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Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Your Business

The value of social media marketing can be a bit hazy when it comes to its ROI. How exactly does it benefit your business? This article insight will hopefully shed some light on the value of this platform to any business type.

First, did you know that Google is now tracking your brand or website’s social media activity and making this data one of the organic search ranking factors? If your social content is widely shared on social networks or you’re acquiring more traffic to your site via social media, your organic ranking results will benefit. This means better first page results and greater online visibility for your business.

Secondly, social media marketing is a great means for building brand awareness, thought leadership, and brand loyalty—all through content generation. It’s not necessarily about marketing your products and services in a traditional sense. By providing relevant and valuable content related to your products or services, you have the opportunity to engage and connect with specific audiences who will hopefully like, share, or follow your posts. With approximately 3.48 billion social media users today, this marketing platform offers great reach potential to differentiate your business or brands.

Keep in-mind, your social media initiatives can be valuable even if there’s not a direct tie to a conversion. This means a Facebook post link to your site does not have to be the direct source of an online purchase or contact submission. Possibly the prospect has been following and sharing your posts, visited your site several times and finally chose to complete a purchase or pick up the phone.  Did you know research has proven that it takes approximately seven touches to a new prospect to achieve a conversion? Social media marketing can help support your sales funnel. And, detailed analytics provided by your social channels, search engine analytics or a lead generation tool (i.e., Hubspot) can then help assess interest, nurture leads and guide your ongoing marketing strategies.

Social media posts are just one way to engage with your audience. Most social channels offer robust and economical advertising solutions that allow you to select your target prospects—not only based on general demographics, such as age, gender, and geographic location, but education level, job titles, and even interests. And, A/B testing is often built into many of the formulas so the most effective ads will be displayed. Videos options also add allow more impact and can tell your story or sell your brand in a more impelling way.

However, social media marketing cannot be effective without thorough research, planning, tracking, and ongoing measurement. Don’t just jump in blindly. Determine which social channels can best reach your target audience. Identify the goals you wish to achieve, such as brand awareness, educate, increase website traffic, etc. Then, create a strategy and content calendar that will support regularity. Finally, continue to assess and refine your strategy based on the tracking data you gather. Also, don’t take on too many channels—maybe just start with one. Quality is key. You can always add another network as you gain experience and master frequency.

Remember, look at social media marketing as one piece of the whole digital marketing arena. You have so many online platforms to market your brand. They should all have a purpose and support one another in the sales funnel. Your website should be your marketing hub where you link to, link from, build on and continue to enhance. Social media marketing can play a key role in your lead generation efforts.

Big Changes in Store for Google Ads in 2019

Last week was the much-anticipated annual Google Marketing Live where Google unveiled features and products coming out in 2019.

Last year, Google announced YouTube lead ads, smart campaigns and responsive search ads. This year there were many great products digital marketers will want to dive into—especially Discovery and Gallery Ads.

Google Discovery Ad details:

  • New visual ad format
    Last year, Google introduced Google Discover to replace Google Feed. Now advertisers will have the ability to showcase a single product image or service or multiple images in a swipeable carousel format. This format is similar to a Facebook ad appearance.
  • Ads use the “power of intent”
    “Power of intent” means ads display based on consumers’ past site visitation, app downloads, videos watched and map searches.
  • How it works
    Discovery ads are a new campaign type in Google Ads. Advertisers much launch a Discovery campaign to run discovery ads. When setting up Discovery Ads, advertisers will enter one URL link, at least one image, a logo and up to five headlines and five descriptions. Google will then use machine learning to serve the best combinations of your headlines and descriptions—automating the ad optimization process.
  • Where ads display
    The new Discovery ads squarely fit the theme with visual formats that appear in multiple Google feed environments—across YouTube home feed, social and promotions tabs in Gmail, and on the Google Discover feed.
  • Large audience and growing
    While the Discover Feed is only six months old, 800 million people are now using Discover on a monthly basis.
  • No search intent
    Search is not the intent of these ads. Compelling creative as well as effectively telling a visual brand story will be important to the success of these ads. It will not be about keywords.

