3 Undeniable SEO Benefits of Responsive Web Design

Everyone is talking about search engine optimization (SEO) and a heck of a lot of people are talking about the benefits of responsive web design (RWD)—both for good reason. Know why?

Because RWD comes with loads of SEO perks. It’s true! First off…SEO benefits of responsive design

RWD explained: Put simply, when you create your website using responsive web design (RWD), your webpages automatically reformat to display on screens of all sizes, from small mobile phones to oversized desktop monitors. Responsive web design benefits your users because they experience essentially the same experience every time they visit your website—from ANY device. With a well-designed RWD website, your pages and posts will load fast and work fabulously on any sized screen.

Responsive website design first made the news in 2012, so if you haven’t invested in a new website in quite some time, it’s HIGHLY likely your SEO is falling by the wayside. Here are 3 reasons you should consider updating…ASAP.

1. Google Likes RWD

We all want to be BFFs with Google. After all, while there are plenty of other search engines in the sea, Google is unquestionably King of Search. The Google Gods have made their preference for RWD unquestionably clear, and their reasoning is sound.

While there’s no direct evidence that Google uses RWD as a ranking signal and assigns a higher rank as a result, Google engineers have noted (on several occasions) that web rank is affected by indirect factors that can be avoided with RWD in place. For example:

  • Redirect Errors: When you create a separate mobile-friendly website, both of your websites may be prone to faulty redirects, mainly because there’s a lot to keep track of between versions of your website, so some redirects might be overlooked between updates. If your redirect is broken and Google can’t find your mobile site? Too bad. Your site won’t appear in search results. Responsive design employs the same URL for all devices, eliminating this potential issue.
  • Duplicate Content: When you’re designing multiple sites for multiple device sizes, you’re essentially creating multiple copies of your original site. If each webpage doesn’t have proper canonical links, for example, or if you release a ton of duplicate content at the same time by updating all your sites at once, this could be misconstrued by Google as an attempt to skew search engine results and gain more traffic. Do not want.
  • Bounce Rate: While responsive design adapts to every device (whether desktop, laptop, phone or tablet), other types of design (including adaptive and separate mobile site design) don’t always fit any device properly. When elements don’t make sense, visitors get frustrated and they leave your website in a hurry. Bounce rate is an SEO ranking factor!

2. Better User Experience (UX)

As we’ve said, responsive design offers a better experience across all devices. Site visitors (read: your potential and current customers!) using any type of device—or even switching from one device to another—can easily navigate a responsive design on any screen. They can access the same content, plus your branding looks consistent as well. Who wants to lose a potential customer because they’re forced to view a stripped down version of your website with confusing navigation?

Better user experience means a lower bounce rate and, ultimately, more website visitors. Bonus points: those visitors are more likely to share and recommend a user-friendly site.

3. Oh-So-Easy Single URL

When your website is crafted with one URL that displays nicely on any device, you’re also increasing your social media share count. No matter what device your readers use to favorite, tweet, or share your content for their friends to view, your share value goes up on just one URL. Number of social shares is another clear ranking signal.

Any web team must consider SEO when planning a website design or redesign, and responsive website design (RWD) delivers some powerhouse SEO benefits. If you agree that your customers deserve the best possible experience when they visit your website, responsive web design is the best choice for a great website that displays optimally on any device.

Mobile-friendly responsive design is the KEY to great SEO. Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

 

8 Great SEO Basics For Small Business Owners

SEO BasicsWant to learn to DIY SEO? Well, turns out SEO is a complicated subject. Figuring out how each new Google algorithm impacts search and how to deal with all the new changes are subjects of endless debate.

However, SEO Basics are well within your reach—even if you’re new to SEO.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of strategically tweaking all the elements of your website to earn the highest possible placement in search engine results. Higher search results = more customers = money for you.

Searchers tend to click on websites that show up on page one, so that’s where you need to be.

Check out these SEO Basics to help you capture and keep that top slot.

1. Avoid Duplicate Content

Copying content is a fairly common practice, but it’s bad for SEO. You can avoid getting penalized by using special tags that identify the content as duplicate. But, for non-experts, a better answer is: don’t do it. Your website should be bursting with your own unique content. Multiple websites? Even if you own other domains, each one needs unique content. To play it safe, ensure each page and every post is different.

2. Gather Intelligence

Monitor social media and document customer service calls to learn what your customers are asking, what they’re complaining about, and what they like most. Your customers are your key to SEO success.

3. Focus Your Content

Unless you’re running a pet blog, you should probably keep your Pomeranian off your website, no matter how adorable he is. Keep your content industry and product focused—but don’t oversell it. Provide informational, helpful and relevant website content for best results. It’s not only great for SEO, it’s a great way to turn your site visitors into customers.

