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Voice activated "What can I help you with?"

Voice search AI and local business strategy

Artificial Intelligence is the ability of a computer system to perform tasks of human intelligence. Conspiracy theories about what Artificial Intelligence is, can do, or what it’s used for are all over the place. Humans are naturally fearful of what we don’t fully understand so we create adverse ideas and scenarios to rationalize our fear. Whether you harbor suspicions about AI or not it’s already here and making things easier. As I write this blog Google’s Smart Reply just identified the text in an email and provided me 3 options to use in response with the click of a button…boom just saved twelve keystrokes. Speaking of saved keystrokes, AI has made huge strides in the voice activated virtual assistant channel. Virtual assistants are in-home devices like Alexa and Google Home, but they’re also available on your mobile devices like Siri and Cortana. Virtual assistants recognize voice commands in many different languages with only a 5.9% error rate; meaning they understand the same amount as you or I do in a conversation now. When using a virtual assistant you are utilizing…

KCDMA 2018 Symposium Logo: Now & Later

Lessons for Now & Later

Earlier this year, I attended the KCDMA 2018 Direct Marketing Symposium. This full-day conference was an interactive event stacked with presentations from some of marketing’s best. The theme was Now & Later – Planning for the Future. Throughout the symposium, presenters shared current case studies (the now) and how to use these lessons for future campaigns (the later). After reflecting on the event and trying to gather all of the lessons I learned into one blog post, here are the top nuggets that I wanted to share with you. Ian Baer’s “Focusing on the One” presentation: Data unlocks everything – use data to find and address your customers’ pain points. Speed and ease or not enough anymore in the wake of Amazon. Discover what quality makes your store unique because Amazon has already perfected speed and easy. Vocab word: Webroom – researching prices online, then purchasing them in store (opposite of showrooming). This new trend is causing online brands like Amazon to fight back with brick & mortar stores.   Quinn Tempest’s “Content Marketing: To the Future and Beyond!” presentation:…

No sliders using graphic symbol

Reconsidering Sliders

I’m reading this article, “Keeping Your Credibility While Changing Your Mind” article because I have changed my mind about sliders. I feel a little bad since I do believe a small group of people may consider my opinion when it comes to web design, which I am grateful for. Even though I am not a politician, I hope you might consider these five points on why I’m reconsidering the value of sliders on a website home page, especially if you are thinking about switching platforms, or starting a new site. “My thinking has evolved.” My last blog post signing the praises of sliders dates back to the fall season of 2015, three years ago. I don’t need to remind you how fast tech changes on the web. Back then; we finally had these new responsive templates to work with after talking about how important responsive layouts are going to be until we were blue in the face. These new templates had one ginormous image taking up 70% of the layout. In order to not scare retailers into deciding on one…

Hallmark Logo

How Words Get You Found (IABC Summit Breakout Session Recap)

In my first recap of the 2018 Business Communicators Summit for the KC chapter of IABC, I covered the keynote address about demystifying content marketing. So let’s look at this recap of a presentation that demystifies search engine optimization, or SEO. And I’ll be honest, I still find the concept mystifying in a lot of ways, but this breakout session helped me get a better idea of what it means and how to use it. In her presentation, “How Words Get You Found,” Kelly Stanze, search strategist (and self-proclaimed SEO nerd) for Hallmark shared the basics of SEO and how both the content side and the technical side need to work together to provide the best SEO bang for your buck. Kelly describes search engine optimization as the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website. She also made sure to point out that SEO has become more than “just marketing.” It’s about content strategy and technical skills for website development/maintenance. The elements of content strategy involve not only what is on the pages of your website,…

Google search

AMA Recap: The Future of Search

American Marketing Association (AMA) held a workshop titled, “The Future of Search”. Scott Schaper from Unravel talked about the trends of Internet browsing over the years and Google’s ever-changing algorithm. Considering Google dominates searches on the Internet with 90% of the market, it is important to try to stay on top of what they are up to. One of the big things they are up to right now is making non-secure connections more apparent to website users. I talked about this a few months ago in SSL Certificate = Secure Connection. Browsers have begun showing discreet warnings. I’ve noticed some people question and show concern over these warnings, while others are either not bothered by them or they don’t even notice them. Google plans to make those warnings more prominent to users in their Chrome browser. I first heard this was going to happen in October of this year but I haven’t seen it yet. Schaper is saying it will happen in January of 2018. Security was only one of the topics covered in the workshop regarding a user’s experience.…

Voice search basics
InCara

The Meteoric Rise of Voice Search & Why Brands Should Care.

