The Top 3 Ways IoT Technology Will Change The Future Of Marketing

The Future Of IoT And Big Data

The Internet of Things (IoT) is considered one of the technological innovations which will shape our future. We have seen an explosion of IoT advancements in the past years, everything from managing the temperature in our homes with smart thermostats to tracking your caloric intake and daily steps with fitness trackers. Devices are all around us, and IoT and big data promise to connect these devices to improve your lives.

By connecting our devices, we will be able to leverage shared data across various connections. With all of our devices sharing data point, we will be able to make our data more useful across all aspects of our lives.

Here are the top three ways that IoT will impact the future of marketing for your business!

1. Collect Massive Amounts Of Data To Personalize Marketing

Throughout recent years, companies have started collecting massive amounts of data on their customers to personalize marketing. Whether it is Google collecting data to improve their PPC and remarketing efforts, or various GPS apps collecting your physical location, businesses are going to leverage IoT technology to learn more about their customers.

IoT allows marketers to capture massive amounts of information about their clients. By way of example, for at least 22 years McDonald’s has offered a Monopoly competition where clients peel stickers from products to win prizes. IoT is transforming this old-school game into something more complex.

The company partnered with Piper, a Bluetooth low-energy beacon alternative. It greets clients on their mobiles as they enter the restaurant. Once inside, customers are offered relevant coupons, surveys, and other information. It is great for the consumer since they receive relevant data in real time, but it’s also great for McDonald’s since the company collects lots of information.

2. More Dynamic User Experiences

IoT will allow your customers to get a better understanding of how services and products work. This will be possible because IoT devices will advance to allow customers to engage with your brand quickly and easily. This dynamic experience will further enhance how connected your customers are with you and the ease that it will be to purchase from you in their day-to-day schedule.

Amazon has already started experimenting with this approach with Amazon Dash Buttons. These small buttons allow customers to purchase various products by simply pressing the appropriate Dash Button. As a result, Amazon has seen an increase in returning purchases have continued to secure additional market share.

IoT technology will continue to integrate into the lives of your customers. For example, autonomous cars will connect with other devices, and much like Amazon Dash Buttons, users will be able to engage with various technologies that integrate with your brand messaging. This holistic integration will provide the platform your business will need to stay on the top of mind of your customers.

3. IoT Will Make Everything We Touch Into A Marketing Platform

The future of technology integration into our daily lives will become more ubiquitous in the forthcoming decades. Exactly like we see robust ecosystems in our investigation information on Google and Amazon.com guiding information that is presented, we’ll begin to see marketing applications beyond traditional apparatus and solutions.

The next wave of IoT and big data will be leveraged in self-driving cars. Because Americans spend almost two hours per day journey to and from work, marketers are going to have the ability to engage their customers on a deep level when passengers are freed from the tedious responsibilities of driving. In its place, drivers will be able to be productive and complete jobs during that drive and marketers will be able to integrate their marketing messaging into future autonomous car technology.

Work Smarter together with the Internet of Things

The future of marketing is fast approaching, and if you want your business and commercialization strategy to succeed, then you need to plan how to leverage emerging technology to increase sales.

IoT is one of the most exciting developments that will bring together technology, big data, and the personalized preferences of your customers. This blending of technology and human interaction will allow marketers to use their marketing budget more efficiently, develop more effective marketing campaigns, and increase the bottom line for their business!

Author Bio

Chris is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant who helps small business owners grow their business. He is passionate about digital marketing, emerging technologies, and transportation issues.

 

Are You Ready to Hear the Truth?

(Guest Post) Because everything you’ve heard about SEO until now have been complete and total lies. Unscrupulous marketers try to convince unsuspecting business owners that search engine optimization is a complete waste of time. But nothing could be further from the truth because SEO is stronger than ever and it’s making a huge comeback in 2017.

 

We’re not going to attempt to sugarcoat it by any means. It’s been tough ranking websites in the search engines. With all the changes taking place, and searchers switching over to mobile devices more than desktop PCs has made it harder to navigate this difficult landscape. But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible and white hat search engine optimization experts are cleaning up for their clients and delivering top search engine rankings, new customers, and plenty of new business.

 

Traditionally speaking, business owners are under the impression they have to become some kind of search engine optimization wizard in order to reach the first page of Google. But this is all lies, hype, and nonsense that stupid marketers spout because they’re trying to convince you to pay them to manage your PPC and Facebook ad campaigns. Those methods are never going to be as targeted and effective as first page search engine rankings.

 

So do yourself a favor and stop believing the lies. Stop listening to marketers trying to dig in your pocket and suck every last penny from your coffers. Learn the truth about SEO and discover 14 reasons why it’s still the king of the castle and the best marketing investment you’ll ever make.

Content and Design Support by OutreachMama

conversion rate optimization efforts

Best WordPress Themes for Conversion Rate Optimization

Whatever your reason for creating your website, everything boils down to one thing: conversions.

Ideally, your website should be able to get your visitors to become subscribers, customers or members.

If things are going too slow or worse, not moving at all, it’s highly likely your current theme wasn’t designed for optimizing conversion rates. Thankfully, there are WordPress themes that can help with your conversion rate optimization efforts.

