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Why an SEO should lead your website migration

Change is a natural part of a business, particularly when it comes to your digital presence.

The need to rebrand, switch up the CMS (content management system), consolidate your resources or revamp the architecture and user journey of your website, is ultimately inevitable. And whatever the goal may be, it is not uncommon for all major initiatives to fall under the umbrella of a contemporary digital marketer.

How does Google feel about changes

One thing to keep in mind, however, is Google’s tendency to be less than accommodating towards major website changes, especially URL changes. And who can blame them? Whilst Google’s algorithm may be able to detect semantic differences between websites, it’s somewhat unrealistic to expect it to also realize that the similarities between store.hmv.com and hmv.com mean they’re both the same brand.

Therefore, without acknowledging this, many domain changes result in staggering losses of traffic and rankings, and suddenly the most well-known brand in an industry becomes non-existent within Google’s universe. It is therefore imperative to ensure the changes you’re making can be correctly comprehended by Google.

How to understand Google

Expecting a lonesome digital marketer to be a jack of all channels is quite unrealistic. But luckily you don’t need to be. There’s a whole industry of people who are dedicating their days to figuring out how to think exactly like Google, and they can help you avoid the risk of decimating your hard-earned keyword rankings (unless you’re doing black hat tactics, in which case, those rankings aren’t very hard-earned after all). This industry is SEO.

Three pillars of SEO

Before we dive into the value SEO, here’s a quick summary of the three key pillars:

  • Accessibility: Technical workings of the site. This includes everything that Googlebot takes into account when understanding your site’s code. Basically, all the tags and developer language that are telling the crawlers how the site should be interpreted.
  • Relevance: Content your visitors and Googlebot came for, including all of the text and metadata on your pages, blog posts, and even videos – everything your visitors see.
  • Authority: Backlinks from other sites, with each one counting as a “vote” of confidence, which Google takes into account when ranking.

So with that crash course, we can now connect the dots between SEO expertise and high-level migration requirements.

Why you need SEO

Whilst a website’s appearance is important, first and foremost it’s crucial to understand how you’re going to explain the changes you’re making to Google. We suggest a handwritten note:

“Dear Google,

Don’t worry, some things are changing but we still love you, so here is a comprehensive, incredibly large map of URL redirects detailing the new versions of the exact same pages you know and ranked the first time around.”

On a more serious note, however, here are five ways in which the expertise of an SEO professional can propel your website towards successful migration.

1. Taking the complexity out of URL mapping and redirects

Since a site’s internal linking and page equity is an essential part of SEO, we deal with redirect handling and URL mapping and all the complications that come along with it, all the time. Therefore, you have to make sure each redirect makes sense, and also that each page is able to take on the new status. Common issues at this stage can include:

  • Incorrectly implemented redirects (302 or the dreaded 307) that may undermine your intentions
  • Extremely long or even infinite redirect loops, which will cause Google to rage-quit the page or even your entire site
  • Redirects to irrelevant pages, which Google may not mind too much but will annoy your users

Just in case you’re not convinced, here’s a scary graph of what happens when you don’t do this properly.

graph showing repercussions of bad URL mapping

Source: Croud

The process of telling Google what’s what extends beyond redirect mapping, it also includes on-page work. Specifically, the canonical tag.

Fun fact: 301 redirects don’t actually stop Google from indexing your pages, so if you left it at that, you would just end up with some poor rankings and some confused users. Luckily, your friendly neighborhood SEO knows all about the various ways to help encourage Google to drop your old page out of the index as it goes along your new site.

2. Understanding your website’s behavior

So, you’ve done all the mapping and have set up just how to introduce Google to your new site. While that’s very exciting, we do have to remember the “understanding” part of these first several weeks. The primary reason for site migration is to provide a new and improved site that will (hopefully) gain more traffic and drive more business. However, without understanding how your original site performed, it’s very difficult to establish if your new site is actually superior. This, therefore, highlights the importance of benchmarking.

Of course, you may know how much traffic your ad campaigns – and even your website in general – are pulling in, but you’ll need to know more than that to be successful. As SEOs, our aim is to understand your site as much as the search engines do, which as explained above, is much more than just content on your pages.

To paint the best picture of your website before you migrate, use several tools that provide a variety of key SEO data points:

  • Keyword rankings and their respective landing pages
  • Links to your site
  • Pages with 200 (and non-200) status codes
  • Crawl volume and frequency

By aggregating the different metrics and views of each tool, you can create a beautiful, detailed portrait of how your website behaves, and how it’s interpreted by both search engines and users. Astute benchmarking will allow for in-depth, helpful post-migration analysis, particularly for those metrics that can only be recorded at a particular moment. There’s no way to tell how fast your pages loaded, or how many pages returned non-200 status codes last week. If you don’t gather this information beforehand, you won’t be able to fully report the impact of the migration.

After you complete the migration, you can gather this data again to truly judge your results. Everyone will remember to check the new traffic statistics, and even the new rankings, but only an SEO will remember to check that those numbers make sense and you haven’t accidentally orphaned half of your product pages. SEOs will make sure users aren’t just on your site, but crawlers are too. With proper data at your disposal, you can set about making iterative improvements which will undoubtedly be necessary.

3. Migrating your tracking tools

All this talk about performance and results is for naught if you can’t actually track any of it. Much like Google’s search engine, Google tools aren’t so keen on supporting your site migration either. Therefore, you have to make sure you’re ready to start tracking the new site, ideally without losing your old data.

