Google goes with mobile-first indexing

Google Goes Mobile-First

By | google | No Comments

Intrusive interstitial penalties, mobile-first indexing and SEO, oh my!

We’re officially one week into Google’s mobile-first indexing and intrusive interstitial penalties. How are we all feeling? A little overwhelmed, panic, maybe a bit of anxiety? First, I just need everyone to CALM DOWN. January 10th came and then it went, and most of us went on with business as usual. So what really did happen and what should companies prepare for?  

Here’s what we need to recognize, good people of the business world, these are moblie times and if you want to keep up then you’ve got get on board. In this day and age it’s all about the consumer and giving them the best experience possible. I’m going to explain a little more about what Google is talking about when they say intrusive interstitial and mobile-first indexing. Then I’m going to give you a few tips and options for moving forward. Don’t worry, we will get through this.

Mobile-First Indexing

The stat is out and it looks like 75% of searches in 2017 will be done through a mobile device. That’s huge, so huge that Google is reconfiguring the way they index and rank pages. Here was the issue- more people are searching through mobile devices, but Google’s ranking systems were looking primarily at the desktop version of a pages content. This process would cause issues if the mobile site was lacking content from the desktop version because the search algorithms weren’t evaluating the actual page being seen my mobile users. In other words, mobile users were getting jipped.

Google to the rescue! The search engine giant, obviously, wasn’t going to sit back and let this continue to happen. So, towards the end of last year they started making changes, testing new algorithms in small batches and ultimately rolling out their mobile-first index. Check out their full explanation here.

Intrusive Interstitials- Please use responsibly

Tweet us if you’ve seen this image:

Google's example of interstitials that will be affected

Image via webmasters.googleblog.com

It’s literally been in every article I’ve come across that covers the Google updates. Since I don’t want to disappoint or cause any confusion I’m going to use it too, thanks Google! The image above shows the three intrusive interstitials that have been labeled as creating poor user experience for the reader. An interstitial is a pop-up ad that requires a reader to close out the ad before they can access the information. The reasoning is sound- while the content is available for Google to index it, it’s obstructed by the interstitials, causing a poor experience for the viewer. Visitors to the site are frustrated because they are unable to seamlessly access the content they’d expected to find after clicking on the link.

With more and more individuals utilizing their mobile device to consume content, interstitials on smaller screens can be problematic. Which brings us to the penalty portion, if viewers can not easily access content on your site you will be penalized for this and your mobile search results may not rank as high.   

Now that I’ve showed you what you will be penalized for, let me also show you what is still acceptable:

Google's example of interstitials that won't be affected

Image via webmasters.googleblog.com

All of my friends who need to confirm the usage of cookies and verify ages, you’re safe. Also, as long as you’re reasonable with your pop-ups Google won’t ding you. Keep the banner ads small so that the content is still accessible and you should be just fine.

It’s not magic, it’s just best practices

I’ve said it once already and I’ll say it again, these are mobile times. How are you making the transition a seamless experience for the visitors to your site? Here are a few tips around keeping your rankings high and those penalties low.

  • First, I want to note that this only affects mobile searches. Your desktop rankings will remain the same.
  • Is your site responsive or a dynamic serving site where the content is comparable across desktop and mobile? If so, you shouldn’t have to do anything.
  • If your desktop and mobile site differs, you’ll want to start making some changes sooner rather than later.
  • Are your pages relevant to the search terms used to get readers there? Avoid clickbait at all times, it’s just bad form.
  • How are your page load times? What about those bounce rates? Slow page load = high bounce rates. High bounce rates = poor rankings. It’s all coming full circle.
  • If you’re uncertain if your site is mobile friendly or not you can always utilize Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Ultimately the main goal here is to make finding content easier for users and since the majority of users are on mobile that’s where the focus has shifted. Only time will really tell how this will affect all of us, but if you play by Google’s rules you’re as good as gold. Still concerned? Reach out with any questions, we’d be happy to help. 

 

2017 eCommerce Predictions

By | ecommerce | No Comments

Before we finally call it quits on 2016, Digital Operative thought it would be beneficial to seek out some of the predicted trends for the coming year.  Absolunet inc. recently put out an in-depth report that touches on a few predicted trends in eCommerce for 2017 and we decided to turn it into an infographic. So without further ado… Your 2017 eCommerce Predictions:

2017 eCommerce Predictions

All stats brought to you by Absolunet inc.

