Repairing Corrupted, Broken or Missing Files and Databases in WordPress

Repairing Corrupted, Broken or Missing Files and Databases in WordPress
Have you found that your WordPress site’s on the fritz and all you can say is “I didn’t do anything, I swear!?” Yet, you see errors that say your files or database are broken, missing or corrupted. Anything from posts and categories sporadically disappearing and reappearing to error messages like: “Warning: require_once(path/to/file.php) [function.require-once]: failed to open […]

via The WordPress Experts – WPMU.org Read More…

10 Pieces of Gear We Rely on to Get Our Work Done (FS195)

10 Pieces of Gear We Rely on to Get Our Work Done (FS195)

I’ve been working for myself full time for a little under a decade now and I use tools to get my work done every day.

Some tools are essential, like, I wouldn’t be able to get my work done without them.

Others are just super helpful.

On the show today we talk about 10 pieces of gear we rely on to get our work done. Some are fun, some are serious, some are perfect for that Amazon gift card you’ve got burning a hole in your pocket 🙂

Be sure to subscribe and say hi in the comments below and enjoy this episode of The Fizzle Show!

It’s better to listen on the go!    Subscribe on iTunes 

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“10 pieces of gear we rely on to get our work done”


Show Notes

Future Plans – Day Designer

Simplified Planner – Emily Ley

Passion Planner

Roost Industries Corp. | Roost Laptop Stand: Portable, Lightweight, Adjustable, Ergonomic Stand

Amazon.com: Moleskine Classic Notebook, Extra Large, Plain, Black, Soft Cover

A video that Chase found inspiring about journaling

Amazon.com: Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Mic

PODCASTERS: The Podcaster’s High Quality Microphone Shootout

Amazon.com: Shure X2U XLR-to-USB Signal Adapter: Musical Instruments

Amazon.com: Bose SoundSport in-ear headphones – Apple devices Charcoal: Home Audio & Theater

Ulysses Writing App for Mac

Amazon.com: Nest Cam Indoor security camera: Camera & Photo

Aer Fit Pack Review (Minimal Everyday Backpack) – YouTube

Drafts | Agile Tortoise

Merlin Mann on Twitter: "Joining a Facebook group about creative productivity is like buying a chair about jogging."

via Think Traffic Read More…

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD by @@natalieannhoben

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD by @@natalieannhoben

When it comes to structured data, there are several formatting options out there (Microdata, RDFa, etc). While all beneficial, some are definitely easier to implement than others. If you are searching for a structured markup that is effective but does not require a lot of time, you should set your sights on JSON-LD. And believe me, it’s not as complicated or confusing as most think it is, so turn any potential looks of extreme perplexity around before we dive in.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

The reason JSON-LD is largely considered the “easier” version of markup is due to a few factors:

  • All of the structured data can be added between two <script> tags in the <head> of an HTML document.
  • There is no need to have to rely solely on a developer to implement structured data.
  • There is less risk of markup errors.

Structured data markup such as Microdata or RDFa is effective but tends to be a little more complicated to implement, thus presenting a greater chance of potential errors. JSON-LD is a painless way to implement structured data that uses a simpler syntax.

JSON vs. JSON-LD

Before we dive into JSON-LD, however, it is important to understand what JSON is. JSON stands for “JavaScript Object Notation”. It is a flexible format for passing data between several types of applications. It is a lightweight and relatively simplistic method for us to write, and for machines to parse and generate. An example of this can be seen below, representing a person.

Curly brackets are used to wrap an object, and individual properties are defined within it. Whenever there is a property, there is also a value for it that is separated by a colon. When values that are not numbers are used, quotations are also added around those values. So, for instance, “age” in the below image shows that this individual is 37.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

However, it is not clear if this person is 37 seconds old, 37 months or 37 years. The proper age measurement needs to be known. However, a machine won’t automatically be aware of that. Thus, the units are clarified as years.

Next, another person can be created that has a relationship with respect to this one.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

This is all well and good now. However, the direct connection between these two individuals is not known. As humans, it could be said that Joe and Josephine are friends, or father and daughter, and so on.

However, a machine or computer does not instantly understand this. The children property has been created in order to support their connection to one another. When using basic JSON, square brackets are used to store a list. This list can have nothing, one thing, or many things.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

This list now features one person object, with the potential to add more using a comma.

From JSON to JSON-LD

Now that the basics of JSON have been covered, let’s make the connection to JSON-LD. Again, don’t let the name intimidate you. JSON-LD (JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data) is JSON, plus the linked data aspect. When it comes to organic search optimization, JSON objects are used to signify data linked to the page. Schema, which is basically a language that all search engines have agreed upon, lays out the sorts of objects that need to be created.

JSON-LD is the use of proper grammar — the method in which an object is structured and added to the page. When we use Schema, search engines know how to interpret our JSON objects.

