Archiv für den Monat: Mai 2018

A review of the payday loans algorithm in 2018

For several years, the search term ‘payday loans‘ has regularly attracted more than 200,000 searches per month on Google.co.uk. Whether providing loans or generating leads, the payday loans industry has notoriously been big business and at its peak, was estimated to be worth around £2 billion per year.

Because of this, the top positions on Google’s SERPs for ‘payday loans‘ have been a hugely lucrative and sought-after search term; and subsequently was dominated by SEO professionals using massive manipulation to hack their way to the top of the search results.

Until 2013, page one for payday loans barely listed a real payday loan company. Instead, the listings were made up of ‘hacked sites‘ including bicycle sales, women’s magazine and frankly, just random domain names that once clicked on redirected to a dubious data capture form.

Introducing the payday loans algorithm

With customer data at risk and a mountain of complaints from UK consumers (and similar results in the US), Google reacted and introduced an official “payday loans algorithm” in June 2013. For the search giant to acknowledge a particular search term – demanding its own algorithm and focusing on a micro-industry across the pond – it was certainly out of the ordinary and we are yet to see any other industry treated in the same regard.

The payday loan algorithm update was rolled out over a two-month period. The first payday loan update occurred in June 2013, followed by Payday 2.0 on 16 May 2014 and Payday 3.0 which was rolled out shortly thereafter in June 2014.

Whilst the first algorithm change was a general clean up, payday loans algorithm 2.0 focused on targeting spammy queries, abusing Google+ accounts, doorway and hacked websites. Payday loans 3.0 was geared towards tackling spamming links including links of low quality, reciprocal links, forums, blog networks and websites which require paid submissions in exchange for a link.

Soon after the rollout of Payday 3.0, the search results were essentially cleaned up and have since been a much clearer representation of how rankings for payday loans should be by showing legitimate companies.

Those websites that were targeted by changes in the algorithm were subsequently penalized from Google searches, which included dropping 10 pages or even off the face of Google altogether. There were a handful of sites that had previously dominated the SERPs and then ceased to maintain any online real estate including Tide U Over and Red Wallet.

Bringing payday to today

The payday loans business took another drastic change following the introduction of FCA regulation in January 2015. Whilst the industry remains lucrative, the number of companies‘ active has diminished significantly in the last three years – from 200 lenders to around 40 and originally hundreds of comparison sites to around a dozen. Margins have been hit by the introduction of a price cap, keeping the daily interest at a maximum of 0.8% and tougher regulation on the selling of data – leading to much higher operating costs and barriers to entry.

While there have not been any additional releases of the payday loans algorithm, Google is still keeping an eye on it and even implemented a ban on PPC ads for payday loans in 2016. The outcome was far stricter in the US than in the UK where lenders and comparison sites can still show paid ads but are required to show proof of their regulatory license to Google before going live.

How to successfully rank for payday loans in 2018

Fast forward to 2018 and there are 10 legitimate companies ranking in the top 10 for ‘payday loans‘ in the organic search on Google.co.uk.

Our SEO company has successfully ranked five of the websites that are currently positioned in the top 10 and based on the success we have seen, we have identified some of the main trends below, which seem to be very specific to a payday loans algorithm and differ to the techniques used for ranking for other keywords in loans and insurance.

Direct lenders win over comparison websites: All websites positioned in 1 to 10 are essential providers of payday loans, known as ‘direct lenders‘ and not comparison websites. While the main comparison sites in the UK dominate the search results for things like life insurance, car insurance and personal loans, none of these companies come near the top 3 pages for ‘payday loans‘ despite all having a landing page to target this keyword.

In positions 1 to 20, there is only one comparison website that features all the lenders and we are responsible for their SEO. However, their homepage resembles a more direct lender with a calculator and apply now button versus a comparison table format.

