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How Search Engines Work

How Search Engines Work

Information, e-commerce, advertising, and entertainment are all readily available on the internet. It’s true you search for them, but how exactly do you find them? This article explains how search engines work and how SEO can help your business.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As a digital marketer, knowing how to get your brand, website, or company found by searchers is a core skill, and understanding how SEO is evolving will keep you at the top of your game. 

 

Technical Optimization

Completing activities on your site that improve SEO but are not related to content. It often happens behind the scenes. 

On-Page Optimization

The process of ensuring the content on your site is relevant and provides a great user experience. Using a content management system, you can then target the right keywords within your content. Common examples of content management systems include WordPress, Wix, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Shopify, and Expression Engine.

Off-Page Optimization

A process of improving your site’s search engine rankings outside your website. Link building is a crucial part of building a site’s reputation, which is largely driven by backlinks. However, while SEO changes frequently in small ways, its key principles do not. We can break SEO into three components:

What Happens While Searching?

Search engine algorithms are computer programs that look for clues to give the searcher the exact results they are looking for. Search engines rely on algorithms to find web pages and decide which ones to rank for any given keyword. There are three steps to how search engines work:

1. Crawling

This refers to a search engine’s ability to send out “crawlers” to discover new pages based on the website’s themes and topics. Also, check previously discovered pages to see if there have been any updates or changes made.

 

2. Indexing

When the crawlers have concluded their search, they will index a website based on its evaluation. Then registration will then store the website within its database, linking it to certain topics. A web page may not be indexed if:

  • Not mobile-friendly
  • Content is considered duplicate
  • Content is considered low value or spammy
  • Couldn’t be crawled
  • Page or domain lacked inbound links

3. Ranking

 For any given keyword, search engines sort or rank the results to give the searcher the most useful and relevant results they can find. There are more than 200 ranking signals that search engines use to sort and rank content, and they all fit under the three pillars of SEO: technical optimization, on-page optimization, and off-page optimization. Some examples of signals that search engines use to rank web pages are keyword presence in the title tag, the loading speed of the web page, and website reputation.

 

Digital Marketing Mythbusters Edition

Digital marketing weaves a complicated web. As the internet continues to grow and we shift further and further into the digital realm, so does that metaphorical web. Digital marketing isn’t just about having a pretty website and calling it a day; it takes work. It takes work to not only maintain your place in this ever-expanding digital landscape but to grow and prosper as well. This task may be both more and less difficult as you would imagine. There are plenty of myths floating around about what it takes to be successful, so it could be confusing to navigate at times, but we are here to put some of those myths to rest.

 

Myth #1: Cross-platform isn’t necessary

False

 

Digital marketing and prospering as a business in this modern time require you to have your hands in many pots. You can certainly survive as a business by only focusing on one element of your marketing practice, but you won’t flourish. The more involvement you have in your marketing the better you will succeed. Increasing your reach via mobile, social, and search is the best way to push your brand and products. More engagements equal more customers equals more growth.

 

Myth #2: Posting content isn’t important

False

 

Your online presence is more than just your website. Having a fancy good looking website is great, but it is only the beginning. While it is important to have a nice website, what matters is how you are bringing traffic to your page. The creation of content is key. Not just any content, however, but content that is both relevant and visible to whoever your target audience may be. The importance of this can’t be understated, as content marketing is becoming a larger focus for more and more online businesses. But wait – that sounds super overwhelming. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds. Just post relevant as regularly as you can, the more the better, and you will see an uptick in traffic. 

 

Myth #3: Tech is everything

True and False

 

Yes, technology plays a massive role in digital marketing and continues to grow. But at the end of the day, marketing is still marketing. The digital aspect of everything just speaks to the current landscape and format. Traditional marketing practices and techniques are still the foundation for everything, so it’s important to not view them as separate disciplines. 

