Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Complete Guide to Mobile SEO for Content Developers

As the world is turning to handheld devices for everything from shopping to social networking, mobile is becoming the loudest buzz in the digital marketing industry. The increased mobility of Internet access has made mobile SEO an indispensable part of search marketing strategy of businesses both big and small.
With Google’s dedication in providing its searchers with the best search results and user experience, and the rising mobility of users, you cannot afford to ignore the importance of optimizing your website and online content for mobile users. This post focuses on the Mobile SEO best practices and the common mistakes you should avoid.

       Make your Website Mobile Friendly

The desktop version of your website may not be comfortable for a user to browse on a handheld device, because the user has to perform additional actions like zooming and scrolling to view the content. Most mobile users would not want to take the pain of viewing your desktop site and simply ignore it.

There are three different ways to make your website mobile friendly. You have to choose the type that suits your website’s features and other requirements. Before choosing the way, you should decide what you want your mobile visitors to see on the mobile version of your site.

One way to make your site mobile friendly is to use a Responsive Web Design. In a responsive website the HTML code and URL is same for both the desktop and mobile versions, but the CSS coding changes according to the screen sizes of the devices used to view the site. It is easier to maintain and is Google friendly too, but your flexibility of customizing mobile user experience is very limited.

Another way is to use the Dynamically Serving Web Design. In this setup, a server presents different versions of the website with different HTML/ CSS coding for the same URL, depending on the device requesting access to the site. The device will determine which version to accept in order to view the website in the best possible manner. You can customize the user experience with no restrictions, but it is costly and difficult to create and maintain as it involves multiple coding.

The third option is to have a separate mobile site. Here, the mobile version has a separate code base with a URL slightly different from the desktop version. For example, if your website’s URL is www.webexample.co.in, the mobile version will have the URL- m.webexample.co.in.  You get greater customizability, but your website is prone to duplication and faulty redirect issues with search engines.

   The Best Approach to Mobile SEO

·         Optimizing Smartphone Load Time
Page load time on smartphones plays a very vital role in the ranking of the site on search engines. Google favours websites that load faster, because it seeks to provide the best user experience. Test your mobile site speed with tools like Pingdom, and implement the suggestions for improving the speed.

·         Indexing your App
If you have a mobile app, you can index it on major search engines and have it appear on SERPs. This will let your potential customers visit your app page directly from the results page. Although, the click-through rate may not benefit your website’s rankings immediately, with time, it will help in you in reinforcing the overall digital marketing strategy for your brand.

·         Using link rel= “canonical” and “alternate” tags in the Head section
If you are using a separate mobile site for handheld devices, it is important that you tell Google about it. In the HEAD section of the HTML code, add a link tag for each page as follows:

On the desktop website page, enter the following line:
<link rel= “alternate” media= “handheld” href= http://m.webexample.co.in/>
On the mobile site page write the following line:
<link rel= “canonical” href= “http://www.webexample.co.in”/>
This will let Google know the relationship between the different versions of the website. This will help its search spiders to crawl your website better.

·         Using Mobile Sitemaps
The purpose of having a sitemap is to make it easier for the search crawlers to sift through the different categories of content on your website. If you have a separate mobile website, include in its sitemap only those URLs that are on the mobile site.

    The Common Mistakes

·         Wrong Redirects
When you design a separate mobile website, you are likely to make the mistake of faulty redirects. This happens when a link in the search result is not redirected to the right mobile URL. For example, if the product page of our example website-  

http://www.webexample.com/products is supposed to redirect to its mobile equivalent- http://m.webexample.com/products, but instead it just redirects to the mobile site’s home page- http://m.webexample.com. This will be regarded as a faulty redirect and Google will see it as a negative factor, because your links are not helping the visitors.

·         Interlinks between Desktop and Mobile sites
If you are using responsive web design or dynamically served website, you may not face this problem. If you are using a separate mobile website, it is very likely that there can be certain instances where you may include some internal links that take a user from the mobile site to desktop site or vice versa. This can cause problems for users as they are taken to an undesired platform.

·         Poor Presentation of Multimedia Content
With the rising speed of Internet access, you cannot ignore the fact that people can use their smartphones instead of a computer to view videos or images. Optimize your mobile site’s multimedia content for quick and easy access by users. It is recommended that you use HTML5 to include video and image content on your website and slowly move out of Flash, as it is not supported in all smartphones.

