Soon, It’s Likely All Your Browsing Will Be HTTPS Encrypted

Let the surfing begin

Google sets the tone for how the internet works. One of its visions that hasn’t had as much publicity is its desire to make all browsing encrypted.

These days, Chrome uses now have at least 50% of the content they view delivered by HTTPS. That number jumps to 66% when you look at it in terms of time spent browsing by HTTPS. For now, Google expects both of these to increase.

Why Does Google Get So Gung-Ho About HTTPS?

HTTPS exponentially increases your security on the web. For example, you may have noticed the address for your credit card company is https:// instead of http://. When personally identifiable information is used, HTTPS comes into play.

HTTPS only encrypts information in transit. So, if hackers attempt to steal the information, they can get it. But it’s next-to-impossible for them to decrypt it into the original information they want (your credit card number, for example).

However, it’s important to note that it doesn’t secure any other aspect of your website design. And there’s a lot more to web-site security than implementing HTTPS.

Google May Mark HTTP Websites as Non-Secure

Now, as a fair warning, we’re not sure if Google definitively plans to do this. However, in a 2014 proposal, Google said it may start displaying websites using only HTTP in its Chrome browser as “non-secure.”

This Forbes article has this to say about Google and HTTPS:

“Google is getting ready for another push. They’re going to start subtly shaming sites that aren’t using HTTPS. In January when a new version of the browser is pushed to users, Chrome will start labeling pages served via HTTP as insecure.”

Now, we can’t find any factual basis for the first part about “shaming sites that aren’t using HTTPS.” And we don’t have anything on the second part, either.

However, both changes make sense for the future security of the web. It’s no secret that online security is a major concern for consumers and companies.

Google sincerely wants to make the web a better place for its searchers. So, requiring HTTPS totally makes sense.

That’s just our opinion, though. And we don’t actually know when or if this will happen.

But, you might as well prepare for it because it’s totally consistent with Google. By the way, adding HTTPS to your website design isn’t a huge, time-consuming deal. So keep it on your radar, but don’t panic.

…And make sure you stay tuned to our blog for further updates!

 

New iOS 10 Features Will Grab the Attention of Email Marketers

Annual marketing meetingMany marketers have anointed 2016 as “the year of email marketing.”

Yep, email marketing isn’t just alive and kicking…it’s thriving.

You might think that since we have all these new social media like Periscope, Snapchat, and Instagram that email might be falling by the wayside.

But it’s not. And one of the main reasons for that is you can be so personal and specific in email. Plus, it’s something quick you can check when you’re on the go during the day.

And of course, Apple’s right on top of everything in the market. Here’s what iOS 10 does that email marketers should care about:

  1. Makes It Easier to Unsubscribe

Popular email apps like Outlook and Gmail have long had an unsubscribe button that allows their app to unsubscribe you from a list.

Apple just added that button, and it’s at the top of an email.

Previously, you had to sift through to the bottom of the email and find the sender’s unsubscribe link.

With “unsubscribe” being that much easier to find and use, email marketers have to be at the top of their game delivering the most value possible so iOS users have no reason to leave their list.

  1. iOS 10 Users Now Instantly Know Which Messages are From a Mailing List

At first, you might be sent for a panic with this one. If iOS users know which emails come from a list or a personal contact, won’t they be faster to unsubscribe?

Probably not. They’re already familiar with you and your company. They gave you their email for a good reason – because they liked what you offered.

So why would they suddenly become so anxious to press “unsubscribe?”

If you continue to deliver exceptional value in your emails, you’ve got nothing to worry about. And besides, it’s better to have someone unsubscribe from your email list who doesn’t want to be on it anyway. Better to know they won’t make a good customer now than it is to find that out later on.

  1. Emails Now Have a Threaded View

Previously, iOS required users to press the next and previous buttons to browse through a multi-message email conversation. Now, multiple emails in the same conversation can be expanded and collapsed without any scrolling.

  1. New Filter Button is Now Available

A filter button now appears on iOS 10’s email list page. This filter button allows users to:

  • Show only unread emails
  • Display messages from certain inboxes
  • Show flagged messages
  • Find attachments
  • Show only messages from VIP contacts

Are any of these changes anything to be overly alarmed about?