 

Myth #4: One-to-one marketing is impossible

False

 

It may seem like an elusive goal but one-to-one marketing isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Personalizing your digital marketing can increase your brand’s credibility as the go-to place for your product or service. Knowing your customer and what makes them tick will make this a breeze, which is why analysis and measurement are key. Things as simple as having the recipient’s name in the body of your emails will give your customer a more trustworthy feel for your business. Analyze your online marketing and see what will work for you.

 

Myth #5: There are too many social platforms to keep up with

True and False

 

I mean let’s be real, there are a lot of social platforms available right now. Front runners like Facebook (soon to be Meta), Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest are some of the go-to’s for consumers and businesses alike. While the number of platforms may seem overwhelming, it’s important you don’t let it get the best of you. Whether you’re new to the social sites or a seasoned veteran, you are more than capable of prospering from them. Your business’ presence on social media is vital. Each may attract a different clientele, giving you an increased opportunity to boost your audience and gain new followers. These are great resources to have so be sure to take advantage of them.

 

Digital marketing can be overwhelming sometimes, but don’t let that shy you away from your business’ success. You don’t have to do it alone. Contact WJ Mediagroup for consultation and get your business moving in the right direction today.

How To Improve Customer Reviews

Every successful marketer knows that word-of-mouth advertising trumps all when it comes to generating new business. Whether your prospective customers or clients hear the opinions of others that have already done business with you. This creates a perception and influences decision-making in a way regular advertising never could.

Living in today’s digital world, customer reviews are the new word of mouth. People look for them, quite often, people base their buying decisions on them. Positive reviews about a company’s products or services can spread quickly and lead to explosive sales. While negative reviews can stifle sales and cause a business to take a step back.

Luckily, getting great customer reviews isn’t just about having your products and services out there in the marketplace and hoping for the best. There are specific tactics that you can use to ensure customers are satisfied and willing to leave a positive review for others to see.

Why People Look at Online Reviews

Typically, there are four reasons that a person would look for an online review:

  1. Get social proof from customers that have used the product or service.
  2. Learn more about the product they are buying.
  3. Reduce the possibility of making a bad purchase.
  4. Get a better sense of the product’s benefits and limitations.

Naturally, the goal for any business is to get positive reviews and use them to boost sales and grow their brand online. Here are five tactics you can use to get great customer reviews:

Ask for Reviews Across a Range of Platforms

The first step in getting great online reviews is to make it as easy as possible for people to leave them. The more effort it takes, the less likely someone is to dedicate the time to leave the review you want. Social media and third-party review sites are great platforms to help get the good word out about your company and your products and services.

Some of the most effective ones include:

  • LinkedIn Recommendations.
  • Facebook Business Page.
  • Instagram.
  • Manta.
  • YouTube – create videos and ask for reviews underneath.
  • Google – using the Google My Business feature.
  • Yelp – claim or add your business to start getting reviews.
  • Yellowpages – akin to Yelp, this is the digital counterpart of the iconic listings book.
  • Four Square – for brands in hospitality.
  • Better Business Bureau – claim your business if it’s located in the US, Canada or Mexico.

There are also many different niche review sites depending on the industry you are in that may be effective for eliciting great customer reviews. An example would be Trip Advisor in the travel niche or, as mentioned, Four Square for those in hospitality. The key for all of these platforms is to make it simple and ask for reviews, so there is no confusion about what you want your visitors to do.

Make the Most of Your Website

Your own website is a great tool for getting great customer reviews. Your web pages and blog posts should be optimized to allow visitors to leave their comments quickly and easily. You should also provide a clear path to all of your social media channels and be sure your website is optimized for mobile.

Assuming you have an e-commerce site, you may want to consider adding a live chat CHECK option to receive instant feedback from customers. This will satisfy people’s “I want everything right now” mentality and provide value as it reduces response times and enhances your customer service.

