effectiveness of video marketing
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Brain scans reveal the effectiveness of video marketing

For the first time, researchers have revealed how our brains respond to engaging videos, and give an insight into the effectiveness of video marketing, surprisingly, we all react in a very similar way, according to new research from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

PhD candidate Hang-yee Chan, analysed the brain activity of 60 people as they each watched the same set of 35 commercials. The researchers compared the brain activity patterns of each participant. The comparisons revealed that commercials which stimulated similar neural activity in certain parts of the brains responsible for understanding emotions and narratives. Brain scans reveal the effectiveness of video marketing

Hang-yee Chan explains

“We know that people are captivated by video content that’s engaging. I wanted to know if people see an interesting commercial, do their brains respond in a similar way. 

“We tested this hypothesis by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of people watching TV commercials, essentially tracking their brain activities while they watch the videos. fMRI measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow; blood flow increases in an area of the brain that is active. “

 “The study revealed a correlation between subjects being shown engaging content and the extent to which their brains reacted with similar neural activity, particularly in areas of the brain associated with processing emotions and understanding narratives. In other words, a fascinating video generated similar reactions in the brain, whereas a less engaging video would make people’s minds start to wander and ‘tune out’, creating disparate brain reactions among viewers.”

The findings of this study were echoed in a follow-up study that measured brain activity in 28 people watching a sequence of 18 movie trailers; it implies that the same effect on brain activity is observed in people watching any kind of engaging video.

This research is useful for marketing and communication professionals as they will be able to find out how engaging their videos are and shape them accordingly.

For more information, a copy of the paper, or to speak to Hang-yee Chan, contact Kate Mowbray at BlueSky PR on [email protected] or call +44 (0)1582 790 711.

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Is Google indexing your videos?

What Is Geofencing
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What Is Geofencing? How Does It Work?

Geofencing is a buzzy mobile app capability that’s been around for at least a decade; however, developers are only now seeing the full potential of geofencing for building a great user-first experience. While geofencing received some attention in relation to user privacy, new tools are considering how geofencing can better surprise and delight customers – and in the future, radically change the way companies deliver location-based experiences. 

From sending a tailored promotion when a customer enters a retail store to powering order-ahead food delivery, geofencing plays a key role in making mobile apps contextually aware. How does geofencing work, and how can mobile app developers better deploy this technology? Here’s what you need to know about geofencing. 

 

What is Geofencing?

So, What Is Geofencing? Geofencing is a location-based service in which an app or other software uses GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi or cellular data to trigger a pre-programmed action when a mobile device or RFID tag enters or exits a virtual boundary set up around a geographical location, known as a geofence. 

 

What does it mean in practice? Think about it like this: geo-fencing is like an electric fence for your dog but in the real world. Geo-fencing allows for the setup of virtual fences or areas, wherein the entering and exiting through the areas triggers a response or action by the individual or company monitoring the geo-fence. So, instead of alerting a pet owner when Fluffy wanders into the neighbor’s yard, geo-fencing triggers alerts for a business owner when key things happen: a customer visits a store, for example, or the store of a competitor. 

 

How does it work?

To make use of What Is Geofencing?, an administrator or developer must first establish a virtual boundary around a specified location in GPS- or RFID-enabled software, which can be as simple as a circle drawn 100 feet around a location on Google Maps. This virtual geofence will then trigger a response when an authorized device enters or exits that area, as specified by the administrator or developer.  Put simply, picture virtually unfolding a paper map, taking a virtual pencil, and then drawing a virtual circle around a desired part of the map. Then, whenever someone or something enters or exits that area, you are alerted.
 

What is it used for?

Early geofencing projects revolved around using GPS to track herds of livestock or using ankle monitors to keep an eye on criminal offenders. This tracking then developed into keeping track of truck drivers on their routes as well as using  “smart cards” to track employee movements in a building. 

Today’s use of geofencing has evolved beyond simply tracking where a target customer (or a herd of sheep) is at any given time. With privacy concerns challenging companies to rethink their use of geofencing, companies like Radar are leading the way in innovating how geofences can improve the user experience. 

Take, for example, Burger King’s Whopper Detour Campaign. Burger King ran a promotion to sell Whopper burgers for $0.01 – but only to customers within a 600-foot radius of a McDonald’s. Customers could download the Burger King app and head to their nearest McDonald’s. When they were within the geofence, the app would redirect them to their nearest Burger King to redeem the promo.  

This is just one way brands are thinking creatively of how to use geofencing to surprise and delight customers – without invading their privacy.

 

Geofencing: A Matter of Privacy

As expected, not all individuals are comfortable having their location data shared via geofencing. In fact, in 2017, Massachusetts was one of the first states to enact a consumer protection law that objected to the use of location-based advertising. The Attorney General blocked an ad campaign from Copley Advertising, which was hired by a Christian organization to set up a geofence around women’s health clinics that would target women in the waiting room or nearby with anti-abortion ads.

While many ad-tech companies use geofencing to collect data on customers, new pioneers in the geofencing space, like Radar, are careful to put the user experience at the forefront of innovation. In a space dominated by ad tech and data monetization companies, Radar’s privacy-first approach means they do not sell any data they collect, nor do they share location data across customers.

 

Geofencing: 2019 and Beyond

The geofencing industry is expected to grow over 27% by 2022, citing “technological advancements in the use of spatial data and increasing applications in numerous industry verticals.” 

While retail and travel are two industries already invested in geofencing, there’s a lot of potential for this technology to grow to government, healthcare, and more. Surprising and delighting customers is just the first step to integrating geofencing more thoughtfully in nearly every aspect of life. Over time, users will come to expect, rather than be surprised by, the way companies use geofencing. We expect to see companies use geofencing more strategically to send contextually relevant messages, build contextual experiences, and understand location data more thoughtfully. 

This article is contributed by Radar.

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Google Ranking factors How to make Google index more of your content

In today’s content saturated world, Google Ranking factors and drawing an audience to your content is a never-ending challenge, especially as the pay as you go to be seen consideration of social media expands.

Organic search is still the biggest ticket if you can be bothered to spend time on it. Higher rankings equal a steady flow of traffic, so which of the many 100s of signals mean more in search? How can content be optimised for max impact?

Read this post for seven signals you should be thinking about for Google (and its customers).

