All websites have HTTP pages, and then some have HTTPS pages with the same exact content on them. This usually occurs because many websites like to offer certain types of content on HTTP pages instead of HTTPS pages because of the slight performance degradation offered by HTTPS pages. But the website still wants the option of being able to use secure pages when necessary, which is why they have both HTTP and HTTPS pages.
Google has been doing a lot of thinking about Internet security lately, and has been dropping hints that it may start to favor HTTPS pages. To get ahead of any type of action by Google, most social media pages switched to HTTPS pages to offer better security. But now other websites may want to consider using HTTPS pages for more than just their ecommerce pages if they want to bring in traffic.
Why Isn't Everyone Just Using HTTPS?
Google wouldn't have to make these changes if every website simply used HTTPS pages instead of unsecured HTTP pages. There are two reasons why websites try to use HTTP pages as much as possible in lieu of HTTPS pages. The first is that websites cannot be cached with HTTPS pages, and that can affect international web traffic. A web server that is on a different continent from the user will take much longer to access with HTTPS pages because the user's browser is not allowed to cache the site.
The other reason websites attempt to bypass using HTTPS pages is the slower loading times. Retail websites know that every millisecond of website lag means the loss of more revenue, and they would rather not slow their sites down. But as the need for security increases, most of the major retail websites have turned all of their pages into HTTPS pages.
What Is Google Doing?
If Google sees that you have an HTTP page that has the same identical content as an HTTPS page, then it is going to index the HTTPS page first. But, as with any rule, there are exceptions. Google will not index the HTTPS page first if it:
Has unsecured elements such as embedded videos and pictures
Has the robot.txt crawler inhibitor
Has links that send users to HTTP pages
The site does not have a legitimate security certificate
In these instances, Google will index the HTTP page first, and it may not index the HTTPS page at all.
What Does This Mean?
Website owners should pay attention whenever Google says it will favor one type of web page over another for any reason. If you have a site that is utilizing all HTTPS pages and your site has a valid security certificate, then you could find your site ranked ahead of the competition. Google is being vague on details right now, so understanding the exact effects of this are difficult.
The best approach is to team up with an experienced Internet marketing company and have them evaluate your website for you. If there is an advantage to making all of your pages HTTPS pages, then your marketing expert can make that call for you. As Google continues to alter the search landscape, you need a professional organization that can keep up with the changes and keep your company competitive.
Five Tips For Changing Your Website
Most website owners have no problem overhauling their website once in a while to try and update its functionality and make things interesting for their web traffic. While updating the website once in a while is essential to its operation, actually changing the site is something that should be planned and done properly.
It is true that making a wholesale change of your website could positively impact your web traffic, but it could also temporarily derail your traffic if you are not careful. There are some tips you should consider before you make significant changes to your website to make sure that you maintain your flow of web traffic and sustain revenue.
Group Changes Together
If you have a list of changes you want to make to your website, then your best bet is to group them all together and launch the changes all at once. If you have a wish list of things you want to do with the website that would lead to a complete overhaul, then you may want to consider doing all of those changes at once and launching a whole new website. It is easier for users to handle a large group of changes, instead of trying to adjust to changes happening in rapid succession over the course of several weeks or months.
Make A Big Deal Out Of It
For the most part, people love changes to websites and you can use that to your advantage. Once you have decided to make your website changes, you should create a little marketing campaign to create some excitement over the launch date. You can create pricing promotions and use other marketing tactics to turn your website change into more traffic.
Do A Test Run Of Your Changes First
Few things are more annoying to website users than a website that took out a perfectly fine website function and replaced it with something that does not work as well. New does not mean better and you need to make sure that you do a test run of your changes to make sure they enhance the functionality of your website before you allow them to go live.
Get Customer Input
Before you start doing any detailed planning for your website changes and long before you start doing any programming, you should utilize social media to see what your customers think of your website. If there are certain features or aspects of your site that are getting a lot of attention from people on social media, then you may want to consider making changes to those aspects during your website overhaul.
Consider Whether Or Not Change Is Necessary
If your website is generating good web traffic, then any changes you make are going to disrupt that. In business, you definitely do not want to fix something that is not broken. Write out the changes you want to make to your site and determine if they are really necessary, or if they can wait until you get more ideas.
Making any change to a website, positive or negative, is going to initially cause your status in the search engines to suffer. If you made good changes, then you will see your search engine results exceed what your previous web traffic numbers. But if your changes upset your traffic, then your website may not recover. Plan your website changes carefully and be sure that they are necessary before you make them.