Solicit Reviews in Your Emails

Whether inbound marketing is part of your process, you will have a great platform to ask for customer reviews. Send out a short email after a purchase has been made asking for a review. You will get the most honest feedback possible because people feel as though they are communicating with you personally. That will help you boost sales or make the necessary adjustments if you notice a negative pattern in the responses.

If you don’t want to ask for a review and make them write their thoughts, consider adding a link to an online survey. Polls or surveys are easy to get set up, and the data can be analyzed efficiently. With a survey, you get to dictate the information that’s collected so you can also take the opportunity to learn more about your customers.

Incentivize the Review Process

You may find that you aren’t getting the number of reviews you’d like. Everyone believes their time is valuable, so give them a reason to leave a review. Incentives like discounts, coupons, gift cards, or being entered into contests should motivate people and may even boost your sales when they go back and shop again.

Birchbox, for example, incentivizes its customers to leave reviews by offering loyalty-based Birch Points. Since 2010, the brand has grown from a humble beauty products startup to being the world’s sixth most popular subscription service—and loyalty-driven review incentives have certainly played a part in its success.

Work on Your Timing

Asking for reviews at the right time will help you get more out of the process and improve your customer service at the same time. Whether it’s on social media, your own website, or in an email, timing is always important. The last thing you want is to get under someone’s skin at the wrong moment and end up with a negative review that others will see.

Some great times to ask for a review include after a client has positively interacted with your brand. If they tag your company or product on social media. Or if they spend a certain amount of time browsing your website or if they refer new customers to you. The idea is to approach them when they are feeling satisfied or fulfilled so that they will pass that feeling along in the review.

 

No perfect formula for getting great customer reviews exists. Though if you follow the tactics listed above, you’ll be successful more often than not. Assuming you want to prioritize reviews. Ensure you task certain team members with the job. Allow them to devote enough time to make it feasible. Once the strategy is in place, execute it. Keep moving forward until you have a multi-faceted process for getting reviews from a range of platforms.

Social Media Terminology
There are A LOT of social media platforms, and with these come all sorts of new lingos and terms when referencing their features. There is some overlap, but it can be confusing at times to navigate through the ocean of terminologies. As a business owner, your presence on social media is vital to maintaining and growing your business.  Here is a guide to help you along the way:

