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Know your Customers Better and Faster than your Competitors by Social Media

If you know how your customers behave, you have won half of the battle. It is essential to know your customer’s buying behavior and expectations to make your business and ventures successful. For instance, if you are running an apparel shop, you need to understand the customer’s behavior including their taste, preference and expectations. It will not be a good idea to sell western clothes in villages, where it is barely in demand. Similarly, selling woolen clothes in warm weather will be worthless. In order to formulate right marketing strategies and target prolific markets and segments, you need to understand customers’ buying behavior.

Most affluent marketers know that understanding the customer’s behavior is essential to succeed in the competitive environment. In the past, it used to be a herculean task to study individual’s behavior using research methods and statistics to get the clear information and formulate marketing strategies based on it.

Thanks to social media. Social media has helped marketers to better understand their customers. Although, social media has not turned it into completely an easy go, but it has made it much convenient and fast to get comprehensive and realistic data and information about the customer’s behavior by using social networking platforms.

Social Media Analytics and customer’s Behavior

Social media platforms have induced the brands and marketers to search for tactics to understand the social behavior of the consumers online. Brands and marketers are nowadays busy in observing and understanding how consumers behave and interact with each other over affluent social networking platforms. Many marketers use semantic analysis to monitor consumer-buying patterns based on content shared and posted by them. Also, social media metrics such as likes/dislikes to your post or page help in knowing what is working for your business and what is not working for it. It also helps to know what customers like and what they don’t. There are also certain advanced algorithms for text mining that act as weapon in your marketing toolbox. It helps to know customer’s exact reaction to your products in different consumer segments.

Social media and marketing decisions

There are many powerful tools used by social media marketers for analyzing the behavior of the customers. These tools are used to gain better insights into industry and target audiences. These tools are helpful for businesses and marketers in many ways:

  • Explore the potential customers, customer segments and markets
  • Know how customer’s react to your products as well as marketing campaigns
  • Know what to sell and where to sell it
  • Formulate the right marketing strategies to
  • Find the extent to which social media marketing worked for your business

Some of the affluent social media marketers are engaged in tracking, monitoring and deriving insights from social media before, during and after the marketing campaigns to take right marketing decisions and make prolific marketing strategies.

In nutshell, social media may be criticized for declining the quality of interpersonal communication and human relationships, but it has actually proven to be a great source of strengthening the customer relationship and understanding the customer’s behavior.

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Search Engine Friendly Website or User friendly Website?

The people for the people create Websites. They are designed to share about the ideas and offerings of business, brand and organization. Some people think that it is important to make website user friendly, so those using it should be able to get the most out of it. While many others think, that it is more important to work on their page rankings to increase the revenue of the business anyhow. But, what is more significant to reap maximum benefit out of your online presence?

Why websites should be user friendly?

When any small or big business plan to have a website, the goal is usually to get more customers, spread the awareness about brand or business or promote products and services of a business. All these goals can be achieved only if the site is user friendly. If your site delivers an overwhelming experience to users and give them reason to stick with it, then only users will be able to respond as per your desires and expectations. If your website is user friendly:

  • It will create positive impact of your brand and business.
  • It will make your targeted audience to stick to your site.
  • It will increase the chances of your visitors being turned into customers

Some of the essential features of a user friendly website

  • Attractive in appearance
  • Easy to read
  • Easy to navigate
  • Consistent and clear in layout, design, and labeling
  • Must look trustworthy
  • Quick to download

Why your website should be Search Engine friendly?

Your efforts of creating attractive and user friendly website go all in vain if your website is not Search Engine friendly. Your customers and targeted audience will search for your brands, products and services through search engines.

Remember, there are millions of businesses and individuals in your city as well as other places around the world engaged in offering same kind of products and services. If your site is not search engine friendly, it will not appear on top search engine result pages when your potential customers are looking for them. When your site is not capable of being searched by your targeted audience instantly, there are least chances of survive and succeed in the online world.

Features of a Search Engine friendly website

  • It appears on the top most search engine result pages instantly when your targeted audience searches for it.
  • It has been created and optimized as per search engine guidelines.
  • It is constantly updated as per announcements and updates by the major search engines.
  • An adequately and appropriately optimized websites will have top most rankings as well as commendable online reputation.

