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5 Reasons Why HTTPS Should Be Enabled on Your Website

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If you’re anything like me, there’s been a time in your life when you’ve asked, “What the heck is https?”

What’s that extra “s” for? Well, it turns out that the “s” stands for “SSL,” which stands for Secure Sockets Layer — the technology that encrypts your connection to a website, so that hackers can’t intercept any of your data.

The whole concept of https is a pretty interesting topic on its own, and my colleague, Jeffrey Vocell, talks more about it here. But in addition to what it actually means, why is it so important? And why do you need it on your website? <img class="hs-cta-img " style="border-width: 0px; /*hs-extra-styles*/; " alt="Download our free introductory guide to A/B testing here.  ” src=”https://no-cache.hubspot.com/cta/default/53/807e151a-1fb0-4227-8f3b-a9b80a03192d.png”>

Well, there are many reasons, but with the help of my aforementioned colleague, we identified five of the more important ones. (Spoiler alert: A lot of them have to do with your search performance, so have a good look at what they mean for you.)

HubSpot Marketing customers: SSL is included free of charge with the Website Add-On, and the number of domains on which you can enable SSL depends on your subscription type. Learn more here.

5 Reasons Why HTTPS Should Be Enabled on Your Website

1) It’s good for search.

Every minute — no, second — Google’s algorithm requires sites to essentially battle it for top search rankings. I love that visual: two websites that could both rank for a user’s query, essentially running toward the finish line of top results. But what happens if there’s a tie? Do the sites battle it out in a “sudden death” round?

Kind of — there is a tiebreaker involved, and it’s https. The way Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes explains it, “If all quality signals are equal for two results, then the one that is on HTTPS would get … or may get … the extra boost that is needed to trump the other result.”

It all goes back to the idea that Google is constantly solving for the user, and makes frequent changes to its algorithm that create a better experience. Which is why our next point makes sense.

2) It’s better for users.

I couldn’t tell you the last time I heard about a hacking incident in which thousands of records were stolen — because they seem to happen so frequently. In fact, such data breaches jumped 29.5% between 2014 and 2015.

But SSL helps to prevent these “man-in-the-middle” attacks — “a form of eavesdropping where communication between two users is monitored and modified by an unauthorized party” — and keeps user information secure.

That makes https especially important if your website accepts credit cards or has a login functionality. With so many of these hacking incidents making headlines, users want to know that your brand is making an effort to protect them from their private information being stolen or compromised.

We could also get into a debate about the ethics of protecting your users from that kind of privacy breach, but you get the point:

  • user privacy = important
  • https = good for privacy

3) SSL is required for AMP.

A few pieces of vocabulary to break down here:

“AMP” stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It’s the technology that makes certain pages load almost instantaneously on mobile. So, when you search for something on your mobile device through Google, you might notice that some results have a lightning bolt icon next to it, that means that it’s AMP-ready.

Look at what happens when I search for Doomtree, my favorite hip hop group, on my phone. On the first page of results, one has the lightning bolt icon next to it. And when I click on that result:

… it loads instantaneously.

AMP is going to play a major role in SEO in the coming months — Google is making it a priority for 2017, which implies that AMP-ready pages will have better rankings. But in order for something to be labeled as AMP, it requires SSL.

We’ve covered the importance of optimizing for mobile quite a bit, and preparing for the special attention that will be paid to AMP is now part of that optimization. But in order for webmasters to be as web-friendly as possible, all of the requirements behind AMP must be closely examined — including its https criteria.

4) Google is indexing mobile.

So, that thing we just said about the importance of mobile? It turns out, Google is actually going to start indexing mobile, which means that its “algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site.”

But in order for a mobile site to be indexable, Google recommends several best practices, one of which is to “start by migrating to a secure site,” especially “if [you] don’t support HTTPS yet.”

And bottom line, says HubSpot SEO Senior Marketing Manager Victor Pan, “HTTPS is preferred over HTTP in the index, with all other things being equal.” So get secure — you’ll be glad you did.

5) “Not secure.”

