Marketing Lessons Major Companies can Teach Us

What are Brands?

 

Back in 2014, a  Supreme Court ruling was held during the controversial trial of Burwell vs Hobby Lobby. The issue in question was if a privately held company could opt out of government mandates and regulations based on the grounds of a corporate claim of religious belief. The court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby which stirred a national debate among business owners  and workers alike. Can a corporation have the same individual rights as a person? And if so, what would it mean for the people working under that corporation. Granted that ruling only works for more privately held companies but it still caused quite a stir among the public. Mainly about how a corporation , an abstract non-living entity made up of multiple people, could even have a religious identity.

Corporate person hood, while a hot topic in today’s highly capitalistic society, is not a new debate.  Hell, corporations have had varying degrees of person hood in the United States since at least 1818 after the question was raised whether corporations could enforce and participate in contracts. But this does leave me wondering,  do companies have identities? Are they shaped by brands as we know it? Does our perception of a company help or hurt them in the long run?

 

alter ego, brandBrands Serve as Company Alter Egos

A brand, as the layman would describe it, would be a logo and a tagline attached to a product by a major company. But is that all what branding really is?  After all,  just about anybody can combine an image with a product then buy some advertising space in hopes that someone sees it.

But a catchy slogan alone cant grab public attention.  Take it from someone who works at a Huntsville marketing firm. A flashy logo without any context or assigned value to it is as useless as the preview family photo in a picture frame you just bought. It’s just there to take up space and is utterly pointless.

So, what is a brand if it isn’t just a tagline and an image? It is an identity that serves as a way for the public to identify what makes the company unique.

 

Example: The Disney Company’s Child Friendly Identity

 

The Child Friendly Brand that Built an Empire

 

Even in the early stages of his empire, Walt Disney knew who he wanted to be, and by extension how his company would reflect it.  His goal for his company was to instill a sense of wonder and imagination for children and adults alike. He accomplished this with three major business strategies. First, he gave his company a family friendly persona to reach his target demographic. Then, he kept either inventing or utilizing new forms of  technology for film and the theme parks. Finally,  he positioned himself and his company in places where the entertainment industry was growing.

When his animated films and theme parks became a big success, everyone who had seen anything remotely to do with Disney could immediately get the impression of what he was about. Child-like wonder. And it worked tremendously. Disney is a global empire with multiple theme parks world wide and has a place in both the film industry with Pixar and a lot of success with merchandising.

So, Disney’s personal brand made him a success because he gave his company an alter ego for the public to easily identify with.  But how well does it hold up after many years of being on the entertainment scene for families?

But Also Doomed It

 

While the Disney company has certainly grown and continues to grow with their acquisitions of both Marvel Entertainment and the Star Wars franchise. However, you are not going to see an R-rated Marvel superhero movie unless its from Fox.  Nor, are you going to see a PG-13 Pixar film talking about seriously controversial topics.  And you are never going to see a Disney animated version of Joan of Arc with her burning at the stake.

You will never see those things because it clashes with the public perception of the Disney brand. If they toe too far out of line with the public perception of them, they will get a huge backlash from their audience. Human beings, are social creatures that find comfort and safety in predictability. Its why most of us are part of a culture, and it is why every single person has at least one daily ritual or habits.  Any deviation from that norm will upset people and make them angry enough to push the offender out of their life.  And a company that deviates too far from a strongly held identity could fall apart at the seams.

It could be argued that this is a good thing for children. This may be true to some extent.  But this also caused some tonal issues with Disney films like Hercules, Pocahontas, and, the Hunchback of Notre Dame. You could tell during production that there was a clash with the project directors and the constraints of the brand. These clashes combined with the taking off of Pixar has mostly lead to the end of the Disney Renaissance and its 2d animation studio.  This has brought Disney criticism as being either “too commercialized” with either dark or ethnic source material or “too pandering” towards younger audiences.

Then you have other criticisms landed by both conservative and liberal families that both want their values and reputations due justice but fall in direct conflict with one another. Because Disney wants to cater to as many families as possible, they try to please everyone, pleasing no one in the process.

Conclusion

The perception of the family brand Walt and Roy has painstakingly cultivated over the years has made Disney huge. But, it has also doomed the company from personal growth by trying to appeal to everyone.  The company is lucrative, but it is also creatively stagnant They are currently trying to mitigate that stagnation by owning other properties and integrating them into their somewhat outdated parks, but there isn’t as much of that original creative spark that the company used to have. And I wonder, just how long their strategy is going to last?

The sort of Aesop that can come from the Disney company’s story is that its great to have an identity for your company. But, you can’t let that identity consume your company to the point where it excludes creative possibility.

Web Design By Purple Tie Guys Decatur Alabama, alabama seo company, huntsville marketing company, alabama marketing companyThis article was brought to you by Purple Tie Guys, a Huntsville Marketing firm dedicated to making your business visible to the rest of the crowd. If you want to read more articles, check out our blog. If you want to book an appointment, Check our call button on the front page!

