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The Importance of an Effective Content Strategy within Your Digital Marketing Campaign

Content-MarketingContent builds trust between brands and consumers. The content you create tells a story about your company and helps to establish you as a leader in your field. Any amount of small research will tell you content is an extremely important part of any marketing campaign.

The content you create is the basis of any of these campaigns and determines how your company is viewed by potential clients. Many companies realize content is important; however, most fail at creating a content strategy that will benefit those campaigns. Read on to learn more about some of the crucial elements which should be a part your Content Marketing Strategy.

Content strategy

Developing a defined content strategy is vital to the success of your campaign. Can you just set out to write a blog on a topic of your choice and achieve great success from that one blog? In most cases, you cannot. To achieve optimal results, you need to have a strategy defined regarding that blog topic, how it ties into social media, your search engine optimization efforts, keyword strategy, etc.

Along with have a defined content strategy, it is incredibly important to have someone who is able to oversee your content strategy to make sure all the content produced meets the overall goals of the campaign.

Content affects search algorithms

In an effort to improve user searches, the search engines make changes to their algorithms indicating what they want to see in content. For instance, the Google algorithm update known as Panda uses content quality as a key metric for how sites rank. Your content needs to be concise, yet long enough to give a full in-depth review of your topic. Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, released in August of 2013, put an emphasis on search results coming up much in the same way that we naturally speak, as a result your content writing is going to be forced to adjust to these conversational searches.

Mobile content marketing

Mobile users are looking for “in the moment searches” so determining what type of content fits this criteria should be a big part of your content strategy. This is commonly known as having a mobile first thought process. Mobile users are typically looking to convert quickly and your mobile content should be tailored with that in mind. In addition, your website and email campaigns need to be fully responsive to mobile devices so your content is easily viewed through any platform.

Knowing your audience is as key as the content you are writing, and analyzing your audience’s mobile habits help to create useful content for your mobile users. You want to know the answers to the following questions before you begin your mobile content strategy.

  • How many people are accessing your site via mobile?
  • How long are they staying on the site?
  • What method of content are they coming from (social, newsletters, blogs, search results, etc.)
  • What content are they reading? Is it topic based or format based (blog, social posts, newsletter, etc.)

Headlines

Last, but not least, are the importance of a well written headline. Even the best content will not get read unless you have an engaging headline. Dynamic, engaging headlines that show in a few characters what the content is about will increase your chances of the content being read.

Need help with designing and implementing your Content Marketing Strategy? Newtek’s team of experienced Digital Marketing experts can help you, call today at 866-820-8910

Encrypted Websites to Rank Higher In Google Search

HTTPSGoogle has announced that equipping your website with an *SSL 2048-bit key certificate – going HTTPS – will give you a boost in search ranking. Because obtaining an SSL certificate is both uncomplicated and affordable, it’s the easiest thing site owners can do to get a leg up in the Google Game.

Security has been a top priority of Google’s this year. They feel this is a move to make the Internet a more secure place, and a more secure Internet begins with more secure websites. HTTPS is a way to encrypt the data that is transmitted between a user’s web browser and the site they are on. With an SSL certificate, a website can keep payments and other customer data secure (passwords, credit card numbers, etc.)

The following indicators provide visual indication that a website is secured by SSL:

  • https in the URL
  • a locked padlock icon
  • a trustmark or site seal
  • a green address bar (available with Extended Validation SSL certificates)

Choosing the right SSL to secure your website is a balance of cost, convenience, and desired level of confidence. Higher priced SSLs require a greater degree of validation, which in turn confirms a higher level of certainty by trusted certificate authorities. SSL certificates which are only Domain Validated (DV) cannot fully assure visitors that a website is operated by verified business. If you are concerned about fraud or loss of customer confidence, you need an SSL certificate with verifiable trustmarks that show the website owner’s information has been verified, or an Extended Validation (EV) certificate recognized by high security browsers.

At Newtek, you can easily purchase an SSL certificate starting at just $10 per year (our new page is coming soon but these certs are available). We’d also love to speak with you if you have any questions about HTTPS, SSL certificates, or the overall security of your website.

techsales@thesba.com | 1.877.323.4678

*SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer.” It is a technology that establishes a secure session link between the visitor’s web browser and your website so that all communications transmitted through this link are encrypted and are, therefore, secure. An SSL certificate has two primary functions: authentication & verification, and data encryption. SSL is also used for transmitting secure email, secure files, and other forms of information. 

