Why No One Clicks on Your Social Media Content—6 Tips for Improving Engagement

For a small business, gaining steam on social media is undeniably an uphill battle. You have to contend with algorithms that make it nearly impossible to get discovered until you achieve a certain level of visibility. This situation puts you in a catch-22: you can’t get anyone to view your content until you get engagement, which requires views!
Why No One Clicks on Your Social Media Content
Nevermind the fact that social media overwhelmingly prefers silly or opinionated content—two things that really don’t gel with the average business’s branding. Sure, you can gain thousands of shares by posting ridiculous cat videos, but there’s a slim chance all that attention will aid your business goals.

Despite all these challenges, putting your business out there on social media isn’t just worth it; it’s necessary. According to research from Stone Temple, 63 percent of all web traffic in 2017 came from mobile devices. In the U.S., 87 percent of mobile internet time is spent in apps. What are the most common apps? Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, to name a few.

Following this logic, people on the internet spend the majority of their time looking at social media apps on their phone. While Google Search is another top app—meaning SEO is also critical for businesses—social media is by far the most common way people discover content. Consider that two thirds of U.S. adults say they get their news from social media.

Put simply: if you aren’t on social media, you will have an incredibly hard time gaining brand recognition for your business. You will also have a tough time getting attention for your laboriously crafted content.

So how can you climb uphill to earn engagement and, eventually, legions of fans? Start by following these six tips below.

Talk About Your Audience, Not Your Business

No one logs into social media to talk about you! Okay, that may be an unfair exaggeration, but our point is that most people enjoy social media because it’s all about me, me, me.

You should use that tendency. Instead of talking about your business, talk about your industry in a way that people can relate to. Suddenly, you’re not just promoting. You’re conversing. Or, you’re informing. Sometimes, you might even be commiserating.Talk About Your Audience, Not Your Business

Here’s an example: consider a post written by a local dry cleaner that says, “Our new powercleaning process can bust the deepest stains! Come in today and mention this post for $5 off.”

While the offer may be tempting and the service may be useful, people may tune them out. Instead, the business can say, “Got a piece of clothing hiding in your closet because you can’t remove a stubborn stain? Bring it to us! With our new powercleaning process, your favorite outfits can find new life. Get $5 off your service when you mention this post!”

The difference is all about perspective. When you write content, don’t just subtly hint at relevance to your audiences. Instead, write things for them that subtly steer them towards your business services. Flipping your thinking around can be a quick path to more consistent conversions.

Cover Interesting Industry Topics Rather Than Just Your Brand Alone

Another way to branch away from overpromotion is to be a font of news and information for your industry. A restaurant can discuss exciting new culinary movements. A healthcare provider can offer self-care tips and the latest studies on which health practices are most effective. A local gym can share stretches and exercises people can do at home to start feeling better.

When done right, this content earns your audience’s interest without your business appearing like it wants something in return. You also round out your subject matter pool to include topics that are universally interesting and helpful to people in your target market.

Participate in Discussions in Groups and Trending Hashtags

What if your brand were a really helpful person? That’s the approach many of the most successful social media marketers take when they’re trying to build an audience. They get proactive, reaching out to target audiences in the social niches they occupy.

For example, the same hypothetical dry cleaner mentioned above could join laundry and housecleaning groups. As long as they are not overtly promoting or stealing focus from other discussions, the business can become a valuable contributor to the group. After all, who better to offer expertise than the experts?

When building your initial audience pool, try to be very active in Facebook groups and public discussions. Avoid coming across too opinionated, but don’t be shy about setting facts straight. With enough effort, you can gain some initial followers—and maybe even customers!

Aim for Emotional Content That Tells a Story About Your Customers

Going back to one of the main drawbacks of social media marketing for small businesses: only certain types of content seem to excel on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These popular content categories include humorous content, content that impresses/amazes, content that sums up people’s feelings succinctly, content that isn’t afraid to state a strong opinion and content that stirs emotions.

Of all these options, emotional content can be the easiest for a small business to pin down. While getting an emotion out of your audience may seem like a tall order, it’s actually fairly hard to fail completely at it. An attempt to make a joke or be “cool” might go over like a lead balloon. Being controversial is never a good idea since it, well, stirs controversy. But no one can 100 percent fail at communicating emotion as long as they’re sincere.Aim for Emotional Content That Tells a Story About Your Customers

Think from your heart, and start by telling stories either about your customers or related to their lives. Get to the emotional core of what your product or service offers. If you’re an event caterer, you’re offering strong memories and good times. If you’re an IT and cybersecurity services provider, you’re providing reliability and peace of mind. If you’re a dry cleaner, even you offer customers an emotion: a feeling of control over their lives and the ability for them to wear what they need when they need it.

When using a storytelling approach, start small. Highlight a customer whose day you made. Or, mention the emotional benefits of whatever information your content offers, such as information to help make people’s day less stressful.

From there, you can learn more about how to combine images and text in a way that stirs people’s souls.

Consider Gatorade’s mini film “The Boy Who Learned to Fly,” which earned the sports beverage company 15.3 million views and over 68,000 “likes” on YouTube. It told a powerful story that ranged from exciting to tragic to joyous in just seven minutes.

You may not have the budget for something that ambitious, but at the very least you can be inspired by businesses able to tell a story where they’re just a supporting character or an outside observer.

Engage Your Social Media Marketing Audience Directly by Asking Them Questions

There is probably no more powerful social media marketing phrase than “What do you think?”

Arguably, all of social media is just one big pile of people telling others what they think. When they share art or humorous content, they’re really saying, “This is the type of thing I like!”

“People like to think things through,” explains Barry Feldman on Hubspot. “They like to hear from other thinkers. Certainly, they want other people to know what they think.”

Soliciting opinions is a surefire way to get your audience talking. Try to avoid controversial topics, and moderate comments that include vulgar, hostile, harassing or otherwise off-brand statements. Having someone mad at your business for deleting your comment is a whole lot better than being the business that let someone attack others in their comment section.Research Your Audience’s Interests and Influencers

The beauty of asking others for their opinion is that it can be done with just about every post. If you’re a cybersecurity company talking about the dangers of weak passwords, you can ask people for some of the worst passwords they’ve ever seen. Or, if you’re a restaurant writing about the best foods from around the world, throw in a question on your post asking your audience about the best meal they’ve eaten abroad.

Soliciting opinions is easy, and it can reliably earn engagement. Just be wary of doing it too often, especially if no one’s taking the bait. You don’t want to be the brand that gets mocked for throwing a poll that absolutely no one clicks on.

Research Your Audience’s Interests and Influencers

All of the above tactics work well on their own, but you turbocharge their effectiveness by doing a little digging and documentation on your audiences. Try to identify the types of content topics they seem to be most interested in. Look at influencers they frequently interact with, and try to write content you think that influencer would share.

Above all else, write down your strategy, measure your results, and experiment to find better performance over time. The nice thing about social media marketing is that your engagement numbers are easy to track! Keep an eye on your graphs, and let your “likes” point the way to a bigger, more interactive audience.

Source: https://amrutservices.com/why-no-one-clicks-on-your-social-media-content-6-tips-for-improving-engagement/

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Retargeting: What It Is, And Why Every Business Should Use It

Modern digital ads can have a huge relevancy problem, and using a retargeting strategy is one of the best ways to solve it.

Retargeting: What It Is, And Why Every Business Should Use It
With retargeting, you only show ads to people who have indicated interest in your product or website before. Usually, the interest-signaling behavior is a visit to a particular page on your website.

While the abilities of retargeting sound creepy—and they definitely can be eerie when the practice is done incorrectly—most retargeted ad campaigns are actually doing consumers a favor. Instead of showing them irrelevant ads for things they may never buy, such as an expensive luxury car, you’re showing them ads for things they’ve directly looked at before.

At its core, retargeting strategies are all about that relevancy. The idea is that someone has already entered into your sales funnel or taken the first steps of the customer journey. Retargeted ads should ideally be a nudge a little further along that path.

When done right, it works! One company reportedly achieved an average ROI for their retargeting campaigns of 488 percent to as much as 2054 percent. That’s hundreds to thousands of dollars in revenue for every dollar they spend!

If you’re ready to try a retargeting strategy for your digital ad campaigns, dig into the information below for a deeper analysis of what makes retargeting effective, along with six tips to help your campaigns find success.

What, Exactly, Is Retargeting, and How Does It Work?

The easiest way to think of retargeting is that it rewrites how traditional ad targeting according to demographics works. Under normal ad targeting, demographics like location, age, gender, household income and even parental status could be considered. A car dealer could target everyone within an hour’s drive of their dealership lot, for instance. Or, the dealership could choose an age range and income bracket that closely matches the most common traits of their best customers.

