Google’s Mobile Algorithm Update: What You Need to Know

Google announced some very big news about a major algorithm update that landed on April 21, 2015—yesterday. Due to the shift in how people are searching and surfing the internet, Google has updated its search algorithm to take into account more mobile signals.

Google announced some very big news about a major algorithm update that landed on April 21, 2015—yesterday. As I’m sure you know, mobile traffic and the number of Google searches from mobile devices is on the rise. Well, it’s more than rising, because it’s about to surpass desktop computer traffic online by the end of the year.

Due to this shift in how people are searching and surfing the internet, Google has updated its search algorithm to take into account more mobile signals.

What Does This Mean for Your Business?
Zineb Ait Bahajji, a member of Google’s Webmaster Trends team, said this Google update will have a bigger impact on search rankings than the infamous Panda or Penguin updates. If you’ve been following SEO for a while, then I’m sure you’ve heard of the Panda and Penguin updates, which both caused massive changes in website rankings.

In other words, April 21 should have sent a lot of ill-prepared businesses off of the first page of Google!

What Do You Need to Do to Fix It?
If you haven’t already, then now is the time to get serious about your mobile website strategy. Answer these three questions to determine if you were ready for the April 21 update:

  1. Do you have a mobile version of your website?

  2. Can Google’s mobile bots crawl your website?

  3. Are your mobile webpages easy to use and navigate?

If you answered no to any of those questions, then you need to take action ASAP. Let’s go through each one in more detail.

1. Mobile Website
The two most common options to create a mobile website are:

  1. Create a separate mobile website on a subdomain like m.yourdomain.com. This is a great option if you have a limited budget. In fact, you can set this up for free using DudaMobile.com. If you have a complex website or a large e-commerce website, then this is not going to be a good option for you and I would recommend Option No. 2.
  2. Create a responsive website. A responsive website responds automatically to the device requesting the pages and displays the page differently depending on the device. Many popular CMS systems like WordPress have themes that are already responsive, so I recommend using an existing theme whenever possible. If you’re just getting started, then I highly recommend creating a responsive website rather than a separate mobile website because it’s easier to maintain in the long run.

2. Allow Google’s Mobile Bots
This should be fairly obvious, but if Google’s mobile bots can’t crawl your website, then Google is not going to show your website in the search results. It’s like your website doesn’t exist!

To check if Google can crawl your website, go to Google Webmaster Tools. Create an account (if you don’t have one already) and then go to the Crawl section in the left navigation. Then click “Fetch as Google”, select “Mobile: Smartphone” and click the big red button that says “Fetch.” Google will then tell you if there are any issues crawling your mobile website.

3. Mobile Website Usability
Finally, go to every page on your mobile website and make sure the pages are easy to use and navigate. Google started using mobile usability as a ranking factor as of April 21. Check all the images, hyperlinks, videos, and any other functionality normally available on the desktop version and fix anything that’s broken on the mobile version because that will drag down your rankings.

Top 10 Local SEO Best Practices for Small Businesses

Have you ever wondered how you could get your business to show up on the first page of Google, along with a map showing your prospective customers exactly where your business is located? The answer is to use local search engine optimization (SEO).

Have you ever wondered how you could get your business to show up on the first page of Google, along with a map showing your prospective customers exactly where your business is located? The answer is to use local search engine optimization (SEO).

With local SEO, you can get your business in front of prospects at the precise moment when they are literally searching for you. It doesn’t get much better than this. However, due to all the Google algorithm updates, local SEO is not quite as easy as it used to be. Whether you’re an SEO veteran or you’re just getting started, use the top 10 best practices in this article to give your business the best shot at ranking on the first page of Google’s local results.

  1. Claim and Complete a Google+ Local Page
    Next time you search in Google to find a business, pay close attention to the big map in the upper right corner of the results page. An entire section of the results list is devoted to the businesses that appear on that map. But here’s the catch: Google doesn’t pull the business information from websites. They are pulled from Google+ Local business pages!

    Setting up your Google+ Local page is easy and free, but you need to pay attention to what you are doing. The number one rule is to create only a single page per location. Creating duplicate Local pages is forbidden by Google’s Terms of Service, and can hurt your rankings.

