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old school seo

Old School SEO Still Reigns

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Our Guest Blog this week comes from Marketing Manager Rob who specialises in SEO and Content Marketing. 

What should you consider when trying to rank at the top of Google’s search results in 2019?

Good old-fashioned relevant content still RULES when it comes to ranking factors, high-quality content, particularly long-form, detailed content, tends to gain more inbound links. It also keeps people on your website for longer periods of time, which is a ranking factor for Google. The assumption is that when visitors don’t bounce away from your content, it must be relevant and is therefore worthy of a higher search engine position.

Keyword-rich content: is another important ranking factor, but it’s important to consider two things – 1) Google hates keyword stuffing, so write with natural language and 2) make sure your content really speaks to what people are searching for, rather than just search engine alone. Rand Fishkin touched on this with his “How to Rank” checklist noting that website owners should do keyword research to help discover words and phrases that searchers use or regularly search for – keep in mind that more people are asking questions either via voice search or typing them directly into Google.

Metatags still matter: so pay attention to the title tags of your webpages (this is what appears as the clickable link on the search results pages) and meta description which is the snippet of text directly beneath the title. One of Google’s top-ranking factors is still CTR, so a compelling link title is really imperative.

Make sure you include H1 and H2 tags in your webpages (SO BASICBUT VITALLY IMPORTANT) because pages using at least one H1 or H2 heading tend to rank better than those without.

Modern SEO ranking factors to consider

The modern search marketer or SEO specialist has their work cut out for them. In addition to the tried and true (old fashioned) ranking factors listed above, there are many new factors to consider:

  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly since Google’s index will crawl the mobile version of a website first before the desktop version. Your website should be responsive on all mobile platforms – this is now the rule rather than the exception.
  • Make sure your website is speedy and loads quickly. Mobile sites should load in 2 seconds, while desktop sites should load in 3. The top-ranked websites are the ones that load the fastest.
  • Make sure your website is encrypted – that is, it uses HTTPS encryption since nearly 50% of top-ranking websites all use HTTPS, up from 12% in 2015!

Happy optimising in 2019

It’s extremely interesting (and possibly a little comforting) that many ranking factors have stayed the same since the early days of SEO. CONTENT is at the centre of a good SEO strategy, just as it was twenty years ago. On-page optimisation, meta tags, and backlinks are all still key criterias in Google’s ranking algorithm (as they were in the back in the day).

Implementing these factors alongside newer factors such as mobile-readiness, site encryption and fast-loading pages, will help you rank higher in the coming year.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing and the Challenges

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A decade ago, social media was predominantly used for sharing your thoughts, opinions and photos on an online platform to your friends, but it has now rapidly changed into a huge marketing tool for brands and products.

In this blog I explore what influencer marketing is and the challenges facing this type of marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Did you know that nearly 81% of brands have found using influencer marketing effective?

As one of the fastest growing marketing tools to date, influencer marketing is a process where a celebrity or a social media user with a high following can target and drive products or brands to their large audience – ‘influencing’ them to purchase a product.

Whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, ‘influencers’ can market products using a range of different tools, including photos, videos or even blogs posts.

Did you know there are more than 500,000 active influencers on Instagram alone? Social media itself has rapidly grown in the past decade, so it’s certainly no surprise that it is now becoming an effective marketing platform.

Brands and Influencer Marketing

Even some of the biggest brands are using Influencer Marketing, including Gucci, Nike, online clothes stores Missguided, Boohoo and food chains, JustEat and Mcdonalds.

However, you don’t have to be a big established brand, even the smallest of brands are using this form of marketing and it’s certainly no surprise why. 75% of users take action after looking at a brand’s post, it’s probably the most effective marketing tool out there!

The Influencers

Influencer marketing is absolutely everywhere, probably more than you think. From personal experience, I know I can scroll through my Instagram for around 20 seconds, and there will be at least two or three enticing brand posts, but who are the people or ‘influencers’ marketing these products?

Whether it’s fashion, beauty, gaming or sport, influencers don’t necessarily have to be a celebrity. What makes them an influencer, is their large social media following and the influence they have on their followers in that industry.

‘The Pyramid of Influence’ shows the different types of influencers, some already well-known celebrities and some that are ‘everyday influencers’.

Pyramid of Influence

 

The Challenges Facing Influencer Marketing

If you want to build up your brand online, gain an online presence and engage with potential buyers, Influencer Marketing is an easy way into the hearts and minds of followers, but currently, there are various problems facing Influencer Marketing.

  1. Fake Followers and Fake Likes

A new study claims there are 10 million fake Instagram accounts in the UK and that more than half of users here have bought followers, likes or comments.