By | 2018-02-17T18:10:19+00:00 February 17th, 2018|Post|0 Comments

What Makes Content Marketable? – What you Offer

The Recipe for Marketable Content

 

Offering A  Solution to a Problem

A product or service cannot always sell itself on its own. If it did, then there would be no need for advertisers or marketers for any product ever. Selling anything to another person is a hard task because it involves convincing another person why your product or service is exactly what they want or need.  There are different ways to relay your message, whether it involves presenting that message in an entertaining format or through a new medium. However, those presentations will fall flat if you cannot tell your audience about what your product is, and how they benefit from it.

People will ignore what they think they don’t need. So, it’s your job to tell them why they need your product. Marketers and salespeople alike often refer to the problems that need their product as a solution as a ‘pain point‘. And, a good salesman and marketer know how to press on that pain point in order to get people to pay attention.

 

Done Right

In September of 2017, the Coca-Cola company launched an ad that shifted the focus from their titular product to their company identity as a whole. The voiceover of the ad explained that they offered more than just Coke. They showcased Smart Water, Honest Water, Odawalla, and other types of drinks in their portfolio to illustrate their product range for the variety of needs that come with a person’s drink choice. They also highlight their ties with local communities through the number of people they hire, their water sustainability program, and their scholarship programs.

2017 coca cola ad

This ad perfectly illustrates the different needs of the customer base that they are trying to reach. The ad also illustrates how they satisfy the needs of local communities, through visual examples of employment, educational, and environmental outreach. This is most likely to cement their reputation as a brand that is good for the community in an attempt to get as many people as they can to gain a preference for their product line.

Their shift away from the soft drink aspect of the company couldn’t have come at a better time for them. Sodas are dropping in popularity over the last few years, thanks to local governments and the younger generations becoming more health conscious. Coca-Cola is proving to those who are watching that they are capable of diversifying and surviving in the up and coming millennial influencer market.

Done Wrong

The Side Hustle Campaign from Uber always bugged me. Almost to the level that the Kylie Jenner Pepsi Ad bugged me. I think it is because it strikes me as something just as tone deaf.

uber side hustle bad

The driver in the commercial points out that  “everyone needs a side hustle” before dancing in his car to a song that was written for the commercial. He smiles and points out when he is chilling, working or earning with each scene afterward.  The tone of the ad gives the impression that driving for Uber is less of a second job and more of a cute hobby.

Last I checked, most people don’t take second or third jobs just for the heck of it, and they certainly don’t always enjoy them to the extent of the people in the commercial. We take those jobs because we are trying to enter a job market during a time of an economic depression. In fact, the Washington Post even pointed out that the need for a side gig and the participation of a shared economy is a symptom of a much bigger economic problem.

But this commercial doesn’t even address the reason why anyone would need a side hustle, much less the guy in the ad. He looks like he has a stable income, a nice house and not a care in the world.  He doesn’t look like he really needs any of it.  It doesn’t even sound like a solution to any problem. The commercial just advertises that Uber exists.

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This article was brought to you by Purple Tie Guys, an Alabama Marketing Company. If you like more articles like this, Click here. If you want to know more about our work, check us out!

By | 2018-02-10T01:24:40+00:00 February 10th, 2018|Post|0 Comments

What Makes Good Content – Entertainment Value

The Recipe for Marketable Content

 

I might have made this statement in the past, but it bears repeating, nonetheless. Putting in an advertisement that just point blank tells you to ‘buy this product’ is no longer a valid form of selling anything to anyone. The last two generations of consumers have seen commercials since birth and are practically immunized against standard advertising tactics. I would even go far enough to say that they have become cynical about our consumer-based economy. So, the more forward-thinking marketers of today address this obstacle by creating marketable content for target audiences.

However, this raises a thought-provoking question. What makes marketable content? Effective marketable content can successfully connect, entertain, and offer something that audiences need. Through a few examples over the next few posts, from the perspective of someone who works in an Alabama marketing company,  I will explain what these three factors have done right and done wrong.

 

Entertaining Content

Advertising as a whole has changed significantly since its beginnings in visual media. What started out as content with company sponsorships in the 1950s has morphed into a rat race to maximize the attention span of audiences all over the globe. With more companies paying for more advertising slots, audiences are getting overwhelmed by too many advertisement interruptions.  And who could blame them? Ad run times have grown longer to the point where shows have started to become unwatchable.

For example, in the 1960’s when television was getting popular, there was a total of 9 minutes of advertising for an hour-long program. That’s a reasonable amount of time to be interrupted for any activity. In the 1990’s, an hour-long program contained 19 minutes of advertising runtime. After getting that much interruption, why would anyone bother to watch the program, let alone commercials?

So what is the answer for advertisers who are getting skipped over?  Keeping audiences engaged and entertained while you sell your product.

 

Done Right

mister clean commercial- entertaining advertisementA good ad campaign can entertain. A great ad campaign gets viral. And no Superbowl ad has gotten more viral last year than the 2017 Superbowl Mister Clean-Cleaner of your Dreams commercial. It takes a bold company to take a mascot that’s been around since the 1950’s and update him to something on par with a trashy romance novel or a cheesy 1990’s R&B music video.