Retargeting takes the same approach, but instead of looking at static demographics for its targeting list, it looks at browsing behaviors. Specifically, what pages of your site users stopped on the longest or the last page they viewed before they left.What, Exactly, Is Retargeting, and How Does It Work?

Retargeting campaigns build these lists by applying what’s known as a “tracking pixel” to their page. A list gets built from everyone who viewed the page based on their browser’s cached data.

For example, if someone searches for desk lamps in their area, finds the local office supply store you own, clicks on the product page, and then later closes the tab to do something else, a “tracking pixel” can register the person’s initial visit. Then, they get added to your list of everyone else who visited that page, and they get served an ad for the exact same lamp they were just looking at.

In theory, the ad serves as a reminder for someone who may be willing to buy eventually but just hasn’t committed yet. Say, for instance, that they were browsing through your office products as a way to kill time during their lunch break and weren’t really intending to buy anything just yet. But if they have a chance to think about it again in a few days, they may decide to finally commit to a purchase.

Pixel Tracking by Page Allows Your Campaigns to Be Perfectly Segmented According to the Visitor’s Behaviors

Serving ads according to who ends up on your pixel tracking list allows for a number of different strategies.

You could potentially place a pixel on every page within your site; many companies actually do. This approach allows you to serve personal-feeling ads tailored to the exact pages someone browsed.

Someone who looks at several different versions of the same product, maybe even adding one to their cart, could see an ad for the exact same item. Or, someone who browses many products in a single category but never bothers to add any to their cart could see ads for general items in that category.

Finally, people who visit non-product pages on your website, such as the home page or your blog, could receive more general ads that give examples of your most popular products.

You could even just serve them ads that say general positive things about your brand. Customer testimonials work really well for this type of trust- or awareness-building campaign.Pixel Tracking by Page Allows Your Campaigns to Be Perfectly Segmented According to the Visitor’s Behaviors

In this way, you have content aimed at different people in the buying funnel that can be optimized towards getting to the next step.

An excellent example of this practice in action would be a retargeting campaign aimed at previous buyers. Someone who checked out of your ecommerce website for an expensive purchase, like a smartphone, isn’t likely going to purchase the exact same device again. If you put a pixel on the “Thank You for Your Purchase” or “Order Confirmed” page, then you can filter these individuals out and avoid showing them ads for a product they already bought.

Better yet, your ad can attempt to cross-sell them a related product, increasing their customer lifetime value. After all, it’s often easier to get someone to make a repeat purchase than to convert a brand-new customer lead to a sale.

6 Tips for More Effective Ad Retargeting Campaigns

Ad retargeting campaigns have a track record of extremely reliable conversions. The average retargeting ad is 76 percent more likely to earn a click compared to a non-retargeted ad. Thirty percent of consumers also have either positive or very positive sentiments towards retargeted ads.

On the other hand, 11 percent of people had negative reactions to ads that appear to “follow them around” while they browse the internet. The majority of people — 59 percent — felt “neutral.” You absolutely don’t want your retargeted ads to trigger a negative reaction. You also want to avoid having a neutral impact.

To improve the effectiveness of your retargeting campaigns, put some or all of the following strategies into action:

  1. Start Small and Branch Out—Retargeting may sound sophisticated, but platforms like Facebook and Google’s AdWords make it easy. Start off your campaigns on these networks, and then move on to more complex platforms, such as the Google Display Network (GDN).
  2. Use Frequency Capping—Frequency capping limits the number of exposures people have to a single ad or a retargeting campaign in general. Since you don’t want to annoy people, consider putting some sort of upper boundary on all of your campaigns.Tips for More Effective Ad Retargeting Campaigns
  3. Limit Your Retargeting Window According to Average Buy Cycles—Most retargeting platforms limit your campaigns to 180 days (about 6 months) after their last tracking pixel was registered. But if you have a product category with a shorter buying cycle, such as retail goods under $50, then you may want to end your retargeting campaigns after just a few days. For more expensive products with a longer buying cycle, such as cars, showing people similar ads for months makes more sense.
  4. Use Limited Offers and Urgency to Clinch Bottom-of-the-Funnel Leads—If someone appears close to making a purchase, sometimes a personalized offer is all the nudge they need to commit. Use retargeting pixels to serve special offers to people who browsed for certain products or product categories. Or, use these lists to serve up ads any time your business is doing a big sale.
  5. Be Diligent About Brand Safety—Retargeting campaigns can often find people on thousands of different sites. However, you may not want your brand associated with certain content. Someone snapping a screenshot of an ad for your family-friendly brand on an adult website is a recipe for an instant PR crisis. Review the policies of your ad partner, and use tools like Google Safe Browsing to avoid this scenario.
  6. Study Your Performance Data, Test, Experiment and Optimize—Like so much of digital marketing, your work is far from over when a retargeting campaign launches. Use the data the campaign generates to tell which practices work and which don’t. Experiment and A/B test to find even more effective conversion techniques. Gradually, you should become better and better at making effective campaigns based on past discoveries, successes and failures.

Ad Retargeting Is Easy to Get Started But Difficult to Master

The above tips are just the warm-up for even more in-depth and sophisticated ad retargeting practices. If you can keep the consumer’s experience in mind and establish best practices based on your data, the sky is the limit for how complex and effective your retargeting campaigns can be.

Source: https://amrutservices.com/retargeting-what-it-is-and-why-every-business-should-use-it/

How to Find a Content Writer Who Can Spin Your Blog Into Gold

How to Find a Content Writer

Writing’s really hard. Even people who do it for a living admit that. Not only do you have to know how to string together sentences that keep people’s attention, but you have to make some sort of blasted “point” out of the whole thing. It’s maddening!

All silliness aside, content writing and blog writing are really complex acts that can appear deceptively simple on the surface. Structure and rhetorical knowledge can help make your point clear, but you also need to be engaging. Add SEO best practices to the mix, and you have even more issues to deal with.

Getting it right takes either a lot of practice or a lot of time spent revising. Even a business owner who happens to be an excellent writer will need help making it all happen on a deadline.

So that’s when you turn to outside help. It can be a freelance writer or a content marketing agency, but the goal is to find a writer (or several) who can meet your guidelines and turn things in on time.

Locating a writer like that is exactly as hard as it sounds! Luckily, there are five tips you can use to make your search easier and ensure you find just the writer you’re looking for.

Always Request Samples and a Trial Draft

You can find great writers you enjoy working with no matter where you turn as long as you follow one simple rule: check out their writing before you commit. That means requesting samples of their prior work. It also means paying them to write a first draft of what you need that you may or may not ever use. Content Samples and Drafts

That’s right: you’re likely going to have to invest in crummy writing to find your diamond in the rough. Ideally, you’re paying several writers at the same time to write the same prompt or a similar one, so you can compare the talents of each person.

While it may seem like money down the drain to receive samples you won’t ever use, it’s better than the alternative of hiring a writer for a multi-blog project only to find out they aren’t a good fit. 

Also, be very specific about the types of samples you request. You may wish to see live, published blogs, since these prove that a writer’s work actually gets used. Be warned, though: many freelancers are also ghost writers. You are either going to have to take their word for it that a sample with someone else’s byline is their work, or you will have to go through the effort of contacting the client and hoping they will reveal who wrote their blogs. 

If someone sends you samples that you like but that don’t quite hit the mark, ask for more work! Far too many bloggers get passed up not because their samples weren’t good, but simply because they couldn’t read the mind of the job offerer as to what they were looking for.

Avoid Typical Job Listing Sites Since You Get What You Pay For

In the business world, quality and convenience don’t typically mix. If you want to find a patio chair at the same place you buy your kids’ breakfast cereal, you are going to have to lower your standards on how long that chair will last. 

Similarly, if you go to the absolute first place you think of when looking to find your content writer, you’re going to end up with low quality.

The biggest problem? Labor pools from non-native English speakers. They may charge just a few cents a word, but their end product will likely be riddled with broken grammar and be all but incomprehensible. Since Google specifically recommends that you use proper spelling and grammar, having an unreadable blog likely works against your SEO and branding goals. 

So as a rule, skip Craigslist, Monster and Indeed unless you really don’t know where else to turn. Definitely don’t just Google “content writer” and hire a person or company that ranks first. You want to know that you can get a decent level of quality, and sifting through the bargain bin is not a good place to find it.

