How to Get Your Website Ranked in 2018

It’s hard enough as it is to explain to non-SEOs how to rank a webpage. In an increasingly complicated field, to do well you’ve got to have a good handle on a wide variety of detailed subjects. This edition of Whiteboard Friday covers a nine-point checklist of the major items you’ve got to cross off to rank in the new year — and maybe get some hints on how to explain it to others, too.

via How to Rank in 2018: The SEO Checklist – Whiteboard Friday

Awesome list here from the MOZ team. We perform all of these (and more) when building a new website for a client.  Also, site redesigns need SEO considerations as well. Plus, we often do “SEO overhauls” of existing sites that might have been neglected the last few years.

Why this is important (still)

Search Engine Optimization has always been something of a dark (or light) art depending on who you talk to.  However, the short and sweet of it is that Google can still drive a good deal of qualified traffic to your site, especially from mobile devices.

We see great results from small and large clients when we actively fine tune SEO to help them achieve the goals they’ve laid out, whether that’s selling a product or getting online donations for a nonprofit within certain ZIP codes.

Many businesses, churches or nonprofits that go the “I know a kid down the street who can build us a Weebly / WIX / Squarespace site” miss the added benefits that SEO can bring.

So, study up and at least ask that whoever is building your site follow some of these steps.

How to Make a Great “About Us” Page on Your Website

“Often ignored until the last minute before launch (and thereafter), many small businesses seem to use their “About Us” page as the dumping spot for all the boring, dry information that “needs to be on the site but didn’t fit anywhere else”.

What the owners of those About Us pages don’t realize, however, is that they’re missing out on a huge opportunity: the chance to begin earning the trust that leads to sales.”

via SmallBizTrends

One of the most common mistakes we see during the website development process with clients of all shapes and sizes is the lack of regard for a coherent “About Us” page. Whether it’s a small church or a Fortune 500 company, it seems that everyone is either afraid to fail or scared of putting too much thought into this otherwise crucial page.

Good advice

I recommend this whole post for people starting out in a creative venture or pursuing a lifelong passion as a vocation or for profit:

Be humble, but always try to exceed expectations. When you accept an invitation to do a talk, or do a work for a commission, do something that’s a stretch, and then do it so well that it looks like it was easy. This can mean doing way more work in a small amount of time than people think should be possible, or learning a whole new technology to do a crazy idea.

via Too much advice – Zach Gage – Medium

Googling Inside Your Church

Fascinating piece on Google Maps history and possible directions…

So Google likely knows what’s inside all of the buildings it has extracted. And as Google gets closer and closer to capturing every building in the world, it’s likely that Google will start highlighting / lighting up buildings related to queries and search results.

This will be really cool when Google’s/Waymo’s self-driving cars have AR displays. One can imagine pointing out the window at a building and being able to see what’s inside.

via Google Maps’s Moat

Nonprofits, the smartphone, Facebook, and Google

Interesting thoughts here from the NY Times CEO on how they are shifting focus in relationship to Facebook and Google due to the smartphone revolution … much of this applies to how nonprofits and churches can do better marketing as well:

It’s about how you think about the product and what you’re trying to do and what is the value you’re giving to users. The areas of weakness in the publishing industry have been not having an audience strategy or sufficient brain space to think about how you serve your audience. It’s very easy to get tracked into assumptions about who your audience is. In legacy media, journalistic parameters were set by the geographical limitations. [The smartphone] changes everything. You need to reinvent journalism from the ground up with this device in mind, and then try and figure out what you’re going to do on a laptop and the physical newspaper.

via ‘Facebook is not transparent:’ NY Times CEO Mark Thompson says the platform’s role needs to be clearer – Digiday

The power of looking ahead

Never get so caught up in the past and present that you fail to see what’s ahead. Vision is a powerfully lucrative skill if you’re crazy enough to think you can change the world.

From 1992…

How rich is this lode? At one end of the spectrum is John Sculley, the chief executive of Apple Computer Inc., who says these personal communicators could be “the mother of all markets.”

