How Search Engines Work: An Infographic to Improve Your SEO

How do you find information today? Chances are, you Google it. That’s the same way that potential customers find information on your products and services. Will they be able to find you?

This handy infographic by the UAB Collat School of Business explains the science behind Google, as well as other search engines.

  • How do search engines work?
  • How can I improve my site’s rankings?
  • What differentiates Google from Bing and Yahoo?
  • Who’s Archie?!
The Science Behind Google (and Other Search Engines)

For more information on UAB’s Master’s Degree in Management Information Systems, please visit http://businessdegrees.uab.edu/mis-degree/masters/.

Are you interested in improving your SEO? Check out our other posts on search engine optimization, including 5 SEO Techniques That Will Boost Your Web Presence, or contact us to discuss driving more targeted traffic to your website or blog.

What’s your favorite search engine?

What’s a product or service that your searched for online?

How did you find the CCC blog?

Thanks for visiting!
Jaime

Let’s chat (about SEO, your web presence or otherwise):
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4 Digital Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2016

I know, I know; 2015 isn’t even over yet, and we’re already talking about 2016. Digital marketing trends move fast, so you always have to look at what’s next to stay ahead of the game and start adapting your strategy early. If you can pinpoint the major marketing trends of the next twelve months, you can begin budgeting for the change, and subtly change direction now. Take a look at these four new trends, and think about how you can move towards them.

United Nations of smartphone operating systems by Jon Fingas via CC BY-ND 2.0

1) Mobile and location-based marketing

Mobile growth had an important year in 2015. At the start of the year, mobile browsing finally overtook desktop and laptop browsing. More people are using mobile devices to get online than any other technology, a trend that is expected to continue to grow in 2016. We’ll also start to see wearable technology find its feet and establish itself, which means coming up with unique location-based marketing strategies. How can your company harness your customer’s location to its benefit? Finally, it’s time to start thinking seriously about developing an app.

2) Long-term relationship building

Until now, digital marketing has focused on short-term success. It’s been all about hitting certain numbers of Facebook fans or Twitter followers, and making quick, easy sales online. After all, the Internet provides a forum for real-time conversations with customers and prospects 24/7. The most successful marketers are slowly realizing that a more traditional approach might actually be more cost effective. By nurturing customers for longer, they can double or even triple their sales over time. Start thinking about a way to retain customers, and make the second, third, and fourth sale.

3) SEO is more important than ever

It’s no secret that Google is always updating its algorithm. Every year, the search giant introduces a new change, and every year, it gets smarter. That means your SEO strategy needs to change and adapt alongside it. We asked the experts at Pay On Performance about what SEO will look like in 2016, and here’s what they told us. First, we’ll need to be more careful and targeted with our keywords. Don’t add redundant or unrelated keywords to pages and posts, and focus on long-tail keywords for more traffic. We’ll also need more organic and natural back links to bring more visitors to our sites and blogs. Finally, we’ll need to focus even more on producing quality content and new metrics like ‘time-on-site’ and engagement. That’s what Google is looking for in 2016.

4) Social media is expanding

If 2015 proves anything, it’s that social media isn’t going anywhere. Many predicted that Facebook’s bubble would eventually burst, but it shows no signs of slowing down (although Twitter has hit a stumbling block). In 2016, Facebook will integrate itself even further into our lives, but it doesn’t end there. Instagram and Pinterest have posted enormous growth figures in 2015. Statistics also show they have much higher rates of engagement and drive more sales. These two platforms will be critical for you next year, so start building a strategy now.

Taking note of these trends now will help you get a head start on next year! Where do you think digital marketing is heading? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Are you thinking about adding new platforms into your social media mix? Does your digital marketing strategy need an overhaul? Let’s talk, so we can put together a plan for you.

p.s. Wednesday, October 21st is ‘Back to the Future’ Day. What technology from the 80s blockbuster do you wish we had today?

