On a Brexit mission, Britain’s Johnson takes office

Boris Johnson began putting together his top team as he prepared to take over as Britain’s prime minister on Wednesday, on a mission to deliver Brexit by October 31 by any means necessary.

The former London mayor, a divisive figure best known for his gaffes and rhetorical flourishes, was elected on Tuesday by members of the governing Conservative party to be their next leader.

He will be formally named as prime minister during a visit to Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

With just over three months before Britain is due to leave the European Union, the 55-year-old has no time to lose and is expected to swiftly announce his cabinet and advisers.

His first move was to appoint as a top aide Dominic Cummings, the Brexit campaign chief in the 2016 EU referendum, in which Johnson played a leading role.

Johnson's promise of leaving the European Union with or without a deal puts him on collision co...

Johnson’s promise of leaving the European Union with or without a deal puts him on collision course with high-profile MPs in his own party

ISABEL INFANTES, AFP/File


May resigned after failing to get her plan for leaving the EU through parliament, forcing her to twice delay Britain’s departure date.

Johnson has vowed to renegotiate her deal or take Britain out of the bloc at the next deadline, October 31, without a deal.

But the EU refuses to reopen the text, while some of his own MPs say they would rather bring down his government than accept a damaging “no deal” exit.

The pound barely moved on Wednesday, with investors keen to see whether he pushes ahead with a no-deal divorce.

– Cabinet shake-up –

Johnson has never hidden his ambition for power, using his trademark jokes and bluster to pull off unlikely electoral victories, but he takes over at a time of immense upheaval.

May became prime minister three years ago promising to deal with the “burning injustices” in society, but her time in office was dominated with Brexit wrangling.

She leaves behind a divided Conservative party — and country — and a government with only a wafer-thin majority in parliament.

How and who elected Boris Johnson?

How and who elected Boris Johnson?

Alain BOMMENEL, AFP


Several ministers announced they would resign before Johnson took office, including finance minister Philip Hammond, who has condemned the “no deal” threat as deeply irresponsible.

During May’s final appearance in parliament on Wednesday, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged her to join him and Hammond to “oppose the reckless plans of her successor”. She shook her head.

5 Ways SMBs Can Engage with Customers Using Paid Search

Technology is in a constant state of flux and evolution, and the way consumers interact with technology affects how they search and inevitably, how they purchase goods and services.

Like tech, nothing stays the same in the world of marketing, least of all the consumer.

As new strategies, analytics, and search features are rolled out, let’s not forget the most important piece of the purchase journey – the people.

Winning the hearts and minds (and dollars) of consumers today is going to require a reevaluation of who they are and what they expect from you.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need to stay on top of trends and continue to evolve their marketing strategies to reach their ideal customers.

Whether your marketing goals are to drive foot traffic to your business, make the phone ring, or sell your products online, it’s critical to have a cost-effective digital marketing strategy that reaches the right audience and delivers measurable impact.

Here are five ways the consumers of today are changing, and how you need to change your marketing perceptions to reach them.

1. New Audiences Are Emerging & Demand Your Attention

New audience segments are gaining ground.

Just check out these statistics from Accenture.

  • 31% of women out-earn their partners and influence 83% of all U.S. consumer spending.
  • LGBTQ buying power in the U.S. is currently over $1 trillion.
  • Minorities are predicted to represent 34% of total buying power in the U.S. by 2021.
  • By 2020, U.S. millennials will hold 30% of overall buying power.
  • Gen Z is on track to influence 40% of consumer spend in 2020

What Does This Mean?

It’s time to develop new value propositions, marketing strategies, and consumer experiences that satisfy the unique needs of these sub-groups.

Embrace this changing consumer landscape by taking the time to understand them and change your approaches to best suit their lifestyles and expectations.

It’s important to keep in mind diverse audiences and make sure that you’re marketing is inclusive.

Inclusive audience marketing removes the barriers to help us as marketers reach more people.

2. Consumer Loyalty Isn’t so Loyal

Most consumers aren’t waiting for a bad experience before they switch providers, they are just waiting for a better experience.

In fact, 44% of customers would leave current providers if an alternative, comparable provider appeared.

What Does This Mean?

You’ve got to up your game to not only convert but retain customers.

Maintaining the same customer experience without consistent improvement won’t keep people coming back for more.

New consumers expect value beyond your product or service.

On-demand interactions and seamless transactions are the standard. Anything counter-intuitive or clunky is going to be left in the dust.

3. Technology Is Part of Who They Are

For many of these emerging audiences, technology is embedded in who they are.