Brands win over exact match or partial match domains: There is no website listed in the top 10 that has the word ‘payday‘ in their domain, suggesting that Google prefers to see brands over exact match or partial match domains. Compare this to other industries where logbookloans.co.uk ranks first for ‘logbook loans‘ and two companies ranking on page one for ‘bridging loans‘ that include the main keyword in their domain name.

Keeping in line with the brand theme, sites that rank well will have quality traffic from several sources including direct, paid, social and email. To benefit their SEO, the users should have high engagement rates, high average time on site and low bounce rates. This can be hugely beneficial for search rankings but is not an isolating factor. Companies such as Sunny and Lending Stream advertise heavily on TV and will generate good direct traffic as a result, but their lower search rankings do not correlate with enhanced direct traffic.

Domain age less relevant: Whilst several industries such as car insurance use the age of the domain as an important ranking factor, this seems to be less relevant for payday loans. Notably, 3 of the top 5 that rank (Cashfloat, Drafty and StepStone Credit) are less than two years old. This could be attributed to accumulating less spam and a history of low-quality links compared to much older domains.

Links still win… domains with more links tend to outrank those with fewer links. Interestingly, around 7 of the top 10 seem to have similar domains linking to them, suggesting there are some links that Google clearly values in this industry. However, finding the balance here is key as some of these similar links have a very low DA and spammy link history. Understanding which will work well will be the difference between better search positions or a penalty.

Strong user experience: A strong UX making it clear where to apply for a payday loan is proving to be more effective than providing thousands of words explaining what payday loans are. Keeping in line with user intent, successful websites are making use of calculators, images and videos to drive the application and not provide thin content.

Room for alternatives: Two sites currently in the top 5 for payday loans are offering alternatives (StepStone Credit and Drafty.) This could highlight Google’s moral obligation to offer a variety of products and not just high-cost short-term loans, thus alluding to whether they are in fact manually organizing the SERPs themselves.

To conclude, the usual SEO techniques of brand building, link acquisition and good user experience still apply to rank well in a modern payday loans algorithm. However, there is no doubt that payday loans in 2018 still requires a very specific approach; which can be achieved by looking at the sites that rank successfully and getting a feel of what content they write and what links they get.

In an ideal scenario, we should see MoneyAdviceService ranking top of the tree since it has the most authority and has numerous links from every single payday loans company in the UK – but as they sit on page 3 and have for some time, this is proof that the beast of ranking for payday loans surely has a mind of its own.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Technical considerations before purchasing a commerce platform

Choosing a commerce platform is one of the most crucial and important decisions you’ll make in the early life of your business. There are a number of factors to consider before purchasing a commerce platform – in fact, the choices are endless. But what’s really important? Here are some of the key considerations.

The product catalogue

Your product catalogue is technically a reservoir for every item you sell. Its role is to promote the items you want to push and simultaneously help your customers find the items they are looking for with ease.

A poorly constructed product catalogue can be rigid and uncompromising, especially if the product attributes you want to store don’t naturally align with the definitions set in your commerce application.

Some commerce platforms charge based on the number of products on your platform. Depending on the requirements of the ecommerce marketplace, you can choose accordingly.

In the case of a multivendor ecommerce marketplace, the product list can easily grow to more than 10,000. It is therefore important to choose an ecommerce platform that doesn’t put a limitation on the number of products a marketplace can have.

The good news is that there are a number of product catalogue software that offer user-friendly tools and outstanding features to provide high-level functionality to entice your customers. Volusion, Big Commerce, Shopio and Shopify are a small selection of the platforms that offer a comprehensive solution, while keeping all aspects of your website up-to-date.

Identifying how you intend to organize your catalogue will have a dramatic impact on how your ecommerce website is developed – and on how well it converts visitors to customers.

Content

Products are extremely important with regard to how successful your online store can be. When you have a quality product with a customer demand, the content you include on your website and your interaction with customers will play a huge role in your success.

According to Rapt Media, 63% of customers said they’d think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting or relevant.

