With the coming of the mobile revolution being heralded for years, it seems we’re finally here (even though it came in with a whimper, more than a bang). With that said, it’s now critical that every marketer that wants to stay competitive be not only findable, but viewable on mobile devices. Mobile devices make up a greater portion of all searches each and every year, and we’re finally starting to see some viable means in terms of mobile purchasing to warrant the push to either responsive websites, native apps or both.
A responsive website (or more accurately, responsive web design) simply means that the site is coded and designed in such a way that the content will adjust to fit on whatever size screen it is being viewed on. So if you’re looking at a site on your 27-inch desktop monitor, it will look great, but if you visit the site on your 3-inch mobile device, it will also display correctly.
Responsive websites eliminate the need to have a dedicated site built for mobile (in addition to your standard website). The coding in the site responds to the device it is being viewed from and tells the browser exactly how the content should be displayed so there are no errors and functionality is preserved. If your audience connects to your site via a number of devices (e.g. computer desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, mobile phone, etc.), a responsive website is a critical investment.
Mobile app and native mobile app are two terms used interchangeably for the same thing. A mobile app is an application designed specifically for use on mobile devices. It is an entirely separate program from your website and instead of being stored on servers, it is downloaded by the user and stored on their smartphone.
What this does is it allows users to connect even when they don’t have internet access. This is due to the fact that the app is stored locally (though some mobileapps will require internet). That means native mobileapps grant faster access for users than mobile (or responsive) websites do.
In addition, mobileapps have permissions that can help your sales such as access to the phone’s camera or speaker. This makes it easier for customers to interact with you. The downside here is that native mobileapps require different operating systems for Android and iOS phones, so it does cost some money to develop them…twice.
There are also a few more downsides and upsides to mobileapps:
– While faster than websites on mobile devices, mobileapps have fixed layouts meaning you must design one for each operating system
– Your audience for mobileapps is limited to people who have smartphones
Let’s not kid ourselves, the state of SEO 4+ years ago was laughable, a joke, if you will. Google’s own search results were so easily manipulated with “backlink packages” and the like that it was straightforward to a fault to get a new site ranking, even for a competitive keyword, provided you had the money (or the time).
Over the past few years, Google – and other search engines, too! – has wised up and started making it more difficult to game the system. While some lamented the downfall of blackhat, spammy techniques, it was a game that was doomed from the beginning, and an equal number of people recognized the value in Google’s new incarnation.
Right now, the social and link cues that tell Google a page is important and relevant are more closely aligned than ever with the actual relevance and genuine popularity of that page. This has been Google’s goal for years, so it’s no surprised that they’ve worked extremely hard to move this direction as quickly as possible. I’m sure they’re quite happy with themselves, and they should be.
Is there still some way to game the system? I’m sure, but it’s not worth it, because every loophole gets closed, and at a rate that is gaining speed with every single day.
So, if the old kinds of link building aren’t effective, what does work?
Social media is the currency of a generation right now, and content that is blowing up with links, likes, shares, and retweets on social media is going to make a blip on Google’s radar. Google knows that these are often real indicators of people thinking something is valuable and worthwhile, and they’re all about that positive end user experience.
Leverage and squeeze every drop out of your social networks. Repurpose your tweets and posts to help appeal to different people and at different times. Try scheduling posts to go out on social at various times of day, with different images, and try alternating your headline with a quote from within the page itself.
While we can’t know exactly what the future holds, one thing is for sure: Google is big on the mobile trend. It’s for good reason, too, seeing that internet usage on phones has skyrocketed over the past few years, meaning that websites who are responsive to various screen sizes and who don’t have a crappy mobile experience are going to be rightfully propped up in the search results. This trend is also true of tablets, and any new device that comes out and begins to gain popularity.
Don’t stop building links.
Backlinks are still a big deal, but the focus now is on the quality of the links you’re bringing in. When it comes to lone links with suspiciously consistent anchor text, your efforts are going to get ignored at best or earn you a penalized site at worst. Instead, focus on building contextual links through creating products and services so good other people write about you, through stellar guest posting gigs, and by leveraging the press.
A Google user wandered into Matt Cutt’s personal blog and noticed that it uses WordPress. The visitor wonders how Matt is able to keep his site safe from hackers given the platform’s tendency to suffer from attacks. Matt shares three of his strategies:
Hackers exploit known vulnerabilities in old versions of WordPress. The best way to prevent these attacks is to exercise diligence in installing the latest updates. These will contain fixes for old bugs and keep your blog shielded from attacks. Unfortunately, too many webmasters don’t bother to keep track of the newest updates. They are prime targets for hackers.
Customize the HT ACCESS File
The “.htaccess” file can be used to control admission to the WP administrator panel. It can be changed to allow only a very small number of IP address to have access to the admin directory. These may be explicitly listed so that those coming from unknown address will be automatically barred from entering the site. These people will get a 403 error code. On the other hand, those coming from your home IP and other listed addresses will be allowed in.
Use a Secure Password
Finally, Matt uses a fairly long and complicated password that’s difficult to crack for added security.
Do you have a Tweet pinned to the top of your profile on Twitter? Wait, wrong social media network, right?