PCI Compliance and Your Business

PCI ComplianceIf you’re a business that accepts credit card payments, you’ve become familiar with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard for protecting cardholder information, commonly referred to as “PCI”. As credit card processors, banks, and businesses get more serious about credit card data security, you owe it to your customers to choose compliance every time.

In just this past year, we’ve seen data breach, after data breach, on top of data breaches across all industry sectors. Your customers want to know that you value their security and are serious about protecting their information. Showing your customers and clients that your organization is serious about data security will not only increase the legitimacy of your business, but you will be rewarded with satisfied lifelong customers who will spread the word about your good business practices.

Show your customers your business is serious about PCI compliance in the following ways:

  • SSL or Nothing – SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server (website) and browser, or a mail server and a mail client (like Outlook). SSL allows sensitive information (login credentials, credit card numbers) to be transmitted securely.  Make sure your business is only collecting customer data on a secure webpage; this will be indicated by a little lock icon coupled with “https” in the webpage URL.
  • Be Loud and Proud – Ensure your payment processing system is PCI compliant and take the necessary steps to keep your business certified. Flaunt your compliance standards and make it a prominent part of your marketing approach. You will put your customers at ease, as they know you’re doing everything possible to protect their personal information.
  • Help Develop Good Habits – Although an increasing number of consumers are becoming technically savvy, many people are still naïve about the vulnerabilities of email and other online messaging systems. Assume the mom-role and rebuke your clients for sending card numbers, banking numbers, or passwords via email. They may be put off initially but in the end, they will thank you for the lesson.
  • Don’t forget the CVV – Those three little digits (four for AMEX) on the backs of payment cards are not stored on magnetic strips or chips, meaning – in theory – you must have the hard in hand to know the code. Always ask for the CVV security code when processing a telephone or online payment. You should never store this information, but it will show the buyer you’re taking extra steps to authenticate the transaction.

Elements of Organic Search 2014

organic searchOrganic search elements change often. To stay ahead of your competition, your company and/or digital marketing firm should be staying on top of the newest search guidelines set forth by the search engines.  These guidelines provide you with “best practices” you should adopt right now to increase and improve your visibility within search engines.  Here are the latest elements search engines are targeting; the inclusion of the following (or lack thereof) will have considerable impact on search ranking positions. These elements will also continue to be important moving into 2015.

Page architecture, or the organization of your page content, has been very important in search for 2014. Using an On-Page optimization tool, you can analyze the existing structure of your webpage and see your website’s data as a search engine’s spider sees it, allowing for better web page optimization. On-Page coding allows search engines to crawl your website affectively and directs end users to what each page of your site is about. While there are several different elements of On-Page coding, for 2014, your URLTitle Tags, and Meta Descriptions are considered by many industry experts to have the most direct impact on search results.

Title Tags

The Title Tag appears on the results pages just above the URL and also appears at the top of a browser. It defines the title of the page.

 Best Practices for Title Tags:

  • Depending on the font you use, each title tag should be no more than 56 characters long.
  • Title tags should be written with descriptive characters, unique to every page of your site.
  • Utilize important keywords towards the front of the title tag.
  • Google recommends title tags contain your brand name at beginning or end of each title.

Meta Descriptions

Meta Descriptions appear in the search results under the title tag and URL. The meta descriptions provide concise explanations of the content of the web page.

 Best Practices for Meta Descriptions:

  • Accurate meta descriptions, along with title tags, improve your click through rate
  • A meta description should target a unique keyword for that page, only appearing once in the description.
  • You should think of your meta description as a sales pitch for that page.
  • Your descriptions should engage visitors and encourage them to click through to that page.
  • Meta descriptions should include a strong call to action.

URL

A ‘SEO Friendly URL’ is a term often used by SEO analysts and marketing firms to define a URL that provides a good end user experience. You want your URL’s to please both the search engine bots crawling the site, as well as web users who are visiting the site.  Your URL should be relevant, engaging, accurate, and descriptive; but it should also be as brief as possible.

 Example URL’s:

  • http://www.newtekwebservices.com/digital-marketing/ – We like to think this is a great example of a ‘SEO friendly’ URL. This address is static – meaning the contents of the web page stay the same unless the changes are hard-coded into the HTML -and contains keywords that a web user seeking digital marketing or technology services would be searching for. You can figure out what the page is about just by looking at the URL.
  • http://www.companyname.com/jp=578432  – This is an example of a dynamic URL. A dynamic URL is a page address that results from the search of a database-driven web site or the URL of a web site that runs a script. This URL can be crawled by the search engines, however, does not offer the end user ease of use that a static URL offers.

