Tapping Into the Selfie Generation’s Space

You must be living in a cave if you are not familiar with Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar or Acche din renewable hai. The 2014 General Assembly Elections in India will be remembered for many reasons – primary among them being a heavily lopsided mandate issued by the people and India getting its first born-after-independence Prime Minister. But the use of social media as a campaigning tool by political parties was a landmark episode that took many by surprise and sent many squandering to try and analyze its impact on the ultimate outcome.

  • The Perception

Social Media as a campaigning tool was an ingenious idea that turned gold. Of the 500 plus million voters on the rolls, approximately 100 million were first-timers. Most of these first-time voters, or even second time voters, are very active on social media. Targeting them through social media was always inevitable. According to a report, an estimated Rs. 500 crore was spent by political parties for digital campaigns in the run-up to the elections.

  • The Reason

While it is hard to say how much of a part social media played in securing votes for any of the political parties, it is definitely undeniable that it played a significant part in creating a brand and an awareness amongst voters. If the election results and social media stats are to correspond, it is no surprise that Narendra Modi has been active on Twitter for over 2 years now with nearly four and a half million followers. Trailing him is Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal who joined Twitter just after forming in the party in 2013. The worst case scenario here can be sketched by the fact that Rahul Gandhi, widely considered as the Congress party’s discreet Prime Ministerial candidate, has no official website of his own, nor is he active on any social networking platforms.

  • The Assessment

When in Rome, do as the Romans do … To appeal to a young voter base, BJP adopted an aggressive social media strategy that not just promoted its Prime Minister candidate, but also connected with young voters in a manner that they could identify with. Hashtags such as #AccheDin, #AbKiBaarModiSarkar, #SelfieWithModi, etc., made sure BJP and Modi kept up the momentum in the build-up to election dates.

A general look at this map shows how the Narendra Modi/BJP buzz was kept going throughout online the campaign and beyond.

Similarly, the following graph shows how BJP’s social media campaigning surged ahead of the elections and stayed abuzz even through polling phases. The marked difference between BJP and other parties in this graph clearly demonstrates the correlation between virtual popularity and real-world popularity.

SMM-graph-2

Additionally, while almost all leading parties had digital media agencies handling their digital publicity, Narendra Modi himself too was involved in the process. He tweeted selfies, discussed policies, and even tapped into unknown territory by hosting a Google+ Hangout. His Facebook page’s content almost trailed Modi on the go – his rallies, interviews, meeting with celebrities, etc. The message that Modi’s personal involvement in social media was sending out was that he understood the pulse of the nation and that he wanted to be involved with the youth of the nation to take the country forward.

The other parties need to introspect – not just with their political strategies, but with their digital marketing strategies as well. The social media space was something they clearly saw as just a cherry on top. The party that saw it as the staple of the batter ran away with the cake!

The “Master Blaster” Sachin Tendulkar received over 4,000 retweets after posting a selfie of his ink-stained finger writing:

 

Single Scroll – Should You, Shouldn’t You?

If you are a regular internet user, you may have noticed that 8 out of 10 websites you’ve visited recently have not had a traditional website infrastructure. The latest web design trend is to put all your content on a single page with moving visuals. We take a look at the pros and cons of this design trend that seems to be taking everything by storm.

PROS:

Hello Gorgeous!

There is no denying the fact that single scroll websites make for a gorgeous web browsing experience. This kind of a design is ideal for websites that hold scope for loads of visual goodies – images, background textures, videos, etc. The more your website appeals to visitors, the higher is the engagement rate and higher the engagement rate, better is the lead generation. Winning!

User Seizure

Essentially an extension of the above point, users like to be treated with care. Where single scrolling websites score over traditional ones is that unlike a traditional web page setup, the single scroll is flexible. Users can navigate in any direction and you can even do away with linear narration if you want. This prods users to explore more, more exploration means more on-site time, which of course signifies the users’ willingness to take substantial action – fill a form, buy a product, subscribe to updates, etc.

Flash in the Pan

Okay, Flash was awesome. WAS. We have better options now. Flash wasn’t exactly SEO-friendly; so much so that Google started indexing Flash pages only recently. Then again, Flash is not supported by all devices, HTML is. Think about it – the larger audience!

CONS:

Slow-Mo

Since single scroll websites pack in much content (text and visual), the page load times can get awfully hampered, especially on slow connections. Some elements may not even show up. Doesn’t put a good impression, does it? Worse, if your website carries animation content, the click and response timings can make you lose precious visitors.