Riding my hoverboard to 2016,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about digital marketing, flying cars or otherwise):
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The Key Elements To Running A Successful Blog

Good Blog Design

The success of your blog begins with good design. Why? The average attention span in 2015 is 8.25 seconds, continuing a downward trend. In other words, visitors won’t stick around if their first impression is negative. Make sure the design of your blog is user-friendly and easy to navigate. There should always be a search bar for people to look for posts on specific topics quickly. Also, you should have menus displaying your categories (and tags, if applicable). Ensure that the overall design is easy on the eyes too. You don’t want there to be too much going on, distracting visitors from consuming your content. It should be simple, but classy, and reflect your brand. It’s not that hard to come up with a good blog design with a little help. And, if you do, you’re on your way to a successful blog.

Image via CC0 Public Domain

Post Regularly

One key to all popular blogs is regular posting. If you have a blog that you like to read, you prefer that they post regularly. It’s hard for people to get involved with a blog if you’re posting once a month. Viewers want regular content, and frequent posts will only see your view count increase. Naturally, you should make sure that all your posts are of a high standard. Don’t post any old thing just for the sake of posting. You have to post good content on a regular basis to run a successful blog.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a clever way for your blog to make some extra money. You will work in tandem with another company and promote something for them. You could write a blog post reviewing one of their products or services and link back to their website. You’ll then receive financial payment depending on how many of your viewers click on the link and visit the affiliate’s site. If your blog is generating a lot of traffic, you’re likely to make more money! First, you need to find some affiliate marketing platforms, and sign up with one that you like. The company will add your blog to its database and contact you if they find an affiliate that’s a good match for your blog. It can be a great way to earn some money and help make your blog successful.

Image via CC0 Public Domain

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Social Media

You want your blog to get a lot of views, earn money and be a success, but you’ll only get views if you market it properly. The best ways to market a blog are by improving SEO and using social media. If you improve the SEO of your site, it will rank higher in search engine rankings. Work on improving your ranking for relevant keywords, and focus on long-tail keywords, which are easier to rank for. For example, shoes (or even running shoes) is a short-tail keyword. Women’s trail running shoes for flat feet is a long-tail keyword.

Related Reading: Log File Analysis for SEO — Working with data visually

Similarly, social media is the perfect place to promote your blog to millions of people. Make sure you post links to your latest articles across various social media platforms, formatted appropriately to maximize exposure on each platform. Use hashtags to increase the the eyeballs on your posts and strong calls-to-action (CTAs) to drive potential customers to click through to consume your content.

Are you interested in blogging or improving your blog? Check out our previous blog-related posts or contact us with your questions. We love supporting fellow bloggers, so drop your blog link in the comments below or suggest your favorite blog to read.

Happy blogging!
Jaime

Let’s chat (about blogging, SEO or otherwise):
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5 Digital Marketing Trends To Develop Your Marketing Strategy

A strong online presence is essential in today’s market. Without the help of digital marketing, your business is already one step behind. It’s that simple. To make sure that you never fall behind the curve, here are five marketing trends to keep you current. These are relevant right now, so prepare to adjust and adapt in the coming months.

'Digital Marketing Trends' by Automotive Social via CC BY 2.0

Is your digital marketing strategy up-to-date?


Don’t Rely On Google (Now a Subsidiary of Alphabet)

Whisper it quietly so no one can hear you, because you might start a riot. Google, the king of the Internet’s search engines, might be on the decline (and is certainly going through massive changes). That doesn’t mean that the search giant isn’t still relevant. Google holds the largest market share and is one of the biggest brands on the planet. However, consumers are starting to want more from their search engine. Some just want a change because Google has been around for too long. SEO is too important to put all of your eggs in the same basket. 


Mobile All The Time

One platform that you have to rely on is mobile. Unlike Google, mobile technology is at the peak of its powers. More than ever, consumers around the globe are using mobile technology to make purchases. Right now, there is an obsession with everything mobile that does not look like it is going to subside anytime soon. Remember that mobile technology is the technology of choice for over half of the world’s purchases, so it’s crucial to incorporate mobile technology into your digital marketing strategy. 