Dealing with various tracking tools and codes all the time, an SEO has to be a Google Analytics expert too (it’s commonly a requirement on most resumes). So how do you avoid a scenario in which either you have no historical data and can’t measure the success, or when you have two different accounts and have to do the calculations for performance comparisons by yourself? By making plans to migrate your tracking tools.

Ideally, you’ll use the same analytics tracking code for the migrating site, so that the old metrics can be directly compared to the new numbers once it takes place. Need some more persuasion?

Take a look at this graph detailing a successful site migration.

graph detailing a successful site migration

Source: Croud

 4. Testing and the importance of the human touch

So you’ve planned all your new pages, and your new site is built. What’s next? Hopefully, it’s built in a staging environment and not actually live. If it’s not, you run the risk of causing all sorts of issues with duplicate content and ranking cannibalization.

However, your SEO can easily take charge of this with a robots.txt directive (which will haunt them until the site is live and they can change it). Despite its purpose, a staging environment doesn’t always reflect the search engine’s behavior since it lives in isolation. There’s no way to track backlinks or see exactly what it will look like in a SERP at this time.

Often, Googlebot doesn’t even fully crawl staging environments, because it’s seen as time-wasting. Therefore, your SEO’s brain is your very best test.

Everyone will check that the pages are set up as planned, but your SEO will be the one who can thoroughly re-test each individual redirect at 2 am. This will likely be the last time that any mistakes will be recognized before launch, so it’s critical to make sure that every redirect behaves as expected and that they are all 301 status codes.

Lastly, you’ll need to make sure that a single XML file stays live on the legacy site, containing all the legacy URLs. This will be used to push Googlebot through the old URLs and onto the new site, expediting your meticulously-mapped redirects.

5. Launching and mitigating loss

Finally, you’re ready to flip the switch and the champagne bottles are out. So you turn on the new site, and congratulations – you’ve just lost 20% of your traffic.

No, really, congratulations. In case you forgot the daunting chart we shared earlier in this post, website migrations can cause damaging losses, and sites that don’t prepare accordingly, often never recover. However, if you’re smart and you hired an SEO expert to take charge of this project, they’ll have the task at hand.

Your traffic loss is a product of search engines and users not recognizing your new site – temporarily. Your SEO will have made sure everything is set up properly, so Googlebot is quickly figuring out that your new site contains all the same high-ranking, trustworthy content as on your old site. It’s still a little miffed at you for changing on it, so you may only get back on the second pages of results.

You’ll still have some further optimizations to do, but it’s much easier to go from page two to page one, rather than page ten to page one.

Just remember, we’re guiding this migration from an SEO perspective. Googlebot is basically a person, so as long as it can read the site, we assume that users will enjoy their experience too.

Kailin Ambwani is a Digital Associate at global digital agency Croud, based in their New York office.

The post Why an SEO should lead your website migration appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Reblogged 2 days ago from searchenginewatch.com

How to grab featured snippet rankings with zero link building effort

Featured snippets, also known as “position zero” placements on Google, have been receiving their fair share of glory and blame lately. 

While some big corporations like Forbes went ahead and questioned if Google is stealing traffic with the featured snippet, content creators like me have found it easy to get more traffic, thanks to being able to rank small sites on a featured snippet.

This post will give you a brief idea on how you can rank a page on Google’s featured snippet — without building any links to that page.

Understand the types

There are three major types of featured snippets that you can go for. As most of our clients are bloggers, we tend to go for either the paragraph snippets or the list snippets. Table snippet is another popular one that you can target.

Here’s a quick graph from Ahrefs about the snippet type and their percentages.

Targeting the right keywords

Once you finalize the type of snippet that you would want to go for, it is time to dig deep into your keyword research to find keywords that suit your blog and match the requirements for the type of snippet that you are going after.

If you are going for a paragraph snippet, you will have to find keywords that are primarily related to these types:

  • How to
  • Who/what/why

example of finding keywords on snippets

If you are trying to rank for a numeric list (numbered list or bullet points), the idea would be to structure your content in a way so that it offers step by step guides to someone. As per our experience, Google only shows a numeric list on featured snippet when the keyword tells Google that the searcher is looking for a list.

example of a listed featured snippet

For table snippets, the idea is to have structured schema data on your website that compares at least two sets of data on the page. You don’t really have to have a properly formatted column-based table to be able to rank for table snippets as long as the comparison and the schema is there.

example of a table structured snippet

Understanding the type and targeting the right keywords will do more than half of the job for you when it comes to ranking your website on the featured snippet with zero links.

However, you are not going to win the battle by out-throwing an already existing featured snippet. This will only work for keywords that don’t already have a featured snippet ranking on Google.

To grab featured snippets from the existing competition, you will need to go ahead and perform a few more steps.

Copying your competitor

Some will call it “being inspired”, but essentially, what you are doing is copying the structure of an existing featured snippet article and trying to make it better (both with content and if possible, with links).

What do I mean when I say, copying the structure of an existing page and making it better? If you want to rank for the featured snippet for the keyword “best cat food brands” and if the one, ranking at this moment already has a list of 20, you will have to create a list of 25, in the exact same format that the current one is using.

Once that’s done, the final step is simply to make sure you have proper schema on the page.

Note: It is very unlikely that this method will help you outrank an existing featured snippet unless you also rank in the top ten for that keyword.

How do we find keywords for featured snippets?

As you can imagine, finding the right keyword to target is winning half of the battle when it comes to ranking on featured snippets.

I use Semrush, but feel free to use your own tools. Here’s what our agency’s process looks like.

Let’s assume, for the purpose of this article, that I run a pet blog and I am interested in ranking for multiple featured snippets.