Four Things You Need At Your Next Trade Show
There is plenty of detailed information on this blog and others about how to create the best trade show materials to show-off your booth. But it would probably be helpful to know which tools, of all the tools that get mentioned, you really need when you start to put your trade show presentation together. Along with your modern booth and all of its attractive accessories, there are four other pieces you need to bring if you want to find success at your next trade show.
You may have the best light show and the loudest sound system a trade show has ever seen, but all of those trappings are only doing half of the job. There will be a lot of people at your next trade show who are looking specifically for your company's booth. If you took the time to market your appearance at your next trade show, then there will be a flock of potential customers who want to talk to you. Banners let everyone know where your booth is located and act as unwavering reminders as to where people can find you and your sales team.
Too many companies avoid getting custom pamphlets printed for each trade show, which means they are missing out on an opportunity to capitalize on their trade show investment. When attendees get back to their offices, it may be some time before they review the material they collected. They may even go to other trade shows before they get a chance to look at your pamphlet. When you create a custom pamphlet, your audience will be reminded of exactly where they saw you and exactly why they liked your company in the first place.
Your business card acts as a pocket-size d billboard that advertises your business to anyone who sees it. If you do not take a full box of business cards to every trade show with the intent of giving every one of them away, then you are not going to be able to maximize your trade show investment.
Focused Product Information
Not only do you need to have new and customized product information printed for each trade show, but that information needs to be focused on the details that the attendees are looking for. A convention of engineers will not want to see the same information that purchasing managers will need. Each trade show you attend needs to have information that is focused on that trade show audience if you want people to be able to use your information to buy your products and get interested in your company.
When you decide to present your company at a trade show, you have made a significant financial commitment. Not only does it cost you a lot of money to present at trade shows, but it also requires a considerable investment of your time to plan each detail and make sure that the show goes off as you want.
Prior to putting together your trade show presentation, you will make a long list of the things that you will need. Each company's list varies for every trade show, but there are four elements that every company needs to bring to every trade show if they want to find success. Without focusing on the basics, it is hard to generate the kind of income you need to justify your trade show investment.
Why And How To Change Your Company Logo
Changing your company logo is never something you do on a whim. The decision to change your company logo should only be done when it is absolutely necessary, and it should be a well-planned event. Your logo is something you invest a lot of time and money into as part of your branding efforts. When you are going to change that logo, you are going to change everything your customers already know about your company. That is why it has to be done right, or else your company will suffer.
Why Change Your Logo?
The best reason for changing your logo is if your company changes its name. Whether you merged with another company or changed your name for legal reasons, changing your logo to coincide with a name change can actually be a very effective marketing tactic.
Another reason people use to update their logo is to modernize it to fit contemporary styles. If you feel that you need to change your logo to keep up with a certain style or look, then you did not do a very good job of establishing your brand. There are companies with logos that are hundreds of years old that have never changed because there was no need to change. Instead of changing your logo to meet contemporary styles, you may want to have a professional marketing company look over your branding process and fix it for you.
How To Change Your Logo - Step 1: Design A New Logo
Unless you are a graphic design or marketing company, you should not be designing your logo yourself. A professional design company will create a memorable logo that will make your new name announcement more effective. Work closely with a professional marketing company to design a logo that best exemplifies your new company.
How To Change Your Logo - Step 2: Gradual Shift
The biggest mistake companies make when they change their logos is they choose a random date and then just change everything over. Suddenly, customers are getting invoices with new logos on them and the website has been completely changed. This is not going to give your customers time to adjust, which is why you need to use a gradual shift.
A gradual shift consists of transitional stationary that has both logos at the top and says that the old one is becoming the new one. You should develop the front page of your new website and then let customers preview the new page before you actually launch it. Let your customers ease into the new logo and it will be easier to say goodbye to the old one.
How To Change Your Logo - Step 3: Make The Change
In all of your marketing materials that talk about your transition to a new logo, give customers a date when the change will take place. It is easier to make it a significant date like the first day or last day of a month. When that date arrives, make the change by launching the new website and switching over to the new correspondence and invoicing materials.
By creating a gradual transition to a new logo, your customers will be at ease with the change and it will not disrupt your business. If you must change your logo, then hiring a professional marketing company to help you make the change properly is critically important.
5 Reasons You Need A Killer Company Brochure
There is plenty of information on how to introduce your company with a brochure, and how brochures add value to your product presentations. But it is hard to find convincing information on why you really need a company brochure as a means of general introduction.