Google Gallery Ad details:

  • New visual ad format for mobile search results
    Visually compelling ads that appear at the top of mobile search results only. These ads offer a scrollable gallery with between four and eight images and up to 70 characters available for each image.
  • How these ads work
    Advertisers pay for these ads similar to a CPC basis—whether a user clicks to a landing page or swipes to the third image in the sequence. The cost is the same.
  • Search intent
    Gallery ads combine search intent with a more interactive visual format. These ads only display in the top ad position in the search results and compete against other text ad formats in an ad group.
  • Other details
    This format is not available for desktop display but may become available in the near future.

How to Increase Google Ranking

Why Isn’t Your Website on the First Page of Google?

You’ve just invested in a great looking site that you believe best represents your brand, speaks well to your target audience and offers a strong user experience. You even invested in keyword research and site optimization. Yet, months later, your site has very little Google visibility. How could this be? 

The Big Misconception

It seems to be the common question that every business or organization with a website presence wants to know…”how do I increase my Google ranking?” With Google owning 92.92% of the worldwide search engine market share, according to Statcounter’s February 2019 data, and with its proven traffic opportunity, it’s no wonder many are looking for the answer.

But, here’s the big misconception. A well designed website does not guarantee top Google ranking. You simply have a well designed website. However, if you were wise enough to invest in keyword research to use as the foundation of your site structure and content, you are miles ahead. Yet, ranking on Google’s first page takes time and ongoing work. And unfortunately, Google’s algorithm is always changing. Not what you wanted to here, right? Keep in mind, you are one of many vying for the same keyword rankings. You have to keep earning Google’s trust.

Basic Steps to Improve Your Google Rankings

So, what does Google look for and what can you do to improve your Google rankings?  Google looks at many aspects of your online presence that ultimately strengthen the value of your website.

Here are 9 ways to improve your Google organic ranking:

  1. Keyword usage is the foundation of ranking results. Hopefully, your keyword research was thorough and your navigation and site structure was effectively built around these valued terms. Assess the following:
    • Does your site have meta data (title tags and meta descriptions) specifically written for each page and utilizing keywords effectively?
    • Is each page content written and focused on identified keywords?
    • Were your website images named with page-focused keywords and do they include alt tags specific to your keywords?
    • Do your pages use H1 and H2 header tags that are keyword specific?
    • Is your content too condensed? Too little keyword use will simply not rank. Long form content almost always performs better.
  2. Backlinks are still a major factor in your website’s ability to rank well. If other sites don’t link to you, why should Google consider your site important? Each site has a Domain Authority score as well as individual Page Authority scores.
    • Check your Domain Authority score to learn where you stand.
    • Identify your current back links (those URLs linking to your site) and look at some of your competitor’s backlinks to get ideas. Moz Link Explorer can help you do just that.
    • Keep in mind, sites linking to you that have high Domain Authority scores will improve your score. So, evaluate each existing backlink or those you are considering.
    • Don’t overlook the value of other digital channels. Social media involvement, with links directed back to your site, can be valuable backlinks.
    • Make a list of potential backlinks you could obtain and start working down the list.
  3. Optimize for speed. Google is all about the user experience. A slow site with images that are not optimized for faster load time will lower your ranking opportunity.
    • Continuously monitor your mobile and desktop speed to keep improving each page’s load time.
    • Use Google PageSpeed or even Google Analytics to see how to improve your speed.
    • Use a WordPress plugin, like, to automate your image optimization.
  4. If you are a local business, have you used Local SEO strategies to improve your location results?
    • Make sure you have established or claimed your Google My Business listing and enhance the information and images. Your listing supports your Google Local 3-Pack results, directory listings and organic results.
    • Assure you have consistent name/address/phone number (NAP). Google places a lot of weight on having accurate and correct information throughout directories and social pages. Use a tool like Moz Local to check and correct inconsistencies.
  5. Create internal links—especially using keywords.
    • Make sure your anchor text is relevant and descriptive—do not force keyword use, but assure it explains the link, rather than “click here”.
  6. Make sure your site is mobile-responsive. Mobile use continues to grow and Google aims to reward those who provide the best user experience.
  7. Build out a content marketing strategy that includes consistent blog posts that are centered on keyword research.
    • Google values websites that are consistently evolving.
    • Make sure your content is based on keyword research—especially blog articles. Blog content in turn should be optimized so it too can rank well with Google to drive more traffic to your site.
    • Use email marketing strategies to remarket and drive traffic to your new blog content.
    • Add social media share widgets to your blog articles to encourage others to increase your brand awareness.
  8. Constantly analyze and enhance your Click Through Rate (CTR). CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks your website’s search results receive by the number of impressions or views. A higher CTR means that your search result is enticing and attracting the attention of search users. Google will reward those sites that have stronger interest.
    • Assess your title tags and meta descriptions. Make sure they are written with focused keywords, relevant and persuasive—getting the search user to want to click on your listing.
    • The first position in a Google search engine result page (SERP) is expected to average a 35% CTR—the best percentage on the page.
  9. Make sure your site has a secure protocol—an SSL certificate.
    • With the SSL, your URL will change your hypertext transport protocol from “http” to an “https” encryption. This makes a visitor’s connection to your website secure. It will also display a locked or unlocked icon in your browser’s address bar to indicate secure or unsecure.
    • Back in 2014, Google updated their algorithms to favor HTTPS websites. Google even announced that having an SSL Certificate is the easiest thing site owners can do to boost SEO ranking.