The Process of Implementing JSON-LD

This process sounds complicated. Believe me, when I first heard it, I thought the same exact thing: This will take hours on end and a heavy amount of coding. To my surprise (and maybe to yours), it’s so much simpler than that.

The process can be broken down to see how JSON-LD differs from JSON. In this example, a model for the basic calling of a webpage entity is used.

To begin, the script must be called. The below is the proper script that calls the JSON:

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

Context

@context is the vocabulary that the data is being linked to. This particular instance references all of Schema.org. Any properties or types can be used with this version.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

The example below is a more extensive version of @context. This version can utilize URLs to describe values manually. These values can be labeled as @types in the script, allowing a larger degree of specificity that enables different vocabularies to be called.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

Type

@type is utilized for the purpose of labeling the entity that is being referred to in the code.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

Once a type is referenced, any property that is applicable to that type can be called and then defined. In the example below, the webpage type is a reference in order to define a breadcrumb for search engines.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

Relating One Entity to Another

In order to relate entities, nesting is added. JSON-LD makes handling nested entities rather simple. To define a property with a separate type, another set of curly brackets must be opened. This is because the properties of the new entity must be defined. Once that curly bracket is closed again, the process returns to defining the properties of the parent entity.  If additional entities need to be called, a comma must be included after closing the curly brackets in order to avoid parsing errors.

Additional Markup Tips

When it comes to implementing this form of markup, there are a few important factors to always keep in mind.

Quotes: If using JSON-LD, quotes can potentially prevent Google from parsing data.

Properties: Ensure that all necessary properties are listed for the type that is being referenced (ex: adding a currency and value for a price specification).

Cases: Types and properties are case sensitive across the board when it comes to Schema.org.

Lingo: Learning the various properties, types, and entities through the Schema.org language to have a better understanding of how they all relate to one another.

Don’t be afraid to test: Don’t be afraid to give JSON-LD an initial shot, there are plenty of resources for testing that can provide insight into whether it was properly implemented or not.

Tips for Testing JSON-LD

Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool comes in extremely handy for checking if the JSON-LD code was implemented correctly. Simply enter the URL of the page that you are trying to test and, if the code was properly implemented, it will appear in the right-hand column. There it is possible to see every Property and Entity that is defined. If any errors exist, they will be displayed with a red error mark.

Conclusion

Many sites do not use JSON-LD to their benefit, or they do not utilize proper syntax. While the name may, at first, sound intimidating, it’s really much more simple than you’d expect. Don’t let this method that is easily within grasp pass you by. You will be shocked how much time and effort can be saved by learning the JSON-LD “lingo”, especially in comparison to other forms of structured data markup.

Image Credits
Featured image by Natalie Hoben.
In-post photo: Pixabay
Screenshot by Natalie Hoben. Taken December 2016.

via Search Engine Journal Read More…

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD by @@natalieannhoben

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD by @@natalieannhoben

When it comes to structured data, there are several formatting options out there (Microdata, RDFa, etc). While all beneficial, some are definitely easier to implement than others. If you are searching for a structured markup that is effective but does not require a lot of time, you should set your sights on JSON-LD. And believe me, it’s not as complicated or confusing as most think it is, so turn any potential looks of extreme perplexity around before we dive in.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

The reason JSON-LD is largely considered the “easier” version of markup is due to a few factors:

  • All of the structured data can be added between two <script> tags in the <head> of an HTML document.
  • There is no need to have to rely solely on a developer to implement structured data.
  • There is less risk of markup errors.

Structured data markup such as Microdata or RDFa is effective but tends to be a little more complicated to implement, thus presenting a greater chance of potential errors. JSON-LD is a painless way to implement structured data that uses a simpler syntax.

JSON vs. JSON-LD

Before we dive into JSON-LD, however, it is important to understand what JSON is. JSON stands for “JavaScript Object Notation”. It is a flexible format for passing data between several types of applications. It is a lightweight and relatively simplistic method for us to write, and for machines to parse and generate. An example of this can be seen below, representing a person.

Curly brackets are used to wrap an object, and individual properties are defined within it. Whenever there is a property, there is also a value for it that is separated by a colon. When values that are not numbers are used, quotations are also added around those values. So, for instance, “age” in the below image shows that this individual is 37.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

However, it is not clear if this person is 37 seconds old, 37 months or 37 years. The proper age measurement needs to be known. However, a machine won’t automatically be aware of that. Thus, the units are clarified as years.

Next, another person can be created that has a relationship with respect to this one.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

This is all well and good now. However, the direct connection between these two individuals is not known. As humans, it could be said that Joe and Josephine are friends, or father and daughter, and so on.

However, a machine or computer does not instantly understand this. The children property has been created in order to support their connection to one another. When using basic JSON, square brackets are used to store a list. This list can have nothing, one thing, or many things.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

This list now features one person object, with the potential to add more using a comma.