They’ve always had a computer in their house, they possibly were even given a smart phone as a pre-teen, have been saying interacting via voice with their phones for years, and now with smarter digital assistants.

Those born into the digital age of search expect a more nuanced and tailored experience – and they don’t want to look too hard for it.

Converting custom: Using analytics to optimize sales funnels

Converting custom Using analytics to optimize sales funnels for new and returning customers

Sales funnels form the backbone of just about every company you’ll make a purchase from today, tomorrow, or all year round.

For many business owners, the term “sales funnel”, otherwise known as “conversion funnel”, can sound much like self-important corporate jargon – an affectation that makes the process of selling products seem like brain surgery.

The good news is that if you’re already selling goods or services online, then you already have a sales funnel in place. Easy! Right? Well, there’s a significant difference between having a funnel for customer conversions and utilizing your website in a way that actively drives sales.

Fundamentally, a sales funnel is a term that helps you to visualize and understand how a visitor flows from your landing page into the other side of your checkout page – converting themselves into a fully-fledged customer in the process. The reason the word “funnel” is used to describe the process is that you’re aiming to guide prospective customers from your landing page towards a conversion.

There are five key elements behind a strong sales funnel. Firstly, you need to focus on raising awareness of your business and brand. You then need to transform your target audience’s awareness into discernible interest. The third element involves building desire in your product or service from interested visitors. If your sales funnel is firing on all cylinders, the desire you’ve built will then turn into a conversion. Finally, re-engagement is the pivotal ending point – which helps to lure returning customers straight back up to the top of the funnel.

diagram of a conversion funnel

Source: BigCommerce

(An effective sales funnel will not only guide visitors into making a purchase but also re-position strategically so that they feel encouraged to return to buy from you in the near future.)

Learning from your funnels

While many businesses are guilty of leading customers up the garden path, be sure to create a funnel that leads them directly to a conversion. This can be done by carefully crafting your pages in order to encourage a sale, from call-to-actions to alluring offers – if your pages can spark audience interest then your sales funnel will be looking good.

One problem that a surprising number of marketers suffer from is their failure to understand that people are complex creatures and that it is fairly difficult to shepherd them into spending their money. This means there will never be a one-size-fits-all solution when creating effective sales funnels, and the best course of practice is for businesses to get into the minds of their target audience.

How old will our most dedicated customers be? What sort of language will they respond to? How persuasive can we be without running the risk of alienating them?

Audiences are difficult to predict. A punchy and slang-laden call-to-action may work with customers under 25, but this could represent just five percent of your prospective following. Be sure to connect with your target audience in a way that will inspire them to make a purchase.

Time is money, and it certainly pays to be proactive. But setting up a sales funnel that’s reactive enough to adapt to customer demands can certainly work wonders in maximizing your sales moving for the foreseeable future.

Sales funnels are great tools to conduct a little trial and error. Be sure to monitor the key pages that customers would visit during their path towards completing a purchase, and keep a watchful eye for weak links.

There are plenty of analytical approaches towards monitoring the success of your sales funnels, but one of the most effective methods is also the most simple. Keep an eye out for the level of traffic your pages receive. It’s logical that as you peer deeper into your sales funnel, the traffic will drop. From your catalog page to your item description page, to your checkout page, all the way through to your completed purchase page; expect to see fewer visitors and lower click-through levels. However, if a link between one step and another represents something of a cliff-edge in terms of visitor figures, it’s worth rethinking your approach. If masses of visitors decide to leave at a specific stage in the conversion process, it’s logical that you’ve failed to appeal to them effectively enough.

understanding sales funnel optimization by monitoring the traffic funnel on a website

Source: Google Analytics

The value of returning customers

Sales funnels can also tell you a lot about the type of customer you attract. Sometimes marketers are also guilty of failing to differentiate between new customers and returning customers. Your sales funnel could be brimful of exciting offers for fresh-faced new visitors, and mailing list incentives too – but these measures aren’t going to do too much for long-serving customers looking for a fresh reason to jump back down the rabbit hole of your funnel.

Again, the effectiveness of your appeals to new and existing customers alike can be analyzed at varying depths, depending on the tools you have at your disposal (said tools will be explored later).

The Google Maverick Update Slowing Down

What a wild several days with Google updates – we had fluctuations on July 11, 12 and 16th and then some massive chatter and Google search result fluctuations on July 18th or so. Google would not confirm or deny these updates, so it was named by the community the Google Maverick Update.

It seems as of the past few days or so things have significantly calmed down. Here are the charts showing the past 30 days or so of changes from the tools that track it.

