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Chatbots: The Great Equalizer for Small Businesses

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

“As an industry, we are on the cusp of a new frontier that pairs the power of natural human language with advanced machine intelligence. . .” – Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

Chatbots are a major topic in technology and business circles today.

Huge corporations like Microsoft, Spotify, Apple, Google and Facebook are among the many large organizations heavily investing in AI technology like chatbots. Even those you may not consider tech-power players are getting into the AI game.

For instance, Uber acquired two AI startups over the course of 2016. Even brands like Bud Light and Trolli have implemented chatbots via Facebook Messenger; alongside the other 100,000 bots that exist on the chat platform.

In case you’re not familiar with this technology, chatbots are essentially an AI-powered messaging application designed to handle a predetermined set of tasks. The term “chatbot,” however, spans categories including stand-alone applications, AI, analytics, and many other classifications; not just integrations with existing messaging services.

As far as small businesses are concerned, this technology provides incredible new levels of reach and efficiencies, without having the expenditure of expanding your employee roster.

Here are four ways that chatbots are poised to be SMBs greatest ally.

1. Constant User Support

Most brands today have some sort of presence online; be it through a dedicated website, on social media, or a combination of the two.

The Internet, however, does not have set hours of operation like a brick and mortar store does; this has drastically altered consumer’s expectations on customer service availability and responsiveness.

Using chatbots, however, businesses gain a digital representative that is available to consumers 24/7, without the need for a break, lunch, or even a paycheck.

The interactive experience chatbots provide gives users the same feeling they would get from working with a live agent to place an order, resolve an issue, or acquire information.

This application of AI-powered tools is revolutionary for small business with limited bandwidth.

2. Minimal Barrier to Entry

For years, building a chatbot for a business was a resource-heavy task; it consumed lots of time and money. This ended up limiting the type of businesses that could adopt the technology to large organizations with sizable R&D teams or exceptionally deep pockets.

More recently, however, third-party AI platforms have made creating, buying, and selling intelligent chatbots a financially feasible opportunity for even the smallest of organizations.

MiniApps is an excellent example of one such platform that is helping to democratize AI implementation.

MiniApps is a blockchain-based marketplace that supplies developers with the means to create chatbot templates by leveraging the company’s API, AI, machine learning, and other technological offerings.

Utilizing MiniApps’ Visual Builder, creators can develop chatbot templates by piecing together a visual storyline that’s a simple as building a Lego masterpiece.

Through this paradigm, a variety of chatbots related to customer service, booking, food orders, logistic information, and a plethora of other tasks can be obtained at a reasonable price.

3. Chatbots Drive Sales

Because many chatbots are intelligent and possess learning capabilities, this technology is primed for helping companies drive additional sales by better understanding user preferences. For instance, based on someone’s purchase or on-site browsing history, chatbots could be leveraged to send users coupons or promotional information relevant to that customer.

In fact, there is already concrete data showing that chatbots are beneficial for boosting revenue.

During his keynote speech at this year’s F8 conference, David Marcus, vice-president of messaging products at Facebook, discussed several examples of this.

The first came from beauty supplier Sephora. The company reported that its use of a Facebook Messenger chatbot was the direct result of an 11 percent increase in booking rates. Moreover, those who booked in-store services via the “Sephora Reservation Assistant” spent an average of $50 more.

Another example of this sales-boosting technology at work came from Tommy Hilfiger. Using its Messenger bot to assist consumers in purchasing clothing featured on the runway during Fashion Week in New York, the company saw an 87 percent increase in people returning to use the company’s chatbot again.

Additionally, Tommy Hilfiger also noted that 3.5 times more was spent through its Messenger bot than any other of its digital portals.

4. People Love Chatbots

While some still remain quite skeptical about AI technology (looking at you Elon), the vast majority of consumers are open to accepting these AI companions.