With these WP themes, you won’t have to put in a lot of work. They are, after all, already designed to highlight your content strategically, boost the functionality of your landing pages and bring forth compelling calls to action or CTAs. These are what you need to maximize conversion rates, and the following themes carry them in spades:

  1. Lead Injection

If you want to launch high conversion landing pages fast, the very easy to set up Lead Injection is the WP theme for you. Built with professional marketers, business owners and affiliates in mind, Lead Injection has ready-to-use pre-made layouts, over 800 scalable vector icons that you can customize by color, Slider Revolution, and a popup plugin called leadModal, which is essentially your lead capture form.

Price: $44

  1. OptimizePress

OptimizePress has a well-earned reputation for being an all-in-one solution for websites of all kinds. It offers more than 30 professionally-designed, mobile-responsive page templates. To customize any template, use its user-friendly live editor which allows you to see the changes as you make them. You can add loads of graphics and page elements to any template as well. It also has a membership portal that helps you create restricted-access membership pages.

Price: Starts at $97

  1. Rise

Developed with the help of affiliate marketing expert Zac Johnson, Rise is SEO-ready and loads fast. It boasts of five stylish pre-designed landing pages, an intuitive theme options panel, multiple preset color schemes and backgrounds, a homepage with large opt-in form and focus area, and an automatic page generator, among other things.

Price: $49

  1. Solopreneur

Solopreneur is SEO-optimized, mobile friendly, fully translatable, and has a lightweight code that lowers bounce rates and makes your site load faster. Easy on the eyes with a clutter-free design, Solopreneur also offers two landing pages with a heavy emphasis on calls to action.

Price: $59

  1. Permatex

With a design that’s bolder, sharper and more creative than most themes out there, Permatex will grab the attention of visitors and boost conversions. When you get Permatex, you get 350+ font icons, strategically-placed headlines, two homepage versions, an Ajax contact form that links easily to an autoresponder via Mailchimp, jQuery effects, tons of custom shortcodes, and a host of other impressive features.

Price: $39

  1. Luxe

With the white space-heavy, minimal design of the Luxe WP theme, the products and the content you offer on your website get much of the spotlight. Completely mobile responsive, the fast-loading Luxe comes with five stylish pre-designed landing pages, a homepage with a focus area and a large opt-in form, multiple preset color schemes, an intuitive theme options panel, and a page generator.

Price: $49

  1. Launchkit

With all the tools that Launchkit offers, conversions are bound to happen faster. Aside from its stunning design, Launchkit also provides over 30 custom page builder elements, three header types, smooth parallax effects, seven footer types, a Visual Composer and even a child theme.

Price: $59

  1. Landlr

Like all good WP themes, Landlr is 100% responsive and flexible. An easy-to-set-up one-page theme, Landlr is perfect for beginners, who will find the shortcodes for buttons, columns, drop caps, and tabs very useful. It also boasts of 4 preset color schemes and a Slider Revolution plugin that helps you make great page transition effects and video embeds.

Price: $44

  1. Startuply

Startuply is a conversion-focused theme that offers loads of features. It provides 10+ Home and Coming Soon page templates, seven different homepage layouts geared towards helping you get a ton of signups, a Visual Composer, and a powerful admin panel that allows you to customize everything from the menu appearance to scrolling options. It also has 10 different opt-in form pages, and a form manager that will help you design and control all of them.

  1. Scalia

Trendy and features-packed, Scalia offers a versatility that is a cut above your average WP theme. Whatever your niche, you can be sure that Scalia, which offers five unique looks for your site, can give your website a design that will transform it into a high-converting one. It boasts, among other things, of over 150 ready-to-use templates, eight blog styles, 400+ font icons, built-in mega-menus, Visual Composer, gallery and portfolio layouts. This mobile responsive and Retina-ready theme also gives you the option to create a one-page website.

Price: $59

  1. Landing

Landing can help you create landing pages quickly with its tool-rich drag-and-drop page builder. You will also love the 25+ pre-built templates it provides, including ones for eCommerce, event websites, apps, marketing companies as well as personal pages. SEO-ready, Landing is also speed-optimized and has WooCommerce integration and Mailchimp integration.

Price: $49

  1. Divi

Divi by Elegant Themes is another theme includes a drag-and-drop page builder that allows you to create unique, effective and mobile-responsive landing pages rather easily. Creating pages is even easier with its 20+ different pre-made page layouts. It also has templates for e-commerce sites, image galleries, portfolios, and product pages. You’ll need to buy a membership to Elegant Themes so you can access Divi and—depending on the membership level you get—it other WordPress themes and plugins.

Price: $89/year

  1. Meminz

Meminz is a simple theme geared towards the creation of one-page sites that software downloads and app websites usually require. When you buy Meminz, you get six visually impressive landing page templates that focus on getting readers to sign up. It also includes a visual composer, shortcodes for accordions, tabs and the like.