Hunt Down Content Writers in the Spaces Where the Pros Lurk

Some of you are going to be frustrated by the above tip. “If I can’t just look for a content writer on Monster or Craigslist, where should I go?”Places to Find Good Writers

Well, our vocal and hypothetical friend, there are several specialty project-related websites where you can find freelancers:

  • ProBlogger—ProBlogger is dedicated to writers and editors, and it also has an amazing community of professionals. Posting your listing costs money, but you’re highly likely to get responses from mid- to high-level talent.
  • WriterAccess—WriterAccess straddles the line between full-service referral agencies we’ll mention below and simpler job listing sites. The site does a handy job of organizing writers by experience and quality, however, and you do get a personal account manager in the upper tiers.
  • Contently—Contently acts as a broker to find you the perfect writing talent or team for your project needs. Yes, that’s as expensive as it sounds, which is why the platform is mainly aimed at enterprises with larger content budgets.
  • Freelance Writing Gigs—A simple, no-frills job listing site that happens to have a dedicated community.
  • Upwork—The world’s largest freelancer platform happens to be quite picky about letting job-takers aboard. That means you have access to a higher caliber of writers. Note that Upwork also allows agencies to apply to your project offers by default.
  • Guru—Guru is far less choosy about who it lets on its platform, so you will end up with applicants that may not have the firmest grasp of English. Nevertheless, the platform makes a name for itself by having an integrated project management and payment system.

There are dozens—if not hundreds—of other websites like these where you can post project listings and track down decent writers. These are just the top ones you might want to consider during your hunt.

However, you definitely don’t want to overlook your best option: getting referrals.

Ask Fellow Professionals for Referrals

Referrals are always your best source of freelance writer leads for a few reasons. 

First, the best writers out there aren’t actively posting on or looking through job boards. They’re hard at work, hammering out content for their clients. But they may be persuaded to take on a larger workload if the details and the price are right. 

Secondly, you can get personal testimonials from people you know and trust. Someone who can appear like a perfect fit online could turn out to be awful with deadlines or bad at following instructions. 

Since not every business engages in content marketing, start by asking people whether they have a regular SEO or blogging contract. If the answer is “yes,” follow up by seeing what agency or writer they work with. 

If their answer is “no,” then you may have to do some probing. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, though. Not every company works with content writers, but those who do will likely have strong opinions about who to recommend or avoid.

Track Down Popular Writers from Their Online Work

If you have the budget for working with a top-caliber freelancer, then the place you should start your search is on publication sites rather than a job board.

Start by taking a second to look back at enjoyable industry niche articles you’ve shared or read recently. Keep an eye out for pieces that get a high level of shares and don’t have controversial pushback from commenters. Then, simply find the writer’s byline. 

Make a list of several authors using this method. Research to see if they have their own personal website and whether they are accepting freelance contracts. If they are looking for work, reach out to them with a “pitch” for your project needs. Preferably, this pitch includes an offer, details on the level of depth the work will require and a rough timeline for everything to be completed. 

Since making a name for yourself as a professional writer these days is tough, expect some sticker shock if they reply! But if quality is really what you’re after, you can likely find a way to work long-term with someone whose reputation and published work you admire.

Work With a Reputable Content Marketing and SEO Agency

All of the tips above pertain to finding an individual, but you also have the option of hiring a content marketing agency to satisfy your SEO needs. Reputable Content Marketing and SEO Agency

The same rules above apply: pay for samples, avoid bargain bin job listings and look for referrals. But your search should be easier, considering marketing agencies often do a decent job at marketing themselves!

Plus, you can work with several writers at once and have the security of a guaranteed contract. That means you aren’t left hanging if your writer leaves the project; you can simply work with someone else in the agency. You also have access to scale, meaning you can get a higher volume of projects accomplished at once that would normally take a single writer weeks. 

In the end, the search for your content writer is all about finding a good fit and knowing where to look. If you fail at first, don’t get frustrated! There are tens of thousands of writers out there who can do good work but don’t have enough of it right now. 

Good luck!

Source: https://amrutservices.com/how-to-find-a-content-writer-who-can-spin-your-blog-into-gold/

Does Your SEO Speak to Voice Search Users?

Does Your SEO Speak to Voice Search Users

Hello! Is this thing on? We just wanted to make sure you heard us loud and clear when we said: “Voice search is the most significant development to hit SEO since Google debuted.” 

That may sound like a hot take, but statistics describing the growing usage of voice search resoundingly back it up. Twenty percent of all online searches in 2016 were voice searches, according to a Mary Meeker report. Comscore predicts that half of all searches will be made through voice commands by 2020. 

Searching using a voice function instead of a keyboard has huge ramifications for your organization’s SEO strategy. For starters, usually only one result is brought up, meaning you have to know exactly what it takes to earn that coveted spot. Secondly, the technical SEO best practices that make you more likely to rank in voice search are fairly different from the typical approach. 

Don’t worry, though, because we’re here to break it all down for you. You’ll learn how and why people use voice search to gain insight on how you can meet their needs, and then you’ll learn how to implement voice search SEO best practices that can help boost your rank. Let’s get talkin’!

How Do People Use Voice Search in 2018?

The first rule of SEO is to always put the search user’s need for information over your need to rank.

Sure, you can climb the ranks the cheap way using grey hat SEO tactics, but those gains won’t last. Inevitably, Google, Bing and Alexa will change how their algorithm works and knock you back down. But if you consider the user’s needs foremost, you have a better chance at staying on top even when big search engine changes come through the pipes.

So, since it pays to know how and why people use voice search so you can meet their needs, here are a few interesting facts about voice search.How Do People Use Voice Search in 2018

Firstly, the home is where the majority of consumers make their voice search queries. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 43 percent of people say they most frequently use the feature in their home, versus 36 percent who use it mostly in their car and 19 percent who say they most often use it “on the go.”

This statistic tells you two things:

  1. Those 90 million smart speakers sold annually are changing the way we interact with devices, opening new channels and opportunities that didn’t exist just a few years ago.
  2. The idea that people are mostly going to be using voice search as a hands-free option in their car is partially untrue. Voice search has a number of other benefits that compel people to use it beyond just driving without distraction.

What are the benefits hinted at in No. 2? While 61 percent of people do agree that searching using voice commands is “useful when hands/vision” are occupied, 30 percent say that it leads to “faster results.” Twenty-four percent say they have “difficulty typing on certain devices” and 12 percent say they want “to avoid confusing menus.” Twenty-two percent say they use voice search because it’s “fun/cool,” so those suspicious that it’s a novelty are fairly correct.

These insights paint a broader picture of how and why people use voice search, though. Namely: they want quick answers, and they don’t feel like they need to actually touch a device to get them.

In response to these needs, the gist of all the voice search SEO tips below is this: give people easy access to the information they want, and you’re more likely to rank.

So, how do you accomplish that goal? Here are some of those voice search tips in detail.

Focus on Semantically Related Keywords Over Exact Query Matches

Take a moment to think about how you would speak an online search query out loud versus how you would type it.

When we type, we often want to be get our query as specific as possible while using the fewest possible words. So, we might write something like “best laptop backpack” to find out which bag is most worth buying, and then we’ll likely click around or search again to find the best deal on said backpack.

But when we talk, we want to be specific without using awkward words or phrasings. As a result, we naturally gravitate towards strings of simple, descriptive words that may seem like a long phrase but that are easy to say out loud. We also want to avoid pulling up results that do a different action than we intended, since we can’t click or navigate as easily.

For example, we might say, “Siri, what is the best laptop backpack according to reviews?” Or, if we already know what we want, we might say, “Ok Google, find laptop backpacks by North Face under $200 near me.”Focus on Semantically Related Keywords Over Exact Query Matches

According to Google, 70 percent of voice queries the company handles use natural language, which means actual sentences rather than jumbles of words. One self-study by a smart speaker user found that the average word count of their queries was four.

In response to these trends, your keyword strategy should be less about shoehorning an exact match keyword in and more about covering all of the bases of your topic. Try to include phrases that you might think are things people would ask about your topic or product. Think more about long tail queries in sentence form, and try to include these in a natural way.

Also, get straight to the information. Emphasize the six big question words: when, what, who, why, where and how.

If you think you’re better off adopting the old SEO strategy of making a new content page for each query type, think again. According to Backlinko, very few voice query results have exact keyword matches in their titles, meaning context is more important than verbatim matches.

Write Good, In-Depth Content, but Use Pithy, Quotable Phrases

Referring again to Backlinko’s study, the average voice search result was only 29 words in length. Yet, the average word count of a voice search result page was 2,312 words!

That may sound frustratingly paradoxical. Why go through all the trouble of writing thousands of words about something if a search engine’s just going to yank out a tiny sliver of that?

The answer is that the best content often covers several bases, as we suggested above. They go in-depth, explore lots of angles and reveal lots of information. A voice query, however, only needs a small part of that information. Accordingly, content that has voice results pulled from it tends to have pithy, quotable phrases.

So, as an example, this article will be well over 1,500 words by the time we’re done. If we wanted to offer up a voice assistant a juicy quote to sum up the answer to “what is voice search SEO?” we would say:

Voice search SEO is a strategy for ranking highly on voice searches using natural-sounding content that’s packed with information and focused on search intent.