    In addition, your page must use relevant categories. Think of categories like sections of the Yellow Pages, so the more categories you choose the better—as long as you don’t choose irrelevant categories, which is also against Google’s Terms of Service. Choosing categories can be difficult, so use this list for help.

  2. Add Your Service and Geographic Keywords to Page Titles
    This is especially critical for your homepage, but is a Best Practice for all your web pages. Title tags are like chapter names in a book—they tell Google what the page is all about. Your homepage title tag is like the book’s cover. It needs to be enticing but accurate, and explain to Google what the website holds. For local SEO, adding both the service and geographic keywords to your title tags lets Google know that your site is relevant to people searching for your particular service in your local area.
  3. Make Your NAP Consistent—and Omnipresent
    NAP is an acronym for the most important information when it comes to optimizing for local SEO. NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number.

    Google strives to provide the most accurate, credible information to its users. Therefore, before displaying your information, the algorithm cross-checks your NAP across not only your Google+ local page, but the entire Internet! To ensure your NAP is consistent, I recommend searching for your business name in the Moz Local search tool.

  4. Add Pages for Different Services and Locations
    If you provide multiple services, and/or practice in different locations, make sure you create a separate web page for each. Although it may seem redundant, this step is crucial to local SEO. You simply cannot optimize the same page for Houston, Texas, and Deer Park, Texas, and expect it to perform well for either location. Likewise, a page with keywords for both oil changes and collision repair is not truly optimized for either. Make sure that each page is entirely unique, and target each to a core keyword phrase.
  5. Install Schema
    Schema markup is a type of HTML code that tells Google more about your website. When a human reads a particular page, he or she innately understands certain things about that page, such as exactly what is being discussed. Search engines, however, have a much more limited understanding. Schema bridges that gap by adding machine-understandable explanations. Many webmasters are not yet using this valuable tool, so this is a great opportunity to get a jump on your competition.
  6. Get Customer Reviews on Google+ Local
    Unfortunately, getting customer reviews is one of the most challenging tasks that small business owners face, and there is no magical shortcut. The two keys to success are first to ask, and second to make it as easy as possible for your customers leave an online review. Even when you make things easy for your customers, this will be a slow process, but over time, it will improve your local rankings and create a big barrier for your competitors.
  7. Create a Mobile-Optimized Website
    Increasingly, consumers are turning to their phones and other mobile devices when searching for products and services. This is even more true for those who are looking for local companies, which means you absolutely must have a mobile-friendly website to compete in the local search results.

    If you’re like most businesses, then you have been dragging your feet and putting off investing in a mobile website. Well, the time has finally come because on April 21, 2015 Google will launch an algorithm update that will drastically change the mobile search results. In short, if your site is not mobile-optimized at that time, your rankings will suffer dramatically in any Google search launched on a mobile device-which is approximately 50% of all searches today!

  8. Provide High-Quality Website Content
    The importance of high quality content is nothing new for SEO. However, until recently this wasn’t a big factor in the local search rankings. Now, failing to create well-written, unique, informative web pages with at least 500 words of content each could mean your business will not show up when prospective customers are searching for you.
  9. Build High-Quality Links to Your Website
    Again, this is nothing new for SEO, but it’s a fairly new factor for local SEO. Your domain authority, or online reputation, is now a critical factor in your local Google rankings. One of the biggest factors in your domain authority is the quantity and quality of relevant links from other websites.

    As you gain more and more high-quality links, then your domain authority will increase, and in turn, your local rankings will also improve.

  10. Be Active on Social Media
    Exactly how much of an impact social media presence has on local SEO is currently the subject of hot debate. What is not open for debate, however, is the fact that social media is a great way to generate buzz and get exposure for your business. This exposure can lead to more referral traffic, more high-quality links, more reviews, and more online comments about your business, which are all signals that will improve your local Google rankings.

Want more Local SEO Tips? Click here to get my Ultimate Local SEO Checklist

5 Mobile Marketing Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2015

I don’t have to tell you that we are living in a mobile-first world that continues to drive brands to explore new ways to engage consumers. This ever-changing mobile landscape requires marketers to determine the best ways to connect with their mobile consumers with interactions that will resonate across varying screen sizes.