Product photos and descriptions ought to be well written and highly informative; consumers won’t buy something that they cannot clearly see or understand. This is Sales 101 and something that everyone should be aware of when it comes to content on your website.

Taking your content further can really help your business to grow. Consider including a blog page on your online store with posts relating to the niche or industry in which you are selling. This shows customers that you’re an expert on the topic and invested in what you are selling, thereby building trust.

Do you have video or visual presentations as content? Webinars as a sales tool is another alternative. An example of a niche ecommerce solution that specializes in sites for online course merchants is Kajabi. This provides users with email funnel templates and one-click upsells, allowing you to generate sales/leads with one button.

Furthermore, the inclusive nature can encourage loyalty from consumers – and repeat purchases.

Consider a platform that allows customers to leave comments, ask questions and review your products online. In addition, ensure they can share via social media as 71% of consumers who have had a good social media experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others –essentially creating free advertising for your store.

If you decide to use this, then ensure you respond to every question or comment. This will help build lasting relationships with your customers and help grow your brand exponentially.

Scalability

When choosing a platform for your business, it is crucial to check its scope for scalability. This ensures that the platform will grow alongside you.

Choose an ecommerce platform that not only works best for your platform today, but one that will support your business as it grows. As your platform experiences increasing traffic, it is imperative to ensure your platform can handle your peak traffic, maximum orders and page visits without speed reduction.

Will the site perform efficiently through traffic peaks and troughs? Slow internal applications are annoying, but unresponsive customer-facing applications will frustrate your customers, drive them to your competitors, and prove detrimental to your business.

An ecommerce platform is only measurable against the way it can handle its peak traffic. As your website popularity increases, it needs to scale with minimal effort so you can avoid incurring disproportionate infrastructure management costs.

Choose a platform that you can scale to your business size and that won’t charge outrageous fees for doing so. As a result, you won’t have to pay for features and storage that you’re not using when you first start out. You also want to keep up with higher demands as your business takes off.

Mobile ready

Mobile phone usage is now at an all-time high. Statista believes that in 2017, mobile accounted for 50.3% of all web traffic generated worldwide. With these numbers quickly increasing, retailers should endeavor to create an effective mobile strategy that will reach the masses and convert the clicks into dollars.

Having a user-friendly, fast and easy to navigate mobile site will instantly keep your customer interested, which will directly affect your retention rate. With this in mind, users are significantly affected by a slow site performance; only 2% of the top 100 ecommerce sites load in fewer than 4 seconds on smartphones.

Ensure that your platform is fully integrated and has an infrastructure that enables you to deploy a mobile-ready site, along with social sharing capabilities to maximize the reach of your business.

Having a platform with reliable payment gateways instantly makes your online store functional and profitable. The mode of payment acceptance should be in accordance with the operations of your business. Regardless of whether you require a payment gateway and merchant account – or a payment service provider to handle your payments – your platform should integrate with the payment method.

Whichever experience the commerce platform offers, it should be smooth, reliable and secure to boost customer trust and retention in your site. The ecommerce platform you select should be compatible with the payment gateway of your online store, or it may result in a technical glitch or unacceptability. PayPal, Stripe, and Amazon Payments are just some of the best payment gateway platforms that make payments for online transactions easy.

Online shoppers are not just looking at the product and price; they expect a seamless experience on the platform while making any purchase.

Reports and analytics

Ecommerce platforms house an abundance of information about your customers, their behaviors and preferences. However, businesses tend to find it hard to figure out how to leverage the business value this data holds.

The platform you choose should come with a variety of features to assist marketers, with the most important tool being powerful analytics and a report generation system. Marketers rely on analytical information driven by ecommerce – specific key performance indicators (KPIs) to stay informed regarding sales, strategy and methods to improve sales or traffic.

Payment gateways

Reporting and analytics deliver insights that act as a catalyst in your routine decision making. Popular commerce platforms like Magento will not only help you with marketing automation, but will also provide out-of-the-box integrations with Google Analytics (GA). GA commerce tracking is a powerful engine for ecommerce sites delivering information including transactions, time to purchase and typical sales cycle.