“Siri, turn my phone on airplane mode.” “Alexa, set up a meeting for me at 10 a.m. and invite Tim.” “Google Home, where’s the nearest grocery store with the best deal on avocados?” These are all commands that people are giving their smart devices via voice search. It’s predicted that by 2020, up to 50% of search queries will be made by voice instead of typing them into phones or computers. Earlier this month, I attended a KCDMA luncheon where Heather Physioc, Director of Organic Search at VML, presented the current state and predicted future of voice search. She noted that there are 50 billion (that’s with a “B”) voice search queries each month. This number is rising because voice search capabilities are in our devices by default, but also people are becoming more comfortable talking to these devices. Below are some important points from Physioc’s presentation for marketers and grocers to keep in mind as voice search progresses. For the Google loyalists out there, it’s important not to ignore Bing – that other search engine that no one uses,…

Blog Spelled With Scrabble Tiles

Blogging For Your Business

Blogging isn’t just a hobby for parents sharing meal prep ideas or dedicated fans giving their insights on the latest YA fantasy novel. Some people have turned blogging into a lucrative business. Additionally, already-established businesses can use blogging as another digital marketing platform to share their story and connect with customers. Even small businesses can use this platform and see the benefits of it if they put the work into creating and maintaining it. Getting Started Decide on a platform Talk to your website developer or designer about how to integrate a blog platform onto your store’s website. Find your voice Your blog voice will tie into the overall brand voice you have for your store. It’s the same voice you use in other forms of digital marketing like social media, website and email. Ultimately people like doing business with other people so find a voice that captures your business and shows the personality of your brand. Set a schedule Decide how often you’re going to publish blog posts. Do your best to stick to that schedule so your readers…

SEO is everything illustration from DEG
InCara

SEO is Everything & Always Evolving – KCDMA Boot Camp Recap 2

SEO is everything according Quinn Sheek, the KCDMA Boot Camp’s second speaker and Director of Demand Generation at DEG Digital. Okay, maybe not everything… She admitted that, but also explained why SEO is now a group effort that involves many different people across disciplines. It’s no longer a one-man show designated to just an SEO expert. SEO affects professionals in IT, PR, branding, user experience, and more. Sheek shared information from SEMrush, which listed the most important factors affecting SEO ranking in 2017. These included: direct website visits, time on the site, pages per session, bounce rate, referring domains, content length, website security (https), keywords and more. With so many different components influencing SEO, where does one even start? Here are Sheek’s suggestions for being more effective at SEO in 5 simple steps: Be curious – Why were there downward trends in your Google Analytics? How do we test and fix that? In order to be successful at SEO, you have to want to understand what is affecting web traffic. Be adaptable – Google changes its search algorithm around 500-600…

Local Pages illustration

How Local Pages Help Your Store

Retailers with multiple locations have a decision to make when it comes to creating Facebook business pages: do you make one page that represents all locations or do you make individual pages for each store? I discussed in a recent blog post how to do both, as well as how to link the location pages to the banner page. In the post, I highlighted the more practical reasons you should consider setting up the locations pages. For example, setting up individual location pages might make sense if your products, services and messaging vary widely from store to store. Those practical reasons are important but there is a less tangible reason to create local pages for each individual store location. Your customers are more likely to engage with a local page versus a banner page for the entire chain. According to an article on MediaPost, “local store pages generated 25 times more impressions than brand pages.” Citing research from MomentFeed, MediaPost highlighted findings of their analysis of impression data in early 2017 from approximately 50 national brand clients, including restaurant chains,…

Google My Business logo.

Claiming Your Google Places Listing

How often do you Google a local business in your area? Your customers are doing the same thing with your grocery store on a regular basis, so it’s important for you to be able to control what they see when they Google your store. But how do you do that? How do you manage the information that comes up on the most popular online search engine? The answer is: Google Places. Google Places allows you to list the exact location and address of your store on a map in Google, with all relevant store information to help your customers find you when they are not only looking specifically for your store but also when they are looking for specific services your business provides. According to Google, “simply being listed gives you a boost in rankings for your main website and therefore leads to more traffic.” Google gives you the option to include as much or as little about your business as you want on your Google Places listing. This includes coupons, special offers, videos, images, opening hours and preferred payment…

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