Google Adds User Experience as a Ranking Factor

Google Adds User Experience as a Ranking Factor

Posted on Monday, August 17th, 2020 at 9:58 pm    

Google has announced a new algorithm, the Google Page Experience update that is set to launch in 2021. The objective of this update is to effectively analyze how web pages perform correlated to how users are experiencing it. Consequential? Most definitely. Reason for concern? Not with Cobalt Digital Marketing by your side.  

Even if you don’t have the skills to make your website more user friendly, our McAllen digital marketing agency can help you to develop a fully optimized website that takes user experience (UX) to the next level. 

In layman’s terms, if Google’s algorithm determines that users visiting your website are having a subpar experience engaging with your pages, then this can negatively affect your rankings. But since the rollout won’t begin until next year, now is a good time to start preparing for the update.

User Experience a New Google Ranking Factor

Some of the current metrics Google has in place include proactively measuring whether your page loads quickly, how users are guided through a specific page on your website, copy, and content, if your website is mobile-friendly, its security, whether content jumps around while the page loads, and the detection of too many ads.

Google search ranking factors compromise page experience and include several variables. Chief among them are page speed update, the intrusive interstitials penalty, the HTTPS ranking boost, safe browsing penalty, mobile penalty update, along with polishing the metrics concerning speed and usability.

The better these variables perform, the more enjoyable the user experience will be for visitors who come to your website. When these variables perform at an optimal level, they usually result in a higher ranking for pages on your website.

Google measures refinements with a tool they call core web vitals. 

Core Web Vitals 101

User-centered metrics consist of real-world core web vitals that evaluate the features of your web pages involving the steadiness of content as it loads, the time it takes, and interactivity. 

They fall under three metrics: 

  • Largest contentful paint – The speed of loading performance that should happen within 2.5 seconds of visitation. 
  • First input delay – An interactivity measure that should give a good user experience of fewer than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative layout shift – A visually appealing metric in which your page should fall below 0.1.   

Prepping for the Google Page Experience Update

While the update isn’t going to happen instantly, Google is giving everyone a fair warning that it plans to put a critical emphasis on user experience to judge the content on your pages. 

Excellent content on your website will still be imperative when it comes to your SEO ranking on Google. If you’re familiar with the previously mentioned web design jargon, then you should be able to pull off any necessary updates to your page effectively. 

However, if you aren’t capable of doing so, teaming up with an experienced, reputable marketing agency would not only be a wise move but a priceless investment. 

Industry research and studies have explained just how important great user experience is to website visitation. It’s not alarming to many digital marketing agencies that Google will add user experience to its algorithm. The addition of user experience as a barometer metric comes on the heels of other variables such as mobile-friendliness and load speed in recent years. 

 

Need help with ramping up your user engagement to standards, improving SEO, or your digital marketing presence in general? Cobalt Digital Marketing can help you with all your online marketing needs with our Cobalt Formula™ that delivers proven results. 

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Set Special Hours With Google My Business

Posted on Monday, June 22nd, 2020 at 5:18 pm    

Many of life’s lessons are layered in silver linings. For many of us, these uncertain times have taught us that we just need to refocus our vision. The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced many customers to shop online–whether it’s for retail therapy or obtaining much-needed essentials–using their purchasing power as a means to adjust to their everyday lives.

From buying cars to online curbside pickup, the scope of how businesses work and cater to customers has definitely shifted. In fact, online sales have surged over the course of the stay-at-home orders the nation had in place, and with so many consumers getting accustomed to buying products online, that eCommerce momentum isn’t going to decline any time soon, even as we slowly reopen many facets of the economy.

The best thing your business can do is to capitalize on this momentum and start mapping out an online strategy to get these buyers to be aware of your brand and your product. There are many simple measures a business owner can take such as replying to reviews, maintaining an updated website and social media page, and even making sure their hours on Google My Business are up to date.

How to Optimize Your Hours for Google My Business 

Business owners should be aware that Google has premiered a new category within Google My Business that will allow them to set more hours for their company. These hours are characterized by types of hours, such as when supermarkets offer early morning hours for specific customers, specific access times a physician is available, or special pickup hours at a given business.

You can go into your Google My Business account and click on the tab labeled “Info,” go under your main hours, and you can select the option that will allow you to set “More Hours.” You then can select the pencil edit button to pick from a category of hours that includes access, brunch, delivery, drive-thru, happy hours, kitchen, pickup, takeout, and senior hours. With this tool, you have plenty of flexibility to set those hours by day, even if they occur at various times throughout the same day.

