A Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

A Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization

Did you know more than 3.5 BILLION searches are made every single day on Google? Google is in most cases, the front page of the internet, and people use the website to find exactly what they need to know at a moment’s notice. This reason is why businesses need to focus on Search Engine Optimization so that they don’t get lost in the crowd of nearly 3.5 Billion web pages.

How does Search Engine Optimization Work? 

Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use undercover bots or spiders to crawl the web, saving information from every published page and adding them into an index. Search Engines use algorithms to analyze the web pages in the index, then rank them based on hundreds of factors or signals, to decide which order the pages should show up in thesearch results for a relevant search query.

Websites are ranked based on the quality of the site’s content, strength, and authority of backlinks, user experience, and much more. That is why it is important to have a strong content marketing plan, and research keywords to optimize content for search engine optimization (SEO).  

The algorithms search engines use are designed to produce relevant, authoritative pages, and provide users with a valuable search experience. By optimizing the content on your website with the previously mentioned factors in mind, you can improve how your website and its pages rank in the search results.

3 Fixes to Improve Search Engine Optimization?

1. Use compelling Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Title Tags are clickable headlines that appear in search results and are exceptionally crucial from an SEO perspective.

Google says, “Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. IT’s often the primary piece of information used to decide which result to click on, so it’s important to use high-quality titles on your web pages.”

Search engines will usually show 50-60 characters of a page’s title and will display the full title if you keep the title tag under the 60 character threshold.

Title Tag Best Practices

  • Include Target Keywords
  • Write titles that match the user’s search intent
  • Do not use duplicate title tags on your website
  • Try not to stuff the title with keywords
  • Describe the content, but keep it concise

Meta descriptions are the second most important tags to include on your page when it comes to search engine optimization. Meta Descriptions are short explanations of a page that shows up on the SERP and is shown under the title tag.

While meta descriptions do not directly impact your site’s performance in search rankings, they help persuade users to click through to your website.

Typically, meta descriptions are shorter than 160 characters. When writing a meta description, it is best to provide a brief accurate summary of the content that will persuade users to click to view the content.

 

Meta Tag

 

Meta Tag Best Practices

  • Write unique meta descriptions for each page of your website
  • Include keywords from your content
  • Match search intent
  • Provide a short but accurate summary of the content of the pages

2. Optimize the Images on Your Website

Images are critically important for improving the user experience of visitors to your website. When adding content to your website, you probably meticulously look for the perfect image to improve your blog posts, product pages, and the other pages on your website. You should spend just as much if not more time optimizing the images on your site.

3 ways to optimize site images

  • Select the best file format
    When optimizing the images on your website it is important to consider the file type of the images. This is because the site load speed is vital to the success of your search engine optimization. Typically, .JPEG images have smaller file sizes than .PNG images and will help the site load faster. However, if your image includes text, the .PNG images tend to have better quality.
  • Compress your images
    It is crucial that you compress your images to also help with site speed. The larger the size of the file, the longer it will take for the page to load. Make sure to compress your images before uploading them to your site.
  • Use Alt-Text for Images
    Alt-text is a description of the images on your website that improves web accessibility and helps crawlers better understand the images. If someone who is visually impaired were to access your site, alt-text can describe the image to them audibly. Furthermore, web crawlers can only crawl text-based information on your website, so an alt text description that includes keywords without keyword stuffing will help improve your ranking on the SERP.

 3.  Optimize Your Page Speed

When your website takes too long to load, it will negatively impact your user experience and your rankings will plummet.

There are plenty of free tools to use to test your site speed, my preference is GTMetrix.

As mentioned previously, one step you can take to improve site speed is to compress images and choose the right image file type.

Below are some site speed optimization tips

  • Enable Browser Caching
  • Delete useless plugins
  • Reduce server response time
  • Eliminate redirects when possible
  • Minimize CSS and JavaScript files

If you are not satisfied with the amount of traffic or the quality of visitors to your page, you should consider performing a site audit to determine opportunities for better search rankings. It is important to stay on top of necessary adjustments to ensure you stay on the first page of the search engine ranking page, as 95% of users never make it to the second page.

If you need help boosting your site’s search engine optimization, reach out to Bouvier Kelly CEO, Pete Parsells at pparsells@bouvierkelly.com, to learn how we can help you rank higher in the search rankings.

Untangling Connected TV and OTT Ads

Untangling Connected TV and OTT Ads

Connected TV/OTT

The Connected TV/OTT advertising landscape is complex. In this post, I will try to untangle it.

