver. 

Know Thy Audience

If you segment your target audience before you begin thinking brand colours and logo designs, then that illustrates that you know what you are doing. As potential gateway keepers of consumer knowledge, smart marketers will incorporate any key findings into their visual brand designs. You can build your customer profiles by dividing your audience base upon a multitude of variables such as location, income, age, gender, profession, level of education and much more. 

Be Consistent

Imagine your colleague is a bit of a flake in a professional capacity. He skips a deadline here, is late for a meeting or he may have too many inexplicable absences. Would you delegate an essential project to him? Would you want to work with him as part of your team? Would you recommend him to someone else given that its your name on the line?

Be honest, you probably would not want to work for such a character-you would need someone reliable and someone whom you can count on. Similarly, consumers will desire a brand that is consistent in terms of quality, price strategy, and availability. The same principle is applied to visual design as it facilitates brand recognition and recall.  4. Keep it Simple

As discussed earlier in this article, you only have twenty seconds to make an impression on your viewer or reader. Hence, it is essential to keep your brand’s identity simple yet stunning. After all, you wish to add value to the customer’s life, not augment the volume of clutter that already exists in it. 

Use a Fetching Font

Typography can convey subliminal messages that develop and shape your brand’s personality. The kind of font you will select will determine what kind of imprint it will leave on your prospect (whether positive or negative). 

Colours are Everything

We all adore rainbows, but you do not want to employ a seven colour spectrum (or more) in your visual brand identity. After all, it is all about breaking through that endless clutter of data. Each colour owns its own psychological properties and represents different emotions. For instance, blue signifies trust. This would explain why banks such as Barclays and Citibank utilize the rich hues of blue as part of their brand identity. Colours such as red symbolize passion, lust and boldness. It is often utilized in brands that have a more daring streak.

Get Feedback

The vitality of customer feedback cannot be stressed enough. The awesome thing about social media is that it provides a direct, two-way link to your target market. Engage with them and simply just talk to them by asking what kind of visual images and content they would like to see displayed on your page. Getting them to partake ownership will reinforce their own belief

6 SEO Trends To Watch Out For This 2018

As we have just entered 2018, it’s time to think about what’s ahead for marketing, especially in search engine optimization. SEO has two decades of proven reliability in helping businesses increase their visibility on search engines. Further, SEO will continue to be relevant as long as the internet exists. Thus, your efforts before will count for today and for the future. But of course, Google and other search engines have unexpected changes in their algorithms. In 2018, here are the top SEO trends that are expected to dominate the year:

 

The Rise of Voice Search

Last year, 20% of all searches are made through voice. The rise of smartphone technology has paved the way for the use of voice search. By 2020, it is expected that 50% of all searches will be voice searches, says comScore. With this emerging trend, SEO marketers are studying on the changes of the keywords. They try to re-strategize their content to match voice searches.

 

Relationship (Link) Building

Link building has always been a part of search engine optimization. This year, it is not just about links, but relationships. Today, there are dozens of blogging communities that promote members to help each other in achieving their marketing goals. One way is to provide healthy links for each other through guest posting.

 

Redesigned SERP

Search engine results pages constantly change in terms of design and elements. In 2018, it will feature local packs, knowledge panels and featured snippets. It will be a challenge for SEO marketers to compete with the new elements in the SERP. Although there is nothing great to worry about as all your SEO efforts will still be honored by Google. But you have to be critical in tracking your rankings within these features.

 

Instant Answer

In connection with the preceding item, Google also provides instant or quick answers to searchers. In this case, they extract snippets from reliable sites and resources. So if someone searches “What is Diabetes?” Google will provide a quick answer. Being chosen by Google is a big thing. Basically, you just need to work more on your SEO efforts.

 

Mobile Marketing

With the rise of smartphone technology, there will be a rise in mobile searches. As a matter of fact, 75% of consumers use their mobile to purchase products and services. With this, businesses are innovating their strategies to keep up with the mobile trends. According to Salesforce, almost 70% of the companies have integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy.

 

Visual Search

Apart from voice search, it is also expected that users will search the web through images and photos. This means no keywords, just visual content. This is indeed a challenge for SEO marketers. In developing your content, we recommend you use rich visuals that are perfectly engaging. Moreover, brands should focus on optimizing their visual content for SEO purposes.

