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What Is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. This once novel concept has taken the digital marketing industry by storm, becoming one of the most important strategies in your online arsenal. But if you’re not familiar with the term, you’re probably wondering what is SEO?

What Is SEO?

SEO is the concept of optimizing your business content so that it’s found more easily by organic search results. That sounds a little complicated, so let’s break it down.

Let’s say you need a new pair of running shoes. What’s your first step? If you’re like most consumers, you’re going to head over to your favorite search engine (probably Google) and type in “best running shoes to buy”, or something similar. In the click of a button, your screen is filled with hundreds of pages of links to stores and sites that sell shoes. Easy, right?

Well, it’s easy for the consumer, but if you’re one of the stores selling the shoes, getting your business to appear on the first page of that list is much harder. After all, not many consumers go to page 37 for running shoes unless they’re looking for something specific. So, the higher you are in the search results, the better your odds for making a sale. A good SEO strategy helps you get there. But how?

How Does SEO Work?

When you type that query into the search box, a search engine acts much like a digital library, quickly scanning through its billions of stored and categorized websites to find ones that fit your need. To create that database of sites, search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo have complex algorithms that send crawlers out to every website to find and index content for their results.

As their creepy name suggests, these spiders skulk about every page of your website content looking for clues about who you are, what you’re selling, and who you’ll benefit. The better they can index your content, the higher you’ll rank on their search engine results.

SEO is the process of optimizing your content to have as many clues as possible for the crawlers to use. It’s both an art and science, as you’ll need to understand what the crawlers are looking for and how to give that to them. Unless you’re a developer for their software team, most people don’t know exactly how these algorithms work. But we do have clues that can help us tailor our content to make the crawlers happy and give us a better place on their sticky web.

How Do I Use SEO?

Some of those helpful clues you can use to tailor your content for SEO comes from the search engines themselves. For example, Google explains that their search algorithms include factors such as the relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources, and location settings of the searcher.

To fall in line with their algorithm, you need to make your page relevant to certain searches, easy to use, include expert sources, and give your business location (among other things). Doing this comes in many forms, some of them included in the words of your content (called keywords) and others more technical in nature, such as optimizing your meta-tags and using proper backlinking. Check out this article for more information on how to dominate Google’s rankings.

The art form of SEO comes as search engines continually update their algorithms to weed out low-quality pages. In the past, websites honed in on certain factors of the algorithms and stuffed their websites with them to rank highly in search results. Things like duplicate content, keyword stuffing and improper linking caused a mass amount of poor and irrelevant content to dominate search results, to the frustration of users and developers everywhere.

These days, algorithms are constantly updated and fueled with artificial intelligence (AI) that keeps manipulating the system to a minimum. Websites that try to scam the system with low-quality SEO are penalized and often removed from search results entirely. Now, you’ve got to do the honest work to make the front page.

Each search engine has its own algorithm, so the best SEO strategy takes into account which one you want to rank for. Organic traffic - website traffic that doesn’t have to be paid for - is best found on Google. But if you’re looking to rank for video content, you’d need to research YouTube’s search algorithm for SEO guidance.

The Takeaway

SEO is the process of optimizing your digital content so it’s correctly indexed and highly ranked by search engines. The concept is based on tailoring your webpages and content to match up with specific factors search engine crawlers are looking for. When used correctly, a strong SEO strategy can benefit your business by gaining you higher amounts of organic website traffic that you don’t have to pay for. Try to dupe the system and you’re risking being put in a search results time out.

Do you need help developing or implementing a strong SEO strategy for your business? We can help! We offer a full range of SEO services to optimize your website so you show high on search results and get more leads, more traffic and more business. Contact us today!


Why Now Is the Time to Develop Your Marketing Strategy

As the nationwide lockdown continues to devastate the economy, a strong marketing strategy may be the last thing on your mind. Millions of businesses across the country have made deep cuts to their marketing costs in an effort to combat the quarantine’s strain on their profits. For those unfamiliar with marketing, it makes sense - why focus on marketing now, when customers can’t leave their homes to buy your product?

This line of thinking can have lasting negative effects on your company’s future. While saving money on marketing may seem like a quick fix, it will ultimately hurt your business when the economy rebounds. In fact, the current business climate provides a few advantages that make marketing right now easier than ever!

If your marketing strategy is weak, ineffective or even non-existent, now is the time to start ramping it up. Here’s why:

You’ll Get Ahead of the Competition

The best time to get ahead of the game is when there aren’t as many players. Right now, many businesses have taken their foot off the gas when it comes to marketing, making it easier for you to get several laps ahead. Think of it like the tortoise and the hare - while the competition is taking a break, you have the opportunity to blow right past them.