First, let’s explain Connected TV (CTV) and OTT and talk about what exactly each means. The acronym OTT stands for Over-the-Top. OTT is defined as video content streamed from the internet via PC, tablet, mobile phone, or television. Before Smart TVs, a device was needed to stream video on television such as Roku, Play Station, etc. So, technically a Smart TV is just another device to connect to the internet; therefore, it is part of OTT.

The terms are sometimes used interchangeably but are they the same? Depending on the context sometimes they are.

Connected TV especially refers to streaming views on a “large screen” or television. But the distinction for advertisers is that an OTT ad schedules deliver ads in streaming video content regardless of the viewing device or type of video. However, Connected TV ad schedules are served in long-form episodic or live programming viewed mostly on a large TV screen. Some Connected TV ads can be served in those types of programming viewed on mobile devices. 

CTV/OTT increases the reach of any linear television buy. We all know that streaming long-form/episodic video has been on the rise and the pandemic certainly accelerated the adoption curve by consumers. Connected TV/OTT belongs in any digital video campaign and/or linear television schedule to capture the eyeballs of the most consumers possible.

The Connected TV/OTT consumer fits in three categories:

  • Cord-stacker – someone who subscribes to both Pay TV (cable, satellite, or telco service) and streaming services.
  • Cord-cutter – someone who forgoes Pay TV for streaming service(s) and/or over-the-air broadcasts.
  • Cord-never – someone who has never had Pay TV in their life and views TV via streaming services and/or over-the-air broadcasts.

When putting together Connected TV/OTT ad schedules, it is important to understand the impression inventory landscape. There are four different ad-supported groups included:

  1. TV Everywhere: authenticated streaming (MVPD: cable, satellite, and telco services) According to a FreeWheel research study, TV Everywhere accounted for 40% of ad views in 2020. TV everywhere reaches cord-stackers since authentication is required for viewing on network apps.

2. Set-top Box VOD, which accounts for 14% of ad views. This group also reaches the cord-stacker, and local ad inventory is not available through programmatic ad exchanges. Ad schedules can only be secured through local cable advertising sales providers.

The next two groups will reach the cord-stackers, cord-cutters, and the cord-nevers consumer.

3. Streaming Services: Ad-supported: Pluto, Xumo, Tubi, Hulu, Peacock, etc. Fast approaching the TV Everywhere’s reach, streaming services account for 38% of ad views.

4. vMVPD: digital-only cable alternatives: YouTube TV, Sling, DirecTV NOW, etc. vMVPD consumers can view streaming regardless of authentication or not. The same FreeWheel research reveals that this group accounts for 8% of ad views.

I also want to mention that not all streaming video is ad-supported. There is another consumer group that pays for Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) to avoid ads altogether. And some of the streaming services play in both ad-supported and subscription landscapes. For example, Hulu and Peacock offer a free or low fee service that includes ads and a higher subscription fee for ad-free viewing.

Hopefully, this helps in understanding the Connected TV (CTV)/OTT ad impressions landscape. Knowing where your CTV/OTT impressions are being served ensures that ad campaigns can reach as many consumers as possible.

3 Tips To Track Traditional Marketing Digitally

3 Tips To Track Traditional Marketing Digitally

Traditional Marketing | Bouvier Kelly

Over the past 20 years, digital marketing has grown with the ever-increasing amount of time that people are spending on the internet and the ability marketers have to analyze their marketing efforts. However, the best marketing strategies often still have a well-rounded tangible marketing mix that includes traditional marketing strategies. Analyzing the performance of traditional marketing is equally as important as tracking digital campaigns so that you have a more complete understanding of how your marketing strategies are performing as a whole, to increase your future return on investment. In this blog, we will cover three ways you can better track your traditional marketing tactics to make informed decisions and adjustments in future media planning.

1. Include vanity URLs in your ads

A vanity URL is a shorter URL or web address that automatically goes to your website when typed. Vanity URLs should be easy to remember so that users can recall later.

When someone enters the vanity URL they will be redirected back to your website, and you can track this redirect in Google Analytics. Consider creating a new vanity URL for each offline medium you advertise on so that you can track the performance of each ad individually.

2. Track phone calls with call tracking phone numbers

No matter what advertising medium you are using, your ads should always include a call-to-action (CTA). CTA’s such as listing your website or phone number are great ways for prospective clients to reach you if they’re interested in your product or service.