From JSON to JSON-LD

Now that the basics of JSON have been covered, let’s make the connection to JSON-LD. Again, don’t let the name intimidate you. JSON-LD (JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data) is JSON, plus the linked data aspect. When it comes to organic search optimization, JSON objects are used to signify data linked to the page. Schema, which is basically a language that all search engines have agreed upon, lays out the sorts of objects that need to be created.

JSON-LD is the use of proper grammar — the method in which an object is structured and added to the page. When we use Schema, search engines know how to interpret our JSON objects.

The Process of Implementing JSON-LD

This process sounds complicated. Believe me, when I first heard it, I thought the same exact thing: This will take hours on end and a heavy amount of coding. To my surprise (and maybe to yours), it’s so much simpler than that.

The process can be broken down to see how JSON-LD differs from JSON. In this example, a model for the basic calling of a webpage entity is used.

To begin, the script must be called. The below is the proper script that calls the JSON:

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

Context

@context is the vocabulary that the data is being linked to. This particular instance references all of Schema.org. Any properties or types can be used with this version.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

The example below is a more extensive version of @context. This version can utilize URLs to describe values manually. These values can be labeled as @types in the script, allowing a larger degree of specificity that enables different vocabularies to be called.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

Type

@type is utilized for the purpose of labeling the entity that is being referred to in the code.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

Once a type is referenced, any property that is applicable to that type can be called and then defined. In the example below, the webpage type is a reference in order to define a breadcrumb for search engines.

A Complete Guide to JSON-LD | SEJ

Relating One Entity to Another

In order to relate entities, nesting is added. JSON-LD makes handling nested entities rather simple. To define a property with a separate type, another set of curly brackets must be opened. This is because the properties of the new entity must be defined. Once that curly bracket is closed again, the process returns to defining the properties of the parent entity.  If additional entities need to be called, a comma must be included after closing the curly brackets in order to avoid parsing errors.

Additional Markup Tips

When it comes to implementing this form of markup, there are a few important factors to always keep in mind.

Quotes: If using JSON-LD, quotes can potentially prevent Google from parsing data.

Properties: Ensure that all necessary properties are listed for the type that is being referenced (ex: adding a currency and value for a price specification).

Cases: Types and properties are case sensitive across the board when it comes to Schema.org.

Lingo: Learning the various properties, types, and entities through the Schema.org language to have a better understanding of how they all relate to one another.

Don’t be afraid to test: Don’t be afraid to give JSON-LD an initial shot, there are plenty of resources for testing that can provide insight into whether it was properly implemented or not.

Tips for Testing JSON-LD

Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool comes in extremely handy for checking if the JSON-LD code was implemented correctly. Simply enter the URL of the page that you are trying to test and, if the code was properly implemented, it will appear in the right-hand column. There it is possible to see every Property and Entity that is defined. If any errors exist, they will be displayed with a red error mark.

Conclusion

Many sites do not use JSON-LD to their benefit, or they do not utilize proper syntax. While the name may, at first, sound intimidating, it’s really much more simple than you’d expect. Don’t let this method that is easily within grasp pass you by. You will be shocked how much time and effort can be saved by learning the JSON-LD “lingo”, especially in comparison to other forms of structured data markup.

Image Credits
Featured image by Natalie Hoben.
In-post photo: Pixabay
Screenshot by Natalie Hoben. Taken December 2016.

via Search Engine Journal Read More…

Erin Robbins on How Sales and Marketing Can Use Search Data to Communicate Better [PODCAST]

Erin Robbins on How Sales and Marketing Can Use Search Data to Communicate Better [PODCAST]

Visit our Marketing Nerds archive to listen to other Marketing Nerds podcasts!

Sales and marketing often have a contentious relationship. But by using search data to better understand what the customer is actually looking for, they are able to not only better serve their user base, but also create a cohesive tone of brand mentioning. Erin Robbins of Ginzametrics talks with SEJ Executive Editor Kelsey Jones about why sales and marketing should actually work together, and how the personal relationship building of sales is something that could serve digital marketing departments better.

Erin Robbins on How Sales and Marketing Can Use Search Data to Communicate Better [PODCAST] | SEJ

I’ve seen a lot of benefits from the marketing and sales departments knowing what each other’s talking about. Is cross-training something you’ve found useful, especially when it comes to discussing data?

Erin: It’s important to understand what everybody’s talking about. It helps the customer or potential prospects have a more seamless experience across mediums. Marketing should also be getting ideas on what topics and content to create and things to cover based on feedback that sales is getting.

It really should be cyclical. Once everybody’s having these discussions, what you’re able to do is set up your data capturing and analysis programs to better figure out how to do that in the future, make smarter decisions, and give the customer a better experience. It shouldn’t feel like somebody’s passing the baton, or that there are these kinds of breaks in experience between when somebody’s initially getting product awareness and when they start speaking to sales, and then again when they become a customer and have an account manager or onboarding process.