Take this example from Forbes:

“During the 1990-91 recession, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell took advantage of McDonald’s decision to drop its advertising and promotion budget. As a result, Pizza Hut increased sales by 61%, Taco Bell sales grew by 40% and McDonald’s sales declined by 28%.”

It’s clear - those that employ a strong marketing strategy right now will come out on top financially.

You’ll get a Strong ROI

Less competition for your business means less “noise” in the industry. As competing businesses go silent, the constant race for attention from customers and search engines slows down. Ultimately, that leads to a better ROI on your marketing strategy. You’ll find that it’s faster and easier right now to show up in search results, grab consumers’ attention, and turn your market spending into increased profits. Developing a strong marketing strategy now means getting more results for less money!

Maintain (And Gain) Customer Relationships

It’s no secret that consumers buy more readily from brands they can believe in. Right now, consumers that feel isolated are desperate for connection - with people and brands. Failing to market effectively right now may sever valuable connections with current and future customers that could help you weather the economic storm.

A strong marketing strategy does more than make quick sales - it connects with your customers, increases awareness of your brand and creates a long-lasting business image that will remain long after the country has reopened.

Come Out Of This Stronger

We’ve shown how brands that increase their marketing efforts during a recession come out stronger financially than they were before. But it’s not just a matter of profits - businesses that employ a strong marketing strategy during this challenging time will also come out stronger in their customers’ minds.

Businesses and brands that are ineffective at marketing - or worse, radio silent - during this time will find themselves scrambling to do damage control with their customers when it's over. They’ll have to recapture their audience’s attention, explain their vanishing act and regain their trust. That’s going to make regaining their profit margins even harder.

Businesses that keep a strong marketing strategy will save themselves that daunting hurdle. By building a strong brand image and staying active in your customers’ minds while things are slow, you’ll be able to hit the ground running with promotions and CTA’s as soon as possible.

If you need to develop a strong marketing strategy, we can help! We offer expert marketing solutions in a variety of areas that will take your business to the next level, both now and in the future. Contact us today!


How to Utilize Social Media to Promote Your Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The coronavirus made its way into the U.S. fast and abruptly. Businesses across the country are being forced to limit their hours or even close due to restrictions set by the government. In such uncertain times, small businesses must think quickly and efficiently. Social media is a powerful and cost-effective tool to advertise your business and maintain revenue. Your services or products may be limited but utilizing social media in a variety of ways can bring in customers and boost your online presence.

Stay Consistent

Although your business may not being able to offer your normal services or products, it doesn’t mean you have to come to a complete stop on social media. Remaining active on your social channels lets your audience know you are still around. Also, posting consistently gives you the chance to increase your brand awareness, resulting in potential new customers!

Educate Your Audience

Use this time as an opportunity to educate your followers about your business. A great way to do so is by highlighting parts of your business most don’t know about. Make sure you’re focusing on something that will benefit your audience. For example, an HVAC company could make a post about how to change an air filter. Educating your followers and offering tips and tricks not only provides knowledge but also shows them you’re reliable and extremely qualified in your industry which builds credibility.

Highlight How Your Business can Help

Market your services on social media while keeping COVID-19 in mind. Most people browsing social media don’t know they have a problem until you present it. Address a problem your customers may have and explain how you can solve it. Right now, the biggest problem is social distancing. Inform your audience on how your services can be performed without direct contact. A great example of this is the restaurant industry moving to curbside take-out or delivery. Verizon reported a 20% increase in online traffic, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to advertise your business.

Take Advantage of Social Media Features

Facebook Live

Facebook Live is a feature available to all Facebook users and business profiles. It can be used for many industries, all it takes is a little creativity! Let your customers and clients know you are still available virtually. Retail stores can use Facebook Live as a “Virtual Live Try-on Session”. Gym owners can offer “Live Morning Workout”.

Instagram and Facebook Stories

These social features are another great way to reach your audience. Neglecting to use them can cause you to miss out on reaching parts of your potential audience. Not only can Instagram and Facebook stories be used to keep your followers informed, but it also increases engagement. Use these features to interact with your followers by asking questions, creating polls or designing fun challenges. Look at stories as a way to spread positivity and also get to know your audience.

Adjusting your current social media strategy during this challenging time can help your business in more ways than one. Use your spare time to take advantage of these simple yet effective tips. BIS Designs understands the impact COVID-19 is taking on your business and we are here to help. We are offering a free business consultation to go over repurposing your digital marketing strategy during this time. Visit https://www.askbisdesigns.com/ or call us at 251-405-2535 to schedule your consultation.


How to Dominate Your Industry on Google

The concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technically applies to all online search engines, but let’s face it - with over 70% of online searches in its corner, Google is king. If you’re budgeting for SEO in your marketing strategy (and you should be), you should be doing it with Google in mind.