Even though this is legal to do so, influencers with fake followers and likes are eligibly charging a brand for more exposure to a following that is non existent. Not only is this unethical, but influencers who have built up their following over the years are now competing with accounts with a fake following.

  1. Instagram Removing Likes

It is no surprise that Instagram has become the most important influencer marketing channel, but there has been recent concern over the social media platform for rolling out the removal of likes.

Instagram want people to worry less about how many likes we get on Instagram and more about the content. In a bid to tackle mental health and self-esteem issues, I think this is a great idea as no one will be comparing likes and feeling doubtful over their posts.

However, this causes great concern for influencer marketing. With the removal of likes, brands won’t be able to see an influencers following and engagement. We have discussed this further in a previous blog www.firstdigitalmedia.co.uk/instagram-removes-likes.

  1. Social Media Algorithms Changes

If you haven’t noticed yourself, over the past couple of years, the way social media algorithms work has changed and these can cause major problems for brands and influencers.

Facebook now favour individual accounts rather than publisher content. This makes it difficult for brands and businesses to overshadow all of your Facebook friends whom you engage with.

Instagram have now changed from showing everything in chronological order to now prioritizing posts that you engage with more. So if you don’t interact with a certain brand or influencer, these will now be placed further down your Instagram’s feed.

The same goes for YouTube. More than 70 percent of time spent on YouTube is spent watching what the algorithm recommends. So instead of showing you videos chronologically, YouTube displays users subscribed channels based on their engagement and popularity.

The Future of Influencer Marketing

As an avid social media user myself, I follow a range of celebrities and social media influencers that do advertise brands and products regularly.

Have I been influenced to buy a product from them in the past? Most definitely yes.

Take a second and think, can you honestly remember the last time you went on a social media platform and DIDN’T see a product or brand being marketed by an ‘influencer’ or celebrity? Probably not. This in itself is a reason why influencer marketing is now one of the biggest marketing tools and I’m pretty sure it’s just going to get even bigger.

Even though there are various problems facing influencer marketing, people are so glued to scrolling through their social media feeds, there is certainly still even more room for it to grow. There’s no better time to start using influencer marketing than now.

digital marketing

The Proof Is In The Pudding – Guest Blog

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The old saying ‘the proof is in the pudding’ gets thrown around a lot when it comes to digital marketing relationships between marketers and clients.

But really, when you are marketing for a business, the client will also want to see the proof in their pudding when they are paying you for a service. Here at First Digital Media, we report back every single month as part of our marketing packages on our client’s success, downfalls, new ideas moving forward and show exactly where their money has been spent and was stats come from that.

We prove what happens to our pudding, but do others?

A New Month

August is a new month and we have lots of exciting plans going ahead here at FDM. But before we start a new month, let’s take a quick look back at some recent stats that really got us thinking here in the office.

Working in the digital industry, we always need to keep up with the changing trends and looking at past stats and figures is something we are all passionate about for our own knowledge and our clients. Wanting to deliver the best pudding on the market means looking at how others have been unsuccessful, no one wants to follow in their footsteps after all.

GDPR and the True Costs

Back in May 2018, the world was hit with new laws regarding General Data Protection Regulations and it really shook the online world and how it worked. It was the European Union that created and earmarked the landmark privacy law for users online and their personal data but it was businesses that felt the downfalls.

A recent paper from Samuel Goldberg, Garrett Johnson and Scott Shriver stated that “GDPR could hurt online firms: 1) directly, by restricting online advertising and changing user browsing preferences, and 2) indirectly, by reducing the web analytics data that informs the firm’s decisions”.

Their research collaborated from 1,500 online businesses that were using a certain analytics platform to track their users. Overall, the businesses all found that the recorded page views and the number of users visiting the site had fallen by 9.7% since the introduction of GDPR.

Minor figures on the grand scheme of things, but in reality, this was resulting in an average $8,000 loss a week.

Here at First Digital Media, we also noticed a drop in analytical figures but we worked around this, developing new techniques to ensure that we didn’t make any further losses.

Ad Spends and CPC’s

Another report outlines that there has been a massive growth in e-commerce advertising as there are figures showing there has been a 40% increase. This could be that due to GDPR and the restrictions on personal data, advertisers and marketers are having to spend more on average to get the same response they were previously.

It was also found that CPC’s were reducing across various industries which could either be because of a lack of users clicking or the lack of data that can be given once clicked.

Marketing Job Cuts

The speculations surrounding the business Uber has recently seen a lot of bad press and this next bit of news also isn’t great either. Uber has recently reduced its marketing team by a third, cutting around 400 jobs in total.