Some of the metrics and the way data is measured varies between sales and search or marketing. How can different types of data help each of these departments?

Erin: There’s a lot of metrics and things people pass around, like X number of leads, marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads. I like to steer away from thinking about things in those terms, and think more about things in what I’ll call “content groups” and “keyword groups”.

If you’re setting up things with marketing, sales, and customer success and support in mind, the idea is you should have all these kinds of groups for your content around things like features, solutions, common questions or problems, issues, and topics.

The reason I’m big on these ideas of groups is because it allows you to easily see and understand how someone consumes content and interacts with various aspects of your organization. Content and keywords can belong to multiple groups. I like to say, “Hey, sales. We can help you craft email conversations that will help you close better if you give us access to some of this info. We can look at keywords and themes that are going on in your emails and how this actually matches or doesn’t work with how people were searching for solutions to begin with.”

Same thing with customer support and success. “Hey, people are writing in, having these problems or questions,” or, “Hey, people are looking at certain types of FAQs. How can we get ahead of that a little bit more?” When you group your content like this, you can also see differences in locations. You can say, “Hey, in certain locations or among certain types of users, these are common themes. Among other locations or other user types, these are different themes.” Then you can actually give this data to your sales team and they’re likely to close business a lot more.

Kelsey: You’re saying to think of it from a behavioral or problem-solution approach. Instead of thinking of them as just a lead to make money off of, think of them as, “Well, what are they really looking for and what do they really actually want from us?”

Erin: It’s not a linear process as much as the funnel makes it seem linear. It’s more than just mining customer support tickets for blog posts. It’s really about saying, “Hey, you know what? We’re getting a lot of questions about this specific feature. This means people don’t understand this or that it’s not explained well in initial messaging, or that sales is talking about something in a way that customers don’t end up actually grasping.”

When you think about it that way, the idea is you need to know what is going on with people. Search data’s great because not only are you capturing people who are telling you they’re looking for something because they’re actually searching for it, they’re telling you how they’re searching for it. And because search terminology has continued to increase, we’re now getting why they’re searching for it.

How can search data help with managing expectations not only for the sales staff but also for clients?

Erin Robbins on How Sales and Marketing Can Use Search Data to Communicate Better [PODCAST] | SEJ

Erin: I feel like the best possible solution is to say, “Look, what can I actually do with this information and the fact that they keep doing this?” In my mind, sales people are promising somebody something because the person is asking for it, right?

If they’re promising somebody something because people continue to ask for it, you have to start looking for thematic or recurring asks. If somebody keeps asking for a specific genre of requests and you’re starting to see sales people continue to promise this, they’re getting that information from somewhere. So I would take the terms and things the sales team is actually promising these people and put them into my keyword searches and say, “I need to track this” because what you’re probably going to find is that competitors are actually offering that, or it’s something they’ve heard somewhere.

Kelsey: Yes, I love that. Instead of getting defensive, focus on the reason behind why they’re asking for it and look more into using data. That’s a really good way to put it.

Erin: I’ll give you an example. I noticed that when people were having calls with us about the platform, one of the recurring conversations that would keep coming up was contract length. What I did was I started tracking keywords and terms around SEO platform, content marketing platform contracts. What I found was that a lot of people didn’t like being forced into these one- and two-year long contracts. That’s how we came back to offering a month-to-month solution or shorter term contracts with different options.

Kelsey: Yes, that’s awesome. Instead of bucking requests and saying, “Oh, we don’t do that,” think of it as, “Well, can we offer this in a different way that is against our competition that would actually help alleviate some of our potential customers’ pain points?”

Erin: And if you don’t have the opportunity to change the way your product is working or you can’t create the thing that sales has promised, what you can do as a marketer is get ahead in terms of messaging. You can adjust messaging strategies if you’re noticing thematic conversations that sales is having and things they continue to promise over and over again. Hopefully, if sales continues to promise something, the product team and whoever’s in charge of that will get on top of it. But in terms of what you can do as a marketer, you can get ahead of it, you can send out emails around it, you can figure out how you can try to make it work within the existing structure of your product, and then try to create content that will lead people to something you do currently provide.

Kelsey: You can use the data to do the best you can within the freedom you have in the organization. Even if you don’t have power to actually transform the product, you could create more content that’s answering these customers’ pain points or their inquiries.

Do you think having sales training as a marketer is helpful? Does that help interpret data?

Erin: I think it does. I think that when we’re talking about doing sales training, Steve Farnsworth made a good suggestion to me. He’s a big advocate of marketing folks going along and doing ride-alongs essentially, or sitting in on sales meetings.