Example from Search Results (Google):

Newtek Google Results

Further Considerations:

  • Rich SnippetsRich Snippets are the full lines of text under every search result. According to Google, they are designed to summarize the content of a page in a way that makes it even easier for users to understand what the page is about in our search results.
    • Examples of rich snippets in search results include ratings, reviews count, and price range. Utilizing calls to actions such as “see our hard to beat prices” as the call to action, encourages you to take a look at those prices resulting in a click through of the search result.
  • Video OptimizationYouTube is the number two search engine owned by the largest, Google.  Incorporating video into your website helps freshen up the content and helps increase the chance of user engagement.
  • Content Optimization  – Content is king was the most used Digital Marketing phrase of 2014.  Adding or updating your website with relevant fresh content will help it build or continue to grow your site’s authority within the search engines.  Utilizing a blog is a great way to do that. Having a blog installed on your website and blogging at a minimum once a week gives you an opportunity to create more fresh content, while at the same time educating your potential clients about your brand and your knowledge in your industry.  Context-based approach is crucial for content quality has been a huge element of search in 2014.
  • Social Signals – There is an ongoing debate as to whether search engines utilize data from social accounts to determine ranking for your website. With that being said, what we do know is social media pages are treated like any other page in the search results, if the search engines can crawl it then they can return it in search results.  Social Media platforms also have a direct correlation to the number of visitors to your website. By distributing content or sharing important information about your business via your social media platforms, you have the potential to drive more traffic to your website. Using social platforms is also another great way to put out and share more content about your business.
  • Back Linking – A well-defined SEO strategy should include researching and capturing qualified relevant back-links for your site.  The more relevant the link is to your industry, the more value it will pass to your website.

Sound Technically Overwhelming?

Call 866-820-8910 today for a FREE digital marketing consultation with the experts here at Newtek Web Services. We will be glad to review your website and provide you with a competitor analysis to give you a better understanding your business’ digital landscape. We’d also be glad to discuss or answer any questions that you may have about any of our online marketing services. Contact us today and let our digital marketing team take your business to the next level.

Introduction to Digital Marketing

digital marketingFor a business to succeed in today’s world, it is important to have a strong digital footprint within the internet. Therefore, when a business is defining its marketing plan, it must incorporate a solid digital strategy. Without a digital marketing strategy in place, new client acquisitions, brand visibility, and impactful revenue generating opportunities will likely be damaged.

Five Important Digital Marketing Elements To Consider

The five most important elements of a digital campaign consist of mobile considerations, organic search, social media marketing, content marketing and lead nurturing. All of these elements combined make up a cohesive digital marketing strategy. How you define these elements have a direct correlation on a successful campaign.

  1. Mobile Considerations90% of consumer transactions are started on one device and finished on another. (Neil Mohan, Google) Further, in 2014, smartphone and tablet sales grossly outnumber pc sales.  Learning what is possible with mobile and marketing to those users are crucial in today’s digital world. Every aspect of your digital marketing campaign should reflect mobile considerations.
  2. Organic SearchConsumers get wanted information online through a variety of methods, the most prominent being search engine results. The first part of getting your website in front of potential customers and clients is to correctly optimize your website. Optimizing your website correctly will help the search engines identify what your site is all about, and how it relates to what the user is looking for. Implementing a solid organic search strategy will increase your website’s visibility within the search engines and help drive more traffic to your website, increasing your potential for a variety of positive opportunities.
  3. Content MarketingContent is a major driving factor in a digital marketing strategy. Utilizing a blog on a site is a great way to help provide visitors with fresh and relevant content. This will help lead to an increase in site visitors, user engagement, which both work to drive conversions. Creating new and impactful content for your website also creates business authority. Through proper content marketing strategies, you can establish recognition as a leader within your business vertical.
  4. Social Media MarketingSocial media marketing is a great medium for a business to build and increase brand presence throughout the Internet. It also provides a very powerful tool to share information and distribute content about products and services. Utilizing a variety of social media platforms creates new opportunities to interact and connect with potential customers and clients.
  5. Nurturing Website Visitors & Email MarketingStatistics say that only 1-3% of website visitors make a buying decisions the first time they come to a website.  When your digital marketing campaign is driving qualified traffic to your website, what do you do with the remaining 97% of visitors who did not buy from your site the first time around?  This is where a strategic email marketing campaign helps to provide an ROI to your company. Marketing research shows that over 65% of consumers are inclined to make a purchase in association with a well planned email campaign. Remember, the majority of emails opened today are opened via mobile device. So be sure that all email-marketing efforts are mobile-ready.