If your website is user friendly but not search engine friendly it will remain a dull piece of art, kept in a corner, unnoticeable and unproductive. If your website is search engine friendly but not user friendly, it will not serve your purpose either. Your site won’t be able to rank higher for a long time if it is not user friendly. If you want to make your website productive for your business, it is essential to adorn it with features adorable by our targeted users as well as search engines.

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Is Canonical Issue Gulping All the Strength of Your Website?

Are you sure that your content is not replicated? Your content writing team might have put their heart and soul in creating unique content to engage with your targeted audience and to inform them about the offerings of your business. However, if you have ignored canonical tagging while syndicating content to different URLs and domains, you might actually be making it difficult for search engines to reach and rank your pages.

What is Canonical in Website or SEO?

Lots of people think the canonical is an issue, but it’s a term which means the “preferred one”, when your website is generating the multiple URL addresses for same page and displaying the same content on the page then it would be counted as the canonical issue within the website. If the same page can be accessed or browsed with different URLs then it would called a canonical issue. If the same content on the website is accessible with different URLs then it is considered as bad for Search Engine Optimization because the links which need to be directed to the single page is get divided into the multiple URLs and hence it splits the popularity or votes in terms of links of the page into multiple URLs. Below are the few examples to understand the most common canonical issues:

Like we have a website www.example.com:

  • http://www.example.com/
  • http://example.com/
  • http://www.example.com/index.php (or .html)
  • http://example.com/index.php (or .html)

So, here you can see there are four versions of the same page are available on different URLs and the content on each URL is same. And in this way links would be pointed to different URLs instead of single homepage URL, which will result in giving links credit from Search Engines to individual pages, which will not be combined to one URL address only.

Now, we have a solution for this to overcome this canonical issue and pass all links credit or redirect the users/crawlers to the common page instead of opening the same page with different URLs (as shown above) and it will help you in performing Search Engine Optimization on the website to make it perfect and friendly. We have an option of 301 redirection (also know as Permanent Redirection) which is a server redirection, which can be done by directly editing the .htaccess file on your Apache Server.

Here is the most common code which can be used to redirect all the above URLs to the single URL address only (below code is applicable with Apache Server only):

Options +FollowSymlinks

RewriteEngine on
## Code to redirect the index.php or html to /
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /index\.php
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ / [L,R=301]
## Code to redirect the index.php or html to /

## Code to redirect the non-www to www
rewritecond %{http_host} ^example.com [nc]
rewriterule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [r=301,nc]

What Are Canonical Tags And Why Use Them?

Here is an example of canonical tag:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/bamboosheets”>

Now you will think why to use this tag and on which page? So, as I mentioned earlier that the canonical means “the preferred one” so in above tag we are telling Search Crawlers that “http://www.example.com/bamboosheets” this page is the canonical (preferred one) page. But this code needs to be added on to the duplicate pages or the generating URLs like

http://www.example.com/bamboosheets?id=7736&edge=hybrid (So, this is the duplicate page of http://www.example.com/bamboosheets) And you can add the above code on both the pages to hint crawlers that which one is the main and preferred page. This tag need to be added in the head section of the page.

Search engines detest the duplicate content, and if it exists on your website, search engine spiders will use a specific algorithm to identify duplicate website pages and pick only anyone out of them to represent the group in the search results, while others are just funneled down.

Canonical tags are used to highlight canonical URL. These tags are part of the HTML header on a web page and are similar as nofollow. The only difference is the use of “rel parameter”. These URLs tends to improve link and ranking signals for content either by the means of the URL structure or through syndication. These tags are utilized to help search engines to decide on your canonical URL. In other words, the Canonical tags tell search engines that the specific URL should be treated as copy of the other URL and the search engines should use the same link & content metrics for it as former URL

How to Set Canonical URLs?

Once you have decided to identify web pages of your site with Canonical URL, you need to find the best way for setting the Canonical URL for each web page. One must set the canonical tag to the simplest URL. As each URL takes web visitors to the same page, one needs to place Canonical tag inside the head tag of the web page.

“If you really want to be safe, you can make sure that the rel=canonical is the first or one of the first things in the HEAD section. Again, things should be fine either way, but if you want an easy rule of thumb: put the rel=canonical toward the top of the HEAD” as mentioned by the Matt Cutts.

One must also use redirects for redirection of site pages. Similarly, for paginated content, you should use rel=”next” and rel=”prev” tags.