Google may not grab that answer, but here’s hoping!

Because quotable “sound bites” are the preferred information to pull results from, FAQ (frequently asked questions) absolutely rule for improving your voice search rank. To make these pages, you can source common questions about your industry or your business from the following:

  • Google’s “Other People Searched” and “Searches Related to ___” suggestions
  • Long-tail keyword suggestions from keyword planning tools
  • com
  • Your own customers! Write down questions as you hear them, or look to resources like emails, feedback forms or HR reports.

Don’t Neglect Bing, Which Has a Bigger Share of Voice Search than Google!

Bing has always been mentioned second to Google—or not at all—when it comes to search engine optimization discussions. That makes sense in a text-based world, where Google handles an estimated 75 percent to 90 percent of all written queries.Bing Has a Bigger Share of Voice Search than Google

The voice assistant world has changed everything though! Some of the most popular devices pull their search results from Microsoft’s Bing or Yahoo platform. These include:

  • iPhones and other Siri-enabled Apple products
  • Microsoft computers and mobile devices
  • Microsoft Xbox One gaming consoles
  • Amazon Alexa devices
  • Connected cars powered by Alexa, including all BMW, Mini, Toyota, Lexus, Volvo and others.

So, pretty much any device that doesn’t run Android or doesn’t have a Google logo on it will be using Bing!

Luckily, Bing SEO isn’t that different from Google SEO. You just need to ensure that you have the tools to perform analytics on your Bing results and display your content properly in their search page.

Other Voice Search SEO Tips

The information above covers the basic essentials of voice search SEO, but here are a few more helpful tidbits before we send you on your way:

  • 70 percent of Google Home results use HTTPS instead of HTTP, so get your certificate!
  • Authoritative domains tend to earn more results, so try to earn backlinks (ethically) through guest posting and social media amplification.
  • The best-performing content tends to have high social media engagement, especially Facebook shares.
  • Aim for a 9th grade reading level so your content is easy for a voice assistant to parse and read out loud.
  • Earning a featured snippet makes you more likely to rank, but Schema markup isn’t necessarily important.

Beyond these tips, simply focus on creating great content that answers people’s questions quickly, and you could see improved voice search results!

Of course, it never hurts to create a more vigorous strategy and test whether your voice search optimization worked as intended. If you want to work with a voice SEO expert to help you get in good with the likes of Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google, then get in touch with us today!

Source: https://amrutservices.com/does-your-seo-speak-to-voice-search-users/

What is Mobile First Design? And Why Is It Important For Your Business?

The internet is a mobile- first world now, and your website needs to embrace this shift to avoid missing out on opportunities. By prioritizing your mobile experience with user friendly design principles and an always on-the-go approach to content, you can reap bigger rewards from referral channels and compete more effectively for visibility.

Mobile First Design

There’s no understating just how much of an impact smartphone devices have had upon the online landscape. Seventy-seven percent of U.S. adults (≈250 million) now own a smartphone, according to Pew Research, and only 17 percent of people own a cell phone but not a smartphone. Even more interesting, there are 6.5 million more smartphone owners than desktop/laptop owners, and 65 million people depend entirely on their smartphones for internet access. 

The shift from large, stationary computers to pocket-sized touchscreens has had a huge impact on not just website design but also how online content is consumed in general. Understanding just how much the mobile first mindset has affected the website design process can help your business learn how to build a better website that’s aware of mobile’s center stage presence in our modern tech culture.

What Does Mobile First Design Mean?

The term “mobile first” may sound like a buzzword or industry jargon, but it’s actually quite descriptive despite its simplistic name. People use the term “mobile first” because it instantly separates their design philosophy from older, non-ideal approaches to mobile website design and optimization. 

To explain the differences in design philosophy, let’s start with a history lesson. Our journey through time begins in the late 1990s, when pocket-sized devices like organizers and cell phones first began to have internet connectivity.

The thing about the internet back then was that it could be janky and unreliable. People were still figuring out how to make it work properly across a range of computers and connection types. Few people had home access to a reliable and relatively speedy internet connection.

As you might imagine, cell phones at the time endured this struggle a hundredfold. Their processors were weak, display resolutions were minimal and you could never count on a sustained connection. What Does Mobile First Design Mean

To compensate, web designers would build two versions of a website. One version would be the fully-featured design intended to run on a standard desktop or laptop computer. Then, a mobile website team would strip down this design as much as possible to its barest components. That version would be loaded when a mobile signal was detected. 

At first, most early mobile internet adopters would be forced to navigate to a different URL with an “m.___” added to the domain, such as “m.yourbusinesssite.com” instead of the normal “yourbusinesssite.com” they would find when searching from a desktop computer. 

Then, developers and devices advanced so that the exact same URL could load different content for mobile versus desktop/laptop users. This approach was called “dynamic serving.”

Now, most developers have moved onto “responsive design,” which uses the same HTML code for all users. Instead of serving up a few different tiers of content, all content scales automatically. That way, people with different device screen sizes can automatically have the best usability. 

During the transition from separate URLs to dynamic serving to responsive design, overall mobile internet use surpassed desktop laptop traffic. In response, designers and developers stopped treating mobile websites as an afterthought or something that is built off of a secondary version of their site. Instead, they considered mobile first, and their designs for larger screens were advanced off of those basic blueprints.

“Progressive Advancement” Versus “Graceful Degradation”

Another way to conceptualize the difference between “mobile first” as opposed to “mobile sometime later” is through the above two terms.

“Graceful degradation” was the old standard operating mode for designers. Their desktop/laptop website was the development priority, and it’s what most of their resources went towards. Then, once most or all of the desktop-focused design was complete, a team would try to scale down the website’s size and complexity while sacrificing as little of the original experience as possible.

In other words: they degraded the original design as gracefully as they could. Compromise was inevitable, and many website visitors could feel like they were being served a second tier experience.Progressive Advancement Vs Graceful Degradation

“Progressive advancement,” on the other hand, refers to that approach in reverse. The design team comes up with the perfect set of design principles and layout ideas built around a small screen. This design is optimized so that mobile phone users across a broad range of screen sizes and processing powers could still have an amazing experience. Then, a desktop/laptop team would consider how to expand that core design and take advantage of larger screens, more precise navigation (aka non-touchscreen controls) and heftier processing power.

Mobile users get two main benefits out of progressive advancement:

  1. The website was built from the ground up to look great and be usable on mobile
  2. They never feel as if they are having to make sacrifices to view a website on their mobile device; the larger site version just adds bells and whistles

A further consequence of progressive advancement is that most of the creativity and effort behind a website goes into the mobile experience. Instead of thinking, “how do we change this menu so that people without a mouse pointer can actually use the darn thing?” the team says, “what would a menu perfect for touchscreen controls look like?”

The consequences of such a mindset switch are huge, and they can have a direct impact on your bottom line.

How a Mobile First Website Approach Benefits Your Business

We’ve talked at length about how the mobile first approach evolved over time and how it makes life better for the average smartphone user. But what about how these changes bring your business more opportunities and more money?

Here are a few of the biggest benefits you’ll notice when you make the switch:

  1. Better Search Engine Ranking and Visibility

In April of 2015, Google decided to finally put their foot down regarding websites that ignored the needs of mobile users. From that point on, websites that met their mobile-friendly design guidelines would get a ranking boost for all mobile searches.Mobile First Website Approach Benefits

The change effectively punished sites that weren’t able to keep up with their expectations. There wasn’t a huge penalty, but the difference was enough to create a gap that potentially lead to lost leads and revenue.

Furthermore, since behavior signals like click-through rate and overall traffic can help or hurt your rank, building a solid experience gives you a competitive SEO advantage.

  1. Improved Website Experience Leads to More Customer Conversions

People don’t want to give their money to businesses that make it difficult or impossible to access their website via mobile. According to one Google study, 61 percent of people who have trouble accessing a mobile website leave and never return. Forty percent of these lost lead opportunities will then visit a competitor’s website instead.

Ignoring the needs or convenience of mobile users can therefore literally drive customers away from your sales funnel and into your competitor’s arms.

  1. A Mobile First Approach to Design and Content Now Means a Softer Learning Curve

Make no mistake: mobile audiences are the dominant driving force behind all online innovation and evolution. Data usage and website visits across the entire internet have gone up—both per-person and overall. Yet, traffic from tablets and desktop/laptop devices has declined.

This scenario tells you that smartphones are the main driving force behind growing online use. Our obsession with social media and browsing on-the-go is changing the way we approach the internet as a whole.

All of these changes are important now and will only become more important in years to come. If your business keeps kicking the can down the road, you could quickly find that your strategies are hopelessly dated, leading fewer opportunities and lower conversion rates.