I don’t have to tell you that we are living in a mobile-first world that continues to drive brands to explore new ways to engage consumers. This ever-changing mobile landscape requires marketers to determine the best ways to connect with their mobile consumers with interactions that will resonate across varying screen sizes. Below you will find a handful of trends that brands should consider as they continue to evolve their mobile strategies:

1. The ROI for Mobile Marketing and Advertising Is No Longer a Guessing Game
Every second of the day mobile devices create copious amounts of actionable data for marketers. This data include call detail records, Short Message Service (SMS) data, and geo-location data. The volume of mobile data and the speed at which it is created continues to increase as the global population increases, as mobile device penetration rates rise, and as the consumer usage rate for social media grows.

2. Mobile Videos—the Time Is Now
During the last few years, the use of videos for marketing purposes has been steadily growing. According to eMarketer, more than one-third of all U.S.-based mobile phone users—about 29 percent of the country’s population—are expected to watch video on their mobile devices. This gives advertisers an ideal way to get in front of their target audience.

The reality is that mobile video is growing and will continue to do so. Stats show that consumers will continue to access, share and interact with video on their smartphones and tablets. The time to start developing a mobile video strategy is now.

3. Make It Personal
Effective digital strategies take a cross-channel approach that integrates the various mobile channels, such as SMS, app, Web and social. The value comes behind the scenes, as brands can learn useful information from each mobile interaction. For example, customers reveal their operating system when they download an app or open their Web browser. Smart marketers collate such data points into one centralized customer profile—an ideal asset to maximize personalization for mobile.

4. Going All In on Mobile
The importance of mobile will grow in each and every aspect of business. People use mobile devices all day long and in various contexts, allowing marketers to target them in a longer stretch of time and during different phases of the day.

All agree that the popularity of mobile devices will only grow in 2015, driven by smartphones, tablets and wearable technology requiring marketers to consider how they target and approach their mobile initiatives.

5. Hyper-localized Targeting
The proliferation of mobile devices, primarily smartphones, has created a major opportunity for marketers to deliver contextual advertisements. These mobile-specific ads target the right people at the right time. For instance, through the combination of social data and location data, stores that shoppers are near and might be interested in can send out ads offering percentage discounts or other incentives. Delivered by shops to their shoppers in real time, these ads get consumers to walk through their doors. Hyper-localized advertising has been shown to increase customer engagement and conversion rates.

People everywhere are becoming more reliant on their mobile devices to provide them with instant access to product information, deals and the opportunity to purchase in an easy, straightforward manner. These trends should inspire brands to think about how they can evolve their marketing strategies to enhance their mobile consumer engagement in 2015.

If Your Site Is Not Mobile-Friendly—Fix It Now!

If you rely on search to assist new users in finding your site, you must now make sure that your site is mobile friendly. Here are the reasons. As Google focuses on ensuring the quality of the user’s experience and the number of mobile devices increases, the volume of search traffic going to Google from these devices will continue to grow.

If you rely on search to assist new users in finding your site, you must now make sure that your site is mobile friendly. Here are the reasons. As Google focuses on ensuring the quality of the user’s experience and the number of mobile devices increases, the volume of search traffic going to Google from these devices will continue to grow. Google does not want the user to have a poor experience with their search just because it is done on a mobile device, so Google has been testing a variety of strategies for improving the mobile users’ experience. These focus on offering mobile users results that show sites that are more easily readable and accessible on their phones. With millions of pages to choose from Google can simply select those pages that work best on mobile devices and show them to the user. If your site is not mobile-friendly, now is the time to adjust your site, or it will be demoted.

On Nov. 18, Google made it official that they are adding a “mobile-friendly” label to their mobile search results. This is to guide users toward pages that will display well on their mobile devices. If your site is not already mobile friendly, Google will in essence be steering users away from your content and towards content that displays well on their device. You can expect that this is just a first step. Google added at the end of the announcement that the search engine is experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal. If your site is deemed unfriendly, you will be demoted.

So what makes a site “mobile-friendly” and when does Google decide? The determination will be made based on what Googlebot—Google’s crawler—finds as it follows your site. This lets Google cull out the friendly sites immediately upon the crawl. Googlebot will be looking for a list of criteria that will mark your site as friendly. These criteria include:

  1. Avoidance of the use of software that is not common on mobile devices. This includes Flash, so now is the time to trash the Flash pages, if you have not already done so.
  2. Use of text that is readable without zooming. Think of this from the user’s perspective and you will cheer.
  3. Content that automatically sizes to the screen so users doesn’t have to scroll either vertically or horizontally. (I hear another cheer from mobile users.)
  4. Links that are placed far enough apart that the correct one can be tapped easily. This eliminate a huge frustration for fumble-fingers like me who often inadvertently explore many pages.