What Google Requires for Google Ranking factors

Pretend you call 192 for a doctor’s phone number. Not that anyone does that much these days. You somehow get through to a beautician instead. No doubt you will put the phone down.
Now imagine you search for “Facebook Ads template” on Google, then you click on 1 or 2 links, and find that you are reading a generic marketing post that has no useful content or the template you were looking for. You immediately leave the site and hence “bounce” from the webpage. Almost immediately, Google’s algorithm notes your quick visit means the content didn’t deliver what you searched for. Doh!

Google is hellbent on delivering the content that people are looking for. It’s that simple. Google employees have Google’s 164-page Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines to evaluate and rate web sites and pages. The algorithm is trained by human ratings, and these are used to what to show in the SERPs.

In its most recent updates, Google has reiterated three core aspects:

One is Expertise.
Two is the Authority.
Moreover, Three is Trust.

Put in different terms, Google wants YOU to provide end-users material that has been produced by an expert, has visible and apparent thought leadership and authority on the subject matter, and is content that people can trust.

1. Expertise

Does your site deserve expert recognition? You can prove that it does to Google and Google Ranking factors. Having an in-depth section about your targeted topic on your site is critical and quite frankly obvious, Maybe in-house subject matter experts’ qualifications, your education, certifications, awards, and what not.
Build your brand across the internet. Your website doesn’t operate in a black hole; it operates on Earth. Google’s smart algorithms and bots traverse the internet like busy ants to see if you are found in other locations. The more prominent these brand signals, the more proof to Google that you are an expert.

The Infamous Mr Neil Patel says:

“Brand signals convince Google that you are the real deal.

Building brand signals is a critical methodology to establish trustworthiness with Google and increase your exposure in the rankings of search engines.

Building brand signals should also have a net-positive bearing on your brand equity.”

What needs to be done to produce brand signals? The primary route is to create and publish super-high-quality material in a vast range of locations. I mean guest posts, podcasts, a YouTube channel, social media profiles, LinkedIn, whatever channels suit your subject matter.

Google Ranking factors expertise

 

2. Authority

Create fantastic content equals the most effective way to demonstrate authority. Create awesome content for Google Ranking factors.

A Google exec said that the critical factor to the ranking is awesomeness. What is awesomeness? Depth and breadth are key — more than anything else out there. The more copy and words a piece of content has, the more likely it is to cover a subject in detail and so, therefore, more useful tosomeone. Backlinko confirmed in their study that content length correlates with rankings. It is a no brainer. A 3000-word article vs a 300-word article which one will Google rank higher? Moral? Take time to write quality articles and content.

Google Ranking factors authority

3 Search intent

Search intent is more important than keyword match in Google Ranking factors. Google’s game is delivering relevant results to folks that are searching. It does not just result using the searcher’s words; Google displays results-based on what Google thinks the searcher wants,

Let’s say a person searches for “cruises,” Google knows there’s a better chance the person is considering booking a cruise than wanting to learn historical facts on the cruise business. Google will return results showing cruise product pages only.

Your content must be produced not just to exact match keywords but to mirror the intent of the user behind those typed keywords. Ask yourself, “Why would a person be searching for this particular term? Role play literally. What questions are they looking for answers for?” Then address those items one by one.

With intent-based content, it leads to improved engagement from the readers. They spend more time on your site, which is a HUGE signal to Google that the content they are browsing is relevant to their search.

Google interprets this increased engagement as a right answer to the visitor’s question, ranking the URL higher as a result.”

Google Ranking factors intent

4. Trust

Google does not want to send searchers to a spammy or deceitful or fraudulent page. Their reputation is precious to them. Don’t risk messing with it or the Google Ranking factors.

It isn’t that majorly challenging to demonstrate your trust quotient with a trusted, secure site.

You must use HTTPS and NOT HTTP protocol on your website. An insecure site is no longer an option. It is a secure method to display to Google that your website has taken precautions to ensure that user data won’t be stolen, hacked etc. HTTP sites were last acceptable in the nineties, dude.

Google Ranking factors https

From there, make who has authored the content crystal clear. Ensure that your content is original.Do not plagiarise (this is huge). If Google suspects that you’re plagiarising content from someone else’s website, it WILL penalize your site. If you do use content from another site as an inspiration, then make an effort to write it in your words and how you understand it.

If you collect data especially personal data, such as an email for a registering, or data like an address to complete a purchase, ensure you utilise the correct kit to secure your form fields, signed documents, checkout, etc.

You also demonstrate why you should be trusted by including social proof in the form of reviews or testimonials or use a tool like proof.

Google Ranking factors trust

 

5. Click-through rate and dwell time

Click-through rate as you may be aware is the percentage of users who click to your page when it is displayed and featured in search results.

Dwell time is how long before a user returns to the Google search page after clicking on a result.

Both CRT and dwell time are distinct Google Ranking factors given what we know about Google’s increased emphasis on the quality of content. If a search result is not clicked, it’s not relevant and therefore why should it be ranked high. Obvs if a clicks user through to a page but only stays a second, the person likely found that the content wasn’t relevant to the search.

Google Ranking factors ctr

6. Backlinks

Ahh, backlinks. That old chestnut in Google Ranking factors. A backlink is a website link to your content published by another website. Google treats these backlinks as popularity votes in a weird way. Basic stuff here but if multiple websites link to your content on your site, Google interprets that your content is relevant.

How do you get high-quality backlinks quickly? You can’t. The simplest, most logical way is to create content that is so amazing that people will be inspired to link to it. The best backlink content is more in-depth, covers more subjects, includes high-quality graphics, such as infographics and often includes original research.

You want a “linkable asset”, a high-value page that you can leverage for links repeatedly from other sites.

It’s content so mind-bogglingly amazing, so useful that people are so inspired that they can’t help but log into their WordPress and add a link to your site in their content.”

People should feel compelled to link to it. Of course, the content has to be so valuable that visitors are compelled to read it. It’s content so impressive that you share it immediately.Google Ranking factors backlinks

Give Away

Give away content in conjunction with your article to make it more attractive. For example, if you write an article on how to build a marketing plan, let them download a free marketing template! That’s more useful to someone who is just telling you how to build a marketing template plan.

Creating superb content is only step one. Some will find your material organically, but you also need to reach out to influencers sites to make sure they are aware of the content so they can link to it. Your influencer outreach programme needs to be targeted. Use tools like Buzzsumo to filter these people out. You cannot blast emails out and expect people to link to your content just because you emailed them!