You should choose a commerce platform that allows you to track the activities of visitors, know where a visitor lost interest while checking out, and conduct tests using two different inputs to improve services.


Taking these points into consideration will help you make an informed decision when purchasing a commerce platform. After careful consideration, you’ll be well on your way to opening an online store and joining the wonderful world of ecommerce.

Pius Boachie is the founder of DigitiMatic, an inbound marketing agency.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

From Messenger Bots to the Growth of ‘Gram, Social Media Examiner’s Annual Report Reveals Trends to Watch

2018 Social Media Marketing Trends from Social Media Examiner Report

2018 Social Media Marketing Trends from Social Media Examiner ReportEngagement is down. Trust is dwindling. And the most popular social media marketing platform is now riddled with uncertainty.

For marketers, the social space has never felt more daunting or perplexing. Luckily, Social Media Examiner recently released its 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, the latest annual snapshot of where things currently stand in this critical frontier.

While the report doesn’t answer all our questions, it does offer some helpful clarity and context.

We’ve gone through Social Media Examiner’s in-depth report, which gathered input from more than 5,700 respondents, and distilled some of the most noteworthy nuggets for marketers to noodle on and insights on how you can improve your efforts.

Here’s what you need to know about the state of social media marketing in 2018.

#1 – Facebook is in flux.

Although it continues to be easily the most prioritized social network for marketers at large, Facebook has become a source of quandary.

This pie chart, displaying responses to the question, “My Facebook organic post reach has declined in the last year,” illustrates this quite well:

That’s a remarkably even split, but the bottom line is this: more than half of marketers either agree or strongly agree that their organic reach has dropped since 2017. This comes as no surprise, since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has all but admitted that the platform is shifting feed prioritization away from branded content in favor of user-generated posts.

Despite this, Facebook remains the most-utilized social channel for marketing with 94% penetration, nearly 30 percentage points above the next-highest, and 67% of respondents point to it as their most important platform.

Facebook’s gargantuan active user base is impossible to ignore. We just need to get creative in finding ways to connect with people there, as only 49% of respondents feel their marketing is effective on the platform.

[bctt tweet=“Facebook’s gargantuan active user base is impossible to ignore. We just need to get creative in finding ways to connect with people there. – @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing“ username=“toprank“]

What Should I Do?

Obviously, paid will play a major role; 67% of marketers plan on increasing their use of Facebook ads in the coming year. But, as TopRank Marketing’s Caitlin Burgess has written, influencer marketing also offers a path to capturing attention in the age of diminishing organic reach. And that’s an opportunity that fewer marketers are hip to, with 61% reporting that they are not working with influencers as part of their social media efforts.

#2 – The ‘Gram is in.

While Facebook continues to rule the roost, its prized subsidiary is most noticeably on the rise. Instagram is now the second most commonly used social media platform for marketers, jumping up from the No. 4 slot in 2017 with a 54% gain.

via GIPHY

Our own Josh Nite recently coined the term “hopping on the ‘gramwagon,” which I love, and there’s definitely a widespread movement in that direction. Two out of three marketers said they plan to boost their organic activities on Instagram in the next year, while 53% intend to increase their investment in ads on the platform.

This makes sense given that 80% of marketers cited visual images — core to Instagram’s interface — as their most commonly used type of social media content and 32% said it was the single most important type, beating out blogging (27%), videos (24%) and live video (9%).

Seeking to take advantage of its growing momentum, Instagram is in the process of rolling out several new features for businesses.

As you might guess, Instagram is a more popular focus for the B2C cohort (72%) than B2B (57%), where LinkedIn remains the most prevalent non-Facebook option.

What Should I Do?

Is it time for your business to jump on the ‘gramwagon? Not necessarily. Instagram has a sizable audience and some great features, but isn’t the right fit for every business type. Determining whether it’s a good fit will ultimately depend on who your ideal customer and audience is, as well as your business objectives and available team and budgetary resources.