To elaborate — In January 2017, Chrome 56 will start displaying “not secure” in the browser bar for any http (notice it’s missing the “s”) sites that ask users for login or credit card information.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m about to make an online purchase and see that the site isn’t secure — for example, that the padlock icon in the browser bar is broken — I navigate my business elsewhere. And I’m not alone. In fact, only 3% of online shoppers say they would enter their credit card information on a site without the green padlock.

Imagine if Google starts doing that work for users before they can even get to checkout. If the number is as low as 3% now, before search engines start doing the legwork to label sites as “not secure” before anyone even visits them, you can see how traffic to those sites will suffer a huge blow — as well as its digital sales revenue.

Create a Safe Space

There you have it. If you want your SEO to stay strong — on both desktop and mobile — and you don’t want to lose digital sales revenue, it’s easy to see why https should be enabled on your website.

These are just a few reasons why https is so important. What are yours? Let us know in the comments.

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Reblogged 8 minutes ago from blog.hubspot.com

Facebook Forms Partnership to Create Affordable Housing in Silicon Valley

Facebook is doing its part to help create affordable housing in communities near its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Vice president for public policy and communications Elliot Schrage announced in a Newsroom post Friday that Facebook formed a partnership with community groups, philanthropies and other companies, and the social network made an initial $20 million contribution to that partnership.

Schrage added that the partnership is based on “three initial pillars”—affordable housing, economic activity and legal support—and initial members include Youth United for Community Action, Faith in Action Bay Area, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, Comité de Vecinos del Lado Oeste–East Palo Alto, the local governments of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park and other community groups.

He also provided more details on the partnership’s plans:

The partnership will establish a catalyst housing fund with $18.5 million to pursue innovative and scalable ways to increase the production and protection of affordable housing. An additional $250,000 will go to Rebuilding Together Peninsula to support the building and upkeep of homes for low-income residents.

The partnership will devote $625,000 to job training in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. In addition, we’re establishing a dedicated local community liaison, who will help connect community members with open positions at Facebook.

We recognize that the situation is a crisis for many of our neighbors and that investments from the catalyst fund will take time to result in new units. To provide immediate relief to those facing particularly difficult circumstances, we’re dedicating $500,000 to an assistance fund to provide legal support to tenants threatened with displacement from evictions, unsafe living conditions and other forms of landlord abuse.

Readers: What are your thoughts on the partnership Facebook announced Friday?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Reblogged 11 hours ago from www.adweek.com

#SproutChat Recap: Best Practices for Distributing Content From Brand Advocates

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Marketers know that content drives traffic. But figuring out which social channels’ content should be distributed on and how it should be shared can be a challenge. Creating a successful content marketing distribution strategy is essential for success. During this week’s #SproutChat we were joined by Arment Dietrich from Spin Sucks and Sprout All Star and Chief Content Officer, Erika Heald.

Both experts shared their advice on how to craft a content distribution strategy that focus on advocacy and generates real business value.

A/B Test to See Where Advocacy Content Generates the Most Success

Determining what success looks like for your advocacy content distribution plan requires the resources to test and learn. When sharing a new piece of content try two different headlines and/or different creative.

Anecdotally monitor the sentiments and responses around your content to learn more about how the piece is resonating with your audience. Be creative with your A/B tests but always be sure that you only have one variable that differentiates your evaluations.

When testing new content distribution channels it’s important to include multiple networks, even more niche ones. Based on your industry it might be worth exploring Quora, Reddit or Medium. Regardless of where your brand is sharing its content, make sure that you’re diligently tracking your results.

Involve All Interested & Passionate Colleagues

Employee advocacy has been gaining steam as a beneficial, organic distribution method. Don’t be afraid to authentically tap into your existing employee base and excite them to share social content on behalf of your brand.

Enlist Your Most Passionate Community Members

Social media marketers can likely name five individuals who are already acting as a champion for their product, brand or content. Encourage these individuals to consistently advocate on your brand’s behalf.

Having trouble finding your customer advocates? Do your research. Work across internal teams to find out which customers have been with your brand the longest or use a social conversation history to identify your most active fans. Reach out to these people. You may be surprised at the advocacy and content sharing they’re willing to commit to just because you showed them your appreciation and asked.