1. Facebook

  • Profiles: These are for non-commercial use and represent individual people. If you create an account, you can add friends, and if you follow other profiles, you can see their public updates.
  • Pages: These look similar to personal profiles, but offer unique tools for businesses, brands, and organizations and are managed by people who have personal profiles. You can ’like’ a Page to see updates from that business in your Newsfeed. Businesses would always choose to create a page and not a profile for their social activity
  • Business Manager: This is a platform that lets businesses more securely share and control access to their ad accounts, Pages, and other assets on Facebook.
  • Creator Studio: This is a tool that allows you to track and manage content performance, further across different Pages if you manage many. There is a scheduling tool and an inbox that allows you to manage comments and messages across Facebook and Instagram.
  • Facebook Ads: These are a means to amplify and target content to specific audiences for a fee
  • Carousel: Posts or ads in this format can display up to 10 images or videos at one time. You can highlight different products, showcase specific details about one product, service, or promotion, or tell a story about your brand.
  • Events: Users can make use of this resource to alert people to upcoming events or occasions so that they can reach many people quickly.
  • Watch: This is a free video-on-demand service you access through the Facebook site and app. It allows creators to upload their own short- and long-form videos, but it also includes original comedy, drama, and news programming.
  • Live: This allows people, public figures, and Pages to stream and share live videos with their followers and friends.
  • Messenger: Marketing professionals can use this tool to communicate with customers through private messages.
2. YouTube
  • Channel:  The channel serves your profile page, showing the account name description, the public videos the member uploads, and any user information the member enters.
  • Subscribe: By subscribing to a particular channel or user on YouTube, you can receive instant updates whenever new content from that source appears.
  • Title: This is the name that you give to each video you upload. Keywords are important here as well to ensure your content ranks well within search.
  • Tag: Adding categories through tags also helps your video to reach relevant audiences.
  • Description: This is a keyword-rich caption that appears underneath your video. Often businesses use this area to provide a strong call to action. As well as a link to a website, or other social media platforms.
  • Thumbnail: This is the custom image you can select as the cover of your video. This can either be a still from your video or a unique image uploaded to YouTube.
3. Instagram
  • Feed: The algorithm-based home feed shows the photos and videos which Instagram then thinks are most interesting to the user
  • Search and Explore: This is where you can discover content of interest from accounts that you don’t yet follow.
  • Filters: There are a variety of options for enhancing photos before publishing them.
  • Stories: These are ephemeral short-form content that shows in the home feed and on a user’s profile for 24 hours. You can customize them with filters and GIF stickers.
  • Highlights: This gives you the opportunity to save Stories in folders on your profile so they remain longer than 24 hours.
4. Twitter
  • Tweet: This is the communication unit on Twitter. It is limited to 280 characters. However, the most common length of a tweet is just 33 characters. Only about 1% of tweets hit the 280-character limit.
  • Retweet: This is a tweet from another user that is shared publicly with your followers.
  • Quote Tweets: These are retweets with additional comments added (up to 140 characters) before posting.
  • Reply: This is a direct response to another user’s tweet which begins with the @ symbol. Then followed by their username and then your response. As a result, some replies in a conversation don’t appear in chronological order. Replies are also grouped by sub-conversations to show the best content first. Then based on several factors such as interactions and likes.
  • Geo-tagging: This is the act of stamping the location details of where a tweet was created which enables users to search for tweets within a given area. You can then enable or disable this.
  • Moments: These are curated stories showcasing the very best of what’s happening on Twitter, customized and editable to show the current topics that are popular or relevant to the user. You can only create them on the desktop.
  • Mute Words: This feature allows users to stop receiving notifications for mentions based on specific words. As well as phrases, usernames, emojis, or hashtags.
  • Twitter Trend: This is a particular subject or conversation topic that is popular around the globe or a specific area used to classify tweets on the platform and increase their visibility.
  • Twitter Card: This is an enhanced version of a tweet that enables the attachment of media to tweets for the purpose of driving traffic to your website. There are four types of cards: the Summary Card, the Summary Card with Large Image, the App Card and the Player Card.
  • Periscope: This is a live-streaming social app built into Twitter that lets users broadcast and further explore the world through live video and social interactions.
5. LinkedIn
  • Connections: Connections are people in your network. Your network is made up of your 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-degree connections. As well as fellow members of your LinkedIn groups. Your communication options for your extended network vary based on the degree of connection.
  • InMail: These are private emails on LinkedIn, available only to Premium accounts, sent to fellow professionals without the need of an introduction, contact information, or connections.
  • Company Pages: These are specific pages for an organization to post or promote content through paid campaigns
  • Premium Accounts: These are paid-for subscriptions utilized for the purposes of career progression, recruitment, lead gen, business insights, and learning.
  • SlideShare: This is LinkedIn’s content hosting platform that works as a web service, letting you upload presentations, videos, infographics, and PDFs to share with everyone. It is a very convenient way to house all your brand’s shareable content in one place.
  • LinkedIn Group: This is a page that supports specific, topical discussions moderated by group owners and managers.
6. Pinterest
  • Pin: Pins are ideas that people on Pinterest create, find, and save from around the web. If you click on the Pin, you can visit the website to see how to make it or where to buy it.
  • Board: The Pins you save live on your boards. Name your boards and arrange them on your profile however you like.
  • Group Boards: These are collaborative boards with other Pinterest users, often used to share ideas and plans.
  • Rich Pins: Rich Pins provide more context about an idea because they show extra information directly on a Pin. There are four types of Rich Pin: app, product, recipe, and article.
  • Pinterest Browser Button: This is a browser extension that allows users to save ideas from around the web to a Board with one click.
Social Media Platforms and Algorithms

Despite the fact that social media platforms all revolve around “social networking websites,” they differ quite a bit. It’s not just the base functions and user experience that are different. In the back, all of the top social media websites, rank content and users using algorithms. These main platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. 

