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Published by Stephanie Johnson , December 13th, 2017
Social Media Users 2018
Most of us get excited about a new year. We ponder what things we did well the year before and what we need to improve upon….in both our personal lives and in our business lives. I personally like a new year because it means a fresh start. I love the hunt for the best planner/calendar to keep me organized (no, I don’t rely completely on Siri) and finding the perfect one ignites a fire in me to stay on track.
As 2017 comes to a close, we are thinking progressively about what we will be doing in 2018. Which trends from 2017 will continue on to next year? Which ones were so cringe worthy we hope we never, ever see them again? In the social media world, 2017 brought us trends like the fight against fake news, live video streaming and selfie filters.
What will we see in 2018? Now is the time to plan for what will be trending in the coming year. So, without further ado…
Social Video
Facebook Video for 2018I use YouTube for practically everything… recipe ideas for dinner, conditioning and workout plans, how to change the filter in my furnace. In 2018, we will most likely see Facebook becoming a dominant competitor to YouTube. In 2017, Facebook launched Facebook Watch, a tv-like option within the Facebook application, to select creators. 2018 will open the doors of this new video feature to all users and will change the ways in which we watch videos.
Presumably, we will also see more video features on Facebook geared towards creators that will increase exposure. And there’s a chance 2018 will bring the launch of a dedicated Facebook video application.
Voice Search
“Siri, remind me on Monday at 6 p.m. to take Kendyl to basketball practice.” “Alexa, turn off the lights in the hallway bathroom.” 2018 might just be the year we become even lazier now that we have technology like Siri, Alexa and Google and all we have to do is give them commands with our voice and they will deliver what we need. I no longer have to write things on my calendar or get up to turn off the lights that one of my children left on. What does this mean for your business? Paid search and the goal of being in the top three organic spots in search results will have to be part of your overall marketing plan.
Live Streaming
Back in August, when we had the once in a lifetime experience of the total solar eclipse, I was able to see a completely different perspective of the event from my college roommate, who was live streaming as she and her family watched from Death Valley in California. We saw a rise in live video streaming in 2017, and 2018 will produce an even bigger jump in this trend. Large corporations and small businesses will be streaming live during sales and events to catch the attention of their followers. It’s free, it’s powerful and it needs to be part of your content marketing plan.
I was recently placing an order online for a steering wheel for my son to use with his Xbox (don’t ask me why this makes a video game more fun, ask my son). I had a coupon code to get a discount but during the checkout process I kept getting an error. What did I do? I clicked on the button that said, “Want to chat?” and the “person” on the other end was able to easily solve the problem. There’s something about not having to pick up the phone when you have a question and being able to get an answer easily and efficiently. 2018 will see a large increase in the number of e-commerce and business-to-business use of Chatboxes. Why? Because it allows businesses to communicate with customers in the way they prefer to communicate.
Ephemeral Content
Ephemeral Social Content 2018I’ve had multiple conversations with my children regarding ephemeral content – content that goes away after the viewer sees it or after a maximum time period of 24 hours. These conversations are usually centered around the negative aspects of ephemeral content, but with the target of 2018 being the younger millennials and generation Z, we need to focus on why it is becoming so popular.
What are the advantages of ephemeral content? Content that is short-lived is considered more authentic – longer ads lose focus and tend to push customers to purchase. It also ignites a FOMO (fear of missing out) which results in quick decision making and impulse purchasing, which is an advantage when marketing your products.
As we say goodbye to another year and spend the next few weeks analyzing, crunching numbers and planning for what is to come, don’t overlook many of the things you may not think you are ready for yet.
To learn more about how we can help prepare you for the social trends of 2018, contact Jane Cirigiliano at 800-606-1610.
Published by Chris Hlubb , September 30th, 2017
Ok Google, why are my keyword rankings so low
Have you ever found yourself wondering about a particular subject and when the decision is made to look it up, you find yourself picking up your smart phone and uttering words like “Hey Siri, what is…” or “Ok, Google, find me…” instead of typing in your query?

In this day and age of the microwave society, everybody wants things five minutes ago and nothing is simpler than speaking to your device of choice, whether it’s a phone or something like Amazon’s Alexa. Research is showing that even as early as 2014, 55% of teens and 41% of adults are using voice technology on a daily basis. Even though the same task can be completed by booting up your laptop (or trying to use those tiny keypads on your phone), it’s just so much faster to speak than to type. In fact, according to a 2016 Internet Trends Report by KPCB, the average human can speak 150 words per minute vs. 40 typed words per minute. That’s almost four times faster – no wonder this method of searching has become increasingly popular.

