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Take your daily dose of (only) relevant news, useful tips and tricks and valuable how to's on using the latest web technologies shaping the digital landscape. We're here to do all the necessary information sifting for you, so you don't have to, to provide you with content that will help you anticipate the emerging trends about to influence the web.

Behavioral Analytics: Reading Your Users' “Digital Body Language”
It's time you went beyond data focused on events frozen in time (“a user clicked on a certain link at a certain moment during his/her customer journey on your site”) and traditional metrics (e.g. page views)! Time you dug deeper than the surface level of “which visitors clicked on which links?”! It's time you turned all that massive load of raw data that you've collected so far into customer behavior patterns! Into actionable insights! Reading and fully understanding your customers' digital behaviors will help you “influence” their next buying journeys on your website/app. This is both the beauty and the power of behavioral analytics! A power too great not to use it for turning your first-time visitors into highly engaged customers! One enabling you to make the right offers to the right segment of your audience, at precisely the right time in their shopping journey on your website! Let's detail now, shall we?   First Things First: What Is Behavioral Analytics? A straightforward answer would be: “behavioral analytics is about focusing on the “why” and “how” a user ended up taking a certain action on your website (buying a product, leaving a web page right away, clicking a link etc.).”  A more “refined” answer would have to be: “behavioral analytics is analyzing your raw data in order to “extract” actionable information about your customers' digital behavior”.  And last, a much more “sophisticated” answer: “behavioral analytics is piecing out all the apparently unrelated data points and putting together your customer's buying story! A story including all those actions (or “chapters” if you want) that he/she took for achieving his final goal (making a booking, purchasing a product, subscribing to your newsletter etc.)" Take behavioral analytics as your set of user behavior analyzing tools that help you go from generic questions such as “What action did visitor “X” take on my website?”, to questions like:   "What precisely made him/her buy that specific item or click on that particular link (so you can then anticipate and even influence his/her future shopping decisions)?" Was it the offer itself, tailor-made to his personal preferences, or the fact that it included a “tempting” number of items?   "What other items did he/she scanned through, compared to those that he actually purchased in the end?"   "How does this user behavior data differ by traffic sources?"   Analyze user behavior data. Detect patterns. Take action! Use the actionable insights you get to make the right adjustments and, obviously, to improve your conversions!   There's So Much Valuable Data Out There Still Waiting to Be Harnessed “... that goes beyond the conventional page clicks, user purchases or traffic type of data” So, why not go beyond the “obvious”? How about standing out from the crowd of e-commerce business owners who still consider that traffic and page clicks are the only actionable information they could possibly get their hands on? Behavioral analytics is made of all non-conventional data just sitting there, waiting to be “capitalized”:   social media data internal text data   You'd better start valuing this type of data, as well, if you want to remain relevant in this customer-centric “jungle”, which is the digital arena. This means getting your “hands dirty”:   putting together holistic customer profiles segmenting customer bases organizing your observations into multiple groups of customers   And it's by analyzing all this “un-exploited” data left there, “in the dark”, that you'll get to understand your visitors' behaviors. What makes them connect with your brand or, on the contrary, reject it!   Identify The Issues First and Select the Data to Be Analyzed Accordingly Rushing in and greedily collecting all the user behavior data you could possibly get, in a desperate need to read your customers' digital body languages, won't take you too far! Take your time to clearly identify the specific issues that you need to solve on your e-commerce website/web app, first and foremost. To “detect” all those particular “sore points” in your e-commerce business so you can build your behavioral analytics-based strategy accordingly!  If not, all the metrics out there, all the collected data and tests that you'll run will slowly, but surely lead you to “analysis paralysis”. In other words: what type of conversion/traffic issues do you need to address with your data?   From Stats Pointing Out The Problems to Those Identifying The Causes And this is precisely the key difference between event-based analytics and behavioral analytics:    while the first type of stats point out to you the problems only  the second gives you a deeper understanding of the causes (why was it that customer “X” clicked on that link or purchased that item over another one?)   If you want to “decipher” your users' digital behavior towards your website/web app, you'll just need to pay attention to the right kind of analytics! Moreover, it requires that you:   segment your customer base and “tailor” targeted offers for them analyze your customers' purchase history  examine your customers' profiles as online shoppers on your e-commerce store   … so you should be able to predict their future behaviors as shoppers on your website and to use these results for your next marketing campaign.   "How Does Understanding Users' Digital Behavior Impact My Business Specifically?"   it “empowers” you to turn your customer behaviors from unpredictable to predictable   it enables you to actually shape your their customer journeys, their next decisions as customers on your website   … and this is what power, from any e-commerce business owner's standpoint, is all about!  Bottom line: behavioral analytics, when harnessed right, offers you precisely those actionable insights that will empower you to actively influence each one of your customer segments' decision journeys!  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Sep 19'2017
How To Identify The Low Quality Pages On Your Site  Before Google Does
Diagnosis before treatment, right? Rushing in to optimize your website, to give it a major boost in SERPs, without having first properly determined which are its “sore points” is like...  shooting a bow and arrow blindfolded! You need to identify the low quality pages on your site first things first! Before Google does... Let's find out precisely which signals determine Google to “label” a site as low or high quality website. Then, let us give you some suggestions on what key metrics to focus on and how to combine them for addressing those “detected” low-quality pages more efficiently.   Features of a “High-Quality Website” in Google's Eyes What's Google's definition of “quality”? You obviously need to clarify this aspect before you can, yourself, sort the pages on your site into “low quality” and “high quality” pages. Here are the most relevant “indicators” that make for a “valuable” web page in Google's eyes: unique content    plenty of other websites/external sources linking to it   high-quality pages (even from your own website) linking to it   uniquely valuable content: reaching for “uniqueness” is no longer enough; aiming for a certain uniqueness providing value to the searchers, that's the latest standard that Google sets these days   content that meets the searchers' needs, that fully answers the question they Google   non-written content is backed by text alternatives (ALT attributes for images, video transcriptions for video content etc.)   “easy-to-digest” content that's nicely structured, which enhances readability and comprehension   correctly spelled content with zero grammar mistakes: unless you want to witness Google removing your featured snippets from the search results   optimal page load time   fully responsive, accessibility-supporting UI and intuitive UX    Hardly Relevant Metrics For Determining a Page's Value “With so many seemingly actionable metrics at my fingertip, which ones should I be tracking in fact?” you say? Well, not the following ones (taken as “raw data” can be misleading) for a start: non-contextualized bounce rate: a high bounce rate is not implicitly an “alarming” signal; your content could still be meeting their needs and answering their questions; if it's simple questions that they need to find answers to, once your visitors get them, they''... leave your site!   organic traffic: if visitors keep accessing a certain page on your website, it doesn't automatically mean that its content is “high quality”! They could keep coming in for some totally different reasons, like the long-tail keywords that this page's content is “stuffed” with, for instance   time spent on site: since lengthy visits on your site could also mean that your users are “desperately” looking for the information they need and which is not easily accessible to them; or that they're striving to close the entire “avalanche” of pop-ups that you welcome them with on your website   assisted conversions: even though it doesn't live up to your expectations in terms of conversion rate, it still doesn't mean that this page's content is necessarily low quality; maybe you just need to change its target audience segment for example   Context is everything in these metrics' cases! So, don't take this data for granted when putting together your site optimization strategy. They might just reveal to you only half truths and mislead you to take the wrong actions!   Metrics That DO Help You Identify The Low Quality Pages on Your Site For (even) more efficiency, put together combos of these metrics here! They are the signals to watch out for when you try to identify the low quality pages on your site: Engagement metrics:  external and internal   total number of visits   closely analyze your visitors' behavior once they land on your web pages (per visit)   When they leave your currently examined web page, do they leave it for another web page on your site, do they keep browsing through or do they go back to the Google's search results page instead? That is the question! Answer it and you'll identify the low quality pages on your site! Off-site performance indicators:  external links   social shares: an “intensively” shared page of your website might not meet your visitors' needs, yet it could still provide high-quality content (since it's “shareable”)   linking root domains   Index-based metrics type site: http://enteryourdomainhere.com into Google's search box or bar and you'll get the list of all the indexed pages on your website   look for duplicate content: multiple URLs can show up when you type in the URL of your site or the one of a specific page on your website; and that signals a “uniqueness issue” you should handle asap   deep-analyze the pages that rank for their own title   evaluate the click-through rates showing up in Google Search Console    You Can Take It From Here... Now that you've broken that “aura” of mystery surrounding Google's own tactics for “grading” web pages it's time to... get your hands dirty! We suggest you to organize your page URLs in some sort of spreadsheet (a basic one would be just fine) and to sort them into three different categories: the high-quality pages   the pages that require fixing here and there: the ones that need addressing   the “weak links”: meaning the low-quality ones, of course; do make an experiment (so make sure you make copies first and foremost) and see if you can track any notable improvements once you remove this bulk of zero-value pages from your website   How about you? Have you got any other techniques up your sleeve in order to identify the low quality pages on your site before Google does?  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Sep 01'2017
5 Experimental Jobs Shaping The Future of Digital Marketing
Wasn't it just yesterday” that marketers would “stuff” loads and loads of keywords into their digital content? Long gone are those days when the roles of “keyword collector” and “links hunter” were so hype! Completely different jobs and roles lie ahead, in the future of digital marketing! Staying relevant, as a digital marketer, in the context of:   globalized futuristic technologies  people being “insatiable” for innovation    … means creating “experiences that people want to consume” (Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction) And even though we don't own some sort of crystal ball that would tell us for sure what the marketing space has in store down the road, this industry, too, has its leaders. And their guesses do weight a lot! Which experimental digital marketing jobs of the present will make it big in the future to come? Here are 5 of these next-generation roles in digital marketing, the ones that are most likely to turn from "eccentric" to... indispensable in the years to come:   1. Machine-Learning Engineer  How could our algorithmic present world not give rise to a specific job for the future of digital marketing? Delivering “just” digital content will be hardly enough in the years to come: content blackened-up by machine-learning algorithms and statistics will the be the only “relevant” one in the future! And here are the skills defining the profile of a machine-learning engineer:   proficiency in programming a working knowledge of ML techniques fluent in coding (a hands-on experience coding in Scala or Python) statistics (mathematics, physics) expertise   In short: a machine-learning engineer is a kind of 2-in-1, expert statisticians-passionate programmer!   2. Bot Developer  Virtual assistants are part of our day-to-day lives. They join us when we travel and we need to find the best place to eat or we simply get lost; they accompany us on our shopping sprees and the list of interactions can go on... So, it's pretty obvious that, since people slowly, but surely, grow “dependent” on bots (since they make our lives easier), bot developer roles will be in high-demand in the near future! Here's what you should check off your list of knowledge, talents and gained expertise:   preferably an undergraduate degree in computer science  familiarity with design, linguistics, engineering, ethic and natural language processing  strong understanding of interactive language arts  content writing talent  a solid background in game and interface design   Major tip: now if you want to be two (or three) steps ahead of this portrayed future of digital marketing, opting for a niched domain (and implicitly gaining a niched expertise, too) will “future-proof” your job!   3. Mixed-Reality Designer  Since mixed-reality's at the intersection of art and science, if you're passionate about graphic design and drawn to the emerging tech sector, you're on the right path already! Besides these two passions of yours (design and emerging technologies), here's what you should consider identifying or adding to your list of competences, talents and acquired knowledge:   a degree in computer animation or graphic design  a working knowledge (if not a hands-on experience) of user experience design, social psychology proven storytelling skills (telling stories through computer images is a talent/skill you can't afford to ever stop polishing) some level of experience working with Unity3D   4. VR Editor  “Constant seekers of the new”, “early adopters of innovative technologies”, “visionaries” and “advocates of the video's power to”:   persuade inform inspire   This is how VR editors could be briefly described!  