You don’t have to explain who you are or what you’re doing there, it’s more just so that you understand. Especially if you’re talking about going with good sales people, because people who close a lot of business are obviously closing a lot of business for a reason. You want to understand what it is they’re saying and how they’re saying it that people tend to gravitate toward. Why wouldn’t you want to know that? It’s only going to help you create and craft better marketing messaging if you know what’s working when someone’s in the room.

I think it will also help break down barriers between sales and marketing departments that have actually continued to cause bigger problems for most organizations. Conversely, sales could learn a lot by looking at marketing’s copy. I think that if everybody had that opportunity it would probably be a lot better.

The other thing I would add is besides doing the ride-alongs or joining some sales conversations, listen in and hear how people are describing things. You want everybody to be on message or at least talking about things in a similar way. It goes back to that seamless experience because if you have a marketing department that’s going at things and branding things one way, and then you’ve got a sales department that comes at it from a completely different voice, even if you’re saying the same thing, there’s a big difference in tonal shifts.

Kelsey: That brings up a good point that I hear over and over by some of the speakers in our industry. It all comes down to human behavior and actual interaction. I think as digital marketers, sometimes we get too focused on being online and not actually interfacing with people or looking at how people search and interact with companies. Because the sales team are more front-facing, they have actual phone conversations or they’re just more interactive, and they do have a better idea of what the customer is asking and what they’re expecting as well.

Erin: They know the customer’s voice. They know the tone, they have a more back and forth rapport than we as marketers would normally have. A lot of times that’s where you’re going to get information about what is the real tone, how formal or casual is it, how professional or advanced or novice these conversations are. Those are things where you can mine a lot of data about your user without having to do typical marketing things like asking questions directly. You could find a lot of that information by just talking to your sales team.

To listen to this Marketing Nerds Podcast with Kelsey Jones and Erin Robbins:

Think you have what it takes to be a Marketing Nerd? If so, message Danielle Antosz on Twitter, or email her at danielle [at] searchenginejournal.com.

Visit our Marketing Nerds archive to listen to other Marketing Nerds podcasts!

Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
In-post Image #1: tashatuvango/DepositPhotos
In-post Image #2: koctia/DepositPhotos

via Search Engine Journal Read More…

Snapchat vs Instagram – Which Platform is Better for Your Brand?

Snapchat vs Instagram - Which Platform is Better for Your Brand?

Snapchat vs. Instagram: A rivalry as old as time. Well, almost.

There have been a lot of discussion this year about who’ll eventually win the battle between the two social media giants, and while out of the gate it looked like Snapchat would eventually be declared the victor, Instagram has been leading a charge to take some of Snapchat’s best features and… well, copy them.

However you slice it, these two platforms are what many think are the future of social media. In this post, we want to break down what each platform is, and more importantly, what it can offer to brands who are looking to connect with their ideal consumers.

By The Numbers

As of the end of 2016, Snapchat is seeing 150 million active users every day. They’re also reportedly serving 10 billion daily video views, while users, on average, are logged into Snapchat for 30 minutes every day.

Instagram, meanwhile, now has more than 600 million registered users, with more than 300 million of them logging into the app daily. For brands looking for engagement, it doesn’t get much better than that, especially among the younger populations.

Both Snapchat and Instagram have major appeal among people users age 35 and under – researchers have found that up to 90% of Instagram’s users are 35 and under, while 86% of Snapchat users are under the age of 34.

Which Platform Do Millenials Prefer?

Wishbone recently conducted a survey asking users between the ages of 12 and 25 (the coveted heart of the Millennial target group) which they preferred, Snapchat or Instagram. Here are their decidedly unscientific, yet still interesting, results:

Who Will Win the Battle between Snapchat & Instagram? | Social Media Today

With almost 36,000 votes, Snapchat won a decisive victory in this group – though there were a couple of interesting findings in the subsequent data:

  1. 25% of respondents (approximately 32,000) said they would delete Snapchat now that Instagram has a stories feature
  2. 43% of respondents (approximately 33,000) said they would delete Snapchat if Instagram started providing Lens and Geofilter like options

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to imagine that Instagram could be working on that very feature now given parent company Facebook’s fairly blatant attempts at copying Snapchat’s core features.Who Will Win the Battle between Snapchat & Instagram? | Social Media Today

And while Instagram is starting to catch up to Snapchat in regards to Millennial appeal, a lot of people think that their development of Stories was actually geared towards older audiences. Many older users find Snapchat difficult to use – the app’s not as intuitive as Instagram for posting images, and that has translated to brands. Take a look at this graphic that compares the two options:

Who Will Win the Battle between Snapchat & Instagram? | Social Media Today

So while your typical 18-year-old prefers Snapchat, a 38-year-old is likely to be much more interested in Instagram.

Pros and Cons

So the big question is what does this really mean for brands? There’s no doubt that there are huge opportunities in both platforms for brands who are willing to go all in on them. However, there are pros and cons to each.