Bring Back the SEO

Yes, Single Scroll is better than Flash in terms of SEO, but it still lags the traditional Flash-less website with an orthodox sitemap. Having your entire content on a single page means that you are practically trying to stuff all your keywords on the same page, albeit for a different section, but then, on the same page. Additionally, you lose out on Title and Meta for multiple pages and are forced to use multiple H1 header tags for the same webpage. Not a very SEO-pleasant situation that.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Single scroll websites may lack the same punch on mobile devices that they have on desktops or laptops. Designers have to work extra hard to get that ‘responsive’ aspect of their website right to accommodate single scroll.

The single scroll is easy to implement and pretty to look at, but it comes with its own set of Yay-s and Nays. Choose carefully, design carefully, but more importantly, opt for a single scroll website ONLY if the content on your site allows you to.

Narration via Navigation – Why Single Scroll Websites Are the New Trend!

Back in 2012, when Chris Lake, in a blog for Econsultancy LLC (US), argued that single scroll websites would be a trend of the future, few would have taken him seriously. Through the late 90s and up until a few years ago, designers would shudder to think of what would happen if they made their users scroll. The logic was that if users don’t scroll, content gets neglected and hence as much content possible was crammed into the frame up front and the website was divided into pages or sections.

What Triggered It?

Somewhere post the launch of Apple’s iPhone, a number of handheld touch devices flooded the market – from low-cost tablets to high-end smartphones. Eventually, as these became more mainstream, scrolling became a preferred form of navigation as compared to clicking or tapping. At the same time, the dependence of rich and lengthy content too was on the rise. These two trends came together to form the parallax scrolling revolution.

Why is it So Popular?

That it is good looking is not required to be emphasized upon. We are all suckers for good design and single scroll websites seem like we’ve hit the quintessence of our beautiful-design abilities! Single scroll websites allow the focus to be on quality content (emphasized text, images, videos, etc.) and can carry loads of it without a glitch. Moreover, as compared to Flash (which is heavy, buggy, and inconsistently supported by platforms anyways), single scroll websites are search engines friendly.

One of designers’ and webmasters’ most common nightmare during the Internet’s early days was having a visitor land on any page of the website through search engines and the visitor leaving without checking the rest of the website. Single scroll websites give you the freedom to put all of your content on the same page. This essentially means that almost all of your content is visible to the visitor no matter what he/she searched for and how he/she landed on your website.

Single scroll websites also effectuate better narrative. Having to make the visitor hop from page to page to know more about you or your products/services on offer is agonizing for the visitor. Single Scroll websites lend a flow to how you are narrating stories about you. You can start with a history of the company, take the narrative down to the first product, second product, testimonials, and finally contact information. It seems like one entity because it basically behaves like one entity. This linear flow of your website keeps the visitor hooked and encourages interactivity in the form of social sharing.

In Retrospection

Single scroll websites are a fantastic ploy executed well. They are appealing, and hence, can propel the visitor to participate more – be it in the form of sharing on social networking sites, or subscribe to a newsletter, or buy a product or service from your online store. Single scroll websites are charming to look at, easy to use, cutting-edge to execute, and productive in delivery – that’s a lot in one go!

SEO Guide – How Your E-Commerce Websites can Top Search Engine Ranks

Competition is quite fierce online, and it is imperative to get the highest rank possible for your website in search engine results. Even being on the first page is sometimes not enough when the niche is crowded, and you have to get to the top of the list to beat the competition. Top ranking means more visitors, which can convert into larger sales. Whether you have just started your business with a new e-commerce website or you want to improve the efficiency of your existing website, this SEO guide will ensure you are using the most advanced strategies for improving your ranking.

Why is Research Important?

The strength of your SEO strategy is tied with targeting the right keywords and knowing what your competitors are doing. To do this you need to do proper research into both these aspects.

How to Do Keyword Research

Your e-commerce website is going to consist of various pages, and the important ones are home page, blog, and product page. You need to focus on these three important areas when you are conducting keyword research, as you want to optimize these pages. When conducting keyword research the most important aspect will be relevancy, but you will also have to consider ranking difficulty and search volume of the keywords.

How to Research Keywords for Home and Product Pages

Starting with relevancy, you need to make sure the keywords are extremely relevant to the product or brand names you want to target. Taking the help of certain keyword tools will make your job much easier. The AdWords Keyword tool by Google is highly effective in finding the search volume for a particular keyword. It is better to focus on “Local Monthly Searches” column rather than the Global searches.