For example, on any website selling bamboo sheets sets, I can go to the bamboo sheets set page directly, or I can go from different navigation from the homepage:

I can go to Homepage >>Bedding >> Bamboo Sheet Sets. The following URL is generated:

http://www.example.com/bedding/bamboosheets?id=7736&edge=hybrid

Or I can go to Homepage >> Bed & Bath >> Bedding >> Bamboo Sheets Set. The following URL is generated:

http://www.example.com/bedding/bamboosheets?id=75873&edge=hybrid

And the main (preferred) page is: http://www.example.com/bedding/bamboosheets

Thus, all three URLs will lead to the same content and a canonical URL will be specified for each of them. Canonical URL is the purest version of all the URLs in the group.

What Google Suggest for Canonical Issues?

Google suggests number of ways to define a canonical URL for content (or equivalent content) available through multiple URLs:

  • Set your preferred domain
  • Indicate the preferred URL with the rel=”canonical” link element
  • Use a sitemap to set preferred URLs for the same content
  • Use 301 redirects for URLs that are not canonical
  • Indicate how to handle dynamic parameters
  • Specify a canonical link in your HTTP header
  • Prefer HTTPS over HTTP for canonical links

A Word of Caution

Canonical tags are great ways of avoiding penalties for duplicate content. However, you need to be cautious while using them. Sometimes URLs might be showing the same page in different way. In such a case, you should use single & unique URL in your canonical tag for all URLs. If the text on the page is rearranged, it doesn’t mean you need to use different canonical tags for each URL.

Search engines look upon websites with multiple URLs pointing to the same content to be deceptive. It will create an impression that you are having so many pages with duplicate content to be found in the top search results and it will straight away lead to penalization.

It is highly recommended to make sure that your website URLs are organised and redirected appropriately. You must choose one canonical URL that all other URLs will be redirected to (either by 301 or rel=canonical tag). And also, make sure to set the canonical tag before the search engines decide that your website is created to deceive them.

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SEO Mistakes that Could Penalise Your Website

Your website may lose its rankings overnight. No warning and no alarm bells (automatic penalties). Your site simply disappears from its search results. It is gone as if it has never existed. You might have spent months and hundred hours in making it to the top in search engine result pages. But, overlooking trivial issues can actually put you into great trouble and make your website being penalised by search engines.

Unnatural Link Building

You know that link building is a great way to tremendously increase the rankings of your website. Many businesses create links to each other to increase search engine rankings and click through traffic. But, you must know that unnatural link building by your SEO service providers can lead to Penalise your website. Google has become more determined in evaluating the feasibility and the quality of links for ranking the websites. The giant search engine has been cracking down low quality links for over many years; however, it has become severe with Penguin and Panda updates, causing several sites to lose their rankings.

    • One should avoid links sold in bulk at low prices, which are usually of low quality and are penalised by search engines.
    • Don’t use automatic and bulk link building tools.
    • Avoid adding links while doing blog comments on any blogs.
    • Avoid creating links, which looks created intentionally for Search Engines only.
    • Be cautious while getting links from sites that have no relevance to your own niche.

If you are submitting articles and blogs to boost rankings, it should be submitted to reliable and highly targeted site that’s reviewed by an actual human being.

  • Check for broken links, unnatural anchor text and correct HTML

 

Google elaborates the pattern of unnatural, artificial and deceptive outbound links that violates its guidelines. Click here for detailed information.

Affiliate Links

Affiliate programs provide ads, links, photos and content to be published on your webpage. Websites having affiliate ads are known as affiliate websites. If someone clicks these ads and buy something from the advertiser’s website, you will get a portion of the sale. It allows advertisers to increase the sales of their products and they pay only if they make a sale and not otherwise. Webmasters also prefer affiliate programs because it allows them to earn extra bucks from their web pages. Affiliate programs may seem to be great revenue generating means to webmasters, but they can actually harm your rankings and reputation if not chosen carefully.

Google doesn’t hate affiliate programs. It just stresses upon to avoid participating in affiliate programs, which do not add sufficient value to your site for the users. Google ranks a website as per the value it provides to the searcher and not as per the kind of advertising it promotes. Thus, if your affiliate programs are having low authority or publishing low quality content, the Google can penalise you. Find out here what Webmaster guidelines advise on affiliate programs here.

Placing ads above the fold

Google has pushed out page algorithm in 2012 that attacked sites with too many ads and slapped them with penalty. Majority of bloggers and webmasters depend upon AdSense ads for revenues. However placing ads above the fold can put your web presence at stake.