Always Looking Out for You, Especially During These Uncertain Times

With this update to Google My Business, your customers are now aware of any special hours that you have installed specifically for them when they look you up on Google, helping facilitate business during those hours. This update from Google is a boon to your business, especially during these uncertain times.

While this is an activity that you can do on your own, aligning yourself with a marketing company that knows how to reach both customers and potential consumers can be an effective way to not only implement the Google My Business special hours update but help you strategize other facets of your overall digital marketing strategy as well.

 

Cobalt Digital Marketing can help you optimize your Google My Business account, along with any other digital marketing needs, through our proven Cobalt Formula™. 

Contact Us Today


This One Mistake May Keep Your Customers From Finding You Online

Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 at 3:13 pm    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]You can do everything perfectly. Your on-page search engine optimization can be on point; your website can load quickly and offer an excellent design; your content can be helpful and engaging.

But in the end, that may still not be enough.

Even if your website scores high on most of the 200 factors that affect your Google ranking, its still going to have issues placing high on that search engine result page if your URL is overly complex. That’s why you need the guidance of experienced digital marketers to not only get your website on to Google’s SERP but to also make sure it ranks high as well.

Today, we’re going to analyze why overly complex or hard-to-understand URLs may not even place in Google’s SERP, and what we can do to circumvent that.

What’s Happening with URLs and Google?

In a recent chain of tweets, John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, was asked a question regarding recent difficulties certain websites were facing, included having their products removed from Google’s search index.

Google’s webmaster stated that, sometimes, hard-to-understand or overly complex URLs are to blame for the removal of those pages from the index. More accurately, he stated that “many URLs leading to the same content, making our systems assume that part of the URL is irrelevant,” was the problem.

In this particular case, an e-commerce website lost over 50,000 pages, as its URL structure had caused Google to removed these pages from its search index.

What Can Be Done to Protect Your Website?

Google has provided some insight on how you can ensure your site’s URLs aren’t bloated with irrelevant or invalid parameters:

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Punctuation in Your URLs – Using a well-placed hyphen in between keywords in your URL is always more useful than just typing them out altogether.

2. Avoid Using Session IDs – Session IDs are known for their duplication, generating a ton of URLs. Always use cookies instead.

3. Trim Off the Fat – Simply put, have a webmaster trim out the excess from your URLs. Have them target irrelevant or unnecessary parameters.

4. Check For Broken Relative Links – Broken relative links can lead to infinite spaces because of repeated path elements. Have an expert eye take a look.

5. Add a “Nofollow” Attribute to Links – A dynamically generated calendar may create links to future events — or even previous ones — where there are no restrictions to start or end dates. A nofollow attribute tells search engines not to follow any other links on that page. In the context of infinite calendars, a attribute will tell a search engine not to follow links to dynamically created future calendar pages.

6. Make Good Use of Your robots.txt File – Use your robots.txt file to block Googlebots from accessing URLs of concern. Consider blocking dynamic URLs that generate search results or URLs that create infinite spaces (like a calendar). With the use of regular expressions, your robots.txt file will enable you to block a multitude of problematic URLs.

Are your URLs structured right? Do you need help bringing pages back to life? Look no further than Cobalt Digital Marketing.

Believe us, we know how scary it would be to realize that all of your hard work was removed from Google’s search index because of a URL. Enlisting the aid of an experienced digital marketing agency – like Cobalt Digital Marketing – not only gives you the quickest return on your investment, it leaves your business’ online presence in good hands through our tried and true Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ.

Contact us today at (866) 224-5705 to get started on your 2019 digital marketing journey.
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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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Anticipating Users’ Searches in 2019 (Not as Much Fortune-Telling As You Would Think)

Posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2018 at 5:12 pm    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]From the sheer amount of social, pop, and political events that occurred this year, a lot of new search terms have likely been entered into Google’s search bar. Everything from “Stan ‘The Man’ Lee” to “how to vote” has given digital marketers tons of insight into how everyday users search for what they want, need, or intend to do.

And because of this, it literally pays dividends in our industry to find out what users want before they actually search for it. But how to accomplish this?

Fortune-Telling? Sorcery? Nope…just good ol’ fashioned knowledge, elbow grease and constant research of the best SEO practices.

And that’s what we want to analyze today. How brands are going to use intent signals to predict what customers will be searching for in 2019. Let our catalysts at Cobalt Digital Marketing provide you with some valuable insight.