Google is a large ocean, and your website is one of the millions vying for its attention. So how do you get noticed? Google’s algorithms exist to fairly crawl and index all websites, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to get ahead of the game and rise through the ranks.

If you’re looking for a first-page Google ranking, use these tips to dominate your industry on Google.


Narrow Your Niche

When you’re asking “How do I dominate my industry on google?”, what you’re asking is “How do I out-rank the competition?”

If you’re going to out-Google your competitors, you need to know who those competitors are. That’s why the first step of dominating your industry is to define it as a specific niche. The more specifically you define your business, the better. You’re not just a law firm - you’re a personal injury lawyer. You aren’t a financial company - you’re an accounting firm that specializes in corporate tax. 

Ask yourself what product or service you want to be known for and keep your focus on dominating that niche. Think about it this way - the more narrow your industry, the less competition you have.


Optimize Your Site with The Right Keywords

Once you’ve defined your niche, it’s time to find the keywords that will help you rise to the top of those search results. The point of using targeted keywords is that it will make your content relevant and easily searchable on Google, which is exactly what your SEO goal should be. 

In previous days, keywords were all it took to dominate Google rankings. Companies turned to stuffing their content and websites with as many keywords as possible, and it worked. As expected, Google has gotten smarter, and now websites that keyword stuff are penalized, so choosing the right keywords takes a bit more work.

Many keyword tools on the market can help you research keywords for your niche and narrow down your options. Your keywords should be as specific to your business as possible. Don’t automatically choose the most-searched keyword in the list (remember what we said about competition!) Long-tail keyword phrases and those with lower search volumes can help convert users more easily than trying to compete in the most popular searches. 


Write Well - And Often

Content is extremely important for Google rankings - as long as it’s relevant, high-quality and authoritative. Your content should be optimized with on-page SEO and keywords, but it’s even more important that it makes sense, is engaging and keeps your audience’s attention. Many businesses fall into the trap of writing for search engines instead of for humans, and while that may get you an initial boost in your rankings, it’s ultimately bad for your business. Be sure to write with your audience in mind; avoid keyword stuffing, irrelevant links or badly re-spun content.


Use On-Page SEO

On-page SEO means optimizing the content and HTML codes of an individual webpage so it gets noticed by Google. On the technical side, on-page SEO includes optimizing your headlines, images and HTML tags (header, meta, and title tags). On-page SEO is a great way to rise in the ranks from behind the scenes instead of strictly through content, and it’s a must for any website wanting a first-page ranking. For more information on how to dominate with on-page SEO, check out these great tips.

Getting your website optimized to dominate Google has many moving parts. To take your business to the top of Google, utilize these tips. If you’re feeling lost in the SEO jargon, don’t worry! BIS Designs offers SEO services that are guaranteed to move you through the ranks and top your industry on Google. Contact us today to learn more!


3 Marketing Trends That Are Popping Off In 2020

Good marketing is rarely a one-size-fits-all approach. Depending on your product, brand, and goals, one marketing strategy may work better for your business than another. The good news is that there are so many ways to market your company to the world. But that’s also the bad news: marketing strategies are constantly changing, and what works today may be behind the times tomorrow. If you’re not a full-time marketer, it can be hard to keep up.

Another piece of good news is that you’re in the right place. We’ve combed the industry to find the top marketing strategies for this year that can help any business grow their audience, sales and profits. If you want to be on top of your marketing game, check out these 3 marketing trends that are popping off in 2020.


Video Marketing

If content is king, videos are the jeweled crown - you can’t rule without it. If you have just one marketing strategy in 2020, it needs to be video marketing.

Statistics show that consumers are clamoring for video content. According to Hubspot, 54% of consumers want to see more videos from the brands they support. If you want to give your audience what they want (hint: you do), you’ve got to give them videos, and lots of them.

Making videos for the internet isn’t a new concept but the way that businesses are using them is changing and expanding. Websites, social media and even email campaigns are being used to reach the masses through video marketing. Here are a few of the most popular ways:

Product demonstrations. A more obvious choice, product demonstrations are still one of the most effective ways to use video content. That’s because 52% of users say that watching videos about a product makes them more likely to purchase it. But it’s not just announcing your product - you’ve got to show users how to use it and how it can benefit them directly.

Behind-The-Scenes. These days, it’s not enough to provide a good product. Consumers want to relate, engage and become invested in a business. One good way to do this is to make candid behind-the-scenes videos of what goes on in your daily activities, such as meet the staff or office tour videos.

1:1 Videos. This is a relatively new use of video marketing that’s rising quickly through the ranks. Instead of sending cold emails or making phone calls, businesses are creating personalized video messages to reach new clients. In an age where personalization is everything, it’s a great way to get ahead of the video marketing game in 2020.