All of these criteria are straightforward, and anyone who uses a smart phone for Internet searching will find the criteria refreshing. To assist site owners in making sure that their sites conform to the criteria, Google has provided a number of aids including a mobile-friendly testing tool and guides for how to create mobile-friendly sites. Users of Google’s Webmaster Tools will already find reports on their site’s mobile usability.

Although Google’s initial focus has been on mobile-friendly sites for smart phones, we can expect that in the near future Google will turn its attention to tablets. Users often shop from the comfort of home with their tablets. Google will look to improve the experience of “couch commerce” searchers in the future. If you have been postponing developing a mobile/tablet-friendly site, you can no longer put it off.

Tracking Mobile Ad Effectiveness With Real-Time Data

The volume of mobile data and the speed at which it is created continues to increase as the global population increases, as mobile device penetration rates rise, and as the consumer usage rate for social media grows.

The volume of mobile data and the speed at which it is created continues to increase as the global population increases, as mobile device penetration rates rise, and as the consumer usage rate for social media grows.

When analyzed effectively, this data can provide business insight on user sentiment, behavior and even physical movement patterns. Due to the sheer number of mobile devices in use, Big Data practitioners can tap mobile Big Data analytics to better understand trends across vast populations and sub-segments of users. This understanding helps business to improve engagement tactics and to optimize the delivery of services.

Mobile device data becomes particularly useful for analytics purposes when combined with extended data from outside sources. For example, weather and economic allow practitioners to correlate macro-level trends to a targeted set of users. These consumer segments have traditionally grouped users together based upon similarities. However, industry is increasingly focusing upon targeting towards individuals based upon their interests or upon their past behaviors.

Below you will find a number of ways you can apply real-time data analytics to your mobile marketing and advertising campaigns.

  • More Personalized and Targeted Ads
    Big data allows brands to better target users with more personalized interactions that drive engagement. We increasingly see ads featuring products and services we might actually want to use to make our lives better. These more personalized, more targeted ads are all based on massive amounts of personal data we constantly provide. Everywhere we go nowadays, we leave data crumbs. Following these trails reveals information about what we we’re doing, saying, liking, or sharing. Thanks to our mobile devices, this data trail now also hints at where we’re going.
  • Hyper-Localized Advertising
    The proliferation of mobile devices, primarily smartphones, has created a major opportunity for marketers to deliver contextual advertisements. These mobile-specific ads target the right people at the right time. For instance, through the combination of social data and location data, stores that shoppers are near and might be interested in can send out ads offering percentage discounts or other incentives. Delivered by shops to their shoppers in real time, these ads get consumers to walk through their doors. Hyper-localized advertising has been shown to increase customer engagement and conversion rates.
  • Leveraging Attribution to Achieve Mobile Engagement
    Leveraging Big Data about user behavior helps brands more accurately and completely quantify the effectiveness of their mobile marketing initiatives. Big data helps marketers determine whether their campaigns are creating the desired results. The ways users respond to branding assets can be used to literally create “rules of engagement” for each user or for each type of user. Marketers optimize their results through understanding varying levels of consumer engagement and through understanding the contributions of different campaigns across the path-to-purchase.
  • Real-Time Data Analytics Across the Complete Mobile Lifecycle
    In the past, conventional database solutions could be relied upon to effectively manage and analyze massively large data sets. But they did so at a snail-like pace, taking days and even weeks to perform tasks that often yielded “stale” results. By contrast, the big data analytics platforms of today can perform sophisticated processes at lightening-fast speeds, allowing for real-time analysis and insights. Shorter time to insight allows marketers to make real-time decisions and take immediate action based on fresh, reliable and relevant information.
  • Flip Traditional Consumer Profiling Upside-Down
    In the context of ubiquitous, real-time consumer data brands can now ask the data who their customers are. Contrast this to the erudite consumer profiling where consumers are targeted towards based upon their goodness of fit into an expected consumer picture. Rather than relying upon arcane consumer characteristics, instead we can now quantitatively choose targeting characteristics based upon the congruence of these characteristics with the desired call-to-action.