These insights and examples around Instagram marketing might help inform your decision.

#3 – Video is the vision.

The marketing community at large is taking a keen interest in the world of video.

Fifty-eight percent of marketers said they plan to increase their YouTube organic activities in the next 12 months. And while only 24% of marketers currently peg video as the most important social media content type, 77% expressed an intention to grow their reliance on it going forward, topping the list.

When asked which forms of content they wanted to learn more about, respondents chose video (77%) and live video (68%) above all others.

What Should I Do?

The beauty of video is that it doesn’t follow a linear format. You can and should experiment to find the right format for your message and audience’s tastes, as well as to match what you’re trying to accomplish at different stages of the funnel.

If you’re among those eager to learn more about video, our team recently shared some tips for first-time video marketers. And if you’re already exploring this tactic, our Annie Leuman shared examples of brands connecting with audiences through long-form video.

#4 – What about bots?

Facebook Messenger first launched an API for bots back in 2016, but there still aren’t too many marketers wading into this pool. Only 15% of respondents said they’re currently using Facebook Messenger bots as part of their marketing mix. However, 51% said they plan to include this tactic in future marketing.

One does wonder, however, if such plans will be altered by Facebook’s maneuvers to restore faith amid privacy concerns. The company quietly paused the ability of developers to add new chatbots in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

What Should I Do?

This remains a relatively nascent tool for engagement, but it’s worth getting familiar. Why? Because it has the potential to be an “always-on” marketing team member. But like any new feature or technology, you need to be thoughtful and engaged as you develop and launch your plan, as well as monitor

To provide some recognizable context, this blog post does a nice job laying out the similarities and differences between email and messenger bots.

#5 – Measurement moving forward.

Here at TopRank Marketing, we’re big on concrete reporting and analytics, so we’re glad to see 44% of marketers now stating that they’re able to measure ROI from social media activities, up from 38% last year.

That’s still less than half, and only 10% strongly agreed, so there remains considerable room for improvement.

Incidentally, Seb Joseph wrote earlier this month at Digiday that advertisers questioning ROI might be Facebook’s biggest threat.

What Should I Do?

Most of the major social platforms have deep measurement functionality that you might not be utilizing. Make sure to explore back-end dashboards and pinpoint metrics that align with your objectives. Additionally, Sprout Social compiled a list of the best social media analytics tools of 2018.

[bctt tweet=“Most of the major social platforms have deep measurement functionality that you might not be utilizing. Explore back-end dashboards & pinpoint metrics that align with your objectives. – @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing“ username=“toprank“]

Solving Social Media Marketing in 2018

The constantly changing dynamics of social media marketing make it an especially challenging landscape to navigate, but the sheer number of users and level of activity make it one that none of us operating in the digital world can afford to ignore.

While the latest Social Media Marketing Industry report points to several areas of of uncertainty and shortcoming, it also shows that marketers are moving in the right direction when it comes to grasping ROI, embracing video, and diversifying their strategies. Hopefully the tips we’ve provided here can help you with these initiatives.

While its standing is still impressively strong, I’ll be curious to see if Facebook loses its dominant footing in the year ahead, and how other players might pivot to take advantage.

Want to read the full report? Head on over to Social Media Examiner. Looking for additional social media insights, trends, and tips? Peruse our lineup of recent social media marketing blog posts.

The post From Messenger Bots to the Growth of ‘Gram, Social Media Examiner’s Annual Report Reveals Trends to Watch appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

From Messenger Bots to the Growth of ‘Gram, Social Media Examiner’s Annual Report Reveals Trends to Watch

2018 Social Media Marketing Trends from Social Media Examiner Report

2018 Social Media Marketing Trends from Social Media Examiner ReportEngagement is down. Trust is dwindling. And the most popular social media marketing platform is now riddled with uncertainty.