Next week we’ll be hosting a product focused #SproutChat where we’ll be discussing content management and best practices for using Sprout’s new Asset Library. See you Wednesday, December 7 at 2 p.m. CST on Twitter! Until then, join our Facebook group and connect with other members of our community.

This post #SproutChat Recap: Best Practices for Distributing Content From Brand Advocates originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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5 reasons advertisers should NOT ignore Bing Ads

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Columnist Michelle Cruz outlines some recent developments in Bing Ads and makes the case for this cost-effective PPC platform.

The post 5 reasons advertisers should NOT ignore Bing Ads appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 19 hours ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Google’s 2016 Santa Tracker signals the official countdown to Christmas

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This is the 12th year Google has counted down the seconds until Santa’s December 24 departure from the North Pole.

The post Google’s 2016 Santa Tracker signals the official countdown to Christmas appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 day ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Canonical chaos: doubling down on duplicate content

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Duplicate content issues? Problems with your canonical tags? Columnist Marcus Miller explains why these issues occur and how to fix them.

The post Canonical chaos: doubling down on duplicate content appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 day ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

How to Increase Engagement Using Video Thumbnails in Your Emails [Live Event]

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Are you looking for new ways to experiment with your email marketing and increase engagement and conversion?

With video in general becoming a more and more important content format for marketers, we put our heads together with the folks at Wistia to see how using video thumbnails in your email marketing affects engagement. Spoiler alert: It makes a huge difference, and we want to share the results with you.

Join HubSpot Marketing Manager Chelsea Hunersen and Wistia Partner Coordinator Margot Mazur on Wednesday December 14 at 1 p.m. EST for the big reveal of brand new data. They’ll show you how to successfully incorporate video thumbnails in your brand’s email and marketing strategies.

More specifically, you can expect:

  • Never before seen data on video thumbnails in email
  • Wistia & HubSpot’s own experiment results
  • Tips on how to include video thumbnails in your email and marketing strategy
  • Bonus: Answers to questions submitted by actual audience members!

Save your seat now, and don’t forget to submit your questions.


Reblogged 1 day ago from blog.hubspot.com

How to Build a Memorable Personal Brand on Twitter

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Imagine that you’re within 140 characters of connecting with a customer, prospect, or influencer. How can you afford not to reach out?

We’re talking Twitter, of course: the 300-million strong whirlpool of information that has emerged as a personal branding, relationship-building nirvana.

Twitter pros have found ways to use the platform to score business and media deals — they’ve even built relationships through developing successful Twitter personal brands. Yet, too many people have joined the community simply because they know they should be there, not because they’re strategic or focused.

When it comes to those that have managed to scale their following and build a reputable brand on Twitter, there’s a lot we can learn. To do this, I decided to go straight to the source, interviewing some well-known names with as many as hundreds of thousands of followers.

Thanks to their insights and generosity, I put together a eight-step road map for developing your personal brand on Twitter. Check it out below.

How to Build a Memorable Personal Brand on Twitter

Step #1: Follow the leaders.

Cheryl Burgess, author and CEO of Blue Focus Marketing, said she started off as a listener on Twitter, following people she admired like Kent Huffman, Tom Peters, and David Edelman, among others.

You see, the beauty of Twitter is that you don’t have to go far to discover a successful marketing playbook. The platform gives you free reign to observe how the pros do it.

Similarly, Neal Schaffer, CEO of Maximize Your Social and cofounder of The Social Tools Summit, says to follow people who are sharing a lot of content and who are omnipresent on Twitter. For Schaffer, that’s folks like Jeff Bullas, Mark Schaefer, Pam Moore, Lilach Bullock, Marsha Collier, and Glen Gilmore.

Over time, in addition to observing Twitter luminaries at work, start to engage them. Influencers, like anyone, appreciate praise. But don’t expect an immediate home run. If the influencer eventually follows you — or even better mentions you — you’ve scored a coup.

If you do directly reach out, see what you can offer in return – a mention in a blog post or article for instance. Burgess said she developed a relationship with Tom Peters by following him on Twitter and also recognizing him as part of a Twitter awards program she was running.