4. Include Keywords

Semantic search has taken the place of simpler keyword search, but keywords still have a place. Instead of using the same keywords repeatedly, make a list of words and phrases your customers might be searching for. To get started, write down your top 5 customer FAQs. Write content that answers those questions, using your keywords and phrases naturally throughout the content.

5. Understand What Your Audience Wants

When your content answers questions asked by your customers, you’ll naturally earn more traffic. If you’re not seeing more site traffic, it’s time to get back to brand basics. Create buyer personas to get to know your audience better. (Check out this free buyer persona template from Hubspot!) Consider how your products or services make your customers feel. After all, even B2B customers respond to emotional connection.

6. Change Up Your Content Delivery Method

Don’t stop at what your customers want to know, discover how they want it delivered. Trying to deliver complicated technical knowledge or dense statistics to a general audience may serve only to alienate them…unless you present it in a way they can understand. Kick-ass infographics and fun, yet informative videos are great ways to show complex information in an easily digestible form. Step-by-step photos are a great way to walk even a novice through a recipe or repair project. When you find a way to help your customer be successful, they’ll come back for more.

7. Go Mobile

Mobile search is becoming more important every year. Did you know that if your website isn’t mobile friendly, it won’t show up in mobile search? Yikes. That’s a huge chunk of business you could be missing out on. Your website content must be optimized for mobile.

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

8. Build Authority

How do you outrank your competition? You produce all the information your customers need to rank you as the leading authority in your field. No matter how crowded the field, a voice speaking from a new perspective can shine through. Find gaps in knowledge and fill the holes. Talk about what every other expert isn’t talking about. Make it personal and always about the customer. Build out your authoritative content over time for even more SEO juice.

Today, SEO is more about content and customer relationships than about tricks and shortcuts. You can’t game the system, you just have to be that good. These tips are low-tech ways to bump your SEO by improving your content and building your audience.

Have a question about SEO Basics? Let us know in the comments!

Motivational Monday: Change the Conversation

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If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation. –Donald Draper, Mad Men

Your brand is your message. When customers see your logo or hear your company name, what’s the first thing that pops into their mind? Do you know? If they spend 30 seconds on your homepage, will they know what you’re all about? Can they access your site through their cell, on their tablet or via their laptop and be met with the same levels of service?

First impressions matter—especially when your customers are coming to conclusions about your business within the first minute or two (or less). Our future is dictated by customer satisfaction and reputation. When things are headed in the wrong direction, it can be hard to recover, redirect and right the ship. If things have already gone awry, it might be time to hit the reset button completely.

In the show Mad Men, Don Draper, a man who’s constantly reinventing and redefining himself throughout the series, offers up one of the best pieces of marketing advice. When his client is faced with the conundrum of how to direct a campaign that’s received some negative PR, Draper offers up this advice: “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

Even if you aren’t facing resistance from the City of New York over the prospect of demolishing Penn Station, you might have your own dilemma: how to present your message in the way you WANT it to be received. Craft your message, make it clear and steer the conversation in the direction YOU want it to go. Here are some tips…

  • Is your brand unwittingly spreading an unintended message? Perhaps it’s time to get back to the basics. Brand colors are important and brand consistency is vital when crafting the brand message you want to spread.
  • Review these 4 ways you may have missed out on connecting with leads and customers.
  • No one wants to think about it, but brand crises happen. How the conversation is directed from that point forward makes all the difference. Chipotle’s recent crisis could actually strengthen the brand if handled correctly. On the other hand, Volkswagen’s recent missteps might prove detrimental to their brand in the long run.
  • One of the secrets to directing conversation is to steer it away from you or your company and move it towards the audience—your customer. Think of it like a cocktail party: the most interesting conversationalists aren’t droning on about themselves.
  • Conversation is two-sided. To ensure your customers are interacting with you in ways that meet their needs, choose responsive design for your website. Responsive design ensures your website renders beautifully and works great on any device.
  • Still looking for ways to shape the conversation? Study these 12 Greatest Marketing Campaigns of All Time for examples of simple messages engaging customers to change the conversation.

For more ideas on how to craft the conversation you want to have with your customers, be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn or subscribe below to receive Motivational Monday updates in your inbox each week.

 

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Responsive Website Design: A Smart Long-Term Investment

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Your website isn’t just an online brochure. Done well, it’s an efficient lead generation machine and the centerpiece of your marketing strategy—as long as it works on all the devices your customers are likely to use. If not, you’re missing opportunities.

When businesses grow, expansion is necessary: over time, you may need bigger space requirements, more stock, or you may even open new locations. You get bigger; you get more business. Mobile-friendly responsive website design (RWD) is another booster to business growth. Similar to opening a new location, launching a mobile-friendly website helps you reach a new audience and draw in new customers.

Responsive website design (RWD) isn’t a temporary or quick fix. It’s a long-term investment that allows you to build a dynamic website that can automatically adapt to new technologies. This means you won’t need to manually respond to each new device or screen size as it hits the market. Instead of playing catch up, you’ll be prepared and poised for growth.