Brands are in desperate need for solutions that will help them understand the impact of their mobile advertising spend in the grand scheme of their broader marketing plan. This requires brands to go well beyond the click-through to be able to attribute their spend to in-store visits and better yet, sales.

Mobile Advertising Isn’t Just for Big Brands Anymore

The increasing use of mobile devices, mobile Web, multiple advertising platforms and the advancement of network technologies creates new opportunities in the advertising market. But the reality is mobile advertising is still new to many businesses, so it’s important to take a strategic approach to these types of mobile initiatives. Below you will find a baseline to help you get started on your new campaign

The increasing use of mobile devices, mobile Web, multiple advertising platforms and the advancement of network technologies creates new opportunities in the advertising market. According to BI Intelligence, spending on mobile advertising is set to reach $42 billion by 2018 and grow faster than all other digital marketing categories. That’s huge! But the reality is mobile advertising is still new to many businesses, so it’s important to take a strategic approach to these types of mobile initiatives.

Below you will find a baseline to help you get started on your new campaign.

  • Don’t Overthink It: In the transition from desktop to mobile, the classic banner ad has shrunk to 300×50, a tiny ad unit that does nothing to optimize the ad experience to mobile. As such, your mobile ad has only a limited window of opportunity to get through to your audience. This means that your mobile ads need to focus on a single message. Don’t try to cram too much text or any complicated images into your in-app banner ads. Keep it simple. One message at a time.
  • Understanding Leads to Personalized Experiences: Mobile ads are useful because brands can collect a lot of information about how consumers are interacting with their ads. For example, whether people are clicking on your ads (or not), and, more importantly, what are they doing beyond the click to build a deeper engagement with your brand. You can then use these events to better retarget customers and target similar customers (look-a-likes). The best thing about mobile is the ability to have at the very moment targeting: right time, right place and right device. The promise of hyper-local targeting is a huge benefit of mobile advertising.
  • Kickstart Relationships by Adding Value: One of the best ways to boost your mobile advertising campaign is to focus on adding value at every touch point. Also, with the increased focus on brand building ads, video and native ads, you can really create a dynamic and powerful customer experience. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to add value to your customers’ lives, sometimes providing useful content such as a white paper or informational video can be enough to start a relationship.
  • Test, Measure, Optimize, Repeat: One reason mobile ads don’t have to do it all is because it’s easy to create multiple versions and multivariate test them to see which works best. Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes marketers make is not having developers test their ads. Experiment with different offers, different creative designs, and different messages. See what works best. You might be surprised—the message your team thought was clever may not resonate with customers. Sometimes even a simple change in text, design or details of your offer can pay huge dividends. Let the performance results speak for you and allow you to make powerful data driven decisions quickly to achieve your KPIs.

Mobile advertising will never be the end all, be all for companies. What marketers need to be focused on is, “how can you make sure that your mobile ads are doing enough?” By taking a personalized approach, with one specific behavior you’re trying to impact, and testing its effectiveness, you’ll find the right way to get big results from your small screen advertising.

Mobile’s Impact on the Consumer Path to Purchase

One in three ad dollars will go to digital advertising next year, meaning digital media spending will be almost equal to television spending. Digital strategies will help drive the U.S. advertising market to $172 billion in 2015, according to new research from Magna Global. This—in combination with mobile and social networking—will push digital to the forefront

One in three ad dollars will go to digital advertising next year, meaning digital media spending will be almost equal to television spending. Digital strategies will help drive the U.S. advertising market to $172 billion in 2015, according to new research from Magna Global. Additional research shows that digital advertising will overtake television advertising by 2017, due in large part to the growing popularity of online video, with sites like YouTube and Netflix. This—in combination with mobile and social networking—will push digital to the forefront.

A digital strategy is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have for retailers and brands. If you don’t believe that, then you need to take a hard look at the following data points:

  • Mobile devices lead to in-store purchases. 52 percent of U.S. shoppers have used a mobile device to research products while browsing in a store.
  • Tablets are the cornerstone of online shopping. Tablets are expected to bring in $76 billion in online sales, two times that of mobile devices.
  • Digital content and mobile devices go hand in hand. According to eMarketer, U.S. adults will spend 23 percent of their time consuming media on a mobile device this year.
  • Mobile advertising is at its tipping point. Ad spend is expected to hit $31.45 billion this year. By 2018, it will top $94 billion.