This was recently highlighted by a study from NeuraFlash and Bentley University. Through surveying 100 people, researchers found that:

  • “People create first impressions with ChatBots just as they would when meeting people. In both scenarios, people reach into their own experiences to create lasting impressions.”
  • “85 percent of people would rather interact with a ChatBot during a routine transaction than when they are in a hurry.”
  • “100 percent of people feel a ChatBot conversation is preferred if it can show evidence of saving time and making problem solving easier.”
  • “100 percent of people believe a ChatBot will function better if it can predict the pain points of an experience and respond appropriately, offering only those services that are contextual to the moment.”

While the sample group was relatively small, this is still a powerful example of how accepting people are of the technology.

Chatbots have yet to reach the upper echelons of their fullest potential. The abilities and skills that these machines tout is still quite rudimentary to what they will be able to handle in five to 10 years’ time.

Despite that, this technology is quickly becoming one of the most affordable and effective modalities to engaging users around the clock. And in a time where engagement is everything, those who reap the most rewards will be the ones that enter their hat into the AI arena now, not later.

Does your business have any experience with chatbots? If so, how has it impacted your brand?


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Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

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The Right Shopify SEO Strategy for eCommerce Businesses in 2018

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

In a recent expert round-up for the WHSR blog, I’ve discussed the importance of finding the right platform for your business. Among others, several experts opened the discussion about Shopify as a great CMS for e-Commerce businesses, looking to incorporate social media into their sales funnels.

Since we are here, let’s talk more about the right shopify seo strategy, and how to prepare your marketing efforts for 2018 (and why not, even further).

Shopify Stats for Non-Believers

According to a combination of official Shopify stats and news reports (source: ExpandedRamblings), as of August 1st, 2017, there were approximately 500,000 Shopify merchants in 175 countries. In 2016, the same source reported over 20,000 merchant clients, with 25% of merchants having enabled social selling for the same year. Since 2016, the platform reported that 62% of traffic and 51% of sales came from mobile. Fast forward to August 2017, there are 1,800 apps in the Shopify App Store, which have been downloaded 7 million times. 1.2 million people actively use the Shopify backend platform. The total amount of sales processed on Shopify to date exceeded $10 billion, according to stats from late 2015. Talk about potential.

How Do These Stats Reflect on Your Business?

To sum up these stats and findings:

  • 500,000 merchants in 175 countries means little competition, to be exact 2,857 merchants per country; 
  • Only 25% of them use social selling, to be exact 100,000;
  • 62% mobile traffic and 51% mobile sales means you can jump into mobile optimization of your shopify shop from day one, so all funds and efforts are directed towards a solid ROI;
  • $10 billion sales, and 51% came from mobile – that is over $5 billion in mobile sales!
  • 1,800 Shopify App Store apps, downloaded 7 million times, means on average, each app was downloaded 3,889 times. A close look at Google’s or Apple’s App Store, and you’ll see most apps do not hit that number unless they surround a popular service or product.

This means the Shopify platform offers immense potential, little competition, great dynamic and user engagement, generates money, sales, and opportunities for merchants, developers, and customers.

The Right Shopify SEO Strategy

From the numbers above, it is crystal clear that mobile search optimization should be part of your long-term marketing plan. But don’t skip the basic Google optimization. Shopify businesses can now sync their store with Google Merchant Center, through direct, automated API feeds. If a Google AdWords campaign is set up along the way, products from your store become visible across all of Google’s channels. This is a great option to consider, as PPC has its role in customer acquisition, retention, and reactivation. The app that does this is called Google Shopping, with more info and feedback available here.

The platform also has built-in analytics, which can be accessed as stand-alone or integrated into your GA, to monitor the evolution of your e-commerce business. A website optimizer function will help you in making the store search-engine friendly, however note that you cannot rely on the pre-built settings alone, and this will require additional tweaking.