The Focus

The ebb and flow of digital marketing, as well as the frequent shifts in SEO, can make developing a successful sales funnel challenging. That’s why, after careful consideration, leaders in the digital marketing industry are going to be focusing on three specific areas in 2019 to better anticipate user search inquiries:

  1. Matching Marketing and Business Outcomes
  2. Understanding a Customer’s Overall Value
  3. Perfecting Automation and Machine Learning

By focusing on these three areas, digital marketers are primed to predict search intent in an effort to improve impressions, click-through-rates, and revenue in 2019.

About the Areas of Focus

1. Matching Marketing and Business Outcomes

This may seem like a no-brainer, but oftentimes, businesses fail to identify and focus on their business outcomes, instead opting to focus on metrics. While the latter is important, understanding business outcomes is more important as it leads to a better quality of marketing campaigns.

What does this mean? Well, let’s say that a well-known grocery store’s digital marketing campaign went stagnant because they chose to focus on loose, short-termed metrics and results. Finally, after pinpointing the desirable business outcome, the marketing department optimized its media – in this case, search – to meet business metrics that would ultimately match the business’ overall goals.

How? Through data-driven attribution. Data-driven attribution uses data pulled from your accounts to determine which ads, keywords, and campaigns had the greatest effect on your digital marketing campaign – and bottom line.

Matching marketing and business outcomes can give digital marketers a better idea of what customer intent is based on recent interactions and how their intent drives long-term growth.

2. Understanding a Customer’s Overall Value
Understanding your customer’s overall value — a.k.a. your customer’s lifetime value (CLV) — can help inform you of proper bidding and audience building techniques.

In its rawest form, CLV measures how much value a customer brings to your business across all of their interactions over time. By focusing on CLV, digital marketers begin to naturally attract better potential customers, promote healthier engagement, and increase customer retention.

In short, a predictable customer becomes a valued customer. Make sure they know your business appreciates the value that they bring to you.

3. Perfecting Automation and Machine Learning
As our technology grows to better serve us, gone are the days of connecting intent to marketing analysis. Machines can easily see and predict customer patterns, making it an effective way for digital marketers to predict consumer intent.

It would do you good to automate your creative, audience, bidding, attribution, and budgeting tools to improve your chances of success. A good automated bidding tool, coupled with data-driven attribution reflecting what search terms work, places a business in the perfect position to be successful in 2019.

Let Cobalt Digital Marketing lead you into 2019.

Are you ready to begin your new journey with a digital marketing team that knows how to turn your investment into revenue? Look no further than Cobalt Digital Marketing.

Contact us at (866) 224-5705 to initiate our proven Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ and begin a solid start to your digital marketing campaign in 2019.
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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_button button_url=”/contact-us” button_text=”Contact Cobalt Digital Marketing Now” button_alignment=”center” _builder_version=”3.26.6″ custom_button=”on” button_text_color=”#ffffff” button_bg_color=”#101a35″ button_border_color=”#101a35″ z_index_tablet=”500″ button_text_shadow_horizontal_length_tablet=”0px” button_text_shadow_vertical_length_tablet=”0px” button_text_shadow_blur_strength_tablet=”1px” box_shadow_horizontal_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_vertical_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_blur_tablet=”40px” box_shadow_spread_tablet=”0px” locked=”off” custom_padding=”0px|||||”][/et_pb_button][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]


Overcoming the Scary Parts of Google Ranking with the Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ

Posted on Thursday, November 1st, 2018 at 3:42 pm    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]Want to know what spooks a digital marketer more than low conversion rates? When their Google rankings tank and they don’t know why.

It can happen to business owners and digital marketers alike if they aren’t keeping up with all the changes that occur over the course of a few months or even a few weeks. One little tweak to Google’s algorithm can send your website down in rank, taking your money-earning opportunities along with it.

But you don’t have to worry about that when you subscribe to our Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ. At Cobalt Digital Marketing, you have dedicated catalysts at the ready, anticipating Google changes and preparing your website to weather the storm.

But what does that mean for you as a business owner? Glad you asked…

Google Updates ALL. THE. TIME.

One of the great things about Google’s search engine is how it stays innovative and fresh on a daily basis. That’s because the Google search algorithm is updated between 500 to 600 times a year. If you do the math, that comes out to approximately once or twice a day.

While this may seem a bit excessive, it is what keeps the search engine above the rest.

Now, consider this. If your marketing team has limited knowledge of what these changes mean, lack the tools necessary to monitor fluctuations in website traffic, or don’t have the skills to make the appropriate changes (or even all three), your revenue-generating opportunities will dry up like an ancient mummy in some forgotten tomb in Egypt.

