Carlos Caneja

About Carlos Caneja

With nearly two decades of career experience in IT and online commerce, West Palm Beach-based Carlos Caneja currently serves as President of C2 Consulting Group. Since its founding in 2010, the company offers customized, cutting-edge strategies to help clients achieve their goals—including branding, web design & development, SEO and online marketing. His company’s sophisticated strategies and unique understanding of client goals is driven by a one-on-one customer service-driven mandate, utilizing approaches that are fit best for every individual client. Carlos’ mantra for C2: “Open dialogue is a must when working with our clients, as positive input helps us better understand what they want from each project. It’s how we’re able to consistently deliver results that amaze and impress our clients.” He previously worked for 11 years as COO with Applied Innovations, which provides a wide range of enterprise-grade Windows Hosting services to the online marketplace.

Web Design Trends for 2016 That Are Changing the Industry

Another year has come and gone, and with a new one here comes just as many web design trends for 2016. During the last year, web design experienced a lot of changes as it moved away from being jam-packed with information. Instead, a more aesthetic approach was taken that […]

6 eCommerce Design Trends for 2016 You Need To Know

With a new year here, there are just as many new eCommerce design trends for 2016 that everyone needs to be aware of. You’ve set new goals and made some new years resolutions, many of them likely pertaining to your success. These trends can certainly get you well on […]

C2 Consulting Group Earns Exclusive Google Partnership

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. December 2, 2015. C2 Consulting Group (C2CG) has become a Certified Google Partner, earning the right to display the Certified Google Partner logo on its website and be listed in Certified Google Partner Search. The certification shows agency clients and prospects that C2CG excels at using […]

Convert Customers into Sales with these Navigation Tricks

Traffic is great, but it isn’t doing much for you if your store’s visitors aren’t converting into paying customers. While there are many major changes that can be done to enhance your sales, such as the store’s design, coupons and new copywriting, it is just as important to never […]

Getting the Most Out of Your SEO Content Marketing

Without utilizing excellent SEO marketing practices, you are missing out on a large amount of potential traffic. Although high quality content is vital to gaining traffic organically, you can’t expect that everyone is going to be able to just find you online. SEO content marketing strategy is similar to […]

What You Need To Know About White Hat SEO

SEO can seem like a real pain to learn, and for this sole purpose, many people skip right over it. However, what they don’t know is that without utilizing Google’s SEO (search engine optimization) properly, they aren’t getting the traffic and success from their website that could be a […]

Why Social Media Can’t Be Forgotten For SEO

Social Media; it truly rules the industry if you invest your time into it correctly as it is one of the best tools for showcasing your content and generating those leads. While many people solely focus on SEO practices for rankings, social media can sometimes be shoved under the […]

Google’s Phantom 2 Places Praises The Best Websites and Content

The latest update from Google is here and it’s official; as of April 29th, the Phantom is changing the kind of content websites are providing… after originally being planned for release back in 2013. This is long overdue! The name of this Google algorithm update, Phantom 2 has the […]

How to Test Your Website for Responsive Design

With the very first responsive web design being introduced in 2010, it’s safe to say that this style of websites has certainly taken off in popularity. Apple launched the highly sought after mobile tablet devices called iPads which completely changed the way that we use the web today, and […]

Email Marketing Does Play a Part in your SEO

Email marketing is something that should certainly be a significant element within your online marketing tactics, and as long as it is done correctly, it truly has the ability to be extremely effective with a high return on investment. It also has the ability to work in combination with […]

britecode Carlos Caneja | britecode - Part 2

Carlos Caneja

Another year has come and gone, and with a new one here comes just as many web design trends for 2016. During the last year, web design experienced a lot of changes as it moved away from being jam-packed with information. Instead, a more aesthetic approach was taken that revolved around simplicity and empty space. Many web sites are now looking similar to magazines, using large, high quality photos and typography to engage their readers visually before providing further content. These changes are continuing to thrive in the new year, and there are some key web design trends for 2016 you need to consider.

1. Minimalism

Forget the vibrant colors and information overload on your website because it is all about minimalism. Simplify your logos and fonts, and you will instantly clean up the look of your website as a whole. If something isn’t necessary, consider it clutter and get rid of it. Everything from footers, sidebars and borders are getting kicked to the curb. Keep things minimalist with one dominant color, and captivating and worthy content.

cute-broke

 

2. App-like Menu

This trend seems like a no-brainer, since mobile technology has continued to thrive over the years. Websites are now being designed with the mobile market in mind, and as such, it has changed the way content is organized and how readers can access it. The app-like menu web design trend goes hand-in-hand with the prior, as it takes on the minimalism approach by forbidding sticky menus and sidebars so there’s more room for content people actually want to see.  Menus are often hidden at the top of the screen, and can be found with a simple click on an icon.

 

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3. Interesting Typography

Although it was mentioned to use a more simple font, that doesn’t mean that your typography has to be boring – and it certainly shouldn’t be. An engaging font can instantly captivate your audience’s attention, without being too distracting. This is an important web design trend to consider, as the rest of the web site is fairly simple, you need something that sparks a bit of excitement!

FONTS

4. Use of Stock Photos That Aren’t Obvious

Generic stock photos are so last year – finally! Captivating visual content is where it’s at for the web design trends for 2016. There are plenty of online resources that allow you to grab high quality photos in which you have the rights to do whatever you want with to it. This provides a more authentic and pleasing look to your website.