I would go to Semrush, and put one of my competitors on search.

example of competitor research on semrush

Source: semrush

Now click on “Organic Research”, select positions and from advanced filters, select – Include > Search features > featured snippet.

example of organic research

Source: semrush

This will give you a huge list of keywords that are currently ranking as featured snippets. As you can see, we found about 231 opportunities to target here:

listing of potential keywords for targeting

Source: semrush

It is time to add another condition to our advanced filters. Let’s select include > words count > greater than five. Here’s what the new result looks like:

example of using advanced filters in semrush

Source: SEMrush

From here on, simply organize the keywords by volume and then select the ones that you think matches with your target market. Like any keyword research, you will have to find keywords that have low competition and moderate search volume. Personally, I would try to go for keywords that have less than 500 monthly searches.

Make sure that you are following the initial three steps that we discussed. You will almost always have a higher chance of ranking on featured snippet following this strategy.

Khalid Farhan blogs about internet marketing at KhalidFarhan.com. He can be found on Twitter @iamkhalidfarhan.

The post How to grab featured snippet rankings with zero link building effort appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Reblogged 2 days ago from searchenginewatch.com

Improve Your JavaScript Knowledge By Reading Source Code

Improve Your JavaScript Knowledge By Reading Source Code

Improve Your JavaScript Knowledge By Reading Source Code

Carl Mungazi

2019-07-12T12:30:59+02:00
2019-07-13T12:35:57+00:00

Do you remember the first time you dug deep into the source code of a library or framework you use frequently? For me, that moment came during my first job as a frontend developer three years ago.

We had just finished rewriting an internal legacy framework we used to create e-learning courses. At the beginning of the rewrite, we had spent time investigating a number of different solutions including Mithril, Inferno, Angular, React, Aurelia, Vue, and Polymer. As I was very much a beginner (I had just switched from journalism to web development), I remember feeling intimidated by the complexity of each framework and not understanding how each one worked.

My understanding grew when I began investigating our chosen framework, Mithril, in greater depth. Since then, my knowledge of JavaScript — and programming in general — has been greatly helped by the hours I have spent digging deep into the guts of the libraries I use daily either at work or in my own projects. In this post, I will share some of the ways you can take your favorite library or framework and use it as an educational tool.

My first introduction to reading code was via Mithril’s hyperscript function. (Large preview)

The Benefits Of Reading Source Code

One of the major benefits of reading source code is the number of things you can learn. When I first looked into Mithril’s codebase, I had a vague idea of what the virtual DOM was. When I finished, I came away with the knowledge that the virtual DOM is a technique which involves creating a tree of objects that describe what your user interface should look like. That tree is then turned into DOM elements using DOM APIs such as document.createElement. Updates are performed by creating a new tree describing the future state of the user interface and then comparing it with objects from the old tree.

I had read about all of this in various articles and tutorials, and whilst it was helpful, being able to observe it at work in the context of an application we had shipped was very illuminating for me. It also taught me which questions to ask when comparing different frameworks. Instead of looking at GitHub stars, for example, I now knew to ask questions such as, “How does the way each framework performs updates affect performance and the user experience?”

Another benefit is an increase in your appreciation and understanding of good application architecture. Whilst most open-source projects generally follow the same structure with their repositories, each of them contains differences. Mithril’s structure is pretty flat and if you are familiar with its API, you can make educated guesses about the code in folders such as render, router and request. On the other hand, React’s structure reflects its new architecture. The maintainers have separated the module responsible for UI updates (react-reconciler) from the module responsible for rendering DOM elements (react-dom).

One of the benefits of this is that it is now easier for developers to write their own custom renderers by hooking into the react-reconciler package. Parcel, a module bundler I have been studying recently, also has a packages folder like React. The key module is named parcel-bundler and it contains the code responsible for creating bundles, spinning up the hot module server and the command-line tool.

The section of the JavaScript specification which explains how Object.prototype.toString works

It will not be long before the source code you are reading leads you to the JavaScript specification. (Large preview)

Yet another benefit — which came as a welcome surprise to me — is you become more comfortable reading the official JavaScript specification which defines how the language works. The first time I read the spec was when I was investigating the difference between throw Error and throw new Error (spoiler alert — there is none). I looked into this because I noticed that Mithril used throw Error in the implementation of its m function and I wondered if there was a benefit to using it over throw new Error. Since then, I have also learnt that the logical operators && and || do not necessarily return booleans, found the rules which govern how the == equality operator coerces values and the reason Object.prototype.toString.call({}) returns '[object Object]'.

Techniques For Reading Source Code

There are many ways of approaching source code. I have found the easiest way to start is by selecting a method from your chosen library and documenting what happens when you call it. Do not document every single step but try to identify its overall flow and structure.

I did this recently with ReactDOM.render and consequently learned a lot about React Fiber and some of the reasons behind its implementation. Thankfully, as React is a popular framework, I came across a lot of articles written by other developers on the same issue and this sped up the process.

This deep dive also introduced me to the concepts of co-operative scheduling, the window.requestIdleCallback method and a real world example of linked lists (React handles updates by putting them in a queue which is a linked list of prioritised updates). When doing this, it is advisable to create a very basic application using the library. This makes it easier when debugging because you do not have to deal with the stack traces caused by other libraries.

If I am not doing an in-depth review, I will open up the /node_modules folder in a project I am working on or I will go to the GitHub repository. This usually happens when I come across a bug or interesting feature. When reading code on GitHub, make sure you are reading from the latest version. You can view the code from commits with the latest version tag by clicking the button used to change branches and select “tags”. Libraries and frameworks are forever undergoing changes so you do not want to learn about something which may be dropped in the next version.