Most business owners understand the value of brochures designed specifically for certain products, and the need for having brochures that are customized for each trade show. But there are plenty of good reasons for your company to print up and use general company brochures every day of the year.
An Elevator Speech With Pictures
Every corporate executive, business owner and sales professional prides themselves on having a great elevator speech. A corporate brochure is an elevator speech with effective pictures in a glossy and professional package. When a business professional understands the potential of a good corporate brochure, it is easier to see why they are so valuable.
No Bounce Rates
When you hand a prospect a brochure, there is no other brochure for that prospect to bounce to and put yours to the side. With a website, thousands of people a day will bounce from your website to other sites in seconds and take away your chance at telling your company's story. But with a brochure, the audience is captive and will read your story without jumping to read the story of the competition with the click of a button.
Show Your Professionalism
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with handing a prospect who is interested in your company a nice business card, the impact of a professional brochure is worth the investment. As with any marketing piece, think of how you would react if a business owner was able to give you a colorful brochure of their company along with a business card. You would not only be impressed, you would immediately have a positive impression of that company.
Highlight Your Company's Strengths
In the marketing world, a picture is worth 1,000 words and the picture you put on the front of your company brochure can make a strong first impression on any prospect. If you have a product your company is known for that has a sleek look that appeals to clients, then make that the cover of your brochure. Your company brochure should use your company's biggest strength to make a first impression your audience will never forget.
Give Them Something To Look At Later
Your prospect may listen to your pitch and take your brochure, but they may also fold up that brochure and put it away without reading it. But hours later, when they are flying back to their office, they will reach into their pocket and pull out your professional brochure and spend some time actually reading it. One of the most valuable aspects of a brochure is that it cannot be turned off or ignored like an online ad. Once your prospect has your brochure, the marketing impact can be felt at any time.
A good brochure can be an invaluable corporate marketing tool that you should carry with you at all times. A brochure can enhance other marketing pieces, and it can be that professional first impression your company makes that sets your organization apart from the competition.
3 Ways To Strengthen Your Remarketing Program
Remarketing is the process of taking visitors who have bounced from your website and turning them into buying customers. It can be an immediate result, or remarketing could take weeks to bring in a sale. But by staying touch with everyone who expressed some sort of interest in your company's Internet presence, you will be able to maximize your revenue and achieve your business goals.
Make Immediate Remarketing Contact
When a consumer is looking for products, they will usually go through several websites before they make their final decision. If your website is one of many that a consumer is using to get pricing and product availability, then you are definitely in the running to get the business. If that consumer does not place an order on your website during their initial search, then you must respond quickly with your remarketing program to bring in that business.
It is common for consumers to go through a list of websites looking for the best price and then settle on the last website they visit to place their order. When you have an aggressive remarketing program on your website, those consumers that left your site without placing an order will start to see ads on the other websites they browse. With this kind of exposure, you significantly increase the chances that the consumer will click on your ad and place the order on your website.
Get Involved In Google's Remarketing Program
Google's remarketing program is so comprehensive and effective that it is almost impossible to describe in this article. Not only can you customize what types of customers your Google remarketing program targets, but you can also collect a lot of marketing information that will allow you to update and improve your website.
Google allows you to create marketing programs based on remarketing data from past campaigns, and Google also has several different types of remarketing programs for you to choose from. When it comes to getting the most from a good remarketing campaign, it is important that your Internet marketing firm utilizes Google.
Separate Your Mobile And Standard Website Remarketing Programs
Many website owners either try to combine their mobile and standard websites into one remarketing program, or they choose to not put a remarketing program on their mobile website at all. Since the majority of consumers access your Internet presence through their mobile devices, it would be a very bad idea to ignore the remarketing potential of your mobile website.
Work with your Internet marketing team to develop very unique remarketing plans for your standard website and your mobile site. You will want to collect different types of information for each type of site, and you will want each site to utilize that information in different ways and react differently to remarketing opportunities. The best way to maximize your remarketing revenue is to develop focused plans for standard and mobile websites.
If you are not utilizing good remarketing programs, then you are letting revenue slip away. When consumers use your website, they are doing so for a reason. While that reason may not lead to a sale at that particular moment, you can use remarketing tactics to keep your companys' Internet presence in front of interested customers and grab the revenue that you would have otherwise left behind.
Direct Mail vs Email Marketing
As technology advances, many business owners start to think that the old ways of doing things are being replaced. For example, it is a common misconception that email marketing is replacing direct mail marketing because of cost and effectiveness. But when you look at what is really happening in the worlds of email and direct mail, you start to realize that direct mail is just as effective now as it has always been.