SEMRush:

click for full size

RankRanger:

click for full size

Twitter hires Gap Kim to head Global Business Marketing

A new executive has joined the ranks of Twitter’s global business marketing team, the company announced Monday. Gap Kim will oversee global business marketing at Twitter, aiming to help businesses improve results from platform’s advertising capabilities.

Gap Kim to serve as Twitter’s new head of Global Business Marketing.

Tech veteran with Facbook, Google history. Reporting to Twitter’s VP of Marketing Brad Ramsey, Kim boasts more than 20 years of experience in the tech and digital sectors, leading digital adoption and growth across mobile, video, search, messaging, and social at companies including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Google.

“There’s no platform more embedded in every day culture and what’s happening than Twitter,” Kim said in a statement on Monday. “In this day and age, that is a critical opportunity for marketers to make meaningful connections with influential audiences to grow their business and brand.”

Toyota aims to automate the 2020 Olympics with robots

Tokyo’s innovation for the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games is with technological solutions for on-site mobility and transportation. The Japanese company is unveiling five different types of robots ahead of the 2020 sporting spectacular. The focus is with movement of people and goods; the display of information; and with providing opportunities for remote viewing. Part of the concept is to enable fans to interact with athletes remotely via telepresence technology, without the athletes having to actually meet the fans. READ MORE:Infosys offers digital solution for French Open tennis tournament Two of the robots (deemed to be one of the five designs) are designed to be family-friendly, based on a cartoon-like appearance. The machines are based on Tokyo’s official Olympic mascots named Miraitowa and Someity. The robots are garishly colored, using blue and pink and have exaggerated eyes of a ‘bug-eyed’ design, resembling something that might appear in the pages of a Magna graphic novel. The Miraitowa and Someity robots will located at official venue sites, functioning as acting an automated concierge (through a combination of voice and movement), providing information and acting as props for users to taker selfies. The robots will be capable of a level of human interaction, being able to respond to some requests and questions. The second design is a more ‘android-like’ robot called the T-HR3, according to TechCrunch. This machine can also engage in a basic level of human interaction and it is described as being capable of greater articulation. The T-HR3 also can stream images and sounds from the remote locations back to the Olympic site. One of the tasks that the machine will perform is providing a telepresence service for fans to interact with athletes, with the robot showing video streams of the athlete, copying their movements and enabling participants to converse and engage with pseudo-physical contact, such as preforming a high-five with the robot as if it was the actual athlete. A device called T-TR1 carries out a similar telepresence function but with more scale, and this is the third offering. This wheel-based robot comes with a very large vertical display, able to produce life-size scale images of Olympic athletes for fans to interact with. The robot looks a little like an upright vacuum cleaner comes with sophisticated audio-visual equipment.. The five robots:

Will Swapping Fresh Content Help Your SEO? via @schachin

Editor’s note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO experts Jenny Halasz and Kristine Schachinger. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!


Welcome to another edition of Ask an SEO! A reader asks:

Would it help my SEO, if instead of creating 1 piece of content, I create 3 pieces of content, which swap out every 30 days for a page. This way the freshness index of my page stays up. Or is writing so much content too much effort for a minimal SEO increase in value?

Simply, does “freshness” affect rankings?

This is not a simple yes or no answer, as in most things SEO, it depends.

In this particular situation, I would not write three pieces of content and then change the single page on a monthly basis. This does not meet the freshness requirement, anyway.

Google is trying to understand what your webpage is about topically. If you’re changing that regularly, then it would more likely do more harm than good.

So what does freshness mean?

Query Deserves Freshness (QDF)

In 2011, on the heels of the Caffeine Update that allowed Google to crawl and index the web more quickly, Google released a change to the search results that would favor, in some use cases, fresh content over more traditional “evergreen” pages.

This is known as QDF, or “Query Deserves Freshness”.

“Different searches have different freshness needs. This algorithmic improvement is designed to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need, and make sure you get the most up to the minute answers.”

Since then QDF has become one of the most misunderstood portions of Google’s algorithms.

My new clients often tell me they were told by their last SEO that they needed to change their content and homepage frequently so Google would rank it better.

But this is not true.

While there are query terms where Google will serve more “fresh results” first over older content, this is vertical and use case-specific.

QDF does not always matter.

So how do we know when it does?

When QDF Matters

QDF was never meant to be applied to all searches. Even when it rolled out, it affected only about 30% of queries.

For example, your recipe site with your great grandma’s spaghetti sauce doesn’t need to be updated regularly, if at all.