Check for the Basics

No online store can go without these basic calls to action:

  • Title tags, meta descriptions, and page URLs for blog posts, webpages, product pages, or collections – all editable
  • Themes auto-generate title tags with the name of your shop, plus xml sitemap files and robots.txt 
  • ALT tag for product images, customizable img file names
  • Sitemap.xml and robots.txt files which can be later submitted and tested in GA/Webmaster tools
  • Social sharing and social media profile linking – all themes are required to have these settings
  • Canonical URL to prevent duplicated content or pages – if this sounds like Chinese for you, here is a guide from Shopify.
  • Mobile-ready functions and mobile-responsive templates
  • SSL certificates (these will impact your rankings in the long run, as Google just announced)
  • Security certificates – your customers need to know their data is handled with care and not exposed to data breaches of any kind. Shopify offers Level 1 PCI DSS compliant security features.
  • Additional apps and plugins that can help enhance your search optimization efforts (you might want to consider schema.org and mark-ups that help structure your e-store’s pages, for better user experience)
  • Built-in blogging system and news corner which enables your store to benefit from content marketing and rich keyword content, easily indexable by search engines

What Experts Are Suggesting

When it comes to the best Shopify seo strategy for e-stores, Oberlo has a few tips to add:

  • Choose relevant page titles that best express what is relevant to the customers’ search.
  • Your title tags matter not only for customers, but also for search engines, in understanding what your pages and e-store is all about.
  • Set title tags for each page, product, collection, and blog post. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to generate traffic or leads.
  • Keep your title tags short, ideally under 70 characters, to gain complete display from search engines.
  • Always add your store name in the title tag, to give credibility with search users and create a bridge between products and brands. The best way to include it is by adding your store name at the end of your page title after a separation symbol such as vertical lines “|” or dash “-“.
  • At the very beginning, incorporate your target keywords in your title tag. You might notice in the future that titles containing keywords strive for relevancy and will generate a better ranking than just keywords used for authority purposes.
  • Add variation to your keywords, depending on the page you’re targeting. Home page title tag keywords will most likely differ from product pages, or blog pages. And it is totally fine to differ!
  • Add keywords to your meta-description to boost your search visibility, and use actionable language for your visitors – they need solutions to their search, do not forget to factor in the human aspect.
  • Keep your meta-descriptions under 155 characters, and customize them based on products, pages, posts – you get it.
  • Alt image alt text can contain complex keywords such as 4-6 words (“women denim jeans summer discount”), and ideally, you should rename your image with a proper name – visual search engines will surely pick up on that.
  • Use the platform as a broadcasting environment: each time there is an update, or new product, make sure to write an article or announce it to the world. Search engines love fresh stuff.
  • Product descriptions need periodical check-ups, too. Make sure to keep them fresh and relevant. Don’t over-stuff with keywords, either.
  • Build your traffic with blog posts, customer stories, product updates, new releases, top listings, and so on.

Social Is the New Sociable

You heard me right. Nowadays, there are additional ways to keep in touch with customers and generate new ones. Facebook Live, Youtube Live, AMA (ask me anything) sessions, Instagram Live & Instagram stories. If you’re new to Instagram, check out my Instagram Marketing guide on NinjaOutreach. Instagram has also recently introduced polls into their Insta Stories, so you can ask your audience to directly vote “yes” or “no” (you can also customize your choices) on a new product, update, action the brand is considering taking/making.

Plus, you can access insights, and control who is mentioning your brand (option on Instagram). Insights include Impressions, Reach, Website Clicks, Follower Activity, Video Views, Saves, Replies, Exits. With social media platforms enabling video streaming and live video support, this leads to a foundation for community building on other channels besides your own e-store.

Word of advice: Don’t shy away from community, as this is also a product itself!

Mobile SEO

Birds of a feather flock together”, and this applies to any type of search engine optimization. In your GA console, you can access specific mobile factors, besides the classic content relevancy, authority, page load speed, and domain age. A mobile page-speed tool from Google will give you access to what needs to be improved for mobile traffic, as well as additional errors, and how to fix them. Plenty of mobile seo tips can be found in the Mobile Usability search traffic section.