The reason that video marketing is so important is simple - it works. Videos are by far the most popular online content, watched by 85% of internet users every month. That’s because videos are easily digestible, keep user’s attention for longer than text, and work well on mobile devices.

Video marketing is also great for your marketing budget because videos are easy to reuse and cross-post. Creating smaller text versions of your videos or editing them into email thumbnails are easy ways to use them again and again and save money on your content strategy.


Social Media Stories

As social media becomes the most popular way to use the internet, platforms are developing new features for users to keep it fresh. Social media stories are a great example of a feature that businesses can - and should - use to their benefit. Facebook, Instagram, and even Youtube now have story features that businesses are using to connect with their followers. 

Stories are similar to posts, but they work a little differently. Stories are pinned to the top of your user’s newsfeeds rather than being posted in the feed. But they’re temporary, lasting for 24 hours at most. These features work in your favor since your stories are easier for users to find and can create a sense of urgency in your audience. But to be effective, they need to be used correctly.

By nature, stories need to be used authentically. That means you should skip the scammy advertising and post content that gives your followers a feel for your business brand and personality. Candid photographs or informal staff interviews connect with your followers on a more personal level.

In contrast, stories’ short lifespan makes them perfect for promotional posts because they convince your followers to take action fast. Use attention-grabbing graphics, filters, and copy to promote your sales and events, and be sure to let your audience know that time is limited.

For even more tips on how to use social media stories, check out our in-depth blog article.  


Geofencing

If you need to draw customers into a brick-and-mortar business, geofencing needs to be on your radar. To put it simply, geo-fencing uses location to market directly to customers near your business. You do this by creating a “geo-fence” around your location and automatically sending pre-made alerts to devices that enter that radius. These alerts can be anything from current sales to coupons to simple text greetings and more.

Imagine this: you’re walking through a shopping center and get a notification that the restaurant you’ve been wanting to try is a few steps away and having a discount on tacos. You’re likely to give it a try, right? That’s geo-fencing. It’s a great way to put your business on the map for customers that are nearby and in a position to stop in.


Geofencing is not as well-known other marketing strategies, but marketing professionals agree that it soon will be. According to one report, geo-fencing is expected to grow 27% by 2020. Though there have been recent security concerns and the technology is still evolving, geo-fencing should definitely be on your marketing map for 2020.


Though your marketing choices are somewhat personal to your business, using these 3 strategies are sure to help you reach your goals and connect with your audience in 2020. If you’re struggling with your marketing strategy, we can help! From social media marketing to email campaigns and more, we offer a range of marketing services to take your business, and your profits, to the next level. Contact us today!


3 Ways To Use Social Media To Help Boost Holiday Sales

Sales, sales, and more sales - it’s the best thing about the holiday season, at least for retail stores. With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas Eve being the biggest shopping days of the year, the holidays are your time to shine as bright as that Christmas tree star. If you aren’t using your social media accounts to draw in holiday shoppers, you’re missing a big part of the action. In fact, over 95% of online shoppers say they are influenced by social media when making a big holiday purchase. That’s why using social media to promote your business during the holidays is even more important than the Christmas pudding.

If you aren’t social media savvy, don’t fret! Here’s our holiday gift to you: 3 ways to use social media to boost your holiday sales. 

Giveaways

You may think that giving away your merch is a bad business move, but in the social media world (and the holiday season) you’ve got to give to receive. Do both with holiday giveaways for your social media followers. A giveaway is a great way to create interest in your product, boost engagement and attract new (and loyal) customers.

There are a few ways to do this. One idea is to ask your followers to share a post or tag a friend to be entered into a giveaway. This spreads awareness of your brand and helps you gain new likes. Another choice is to do a giveaway before the launch of a new product to create interest and demand days before it hits the shelves and sites. Whatever you choose, just be sure to ask your winner to share a review of their prize so your other followers know what they missed out on. 

Promotional Codes

People love being part of an exclusive club. Give your followers that privileged feel with some social media promotional codes. Discounts, free shipping, or early access to new products are examples of social media promotions that will keep your followers glued to your page. They’ll also share your promotions with friends and family, drawing in more leads and more sales. 

Take it a step further by creating promotional codes that are page-specific. In other words, vary your codes between your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter pages. This way, you can promote your accounts across platforms and entice your Facebook followers to join in on Instagram (or vice-versa). It’s what we like to call two gifts, one box. 

Discounts on Website

Holiday posts don’t have to be flashy or gimmicky. Simply promoting your holiday website discounts on your social media pages can draw people into your site - and keep them coming back for more. It’s a simple way to increase your website traffic and let your customers know that you’re full of holiday cheer. It also gives them a reason to check-in at your website in the future for more special deals. 