It looks at first, like the woman in the commercial is hesitantly being turned on at the thought of buff  Mister Clean, of all people, sexily wiping down counters and mopping floors. She slowly gets into it until The mythical cleaning figure becomes her husband, who was doing the chores. She tackles him in a passionate embrace over the couch when a tagline pops up and reads “Gotta love a man who cleans.”

The commercial was created with the intent of making the old mascot more relatable with modern lifestyles where men and women both divvy up household chores. And even if you aren’t part of the middle-aged house husband/wife demographic, the image of the woman who is initially unsettled then slowly seduced by a sexy CGI Mr. Clean is outright hilarious.

As of  February 2018, this commercial has  17,721,768 views.  And with the new super bowl coming up in a few days, I hope that Proctor and Gamble can top this one.

 

Done Wrong

 

bad advertising, Entertaining for an audience is a subjective task, but when you come up with skits or key concepts, you need to be able to relate to as many people as possible, by going out of your way to understanding your audience.  The last thing you want to do is to alienate your audience or worse, pretend that you understand them, and come across as unauthentic or insincere. So, of course, when the Kylie Jenner Pepsi ad came out, it fell flat.

I already wrote about this in depth, so I am just going to briefly cover it here.

It caused outrage from the protest crowd because the politics that were surrounding both the Occupy Wallstreet and Black Lives Matter conflicts were important and had to do with things like fighting corporate corruption and drawing attention to police brutality.  This commercial dumbed the conflict down into a “trendy millennial thing”, which infuriated all of the people who had worked so hard to take it seriously.  Pepsi talked down to its audience and as a result, hurt their publicity.

 

Web Design By Purple Tie Guys Decatur Alabama, alabama seo company, huntsville marketing companyThis article was brought to you by Purple Tie Guys Media Services, a Huntsville Alabama Marketing Company.  If you want to read more about stuff like this, check out our blog!

By | 2018-02-02T13:00:20+00:00 February 2nd, 2018|Post|Comments Off on What Makes Good Content – Entertainment Value

What Makes Good Content?

The Recipe for Marketable Content

I might have made this statement in the past, but it bears repeating, nonetheless. Putting in an advertisement that just point blank tells you to ‘buy this product’ is no longer a valid form of selling anything to anyone. The last two generations of consumers have seen commercials since birth and are practically immunized against standard advertising tactics. I would even go far enough to say that they have become cynical about our consumer-based economy. So, the more forward-thinking marketers of today address this obstacle by creating marketable content for target audiences.

However, this raises a thought provoking question. What makes marketable content? Effective marketable content can successfully connect, entertain, and offer something to the audiences who willingly consume it. Through a few examples over the next few posts, I will explain what these three factors done right and done wrong.

 

Audience Connection

 

Done Right

An effective ad campaign in this day and age connects with audiences that all share something in common via emotional ties. These emotions could range from optimism, cynicism,  humor, or nostalgia, but they all have to encapsulate how their audience feels.

So, what does a successful ad campaign that connects with audiences look like?

A good example would be the Dove “Campaign for Real Beauty.” When Dove looked into how women perceived themselves in 2004, they learned that only 4% of women participating in the study perceived themselves as beautiful.

Normally, in any typical marketing situation, the company would used this data to take advantage of their target audience. They would have pushed their product as the solution to their problem.

However, in doing so, they would have been just another beauty product shouting the same message in a noisy crowd.

Instead, they took an opportunity to connect with and reassure their target demographic of their natural beauty. They did this by taking steps to present women of all shapes and sizes as beautiful.

 

The promotion of the brand was secondary to message that they send to their target audience. Their goal was to leaving a positive impression to the people who come across them.

 To quote Brenda Fiala, a senior vice president for strategy for Blast Radius, said “Dove was trying to create a sense of trust with the consumer by tapping into deep-seated emotions that many women feel about themselves and their appearance.”

Once they tapped into those emotions with a body positive message, the company set itself and their product apart from the rest of the crowd and gained positive notoriety for about a decade.

 

 Done Wrong

 

Then… in what looked like a complete reversal of a company values, they posted this Facebook ad in October of 2017.   A company that made a point to be inclusive of multiple races, ages, and body types of women in their advertising for over a decade, put up the most problematic advertisement to have surfaced on the internet. Why, Dove…just why?

 

The implications of this image were not only uncomfortably racist in its overtones, but felt like a slap in the face to audiences who associated Dove’s message of body positivity with the brand for 13 years.  The diverse audience that they gained from their body positive campaign felt alienated in an instant.

It wasn’t just the implied racism that damaged Dove’s credibility. It was also the sudden inconsistency in their stance of body positivity. The sudden shift in company values flagged suspicion to their customers which meant that they could no longer connect with Dove.

The company took the ad off and apologized, but the damage was already done. People who connected with the brand in the past severed ties the moment that there was a conflict in the core values of the company. And who could blame them?

