When it comes to brand visibility, you can’t go wrong with a solid search strategy in place. After all, it involves small tweaks that will help users find you if and w...
When it comes to brand visibility, you can’t go wrong with a solid search strategy in place. After all, it involves small tweaks that will help users find you if and when they need to. Of course, there are other elements at play, like your marketing strategy and specific business objectives, but a universal goal is growth and awareness, and that you’ll find on the search engine results pages - if you know-how.
Search engine optimization is split up into two main categories in terms of the logistics. The first is on the backend, where the structure of your site and aspects of your code help determine visibility and give Google the lay of the land. Typically SEO specialists need to interact with this backend to ensure that pages are structured and categorized correctly, that duplicate content is marked as “invisible” to crawlers and that the site loads quickly enough for it to be convenient to users.
These are just a few basic and oversimplified examples for context. However, you don’t need to be a fully-fledged tech expert to make a significant difference to a site’s ranking - as there’s a whole nother element to gaining search cred.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO relates to activities you can do on the front-end to improve your site’s ranking, support link-building strategies and make content more inclusive and easily indexable. It’s also a good place to create mechanisms for users to engage with what you’re publishing and be able to process it all quickly and easily.
Why is this so important? Because it helps search engines like Google and Firefox determine how relevant your content is to a specific search query, which means the people who are looking for your products and services are more likely to find you. In fact, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. (BrightEdge)
In order to start improving your presence online and making the necessary changes to become more visible, it’s important to master the basics. Here’s how:
All told, basic on-page search knowledge is a must-have for any marketer or creative working particularly in the digital copywriting space - but it’s also an important part of your content strategy.
Without at least some consideration for search queries, you won’t get the most value from your site, which means wasted resources, missed leads and simply taking up space online. We can help you formulate better on-page strategies and drive new business to your digital doors. Speak to us for more information.
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The web is a fast-paced and ever-changing medium. There are new trends popping up all the time, new browser releases to contend with, and new frontend frameworks to learn.
It can be hard to keep up with all that's happening in our industry. When your job depends on your knowledge of what's new in web development — whether you're a developer or designer — it's especially important that you understand what's current so you don't miss anything that could impact your business or life.
Web development is constantly evolving. As new technologies emerge and more and more devices are being used to access the web, web developers have to keep up with the latest trends in order to create websites that perform well and look great. Let’s take a look at what’s poignant at the moment:
Sometimes the greatest innovations come in simple changes to existing mechanisms, where small changes mean big benefits. We know that consumers value speed, which is evidenced by drop-off rates on sites that take more than 3 seconds to load. As much as 40 percent of your audience will leave when your webpage doesn’t load instantly. This is just one example of many, where consumers expect instant feedback and gratification when interacting with your brand online. In light of this, the growing trend towards accelerating menial tasks is becoming a standard. This is true for both consumer-facing content as well as internal platforms and web developers will be expected to get the basics right before branching off into novelty.
Historically, developers were largely in control of creating a user experience by dictating formats for websites and online platforms. When marketers started to understand the importance of user experience design - new roles emerged in the strategy and creative sphere that blended design with creating a consumer journey. Now, developers and designers are part of increasingly hybrid disciplines, where both are required to work together to generate user interfaces. A prevalent trend is for front-end developers to automatically suggest interface mechanisms, while designers with basic development knowledge are more in demand than ever. Today, the prototyping process is a combined effort and will increasingly merge as design and development overlap in terms of meeting consumer expectations.
AI was once thought of as a concept only meant for sci-fi movies, but has evolved from just theory and cinematic special effects to everyday use. The use of machine learning and natural language processing techniques has improved drastically, faster than previously thought possible. It may seem that the sky's the limit at this point. Current trends indicate that chatbots will continue to feature as a marketing tool for many web developers. The chatbot market is growing at a rapid pace and is expected to reach $83 billion in 2021. Another current AI trend is its use in predictive analytics. Machine learning is being applied to better understand consumer behaviour so as to target them more efficiently. This leads to increased customer acquisition as learned patterns assist in the personalisation of targeted content.
