torstai, 12. huhtikuu 2018

How the Rise of the Local SEO Pack is Changing Digital Marketing

The local SEO pack, which was once referred to as the local 7-pack and now the local 3-pack, is Google's way of listing local businesses in search results. For a short time, Google listed 7 businesses for searches that implied that the user was looking for a local result. Now, Google has trimmed this to just 3 listings and since the change, there are advocates for and against the changes and lots of discussions about how these changes will affect local visibility and website traffic.

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What has actually changed in the local SEO pack?

The actual changes in the local SEO pack are relatively straightforward. There are only three businesses displayed, while there was one as many as seven. Before the changes, Google would sometimes display 3, 5, or 7, and there was no concrete answer as it differed depending on the search. Today, with just three listings being visible, there's more competition than ever in local SEO.

Additionally, there are no business addresses or phone numbers displayed within the listings. There is only the name of the street where the business is located and in order to find out more, the user will have to click on the listing. However, when they do so, this will also open up a page with a list of more than 20 competitors.

These changes ultimately affect all types of digital marketing. For example, email marketing campaigns that refer to local businesses and expect the Searcher to easily find that business through a Google search may need to rewrite their approach. A business that was once ranked at the top of the local SEO pack could not be there today. Whether you're using an email marketing agency or writing your own emails, the rise of the local SEO pack is changing the way we approach all types of digital marketing.

Digital marketing is starting to be centered around voice command

The rise of the local SEO pack is changing digital marketing but many are arguing it's for the better. One of the changes is that it's starting to be centered around voice commands. This is due to the rise of voice searches, which has become popularized by mobile devices.

Voice searches are when a user speaks a voice command, typically in a cell phone or tablet, and that voice search is automatically conducted by the device through the web browser. It's one of the biggest Trends of the Modern Age and how we optimize content for searchers who are using voice commands can differ.

This means that search engines and local businesses need to take natural speaking language into account what their site content and tags. How we say something out loud is different from how we would type it.

The rise of Chatbots

A chatbot is a Relatively new thing but search engines like Microsoft Bing have Already Begun investing in this new trend. The way it works is that participating businesses will have a chat button next to their search engine listing. If a user clicks on this button, a chat box will pop up where the user can start asking questions to a chatbot.

 

At the moment, it's used for basic questions such as whether a business accepts credit cards, if a reservation is available, and various other questions that can be answered through automated Responses. This allows users to find answers faster than they would be able to if they had to read reviews, call, or email the company.

Proximity to the Searcher

Another way that the local SEO pack is changing digital marketing is that Proximity to the Searcher is becoming a bigger factor in the local search algorithm. With GPS technology, devices can be tracked to an approximate location with better accuracy than ever before. These geo-targeted results allow search engines to estimate Proximity with great accuracy and they have already begun utilizing this as a rank factor. In fact, in 2017, Moz found that Searcher's Proximity to a business is the number one ranking factor for the local SEO pack. This means that you can see different results based on your location within a city.

This feature alone can be great for businesses that focus primarily on dragging foot traffic in their immediate area, but not so great for businesses that rely on attracting customers from a wider geographical area.

Conclusion

The rise of the local SEO pack is changing search engine optimization and digital marketing altogether. As local businesses compete to drive more customers and outrank their competitors in search engines, ranking factors of local SEO become a bigger priority. The changes that Google, Bing, and other search engines are making to make local search engine results more effective have an impact on the array of digital marketing strategies.

perjantai, 6. huhtikuu 2018

How New Technology Will Transform the Food Service Industry

The greatest force for change throughout history has been the development and progression of technology. Something as simple as the plow helped human beings progress from hunting and gathering to an agrarian society. The discovery of electricity helped speed things up even faster and paved the way for modern civilization that is again being changed by the internet and smartphones.

 

Every sector of society has been changed for the better by the progression of technology. This is also the case for the food-service industry. The restaurant business has come a long way since the first restaurant opened its doors in 1765. In fact, the restaurant industry is likely to see a lot of innovation in the near future. Below are some of the possibilities.

 

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Automation

One of the biggest factors for the foodservice industry in the future will be automation. The CEO of Yum Brands, which includes fast food giants like Taco Bell and KFC, has predicted that fast food production will be automated within a decade.

 

While the idea of meals created by robots doesn’t sound all that appetizing, much of food production is already automated in the factories that create what you can buy in grocery stores. It’s only the cooking process in restaurants that have yet to be automated. While you shouldn’t expect robot chefs in Michelin 3-star French restaurants in the near future, you are very likely to see robots cooking food to order in fast food restaurants.

 

Flipping a burger on a flat top grill is probably something a robot with the correct mechanics and programming can do with more efficiency and accuracy than a human being. This may result in the Big Mac really being exactly the same in McDonald’s locations in the future. Fast food, of course, thrives on the ability to replicate dishes exactly the same in different locations, and nothing can perform exact replication quite like a machine.

Delivery by Drone

Certain people who don’t live within city limits can’t order delivery food. Not even Pizza Hut will waste the gas to drive several miles out of town. Instead, those consumers are forced to drive to the physical store in person to purchase carry-out. While they don’t have to pay the delivery fee, it comes at the cost of lost convenience.