Now, Google and other search engines pay attention to mobile-specific content and keywords, that are given “preferential treatment” over normal “desktop” pages. Local businesses and local stores are given the upper hand in rankings. Which is great news if you’re planning to optimize your Shopify store deliveries across different countries and cities. To identify which cities and countries to target, start with considering your visitors’ locations (country, region, city-specific), in your GA account, and as well as your social media followers’ location(s), if you wish to target your advertising efforts.

Google AMP (accelerated mobile pages) can help in driving more visibility in mobile searches, but not much in desktop searches. AMP works only for publishers or Google News pieces for now, but the future is bright. You could use Google AMP for your PR campaigns or link building efforts.

As with search engine optimization for desktop websites, you can improve rankings if you keep in mind the following:

  • Improve your website’s load speed, by file compression, minimization of CSS, HTML, and Javascript, image optimization with alt-tags and size compression, reduction of redirects, faster hosting, better CDN plans, and responsive design.
  • Apply the relevancy principle: help search engines, and users understand what your business is all about. List your business locally in Google Business, Facebook Business, Instagram, LinkedIn, use geo-targeting, and directory listings from Yahoo and Bing.
  • Ask for customer reviews and testimonials. I prefer using Delighted, a simple feedback tracking tool that sends customers an email and asks them to rate your service or shop from 1 to 10, then redirects them to a feedback text box. Once the customer hits Send, the tool collects feedback in a “news feed” type of setup. The tool is free for up to 250 contacts.
  • Use a roadmap or visual planner for your seo strategy to keep tracking updates, changes, optimization efforts. TeamWeek explains better on their blog how roadmap tools work, and suggest first creating separate groups for your departments (or teams), followed by separate milestones along the way.
  • Improve small yet important mobile details such as 404-errors, full screen pop-ups, and faulty redirects.

This SEMRush article explains more about mobile optimization, and recommendations from experts.

Takeaways

As many marketing professionals advertise, anyone today can start a business. The opportunities are endless. But you can’t make it out in jungle without a proper plan. As a CMS, Shopify has potential and clearly benefits the e-commerce business model. The right Shopify seo strategy starts with the basic fixes and principles, and progresses towards mobile-ready e-stores. Shopify has generated over $5 billion in mobile sales (that’s 51% of total sales), and 62% of traffic is mobile.

By introducing the benefits of social media, of Google’s mobile optimization tips, and expert suggestions, there is no way your e-commerce business will lose visibility or exposure in the eye of competition.

Image source: Unsplash

The post The Right Shopify SEO Strategy for eCommerce Businesses in 2018 appeared first on SEO Chat.

Google Maps Update Makes Travel a Little Easier

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Google Maps has always been there to help you find your destination  — but a recent update has made the process a little more convenient.

An update to Maps’ driving, navigation, transit and explore maps makes relevant destinations, such as gas stations, subways and restaurants, much easier to spot. A new color scheme and new icons makes the identification of specific destinations and points of interest jump off the screen.

“Places like a cafe, church, museum or hospital will have a designated color and icon, so that it’s easy to find that type of destination on the map,” Google Maps product manager Liz Hunt said in a blog post. “For example, if you’re in a new neighborhood and searching for a coffee shop, you could open the map to find the nearest orange icon (which is the color for Food & Drink spots).”

The update will roll out in the next few weeks to all Google products containing Google Maps, such as Assistant, Search, Earth, and Android Auto. The new style will also, eventually, show up in the apps, websites and experiences offered by companies that use Google Maps APIs.

 

 


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Twitter Removes Verification From White Nationalists’ Accounts – Social Site Worried Checkmark Looks Like a Twitter Endorsement

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Twitter is removing its verification badge from accounts tweeting offensive content.

The microblogging site for years has placed a blue checkmark atop Twitter accounts of verified users — usually celebrities, athletes, politicians, the media and other well-known figures. The problem, Twitter says, is the checkmark badge appears to be a stamp of approval rather than a verification that the user is authentic.

“Verification has long been perceived as an endorsement. We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception. We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritize the work as we should have,” reads a tweet from Twitter.