How Do You Get There From Here?
Effective digital strategies take a cross-channel approach that integrates the various mobile channels, such as SMS, app, Web and social.

Value comes behind the scenes, as brands can learn useful information from mobile interactions. For example, customers reveal their operating system when they download an app or open their Web browser. Smart marketers collate such data points into one centralized customer profile—an ideal asset to maximize personalization for mobile.

Companies just getting started with cross-channel mobile marketing should focus on small wins. True cross-channel takes time and iteration, so commit to integrating what makes sense in the short, medium and long terms instead of trying to do everything simultaneously. Below you will find some key areas to consider when building out a mobile strategy:

1. Tablets, Smartphones and Watches, Oh My!
It will be vital for brands to take different form factors into account as they roll out their mobile campaigns. Mobile campaigns can quickly be compromised if brands don’t think about the impact on visuals and the call to action across various screen sizes.

2. The Mobile Marketing Tipping Point
Mobile marketing is evolving as more than just a tactic and is being embraced as a core part of the marketing strategy. With the goals being relatively the same as traditional marketing, marketers will be able to attract, engage and retain new and existing customers. Marketers will be able to target their audiences through highly relevant content based on location, interests and interactions throughout the mobile lifecycle.

3. Deliver a Seamless Experience From Discovery to Purchase
Brands have to make a conscious effort to remove the silos across organizations to be successful at mobile marketing. The goal of marketers should be to collaborate across initiatives by taking in to account different screen sizes, channels, design and messages to deliver ONE consistent experience to consumers.

4. Connecting the Dots Across all of the Consumer Lifecycle
As digital becomes a more integral part of the marketing strategy it will be vitally important to understand how mobile campaigns are performing across the entire customer lifecycle—including mobile ads and messaging, QR Codes, mobile website, branded apps and social media. With these insights, marketers will be able to optimize their campaigns to better understand the triggers that lead consumers down the path-to-purchase.

People everywhere are becoming more reliant on mobile devices and mobile websites to provide them with instant access to product information, deals and the opportunity to purchase in an easy, straightforward manner. Brands have to make it easy for their customers to navigate mobile sites and quickly decide to purchase, regardless of what device they are on.

Empower Your Direct Mail With Mobile

Direct mail marketing has been around for a long time; it’s sometimes thought of as the “old goat” of marketing. Over the years there have been many changes in the way we use direct mail for marketing. Slapping a resident label on a card and mailing to everyone in your city does not cut it anymore

Direct mail marketing has been around for a long time; it’s sometimes thought of as the “old goat” of marketing. Over the years there have been many changes in the way we use direct mail for marketing. Slapping a resident label on a card and mailing to everyone in your city does not cut it anymore.

Some of the best practices that have been in use for a while now are listed below. By using some or all of these, you can help keep your direct mail more cost effective and easily increase your ROI.

  • Targeted mail lists: There are so many ways you can really define your best prospects.
  • Mail tracking: Know when your mail delivered so that you can follow up.
  • Creative designs: Stand out in the mail box.
  • A/B testing: Really track results on what messaging and formats get the best response.

Since many people now spend more time on their mobile devices, you can use your direct mail to catch people on the go. In this day and age, we can empower our direct mail with technology to drive an even greater response.

When your direct mail has the latest technology, you let the recipient into the driver’s seat of your marketing. You allow them to pick and choose the information they are interested in at that moment. You can incorporate mobile marketing into your direct mail by using some or all of the following, as easy gateways to online information via recipient’s cell phones.

  • QR Codes: Directs them to a landing page with an offer, a way to buy or more information.
  • Augmented Reality: Use your imagination to create a powerful experience.
  • NFC: Near Field Communication can be used to drive mobile devices where ever you want to with a tap or touch between the phone and an embedded chip.
  • PURL: Unique and personalized landing page created especially for each recipient.

By adding these instant response methods, you increase the opportunity to catch someone in the moment as a hot lead, if not a sale. After all direct mail influences 76 percent of internet users to buy a product or service online (Exact Target), so you need to make sure that you are driving that online engagement. Creating the mobile optimized landing pages for recipients to gather more information, make a purchase or share ideas with others is a must with each direct mail campaign you do.