   Reach out to the User

·         Know your Audience
A mobile visitor’s intentions may be different from that of a desktop visitor. You should understand the objectives of a user who visits your website on a small screen and include features that are appropriate. Understanding your target audience will help you improve your mobile site’s user experience.

·         Social Media
Social media is the ladder is to popularity in this Internet Age. As the visitors share the content on your mobile site on social networks, more and more people find out about your brand. Make sure that you include easily visible sharing buttons on your mobile site.

·         Localize
Get your mobile site listed on Google Places, Yahoo and Bing. It can help local searchers find your shop and reach out to you for business. Have a country specific domain name for a greater advantage on local searches. By localizing your site, whenever a user searches for a service in the local area, your website gets preference on the results.

·         Content Quality
Never compromise on content, even if it is for the small screen, because it is the information that draws a visitor to your service. Having a quality content that convinces a visitor to click through is very vital for every mobile site. Shortening of content for mobile site can result in higher bounce rates and fewer conversions. This is a negative signal that Google may act upon while evaluating your website’s relevance of the search results.

As the mobility of Internet access is rising every day, Content Developers in Mumbai are constantly creating and condensing information for the mobile to stay ahead of the mobile marketing trends around the world. If your brand needs that shot in the arm to reach out to the audience, it is not too late to avail the services of an experienced content developer in Mumbai.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Seven Kickass Tips to Make your Video Go Viral on YouTube

If just a single “Why this Kolaveri Di” video on YouTube could give Actor Dhanush and his movie instant international fame, you can only imagine what a viral video can achieve for your business. A number of top businesses across the world have made YouTube their de-facto marketing medium in their digital marketing plans, keeping their fingers crossed on their chances of going viral. Although, it may look like viral videos happen just by luck, the fact is that all viral videos have similar traits and are made so deliberately using well-planned and clear steps. I would like to share with you the following tips on how to make your video go viral on YouTube:
·   Telling a Story

No matter what you are trying to sell, it is the story that makes it click, especially in branded video for a business. An interesting story that makes people smile or make them think, is what increases the chances of your business video going viral on YouTube. Viewers will not be keen to share a video that just harps on the merits of a brand’s products or services. Instead, they would prefer sharing amazing stories.

For instance, look at The Scarecrow video by the Restaurant Chain Chipotle. The video tells an emotional story of a scarecrow heartrendingly surveying the insensitive industrialized agriculture. It must be noted that the brand’s name appears only for one or two seconds at the end. To express the ‘go natural’ message even further, an attractive scarecrow-themed game app has also been launched for iPhone users. With a whopping 13 million YouTube views, Chipotle not only gathered a number of fans, but also mended the damage caused by their ill-famed Twitter fake hack mess.

·   Getting Celebrities on the Video

If you want your video to have any chance in going viral, you should make sure that it captures its viewers’ interest in the first five seconds itself. The best way to do so, often overused by popular brands, is to have celebrities play a part in the video. When you present celebrities, ensure that they are shown within the first five seconds of the video. Recently, one of the most viewed online branded viral videos was Nike’s Mirrors ad campaign.

In the video, they show the Brazilian Football sensation Neymar Jr. tackling his way through the opponents on a soccer field flanked by mirrors. It is Neymar Jr. that grabs the viewers’ attention throughout the video.

Capture Feelings
Nailing the viewer’s attention may not always be enough to keep them glued to the screen throughout the video. If your video fails to invoke some emotions in the viewer, you will soon have the audience switch to another video. Have something in the video that tickles their funny bone, something that makes them smile or cry. This keeps them hooked throughout. Have you seen the Unsung Hero ad by Thai Life Insurance? With more than 20 million views, this wonderful ad has driven many to tears.

Such videos based on human values relate with many people and thus spreads faster than other branded videos.

·   Using Surprises

Surprises keep the viewers interested, and boost the social currency of a video. This is why they are shared better than others are. Surprises play an important role in the shareability of a video, but that does not mean you should go overboard with shocking/ explicit content, because it scares the viewers away from sharing, as do not want to risk offending their friends on their social networks. Have you seen the Unbelievable Bus Shelter video by Pepsi Max UK? This is perhaps the best example of using little surprises to spread a smile. In the video, Pepsi uses an innovative video and projection technology on unwary commuters to astound them with innovative graphical illusions.