That’s why you need the Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ. A meaningful portion of our formula involves anticipation and adaptation.

Our catalysts anticipate the change to minimize impacts on our clients’ websites and digital marketing plan by employing research day in and day out.

Once we are confident that changes are coming by confirming and reconfirming with our monitoring tools, we draft a solid plan to ensure that our clients not only maintain a first page ranking stay but also benefit from improved ranking.

And one of the many ways we do that is through SEO.

Spooky Isn’t the ‘S’ in SEO

Aside from monitoring and adapting to Google changes in algorithm and ranking, another component of our Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ is reflected through our search engine optimization (SEO) services.

Briefly, and roughly, speaking, SEO is a practice that considers (and employs) many search engine ranking factors in an effort to keep a website visible, i.e. keeping your website on the front page of the search engine results page where the majority of users will look. With Google, that is over 200 factors.

Part of what makes Cobalt Digital Marketing effective is how we can shift our SEO strategy on a moment’s notice in order to maximize potential revenue streams for our clients, despite the many factors to consider.

What’s Going On Right Now with Google Algorithm?

The metaphorical “Google waters” have been churning a bit as of recent, showing upward and downward fluctuations over the past few weeks. While most of the automated tools aren’t showing much to be concerned about, many of the digital marketing, webmastering, and IT communities are acting as if they have seen a ghost.

Webmasters have claimed that the traffic to their website has decreased from anywhere between 50 to 90 percent. While this should alarm many in our industry, we remain unfazed.

A lot of the speculation that is going on in the rumor mill is that these changes have occurred to websites that either over-optimized and/or employed the use of black hat SEO. These strategies usually go against search engine terms of service because they try, in some fashion, to “game the system.”

Of course, this is all just conjecture at this point as Google has yet to confirm anything regarding the activity, but as always, we are watching.

Google is always changing. Enlist the aid of the digital marketing experts at Cobalt Digital Marketing to tame the beast.

Our Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ is not just some sort of witch’s brew. It is a tried and true formula that we here at Cobalt Digital Marketing have crafted over the years to develop the best search optimization practices, social marketing strategies, digital ad campaigns, content creation – you name it.

Google constantly changes, and in order to be the best, you have to adapt and evolve. Contact us at (866) 224-5705 for more information on how our Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ can better help your business today.
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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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8 Reasons This Is The Formula To Get Holiday Sales

Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2018 at 10:54 pm    

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Yes, it’s still August. But forward-thinking retailers (restaurateurs, hoteliers, and others) are already prepping for the upcoming holiday season.

With holiday retail spending expected to increase by 4.5% and e-commerce sales forecasted to grow by 15.3%, according to the National Retail Federation, all retail sales (both online and in-store) are projected to reach over $690 billion for the 2018 holiday season. That’s a lot of potential customers that you would be missing out on if you haven’t effectively capitalized on your digital marketing and online presence.

But perhaps even more important than simply having a digital marketing strategy, is having the right digital marketing strategy. At Cobalt Digital Marketing, we’ve seen our share of businesses dump thousands of dollars into agencies that didn’t have the slightest understanding of how to truly optimize their campaigns. That means wasted money and time.

If your digital marketing team isn’t effectively utilizing SEO strategies, off-site and on-site optimization techniques, content campaigns, PPC ads, social media campaigns, analytics, and A/B testing new tactics as platforms evolve, then….they aren’t doing their job very well.

In order to reap the biggest benefits from your marketing investment, you’ll need all these various components working together like one big, great machine.

Our experience has shown that an integrated digital marketing program consistently brings better results. Implementing this type of strategy now will ensure your digital presence is optimized to bring in more holiday sales. It’s time to get serious about your digital marketing.

Here’s how we can help.

1. We’ll get you found.

The digital world is perfect for consumers. It offers convenience, experience, and quality; attributes that play especially well to the hectic holiday season. When you are able to offer these features through your website and digital presence, you stand a great chance of drawing in potential clients.

And that’s where we step in. We utilize the most advanced SEO techniques to get you prime real estate on Google search results. Why Google?

Well, Google is the largest search engine in the world, accounting for 77% of market share (and growing). That means the vast majority of web users are searching for products and services through Google.

Plus, our talented SEO team knows how to take full advantage of local search engine optimization techniques to ensure local customers are able to find you easily, as well as mobile device users. With more than three-quarters of Americans owning a smartphone and using their mobile device for searching, shopping, social media and more, it is vital to your business to have these features in place.