Make the switch now. Start thinking “mobile first” with everything you do, because smartphones are no longer the sideshow; they’re the main event. Contact Us to know more.

Source: https://amrutservices.com/what-is-mobile-first-design-and-why-is-it-important-for-your-business/

Why High Quality Content Matters More than Keywords for SEO

High Quality Content Matters More for SEO

Attention content creators: Google reads everything you write! Well, not “reads” in the literal sense, but its algorithms are now sophisticated enough to pick up on unnatural language and poor formatting—both of which send strong negative signals that hurt your ability to rank.

In fact, Google’s approach to ranking has gotten so sophisticated that they’ve learned that content quality matters more to search users than the presence of any particular keyword phrase. As a result, you may find a No. 1 search result that doesn’t contain an exact match keyword anywhere in the body.

We’re serious! In an exhaustive study of 600,000 keyword phrases, 18 percent of the domains that ranked position 20 or higher didn’t have the keyword in the text at all. Instead, these sites had a few things in common: website visits, user behavior signals and the number of links to the content all influenced Google to rank them near the top. All of these signals tell Google one thing: people seem to like this content.

In addition to these behavior-based markers of content quality, Google and other search engines actively sift through content to see signals of quality within the text itself.

After all, Google’s main objective isn’t getting your website traffic; it’s giving people good search results.

Thankfully, the company’s own guidelines are fairly specific and helpful. We’ll point you towards the exact markers of “high quality” Google is looking for.

What Are the Red Flags for Poor Content Quality?

Google’s guidelines for content quality are pretty thorough. This is likely because it’s hard to put into words exactly what makes something “good” or “high quality.” It takes a lot of nuance!Poor Quality Content

On the other hand, you can fairly quickly point out factors that immediately signal poor quality.

It’s like baking cake. There are a million different types of cakes out there and as many ways to prepare them. Flour, sugar, eggs and milk may be your raw ingredients, but you can make thousands of different types of delicious cakes. Also, “the right cake to bake” differs according to the context and circumstances. You can have a moist cake that’s yummy, or you could have a more solid cake that still does the trick.

But you can’t put sand in your cake. That’s a no-no. And it’s an automatic recipe for an inedible cake.

Similarly, Google highlights some markers of poor quality that instantly flag a page as having content not worth ranking:

  • Spamming keywords, especially if they’re irrelevant
  • Creating content that’s mostly copies of existing content
  • Typos, bad spelling, grammar errors
  • Sentences or paragraphs that never seem to end
  • Content that has little to no formatting, leaving just a dense chunk of text
  • Going crazy with links that aren’t relevant to the content at hand
  • Dropping lists of keywords somewhere in your page, especially if you’re hiding them with text color choices
  • Content that is excessively thin, especially for pages like blogs that promise substance

There are also a number of ways to get instantly deindexed by Google that go beyond content quality. Since that’s something you likely want to avoid, they’re well worth reviewing!

Google’s SEO Guide Considers Content Quality, Navigation Ease More Important Than Keyword Use

If you go and take a look at Google’s SEO starter guide, you’ll find that suggestions for how to use keywords properly don’t come up until around halfway through. Before that point, they take a moment to repeat four times that you shouldn’t overuse keywords or stuff them into your technical SEO elements.

Google’s SEO Guide Considers Content Quality

Once they do mention keywords, they simply advise that you tailor your keyword strategy to your audience. For instance, people who watch soccer regularly might expect “FIFA” or “football” to be in the content they read, while casual users may expect more generic terms like “soccer playoffs.”

Immediately after that, they go back into quality. “Avoid writing sloppy text with many spelling and grammatical mistakes,” they suggest, as well as “awkward or poorly written content.”

To truly hammer the point home, Google spends far more time writing about ease of navigation and quality of life improvements for website visitors. Based on how the information is organized, Google cares more about your site map than your keyword usage when deciding rank.

“The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want,” explains the search giant. “It can also help search engines understand what content the webmaster thinks is important.”

All of this information can be summed up thusly: search engines aren’t dumb. They know the things that make life easier for their users and content better to read in general. They pay far more attention to these elements than how you use keywords.

In fact, with voice search on the rise, search engines have had to get smarter than ever about interpreting keyword intent and finding semantically related terms. That way, someone searching for “best places to eat near me” can pull up a list of “top-rated restaurants” without having to first sift through unhelpful results that contain exact keyword matches.

5 Tips for Writing Higher Quality Content

So now you’ve heard what definitely not to do when creating content, with only a hint of what so-called “high quality content” looks like.Tips for Writing Higher Quality Content

To steer you in the right direction, here are a few general tips that can boost the quality of all content.

  1. “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.”

This rule comes directly from Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. It’s actually the very first thing they say under “Basic Principles.”

The search giant even suggests you ask yourself “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?” when making a decision on how your website operates. Those questions definitely apply when writing new content.

So foremost, determine an audience need based on a keyword search, and write to answer that need. The better able you are to satisfy someone’s search intent, the better behavior signals your site receives, and the more likely you are to rank.

If you’re at a loss for how to connect a keyword to user needs, do a little research. Plug in the keyword yourself, and try to find questions related to it.

Or, if the keyword is directly related to an “I want to purchase something or research a purchase” intent, take notes on the content that ranks highest. Chances are good that the page offers excellent examples of site organization, layout clarity and overall usability in addition to some solid text content.

  1. Edit Your Writing, and Push Yourself to Improve 

Like good cake, good writing is definitely in the eye of the beholder. But at the same time, you wouldn’t bank on your cake getting top votes if all you did was use a box mix.

In other words, if you want to write better, you’re going to have to learn from others. We suggest reading publisher sites related to your industry that get high traffic, and cover topics similar to what you want on your blog.

Some general guidelines for improving your writing include:

  • Use less “being” and “linking” verbs in favor of strong action verbs. If you find yourself writing words like “is, was, are and be,” go back and see if you can identify the true subject of the sentence and what it’s doing.
  • Structure your writing like you would an outline. Tell people what they’re going to learn from your post as soon as possible, and then delve into each smaller point one at a time until you’re finished.
  • Write casually but not unprofessionally. Aim for a “friendly, conversational tone with a clear purpose—somewhere between the voice you use when talking to your buds and that you’d use if you were a robot,” suggests Search Engine Land’s paraphrasing of Google’s own Developer Documentation Style Guide.
  • Edit your writing! Far too many people don’t go back and reread. Watch out for sentence and paragraph transitions that could make people have trouble following your logic. Ask people for their opinion on how readable everything is. If they have a complaint, see if you can break the excerpt down into its most simple parts and reconstruct it.
  1. Read, Read, Read and Read Some More

Reading teaches you how words and sentences form ideas. We take a lot of this stuff for granted, but it’s quite complex. Fortunately, others have mastered it and can teach you techniques to add to your repertoire.

  1. Pay Attention to Your Audience’s Behavior Signals

What content pages get the most views? Which ones get the best responses or the most engagement in comments or on social media? Where do people tend to spend the most time?

Look to your own Google Analytics data, and try to identify patterns. People tell you what they like without ever having to say a word.

  1. If You’re Struggling to Write Good Content, Go Back to the Basics

You may feel hesitant about writing on simple topics, such as “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO” or something like “Why People Buy Things,” but these are actually great topics. Yes, they’ve been done to death, but they help people learn.

Also, you might put things in a certain way that makes an extremely deep or complex subject click for your audience.

Above all else, articles like these teach you the fundamentals of writing for your audience. You learn how to break big concepts down to their bare components and communicate complex ideas with clarity.

Next to reading, writing down the basics is the best way to teach yourself how to craft better content.

Stop Obsessing Over Keywords and Start Writing Better

The writing’s on the wall: Google and online audiences are sick of bad content, keyword stuffing and deceptive practices aimed to help websites rank but that make readers miserable. 

Put content quality factors like readability, grammar and topic organization as a higher priority than keyword use. People will know what you’re talking about, even if you don’t use an exact keyword match—and now search engines will too.

Source: https://amrutservices.com/why-high-quality-content-matters-more-than-keywords-for-seo/

How Often Should I Be Posting to My Blog?

Blogging frequency is somewhat of a sticky topic in the digital marketing world. Some people have hard and fast beliefs about how “you have to post seven blogs per week or EVERYTHING WILL EXPLODE!” Others only post whenever they feel like it, which can be as unpredictable as it sounds.

Blog Posting Frequency

In truth, both camps are wrong. Posting on a regular schedule is absolutely essential. It helps you build audiences, stay organized and discipline yourself to continually push out worthwhile content.

On the other hand, posting too frequently leads to diminishing returns. Posting every day, for example, can mean that a fair chunk of your blogs never get read. When promoting your blogs on social media, the algorithms may also be much more likely to pass over your umpteenth blog promotion for the week.

So what is the happy medium? How often is the right blogging frequency for you?

