Google announced RankBrain in late 2015, seemingly ages ago according to today’s standard. Yet, many marketers and even SEO practitioners don’t recognize the existence of RankBrain, and so, fail to understand how it may affect our marketing and especially SEO efforts.
In this guide, we will discuss all the ins and outs of Google RankBrain: its definition, what it does, and how it might affect your strategy.
Let us begin.
What Actually is Google RankBrain
While we don’t know for sure when Google RankBrain was invented, Google confirmed its existence in October 2015.
RankBrain is an A.I. driven system that is now a (core) part of Google’s ranking algorithm today. The main highlight of RankBrain is that it is capable of ‘machine learning’, another term besides ‘artificial intelligence’ that has been the buzzword of recent years.
Machine learning, as the name suggests, is the machine’s ability to learn as it receives new data. Meaning, we don’t have to program and re-program it all the time. In RankBrain’s case, it teaches itself through machine learning to study all the relevant ranking factors or signals, including but not limited to the user’s online behaviors, location, demographics profile, dwell time, and in-depth analysis of the search query to understand the true intention of searchers.
How RankBrain Works
What RankBrain does is, in essence, analyzing how users interact with the search results. Let’s use an example to explain this.
Let’s say we are searching for “RankBrain and SEO” on Google. Now, the 4th result’s snippet seems to be relevant to your current issue, so you click on it. The content turns out to be an excellent one, and it answers all of your questions. In the end, you read the whole article, spending, let’s say, 10 minutes on the site. Here, RankBrain will recognize your activity, especially your dwell time. As a result, this site will get a boost on the ranking calculation.
On the other hand, let’s say with the same search you clicked on the first, highest result. Apparently, the content is terrible, and hence you only spent a few seconds before closing the window. RankBrain will also take note of this activity, and this site might be demoted if more users are doing the same thing.
So, RankBrain focuses on mainly two things:
- The dwell time, which is how long a certain user spends time on your site
- The Click-Through-Rate or CTR, which is the percentage rate of how many people clicked on a search result
How RankBrain and CTR Affects SEO
Even before the introduction of RankBrain, CTR already matters a lot to SEO. Why? Because the goal of SEO in the first place is for more people to click our site on the search result, in short, to get more CTR.
So, the fact that RankBrain analyzes CTR as a ranking signal now creates a dilemma: on one hand, SEO has been the primary way to achieve high CTR, but now it is also a ranking signal that will affect SERP.
Meaning, we should rely on other methods and tactics besides SEO in getting more organic CTR. We asked digital marketing consultant Mike on how Google algorithm does that:
- Your headline matters a lot. Check out this list by Optinmonster for various tools to help you create better headlines.
- Make sure your URL is both informative and comprehensive for your human readers.
- Understand your audiences better. The more relevant your contents are, and the more effective your headlines are according to their preference, the better your CTR will be
- Keep a lookout on how your competitors are doing. If you can compete on the same field, do it. If not, find other opportunities.
Think guide by Search Engine Journal might help you further.
How RankBrain and Dwell Time affects SEO
In September 2017, Google confirmed that dwell time is indeed a ranking signal today with the help of RankBrain. x So, what will it mean to SEO?
A dwell time is an amount of time a user spent on a site, calculated from when the user clicked on a link until they close the window, hit the back button, or enter another URL (or search).
So, now that we understand that dwell time is a ranking signal, how good should we aim? According to a study by Searchmetrics, the average dwell time for sites that rank in the top 10 is 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
A dwell time of over 3 minutes is actually very, very hard to achieve. Yet, we should at least aim for an average dwell time of 2 minutes. How? There is no shortcut for this, and you will need to publish contents that are relevant and engaging. Also, make sure your site loads quickly, is mobile responsive and is at least decent regarding User Experience (UX).
Although content creation is a pretty broad subject on its own, here are some key principles:
- You should especially put more attention to your title (headline) and the opening section of your contents. For word-based contents, check out this guide by Copy Hackers
- It is no secret that slow load speed is one of the biggest reasons for leaving a site. Check out this guide to help improve your load speed.