Not really. Twitter will actually let you “pin” a Tweet to the top of our Twitter stream so that people visiting your page will always see that particular Tweet first, as opposed to the default setup in which your most recent posting appears on top.
What are the benefits of this? Well, first you have more control over what visitors see when they land on our Twitter feed (uh, duh!). But that means that you can create whatever kind of image you want to project, something that can be extremely helpful if you use your Twitter feed primarily to support your other Internet marketing platforms or offers.
There’s also a social benefit. For example, if you want to attract members of the opposite sex or people with similar interests to yours, you can “pin” the most appropriate Tweet so that it’s always present at the top of your page – such as the photo where you appear most buff, or something related to your hobby or interests.
If you use Twitter a lot, not everything you post is going to be something you want to represent who you are to other Twitter users. For example, you may Share something you found funny but that other people might find offensive. Or you could Tweet something off the cuff that could be taken out of context later.
This is something that happens to sports starts and celebrities all the time. Who’s to say you are immune to it, especially if you are prone to “Tweeting under the influence”.
Setting It Up
Setting up the Tweet you want to pin to the top of your Twitter feed is super easy. All you go to the Tweet you want pinned, then click on the “…” icon at the bottom right hand corner. (You probably never noticed this before, did you?) Then all you have to do is simply click on the “Pin to your profile page” option and there you go.
Make sure you pick a Tweet that truly represents the image you want to project. In other words, don’t just arbitrarily pick some Tweet you think is pretty funny or an okay picture of you. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good impression. Twitter is worldwide and your profile could potentially be visited by thousands of different people, so you want to make sure you get it right the first time.
And if you don’t, well, you can always change it later anytime you want!
The biggest drawback to this is the pinned Tweets on your profile can’t be seen by people who access the social media site from their smart phones. And, let’s face it, Twitter and mobile phones were made for each other. When was the last time you accessed Twitter from your PC or laptop? It was probably at least a couple of years ago.
So will posting your best Tweet to the top of your Twitter profile actually make a difference? Let’s put it this way: It couldn’t hurt. You can’t control how people what kind of devices people use to access your Twitter profile. If someone does happen to stumble upon (oops! Wrong site again) your Twitter feed from their laptop or PC and they do happen to like your great Tweet enough to re-Tweet it, well, then that’s bonus!
The bottom line is that if you want to increase your popularity on Twitter and do a better job of managing your reputation, why not pin the best Tweet possible to the top of your profile?
Let’s get one thing out in the open straight away: We all know that podcasts are nothing new. In this newsletter, I’m not going to try and tell you that podcasts are anything new – these web-hosted, episodic radio show type broadcasts have been around for roughly a decade now. So no one would have known that they would have just soared back into popularity, but, by gosh, they absolutely have.
Of course, the time to develop the medium and for listeners/viewers to grow their expectations means that anyone who wants to standout these days is going to need to try a little harder in order to make a splash. Let’s take a look at how you can turn your personal brand(s) into the splashiest of podcast.
First things first, dig into something that you can really dominate. What are you so passionate and knowledgeable about that you’ll be able to put in more hours each day than anyone else? What part of your business do you feel you have the strongest execution in and would be the most impressive for someone earlier on in their journey to learn about?
Once you’ve honed in on something you can do well, start thinking about how you could make it interesting. For most people, podcasts start out as a series of videos or recordings where they simply talk about what they know. As long as you’re personable and can pull that off with some enthusiasm, you’re ahead of the game. That said, once you get several episodes deep, even the most prolific thinkers might be at a loss as to what to say into the microphone.
Here, a great route to go down is the Q&A route. If you’ve built up a little subscriber base, ask them to tell you what they want to know, ask how you can help with the problems they’re facing, etc. Or you can go down the tutorial route. Or you can create themed episodes in which you do a giant fast paced knowledge-dump of everything you’ve got on a certain topic. Keep your show interesting at all costs; look at what else exists in your market, and make your content the obvious choice.
This revival is also very much about the use of diverse media. In the early days, podcasts were often audio-based and lived in itunes, embedded in webpages, or even on platforms like Soundcloud and the like. Now, many podcasts come in video form – it’s not a necessity, but it does give you broader options for presenting your show. Even if you stick to audio format, take advantage of promotional graphics and logos to pique interest for your podcast.
Become memorable through the use of a catchy intro or jingle. Don’t make music? Don’t write jingles? No problem, just grab a freelancer – old standbys like fiverr, odesk, and freelancer are alright to start, but with a bit of searching you can find specialists ready to spice up your show intro without breaking the bank. There’s a reason advertisements have had jingles for decades: They get stuck in your head, and, along with them, comes brand recall.
Finally, assure good audio (and video, if applicable) quality. Don’t worry, you can do this on a budget. For most audio podcasts, you can achieve a professional sounding setup for less than $100. Grab a quality USB mic (the ‘Snowball’ and other iterations by Blue are really excellent). Once you’ve got your recording, learn a bit about how to make your voice sound nice and rich using a free program like Audacity. When you launch your podcast, try to have several episodes already recorded so that listeners will be hooked from day one.