Facebook

The focus is to enhance the importance and viewership of local, familial, and friendly posts, rather than strictly business posts. While user-friendly content is the primary driver, another strategy the Facebook algorithm includes is spam management. Back in 2018, in just the first few months of its application, Facebook located and discarded more than 500 million false accounts. 

Instagram

Instagram has become a popular hub to find and post various types of content. Its algorithm focuses on every aspect of social media, from relevancy and connection to engagement and content popularity. The algorithm promotes Instagram’s users to comment, share, and likes. This cycle is applied, bracketed by ads and further posting, rinse and repeat.

Twitter

Twitter’s algorithm is unique, as it ranks its posts not only by relation to the user but to time and date posted as well. Fresh and updated material will rank higher than day-old news. The number of comments on a tweet will also have an influence on its rank. 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known as the leader in B2B marketing. This social platform is dedicated to networking, rather than posting content and building followers. It does this so successfully that it is the most popular platform for Fortune 500 companies to use. The site has developed an algorithm based on connection and engagement. Strong and relevant content is the key to success. Even if you don’t have a lot of links in your networking chain, you can continue to build onto it later. 

Pinterest

While Pinterest has a very different layout and follower strategy, we’re going to include it in the social platform lists. Its guided search method uses data collected from past content interactions to encourage new links. Searching, for one thing, will suggest relative content as you continue to use it. The benefit to this interest-themed algorithm is that it’s always showing the user something Pinterest knows they like. This makes the content more likely to be consumed and enjoyed.

5 Tips to Expand Your Reach on Facebook

Facebook is one of the most prominent and far-reaching social media sites occupying the internet right now. Since it doesn’t seem to be leaving any time soon, it’s important for your business to be a part of it. Here are five tips for expanding your reach on Facebook.

Be interesting

The best way to succeed on a platform like Facebook is to provide relevant, interesting, and fun content. Posting enjoyable content will help motivate your followers to share with others. Sharing content on Facebook is a powerful feature that allows for the rapid spread of information all across the world. Creating content worthy enough to be shared gives you more exposure and maybe even some new followers along with it. New Facebook algorithms reward engaging content which will also help increase your reach. 

 

Show your personal side

Social media is a space to bring the conversation down to the consumer. Different platforms can offer different benefits, but ultimately, they are a place for you to interact with the public and build relationships. It is an opportunity to show the human side of your business. It doesn’t need to be all formal and informative, you have your company’s website for that. Be fun and friendly and it will help invite and attract more and more followers that want to interact with you. 

 

Use Facebook insight

Facebook has a built-in monitoring tool for their platform called Facebook Insights. This will allow you to gain a better understanding of your audience and how they react to your page and your posts. If your business is set up on Facebook, just go to your page and click ‘View Insights’ and then “Reach’. From here you will be able to see different kinds of information. You can see how your past posts have performed and what type of content and posts have reached the largest audience. You can use this information to your benefit and produce more positive content for the future. 

 

Change it up

Variety is the spice of life. It’s recommended that you change up the content you post every once in a while to keep things interesting. It’s important to have the promotional material, but not as important as you may think. In fact, only around 20% of your posts should be promotional, and the rest should be social. There are a few different ways to represent “social” content. It can be represented as videos, images, live streams, and different kinds of text-based posts.

 

Optimize future posts

One of the best ways to measure, track, and gain insight into the performance of posts is to do something called “A/B Testing”. By split testing two near-identical versions of the same post, you can get immediate feedback. You can use this method to optimize your posts. Take the one that performed the best and implement any necessary changes. From there, just repost the improved version to all channels and maximize your reach.