- Make sure your contents are focused, relevant, and comprehensive. Longer is not always better, but if you can keep a long article interesting throughout the whole article, it can increase your dwell time.
- Focus on making contents that are engaging for human readers before focusing on keyword
Although at first the fact that Google RankBrain now plays a major factor in determining ranking signals can be scary, we should see it in a bigger picture: RankBrain will actually make the search engine a better, healthier environment, and so we can get more with our SEO in the future.
As we have mentioned in this guide, there are, in essence, two things we should focus on with SEO strategy in accordance to RankBrain: optimizing our organic CTR and optimizing the dwell time of our visitors. The key? Regularly publish
high-quality and relevant content.
7 Advantages of Web Push Notifications for Marketing
A web push notification is a message with some text, logo, image and up to three buttons, that appears on top of a current web-page.
What follows are seven reasons why you should use web push notifications as a marketing channel.
Previously, marketers could send browser notifications only to their entire contact list. Because of this, many users received unnecessary and annoying information.
But now advanced providers allow sending personalized web notifications to different segments of the contact list.
With their help, eCommerce brands can send to website users
- relevant and personalized messages
- through all popular browsers
- on mobile and desktop devices.
2. High Delivery Rates
There are only a few reasons why a web push message may not reach users:
- a user has blocked notifications from the website,
- the device was turned off,
- the subscriber didn`t have access to the internet.
But these situations are not too common, that’s why the delivery rates of web push notifications range from 50% to 90%. Even if the browser was closed or the device turned off, users could receive a notification the next time they open their browser.
3. Ease of Use
Push notifications are a perfect way to quickly deliver messages and to encourage users to visit the website.
It only takes a few minutes to create a web push notification You just need to briefly formulate the main idea, add an attractive banner and a CTA button.
4. Content Personalization
Automatic substitution of personalized content in the notifications will help you capture the attention of your subscribers much more better than ordinary bulk messages.
For example, call the subscribers by their first names.
However, it is better to use more complex personalization. You can insert an image of the product that the user has abandoned in the cart or the number of the order which he or she has made.
Web push notifications provide a good opportunity for automating regular communications between a user and a brand. You can use them
- as a part of your onboarding campaigns,
- as abandoned cart reminders,
- as transactional notifications.
In fact, with advanced marketing automation services, you can set any event that triggers the automatic sending of a web push notification.
Most often, online businesses use email or SMS as marketing channels. Push notifications don’t replace but complement them.
Advanced automation systems allow you to use multiple channels in a single marketing workflow, for instance, an abandoned cart workflow. This significantly increases customer engagement and the chances that the user will take the target action.
6. Branded style
You can design your notifications in the style of your website. Use branded colors and add your logo to the notifications. For example, this is how you can add your logo and a product image in eSputnik.com.
The branded style of the message will attract the attention of your users, and they will be more likely to perform the action you want them to take.
7. Customizable lifespan
Push notifications have an “activity time” that you can set manually. Due to this, you will not annoy your users with outdated information, for example, after the promotion has ended.
Web notifications can be the perfect solution for fast and reliable customer communication. They are delivered as soon as a user opens the browser, even if he or she doesn’t visit your website.
Considering all this, segmented web push notifications can become a new powerful channel in your omnichannel marketing strategy.
What Every Entrepreneur Should Learn from these Famous Logos
Coming up with the best possible logo is very important. Many companies have struggled to find a logo that communicates the essence of their brand. If you are looking for inspiration, you need to look at some of the companies that did it right. Of course, you don’t want to outright copy of their design approach. However, you can get a sense of the approach that they took and why it worked so well.
Here are some famous logos and the lessons that you can learn from them. You shouldn’t have any trouble replicating one of these logos when you need one for your own brand. There are plenty of great logo design tools that can help you out, like this logo maker tool from Designhill for $20. This tool uses state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology to execute the most intricate design algorithms. It can create hundreds of logos in minutes, which makes it easy for you to choose the best ones for your business.
Target has a very simple logo. It is basically just a bull’s eye made from two red rings and a white one conjoining them. This is a simplified version of its original logo, which had three bands of each color.
