Digital Ad Spend in 2017

We’ve been predicting for some time now that, as advertisers continue to pile into digital, the money spent in digital ads will surpass other media. In 2017, we have reached a tipping point where digital ad spends, comprising both desktop/laptop and mobile devices, is beginning to overtake TV advertising.

According to recent research by Statista, an online statistics portal, digital ad spend in the US has already surpassed TV, and is only expected to keep growing. Here is a graphic that shows online ad spend in 2015 and projects where they expect it to go in the next five years.

What does this mean for your business? Well, if you aren’t allocating some of your advertising budget to digital already, it might be time to do so. Digital advertising targets your audience so much more efficiently than traditional marketing channels and provides unprecedented data metrics to give further insights into their behaviour, helping you understand who they are, how and when to connect with them.

Beyond Digital Ad Spend

Investing in digital ads is only one part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. There are several complementary online marketing methods including content marketing, social media marketing and SEO that will help you increase your reach, improve engagement and boost sales. An effective marketing plan will incorporate all of these in a coordinated effort.

How well does your marketing strategy function? Are you allocating wisely to digital or do you suspect that you are falling behind your competitors. Let us help you get up to speed, drop us a line and we’ll talk about it.

How to Write Effective SEO Pages – Meta Data

Meta data best practices have shifted greatly over the past few years. Your Meta tags used to be a primary factor used by search engines to rank your page and site.  They are less critical now that Google et al have gotten so much better at parsing the quality and intent of your content.

This doesn’t mean that you should dispense with Meta data. It’s still useful to both search engines and searchers, to help them understand what your page is about.  Another reason to use Meta tags properly is to avoid running afoul of Google’s quality algorithms. Duplicating Metadata on multiple pages is NOT a good idea.

Meta Data Standards for 2017

The tags that are most important for you to pay attention to are the Title and Description tags. This is because your Title will be shown to searchers and the Description MAY be shown as well. Use a relevant, keyword-based title and a succinct description containing the keyword and accurately describing the content on the page. This will provide the best indication to searchers of what they will find when they click to your page. An accurate description is more likely to be served in the snippet, rather than a chunk of text from the page itself, as long as Google finds it relevant and unique to that page.

Both the Title and Description should be unique for each page, and written for people, not for search engines. Duplicating this Meta data across pages will not strengthen your SEO game, even if you are using your hottest keywords, and your site may be punished for the duplication.

Keyword Meta tags are not worth spending time on– Google has said clearly that they don’t use the keyword Meta tag and searchers don’t see it, so save your breath!

The robots Meta tag is an option, but if you don’t fully understand how to use it, your best bet is to not. Google’s default is to index the page, and follow links. If you don’t wish them to do so, you can use the robots tag to ‘noindex’, ‘nofollow’, or employ various other instructions to robots governing their behaviour.

Meta Data is so much less important for ranking your page and site than your content, so you shouldn’t spend much time fiddling with it. Focus your efforts on providing the best information/experience for visitors, and write your Title and Description tags to support the on page content.

Ask us about creating effective SEO content.

How to Write Effective SEO Pages – Links

Your SEO pages will undoubtedly require a few links to help with site navigation, provide a great customer experience, and possibly, to direct users to your sales funnel.  The links you include serve different purposes, depending on whether they are external or internal. Here’s some basic info on different types of hyperlinks and their uses:

External LinksLinks

These are links on your page that point to another domain, or links from another domain pointing to your page (also called backlinks).

When you link out to another site, you might be doing so to share relevant information that supports your page, but keep in mind that you are passing ‘link juice’ to them. This might sound like what the dude from Zelda drinks when he’s thirsty, but is actually like giving that other domain a thumbs up and recommendation. This is great for them, but can result in your audience leaving your site, so be careful how many of these you put on your page. Make sure that your link opens in a new page, to keep your foot in the door while they check out the info that you think they need. Almost everyone understands the back button these days, so your reader should be able to find their way back to your page, but why not make it easier by keeping it open?

External links from another domain to your SEO page are quite desirable, as long as they are coming from a domain of good reputation. These are harder to come by, but if your content is top notch and you gain a link from an authoritative (in your industry) site, it can be very beneficial to you.