 

 

7. Page speed

How patient a person are you? How long are you willing to ponder for a website to load? Most people won’t wait more than two to four seconds. Thats a Google Ranking factors you cannot ignore.

Google is ranking reliable, faster sites in front of slower sites. Fact. How can you speed up your site? Well, first of all, minimize HTTP requests, your developers should already have done this. Use a proper fast web hosting company. If your site is constructed on a CMS like WordPress, use a WordPress dedicated hosting company. Deploy your content delivery system and switch on caching. Compress large images and optimise them.
Remove redundant plug-ins, apps, widgets, and any third-party script that drastically slows load time.

To learn your website speed, use GT Metrix and Google PageSpeed Insights. Google Analytics also has speed data. Both will score both the desktop and mobile versions of your site, and tell you how to improve your FULL speed.

Mobile compatibility is now a MAJOR ranking signal for Google. If your site on a mobile device makes it hard for people, they are going to press their back button.

On WordPress, you can use a compression plug-in like WP Rocket to reduce the file size of images for a smoother experience.

Google Ranking factors page speed

 

Read this also Most Important SEO Ranking Factors

Track your rankings with Rankactive

marketing trends
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Seven Marketing Trends for 2019

Seven marketing trends for 2019

Which of the Seven marketing trends for 2019 do you need to plan for?

Number seven, Conversational Marketing.

If you look at Intercom, or Drift, Freshchat, Crisp and many more these are all different chat programs that you can install on your website. As a trend in Seven marketing trends for 2019 this is one to get into soon. A conversational marketer is someone that can engage and write sequences that engage with people that are on your site, that are looking for something specific. The output of these conversational marketers are chatbots, and they’re getting smarter and smarter, and over time they’re going to be able to predict exactly what people are looking for. So conversational marketers are going to become more and more critical, We think this year. It’s going to take one notch up when people talk about Ai and chatbots. We think it’s going to level up where it’s going to be able to predictably guess what people are looking for and respond to them accordingly.

Number six, Audio.

When you talk about podcasting, for example, or Audiobooks, audio is just something that’s very easy to consume. Here is an example. Imagine you speak at a conference. Moreover, someone says they listened to you on their phone on their way to work. How intimate is that? One to one connection. When you have someone’s focus like that it’s very powerful; maybe they are at the gym, perhaps they are rowing and just listening to you! It becomes an intimate thing, and if they heard you on their drive to work every single day, you’re going to build a relationship with them at scale, and the thing is when people are watching something else, it’s hard to focus, but when you’re doing audio, most of your focus is on the sound.

That attention is priceless. Try adding Amazon Polly to your website, that will create audio versions of your posts, translate them into other languages and create podcasts! Amazon Polly is a service that turns text into lifelike speech. Amazon Polly – Amazon Web Services (AWS). https://aws.amazon.com/polly/ With dozens of voices across a variety of languages, you can select the ideal voice and build engaging speech-enabled applications that work in many different countries. That’s going to help you increase the dwell time on your site, so that’s good for Seo.

Number five, Video.

Video is here to stay. It’s getting bigger and bigger as one of the Seven marketing trends for 2019. Every marketer we know has video on their agenda. Okay, everybody’s doing this video thing right now. Video is significant because now you get to visualize and you’re building a relationship. There are so many video productions solutions. Many are free, and others are a low-cost entry. Many allow you to make videos in minutes. Check out Ripl, Reevio, PowToons, Animoto and many many more. You can even record a session off your phone if you don’t have time for excellent production.

How do you build a relationship with people at scale? You can use video. Not only that, you can use it for anything, like blog updates or introduce a new service. It’s getting even more prominent and that I think it’s going to explode and 2019 because everyone needs more and more video. YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google. We add video to every one of our blog posts to help increase the dwell time. Okay, so from a Seo perspective, do that as well. It’s going to help you improve how long they spend on your site.

Here is a little baby hack. If you don’t have time to produce your video, re-purpose someone else. By this we mean collate NOT copy. Use YouTube’s embed function to use a video from YouTube to support your blog posts or presentations.

Number four, Browser & Device Notifications

Continuing the theme of one to one communication, whats more powerful than focused communications to someone’s screen? We’ve noticed even bigger brands using browser notifications. Its one of the Seven marketing trends for 2019 you might need your developers to chip in. You know when the browser asks you if you want to allow or block notifications. It works on the FOMO principle, and you can get lots of registrations if your registration message demonstrates value. Browser notifications are not like an email, so some people prefer them as a way to stay in touch with their favourite content providers.

Seven marketing trends for 2019

Number three, Live video.

Instagram live, Facebook live, Youtube live, Twitch live. Have a look at Smule if you like music. We see people, influencers out there that are going live on all four at once, and that’s powerful because now we’re able to do so. It would help if you had a decent camera btw like Mevo. When you build the right audience, you go live. Many marketers have been taking advantage of live. We recommend that you consider live broadcasts, especially if you are in Entertainment like music. Take it more seriously because it’s going to go the distance for you, it is a great way to increase followers.

Number two, Collaborations and Partnerships.

Whether we’re doing YouTube collabs or tagging people on Instagram, figure out ways to work with others. Leverage each other’s channels to grow yours. Try to do it with other people that have a similar size.
Maybe they’re bigger than you. Perhaps a little smaller than you. When you’re collaborating with people, you’re building relationships, you’re getting able to tap into their audience, and you’re building more goodwill. Really, really simple.

Number one, Automation.

I’m talking way more than automated CRM emails to prospects and cart abandons. Marketing Automation via a CRM like Hubspot or eCommerce automation like Nosto is old school. Even auto scheduling and posting to social media via Buffer is simple stuff. With tools like Zapier and IFTTT and many other cool technologies, more and more marketing tasks can be automated and we believe this will be the biggest of Seven marketing trends for 2019. From you being emailed automated analytics reports to prospect mining to automated sales emails to so much more.

If marketers are not using more and more automation this year, you are missing a trick and losing out on time to build a strategy. By way of using APIs and custom scripts, the possibilities are endless.

In case you have not read it here is a piece on SEO factors for 2019 you need to think about.