Call tracking is one way to track your offline ad’s effectiveness. All you need to do after you have signed up for a call tracker service is to include a unique phone number in each ad. When someone calls the number in the ad, the call tracker will record it in a call log and redirect the call to your actual business phone without the customer even knowing this happened.

It can also be beneficial to track calls from your digital efforts with the same tracking service so that you can be sure you’re measuring all events in the same place. If you set up a specific phone number for each medium.

Let’s say that you have decided to run a 15-second ad spot on a radio station. In the script of the ad, you insert the phone number that has been set up and associated with your radio ad. Once the ad is on-air, you can track its success by seeing how many calls that specific phone number received and calculate an actual ROI of your traditional marketing strategies.

3. Use QR codes to make print ads come to life

Recently QR codes have become more and more prevalent in print advertising. By adding a QR code to a print ad, you make it easier for users to go directly to your desired landing page. Users simply snap a picture of the QR code on their smartphone with an app and they are taken to the assigned landing page.

Tracking QR codes is easy as most QR code generators have reporting data included with the free and paid subscriptions. If you want to track the QR codes on Google Analytics, you should consider using a Vanity URL or a UTM code at the end of the landing page web address. When using a UTM make sure that it is easy to recognize in Google Analytics, for example, you can use the name of the publication in which the advertisement is published to know which ad sent the traffic from to the landing page.

QR codes can be used in print ads or on signage to drive web traffic and new leads. All ads are trackable in Google Analytics with the use of UTM codes, this enables you to make more informed decisions about advertising strategy for our clients as we continue as their marketing partner.

Another great reason to use QR codes is that they are fully customizable, so you can incorporate your company’s branding in them to make them stand out on the page.

The only issue with using QR codes in your print ads is that it requires users to have access to a smartphone to scan the code. For that reason, we recommend also adding the vanity URL mentioned earlier to the copy of your ad in case the person seeing the ad happens to not have a smartphone.

Track your traditional marketing tactics digitally

As mentioned earlier, the use of digital marketing has made tracking campaign performance so much easier with all of the great tools and resources like Google Analytics. Measuring traditional marketing campaigns digitally should be just as easy to track so that you can make informed decisions in the future about how you spend your marketing investment.

If you are interested in using any of the tips listed in this blog but are unsure of where to start, reach out to us today at pparsells@bouvierkelly.com.

3 Tips to Improve User Experience

3 Tips to Improve User Experience

3 Tips to Improve UX

To generate a good user experience (UX) and ensure you communicate effectively with your audience, start by following a user-focused design approach. User Experience is most often talked about in reference to websites, but a user-focused approach can help refine all of your marketing efforts and materials. The more you take your customers’ needs and preferences into account, the better your response will be.

1) Understand Your Users

Each type of user (or customer) that you have, whether they’re brand new or a returning customer, is going to have slightly different needs. You should start by understanding their goals, needs, behavior, and what motivates them. This research can be done once for general use and then tweaked for specific marketing pieces.

It can be time-consuming, but we recommend getting real feedback from real users. And you don’t need to delay your launch until you have this feedback. You can also gather data and use it to develop new iterations or make small improvements over time.

2) Start with Function, Not Form

Determine first how the piece needs to function and outline the pathway. On a website, for example, create a journey map to lead the different types of visitors to the information they want and the information you want them to see. If you start with design, it’s harder to fit functionality in on top.

On the other hand, it’s important to remember as well that UX isn’t UI. Your user experience is more than just the user interface and functionality. Experience encompasses UI as well as the emotional response to the design and messaging. So, while you should start with function, you can’t afford to forget the form.

3) Don’t Confuse Yourselves with Your Users

Typically, your team is not going to be a perfect match with the target user, and it’s important to separate what you like from what works better for them. When it comes to an internal debate with your team, circling back to your user data from Tip 1 can help settle the discussion quickly and get you closer to the right solution.

 

Some of these steps may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in the turmoil of internal discussions and multiple revisions. Before you know it, you’ve lost sight of your customer and their needs. If you can refocus on their perspective, you’ll communicate more effectively and make a better overall impression.

Read more about UX and Accessibility or check out more tips on developing a great website.

Prepare to Lose Third-Party Cookies

Prepare to Lose Third-Party Cookies

Woman having conference call

If you’ve been keeping up with digital marketing news, you may already know about the so-called “death of third-party cookies”. Though the biggest change won’t occur until 2022, we’re already shifting strategies to prepare. If you’re looking to get up to speed or just want some ideas on how you can prepare, we’ve put together a quick breakdown.

What are third-party cookies and why are they going away?