Virtual reality is no longer a “too eccentric, too sci-fi like” type of technology. It stands all the chances to turn into a technological realty (think Google Cardboard for instance!). So, people “crazy” enough to shape facets of this virtual reality will be constantly needed in the future of digital marketing! If you're considering such a role, make sure you fit the following profile:   hands-on experiences with Unity3D and Adobe Creative Cloud extensive experience in applying the object-oriented development patterns passionate about video arts some sort of project management experience    And we feel like stressing out that: besides all the tech competencies that you should pile up on your resume, it's vital to genuinely perceive video as a powerful channel aimed to move, inspire, inform (and all the other above-mentioned “roles”)   5. IoT Marketing Strategist: An Indispensable Role in The Future of Digital Marketing With a number of 8.4 billion connected devices by the end of 2017, worldwide, some kind of robust strategies for handling these “chit-chatting” devices are needed. Therefore, the role of IoT marketing strategist will become a both common and indispensable one by 2020. And here's what an IoT marketing strategist's resume should highlight:   his/her telecommunication engineering background  laser-focused skills in radio frequency technology, automobiles, wearables, retail sensors, digital signage   Note: your “vision”, if we may call it so, as a potential IoT marketing strategist, should be one where human-machine interactions happen in the most natural way. And these are the 5 most promising jobs (now perceived as “experimental”) which leaders in the marketing industry bid on and forecast that will shape the future of digital marketing. What's your opinion on this topic? Will these 5 roles be in high-demand in a few years or rather get replaced, in short time, by the ones emerging from the next wave of innovation? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Aug 03'2017
5 Image Recognition Tools: Take Full Advantage of The Visual Web
Beware of visual content taking over the web or... even better: embrace the trend and stay on top of it! Maximize its potential to your brand's full advantage! Simply rely on some of the most powerful image recognition tools for “scanning the visual web”, for analyzing how your company's images and logos are being used. And by whom! Remaining deaf to all the possible “threats” lurking out there, in the visual web, and blind to all the opportunities that all those publicly shared images might carry is such a reckless thing to do! “Visually listen” to the user-generated content involving your brand! Deep analyze and collect priceless data from those scanned images and you'll manage to:   grasp a more accurate understanding of how your brand's being currently perceived, of how users interact with it gain an in-depth knowledge of your customers  turn the collected data into a valuable resource for hyper targeted demographic segments  supercharge your marketing strategy with a “visual listening” strategy, too   And now that we've pointed out to you the “whys”, let us reveal to you the “hows”, too! The best 5 image recognition tools that you could use for “visually listening” to both your customers and your competitors:   1. IBM Image Detection An AI vision software whose developers have taken image recognition to a whole new level! A whole new level of machine learning tasks automation! The whole image recognition technology powering the IMB Image Detection, supported by its Power AI toolset, enables it to “interpret” the images' contents: faces, approximate age, “rotten” food, gender, a clothing item's fashion style etc. And there's more! To its “out-of-the-box” image detection and visual content “understanding” power, add the flexibility that it offers you, the brand using it, to actually tailor its “detection tasks” to your own needs.  Take this scenario for instance: "You own a grocery store and you get to use this image recognition software that scans products during the checkout process and instantly signals to you the... spoiled veggies, let's say." Now only that it's “powerful” by default and that it empowers you to adapt its image analysis tasks to your brand's specific needs, but it's developed with easiness of use in mind, as well!  Your developers get to tailor the software's image detection tasks and to deploy the image recognition models right away!   2. GumGum The team of “visionaries” behind this in-image advertising platform has launched a new image detection software that will enable your marketing team to track down, by scanning through the visual web, the most suitable photos for their brand. It might still be the “new kid on the block” when it comes to image recognition tools, yet it sure is a highly promising one.  Now what this visual intelligence software actually does is help your brand “activate imagery”, as these folks like to describe their new “baby's” mission! It's developed to supercharge your advertising campaigns with the most relevant pictures on the web. Just sit back and let it do the job of an entire team for you! It will dig deep into the visual content on the web and pick precisely those images that compliment your brand! And when we say that you can relax, sit back and... sip a cup off coffee, we literally mean that: where do you add that this computer vision platform can collect, assimilate and analyze all the key social media data for you! Speaking of convenience in terms of turning images into powerful insights to fuel your marketing campaigns with, right?   3. LogoGrab Do you know how your logo's performing on the “immense” scene of the visual web? What visual content is “starring” it or how “popular” it is on social media, for instance? Who's using/sharing it and how everyday people and other brands are interacting with it? It's time you closely monitored your logo's “activity”! And LogoGrab is the only one from our list of image recognition tools here that's specialized in “tracking down” brand logos only! In detecting and analyzing all the images on the web containing a certain brand's logo. A “logo” detection technology! Harness its power to track down even just parts of your brand's logo and turn the collected data into powerful insights. You get to:   find out the circumstances when your logo's being misused gain a crystal-clear view of all the images featuring your products that get publicly shared on social media (overall) gain powerful insights deriving from spotting and digging through the entire content across the visual web that contains your logo (or just parts of it)   4. Google Lens, One of The Revolutionary Image Recognition Tools  “A picture is worth a thousand words” will become more than just a “saying”, for it will gain its literal meaning thanks to Google Lens! The giant search engine's launched an AI-driven visual search app, supercharged with powerful visual recognition capabilities, meant to revolutionize the way brands connect with their customers. A visual recognition technology that we here, at our Toronto web design agency, are looking forward to witness growing into a major digital trend. Predictions around it say that:   it will cut down the middle man, since each object/product surrounding your potential customers can easily get identified and presented to them by the app itself (providing them with plenty of relevant information and suggestions, as well)   it will make it even more important for brands to have a psychical presence that customers can easily connect to (take Amazon's retail space as a more than relevant example!)   it will gradually “force” brands to have a distinctive visual identity (thus making it easier for the Google's AI-driven technology to locate and identify your store/restaurant etc.)   