·   Take it to the Influencers

You have an incredible video that generates a blend of emotions in the viewers, but that alone may not ensure that it goes viral. To get it out before more viewers, you should take it to the right people whose social shares or comments can make a big difference. A famous example of this is the Double Rainbow video.
This amateur video just shows a boring double rainbow. Largely ignored like many other videos on YouTube and about to be shelved off with other dead videos, the moment American comedian Jimmy Kemmel mentioned it in one of his tweets, everything changed. Today, with more than 40 million hits, this video is one of the most viral videos since 2010 until this day.

Source: The Guardian

·         The First 24 hours after Launch

If you really want your video to go viral, it has to show YouTube that it can bring up some good traffic within the first 24 hours of its launch. YouTube constantly watches the number of views, comments and shares your video gets during this timeframe. If its algorithm finds your video’s performance sufficient, YouTube will put up your video on your country’s video chart. This enchances the viral capability of your video, and with some well-planned social media campaigns you can actually make it work.

·          Getting your YouTube video shared on Social Networks
The real measure of your video’s probability to go viral is not the number of views you get on YouTube, but it is the frequency at which your video is being shared and talked about on social networks. When your video is shared on social networks, more and more users will hear about it. When people start mentioning your video on social network conversations, many more people will be curious and watch it. Sharing is the ultimate step to make your video go viral on YouTube.

So, to summarize, by making sure that your video tells a compelling story that invokes some emotions, you can guarantee that the viewer is completely engaged. Put up a few entertaining surprises and you can increase its viral capabilities. Have some influential social media users talk about the video, and you will see the video spread like wildfire. Take some effort on the interactions like commenting and sharing in the first 24 hours to please the YouTube algorithm. Finally, concentrate your efforts more on the shares than the views your video gets as you steer your social media campaigns.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Native English Writers in the West hate the "Cheaper" Non-Native Content Writers in Asia?

According to reliable sources like PayScale and Bureau of Labour Statistics of the US, the average monthly salary of an American content writer is roughly around $3200, which is also nearly the average monthly salary in America.Upon calculation, the average daily wages of an American content writer would be $106. Any pay below this bar is considered demeaning to a writer, because a writer's efforts result in pure creation, original ideas which are actually worth thousands of dollars in the Internet business. Let us agree that an average content writer can write a maximum of 5 x 500 word article in an 8-hour shift. So, each article would be worth at least $21.

So, it is perfectly reasonable for American writers to protest the $4-$10 bids by writers from other parts of the globe, but I have one thing to tell the writers in America- The very reason behind the $4-$10 bids that you loathe, is the greedy corporates within your own nation, who have no shame in undervaluing the talents of a writer.

Why do the Asian countries bid so low in the first place? The cost of living in these countries are low? Not at all! The prices of gasoline and vegetables are many times costlier than in the US, and are rising every hour. The reason is, in countries like India and China, the lifestyle is very different from that of the Americans. With the teeming population in these countries the primary goal of a person is staying alive than earning a living. The basic needs of an Indian or a Chinese is only a fraction of what the Americans list as their basic needs. In America, people talk of laundry bills, which must be very surprising for an average Indian or Chinese, who still wash their clothes on rocks. It looks perfectly reasonable for writers in India and other Asian countries to bid such low amounts,but what they do not realize is that the prices of their basic needs would soon reach for their necks. Nowadays, $4 is demeaning even for an Indian writer. So, it is indeed time for Indian and other Asian writers to raise their bars.

This post was previously published on my first blog "Being Allwin". I got some really interesting comments on this post! So, I thought it would be nice if I shared it here for you to read.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Short and Sweet: The Best Conversion Tweak to Your Copy

I have come across many heated debates on the Internet, between online marketers who support long marketing copy and those who maintain that short copy converts better. I agree that each has its own merits, but from my experiments in the inbound marketing area, I find that the best ever conversion tweak for an online copy, is to keep it short and sweet.
Businesses rely on long sales pages, because it offers all the information that the customers would ever need in a single page, provided they are patient enough to read all that text. In reality, an online visitor, who is looking for a product or service, would spend at the most five to ten seconds on a website before clicking back to view other links on the search results, unless the visitor finds the content really gripping enough. Even if you manage to get hold of a few visitors with your long, yet fascinating sales page, the majority of potential customers would choose to ignore the tiresome textual details.
With the viral videos and smartphones taking over the center stage in Internet marketing, time is no longer a luxury for online marketers. To get your visitors to sign up for your offer, you should present it in a short and fascinating way, inspiring curiosity in them to seek more information. The trick is in putting all information out to the visitors in as little words and space as possible on your web copy’s real estate. I am going to explain how you can say a lot with a few words, consuming as little time of the visitors as possible, and in the process create a successful web copy for your business. 