Another less involved way of reading source code is what I like to call the ‘cursory glance’ method. Early on when I started reading code, I installed express.js, opened its /node_modules folder and went through its dependencies. If the README did not provide me with a satisfactory explanation, I read the source. Doing this led me to these interesting findings:

  • Express depends on two modules which both merge objects but do so in very different ways. merge-descriptors only adds properties directly found directly on the source object and it also merges non-enumerable properties whilst utils-merge only iterates over an object’s enumerable properties as well as those found in its prototype chain. merge-descriptors uses Object.getOwnPropertyNames() and Object.getOwnPropertyDescriptor() whilst utils-merge uses for..in;
  • The setprototypeof module provides a cross platform way of setting the prototype of an instantiated object;
  • escape-html is a 78-line module for escaping a string of content so it can be interpolated in HTML content.

Whilst the findings are not likely to be useful immediately, having a general understanding of the dependencies used by your library or framework is useful.

When it comes to debugging front-end code, your browser’s debugging tools are your best friend. Among other things, they allow you to stop the program at any time and inspect its state, skip a function’s execution or step into or out of it. Sometimes this will not be immediately possible because the code has been minified. I tend to unminify it and copy the unminified code into the relevant file in the /node_modules folder.

The source code for the ReactDOM.render function

Approach debugging as you would any other application. Form a hypothesis and then test it. (Large preview)

Case Study: Redux’s Connect Function

React-Redux is a library used to manage the state of React applications. When dealing with popular libraries such as these, I start by searching for articles that have been written about its implementation. In doing so for this case study, I came across this article. This is another good thing about reading source code. The research phase usually leads you to informative articles such as this which only improve your own thinking and understanding.

connect is a React-Redux function which connects React components to an application’s Redux store. How? Well, according to the docs, it does the following:

“…returns a new, connected component class that wraps the component you passed in.”

After reading this, I would ask the following questions:

  • Do I know any patterns or concepts in which functions take an input and then return that same input wrapped with additional functionality?
  • If I know of any such patterns, how would I implement this based on the explanation given in the docs?

Usually, the next step would be to create a very basic example app which uses connect. However, on this occasion I opted to use the new React app we are building at Limejump because I wanted to understand connect within the context of an application which will eventually be going into a production environment.

The component I am focusing on looks like this:

class MarketContainer extends Component {
 // code omitted for brevity
}

const mapDispatchToProps = dispatch => {
 return {
   updateSummary: (summary, start, today) => dispatch(updateSummary(summary, start, today))
 }
}

export default connect(null, mapDispatchToProps)(MarketContainer);

It is a container component which wraps four smaller connected components. One of the first things you come across in the file which exports connect method is this comment: connect is a facade over connectAdvanced. Without going far we have our first learning moment: an opportunity to observe the facade design pattern in action. At the end of the file we see that connect exports an invocation of a function called createConnect. Its parameters are a bunch of default values which have been destructured like this:

export function createConnect({
 connectHOC = connectAdvanced,
 mapStateToPropsFactories = defaultMapStateToPropsFactories,
 mapDispatchToPropsFactories = defaultMapDispatchToPropsFactories,
 mergePropsFactories = defaultMergePropsFactories,
 selectorFactory = defaultSelectorFactory
} = {})

Again, we come across another learning moment: exporting invoked functions and destructuring default function arguments. The destructuring part is a learning moment because had the code been written like this:

export function createConnect({
 connectHOC = connectAdvanced,
 mapStateToPropsFactories = defaultMapStateToPropsFactories,
 mapDispatchToPropsFactories = defaultMapDispatchToPropsFactories,
 mergePropsFactories = defaultMergePropsFactories,
 selectorFactory = defaultSelectorFactory
})

It would have resulted in this error Uncaught TypeError: Cannot destructure property 'connectHOC' of 'undefined' or 'null'. This is because the function has no default argument to fall back on.

Note: For more on this, you can read David Walsh’s article. Some learning moments may seem trivial, depending on your knowledge of the language, and so it might be better to focus on things you have not seen before or need to learn more about.

createConnect itself does nothing in its function body. It returns a function called connect, the one I used here:

export default connect(null, mapDispatchToProps)(MarketContainer)

It takes four arguments, all optional, and the first three arguments each go through a match function which helps define their behaviour according to whether the arguments are present and their value type. Now, because the second argument provided to match is one of three functions imported into connect, I have to decide which thread to follow.

There are learning moments with the proxy function used to wrap the first argument to connect if those arguments are functions, the isPlainObject utility used to check for plain objects or the warning module which reveals how you can set your debugger to break on all exceptions. After the match functions, we come to connectHOC, the function which takes our React component and connects it to Redux. It is another function invocation which returns wrapWithConnect, the function which actually handles connecting the component to the store.

Looking at connectHOC’s implementation, I can appreciate why it needs connect to hide its implementation details. It is the heart of React-Redux and contains logic which does not need to be exposed via connect. Even though I will end the deep dive here, had I continued, this would have been the perfect time to consult the reference material I found earlier as it contains an incredibly detailed explanation of the codebase.

Summary

Reading source code is difficult at first but as with anything, it becomes easier with time. The goal is not to understand everything but to come away with a different perspective and new knowledge. The key is to be deliberate about the entire process and intensely curious about everything.

For example, I found the isPlainObject function interesting because it uses this if (typeof obj !== 'object' || obj === null) return false to make sure the given argument is a plain object. When I first read its implementation, I wondered why it did not use Object.prototype.toString.call(opts) !== '[object Object]', which is less code and distinguishes between objects and object sub types such as the Date object. However, reading the next line revealed that in the extremely unlikely event that a developer using connect returns a Date object, for example, this will be handled by the Object.getPrototypeOf(obj) === null check.