Price: $44

  1. Benchmark

Benchmark specializes in one-page landing pages. It offers several powerful design features, including 13 color schemes, two different body layouts, nine hero layouts, and three navbar layouts. With this theme, your calls to action get much attention courtesy of the callout text and hero image areas. The fully responsive Benchmark also gives you 700+ Google fonts, WooCommerce support, mega menus and 30 shortcodes, among other things.

Price: $59

  1. Superior

Tested and proven SEO configurations are built into Superior, a fully responsive WP theme that also offers a ton of short codes. With Superior, your website gets an awesome front end look as it uses a mixture of CSS3 and JavaScript in its design. Multiple sub-page templates help keep users actively engaged.

If conversions are a priority for your website, investing in any of the above themes could help you inch closer to your goals.

Device-friendly SEO

After a lot of speculation, but also some advance warnings from Google, mobile-friendliness became a ranking signal. This created quite a stir across the digital landscape, but SEOs weren’t too surprised. The spectacular rise of mobile devices made such a scenario a logic step forward for the webmaster community. The new algorithms update means that mobile ready websites’ rankings are boosted, while desktop-oriented pages are demoted for mobile searchers. It is clear that multi-platform usability is the future of online experience, and that future is now.

 

  • Going mobile: The ultimate goal of the algorithm update is to improve Google SEO Rankingthe online experience
    e of mobile users. A lot has been said about hidden agendas, but we are not paying heed to speculation here. Yes, mobile rankings of many websites dropped after April, 21.
    But, it is already common knowledge that websites must be created to the search engine’s preferences. Furthermore, Google aims to enable users to find the answer to their search query on the first SERP. Now, mobile-friendly update affects only mobile searches, but brace yourself. As of this year, desktop searches are falling behind mobile ones, for the first time in history.

 

  • Bouncing: People searching web from a smartphone or a tablet most often leave the page in frustration if they need to do a whole lot of zooming, pinching and scrolling. This increases your bounce rates and sends a negative signal to the omnipresent deity of the digital realm, the Google. If a visitor abandons the site shortly after arriving, then it suggests that your structure or content is not adequate or relevant. Many eCommerce websites experienced a sudden decrease in internet traffic, which knocked down the revenues as well.
  • Real-time individualism: Another thing to note is that the mobile update is a global overhaul that applies to individual pages, not whole websites. This is good news for those who have only some segments of the site that is not optimized for mobile devices. An algorithm also works in real-time, which means that benefits from making your website mobile-friendly can be felt right away. Google bots crawl your pages in order to determine how well-optimized they are, and then the algorithm kicks in.

 

  • Tests and trials: This, of course, works both ways, but you can use mobile-friendly tests to see how each page stands. These tools even provide recommendations on how to optimize it for mobile users. Depending on the foundations, you might have to do some simple tweaks or a site-wide overhaul. Some adjustments require advanced skills, which is why I teamed up with the digital agency from Sydney to do it right. There are also handy tools that enable you to measure the amount of traffic affected by the global update.Responsive Web Design

 

  • How to respond: A proper answer to the new developments is to embrace the responsive design. Google has made it obvious that this is their preferred solution for mobile optimization. It is used to automatically format the web design and adjust the content to fit the screen size of the device being used to browse. Optimizers and designers can retain the content on the same URL, so no need for additional website version. This also means less work for Google bots in analyzing the web content. Hence, the mighty gatekeeper sees this as a win-win scenario. Actually, the responsive website design might even work as a part of your website’s branding development, as it can help boost your innovative graphic and design solutions.

 

  • Starting from scratch: In some cases, a separate mobile version of the site is a way to go. However, this does mean investing more time and resources in two SEO campaigns. Creating a mobile-friendly version of the already optimized site involves the optimization that starts from scratch. Also, authority accumulated on two sites is not shared, which is a disadvantage in terms of backlinks and social media shares. In any case, Google recognizes which site is tailored to desktop searches and which for mobile browsing.

5 Essential Components of a Great eCommerce Site

At one point or another, as an eCommerce business owner you may have thought to yourself “what makes a great ecommerce website?

While the case is not that you do not have any idea on how websites work, it is mostly because creating your brand’s site is an overwhelming undertaking. In fact, you may have a mental list of your inspirations & which components of these sites you will implement.

Still, there is a nagging voice in your head that says “it will still not work out”. The cure? Start with the basics.

Your Brand Elements

 

Humans, by nature, are visual creatures. We recognize & remember identities by what we see. For this, be sure that you have a working logo & tagline for use in your site.

Your logo is the symbol that represents your brand as a whole. Your tagline, is an encapsulation of your brand’s promise & offers. When visitors come to your site, you have that one shot to introduce what you are about. So do not miss out on these two.

Safety shopping guarantee

At the end of the day money is money. No matter how good your products and pages are if your payment gateway is a wack no one will attempt to do business with you.

Employ major payment modes such as Paypal, credit & debit cards, gift vouchers & cash on delivery arrangements. Being widely used for eCommerce transactions these payment modes come with the assurance of secured & safety shopping.

 

MOBILE NUMBER AND ONLINE CHATS

It is easy to do business with brand that are easy to get in touch with.