With the Google keyword tool, you will try to figure out keywords with almost exact matches to your product or brand, along with high search volume. However, you need to avoid keywords that are very competitive or are too broad. Look at the column marked “Competition”, and if it says High, it means many people are targeting that keyword, and it is going to take you longer time to climb up the ranking ladder. Secondly, if you choose a broad term, then visitors might be frustrated with not finding the thing they want, which will increase the bounce rate, and lower your conversions. For instance, if you were selling “brown leather boots”, you would want to avoid broad terms like “shoes”, “leather shoes”, or “boots”.

How to Research Keywords for Blog Posts

Developing effective blog posts gives you the opportunity to use additional keywords that cannot be fitted into the main website pages. If you select your topics wisely, your blog posts can greatly improve your ranking. Secondly, you also have a chance of using long-tail keywords. Such keywords consist of many words, and are more precise. An example of long-tail keyword would be “Macy’s lace up brown leather boots for women”. These keywords give you the opportunity to target specific products precisely, along with their model numbers, and so on.

If you use Moz Keyword Tool, you will find how long tail keywords consists major percentage of searches. People want to get to the page that has their precise product as soon as possible, and they include all the parameters into the search phrase in order to obtain results that are more precise. Hence, here too, you need to choose long tail keywords that have lower difficulty score, and a high match local search volume. After you have found these, you should go for highly relevant keywords with lower volume.

What You Should Avoid

After you have found the right keywords you would like to target, you should make sure that you do not stuff them in your content, whether it is a blog, home, or product page. Secondly, when you are developing content, keep in mind that you are addressing a human audience, and not simply writing for search engine spiders. You need to select interesting topics and the content should provide some value or solution to the reader. Now, Google also has made many changes to its algorithms, to find sites with good content, and penalize those that are poorly written or is overstuffed with keywords.

Another thing you should avoid is cannibalizing keywords. Keyword cannibalization means you are trying to rank multiple pages of your e-commerce website with the same keyword. Such a thing can be quite confusing for search engines, and they will only choose one of the pages that they feel is important for that keyword. This means only one page will appear in the search result, weakening your strategy for obtaining more traffic for the particular keyword. Hence, to avoid cannibalization of keywords, you should not be writing any blog posts that would target any of the keywords you have used for the other main pages of your ecommerce website. A good way to keep track would be to make a spreadsheet listing each of the pages and their keyword you want to rank. In the keywords column, no keywords should appear twice.

How to Research your Competition

Doing keyword research for your ecommerce website is only half of the job. You also need to do research about your competitors, who are enjoying portions of your niche. It is very hard to find a niche that has little competition, and almost all online entrepreneurs have to be vigilant about their competition and develop strategies to topple their domination.

Find Out About the SEO Strategy Your Competition is using

For studying the SEO strategy of your competitors, you need to find out the keywords they are trying to rank, the ranking strength of their domains, and the ranking strength of their web pages. Moz is an excellent Keyword tool to find this information easily. You need to install the free Moz toolbar in your browser, and you will get all the information you need when you are browsing the websites of your competition.

Moz toolbar provides critical analysis and information under three tabs; Page Elements, Page Attributes, and Link Data. Under Page Elements, you will find information about the header tags and Meta data of the webpage.

Under Link Data tab, you will find information about ranking, links, Domain Authority, and the Page Authority. If you find your competitor’s ecommerce website having much higher Page Authority or Domain Authority, you might want to rethink your SEO strategy and focus on slightly different keywords, as competing directly with exact same keywords will not only be difficult but also take a lot of time. Your strategy would be to look for keywords with lesser competition.

Inbound Links

Inbound links play an important part in SEO and rankings. Google while ranking a page considers the number and quality of inbound links. To know the inbound links of your competitor’s ecommerce website you could use the Open Site Explorer tool, which will list all the links along with the Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) of these websites.

Your objective would be to get these same inbound links, especially those that are coming from websites with high PA and DA. You could also try getting inbound links from your own company website, or through press outreach, blogger outreach and so on. However, make sure you do not try getting links from websites with poor DA scores. Getting such links will in fact hurt your rankings, as Google has a strong policy against link trafficking and purchasing links. If a bad website is linking to yours, Google presumes your website is also bad. Hence, you need to be careful from where you get your inbound links.

Even without any tools, you can make out low quality websites. Such website will have poorly written content, stuffed with keywords, and there will be many ads. Also, stay away from content farms, which are websites that accept posts from anybody. A content farm is a low quality link, and particularly disliked by Google.

To earn good inbound links, you need to focus on providing something useful to high authority websites, in exchange for the link. Some of the things you could do are design an excellent infographic, co-author some research study, provide a quote for story, or write an excellent guest post.