Blogging for eCommerce in 2017

To Blog or Not to Blog? Blogging for Ecommerce in 2017

By | blogging | No Comments

Stay relevant my friends

Over 409 million people view the 23.8 billion blog pages out there each month. Users create roughly 65.3 million pieces of new content each month. Now that’s a lot of content. The ironic part about these numbers is the fact that business owners and marketers alike are still asking themselves- do we really need to be blogging?

In short, that answer is yes, duh! Below I’ve outlined a few of the best reasons why blogging, specifically for ecommerce, is as important now than it’s ever been as we head into 2017.  

A couple of fun facts

First things first, 99% of people won’t buy anything on their first visit to your site. Plain and simple. There’s a popular marketing adage called “the rule of 7”. It goes a little something like this- many potential consumers won’t buy from you until they’ve seen your marketing message, social post, blog, retargeting ad, email, etc., at least seven times. It’s time to get writing.

Why you need to get blogging

 

1. Reach

So you say you’re just starting out and you’ve got a small audience, okay. Do you ever want that audience to grow? Time to start blogging. You’ve got to get out in front of new audiences and one of the best ways to do that is with a blog. It’s one of those mediums that can be cross promoted through multiple marketing platforms.

2. SEO

I bet you haven’t heard this one before. By default blogging creates new pages on your site and thus increases your SEO rankings. We’ve got news for you, in 2017, SEO will still be one of the main modes of getting people to your page.

This is where we emphasize how important it is to create posts people will want to share. When your post is shared via social or ends up on another website, rankings jump. Keep in mind, more pages mean more internal links pointing directly at your homepage. While internal links are pretty cool, links from other websites are even better and help in that credibility area.

3. Tell Your Story

In 2017, personalization is the name of the game. Consumers react more emotionally when there’s a story involved. Use your blog to tell your brand’s story, from conception to fruition. Let readers develop an emotional connection to the brand, when a brand can establish trust with their consumers it is then they establish loyalty. Ecommerce efforts become a little more fruitful when you’ve got loyal customers to work with.  

Loyalty will also allow you to slip those unsuspecting calls to action into blog posts without the fear of sounding too salesy or pitchy.

4. Customization

In that same vein, custom graphics and mini-themes across all of your branded channels are definitely on the list of potential trends we’ll see across the ecommerce space in 2017. Consistent branding across all channels helps new customers identify your brand anywhere and creates familiarity.    

What’s the return?

Apart from the probable increase in conversions, you’ll see quite a few things on the return spectrum. If you’re tapping into the right audience you should see a spike in organic and referral traffic. Your credibility will grow with thoughtful, industry related blog posts, and in that same vein, blogs help to establish your brand as an industry leader. Ultimately blogs can help you lift your overall lead gen efforts and increase sales.

Yes, blogging is something you’re going to have to budget for in 2017, but yes, it will be worth it. Final word of advice, don’t get your marketing strategy in a twist if you don’t see results right away. Blogs take time to build and generating a substantial following doesn’t happen overnight, unless you’re Beyonce. Stick with it, while a post may only get a few views within its first week of going live, it could get thousands over the course of its life. Happy blogging!

If you need help with any of your blogging, branding or strategy efforts please reach out. We love helping people, brands, grandmothers. You know, the usual.

Cheers!

A Digital Agency Gift Guide

A Digital Agency Gift Guide

By | agency life | No Comments

Ah the holidays are nearly upon us. I’m sure at this point your inboxes have been bombarded with holiday specials and deals, 12 days of giveaways, and gift guides galore. Since we’re not the kind to disappoint we’ve come up with our own kind of gift guide, one meant for the digital agency types.