 

This, however, will change in the future. No longer will food be delivered by automobile by employees. Instead, it will be delivered by drone. Instead of having to rely on expensive fossil fuels, drones can be powered by things like rechargeable batteries, hydrogen cells, and solar power. It will suddenly be cost-effective for more restaurants to deliver to a much wider radius of customers.

 

There will also be a great benefit for delivery food customers in general. The food will arrive at them much faster. Currently, drone delivery is three times faster than delivery by car. Drones don’t have to deal with traffic congestion. However, what will happen when there are a plethora of drones in the air simultaneously? Silicon Valley doesn’t seem to worry about the Law of Unintended Consequences, so that will have to be left to your imagination for now. In the future, small business insurance quotes for restaurants may include coverage to ensure drones for in-air accidents.

Digital Table Ordering

It’s not only the cooks of the future who may find themselves out of work. Waitresses and waiters may also find they have far less to do in the restaurant of the future. Already, many restaurants allow customers to place orders for food and drink with tablets placed on each table. This is one way to increase efficiency and make sure orders get to the kitchen faster. However, it’s not as clear whether or not this will have a negative impact on the dining experience overall.

 

Technology has changed many different industries. That certainly includes the food service industry. While how restaurants serve food has changed over the years, it’s likely to change even more due to the introduction of increasingly powerful tech. Both restaurateurs and customers are likely to benefit from this progression.

maanantai, 19. maaliskuu 2018

The Art of Scaling Your Small Business With Modern Technology

Modern technology has the power to scale businesses with little input required from humans. From augmented reality to supercomputers that can process large chunks of data at lightning speeds, technology can streamline business operations, allowing for faster and more precise execution of business models and marketing strategies as well as wider profit margins as a result of fewer inefficiencies running in the backdrop.

 

But as bold as using tech to take your small business to the next level sounds, the word "technology" is oftentimes used too vaguely, and the world itself is too broad nowadays to even get a clear sense of what you're using and how you're using it to grow your business. Below is a guide that tackles specific technologies that can help grow your small business.

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Have a Checklist

Compile a list of technology categories that small to midsize businesses should consider integrating as primary applications this year. This can include but is not limited to, marketing automation, business analytics, and social media. Another significant tech category to include on your business must-haves checklist is a mobile app. In 2016 alone, over six billion people around the globe were reported to use at least one mobile device. This statistic is only anticipated to grow in the next five years.

Go Beyond Big Data

Big data is arguably one of the hottest buzzwords in the tech space today. Sure, it's a very promising and exciting technological concept to explore, but it's not the only technological advancement that small business owners should focus on. The need for stream processing is increasing as organizations require faster processing of large chunks of data for effective trading, fraud detection, systems monitoring, and other potential use cases. The tool is designed to solve a variety of issues including responsiveness to shifting market environments, maintained performance and scalability as volumes of information increase both in quantity and complexity.

Use the Cloud

Cloud computing services have quickly become a standard in data management for businesses of all sizes and industries but are particularly well-suited to smaller enterprises. Not only does it reduce IT overhead expenses, but it also improves productivity by making data available to everyone authorized to view and use it. Using the Cloud, employees can collaborate and access the same files and folders anytime, anywhere. What's even more powerful about cloud computing is that it doesn't have the same IT requirements as traditional storage solutions. This means you won't have to hire an entire IT department to handle this aspect of your small business.

Advertise Through Social Media

Social media campaigns can propel your brand onto the top of the list if executed properly. As social media platforms add more features and, as a result, increase the size of their user base, small businesses can get more media attention from a single marketing campaign, whether it's a video tutorial or a blog post. Know how to advertise through social media in a way that is highly engaging and encourages shares and likes. Create daily clips on Instagram, buy ad space and use carefully crafted videos to engage users, launch competitions with rewards on Facebook, etc.

Use Crowdfunding Campaigns

Small businesses that already have a solid business model, a sales record, and customer base, and actual products and services they can deliver to customers can find crowdfunding campaigns a viable tech solution to the classic problem of being underfunded. Platforms, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, connects you to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, artists, and professionals who can financially back your plans of scaling to new locations and new product lines.

Final Thoughts

These five examples are only a small representation of the larger set of technologies out there that can help your business thrive and scale to towering heights. New frameworks, programming languages, software-as-a-service businesses, and hardware inventions are being shipped and deployed to the market seemingly every few months or so.

perjantai, 16. maaliskuu 2018

How is Machine Learning Revolutionizing Cyber Security?

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What role does machine learning play when it comes to cybersecurity and networking security? When people first adopted machine learning as a new kind of technology, it revolutionized the realm of cybersecurity, and it has continued to do so over the last several years. Organizations of every size have been in a struggle to find quality talent to fill the positions of their security team. Many firms have had a hard time addressing the obstacles of talent shortage and the scarcity of security providers.