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5. Single Page Design

Yet another trend that goes hand-in-hand with another. Mobile technology has once again, changed web design, as no one wants to click across multiple pages just to get to content they want to see. Websites are now taking on a single page design that allows your readers to view all content with a simple scroll. Depending on the complexity of your website, it may not sound plausible to have everything on a single page, but reducing the amount of pages on your website is certainly recommended. It’ll also be highly mobile-friendly, and with mobile Internet usage being consistently at an all-time high, you want this.

6. Parallax Scrolling

This is a new concept that allows websites to be more captivating without being over stimulating. Parallax scrolling consists of a three-dimensional illusion that will entice your audience and bring them further into your website and the content you offer. In other words, background images move at a slower rate than foreground images, which creates the illusion of depth.

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7. The Evolution of Flat design

Flat design has been so popular recently that Google released a version called material design. Google’s version is similar to flat design as it takes on the same aesthetic approach that focuses on simplicity. However, it’s a bit more subtle as it uses gradients, shadowing and slight animation to add depth to the image.  Flat design, on the other hand, includes simple illustrations to create minimalist two-dimensional content.

flat

8. Line Icons

This trend is quickly becoming universal in web design. Line icons are a part of material design that is the other movement concluding the decline of skeuomorphism. Instead of having an icon that looks like the object it represents, they’re being created as simple lines and shapes to portray an action, thought or object, such as a magnifying glass representing a search function.

icons

9. Vertical Split Layouts

Split screens are a huge web design trend for 2016 as well. Basically, it splits your layout vertically, which allows designers to present more content all at once, in a clean and simple way. This is also an excellent way to show equality between two things, such as the needs of a car and what the car provides, as opposed to only being able to show the most important thing at first with standard web layouts.

split

10. High-Quality Moving Images

If you can’t decide whether you want to have a photo or a video on your website, combine the two with a cinemagraph. It’s a moving image that says so much more than the thousands words that a photo is worth. It also uses up less bandwidth than a video and can truly liven up your entire site, while also adding visual content to long blog posts and keeping new visitors (and current ones) entertained longer than usual.

cinegraph

11. Interactive Storytelling

Captivate your audience with an interactive story right from the get-go by presenting an intriguing question. Since humans naturally love hearing stories and imaging themselves in the situation, this concept will make your reader curious, and furthermore, gets them clicking on one arrow to the next.  Start off with a question, and don’t just provide the answer. Turn it into a story.

i-story

Needless to say, the web design trends for 2016 are certainly changing the game, and those who don’t adapt and are going to be left behind in a cloud of bounce rates.

 

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With a new year here, there are just as many new eCommerce design trends for 2016 that everyone needs to be aware of. You’ve set new goals and made some new years resolutions, many of them likely pertaining to your success. These trends can certainly get you well on your way to achieving just that. Changes in site design are typically a result of change in site usage. Data is taken and analyzed to see how your website can further provide for your customers. Mobile site use has been at an all-time high and will continue to be so during 2016. As such, eCommerce design patterns and now providing shoppers with a just-as-convenient shopping experience online. Here are some eCommerce design trends for 2016 to consider.

1. Card and Card-like Layouts

This term has been popping up over and over again when it comes to the eCommerce design trends for 2016. A “card” encases everything from images, text, and other resources that are all associated with a one topic. In other words, they’re boxes of content, with each consisting of content that relates around the same idea. They are used to organize different topics in an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use way. Car layouts also work flawlessly with responsive designs, which everyone should have by now. Google’s new Material Design (and Android) has also implemented this trend into the mix.  On the Lord & Taylor website, cards are used to featured categories or products.

L-T-Cards

2. Pop-Ups and Interruption Merchandising

One of the most hated forms of online promotion definitely has to be the pop-ups. Many consumers have even installed pop-up blocking services to stop these interruptions from happening, but many web browsers now block them as well. The weird thing is that this kind of interruption marketing is actually making a big comeback within website design in 2015. Shocking, we know. The difference is the content on these pop-ups, as they’re much more beneficial to the consumer and believe it or not, less hated! 2016 pop-ups now consist of discount codes for signing up to a newsletter or for following social media websites, or special promotions that are available for a limited time only. As such, they shouldn’t be popping up every time someone enters your website, and sometimes they only pop up once the consumer has scrolled so far in the site.  The Indah Clothing site is just one example of a large, omni-channel retailer using modals on-site to promote email subscriptions.

Indah-Pop-up

3. Large Photography and Videos

Large, high quality photographs and videos are saying much more than just a thousand words when used properly on eCommerce sites, and they can be the perfect way to captivate your consumer and make that sale! Designers and developers are able to optimize how these items can boost your site’s performance across all platforms as well. The homepage video on olloclip.com shows you how easy the device snaps on and the video quality you get from its use.