This logo clearly communicates its message for two reasons:
- The logo is an obvious image that conveys the theme of the brand. The company’s name is Target and the logo is it target itself. It couldn’t be clearer.
- Target uses very few design elements in its logo. New entrepreneurs and graphic designers might think that this is a drawback. However, this is actually one of the reasons it is so effective. People don’t want to try to make sense of overly complicated designs. Simplicity is usually best.
Target’s logo has gone unchanged for nearly 15 years, because it works so well. Their own research shows that most customers recognize it at a casual glance.
“Target’s telltale logo was first revealed in 1962, streamlined in 1968 and has since evolved into one of the most recognized symbols in North America. No, seriously — a 2003 Target study found more than 96 percent of American shoppers know what that bold, red Bullseye represents.”
Apple Computer’s logo has evolved significantly over the past 43 years. It has evolved in a way that you wouldn’t expect. Instead of becoming more complex, it has actually evolved into simplicity. The 1976 version of the logo was a very complicated drawing of Isaac Newton. One year later, it was a vector-based design of an apple with six different colors. Today, the logo is still an apple with the same contours that the company has used for nearly half a century. However, the logo is completely black. It no longer uses a mixture of different hues and vectors.
Apple realize that its logo was a lot more memorable if people could recognize it at a glance. This worked a lot better using a simpler logo, which is why the Isaac Newton cartoon gave way to a basic picture of an everyday apple.
Google is one of the newer companies on the New York Stock Exchange. However, its logo is already one of the most famous in the world. The company has the most popular website on the planet, so a couple billion people see it every single day. Due to its high visibility, Google couldn’t afford to get its logo wrong.
Google is another company that has thrive by using a slick, simple design. Its logo is basically a text version of its name. It has multiple colors. There is one subtle difference that people wouldn’t pick up on at first glance. One of the letters is green. It is the only letter that does not have a primary color. This is meant to signify simple differences that make the company unique. Nonetheless, the overall design is very easy to understand, even if the metaphor is lost on most people.
Use the KISS Principle for Logo Design
Designing a good logo doesn’t need to be hard. You just need to find the simplest approach possible.
Lead to Conversion Digital Marketing Strategies That Matter in 2019
We are already nearing the second quarter of the year, so it’s appropriate to point out how fast time flies! For sure, if you’re aiming to scale your business, you will have to move fast in order to make the most of this year.
It all boils down to the strategies and approaches you are using to maximize your brand’s presence and attract new business. In terms of digital marketing, there are several approaches you should consider in order to drive quality leads and convert as many prospects as possible across all channels.
For your business to stay competitive, you will have to use the right strategies in order to drive the best possible results. Here are a few of them that matter this year.
1. Use an omnichannel approach
We all know what multichannel marketing is, but what about omnichannel? For sure, this is a new trend that has the potential to mold the digital marketing sphere into a more audience-centric discipline.
Companies using this approach are able to effectively chart client interactions across the buyer’s journey, using a more analytical approach to incorporate customer expectations across every audience touchpoint. For sure, using this strategy can effectively accomplish better results than simply creating and sharing content through as many platforms as possible.
2. Invest in integrated marketing
No doubt, managing a digital marketing campaign involves plenty of resources to pull it off. Other than that, you also need to manage all the different platforms, which is already time-consuming at best. With an integrated marketing approach, you can unify all your audience engagement efforts without spending too much time and money on repetitive activities. All it takes is sound research as well as help from an experienced company. Lead to Conversion, for one, can help you build a highly effective method of engaging leads wherever they are.
3. Enhance your site’s loading speed
Aside from creating effective content, businesses this year will have to optimize their sites and make them user-friendly to their prospects. Along with great web design, websites should also be functional and for that, it shouldn’t take them more than three seconds to load.
Sure enough, sluggish loading speeds are inimical to your specific digital marketing goals as people are unwilling to waste precious time waiting for information about your product or service. If you want to keep them from bouncing off of your website, you might want to reduce the number of HTTP requests that your site generates. You should also keep your site as lightweight as possible by compressing images and graphics, and using less code.