If you’re wondering what impact influencers can have, consider this: Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer.

Actionable Takeaways:

  1. Create Twitter lists of your mentors whom you can then easily monitor. Think of it as having a front row seat to your favorite performers. “Grouping my audience into categories, I see what’s happening across the world quickly and seek opportunities to help and respond,” says Mark Schaefer.
  2. Visualize your Twitter ecosystem using a tool like Mentionmapp.Mentionmapp helps me decide whom to follow and the conversations I need to be part of,” says Burgess.

Step #2: Define your brand.

Clarify the type of person you want to be on Twitter. Think of this as an opportunity to showcase your capabilities, passions, and interests.

Peg Fitzpatrick, social media speaker, trainer, and author, refers to this exercise as “defining the seeds of your brand.” Fitzpatrick advises selecting two or three main topics for your brand content — for her personal brand, she zeroes in on media, her role as author (and speaker), and marketing.

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Mari Smith, social media speaker, trainer, consultant, and author, has done this beautifully, explaining that she shares “quality, cherry-picked content pertaining to social media, business development, and time and life hacks with a sprinkling of spiritual uplift and a daily dose of motivational quotes.”

Actionable Takeaway:

  1. Focus on three seeds, or go super-niche with one main focus. Do this and “you’ll build a solid Twitter following that will love your content,” says Fitzpatrick.

Step #3: Sharpen your profile.

Don’t leave your Twitter profile to chance or whim. It’s your face to the world on Twitter. While most people will find you through your content, they’ll then check out your Twitter profile.

Ensure that it defines your brand. Dump the default Twitter egg and use an image that highlights your brand, advises Burgess.

Burgess’ own profile leaves no doubts about her accomplishments and her focus:

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Actionable Takeaway:

  1. Avoid the pet photos. “Unless you’re a veterinarian or your social media goals aren’t especially business related,” says Burgess, “it’s probably better to go with something else.”

Step #4: Create and curate great content. Repeat.

Tweet negative things and you’ll be seen as a naysayer. Tweet helpful, insightful content and you’ll grow your reputation. If there’s a common thread among those with impressive Twitter brands, it’s that they all post a steady stream of valuable content.

“You can’t tweet enough,” urges Schaffer. This doesn’t mean that you should aim for 100 tweets a day, but if you’re seeing positive engagement, keep it going.

The lesson? Find your rhythm. For example, Michael Brenner, author and CEO of Marketing Insider, says he tweets every hour typically from his smart phone while reading. “I’m a big fan of email newsletters,” he says. “I scan the headlines and if I read the article, I share it.”

While it’s tempting to rely solely on curated content, if you’re serious about building your personal brand, try to post some original content. “The fuel of social media is content,” says Schaefer. “I devote an enormous amount of time to creating original content on my blog which then becomes something I can deliver on Twitter that is helpful and unique.”

Smith says she likes to spotlight up-and-coming bloggers and experts that not many people are tweeting about. “I want to give people a leg up and not just share the same super popular blog posts others were sharing,” she says.

Actionable Takeaways:

  1. Don’t share content without identifying the source or the author, says Schaffer. Don’t simply say via @HubSpot or @HuffingtonPost. Take the trouble to also identify the author, who will appreciate the mention.
  2. Tweet with an image whenever possible. Posts with images on social media are 40X more likely to get shared. “I tweet 100% of my tweets with images,” says Schaffer.

Step #5: Engage.

Twitter is a two-way street: If you reach out, people are likely to engage with you.

“Put aside some time to reach out and engage with the tweets of your followers as well as influencers you would like to build a relationship with,” says Melonie Dodaro, a social selling speaker and trainer and author.

Smith says she “takes a quick peek at someone’s bio and recent tweets to find something to compliment or talk about to create a connection.”

Don’t expect, however, that you can outsource your engagement and be effective. All of the experts I spoke to, despite having massive number of followers, handle responses themselves.

Keep this in mind: “The heart of the brand is you,” says Schaffer, “and your engagements are you.”

Brenner calls relating in social “Give to Get (G2G)”: “Karma works in the social world,” he says. “Share the work of people you admire and they will take a second look at your own work. Over time, you will become an authority yourself.”