Now let's talk facts, shall we? Let's talk easy-to-be-turned-into-reality scenarios where Google Lens' vision-based computing capabilities would simply open up the era of “the real-world search”:   a given user, standing in front of a restaurant, still hesitant whether he should enter or not, can easily take a photo of it and Google Lens will instantly provide him with the restaurant's name, ratings and other relevant info    a given user can take a photo of his router and Google Lens can automatically scan and memorize the “impossible” password written on it and connect that WiFi network in a bit   a Google Lens-powered “camera” could easily scan the products in a grocery store and instantly display their prices, eliminating the need of running them, one by one, over the scan bar   In short: Google Lens's developing team promises us a technology leveraging computer learning for interpreting any given image and, moreover, for delivering users real-time information and recommendations, too.    5. Clarifai Organize and use your visual content to its full potential by leveraging Clarifai's visual recognition APIs! How you get to do that? And how can you, later on, take full advantage of having perfectly structured your image collection?  Here's how:   it makes filtering out unsafe user-generated visual content so convenient    it speeds up and even allows you to customize your image searching and sorting techniques (for instance, you get to sort the results by your logo)   it automatically tags all your pictures by content and thus perfectly organizes your inventory    it offers you the so much more convenient (and here we go back again to the “a picture if worth a...” theory) query with an image option, making searching through your own gallery so much more effective    it instantly fills in your product images catalog with search-able tags (a win-win situation: you can forget all about manually “tagging” an entire image database and your customers get only visual content that's relevant for their queries)   In a few words: Clarifi makes a powerful visual intelligence AI which can easily rival powerful image recognition tools such as the IBM Image Detection or the so very-praised Google Lens! How about you? Have you triggered any of these image recognition technologies' capabilities to your brand's advantage? Or maybe you've tried other image recognition tool(s) instead? Do share! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jul 18'2017
Turn Raw Data Into Alluring Content for Your Company Blog
Tell your stories with... numbers! Craft data-focused content to keep your company blog's readers “hooked”! And no, it's no “utopia”: you can turn raw data into alluring content. It all depends on whether you manage to masterfully “exploit” it, on how you harness it! Speaking of it, here are 4 avenues to “spice” up your data and turn it into blog content that resonates with your readers and captivates:   1. Relate Your Data to Your Target Audience Serving your readers nothing but a big chunk of “raw” data will only get them an instant... “indigestion”! Not even 1% of them will go all the way to the end of your blog post. And why should they? Data is “machine talk”, not human talk! In other words: you'll need to dig deep though your “raw” data and select the “relatable” one only! The one that will your readers will instantly resonate with.  So, before you go on and dig deep into your heavy load of data, how about trying to set up a couple of criteria that you could select and group them by? These can be:   geographical economical social cultural criteria   More often than not, it's the geographical criterion that prevails. And, in this respect, it's precisely those “enviable” data-driven pieces of content that already earned lots of traffic that make the best examples! And how do you get to craft your own geographical data-based piece of content that will act like a magnet for your readers/potential customers? Here are 2 handy approaches for you to adopt: harness your Google Adwords data and craft a blog post that all your potential customers, living in different regions of your country, could easily relate to   use the Google Keyword Planner and target the city of your company's headquarters and, based on the generated data, run a comparison to other cities in your country It's a proven fact: once they'll see their city's, their state's or their country's names listed in your blog post, included in a comparison with other cities, states and countries, your readers will instinctively grow curious about your data-focused content! We're all emotionally connected to a certain location on this globe and whenever we read/hear its name, an inner bell rings! And it's the same thing with all the other aforementioned criteria that sets us apart and define us (the cultural, biological, economical ones and so on).   2. Show Off Your First Party Data You're sitting on a “gold mine”, no doubt about that!  That's right, you have huge first party data resources that you could show off to your readers in the form of enticing pieces of content! They're right there, at your fingertips! You just need to "strategically exploit" it, to turn raw data into alluring content. And no, there's no such thing as “I do not have an impressive user data or unique data-generating sources to go to. I haven't piled up any data that my readers could possibly be fascinated with”. Dig deeper! Any online business owner has at least an active Google Analytics account. See? There's a start! Now keep digging! When it comes to making that “raw” data fascinating, that's:   part knowing precisely what data to hand pick (the one that your readers would resonate with, remember?) part placing it in the right context   That's all! And speaking of sources of first party data, here are 3 unique data generators that our team here, at our web development agency in Toronto, recommends to you:   Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Search Console data: they all contain unique, valuable user data that only you and your team have access to. Tap into these great resources of data, run your selection, add a sparkle of creativity, too, and turn it into the perfect “fuel” for that future viral post on your company blog!    survey data: can't underestimate the power of user surveys! Leverage the collected results by turning them into interesting insights. For example, how about correlating personality-related answers with the type of products that your questioned customers usually shop on your e-commerce store? Wouldn't this personality traits-shopping preferences association make an attention-grabbing type of content for your readers?   sales data: here's another insufficiently exploited “data gold mine”! Turn into interesting content that data revealing to you during which season(s) of the year or at what hours of the day your sales are at their highest. Are there certain events (holiday?) that this “peak” coincides with! Extra tip: use Google Correlate, such a handy tool that will point out to you exactly which keywords are relevant precisely to that sales data that you will have collected!   Take it from there: turn raw data into alluring content!   3. Do Share Your Data Set An avenue that so many ignore! Don't be one of them! Be smarter than that majority of webmasters/online business owners and, once you've crafted that data-driven piece of content that's going to “write history” on the web, remember to add your data set, too. You never know when a big player in your market (and not just in your market, it could by an authority in any other related industry; take a news publication for instance) picks it up and uses it, turning it into a valuable links generator for you!   4. Add the Surprise Factor: A Sure Way to Turn Raw Data Into Alluring Content  Isn't this a hard nut to crack? How could you intrigue and, even so more, “fascinate” your readers with... numbers? With data? You get creative and spice those numbers a bit, that's how! Here's a tried “recipe” that you could follow for crafting intriguing content out of numbers:   you “frame it” in a rightly chosen context, one that will shade a new light on your data, making it stand out   you provide an unexpected perspective (an historical perspective, for instance)   you use comparison: nothing adds more meaning to “raw” data, nothing makes it more “intriguing” than getting it compared to other periods of time, to other locations where your products might have been used or other age groups of customers that might have bought one of your items etc.   Contextualize it and compare it! This is the (not so) secret “recipe” to follow whenever you want to turn raw data into alluring content! Wrapping up:   harness precisely that data that relates to your target readers/customers (so, don't start digging through your whole data resource without this selection criterion in mind!)   put your numbers in a context    come up with comparisons that will add intriguing perspectives to your provided data    Now go ahead and turn raw data into alluring content for your company blog, removing “writer's block” from your vocabulary for good! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jul 14'2017
