Content and Ranking on the best way to write content.

Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller engaged in a lively Twitter discussion on what it means to create ideal web content. He answered whether Google ranked long form content higher, commented on word count and offered his opinion on what publishers should focus on.

The discussion covered the relationship of word count to the concept of being comprehensive as well as whether word count is part of a ranking factor (it’s not).

Matching Competitor Word Count

The discussion started out with a question related to competitor research. The person asking the question apparently reviewed the top ranked pages in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and discovered the word count of the top ranked sites.

Competitor research is often thought of in terms of reviewing what top ranked pages are doing and copying what they’re doing in terms of keywords used, word counts, and so on.

The problem with that approach is that just because the top ranked sites have a minimum of 1200 words in their content doesn’t mean that word count correlates to the ideal word count for ranking.

It’s just what’s there, either because that’s what they feel is best or they are copying each other.

But then there’s always that one outlier with an epic 8,000 word web page that is masterfully ranking for all kinds of keywords, that blows away any notion that 1200 words is ideal.

Google’s SEO Starter Guide says:

“Content should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive.”

Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines that states:

“High quality information pages should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive.”

The word “comprehensive” is used 30 times in the quality raters document. So it’s fair to say that Google is at least a little bit to blame for publisher anxieties about “comprehensive” content.

The concern for comprehensive content is practically a syndrome because it leads too content that is far longer than it has to be. Anyone who has ever researched a recipe can attest to that.

September 3rd, 2020|

How Device-as-a-Service is leading a new kind of business transformation

The work-from-home needs of employees due to COVID-19 could help drive big changes in how laptops and other devices are sold. Digital transformation and the work-from-home movement may not be the only big technology trends gaining strength due to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Also picking up traction in the business IT marketplace in the last six months is the Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) model of acquiring hardware without having to buy, configure, and manage it. In 2015, no major PC manufacturers offered a DaaS option to acquire hardware, according to a recent report from Accenture. But by 2019, that changed dramatically, with 65% of major PC makers offering DaaS options to their customers.

To Kevin Dobbs, the leader of Accenture’s Everything-as-a-Service practice, it’s where PC makers and other hardware suppliers need to go if they want to keep up with business and consumer expectations and demands.

With DaaS, vendors take laptops, desktop PCs, and other devices and preconfigure and customize them with productivity and security applications as well as value-added services to ready them for business or consumer customers. The devices aren’t purchased outright by companies like in the past, but are paid for on a consumption model.

That may seem like a lease, but it’s not a lease, Dobbs said. “They may look similar, but DaaS is less about the device and more about the services associated with the devices.”

The work-from-home movement due to the pandemic could be a big boost for DaaS adoption in the future, he said. Companies that scrambled to send workers home to do their jobs as the pandemic spawned shutdowns across the nation were often forced into a laptop-buying frenzy.

That quickly revealed that it was easier to buy the machines fully loaded and configured and ready for workers to do their jobs from home, Dobbs said. For companies, it essentially streamlined the process of quickly enabling a large number of at-home workers that companies didn’t have in the past. DaaS arrangements also include product support from vendors or partners as needed.

“It gives an easy way to get help,” Dobbs said. “They would rather buy things preconfigured with software and security. I think a lot of the customer buying pattern is moving in that direction.”

Benefits and challenges for vendors

And while this can all be beneficial for users, the DaaS model also provides a mix of big benefits and real challenges for hardware vendors, Dobbs explained.

First, because customers use the devices until they are done with them, the vendors get them back and can collect, refurbish, and resell them to new users up to four more times over the useful life of the devices, which maximizes returns on investments, according to Dobbs.

“For vendors, it’s a great option because rather than only selling a product one time, they can sell them up to five times,” Dobbs said. “The benefit is that by keeping control of the devices and surrounding them with different kinds of services and capabilities each time you can give more to customers. In the hardware business, margins are thin, but here you sell it over and over. That’s why we think this is an exciting trend.”

It’s also something that can boost revenue for hardware vendors at a time when sales may be lower due to the growing popularity of business customers moving workloads to the cloud. When customers move to the cloud, hardware sales typically get lost in the transaction.

“DaaS becomes a more interesting way for manufacturers and channel partners to head as they are moving into the next phase of their growth,” he said.

But the challenges are there as well. To enable DaaS, vendors require complicated supply chains to collect, refurbish, and redistribute all that gear. “That means that vendors need to take a very different approach to how they sell their goods,” Dobbs said. “We’re seeing more and more companies looking at that option.”

Creating and maintaining the needed supply chains to create a seamless experience for customers isn’t easy, though. “At scale, it is difficult to do these things, when we’re talking about millions of devices and being able to orchestrate them to make money for vendors,” Dobbs said. On the flip side, companies that already have such supply chains will be able to drive more value from them.