The whole goal of a voice search, as opposed to a search that you type into your favorite search engine, is to get an immediate answer. While some typed search engines are getting better at giving “instant” answers, typically these will net you a return of a listing of links that pertain to what you’ve asked in which you need to decipher the information you want. And it’s this main difference that is very impactful on how SEO will be handled as this technology continues to move forward.

apple watch voice search seo Having a casual conversation with a computer may have felt like science fiction years ago, but now, computer voice recognition software is getting much better at understanding what it is we want. In an article written earlier this year by Xuendong Huang, Microsoft announced that they were successful in their efforts to reduce errors in speech recognition to 5.1%, which happens to be the same error rate as a human. And it’s not just Microsoft – Google and other companies are getting much, much closer to understanding your commands as if you were conversing with another person.

And here why this is important with SEO. While keywords are an important part of a search, voice commands are geared more towards a natural speech pattern. One thought is that when building your SEO program, you might want to think about using speech patterns to help boost your rankings. People don’t use voice commands the way they type.

For example, if I want to know what movies will be playing this weekend in my city, I’ll typically type in something like “movies” and enter in a date and/or location, but with voice commands I can say something like “what movies are playing this weekend?” My mobile device is smart enough to know my location and is able to pull in the desired information. Questions are very common with voice searches, so you might want to think what could be asked about the information on your pages/products and integrate them into your SEO program.

I'm not saying that the age of the keyboard has gone the same way as the dinosaurs, but with voice recognition becoming much more widely used (and it is only expected to grow) people will need to start changing the way they think of how customers are searching for their products and act accordingly. It’s just the next natural step in an ever-changing technology world.

To learn more about the latest trends in SEO, contact Jane Cirigliano or Abby Spung at 800-606-1610.
Published by Jane Cirigliano , August 31st, 2017
Google AdWords New Features
Millions of businesses use Google AdWords to promote their products and services on the world's most used search engine. As Google usage grows, you don’t have to simply increase your ad spend to keep up with the competition.