[bctt tweet=”96% of people in America have made an online purchase in their life” username=””]

2. We can help you build your brand through content.

Did you know that Millennials and Gen X customers are twice as likely to be influenced by advertising in comparison to their older counterparts? That’s why building a brand is so essential to engaging with your target audience. Consumers and potential clients want to know that the brands they are purchasing from stand for something. They want a brand that is real and values their business.

We can create highly informative, engaging, and interesting digital content that will grow your company’s digital presence and brand. From attention-grabbing videos to dynamic blogs and articles, as well as captivating social media posts, we’ll get the right message in front of the right people.

Through analytics, we’ll make sure your clients have a personalized shopping experience that meets their expectations while providing targeted deals that will convert viewers into customers.

3. We’ll take back your business reputation.

It can be a tough pill to swallow but it’s the truth. Your business has a reputation online, even if it’s not one you created. While it’s hopefully a positive reputation, the reality is that if you haven’t been in control of your online brand, then it might’ve suffered at the hands of some not-to-happy clients (or even those dreaded trolls).

Keep this in mind, almost a quarter of online shoppers are influenced by social media recommendations. If your reputation is far from perfect, your business could be suffering the consequences. Take back control.

At Cobalt, we mix together the right ingredients and strategies to maximize your social media presence across all platforms relevant to your business, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other arena.

By carefully tailoring and curating content, we can improve your customers’ experience and your reputation at the same time.

Take back what is rightfully yours and develop a stronger relationship with your clients.

4. We are analytic assassins.

Digital marketing isn’t about throwing everything at the market to see what sticks (though experimentation is always a good thing).

Savvy marketers, like our catalysts at Cobalt Digital, know how to effectively use analytics in creative ways to manage and strategically update marketing campaigns in real-world time. Our team is all about innovation and adaptation, and we use analytics and the right tools to make sure we make the best decision for yourbusiness.

We use tools that allow us to track each initiative to gauge effectiveness. We track results and see where leads are coming from. We analyze which tactics are working best. This level of flexibility means you aren’t stuck with outdated and ineffective printed materials or marketing channels that aren’t getting the job done (and still eating up your financial resources).

We’re confident in our ability to kill it. That’s why we are analytic assassins.

5. Your success is our goal.

We get it. You have business goals and it’s our job to support you in reaching those milestones.

With the right digital marketing formula, we can enhance your online presence while helping to improve your conversion rates and reach those short-term or long-term business goals.

Are you looking to break into new markets? Do you want to drive traffic to your website to increase sales? Do you want to build your online reputation? Do you want to leverage your digital customer relationships to gather product insight and find enhanced customer experience opportunities?

We’ll help you define those objectives and create campaigns that hit the mark. Even though our expertise is in digital marketing, our objective is to help you improve on all aspects of your business.

6. We won’t waste your time (or your investment).

Your time and your finances matter to us. We know how much investment it takes to grow a business and we don’t want to waste any of those precious resources.

Even better, find some comfort in knowing that a digital marketing campaign can actually save you money versus going with traditional marketing channels like television, radio, and/or print. Not only that, but digital marketing generates approximately 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing.

If that isn’t enticing enough, our Google certified PPC management professionals have the experience (and credentials) to ensure that we are maximizing your investment to the highest degree possible. This professional accreditation offered by Google demonstrates our expertise with Adwords and online advertising.

When it’s all said and done, you’re looking at a bigger bang for your buck.

[bctt tweet=”Content marketing cost 62% less than traditional marketing. #content #marketing” username=””]

7. We can give you a fighting chance against larger competitors.

It’s a new day for small businesses. Digital marketing has given even the smallest mom-and-pops shop a fighting chance to grab their share of the market.

With a well-executed site and digital marketing strategy, small businesses can actually draw in more online leads than their larger competitors. We’ve seen it happen!

[bctt tweet=”6 out of 10 very small businesses have yet to establish an online presence and get a #website. #WhyWait #GetErDone ” username=””]

Keep in mind that the business world is growing and changing daily. Every day that you delay implementing an aggressive online strategy is another day you let other companies gobble up your piece of the pie.

With the holiday season on the horizon, it’s time to get the ball rolling.

8. You need a formula. We deliver.

A Cobalt Digital Marketing formula is a well-tuned solution. We integrate tactics across platforms to maximize your online presence and your return on investment. From curated social media campaigns to mesmerizing PPC ads, ambitious SEO campaigns, fascinating content, and much more, we know how to make your digital marketing generate results.

 

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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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How to Set Up S.M.A.R.T. Goals for SEO

Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 at 12:38 am    

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In digital marketing, search engine optimization is your bread and butter.