4. Hover Effects

One of the newest eCommerce design trends for 2016 is all about the smooth hover effects. They’re a CSS-based technique that can change certain components on your website when the mouse is on top of it. Some popular examples of how the hover effects are being used on eCommerce sites are by displaying detailed information when the mouse is over top of a product image. Or to display smaller images taken from different angles, or to simply change colors and shades of banners and links. This new trend can captivate your buyers’ attention by providing important details in an intriguing, user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing way.  Greasegasandglory.com shows an alternate view of a particular garment simply by moving your mouse over it.

lucky13 hover effect

5. Custom-Drawn Illustrations

There are many tricks that a web designer can resort to in order to make your eCommerce store look unique. Custom-drawn illustrations are certainly one of the best that also happen to be a huge eCommerce design trend for 2016. Consider implementing small hand-drawn stickers into your website instead of generic ones found online, or large illustrated backgrounds. These small details provide a genuine appeal and unique experience for your customers. Just be sure to never compromise the usability of the site, or make it too crowded. Notice how Babel  illustrates their elements to catch the imagination of their young audience.

illustration

6. Storytelling

Storytelling is one trend that is thriving across all forms of web design, especially with eCommerce websites. This is an effective way to communicate your ideas to your consumers, by simply engaging them. Don’t just show your product; share a story that will arouse greater interest and intrigue customers to stay longer on your website. Eventually, if done properly, this will all result in higher sales.  Consider using more than just words to convey your story. Many large retailers are using full in-screen background videos to provide answers to their customers’ questions in a fun and captivating way.  Another example of how a brand can gain a level of respect and credibility by thinking of others and not just themselves. Take a look at  how Warby Parker makes a huge difference by giving away over 1 million pairs of glasses to people in need.

story

If you’re ready to take the new year by the horns, these are the eCommerce design trends for 2016 that you certainly want to implement into your website.

 

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BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. December 2, 2015. C2 Consulting Group (C2CG) has become a Certified Google Partner, earning the right to display the Certified Google Partner logo on its website and be listed in Certified Google Partner Search. The certification shows agency clients and prospects that C2CG excels at using Google products, is trusted by Google, and employs Google best practices.

Says Carlos Caneja, founder and president of C2 Consulting Group: “I’ve been in IT and e-commerce for two decades. I’ve been part of an incredible technology revolution.  About the only thing that has not changed is the fact that most companies do not understand—or have the time, resources or interest to understand – the rapidly changing technology landscape of engaging potential customers. That’s where C2CG comes in.”

He continued:   “We know online marketing technology very well. We stay current with the latest tools available to us and our clients. Our clients can testify to the C2CG process and their business results. But achieving Google certification and becoming a Certified Google Partner provides formal and immediate recognition of our expertise and commitment. This is a major accomplishment.  We’re proud to be among Google’s top solution providers worldwide. Seeing that logo on our site inspires instant trust, which we back up with 100% transparency.”

Since its founding in 2010, C2CG has offered customized, cutting-edge strategies to help clients achieve their goals—including branding, web design and development, SEO, CRM capabillityand online marketing.  Among its differentiators is a true ROI tracking system with C2CG proprietary call tracking and web-2-lead technology. These are must-have features to track marketing success, yet not many companies out there offer this feature

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C2 Consulting Group is a digital marketing company providing its clients with fresh ideas that grow results. The agency believes it is their job to provide not only a website that is attractive, but a site that is user-friendly, search-engine-optimized and easy for clients to navigate in order to generate positive results. Its online marketing services are designed to optimize clients’ ability to be found on the web and convert visitors to customers.

For more information:

2500 Quantum Lakes Blvd Suite 203

Boynton Beach, FL  33426

(800) 746-5616

www.britecode.io

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Traffic is great, but it isn’t doing much for you if your store’s visitors aren’t converting into paying customers. While there are many major changes that can be done to enhance your sales, such as the store’s design, coupons and new copywriting, it is just as important to never overlook the simple things that can certainly give you the boost in sales that you are looking for. This is a vital option for those working within a strict marketing budget, and simple elements within your store’s navigation have an incredible amount of potential, and can have an even larger impact on your sales. Consider making these following changes that are easy and affordable to implement into your store’s design that can significantly increase your sales.

Showcase Top-Level Categories

Sometimes people go to stores without knowing exactly what product they’re looking for, and they may be seeking some inspiration or are visiting your site after being recommended by a friend instead. Highlighting top-level categories within your store can encourage those less decisive customers to make a purchase. Showcasing these broad categories of popular items on your site motivates them and basically shows them exactly what they want even if they didn’t know previously. For example, if you sell furniture, create sections in your menu that are specific to a room such as ‘bedroom furniture’ or ‘living room furniture’. However, when doing so, you must be sure to create the actual corresponding category landing pages as some stores do not and recent studies conducted by Smashing Magazine’s eCommerce showed that this was one of the biggest issues customers experienced. Research also showed that many subjects expect top-level categories to be clickable so that they could then land on the corresponding page of products. During the research, many top-level categories couldn’t be explored, which resulted in customer confusion and frustration. On the contrary, some of these top-level categories were clickable but directed the customer to a category that wasn’t the one shown in the menu. This also caused significant frustration amongst the customers.

Additionally, while it is crucial to offer broad product categories, subcategories should also be offered to enhance the customer’s navigation experience. For example, someone unsure of the camera type that they want will want to select the “Digital Cameras” category (a broad product category) as opposed to specifying a camera type (subcategory) that a more decisive shopper will. So in order to provide for your past, present and future customers, add broader categories as well as subcategories, and ensure that they all link to the correct location.

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Now, you may feel as if the option of subcategories doesn’t apply to your store due to limited products available, but in these cases, create browsing categories by size, color or material. By filtering product selection with categories, you are furthering the navigation process on your store.

joco

A prime example of a store offering limit products is the JOCO Cups Store. They only sell glass coffee cups, so their site navigation offers categories by size and the type of product (accessories or cups).

It’s all about creating a convenient path for your customers that browse your store.