Filling Up Your Inbox
There was a time when marketing companies were sending out billions of unsolicited marketing emails to inboxes around the world. After a while, Internet service providers created rules that made it very hazardous for businesses to send out mass emails and technology was introduced that could filter out those messages and prevent the intended audience from seeing them.
As email was being utilized, direct mail did start to fall off in popularity. It did not take the more creative marketing experts long to realize that email marketing messages were not reaching their audiences, but the postal mailboxes of those audience members were almost empty. Sending direct mail is more effective now because less companies do it, but your target audience is still going to read the direct mail messages you send.
Putting Real Offers In Your Audience Members' Hands
While email marketing asks customers to click on a link to find out more about the deal or to print out a coupon, direct mail offers all of that information immediately. You can send out the details of your promotion and any associated coupons or registration forms in one package. It gives your audience the opportunity to take advantage of your offer without having to do anything extra.
No Viruses In Direct Mail
Unfortunately, the world of email marketing is infested with marketing people who will do anything to make a dollar, and that includes putting spyware and viruses in their emails. If your company gets involved with an email marketer that uses those tactics, then it could ruin your reputation and get your company in a lot of trouble.
Direct mail does not deliver viruses or anything that could harm your audience. A direct mail campaign is a pure way to deliver a message that does not offer anything except for helpful information. You can also give your audience members the opportunity to opt-out of future direct mailings and help maintain a list of prospects that want to get the information your company has to offer.
Why should your company consider a direct mail campaign? Because the same technology that has helped to make text marketing campaigns and successful email campaigns effective is also being used in direct mail. You can work with a marketing professional who will develop a targeted list of contacts who are interested in getting direct mailings and who have shown a habit of responding positively to direct mailings in the past.
With direct mail, you have complete control over how your message is delivered and what it looks like. With email marketing, you have to worry about how your message looks with certain email services and how your images will look in certain browsers. But with direct mail, the message you create is the message that your prospects will receive and that will bring you a much more positive result and an increase in overall revenue.
How To Choose Images For Your Website
One of the more powerful ways to increase traffic to your website is to use images that people find interesting. Good images can increase your website exposure and get you better search engine results on Google. If you do it right, then some of your images will go viral and bring you more exposure than you have ever dreamed. But before any of that can happen, you need to choose the right images for your website and present them in the proper manner.
Picture Content Must Be Pertinent
Everyone loves cat pictures on the Internet, but you are not going to do much for your business credibility and your web traffic if you post cat pictures when your website does not deal with cats. The pictures you post on your site need to pertain, in some way, to your business theme.
Your sporting goods business could create a picture of a cat wearing a basketball uniform, but is that the image of your business you want to portray? The images you post must be in line with your business model and the kind of public image you want to create.
The Pictures Must Be Properly Cited
The easiest way to put pictures on your website is to either take them yourself, or hire a photographer who gives you permission to use their work. If you take a picture from someone else's website and post it on your own site, then you are stealing that picture and the photographer has every right to come after you for compensation.
There are websites that allow you to buy pictures and give you the full permission to use them on your site. If hiring a photographer is out of the question, then check out the picture hosting sites online and make sure you read the rules on how to legally use the pictures you buy.
Remember SEO Tags
While SEO tags may not be nearly as powerful for creating search results as they used to be, they still offer value within your website. If you have a search function for your site, then the tags you put on your pictures will make it easier for people to search and find those pictures.
Always Put A Caption
The SEO tags on your pictures may not hold as much search value as they used to, but the picture captions can definitely help you to get more traffic to your site. Your picture captions should be brief, a little funny, and include the picture citation. Even if you took the picture, you should still put that citation in your caption to protect yourself in case the picture goes viral.
Keep It Clean
Controversial pictures do generate a lot of traffic, but it is usually for the wrong reasons. You are not going to create a sustained rate of traffic by posting controversial pictures on your website that have nothing to do with your website content. Keep the pictures clean and keep your business in mind when you post them.
Pictures can be very helpful in bringing more traffic to your website on a regular basis. When you have that occasional picture that goes viral, then you have a chunk of marketing gold that will bring you new traffic and new customers.
The Panda, The Penguin and The Hummingbird
Each time Google releases a new algorithm change it sounds like the company is unleashing a new Batman villain. First it was the Panda, then it was the Penguin, and then we saw the Hummingbird. But these were not one-time upgrades, nor are these terms used to describe the same algorithm. These terms refer to three different algorithms that Google updates on a regular basis. In order to understand the changes in the world of SEO marketing, you must understand these algorithms.