How Google Treats the Legitimately Hidden Content on Your Site
It sure seems like it was... last century or in some sort of "prehistoric age of the web" when website owners or (even worse) SEO “gurus” would pile up their target keywords in the bottom of their web pages, going for white font against white backgrounds or for the all-black shady alternative. This was the “illegitimate” type of hidden content, now just a bad example from the “troubled” past of SEO. It's the “legitimate” hidden text, instead, that prevails in the digital landscape of the present! That type of content popping up before your site visitors' eyes only once they've made a certain action. More often than not we're talking about clicking on a “Read more” link inserted in your article content. And it's no trick, no intention to “fool” the visitor, to trick him/her into clicking on that link. Instead, he honestly wants to:   dig in for some more manufacture details about a certain product   gain access to extra informative content about a certain topic   or maybe to some product/service reviews etc.   But now the question that arises is: does Google weight this particular type of content, the legitimately hidden content, any less than the non-hidden one? We all know it doesn't mark it as spammy and who would be more entitled to ensure us of that if not Google itself, through one of its representatives: “It’s not deceptive, no one is trying to be manipulative, it’s easy to see that this text is intended for users. And so as long as you’re doing that, I wouldn’t be too stressed out.” (Matt Cutts) And yet: does “legitimate” or “non-spammy” implicitly mean “valued equally”? Let's shed some light on this “mystery” here and then allow us to offer you some possible solutions you could consider when you do need to use hidden text, loaded via CSS or JavaSript, on your website, but you still want to make sure Google won't “discredit it”. At least not as much as it will discredit it “by default” (for that's a “cruel” reality that you need to accept and to adapt your site's content and SEO strategy to):   But First: Why Do We Use JavaScript and CSS Hidden Content After All? If we all (let's admit it!) have at least some remnants of doubts “lurking” in the back of our minds that hidden text (although legitimate) might not be weighted as high as the visible by default text, why is it such a big “trend” to hide certain parts of our content on our Drupal sites? To keep using all kinds of cool JavaScript or/and CSS technology for technically hiding parts of our content and trigger it under certain, well-defined circumstances only (as already stated: when the user performs a certain action). Let's point out 3 of the most common reasons:   it makes a handy tracking method   it works as an analytics tool, helping you collect user engagement-relevant data   it can enhance user experience (an otherwise overly long piece of content can thus get shortened and it's the user who decides whether he clicks on the “read more” link and delves deeper into the text or not)   Visible Content By Default vs (Legitimately) Hidden Content from Google's Perspective Let's assume that:   on one particular page of your Drupal website you have a fully-visible piece of content (page A)   on another page you have its shortened version along with the “Read more” link (page B)    The link will, nevertheless, “unveil” the rest of the content on this last page from our example. So, you're trying to rank for the same keyword on both of them and you have no “guilty” conscience that you might be doing something SEO-forbidden on page B. It's just technically hidden text and the user knows it! Yet, Google will always treat these two types of content differently! And by “differently” we do mean “preferentially” when it comes to page A! Just think about it: it has its text fully visible, entirely displayed, along with that target keyword that you're ranking for. Instead, on page B, your keyword might appear a couple of times precisely on the hidden part of its content which, obviously, gets disadvantaged by Google. Whenever you decide to hide a piece of content on your website Google will atomically start treating it as “less important”. Just ponder on this for a while before you jump on the trend of using all kinds of cool Javascript or CSS stuff in the name of web design and user experience! Try and figure it out for yourself whether it's worth the compromise! A nice, minimalistic web page (with less heavy content) can also mean a poorly ranked one in Google. To sum up: if it's important content (one carrying crucial keywords or any other type of data that you'd want Google to parse and give your website the due credit for) don't hide it! Not even if it's JavaScript or CSS technology that you're using for loading it!  And, surprisingly enough, this “injustice” only happens in Google! Bing and Yahoo do treat legitimately hidden and non-hidden text equally!   But What if We Still Need to Use Hidden Content? Are There Any Safe Practices? Let's imagine a real-life scenario where your SEO team has no choice but to give in to the strong arguments that their colleagues from the web design and content writing teams give them: certain texts on your company website should get hidden from users' view using CSS or JavaScript modern “tricks”. What options do they have to strike this “compromise” without harming your online presence? Your company's whole SEO strategy? Here are 2 best practices to consider:   A brief, easy to close overlay always makes such an “innocent” little compromise (it won't harm your SEO plan and it still manages to carry out the “mission” that it will have gotten charged with: to hide a certain part of your text). Take it as engagement statistics 'collector”, too, as more than 90% of your visitors will rush in to click the “x” on your overlay before they rush in to scroll down.   Consider placing the most “valuable” elements of your content (keywords, key phrases, key information), the ones that weight heavily in determining your site's ranking, in the non-hidden section of your text. Don't “sabotage” yourself by sprinkling these crucial elements across the post-loading content.    In other words: if you do need to hide some of your text, don't hide the key ranking “boosters” and, also, consider going for an overlay element.  It's not a question of “Google refusing to display your hidden JavaScript of CSS text”. It will still show up in search engine results page! Just that it will be slightly disregarded and not equally ranked ! Now it's you who'll decide whether this compromise, although supported by the 2 aforementioned SEO best practices, is worth “sacrificing” your site's Google rank! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jun 26'2017
Why and How to Use Google Data Highlighter on Your Drupal Site