 

Web Design By Purple Tie Guys Decatur Alabama, alabama seo company, huntsville marketing companyThis article was brought to you by Purple Tie Guys Media Services, a Huntsville Alabama Marketing Company.  If you want to read more about stuff like this, check out our blog!

By | 2018-02-02T11:52:59+00:00 January 27th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on What Makes Good Content?

Dial and Smile Marketing- Telemarketing the Right Way

Legalities and Basic Etiquette for Telemarketers

 

Marketing isn’t as easy as people make it sound like. You may have the best product out there since the invention of sliced bread, but if you don’t put it in front of the right people, at the right time, with the right pitch, using the right tools, then you can forget about it ever making a profit.  Any marketer worth their salt would tell you that decent exposure takes effort and dedication and rarely happens overnight. And that is even with an audience that is willing to entertain purchasing your product or service.

Some people just don’t want to be sold to. Period. Maybe it is because you approached them at the wrong time, with the message, or the wrong product, but when you try to pitch something to someone who isn’t interested they will be at best indifferent and at worst outright abrasive.

What’s worse, all businesses today are working with an audience suffering from advertising fatigue. Our modern day society as we know it is filled with so many telemarketers,  spammers, and con artists that anyone trying to advertise their business over the phone is disadvantaged by an audience who is sick of being advertised to.

So, what can you do? If you have a skeptical audience, how are you going to win them over with a phone call? Can it even be done?

The answer is yes, but you need to at least know how to do it ethically and legally.

 

Who’s in Charge?

 

First off, whether you are a small business or a large one, you at least need to know who is making the rules regarding telemarketing in the first place.  When it comes to communication laws and business regulation, we have two main groups representing federal law in this area. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).

The FTC is responsible for both protecting market consumers and preventing shady business practices that prevent competition, aka monopolies.

The FCC is responsible for the protection and regulation of communications behind broadband, competition in media, public safety, news sources in media and homeland security to name a few.  If you have seen the news lately, then you know that the current chairman isn’t very popular on the internet.

Popular or not, these are the bureaus that make the rules regarding telemarketing and we abide by them as the law of the land. And if we don’t abide we pay to the tune of $11,000. 00 per violation.

 

The Rules

 

  •  No calls before 8AM or after 9PM

Honestly, I don’t want to wake up to a phone call, and I doubt anyone else does either. If you are working remotely, check your timezone.

  • You must let the phone ring 4 times or for 15 seconds
  • You must not abandon more than 3% of your telephone solicitation calls.

These were probably put in place to put a stop to specific type of scam known as the ‘one ring scam’ . They only ring once, know the rules, telemarketingleave a number for you to call back. If you call back, then they will put you on hold and rack up charges.

  •  You must not block ID caller information.
  •  If you are using a pre-recorded message, the message must state your name/company name and provide a number where the consumer can call and request that no more calls be made.

Its only fair that customers  are able to decide whether they want to be contacted afterward or not.  Plus, its just polite to hear them out if they are not interested.

It goes into much more detail in this FCC document, and if you have any questions regarding nuances involved, you should probably check it out.

 

Etiquette

  • Be Clear in your Language – Talking too fast or with your mouthful will not make it easy for you to send your message, and it will most likely get lost in translation. Take a deep breath, relax, and say what you need to say. Also, make a point to avoid industry jargon. The average customer usually won’t pick up on that sort of vocabulary.

 

  • phone ettiquiteWatch your Voice – One of the major disadvantages of making any phone call is that you are both are cut off from reading the other person’s expressions and reactions, so your intentions need to be made up with your tone of voice.  Be pleasant, be polite, and most importantly don’t sound like you are reading from a script.   People with identify with you the more human and relaxed you sound.

 

  • Think of your Customer as a Person – Just because customers are a means to an end, doesn’t mean that they aren’t people. People make mistakes, have bad days, and have emotional responses to things. Be sincere when you are talking and really listen to what they have to say.  Go out of your way to be courteous, even if you are hanging up as they are cursing you out.  It will boost your company’s reputation, and increase your chance at a customer/client relationship.

 

Web Design By Purple Tie Guys Decatur Alabama, alabama seo company, huntsville marketing companyBrought to you by the Purple Tie Media Services, a Huntsville Alabama Marketing Company. Follow your dreams and market your passion!  If you like what you read, check out more stuff like this here! If you want to book an appointment, click on the pop up bubble!

By | 2018-01-19T15:50:21+00:00 January 19th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Dial and Smile Marketing- Telemarketing the Right Way

Influencer Marketing – Why do Youtubers have so Much Influence?

The World of YouTube Gaming and Influence Marketing

 

I don’t know who in the audience is reading the article, but I am old enough to remember using Encyclopedias for book reports, and I am young enough to enjoy watching YouTube videos on a regular basis. The last two decades have been an ultimate game changer in the way people create, exchange, and spread information. We live in a world, where the Internet has made the entire globe one large cultural melting pot. It is a drastic change that has opened doors for the best and the worst of humanity to offer.  Whether you think it is all worth it or not, is subjective to each person who has witness these changes firsthand.

influence marketing, Marketers and people in the entertainment industry, are also touched by the mixed bag that the Internet has to offer.  As for the good it does to marketers and entertainers, the Internet has brought them closer to their target audiences than ever before. The unfortunate thing for them is that they now are facing ever-increasing competition for market influence. Something that the established industries are not used to dealing with in general.