Third-party cookies are the backbone of programmatic targeting. Basically, they are placed on your browser by an advertiser and track your behavior, what sites you visit, etc. for the purposes of serving you relevant ads. Unlike first-party cookies, you don’t have to visit that specific advertiser’s website to be tagged.

Consumer privacy concerns and government regulations (like the GDPR) have led browsers like Firefox and Safari to ban third-party cookies already. Google announced they plan to ban them in Chrome (the most popular browser by a mile) beginning in 2022 in an effort to give advertisers time to adjust.

These bans only block targeting and traffic from third-party cookies, not first-party. So, this will mostly affect tracking and will be a huge blow to third-party ad partners.

How can we start preparing for the shift now?

The core strategy we recommend is to shift to building, maintaining or increasing focus on your own first-party database. It can be used not only for sales contacts, internal campaigns or ABM, but also for targeting on the wider internet.

Some other tactics to consider as you prepare for 2022 are:

-Content marketing and SEO can bring in a lot of leads when done right. It takes planning and resources, but when the challenge is finding your audience, the best strategy is sometimes to get them to come to you.

-Start testing other types of programmatic targeting now while you still have your existing campaigns with access to third-party cookies.

-Talk to ad partners with a network of first-party sites and begin testing to see how effective these are for your brand/audience.

-Contextual targeting is going to gain a lot of importance. Relevant content topics may seem obvious, but we would suggest also gathering information from your audience on their online behavior. The right campaign may be able to connect some seemingly disparate topics to your brand.


These changes will cause a huge shake-up for many companies, but there’s no need to panic. Ad partners are already working on alternative solutions (and so is Google). If you approach the problem strategically, it may end up yielding a campaign that gets even better results. This change can be an opportunity to make changes you may never have tried before.

Make Your Virtual Presentation a Sensation

Make Your Virtual Presentation a Sensation

Woman having conference call

Due to the reduction in face-to-face meetings, business has quickly become more reliant on virtual communication. With these changes come technical challenges and a new set of issues to troubleshoot. Here are some tips and tricks (also available as an infographicthat can help make your experience easier and your presentations better.

Avoid Technical Difficulties

We all know technology can have a mind of its own, but there are precautions you can take to avoid technical difficulties. This includes doing a few test-runs to see what kinds of issues could arise, then figure out solutions. Make sure your devices are securely connected to the internet. You’ll want to make sure your ethernet cords are plugged in properly or that you have a strong Wi-Fi signal. If using a webcam or camera, make sure you’ve gone into your device’s settings and allowed the software or platform to access the camera. Check to see if your device captures audio well, and if it doesn’t, use a microphone. If you’re screen-sharing, try to have a back-up plan as to how your audience can access the files and sites you were sharing in case the screen-share doesn’t work. Every platform (Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, etc.) has its different quirks, so it’s essential that you adjust your presentation to the one you are using.

Aesthetics

The way your presentation looks plays a huge role in how captivated your audience is. You want them to be focused on your presentation. This means wearing non-distracting clothes with simple patterns, avoiding cluttered backgrounds, and having proper lighting. Choose backgrounds and clothing based upon the level of professionalism that you’d like to convey. Good lighting comes from making sure you are not in front of any source that’s too bright (close the blinds behind you) and using a ring light or lamp if you don’t have sufficient indoor light. Also, light from computer screens and lamps can reflect into your glasses so consider wearing contacts if possible. 

Behavioral Tactics

As with any presentation, you want your body language and behaviors to keep your audience engaged. In a virtual setting, it’s not possible to physically look your audience in the eye, so the next best thing is to make sure you are looking into the camera rather than at the screen. If possible, place your camera at eye level, so that it’s easier to maintain eye contact. Also, try not to be too up close and personal with the camera. The audience should at least be able to see you from your chest and up. Giving a standing presentation can also be a great help, as it communicates higher energy. 

Content Is King

Don’t forget to truly captivate your audience! Practice is still the key to a successful presentation. Know what your message is and try not to rely heavily on reading content from index cards or other sources. Consider your audience and use language that they can understand. Speak loudly and clearly. Have interesting slides if you are using a PowerPoint. Utilize polls, chats, and raised hand functions to keep their attention from wandering, or even just ask questions. 

 

Whether in-person or virtual, presentations have their challenges, but it’s important to put your best foot forward. Just a few small changes can make a big difference, so start by trying out a couple of these ideas for your next presentation. For more tips, check out our blog post on virtual engagement or our blog on presentation software. 

 

 

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