Why Change The Algorithms?
Before we discuss the three primary Google algorithms, we should quickly discuss why Google introduced them in the first place. These algorithms did not replace the existing Google search algorithms, but rather they enhanced what Google already had in place.
When users complain about the quality of results they get with Google's search engine, Google responds with algorithm changes. To get the changes Google wanted, it had to start adding new algorithms to the ones it already had. That is where these new ones came from and why we can probably expect new Batman supervillain names in the coming years.
The Panda was the first new Google algorithm and it was released in 2011. Panda looks for the overall quality of the site and determines if the site is safe and useful to web traffic. If you are keyword stuffing just to bring in traffic, Panda will find you and punish your website. If you do not offer quality content on your website, then Panda will knock your website down in the search engine results. Panda looks for quality content and rewards websites that go out of their way to bring value to each user.
The Penguin appeared almost exactly one year after the Panda and the Penguin deals almost exclusively with links on websites. Prior to the appearance of the Penguin, website owners would buy links that were unrelated to their website content, but could still drive a lot of traffic. The Penguin can determine if the links on your website are purchased or organic (placed as a result of a relationship with the destination site) and if they are related to your content. If you used paid links or your links are unrelated to your content, then the Penguin punishes your website severely.
The Hummingbird is a complete renovation of the Google algorithm and affects the way that Google looks at content and resolves user queries. Hummingbird looks for quality content and long-tail keywords that will help to get the user the exact result they are looking for. If the user wants information about a specific type of business in a specific geographic area, then Hummingbird will search website content to filter out any site that does not match the business or geographic needs of the user. Hummingbird is an intuitive upgrade to the Google search process and it is the algorithm that currently gets the most attention from Google.
The Panda, the Penguin, and the Hummingbird have caused businesses to close, while launching other businesses to great success. They are constantly being altered by Google who wants to tweak these algorithms to bring more value to the users. Are these really Internet supervillains? According to Google, they are only villains if your website is trying to cheat the public. Does that make Google Batman? Holy ironic twist.
What Are Long-Tail Keywords And Why Do They Matter?
Over the past several years, Google has been changing the rules associated with keyword and search results. When the Internet was young, search engines were not very sophisticated and a website could get a lot of traffic by cramming as many keywords as possible onto a page. When users started to complain about content quality, Google responded by banning keyword stuffing and altering keyword rules. When users still complained about content quality, Google decided it was time to demand quality content from a website that was pertinent to the website's chosen theme.
What Are Keywords?
Keywords are the words that users utilize in search engines when looking for websites in your industry. If you sell bowling balls, then putting keywords such as "ball" and "alley" in your content would improve where your website ranked in the search engine results. But as Internet marketing companies found ways to manipulate keywords and generate traffic without creating useful content, Google started to focus on long-tail keywords.
What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
Long-tail keywords are phrases that are commonly used in content that is pertinent to your industry. With long-tail keywords, Google is not looking for an exact match when it comes to getting users the content they are looking for. Instead, Google searches your website's content for words that fit into certain long-tail keywords that are common in your industry. When Google can match up significant portions of your content with the right long-tail keywords, then your content gets more exposure on the search engine results pages.
Why Do I Care About Long-Tail Keywords?
Instead of relying on lists of short primary and secondary keywords to determine the value of content on a website, Google has shifted to complex algorithms that are constantly generating and evaluating long-tail keywords. If your content is not finding its place among the long-tail keywords in your industry, then you are going to have a hard time getting good search results for your website.
So What Do I Do?
Utilizing long-tail keywords is something that is best left to Internet marketing professionals. The science behind Google algorithms would take a Ivy League graduate to figure out, but the way those algorithms work is the domain of the Internet marketing expert.
The primary purpose of long-tail keywords is to make sure that the content on your website has value to users. Google also uses long-tail keywords to make sure that your content is relevant to your business. If a baking website starts posting personal finance advice, then Google will know and Google will punish that website.
The challenge with long-tail keywords is that they are constantly changing and there is no real concrete rules about them just yet. Internet marketing experts spend hours each day analyzing content from various industries to determine what kind of content appeals to users the most and will click with Google's search algorithms.
For website owners, it is important to focus on relevant and valuable content and start to forget about keywords. Google wants you to inform users and offer them information that they can use as opposed to manipulating keywords just to get traffic. Focus on quality content that is relevant to your industry and you will start to make some headway in the new world of long-tail keywords.