Check out Mary Meeker’s internet trends for 2018 as a recap

biometric payments
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2019 the year of biometric payments

Alastair Johnson, CEO and founder of blockchain-based secure payments and identity verification platform Nuggets believes 2019 will be the year of mainstream biometric payments. Here are his thoughts below –

“2019 will be the year that biometrics payments go mainstream. Consumers are already used to the idea, thanks to payment apps like Apple Pay that use our phones’ biometric scanners. But this is just the start of things to come. Fujitsu and Singapore-based Touché are currently trialling payment terminals that incorporate palm or finger scanning technology, and California’s CaliBurger is testing a system that lets customers serve themselves after linking their faces to loyalty cards.

The race to make shopping more convenient with biometric payments and as friction-less as possible will gather pace. Having to remember passwords and use PINs will become a thing of the past, so too will be having to fill in long online forms to make payments. Credit and debit cards will begin to feel outdated. Major players like Visa and Mastercard are already working hard to bolster our reliance on them, by working on fingerprint scanning cards. But technology is likely to leapfrog plastic cards altogether by enabling our biometrics to be directly linked to our accounts in 2019, allowing purchases to be authorised just by having those biometrics verified.

In 2019, there will be a proliferation of payment apps and wallets launched by brands, like the M&S Payment App & Walmart Pay, but the vast majority won’t get the take-up they need. The industry need a universally accepted payment wallet – for convenience, but also for security.

As consumers’ awareness of the value of their data grows, and data breaches continue at an alarming pace, consumers are more likely to gravitate towards brands and spend their money with retailers who actively go out of their way to protect their data, and save them from sharing details with hundreds of different retailers every year.

The emergence of sovereign biometric payments solutions will be a big story in 2019. These are platforms that allows users to make payments to businesses online or offline without giving that information away to a third party. Advances in the fields of biometric payments, blockchain technology and cryptography will make this possible.”

Of course this has implications for e-commerce transactions and IRL world transactions. In theory it will be easier to buy and checkout in both scenarios. The point made above about consumers giving their business to brands who go out of their way to protect their data, will become ever more important. Brands will need to remind their customers via marketing and CRM that they will protect consumer data.

Amazon shopping is already quite easy but will it be as smooth with biometric payments? The user journey and user interface for bio payments will need to be clearly thought out. Payment solutions on the blockchain will be even more popular simply because of the security. The user experience will be akin to two step authentication and the authenticator app, except instead of entering a code all you will need to do is scan your fingertip.

Nuggets is a consumer blockchain platform giving users a single biometric tool for login, payment and identity verification, without sharing or storing private data. See how this works across desktop and mobile in the video above.

Perhaps, the fact that you accept bio metric payments will be something you want to optimise for search

Growth Hacking Strategies Neil Patel
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Growth Hacking Strategies Neil Patel Video – Tips to Get More Traffic

Growth Hacking Strategies Neil Patel

Everyone has an opinion on what is Growth Hacking .

You’re not going to increase your traffic, your sales unless you take growth very, very seriously.

What channels your customers are using or your potential customers? When you’re trying to do growth, you can’t just look at the most popular channels like Facebook, Twitter. These channels get crowded very fast. Share of voice is very tricky. This video was shared on YouTube on Dec 4th 2018.

google my business interface
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Local SEO Growth Hacking

Is Local SEO on your agenda? It should be.

Overview

Brands with a real world presence have a huge opportunity for increased traffic to website and footfall to outlets. This would translate to significant ROI. This can be achieved by simply taking ownership and optimising Location profiles and listings on major networks like Google My Business [GMB], Facebook Places, Yelp and Tripadvisor. There are of course many other channels to exploit [click on the image to expand below]. Over 50 possible “location” networks could be claimed and optimised. However “The Big Four” Google, Facebook, Yelp and Tripadvisor get 90% of traffic. Two others not covered in this post so much but that we would recommend to look at in a Phase 2 would be Bing and NavMii which powers navigation systems like Waze.

local listings

Local Listings Scan example

Goals you might have

  1. To increase Brand Awareness
  2. To increase traffic to your website and social media
  3. To increase footfall to outlets
  4. To drive reviews and engagement on networks like GMB, Facebook

Essentially you want prospects searching for you, viewing you and taking an action. There are many solutions available to optimise for local SEO and different approaches for a Local SEO campaign.

However, many technology/software based solutions are very expensive and cost prohibitive for most small brands. One leading software solution would cost a brand £100,000 for 100 locations and that’s JUST for the software. Resource would be required to then run the software. 600 locations would be six times as much. If you only have one shop or location then £100k will be complete overkill.

As is always the case with optimising for Google you need to consider the Algorithm. More searches, more visits to your site, more people getting driving directions will only help boost you in local search results.

local seo insightsClick to Expand

actions taken local seo

How do they find you? Via Maps? Via Search?
local seo where

Assessing how your business is doing in local searches via number of people asking for driving directions, number of phone calls you receive and how many visit your website.

actions local seo

Claiming ownership for multiple and large volume locations could be a very complex process. Google do offer a Bulk upload feature but Tripadvisor do not for example.
For 100 locations across 4 networks [GMB, Facebook, Yelp and Tripadvisor] it is actually 400 listings which will take some time. If its done manually then an estimated 3 months but this depends on how the “claim” process goes.

Reviews Management in context of Local SEO

Number of reviews and Rate of Reviews also sends signals to Google which will help determine your ranking in search results. This is a critical factor for Local SEO. reviews managementAlways ask you customers to leave a review. Mention it on your site. Have signage in store calling it out. Train staff to bring it up in conversation whilst they are in your venue. Try and get customers to leave you a review before they leave the store. Its quite easy to do from a Smartphone.. Ask them to search for your brand on Google. They should see a listing like the one below. Tell them to look for the “write a review link”. Tell them to click and review! Also encourage customers to take pictures and upload to your venue listing.

 

local seo

 

Not only do negative reviews need responding too but even for positive reviews, consumers will expect a response e.g. a thank you.
Google has recently updated the Google MY Business that if a brand replies to a review the consumer will get a notification that the brand has responded so potentially continuing the conversation.

Also a caveat that volume of reviews are reasonable and manageable per location [assumption being we would only have to deal with a small volume of reviews daily. If you are getting 100s of reviews, you may need to a software solution to help you manage the replies.