The answer is a resounding: “It depends.” The circumstances surrounding your business and the unique qualities of your audience both dictate the right number of times to publish a blog post each month. Your marketing goals also come into play, especially if you intend to use your blog to increase your search engine rank or support lead generation.

On average, posting once or twice a week should hit the “just fine” mark. But if you want to know how to calculate exactly how often you need to publish in order to benefit your objectives and audience needs, keep reading.

Why Posting Every Day Isn’t Smart or Necessary

First, let’s get some reasons out of the way for why it’s pure overkill to post a new blog every single day. 

For starters, you’re going to wear out your audiences. If they happen to follow you on social media or subscribe to your email list, a daily promotion talking about your latest in a slew of new posts is going to get under their skin really quickly. 

Forty-six percent of people say they have unfollowed a brand because it promoted too often, and 35 percent say that they’ve unfollowed someone because they post too much in general. Constant nagging in their inbox or begging on social media ran its course, and they jumped ship. 

Even among audience members who absolutely love to read your content, posting every day is too much for them to keep up with. They’ll inevitably fall behind, meaning not every blog gets the attention it deserves. This may be less of a problem if, say, you’re an outlet with millions of readers, but the average website only gets so much attention for its blog per week. 

Similarly, social media algorithms may begin to think that people don’t like engaging with your content. The more of your posts that end up with an extremely low engagement rate, the more likely the algorithm is to decide that you aren’t worth showing up on someone’s newsfeed. 

Plus, having hundreds of posts without a single like or comment can start to look downright sad. Someone might even write an article about the embarrassment if you’re a big enough brand. Blog Posting Basics

Earning comments and engagement serves as “social proof” that looking at your content is worthwhile. It’s the same thing as seeing a line outside a bar; people think “that’s gotta be the place to be!” Popularity brings more people. 

But when you have no engagement, it kinda makes people steer clear. You start to look like the one kid sitting by himself at lunch. Someone might feel bad for you, but engaging at that point could be social suicide. 

So don’t overdo it! Any way you slice it, it’s going to make your brand feel like a social outcast. It will also mean that you’re wasting resources in the process on superfluous blogs that hurt, rather than help, your marketing goals.

First, let’s get some reasons out of the way for why it’s pure overkill to post a new blog every single day. 

For starters, you’re going to wear out your audiences. If they happen to follow you on social media or subscribe to your email list, a daily promotion talking about your latest in a slew of new posts is going to get under their skin really quickly. 

Forty-six percent of people say they have unfollowed a brand because it promoted too often, and 35 percent say that they’ve unfollowed someone because they post too much in general. Constant nagging in their inbox or begging on social media ran its course, and they jumped ship. 

Even among audience members who absolutely love to read your content, posting every day is too much for them to keep up with. They’ll inevitably fall behind, meaning not every blog gets the attention it deserves. This may be less of a problem if, say, you’re an outlet with millions of readers, but the average website only gets so much attention for its blog per week. 

Similarly, social media algorithms may begin to think that people don’t like engaging with your content. The more of your posts that end up with an extremely low engagement rate, the more likely the algorithm is to decide that you aren’t worth showing up on someone’s newsfeed. 

Plus, having hundreds of posts without a single like or comment can start to look downright sad. Someone might even write an article about the embarrassment if you’re a big enough brand. 

Earning comments and engagement serves as “social proof” that looking at your content is worthwhile. It’s the same thing as seeing a line outside a bar; people think “that’s gotta be the place to be!” Popularity brings more people. 

But when you have no engagement, it kinda makes people steer clear. You start to look like the one kid sitting by himself at lunch. Someone might feel bad for you, but engaging at that point could be social suicide. 

So don’t overdo it! Any way you slice it, it’s going to make your brand feel like a social outcast. It will also mean that you’re wasting resources in the process on superfluous blogs that hurt, rather than help, your marketing goals. 

The Importance of Consistency

In addition to realizing that there’s a blogging frequency line you shouldn’t cross, recognize that consistent publishing benefits your blog performance for several reasons.

One of the biggest reasons consistency helps your readership is that it means you’re predictable. People know that if they visit your blog or check out your social feeds, they’ll see something new every so often. Even if you prefer to only publish blogs once or twice a month, people can anticipate when the next post will drop as long as you release them on a consistent calendar.

Realize that 18 percent of people will unfollow a brand because it’s page is “too quiet.” Someone may just end up checking out because they decide you’ve run out of things to say.

Consistence Blog Posting

Consistency also forces you to be disciplined about blogging. Search engine optimization (SEO) takes several months to begin working. Search engines need to be able to index a consistent volume of content regularly over weeks and weeks before they begin to consider linking to your domain. They also seek out fresh content, meaning that what helped you rank last year could quickly get stale and overtaken this year.

Publishing on a regular schedule therefore ensures that you are constantly planting seeds for a sizeable readership and SEO. Each new blog helps your previous efforts take root, and just as a piece of content begins to become less effective, a whole new crop is ready to take its place.

One last benefit of consistent blogging frequency worth mentioning is that it forces you to plan. If you have a set number of blogs to publish each week or each month, you’re strongly incentivized to create a content calendar.

You may also be more inclined to plan out your topics. Preferably, you are bookmarking interesting things you’ve seen throughout the week to develop a content idea queue. As you place these ideas on your calendar, you can determine how to have a variety of topics that keep your blog interesting while covering your desired keywords.

Determining Your Ideal Blogging Frequency

Now that you know why blogging on a consistent basis—but not every day—are the golden rules, here is how you can figure out the best blogging frequency to meet your needs.

  1. Define your goals and key metrics to measure
  2. Form a hypothesis for how often you think you should post to meet these goals
  3. Post at your hypothesized frequency for at least two to three months to establish benchmark data
  4. Hypothesize how you might improve your key metrics by adjusting your posting frequency
  5. Measure the difference averaged over a few weeks
  6. Go back to step four and continue experimenting to optimize

Notice that step six implies that this is a never-ending process. The perfect posting frequency for you now may change in a few months.Ideal Blogging Frequency

As for how to make an educated guess for how often you should post, you can use some of the following decision-making criteria.

Current volume of content

Blogs with little to no existing content should push themselves until they have at least a few dozen articles under their belt. Don’t publish every day, but don’t be afraid to publish far more often than you intend to, just so you can build out your content with a healthy backlog. 

Current readership volume

If you have thousands of readers for every blog post, you should always see what happens when you post slightly more often. Chances are great that your priority metrics and views will only go up.

If you don’t have very many readers yet, posting more often could risk dividing their attention. Experiment with shifting days around and adding slightly more posts per month rather than assuming more is always going to be better.

Best traffic sources

Your main source of traffic—or the channel you intend to use as your main source—matters a great deal for how often you post.

Neil Patel points out how blogs like Moz that produce high quality content can depend on new backlinks and search engine referrals bringing people to their content for months, sometimes years.

On the other hand, blogs like Buzzfeed, that earn most of their traffic from social media, have to “feed the beast” with constant new articles and updates. For blogs that get lots of viral shares and engagement via social media, sometimes posting multiple times a day can actually be a strategy that works!

Your own capacity and resources to create blogs

This is an incredibly important point that can all but negate everything else we’ve already suggested. Specifically: only write as much as you can. Otherwise, you are going to get burnt out and start publishing sub-par work.

The best way to avoid burnout is to have enough polished content that you are at least a month ahead. That way, you can take a break if you aren’t feeling inspired or motivated. You may also need to find outside help from a content marketing agency or a freelance writer.

In the end, just listen to your brain when it comes to how positive you feel about blogging. Developing a schedule and a content calendar can make you more productive, but it can’t make you an amazing writer every time you sit down at the keyboard.

“If you post only once every two months, but the content is truly awesome, you will be much more successful than someone publishing crappy posts every day,” reflects SmartBlogger—and we couldn’t agree more!

Source: https://amrutservices.com/how-often-should-i-be-posting-to-my-blog/

Internet Marketing Basics for Your Home Business

Internet Marketing Basics

Starting a business out of your home is a brilliant idea for creating new income streams or pivoting to a new career path. If you can master the art of internet marketing, your living room or home office can be just as good a place for generating personal wealth as any skyrise office building.

You have a ton of digital marketing tools at your disposal, too. A few of them are absolutely 100% necessary, while others you can pick and choose based on your unique needs.

To help you get started, here is a quick guide to the basics of internet marketing, what you need to effectively earn leads, and what optional tools could help you along the way.

The Absolute Essential: A Google My Business Profile

Just a few months ago we might have listed a website as the #1 priority for a small, home-run business, but claiming a Google My Business (GMB) listing is now even more important by far.Google My Business Profile

Why? Well, for one, you can create a mini website through your GMB listing. That barebones site might not get you as far as a legitimate website with its own custom domain name (web address), but the fact that you can have your GMB listing site up and running lightning fast means there’s no reason to put it off for even a second.