No longer do Hollywood starlets and athletes have the corner on trend setting and promoting products. Today’s Youtubers, Bloggers, and Social Media stars are demonstrating that they are gaining influence over pop culture, brand awareness, and trends as much as their more traditional counterparts.

 

Example: YouTube and the Gaming Industry

 

When I go to work at my other awesome retail job, I don’t see just see new merchandise from large corporations. I am also seeing new product from independent video game franchises like Five Nights at Freddy’s and Hello Neighbor.  Both of which who got their start by YouTube gaming reactors like Markiplier, GT Live, Jacksepticeye, and their audience.

These online personalities, through the YouTube fame alone, managed to make indie game creators popular enough for people to demand merchandise related to the game in brick and mortar stores. That is not done by people with little influence.

 

How Did Youtubers Become Strong Market Influencers?

 

influence marketing

Image belongs to Fine Bros

 

On the surface, it doesn’t look feasible. These are average joes playing video games in front of a camera while babbling on in front of the audience. Why did they get so popular?  By describing these influencers as I just did, I already answered my own question without realizing it. They are  regular people talking to their audience. That makes them relatable.

 

Traditional Media Stars and Non-Existent Relatibility

 

While it is fun to fantasize becoming a Hollywood starlet, or meeting your favorite singer from childhood, the accessibility to that person in traditional media is very limited both physically and emotionally at best. They are on the stage and behind the screen for you to watch, but they are putting up a performance, an artificial front that makes them available to everyone and no one. It makes them appear untouchable at best to their audiences, like gods who can’t stand to be in the presence of mere mortals on Earth for too long.

influence marketing, celebrity with fans, barrier

There is a literal barrier between the celebrity Amy Schumer and her fans

The chances that you have of seeing them act like regular people, are slim to none because they have an image to maintain as people of higher status. So, there is going to be less of an personal connection that can be made between a traditional celebrity and their audience.

And when there is little to no connection there, fans aren’t going to be as likely to buy what they are selling.

Would you buy something because an unapproachable star you don’t really know much about asked you to?

I wouldn’t because I don’t know them.

I don’t hate them or the brand, but I am indifferent, and anyone in marketing knows that indifference is even worse than hatred in this day and age of advertising.

 

New Media’s Authentic Influencers

 

With YouTube gamers, there is less of a barrier between the performer and the audience.  There is no major barrier between them and their audience,  no illusion of godhood. They are regular people playing video games that audiences love, usually for the first time. We get an interpersonal front row seat to authentic reactions from real people that are talking to the camera like the audience is their best friend.

mark fischbach, markiplier, youtuber with fans, market influencer

Markiplier taking a Selfie with oodles of fans!

They are unafraid to show up to places like gaming conventions where people can interact with them more closely. They openly share what is going on in their personal lives with their subscribers. If their dog died, or if they are going through a medical procedure, fans will know about it and send them flowers or their favorite snack.  That’s because these reactors have learned to build an authentic bond of trust between them and their subscribers.

It’s that authenticity that draws in their audience, and influences their audience towards the things they recommend.

 

What does this Mean for the Future in Marketing?

If any of you have read into millennial marketing studies, then you know that the latest of our generation are drawn to different things than their parents and grandparents. While Generation X or Y may have been drawn to things that make them feel rich or of a higher status, the Millenial generation are drawn to something much more different. They want an interpersonal connection between themselves and the things they own.

Instead of shaping their identity around the stuff they own, they are shaping the stuff they own around their identity. This means that they’d rather buy something they have a say in over a name brand luxury item.

And since the Millennial generation is gaining more spending power, I can only see this growing.

Status symbol or “In Name Only” brands who are unwilling to connect to their audience are going to die , while new entrepreneurs are continuing to reshape the market.

The only way that I can see established brands surviving  is if they find a way to strike a genuine connection between what they represent and their audience.

 

Conclusion

In a follow up to the video game example, some established gaming companies are not realizing the importance of connecting with the needs of their target demographic, and they are paying for it in huge losses. Maybe they should look to certain Youtubers for advice?

 

Do you want to know more about our opinions on other marketing choices? Do you want to know more about SEO? Maybe you need a website? Check us out!

By | 2018-01-14T03:22:05+00:00 January 14th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Influencer Marketing – Why do Youtubers have so Much Influence?

Predictions for SEO in 2018

What Is Around the Corner for SEO in 2018

The world of technology is ridiculously fast-paced. Where some careers take decades (sometimes centuries) to implement changes and adopt new practices,  Google algorithms apply small changes in policies on a daily basis, and drastic changes on a yearly basis.

