Monthly Archives: February 2016

GOOGLE ROLLS-OUT A MUCH IMPROVED VERSION OF MYMAPS APP

google-mymaps

Seems like the search giant is currently in redemption mode and that’s the reason why it is continuously rebuilding and relaunching its existing array of services. The latest to join the list of revamped Google services is the MyMaps app. And if you haven’t heard about it in a long time, it’s a standby app version of Google Maps which enables users to conceive and share custom maps.

Nevertheless, it is a great concept which can act as your trip planner and double up as a social mapping tool to help you save your favorite locations for repeated use. But since it’s a standby app for Google Maps, it may not get the desired response.

So, all that’s new with the latest version of the app as compared to its previous version is listed below:

  • A new and improved User Interface
  • New and updated Welcome Guide
  • Fast/Superior Performance
  • Integrated Directions
  • New and updated Street View Imagery

If you’re a regular MyMaps app user then you’ll be able to acknowledge these improvements from its previous version. But the app with its above inclusions, functions the same way as its previous version did and can’t be compared to the much richer and utilitarian version of Google Maps.

Besides that, you can use it online as Personal Maps or the mobile version of MyMaps which comes under the Your Places tab on Google Maps. For the time being, it is the best way in which you can make use of the limited range of MyMaps app.

Having said that, there’s much more you can do with the MyMaps app’s new features which will come to the fore only if you explore its capabilities.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

WHAT SEO’S NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE HTTP/2 PROTOCOL

https

The Basic Premise of HTTP/2 protocol

Touted as a refreshing change from the existing HTTP protocol, HTTP/2 is largely based on Google’s SPDY protocol. Improvement is seen through more efficient communication between browsers and servers, which helps in reducing the load time of your website.

The HTTP/2 protocol brings about two biggest changes, as mentioned below:

  • doing away with a lot of redundancy in the headers and allowing multiplexing and
  • requesting multiple files at one go.

According to the HTTP Archive, the ability to multiplex is a boon to newer sites since more than half of these websites load over 75 files at the same time.

TLDR

Although there are no flip sides to it, switching from HTTP/1.1 to HTTP/2 is a bit easier said than done. Your browser may downgrade to HTTP/1.1 connection if it doesn’t support the HTTP/2 connection. In such a scenario, assume that your server supports HTTP/2 connection and update your server’s software.

To provide a secure web browsing experience, many browsers only support HTTP/2 protocol. If your website doesn’t provide a secure web-browsing experience then you’ll need to consider that transition to HTTP/2 protocol. But if you think it’s a costly affair then there many hosting domains, CDNs and other online entities who provide free TLS certificates, which brings down the cost factor. Besides that, Google considers HTTPS as a ranking factor and since the HTTP/2 provides a fast user-friendly experience, it’s inevitable for you to make that switch happen.

Moreover, HTTP/2 is a boon for slow mobile networks as it considerably reduces the load time of the websites. And what’s more, it’s even faster than Google AMP project, but that doesn’t mean you’ll use them in tandem.

What’s in store for SEO professionals?

Google’s John Mueller did mention through his recent blog post that Googlebot will support HTTP/2 connections. Google did roll out a lot of algorithm updates in January, 2016 but it’s hard to say if that was related to the above transition or not. In fact, Googlebot was never in support of the SPDY protocol. And the fact that Google announced it’s support for HTTP/2 protocol is more in line with enhancing the quality of users’ web browsing experience. If not to improve your search rankings, consider the option of enhancing your target audience’s mobile browsing experience.

Are there any SEO firms Supporting HTTP/2?

There are many SEO companies who have been speaking and spreading the message through their blog posts but unfortunately, only a handful of them have implemented the SPDY and HTTP/2 connections. If you want to check your website’s loading speed to see if it’s adding to your users’ mobile experience, then you can do so here.

What else do SEO professionals need to consider?

QUIC (another protocol by Google) is about to get standardized within a few months’ time, which is a good news since the new protocol runs on top of the UDP master race instead of TCP. The new protocol will improve multiplexing. A single packet dropped in QUIC may delay one stream whereas in HTTP/2 it may result in an overall delay of the stream. This reduction in the number of streams is what is known as head-of-line blocking phenomenon. In fact, QUIC reports a 0ms round trip times for repeat connections and is much faster than HTTP/2 in establishing new connections. Besides that, it comes with an added advantage for streaming video connection as well. In fact, Google has already upgraded some of its services as per QUIC standards, and that includes YouTube. So, if you’re watching a YouTube video through Google’s Chrome browser then you will experience 30% less video buffering than the others.