Make sure your contact details especially your phone number & email address are highly visible throughout your website. Indicating your stores contact number is important not just technically but for legal matters as well.

Provide your customers as many routes as you can to get in touch with you. At a certain point, a 1-800  will be a good investment. However, if you are not on that level yet, a live chat support form can be your best bet.

Keeping your lines open will not only help you deal apeace “mad” customers in real time. Being readily available will also keep the doors of opportunity open for you. You just can’t tell where you next bulk orders will come through.

 

Social Media Links

20% of successful purchases online are from surfing through social media sites. This is because people seek public approval and confirmation.

Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr are the best platforms to use if you want public exposure and market. As simple clicks can showcase our products online, people who are please can share, like and refer you.

Social media is the great equalizer among brands in the internet. It enables you to study your market & how you can best reach out to them. It also allows you to study your competitors so you can show them up.

 

Deals, offers & promos

Most of the time people can decide whether they like a website or not with just a snap of a hand. That is why it is crucial to get their attention and interest just few seconds after they entered your site.

Get your latest deals, offers & promos on strategic places all over your site.

For example, you can have a panel for your “free shipping announcement” on your front page. You may also have an invitation to your newsletter above the fold.

Alluring promises and unique prices stimulate visitors to spend, spend and spend. In general, designs also makes a big contribution to this strategy’s success. Positioning eye catching banner designs with jaw-dropping discounts makes sense all the time. NO FAIL.

And that’s it! I hope the tips above will help you make your ecommerce website develop and improve with great potential.

Google Search Influence Factors

Google Search Influence Factors from Search Marketing Team In this article published a few days ago over at business.com, the author highlighted some of the reasons why we need to do due diligence and track SEO KPIs. The article was very good. We recommend reading it. But what we particularly loved was this snapshot from MOZ on nine factors that can influence Google’s algorithm. We’ve quoted the highlights below…

 

Inbound Links

Inbound linking is at the top of what Google looks at when they decide where to put your page in the rankings. Is it a real site? Are there real and quality inbound links linking to your domain?

Google wants inbound links to be directed from quality sites that have a good domain authority. We use the Moz bar when we’re looking at sites and if they’ve got a killer domain authority, they make the list for us to go after and ask for links.

Page Level Links

Since page level linking makes up the second highest of the ranking factor according to Moz, it’s time to take a look at your website and blog. You might find that you’re not doing enough linking from page to page on your site or from your site to your blog. You might also not want to link single words, but phrases that make sense to link as well. Don’t just link your company name to your website, link other keywords or phrases as well. And it’s OK to link visitors off of your site, especially if it’s contextual and makes sense to your reader.

Page Level Keywords & Content

Keywords and content at the page level are the third (and still quite a large part) of the Google ranking factor. Assess your site, you might find that on specific pages you would rank higher for one of your “long tail” keywords so go ahead and optimize your URL, Title, Description and content on that page for that specific keyword. Now you can track from that page how you’re performing.

For example, we have an integration with Google Sheets where you can take your Sheets data and create great-looking dashboards … We put the keyword right in the URL and use the keywords in the description and the content. We now rank #8 on the first page for that keyword.

If you haven’t focused on your own SEO, it could be time and it could be the big opportunity you need to move the traffic needle for your own website.

5 Ways to Increase Your Ecommerce Sales

E-commerce sales have steadily increased over the last few years. In 2015, companies that offer products and services online are expected to earn approximately $1.500 trillion. The figure for 2015 is an increase of more than 20 percent over sales in 2014. The reasons behind the increase are that more customers are using mobile devices at home or at work to order products and services online. E-commerce sites are offering faster, more secure payment options for customers and thousands of major brands worldwide are expanding into international markets. It’s necessary to take crucial steps to be competitive in the online market.

A Well Designed Website

Online shoppers expect a site to load quickly and have the capacity to run on a variety of browsers. If the page doesn’t load fast, or there are broken links, customers will go elsewhere, and you have to make a good impression the minute a buyer navigates to your site. An e-commerce site should be easy to navigate. Some sites allow visitors to choose the browser they prefer, based on their Internet connection. All products should have a designated category and title. If you offer a wide selection, sub-categories should be used. Use a menu bar so customers can find what they’re looking for easily.

Product Selection

Offering unique or unusual products are likely to attract new customers. Provide detailed information about your products. Information about availability, sizes, and colors is important. Customers want to know what makes your products different. For example, if you create one-of-a-kind jewelry, describe the natural materials, gems, and findings in detail. Provide a close-up image of each of your designs with a background that compliments each piece. You may offer a service in which clients may choose the stones, colors or findings used to create their designs.

Special Features

Online customers appreciate extra features, especially if the purchase is a gift. Upsell products everywhere on your website. Add-ons or other incentives encourage customers to buy from your site. If you have an online bookstore, offer special prices on books if a client orders additional books by the same author or offer discounts to students and seniors. Another means of increasing your sales is to provide related items such as a tote bag or a cool bookmark as part of a promotion.

Personalized Service

People like to shop online but don’t like high-pressure sale pitches. Provide personalized, customer service and assist your buyers with purchases in a friendly, courteous manner. Offer a toll-free number to call with questions or concerns and respond promptly. Great service can result in repeat customers.