DaaS is all about the customer

Ultimately, DaaS is gaining traction because business customers and consumers want to make things easier for themselves, Dobbs said. “In the end, the customers don’t care about the device itself. They just want an outcome. If it breaks, they just want it replaced. They want service. All those things are valuable to customers.”

And that’s where the flexibility and value of DaaS can solve problems for users, Dobbs said. “This is the way customers now want to get their devices. The business buyers are expecting the same level of service and experience in their work as they are in their consumer lives. Customers want to try before buying, pay as they go, and have more of a consumption-based model, where they get charged as they go for what they use.”

By using DaaS, customers potentially pay less up-front, but could spend more over time for the overall package of devices and integrated services and support. Cost-savings aren’t usually why customers are attracted to DaaS in the first place, Dobbs said.

For hardware vendors that aren’t filling these demands in the future, it will be a challenging environment in the future, he said.

“The opportunity today is to do this proactively,” Dobbs said. “Customers want to buy it this way, so you are going to have to move this way, like it or not. COVID-19 is also highlighting the fact that more and more customers will be embracing this approach.”

August 4th, 2020|

Why shouldn’t we use words such as ‘here’ and ‘this’ in textlinks?

Over the years of surfing on the web I have found numerous examples of people saying that you shouldn’t use the word “here” in a textlink etc. Personally I like the idea of using the word, because it is so straightforward for your visitors to know where to click.

There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence that website visitors don’t read, they scan. They scan for links to find the link they want to click on next. If your link says “click here” and the user has to read the text around the link to find out what it is for, you are adding to their cognitive load, meaning they are less likely to continue on.

The same thing holds true for “Click here for special offers” and “For special offers, click here”. You are still adding to the users’ cognitive load because now your links have additional words that are completely unnecessary.

Make the complete sentence the link and not just a word or two. For example do this – Click HERE for info about the Pet Food Pantry. From the word Click to the word Pantry is linked.

August 1st, 2020|

Why Google My Business Is So Important to YOUR Business

Google My Business Gets You Found Locally

If you enter an internet search, no matter what browser you use, you usually receive results based on your location. These local search results are critical to getting found and allowing customers to review your business. Also known as Google Places, Google My Business makes it easier for customers to find information about your business online, including hours of operation, contact information and directions – all across multiple devices.

Bottom line is your business MUST be listed in Google My Business if you want to be found online in a local search. A fully complete and working Google My Business page can increase the success, for both your online and offline operation.

It is also critical to make sure that your Google Page is complete and accurate, and optimized for best results. Having one that is working correctly can have a big impact on not only traffic to a website, but for visitors to the actual physical location of the businesses as well. Put simply, a fully complete and working Google My Business page can increase the success, for both your online and off-line operation.

When users search for your product or service, the local search listings are the ones that dominate. In most cases, these local listings will be accompanied by markers for the lucky few, along with their addresses and phone numbers. Google also displays a map that points to each business highlighted in the actual search list.

Google My Business (GMB) Page Setup

Setting up a GMB page is relatively straightforward. It’s free to set up and will enable you to appear in local search results for queries specific to your products or services.

The first step is to claim your page if you have not done so already. If you are unsure whether this has been done, you can do a quick search on Google Maps to find out if there is a page for your business already created. See below for an example:

If you have no page, then sign in with your Google Account and simply create one using the easy instructions provided. You will need to get your profile up to as near completed status as possible, then verify it through a phone call or postcard code. Until you have verified your listing, you will not be able to hit 100%.

Optimizing Your Google My Business Page

Optimizing your business website is very important for online presence. So too, is optimizing your Google My Business page if you want to appear on local search results. Google’s goal is to help people find businesses close by to where they are located. This can make it difficult to attract customers from a location outside the boundaries set by Google. The closer the searcher is to your business, the higher up you may appear on the search results.

So how do you optimize your Google My Business page to get found by people outside the specified range? It can involve a complex algorithm, but also requires your business to be on other third party directory listings, like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Citysearch, and other smaller, high quality sites. You will need to make sure your Name, Address and Phone (NAP) information is consistent across all these sites for the best results in search engine rankings.

Blue Wave Concepts, LLC is an expert when it comes to optimizing Google My Business pages. Blue Wave Concepts, LLC offers our clients social media marketing packages that get results for businesses. We offer several standard packages, or we can customize a package that will fit your specific needs and goals. Contact us to discuss which option is best for you and how we can tailor it to fit your needs.

June 10th, 2020|

Social media tips: 5 reasons why you should use hashtags (and how to use them)

Hashtags may appear as a bizarre combination of words and phrases put together with the # sign before it, but they are vital for expanding your online visibility – if used properly of course.

Do you still find yourself perplexed about the significance of hashtags?

Why are you seeing them in (almost) every post across social media platforms?

How many hashtags are too many?