It's data that shapes today's digital landscape! This is no news for any player in the online arena! From big data to small data, from data-backed-up decisions to data-fueled digital strategies and data-driven web design, the online revolves around... DATA. And yet, not just around powerful “raw” data, but around perfectly structured, easy to parse through data. And in this respect, the Google Data Highlighter makes such an easy to use webmaster tool for setting up precisely these ideal data structures that Google can easily “crawl” through in order to better “assimilate” websites' particularities.    It's been designed with easiness of use, low budgets, and close to zero coding expertise in mind! So, it's meant to empower any webmaster/admin to get his/her Drupal site a big push up the search engine page results. It's meant to help site admins grow independent of the technical team, of time and budget constraints in their endeavor to put their Drupal sites into Google's spotlights! Now, let's find out:   Why you should be using Google data highlighter tool   Which are the key advantages of this SEO webmaster tool   How to use it for implementing structured data on your Drupal site   Which are the imminent drawbacks that you should be aware of in order to make an informed decision when you add this tool to your whole SEO “arsenal”:   1. Why Do You Need Well Structured Data on Your Web Pages After All? “Because Google doesn't have, not just yet, information of critical importance about your site and you should deliver it to the search engine." Or better said: you should enhance its access to this information! And this is some of the crucial data that you should make as easy to access and “interpret” as possible:   your target audience   the frequency of web page updates on your Drupal site    how accurate your website is    And it's by tagging the main fields on your site, so via so-called “microdata”, that you can easily deliver this key information about your site and in an easy to “digest” format, too.  We're talking here about articles, event names, software applications, products and so many other types of information that you can turn into microdata and “serve on a silver plate” to Google itself! So that Google gets to know your site and gains an in-depth understating of its content, goals, and target audience. Of all its other key particularities. And the better it gets to know your website, the higher are its chances to increase its rankings in SERPs.  In other words: don't wait for your website to “be discovered”, but strive to enhance and to speed up its discovery! This is precisely what this tool here, supporting a whole variety of structured data, does!   2. The Key Benefits That You'll Reap From Using Google Data Highlighter  Now let's point out and pin up all the key advantages for leveraging this tool; advantages that we've just more or less vaguely mentioned already: It's easy to use! Basically it enables you to tag fields on your Drupal site via simple mouse point and clicks. Just select your products, articles, events or/and any other types of data on your website that you'd like to mark up and then select from the drop-down menu their corresponding types ( article, title, event, etc.). Unbelievably user friendly!   It's free! A benefit you just can't afford to ignore when you have a limited budget. It's a money-saving tool whose whole potential you get to “exploit” as we speak (so, a time-saving tool, as well). Money and time: you're practically saving your most valuable resources!   No coding experience required! And this makes Google data highlighter such a handy tool for everyone, the non-technical site owners/administrators here included! Not to mention (although we already have) that it's ideally user friendly, too: mouse select, right-click and tag your data in the blink of an eye!   3. How Do You Use Google Data Highlighter? How Do You Highlight a Web Page? Now that we've tackled the “whys” and the “which”, let's tackle the “how”, as well! Let us try a step-by-step guide on how to use this tool for marking up structured data on your Drupal site: 1. First things first: you log into your webmaster account (the one where your site is added as a property, of course) 2. Next click on the property whose pages you want to “Google highlight” 3. Access Search Appearance –> Data Highlighter (from the drop-down menu) 4. Next click on “Start Highlighting”; it will open up a dialogue including queries regarding the type of information displayed on that specific web page, an option for auto-selecting other similar pages, too (so that you don't have to go through this process over and over again for pages with similar formats), queries about the web page value, too 5. Then enter all the relevant info 6. Once you've entered the URL of your target web page and selected its type, as well, feel free to click on “Tag this page and other like this”; this way you'll be tagging pages with similar layouts and streamlining this process at the website's level 7. Once you've clicked on the “OK” button, a horizontal bar, divided into 4 tabs/sections, will pop up. These are (as you shall see):   Tag First Page    Create Page Set   Tag More Examples   Review and Publish 8. The “Tag First Page” is the preliminary (and the key one) stage where you actually select pieces of content on your target web page and with a simple right-click on your mouse (which will unfold a drop-down menu) you get to select the category corresponding to each piece of content (Article, Image, Category, Author, Data Published). Keep doing this till you've tagged each micro-data on your web page! 9. Once you click the “Done” button you'll get to the next stage listed in your horizontal top bar: “Create Page Set”. It's now that you get to select those pages having similar layouts for streamlining the whole tagging process. As you will see, you're also provided with an option that automatically selects all the similar pages for you.  Feel free to use it or to ignore it and choose to create your own custom page set instead. 10. Once you've clicked on the “Create Page Set”, you'll automatically get to the next step: “Tag More Examples”. It's on this page that you get to review your tagged web pages and make any needed fixes.  11. Click “Next” and check the web page tagging one by one, next click on “Review and Publish” the pages. And this is how you highlight and tag your Drupal site's web pages using the Google Data Highlighter tool!    4. “Are There Any Drawbacks That I Should Be Aware of?” Yes, there are a couple of disadvantages, as well! And it's only fair that you take them into account so that you can ponder both the pros and the cons of using this tool for structuring the data on your website's pages:   Probably the most discouraging of them all is that your entire data highlighter breaks down as soon as you apply a small change to your site's template or code. And then... well... you need to set it up, once again.    The data highlighter that you will have put together is relevant for Google only! No other search engine (Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, etc.) will be using your structured data markup.   It might be quick and easy for you to nicely structure your data, yet it will take Google a little more time to assimilate your data pattern and then to present your structured data in a more attractive way. So, on one hand, you save time putting together your data highlighter, but on the other hand you “lose” some of that time as you wait for Google to... notice it and “fructify” it. You will have already marked up structured data on multiple web pages on your site by the time Google has fully understood them!   Patience is a virtue, so they say! As a closing piece of advice: a team of developers is always the best solution when it comes to optimizing your Drupal site. Yet, for those instances when you need to rely on a limited budget and on even lower resources of time, there's Google Data Highlighter! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jun 19'2017
Modular Content Components: How Do They Work? Why Use Them?