It has to be. Poor SEO practices won’t do much to attract traffic to your website, but if you play it smart, SEO will help your business draw in plenty of new customers. And to do that, you need to set up S.M.A.R.T. goals that improve your SEO.

Today, we here at Cobalt Digital Marketing analyze how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals that measure the effectiveness of your SEO practices, and teach you how tying them into your company and marketing goals will be a major boon to your business.

Before We Begin

For those that may not be aware, the acronym S.M.A.R.T., in terms of digital marketing, stands for:

  • Specific – Short for “Specific Objectives” that you want your company to achieve, like more exposure, leads, visits, or sales.
  • Measurable – How you are going to measure your progress through:
    • SEO metrics such as the main converting keywords – both local and organic.
    • Link-building metrics that measure the quality and number of authority links in your content.
    • Real-world metrics that measure increases in organic traffic.
  • Achievable – Setting up goals that are achievable for your company but not unrealistic. You generally want to aim high but not too high (e.g. attracting 50 percent more customers over the next quarter).
  • Realistic – Taking into account all of the resources and abilities you have on hand to see if it is possible to reach your SEO goals. This differs from “Achievable” because “Realistic” is more in line with the short and long-term nature of SEO.
  • Timelined – Time is a huge factor when it comes to measuring SEO goals, even though SEO practices take time to implement or take effect. Since no objective could technically fail if it wasn’t given a deadline, we have to be realistic about what goals your company can achieve during a given period.

Also, a little pre-warning: it’s going to be challenging. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

If you are not entirely sure how to set SEO goals—or measure them— you aren’t alone. A lot of the confusion for many organizations started when Google took away the keyword-level data for SEO referrals. That, and SEO is hard to measure directly. With the sheer amount of contributing factors that SEO encompasses, measuring SEO success can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for.

[bctt tweet=”In 2017, 61% of marketers said improving SEO and growing their organic presence was their inbound marketing priority #WorkOnSEO” username=””]

“So where do I start?”

Since we are working to create S.M.A.R.T. SEO goals, it only makes sense to start focusing on SEO first and then how it can affect company and marketing goals. Right? Nope.

You actually want to start the other way around.

You’ll want to begin by clearly stating what your company goals are first. Why? Because, ultimately, this is what your company is trying to accomplish during a specific time frame (i.e. month, quarter, or year).

For the sake of this post, let’s say that your company wants to work on increasing your customer base by 15 percent over the next month.

“What’s next?”

Now that your company has established a goal—like getting more customers—you need to gather up your marketing department and start hashing out clear marketing goals that will help your company get to where it needs to be.

Here, your marketers can brainstorm just how to make the acquisition of more customers more than just a pipedream. There are several ways to do it:

  1. Improving your conversion funnel – Look for weak spots in your funnel. Are customers abandoning their carts? Do they find value in your content? Is your copy neat and clean on the product or service description pages? Improving your conversion funnel helps you pinpoint weak areas that you need to fix so that your business stops hemorrhaging potential customers and revenue.
  2. Setting up an email marketing campaign – Have you grown an email list? If so, it should be full of potential customers, or returning customers, that are interested in your product or service. Reach out to them. This method works especially well when targeting returning customers.
  3. Building up your social media marketing skills – Social media marketing is a unique form of marketing that gives your customers direct access to your company. Positive experiences in this form often lead to brand loyalty and can possibly be used to earn new customers.

These are just three ways that your marketing department can help your company achieve your company goals. Just make sure that the marketing goals are just as clear—if not clearer—than your company’s goals so that your marketing team knows what they should be focusing on.

[bctt tweet=”According to HubSpot’s 2018 State of Inbound survey, 63% of marketers say that generating traffic and leads is their company’s top challenge. #CobaltDigitalMarketing” username=””]

Now Set Up SEO Goals

The following SEO metrics can be used to measure SEO goals. You’ll want to measure things like:

  1. Rankings – You can measure this by local, national, or global rankings.
  2. Links and Link Metrics – You can measure the number of linking root domains or the total amount of links present within content.
  3. Referral Links – It goes without saying that if you link something in your content, more than likely someone will click on the link and go on to that site. That is called a referral link. If you have a referral link that comes to you, you will get referral traffic. You can watch these traffic numbers, who they came from, and if they came from your pages where you built links for SEO purposes.
  4. Organic Search Visits – Measure the raw traffic that is sent in through organic searches in Google (or your preferred search engine).
  5. Branded vs. Non-Branded Search – For example, measure traffic that reaches your homepage (branded) compared to traffic that is directed to a blog, resource, or other content marketing-style page (unbranded).
  6. Search Volume – If you are looking to increase the quantity of your branded search, you can measure that through tools like Google AdWords, Google Trends, or Moz’s Keyword Explorer.
  7. SERP – You can use the search engine results page to measure your ranking within a given search query, e.g. a keyword.