Don’t forget to contact our social media marketing team to get a top-feed social media presence during every season of the year! 


Email Marketing and Social Media: Better Together?

If you’re active online, you likely have an email. You also probably have a social media account (or several). And, you’ve probably seen ads, promotions, and content from businesses on both. Email and social media marketing are both very popular ways that businesses use the digital sphere to market themselves to customers. And for good reason - they’re both effective. But many marketers focus on one or the other and they’re missing out on the benefits of using them both.

Much like salt and pepper, email and social media marketing are good apart but better together. To understand why, let’s first look at them separately before we explain how they can work together to strengthen your marketing efforts.


Email Marketing


When you checked your email this morning, did you scroll through a few email promotions from businesses? Of course you did! Email marketing is the most heavily used form of digital marketing - so much so that it can sometimes become an annoyance (how many times have you clicked “no thank you” today?). But the fact is that email marketing is so popular because it works. In the simplest terms, email marketing is the act of sending marketing materials via email directly to customers who have signed up to receive them. 99% of people check their email every day, many of them first-thing, so marketing there is a lucrative and worthy activity for any business.

So how exactly does it benefit you? People subscribe to your emails because they are interested in your company and want to be kept up-to-date on the latest news and promotions. When your email marketing is done correctly, you’re providing those customers with useful, interesting information each day, directly to their inbox (so they don’t have to search for it). This keeps your business fresh in their minds and helps you stay relevant, strengthening your relationship with them. It also pushes your promotions directly in front of interested customers as opposed to appealing to the masses.

As a business, we all want new customers - but keeping the lines of communication with your existing ones open is equally important, and that is done through email marketing.


Social Media Marketing

We all have a favorite social media business. They may appeal to you because they are funny, innovative, inspiring, or heartfelt; the point is, they do appeal to people, and they keep you coming back for more. This is the result of a well-done social media marketing campaign. Businesses use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube to market themselves to the public, often very successfully. Social media has 3.2 billion daily users, making it a very big pond full of many waiting fish.

Social media is so important because it allows your business to reach new customers by connecting with your current ones. Through shares, likes, and comments (especially tags), a business can boost its organic reach and get in front of new consumers on a daily basis. It’s also one of the best ways to build your brand, as the tone and type of content you post on social media helps visitors understand and connect with your business. All around, social media marketing is a crucial part of your marketing campaign.


Integrating Your Social Media and Email Marketing

At first glance, it may seem like email and social media marketing are at odds. After all, email marketing only connects with current customers, while social media marketing engages new ones. How do you choose just one?! The strongest marketers don’t. The two can actually co-exist quite nicely, and when integrated they take your marketing efforts from meh to marvelous.

So how do you do it? It’s easier than you think. Think of this as a kind of fishing pole (there’s that fish reference again). Your social media account can get new customers to bite, then your email marketing reels them in and keeps them hooked. Here are a few examples.


Entice Social Media Followers To Sign Up

Social media is a great place to promote your emails! Use your social media accounts to give teasers about your email content or promise exclusive email-only offers to entice followers to sign up. By promoting your email subscription through your social channels, you can increase your mailing lists and then turn those casual followers into loyal customers. It’s like having your coffee and drinking it, too!


Include Social Media Links In Your Emails

Don’t assume that your email audience is aware of your social presence! The next time you send out a marketing email, try including links to your social media pages. You can do this by simply adding clickable widgets to your layout and pointing your viewers in their direction. Add a helpful call-to-action to point them in the right direction.


Promote Your Social Media In Your Emails

Better yet, take it a step further and encourage your email readers to tune into your social media accounts for specific or ongoing information (like promotion or event details). Letting them know that you’re active on social media and giving them a reason to tune in will both boost your social followers and increase your brand awareness.


Use Social Media To Find What Works

Crafting email content can be hard, especially if you’re sending them frequently. Social media can help you decide what types of content your audience is looking for, and it also lets your content play double-duty. Use content that has high engagement from your audience in your emails! This can be facebook posts, Instagram photos, or even follower’s comments. You’ll already know that your audience is interested, and you can promote your social accounts at the same time. Win-Win!

If you aren’t a marketing whiz, this may seem a bit overwhelming. The good news is, we can help! Bis Designs helps businesses just like yours create killer marketing campaigns through email and social media (and more). Contact us today to get started!


Video Content for Social Media (Yes, You Need It)

Most of us have fond memories of watching grainy, embarrassing home movies on large VHS tapes in our childhood living rooms. Video has come a long way since then, but its impact on our lives has only grown. These days, videos are used as a powerful marketing strategy to help businesses increase their profits and connect with consumers. In fact, video content is the most powerful form of social media marketing and businesses that aren’t using it to their advantage are falling behind. To stay on top, hiring a professional videographer to handle your video content should be a key component in your social media strategy.