Another bit of intrigue in isPlainObject is this code:

while (Object.getPrototypeOf(baseProto) !== null) {
 baseProto = Object.getPrototypeOf(baseProto)
}

Some Google searching led me to this StackOverflow thread and the Redux issue explaining how that code handles cases such as checking against objects which originate from an iFrame.

Useful Links On Reading Source Code

Smashing Editorial
(dm, yk, il)
Reblogged 3 days ago from www.smashingmagazine.com

9 social media video ideas that engage customers

The situation is clear: you must create engaging video content on social media.

You know you have to draw the viewer in and leave an impression, but there are so many ways it can go wrong.

It’s already hard to churn out videos, but it’s a lot harder to make sure your content resonates for the right reasons – you want to get customers excited about your brand.

Your videos must be interactive, transparent, innovative and topical, and the best types of social media video content blend all of these elements.

Here are nine examples of social media video ideas done right to inspire your marketing efforts.

1. Shinola: A 360 Tour of the Shinola Detroit Factory with Luke Wilson

A 360 Tour of the Shinola Detroit Factory with Luke Wilson

From the watch factory to the rooftop, take a 360 tour of our Detroit factory headquarters with Luke Wilson and Reel Fx

Posted by Shinola on Thursday, September 8, 2016

Engaging your customer means a lot more than just getting them to watch or like your video.

If a video encourages your customers to interact with it and gives them some control over the experience they have while watching, your video will be an experience for them to remember. This example from luxury watch brand Shinola is engaging in many dimensions.

Its 360 format means that in order to follow the action, the viewer needs to engage with the video with their cursor, so they will be more focused on listening to the video.

This complements the content of the video perfectly as immersion into the human side of the product’s manufacturing calls for a method that lets viewers feel as if they are right there by the action.

Additionally, the presence of actor Luke Wilson gives customers a familiar face to lead them through the industrial spectacle that is the Shinola factory.

2. Warby Parker: How Warby Parker Glasses Are Made

How Warby Parker Glasses Are Made

Ever wonder how Warby Parker glasses are made? Well, we documented the entire process, from the initial design to the cutting of the lenses. Spoiler alert: It’s a beautiful thing. http://warby.me/2DfoGNj

Posted by Warby Parker on Thursday, January 18, 2018

Warby Parker, an online eyewear retailer, makes it clear early on in this video that one of their priorities is “engaging with customers directly.” However, they don’t leave it at that.

They continue to prove it with an immaculately shot video that gives customers a behind-the-scenes look at exactly what goes into each pair of glasses they make. Not only is the video shot well, but it is informative, detail-oriented and transparent.

This video breaks the stereotype of product manufacturing as a dry, dismal process and turns it into something artful.

This video exemplifies a minimalistic approach: it’s just not complicated at all. When there is purpose behind every frame, customers notice.

A walk through this process gives customers a curated look at the quality control behind the product, and the minimalist design of each frame makes it especially hard to look away.

“A minimalist approach to design is intentional design. Intention guides every choice,” writes Natalie Gotko, content strategist at Clique Studios. Minimalist design is taking strategy first then adding complexity where it’s needed. That strategy works incredibly well in this video, especially for a brand like Warby Parker – which values design not only through its eyewear, but also through everything else within its brand including its stores.

3. Red Bull: Road Trip USA is With Red Bull Racing

Red Bull | Road Trip USA is with Red Bull Racing

On the road again – The American road trip continues! 🏁

Posted by F1 on Thursday, October 11, 2018

Red Bull is the epitome of a company that can gracefully dip its toes into many strains of content, even if they have little to do with the product it sells. This is key to excellent marketing.

If customers associate you with any of their interests, they will be more likely to gravitate towards your product. This video shows the Red Bull’s skill at this as they tap into a widespread market of passionate enthusiasts, creating something that establishes their brand as an authority on F1 Racing.

They do this with music as well — people see them pumping money into an industry they love, and suddenly Red Bull becomes about much more than just an energy drink. The best part about this video is that you don’t have to be an F1 fan to enjoy it. Its scenic imagery and “American road trip” theme makes sure not to box out any viewers who might not be as in-touch with racing.

4. Denny’s: Military Husband Reunites With Childhood Friend After 20 Years Apart

Military Husband Reunites With Childhood Friend After 20 Years Apart | Grand Reconnections

Her husband thinks he’s meeting her for a meal at Denny’s. What he doesn’t know is that he’ll be reunited with a best friend he hasn’t seen in over 20 years…

Posted by Denny’s on Monday, May 13, 2019

When it comes to a viral tearjerker video, nothing strikes more of a chord than the uplifting reunion. The premise here is simple.

A man thinks he’s meeting his wife for a normal meal, but as he arrives he realizes he’s in for something much more substantial. Instead, his best friend from childhood — who he hasn’t seen in twenty years — is waiting for him. They get emotional, reconnect, feel all the feelings and, of course, eat some Denny’s!

It’s the type of moment that any viewer can be moved by, and it all happens in Denny’s, creating an association with the restaurant that stems beyond bacon and eggs. Customers don’t view this type of social media video as a transparent attempt to sell a product, but a piece of storytelling that they will get sucked into and watch all the way through, one whose emotional impact will linger with them until the day ends. It’s subtle, but next time they see a Denny’s, all those feelings will come back.

5. Starbucks: Live from Rufus King Park

We’re LIVE from Rufus King Park in Jamaica, Queens to Turn Up The Vote. Join us, Common and Howard Schultz to celebrate National Voter Registration Day.