This creates an ever-present challenge for online marketers to predict the next factor that will count for or against building a web presence through SEO. There is an ever-growing obstacle of web designers and online advertisers struggling to answer the same questions from clients “How are you going to put my website on the front page of Google?”

I am not going to claim to know everything about the subject. After all, we are a small Alabama SEO company that has been building websites for about a couple of years. There are people with more resources who have been watching the trends for much longer than we have. However, just because we are a small Alabama SEO company, doesn’t mean that we don’t take pride in our research skills. We also want to equip our clients and other up and coming online marketers with the latest Google Updates and SEO trends.

That’s why, today, I am going to be covering the up and coming SEO trends for 2018.

 

Website Staying Power

For a long time, Google counted how many clicks to your website towards your website ranking. However, there are many “Web Gurus” who have opted to cheat the system in order to grow their ranking quickly. This has been done by the use of clickbait headlines on social media and hiring the use of “Click farms“.

alabama seo company, seo trends, 2018 SEONaturally, after the clickbait became rampant in the last few years, Google decided to transition away from counting just clicks towards web rank.  Instead, they added an inclusion towards its algorithm.

Dwell time, is the amount of time visitors stay on your page after the initial click.

Google has had algorithms in the past that point toward the implementation of favoring dwell time over clicks, but with major social media sites, like Facebook adding it to their own algorithms, chances are this will be a stronger implementation for SEO to come.

 

 

Mobile First Formatting

 

It is no secret that the number of smartphone owners is rising every year. And they are not showing any signs of slowing down.

smartphone, mobile friendly,

Worldwide, the number of smartphone users are on the rise in both developing and advanced economies. They are even used and owned by refugees from places like North Korea and Syria for its map function and other important reasons.

So, there’s little surprise that mobile friendliness is going to be an even stronger factor for ranking your website. In fact, when building a website, experts recommend you design with mobile phones in mind, not the desktop computer.

If you aren’t sure if your website is mobile friendly enough, then you are in luck. Google has provided tools that can test your site, and judge it on its mobile-friendly qualities.

 

Voice Search Optimization

voice based search, echo,

This one is a little less apparent compared to most SEO trends. Nonetheless, it is predicted to be a huge part of upcoming SEO trends by influential members of the tech and advertising industry. Voice command technology is a relatively new and has seen its fair share of setbacks. However, as of at least last year, voice-activated search engines are becoming more integrated with consumer technology.

Alexa, Cortana,  and several other devices were created solely as a voice-activated machine that are attached to things like Google, Youtube, Amazon, and MapQuest.  Sort of like a more compact and limited form of JARVIS from Ironman.

Naturally, that means that Googles ranking will come to favor less from what someone will type down as a keyword and more from organic queries that people speak out loud.

When typing down something, humans have a sense of self-monitoring. We are trained in schools to type things quickly and accurately, in lieu or typing down organic thought. When it comes to speaking, however, unless you are in a formal setting, we tend to blurt out what is on our minds immediately.  So instead of speaking to Alexa like someone with pure keywords such as “Cheap Alabama Web Design” we instead ask it full queries, “Alexa, Where is the Cheapest Alabama Web Design company?

If you take the time to pose and answer a direct question on your content, you are going to get more results and most likely indexed by Google through both voice-activated and organic queries.

 

Do you want to know more about this topic? Click here. If you want to know about our services, Check Out Our Front Page!.

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By | 2017-12-30T14:25:04+00:00 December 30th, 2017|Post|Comments Off on Predictions for SEO in 2018

Facebook Cracking Down on Spammers

Facebook is Penalizing “Engagement” Bait

It is no secret that Facebook has been trying harder to crack down on spammy behavior since at least last year. They have gone out of their way to reduce links that lead to poor quality content, news hoaxes, and fake videos.  Already, they have penalized the practice of click-baiting in their algorithm since 2016. But just what are these practices? What does it mean for the Alabama SEO company trying to grow their business through social media? Does it have any major impact on your SEO?

Today, I am going to dig deep and answer the questions as best as I can.

 

What is Click Bait?

For those of you who don’t spend a good chunk of time on the internet, the term might not be familiar. Do you remember watching your favorite tv show and at the ending, the whole thing cut off before you knew what was going to happen to the characters on the screen?  Will the judge rule the main character guilty or innocent? Can the hero survive hanging off the edge of that cliff?  It leaves you, the audience, infuriated that you will not know what will happen until next week. It also makes you eager to watch the next episode, or sometimes wait for over year for the next season to come on.  This is a writing tactic known as the cliffhanger, and click-baiting is the internet equivalent of that.

 

Spam, clickbait, Facebook

 

Usually, click baiters engage social media users, by showing an outrageous but effectively engaging headline of an article.  “Find out How I Lost 100 lbs“You won’t believe what he or she said…” Click baiters pique the interest of the user by posing a question or stating an outrageous claim. If the claim is intriguing enough for the user, they will click the text, and get sent to a web page with the article that answers the question but also filled with all sorts of spam offers, ads, and sponsorships that get in the way of that answer, or the answer is mundane and unfulfilling.