Internal Links

These help readers navigate to other pages within your domain. They are integral to your customer experience. Internal links define the hierarchy and architecture of your site and distribute page authority and ranking power throughout your site.

Good internal linking will promote long sessions and, on an e-commerce site, offer a clear path to to the sale. Even if you aren’t directly selling online, well-executed internal linkage can help prospects along their journey, eventually leading them to become customers or achieve whatever your end goal is.

Your internal links provide a path for search engine spiders to crawl, and define which pages are most visible and important. Building a clear hierarchy is critical to ensure that your most important pages are ranked as such.

Beyond creating links to improve the search visibility of certain pages, it’s also important to think of your audience, providing access to further info that they are likely to need. Using links properly on your website is fundamental to both optimizing for search engines and to providing the most rational, informative structure for your readers.

If you need help with linking and other SEO strategies, give us a call.

How to Write Effective SEO Pages – The Keyword Phrase

Most people don’t appreciate all that goes into creating well-written SEO pages. When you read them, you shouldn’t even notice the SEO tactics, but there are several basic standards that must be met to have your page ranked highly.  No matter how engrossing and informative your writing is, if you ignore the SEO signals that search engines use for ranking, your content may simply never be seen by your audience as it languishes on page 32 of the search engine results.

One of the most important SEO factors is the keyword phrase. Your primary keyword or keyword phrase is the foundation of your SEO page and must be researched and selected carefully. Get it wrong and you’re fishing with the wrong bait.

Once you’ve settled on the right keywords, you need to use them properly, and that doesn’t mean repeating them everywhere on the page until your content looks like word salad.

The Basics of Keyword Phrase Use

Even though keyword stuffing has long since been proven detrimental to search strategy, you still need to utilize the keywords that searchers are using to find the information they need. Just don’t be jamming your hot keyword into every heading, paragraph and sentence on the page. That tactic will surely backfire on you.

DO use your keyword phrase in the:keyword phrase

  • Page title
  • URL
  • Meta description
  • First paragraph, and
  • In the call-to-action, at the bottom of the page

Don’t be afraid to use variations of the keyword throughout the page in a natural manner. Google can understand the focus of your content even when you substitute related keywords, or use them in a different order or form.

Your main goal should be to write something that is interesting and informative for those who are searching for your chosen keyword phrase.

If you have already developed SEO content based on your best keyword phrases, you might want to revisit and edit them for current best practices. Material that you wrote a few years ago might not be performing well any more, and if you can boost the ranking of a landing page written for a high value keyword phrase by reworking it, you could bring a lot more traffic to your site!

Give us a call if you’re not sure how to choose or use your keyword phrase effectively. We’re happy to help.

Brand Safety and Digital Ad Placement

Brand safety, as a marketing term, has been around for quite a while, but recently has been waved about as a yellow flag in the digital advertising race. It has to do with the appearance of digital ads next to objectionable content, and the supposition that consumers will associate your brand with the seal clubbing video they just watched and hold you to account for it.

Whether you are a small business owner just dipping a toe into the Google Display Network or YouTube advertising or a big brand with a network of multichannel ad campaigns, you would probably be horrified to find your ad next to an ISIS recruitment video.brand safety

When I began doing some reading on this, I found a bunch of experts gasping about how damaging these ad placements could be and demanding that Google, YouTube, Facebook et al tighten up their bolts. Many brands have pulled their ads rather than risk their brands’ safety.

It’s all very alarming! As a digital marketer, how can I keep my clients safe from spurious associations that could do damage to their business?

Then I read this article.

It’s always good to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective, and author Andy Ball does so in an insightful and amusing way. He points out that if the person who just watched or read some horrific stuff online also sees your ad, will they construe it as your support for the nasty material? If they do, will it bother them? After all, they might even be in favour of seal clubbing, or ISIS.

The worst consequence of your ad appearing with unsavoury content may be that you are unwittingly supporting, with your ad budget, those whom you would never consider supporting.

I do believe that Google and other advertising merchants need to address this issue, and pressure from brands and agencies, as well as loss of advertising revenue, will force them to do so.

In the meantime, if you’re concerned about it, maybe focus your digital strategy on your owned content, where you have more control.

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