Posted by Starbucks on Tuesday, September 27, 2016

One of the most impactful innovations in social media recently has been the rise of live video, allowing viewers to tune in and follow an event in real time.

They can comment and react, making their voice heard as the action is happening. Nothing makes a viewer feel like they’re there more than watching through the lens of someone who actually is. The question for brands is, what do you broadcast when you go live? In the case of Starbucks, the answer here was social issues, which can go awfully wrong if pulled off less gracefully than this. Starbucks know their limits, and they stay on the right side of them.

They remain non-partisan, by discussing the importance of voting, an issue that most people can agree on.

They do it with taste, by not inserting themselves or their product into the issue. They prove their worth, by providing a platform for the message to be spread. Viewers react passionately to issues that impact them, and something like this can earn Starbucks’ Facebook page plenty of engagement by piquing its audience’s genuine interests.

6. Genius Verified: Doja Cat Breaks Down the Meaning of “Mooo!”

genius FB video screenshot

Talk about a format that benefits both parties.

Genius used to primarily be a website where music listeners could get the scoop on what their favorite rap lyrics meant, until it expanded into a beacon of all types of addicting, marketable video content. The most successful of these has been its “Verified” series, where musicians can sit down in front of a camera and explain their lyrics to the viewer with no room for misinterpretation.

This allows Genius to carve its place as a well-connected empire that gives you one of the most unfiltered experiences available when trying to interpret a song, letting the artists use the platform as a means of getting in on some sweet viral fame.

Doja Cat’s appearance on the series with her novelty hit “Mooo!” basically kick-started her career, taking a song that was viral in only a small crevice of the music world and exploding into a full-blown sensation.

7. Oreo x Games of Thrones Title Sequence

Oreo x Game of Thrones Title Sequence

The most epic cookies of all time are here. #GameOfCookies #ForTheThrone

Posted by OREO on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Engaging customers often involves observing what’s going on in pop culture and finding a way to insert your brand as a voice that knows what’s up and is just as excited as everyone else is.

Of course, Game of Thrones was a huge source of hype this spring, and even those who weren’t heavily invested in the show somehow got roped into the discussion.

By recreating the title sequence using just Oreos, Oreo made something instantly clickable and shareable that was perfectly on-point with the world’s collective enthusiasm. It takes a real GOT nerd to make something as immaculate and spot-on as this, and it’s this type of energy that resonates hard. Also, don’t try to tell me that staring at Oreo’s for this long doesn’t trigger your cravings!

8. Ben & Jerry’s: Social Awareness on 420

It’s hard to celebrate 4/20 when so many people of color are still being arrested for pot. We have to do better. Learn more: https://benjerrys.co/2Xn8vr2

Posted by Ben & Jerry’s on Saturday, April 20, 2019

420 is a holiday companies love to cash in on, especially those who sell delicious sweet treats to millennial and gen Z customers.

However, Ben & Jerry’s think outside the box by using their platform to educate their customers on issues that really matter. In this case, the issue is mass incarceration.

Instead of taking the easy angle to the holiday, Ben & Jerry’s take a risk. However, it’s this type of informative video that sucks people in and makes people starts discussions. As we noted in Sprout’s #BrandsGetReal findings on social media in a divided society, people seek this type of awareness from brands and expect them to be positive contributors to social issues.

The reason this works is that Ben and Jerry’s practice what they preach. They have donated a lot of money to these causes, and have repeatedly used their platform to spread these messages. People see this and notice the brand’s authentic and consistent voice.

9. WeWork: Tel Aviv

WeWork’s brand is unique. By reinvigorating the office environment, they are associated with a special blend of professionalism and breaking convention. What better way to exhibit this than giving customers a glance at their own work environment. Customers see this transparency and understand how deeply the brand is committed to its mission of “creating an environment where people work to make a life, not just a living.”

Space transformation through shared workspaces is not only a product they execute for other companies, but a philosophy that they truly believe impacts the way people work, including their own employees.

This Instagram video is cleverly edited and very personal. By showing just how refreshing a space like this can be, it makes viewers want to work nowhere else.

If you read one section from this article…

When you create a video for your customers on social media, it’s hard to know where to begin.

These videos are meant to inspire you: think about your company’s mission, your customers, and the way in which you approach the creation of the video before you start.

Make something worth watching – something that your customers will want to watch over and over again. Your goal should be more than to sell your product or service – you are creating a video that will be on the Internet for anyone to watch. It should be engaging and speak to your unique brand voice

What ideas have you implemented for social video content? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

This post 9 social media video ideas that engage customers originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 3 days ago from feedproxy.google.com

The 16 Best WordPress Analytics Plugins in 2019

What’s the one thing more overwhelming than the volume of your analytics data?

I’m willing to be its the volume of analytics plugin options on WordPress.

Installing an analytics plugin for your WordPress site allows you to get all your site’s data, metrics, and insights without leaving your WordPress dashboard. The majority of users choose Google Analytics, although I’ve chosen some non-GA plugins, too.

While Google Analytics is a powerful option, many find the sheer amount of data available on GA daunting, and the interface clunky. WordPress plugins aim to simplify the interface so that users get to the data they need without feeling overwhelmed.

If you do use Google Analytics, we have a comprehensive guide on How to Set Up Google Analytics for WordPress.

With new plugins hitting the market monthly, and specialist plugins offering specific insights, it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for you.

To help you sort through, we’ve compiled a list of the best analytics for WordPress plugins in 2019. We’ll explore basic differences, as well as features and benefits of each option, to help you choose the best plugin for your needs.