For marketers, the social space has never felt more daunting or perplexing. Luckily, Social Media Examiner recently released its 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, the latest annual snapshot of where things currently stand in this critical frontier.

While the report doesn’t answer all our questions, it does offer some helpful clarity and context.

We’ve gone through Social Media Examiner’s in-depth report, which gathered input from more than 5,700 respondents, and distilled some of the most noteworthy nuggets for marketers to noodle on and insights on how you can improve your efforts.

Here’s what you need to know about the state of social media marketing in 2018.

#1 – Facebook is in flux.

Although it continues to be easily the most prioritized social network for marketers at large, Facebook has become a source of quandary.

This pie chart, displaying responses to the question, “My Facebook organic post reach has declined in the last year,” illustrates this quite well:

That’s a remarkably even split, but the bottom line is this: more than half of marketers either agree or strongly agree that their organic reach has dropped since 2017. This comes as no surprise, since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has all but admitted that the platform is shifting feed prioritization away from branded content in favor of user-generated posts.

Despite this, Facebook remains the most-utilized social channel for marketing with 94% penetration, nearly 30 percentage points above the next-highest, and 67% of respondents point to it as their most important platform.

Facebook’s gargantuan active user base is impossible to ignore. We just need to get creative in finding ways to connect with people there, as only 49% of respondents feel their marketing is effective on the platform.

[bctt tweet=“Facebook’s gargantuan active user base is impossible to ignore. We just need to get creative in finding ways to connect with people there. – @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing“ username=“toprank“]

What Should I Do?

Obviously, paid will play a major role; 67% of marketers plan on increasing their use of Facebook ads in the coming year. But, as TopRank Marketing’s Caitlin Burgess has written, influencer marketing also offers a path to capturing attention in the age of diminishing organic reach. And that’s an opportunity that fewer marketers are hip to, with 61% reporting that they are not working with influencers as part of their social media efforts.

#2 – The ‘Gram is in.

While Facebook continues to rule the roost, its prized subsidiary is most noticeably on the rise. Instagram is now the second most commonly used social media platform for marketers, jumping up from the No. 4 slot in 2017 with a 54% gain.

via GIPHY

Our own Josh Nite recently coined the term “hopping on the ‘gramwagon,” which I love, and there’s definitely a widespread movement in that direction. Two out of three marketers said they plan to boost their organic activities on Instagram in the next year, while 53% intend to increase their investment in ads on the platform.

This makes sense given that 80% of marketers cited visual images — core to Instagram’s interface — as their most commonly used type of social media content and 32% said it was the single most important type, beating out blogging (27%), videos (24%) and live video (9%).

Seeking to take advantage of its growing momentum, Instagram is in the process of rolling out several new features for businesses.

As you might guess, Instagram is a more popular focus for the B2C cohort (72%) than B2B (57%), where LinkedIn remains the most prevalent non-Facebook option.

What Should I Do?

Is it time for your business to jump on the ‘gramwagon? Not necessarily. Instagram has a sizable audience and some great features, but isn’t the right fit for every business type. Determining whether it’s a good fit will ultimately depend on who your ideal customer and audience is, as well as your business objectives and available team and budgetary resources.

These insights and examples around Instagram marketing might help inform your decision.

#3 – Video is the vision.

The marketing community at large is taking a keen interest in the world of video.

Fifty-eight percent of marketers said they plan to increase their YouTube organic activities in the next 12 months. And while only 24% of marketers currently peg video as the most important social media content type, 77% expressed an intention to grow their reliance on it going forward, topping the list.

When asked which forms of content they wanted to learn more about, respondents chose video (77%) and live video (68%) above all others.

What Should I Do?

The beauty of video is that it doesn’t follow a linear format. You can and should experiment to find the right format for your message and audience’s tastes, as well as to match what you’re trying to accomplish at different stages of the funnel.

If you’re among those eager to learn more about video, our team recently shared some tips for first-time video marketers. And if you’re already exploring this tactic, our Annie Leuman shared examples of brands connecting with audiences through long-form video.