Payment and Shipping Options

Customers want payment processors that are easy to use and are more inclined to order products from a merchant if they can make payments with one click. Along with payment options, they want an easy return policy that is in plain english, not jargon and that have a finite policy period. Shipping terms and conditions should be prominently displayed on your site. Customers should know what they have to pay for shipping before they click the payment button. If you offer promotions for holiday items, show the cutoff date for ordering to make sure your customers receive their orders on time.

These are just a few ways that you can increase your ecommerce sales. Make sure that you take full advantage of everything that is available to ensure that your site is always ready for customers and to keep your customers coming back.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who has worked in eCommerce for the last five years. She currently writes for Rakuten Super Logistics and recommends them for all your online order fulfillment needs to further your success.

Five Sources for Backlinks SEO

Great Sources for High Quality Backlinks

Five Sources for Backlinks SEOWe loved this article that ran today over at Entrepreneur.

It highlights several methods we use for getting initial backlinks for a client. The article is nice and concise. Here is a snapshot:

1. The Better Business Bureau
This is a link any local business can acquire, as long as it meets the requirements to be an accredited member of your local BBB. A regular BBB listing doesn’t include an outbound link in the listing, while an accredited one does.

2. Local media
Local media outlets provide an abundant source of link opportunities. Imagine if you owned a local home-security company and your area was experiencing a large enough number of home invasions to warrant a news report. As soon as you see local media pick that story up, you should be contacting them with an offer to provide content for their website and information for their broadcast.

3. Local schools and nonprofits
Local schools and nonprofits often have sponsorship opportunities that highlight all donors on a dedicated page of their website. If you spend a couple of hours searching for these, you can typically uncover amazing link opportunities.

4. Local partners and suppliers
The first thing I do when I work with a local business is to ask for a list of its suppliers. So, a restaurant’s list for example, will often include local produce companies, butchers and supply companies.

5. Local awards and contests
Virtually every local market has “best of” awards, and they are typically handled by local entertainment websites or local magazines and newspapers, which also have online versions. Either way, if your business is awarded “best of,” you are almost guaranteed to earn a link.

portland seo google link scheme

Portland SEO: Google’s John Mueller: Avoid Link Building Schemes (Not Link Building Campaigns)

portland seo google link scheme

In a recent Search Engine Roundtable interview, Google’s John Mueller advised against link building … GASP! (In general). That is to say, Mueller reinforced Google’s well-published stance on (ill-advised) Link Schemes.

Here is part of the interview:

In general, I’d try to avoid that.

So that you are really sure that your content kind of stands on its own and make it possible for other people of course to link to your content. Make it easy, maybe, put a little widget on your page, if you like this, this is how you can link to it. Make sure that the URLs on your web site are easy to copy and paste. All of those things make it a little bit easier.

We do use links as part of our algorithm but we use lots and lots of other factors as well. So only focusing on links is probably going to cause more problems for your web site that actually helps.

But… Obviously this statement is not all-encompassing. Because, you guessed it, backlinks are one major component to any site’s ranking (including Google’s). That said, WebProNews published this response from well-known online marketer Ken McGaffin:

That all depends on the type of link building you’re doing. Let’s say I’ve just conducted a great piece of research for a client and my prime objective is to get them media coverage. The research and the accompanying press release was so good that it got coverage in the NYTimes, BBC and many others – good job done!

But my secondary objective is to get links – so AS WELL as conducting the research, and writing the press release, I make sure that the journalist has something to link to, something that his readers will appreciate. That could be:

– an in-depth blog post giving much more detail than the Journalist could give space to
– a presentation or infographic of the results
– a copy of the original research so that readers can check it out.

In this case, I’m doing my client a service in getting PR coverage. But I’m also doing my best to ensure that editorial links and others links will follow. I can only see Google looking positively on my efforts – because of the value it offers. But if all I did was the ‘link building’ part then I’d be doing my client a disservice – and missing some major opportunities. This means that any online marketing/PR initiative is multi-layered – and one of those layers must be link building.

So, legitimate link-building strategies and campaigns are absolutely worth it.

Will Using an SSL Certificate (HTTPS) Boost Your Portland SEO Efforts?

You’ve probably heard of 2048-bit encryption, or seen the HTTPS markup in your address bar indicating that the site has an SSL certificate. Have you wondered “Do I need an SSL certificate on my site?” or “Will an SSL certificate help my Portland SEO in any way?” Using an SSL certificate helps your users know that their information is safe. Using an SSL certificate provides two important things:

  • Encryption of sensitive data like credit card numbers and personal information
  • Some assurance to your customers that you are trustworthy (the process of getting an SSL certificate can’t guarantee this, but it can make it more likely which is part of the reason why visitors have this perception)

These are very important benefits and, while not all websites require an SSL certificate, it is essential for certain types of sites. To find out if you need an SSL certificate for your site, answer these questions:

Is my site an e-commerce site that collects credit card information?
For most e-commerce sites, you absolutely need an SSL certificate! As an online merchant, it is your responsibility to make sure the information you collect from your customers is protected. This will shield you and your customers by making sure that no one can intercept and misuse their credit card information.