Another TCP replacement is Giga from Akamai, which improves the average browsing speed by 30%. But Giga’s services would be of better used in determining connection paths and cases when packets are being dropped, to quickly send them back.

Your Final Takeaway

If you’re willing to make that transition to HTTP/2 then the process is as simple as updating your server’s software. And if you don’t see any major improvement in your search ranking then you can take pride in the fact that at least you’re improving your user’s website browsing experience, which no doubt will have a positive impact on your conversion rates.

For more details, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com

HOW TO GET USERS & KEEP ‘EM COMING BACK TO YOUR MOBILE APP

apps

In this ever changing digital era, timely examination of your app marketing strategy is crucial to keep up with the pace.

The year 2015 will be remembered for many reasons, and one of them will be “Mobilegeddon”. In 2015, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches and studies shows that the number of mobile usage will only increase. Also, a recent study showed that by 2020, there will be approximately 6.1 billion smartphones. Now that’s a huge number! For an app owner or marketer, this really is a welcoming estimation.

However, with the growing number of mobiles, one thing you should keep in mind is that people love changes. If you are not changing your approach, you are taking a huge risk of being left behind.

We have witnessed that too many app publishers are caught up in the old ways while targeting their mobile customers, instead of using in-app behaviours to figure out who their audience really are.

We don’t want you to make the same mistake and thus, we are sharing a few tips & examples that will help you up your app marketing game.

Showing the value of push notifications to users

Nowadays, people have a lot of apps installed in their mobiles, and as majority of these apps use aggressive push notification strategies, people have stopped opting for these notifications. At present, most people do not enable push notifications. The number of people who have enabled push notifications is as low as 43%! So if you really want to have a successful push notifications strategy, you should start providing value to the users.

Recently a company named  “Last Minute Travel” managed to boost their opt-in rate from 22% to a whopping 62%. What they did was brilliant.  Instead of forcing people to opt for push notifications, they indirectly explained to them why push notifications are extremely useful.

They asked users for permission to send updates on “potential flight delays after they booked a trip”. And as you can probably guess, most of their users enabled push notifications. This smart strategy helped them increase their opt-in by 182%.

Re-engaging your mobile app audience

Offering discounts is surely a full-proof way to re-engage audience, but there are other ways as well, which can rejuvenate user engagement.

For instance: A brain-game & brain training app, “Lumosity” saves its discount offerings only for die-hard fans of their app. For users who do not visit frequent, they offer reminders!

Firstly, they ask the users if they’d like to receive training reminders. They then enable users to choose the data that they want to receive over email or push notifications. After that, they carefully choose the perfect time of the day to remind their users to come back to the app & complete their daily training session.

This strategy is working very well, for so many reasons. First and foremost, they are offering free training & anyone who is into mind games would like to sharpen his/her skills for free. Secondly, by enabling users to choose the data they’d like to receive, they are ensuring that only relevant data is been sent to them. And last but not the least, they carefully choose the right time of the day for sending push notifications; i.e. at night when a person is about to go to sleep after dinner, or at daytime during the lunch break.

Cost-effective user acquisition

You might like to try out a full range of customer acquisition channels. There are many customer acquisition channels available, such as social mobile advertising, in-app advertisements, etc. Try out each and every channel to figure out which channel works the best for your business.

Also, don’t target just high-value users. Because if you pay for them appropriately, both high & low-value users can be profitable.

For detailed information on any particular aspect, you can reach out to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

GOOGLE TO ALLOW BUSINESSES TO EDIT THEIR KNOWLEDGE GRAPH INFORMATION

google-knowledge-graph

Much to the delight of brands and users, Google’s Knowledge Graph gets an update that enables them to control the content that is being displayed alongside their search entry.

Typically, Google’s data rich Knowledge Graph, displayed to the right of the search results helps in providing concise information about the brand that is being searched for across the web. And with this new update, Google is giving the authority to business reps to edit any inherent changes that they deem fit.