Developers

Let’s be honest, devs are either the easiest or the hardest people to shop for. Gifts can usually go one of two ways, they either think it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread… ooh, bread mmm… or pfft it’s so last month. Don’t worry we’ve got you covered and if the gift is a total fail, don’t worry, we’ll take the fall but we don’t think it’ll come to that. So without further ado, here are our top 3 gifts for developers:

  • DeviceLab

    • Developers are constantly switching from screen to device back to another screen. Help keep their desk in working order with DeviceLab, it’s the perfect solution for devs who are constantly testing responsive sites all at once. DeviceLab keeps your desk clean and tidy as you test multiple devices in a single place. 
Device Lab

Image via vanamco.com

 

  • WD My Passport Wireless
    • What do you think a developer’s biggest nightmare is? Losing all of their work, obviously. Put those fears to rest with WD My Passport Wireless portable hard drive. Having a reliable backup in the first commandment in development and having a wireless option makes the process a whole lot easier and more convenient.  
  • Website Deck of Cards
    • Come on people, developers like games, they’re still people! Okay so these UX cards aren’t all fun and games, they’ll actually help you map out a sites infrastructure off of the screen. The UX KITS deck is made up of 53 cards carrying common UI’s of websites or apps. Bonus they’re an attractive presentation tool for devs to showcase their designs to clients. Well aren’t you fancy! 
UX deck of cards

Image via uxkits.com

 

Marketers

Where my marketers at?! Shopping for our fellow marketer this time of year is no easy task. We usually live and breath our industry and like to think of ourselves as connoisseurs of emerging trends. With that said we’ve gone out on a limb and pulled what we consider the top 3 picks for our marketing friends.

  • Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes

    • Because marketers read… a lot. Content creation continues to be on the rise of marketers to do list for 2017 so why not get them the book that will give them a jump on the new year?  Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes will be a content marketers go to in the coming year. Give them a head start with the perfect book.
  • Livescribe Notebook by Moleskine

    • Every marketers heard of Moleskine and many of us have a desk drawer or bookshelf full of them. Kick your field notes up a notch with a new notebook, designed for Livescribe smartpens and the Livescribe+ app. Each page contains a dot pattern that makes handwritten notes appear in digital form with speed and accuracy. Now we can have the best of both worlds and keep our love for hand written note taking alive.
Livescribe with moleskine

Image via moleskine.com

  • Facebook Like and Dislike Stamps

    • Ahh, finally! It’s a social media lovers dream come true. Let your favorite marketer put their stamp of approval… or disapproval all over everything with the coolest gift ever. Note the Facebook Like and Dislike Stamps could forever change office interaction. Purchase at your own peril.  

Designers

Ahh the designers, the creative bunch. Usually eyeballs deep in stunning 4K graphics and coffee, lots of hipster coffee. What do you get the creative person in your life? They can be a little tricky to shop for, but not to worry. We’ve surveyed a few of our designers and chosen our top 3 gifts for digital designers.

  • The Slate

    • Wish your illustrations would just seamlessly move from paper to computer? Say no more, The Slate is here to make your day! Use your own paper and pencil, when paper is placed on top of The Slate and The Magnet is placed around your pencil 32 sensors detect your every move and transcribes it accurately onto your tablet. Oh the possibilities!
the Slate

Image via iskn.co

  • 3Doodler 2.0

    • 3D printing at your desk? Okay! Bonus- you don’t need all of that fancy equipment when you have the 3Doodler 2.0. It’s a 3D pen that brings your drawings to life. The 2.0 is the updated version of the world’s first 3D pen. It’s easy to use and requires no knowledge of photoshop.

 

3Doodler

Image via firebox.com

  • Just My Type by Simon Garfield

    • A modern classic that any graphic designer would love to have on their desk. Just My Type isn’t just a practical guide of typesetting, but a cultural history who enjoy all things font related. It’s a real visual joy for all graphic designers.

Strategists

Oh the strategists, typically the researchers of the bunch and probably the hardest to shop for on our digital agency list. They’re a group of people who are always behind their computer screens, constantly reading and always ready to rattle off some fun fact or another. So what do you get someone who knows a little bit about everything? Here are our top 3 choices.

  • Beverage Warmer

    • Since they typically only venture away from their desk for 3 things- the restroom, food and coffee. Why not make their life a little easier with a beverage warmer. Keep their mug warm for hours on end while they sift through their next deep dive on consumer behavior in relation to New Year’s resolutions.
  • Noise Canceling Headphones

    • If they don’t already have a pair, this is probably one of the most coveted gifts on an agency strategist’s list. Concentration is the name of the game when you’re running the strategy department a pair of noise canceling headphones is what’s going to get you to the finish line. CNET has a great list of their top picks for 2016, check it out here.