In the move to try and cut costs, Uber announced the move internally first then around the rest of the world. For a business that employs a massive 25,000 people around the whole world, 400 employees doesn’t seem huge but for the marketing industry, it really is. The reason why is due to profits and Uber not really making any money at all but it has also been put to maybe too many ‘cooks spoiling the broth’ and decisions being unclear across their marketing techniques. (clearly, they weren’t making their pudding properly from the start)

Another reason why here at First Digital Media, we like to keep it simple. We work as a team, we work together and all decisions are very clear to avoid confusion and a host of people working for nothing. We all add an integral ingredient to our pudding mixtures, avoiding a disaster in the kitchen.

Growth in App Frauds

As the rise of mobile phones is increasing faster than the rate of homes, it is no surprise that app fraud has also risen. According to the 2019 State of Mobile Fraud report, the figures have grown to an alarming rate.

In the first half of 2019, it has been recorded that marketers lost over $2.3 billion of ad spend due to fraud and bots. There is also another 16% of app installation frauds that were not caught in action and the most targeted industry was financial apps.

The most worrying element is that those committing the frauds are harder to find due to the mimicking of actual user experiences being easier to complete.

Marketing at First Digital Media

If any of these figures have got you thinking about handing over the reins of your marketing to someone else, get in touch with us today on 01524 544346. We have a whole team ready and waiting to take your business to market so you don’t have to hire each individual skill, you don’t have to worry about fraud and you also don’t have to worry about the ad spends themselves.

What’s not to love about that? Grab some of our pudding, it’s the best!

Computer with love heart

Bullying In Social Media

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This guest blog comes from Digital Marketing Apprentice, Josh. His role is all things Social Media.

Social Media is used right, it is without doubt the most successful and creative platform in the world, but is it always used right? Find out in this latest blog.

Social Media

Did you know there 3.48 billion people are using some sort of social media platform in 2019? To put that into perspective, that is just under half of the whole world! A lot of these users, like me and you are just wanting to see the latest news, share our lives, get some followers and maybe even get Philip Schofield to follow us back (Please Philip). However, there are a number of users across these social media platforms that constantly insult, undermine and hate on people’s content, this is a form of Cyber Bullying and it has grown massively in the past decade. According to research 87% of young people have witnessed cyber-bullying on social media in 2019, that is a lot of kids who have read abusive comments and the majority of them will think it is okay to do the same. This needs to stop and fast.

The Impact Of Social Media Bullying

The Impact of Cyber-bullying has become more and more drastic over the years and there is a lot of reasons for this. Firstly the anonymity, people can create fake accounts and post the nastiest comments and think because they are sat behind a screen that it wont affect them or the people they are talking too. When in reality they could not be more wrong, words hurt people whether they are said in person or as letters on a screen, bullying is bullying and you are not an attention seeker for being hurt by someone’s comment! Another reason is that the hate comments that are posted online are there forever, and whilst this is good to track bullying it can also make things so much worse for the victim. Everytime they log onto their favourite social media to check out that new meme everyone keeps referencing (yeah I’m always the one who doesn’t get the meme), they will see the comment and it creates a constant reminder that they are “not good enough” and soon enough makes them believe it is true. There are many reasons as to why cyber-bullying has grown but they all lead to one outcome, sadness.

It is now a common fact that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, that is a very alarming statistic which no one seems to be taking seriously, the younger generation who are constantly being affected by this are now being branded as “Snow Flakes” which in my opinion is disgusting. These young adults are being forced to deal with constant harassment and mental health issues all on their own and to make matters even worse they are now being segregated and laughed at for it. Social Media bullying is lethal, will it be too late by the time people realise this?

Who Does This Effect?

Everyone who has used a social media platform can tell you that bullying is rife and can be witnessed on a daily occurrence, for example if you have been watching Love Island recently then you will have seen all of the abuse that is posted on Twitter whilst the show is on air. Every 10 seconds there is a new negative comment on the Love Island hashtag, that is a lot of insults and hate that the islanders will be reading when they come out.

My point is that social media bullying affects everyone from Influencers to Celebrities to your everyday guy who gets excited when pizza hut wishes him a happy birthday #guilty. Our comments on these social media platforms may seem harmless at first because we don’t know the person or think that we are joking but in reality, they can cause a lot of damage, shown by the suicides of Love Island’s Mike and Sophie. So please, before you post a mean comment on your mates Instagram “for a laugh” or tweet about a new Islander you don’t like. Think. Would you want someone to say that to you?