Repeat Links to Subcategories

This tip used to convert customers into sales should only be used when appropriate. If your store is large with a wide range of products, your customers may take different paths to end up on the same page. For example, a desk can be found by clicking on “office furniture” or “living room furniture” categories. As a result, if this applies to your store, you should be offering multiple links to the same subcategory to ensure that your customers can easily navigate through your store to find what they want. Best Buy does this by offering printer ink in both the “Computers” category as well as the “Office” category. However, you do not have to create two separate landing pages with different URLS for each subcategory. You just need to take advantage of a multi-link scenario by creating a subcategory under a main category that fits best.

staples

For example, Staples may have the printer ink under “Ink & Toner Finder” and then added a custom link so it also appears under “Products”.

Offer Additional Filtering Once a Category is Selected

Once your visitors have selected a category to browse, offer them additional filtering to further help them navigate to the item that they want while also encouraging them to make a purchase – something no eCommerce store should ever be without. By filtering, you are allowing your customer to only see what they want, so it may be shoes in size 7, prices sorted low to high, color, age range, style, brand etc. The faster they see exactly what appeals to them, the faster they can add your products to the shopping cart.

 

puma

To increase conversations with the navigation of your site, you should also consider adding visible links that send your customer straight to a desirable page, such as sales that you currently have, clearance items or even brand new items or limited editions. Your customers will feel more enticed to finalize a purchase when they feel like they’re getting a bargain, or something that no one else has. So analyze your analytics to see if you have more savvy shoppers or more customers that want to get something exclusive/limited. The trick to this tip is to make the links visible.

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So, what do all these tips mean? It’s all about making your navigation clear and simple, and highlighting and correctly linking to landing pages that are truly going to attract your visitors. With too many menus and options, things can quickly become overwhelming for your customers, so try filtering to reduce the number of top-level categories and subcategories that you use. You should also always provide a search option and leave the footer of your page for minimal links, such as a contact form, social media links and your privacy policy. Be sure to run a test before finalizing any changes that you make to your site to ensure that it’s done properly and more importantly, that your customers like it. If the new design isn’t ideal, you can resort back to the original and go back to the drawing board. Lastly, as a rule of thumb, make it a habit to test your navigation periodically to ensure that all the links are working properly and linking to the correct places, and to also make sure that you haven’t forgotten to remove, rename, add or update something else on your website. Navigation of your website plays a huge role in how many visitors become paying customers, so make sure your layout motivates customers to convert.

With that said, while these simple tips are extremely important and should never be overlooked, its just as important to implement them with other marketing practices that will further reduce the bounces on your site while also increasing the curious shoppers making a purchase.

 

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Without utilizing excellent SEO marketing practices, you are missing out on a large amount of potential traffic. Although high quality content is vital to gaining traffic organically, you can’t expect that everyone is going to be able to just find you online. SEO content marketing strategy is similar to placing a massive billboard along the highway of the busiest city – only for the internet, sans the massive price as well. All you need to do is think outside of the box, get a little creative, do some keyword research and know who your audience is. Here are 10 effective SEO content marketing tactics that will give you the best results for your efforts.

Infuse SEO From the Beginning
Learn SEO right from the beginning and infuse it into your content right away because learning these marketing practices afterwards will call for a lot of backtracking (and time lost). If you write for your audience and provide high quality content with SEO in mind as soon as you start your project, you’re only moving in one direction – and that is forward.

High Quality Content
Busting out some generic information infused with SEO isn’t going to ‘catch’ like it will if you put some time and effort into the quality of the content you’re providing. Google loves authentic websites that aren’t only providing content for SEO purposes, and if that isn’t a benefit in itself, good content will propel itself as soon as it’s published.

Mobile Friendliness is a Must
Google recently released an update that they will favor websites that have a responsive design. In other words, your website should automatically adapt to whatever device it is being viewed from, whether it’s a Google tablet, phone, iPhone, iPad, desktop, laptop or any other kind of the hundreds out there. Why is having a mobile friendly website that much more important? Statistics show that more and more people are going online via their phone. Thus,  without being able to view your website properly on mobile devices, you could be losing a lot of potential traffic.

Do Email Marketing
Email marketing has a fine line between bombarding your customers with too many emails, or not enough and for this exact reason, many businesses are afraid to indulge into an email campaign. The most important thing to determine is what works for you and your audience. While some business may thrive on a daily email of discounts, others are better off providing a weekly recap. While you do have to be cautious when selecting the email marketing you wish to do, it should never be left out of your SEO content marketing strategy completely.

Spotlight Content
Your website is probably full of different kinds of content, whether it’s different categories and tags for your blog posts, or a website, blog, service page and so much more. It is important to spotlight incredible website content to further engage your audience and keep them coming back. If you have recently written a piece that really sparks interest, show it off with a spotlight. Maybe you have some new deals this week – put a spotlight on it. Make the best portions of your website stand out.

Use Social Media
All of your content, especially the stuff you choose to be spotlighted on your website as mentioned above, needs to be shared across your social media pages. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google Plus are excellent places to share your content to get some views and more importantly, to go viral. Again, people won’t always find your content organically. You need to advertise it, show it, debut it and social media is an excellent place to start and should never be skipped out.

Collaborate With Experts
Social media can also be incredible for networking, and provide you with many opportunities to collaborate with experts within your niche. It also gives your audience a new voice and information that you may not have provided yourself, and with that, they’ll share it and get more views heading back to your website. So, network and collaborate.