With these metrics, you can then build from the bottom up. Set the SEO goals that you want to measure so that they match up with your marketing goals and then your company’s goals.

If growing your customer base by 15 percent is your company goal by the end of the month, your marketing team is going to need to research effective keywords that can be placed within quality content—not spam—to attract organic searches from Google. This can then be measured by looking up the organic search visits results through Google Analytics.

 

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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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What We’re Seeing From the SMX Advanced Conference

Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2018 at 5:30 am    

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One of the biggest digital marketing conferences – SMX Advanced – took place this week. Held in Seattle this year, SMX Advanced is a heavy duty, fast-paced, engaging event that focuses on advanced SEO, SEM, PPC, and marketing topics.

While your Cobalt Digital Marketing team isn’t there in body, we are definitely there in spirit – and keeping an ever watchful gaze on the latest news coming out of the event.

Check out some of the most intriguing and pertinent #SMXInsights below:

Cobalt Digital Marketing: Looking at the Road Ahead

There’s still plenty of valuable information coming out of the 2018 SMX Advanced event and we’ll make sure to sort through all of that to bring you the latest news that will help you take your digital marketing plan to the next level.

Make sure to come back and visit us for the latest news on all things digital marketing.

 

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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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PageRank Was Recently Updated. Here’s How It May Affect SEO

Posted on Friday, June 1st, 2018 at 3:10 pm    

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Recently, Google updated a patent related to an important algorithm, and it is revolutionizing how smaller websites will be detected and ranked on Google’s search engine results page (SERP).

What this update ultimately means is important to your website, and therefore, your bottom line. Cobalt Digital Marketing is always on the hunt for changes to Google’s algorithm and their effect on SEO so that we can maximize that knowledge on your website to improve leads and convert those into sales.

Here’s what we know about the PageRank patent update.

PageRank

In short, PageRank is a link analysis algorithm that is used by Google Search to rank websites based on certain criteria. PageRank provides the basis for all of Google’s web searching tools.

You should keep in mind that just because a web page has a high page rank, it does not necessarily mean that it will have high search rankings.

[bctt tweet=”PageRank was named after one of the founders of Google, Larry Page #FunFacts #CobaltDigitalMarketing ” username=””]

How It Works

According to Google, PageRank works by “counting the number of quality links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.”

Usually, Google creates a link map looking for the shortest path back to your website from another seed spam-free website. Before the update, website owners wanted their content to have links to the most authoritative, trusted domains that had the shortest path back to their website.

Because of this, popular websites would populate and dominate the front page of the SERP for the longest time because of the number of quality links they would have, but now, industry experts claim that the update to its patent will change that.

The Update

The idea is that the most recent update will put an end to the old days of big websites monopolizing all of that sweet, sweet first page real estate by loading up their content with semi-relevant links into their web pages. The goal is that smaller websites that have much more relevant information coupled with links to credible niche websites will start taking up top spots.

It doesn’t matter how intricate or large a website’s link graphs are. What will matter now is content that has quality links to authoritative, spam-free sites.

This is big news for smaller websites, further proving that Google is moving forward with their commitment to quality through content backed by expert sources.

On the other hand, industry experts believe that the change to the patent could make breaking out on the SERP for startup companies more difficult depending on the niche. But luckily, PageRank isn’t the only factor in determining search rankings. In fact, there are 200 other different factors that Google uses to rank your site, whether its brand new or aged.

While the update occurred a little over a month ago, quite often some time must pass in order to see the full effects of these changes.

As always, you can count on Cobalt Digital Marketing to bring you the latest information on SEO practices, Google algorithm changes, and how these will affect your website.

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it sixteen times, SEO always changes, and if you want to succeed in this business, you’ve got to keep up to date with them. Enlist the aid of a digital marketing firm that can get you results. Enlist the aid of Cobalt Digital Marketing.

 

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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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Three Quick Daily SEO Tips, Tactics, and Practices You Should Be Doing in 2018

Posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2018 at 9:23 pm    

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Times, they are a-changin’, but when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), you can guarantee that change will happen at least a few times daily.

Why? Google updates their algorithm at least 500 to 600 times a year, which is around twice a day.