No.

Because as you learned, Outlook and Gmail have had them for some time already.

And if you keep delivering amazing value, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Spend your time learning what makes your list subscribers open your emails, read them, and take the action you want.

Google Updates Local Search Rankings

Working on LaptopThey’re at it again…

Google’s updated the local search results.

They’ve changed the local 3-pack, which shows listings on Google Maps right at the top of what Google considers a “local” search.

Publicly, they’ve not really said anything specific about the update or how it works. They always, if nothing else, get away with saying “we make thousands of updates per year.”

So yes, even Google’s very own engineers don’t really know exactly what the algorithm does at any specific point.

However, local SEOs always take notice because they run their entire businesses on Google’s unpredictable algorithm.

What Are Top SEOs Seeing?

So, when it’s not possible to get a straight story from Google, you have to go to the opinions of SEOs. Many top ones hang out on LocalSearchForum.com.

In general, they’re seeing lots of new companies ranked in the local 3-pack for many types of small and local businesses. For example, that means companies like locksmiths, chiropractors, and so on.

So far, the general thinking is that Google refreshed its spam update to clean manipulative and deceptive websites and SEO practices from the top of its search rankings.

What Does Google Consider “Spam?”

You have to remember Google’s not perfect. Sometimes, they knock perfectly legitimate websites out of their search results.

And, there’s little you can do about it sometimes. So, to protect yourself, you can do 3 things:

  1. Rely on more than just organic search to get business (consider AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn, and offline marketing to extend your internet marketing)
  2. Try to rank for a number of different keywords so you gain some positions when you lose others
  3. Avoid anything that Google could remotely consider “spam”

What might Google consider “spam” in 2016?

The following things:

  1. Using too many keywords on any one page (keyword stuffing)
  2. Placing your exact keywords in links that point to your site (overoptimized anchor text)
  3. Very low-quality content that doesn’t make basic sense when read or contains lots of grammar errors and typos
  4. Lots of spammy comments on your blog (ones that only exist to gain a link and don’t add value to the conversation)
  5. Sites hacked and used for spammy purposes by dishonest persons
  6. Duplicate content (this can happen unintentionally on WordPress sites)

At the end of the day, Google wants good, clean sites that offer valuable information and services. They want the types of sites that searchers want.

So, focus on making your website as useful and interesting to your user as possible, and you’ll be just fine, regardless of the update that hits.

3 Overlooked Competitive Advantages in Digital Marketing

Competitive Advantage Road Sign

Digital marketing, or SEO as you could also call it, moves fast. You could exploit an opportunity that your competitors close in on in just 30, 60, 90 days, or even 6 months. None of those are a long time in the internet marketing world.

But, what if you could create a competitive advantage that other companies simply couldn’t reproduce anytime soon? For example, it would take years before they could find a way to execute something similar themselves.

They do exist online. And when you find them, they’re huge. Because then, your customers have a reason to do business with you, and not the other companies who do the same thing.

Take a look at some ways of making this happen:

  1. Creating the Perception that You’re an Authority

Becoming a perceived authority, or leading expert, takes a lot of time and effort. Think of Bob Vila, for example.

You can do the same online by getting published at reputable blogs. You might also have many video or podcast interviews.

It takes time to create the perception that you’re an authority. But once you have it made, it’s going to take your competitors the same amount of time, or longer, to catch up.

  1. Making Vastly Superior content Your Competitors Can’t Match

This one’s a little harder to pull off because people typically see content published on authoritative blogs as having more credibility than content posted on your own blog.

But, it’s simpler to do. Check out what your competitors have in place for content. Then, do them 10 times better. Go so far into depth that you become the encyclopedia on your subject.

Yeah, it’s a lot of work. But remember this: the quality of your content determines the quality of the customers that come to you. So, do a quick job of it, and you’ll get low-paying customers that complain or avoid paying entirely.

Work hard, and you’ll get the customers who buy based on value and look for long-term relationships.