But do you really need a video content strategy? Here’s what social video content can do for your business:


Videos Boost Engagement

Digital marketers agree - there is no medium more engaging to an online audience than video. To begin with, users are more inclined to actually watch videos than other types of content. According to a survey done by Animoto, 60% of users say that they watch branded videos on social media every day. And when it comes to sharing, video content is shared 1200% more than text or image content! In the numbers game, video content will always come out on top.
So why are they so engaging? Videos are able to capture your audience more effectively using two things that always grab our attention: movement and sound. And once your audience is ensnared, video content can use things like facial expressions, tone of voice, and sounds to convey and evoke emotion. This is much harder to do in text content, which requires punction or visual cues to suggest tone. Emotion is a driving factor in purchasing decisions, so you want to hit your audience where they’ll feel it the most. And speaking of purchasing...


Videos Boost Product Sales

Have you ever seen a cool product online, but you weren’t sure how it worked? I bet you weren’t inclined to buy it to find out! One of the best uses of video content is showing a product in action, especially if the product is new. In today’s busy world, consumers don’t have time to read lengthy product descriptions. Videos are easily digestible and can make new concepts easier to understand. By showing how a product works, you can also show them how it will benefit them in a real-life way. A viewer is much more likely to visualize that product in their hands when they see it in someone else’s rather than in the pages of an advertisement.

If your business relies on product sales to thrive, video content is something you can’t slack on. Animoto’s survey found that one in four consumers lose interest in a product if it doesn’t have video. That’s 25% of your audience!


Videos Build Trust

Ask yourself: are you more likely to trust something pitched to you by a friend or by a hawker on the street? Video content is so effective because it helps build trust between your business and your customers. Though most of the world relies on digital technology, consumers remain more likely to invest in a business that they feel connected to. Videos are inherently personal, especially if the content is authentic, natural, and conversational. That’s why storytelling is such a crucial element in your video strategy - it makes your business feel like a trusted friend rather than an infomercial. When your video content is consistent, your audience will begin to seek out your page to experience your brand rather than just clicking on your videos in their feed. And that is exactly where you want to be.


Videos Build Your Brand

Speaking of the personal nature of videos, it makes them the perfect tool to create and maintain your business’s brand. A brand is a complex concept, affected by everything from your word choices to your punctuation style. When your video content is consistent with your brand, it helps develop your company’s personality and connect to your audience. Quality video content can combine all of the things that make up your brand and deliver it in a ready-to-go package. One way to do this is by inserting appropriate text and graphic elements into your videos. People are strongly influenced by visuals, so creating a consistent look with your videos is one of the easiest ways to make your brand - and your business - recognizable.


Why Do I Need A Professional?

Now that you’re convinced that you need strong video content for your social accounts, you may be wondering how to get it done. Many companies don’t believe they need to hire a professional videographer, and they often assign video content to existing members of their staff. But this isn’t always the best decision - and sometimes it’s a downright bad one. Here’s what a professional videographer can do for your video content strategy:

 

  • Use professional equipment to create high quality, dynamic video content
  • Give you a better ROI than less qualified staff
  • Bring industry knowledge to the table to create content that is successful long-term
  • Help develop your company brand
  • Increase your profits
  • And more!

Our professional videography service can help you create a video content strategy that turns your social media accounts into marketing gold. Using professional equipment and the latest industry trends, we can deliver video content that is engaging, dynamic, and beneficial to your business. Ready to see your social media engagement skyrocket? Contact us for a consultation today!


4 Ways Duplicate Content Hurts Your Site

The words ‘duplicate content’ strike fear into the hearts of marketers everywhere, something akin to cavity search or TV Reruns. Actually, it’s pretty similar - who wants to watch the same show over and over again? It’s the same with content - users don’t want to read articles that just repeat information and don’t bring anything new to the table. More than that, duplicating content hurts your reputation as a website and as a business. But what exactly is duplicate content? And why is it so bad?

What Is Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content can be a variety of things, and not all of them are bad. Google defines duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” Google actually distinguishes duplicate content by two types: non-malicious and malicious duplicate content.

Non-malicious duplicate content includes instances such as syndication - when a website publishes your content on their own website - or when your website has multiple URLs, such as when you have pages optimized for different browsers, among others. These types of content duplication are not penalized by Google and are actually common, if not unavoidable.

Duplicate content that is malicious is done to manipulate search results. The short of it is that duplicating content occurs when a website recycles old content in an effort to rank higher for keywords or tags (more keywords = higher results). This is not always their intent. There are many other reasons that a website might reuse its own content - one example would be an e-commerce store that struggles to write hundreds of product descriptions, so they reuse what they’ve already created. The distinction here is the intention behind the content, but Google is not all-knowing and can often misconstrue it, so it’s better to avoid duplicating your content as much as you can.