Google is constantly adding new features and interfaces based on user feedback, search trends and automation. These features often help companies of any size stay competitive.
Ad Variations
In September 2017, Google AdWords will be adding new features geared toward improving campaign performance. Google will add new variations of your existing ads so you can test the performance of Google’s suggested improvements. You can edit or remove these ads at any point, and you can opt out of the service.
Google's machine learning will help advertisers display high performance ads automatically. The Smart Bidding feature helps advertisers who choose to optimize for conversions.
Maximizing Your Daily Budget
More changes are coming at the beginning of October. Have you ever noticed that your ads never seem to hit their daily budgets? Google has added new features to ensure that advertisers meet their click and conversion goals. Campaigns will be allowed to spend up to double their allotted daily budgets.
While on the surface, this sounds like your online spending could get out of hand quickly, it is set up to balance out. Google plans to take budgets from days where you don't meet your daily budget, like weekends in the B2B sector, and reallocate those funds to your busier days. Google has stated that spending will not exceed your monthly charging limit. Starting October 4, you'll want to make sure to adjust your monthly budgets accordingly.
New Google AdWords Interface
Finally, Google has been in the process of rolling out the beta of its new AdWords interface over the past few months. The new (and faster) Google AdWords will offer more insights into what is driving your best advertising results, as well as a more intuitive user experience.
Look for the new AdWords interface to be available to all AdWords customers in October 2017.
If you need help optimizing your pay-per-click account to take advantage of the latest AdWords features, contact Bill White or Abby Spung at 800-606-1610.
Published by Jane Cirigliano , May 30th, 2017
SSL Security and Google
An SSL certificate allows you to submit sensitive information securely over an encrypted internet connection. While SSL certificates have primarily been used for ecommerce websites in the past, recent Google algorithm updates are giving preference to companies who take security seriously.
Google's HTTPS ranking signal started with a low impact in early 2017. The search engine has indicated that the weight of security on rankings may increase in the future as Google wants to "encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web."
Not only does having an SSL certificate help your search engine rankings, it also alleviates confusion following browser security updates. For example, Firefox and Chrome now give users security errors on any form they fill out on a non-secure site (any site without an HTTPS prefix). Filling out a lead generation form or even doing something as innocuous as logging into a webmail account on a server that doesn't use an SSL certificate now looks suspicious.
As internet users become more aware of security when submitting their personal information, SSL certificates will become necessary for successful lead generation campaigns. Trust is key to prospects providing their information through contact and content marketing lead generation forms. If prospects are concerned that their personal information could be intercepted or misused, they are less likely to share their information.
If you have noticed a decrease in your website leads or search engine rankings over the past few months, the lack of HTTPS/SSL on your website could be the culprit. And if you haven't experienced any negative effects of new security updates yet, take preventative action now.
To learn more about the latest trends in SEO and how you can improve your business's visibility, contact Bill White or Abby Spung at 800.606.1610.
Published by Chris Hlubb , February 20th, 2017
For many of our clients, their web server doubles as their mail server. Regardless of if you are using a shared, private or dedicated server, most hosting companies do not place limitations on the amount of email any one account can have. While this sounds very inviting - especially if you tend to do a lot of work with email and need to keep your historic emails - the harsh reality is that, like any other file saved to your computer, server space is always finite.
When it comes to email setup for your programs such as Outlook, Mac Mail, etc., there are two types of setups: a POP account and an IMAP account. The major difference between the two setups is: a POP account is usually set up to download email off of the server to your computer and remove it from the mail server completely. That way, you have the email downloaded to your machine and it doesn't clog up your server. An IMAP account is like a mirror - it's a "reflection" of what emails you currently have on your mail server. One type isn't necessarily better than the other; it depends on how you want to manage your email.
Are you only using a computer at the office to access this account? A POP account may be the best solution for you. Or are you always on the go, checking your email on your office computer, your IPad, and your phone? You may need an IMAP account.
Mobile devices are just one reason why IMAP accounts have become a big deal over the last several years.  IMAP is very helpful as you can view email on one device and then pick it back up on another. Plus, you only have to delete the email one time from any of these devices and it's gone everywhere. However, this is where many people get lulled into a false sense of security that they can continue to pile up email and not think anything more about it. You have to be diligent about managing the amount of email you have in your account if you choose to go with IMAP.
Server Management
On more than one occasion, we have had to look into server issues for our clients that had to do with space problems. Your server needs "breathing room" to function at optimum performance. Between all of the functions that are going on behind the scenes, to the people who are accessing your website, to the space that is taken up by your web/email/etc. files, your server needs resources to carry out all of these actions. 
The less space available on your server, the less space it has to carry out the necessary functions of keeping everything working in harmony. One time a client's website and email went down because they were basically at full server capacity. The main culprit? Of a 10 GB server, one email account had roughly 7.5 GB worth of email stored. Three quarters of their server was taken up by a single account - and it could have easily been prevented.
Stories likes these aren't every day occurrences, but they do happen. The whole point of this blog is to help keep your server from becoming one of these instances. I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from using an IMAP account. You just have to be smart about managing it.
Email Cleanup
If you do choose to use an IMAP account, either make sure you are regularly cleaning out email (and remember, junk email and trash email adds up to server space as well, so make sure you completely purge them out of your account), or download and backup your email every so often to a cloud based solution, computer, etc. You may also want to consider using an alternative for your email accounts by setting them up with a third-party vendor that works specifically with email, such as a company like Rackspace. You can also always go the route of adding more server space, if necessary.
If you choose to use a POP account, there are settings that will assist you in email server clean-up.  While there are many different mail clients out there, one of the most commonly used is Outlook, and for purposes of this blog, I will be using it to explain how to avoid some of the pitfalls I outlined above with IMAP accounts. If you are using a different email client, it's very easy to Google your mail client and look up how and where to change your settings.
To begin with, when editing or setting up your email account, you want to click “File” in the top navigation.  This will bring you to the Info section by default, with "Account Information" appearing in the right hand side of your page, as seen in the image below.  Select your account from the drop down menu and click on the Account Settings button.
From here, you should now see the Account Settings popup, as the example below shows.  Find your account in the list and double click on it.
This will bring up another popup box, which will have your setup information for your email account.  This is where you have either your IMAP or POP settings. Since this is a POP account, click the button in the lower right that says "More Settings," as seen in the image below.
This will bring up the final poup box, Internet Email Settings. As seen in the image below, when this popup appears, you want to click on the tab that is labeled "Advanced." At the end of this box, there is a section labeled "Delivery." To make sure you are removing emails from the server with your POP account, you have two choices. First, you can uncheck the box next to "Leave a copy of messages on the server." This will automatically remove emails immediately when you download them to your computer or mobile device.
The alternative is to leave this box checked and make sure the box that says "Remove from server after 30 days" is also checked. You can change this number to any number of days, but 30 is usually the default. By setting your email up this way, you can still see your messages on the server with your other devices, but only for the amount of days that you select. Also, make sure the second item is checked as well, so that you delete any messages from the server that are purged from your trash folder.
Keeping these tips in mind will help your server run a bit smoother. And one more tip - as I've mentioned in past posts about changing your password, it's always a good idea to change your email password every so often to help thwart things like someone spamming your email. Happy emailing!
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