Start A Digital Marketing Campaign Today

Call 866-820-8910 today and get started on a successful digital marketing campaign with Newtek Web Services. Our digital marketing experts will collaborate with you and tailor a specifically designed digital marketing strategy to increase your company’s web presence and take your business to the next level.

Responsive Design v. Mobile Website: What’s the Difference?

Mobile website_responsive designShould you have a mobile website or a responsive website?

This is a debate among website developers, SEO companies, and business owners alike. As a decision maker within your company, how do you determine which is the best platform for your business?

What is the difference between the two platforms?

A mobile site is a replica of your website, optimized to be viewed on smaller screens such as phones and tablets. In this instance, the server does the work to deliver a page that is smaller, easier to navigate, and loads quickly. It is important to point out that having a dedicated mobile app created for your website is not the same as having a website that is optimized for mobile.

With responsive design, the website has been coded to recognize what is accessing it, and automatically adjusts according to a device’s screen size and orientation. After the device is identified (phone, desktop, etc.) the best version of the site for that particular device is rendered. Well-designed responsive sites will deliver the same comfort and usability to the mobile user as the desktop user.

Important considerations you should know about mobile sites and responsive design: 

Domain Identification

A mobile site has a separate domain from your main site: m.domain.com which identifies it as mobile only.  Changes made to a website need to be made on both the standard site as well as the mobile site. It is more costly to have a developer maintain both sites, and – if you’re not very careful – can cause for a disjointed user experience.

With responsive design you have just one URL for your website.  Any changes made to the site rollout through desktop and mobile simultaneously.

Search Engines Favor Responsive Design

Statistics report that 65% of website traffic comes from Google, which makes their opinion crucial in your decision to create a responsive website. Google prefers responsive web design because content that lives on one website and one URL is much easier for users to share, interact with, and link to than content that lives on separate mobile sites.

User Experience

Responsive design allows for a cohesive user experience; one website that looks equally awesome on all types of devices. A website optimized for mobile will, in most cases, sacrifice content for usability. A desktop user and a mobile user probably won’t consume the same content, and it’d certainly be delivered in two very different ways. In this case, a website designed specifically for mobile will deliver a better experience to the mobile user. However, if someone were to share you mobile site with someone using a desktop, his or her experience would be rather poor. While mobile sites look awesome on mobile, they do not have the ability (like responsive websites) to look awesome on any other platform.

Looking for More Information on Responsive Design or Mobile Websites?

Call 866-820-8910 today and speak to one of our Project Managers regarding your website needs.  Our design team will collaborate with you to create a visually appealing Digital Storefront designed to attract and convert potential clients for your business.

Responsive Design: An Industry Buzz Term or A Necessity For Your Business?

responsiveOver the past year and a half, the concept of responsive design has played a prominent part in discussions regarding website design and development. While there are countless blogs, webinars, etc. discussing this topic, many people are still uncertain of the benefits. Is responsive design an industry buzz term that will fade out, or a necessity you need to consider for your business’ website? There are many reasons why adopting a responsive platform for your website is a progressive business decision. However, the following provides proof that this web movement is indeed a business necessity:

Mobile Usage Is Increasing

There are many statistics that prove responsive design is here to stay. However, these two statistics below are the most telling:

  • 47% of all emails are opened on mobile phones (as of April 2014)
  • In 2013, more than half of local searches were done on a mobile phone

The fact is, if your website isn’t easy to navigate on mobile devices, people will quickly leave. The first statistic proves that without a responsive design you are likely missing out on at least 47% of potential clients just from your email efforts. Can you imagine how many others you have missed that came from mobile searches?

User Interaction and Conversion

A successful website is defined by easy to use navigation and the user interaction.  These two items prompt users to convert (buy from you). Responsive design allows your users to easily navigate through your website without having to “pinch and zoom”.  When building your site in a responsive platform, our developers can manipulate how all of those conversion elements will display on mobile and tablet.

Why Responsive Design is good for SEO.

Pierre Far, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, tells us that Google does in fact favor websites featuring responsive design techniques.  Responsive design uses CSS3 media queries to alter the way the page renders on all screen sizes, including mobile and tablet devices. You then have one URL, one content, one HTML code along with but CSS media queries to specify which CSS rules apply for the browser displaying the page. Google indicates the advantages of one URL making it easier for your users to interact with the page and enables Google’s “algorithms to assign the indexing properties to your content.” Basically, it is more efficient when Google is crawling your content because Google doesn’t have to crawl multiple pages.