Among these trends, what are you preparing the most for? Share us your thoughts.

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Infographic by: lianacms.com

Local SEO Trends To Watch In 2018

If you want to maintain your edge online, it’s important not to sink into complacency when it comes to the traffic your site receives. While it might be getting loads of traffic today, there is no guarantee that this traffic won’t be diverted tomorrow.

For this post, we had a chance to sit down with Tobias Gillberg who has a Miami SEO company, and according to Tobias there are the trends we should be looking out for in 2018! 

The Year of the Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants like Siri are nothing new. What is new is that voice searches have been made easier across a range of different browsers. That, and the advent of technology like the Amazon Echo, means that “Google it” takes on a whole new dimension.

Around one in five searches already are voice-based rather than typed out. If you want your website to remain relevant, you need to take cognizance of the fact.

This means incorporating more long-tail keywords and ensuring that the language that you use more closely matches that of your target audience.

So, let’s say that you have a gas station in Los Angeles. When drafting your content, you would refer to it as a gas station. The owner of a gas station in Johannesburg in South Africa, however, would use the term “petrol station” instead.

Think of the search terms your audience might use and incorporate those.

Link Building

At one stage in time, you could link your site to just about any other website, and this would help to improve its credibility in the eyes of a search engine. Now the search engines have become more sophisticated. They evaluate the sites that you are linked to and also how relevant they are to your site.

When it comes to link building in 2018, therefore, you need to be more discerning about the sites that link to yours. This means looking for quality sites to link to and ensuring that these sites are relevant to your own.

If there is no real value in linking to the site, or if they do not help your site to build credibility, don’t link to them.

Part of what will be important in 2018 is to start looking at guest blogs. The credibility of the blog will also come into question here so be sure that the blogger is not one that will come across as having questionable links. Your site’s reputation could suffer if you choose the wrong blogger.

A Better User Experience

Google will also be evaluating sites in respect of the user experience that they deliver. This means that you could be penalized or having a site that takes longer to load, or one that is confusing for the user.

How does Google measure this type of thing? By seeing how long the average user spends on your site. If they spend less than thirty seconds on the site, Google will “think” one of two things – either the content wasn’t relevant, or the site was too difficult to navigate.

In either instance, Google will assume that the user experience was bad and so mark your site down.

They will also consider how adaptable the site design is when it comes to different devices. A site that can be as easily used on a mobile phone as it can be used on a laptop will score higher points than one that does not.

Featured Snippets

Featured snippets can be highly important when it comes to building page rank. For these to be successfully featured on Google, you will need to ensure that the content meets the standards Google has set in this area.

This means providing high-quality content and consistent information. The better the snippet that the visitor sees in the results, the more likely they are to click through to your website. Make sure that the content is relevant and expertly drafted for best results.

Getting this right can pay high dividends for SEO purposes. Making sure that Google picks up the right snippets is essential. Try having a Frequently Asked Question section so that Google can zone in on the right content.

Getting Mobile Ready

Companies have been focusing on making sure that their sites look good on a desktop or laptop and then adjust that template so that it works on mobile as well. The focus should now be reversed, however.

Phones offer an easy and convenient way to access the web and are becoming more popular than computers when it comes to searches. Companies that harness this trend are the ones that will be able to maintain their edge.

People want to be able to get information easily while they are out and about. This means that mobile searches will become ever more important.

Visual Searching

People want to find the easiest possible way to conduct searches. What is easier than snapping a picture on your phone and running a search based on that picture?

While some e-commerce sites like AliExpress have had this option for a few years now, it is starting to gain popularity with search engines like Google and social media sites like Pinterest as well.

This means incorporating visual content that is rich and engaging.

Machine Learning and AI

Artificial intelligence has vastly changed the way that we do things already. Google filling in the search terms for you based on what you have typed is one area where machine learning already comes into play.
Search engines will be better able to work out which sites are truly credible and which ones are using artificial SEO-boosting techniques.

That’s why it has become more important than ever to focus on the quality of the content that you provide. Remember this golden rule – if you wouldn’t be interested in the content provided, why would it be useful to potential clients? Provide something that you might pay money for instead of rubbish.