These types of websites are a controversial topic in the marketing world, because while it means less code, easier experimentation and simplified analytics, it can also present a cost to SEO and content limitations by design. Plus, creating enticing and functional user interfaces can become more challenging. However, as a sufficient, resource-efficient tool for SMEs, these sites are on the rise and the art of perfecting a one-page site needs to be a tool in the arsenal of modern developers. One other advantage is that they lead to increased user engagement and ultimately higher conversions than multi-page sites through simplified navigation. In addition, they’re great for any web developer’s clients that may be starting out and don’t yet have a lot of content to offer but need a web presence.
Lastly, a current trend related to all the above in the web development world is the growing use of progressive web apps which may replace native mobile apps in the future. This is being driven by the growing use of mobile devices. Another is the increasing use of voice searches giving rise to digital assistants and the proliferation of IoT.
From what we’ve seen, web development will continue to incorporate newer technologies going into the future. The consensus so far is that, regardless of what development trend is adopted, speed and usability will be the key determining factors of any web design.
At Digital Grind, we stay ahead of the curve as our web development is next level. Be it websites, apps, business intelligence or newer technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality, we have the necessary tools to bring your ideas to life. Start a development project with us. Ready when you are!
Since the beginning of the digital age, circa the mid-20th century, society has slowly begun to harness the power of information technology. When computers became more portable and cheaper to manufacture, this meant that more people could access them. Mobile phones and device miniaturisation are continuing to make web accessibility more possible today.
Current statistics show that about 15% of the world's population is considered to be living with some sort of disability. While this is a significant proportion of the human race, it’s quite apparent that most technology is designed with the 85% in mind.
Not only that, the web should be fully functional for every single person trying to access it, regardless of their software, hardware or location. Meeting this goal ensures accessibility isn’t exclusive to the majority.
Web accessibility refers to the design and development of websites that are accessible to people living with disabilities. While there are various types of disabilities, there are some that make it difficult for some to access certain types of web content.
Such individuals at times have to use assistive technologies to access it. Examples of these include screen readers, text-to-speech, screen enlargement, voice recognition and word prediction technologies. However, these technologies only work if the principles have been applied by the website creators.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are some web accessibility guidelines provided by the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). The current version of these guidelines is WCAG 2.1, although the newer versions 2.2 and 3 are still under draft.
People living with disability face a variety of disadvantages in their day-to-day living; one of these is web accessibility. When some individuals aren’t able to fully access the web, particularly due to its design, they are considered a part of the digitally excluded.
Disability inclusion aims to address the barriers posed by information and communication technology as this infringes on some of their basic rights. A person living with disability has a right to access any web service just as much as an able bodied individual.
Improving accessibility for your website helps to address any discrimination that it can potentially pose on people living with disability. Web accessibility means “that people with disabilities can equally perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with websites and tools.”
There are four principles that should be the baseline for the design or development of a website to ensure accessibility. They can also be applied to any other information technology as well. A website should be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust:
A website or app should be built in a way that ensures that there is alternative access through other senses that may be diminished or missing. This is why there are video captions for those who are partially or completely deaf, for example.
The website should also allow for errors, making sure that the user has ample time to fix them. One example of operability is that a website should cater for those who might use only a keyboard, for example, and cannot use a mouse.
In addition, it should provide feedback to users, helping them with any errors. In fact, any potential errors a user may experience should be mitigated against through contextual help.
There are currently three levels for web accessibility guidelines, according to the WCAG. These are levels A (basic), AA (intermediate) and AAA (optimal). The majority of organisations aim to achieve AA status. Compliance level AAA encompasses the standards of all three levels.
To become Level AAA compliant, you have to meet all 61 success criteria as provided by the WCAG. To help you, the WCAG provides a checklist.
AAA sites are mainly aimed at maximising users and the criteria is very strict. This compliance level is aimed at enabling access to individuals with audiovisual impairments.
Some of the AAA criteria include having a colour contrast level of at least 7:1. In addition, there should be sign language interpretation of media content. Having a variety of accessibility tools is commonplace on AAA sites.
If you are considering a level of compliance you would like to meet, first try and figure out who your target users are. For example, if your website or app is meant for elderly users or those living with disability, then AAA compliance is the way to go.