Pay for Promotion
With so many ways to promote your content without having to put out a dime, it is easy to disregard promotion that comes with a price tag. However, there are some services that are certainly worth it and the fees are fairly minimal. Some of the most traditional ones being Google AdWords, Twitter and Facebook ads and PPC campaigns. There are also other content distribution companies such as OutBrain, Tabooa, and literally so many more.  Explore these options and find some that work for your niche, content and audience. Promoting your content has never been more affordable. Forget about those expensive billboards and television commercials.

Never Duplicate Content
While it is okay to promote your content on social media platforms several different times, you never, ever want to duplicate your content completely. Sure, retweeting your content link is okay, but you typically want to revamp the 150 characters that are attached to it. People will get sick of seeing the same stuff. So, don’t try to rehash the same stuff repeatedly.

Analyze Your Statistics
If you have no idea what’s working for you, you risk being stuck at a standstill. Get in a habit of viewing your rankings, statistics and traffic to your website. See what is bringing you the best traffic, and tweak the areas that don’t seem to be working for you. If you don’t analyze your stats, you won’t know how to improve and grow in success.

In a nutshell, marketing your high quality content is really all you need to create a successful marketing campaign. These 10 tips will make sure that you are providing what Google and your audience wants, while also ensuring that the most amount of people are going to see it. After all, you’re just selling yourself short within diving head first into these marketing practices.

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SEO can seem like a real pain to learn, and for this sole purpose, many people skip right over it. However, what they don’t know is that without utilizing Google’s SEO (search engine optimization) properly, they aren’t getting the traffic and success from their website that could be a potential had they taken a couple of minutes to figure it out all. That’s also not to mention that SEO isn’t a difficult thing to learn. You just have to stay on top of it, so let’s get you started with White Hat SEO.

What Is White Hat SEO?

Great question, and an even greater place to start when figuring out SEO. White Hat SEO is all about the ethical things you can do to improve the ranking of your website within Google’s search engine. How is this different from regular SEO? The white hat tactics are geared more towards your audience as opposed to the search engines per se, while still following the search engine rules and guidelines that Google has put in place. “White Hat” also refers to the good kind of computer hackers; the ones that use their expertise to secure your system as oppose to exploiting it.

White Hat SEO Techniques

SEO is packed with all kinds of techniques and tools you can practice to place your website at a higher ranking, and the white hat ones pertain to gaining long-term results as opposed to immediate ones like PPC (pay per click). While complying with Google’s webmaster guidelines, you must also be providing the same quality of content that Google indexes, and one of the most important things you could know is that white hat SEO focuses on the people as mentioned previously. Thus, the content you provide can’t just be for Google rankings, and must be readable, high quality content that people can actually use.

White Hat VS. Black Hat

Now, you must be sure not to get white hat SEO and black hat SEO confused because the latter is the bad of the bunch and pertains to malicious hacking tactics. The techniques are very deceptive and manipulate the search rankings to get you a better ranking… Until Google catches you, that is. One of the most common black hat SEO tactics is keyword stuffing. So, black hat is bad, and white hat pertains to good content that is authentic.

That’s also not to mention that Google will find you if you are manipulating their search engine rankings, and then you’re penalized and not getting much for your websites. So, it is crucial to not only follow Google’s SEO guidelines, but to also practice the white hat SEO techniques.

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Social Media; it truly rules the industry if you invest your time into it correctly as it is one of the best tools for showcasing your content and generating those leads. While many people solely focus on SEO practices for rankings, social media can sometimes be shoved under the rug but it does have the potential to be just as beneficial, and when combined with SEO, you’re creating a killer marketing plan. Since SEO is forever changing, it’s so important to stay consistent with the rules. One of the most monumental changes was in 2013 with the Google Penguin and Google Panda updates. This is when a more integrated strategy became priority, which is one of the main reasons social media is so vital to internet and search engine success.

The Value of Social Media

Many businesses know that they should be doing social media, but just have no idea where to start or can’t see the value of investing time into updating a 140 character Twitter status or posting a picture onto Instagram or Facebook. While it may all sound like fun and games, there’s much more behind it. Since Google’s search engine optimization practices place emphasis on high quality content that is also getting shared and noticed, while also receiving link backs to your website, social media could be the key you’ve been looking for. Here are some statistics that provide definitive proof that social media brings value to your marketing and SEO.

  • When it comes to making a decision about a purchase, 46% of people online use social media to help.
  • There are approximately 25 million active business pages on Facebook.
  • There are approximately 25 million active business pages on Facebook.
  • 80% of small businesses use social media already, and 94% of them say that they use it specifically to improve their marketing.
  • 3 out of 5 small businesses say they have gained  a new customer through social media.
  • Approximately half of small businesses use social media for their own learning, such as networking.

Social Media Benefits Your Content

There are many ways that social media can benefit your content, which is a huge component to successful SEO practices as of Google’s current guidelines. Here are some of the most popular ones.

It Gives You Reach

Without social media, the only people finding your content are those who stumble across it or search for it directly. This doesn’t leave you with much opportunity to reach potential leads. Utilizing social media is kind of like placing your content on a billboard. People see it. It gets the word out; giving you reach to current and potential customers. As a bonus, your content can then be instantly shared beyond your audience. This also sometimes results in some link backs that are 100% organic. As long as you’re producing high quality content that people want to see and share, and taking advantage of social media, you’re golden. You’re getting that reach to potential, new and old customers.