Focus on the Click

The focus of your online copy should be to get the customer click through to your ordering page or a sign up form. It is tempting to put across all the features and benefits of your products or services on the copy, but never give into it, because too much details takes the curiosity away and the customer would no longer feel the need to click through for more information.
An ideal online copy presents an attractive teaser about your business, highlighting the unique features of your products and service, and tempting them to seek more information. The content of the copy should lead the readers to the button that takes them to another page in your website that offers further information. Getting them to click should be your primary goal when you design a web copy.

Write Messages that Suit your Audience

When you write a copy, keep in mind to whom you are writing. The secret of any successful advertisement lies in its approach to its target audience. The language you use has a great impact on how people view your brand. With the dwindling patience of online users these days, you should find ways to build rapport with the reader right away. Research your target market, and gather the demographic information before you begin writing your web copy. Also, visit online forums and social media websites where your potential customers frequent and observe their conversations and study their attitude. When you know their likes and dislikes, you will have enough ammo to create the content of your marketing copy.

Compress your Marketing Message into a Video

Video is an effective medium to get your message to the customers, especially when you a have a lot to say. So, instead of writing it all down on your copy, make a video explaining your services to the customers.
It is found that people readily spend more time in watching a video than reading an article. Videos impart more knowledge in limited time to a vast number of viewers, while at the same time giving your website a human face.
When you create your video, you should begin with the explanation of what you are offering. Introduce each feature of your product or service as a solution to a prevailing problem. Support your claims with factual and statistical data, and include short clips of testimonials from your customers to build trust.

Finally, lead your viewers to the call-to-action that prompts them to click through to order or sign-up for more information.

Use Bullet Points and Subheadings

Online visitors are more likely to skim through the content rather than read all the text, so convey your message through subheadings and bulleted points.
Bullet points help in improving the readability and reducing bounce rate considerably, because these are short and to the point unlike paragraphs that are often quite tiresome for the readers.
Subheadings can help in keeping the message fluid so that the reader can identify the different thoughts mentioned in the content and keep with the flow.

Use Active Voice

A copy should be written in active voice, so that it is more conversational and lends a human voice to the page.
Instead of saying, “Quick and Effective Social Media Solutions are offered at XYZ Company”, you can say, “We offer Quick and Effective Social Media Solutions” for a deeper impact on the reader.
You can also start an active voice sentence with the verb for a more persuasive messages like, “Learn how to use Social Media to triple your Online Traffic.”
Active voice keeps the message shorter and clearer for the reader to understand.
Check out the web copy by Crazy Egg shown below for inspiration. You can notice that the web copy begins right away with the core of the offer and uses active voice in its sentences.

Signal Scarcity

In your calls-to-action, also include a phrase or sentence that urges the visitor to act quickly. Scarcity is the best trick to get a customer make his or her purchase decision quickly.
Phrases like “Limited offer”, and “Hurry!” can make the customers feel that your product is in great demand, which in turn motivates them to make the ‘click’. This tactic can have a great effect in improving your conversion rates.

The Final Edit

Now, when you have your web copy ready, it is time for the final edits. Skim through your copy like an online visitor, and look for sentences where your eyes stop longer to understand. Remove long and complex sentences as much as possible, and use active verbs to convey the idea in a much shorter form.
A copy should take the visitors right to the offer, instead of taking them through formal introductory sentences. Look for such introductions, and replace them with sentences that take the customer straight to the heart of the copy.
Look for subheadings that can be avoided without affecting the integrity of the message. The lesser the sections, the shorter the web copy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why it is a Good Idea to Outsource Your Writing tasks to an Offshore Freelance Writer

Before you choose a freelance writer, you should know your budget and the value you expect the write-ups to generate. Keeping in mind the expected ROI, you have to calculate the maximum rate you can afford per write-up. Freelance writing rates vary from place to place.