Payment Methods Are Becoming More Popular

A Magento developer has never been more important for e-commerce and online payment websites. With the rise of the Europay, MasterCard and Visa card, or EMV for short, a new age of online purchases is here. Today, you need more from your developer than ever before. They have to be able to install and input these new techniques into your site because the world is quickly embracing the technology. EMVs are supposed to reduce the risk of fraud and data breaches, so you can see why they are becoming more popular.


Time To Start A Conversation

Unless you have been living ‘off the grid’ for the past several years, you know all about the benefits of social media for business. However, one tactic that is often left is the ability to start a conversation. Yes, social platforms are a great source of inexpensive advertising, but they also allow you to connect to your customer base. By connecting with your customers, you have the ability to improve your conversion rates. Sometimes, a simple conversation is all it takes to get to know someone and create a sense of loyalty.

Get Social: 4 Easy Ways to Join the Conversation


Paid Advertising Is Key

The trend of paying for advertising is not a popular one, but it is here for the long-term. As a result, paying for online advertising will provide a boost to your marketing strategy if done correctly. 

Digital Marketing Trends: Your Feedback

What do you see as the biggest digital marketing trend right now?

What will be the biggest digital marketing trend in 2016?

Which social network do you prefer for your brand?

If you need help with your digital marketing strategy or have any questions, let’s talk.

Let’s get social,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about digital marketing, social media or otherwise):
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Content is King — or is Conversation?

We live in an era where content is king — or so we’re told on a daily basis. But think about it…

If you produce awesome content and no one is around to consume it, is it still king?

"A Conversation" by Khalid Albaih via CC BY 2.0

“A Conversation” by Khalid Albaih via CC BY 2.0

I’m reading an intriguing book right now, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free by Cory Doctorow. It’s a thought-provoking read about how we create and exchange value in the digital age, but one quote in particular thus far caught my eye.

“Content isn’t king. Conversation is.”

Doctorow has a good point. He notes that the telecommunications industry — companies that let people talk to each other — has always outpaced the entertainment industry, including a $270 billion advantage in 2011-2012.^ What is the Internet besides a gigantic conversation?

Read: Get Social: 4 Easy Ways to Join the Conversation

This insight made me reconsider the widely accepted adage of today — content is king. Of course, it’s important. You can drive all of the traffic in the world to your website, and if there’s nothing there, it won’t help. However, you do have to drive people to your website or storefront or studio, and great content alone won’t do that. You have to create — and engage others — in a conversation.

Read: Are You Being Heard? Communication Tips For Your Brand

So the question remains… If you produce awesome content and no one is around to consume it, is it still king?

Content or Conversation

Is content or conversation king?

How do you drive traffic to your content?

What’s more challenging: creating great content or driving traffic to it?

^ Source: Information Doesn’t Want to be Free, “Getting People to Care About Your Work,” pgs 49-50

Joining the conversation,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about content, conversations, a new project or otherwise):
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Link Building to Success: Optimize Your Website

This is the third post in a 4-part series highlighting steps you can take to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). This guide was written by Ramya Raju, an experienced freelance web design writer from India. If you missed part one or two, we’d recommend reviewing them first.

While reading the first two parts of this series, you were probably wondering when I’d get to link building.

chain links

Link building is without a doubt one of the most discussed topics in SEO today. The idea is that your website is linked to by other websites and blogs, which helps in building higher rankings for your website for specific keywords. By using keyword anchor text, your site will get ranked for that particular keyword. For example, Adobe Reader is ranked number one for ‘click here’ anchor text because most download links for the reader shared on different websites are labeled with these keywords.

There are a few ways in which link building can be performed.

