Published by Bill White , April 17th, 2015
Feeding the New Beast
There are few things more angst-ridden than sitting in front of a blank screen eager for words. Not so long ago we called this blank page “The Beast”. No more.
The real Beast is something we can’t see. It’s an ambiguous, amorphous and cold-blooded reality called The Algorithm. Powerful, deadly, rich with cash, better leveraged than anything Atlas needed to move the earth, it’s now controlling our lives and businesses.
As we know, the search engine is the way we find anything and everything in an instant, at home and at work. Understanding The Algorithm is the key to organic search engine results.
As marketers, we have no defense against such an invasive and seductive tool beyond our ability to understand The Algorithm, learn to use it, keep a light touch on the controls and avoid getting comfortable; it will surely change tomorrow.
Intelligent Content has emerged as the newest buzz phrase in the marketing world. According to the Content Marketing Institute, Intelligent Content is “structurally rich and semantically aware, . . . automatically discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable, and adaptable.”
Shakespeare was way ahead of all this.
"If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me."
Intelligent Content is our key to managing The Algorithm. It is a phrase dumped into a new corporate silo managed by a new crop of corporate chiefs building new rules about what’s said about a brand on the global digital platform. All must bow to The Algorithm in the quest for a page one ranking.
At OffWhite we’ve made it our business to craft content around and within websites and social media to match what The Algorithm wants to see. This combination of words and phrases, repeated with continuity throughout website and social media posts, is what The Algorithm requires before we are rewarded with a rise in search rankings.
Our business of information management and education as a marketing tool remains the same. In the new world, however, we must craft our messages with consideration for each word, knowing that fewer words improve the potency of the words we ultimately use. Less is more.
From words to phrases, phrases to pages, pages to logic paths within site maps, we must orchestrate what we say with a renewed appreciation for efficiency in language, a reality imposed by our hunger to find things on the internet at light speed.
It is The Algorithm that drives our addiction. It is Intelligent Content that tames the Beast.
Published by Jane Cirigliano , April 10th, 2015
Mobilegeddon. Mopacalypse. The biggest Google algorithm update in years.
Online panic over the impending changes to give mobile-friendly websites preference starting on April 21 is reminiscent of Y2K. But should the changes Google is making really come as a surprise?
Mobile website traffic has been on the incline for several years. Companies like OffWhite have been building mobile-friendly websites for years. The need for great mobile customer experiences is nothing new.
Most websites now see 30-40 percent of their traffic coming from mobile devices. Website searches done from mobile devices are projected to surpass desktop searches this year. With such a large shift in browsing behavior, Google is leading the way to giving users the most relevant and easy-to-use search results.
So, what does that mean for your Google organic traffic? If you already have a mobile-friendly website (responsive or adaptive), you can expect your rankings to improve as those who have not made mobile upgrades drop off.
How do you know if your website is mobile-friendly in Google's eyes? Google Webmaster Tools has been giving website owners mobile compatibility warnings (and tips for fixing issues) since well before the algorithm change was announced. If you search for your company on your phone, websites that meet Google's criteria feature a gray "mobile-friendly" tag beside them in the search results (see above). Google has even provided an online tool that will tell you if your site is mobile-friendly, or what you need to fix to make it mobile-friendly.
If you do not have a mobile-friendly web experience, you don't necessarily need to rush out and build a new website to maintain your rankings. Contact us for a mobile evaluation and an estimate for bringing your website into compliance with Google's mobile-friendly criteria. (Please note that websites over two years in age will require extensive updates, to the point where it could make sense to update your look as well as adjusting for mobile compatibility.)
The minimum requirement for Google is that you adjust your website enough that it is easy for mobile users to read and navigate. Some of the most common website adjustments include increasing text sizes, adding space between links so phone users can easily click them and keeping content scalable so it is not wider than the screen.
The good news: unlike some previous Google updates where you were penalized long-term if your website did not comply at first scan, if you make the mobile-friendly adjustments Google requires (even after April 21), your site will be re-instated in Google's rankings.