“This perception became worse when we opened up verification for public submissions and verified people who we in no way endorse.”

The people Twitter is referring to in this case are white nationalists Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler. Spencer is president of white supremacist think tank, the National Policy Institute, while Kessler is an alt-right activist and  the main organizer of the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Both lost their badges on Wednesday.

The pair responded to the changes via tweets:

Verified no more! Is it not okay to be proudly White?

Here’s how to get executives excited about SEO

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As an SEO expert at your company – maybe the SEO expert – you may find yourself needing to persuade executives to invest more in your company’s SEO practices.

Championing SEO means successfully selling the right company leaders on the benefits, demonstrating the effectiveness and wisdom of your specific SEO strategy, and, more often than not, including a few convincing facts about why it will make them look good.

Here are four practices you should use to your advantage when trying to win executive support for your SEO proposals:

1) Understand your executive audience before you even step in the room

When you enter the executive meeting to present your SEO plan, know exactly what you’re getting into. Is this a group discussion, or are you going in one-on-one? What will keep the attention of this particular individual or group, and what are the expectations for this meeting on the other side of the table?

In presenting your plan, it’s important to tell executives everything they need to know in order to say yes. This means explaining the very specific goals that your SEO proposal will help the business achieve. Clearly explain any costs and risks as well, so that executives have the information to make a fully informed decision.

Remember that they may even have to sell what you’re proposing at the level above them. If it’s possible to tailor what your asking for and how you present it to align well with current budgeting and company strategy, do so.

Overall, try to hand executives the ready-made case they need to fully convince both themselves and others how a greater investment in SEO will positively affect the bottom line.

2) Prepare a presentation that’s focused, powerful, and to the point

Take the time to practice and refine your presentation, focusing on a tight collection of points that you want – and need – to make. It also doesn’t hurt to use a few tricks from the advertising world, from plain old flattery to the bandwagon approach.

Make it clear that a proper focus on SEO is what smart companies are doing to succeed, and that this focus will serve to increase exposure for the tremendous work being done by creative and other teams. Also explain how “everyone else is doing it,” especially through presenting information that highlights where competitors have superior SEO practices and are beating your company in search rankings.

A little competitive spirit and FOMO can help put the push for SEO in perspective and get executives animated about how your company can respond – a response plan you ought to have ready as well.

3) Stick to terminology your audience can understand

Remember that the executives in your audience probably don’t understand SEO terminology at an expert level. That said, you shouldn’t hesitate to provide specific examples and information that will help draw them in; just be sure to avoid SEO jargon with which non-experts aren’t familiar.

For example, you may want to talk about metadata and KPIs, but your audience may need a bit of guidance to navigate these terms. You can accomplish this with rephrasing, such as changing metadata to “how searchers view your result on the search engine results page”, and KPIs to “specific data points that matter.”

4) Present those specific data points that matter

When weaving the narrative you present to executives as to how an investment in SEO will achieve intended results for your company, ensure that they take it as more than a fairy tale: ground everything in actual data.

From an internal execution standpoint, this means getting specific with the costs, personnel, and bandwidth required. It also means setting target goals the potential visibility and profit your company’s SEO efforts will deliver.

Don’t be afraid to dive into the real metrics that your proposal has been crafted to improve. This will likely include specific information like customer acquisition cost (CAC), the marketing percentage of CAC, the ratio of customer lifetime value to CAC, the time to payback the CAC, and the marketing originated/influenced customer percentages.

If your presentation can convincingly demonstrate how your SEO efforts will return favorable numbers for these metrics, there’s a good chance that executives would be smart to listen to you – and that they will.

Kevin Gamache is Search Strategist at Wire Stone, a digital marketing agency part of Accenture Interactive.

5 Common Copywriting Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Results

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Whether you’re a website owner, an Amazon seller, or a professional copywriter, striking a confident and persuasive note with your customers is key to drumming up leads, conversions, and sales. However, just like constantly saying “Umm” when you speak, far too many writers come across as less than professional because they make these common mistakes.