My Experience

Pretty much every social media user has experienced some sort of hate on the popular platforms, including myself, yet people are very afraid to speak about it. This is something we need to try focus on, we need to encourage people to speak up about the problems they are facing on social media and instead of just getting them to report it and have the comment taken down, we need to help them deal with these comments and make sure it is has no affect on their mental health. As a society we concentrate too much on taking action and reporting, rather than helping the victim learn how to cope with what has happened to them and stop it having long lasting effects.

My experience of social media bullying was never extreme but has had a long-lasting effect which I didn’t think was possible. When I was younger I used to post a lot of photos on Instagram which in all honesty were cringe, but at the time they made me feel good about myself, these posts were then met with hurtful comments and people laughing at me now this never made me depressed but it did stop me posting pictures and still has some effect on me today. If I go to upload a photo on Instagram I always have to think “Are people going to judge me for posting this?” and often I don’t post it because I’m afraid what people may say. We need to stop this, there are many people who have experienced a lot worse or are in the same situation as me and will feel this way. So, post that picture from your holiday, tell people how much you like Philip Schofield, do anything that makes you feel better about yourself. If you are feeling anxious about posting something or are worried about what people may say, just do it anyway, their comments do not reflect the person you are.

What Can We Do?

Social Media is great when we use it the way we are supposed to, it helps us make new friends, find new series to love and show our appreciation to the great Yewande. We need to start using these platforms properly, many campaigns are now being ran to fight back against Social Media bullying and it finally seems like we are heading in the right direction. However it is not all down to the companies to make this happen, we all need to help each other, so go out of your way to compliment your friend on that Instagram Picture, tag everyone in a funny meme and don’t post that hurtful comment just because everyone else is. Social Media is great for businesses, influencers and everyday users, we just need to use it properly.

If you are feeling suicidal or suffering from any other mental health problems due to social media bullying please speak out, I have left a number of links below to various helplines that you can visit and get the help you deserve, it’s time to rise up against Social Media Bullying.

Bully Busters

The Mix

Papyrus

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If you would like to join the discussion and answer the questions within the blog then be sure to follow us on all of our social media platforms, we would love to know what you think!

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Celebrating Pride 2019

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This guest blog comes from Digital Marketing Executive, Joss. Her role involves Content Marketing and SEO.

Celebrating love across the world is important. This June marks 50 years to the month since the Stonewall Riots in New York, the start of Pride as we know it today. More and more companies and brands support Pride and this year is no different.

To mark the 50th anniversary, several companies have been running their own marketing campaigns to show support for the LGBTQ community. The LGBT+ community is a part of my life and many others, which is why it is important to celebrate what makes our world great.

The Stonewall Riots, June 1969

marsha-p-johnson-quoteIn the early hours of June 28 1969 the NYPD (New York Police Department) raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City. After years of homophobic legislation and brutality, it was time for change. This raid had not been the first one and was nothing new, but something was different.

People refused to co-operate and hand over IDs to prove their gender. As a crowd started to gather outside, pressure fell on the police and violence erupted. One transvestite was pushed and hit in the face with a purse. Storme DeLarverie spoke to the crowds about the tight handcuffs and was beaten with a nightstick by police offices in retaliation.

A number of bystanders including activists Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson, started to throw bottles, cans, bins, bricks and more at police. Rioting continued for several nights afterwards and the iconic evenings led to the creation of the Gay Liberation Front as well as Gay Activists Alliance. In 1970 the very first Pride Parade took place, marking a huge shift in attitude towards LGBTQ rights.

Impact Today

Despite the Stonewall Riots, it has still taken decades for more rights to come into force. It wasn’t until 1999 that Bill Clinton declared June officially as ‘Gay and Lesbian Pride Month’. In 2009, Barack Obama extended the title to include all members of the community including bisexuals and transgender. Parades take places across the globe and this year more people than ever have been celebrating the event.

Today, the LGBTQ community have more of a voice in culture, government as well as the media. One of the best examples of the impact of Pride and the media is RuPaul’s Drag Race. Since airing 10 years ago, the programme has had 11 seasons, 4 seasons of an additional All Stars competition (with a 5th in filming), world tours, and supported Pride events around the world. The show has helped to grow equality and develop awareness, showing everybody just how important pride is.

Companies and Pride

Businesses in the UK have been doing their own marketing to celebrate 50 years of Pride. From Facebook adding a profile picture filter to Boohoo releasing their own Pride collection, there have been endless organisations getting involved.