Even more importantly, the mini-site is already mobile optimized — which is critical for reasons we’ll delve into in just a moment.

So what is Google My Business? Simply put: it’s a business listing that shows up when people search for your business or things related to your service areas on Google.

A GMB profile:

  • Reveals your business location on Google Maps, which is incredibly important if people are meeting you at your home office
  • Lists your phone number and/or an email contact form
  • Shows a button that can quickly take search engine users to your website
  • Displays business information, such as your hours, service category, and a short description of what your business does
  • Allows you and others to upload photos of your business
  • Enables customers to leave online reviews
  • Creates the above-mentioned mini-website that loads quickly and looks great in mobile

The simple fact is that millions of people use Google Search as their first step when looking for goods or services. With a GMB created, you can ensure that they see the correct information while giving your business a visibility boost compared to those who didn’t bother to create their own listing.

Claiming or creating a new GMB listing is easy, too. Google provides all the steps you need when you hit “Start Now” on their GMB page.

A Website: Your Virtual Business Office

A website is another essential element to any business run out of the home. Customers and potential leads will want to see a website before they can feel like your business is legitimate. 75% of people want to see a quality website design before they will even consider a business credible!Website for Business

Websites give your business an environment that you can control to create that all-important first impression. You can present your services in a persuasive, easy to understand way.

And, you can also give people reasons to go ahead and start interacting with your business so that they are more likely to return as a paying customer. For instance, you can create a business blog full of helpful tips your typical clients or customers might love to read. Or, you can offer them free information, free content, or a chance to learn more about you with a simple email form.

Harping on that last point, don’t expect too many customers to email you out of the blue. Even if they are highly interested in what you have to offer, they may hesitate if you make getting in touch with you too difficult.

To make capturing emails and earning new lead opportunities easy, give your website an email submission form that:

  • Shows up before people have to scroll (above the fold)
  • Has as few entry forms as possible, preferably just one for their email address
  • Has a design that’s consistent with your branding
  • Uses a call-to-action promising some sort of benefit to people who sign up, such as “Get started today!” or “Get insider tips delivered right to your inbox!”

Having a form like this makes it easy to convert casual clicks into genuine customer leads, so test different designs to see what works best.

A Social Media Page: Your Digital Home Away From Home

Social media is used by 69% of all American adults and 83% of adults under the age of 50. Many people will also spend most of their time online exclusively in a social media app. This trend means that if your business isn’t on social media, you may be invisible to thousands of potential leads.

Very few businesses need to be active on more than a few social media platforms, though. You should review which ones your target audiences use to ensure you aren’t wasting efforts on pitching your business to people who aren’t really there.

For instance, Snapchat is incredibly popular with people under between 18-24, whereas LinkedIn is more popular with adult professionals in the 30-49 age. Some businesses, like studioSPACEnyc, even conduct most of their business activities through social media rather than their website. “If we look at the analytics of the website and how many people view my Instagram account, we’ll see 200 a day on Instagram and 15 on my website,” says CEO Jacob Fisher. 

No matter what platform you choose, give a professional touch to everything you do. Add a branded logo and header image to your pages. Share only content that is consistent with your brand voice and your customers’ values. Post at least once a week, and definitely don’t ignore people who directly try to ask you a question or start a conversation.

In fact, social media could be a great source of customer leads considering that one out of three people say they would rather contact a business through social compared to telephone or email. 

So, remember that social media is more than just a place to share silly cat photos and inspirational quotes. Give people good reasons to interact with your brand, and keep an ear out for anyone trying to use the platform to engage with you directly.

Email Marketing: Essential to Small Business Internet Marketing

Setting up a two-way email conversation is about more than just business-as-usual. True, you can handle client interactions or send things like appointment reminders over email. But email is more special than that! Email Marketing Essentials

That’s because email inboxes are much less cluttered than the typical search engine results page or social media news feed. As a result, when you send people something through email, such as a newsletter or a personalized offer, they are much more likely to actually see those messages compared to an online ad. 

For many home-based small business owners, their email list is their most precious resource when it comes to drumming up business. It serves as their modern Rolodex, letting them know just how many leads they have, how many are past customers, and which opportunities are about to convert into a sale. 

Cultivate your email list carefully, and strongly consider creating a good reason for people to open content from you in their inbox at least once a month to keep your business top-of-mind.

Learning About Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the bridge between simply creating things online and priming the pump for those things to create actual leads. Learn About SEO Basics

What, exactly, is SEO? Simply put: SEO is paying attention to the factors that help your business rank when someone searches for a term related to your goods or services. For instance, if your home business offers event photography in the Phoenix, AZ region, you probably want to rank for search terms like “wedding photographers in phoenix” or “phoenix event photographers”. 

Making this happen is the subject of another blog, but the trick is to ensure that key search terms like the ones listed above and their related terms appear both within your website content and in the code you create behind-the-scenes. To get you started, take a look at the helpful Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz. 

In the meantime, focus on setting up the rest of your internet marketing channels listed above. Your goal should basically be to not be embarrassed or feel the need to make excuses should anyone search for your business online, visit your website, find you on social media, or expect professional-grade email correspondence. 

Good luck, and get in touch with us if you need any help! We are experts in getting small business owners off the ground and ensuring they have all the elements they need to earn customers and grow their company.

Source: https://amrutservices.com/internet-marketing-basics-for-your-home-business/

How to Grow Your Business with Video

Video is quickly becoming the dominant form of content online. Views, shares and uploads of video are accelerating at a breakneck pace. Many forms of existing content, such as blog posts and how-to articles, are also pivoting to video rather than text-based formats.

How to Grow Your Business with Video
People simply can’t get enough of video!

For business owners, video content can be a key part of their strategy to earn new customers and grow their company. Video marketing has started to offer incredible returns on investment for companies of all sizes. Adding a video to your website product pages can increase conversions by 80%! That’s probably why 83% of business owners say that video offers great ROI.

To help your company get started using video effectively and using it to grow your revenues, consider the following five helpful tips below. You’ll learn why video is such an important asset and how to use it in a way to maximize your positive results.

Start Simple With Slide Shows

Some business owners may think they don’t have the resources to even bother with video. These limited resources can include time, money, creativity or even patience.
Make Videos from Slide Shows
What these entrepreneurs should realize is that video does not have to be a big-budget affair in order to be highly polished and visually appealing. In fact, you can start instantly making videos for free right now and have them ready to upload in seconds.

There are dozens upon dozens of free video makers online designed for this exact purpose. Many offer options for combining text and images to create a dynamic slideshow. These videos are nearly effortless to make, yet they are still immersive and look professional.

Great options to get started making your own slideshow style videos include Renderforest and Adobe Spark Video. Both are free with a registered account. They also utilize great-looking templates, so you don’t have to be Spielberg-level genius to create your first videos. Simply pick from the options, input your own text or photos, and let the program do the rest.

Examples of great text-based videos include:

  • Repurposing existing blogs or content pages as short videos
  • Creating a quick explainer to get people excited about what you have to offer
  • Revealing interesting information or “#MondayMotivation” style inspiration related to your area of business
  • Giving a “thank you” to your existing customers
  • Announcing big things on the way, such as a new product or event

Creating videos like these can get you in the habit of thinking visually rather than textually, which can help you earn more views and raise interest in your business offerings.

Create Product Reviews or Descriptions of Your Core Services

Once you feel comfortable to start investing more into your video content, descriptive videos are the way to go. Short 1-2 minute videos giving an overview of the products or services you offer can significantly improve awareness and interest.


Product Reviews Video
 According to Hubspot, people who watch a video reviewing or explaining a product are 64% more likely to buy that product later on. Using an explainer video on your homepage can similarly double your conversion rate. 

When reviewing products, stay focused on features and key selling points the consumer is most likely to care about. Think about it as a resource, not an ad. Do your best to compare this product to others, helping your customers get an idea of the range of options available to them.

 For a great example, check out motorcycle accessory retailer RevZilla. Pages for products like this $300 backpack explain exactly what the product is supposed to be used for, what its most notable features are, and what separates it from other available options. After watching a video like that, someone may not only understand why they might want a $300 backpack but have a serious desire to buy one after realizing just how much it offers. 

For service-oriented explainer videos, try to think of it as a presentation. You’re walking the visitor through what your service offers and how it benefits them. Many of these videos start off by revealing a specific pain point that the product solves before moving into key benefits or competitive differentiators. 

If you need a way to warm up to this type of content, try doing it live. You can broadcast a Facebook Live post, for instance, where you have a Q&A with your audience or offer a live demonstration of what you do. Going through the motions in a low-stakes environment like this can give you an idea of what to do for a more polished version down the road.