Let's start by imagining the “bad” scenario! The one where you don't implement modular content components in the creation/editing process on your website! It will only lead to a poor editorial experience, where editors/content authors:   depend on your technical team for every little tweak that they need to apply to content on your Drupal site; which will obviously slow down the processes of updating content and sending it to your various distribution partners       are forced to learn HTML and thus to focus less on creating and polishing content and rather on acquiring some sort of technical “expertise”   Granting your editorial team (even more) flexibility will benefit:   you, as an organization, since they'll be empowered to run all the necessary updates, in due time, with great ease   your site builders and Drupal developers who will then win more time to focus on their own tasks (no one wants to get interrupted from his/her work each time there's content to be added or to be edited on the website).   So, it's a sort of win-win-win type of situation ( where you, as an organization, your content authors, and your team of developers gets to win)!  And now let's detail the concept of “flexible modular content components”, and point out why they shape the future of content creation:   1. How Should The Content Creation Process “of The Future” Be Like? First of all, it should definitely go beyond:   the "box body" concept   the content management framework that your Drupal development team can program to do anything by using just the proper custom site-building techniques   The future of content creation lies in a redefinition of content in CMS and in putting the spotlight on the creation experience itself! It's that improved creation experience that will easily lead to a unique, easy to personalize user experience. And there's more:   content of the future should be a “cluster” of modular content components of rich media   creating and editing content should be a simple, few-steps process with no technical “burden” involved   content of the future should be exchangeable across platforms and to support multiple forms of media   content of the future should easily adjust to the requirements of a multi-channel publishing context   Needless to add that a weakened creation experience, where the content writer/editor/publisher is fully dependent on the technical team, will only lead to slow site updates. And you definitely don't want to fall behind with your updates!   2. The Content Creation Process of the Present  Now, before we highlight for you the benefits that you can reap from adopting a structured modular content on your Drupal site, let's take a look at the “current” issues that modular content components come to solve:   the “one and only WYSIWYG” standard   content writers aren't granted as much “independence” as they should in order to create/edit content without any technical support from the development team   leaving content creators no option but to put together layouts within the WYSIWYG editor and to learn HTML   3. But What Is Modular Content After All? Making your content modular means switching from the practice where you edit a page, on your site, as a whole, to that where it gets automatically generated from other content items. For instance, an example of “content item” could be the “recipes” one on a farmers market website. The key benefit of adopting modular content is that you're granted consistency across the content on your site and that the entire editing process gets automated. For instance, once a piece of vendor information gets changed, all the pieces of content on your website that display that particular information gets instantly updated. Step into the future of automated content updating and leave behind the irksome manual updating process! Moreover, you get to leverage the power of modular content for putting together page sections and composite web pages, too!   4. What About Modular Content Components? What Are They? You could see them as “tools” empowering your content creation and editing team to:   easily add new sections without the help of the technical department in your organization   send their pieces of content to several distribution channels (sending them, each, specifically those content formats that meet their requirements).   And all this in just one single step!   5. “Should I Be Integrating Modular Content Components in My Content Creation Process, too?” It depends! It depends on whether it's crucial for the whole workflow within your team that your content editors should be able to update content on the fly and to send it to your network of distribution partners “in the blink of an eye”. If it's the case, then you should definitely leverage the modular content components' functionality on your Drupal site, too! This way, you'll be empowering your editorial team with a simple, yet highly effective drag-and-top tool that they can use for adding new content components quick and easy.  The next step is to send it to your content distribution partners, whether it's Facebook, AOL, or Apple News, or none of these three.   6. Key Modular Content Functionalities Worth Your Attention 5.1. Consistency Across Your Website  And you can't underestimate the advantage of keeping a consistent branding throughout your Drupal site! This is precisely what you can achieve using modular content components:   you'll eliminate those situations where your team uses inconsistent layouts when publishing content, taken from legacy website designs   re-branding your website will turn into a streamlined process with a solid and scalable architecture as its foundation; it will be a lot easier to “implement” the new look and feel across your website and to achieve a consistent branding   the current situations where content authors just drop “slices” of HTML into the WYSIWYG editor will become “history” on your new future platform, a highly maintainable and nicely structured one; a modular content components-powered one!   5.2. Easily Adjustable Content According to Your Distribution Partners' Restrictions It will be far easier for your content editing team to tailor it to their specific restrictions! Since with modular content components they get to edit and update content with such ease!  Whether it's:   links that they need to remove in order to comply with your distribution channels' requirements   certain formats that they should stick to   any other special requests that they need to meet while creating or editing their articles   … with Modular Content components integrated into their article creation process, it all gets much more streamlined!   5.3. Marketing Power  And you surely can't afford to underestimate digital marketing-oriented tools that help you build targeted and ideally creative advertising campaigns:   you have the Double Click for Publishers module   you have flexible ad tags that you get to use for implementing your campaigns   you have built-in identifiers helping you achieve your “smart targeting” goals through your campaigns   Need we add any more reasons that modular content components make the future of content creation? Are you ready to embrace the future? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jun 15'2017