The Opportunity to Collaborate

Networking is definitely one of social medias largest benefits, as you can connect with people and other businesses within your niche, as well as outside of your niche. By creating these business relationships, there are many opportunities to collaborate together, whether it’s a sponsored giveaway or contest, or even shared content and links. The platform is there, so start sharing your ideas and collaborate.

A Source of Inspiration

Use your social media as a source of inspiration. If you have no idea what to write about for this week’s blog posts (which you need to stay on top of for SEO purposes), log onto your social media accounts and see what people are talking about. Instantly, you’ll have a couple of ideas popping up that are trending, current and wanted. That’s also not to mention that if you infuse some inspiration into your content, it encourages others to share, and suddenly, everyone is everyone’s muse. This can definitely generate more leads.

Brand Recognition

Your social media accounts allow you to put a face to your brand; provide an authentic appeal to your company. This is a huge trend within the business industry as people want to be able to relate back to the company that they’re purchasing from or utilizing. It also keeps you active; people will see that you’re creating constant content and that your gears are always grinding with something new. This too, can generate new leads.

One of the most important things that you could ever know about integrating social media into your marketing plan is that you must be authentic with it. You can’t go and create these social media profiles, post one thing, and never touch it again. You also can’t create a bunch of random accounts on the same platforms and have some clients here, other’s there and everything scattered. Create one account per social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and provide consistent content and interaction. While this does require frequent effort, the results can be very beneficial as you’re investing in furthering your SEO and marketing strategies. So, focus on your SEO rankings – yes. However, don’t forget about thinking outside of the box and finding new and creative ways to engage, connect and promote your content. Social media is an excellent place to start that can also provide you with the Google rankings that you want.

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The latest update from Google is here and it’s official; as of April 29th, the Phantom is changing the kind of content websites are providing… after originally being planned for release back in 2013. This is long overdue! The name of this Google algorithm update, Phantom 2 has the internet industry stirring, eager to stay on top of Google’s ever-changing regulations, and of course, they’re rankings! Now, these changes are specific to the content quality of your site, and there’s no need for you to panic. Following this new update is so easy, and even easier if you’ve already been producing high quality content for your site, which you really should have been doing anyway.  However, it is highly recommended that you still take the tie to find out what is different with the Phantom 2 from the previous Panda and Penguin updates, and more importantly, find out how it will affect your website and the quality of your content.

Google Wants The Best

One must always keep in mind that there are copious amounts of elements that Google uses for ranking, and this one is said to be a calling for quality, placing high importance on the quality of the content that you provide. In other words, your website should really provide an optimal user experience, and Google is giving ranking kudos to those that do just that. This could also be why they recently placed emphasis on responsive design websites as well. It all makes sense because high quality content is a win-win for everyone – the website owner, the users, marketers and advertisements and of course, Google. So, if you produce thin content with not much substance or utilize some sort of bots, you could be in trouble. Google is narrowing in on its target.

How to Have a High-Quality Website

In short, it doesn’t take much to have sufficient quality that Google won’t be disappointed with. Some things to take into consideration is to ensure that your website is well-organized and easy for your users to navigate through. The URL that you use, as well as your site’s loading speed should also be of priority because Google will certainly dock those that don’t follow. As mentioned previously, responsive web design is also a huge bonus and plus in the eyes of Google (and your viewers), and lastly, content. Never underestimate your content – especially now with the Phantom update.

quality-control-571148_1280The Basics of High-Quality Content

It’s very easy to produce high quality information. You just have to accompany it with relevant images, and, at best, custom-designed infographics that are, of course, also relevant.  The content should also be formed around excellent keywords specific to your niche and what the user is looking for, and the content should be natural – not robotic or too rehearsed. However, that’s not to mention that sometimes ‘thin content’ seems realistic. For example; if you’re advertising your carpentry services on your website, it would make sense to have simple, straight forward sentences such as “I am a carpenter and ready to take on any task you have”. Knowing how to enhance this will come with great benefits. Try to add in your geological location and incorporate content that is going to be helpful to those looking to do some carpentry in their home. Remember, Google is all about websites providing the best user experience, so even if you can provide simple and basic content, elaborate. That is the key.

Is Your Content Good?

An easy way to check out how good the quality of your website is, take a look at your Google Analytics and measure the audiences’ engagement. Look for the time that is spent on the site, a low bounce rate and even how many times the content gets shared. If your numbers have significantly taken a drop lately, your Google Analytics are another place to look to see why the sudden change. It could mean that the quality of your content has to be enhanced.

Practice the Google Quality Guidelines

As a website owner, you should know and practice the Google Guidelines like its your bible.  Here are some very important things to remember that are specific to ensuring that you are producing high quality content on your website.

Re-Read Your Content

It’s easy to write a piece and think it’s flawless, but you’ll be surprised at how many errors can be found in your content. Go over everything that you write – at least once. As for the content that you already have produced and published, look over that as well. Scan over your homepage and if you don’t have much information (or SEO practices infused on the main page), it is something to consider. Remember, Google wants the best user experience. There are only basics, so take the time to read, understand and follow Google’s quality outlines. This is a surefire way to see how Google separates good quality from the rest.