Noise canceling headphones

  • Music Streaming Subscription

    • When your job consists in burying yourself under a mountain of research documents it’s really important you get yourself in the right frame of mind. Music can really help with this. So this year get your favorite strategist a monthly subscription to their favorite streaming platform. Trust us, they’ll love it!

Project Managers

Project Managers can go one of two ways, they’re either the most outwardly organized people you know or they’re living in a world of organized chaos. What we know for sure is that choosing the perfect gift for the PM type can be tricky. Check out the the top 3 gifts we came across, perfect for a project manager.

  • Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns

    • Bing a PM is no easy task, you’ve got a million and one things happening at once and if that wasn’t enough on your plate it’s the end of the year and clients are in a frenzy. Time to destress with an adult coloring book, filled with stress relieving patterns. The adult coloring book was a hot ticket item and it’s back again this holiday season for another run. Go ahead, give it a go. Your PM will thank you.
  • Monogrammed Flask

    • Because you never know when the moment will strike. There are a number of reasons to raise a flask- you’ve finally launched that impossible website, clients crushed their ecommerce goals over night or all hell’s breaking loose. Everything looks a little better with a monogrammed flask in your PM’s hand.
  • A Team Lunch

    • Project managers are notorious for sitting at their desks all day. Since they’re constantly grinding, organize a team lunch so that they’re forced away from their desk. It’ll probably take a little coaxing, but once you’ve got em out it’ll probably be hard to get them back to work. Just kidding!

Team Lunch

That about wraps up our gift guide. We’ve covered the major bases of gifting for all of your standard digital agency teams. If we left a few out, well you’re on your own. Sorry, Google it. Happy Holidays! If you need help with your own marketing, design, strategy, or development efforts please reach out, we love meeting new people!

Cheers!

Marketing with Instagram

Marketing with Instagram

By | digital marketing | No Comments

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and quite frankly neither are social strategies. It takes time, the development of ideas and research, lots of research. Recently, Instagram has become a popular marketing platform and it’s not just because you have the option to run ads now. We’re all visual to some degree and Instagram provides us with an outlet to share our visual experiences with the world.

If you’re a brand, company, or just an individual looking to connect with a greater following, Instagram may be the perfect soundboard. How do you get started marketing with Instagram you ask? Keep reading, we’ve got you covered.

Do your research

Before you just start pumping funds into an ad account it’s really important to do your research first. Take a moment and learn from those who are already doing it. Ask yourself a few questions-

  • Who are the big industry influencers and what kind of content works for them?
  • What are your competitors doing?

Pay attention to what kinds of stories they’re telling, both with their products and their behind the scenes action. Now ask yourself these questions-

  • What draws you to your competitors posts?
  • How often are they posting?
  • What do you dislike about their posts?
  • What type of information do they have in their profile?
  • Is there a consistent theme?

Set Goals

When it comes to Instagram, what kinds of goals should you be setting? Increasing follower count, growing brand awareness and increasing engagement on posts are all so important. Setting more “traditional” goals are important too, can you use Instagram to generate leads or increase overall sales? As you’re going through and choosing your own goals for your brand it’s really important you keep your goals clear and SMART-

  • Smart
  • Measureable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Record Your Data

In the spirit of keeping SMART goals, you’ve got to be able to measure them. Keeping track of your performance allows you to see if your strategy is actually working. You should be measuring the following 5 items in each post-

  1. Date
  2. Total followers
  3. Type of post (culture, product, inspiration, etc.)
  4. Time/Day
  5. Engagement after “X” amount of time

From this data pool you’ll be able to make smart, strategic decisions about future posts.

Tell Your Story

Stories sell a brand, you become relatable and memorable. Brainstorm how to connect the story of your product to your audience. If you’re struggling to find your narrative, try asking yourself these 3 questions-

  1. What is the core idea behind our product?
  2. What do people love about our product?
  3. What would our audience miss about our business if we closed our doors tomorrow?

Now combine your narrative with your goal and you, my friends have got an Instagram strategy. If you’d like a professional, expert opinion or you just want and agency specializing in all things digital marketing, just holler! We’ll be here.

Cheers!

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