The practice of leaving a strong headline as a marketing tool isn’t a bad tactic by itself. After all, how else do you get readership if you don’t grab the attention of your audience?

The problem is that it has been most often been utilized by spammers, hackers, and websites that aim to increase their social ranking artificially.

 

What is Engagement Bait?

Engagement bait is a term coined by Facebook in their latest algorithm update announcement.  Their definition of the term states, that it is a  “tactic that seeks to take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach.”

As the current algorithm stands, if a post receives a constant stream of likes, comments, and shares, it starts to show up in other people’s news feed, in order to create a more widespread following of a popular post.

facebook, engagement bait, clickbait, spam

Copyright Facebook

 

The problem is that the same spammers are capitalizing on this algorithm thus far by a few variations of this tactic to create a larger reach.

Average Facebook Users and Facebook itself see this as a variation of click-baiting, so naturally, they are changing the algorithm to reward users who don’t engage in that behavior and punish those that do.

 

 

What does it mean for SEO?

It doesn’t do major damage to your web SEO if you have legitimate engaging content. Likes, Shares, and Comments, do add up to your social media score for your website, but that is only a fraction of what Google puts into your SEO ranking. Google uses social media, the content on your site, tagged images, relevant keywords, outbound linking and inbound linking to rank your site. It is only a small part of a larger whole, so if you fail it, it isn’t the end of the world.

The whole point of this new Facebook policy is to create authentic value for user interactions and prevent the idea of growth hacking to cheat the system. If you have legitimately good content, then you have nothing to fear, except for the occasional misunderstanding.

Conclusion

The official motive does sound admirable, but we have yet to see if the execution will help or hurt legitimate Facebook businesses. After all, no human is perfect, and neither is any string of complex codes. It could backfire on small businesses if the algorithm lacks any sort of nuance.

Facebook did provide a link to their new guidelines about how businesses should behave themselves on Facebook, and are allotting at least a 7 week adjustment period for bloggers to learn how to navigate with this new algorithm that is being applied.

For now, only time will tell.

 

Written by:

Web Design By Purple Tie Guys Decatur Alabama, alabama seo company

An Alabama SEO Company dedicated to getting your business Web-ready all over the globe. If you liked this article, click here to read another one like it.

Other Sources:

https://marketingland.com/facebooks-latest-news-feed-tweak-penalizes-pages-solicit-likes-shares-230493

https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/17/15654730/facebook-news-feed-update-kill-off-clickbait

https://thenextweb.com/facebook/2017/12/18/facebooks-crackdown-engagement-bait-long-overdue/

By | 2017-12-26T22:15:05+00:00 December 26th, 2017|Post|Comments Off on Facebook Cracking Down on Spammers

Why is it So Hard to Rank on Google?! – Part 2: Inbound Links

Part 2 – Getting Google to Like You

I mentioned last week that Google, much like a sophisticated lady,  is a classy entity that does not favor just everyone. It is a respectable index that has, since the beginning, relied on its own set of rules in order to keep its reputation as the most popular search engine. If you play by the rules and stay patient, Google will notice.

We touched on the “Know” part of the “Know, Like, Trust” business model last week. We talked about SEO Keywords, Outbound Linking, and Readability. All three of these things play a part in letting Google know that your website is being taken seriously. Believe it or not, while it takes a lot of effort,  that was the easy part.

Writing and editing your website does take effort, but there are tools, widgets and instructions that help. If you misspelled something, don’t have the right amount of words, or need to change your keywords, you can go in and edit it yourself.  The “Know” part is the outcome of your actions. You aren’t paying for the consequences of anyone else’s actions or inaction.

However, the “Like” part of the Google equation is contingent on the actions of other people, and that is what makes it so hard. You have to convince other people, on the internet, to vouch for you.

 

like, facebook

 

Like

There is a universal truth when it comes to social interactions that most people learn about when they go through kindergarten or first grade. The harsh reality when it comes to social situations is that no one has to like you. There are going to be things that people are willing to do for you because they like you and there are going to be things that people won’t bother with because they don’t care about your needs. Add the anonymity of Internet users and you can see why getting people to vouch for your website can seem daunting. But, you still need those users to vouch for you. How do you do it? What can you ask of them, and how can it be accomplished?  Well, according to Google you need Inbound Links from other reputable websites to vouch for yours.

 

What are Inbound Links?

Inbound links are when other websites link to your content on their website. When other websites link to yours, it increases credibility to your site and boosts your reputation when the search engines start to rank you inbound linkagainst your competition.  While the concept and the actions behind inbound linking seem easy enough, you still need to get people to care about your content enough to go through the effort. There are multiple ways to try and convince other users to show off your website for you, but Google still has a list of rules that you must abide by to get each one of them to count.

Don’t Cheat

If you wanted to date a girl or boy that you think you might like, but you do questionable things beforehand (stalking comes to mind), there is still a possibility of you reaching your end goal. However, that comes with a huge risk of this person finding out what you did. If they did, they’d call you a creep, dump you on the spot, and tell all of their friends.