Lenses and Geofilters

Where Snapchat wins big is through their face-altering Lenses and location-based Geofilters. These feature are different to those on offer on other social platforms, and both are key factor in the apps appeal over other apps. These options not only serve as great interactive marketing options, but they also help to personalize each Snapchat users’ experience.

Stories

While Snapchat was first to market with their stories feature, in the eyes of many, Instagram has taken a tool that was very good and made it even better. The user interface for Instagram Stories is easier, the way the stories can be shared is better, and even features like the ability to draw on your content is cleaner on Instagram.

Capturing the Moment

The thing that really makes Snapchat feel so different – and the thing that Snap Inc. is doubling down on with the release of Spectacles – is the app’s focus on capturing the essence ot the moment. Whereas Instagram’s general purpose has been as a platform to share more polished images, Snapchat’s ephemeral approach puts emphasis on immediacy over perfection. 

But with the addition of Stories – and now live-streaming as well – Instagram may have changed the game by offering users the ability to do both in one place.

Reach

In terms of reach, there’s no contest. While it may be a bit disconcerting for some that the average number of images shared, per user, on Instagram has been declining year-over-year, the sheer number of users is still huge compared to Snapchat. And that’s especially true when it comes to big brands and celebrities.

What Does it Mean for Brands?

While there’s no doubt that brands can do great things when it comes to personalization and filters with Snapchat, for many, the fact that they can reach a far greater number of potential customers is far more alluring.

Look at this recent campaign from Nike – the company used an Instagram post (featured below) along with a Story (not shown) that showcased a brand new Michigan football uniform unveiling:Who Will Win the Battle between Snapchat & Instagram? | Social Media Today

You can see the results listed in this infographic:

Who Will Win the Battle between Snapchat & Instagram? | Social Media Today

So in 24 hours, that Nike Instagram story saw 800,000 views. By comparison, Nike’s most watched Snapchat story ever saw 66,000 views.

This is in large part due to Instagram’s big lead in getting to market earlier and the ease of discovering/finding the account by their fans. Snapchat’s limited to the mobile app (no desktop version), while discovery options are limited, making it much harder to find brands and follow them in the app.

That’s to say this example is definitive – as with all things social media marketing, your decisions on where to spend your time and effort should be dictated by your unique audience. But in general, Instagram’s larger audience will likely hold more appeal to most brands.

Final Thoughts

Right now, it seems that Instagram holds the advantage for brand use. It’ll be interesting to see how the platforms continue to evolve and battle for audience attention. Will Instagram look to introduce Geofilter and Lens-type options to become a true Snapchat killer, or will Snapchat’s new emphasis on hardware with Spectacles give them the edge? 

It’ll certainly be interesting to watch – which platform does your brand prefer?

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5 Ways to Boost Shares of Your Social Media Content

5 Ways to Boost Shares of Your Social Media Content

5 Ways to Boost Shares of Your Social Media Content | Social Media TodayIf you’ve played the “follow game” on social media, you probably have a lot of followers but few social shares. People may easily follow you back, but they won’t so readily retweet your tweets, re-post your content on their social feeds, or like your posts.

In order to receive social shares, you need to make your content shareable.

There are many ways to get more social shares on social media – here are five easy tips you can implement immediately.

1. Research Trending Topics

An easy way to receive more social shares is to research trending topics and create your own content based on those trends – so long as they’re relevant to your audience. If Justin Bieber has nothing to do with your business, then leave that trend alone.

There are several tools, like BuzzSumo and PostReach, you can use to discover the trending topics within your industry or niche.

2. Make It Easy To Share

People are lazy sometimes – especially on the Internet.

Although it may only take a couple seconds to copy and paste the URL to your article on their social media account, people will be more inclined to share the article if it has social share buttons on the side or at the end of the article.

Make your content easy to share by adding social sharing buttons to your posts. If your website is on the WordPress platform, you can install a plug-in that adds the buttons for you.

3. Use Emojis

Emojis are popular online because they convey an emotion without the need for writing long blocks of text to express yourself. Many social media users have started to post updates and descriptions that are just emoji characters, ranging from one emoji to several.

If you use emojis sometimes in your personal life, then you should consider utilizing them in your social posts for your business as well. Even if you’re a lawyer, CPA or financial services provider, it could work out in your favor – it can show your audience that you’re not overly stuffy.

Of course, you need to remain professional too and never overdo the emojis.

4. Ask Without Begging

Asking for retweets and shares is straightforward and simple, and it has been shown through various studies that it can help increase social shares. The key is asking without sounding desperate or begging – if you’re always asking for shares, followers will be annoyed with you.

You also don’t have to be direct about it – you don’t have to say: “Share my post on social media.” You could say something like “Please share my post if you think others need to know this too.”

5. Share Content When Your Followers Are Active

This is another obvious tip, but it’s often overlooked by small business owners.