At the other end is Andrew Grove, the chairman of the Intel Corporation, the huge chip maker based in Santa Clara, Calif. He says the idea of a wireless personal communicator in every pocket is “a pipe dream driven by greed.”

via The Executive Computer – ‘Mother of All Markets’ or a ‘Pipe Dream Driven by Greed’? – NYTimes.com

Your logo and Instagram content

Good advice to consider here, particularly for nonprofits and churches on slimmer marketing budgets looking to make the most impact possible on social media…

What about content that doesn’t show a clear logo? What about companies with unbranded or non-logoed products? We’ve seen that a huge percentage of the content shared and posted on Pinterest is logo-free. It’s important to go beyond the logo to get the whole story of an image—how brand content is shared over time, who has shared that content and who has influence in getting it shared

via Brands Must Look Beyond the Logo to See the Big Picture – Adweek

How should we regulate Facebook and Google’s advertising platforms?

So how does Facebook’s ad system work? Well, just like Google, it’s accessed through a self-service platform that lets you target your audiences using Facebook data. And because Facebook knows an awful lot about its users, you can target those users with astounding precision. You want women, 30–34, with two kids who live in the suburbs? Piece of cake. Men, 18–21 with an interest in acid house music, cosplay, and scientology? Done! And just like Google, Facebook employed legions of algorithms which helped advertisers find their audiences, deliver their messaging, and optimize their results. A massive ecosystem of advertisers flocked to Facebook’s new platform, lured by what appeared to be the Holy Grail of their customer acquisition dreams: People Based Marketing!

via Lost Context: How Did We End Up Here? – NewCo Shift

I’m really torn on this one. John Battelle here (a tech publishing veteran who knows a good deal about online advertising) argues for more regulation and transparency of Facebook and Google’s advertising platforms.

I’ve seen how both Facebook and Google’s advertising platforms can work wonder for good causes like the nonprofits, religious group, and community organizations that are our clients. It’s wonderful to see the way that we can work miracles (hyperbole) to create new reach, fundraising, and awareness campaigns for these groups on a limited budget using Facebook Ads and AdWords. In the past, that would have required them to spend exponentially more on marketing and advertising. But now, we can help these groups grow on a shoestring. That’s a good thing.

However, we are at an inflection point.

I agree with Battelle on a theoretical layer, but there’s also the notion of democratic capitalism and the need to allow markets to flourish or wither based on their own actions (does our democracy value ethics, morality etc the same as it has and what does that mean for advertising?).

On the other hand, there are other advertising platforms that are major players in Asia and will be major players on a global scale soon such as Alibaba and Tencent and Rakuten. If we hamstring Google and Facebook, do we run the risk of advertisers abandoning those platforms for greener global pastures?

On the other hand, Russia interfered with our Presidential election and it’s no secret that politicians and special interest groups are doing bad things with these platforms.

What Does Your Brand Do?

Longevity and repetition are two of the hardest to use tools in a marketer’s toolbox, but also the most effective.

via Marketing at millennials won’t save your tired brand | The Drum

There are definitely some points in this post that I disagree with (importance of having a “famous” brand and working towards that being a goal for your organization for one), but this sentence did stick out to me as something that I need to emphasize with our clients more often.

We do lots of “strategic consulting” with non-profits and businesses that don’t necessarily have a large budget for branding considerations. It’s something that often gets overlooked in the process of thinking through a marketing plan. That can easily be seen by the poor quality of logos and branding material that most local or regional non-profits have. But these things can be done well on a tight budget.

As the economy has shifted and nonprofits (especially) are facing slimmer traditional sources of donations there, concepts such as “what does your logo tell people about your group, business or non-profit?” become valuable barometers for improvement whether you’re trying to sell a product or solicit a donation.

You don’t need to have a quality Nike swoosh or Apple apple or Coke wordmark to be successful, but thinking through what you’re presenting and what you’re trying to “do” with your logo, fonts, colors, and brand messaging can make a world of difference when done well.