Addressing these 9 initiatives should definitely increase your Google ranking. But, you can’t stop there—it’s an ongoing process.

Why Your Website is So Valuable

No matter what size or structure of your business, organization, or online store, your website should be one of your most valued marketing resources. Understanding its far-reaching potential will help you realize the importance of this investment.

Credibility and Brand Perception
In today’s world, your website not only validates your business, but can offer the credibility to build upon your brand perception—to tell your story and position your brand amongst (or above) the competition. A website can make a one, two or three person operation look as impressive as a Fortune 500 organization. And, it doesn’t end there. Your website has the potential to never stops selling and building your brand. It exists to work 24/7 to speak to your existing clients and new prospects.

Not only can your website reach those who specifically search for products or services like yours (those further down the sales funnel), it also provides the main hub to push or pull prospects to content or a customized page that is tailored for a given audience. Your website allows visitors to access desired information, download a white paper or coupon, or participate in a webinar in exchange for contact information. And with this small amount of information, you then have the ability to engage and nurture prospects—understanding each visitor’s interest., even seeing past interactions with your website and digital channels. This information helps you spend your marketing dollars wisely while you successfully achieve more customers and brand advocates.

Valuable Search Traffic
First, let’s consider the search traffic that is available to you. Did you know, 88% of consumers research product information before they make a purchase online or in the store—26% on tablets, 42% on mobile, and 67% on desktop. These statistics not only illustrate the extreme sales potential of this 24/7 virtual hub, but also the importance of a well optimized responsive website. Let keyword research be the foundation of your site structure, content, blog development and more.

Your Digital Marketing Platform
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting it’s a Field of Dreams solution—“If you build it they will come”. It’s just the opposite. You must develop a content marketing strategy that will continue to drive new traffic to your site as well as your other digital channels. The marketing potential is huge. Use the site as your main hub to engage prospects and nurture your leads. B2B clients can even integrate a CRM and an inbound marketing platform, such as Hubspot or Zimplify, to allow sales and marketing efforts to work in tangent. Together, with your website as the engine, you can successfully move sales leads down the funnel, seeing data in real time to nurture each lead. Like your own crystal ball—WOW!

Digital Analytics Eliminates the Guesswork
No marketing medium has the 24/7 reach potential like your website. A virtual hub that can integrate perfectly with other digital channels, to nurture sales and build brand advocacy while offering the analytical data to guide your ongoing strategies. There is no guesswork. And, sales and inbound marketing platforms make your job even easier with all channels combined to retarget your leads and win more business. There’s no doubt—your website investment is worth every penny.

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