Your customers are providing you with very important and personal information that allows access to their hard earned money. If an identity thief gets access to your customer’s credit card information because you didn’t take the necessary precautions, it can be devastating to you and to your customer. Your customers need to know that you value their security and privacy and are serious about protecting their information. More and more customers are becoming savvy online shoppers and won’t buy from you if you don’t have an SSL certificate installed.

If you accept credit card information and store it in a database so you can process it using an offline POS machine or charge it manually on your merchant account’s website, then you definitely need an SSL certificate to secure the credit card data as it is transferred. You also need to be very careful with the data when it is stored on your servers. Learn more about PCI Compliance and SSL and the requirements of protecting stored credit card information.

Do I use a 3rd party payment processor?
If your e-commerce site forwards your visitors to a 3rd party payment processor (like PayPal) to enter the credit card information then you don’t need an SSL certificate because your website won’t touch the credit card information. Just make sure none of the credit card details get entered when the address bar still shows your domain name. Note that PayPal allows you to accept the credit card information on your site or forward visitors to their site. If you accept the credit card information on your site, you need an SSL certificate.

Do I have a login form?
If your users enter a username and password to login to your site without an SSL certificate, an attacker can easily see their username and password in clear text. This would allow someone else to impersonate your visitor, but it allows for a far more dangerous possibility: Because users often use the same password on many sites (including their bank accounts), an attacker can potentially compromise many other accounts. If you let people store a password with you, you must take responsibility for protecting it, even if the security of your own site isn’t critical.

It is true that most login forms don’t currently use SSL. This means that most login forms are vulnerable. With the number of cheap SSL certificates available, it is becoming more and more worthwhile to secure login forms. If you want to forego the SSL certificate without having to worry about securing the login information, you can also use OpenID, Facebook Connect, or another technology that lets users log in on a another site and return to your site. Learn more about creating a secure login form.

In short, if your website is a collection of pictures of your pet slug “Flash” with a small blog and doesn’t require visitors to log in, you probably don’t need SSL. If you have a login form or send or receive private customer information, then you need SSL. If you run an e-commerce website where people provide you with credit card information directly on your site, you absolutely need SSL.

Google has announced that going HTTPS — adding a SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site — will give you a minor ranking boost.

Google says this gives websites a small ranking benefit, only counting as a “very lightweight signal” within the overall ranking algorithm. In fact, Google said this carries “less weight than other signals such as high-quality content.” Based on their tests, Google says it has an impact on “fewer than 1% of global queries” but said they “may decide to strengthen” the signal because they want to “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

Google also said based on their tests for the past few months, the HTTPS signal showed “positive results” in terms of relevancy and ranking in Google’s search results.

As you may remember, at SMX West, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, said he’d love to make SSL a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. Well, less than five months after that announcement, and while he is on an extended leave, Google is making it a reality.

Portland SEO Concerns With Going HTTPS

Should you be concerned when switching from your HTTP to HTTPS site for SEO purposes? Not so much. Google has been telling webmasters it is safe to do so for years. But you need to take the proper steps to ensure your traffic doesn’t suffer. That means make sure to communicate to Google that you moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS. Google promises to release more documentation in the future, but for now has provided the following tips

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out our site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.
  • Google has also updated Google Webmaster Tools to better handle HTTPS sites and the reporting on them.
  • One last thing: You will want to make sure to track your HTTP to HTTPS migration carefully in your analytics software and within Google Webmaster Tools.

Forbes Rings In: SEO Do’s and Don’ts for Forum Owners

Last Monday Forbes ran this great article online and we thought we would share the link, along with this brief quote. The article is primarily aimed at forum owners, but blog owners, webmasters and small business owners with a web presence will benefit from the read…

The Internet is awash in bad advice on how to boost search engine results. Likewise, shady services peddle for-pay backlinks, lame for-pay directory listings, and other junk aimed at separating forum owners from their money. Unfortunately, Matt Cutts and his merry band at Google have more aggressively tried to punish practitioners of the darker side of Search Engine Optimization of late.

Google Hummingbird Algorithm, What it Means for Internet Marketing in Portland, Oregon

google hummingbird portland oregon seo internet digital marketingFirst of all, nervous Portland SEOs and business owners: Hummingbird is not a new algorithm update like Panda or Penguin, it’s a new algorithm. The good news for SEO in Portland and for webmasters and internet and digital marketers who fear being struck down by any major changes that Google makes to its algorithm is that it is OLD NEWS. Yep, that’s right, Hummingbird quietly launched a few months ago, according to Google. So, if you weren’t hit by it, you probably don’t need to worry much about it. Don’t just trust us, check out this article from Forbes.

Google announced the algorithm update at a press event last week. The press corp learned that Hummingbird was described as the biggest Google algorithm change since Caffeine, and that it is designed to let Google quickly parse entire questions and complex queries and return relevant answers, as opposed to looking at queries on a keyword-by-keyword basis.