Once you have a good volume of nice reviews about you, close the loop on your Local SEO by then automatically updating your website to show the latest reviews by way of Google , Facebook, Yelp etc APIs. They can be easily embedded and update in real time. Don’t worry negative reviews can be hidden from your website. But both negative and positive reviews do look more authentic.

embedded reviews

Finally, having regular status updates on your locations and adding new pictures/updates regularly boosts search engine rankings in Local SEO. It would be difficult to manage status updates for 100 locations daily. So again if you have more than one location then you may need a software solution.

Create you updates on Google My Business much like you would on FaceBook. Some copy, a link and image/video and share. Regular posting sends a signal to Google this business is active and if a customer’s search matches some of the variables we should show their listing.

local SEO Google My Business

Other SEO ranking factors to think about.

 

web hosting
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How to Host a Website

As of 2017, the number of websites worldwide stood at more than 1.2 billion, great for web hosting companies. This figure comprises everything from simple personal blogs to more elaborate websites and ecommerce platforms. Suffice to say, anyone with a message to convey or a product to sell has a website. Although the majority of people know what a website is, not too many actually understand how they work.

In this essential guide, we’ll cover the details you’ll need to understand the concept of web hosting, how it works and the process involved in owning a website.

So, let’s get started.

How web hosting works

Web hosting refers to a place where a website is stored or located.

A website is made up of numerous files, HTML, CSS, PHP, images and videos – all of which need to be stored somewhere so that visitors can access them. Typically, the files that make up a website are stored on a computer connected to the internet; this is known as a web server. Meanwhile, web hosting simply refers to storing your website files on a webserver.

Web servers are usually owned, sold or rented out by web hosting companies. When paying any of these companies to host your website, you are effectively paying for web hosting. Once your website is stored on their webserver and you’ve completed the web hosting process, your site can then be accessed by visitors from any part of the world.

The web hosting process also involves registering a domain name, as well as marketing, so as to let people know your website is now up and running.

What different types of web hosting are there?

While all web servers serve the same purpose, they come in different shapes and sizes to meet people’s individual requirements. When you want to buy web hosting, you’ll have to choose from one of the different web hosting variants covered below. Be aware that the performance and functionality of your website could depend largely on your choice of web hosting.

  • Shared Hosting: Shared web hosting means you’ll be sharing one web server with a number of other websites. This type of web hosting is suitable for new websites or those that don’t expect much traffic to begin with. Everything about this type of hosting is shared – including the cost – which makes it the most affordable variety of web hosting. However, it’s also the least reliable, as a breach on one website can put the other websites on the web server at risk. Before choosing shared web hosting, it is therefore important to understand the pros and cons to be entirely sure that it’s something you can work with.

 

  • Virtual Private Servers (VPS): A virtual Private Server (or VPS) is just one step above shared hosting. It is essentially one web server, divided into a number of virtual servers. Each website is hosted on a virtual server, though still on the same web server. VPS hosting provides more resources, more privacy and is more reliable than shared hosting. In fact, it is the ideal solution for a website owner looking for a reliable hosting option, without the financial commitments of dedicated hosting. There are several reasons to consider VPS hosting once your website outgrows shared hosting.

 

  • Dedicated Hosting: Dedicated hosting is a web hosting system whereby you have the entire web server to yourself. You won’t share it with any other website and have the freedom to customise and utilise as you see fit. Dedicated hosting is highly reliable, but fairly expensive and also requires a high level of technical expertise. For this reason, dedicated hosting is ideal for big businesses and websites with a high volume of traffic. Once your website has grown beyond a VPS system, you can perhaps consider dedicated hosting.

 

  • Cloud Hosting: Despite having been on the market for a number of years, Cloud hosting is seen by many website owners as being the new technology in web hosting. Cloud hosting uses a series of networked servers to provide resources for websites. It provides optimum performance and reliability, with very little downtime. Because it works with multiple servers, the moment one goes down, another takes its place immediately; suffice to say, this is the most reliable of all hosting types. Cloud hosting is also highly scalable and will automatically adjust to suit your website’s changing needs, eliminating the need to change servers as your site grows. This system of hosting is equally ideal for small websites or those with a high volume of traffic.

 

  • Managed WordPress Hosting: There are more than 75 million websites built on WordPress. This highly popular CMS accounts for an impressive percentage of websites online. However, because of the special server requirements of WordPress, not every web host can accommodate it. Managed WordPress is a system of hosting whereby every technical aspect (of hosting and running a WordPress website) from installation to upgrading and monitoring is left in the hands of a reliable web hosting company. This type of web hosting is ideal for WordPress site owners who would rather focus primarily on growing their business than the technical aspects of running a website. To be honest a lot of our websites are on Managed WordPress Hosting sites. Read this post for more info on Managed WordPress Hosting

Choosing the right Hosting Company

At this point, you should know enough to choose the web host that would best suit your needs. However, it’s also important to know how to identify a reliable web hosting company. After all, you can’t trust every web hosting company you find via Google search results; there are several factors you need to take into consideration. These include server performance, data centre location, server features, customer support, and price.

Choosing the wrong web hosting company can negatively impact the success of your website, so you’ll need to make the right choice at the first time of asking.

How domain names work

Every website comes with a string of numbers known as an IP address, which will look something like this: 183.162.87.651. However, because it’s difficult to recall the IP address of every website we visit each day, domain names came into existence. The domain name is an easy to remember, easy to use representation of the IP address attached to a website. When you enter a domain name in the address bar of your browser, the web server checks to confirm the IP address associated with that particular domain name. Once confirmed, the website attached to the IP address will be displayed.

Every website has a domain name, which you’ll also need if you want visitors to be able to access your site.  To use a domain name on your website, you’ll need to register it with an ICANN accredited domain name registrar. This is not as tedious as it appears; in fact, major web hosting companies also register domain names for their customers. Some of them even allow you to register a domain name and use it free of charge for the first year.

Domain name extensions

A domain name is made up of at least three sections – the first of which is WWW. This is usually found at the beginning of every domain name. The middle section is made up of your actual domain name, while the third is the domain name extension.

Popular domain name extensions are called ‘Top Level Domain Names’ (TLDs). Examples of TLDs include .COM, .NET, .ORG and .INFO.

There are also other domain name extensions known as ccTLDs, which stands for Country Code Top Level Domains. These are domain extensions each associated with particular countries of the world. A ccTLD is ideal if your website provides goods and services to local customers. For example, if your website is targeted at people in New Zealand, you may want to consider .CO.NZ as your domain name extension with a dedicated NZ host such as www.discountdomains.co.nz/web-hosting to help you access the local market. Popular ccTLDs include: .CO.UK, .FR, .ES, .JP, .RO, and .US.