2018 looks set to become an interesting year for those in the SEO game. SEO is evolving, and so it is essential for businesses to start evolving their strategies in line with the changes. Focusing on gaining high quality, organic traffic is going to become more important than ever before.

UI/UX Trends We Can Expect to See in 2018

Just as there will be a series of web design trends making their presence known in 2018, there will also be a series of trends in relation to the user interface and user experience.

We had a chance to sit down with the awesome team at Internet Creation who are one of the leading web design agencies based in Edinburgh over the holidays and have a chat over what their predictions are for 2018.

Usability Will Overpower Ego

The web design process can be akin to an artist painting a picture, in that designers love tweaking a website so it looks the best it can. However, there could be instances where the process is focused on a little too much, which means that visitors to the website may be a little perplexed as to how they should navigate the website.

As such, 2018 will see more focus on the accessibility of the site, as opposed to animating every pixel just because we can. 

More Collaboration

There will have been times when a sole designer has had a good idea for a website and ran with it, and came up with some truly remarkable results. However, this doesn’t undervalue the power of teamwork, and how brainstorming can bring more ideas to the table.

Web designers in 2018 will be working in teams and offering different ideas, much in the same way a team of engineers would work. Collaboration will be major focus in 2018, regardless of whether coding is involved or not.

Ethics Will Be at the Forefront of Design

It’s obvious how the Internet is evolving, but what may not always be obvious is the type of person using the Internet. While a specific website may be ideal for the majority, there will be times when you have to account for other users.

This means ensuring that you’re catering for all types of visitors, and offering other solutions should text not be the first port-of-call for some.

Different people learn in different ways, so ensuring that you’re offering as much information as you can, while ensuring it’s easy to absorb will be a key element of 2018.

This includes ensuring there are no grammatical errors and ensuring that navigation is clear. Designers should also be ensuring that any content listed isn’t in breach of any copyright.

Design Will Contribute Towards Social Change

While the power of words has been prominent for some time when it comes to social change, 2018 will see website design play its part. Website designers will see more aesthetics will help towards tackling unsavoury issues, acting as a toolset that will influence more change.

Advanced Tools Means More Designers

It’s a common misconception that website designer need to be able to code. While it’s something website designer should be striving towards, more advanced tools mean people are able to express their creative flair and become part of the design process.

As such, the role of a designer will become less isolated, which can actually contribute towards a more streamlined design process.

Future Design Will React to The Environment

The way we interact with the Internet has changed for many reasons. As well as being able to access the Internet will mobile, we can also interact with virtual environments and check it to local businesses. This will continue as a trend into 2018, with future designs being integrated into a more digital world.

This could be in the form of context-driven UI, or websites that respond to hardware sensors. Making use of the evolving environment will ensure that web designers are making full use of the capabilities available to them.

Use of Biometrics

While biometrics isn’t a new technology, it is becoming more accessible to web designers. In 2018, more designers will be making use of biometrics in relation to identity management and authentication management purposes.

The security that the technology can offer both users means that biometric technology eliminates the needs for a traditional login. Biometric technology will instil the use of facial recognition, voice or iris scans.

The Elimination of the “Hamburger Menu”

The use of hamburger menus has been positive in the past, with it gaining traction with a series of online users. However, it has been found that the elimination of these drop-down menus can actually increase website’s click ration by 30 percent. The changes have already been made by some industry powerhouses, such as Spotify and YouTube.

Although this mainly applies to apps, it’s worth remembering that mobile websites needs to act in much the same way. It’s already evident how a website should be able to conform to a device, so instilling this change can make the user-experience more satisfying.

Customised Cinemographs

When it comes to imagery website for a website, do you opt for video or static images? While static images take up less room, the pull of a video can’t be underestimated. This is where cinemographs come into play.

Essentially a combination of a video and photograph, cinemographs will allow website designer to create the illusion of a moving photographs, without them being a hindrance on bandwidth

While the aesthetics of a website continue to evolve, so does the expectations of users, which means that the user experience is ever evolving, and missing a trend could make all the difference as to how relevant a website is when completed.