Note: It’s important to distinguish duplicate content with outright plagiarism, which is not only seriously bad form but can carry legal penalties. We know you would never plagiarize, so we’ll keep our definition of duplicate content to the reusing of your own work. Additionally, if someone else has plagiarized your work for their own site, you should report the site to Google.

Of course, you own the rights to your work and are free to reuse it in any way you see fit. But if you’re looking to bring your website high SEO rankings and an engaged audience, it’s a bad choice for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at them.

It Hurts Your Keyword Rankings

Duplicate content hurts your keyword strategy. Keyword placement is a staple of good SEO practices, and getting your content keywords just right can take a lot of time and effort. That’s why some websites recycle old content that has successful keyword rankings - you know they work, so why not use them again? It’s faster and cheaper than writing new, original content!

While this may seem smart, it’s actually counter-intuitive. Because when you recycle your content and keywords, you’re actually giving yourself competition. As Google algorithms crawl the internet, they collect keywords and index them for searches. So, if you post content that uses the same keywords multiple times, Google is going to crawl both articles and pit them against one another. See the problem? Your original content will now suffer because of increased competition, essentially making all of that time you spent doing keyword research a waste. It’s a lot like hobbling yourself before the big race - just not smart.

It Hurts Your SEO

As we’ve noted, search engines crawl websites and index the results for users. Because they want to give users the best possible experience, they rarely post multiple websites with the same content on their result pages. For you, this means that if multiple websites online have your content, Google may not mark your original page as the best page to show. If your duplicate content is on a different URL that has a higher domain score than yours, this can lead to them getting higher search results for your content. Plus, you don’t want your printing pages showing up as the landing page for users, or your mobile site ranking higher for desktop users.

Syndication is an important part of marketing, so you shouldn’t avoid it. But, be sure that any websites that publish your content link your site as the original page so Google knows which one to index first. Also, there are plug-ins and other technical ways to note your own website pages as the original pages and remove other pages from indexing altogether. If you aren’t sure how to do this, contact us for a consultation. We’re here to help!

Google May Penalize You

Google’s algorithm is constantly learning and evolving, and it can now separate duplicate content that is malicious or non-malicious - to an extent. If Google decides that you are copying or “scraping” old content to increase your search results, it will do a manual audit of your site. If you’re found guilty, they can penalize you stiffly - even so far as removing your site from their results altogether. And getting back into Google’s good graces is no easy feat - it requires that you address and fix all of your duplicate content and then request a new investigation, which can take some time. You don’t want to get called into the proverbial principal’s office, so avoid posting duplicate content when you can.

Your Audience Will Get Bored

Setting the technicals aside, duplicate content will negatively affect your audience’s interest in your site. As we said earlier, nobody likes reruns. Publishing old content that doesn’t add any value to your readership will ultimately lead to a decrease in your website traffic by itself. If you’re posting duplicate content across landing pages, this will negatively affect your click-through and bounce rates as users leave your site for something more interesting. If your published content is stale or repetitive, you may lose user loyalty and sabotage your chances of return visitors.

If you’re having trouble keeping up with your content marketing - or just need some fresh ideas - let us help! We can create a content marketing strategy that’s perfect for your business and then help you implement it!

What do I do?

Publishing content that is new and original is the best way to avoid the negative effects of duplicate content. Be sure that anything you’re posting on your website is authentic, adds value to your readership, and introduces new keywords and ideas. If you have an article syndicated by another site (go, you!), be sure that they are appropriately linking back to your website as the original version so that they don’t beat you in the search results. And be sure to use the correct URLs and tags when creating duplicate pages to make sure that Google indexes the correct one.

Need more help? Contact us today! BIS Designs can handle all of your content marketing and website design needs.


The Top Website Design Trends For 2019-2020

Website design trends are as fluid and changing as the sea (or the internet). What is popular today may be a website faux pas tomorrow, and what was deemed uncool two years ago can make an unexpected comeback. Staying on top of the day’s trends can feel like a full-time job. Luckily, we’ve done it for you!

We’ve scoured the industry’s top leaders for the day’s most popular website design trends. The ones that can make or break your website. The ones that will set you apart from your competitors. The ones you can be sure will stick around for 2020. Check them out below!

 

Mobile-First Designs

 

The days of desktop dominance are gone, and mobile devices are the undisputed king of screen time. Users spend an average of 69% of their media time on smartphones, so if you want to reach your audience then you’ve got to optimize your site for mobile use. Also, Google now ranks mobile sites ahead of desktop sites in search rankings, so focusing on a mobile design will help make sure your site is seen. And studies show that users are 67% more likely to buy a product from your site if it is optimized for mobile use. See the pattern?