The ROI on RWD: Get More Out of Your Site Design

Redesigning your website might seem like an unnecessary expense, but with responsive design, it’ll pay for itself in customer satisfaction and sales. Here are 5 ways you’ll see return on your investment.
 

1. Enhanced User Experience

Responsive web design maximizes your investment through user experience. Customers will get the same quality of content on any device, so they can find your website no matter what device they choose. And if they recommend your content to friends who are using different devices, responsive website design (RWD) adapts to show the same content in a readable and accessible format.
 

2. Reduced Update Time

In the long run, you’ll save time and money. Anticipating the needs of mobile and tablet users used to involve creating all sorts of different websites and each site had to be updated with new content, which meant at least triple the man-hours spent doing the same updates over and over with every change. Responsive website design (RWD) means one site and one update—which also reduces the number of possible mistakes—and the time it takes to correct them.
 

3. Increased Reach

More than 60% of all web searches are performed on smartphones nowadays. Responsive web design ensures user searches will be successful, your website will load quickly, and buyers will find the information they need to make an informed decision.
 

4. Increased Conversion Rates

While it’s difficult to predict how your customers will respond to your new mobile site, other businesses have been reporting significant boosts in conversion rates for years.
 

5. You’re Prepared for the Future

Updating your website now will prepare you for the foreseeable future. While it may not be 3D-hologram-compatible, as long as we’re still using screens, responsive website design (RWD) will dynamically respond to any size device that might hit the market. You won’t be scrambling to adapt to whatever the next big thing might be.

 

Investing in a responsive website design (RWD) now will create an enhanced user experience, boost your SEO, and cost you less on maintenance in the long run. If you’re ready to expand your business and reap the benefits of your investment, RWD is the way to go.

To learn more about mobile web design, download our free mobile-friendly guide below!

 
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Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly
 

5 BIG Reasons Why You NEED to Be Mobile Ready for 2016

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2016 is coming up fast, so you’re already thinking about how to grow your business next year. If your business strategy doesn’t include a mobile version of your website, you’re already missing out on hot leads. It’s time to turn the mobile web into a lead generation machine for your business.

Not convinced it’ll be worth the money to build a mobile site? Here are 5 reasons why you should reconsider.

1. The Growing Number of Mobile Users

Mobile is BIG. Roughly 2.16 billion people will be using smartphones in 2016. That’s 198.5 million in the U.S. alone—and B2B isn’t exempt: Executives and decision-makers use mobile technology. In fact, 72% use their smartphone to conduct research on products or services for their business. This represents an upward trend reaching critical mass. There are more active mobile devices in play today than there are people.

2. It’s All About the Mobile Search

At Recode’s recent Code Mobile conference, Google’s senior vice president of search, Amit Singhal, said more than 50% of Google’s 100 billion searches originate on mobile devices—plus, he was only referring to screens smaller than six inches. That’s a lot of traffic to leave on the table if your site isn’t mobile friendly.

3. Inbound Marketing Strategy is Must

If social media and inbound marketing are part of your marketing strategy, you’re wasting your time without a mobile website. 71% of social media access happens on mobile devices. So what happens when you tweet out your awesome new content? Your page won’t load, your readers get ticked, and your visitors bounce without ever reading that blog post you crafted so carefully.

4. The Need for Speed…Loading Speed

Speed is key to customer satisfaction. Web surfers don’t have much patience. If your site doesn’t fully load in 3 seconds, they’ll move on and you’ll lose business. Or worse, you’ll lose that coveted customer loyalty.

Pro-tip: Check your mobile speed here.

5. Dominate Local Search

More than 90% of smartphone users use their mobiles to find local businesses. What’s more, people who use their phones to search are likely to act on that information within 24 hours. Mobile presence puts your business in front of people who are looking for answers on the way to buy. It’s point-of-sale web. When customers are in a buying mood, you need to be accessible.

Let’s Get Ready to Go Mobile in 2016

Mobile presence is crucial for any growing business, whether B2B or B2C. The most popular activities on mobile devices include social media and opening email. Isn’t that where most of your customer reach is centered?

How you go mobile matters. There are multiple design options and each has strengths and weaknesses. You can read all about your options (plus common mistakes) in this comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

No matter how you choose to implement your mobile site, it should be optimized for usability, speed, and SEO. To truly engage your audience, you need to go where they are—on their mobile devices.

Becoming mobile ready may seem like a big step, but with the growing dominance of mobile search and commerce, it’s the best way to move forward with a strategic marketing plan in 2016. Choosing a responsive mobile web design prepares your business for the future. No matter what screen size or screen configuration comes with the next big thing, your site will respond and you won’t have to scramble to update or revamp. A worthwhile investment now can make a huge impact on your bottom line now and for the foreseeable future. It’s time to go mobile!