For ecommerce website, the following solutions are ideal –

• Press mentions

• Product reviews

• Building broken links

• Free ebooks

In link building, you should avoid the following mistakes –

• Repeatedly using the same anchor text

• Purchasing or securing links for websites having poor DA and PA

• Repeatedly linking to the same page without focusing on relevancy

Usually, it is not possible to have much control over which page is linked or the choice of anchor text. That is fine, when the website is a good one. If you are having contact and good relationship with the owner of the website, you could request for a certain anchor text. However, do not argue over the link or anchor text with authority sites, as that could hurt your SEO.

Study the Architecture of your Competitor’s Website

Consider the website architecture of your competition. Is it easy to navigate on their sites? How well do the links connect and how deep do they go? Typically, you should consider the following aspects in ecommerce website architecture –

• Categorization of popular products

• Products that are top rated

• Categorization of related products

• Navigation to products that are recently viewed

When you consider all these aspects, you will know how the top competitors in your niche are organizing their websites. Based on this information you could analyze your own website and find out aspects that may need improvements. You could modify elements or you could develop a unique approach, which you feel is more efficient.

According to many SEO experts, page that are deeply buried in the architecture do not get enough exposure to links, for them to be visible to search engines. However, upwards promotion of content in the architecture could have a significant impact on the overall ranking. You should consider all aspect and not simply copy the architecture of another website simply because they have the top brand.

How to Distinguish Your Website to Develop an Effective Strategy

The point is thinking of something that will make your website unique and better than your competition. For this, you could consider the following –

• Improving your site architecture and navigation so that it is more user friendly

• Making your site more social

• Adding a blog or providing more interesting posts in an existing blog

• Trying to create better inbound and out bound links

Identifying Issues that is Harming your Ecommerce Website

After conducting keyword research and gathering critical information about your competitors, it is time to analyze your website for issues that have to be solved to get a better ranking. While conducting such an audit of your website, you should focus on the following important aspects –

1) Finding and Fixing Website Errors

A website has a complex structure and many things can go wrong with its different elements. A tool like Screaming Frog can be very helpful in finding the different errors existing on your website. This free tool will crawl through your website and find issues from an SEO standpoint in the images, CSS, links, apps, and scripts. After analyzing your website, the tool will generate a report that will list errors, summary data, duplicate pages, redirects, missing tags, and much more.

You should try to make the following corrections immediately –

• Eliminate 404 pages by redirecting to existing content

• Change redirects of 302 to 301

• Remove duplicate content, and update meta titles and descriptions

2) Improving Speed of Your Website

People browsing the Web are not going to be patient with a slow loading website. Most people go back to the search engine and click on another website, which could most probably be the competitor. According to surveys, about 40% people will switch to another website if the page does not load within three seconds. Hence, you would not want to lose customers due to the slow speed of your ecommerce website. For testing your website for speed, Pingdom is a great tool. If you website speed is slow, then consider reducing the sizes of files and image on your site, change to another CMS, or purchase extra space on the server.

3) Optimize your Web Pages

Take all the actions needed for optimizing all your web pages. On-page optimization is the most direct SEO method for gaining better ranks. For achieving best on-page optimization you should consider improving the following areas –

• Structure of the website

• Keyword optimization

• Usability

• Internal links

• Snippets

• Integration of social media

• Customer reviews

• Developing mobile version of the site

Testing and Analysis

After implementing the different SEO strategies, you need to test and analyze your website to see if your strategies have worked. To find out about the performance of your website you could –

• Use analytic tools to see which keywords are providing the highest conversions

• If you feel you are lacking proper keywords, conduct PPC campaigns to find the best converting keywords

• To improve click through rates, test your descriptions and meta titles

• Put your page content through A/B testing for increasing conversion rate from available traffic

When you conduct proper testing and analysis, you not only know if your SEO strategy is working, but you can also find what is lacking and do the right adjustments. Analytics should be a constant operation, as your ranking can drop anytime, and you need to correct the situation immediately.

Special Tips for Local Businesses

If you are running a brick-and-mortar establishment along with your online business, you should make sure you include full contact information of all your business locations you mention on your site. Information should also be shared with major business directories, and other relevant information books. Also, check out which directories your competition is listed in and try to include your business as well.

Location based keywords can especially be helpful when you are trying to target local crowds. Since organic and local search rankings are blended in Google, a website that is not doing well in organic rankings could be optimized for local rankings. There is even opportunity for promoting organic results by making improvement to factors that influence local rankings.