No Shortcuts

It can be easy to want to bust out content infused with SEO, but Google is catching on to these things. You really need to forget about the shortcuts and invest the time to creating content that is informative and that the audience wants to receive. As mentioned previously, unnatural sounding content is not favored by Google. So, try to flip the switch a bit and see yourself as a view of your website. Would you find the information on your website useful, sharable and make you want to come back? If not, you may want to go back up to the “re-read your content” step and revamp your content, and avoid shortcuts in the future so that you don’t have to waste time going back and fixing everything once again.

Luckily, this new Google algorithm update is so easy to comply with. You just have to provide content that is good; that makes people want to read and share and visit your site again. No more bots, or generic information. Do the work and Google will reward you, thanks to the Phantom 2.

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With the very first responsive web design being introduced in 2010, it’s safe to say that this style of websites has certainly taken off in popularity. Apple launched the highly sought after mobile tablet devices called iPads which completely changed the way that we use the web today, and the way in which we communicate with one another. Things have definitely changed within the technology industry, and since the big peak of success with responsive design, it has only become much more widespread. Despite it’s popularity, many people actually have no idea what this term means, and focus solely on having a website that works properly. They don’t necessarily place importance on hyperlinks that can link to other pages with more specific information, or even on coding and imagery that takes too long to download. People just want to design a fast loading page that is easy to use, but very rarely do they know that they can still get that and so much more with a responsive design. Let’s take a look at your web design and see how we can improve it’s responsive design.

Ranking with a Mobile Responsiveness

When it comes to investing time and design into your website, you always need to keep Google’s guidelines for ranking close in mind, and your mobile responsiveness is a ranking component. Only recently, Google announced that whether or not your website is user-friendly when viewed on mobile devices will be a ranking factor. So, as of April 21st, if you haven’t been placing importance, you may start seeing your Google search engine ranking taking a plunge which is never a good thing. This update has been nicknamed Mobilegeddon, and it’s so vital to your success that it has made news all over the world. To get you on the the ride, you need to first test the mobile responsiveness of your website, and find out what you can do to enhance it.

What Is a Good Responsive Design?

macbook-606763_1280One of the biggest benefits of having a responsive design is that your website will automatically adapt to all different screen sizes and resolutions. Simply put, regardless of the device that you’re using, responsive design will ensure that you have optimal usability with all the functions working efficiently and properly – or in other words, the same, on each device. So, for example your menu bar or social media sharing buttons you see when using a desktop won’t disappear when viewed from a mobile device, tablet or something else.

 

You Need a Responsive Website

Everyone benefits from having a responsive design website; both the site owner and the viewers. If you don’t currently pay close attention to the information provided in Google Analytics, there’s no better time to start doing the opposite because with the data, you can find out how many people are visiting your site from specific devices, such as a mobile device or tablet, and you can also see how long they spend on your site. If the majority of mobile device users aren’t staying longer than a couple seconds or a minute, you may have just found the problem – you don’t have a responsive design website. Some Analytic settings also allow you to see how many of those users go on to purchase something from the site or join your mailing list. This is all important information to pay attention to at all times, but it could really be all you need to convince you that you need a responsive website.

Check your Google Analytics by going to the site, click on the site you wish to review, then select Audience > Mobile > Overview.

Somethings to check out include; Bounce Rate, Pages/Session, Avg Session Duration and Goal Conversion Rate.  If your numbers are much lower than those associated with desktop usage, there’s one way to fix that, and it’s with a responsive design website because the data is telling you that people viewing your site on tablet and mobile devices are not receiving the best experience.

It’s Time To Test Your Site for Mobile Responsiveness

If you are unsure as to whether or not your website is mobile responsive, there are some tests and tools that you can do online that will see how your website runs and appears on mobile devices. However, let’s first focus on the simplest of tests to see if responsive design is definitely the issue. If you’re on a desktop, load your site that you want to test and make the browser narrower by dragging the bottom corner. If your website is responsive, the elements of the page will adjust so that they are still there. You just may have to scroll to see them. If you’re on a mobile device, go to the site that you want to test and see how it loads. If it takes a long time or if it looks exactly the same way as your desktop version (not shrunken down so you will likely have to do copious amounts of scrolling to see the entire thing), then you don’t have a responsive design. Everything should collapse to minimize the scrolling from left to right, allowing you to see everything as you scroll down.

Testing Multiple Devices With Online Emulators

Running simple tests is an excellent option to see if your site is responsive or not, but with the massive amounts of tech devices out there, from iPads to Google Tablets, Androids, iPhones and so much more, you want to be sure that your site appears properly across all of them. Here are some websites to use to test the performance of your website.

MobileTest.me

multi-devices

With this website, you can test your site with 6 popular mobile devices, such as the iPhone 5, and Google Nexus. All you have to do is click on the device you want to test, enter the URL of your website and within a couple of seconds, you’ll have your results with page links and other data, allowing you to browse the site via the emulator.

Responsinator

This emulator focuses mainly on Apple products, but does include some Android machines. The benefit of this website is that you don’t have to test each device individually. You just enter the URL, and scroll through the data provided.

Am I  Responsive

The process is similar with this website; enter the URL and receive the results. However, you don’t have to scroll as the data for the generic devices are right at the top and you can click each to see more specific information and use the site as normal.

Google’s Mobile Friendly Test

Of course, Google offers a testing tool as well and since Google’s regulations basically rule the internet, you can’t go wrong with this.  It’s called Google Mobile Testing Tool and the process is simple to follow.