Correcting these is a simple task that can heighten the success of your writing with barely any effort.

Mistake 1: Thinking everyone communicates the same way.

Let’s pretend you have to share some news about a disappointing medical diagnosis. How will you phrase the information when you tell:

  • Your spouse?
  • Your mother?
  • Your child?

While the details may be the same (I need have surgery to correct a serious problem), it is possible that you will go into much more detail with your spouse than the other family members. In addition to the medical specifics, you will probably also discuss the repercussions this surgery will have on your life over the next couple of weeks as you prepare, undergo, and recover from the ordeal.

You might give your mother or father the basics so as not to worry them too much. Then, if they have additional questions, you can answer them as needed.

However, for your child (depending on age), it is likely that you’ll phrase medical terms differently, use layman’s language, talk about the positive aspects of the surgery, and otherwise take the approach of everything being all right in the end.

Want another example? Read this classic blog post about writing copy for the NCIS team.

Not all people communicate in the same way. Even though the specifics of any writing project may be the same, your job as the writer is to phrase the copy to best suit your customer base.

Mistake 2: Repeating yourself.

I’m not talking about rephrasing or reframing (reinforcing the same ideas in order to get a point across to instill remembrance). I’m referring to literally repeating statements practically verbatim.

This usually comes from not knowing what to say or having a lack of information. Rather than writing in circles, expand your knowledge. Ask for more details from the manufacturer or client, or do some online research from reputable sources to gather additional facts.

Mistake 3: Using seriously overused words.

At Marketing Words, we have a strict limit that writers can only use the word “enjoy” one time in a piece of copy or a blog post. This is one of the most overused words found in copy. Which other ones do you need to keep an eye on?

  • Enjoy
  • Stuff — Use a real word, not slang.
  • Things — Ditto.
  • Great – You can find more expressive words.
  • Just — Most of the time, the word “just” is similar to cellulose powder in vitamin capsules. It is used to fill space.
  • So — Typically used at the beginning of sentences when making an attempt to write conversationally. It is almost always best to leave it off.
  • That — If the sentence reads correctly without the use of the word “that,” leave it out. Example: He thought that he needed to go to the store reads equally well as He thought he needed to go to the store.
  • Had — Same as above. Unless you are talking about something that happened in the past, you do not need to say, “She had said she was leaving” when “She said she was leaving” sounds better and uses fewer words.

These are some of my favorite copywriting thesauruses. I have the paper versions (from many years ago) and they still serve me well today.

Mistake 4: Starting numerous sentences the same way.

While we might not notice it during the writing process, many people get into a subconscious habit of starting sentences the same way. Here’s a recent example I found (blog post):


It’s annoying and boring to read copy or content that is constructed this way. Proof your own writing projects (or hire a proofreader) so you can replace routine repetition with differentiation and interest.

Mistake 5: Using lazy words and phrases.

When crafting your copy, originality is important. If all you offer your reader is words and phrases they see everywhere else, they are likely to simply roll their eyes and click away.

Stand watch for words and phrases including these:

  • Be sure to
  • You’ll want to
  • For all intents and purposes
  • Perfect for ______________
  • You’ll love

You may also want to jazz up your writing by using super verbs and super adjectives.

Here’s a tip that plays a big role in creating engaging copy: Simply pay attention to what you write. Too often, being in a hurry to finish causes these five mistakes to occur. Take your time, read and then reread what you’ve written. You’ll greatly reduce the risk of sounding like an amateur.

What many writers don’t realize is that most of the magic of copywriting happens long before the first word is ever written. This is the part of the process that is time consuming.


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Karon Thackston is president of Marketing Words Copywriting Agency helping Amazon sellers, eCommerce site owners and content marketers rank higher, convert better and make more sales.

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SEO in 2018: 5 Ways to Modernize Your SEO to Stay Ahead of the Trends

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Search engines are constantly trying to improve user experience, changing their algorithms at least 500 times each year to improve their performance and provide the best results possible. Google has 200 different ranking factors that can impact your website’s rankings.