Although, the proposed changes will take some time to appear in the search results. Yet it’s a big step forward in the right direction which will benefit both users and businesses in their expression of interest. For both brands and companies, it’s nothing short of a big deal, as it will enable them to have a full control of their search information. Besides these changes, they can even update their NAP (Name, Address and Phone Numbers) citations and the change of a CEO as part of their official search information.

barry-knowledge-graph-1
Source: http://searchengineland.com/google-letting-official-representative-of-knowledge-graph-boxes-to-suggest-changes-in-search-results-242121

This is for the first time that Google is sharing authority with businesses via Knowledge Graph, so that the owners can improve upon themselves.

How to edit your Knowledge Graph information

To become an official representative, all you need to do is log-in to your Google account and then follow the steps mentioned below to make changes in your company’s NAP citations:

  • Ensure that the URL in the Knowledge Card is in sync with your company’s official website, YouTube presence or company’s official Google+ pages.
  • Ensure that your official website is attached to your Google search console account.
  • Ensure that you are signed into the Google account that is attached to the company’s website.
  • Ensure that you keep a tab on your web browsing history.

Once Google approves your official ownership credentials, all you need to do is click to “Suggest a change” to update your official business information in Google’s Knowledge Graph Center. You will then receive an email from Google on submitting your changes. Thereafter, Google will review the suggested changes by running checks for accuracy of your content.

barry-knowledge-graph-2
Source: http://searchengineland.com/google-letting-official-representative-of-knowledge-graph-boxes-to-suggest-changes-in-search-results-242121

For further details on the subject, you can click here to check Google’s official Help page.

Or email us at sales@ebrandz.com for assistance.

TWITTER’S LIVE TIMELINE GETS A NEW UPDATE THAT INCLUDES TOP PAST TWEETS

twitter

The Twitter Timeline won’t be the same anymore. Wanna know why? Read on….

If you’re one of those people who like to keep their past tweets record intact then it seems like Twitter has your back. Often rumored and hotly debated Twitter’s timeline featuring Top Past Tweets will finally see the light of the day. That means the live Twitter timeline will now be a thing of the past; especially after the recent announcement by Twitter.

Let’s see what the Twitter’s spokesperson had to say about the new Twitter timeline.

“We want to make it even easier and faster for people to discover and catch up on what’s happening right now.”

Having said that, the new Twitter timeline is available purely on an optional basis, as it asks users for their preference before making any changes. So, as a user if you opt-in for this change, some of your Top trending tweets from the past will appear on the top of your timeline, followed by the regular sequential Twitter livestream. This means that the live Twitter stream will continue to exist with the inclusion of some of your relevant top trending tweets. The company’s Twitter handle says:

“We’ve improved the timeline by analyzing how millions of people engage with billions of Tweets — and we’re using this information to determine the best content to surface. We use a person’s past Twitter activity to predict which Tweets they might like to see most.”

Of late, the company has been in redemption mode following its lacklustre performance at the Stock Market. Its newly inducted longer tweet limit is further adding to its growth concerns. So, will the introduction of the new timeline impact its fortune as well? Going by the tests results, the company says that it’s already attracting great audience response in terms of better engagement metrics. In a way this will also provide a solution to its long-standing growth concerns, which ultimately will help brands in maximizing their reach.

The change is about to happen but we still have to wait to hear a word from Twitter’s CEO about it. And like me, if you’re also buzzing with a lot of queries in your mind then just check these FAQs that talks about the methodology this new timeline is set to bring in to help both, Brands and Advertisers.

For more details, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

NOW A JAPANESE LINK NETWORK INFRINGES UPON GOOGLE’S WEBMASTER GUIDELINES

worst-link-building-practices

Google had recently issued a warning to businesses to keep away from negative link building tactics, along with a list of pros & cons. They even revamped their webmaster guidelines so that businesses world over didn’t infringe Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines. But, according to Google’s webmaster blog in Japan, it has penalized a Japan based link network for infringing upon its Webmaster Guidelines.

With the sole intention to rank higher in Google’s SERPs, the accused Japanese online entity was employing unfair trade practices to not only boost Page Rankings, but also the trust factor via purchasing and selling of links.

Let’s see what the translated version of Google’s Japanese Webmaster blog post says on this matter

As part of this effort, Google this time, in order to operate illegally search result link program has undergone a countermeasure against some of the site network of the Japanese had done the buying and selling of participating in the link. Among this is because it was also included sites that repeatedly Webmaster Guidelines violation, was subjected to severe measures than normal in some cases.