Using SEO Tools

Most of the tasks in SEO can be made much simpler and easier by using SEO tools. There is a huge variety of tools available and many of them are free. Here is a list of some of the best SEO tools that you should consider –

• Google AdWords Keyword Tool

• SEO Moz Keyword Tool

• Google Analytics

• Authority Labs

• Open Site Explorer

• Screaming Frog

• Buzzstream

• Ubersuggest

• Citation labs

• Mergewords

How to Choose the Best Infographics Company in India

There is more to design than just creating beautiful artwork. In the world of marketing, an effective design is one that not only grabs the eyeballs but also speaks to the heart. Effective marketing design is about achieving the perfect blend between providing information and influencing the customer to take positive action. Communication is the keyword here. So when looking for the best infographics company in India, you should ensure that you choose one that can create designs that tug at the heartstrings of your target audience and appeals to their intellect. Keep the following tips in mind when looking for an Indian infographics company to give shape to your ideas.

Enquire About Experience and Expertise

After you have pored over classified advertisements and browsed through the Internet, you will have a list of Indian infographics companies who can potentially deliver your work. Now shortlist these companies based on their experience and expertise.

Concentrate on the companies that have been around for quite some time. That they have stuck around in a fiercely-competitive world is ample proof of their capabilities and professionalism. But of course, you should also consider their designing expertise. Do not be fooled by Art degrees. While these degrees definitely prove that the artists on board the company can create beautiful art, they do not indicate that the artists will be able to craft effective marketing material. After all, infographics are not just artwork. The most effective infographic is the perfect aesthetic blend of text and graphics. So when looking for the best infographics company in India, look for those that also have designing communication specialists on board to guide their artists.

Ask to See Their Portfolio

Experience and expertise should not be the only criteria when choosing an infographic company to create your marketing material. You should also ask to see their portfolio of similar works. The portfolio is the best evidence of the capabilities of a specific company. The samples that they have created will give you an idea about the designing abilities of the artists and communication specialists in the company. Their works will also enable you to determine if the professionals are capable of effectively translating ideas into words and images.

Ask for Client Testimonials

The Indian infographic company you choose to hire should not only be able to design your marketing material but should also carry out the job professionally. The honesty, integrity, and the ease of doing business with an entity are best indicated by client testimonials. While choosing an infographic company, you should ask to be shown client testimonials. Make sure that these are real by asking for contact details of these clients so that you may get in touch with them in person.

When trying to find the best infographics company in India, ensure that you are not lured by someone who promises to do your job at an abysmally low rate. Remember quality comes at a price and anyone who quotes a rate that is much below the market standard will be sure to cut corners when doing your job.

5 Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Infographic Creation Company

To make the most of your marketing investment, you must ensure that your promotional material is conceived and created by the best communications specialists and designers in the industry. In a world where your target audience is bombarded with marketing stimuli from their computers, smartphones, and while they are on the road, it is imperative that your promotional material stands out from the crowd and remains etched in your customers’ minds. An infographic is a great way to communicate relevant information to your target audience and establish yourself as an authority in your niche. To ensure that you hire only the best infographic creation company to create your marketing message. Ask the following five questions before you hire a company.

1. Have you created infographics before?

This is the make-or-break question. After all, you cannot trust a newbie to handle your marketing communication and then pull off a stunner. When you are looking for an infographic company, ensure that you choose experienced professionals who have created such marketing material for clients in diverse industrial sectors. Ask for portfolios so that you can judge for yourself their prowess in creating infographics.

2. Have you understood what my business is about?

This is a critical question because the designing company cannot create an effective infographic if it does not grasp what your business is all about. After all, an infographic creation company has to represent information in a way that positions you as an authority in your niche. What is more, an accurate understanding of your business will help the designers and the communications specialist aboard a company to design an infographic that matches your brand’s identity and image.

3. Do you understand my target audience demographics?

An effective marketing message is one that speaks to the hearts of its target audience. Customers are most influenced by marketing messages that address their problems and offer helpful advice. So when choosing an infographic company, you must make sure that the designers understand the media consumption patterns and preferences of your target audience. This ensures that they can create an infographic that appeals to the senses and intellect of your customers.

4. Do you have client testimonials?

Designing skills should not be your only consideration when choosing an infographic creation company. You should also make sure that they are professionals who will be able to do your job in a timely manner. Client testimonials are the only way in which you can determine the honesty and integrity of a designing company. So ask for these references to find out how easy or difficult it is to business with a company.

5. How much will you charge for your services?

Ask for quotes from the infographic companies you may have shortlisted to make your choice. Needless to say, the services must be competitively priced. But also beware of companies who quote overtly low. Remember that quality work cannot be delivered at low prices.

The answers to the above-mentioned questions will help you find out an infographic creation company that can understand your business needs exactly and produce marketing materials that deliver results instantly.