In addition to, there is also a series of new domain extensions, known as gTLDs. These were created to appeal to website owners who would rather show a clear association to their niche. Popular gTLDs include: .BAR, .LAW, .FOREX, .CLUB and .WEBSITE.

All together, there are more than a thousand domain name extensions available. You can view the full list here.

How domain name registration works

As stated earlier, before you can use a domain name, you’ll need to register it with an ICANN accredited domain name registrar. Buying and registering a domain name is relatively easy and not time consuming. In fact, the hard work is finding the perfect domain name that properly represents your brand and subsequently attracts visitors to your website. If this proves difficult, these tips can help you. It’s vital to get your domain name right the first time, as changing it in future can cause you to lose important page rankings and website visitors.

When you register a domain name, it is for a fixed period (usually a year). At the end of this period, the domain name is placed back on the market (unless you renew before this time). Your domain name registrar will typically send you an email before the expiration period, reminding you to renew. Unless you’re no longer interested in using the domain name, it is certainly in your best interests to renew it.

As we’ve already pointed out, major web hosting companies will give you the domain name of your choice for free when you buy web hosting from them (if your preferred domain name is available). However, this is usually for the first year and you’ll be required to pay for it if you want to use it thereafter. It’s always a good idea to use just one company for your domain name and hosting needs. This way, you can manage both products from the same account, whilst avoiding any technical hassles associated with using separate providers.

You can also opt for separate providers; that is buying your domain name from one company, but web hosting from another if you so desire.

Conclusion

This marks the end of our web hosting beginners’ guide. We hope you’ve found it useful and that it will help in no small way you when next you want to buy a domain name or web hosting.

In case you are thinking of hosting a chatbot on your site. Check our chatbot guide.

WordPress CMS
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Step by Step Guide – Making Ideal Website

This is the 21st century, and due to platforms like WordPress CMS, Squarespace and Shopify you can build your website from scratch without any professional help or coding knowledge. What we have provided here is a step by step guide to building your own website today. You will be required to make some crucial decisions. Since you are probably a beginner, we are going to help you make those decisions and provide you with the tools needed in each step. If you have decided to build your website yourself, don’t forget we can help . Building a website comes in three major steps.

First, you have to choose the right platform that suits your needs. We recommend you use WordPress CMS. In this article, you will learn why WordPress is your best option. After that, you will need a domain name. Its easy to register one for free on a plethora of websites. Lastly, you have to choose a theme. The third step includes customising your theme so that it suits your needs and your content. Every other thing in between these will be covered in detail as we go on.

Before you go ahead, do a quick check of all the tools required so you don’t get caught halfway. These include a domain name, WordPress CMS hosting, which will be where your website files are stored, and enough time to focus without interruption. In total, the website’s cost will depend on the kind you decide to build. But we have taken the time to do a lengthy article on what it will likely cost you to build a website. You can check it out later. We advise you start small and work your way up by adding one feature after another.

Setup

This stage includes getting all you will need for your website. Remember, choosing the right platform will determine the success of your website generally. Get your WordPress CMS first. It comes with tons of designs and addons that allow you to create the website of your dreams. All you need to do is imagine it and you will have all the functionality at your finger tips. We have also prepared a detailed article on the benefits of using WordPress and why you should choose it.

What’s more, WordPress CMS is free for download. The only parts where you’ll spend money are in getting a domain name and hosting it. Domain names cost about $14.99 a year while hosting will cost you about $7.99 a month for a start. Some of the top trusted and most recommended web hosts are Bluehost, GoDaddy, Freeparking, Hostgator and iPage.  They have been working with WordPress for over a decade and would be delighted to help you finish building your website if you encounter any difficulty along the way.

But if everything is going smoothly so far, next is to go to the Freeparking’s WordPress hosting site, for example, on a different browser window and click on “Get Started Now”. It will take you to the price page. Choose a plan. Basic and Plus are the recommended plans for beginners. Once you select one, you will be taken to a new page where you choose your domain name. After this, press continue to be taken to a page where you will provide your account information, email, and so on. As this stage is completed, you will receive an email with details on how to access your web hosting control panel. This is where you install your WordPress CMS, which is the next step. Also, you can perform other setups here.

WordPress installation

Installing WordPress CMS is a crucial part of website creation that used to require technical skills and focus. Today, it is much easier. On your cPanel, you will find a host of icons, but you will find you don’t have to use up to 5% of them. That’s how easy it is now. What you do is go to the website section of your cPanel and select the WordPress icon. Once you click on it, it will prompt you to choose the domain name you want to install WordPress on. Select yours and click on next. The next page will require you to provide your website name, admin username and password. Carefully check all the boxes there and click on the “install” button, then continue. While it is running, you will be presented with an array of website themes for your website. But you mustn’t attend to that immediately since we will still show you how to do that right.

After installation is completed, you will be notified with an “installation complete” link which you will have to click on to get to your WordPress login URL and password. Now, if for some reason, this “one click” installation method doesn’t work, there is no need to be anxious. There is a manual option available to you. Check out this manual installation of WordPress. Some hosting companies do not allow for automatic WordPress installation. This might also be a sign that you are dealing with a bad hosting company. In the absence of such a hitch, you have successfully created your WordPress website.

Choose your website theme

This is the fun part where you unleash your creativity. This is the physical part of your website. How it looks when someone clicks on your link will be determined in this stage. Fortunately, your website theme will also be controlled by WordPress, which is pretty easy to work on. WordPress is designed with lots of professional templates which, when installed on your website, will allow it change appearance whenever you want. There is a default theme for all WordPress websites, but I’m sure you will want to personalise yours to give it character.

To customise your theme, you’ll have to go to the admin dashboard where you will click on “appearance”, then select ” theme”. You will then click on the “Add New” button which will present you with over 4,492 free WordPress themes in the directory. This process has been made so easy since you have different filters like “industry”, ” layout”, and so on, to help you get to the ones that are suitable for your business. They are also sorted by latest and featured to help you see newer additions. But if you have any theme in mind, just enter the name in the search field and you will see it in the search results. But if you are having trouble selecting the perfect theme for your business, we have prepared an article to help you out. After installing your selected theme, click on the customise link right under “appearance” to apply all the changes you want on the theme and better make it yours.