4. Invest in marketing automation
Automated marketing systems are nothing new but it’s clear that businesses are investing heavily in platforms that are valuable in terms of content creation and distribution. These have become more important than ever, considering the fact the businesses will need to stay vocal in order to remain relevant amid increasing competition.
There’s no better time to improve your digital marketing efforts than now! For sure, you still have months to go before your business closes out 2019 on a positive (and profitable) note!
Digital Marketing Tips Specifically for Small Businesses
When it comes to advertising and marketing themselves online, small businesses all have to deal with the same problem: how do they make their business seem large in the even bigger pond that is Google?
This is where digital marketing can be helpful. But there are some online marketing tips and tricks that, while wonderful for larger corporations, just don’t cut it when it comes to smaller sized companies. So here are some digital marketing hacks designed specifically for small business owners.
Don’t think big
The internet is a big place. And while this can sometimes be beneficial, it can actually hurt when it comes to small businesses. You don’t want to think too big and market to a larger audience than your geographical location, so stick to marketing to local customers.
An easy way to do this is to claim your business on the local search directory, Google My Business, which is free and operated by Google. You want your business to show up on Google results when people make relevant searches in your area.
In addition, do not forget to include geographical keywords, also known as geo-tagged keywords, on your website. You’ll want to be as specific as possible, so always include the city, state, even county you are located in. The more you have these phrases on your pages, the more people in your actual area will be drawn to your website, and the higher the likelihood that they’ll convert into business for you.
More and more internet users are browsing the web from the comfort of their mobile phones. In fact, 85 percent of customers have shopped online from their smartphone, so why wouldn’t you want to target this audience?
Having a mobile responsive website not only gives you access to these people, but it gives you the flexibility of reaching consumers when they’re away from their computer. So when they’re on the couch, out getting coffee, or even taking a walk, they could also be checking out your business.
Remarketing is the act of marketing to people who already know about you. This means the people who are following you on social media, who signed up for email advertising lists, and return customers. You should invest in this method simply because it is a good idea to stay on the forefront of your customers’ minds at all times.
Considering the sheer amount of digital information people consume every day, it’s a good idea to send out marketing materials to these people to ensure they remember what you offer, how you can help them, and what benefits there are by choosing your business. There are many digital marketing agencies who can help you with this, so look into Straight Marketing LLC reviews if that sounds like a possible option for you.
We all know that content is king when it comes to creating a digital marketing campaign. However, you’ll want to stick out from your competitors by creating visual graphics and video content to boost your strategy and stand out from your competitors. This means creating infographics, interactive blogs like quizzes, and informational how-to videos.
Customers have a very short attention span when they are using the internet, so create content that is visually appealing, attention-grabbing, and offers them a benefit for interacting and watching.
Choose one social media channel
For small businesses, there is such a thing as too much social media content. Instead of focusing on a holistic social media content strategy, focus on just one social media platform. You’ll want to choose one, such as Instagram or Facebook, and create awesome content and engagement to build up your followers and brand awareness. Only then, once that is starting to work for you, should you broaden your horizons and change directions.
With these tips in mind, any small business will be on their way to creating an online presence to rival their competitors.
Achieving your digital goals
The world of digital media and marketing has come a very long way in a very short time. Less than twenty years ago the internet was in a fledgling state, there were websites and ecommerce was even a thing, but penetration was low, connectivity speeds were low and overall the digital world was still very much second to more traditional approaches. But no longer.
With the rise of smart phones and advancements in the fibre optic space it is now digital that is front and centre and dominating the world of media and marketing. So, if you are looking to build a brand or market a product, digital needs to be a core part of your plan. But how do you do this? Here are a few tips to help set you on the right path.
Partner with experts
It is okay to not be an expert in everything. So many successful people get to where they are by recognizing what they don’t know and partnering with those who do. The key here is to understand enough to realise how important digital communication is and to then find a digital marketing company that fits with your mindset.
In your search, look for relevant information on their websites. for instance, view their customer reviews of service or like this one their WME case studies. Remember when working with suppliers it’s a partnership. For it to work you need know enough about them as they will need to know about you and your business, so together you can develop and implement strategies that will help to grow your brand.