Reasons to Seriously Consider a Website Built in a Responsive Platform

Simply said, if you do not have a website built in a responsive platform, you will lose customers to your competitors who do. Is this a chance you are willing to take with your business?

Looking for More information on responsive design?

Call 866-820-8910 today and speak to one of our Project Managers regarding your website needs.  Our design team will collaborate with you to create a visually appealing digital storefront designed to attract and convert potential clients for your business.

Email Security – Is Your Information Safe?

email-security 2Securing your email with a strong password is important, but it only protects your local email account. Once your email (and the data within) leaves your network – bouncing from server to server, on its way to the intended recipient – you have no control over its security.

Some common ways email can be hacked or intercepted:

  • Headers – Did you know that the headers of your emails are full of information that can be of use to hackers? Even though you usually only see “From”, “To”, and the “Subject”, email headers can be manipulated to show your IP address, local time zone, and even the email software you are using (knowing the software version enables hackers to exploit bugs associated with that particular software).
  • Keylogging SoftwareThis method is the easiest way to hack email. Hackers load the software (that is created to record a user’s keystrokes) onto unsuspecting machines remotely, and it operates silently in the background. Targets usually have no idea that every single keystroke is being captured in order to be potentially exploited.
  • Web Bugs – These tiny, virtually undetectable images are inserted into HTML-formatted email by hackers. When the email is opened, information about your system and email software is sent right to the hacker. Hackers have gotten very clever in recent years, targets don’t even have to click any links to enable it –merely opening the email downloads the image into the email client.
  • Network Traffic Interception – Hackers may monitor the course email messages travel in order to read the packets of data contained within the message as it moves through its intended route; this is called ‘network traffic interception’. As it applies to email, after you press send, your message is transmitted through a host of servers on the internet before it arrives to your intended recipient. All along that path, hackers can monitor the data packets moved along the route to decipher the information you are transmitting.

Any of these methods can be used without ever having to actually hack your email password! Before transmitting any sensitive data outside of your own network, make sure you’re doing what you can to safeguard your information from hackers and thieves.

Apple Makes a Move on Mobile Payments

applepay_applewatchSmartphone makers have been trying to replace our wallets with digital pay methods for several years. While the trend has yet to widely catch on outside of the tech sphere, Apple (so often the bridge between the super geeky and super chic) believes that they may be able to change that.

On Tuesday, Apple announced it would soon be offering its own version of the mobile wallet, dubbed Apple Pay. Apple claims to have already established relationships with three major credit card companies, and retail giants like Target and McDonald’s – meaning soon you’ll be paying for your Number 3 with your iPhone or Apple Watch.

While the mobile payments market remains in its frontier stages for now, Forrester Research expects it to reach $100 billion in the United States within the next five years. Apple feels that the opportunity is now ripe for them to make their move on the industry. Apple wants consumers to believe that Apple Pay is a safer payment method than traditional payment cards with “exposed numbers and the outdated and vulnerable mag stripe.” Apple promises that credit card information will not be stored on the devices or on Apple’s servers. But in light of the recent iCloud hacks, consumer’s unease over privacy and security may be cause for concern. However, if anyone has the power to persuade the general public, famous tastemaker Apple is the company to do so.

Initially, Apple Pay will only be available for the iPhone 6iPhone 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch.

Beware of the Facebook Color Change Scam

facebookscamappA variant of the tried-and-true Facebook color scam is back.

Cheetah Mobile, security software researcher and provider, is the first to confirm the reemergence of the hack. The scam appears as a Facebook app that can be shared or posted on the News Feed. So far, more than 10,000 people have been tricked into downloading the malware, according to the Cheetah Mobile Security blog post.

Upon clicking on the link from the News Feed, users will be directed to a phishing site that poses as a legitimate, Facebook-sponsored page. Once on the phishing page, users will be prompted  to watch a tutorial on how to change the color of their Facebook profile page. By agreeing to watch the video, users grant hackers access to their profiles, allowing the app to spam their friends. PC users who skip the video will be led to download a pornography video player, and smartphone users to download an antivirus app. Both are infected with malware.

Luckily, the malicious app is easy to get rid of. Those infected need only to remove it from the Facebook app settings page. Affected users should also change their Facebook password. Check out Cheetah Mobile’s breakdown of the virus for more information.

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