So, choose a compliance level that suits the needs of both you and your audience. Start taking steps to understand what changes you need to make to your website using the chosen compliance level and watch your audience grow, while better serving your current users.
Author: Brandon Busuttil, MD, Digital Grind
To the untrained ear, the phrase “martech” sounds like another buzzword, and maybe in some ways, it is. It seems like everybody is adding the “tech” to words that already exist these days and making it a thing. However, there is real merit to understanding the intricacies behind the growing movement towards using technology in marketing and the applications and mechanisms that make this possible.
As brand owners, playing in the marketing space, there are universal challenges that we have to overcome and tech provides us with a ton of ways to get there.
The data conundrum
One of the biggest problems we face in the digital landscape today is making sense of enormous amounts of data available to us. In fact, according to TechJury, “1.7MB of data was created every second by every person during 2020” and these numbers only seem to be growing. With such a substantial base of information to sift through, it can seem impossible to draw truly valuable insights and manual detection of brand mentions can only get us so far. There just aren’t enough hours in a day or people on Earth to do the job of monitoring software, which is so key to improving performance in our industry.
Does this mean that human power is now redundant? Of course not. But it is a good example of how embracing martech makes our everyday operations more efficient and helps create the right environment for smarter people-power. Without social listening and media monitoring, we create unimaginable amounts of work for employees, and by introducing data that needs to be manually vetted and constantly added to, we’re back at square one in terms of lacking resources for comprehending the digital spaces we operate in.
According to GlobalNewswire, the media monitoring software market was approximately USD 2,260 million in 2018 and is expected to generate around USD 7,236 million by 2027, at a CAGR of around 13.9% between 2019 and 2027”. What does this tell us? That data filtering is on the rise, and is quickly becoming part of our everyday operations in terms of monitoring, listening and reporting.
As a result of this, new SaaS solutions are springing up around the globe, with major players in competition to get the monopoly. For brands and agencies, this shows an important skills gap to fill when it comes to understanding this software and developing the ability to draw meaningful insights and base campaigns on key findings. In order to future-proof the success of your digital marketing, you will need a firm grasp on the data landscape around your brand and the infrastructure to understand it.
Martech skills development will grow massively in select nations
While the world is already adopting marketing technologies at a faster rate than pre-pandemic, we’re seeing a massive uptake of interest and skills development in tech-driven nations. For example, the first knowledge hub, related specifically to martech, popped up in the UAE in 2019. Now, only 3 years later, there’s a range of publications and supporting organizations coming to the fore, such as MartechNews and the Daily Martech Roundup, each with loyal followings.
Spending and investment is on the rise
In the Gartner 2019 - 2020 survey (which conducts research from the responses of over 340 participants), it was reported that top-line marketing spend would decrease for the first time in over 5 years. So, this means that martech spend should decrease too, right? But the opposite has happened. The same survey findings showed that “martech spending rose to 29% of total budgets” - a phenomenal leap in light of the current scarcity of resources.
What does this mean for businesses, brands and entrepreneurs? It’s time to adopt or die. This level of investment and shift in spending is usually spurred on by greater ROI and predictive forecasting, which means the data is showing consistently high returns, either on resource savings or generation, that comes as a direct result of using martech more.
New tools are emerging at a rapid rate
While some technological industries are forging partnerships within the ranks, martech seems to be a competitive and fast-paced environment. In fact, Martech Today reported that there are more than 8000 notable tools currently on the market for combining brand messaging and analytics with tech.
These were mostly data analysis tools. To some, this may seem like an opportunity to join forces, but it appears that barring a few buyouts and acquisitions, we still haven’t quite solved the problem of adequately centralising data analytics and media interactions. Until this is achieved, and someone takes the monopoly, a rang of tools will continue to emerge.
Preparing for the future
With growth in the martech sector becoming more evident and having an increasingly significant impact on marketing professionals, a few things are clear. The first of which is that brands must put the infrastructure in place to navigate a changing digital landscape or face some level of becoming obsolete. In short, there are a few critical steps towards preparing for the continued rise of martech:
At Digital Grind, we work tirelessly to understand the digital landscape and to keep building our technical infrastructure to meet the growing demands of the industry. Speak to us for more information or enlist our services on your next project and we can start to work together to ensure your business is fit for the future.