Timing matters on social media. If the majority of your Twitter audience is offline, they’re not going to see your tweet. How can they convert if they never see the tweet? They can’t, therefore, you need to use a Twitter analytics tool to determine what times of the day and days of the week your followers are most active, then plan your tweets to post during those times. You’ll receive more engagement and social shares simply because you posted when your followers were on the social network.

This is true for Facebook and other social networks. Timing is everything.

Conclusion

Receiving social media shares increases your reach and can make your post look more valuable to others who see it on their timelines – people are more likely to click on a post with 100 shares than 0 because they subconsciously think there must be something worthwhile or interesting in the post with 100 shares if that many people re-posted it to their timeline. When they see a post with little engagement, they won’t feel as strong a desire to click on it without the social proof, so boosting your share count can definitely be worth the extra effort.

This post was originally published on The Fried Side blog.

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How The Internet Revolutionized Offline Retail [Infographic]

How The Internet Revolutionized Offline Retail [Infographic]

Year after year, the command of retail continues to interest customers. Although numerous consumers are now taking advantage of online deals, the experience a shopper has when they can interact with the product in person is still highly influential. Studies show that 25% of consumers purchase a product or service after they’ve searched locally. In fact, 18% of these purchases are made within one day according to the infographic below from Store Traffic.

Nonetheless, the influence the internet holds over shoppers is intriguing. This can be seen both in the way customers shop and how businesses operate. The landscape of retail has drastically changed. This graphic gives us a summary of how, since its inception, the internet has continued to dominate the shopping experience. It highlights the importance of innovation – if your business doesn’t have at least one digital element in it, you may be left behind.

Emerging trends, such as the Internet of Things, will help to shape the future of retail. Soon, simply having a company website will not be enough. Without social media channels, many businesses are failing to connect with a large portion of the population.

Keep reading the infographic below for more.

How The Internet Revolutionized Offline Retail [Infographic] | Social Media TodayThis post originally appeared on Irfan Ahmad’s blog.

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How to Craft a Remarkable SEO Strategy for 2017 – Whiteboard Friday

How to Craft a Remarkable SEO Strategy for 2017 - Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

From understanding the big-picture search trends to making sure your SEO goals jive with your CEO’s goals, there’s a lot to consider when planning for 2017. Next year promises to be huge for our industry, and in today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand outlines how to craft a truly remarkable SEO strategy to help you sail through 2017.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to this special New Year’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday season and are about to have a wonderful New Year’s.

This week, we’re going to chat about how you can have a remarkable, amazing SEO strategy in 2017. The first thing I’m actually going to start with is not the broad-spectrum, strategic picture, which we talked a little bit here on Whiteboard Friday about, and I’ll reference some of those, but is actually understanding some of those big-picture search trends. What are the search engines doing? How is that affecting my strategy? How does that mean I should influence and affect my specific tactics for 2017? So I’ll walk through a few of these big ones. There are others, but I think these encapsulate many of the big things we’ve been seeing.

I. Understand the big-picture search trends

  • A huge rise in SERP features, meaning that Google is showing many more types of data and types of markup in the search results. We have, I believe, 17 that we record for Keyword Explorer, but there are another 7 or 8 that we do not record, but that we see in between 1% and 2% of queries. So there’s just a ton of different features that are going in there.
  • A rise in instant answers. This is especially true on mobile, but it’s true on desktop as well. Google is trying to answer a lot of the queries themselves, and that can mean they’re taking away traffic from you, or it can mean there’s opportunity to get into those features or those answers.
  • Intent > keywords: We’re also seeing this trend that started with Hummingbird and now, obviously, continued with RankBrain around intent, searcher intent being more important than keywords in how we target our content. This does not mean you can remove keywords from the equation. You have to understand what the searcher has typed into the engine before you can serve their intent, and very small variations in keyword structure can mean real changes in searcher intent. That’s a critical part of how we craft content for people.
  • The value of comprehensiveness has clearly been on the rise. That’s been true for a couple of years, but it definitely is a trend that continued in 2016 and we expect to continue into 2017. You can see a bunch of examples of research in that area, including some from Whiteboard Friday itself.
  • Multi-device speed and user experience, Google’s been harping on this for several years now, and I think what we are observing is that speed is not the only user experience element. Google has taken action against overlays and pop-ups. They’ve taken action, clearly, that suggests that there are some engagement metrics that are going on there, and that sites that have better user experience and that garner better engagement are doing better in the search results.
  • We’ve seen a bunch of trends around unreliability of Google data. That includes search volume data. It includes data in AdWords, around Google showing you which keywords are in there. It includes inaccuracies in Google Search Console, formerly Webmaster Tools, around rankings. My colleague, Russ Jones, has just put out a big piece on that showing, essentially, that if Google says you got this many impressions and this many clicks, that may be totally wrong and false, so be cautious around that.
  • Voice search, clearly on the rise. Not yet a huge trend in terms of an addressable market that search marketers can go after, but we’ve talked a few ways here on Whiteboard Friday and at Moz about how you can think about voice search impacting your results in the future and what types of content you might want to produce to be in front of voice searchers.
  • Machine learning and deep learning, Google has clearly made a shift to that in the last 18 months, and we’re seeing it affect the search results in terms of how they’re considering links, how they’re looking at keyword searches, and how they’re looking at content.
  • Multi-visit buyer journeys have always been important, but I think we are now seeing the trend to where not just search marketers but marketers of all stripes recognize this, and a lot of us are optimizing for it, which means that the competitive landscape now demands that you optimize for a multi-visit buyer journey, that you don’t just consider a single visit in your conversion path or in your optimization path, and that means, for SEOs, considering what are all the queries someone might perform as they come to and come back to my site.
  • Bias to brands, that is a continuing trend over the last few years. We’re still seeing it, and we’re seeing it even more so. I would say we’re seeing it even when those brands have not necessarily earned tons of links, which used to be the big dominating factor in the world of is a brand stronger than a non-brand. A lot of times that was about links. Now it seems that those are decoupled.
  • That being said, we’re kind of feeling an undiminished value of links. If you’ve built a brand, if you’ve done a lot of these things successfully, links are certainly how you can stand out in the search results. That’s pretty much as true in 2016 and ’17 as it was in 2011 and 2012. Only caveat there is that the quality of links matters a lot more.