Further settings and installations

The process is really as easy as it sounds. Now you know why we recommended you choose WordPress CMS as your preferred platform. You can now begin using your website which means adding content to it. On a WordPress website, content is added as posts and pages. Posts are your blog posts which are published on your blog while pages contain such content as your About Us, Services, FAQs, and so on. As a default, the blog posts are at the front page of your website, but you can change that if you want. You can even have your blog as a separate page or create a website without one.

The posts show on your page in reverse chronological order. This way, visitors see your latest posts first and follow a navigation button to see the older ones. You mustn’t add every page you need in one day. WordPress CMS allows you to always edit and update. To add a new page entirely, you just go to “Pages” and click on “Add New” in the WordPress admin area, provide a title for the page and go ahead to create.

If you want to customise and tweak your website further, just head to “Settings” and follow the prompts like “Reading”, “General”, “Discussion”, and so on, depending on what you want to do. These are to be conducted in the admin area. For more features, you have to install plugins which you do by choosing any of the free 49,000 plugins available on WordPress.

Have a look at SEO ranking factors.

backlinks seo ranking factors
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Most Important SEO Ranking Factors 2019

You may or may not be aware that SEO Ranking factors, one of which is number of backlinks will make a huge difference to the success of your website. You may not be aware that these factors change very often. What worked for you last year may not be as effective this year. Hence, this is why you need to keep up to date with current trends in SEO.

Websites that are properly optimised for search enjoy more visibility and, consequently, more traffic. Don’t forget that more traffic will lead to more sales and more profit, so if you neglect SEO, you are essentially shooting yourself in the foot; your website will not enjoy enough visibility on the internet and you will end up losing potential traffic.

In this article, we will be sharing some of the essential SEO ranking factors that will help you dominate SERPs in 2019. By the end of this post, you will know enough to properly optimise your website and attract more traffic to your business.

To make for easier reading, we have created a table of content for you:

  • Referring domains
  • Organic click-through-rate
  • Domain authority
  • Mobile usability
  • Dwell time
  • Total number of backlinks
  • Content quality
  • On-page SEO

But first, a little background.

seo ranking factors

What does ranking in SEO mean?

Ranking in SEO refers to the current position of your website in search results. A # 1 ranking means that your web page is the very first result on SERPs when people search for a particular term. This does not include promoted results, answer boxes and snippets.

Appearing in the top 5 results is great because this accounts for more than half of clicks on search results page. Appearing on the first result page is also a great achievement because literally no one goes beyond the first page of search results.

Ranking high in Google SERP involves a lot of work and patience. There are certain things Google look for when ranking a web page. The search giant checks things like:

  • The relevancy and authority of the content
  • The quality and amount of content
  • The reputation of the website
  • Information on the site and its owners

Google will consider all these factors when ranking web pages.

It is important to point out, though, that there is no guarantee that your website will appear on the first page or #1 of search results. However, with the right techniques and enough effort, you stand a very good chance of making that happen.

Now, let us look at the essential SEO ranking factors for 2018.

Referring domains

Referring domains are the domains or websites that refer visitors to your site.

A referring domain is different from a backlink in that backlinks are URLS that direct visitors to your website while referring domains are websites that contain backlinks to your site. For example, if a site like www.123articlesdirectoryxyz.com (does not exist) has about 1000 backlinks to your website, www.123articlesdirectoryxyz.com is a referring domain. Note that an extremely high number of backlinks per referring domain will likely earn you a penalty from Google as this will be seen as the result of black SEO practice.

While it is definitely suspicious for one website to hold hundreds of backlinks to your website; if used properly, it can help with link building, which is essential for the visibility of your website.

Referring domains to your website can be found in the Acquisitions Report of your Google Analytics dashboard.

Creating an effective referring domain strategy for link building will help enhance your SEO efforts and deliver valuable results. Websites at the top of SERP have backlinks from a number of high-value, credible sources, and a proper referring domain strategy can help you achieve this.

An effective referring domain strategy will help you with the type of links that are likely to send viable traffic to you by using the content that already exists on your website.

While it might appear that its good to have a lot of backlinks to your website, it is better to have high-value referring domains with backlinks pointing to your site.

A good way to achieve this is by guest posting. Look for authority websites in your niche that accept guest posting, then submit high quality content that may entice people to click on the link to your website.

Organic click-through-rate

Organic click-through rate is the number of clicks your web page receives on search results, then divided by the number of views/impressions or times it was viewed on the search engine results pages. Because no page ranking is created equal, knowing your organic CTRs will help you determine how important each rank position is to your website. Knowing your organic CTRs will also help you estimate the amount of organic traffic to your website. When you have a good idea of how much traffic is driven to your website, you will be able to set realistic expectations for your website and know how to measure the success of your expectations.

However, before you can get to this point, you should first work at improving your website’s organic CTRs. Doing this will help improve your search page rankings, ensure better website visibility and drive reliable traffic to your website. At its core, improving your organic click-through rate simply means making the extra effort to attract clicks on SERPs.

Methodology you can adopt to improve your organic CTRs include:

  • Using effective meta-titles – The titles of your content and webpages are the first thing a user will see in search results. A descriptive and engaging title will do a lot to attract the attention of a search user and compel him or her to click on your web page link. This is why it is a good idea to pay attention to the titles you use for your pages. As much as possible, use natural keywords in your title that reflect what your content is about. This makes it easier for search users to determine its relevance to their search.
  • Writing effective meta-descriptions – Meta-descriptions are as important as meta-titles, but, with meta-descriptions, you have a higher word count to describe the content of the page you are promoting. The typical search user will quickly skim through the brief description below the title to see if the page actually offers the information they are looking for.. Subsequently, if you want to improve your organic CTRs, it is important that you properly optimise your meta-descriptions to contain the relevant search keywords and other important information relevant to your web page.
  • Using long-tail keywords – Long-tail keywords are essential for SEO success. By researching long-tail keywords and implementing them in your website content, you can greatly increase the volume of organic searches related to your content you rank for. For example, a customer is more likely to buy when they search for “Adidas sneakers under $500” than when they simply search for sneakers. If you are a shoe retailer, you will get more qualified click-throughs because of the long-tail keywords included in your content.
  • Implementing structured data – Structured data or schema markup is an important component of the content found on SERPs. Structured data helps Google understand the purpose of each page on your website and how they relate to a particular search query. It is essentially a structure of all the pages on your website and is necessary for Google to show up the right page in response to an individual search query.