Local Website Rankings 2018 – All You Need to Know

With 2018 just around the corner, it’s time to begin thinking about your new year’s resolutions. Perhaps you want to get in better shape, or maybe you’d like to start a new hobby. If you own a website, your resolution could be to improve your local website rankings. Lucky for you, it’s easier than you might think. You see, search engine rankings are determined by an algorithm that’s looking for specific criteria. By using local SEO, you can ensure that your website is ranked highly on search engines in targeted locations that are key to your business.

So, what can you do to improve your local website ranking?

1. Create a Google My Business page.

This is the first and most important thing you can do in order to improve your local SEO. You want to fill in as much detail as you can when you’re filling in this page. The more information, the more engaging the page will be, and thus the more attention it will receive. Details like your business’ contact information, opening hours and address will really assist with Google optimizing the information on a local level. Another key box to fill in is the one asking you to pick what category your company falls into. Not only will this help customers identify exactly what your business does, it’s also super helpful for the Google bots. For example, if you own a restaurant, choosing this category means you will rank on searches for ‘restaurant’ in your area, rather than solely appearing when someone searches for the name of your venue. Choose a selection of high-res pictures to support the page, too.

To create (or later edit) your My Business page, you will need to verify that you have permission to do so. This will either involve:

  • An email being sent to the email account you have registered with the My Business details.
  • A verification code sent via automated message to your mobile phone.
  • A postcard sent to your listed address.

2. Build citations to your website.

Once your Google My Business page is up and running, it’s time to add some NAP citations. NAP stands for name, address and phone number. Sometime people add extra letters to the acronym to denote the importance of factors like your website URL, but ultimately the initial three letters are the most important. Search engines use NAP citations to determine your authority online. Essentially, the more records of your business exist online, the more search engines will see it as a relevant site to suggest to web users.

NAP citations are also great because:

  • Citation signals account for 13% of ranking factors.
  • The NAP directories are a great way for people to find you, when they’re not using search engines like Google.
  • These directories will also rank on Google, so you’re essentially doubling your SEO reach.

Depending on the purpose of your business, you’ll want to focus your NAP citations differently. You’ll either want to focus on directory citations for your business category, or by location. However, one thing to always remember when setting up NAP citations is to ensure that your details are consistent across all websites. According to Myles Anderson, a columnist for Search Engine Land, inconsistent citations are the top issue for local SEO rankings. There are certain auditing services you can use to check this for you such as Citations Builder who offer various local citation building services.

3. Be present on authority websites.

Rather than setting up a profile for your business on every website under the sun, you can streamline your work by appealing to authority websites. These are websites that receive high SEO rankings of their own, which will further improve your own local website ranking. To find the best websites for you to post on, search online for the top citation sources in your country. Some of them may not be relevant to your business, but the majority will be sites that you can use. Before you start, set up a spreadsheet to organize the results, based on their relevance to your business, and the influence each one has. Some of these sites may involve participation to merit you being mentioned. If a local university gets lots of traffic, why not sponsor an event or have a pop-up shop on campus? Do any local bloggers have a big following? If so, you could send them a product for free, in exchange for a review and advertising space on their site. Make sure to send company announcements to the local newspaper, too.

4. Get reviews.

Although it may take a bit of time to have a significant number of reviews of your business online, this can make a great deal of difference to your local SEO ranking. It will also make your business seem more legitimate and trustworthy to new customers. In fact, the Local Consumer Review Survey for 2017 found that 97% of consumers read reviews for local businesses online in 2017. What’s more, a whopping 87% said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Rather than waiting for reviews to appear on their own, you can spur customers along. If you have a regular crowd of customers who have posted reviews on other websites, it’s worth asking them first if they can leave a review on your Google My Business page. Once you have a couple of reviews under your belt, other customers will be much more inclined to do the same. Why not put up signs around the premises asking visitors to do so, or even have the cashier ask customers to leave a review if they’ve had a positive experience. Online, you can drive people to review your site by adding a request for reviews to your website, and mentioning it in your email signature. You’ll need to always keep an eye on your reviews, in case a bad one sneaks through the cracks. Make sure to personally respond and try and find a solution to their issue, and they may be inclined to change their review.

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