So, knowing all those things, I think we can now craft some very smart SEO tactics. We can apply those to the SEO problems we face.

II. Map your organizations top-level goals to how your SEO efforts can best assist:

Step two is to map your organization’s top-level goals to your SEO tactics, and that can look something like this.

Here’s Zow Corporate, the opposite of Moz, which is hopefully not very corporate. Zow Corporate’s big three for 2017, they want to grow revenue with new enterprise customers, they want to lower their costs to get more profitable, and they want to improve their upsell to existing customers. So SEO can help with these things by — and this is a really smart framework — you want to take the things that your organization wants to accomplish at its executive or board level, and you want to show that SEO is actually doing those things, not just that you’re trying to rank for keywords or bring more traffic, but that you’ve mapped your priorities in this way.

So I could say SEO can help by identifying searchers that enterprise targets and influencers perform and then ranking for those. We can lower our costs to get more profitable by reducing the cost per acquisition. We’ll drive more traffic with organic search, thus reducing our dependency on advertising and other forms of marketing that cost a lot more. Those types of things.

III. Build a keyword-to-content map

Step three is to build a keyword to content map. We talked about this here on Whiteboard Friday. I’d urge you to check that out if you haven’t already. But the basic concept is to have a list of terms and phrases that come out of your tactics and your goals, that you build a map for and then show like, "All right, here’s how we’re ranking today. Here’s the URL which we’re ranking with," or, "We don’t yet have a URL that’s targeting this keyword phrase, and thus, we need to build it," and then the action required there and what the priority is.

IV. Break down the SEO efforts into discrete projects with ETAs and people assigned, ordered by expected ROI

You can also think about adding some additional things to your content-to-keyword map or to your project list by breaking down all the SEO efforts that you’re going to do to hit all these goals into discrete projects with a few thingsan estimated time of delivery, the people who are assigned to it, and an ordering based on the expected return on investment. You can be wrong about this. It’s okay to be, "Hey, we’re taking our best guess, thumb in the air. We don’t really know for sure, but we’re going to try. Here’s the project. It’s link building for the home page. It’s our number-one priority. The value estimate is high because we currently rank number two or three for our own brand name. It’s assigned to this person, to Rand, and the ETA is March 30th." Great, terrific, and now I know. I’ve taken this from here and from my projects list. It’s part of my goals. It’s where I think I can have a big impact. Terrific.

V. Build a reporting/measurement system that shows progress and ties revenue/goals to clear metrics:

Then, step five, the last one here is to build a reporting and measurement system that’s going to show progress, not just to you internally, but to your entire team, or to your client if you’re a consultant or an agency, and that anyone can look at and say, "Ah! This is where they’re going with this. This is how they’ve done so far."

So you want to take any tactic or any project and add the metrics by which you will measure yourself. So if we’re trying to rank in the top three for our competitor comparison searches, Zow versus whatever companies Zow’s competing with, and the metrics there are ranking first, then search volume, the traffic we get from it, the conversions, and the retention of those customers who’ve come through, now you’ve got a real picture of how your SEO efforts map up to these big-picture goals. It’s a great way to frame your SEO.

So, with that being said, I am looking very much forward to hearing how you’re planning your 2017 SEO strategy. If you have recommendations and tips that you’d like to see here or questions, feel free to leave them in there, and despite the holiday break, I will be in there to answer your questions as best I can.

Look forward to joining you again next week and next year for a wonderful year of SEO and Whiteboard Fridays. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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