Let’s get these concerns straightened out. In this article, discover how hashtags are meant to be used and why you should start using them for your online presence.

It all began when Chris Messina tweeted in August 2007, proposing the use of # (the hash or number sign) to tag topics of interest. Two years later, Twitter started hyperlinking hashtags so that when you click on a hashtag, you are redirected to the search result page showing all tweets bearing the hashtag.

Now fast forward 12 years, popular social media channels have adopted the use of hashtags although the level of success is varied. They have simplified the search for posts and contents with a specific theme as well as helped monitor online discussions. So, what’s in it for you, your brand and business?

What are “the hashtags” for and why use them?
From a marketing and user point of view, hashtags improve your social media visibility.

Increase social media views and grow your followers
A study carried out by Simply Measured showed that posts with at least one hashtag have about 12.6% more engagement than those without.

Take Instagram for instance, this visual-centric platform creates a gallery of photos and videos for every hashtag.

The more hashtags you use, the more galleries your images and videos will appear in. These maximise the number of views and user engagement.

Expand your brand reach outside your network
Making your profile and posts public will allow the whole world to see it.

Your post with hashtags will display in the search results and galleries.

People who are not your followers, but are otherwise interested in the topic will be able to view your post.

If it garners a massive amount of engagement, it will be on top of the lists and trends.

If you need more help, there are 10 ways to get traffic to your website.

Promote your brand, product or services and events

Are you launching a new product?

Why don’t you use social media to enhance your marketing efforts?

Get the online community buzzing about your newest product.

Keep the hype up and draw people into your social media page and/or website using product-specific hashtags.

Create a unique hashtag that can spark the interest of your target audience.

For your upcoming event, design catchy hashtags for your teaser posts to build suspense.

Play the ‘anticipation game’ and get everyone hooked to the event.

Search popular topics and follow conversations
Fishing around for products and services that can add more value to your customers?

Looking for trending topics and contents that can help you pump up your digital marketing strategy?

Or are you tracking what social media users say about your offerings?

You can gather data on social media through hashtags.

Find out what your audience love and address their pain points.

Build community awareness
If your business is supporting local charitable programs and nonprofit social responsibility campaigns, utilise the official hashtags of the event to spread the word in your network.

Apart from increasing company involvement and spreading positive attitude (and good vibes!), you are also gaining marketing experience.

Inspire, join the conversation and bring value to the community, don’t just post industry-related content.

How to use hashtags properly on social media
The purpose of hashtags is generally to simplify content discovery, making information searchable and accessible on social media. However, each platform has different rules for using hashtags. Too many and irrelevant hashtags can seem spammy and can hurt your brand’s good name.

Customarily, hashtags must not contain any spaces – even in hashtags with multiple words. You can capitalize the letters to improve readability but you cannot use punctuation marks or it will break the tagging. On the other hand, if your hashtag is part of a sentence, you can use a comma, period, question mark or other punctuation marks to improve the grammar.

To reiterate, hashtags on Twitter are used to index keywords or topics. Popular hashtags are displayed in Trending Topics.

Tweets with hashtags are 33% more likely to get retweeted than tweets without hashtags.

You can use as many hashtags as you want but it’s recommended to use no more than two hashtags. Tweets with one hashtag are 69% more likely to get retweeted than those with two.

Each hashtag gallery on Instagram has two sections: “Top” for the most popular ones and “Recent” for the freshest posts bearing the hashtag.

Although this platform is tailored for hashtags, you are only allowed to use 30 hashtags in every image or video post.

To help you spruce up your Instagram story, posts and ads, take a peek at our favourite Instagram apps for both iOs and Android.

Do hashtags matter on Facebook? Yes.

It may look like that hashtags are not actively used on Facebook compared to Twitter and Instagram, but they function just the same.

Hashtags turn words and phrases into clickable links, giving you access to relevant topics and public conversations.

When you click a hashtag, you will find a feed of public posts (including posts of your friends and followers) that contain such hashtag. You can even see some related hashtags at the top of the page.

Hashtags maximize your exposure on LinkedIn and build up your network.

The platform proactively promotes hashtags to their users when posting updates and publishing an article.

You can type in the hashtags in the search box to look for relevant topics and articles.

There’s no limit in using hashtags also but it’s advisable to include no more than five hashtags in a single post. Before you select your hashtags, find out what hashtags LinkedIn influencers in your niche are using and explore popular hashtags (see screenshot below).

Apart from hashtags, learn how to enhance your LinkedIn profile to represent yourself and engage online in a way that can help achieve your professional goals.

Hashtags are used on YouTube to look for videos for topics that you’re interested in.

You can insert up to 15 hashtags in your video post. They can be added either in the title or description, or both.

Users will be able to click the hashtags in the video title. Be warned that over-tagging and the use of unrelated hashtags may result in the removal of your video.

May 20th, 2020|