  1. Be the First to Do Something New or Different with Content in Your Niche

Any time you use the words “first, new, different” in business, you’re on the right track. Now with content, it’s hard to pull off because there’s so much of it.

And you really have to study what everyone else does so you do what would be “new” or “different.” It could be creating detailed videos of how to perform maintenance on various types of air conditioners and posting them on your website.

Keep in mind at this point that you don’t need to have these videos look “perfect.” They simply need to be clear enough so your audience can see what to do. Your smartphone would suffice.

None of these tactics is fast or easy. But then again, nothing that works well in business ever is. Make sure you keep them in mind to win the internet marketing war.

3 Reasons Why Your PPC Ads Get Low Click-Through Rates

ThinkstockPhotos-519498620

Some experts say that the best measure of marketing’s performance (which is often hard to analyze) is how many people you get to take the next step. That shows commitment and willingness.

Compare that to vanity metrics that don’t have much meaning, which include things like followers, likes, and shares. Just because someone engages with your company, that doesn’t mean they have much of an interest beyond that.

However, if they take the next step you ask them to, that’s a much more powerful sign of interest. So, when you get a good click-through rate (CTR), that’s likely going to indicate decent sales on that keyword too.

Check out these reasons why you may not be getting the click-through rate you want:

  1. Ineffective Ad Titles

The first thing any searcher sees is your ad’s title. It’s big and blue – possibly right at the top of the search results. Every word you use counts. And the precise words you say can greatly affect clicks.

Even if you communicate the same idea, you can get dramatically different results with various words. Aim to use ones that your customers might use to describe the products and services you offer for best results.

  1. Bidding Too Low

It’s nice when you find a keyword you can bid low on, and yet still rank high for that key term. If you target lots of keywords, you’ll undoubtedly have a couple where you have to adjust your bid upwards.

Remember, Adwords is Google’s big moneymaker, so they’re going to do everything they can to make sure those bids stay high and keep Google profitable.

  1. Not Using Ad Extensions

“Ad extensions” let you make little improvements to your ads that actually can boost your CTR quite a bit. However, they only show when you rank in the top two positions for your target keywords.

A call extension, for example, lets you put your phone number directly in the text of your ad. “Sitelinks” let you promote additional links on your ad.

Small, but powerfully helpful for your CTR. And there’s many more extensions than just these.

This guide is a very simple overview to boosting your click-through rates. But, implementing each of these ideas can shoot your CTR through the roof.

Just In: Nearly 60% of All Searches Come from Mobile

ThinkstockPhotos-473703860

Okay, so the truth is this is an estimate. However, it’s likely more accurate than any other out there.

According to an article at Search Engine Land, Google’s said more than 50% of searches come from mobile devices.

Now, they’re reporting that Hitwise has done some extensive research of their own and believes that number sits around 58%. To get the data, Hitwise analyzed several hundred million searches across both smartphones and tablets.

So, whether the number’s at 58% or not doesn’t matter. What we do know is that most online searches happen on mobile devices.

By the way, they found this pretty cool data too, which shows the percentage of mobile searches by industry:

mobile graph

Is Your Website Optimized for Mobile Searchers?

Having a responsive design is not enough. It’s a good and necessary start because Google says you should have one. Don’t have a responsive design, and it will hurt your search rankings.

But, just being responsive won’t be enough over the long haul. For example, your site may look good for mobile devices, but you could still have buttons that are way too small for people to click with their fingers.

So, instead of buying or clicking to call, they click the wrong button and go to the wrong page and get lost. Or, they get frustrated because they can’t click the button and leave.

Sales lost right there.

Or, maybe you sell a service and rely a lot on them to read your content to sell themselves on you. If they have to constantly zoom in and out and scroll around to read, that takes more work.

The more work they have to do, the less likely they are to buy eventually.

Your website could also be too fancy and take way too long to load. Every second counts. Even though data download rates are increasing, you still have to keep your website compact (in terms of file and image sizes), to make sure it loads quickly enough.

You see, it’s all about user experience. They just want to click a couple buttons and get what they want now. And that’s it.

The smoother and more valuable you make their experience, the more sales you’re going to make. With online marketing, it really is that simple.