What may have worked before may not work any longer, and in order to keep your head above the proverbial water, you’ve got to be able to adapt.

Luckily, we here at Cobalt Digital Marketing have got your back. In order for us to be successful as local digital marketers, we have to be on top of the industry’s top SEO tactics and practices. When we are successful, your website and your business reap all of the benefits.

1. Optimize your website for voice search.

Voice search has been a useful mechanism for a few years now and it’s grown tremendously in popularity. Back in 2014, Google released an infographic that stated 51 percent of teens and 41 percent of adults use voice search more than once a day. Of course, those statistics have only increased since then.

According to Alpine.AI, at the start of this year, approximately one billion voice searches would be occurring every month – and it’s believed the numbers are actually higher than that. They also concluded that by the end of 2018, over one billion voice-enabled devices will be in circulation.

[bctt tweet=”Over 1 billion #Voice #Searches occur every month #HearingVoices #DigitalTip” username=””]

That’s a lot of potential customers that you want visiting your website, and if your SEO isn’t optimized for voice search, you can kiss a whole lot of traffic and sales goodbye. So what do you do?

Make a new keyword research strategy that takes voice searches into account. Normally, when people use their device’s voice function, they ask in full-sentences and in a natural manner, so you will want to focus on this instead of short queries.

For now, Google Analytics doesn’t carry a function to separate voice search within its console yet, but take an hour or two to write down commonly-asked questions in your particular niche in order to flesh out an editorial content strategy optimized for voice search.

[bctt tweet=”By the end of 2018 over 1 billion voice-enabled devices will be in circulation #TalkingOutLoud” username=””]

2. While you’re at it, don’t forget to optimize for mobile too.

In a report generated by Hitwise, nearly 60 percent of all online searches come from mobile devices. And just recently, Google announced that they will be issuing out “mobile-first indexing” sometime this year. Mobile-first indexing means that Google will use the mobile version of a website for ranking and indexing in an effort to help mobile users find their desired content.

If you haven’t yet, you’ve got to get on the mobile optimization bandwagon. You can start with double-checking that all of your web pages on your site are optimized for mobile users.

One easy way to do this is to check out your Google Search Console, and look for and click on “Search Traffic” and then select “Mobile Usability”.

Doing this shows you site-wide results and allows you to see any mobile usability errors that might be hurting your website. You might also want to run your landing pages through this free mobile-friendly test to make sure that they are in good shape too.

[bctt tweet=”Nearly 60% of all online searches are done through #mobile devices. #TargetStrategy #OnTheGo” username=””]

3. Re-optimize existing content and compress those images.

If blogging is your business, you’ll eventually want to do a content audit, where you search through all of your past blogs and improve weaker-performing ones, combine two similar ones, or remove it completely.

Remember, you want to target your content to customers, not keywords. Google’s algorithm is becoming more and more sophisticated, so it knows when you are trying to game the system with keyword-heavy content. Keywords aren’t even within the top-ten ranking factors for SEO anymore.

A content audit for the purposes of SEO enables your website to gain rank by using a variety of performance metrics to find out which of your blog posts need that extra little boost to bring in, or back, traffic. Don’t conduct it weekly or anything, but do it in a timely manner. Aim for conducting a content audit at least quarterly, which may be a little easier to do instead of waiting every six months to a year.

One strategy that you can apply when conducting a content audit is best done by using the Google search console to find what keywords Google is associating with your article. By using this data, you can rewrite your article in an effort to target the main topic that the keywords cover. Check it out in the Google Search Console.

Other than that, it’s no secret that page loading speed will become a ranking factor when it comes to Google’s algorithm changes in July 2018, even in mobile searches, and the best way to speed that up is to compress those images.

Besides, uncompressed images can make your website look amateurish, which makes you lose credibility, and potential customers.

That said, most experts agree that the average loading speed—depending on location and industry—is around nine seconds. Google, however, disagrees and thinks that is too much time, rating nine seconds as poor. Instead, Google recommends that websites shoot for a three-second loading time.

When your page takes nine seconds to load, it leaves your bounce rate at 123% or higher. Think about it, if you landed on eBay and it took nine seconds to load a web page, would you stick around for another web page to load? No, not when other websites work at reasonable page speeds.

Search Engine Optimization can be difficult to keep up with but trust that Cobalt Digital Marketing is on top of it for your benefit.

You need experts that know and keep up-to-date with Google’s algorithm changes to keep your website ranking high – and we know just the right people to help you get the job done. You need none other than the catalysts at Cobalt Digital Marketing.

 

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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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