  • Organic Linking – the best way to gain rankings is through organic links. Such links are generated without you putting in any effort, and if they come from sites with higher rankings, like media websites and well recognized ones, then there is nothing better for your website’s SEO.
  • White Hat – quality link building efforts that follow search engines’ policies and still focus on your human audience. For example, only link to quality content when it fits within the context of your post. Don’t spam your audience (or someone else’s) with unnecessary, broken or unhelpful links that don’t contribute to the discussion.
  • Black Hat – the wrong way of link building that involves spamming and low quality back links, which should be completely avoided. It can lead to penalization by search engines and actually damage your SEO efforts.

Getting other websites and blogs to organically link to you is tough. It takes time and effort for your site to become popular enough to draw the required attention. That’s the reason why link building is an art and building quality links has to be planned well. The following methods will help you receive quality, organic links from outside sites:

  • Submit blog posts as a guest writer on the most notable blogs pertaining to your industry. These blogs will allow you to link back to your site in the author box.
  • Partner with related businesses that have their own websites and try to get a link back from their pages for partners, vendors, suppliers, etc.
  • To generate better incoming traffic to your website, create local search and social media profiles. The direct effect of these profiles on your search engine rankings is debatable but they will help drive more traffic to your website (which in turn will boost your SEO efforts).
  • Buy advertising space and/or submit your website links to dedicated industry directories and online trade journals. Don’t submit links or purchase ad space on low quality websites that are unrelated to your website (even if it’s free to do so).
  • Publish content which is so rich that people share it on their sites and blogs, providing you with useful back links. Infographics are an example of content that is typically shared at a high rate.

Photo: “Chain Links” by Eric Martin / CC BY 2.0

We hope you’ve enjoyed the first three parts of this 4-part series on search engine optimization. Check back next Thursday for part 4, Using Google+ to Boost Your Search Engine Rankings. As a reminder, posts are published on the CCC  blog every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks for stopping by!

Ramya RajuRamya Raju is a freelance web design writer with 8 years of extensive blogging experience on a variety of online publishing and social media platforms. She generally writes high quality articles on travel, photography, SEO, web design, English courses and other general topics as requested. Ramya, an extrovert with a passion for photography and anthropology, enjoys travelling to different countries to discover new cultures and experience life with the locals. You can reach her at ramyaraju896@gmail.com or visit her online at http://www.colorcharacter.com/uk/.

Content Is King and Other Essential Elements of SEO

This is the second post in a 4-part series highlighting steps you can take to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). This guide was written by Ramya Raju, an experienced freelance web design writer from India. If you’d like to visit part one, click here

In the first part of this step-by-step guide to search engine optimization (SEO), I covered the basics, including over-optimizing, title tags, meta descriptions and the advantages of using WordPress. Now let’s move on to other necessary elements in the quest to improve your search engine rankings and website exposure.

the word content

Content truly is king — for your readers and SEO efforts.

Other Essential Elements for SEO

Apart from adding the title tag and meta description, the following elements should also be taken care of for further search optimization.

  • Internal Links – It is important that you add and share internal links to other pages of your site within the content. This helps and supports your link-building efforts in addition to the links using external sites.
  • Header Tags – Search engines can gain more information regarding the content of each section with the help of the header tags. These tags usually deal with different sections that are divided on the basis of headers. The <H1></H1> tag is used for encompassing the title of the post and is always used once per page. The rest of the tags, like <H2></H2> and <H3></H3>, are used for different subheadings and can be used multiple times. Longer posts and articles can be broken down into sections that are easier to browse by both visitors and search engines.
  • Image Name and ALT Tags – Images used on the website also play a key role for redirecting searches to your page via the image search options. But to have that optimized, you should use good keywords and key phrases that align with your site in the image name and ALT tag.
  • Bold Text – Putting parts of text in bold ensures that the search engine and potential visitors consider it very important. But use precaution while highlighting text in this manner; overdoing it should be strictly avoided.