What do I do Next?mobile-722946_640

If you site shows that works across all devices, you’re good and there’s no need for you to do anything. However, if your site doesn’t work, there are a variety of options that you have. The first is to convert your website to a responsive one which can be very hard or very simple to do. So, definitely do your research and find a responsive theme. You can also opt for a mobile theme. Although, it will make your website responsive on mobile devices as well, you still aren’t considering tablets and other viewing devices out there. You can also redesign your site to have a mobile responsive theme from scratch. Although timely and not always the most affordable option, you can ultimately achieve the best results with this option.

Once Your Website is Responsive

So, you have selected and option and made your website responsive. Now, you have to test it. Some things to pay attention to is whether your website is easy for users to use, is the content easy to read and is it easy for the users to find and follow your Calls to Action? Give your site a detailed once-over as if you were an ordinary user yourself. Go through different pages and elements and fix any problems that you come across.

Google making the changes to place emphasis on websites that are responsive is truly a win-win for everyone. In fact, some even say that it is long overdue and since it is beneficial for everyone – from the designers and theme builders, to the website owners and users and everyone in between. With so many websites not being responsive, jumping on this trend can boost your ratings in Google and send you record-hitting traffic.

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Email marketing is something that should certainly be a significant element within your online marketing tactics, and as long as it is done correctly, it truly has the ability to be extremely effective with a high return on investment. It also has the ability to work in combination with your SEO strategies. The secret is that it has to be done right; and so many businesses do it so wrong. So, if you’re interested in generating new leads (who isn’t?) while revamping your email strategies to further your SEO and entire marketing plan, it is time to listen up and learn the ropes of proper email marketing.

The Direct Marketing Association studies show that the return on investment from email marketing is approximately $40 for every dollar spent.

HubSpot, on the other hand, shows that your email subscriber list actually degrades by 22% each year. HubSpot did go on to say that the reasons for the decrease in email subscribers is a result of job change, abandoned accounts and unsubscriptions.

While these two statics may seem like an oxymoron, it does definitive proof that; 1) email marketing can be incredibly effective, and 2) email marketing is something that you must do correctly in order to receive continuous benefits, and this is exactly how SEO comes into play.

3 of The Most Effective Ways To Collect Email Subscribers

Whether you are new to the email marketing strategy, are starting over from scratch or simply revision your approach to maximize on the benefits, there are 3 ways that you can increase the amount of email subscribers that you have. They are as follows:

  1. Registration upon purchasing a product (a huge benefit for eCommerce sites)
  1. Registration pages all over your website, preferably with an offer that encourages your audience
  1. Online events, such as webinars

 

Things To Do To Enhance Your Email Marketing

Once you have people subscribed to your content, you need to be able to keep them there – especially with HubSpot declaring a 22% decrease each year. Here are some things to consider.

Reach Your Current and Potential Customers

It is no secret that people spend a significant amount of time on the internet, and more so on their mobile devices than ever before. Now, a lot of mobile internet usage is spent in one’s inbox because people are checking their email regularly. After all, with a swipe upwards with your thumb for a reload, why not, right? Email is one of the best ways to get your message delivered; to reach your customers – old, new and potential.

Produce High Quality, Targeted Content

Content is key, and quickly becoming a vital part in SEO practices. Without content, you aren’t able to provide your customers with what they probably signed up to your email subscription for. With that said though, your content can be something you whipped together just to provide. It must be of high quality, relatable and targeted to your audience. As long as you’re producing things that your customers want to see, they should remain on your email list and may even be encouraged to share your content with others and the beneficial cycle begins.

Different Content for Different People

Many businesses produce one email for all of their clients but this isn’t always the best approach. Offering different types of services that your customers can subscribe to may be key. For example; whether they want all updates, just blog posts pertaining to one subject, or a combination of things. Offering more detailed and specific email subscriptions can increase the amount of people that sign up, and the more relevant the information is that you’re providing, the more likely it is to get shared. However, it is then absolutely vital that you don’t confuse the different categories of subscribers.

Offer Opportunities To Opt For Emails

A surefire way to get your email subscription offer out there without spamming your website is to provide an option for your customers to opt in at the end of your content. This could be at the end of a blog post, video service page or even on your social media accounts. It’s just a simple way to basically say, “Hey! You can get information sent directly to you!”

People Love Free Things

We cannot stress it enough; giveaways are the golden goddess of receiving what you want from your customers. People love free things. There are many ways in which you can use this to your advantage within your email marketing strategy. One of the easiest things is to offer free product to those that sign up for your email subscription. Mind you, this can get expensive if you have thousands of people opting in. To lower the costs and items you’re giving away for free, you could also host a giveaway to those who sign up, or even just a random one of the month to simply thank your customers. People love free stuff, and they love to feel appreciated.

Add An Overlay

When it comes to finding new ways to improve the conversion rate of your website, there are many forms of technologies to use, such as Bounce Exchange and SumoMe. Such services can actually enhance the conversion of your site by a couple of percentages. This is absolutely incredible, especially in paid programs, and you can actually see the true return of investment!

So, don’t only think about those SEO’s rules and guidelines to enhance your ranking. There is a lot of “outside of the box” tactics you can practice that focus on your content and audience which is very white hat SEO savvy. Google loves high quality content now, and email marketing is a surefire way to receive maximum benefits from your audience. You just have to make sure that you do it right because no one likes their inbox being filled with spam emails filled with content that no one wants to read. Who knew that email marketing could go hand-in-hand with SEO? Now you do.

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