#4 – What about bots?

Facebook Messenger first launched an API for bots back in 2016, but there still aren’t too many marketers wading into this pool. Only 15% of respondents said they’re currently using Facebook Messenger bots as part of their marketing mix. However, 51% said they plan to include this tactic in future marketing.

One does wonder, however, if such plans will be altered by Facebook’s maneuvers to restore faith amid privacy concerns. The company quietly paused the ability of developers to add new chatbots in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

What Should I Do?

This remains a relatively nascent tool for engagement, but it’s worth getting familiar. Why? Because it has the potential to be an “always-on” marketing team member. But like any new feature or technology, you need to be thoughtful and engaged as you develop and launch your plan, as well as monitor

To provide some recognizable context, this blog post does a nice job laying out the similarities and differences between email and messenger bots.

#5 – Measurement moving forward.

Here at TopRank Marketing, we’re big on concrete reporting and analytics, so we’re glad to see 44% of marketers now stating that they’re able to measure ROI from social media activities, up from 38% last year.

That’s still less than half, and only 10% strongly agreed, so there remains considerable room for improvement.

Incidentally, Seb Joseph wrote earlier this month at Digiday that advertisers questioning ROI might be Facebook’s biggest threat.

What Should I Do?

Most of the major social platforms have deep measurement functionality that you might not be utilizing. Make sure to explore back-end dashboards and pinpoint metrics that align with your objectives. Additionally, Sprout Social compiled a list of the best social media analytics tools of 2018.

[bctt tweet=“Most of the major social platforms have deep measurement functionality that you might not be utilizing. Explore back-end dashboards & pinpoint metrics that align with your objectives. – @NickNelsonMN #SocialMediaMarketing“ username=“toprank“]

Solving Social Media Marketing in 2018

The constantly changing dynamics of social media marketing make it an especially challenging landscape to navigate, but the sheer number of users and level of activity make it one that none of us operating in the digital world can afford to ignore.

While the latest Social Media Marketing Industry report points to several areas of of uncertainty and shortcoming, it also shows that marketers are moving in the right direction when it comes to grasping ROI, embracing video, and diversifying their strategies. Hopefully the tips we’ve provided here can help you with these initiatives.

While its standing is still impressively strong, I’ll be curious to see if Facebook loses its dominant footing in the year ahead, and how other players might pivot to take advantage.

Want to read the full report? Head on over to Social Media Examiner. Looking for additional social media insights, trends, and tips? Peruse our lineup of recent social media marketing blog posts.

The post From Messenger Bots to the Growth of ‘Gram, Social Media Examiner’s Annual Report Reveals Trends to Watch appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

No need for Google: 12 alternative search engines in 2018

Working at Search Engine Watch isn’t all about studying, understanding, and reporting on Google. With more than 9% of web users searching on other engines, it’s important that we occasionally take the time to check out what they are using and what those platforms are up to.

Read on for my hotlist of 12 alternatives to ‘The Big G‘. As you’ll see, there’s been some changes in the alternative search world since my colleague Christopher Ratcliff wrote his comprehensive listicle back in early 2014. Since then, some have dropped off the map and others have been usurped in usefulness by Google’s increasingly rich functionality, and are not featured here.

  1. Bing

Globally, Bing is still the second biggest search engine after Google and it also still powers the third biggest, Yahoo!.

With its clean white background, blue links, and green URLs, it sure looks familiar although it also features a few things that sets it apart. For example its ‘Rewards‘ scheme gives you points when you shop or search via the service that can then be used to go towards buying things like apps and movies.

Bing also has a ‘My Saves‘ function acting as a bookmark tool. It also boasts some prominent – and handy – filters for results by date, language, and region.

  1. Baidu

If you have an interest in digital in Asia, you need to know about Baidu.

Baidu is the search engine of choice for around 77% of China’s internet market. Though its dominance can be seen to fluctuate – thanks to fierce competition from other domestic rivals such as Shenma and Haosou.