“Be yourself. It’s okay to mix business and personal,” adds Gini Dietrich, author and CEO of Arment Dietrich. “People want to know the person behind the brains. And you have to just do it. So many people overanalyze it and overthink it. Just jump in and start tweeting.”

Actionable Takeaways:

  1. Avoid tactics that look like spam on Twitter. “At first I thanked every single person who retweeted my content,” says Brenner. “But then I just felt like a robot, blindly sending ‘thanks for the RT’ messages. Now I focus on those people who really seem interested in connecting.”
  2. Don’t automate direct messages. Dietrich’s pet peeve is the auto direct message that encourages you to buy something from the person you just followed.
  3. Don’t be blatantly promotional. Don’t say something like “buy my stuff,” says Brenner. “That’s the quickest way to lose followers and anger people.”

Step #6: Test and analyze.

Twitter gives you practically instant feedback. Almost as soon as you post something, you can see how it performs.

“Twitter is my number one platform where I share the most content and also the platform where I test content,” says Schaffer. “When I see what resonates, I know what to share on my other platforms, for my newsletter, blog posts, books, and other projects.”

Schaffer says he aggressively uses hashtags on Twitter so he can be found and manage his content, and also so he can compare how tweets with a certain hashtag perform against other hashtags.

Actionable Takeaway:

  1. Take time to find the right tool for measuring and analyzing. “Find the one that makes sense to you and you’re comfortable with,” says Burgess, who uses Triberr for posting, RiteTag for finding the best hashtags, as well as several analytic tools.

Step #7: Outsource strategically, if at all.

According to Schaffer, you don’t need to outsource any of your Twitter efforts in the beginning. But once you start to scale your followers, consider outsourcing some of the administrative work.

“Outsourcing content curation is one of the first areas busy business owners ought to consider. It’s highly worthwhile and ensures your Twitter presence stays active and relevant,” says Smith. “I’m the only one that replies and engages, though,” she adds, “as I never actually delegate my conversations. I also live tweet events.”

At the same time, don’t outsource so much that your authenticity is lost, says Burgess. “To those that are considering outsourcing, first I’d recommend simplifying. You don’t need to tweet every five minutes and you don’t need to reply to every mention.”

Schaefer says, “I do 100% of my own tweets. I feel strongly that I don’t want to disappoint anybody. I never want to be in a position where somebody is engaging with me and then they discover that it’s not really me.” Schaefer says the only thing he outsources is some of the administration on his account, like managing followers.

Actionable Takeaway:

  1. Find a system to help you find, curate and share content, says Neal Schaffer, who personally uses Sprout Social. Schaeffer says you don’t need a monitoring tool unless you’re a well-established brand. “The @ mentions of your name are enough for most people.”

Step #8: Commit.

Now that you know what to do, you need to devote time each day to just doing it.

Brenner’s advice? “You have to find the time to make small investments in social every day,” he says.

“Tweet once a day. Blog once a week (if that’s all you have time to do). Do whatever works for you and be realistic. It’s amazing what happens after a year. You’ll have sent hundreds of tweets, created dozens of blog posts, connected with lots of great people and learned more than you would have ever imagined.”

Actionable Takeaway:

  1. Find your focus by following one course until successful and stick to it, says Smith. “Publish daily tweets around your chosen focus. But don’t forget to engage, too.”

Building Your Brand

These Twitter brand experts have cracked the code. And so can you if you follow these seven steps. Remember the adage: Success is no accident. You have to work at it.

What are your best tips for building a memorable brand presence? Share them below.


Reblogged 1 day ago from blog.hubspot.com

SearchCap: Google Santa Tracker, duplicate content & Bing Ads

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Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google Santa Tracker, duplicate content & Bing Ads appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 day ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

[Reminder] Live webcast: Social Media Marketing 3.0

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Social media is now an integral part of marketing — spending on social media is expected to double to 25% of marketing budgets by 2020. Yet, nearly half of digital marketers say they can’t prove the bottom-line impact of social media on their businesses. Join our panel of experts on Thursday,…

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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