Types of Video Content for Every Stage of the Customer Journey- Part 2
And we're back, as promised, with more types of highly effective types of video content that you should be using on your Drupal site and which work best at specific stages of your potential customer's journey.  3. “About Us” Videos  Or “culture captures” or “”culture videos”, whichever term prefer, this type of video content's role is not exclusively that of recruiting new people. You'd be surprised of how many visitors, with no intention of getting themselves hired into your organization, are accessing your About page on you Drupal site right now! They want to know the team behind your website's front store, the team behind your products/services. If, in the previous stage of your customers' journey you've managed to stir their curiosity and to win their trust, at this point it's vital that you... make them LIKE you.  And you can easily do this via an About Us video. It's, by far, one of the most effective types of video content. One that showcases your brand's values, the culture and personalities of your team. If they manage to make themselves “likeable”, you'll succeed to speeding up the whole process of turning a visitor into a future customer. Remember what we've talked about it the first part of this blog post: “People don't buy “just” products/services. People buy the shared values that come along with a particular brand's services/products!” In other words: make yourself LIKEABLE. And by “yourself”, we do mean both your brand and your team, as well! 4. Testimonial Videos (or “Case Studies”) So, by now you've checked “trust” and “likeability” off your list. At this point in your customer's journey it's time to focus on conveying a sense of AUTHENTICITY, too! You're at a one-step distance from turning your website visitor into a customer and this very last step should be tackled with great care! It's the step where your potential customer looks for recommendations, for testimonials coming from real people, other than members of your team. For “real stories” where your product/service plays a key part. And even though your visitors might not personally know the “testifier”, he/she still remains a “real person” for them. This “detail”, combined with the video's capability, as a medium, to easily transmit human emotions, the impact that your product had on the speaker's life, make the surest “recipe” for building an aura of authenticity around your brand. Here's a testimonial video example that we've hand picked for you:   Types of Video Content for The Decision-Making Stage of The Customer's Journey This is the step of your website visitor's shopping experience where he/she has already identified what his problem/need is, has already selected the best solution for solving it and now's looking for the right “solutions provider”.  1. Personalized Videos (or One-to-One Messages) We are living in the age of hyper-personalization, no doubt about that! Of personalized content! Now if to this “huge wave” of creating perfectly tailored user experiences you add the one of video content, the result can't be but a highly effective tool for you to use on your Drupal website! Your potential customer will feel cared about and he/she'll experience pretty much the same feeling that we all experience (if we still have the chance) when we go to our favorite barber's shop or hair salon and the barber/hair stylist knows our names, our preferences and dislikes to the slightest details. We don't have to repeat them each and every time to go there. Not to mention that a personalized piece of content, once transposed into a video, will instantly get much more “impactful”, it will feel much more... real. 2. Demo/Instructional Videos  It's time to “grow” those seeds of trust that you've (hopefully) started to plant, through multiple types of video content, from the very beginning of your customer's journey. How? By using an instructional video! It's the type of video content that not only that will emphasize your product's functionality, but will reassure them (your future customers) that you won't forget all about them once they've made their purchase. That, whatever difficulties they may face when using your product/service, this instructional video, which is part of your whole reliable customer service strategy, will be at their full disposal. In this respect, here's a demo video from IKEA “training” both the potential and the “already a” buyer how to assembly one of their products:           3. FAQ Videos Instead of filling in your FAQ page with a whole list of possible questions-answers pairs, how about trying “filmed answers”? There's no “mystery” around this type of video content's effectiveness, if you come to think about it. Your future customers will get that powerful feeling that the answers have been tailored especially for them. That the person showing up in those quick videos is addressing them and them only. And you can't underestimate the power of “personal touch” that FAQ videos get enriched with: Here's an example of one FAQ video taken from an entire “collection” of filmed answers to customers' anticipated questions: Types of Video Content For The Retention Stage of Your Customer's Journey  In fact, it's just "one type" of video content that we've selected to talk to you about in this section: the "Thank You" video! Congratulations! You've just succeeded to turn your potential customer into a... customer! “Now what?” you might ask yourself! Well, now you focus on crafting another type of video content. One that will turn your (now a ) customer into... a customer loyal to you brand! Thank You Videos This is the true role of a “thank you” video content! It's your chance to convey positive energy. To express your gratitude to your customer for having trusted you, your products/services and to ensure that he/she will remain loyal to your brand. You could also see this type of video content as a “reminder”: it reminds your customers why they chose your brand in the first place. Why they LIKED you. Here's an example:   THE END! This is our list including types of video content to use on your Drupal site (as well as in your emails, on social media etc.) suitable for each stage of your potential customer's journey.  Does your current content marketing strategy include any video content? Are there types that we haven't included in our two blog posts on this topic and which you've found to be of a tremendous help speeding up the whole process of turning website visitors into customers?  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / May 31'2017