Time to Switch to HTTPS for SEO Like Google Says?

I really like the comprehensive nature of this article on the HTTP vs. HTTPS debate for SEO now that Google says web sites that make the switch could see a rankings boost.

See: “The Big List of SEO Tips and Tricks for Using HTTPS on Your Website.”

“The degree of the boost is relative. You might not even see an impact – or rankings could drop.

In most cases, I’d still recommend avoiding the HTPPS because of risks with rankings and the fact that any ranking gains could be nominal. Plus, the article notes that your web site configuration could trigger some browsers to post a warning to visitors.

Will Mobile Matter with Google Search Engine Results?

Google is expected to intensify its love of mobile on two fronts.

1. Expect your web site to be called out if it’s not mobile friendly. Google literally has been testing the use of icons with search results to suggest that a web site falls short in terms of mobile development standards.

Ouch.

2. And the Internet is all abuzz about the fact that Google may penalize web sites among search results in they’re not mobile friendly.

Given all of the factors that go into a ranking, it’s hard to tell what the impact will be. But it’s good to be prepared.

Here are some articles on the topic:

http://searchengineland.com/beat-googles-mobile-experience-algo-help-mobile-searchers-two-tools-206476

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2014/05/making-your-site-more-mobile-friendly.html

https://developers.google.com/speed/docs/insights/rules

Quick Tool:

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights

Another Tool:

http://www.feedthebot.com/mobile/

More Info:

https://developers.google.com/webmasters/smartphone-sites/common-mistakes

http://calendar.perfplanet.com/2012/make-your-mobile-pages-render-in-under-one-second

google-mobile-search

Web Site Design Questions for Clients and Online Marketing

Online marketers and their clients can both benefit from an initial planning document that can support any web development project.

For your next web site design, check out these questions that may help you think of other online marketing questions that should be answered before you get too far into the work.

Getting Started

What is your budget?

What is your timeline?

Who will approve web site design and final version before going live?

How quickly can your company make key decisions during the web development process? A day? Two days? A week?

In a few sentences, please describe your business.

What motivated you to create a new web site or redesign an existing one?

What are the main purposes of your web site?

  • Lead generation
  • Online sales
  • E-commerce
  • Branding
  • Customer support
  • Online community
  • Are you able to accept credit cards?
  • If so, is your web site PCI compliant?

What is your tagline?

Who are your main competitors?

What are their key advantages?

About the Prospects

Please describe your target market or markets.

  • What industries are most critical?
  • What type of job titles are ideal?
  • Is your business B2B, B2C or both?
  • Do you have buyer personas?
  • Do you have a value proposition?
  • Do you have a marketing plan?
  • Do you have a business plan?

What are the primary issues, problems and challenges that your prospects are facing?

Why is your business their best option?

How do prospects typically reach the web site?

  • Direct traffic (you refer them)
  • Search engines (natural)
  • Paid search
  • Banner ads
  • Sponsorships
  • Links from directories
  • Links from other web sites

How do people interact with your web site today?

  • How long do they stay?
  • How many pages do they view?
  • What percentage of your visitors are new? Are many are returning?
  • Why should they return?
  • Where do they come from?
  • What percentage use mobile?
  • What are the top 10 landing pages?

Standing Out

With your web site, how do you distinguish your business from others?

  • What are your leading products or services?
  • Why should anyone do business with you?
  • What type of content do you have today that’s exceptional?
  • What kind of content could you produce that would be outstanding?

Design Expectations

What are your web design preferences?

  • What kind of design or “look and feel” interests you the most?
  • What designs turn you off?
  • What designs do you like the best (even outside your industry)
  • What colors would you prefer?
  • Should the pages be easy to print?
  • Would you like a responsive design?
  • Should there be a separate mobile version?
  • Do you have all of the artwork (including members of your team, products, etc.)?
  • If more images are needed, will you create them or do you need help with graphics?
  • What digital versions of your logo are available?
  • Do you need a new logo?

Web Site Content

What information do you have that reflects your business? What can be used or adapted for the web site?

  • White papers
  • Sales presentations (including PowerPoints)
  • Brochures
  • Client letters
  • Case studies
  • Bio or curriculum vitae (CV) for each executive

What type of information would you like on the web site?

  • Product/Services
  • Demos
  • Free trials
  • Case studies
  • Testimonials
  • Resource center
  • Company overview
  • Contact info
  • Social media (icons linking to profiles)
  • Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Special offers/coupons
  • Newsletters

Technical

  • Where is the web site currently hosted?
  • Are you e-mails hosted at the same location?
  • Do you use your domain for FTP for customers?
  • How long have you owned your domain?
  • Where is your domain registered?
  • How do you track web site visitors?
  • How do you access web site analytics?
  • Do you use a content management system (CMS)?

Search Engine Optimization

  • What is your SEO strategy?
  • How do you measure SEO today?
  • What critical keywords rank well on Google (please list the top three)?
  • What other keyword phrases are you targeting (please list 10)?
  • Why should other web sites link to yours?
  • What are the most significant inbound links your content has attracted?
  • What is your content marketing strategy to support SEO and inbound link building?

What works for your business? How do you approach web projects?
 

Marketing Study: Time for More Digital Transformation

I’m intrigued with the phrase “digital transformation,” which is promoted by the Altimeter Group in its new study, “The State of Digital Transformation.”

Basically, it sounds like companies can succeed on multiple levels when they seriously explore how they’re marketing and make adjustments to connect with customers who are at different engagement levels. But it’s not simply a matter of diving into a new marketing channel. The decisions will involve some kind of culture change (e.g. revised individual roles and team tasks).

The Altimeter Group defines digital transformation this way:”To focus our initial research, we defined digital transformation as a movement under a customer-centric lens:  The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”digital-transformation
Too often, businesses seem stuck in the same practices and marketing channels, ignoring opportunities like e-mail marketing and SEO.

Business owners simply sigh when I mention social media. Maybe they aren’t really into Twitter (and shouldn’t be without a strategy). But they could so something without much effort. I often recommend getting involved in a couple of LinkedIn Groups. As they interact and share, they’ll be positioned to pitch some of their products and services.

As B2B and B2C evolves, businesses must be willing and able to adapt.

Search Engine Journal has a great piece that goes into even more depth.

Or you can download the digital transformation study.

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