Thirty-four percent of consumers search online for more information about a product or service when receiving direct mail from a brand they are interested in (Direct Marketing Association). Don’t you want to be the one controlling the information they see, rather than Google? When you create the landing pages and supply all the information, your competitors are not there to distract from your message, you are in control. Some helpful tips to keep in mind when creating the landing pages are below.

  • Use the same design theme as the direct mail piece for a consistent look.
  • Ask for minimal information in order for them to download or signup for something, basically name and email address.
  • Allow them to make a purchase from the mobile landing page.
  • Make the call to action simple.
  • All the messaging on the landing pages need to follow the lead of the direct mail piece. If you switch gears on the landing page, it will be confusing to the customer/prospect.

By empowering your direct mail with choices and ways to gather information, you are empowering your customer/prospect to make a quick and easy decision on your call to action. This means your direct mail will need to have a clear call to action with more than one way to respond. It is vital that you incorporate mobile response devises now, because mobile users are growing rapidly and along with them mobile purchases. Your direct marketing company can help you to create the landing pages and the QR Codes, Augmented Reality, PURL’s or NFC. Incorporating the mobile response devices does not have to be labor intensive for you.

Is Your Content Fresh, Frequent and Unique?

Today, your content plays a much larger role in getting top search results than ever before; therefore, it may be time to adjust your SEO content. In September 2013, Google unveiled Hummingbird, the single largest revamp of its basic search algorithm in more than 10 years. The intent of this major change was to improve the speed and precision of the processing. It was also designed to address the changes in searcher behavior as search volumes continue to shift from desktop computers to mobile devices.

Today, your content plays a much larger role in getting top search results than ever before; therefore, it may be time to adjust your SEO content. In September 2013, Google unveiled Hummingbird, the single largest revamp of its basic search algorithm in more than 10 years. The intent of this major change was to improve the speed and precision of the processing. It was also designed to address the changes in searcher behavior as search volumes continue to shift from desktop computers to mobile devices.

Hummingbird uses signals derived from the query and the user’s behavior to assist in delivering a result that quickly and precisely answers what the user really wants to find. When users search on mobile devices, they are frequently asking specific questions in conversational language: “Where is the nearest flower shop?” or “How many miles to … ?” Hummingbird was designed to address these natural language questions and provide specific and precise answers. To be found relevant, your content must address the needs of searchers for real information.

Although Hummingbird is expected to impact 90 percent of searches, many marketers are unaware of its influence on their search traffic. No significant shifts in Web traffic were reported worldwide after its launch. This is because the impact on most well-optimized sites was negligible. This should not be interpreted as a license to maintain the status quo on your search efforts. As users become more accustomed to receiving quality results from their conversational search queries, they will expect content that is honed to specifically address the questions that they form into queries.

To meet these expectations, your content should present answers to the types of questions that might be posed in a search query. It should be rich in useful information that is presented clearly. If you expect your content to appear near the top of the search results, it must meet these three criteria: fresh, frequent and unique. Over time, we can expect to see steadily improving search results for sites that understand and actualize these content requirements.

Fresh content does not necessarily mean that all of your content must be new. If you previously developed, as part of your search program, evergreen pieces, such as “frequently asked questions” or how-to articles, you should revisit them and check how long they have been on your site. Would they benefit from an update or a revision, or just a reformatting? For Google, fresh content is better than stale content. Just as no one really wants to read the stale magazines in the doctor’s waiting room; they don’t want the digital equivalent delivered in response to their search queries. Google obliges this by screening for the newest, freshest content. Now is the time to refresh those evergreen content pieces, even if you have not seen a negative shift in your search volumes. You may be able to capture additional visitors who are seeking answers to those questions that you have cleverly addressed.

Because frequency is another criterion used to evaluate the value of your content, you should be sure to have a schedule for adding more content and for refreshing older pieces. Take a lesson from the success of blog sites. Those with frequent posts of fresh content are rewarded with more search traffic than those with just a few stale posts. Consider how you might apply the same principles to content additions to your website.

Your content must also be unique—not just an aging chestnut. Avoid stale recitations or rehashes of information. Ask yourself: “Does this provide something that is new, unique—or is it just content for the sake of content?” For search success in the future, you will need to pay close attention to your content strategy and deliver fresh, frequent and unique content.