Like Bing, you have to look closely at Baidu to see many differences between it and Google (other than it being in Mandarin). It is similar aesthetically, has a reliance on ads, and is also making moves to incorporate more rich features in the SERPs.

On the flipside though, the service is noted for its censorship of certain images and blocking of pro-democracy websites – to the extent that might seem quite extreme to searchers who are used to Google.

  1. Yandex

Yandex is to Russia as Baidu is to China. More than 53% of Russian search engine users favour Yandex. It also has a presence in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Belarus.

The search engine is available in English and Cyrillic and incorporates social logins. And if users choose to use Yandex Disk – its cloud storage service – it is easy to search your files right from the search bar.

  1. Ecosia

As more of our computing moves into the cloud, users are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of day to day digital activities.

Googling is – perhaps surprisingly for such a quick innocuous activity – a formidable Co2 producer.

Launched in 2009, Ecosia is a Co2-neutral alternative. With every search made, the social business uses the revenue generated to go towards its tree-planting scheme. On average, 45 searches are needed to make a single tree.

Much of the engine itself is powered by Bing.

  1. DuckDuckGo

We have covered DuckDuckGo extensively in the past and the engine is still going strong.

Its USP is simple: it doesn’t collect, store, or pass on any personal information about its users. It’s a logical choice if you want a search experience which is free from ad targeting and if potential data storage about your search activities makes you feel uneasy.

While the service doesn’t target users with ads or suggestions based on search history, it is not free from ads altogether. The ads it does deliver are syndicated via Bing.

  1. StartPage

Like DuckDuckGo, StartPage was founded with strict user Privacy as its USP. Again, it doesn’t track and store your data, and it doesn’t target ads based on your behaviors.

The engine is powered by Google and does use ads (delivered by Google) to generate revenue. Each search result is also delivered with a ‘Proxy‘ option which allows users to browse the following site anonymously.

  1. Twitter

I’ve included Twitter because I think its search functionality can be useful in certain situations.

For instance, during a breaking news event, tweets from people in the vicinity are likely to be the quickest up-to-the-second updates of what’s going on before initial news sites and Google’s algorithms catch up.

You can see this ‘First For News‘ authority being something the service is increasingly exploring. Any search on Twitter will lead to a filtered ‘News‘ tab initially, but users can easily click over to the ‘Latest‘ tab to see updates come in from anyone using that search term second by second.

  1. CC Search

CC Search is a great tool for finding copyright-free content.

Whether you want an image to use on a blog post, a piece of music to add to a video, or you just want a piece of media to remix – it is a really h engine.

The site works by drawing in search results from existing platforms – such as Flickr, or Soundcloud – which have been tagged as Creative Commons material.

  1. Internet Archive

Continuing in the spirit of accessible content, Internet Archive (often known by its URL, archive.org) is a vast collection of documented material – including music, books, video, educational texts, and more.

It is also home to the endlessly fascinating Wayback Machine, a tool which has been taking snapshots of the internet since the 90s.

  1. Wiki.com

You are probably all familiar with Wikipedia but there are thousands of other wikis which are an amazing resource on a range of topics – from politics to pop culture.

Wiki.com is a handy search engine which draws in content from wikis only if you want community-led encyclopedic know-how about something (aside from Wikipedia).

  1. Boardreader

Boardreader is a search engine which pulls in results from forums and message boards.

It’s a convenient tool if you’re searching for content written by everyday users about a topic, but you aren’t necessarily familiar enough with the niche to know the best forum or board to visit from the outset.

  1. Slideshare

Slideshare, now hosted by LinkedIn, is a great tool for searching documented slideshow presentations, as well as PDFs and eBooks.

If you’re tasked with needing to do a presentation yourself, or you need information about a topic that is likely to have seen a presentation made for it in the past, Slideshare is a valuable repository. You can save slides you might need to refer to later and download entire slideshows direct from the platform.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com