No one needs to change a page outlining Einstein’s Theory of Relativity on a daily, weekly, or ever basis.

Some kinds of content are just meant to stick, or be “evergreen.”

Then, of course, some queries are not.

Google outlines these in its original blog post. They are based on the following criteria.

Vlog #4:: Rand Fishkin Of SparkToro On Early Days At Moz, SEO Community, VC Funds & More (Part One)

Rand Fishkin with Barry Schwartz

In our fourth vlog episode I was in Seattle for Mozcon and I asked Rand Fishkin (@randfish) if I can interview him for my new vlog series. He invited me to his home/office, aka ShedToro, and despite some angry bees, I think the interview went pretty well. This is going to be a two part interview, here is the first part which is mostly about the history – the next one goes into more current day topics and SEO topics.

In part one, we discuss his early days on how he steered Moz, formerly SEOmoz, into the SEO industry. When he discovered forums and blogs, some of the early conferences, his famous yellow shoes and wild parties Yahoo and Google held. How Moz first became an SEO consulting company, transitioning into SEO software and the start of Moz as you know it. Moz’s growth, the challenges with that, especially with companies backed in the venture capital space. Then why he left Moz and started SparkToro and how SparkToro is going about growing differently than what he did with Moz.

Hope you like part one and I am excited for you all to see part two.

Heads up, advertisers: Facebook is shrinking mobile News Feed ad space

Facebook is making changes to the aspect ratio for posts and ads in its mobile News Feed. Beginning August 19, posts and ads in the mobile News Feed will display at a 4:5 aspect ratio, which means they’ll be shorter than at the original 2:3 aspect ratio.

For advertisers, this means ads will show fewer lines of text and the maximum height for photos or videos in the ad will be reduced to fit new design: “The tallest supported aspect ration for images without links and for videos is now vertical (4:5). Media taller than 4:5 will be masked on Facebook’s mobile News Feed.”

Why we should care

According to Facebook, the new ad layout will only allow for three lines of text, after which users will see a prompt to display more of the text. That’s a change from displaying as many as seven lines of text before the “See More” prompt. Ad copy will need to be tighter than ever to get your messages across — or entice users to click to “See More.”

Videos will also need to be optimized for the new size, otherwise they will be automatically “masked” when the changes take effect next month.

Susan Wenograd, VP of marketing strategy at Aimclear, was the first to note the coming changes on Twitter. She says, while its part of Facebook’s efforts to do some “housekeeping” by creating a more consistent mobile experience, the move points to the larger needs of social media marketing: that less has to be more.

Portugal firefighters control wildfires, but warn of strong winds

Portuguese firefighters were cautiously optimistic Monday that they have largely controlled a massive wildfire in a central region where dozens of people were killed in huge blazes in 2017, but warned that strong winds could cause the remaining flames to spread.

Some 1,200 firefighters backed by five water-dropping planes were deployed to fight the blazes in the heavily forested Castelo Branco region, 200 kilometres (120 miles) northeast of the capital Lisbon, the civil protection force said.

The wildfires have been “90 percent controlled” but winds were expected to pick up in the afternoon, with gusts of up to 35 kilometres per hour expected which could fan the flames and cause them to spread, the force’s spokesman Pedro Nunes told a news conference in the central town of Serta.

The centre of Portugal is hilly and covered in dense forest and is regularly ravaged by fires

The centre of Portugal is hilly and covered in dense forest and is regularly ravaged by fires

PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA, AFP


“These are complex conditions to fight fires. We are going to have a complicated day. The wind has been the great motor of this fire,” he said, adding the fire is still active “mainly in hard to reach areas”.

Smoke from the wildfires was visible from space, satellite images broadcast on Portuguese television showed.

Around 30 people, including eight firefighters, have been injured, mostly from smoke inhalation, from the blaze which broke out on Saturday amid scorching temperatures, according to the interior ministry.

A villager uses a water hose to put out flames during a wildfire in the village of Roda central Por...

A villager uses a water hose to put out flames during a wildfire in the village of Roda, central Portugal, on July 21

PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA, AFP


President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on Sunday visited a badly burned civilian who was evacuated by helicopter to a Lisbon hospital.

In a message, he expressed his “solidarity with the hundreds fighting the scourge of the fires”.

– Man arrested –

While a number of small villages were evacuated as a precaution, officials said they still did not know how many homes were burned by the flames.

Authorities are looking into whether the fires may have been started deliberately, Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita said Sunday.

“The cause of the fires is being investigated… there’s something strange. How is it that five such large fires broke out in areas that are so close to each other?” he asked.