1. MonsterInsights

Price: Free | Premium: from $99

WordPress.org rating: 3.9 out of 5 from 637 reviews

Generally considered the king of analytics plugins, MonsterInsights is a good all-rounder. It’s also the most popular Google Analytics plugin on WordPress, with over two million active installations.

Like most of the plugins in this list, MonsterInsights adds your Google Analytics tracking code to your site with no coding required on your part. It pulls your data into a user-friendly interface that runs inside your WordPress dashboard and offers flexibility for growing sites with free and premium versions.

It offers all the Google Analytics data you would expect, broken down into audience and behavior metrics. Additionally, you get more advanced features like ecommerce reports with the premium version.

One limitation of this goliath is you can’t get statistics on individual pieces of content like you can with Analytify.

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2. Analytify

Price: Free | Premium: $39 per year

WordPress.org rating: 4.9 out of 5 from 220 reviews

Analytify is a big hitter in the world of WordPress analytics and will install your Google Analytics tracking code for you. The interface allows you to access your data right from your WordPress dashboard.

Analytify is especially good for ecommerce businesses, since it offers enhanced ecommerce tracking features. The free version is fairly limited but the premium version is substantially cheaper than MonsterInsights, while offering similar functionality plus the benefit of being able to dig into individual posts and pages.

With the free version, you can monitor your site stats and you gain limited access to general reporting features. This includes tracking features like page views, top countries, social media statistics and top referrers.

With the premium version, you gain additional features like real-time statistics, campaign statistics, and email notifications.

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3. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Price: Free

WordPress.org rating: 4.3 out of 5 from 389 reviews

It may not have the catchiest of names, but this plugin is all about functionality.

It does what it says on the tin. The interface isn’t as pretty as some of the more polished plugins, but you get all the features you would expect — insertion of tracking code, Google Analytics data, real-time tracking — right in your WordPress dashboard for free.

A solid option for those who know they don’t want to upgrade and pay for a premium plugin.

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4. Clicky Analytics

Price: Free | Paid: from $9.99 per month

WordPress.org rating: 4.6 out of 5 from 17 reviews

Aside from having an excellent name, Clicky offers a plain and simple view of your analytics, which is ideal for people who feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of options available within Google Analytics. Additionally, it installs its own Clicky tracking code into your site so you don’t have to mess around with code.

Clicky provides detailed insights that are still simple enough for the average blogger to understand. Most of the functionality is available for free, but some features like video analytics and custom data tracking is only available with the paid version. It also has some quirky features like a live map so you can track your visitors in real-time.

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5. Crazy Egg

Price: Premium: $9 per month

WordPress.org rating: 3.8 out of 5 from 5 reviews

Crazy Egg is an open source plugin offering a totally different perspective than most of the others, since it adds Crazy Egg’s tracking code to your site. This allows you to watch via heat maps — in real-time — what visitors are hovering over and clicking on.

The plugin also offers comprehensive A/B testing based on various content variables like color, copy and content placement, to improve the user experience and increase conversions. This is a good alternative to Google Analytics for users more interested in conversion optimization.

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6. Analytics Cat

Price: Free

WordPress.org rating: 3.8 out of 5 from 5 reviews

Analytics Cat is a super simple, lightweight plugin. If you’re looking to add a Google Analytics tracking code but don’t want to weigh down your WordPress site with the dashboard integration, it can do it in minutes.

Analytics Cat offers a simple way to stop your data from becoming corrupted by your obsessive self-navigation, since it provides the ability to exclude logged-in users from your Google Analytics tracking. You can also exclude as many other user roles as you’d like.

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7. GA Google Analytics

Price: Free | Premium: from $15 one-off

WordPress.org rating: 4.9 out of 5 from 71 reviews

This is a simple tool that does one job — it adds a Google Analytics code to every page on your site. It doesn’t pull in or display any stats for you, but it does its job well. This is ideal for complex sites with hundreds of pages. If you’re happy with keeping your Google Analytics off your WordPress dashboard but want to ensure the tracking code is on every page, this is the plugin for you.

Additionally, the premium version enables a host of advanced features like an opt-out for visitors. It also supports custom code and lets you disable tracking on logged-in users.

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8. HubSpot

Price: Free

WordPress.org rating: 4.6 stars from 104 ratings

HubSpot’s WordPress plugin isn’t just an analytics plugin — it also allows you to implement HubSpot’s forms, pop-ups, and live chat.

HubSpot’s plugin offers incredibly detailed data on the leads you collect. Additionally, you can get an in-depth understanding of which CTAs drive the highest number of sign-ups, enabling you to convert visitors more effectively. This user information is synced with your HubSpot CRM.

9. Google Analytics WD

Price: Free | Premium: $30 per year

WordPress.org rating: 4.5 out of 5 from 93 reviews

This plugin is a solid option and has both a free and reasonably priced premium version. With a low barrier to entry, it’s a user-friendly, simple way to view your stats within WordPress.

The free version includes page views, top performing pages, a centralized dashboard, comprehensive reports, and bounce rates. However, if you want Google Analytics coverage, ecommerce reports, AdSense and AdWords reports, you’ll need the premium version.

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10. WP Google Analytics Events

Price: Free | Premium: from $79 per year.

WordPress.org rating: 4.6 out of 5 from 28 reviews

Designed to offer detailed behavioral analytics, WP Google Analytics Events digs deeper into your Google Analytics data. For instance, just because a visitor navigated to a blog post, doesn’t mean they scrolled down and read all the way through. WP Google Analytics Events can help you see what’s really going on at the level of individual events.

The downside of this plugin is it’s difficult to set up, so this is ideal for more advanced users.