So what happens if I choose to do nothing? If your website is not mobile-friendly, and updates are not in your near future, you can hope that this new algorithm roll-out will be slow, as some of Google's previous changes have been historically. At best, you can buy yourself some time before your organic traffic begins to suffer.
Among the websites that we manage at OffWhite, we see a trend of 50% or higher in online sales leads and orders coming from organic traffic, with Google typically dominating at 75% of those conversions (or higher). There is a reason for all of the mobilegeddon hype - this is a big deal.
One final thing to consider as you determine whether updating your website for mobile-friendliness should be a priority: check out the competition. When you run your Google test, type in a few competitors' websites too. If you are not mobile-friendly and they are, you have a problem. If you are all not mobile-friendly, you have an opportunity. Get ahead of the competition now.
Published by Abby Spung , April 2nd, 2015
Junk Drawers. We all have one. Some of us have several. Places that gather and collect all the things you believe have a purpose, otherwise you’d have tossed them long ago. For fear of needing them “someday,” you opt for throwing them in “the drawer” figuring sooner or later, you’ll either put them away where they belong, have a need for that “random thing” or remember what “the thing” was for and why you kept it. Now if only you could find it in that mess of stuff.
I’ll bet you also have a digital “junk drawer” at work that you go to at least once a day frantically searching for that “thing” that is just right for the task at hand. Well, in the spirit of spring, why not make a plan to purge, organize, or maybe a bit of both.
Still in denial? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have a difficult time finding assets or spend too much time recreating assets that exist?
- Is there a duplication of effort (different groups doing similar work)?
- Are you creating/managing multiple renditions of a single message to support multiple channels (e.g. mobile, social, etc.)?
- Is there a lack of visibility into project status?
- Are review/commenting/approval processes awkward and difficult to navigate?
- Is it cumbersome and difficult to share assets with external collaborators?
- Are you struggling to keep up with increased marketing demand?
- Are you plagued with inconsistent branding across campaigns and/or channels?
- Are non-compliant uses of licensed content compounded by inadequate control over intellectual property?
Ok, no need to admit to it. Instead, let's do something about it.
Where to begin? We'll call on the help of a few soon-to-be BFFs: MRM, PIM, WCM, CRM… DAM, now that’s a lot of help. Exactly.
Ok, honestly, how many of you are on top of all these acronyms? It’s safe to assume the “M” stands for management, but how about the rest of these obscure stand-for-more letters?
In a marketplace made up of robust media and infinite touch points, audiences demand to be talked “to” opposed to talked “at.” They also expect to be treated like singular, unique, one-of-a-kind individuals, and you must display an intimate understanding of their needs—whatever they may be. You DAM well better call on these catchy 3-letter miracle workers.
Meet your new management team.
MRM, Marketing Resource Management;
PIM, Product Information Management;
WCM, Web Content Management;
CRM, Client Relations Management;
and the newest and most critical (or so rumor has it)
DAM, Digital Asset Management
The days of wall after wall of “jam-packed” flat files, vertical files, and the dreaded “project status” meetings are giving way to these fab 5 managers. LEAN and mean, one by one they’ve descended upon us from the cloud (wherever that is), bringing with them an ability to organize your junk drawers in a virtually remarkable way—literally and figuratively speaking. They make you more productive, agile, accurate and, ultimately, more profitable.
Eureka! Sounds perfect. Well not exactly. The good news: these managers won’t take up office space, and you won’t have to lure them in with healthcare or parking perks. The not so good news: they do require an investment of your monetary resources and some time to get them started. The bad news: they are relentless about demanding a change of behavior and attention to detail. In other words, no more casual tossing the miscellaneous into “the drawer” in case you need it later.
We are all creatures of habit, and doing away with a junk drawer requires real commitment to change. But, if you’re serious about a better strategy for organization and tackling this all-consuming list of demands that 21st century audiences command, then get “management” to organize your “valuables” and remove the clutter.
Let us help you. We have the capability to put your “junk drawer” in order, even custom craft a drawer that fits you best. We’ll make it easy to navigate, available, manageable, and more useful than ever before. To learn more about DAM, contact Abby Spung at 800.606.1610.
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Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite) is an integrated marketing solutions company based in Marietta, Ohio, USA.
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