In addition, we tell even before, there seems to be the case that measures would be carried out, such as violation of the Webmaster Guidelines in place without the knowledge of the webmaster. Previously it introduced the example of SEO firms, but it seems there is also be generated by the outsourcing of such advertising not only SEO skilled in the art. In order to prevent this, the webmaster you we recommend that you check from time to time and see whether subcontractors are doing what measures.

With that said, it was over a year ago, in 2014, that Google officially penalized a link network based in Poland as they were found guilty of committing a similar offense. On both counts, Google used the same yardstick to punish the link networks. Although it has now been focusing more of its attention on eradicating mobile spams and sneaky redirects.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

YAHOO BOSS (BUILD YOUR OWN SEARCH SERVICE) MAY SOON CEASE TO EXIST

yahoo
What started-out as an ambitious attempt by Yahoo to spur innovation and disrupt the search market scenario is now on the verge of a closure. Launched back in July, 2008, Yahoo’s Build your own search platform – BOSS was conceived with an idea to provide a Google like search alternative to the users. But owing to the low popularity rate amongst the users the service will officially cease to exist by March end, this year.

The main motive behind conceiving Boss was to help developers as well as non-developers, in their pursuit of building a simple search platform through their search tools. In order to build their own search platform, users could leverage BOSS APIs and developers’ tools to go along with the easy to use web interfaces.

BOSS was initially powered by Yahoo searches, the reins of which then went to Microsoft. Microsoft went ahead and moved some of the features to its index and added a fee structure as per the number of searches. This will now cease to exist around end of March.

Let’s see what boss.yahoo.com or the BOSS API page reads about this abrupt ending of the ambitious project.

“At Yahoo, we’re always looking for ways to streamline and simplify products for our customers. With this focus in mind, we will discontinue the BOSS JSON Search API on March 31, 2016.

Access to the BOSS APIs will continue until March 31, 2016. Moving forward, customers leveraging the BOSS JSON Search API can instead use YPA, a Javascript Solution that provides algorithmic web results with search ads for publishers who manage their own search engine results pages (SERPs). Click here to apply or learn more about YPA, or if you are working with a Yahoo Partner Manager, they can help you explore your options.

If you have any questions regarding BOSS please visit our FAQs page here or you may click here to get in touch.”

After hearing this news, it seems like someone just said Yahoooooo..…! Well, let’s “Google” it, since your guess is as good as mine. I hope you get the message.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

SAY “OK GOOGLE” TO GOOGLE’S NEW MOBILE TRAVEL SEARCH EXPERIENCE

google-travel-search

Move on Google’s web based travel searches to make way for Google’s new mobile based travel search experience. Much to the delight of smartphone users, Google recently updated its mobile user interface for travel-related searches. All you need to do is conduct a Google search for your favorite destination on your smartphones. And once you opt for “More Destinations”, it becomes really hard to get back to the organic search results. Let’s see how this actually works.

Let’s say you want to travel to a Canadian destination. Just do a normal Google search for “France Destinations” or Where to go in France”.

google-search-france-destinations

Google will then display a few destinations including a big blue pointer indicating more available options. One click on that pointer and Google will expand its travel horizon to display an array of destination details. These details include flight timings, nearest hotels & restaurants along with tariffs, weather conditions and the best time to visit your favorite destination in Canada.

Besides that, you can also filter your travel related search by dates, interests or your budget, which has already been in place for some time now.

Try it now. For more information, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

A STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO BASIC CALL-TO-ACTION

call-to-action

In marketing parlance, a call-to-action (CTA) is an instruction to the intended or unintended click through audience to provoke an immediate action leading to tangible results. This actionable CTA can be an image or text or a combination of both. The main goal of a CTA is to convert online click through visitors into regular buyers of one’s product or services by making use of imperative verbs like “call now.”

You can use CTAs to get your visitors to subscribe for your free emailer services, e-books, webinars or attend an event, get a coupon, etc. A CTA tab can be placed anywhere on your website, an e-book, an emailer or at the end of your blog articles.