Without structured data, you risk being invisible on the internet. Fortunately, creating and uploading the schema mark-up for your website is not difficult. In fact, if you have a WordPress website, there are dozens of plugins that can automate the process for you.

Domain authority

Very few people are aware that more than half of the websites that rank in the top 10 SERP position are three years old or older. Research suggests that very few websites younger than one year old achieve such an impressive ranking. This means that if you have had your site for a while, and it is properly optimised, you already have an advantage.

Domain authority (DA) is a critical factor which helps determine how well your site will rank in SERPs. In almost every instance, the age of your website plays a vital role in your domain authority, although there are smart ways to improve the domain authority of a young website. The DA score ranges from 1 to 100, with a higher score improving your chances of faring better in search results. It, therefore, follows that to enjoy improved visibility in search results; the domain authority of your website must be very high.

Before looking at how to improve your domain authority, you may want to first check your score. You can do this by using Open Site Explorer by Moz. Just type your URL in the search box, hit enter and you will get a report showing everything from page authority to domain authority and established links.

In some cases, exact-match domain names not associated with spammy websites can enjoy boost in page rank, but for established websites without exact-match domain names, implementing better on-page SEO, building quality backlinks, turning out high quality content and staying active on social media are some tactics to employ to increase the domain authority of a site.

Mobile usability

Google implementing its mobile-first indexing in 2018 means that mobile versions of websites will be indexed differently from desktop versions. The less obvious but more important implication of this development is that Google will now analyse websites against ranking signals, of which mobile responsiveness is an important one to determine how a site will rank in mobile and desktop search results.

The implication of this is that if your website is not optimised for mobile, irrespective of how pertinent your content is, and how much your domain authority score is, or how well you meet other SEO benchmarks, it will not show up in results for relevant search on mobile devices. You might think its much adieu about nothing until you realise that mobile searches now far outweigh searches done on desktop computers. Not having a website optimised for mobile means you have to effectively remove yourself from the possibility of ranking in mobile SERPs. Even though this will not affect your ranking for desktop search, it will limit the size of your visibility and cause you to lose a countless number of potential visitors. Also, Google recommends that websites implement a responsive design pattern.

If there is doubt about the usability of your website on mobiles and tablets, your next step is to test your site for mobile responsiveness. Google’s mobile test tool will tell you if your website is responsive enough to display properly across devices. If it isn’t, you should immediately consider optimising your website for mobile so as not to lose out on organic traffic from mobile search.

Dwell time

Dwell time is one of the least used, yet most important, site metrics that help search engines determine the relevance of a website.

Dwell time is literally what it says on the tin. Its the amount of time a user spends on your site before returning to the search results. A longer dwell time means that the visitor found what they were looking for on your website, and this is good for your page ranking. A short dwell time, on the other hand, indicates that your website did not live up to the user’s expectations.

While the precise threshold that indicates a poor or excellent dwell time is not exactly known, it follows that to improve your page ranking; you should work at keeping organic traffic visitors on your site for longer. Sometimes its easier to say things than do them ; however, there are certain things you can do that will help keep visitors on your website for longer.

The first thing you can do is to produce better content. A visitor is more likely to remain on your site for a whole if you provide them with high quality, engaging content.

Since dwell time is a measure of the time between arriving from SERP and returning, it makes sense that providing your visitors with more things to occupy their time will help improve your dwell time. Creating a strong internal linking system to other engaging parts of your website can do the trick.

You can also adopt more effective engagement techniques that will keep users on your site for longer. This can be by providing related content, polls, engaging media and so on.

Improving and Increasing the time spent on your website will improve your website reputation and help you rank better on SERPs.

Total number of backlinks

Since the beginning of SEO, a lot of trends have come and gone, but backlinks remain one of the important signals necessary for Google page rankings.

The number of quality backlinks to your site will have a huge impact on your rankings. In fact, more links result in better ranking as long as these are not bought links or links gotten via schemes. Note that backlinks coming from the same source are not as effective as quality links coming from a multitude of authority websites, so when creating a backlink building technique, bear in mind that it is the source of the links that matter, not the amount. The best scenario is when an authority website includes a link to your site in one of their pieces of content related to your niche. This will tremendously improve your relevance and make Google see your website as an authority in that niche.

Of course, it makes sense to have a few links from low-quality websites too, but make sure that building links is an integral part of your SEO campaign.

There are several effective methods you can adopt to get a good number of quality backlinks, including guest blogging. However, if you site is suffering from an acute lack of backlinks, it may be a good idea to involve an SEO expert. There are a lot of things you may not be aware of, or might overlook, that an SEO expert will cover properly. Luckily, the internet is full of reliable agencies like Synapse SEO.

Content quality

The phrase ‘content is king’ has been prevalent on the internet for a long time. Quality Content effects website visibility and is actually one of Google’s most important ranking factors.

The importance of high-quality content is aptly covered in Google’s rating guidelines where they say they aim to provide search users with only the most relevant and high-quality results, related to what they are searching for. Any content that does not meet this criterion is bound to affect your page rankings.

One of the best ways to optimise your content is to include relevant keywords. These are keywords people use when searching for the type of content your website offers. You need a good keyword research system to come up with relevant keywords for your website.

Additionally, long-tail keywords will significantly improve the relevance of your content in search results. Google appreciates long-form content and that is something not to ignore. Therefore, when creating content for your blog posts, endeavour to reach the 1000-word count. However, your long-form content should be relevant, rich and engaging.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO are those activities you carry out directly on your content to improve relevancy and visibility. These behind-the-scenes activities are crucial to the success of your SEO efforts.

Some effective on-page SEO you can implement include:

  • Optimising meta-titles and meta-descriptions
  • Optimise header tags to help search engines read your content properly
  • Optimise image tags to help search engines understand the purpose of your image files
  • Have a rich internal linking system to direct visitors to other feature-rich sections of your website
  • Where appropriate, use structured data to help Google understand the content on your site and how relevant it is to search users

Final words

There you have it, some of the most essential SEO ranking factors for 2018. However, understand that SEO is a dynamic field, this means you need to keep abreast of the trends in SEO to stay ahead of the competition.

Hope you have a better understanding of the SEO ranking factors for 2018, and now understand better ways to optimise your website for search in 2019. Before we go, check out an ecommerce checklist .