Google operates the exact same way.

According to Google, there is a right way and a wrong way to get backlinks. If you try to break the rules of conduct, you will get penalized for it. Some of these are considered “common sense rules of the internet” but others are a little more surprising. A few examples of ‘cheating’ with backlinks include:

 

  • Paying for Backlinks 
  • Auto Generated Links
  • Hiding Links in CSS or JavaScript
  • Low-Quality Guest Posts
  • Comment Spam

 

If you want to read more about link penalties and what to avoid, check out here and here. They go into deeper detail about the subject matter.

 

Ways to get Inbound Links

 

inbound linking content

 

The right way to gain inbound links takes much more time and effort but significantly decreases the chances of being penalized by Google. This can help you build further trust between Google and your site. These include but are not limited to:

 

  • Create Consistent Content
  • Encourage others to Share your content on Social Media
  • Speak at Events IRL
  • Offer Sneak Peaks or Free Samples of your Content
  • Review Something Everyone is Talking About

 

Check out these sources here, and there.  They go into further detail and offer a variety of ways to get other people to share your content!

 

Need marketing advice? Contact us! Want to read an interesting guest blog? Check this out!

By | 2017-12-14T15:03:57+00:00 December 14th, 2017|Post, Social Media Marketing|Comments Off on Why is it So Hard to Rank on Google?! – Part 2: Inbound Links

Why is it So Hard to Rank on Google?! – Part 1: Intro to SEO

Part 1: Getting to Know your Site

 

I’ve watched multiple clients wallow in the frustration of trying to figure out how to show up on the first two pages of Google. “My website isn’t getting any views!” “Why isn’t anyone visiting my page?” “Why am I not viral yet after a few days?” You may think that I was mocking you just now, but the truth of it all is that I have done the same song and dance as anyone who doesn’t grasp the concept of how Google works.

 

google, ranking on google, seo

Google seems to consistently change its rules every couple of months, and your efforts don’t seem to get any tangible or measurable results. I want viewership now, dammit?! Why is this not working?! The answer is a little bit more complex than you think.
Getting ranked on Google is much like trying to start a long-term relationship. You need to put in the effort, perform the right steps, and work with who you are compatible with. You can’t expect instant results with little to no effort, and you can’t take any shortcuts.

Businesses often refer to relationship building within companies as the “Know, Like, Trust” model. Over the next few articles I will explain this while making dating allegories to put it in a perspective that everyone can understand.

 

Know

Think about the art of dating in the pursuit of a romantic partner. Do you expect someone to commit to another person in a relationship after the first date?

relationship building google

A surprisingly old-fashioned search engine.

Of course, you don’t. Because real relationships aren’t based purely on physical intimacy. It is based on mutual trust over time built between prospective partners. And the only way to do that is to get to know someone.

Google desires long-lasting relationships with other websites. How does Google get to know your website? Through finding out what your site is all about with Readability,  SEO and Outbound linking.

 

 

 

 

 

Readability

A sophisticated woman on the dating scene has a certain standard of etiquette that she expects from the gentlemen who come to call. She expects the person that she is dating to be polite in their speech, mannerisms, and grooming habits.

The same can be said for Google when it comes to readability. Google has a certain standard when it comes to spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and word count.  Usually, there are tools that will spell it out for you before you publish a post. This is mainly to the benefit of your audience but benefits Google by giving it more clarity in how it should index each relevant page.

Google looks at copy with these standards :

  • How easy it is to read for the general population.

  • The length of the paragraph.

  • The limited percentage of how many sentences have more than 20 words.
  • How many sentences contain a transition word.

  • How many sentences are written in a passive or active voice.

SEO

There are diverse types of websites all over the world. They could be about niche subjects like a buddy cop show from the 70’s or it could be broad, like religion.  But, until you declare what type of subject your page is about, you are nothing more than a stranger to Google.

SEO, ranking on google

This is where SEO comes in. When you declare a keyword that is relevant to your website and provide a proper description, you are signaling to Google, “Hey, this is what I am all about!”

From there, Google is able to sort you into the right category, because it knows who you are.

However, you want to be careful about repeating the same keywords over and over.

Just like any intelligent woman, if Google hears the same keyword over and over again it will either assume you aren’t taking the conversation seriously enough or that you are just a boring, one-note, individual. Take the time to expand on your subject matter by offering a variety of SEO keywords for each post.

Outbound Linking

linking, seo, indexing google

The ultimate way for Google to get to know you more.

How does any girl learn about someone who she might be interested in pursuing a relationship with? She learns about who the people who are in their life and watches how they treat them. From there she can gauge their values and personal interests further.

 

Outbound linking, aka “citing your sources,” is the webpage equivalent of this.  The larger the frame of reference that you give on where you

get your ideas and compile your information, the more likely you are to rank higher up the list of search results for the related keyword.

By | 2017-12-14T17:10:18+00:00 December 6th, 2017|Post, Social Media Marketing|Comments Off on Why is it So Hard to Rank on Google?! – Part 1: Intro to SEO