Not a nice to have
A digital strategy is not something that is nice to have. It cannot be an after-thought. It needs to be front and centre and a key part of your integrated marketing plan. Your website is probably the first touch point that potential customers will have with your brand and the way you present and package yourself online needs to fit seamlessly with how you do so in print or broadcast. The old way of having multiple teams handling different platforms is a thing of the past, it is now about integrated solutions and digital is very much at the centre.
Stay up to date
Read and stay up to date with the latest developments in the space. Digital is evolving rapidly, and it is very easy to be left behind. Quite simply there is no room for complacency. An old adage suggests that if you want to stay first then you have to practice and work as if you were second. So read, attend conference, network and experiment. Think big, act fast and fail quickly. This is the way of the digital era, to move slowly and to not try hard enough is to wither and die.
Digital is awesome in the sense that everything is trackable and can be reported on. So, don’t just allocate budget and watch it disappear slowly but surely if it is not working. That’s how things were done in the past. Now, you can look at what responses your campaigns are getting, you can tweak and adjust in real time and you can modify and change accordingly. If a campaign is working well spend more; if results are bad call time. These are all decisions that can be made in an instant based on the data that digital channels have available for you.
4 Tips for Organizing an Impactful Conference or Event
Professional conferences and events are fairly common occurrences, no matter your exact industry. But this doesn’t mean they have to be “dime a dozen” – so common and frequent they offer little unique value to attendees.
If you go through the work of organizing a conference or event, you want it to make a real and lasting impact on all who attend. Here are four tips to keep in mind during the planning stages.
Plan Around Event Objectives
Start by asking yourself: What do we want attendees to take away from this experience? Only then can you set concrete goals and objectives to make your desired outcome a reality. Your theme, goals and objectives will guide other logistics like who you invite to speak, where you hold the conference and what types of sessions you plan.
The more specific your objectives, the better. It’s possible to break a broad idea like “environmentalism in business” into subcategories, like waste reduction, eco-friendly business practices, sustainability initiatives, creating an environmentally conscious company culture, etc. It’s possible to break down these subcategories, even – with more focused topics like corporate recycling initiatives, harnessing solar power, going paperless, educating employees, etc.
Charting out ideas from broad to specific will help you assess which topics are most in line with your event goals.
Curate Your Speaker Lineup Carefully
There are many professionals willing, or eager, to speak at any given conference. But you want to do more than find people to fill slots on a schedule; you’re aiming to curate a lineup of engaging, knowledgeable presenters with valuable information to impart on an audience.
There are a few ways to go about securing speakers for your event. You can approach people directly, explaining the nature of your event and why you feel they’d be an excellent fit. Or, you can put out an open call for proposals and sift through submissions.
Whichever strategy you choose, start early. As one conference creator notes for Smashing Magazine, quality speakers get booked up far in advance.
Build in Networking Opportunities for Attendees
Furnishing a lineup of great speakers is key. But the value your conference attendees derive also depends on who they meet – the lasting connections they make. The best way to help foster these important connections is by building in networking opportunities.
Want to get people talking? Start by using an audience response system like Poll Everywhere to incorporate networking activities during and between presentations. An interactive icebreaker can help create the camaraderie people need to start talking to their neighbors. A team trivia session is a great way to help attendees bond with others in the spirit of friendly competition.
Carve out chunks of time in which people can have a snack, grab a cup of coffee, explore the venue and strike up conversations with others. This “down time” is actually very productive.
Harness Social Media Before, During and Afterward
When people have questions nowadays, it’s almost reflexive to check social media for updates and helpful links. Make sure your conference has a comprehensive social media strategy in place for marketing, providing information and aggregating user-generated content.
As Small Biz Trends points out, events are increasingly “harnessing the viral power of their audience.” People will surely be posting, tweeting and blogging up a storm. Make sure you’ve publicized conference hashtags, and are using your platforms to engage with speakers and attendees alike.
Above all, an impactful conference or event is one from which attendees walk away having learned actionable information and met relevant people. Set objectives, curate a winning lineup of presenters, make it easy for people to network and create a central communications hub across social media platforms.
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