Google has not described the limit for ads so you will have to determine the legitimate limit by yourself. A few banner ads won’t create any problem, however stuffing ads in between content as strategy to increase click through rates and traffic will actually ruin your website.

301 Redirection

When any page of a website is deleted, it will not be visible to us. However, search spiders and Google will keep looking for it until and unless you put a 301 redirection in place to let bots know that the page has been permanently moved to another location.

301 Redirect not only directs Google and spiders to move to right direction but also helps to retain the SEO value attained so far. For instance old URL might have passing links, link juice, and historical value. If you have not implemented 301 redirects, it will mean that your new web pages are starting from scratch. It may undo all the SEO value attained so far. You must follow Google Webmaster guidelines, when you need to change the URL of a page as mentioned here:

If your website receives a manual penalty, you’ll be notified by Google Webmaster Tools account. But, if your website receives algorithmic penalty, you won’t get any notification from Google. However, instant and tremendous long lasting drop in rankings makes it evident that your site has been penalised.

When you start optimising site make sure that your link building and content strategies are focused on enhancing the user’s experience. If your website is valuable for users/searchers, then only it will be rightly evaluated by search engines for rankings. It is equally important to be careful and don’t consider SEO for being an easy to handle phenomena by any Tom, Dick and Harry with little knowledge.

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Five C’s of a Competitive Content Writing Strategy for SEO

Your customers, targeted audience and search engines, all use content as an important factor for judging the quality of your online business or at least the way you do it. Content strategy has now emerged as the most crucial factor to succeed online. Content in all forms is important to let you connect with your audience and giving them reason to invest in your offerings and to stay connected with your brand and business.

Content is also a significant element of a successful search engine optimisation strategy. When your website is being optimised, content is shared on many different forms such as website content, product description, articles, blog posts and the list goes on. But, in order to get maximum response out of it, you need to make sure that you are creating engaging and readable content and not the clutter.

Here are the five important C’s for writing competitive and compelling content to boost the rankings and reputation as well as to give something truly readable to your targeted audience:

  • Creativity

Creativity is the key to survive in the competitive environment. You need to find the ways to express your ideas in different ways as well as to generate newer ideas. Being different yet logical is the only way to survive.

Focus

  • Look for ways to cut through the clutter.
  • Look for unique ideas and express the existing information in unique ways.
  • Enhance the content appeal with visualisations beyond basic info graphics such as Parallax, 3D info graphics, or animated info graphics.
  • Authorise the content with your name/name of your organisation to increase its credibility.
  • Comprehensiveness

Research is the key to create comprehensive content copies. You need to include all important elements within prescribed limit. A little knowledge is dangerous whether you are using it or sharing it with others. It is important to conduct adequate research to bring out all the important elements in an appealing manner. However, you need to be short and precise at the same time. You need to develop an ability to express every important detail within limited words.

Focus

  • Understand the depth of the topic
  • Research as much as possible
  • Look for reliable and popular sources for research
  • Compatibility

Your ultimate goal is to reach the customers. It is important that your content should be compatible to SEO strategies It should be backed by an adequate keyword research and keywords should be appropriately used in the content. Keyword stuffing diminishes the quality of the content as well as the reputation of your brand.

Focus

  • Expertise in keyword research
  • Avoid keyword stuffing
  • Keyword density usually 2 to3% is legitimate
  • Correct

Your words reflect your ideas, thoughts and knowledge. When you are sharing content with others, it will create impression of you as an individual as well as of your brand and business. It is important to be careful while eliciting facts through your content. If you are sharing any statistics, it should be verified. While sharing articles or blog posts, one must link the date and statistics to the appropriate source.

Focus

  • Quality not the quantity
  • Correct grammar and spellings
  • Correct data and statistics
  • Curiosity

Your ultimate aim is to reach the customers. Remember, people don’t have much time to read your stuff. You need to give them reason for it. You should write informative and engaging content on topics reflecting the interests of your targeted audience. It is good practice to use social gestures such as “comments”, “shares” and “likes” to engage with your readers.

Focus

  • Keep an eye on current trends
  • End with thought provoking questions
  • Use interesting headings and sub headings
  • Involve your audience
  • Read industry stuff to stay updated

Creating capturing content is essential to increase back links to your site, inflate website traffic and enhance your online rankings. In order to reap maximum SEO advantage out of content marketing, you need make your content compatible with SEO, while making it readable, interesting and enjoyable for your targeted readers.