Personify Your Brand Through Video Marketing Content

Video content isn’t just good for information — that’s why only a slim margin of movies are documentaries, after all! The rest aim to give viewers an emotional experience or to tell an engrossing story.

Video is particularly great at these emotion-focused concepts because it combines several of our senses at once. Through powerful images, mood-appropriate music, and clever editing techniques, you can communicate the soul of your brand in surprisingly subtle ways.

To see what we mean, take a look at this charming ad from the tourism board for the Faroe Islands. It manages to reveal many things that make the Faroe Islands and its people so special without ever stepping into outright advertisement. The subject is interesting, it’s well filmed, and something people can relate to instantly.

Videos like these are great for solidifying your branding and generating awareness from your audiences. Since people are able to remember 95% of what they see in a video — compared to just 10% of the text they read — videos like these help keep your business top-of-mind. That way, you earn more recommendations and sales while forging strong positive associations to your unique brand values and personality.

Use Video to Climb to the Top of Search Results

People love video, and search engines want to accommodate people. So, naturally, search engines now love video! 

According to one study, you are 53 times more likely to show up as the first result on Google when you have a video embedded in your page. It therefore makes a huge amount of sense to accompany each new page or blog you submit with a short, relevant video. 

Make sure the video offers value to the audience and not just the search engine, though. “Tricky” practices like just shoehorning content into a poorly made video show up on Google’s behavioral data, and over time the algorithm will likely be refined to punish such habits. 

So, create good videos that fit naturally within your content, and reap benefits from both audiences and the increase in traffic thanks to search engines. 

Be Your Own Harshest Critic

Producing video can help you quickly stand out among your competitors, but that can mean “standing out” in a negative way if your quality is poor.

Be Creative With Videos

Here’s a few simple tips to help improve your video quality:

  • Use a tripod. Even smartphone cameras can look great when they have a stable mount.
  • Provide lots of light sources on your subject. Cameras look much less blurry when they’re focused on something bathed in light. Use floor lamps or professional lighting setups to get the look you need.
  • Be aware of your background. Modern cameras are so easy to use because they auto-focus, but this can mean focusing on the wrong subject if you have something distracting or more brightly lit in the background.
  • Have great sound quality. Poor sound can sometimes hurt a video worse than poor camera quality. Invest in a clippable mic or a directional make, and don’t film in locations with lots of background noise or echo.

Fortunately, there are lots of other resources available to help you learn how to create high quality video content with a professional look. You can get started with this enlightening Hubspot article or rely on communities like Facebook for Creators, for instance.

Be patient, experiment, and set lofty goals to improve your content over time. If you can do that while caring about your audience, you are setting the stage for your business’s video marketing success!

Source: https://amrutservices.com/how-to-grow-your-business-with-video/

Why Your Online Marketing Budget May Soon Go Up

Recent surveys show that the majority of businesses plan to increase their digital marketing budgets over the next 12 months. These increases mean stiffer competition and growing rates to achieve the desired level of impressions and performance.

Online Marketing Budget

Today’s internet marketing practices have matured dramatically since the days of dial up. Channels like social media have likewise matured, changing the landscape from a “Wild West” feeling to a more familiar competitive market. As businesses spend more on aspects of marketing like paid ad inventory, prices go up. There is, after all, a finite number of eyeballs browsing the internet at any given time.

Businesses also find themselves competing more earnestly for organic traffic and impressions. While it used to be easy to rank high on search engines if you were the only business on the block doing SEO, now achieving results pits you against countless others.

With all this going on, business owners should expect to dig deeper into their pockets in the near future in order to achieve their goals for awareness, revenues, growth, and more. To help encourage you to keep pace, here are some observations we’ve made that reveal the current state of online marketing and indicate where it could be going soon.

Survey Says: Online Marketing Spending Growth Outpaces Traditional Ads

In a recent survey of CMOs, the respondents indicated that they intend to increase their digital marketing spending by 15.1% on average. By comparison, the average respondent said they plan to shrink their traditional advertising spending by 1.7%.Online Marketing Spending Growth Outpaces Traditional Ads

The decrease follows a distinct trend of budgets shrinking for traditional media, which includes ads on TV, radio, print, billboards, and other non-digital channels. The last time budgets increased by more than 1% was in 2011. Since that point, budgets were cut by an average of 1.6% every six months. That’s a total drop of 22% in traditional ad spending from 2011 to the present.

In the meantime, digital marketing budgets have increased by double digits every six months with only one exception. The changes equal a 167.5% increase, for an average of 12% every six months.

Spending on digital and traditional marketing techniques is diverging, and the effects are more noticeable in certain industries. Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies in particular say that they will have the biggest jumps. Product-focused B2C companies intend to increase digital marketing budgets by 17.9%, and service-based B2C companies say they will increase their budgets by 18.2%.

All of these data points indicate a steady stream of dollars flowing into digital channels. Companies in all sectors are investing more in online marketing campaigns, including content creation, strategy, management, promotion, and actions like performance measurement.

Budgets Stay Largely Flat as a Portion of Marketing Spending and Revenues

While budgets are increasing across the board for most companies, the ratio of that budget to other key metrics has remained stable for the most part.

The current industry average for marketing budgets as a portion of overall spending sits at 11.1%. This ratio is mostly unchanged since 2011. Similarly, marketing spending as a portion of company revenues is an average of 7.9% this year. That number has increased and decreased by small increments since 2012, barring a slight jump and then regression in Fall 2012.

So what does this mean in terms of trends? Well, if spending is increasing but budgets as a ratio are staying flat, that indicates that companies tie their spending growth to sales growth and budget growth. You could chalk these strong correlations to inflation or a general growth trend in both revenues and spending. You could also observe that, across all industries, spending strategies remain fairly conservative.

But a few key distinctions are to be made if you take the time to break down spending further. For instance, the ratio of money spent on content marketing compared to a business’s entire budget can dictate their ability to accomplish their content marketing goals.

In a survey of B2C companies using content marketing, the average respondent said they spent 22% of their marketing budget on content. The companies that rated themselves as “least successful” at accomplishing their goals spent an average of 18%, while the companies that said they were the “most successful” spent 26%.

These differences were even more pronounced among business-to-business (B2B) companies. The average B2B content marketing spend was 26% of their overall marketing budget. Yet, the least successful companies spent just 14%, while the most successful ones spent a whopping 40% on average.

So, while the aggregated data may hint that online marketing spending strategies are conservative, companies that lean into their digital marketing campaigns with a larger budget percentage tend to see better performance.

Costs of Online Advertising on the Rise

One of the biggest factors encouraging companies to increase their budgets is that costs have risen. According to a study by Adobe, the costs of digital advertising are rising five times faster than the current rate of inflation in the U.S.

Looking at data from 2014 to 2016, mobile display ad prices increased 12%, video ads increased 13%, and mobile paid search ads went up 11%.Costs of Online Advertising on the Rise

Overall, companies spent 42% more on search advertising. At the same time, search engine traffic increased by just 11%. These two observations together mean that competition is getting more fierce for smaller slices of traffic.

Similar trends can be seen with social media advertising. Companies engaging in social media marketing are having a harder time earning impressions organically. To compensate, they are increasing their volume of paid social campaigns as well as their budgets. Bid prices for limited ad inventory go up.

In total, experts predict that ad prices for Facebook could rise anywhere between 25% and 79% in the coming year.

Few Companies Measuring Performance, Impact and ROI

As the costs of marketing rise, it’s more important than ever to measure impact and performance. Without this data, businesses could spend on campaigns and activities that don’t bring them measurable value.

Also, they lack the data to optimize their campaigns over time. Without knowing, for instance, that one social media campaign type brought better performance than another, the business will have fewer decision-making tools in hand to strategize for future campaigns.

Despite the risks described above, 58% percent of companies don’t use marketing analytics to measure performance and help them make decisions. For social media marketing, 34% of companies don’t measure the impact of their campaigns at all. 42% claim they have a good “qualitative sense” of how their campaigns are performing but don’t have the numbers to back up these observations.Online Marketing Impact and ROI

The situation is even more dire with content marketing. 5% of companies don’t have any content marketing target metrics to speak of. 41% don’t measure content marketing ROI, and 21% say they are “unsure” as to whether they are accurately measuring ROI.

Every penny you spend on digital marketing counts, especially as costs rise. Make sure you have a strategy in place to maximize your returns, as well as tools you can use to measure those returns quantifiably

If you need help getting to this point, we’re here for you. Contact us today for assistance with planning, executing, measuring, and optimizing your digital marketing strategies.

Get prepared for the future with the expertise you need to compete and stay ahead as the digital marketing realm becomes more expensive.

Source: https://amrutservices.com/why-your-online-marketing-budget-may-soon-go-up/