Related Reading: Content Creation Ideas

Content is the King

With the fast-paced world of online marketing, it is important to keep your customers on your website for as long as possible. For this reason, content plays a major role because it has the capacity to keep your visitors engaged for a longer time and also provides the search engines with rich data that helps in your website ranking.

You should explore a variety of content types that are relevant to your audience, such as blog posts, writing tutorials and guides, industry-related articles, videos, podcasts and infographics. It’s a monumental task to build a huge content database but it is doable. To begin, start with a blog post on your site and slowly move towards building content using other types of media. Feel free to share appropriate content from others (with proper attribution) to fill in the gaps while creating your own content.

Pic credit: “Content – Spraypaint Logo” by Ulysses D S is licensed under CC BY 3.0

We hope you’ve enjoyed the first two parts of this 4-part series on search engine optimization. Check back next Thursday for part 3, Link-Building to Success: Optimize Your Website. As a reminder, posts are published on the CCC  blog every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks for stopping by!

Ramya RajuRamya Raju is a freelance web design writer with 8 years of extensive blogging experience on a variety of online publishing and social media platforms. She generally writes high quality articles on travel, photography, SEO, web design, English courses and other general topics as requested. Ramya, an extrovert with a passion for photography and anthropology, enjoys travelling to different countries to discover new cultures and experience life with the locals. You can reach her at ramyaraju896@gmail.com or visit her online at http://www.colorcharacter.com/uk/.

Get Social: 4 Easy Ways to Join the Conversation

At CCC, we’re always telling people to join the conversation. Social media is, after all, about being social. Then one day, a client asked us how, and a light bulb went off. Hey, there’s a blog post in there somewhere!

Make It Personal

When you thank people for sharing your content or answer a question that someone’s posed, why not make it personal? Refer to people by their name (spelled correctly). Look at the user’s profile or recent tweets and mention something that catches your interest. It’s a great way to create dialogue and make someone remember you. As you develop relationships, it’s easier to ask about or note something of interest to people you’re routinely conversing with. Until then, make the extra effort; people will appreciate you.

Do A Little Soul (& Keyword) Searching

Search for popular hashtags and search terms in your industry, so you can check out what people are talking about. (If there are terms you’d like to search consistently, save a search in your social media software or set up a Google Alert.) Join appropriate conversations (not with sales pitches!), and share relevant discussions with your fans and followers to hear their thoughts. This is a great way to stay on top of trends in your industry, gain targeted followers/fans and discover new business opportunities.

Facebook search

You can search for hashtags and keywords on Facebook too.

Hashtag to Happiness (Within Reason)

Searching hashtags is also how you will know which ones to use in your posts to gain the most traction. You can see what type of posts use a particular hashtag if you’re trying to decide between #video, #videooftheday or #videoads, and choose accordingly. It varies with each platform, but generally you don’t want to use more than 2-3 hashtags on a single post. “Overhashtagging” (my word) makes your content difficult to read and turns people off. Remember, space is at a commodity, whether there’s a specific character limit or not. Most people will not take the time to read lengthy social media updates.

Related reading: #Hashtags: Big Business or Bust?

Get Social

Talk to people. Answer questions, ask your own. Engage with other users’ content, and encourage others’ to do the same with yours. Don’t just lurk or broadcast information. Social media is a two-way street, not a one-way marketing vehicle. The more you engage, the better you’ll do. Share others’ content. Leave thoughtful comments. Converse. Be social, and others will be social with you. It’s amazing how branching out to other FB pages, Twitter profiles, Google+ pages, blogs, etc. will encourage reciprocation and help you grow your network.

So there you have it…. How do you join the conversation?

  1. Make It Personal
  2. Do A Little Soul (& Keyword) Searching
  3. Hashtag to Happiness (Within Reason)
  4. Get Social

What would you add to this list? Chime in with your thoughts, recommendations and insight below. If you have questions or would like more information on anything mentioned in this post, let us know. We’d be happy to help you join the conversation!

Get Social,
Jaime

Get Social with CCC!
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