Because of this, search engine optimization is constantly changing. With the top tactics being continuously modified, it often feels like it is impossible to keep your site’s rank up. It can also be hard to decide which tactics and plugins are worth incorporating into your SEO strategy.

Yet, 93 percent of online participation starts with the search engine so being on the first page is vital. Not only will ranking highly encourage users to trust your website and your company, but you will get more traffic. The top five results receive 75.7 percent of the clicks. So even if you are on the first page, you might not be getting as much traffic as you need.

You can see why it is vital to stay on top of your SEO game. In 2018, there are several great ways to modernize your SEO strategy to help improve your rankings. Here are the top six ways we found to improve your SEO in 2018.

Google AMP Project

The Google AMP, or the Accelerated Mobile Pages, project is an open-source software launched in 2016 to improve website performance on mobile.

Integrating AMP into your strategy is vital because most people use mobile as their main source of accessing the Internet. Because of this, Google prefers websites that provide a great user experience no matter what device they are on.

A site that has been optimized for mobile transforms depending on which device is used. It changes for tablets and the phones, prioritizing information and images while creating larger buttons and reformatting the content to be read easily.

AMP improves the speed at which the website loads on different devices, allowing immediate page loading regardless of the device. It is able to look at the image, ad, and iframes and decide what position and size they should be before they are downloaded so the user doesn’t need to wait for any of the resources to download.

JSON Schema

JSON Schema is part of the movement to encourage Google to provide rich answers through semantic search. This allows the search engine to have a deeper understanding of what the user is looking for by not only crawling for keywords, but also determining the contextual meanings of the words the person is using to search.

The schema describes the data in a machine readable and human readable documentation. It also provides information for the search engine to better understand your content, allowing them to provide the best results possible. The enhanced descriptions appear in the search results for search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo.

In the age of RankBrain and Hummingbird, having this schema markup can have a major influence on your rankings. It is also a huge gap in the market at the moment since less than one-third of search results have a schema market. Taking advantage of this tactic can drastically improve how your webpage appears to the SERPs.

RankBrain

RankBrain was introduced in 2015 as an artificial intelligence system that uses machine learning to process search results. Google claims that it is the third biggest factor in determining rankings. The program is a part of the Hummingbird algorithm to sort through the billions of websites and pages to determine the most relevant information for the user.

RankBrain is particularly important because it helps process long-tail keywords. It interprets the query and translates them with the semantic search function to find the best results for the user.

To keep up with the algorithm that is constantly learning and adapting to user search queries, start incorporating more natural language with your keywords.

Writing for the Reader, NOT Google

In the early stages of SEO, many companies would use black hat SEO techniques to improve their rankings. That could be anything from keyword stuffing to invisible text.

Google is focused on providing the best experience possible for the user, so those techniques can cause your rankings to drop.

Instead, Google and other search engines prefer content that is useful and informative. Though you still want to include both short- and long-tail keywords, your content needs to be focused on providing the best resource and response to the reader’s query.

Compelling content creates more social shares and causes the reader to stay on the website longer and explore more pages — these are all factors Google uses to determine your site’s authority and rankings.

Social Sharing

Social sharing will also be a necessity for SEO in 2018. After all, stories that are shared often will rank well. This is because social engagement tends to increase both the total unique page view and your higher organic click-through rates.

You can improve your SEO with social shares in two ways:

• First, you want to make it easy for readers to share the content. Place the social share buttons on both the top and the bottom of the content.

• Second, make sure your content is relevant and engaging. This creates a more natural desire for readers to mention and link to your website and share the content on social media platforms.


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Joel House helps small to medium businesses grow their revenues through increased search traffic. As the owner of Australia’s highest ranking SEO Agency, he has a burning desire to help small businesses with SEO that actually works. When he isn’t helping small businesses grow, he is furiously reading to stay on the cutting edge.

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