Better Capabilities Than Ever Before

Through machine learning, we have seen how this technology has had a dramatic impact on the capabilities of the clients. You can also look at the recap of machine learning developments and see how it has continued to grow and improve over time. Some of the highlights with machine learning in cybersecurity can be recapped by looking at it as a consistent feedback from clients. In fact, it can sometimes be challenging to keep up with an ever-expanding volume of false-positive findings that have arisen from Static Application Security Testing. This cognitive learning capability in the IBM Application Security on the Cloud has provided a solution that has often been referred to as Intelligent Finding Analytics (IFA)..

IFA has many machine learning capabilities, which have allowed an organization to achieve an SAST false positive removal rate with 98 percent. It never sacrifices the security testing quality, and these qualities have also changed the need to send these findings to a security expert, which has lowered the overall workload for a security team. At the same time, it improves the productivity.

Learning About Intelligent Code Analytics

With ICA, SAST gets taken one step further than ever before. It hands you the leverage of cognitive computing so that you can extend language coverage. That has become critical because programming language continues to evolve in a fast manner, and they have appeared in new frameworks rather quickly. Every time the ICA has seen a new application program interface, the technology immediately looks at the interface to seek out vulnerabilities before cybercriminals can exploit them. With the analysis engine, you will see a final determination about the data flow of the application.

Once it has found a weakness, the analysis engine will make a final determination on the data flow of the application and if it contains a vulnerability that is authentic.

Facing the Oncoming Threats

While technology continues to move forward, it also leaves the door open for dangerous ransomware and malware attacks. Cybercriminals have continued to widen their range of attacks. Based on a report from Malwarebytes State of Malware, organizations have increasingly turned to machine learning to provide them with a better deterrent against these attackers. Machine learning has played a major role in cybersecurity, and it has boosted big data, analytics, and intelligence spending –– which experts expect to reach $96 billion after 2021. Softwares such as Paladion's MDR services and others have helped improve cyber defenses through the combination of AI and automation. Services such as these deliver an end-to-end threat management system.

How is Machine Learning Applied in Practice

Traditional programming has made it so that no matter how many times you have used a software, it will continue to perform the same task over and over. It never increases its intelligence. Let's take the example of a traditional browser. The browser will always visit the same website. Traditional browsers without machine learning, however, never learn to bring you there by themselves at the first launch. With machine learning, they have the ability to learn from the previous observations and make inferences about people. They can also guess what you might want to do in a new scenario.

What's exciting about machine learning is how it uses a technique known as forecasting. It looks at the previous historical data, and it will make a prediction about the behavior based on this data. It is some exciting new technology that will be interesting to see more fully developed in the future.

 

keskiviikko, 21. helmikuu 2018

Building an Effective Digital Campaign: Which Metrics Actually Matter?

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With over 3 billion people expected to use email by 2020, you can't overstate the importance of email marketing. When done correctly, email marketing is an excellent way to build brand awareness, turn leads into customers and turn customers into repeat customers. The only way to know if your email marketing is working, though, is by looking at the numbers. The good news here is that email marketing providers typically provide detailed analytics that tells you all you need to know. Here are the most important metrics to check for your campaigns.

1. Open Rate

The open rate is exactly what it sounds like – this is the percentage of people who open your email. If your open rate is 50 percent, it means that half the people on your email list opened your email, and the other half left it sitting in their inbox or deleted it without opening it. You should also be very happy because that would be a fantastic open rate.

Average open rates depend on the size of your company and how frequently you're sending out emails, but they're generally around 32 to 35 percent. If you have a low open rate, it's typically a sign that you need to improve your subject lines to get people's attention.

2. Bounce Rate

There are actually two definitions of bounce rate in terms of email marketing. One is the rate of emails that can't be delivered to the intended recipient. The other is the rate of people who open your email but fail to interact with it at all.

Bounces are an issue under either definition of the term. If more than 2 percent of your emails are going undelivered, it's time to evaluate what's causing that. And if most of your audience doesn't interact with your emails at all after opening them, then you need to improve the quality of those emails.

3. Click-Through Rate

Your click-through rate, also known as your CTR, is the percentage of people who both open your email and click on at least one link within that email. This is crucial because it indicates that people are taking action with your emails and not just looking at them.

Obviously, CTRs are much lower than open rates, and the average is typically around 6 to 7 percent for companies of all sizes. You can improve your CTR by providing interesting links that are relevant to the content of the email.

4. Conversion Rate

Your conversion rate is something that depends partially on your campaign and your goals for that campaign because a conversion is whatever you want it to be. For example, if your email campaign's goal is to drive sales for a product, then your conversion rate would be the number of email recipients who bought that product.

 

Your conversion rate will be lower than your CTR, and even a conversion rate of 1 percent could justify your email marketing cost if you're selling an expensive product. It's important to remember that your conversion rate is only partially related to the quality of your email, as your site also plays a major role in getting someone to take the action that you want.

5. Unsubscribes

Everyone knows what unsubscribes are, and these are obviously something you want to keep to a minimum. When someone unsubscribes from your emails, you've lost the opportunity to market to them that way.

Unsubscribes happen, as people often decide they don't want to get a company's emails anymore. Don't beat yourself up over one, but if you get many of them, it's time to closely evaluate what you could be doing wrong to turn people off.

 

Metrics are the key to success in email marketing. Make sure you're tracking the five above and improving them as much as possible.