 

Mobile devices aren’t exactly new, and they’ve taken up a big spot in web design for a few years. But the new focus on mobile-first designs means that website designers are focusing on mobile templates first rather than creating websites for desktops and then making them responsive to other devices. Because users expect a website to load in under 3 seconds, optimizing a website for mobile loading also means you’ll decrease your bounce rate and increase your user engagement.

 

What does that mean for you? Well, it means a focus on layouts that can be compressed to fit a smaller screen without losing content. It’s also important to keep in mind that mobile screens are touched rather than clicked, so you’ll need to adjust your designs to be accessible by various fingers. In short, simple and direct navigation, adaptive designs, and responsive frameworks will reign supreme.

 

Speedy and Trendy Designs

 

We’ve already discussed optimizing your website for load speed (recap: you should), but doing so involves more than just technical work. The design of your website also plays a big role in how quickly it loads. Keep your design simple but trendy to stay on top of your speed and your relevance. Be generous with your white space - it helps guide users down the page and keeps your site uniform, while also loading quickly. You should also reduce clutter by ridding your site of unnecessary graphics and complex designs to make your site quick and scannable.

 

For the trendiest site on the web, use a good mix of contrasting colors, large and playful fonts, and high-quality images and videos. Grid patterns are becoming especially popular - a good example of this is the block layout of Pinterest pins. Grouping your content and related pages into easily scannable squares keeps your users attention while looking sleek and modern.

 

Video is King

 

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ll know that video content is the name of the internet game. Today’s users are more concerned than ever with immediate gratification, and information is often easiest to access and digest in video form. In fact, static pages (those without any animated or video content) are likely to be obsolete by 2020. That’s why the top websites have shifted their content focus away from text graphics and articles and instead use full-screen or embedded videos to boost their site traffic.

 

One of the top ways to do this is to place videos in the header of your website to immediately gain the attention of visitors. Or, you can place multiple related videos along your page to entice users to scroll down. Some websites even choose to display looping videos as the background of their homepage. Whatever method you choose, video content should be your prime focus as we move into 2020.

 

Don’t have video content? Jump on the motion bandwagon with GIFS or animation to keep your page from looking static. 

 

Chat Bots

 

Chat Bots are a new feature in AI that have taken the internet by storm in 2019 and show no signs of slowing down. A chat bot interacts with users on your website through chat ‘conversations’ to provide automated customer service, saving you time and money. They also allow users to access information and engage with your site much more quickly than traditional methods. Chat bots use assigned ‘rules’ and information along with really cool artificial intelligence to allow users to do a multitude of tasks. They can do things such as ask questions, file complaints, make online orders, book flights, buy tickets, and more.

 

There are two types of chatbots: simple and advanced. Simple chatbots use pre-filled keywords to process and respond to customer queries. This type of bot is much simpler (and cheaper) to implement on your website, but it isn’t as good at engaging with your users; it often responds to difficult or unanticipated questions with an ‘I don’t understand’ message. On the opposite side of the coin, advanced chatbots use artificial intelligence to learn customer preferences and enhance conversation. They are able to make jokes, understand sarcasm, and answer complex questions.

 

Artificial intelligence is not yet an art, so there are still bugs in the system. Plus, chat bots can be extremely expensive and they require technical knowledge that many companies may not have on the payroll. However, we anticipate that as technology advances, chat bots will become much more streamlined and accessible for all.

 

Sticky Elements

Sticky elements is a very descriptive name, as they “stick” to your webpage. In other words, as users scroll down your page the sticky elements scroll with them. It’s a great way to keep navigation simple and keep your users engaged.

 

Sticky elements can be a variety of things. Newsletter sign-ups, contact information, and promotions are all good sticky element materials. Many websites create sticky “floating” menus to make navigation easier for a better user experience. Perhaps the most important one is social media links, which allow users to quickly link to your accounts or share your material on their pages. Which is important, because social media attracts billions (with a b) of internet users every day. That’s a huge audience!

 

But, be careful not to over-saturate your site with too many sticky elements. Doing so can make them seem spammy and intrusive, plus they’ll cover your other content. Stick to the sweet spot - no more than two or three at a time. 

 

Well, there you have it. The top website design trends for 2019-2020 focus on increasing speed, keeping your designs simple but engaging, and using technology to stay ahead of the game. Trends evolve, but we’re confident that keeping these in mind will help keep your website relevant and modern through the New Year and beyond.

 

Need more help? We do website design! From consultations to complete overhauls, BIS Designs can transform your website into a stunning reflection of your business. Contact us today!


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