Absolut Vodka are one of the longest supporters of Pride, having backed the LGBTQ community for over 35 years. Their ‘Kiss With Pride’ campaign aims to raise awareness that being gay is still illegal in 72 countries. Boohoo’s #LoveWithoutLimits collection is donating 10% of all sales to OutRight Action International and the LGBT Foundation.

pride-2019-marketingEven popular food company M&S are marking 50 years of Pride. The LGBT sandwich is a twist on the classic BLT, with the G standing for the added guacamole. As well as raising visibility, M&S are donating £10,000 to the Albert Kennedy Trust (akt), the national LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness charity organisation, as well as €1000 to the BeLonG Youth Services in Ireland.

Is It Right?

However, some people are questioning whether it is right for a business to use Pride in their marketing. M&S have faced some backlash with people criticising them.

However, the akt’s Director Carrie Reiners has spoken out about the LGBT sandwich, saying:

“We’re thrilled to see M&S show visible support for the LGBTQ+ community this Pride, and are extremely grateful to be one of its two chosen charities. The donation from M&S will enable us to continue providing safe homes and better futures for the young LGBTQ+ people we work with, through our Purple Door safe house, host programme, mentoring and youth engagement work.”

Future of Marketing and Pride

Whilst Pride marketing campaigns may not be liked by all, they are still making a difference. As well as raising money, companies are raising awareness of the importance of love and equality. Big brands including Tesco and Amazon are supporting Pride events across the UK, bringing sponsorships as well as coverage with them.

Although, there is still room to grow. It is important for companies to not just support the LGBT+ community during June, but all year round. There are some that already do this and the Stonewall List of Top 100 Employers highlights organisations who are supporting equality every day. Taking part in Pride month is a huge step, however being an ally is the next and most crucial step.

How Google Chrome Changing Effects My Role – Guest Blog

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This guest blog comes from Digital Marketing Team Leader, Becci. Her role is all things marketing related as well as focusing on Google Analytics.

It was only last week I was at my friends’ house and I actually watched her open her laptop, open internet explorer, use the default browser Bing to search for ‘Google’ and then carry on with her tasks… I was gobsmacked.

I said “Why don’t you just set Google as your default browser”, after all, Google Chrome is the worlds most popular web browser out there with more than 60% of users using their site. This simple moment in time got me thinking about how important Google really is to all of us and how its changes effects my role as a digital marketer every day.

30th Birthday Celebrations

The web celebrates it’s 30th birthday this year and in the last 30 years (some before I was even born) we have all seen how certain updates have changed the way the world works both online and offline.

Although there has been significant developments in the last 30 years, this will not stop and moving forward into the very near future, we will be so shocked with what is to come.

Chromium Blog

This is something I hadn’t heard of myself until I did a bit of digging and research. This blog comes directly from Google and outlines all the upcoming changes that we should look out for. They have listed the following as changes that will effect Google Chrome functions within 2019:

  • Speed changes
  • Increasing the Power
  • Extra transparency
  • Improved Developer experiences
  • Increased security and privacy

Google Core Updates

There are updates all the time that marketers won’t even know have happened and there are some that will shift the way in which websites and SEO work hand in hand.

In March this year we were all made aware of Google changes due to websites dramatically dropping on both visibility and keyword rankings. Google never made anyone aware this was happening and they also didn’t let on what was changed, good work Google, good work.

A common question after any Google algorithm update is “How can I fix my site?” and the real answer is, “there is no set way”. You just have to roll with the punches, update your websites following SEO best practices and hope for the best that Google likes what you are doing.

“For marketers, the full impact of these changes and how users respond to the tools likely won’t be seen for months, but stand to have a significant impact on remarketing, analytics and attribution efforts”, Marketing Land.

My Role with Analytics

Looking at how this will change my role with Google Analytics is really important to me as it is becoming increasingly more difficult year on year to track users on my client’s websites due to their rights to privacy and security.

As the first change Google Chrome is making is all about cookies and privacy online, Google Analytics is surely going to be effected.

“This change will enable users to clear all [cross-site] cookies while leaving single domain cookies unaffected, preserving user logins and settings. It will also enable browsers to provide clear information about which sites are setting these cookies, so users can make informed choices about how their data is used.” Ben Galbraith and Justin Schuh from Chrome Engineering.

This will also affect re-targeting marketing methods that will follow users from website to website and advertise their products. This is something we urgently need to look into to ensure that we can still provide the same level of service to all of our clients.

Staying Optimistic

While there are lots of marketers panicking about the upcoming changes, I am staying positive. By now, we must all realise that Google runs the game and why would they make changes that would push users away? They wouldn’t.

In my opinion, we should all embrace the changes, work with Google and reap the benefits that will come with an improved web presence and space for digital marketing. Check back later in the year if I have had a meltdown about it or have fully embraced it.. who knows!