Normally, one CTA is enough to do the needful but sometimes you need to include multiple CTAs as part of your marketing campaign. Below is an example of multiple CTAs.

multiple-cta

And here’s how you can start using them: CTAs such as “call now”, “learn more here”, “click to know more”, “join now”, etc. can be inscribed on a neon tab on your website’s landing page. They enable you to convert the potential customers of your product or services.

In order to achieve desired results, you’ll need to include several elements in your CTA Tabs to attract your click through visitors.

How to create an Effective CTA

It’s easy to create a CTA tab which your click through users can easily ignore, especially if you are a novice. Here are some pointers that you can follow to start your SEO journey on a winning note.

Use it as a stand out performer: As they say, make that first impression an everlasting one! This applies for your CTAs as well. Visually appealing CTAs have more chances of making that indelible impression on your visitors. And that doesn’t mean that should go overboard with regards to your CTAs’ color combination. While it needs to be in sync with the design & color-combination of your website, it has to appear as a stand-out performer in the mix of things to be able to create that indelible impression on your click through visitors. For best results, you can use a CTA that is 225px wide and 45px high in dimensions.

Clear, loud and actionable CTA: Avoid using CTAs such as “Submit Now” as they may not give you the desired result, as far as conversion of your prospective clients is concerned. Instead you can make use of imperative verbs to get a loud and actionable CTA, such as “Call Now”.

Be clear about your offerings: People tend to ignore those CTAs that don’t tell the full story of what they will be getting in the bargain. So, be clear if you want them to download your e-book or subscribe to your email services or sign up for a free demo of your product or services. Be clear and precise about your offerings in exchange for their clicks.

Don’t ignore the sales funnel

An effective CTA would take the visitors to a dedicated landing page on your website, instead of just about any other web presence of yours.

For instance, a CTA that takes the visitors to your “Contact Us” page may not be that effective in driving the CTR as compared to taking them to a landing page that enables them to download your e-book.

Besides that, keep in mind the sales funnel for converting your prospective customers. You don’t really want to take your brand new visitors to the product demo page before educating them about your product and services. It may not go down well with them and that will surely have a negative impact on the sales margin of your company.

The Next Important Step: Create a CTA for yourself!

These were some of the basic CTA pointers that you need to keep in mind while designing one for yourself. But if you need any professional help, we can be of assistance. Check out our award winning website design services starting from $299. You can write us your requirements at sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll-Free) and our team will be in touch with you within 24 business hours.

DUCKDUCKGO’S PRIVACY PROTECTED SEARCHES ARE NUDGING PAST ACTIVE BING SEARCHERS

DuckDuckGo

A recent online research conducted by SimilarWeb reveals what type of online crowd the privacy-focused search engine, DuckDuckGo is currently attracting and why it’s becoming their preferred online search destination.

Research data shows that DuckDuckGo users, who frequented the top five listed sites are largely interested in the world of technology and tech news. On the contrary, Bing users mostly like to frequent sites that any average online user tends to visit.

The domains frequented at large by DuckDuckGo users are as below

  • Whitehatsec.com
  • Github.com
  • NYtimes.com
  • 4chan.org
  • YCombinator.com

Except for NYtimes.com, all the above domains cater to a specific niche. Compare these top listed sites to the ones frequented by Bing users

  • MSN.com
  • Amazon.com
  • Reddit.com
  • Google.com
  • Baidu.com

In terms of average time spent DuckDuckGo is the clear winner, with an average user spending around about 9.38 minutes on its search platform, which is longer than that of an average Bing user.

Despite the growing number of users, DuckDuckGo finds itself in scarce waters when it comes to attracting new users to its site. The research data shows that online users who know about DuckDuckGo are the ones using its search platform. Over 90% of the online crowd is direct visitors and 1.5% users come through organic searches.

Describing DuckDuckGo users as tech-friendly, Roy Hinkis of SimilarWeb said that the tech-friendly DuckDuckGo users are mostly concerned about their privacy and that’s the reason why they prefer the platform in the first place.

Users may be getting attracted to DuckDuckGo’s search platform largely due to privacy concerns, but to be competitive it needs to come out with a full-fledged digital marketing strategy, to not only survive in the marketplace but also to present a better alternative to Google searches.

Having said that, on a year-to-year basis DuckDuckGo is witnessing over 22% surge in its overall search traffic. Around 108.2 million online visits were made to the search engine by December end last year.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.