Hummingbird is designed to help Google understand your webpages the way it understands the data in its Knowledge Graph. Google calls the algorithm “Hummingbird” because it’s “precise and fast”. It hasn’t been since 2001 that the algorithm was “so dramatically rewritten” (Sullivan’s words).

Hummingbird should better focus on the meaning behind the words. And it may better understand the actual location of your home, if you’ve shared that with Google. It might understand that ‘place’ means you want a brick-and-mortar store. It might get that ‘iPhone 5s’ is a particular type of electronic device carried by certain stores. Knowing all these meanings may help Google go beyond just finding pages with matching words.

Google said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words.

The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words. Hummingbird is designed to apply the meaning technology to billions of pages from across the web, in addition to Knowledge Graph facts, which may bring back better results.

So, Hummingbird is really just an extension of Google’s ongoing strategy to become less dependent on keywords, which does have implications for SEO, and while webmasters may not have to worry about a major drop-off in rankings like with updates like Panda or Penguin, this could be more of an ongoing struggle for those competing to get on search results pages.

Keywords are becoming less and less important to search engine ranking success as Google gets smarter at figuring out what things mean, both on the query side of things and on the webpage side of things. The algorithm still consists of over 200 different signals that webmasters can potentially take advantage of to gain a competitive edge.

It’s probably going to be more important than ever to give Google as much information about your site as possible, so that it “understands” it. I would imagine that Google will continue to give webmasters new tools to help with this over time. For now, according to Google (per Sullivan’s report), you don’t need to worry about anything, and Google’s normal SEO guidance remains the same for Portland, Oregon Digital and Internet Marketing and SEO companies.

#internetmarketingportland #portland #portlandseo #seoinportland #digitalmarketingportland #oregonseo

What is Portland LSEO, What Does it Mean for My Business … And What’s With All These Abbreviations?!

Portland LSEO

We’re really glad you asked! Local SEO, or LSEO is a specialized kind of online marketing that increases visibility for businesses interested in ranking for geographically-related keywords. A large part of Portland LSEO involves ranking in algorithms designed specifically for your geographic area such as Google Places, Google Plus, Google Maps, Facebook Pages and any of these engines’ counterparts, as well as ranking well in organic results for local keywords.

  • If your business has a physical location, you’ve undoubtedly been told that you need local SEO. But for many business owners, local SEO remains shrouded in mystery; what does “Local SEO” even mean? What do you need to do? Why do you need it?
  • Businesses targeting customers or clients locally should consider local SEO. Restaurants, retail outlets, doctors, dentists or lawyers, real estate agents, Portland digital marketing and internet marketing firms – the list goes on. If you have a physical address in a city and expect people to go there, you should be doing local SEO for that location.
  • For LSEO you need to create and claim a local profile on Google (and other platforms as desired.) Your local listing is what will show (usually) for localized search results.

Make a citation. A citation is any place online that uses your company NAP (name, address, phone number) all on the same page, in the same format as your local listing. This same format bit is pretty important. While Google is pretty smart, it’s best to make sure that your local citation efforts match your local listing as closely as possible. Don’t abbreviate in one and not the other (St. vs Street, (800) vs 1-800, etc.)

Get lots and lots of reviews (preferably really good ones.) Quantity and quality of reviews left for your business on your Google Places page is one of the most important local ranking factors.

Make sure your name, address and phone number are used on every page of your site, in the same format as your Google local listing (in the footer is an ideal location.) And use your City and State names in your Title tags, Meta descriptions, and the content on your site (as it fits, don’t just force it in there.)

Persuading your customers and clients to leave great reviews on your Google local page is the single most important thing you can do. Let your customers or clients know that they can rate their experience with you on your Google Places profile. Have logos up in your windows or in your office showing the places where people can leave reviews. Include your profile links in your email communications (particularly in follow-up emails after a purchase or visit), direct mail, and anywhere else you can think of to get it in front of customers.

Google uses “centroid bias”, which means that if someone searches for “Portland Dentist” there will be a bias towards the dentist locations that are closest to the center of the city. For this type opf search, if you’re on the outskirts of a city, or in a city neighboring a major metropolitan area, you’re going to be at a disadvantage.

Local SEO via an agency could range from $100/mo for the most basic work all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars per month for a competitive space with hundreds or thousands of locations. Pricing will be based on the competitiveness of your space and the number of locations you have. In-house, you could be paying $2.50/hr for someone in the Philippines to build citations, all the way up to $100,000+ for a top notch in-house SEO. When it comes to SEO, local or otherwise, you typically get what you pay for, and cheap = risky.

There’s an upfront set-up cost for LSEO, along with an ongoing component. You should be getting new citations, reviews, social mentions and links each and every month.

Digital Marketing, Internet Marketing or SEO? What do the terms mean and what is the best fit for your business?

For the past several months you have likely heard digital marketing, internet marketing and SEO used more or less interchangeably. However, the three terms are not Digital Marketing Internet Marketing SEOsynonymous for each other.

Digital marketing is a broad term that describes a set of marketing processes that utilize all available digital channels to promote a product or service or build a digital brand. Digital marketing has come to succeed traditional marketing and the transition from paper and newspaper ads to Facebook and PPC campaigns.