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11. Jetpack by WordPress.com

Price: Free | Premium: from $5 per month

WordPress.org rating: 4.6 out of 5 from 28 reviews

Jetpack is a multi-functioning tool for design, marketing and security — analytics is just one of its many features. It displays your stats via a simple interface offering a handy overview of how your site is doing. However, don’t expect to be able to drill down into the data on individual pages and posts.

As you would expect from a WordPress.com product, the plugin offers good support and detailed troubleshooting guides. Best of all, Jetpack offers a smiley face at the bottom of your page to show whether the JetPack analytics tools are working.

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12. WP Statistics

Price: Free

WordPress.org rating: 4.3 out of 5 from 396 reviews

A powerful yet simple plugin focused on stats, WP Statistic’s interface is intuitive and displays graphs and charts beautifully. This plugin puts an emphasis on privacy. You can be sure that the data is not being shared with the big boys — additionally, you don’t need to deal with any third parties to use this plugin.

This plugin is particularly good when it comes to geographical data and content reports, and supports real-time stats on your site as well as the standard features you would expect. The best part? It’s totally free.

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13. Matomo

Price: from $9 per month

WordPress.org rating: 4.6 out of 5 from 84 reviews

Formerly Piwik, Matomo is an open-source analytics alternative which gives you detailed reports on your visitors, traffic sources, keywords, and many other common metrics. This plugin installs the Matomo tracking code and allows you to view the data within your WordPress dashboard.

Advanced features lets you follow visitors in real-time or in the visitors’ log and manage multiple sites among many other features. Matomo also offers a mobile app to access reports on the go. You will need an existing Matomo account to access the data.

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14. Slimstat Analytics

Price: Free | Add-ons from $12 one-off

WordPress.org rating: 4.8 out of 5 from 755 reviews

Slimstat is an alternative analytics solution sitting between WordPress and Google Analytics in terms of complexity. An open-source platform that stores all your data in your WordPress database, it allows you to track returning customers and registered users, and monitor Javascript events, detect intrusions and analyze email campaigns — all within your WordPress dashboard.

The basic version is free but there is a range of add-ons allowing you to use as much or as little as you need.

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15. Enhanced Ecommerce Google Analytics Plugin for WooCommerce

Price: Free | Premium: $135 one-off

WordPress.org rating: 4.4 out of 5 from 95 reviews

The clue is in the title with this one. Enhanced Ecommerce Google Analytics Plugin for WooCommerce focuses on the new Google Analytics’ feature for advanced ecommerce statistics.

Because it’s so specialized, this plugin offers the most detailed insights into customer behavior as well as comprehensive product and sales statistics. All of it is accessible from the interface within your WordPress dashboard. However, you’ll need the paid version to get any serious benefit from this plugin.

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16. WP Power Stats

Price: Free

WordPress.org rating: 4.1 out of 5 from 53 reviews

WP Power Stat offers a wide-screen interface, which is good for getting an overview of your site’s data. This plugin is billed as lightweight, fast, reliable and secure. As all the stats are stored on your own WordPress site, there is no meddling with your data by third parties. This plugin is a powerful free option.

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Which Analytics Plugin Should You Choose?

You may want to choose more than one analytics plugin, since many of them are specialized for certain tasks.

If you’re looking to bring the power of Google Analytics into your WordPress dashboard, go for a plugin like MonsterInsights or Analytify, which both have excellent free versions as well as comprehensive premium versions.

Alternatively, there are some plugins specialized in privacy, speed and reliability. There are also some simple tools to quickly set you up with a Google Analytics code.

The great thing about WordPress plugins is you can install them and play around with the free versions to see if they work for you without committing to anything. So give a few of these options a try and see what’s the best fit for you and your analytics needs.

In the meantime, find out how to save time and maximize ROI by hooking up your HubSpot data with your WordPress site.

Reblogged 3 days ago from blog.hubspot.com

Are your DSAs really outperforming standard ads? Find out with this ad copy length performance analysis script

Here’s a script that pulls a report on ad performance based on copy length.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 3 days ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

When to switch to standard delivery in Google Ads (hint: you should have switched yesterday)

Long thought to be an easy, one-click optimization, accelerated delivery might be doing more harm than good (if it’s doing anything at all). Here’s why that is and what you should do about it.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 4 days ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Yes, the nodding meme guy is Robert Redford not Zach Galifianakis

Facebook

Large swaths of the internet were today years old when they learned the nodding GIF guy is actually Robert Redford.

The classic reaction GIF, which is generally used to convey approval, is sourced from the 1972 film Jeremiah Johnson, in which Redford plays the titular role. Turns out, though, a nonzero number of people thought the guy in the GIF was comedian Zach Galifianakis, who did not play the titular role in Jeremiah Johnson. (He was 3 years old when the movie was released.) 

We know this thanks to a post from Splinter called “Did You Know the Nodding Meme Guy Is Robert Freakin’ Redford???” Judging by the response, a few people did not, and the people who did are ready to makes jokes and brag about it.  Read more…

More about Twitter, Memes, Gifs, Social Media, and Culture

Reblogged 4 days ago from feeds.mashable.com

Facebook forms group dedicated to projects with ‘experimental apps’

Facebook

In the past, the social network has tried and failed to to create new standalone apps with virality. The group, NPE, hopes to change that.

Read more here. Read more…

More about Tech, Facebook, Apps, Mashable Video, and Social Media

Reblogged 4 days ago from feeds.mashable.com

Video: Lily Ray on recovering after a Google core update

Here are tips from Lily Ray on how to fix a site that was hit by a Google core algorithm update.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 4 days ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

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