The channels that make up digital marketing include: Web sites, Social media platforms, Banner placement, email marketing, mobile marketing, SEO, pay per click campaigns, Web TV, SMS, billboards and anything else with a digital foundation.

Internet marketing is a subset of digital marketing. It is in fact the most important component since the majority of digital marketing activities fall within the boundaries of Internet marketing. We will see below how digital marketing budgets are spent and their relationship with Internet marketing.

A very simple breakdown is as follows:

Digital marketing includes internet marketing and internet marketing includes SEO. Here’s how it looks in a hierarchical breakdown:

  1. Digital Marketing
  • a. Internet Marketing
  • a1. SEO

A sampling of digital marketing activities are:

  • Web presence (website)
  • Social media marketing
  • Digital advertising
  • SEO
  • Online AV advertising

Many people who hear the term Digital Marketing think that immediately they are talking about Internet Marketing After years of experience in the arena, we feel that Digital Marketing includes all marketing that is not print. Whereas Internet Marketing (a component of Digital Marketing) is just that marketing on the Internet only, including SEO.

During 2014 top digital marketing investments will be made on ecommerce, social media marketing, content creation and mobile marketing.

According to a recent study by Gartner Research, the majority of digital marketing budgets is spent on internet marketing components, such as SEO.

In particular the most important findings are:

Marketing budgets represent 10% of total company revenues and this is expected to grow by 6% in 2013
Digital marketing represents ¼ of overall marketing spend 50% of digital marketing activities are outsourced (if you are thinking to outsource, make sure that you do it correctly without spending a fortune).

Digital Marketing includes Internet Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Email Marketing. Using the Smart Phones to deliver your message is a great way for lots of kinds of businesses to have immediate gratification with their marketing. For example imagine your a restaurant and every Monday you are slow, but Thursday, Friday, and Sunday you really pack them in. How do you think you can get some of those people who normal wait an hour or so on Friday night to come in and enjoy your great food on Monday? The answer is mobile marketing. First you have some very tasteful signs you can put on table or at the hostess station. asking people to text a few number to a 5 digit code. Offer them a free appetizer or to win a I-PAD. Then on Monday around 3 0r 4 in the afternoon hit them with a text saying something like 2 for 1 special or some other creative giveaway to come in tonight and eat that great food with little to no wait. now lets say that you have a few hundred to a few thousand on your Mobile marketing list. You only need a very small percentage to come in and your terrible Monday has turned into a profitable night that the servers are happy to work. Because Smart Phones would receive this message from the restaurant while people are getting ready to leave for the day, a few might just call their partner and say , “Hey let go to that great restaurant we love , they are having a 2 for 1 special”. That is POWERFUL.

Now when we are talking about Internet Marketing by itself, that is what people usually mean when they say things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Local SEO (LSEO), SEM, Social Media, and Display or Banner Advertising. They all take place on the Internet in some form. SEO, SEM, LSEO all take place on the search engines, more likely Google. The SEO is in the main area of Google, this area is commonly know as the organic section. LSEO is the area next to the map on the first page of Google. SEM or commonly know as ADWORDS or Pay Per Click. It is the area on the very top of the page in the shaded area and along the side of the first page of Google. Social Media is using sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blogging, and many more. I like to think of Social Media as word of mouth on crack. It is the ultimate word of mouth advertising. When a friend has “liked” or +1 a site or product, you are more likely to also like or +1 it. Display advertising is more of a branding effort and it is harder to calculate ROI, but if your budget will allow it is quite effective. For example if you go to a site, then it tracks you where you go and places Display or Banner ads on sites that your then visit.

In conclusion, Internet Marketing and all of the kinds of ways to go about doing Internet Marketing falls under the Digital Marketing agenda.

 

 

Google Rolls Out April Fool’s “Nose” Beta

Google Nose suggests fictitious technology for getting computers and mobile devices to emit scent, as well as features like AdScent ads for florists and other businesses, scratch ‘n sniff e-books, scent captions for YouTube (“oyster sauce with a hint of leather” for a seal video), and “Foodles” instead of doodles.

According to the official site, the new scentsation in search features

  • Coming to your senses: go beyond type, talk, and touch for a new notation of sensation.
  • Your internet sommelier: expertly curated Knowledge Graphs pair images, descriptions, and aromas.
  • Take a whiff: the Google Aromabase – 15M+ scentibytes.
  • Don’t ask, don’t smell: For when you’re wary of your query – SafeSearch included.
  • Google NoseBETA leverages new and existing technologies to offer the sharpest olfactory experience available:
  • Street Sense vehicles have inhaled and indexed millions of atmospheric miles.
  • Android Ambient Odor Detection collects smells via the world’s most sensible mobile operating system.
  • SMELLCD™ 1.8+ high-resolution compatible for precise and controlled odors.

Of course, Nose search results would show you what other users have sniffed. Yes some are pretty gross, like “unattended litter box.” But imagine inhaling samples of wine, coffee, chocolate, pizza, or anything you take olfactory delight in.