Squarespace Is Launching An Email Marketing Platform
 

In an email received by Griffin & Co. Marketing (we’re a frequent Squarespace user), Squarespace announced they will be entering the email marketing industry, competing directly with Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Drip, etc.:

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We’re excited to give this new platform a try, and will certainly update you once we receive early access.

-Griffin & Co. Marketing, LLC



 
Search Engine Market Share
 

Most of us know that Google is the leading search engine, but just how far ahead is it compared to the competition? According to Net Marketshare, a website who proudly state they “provide web usage share statistics on real users (not bots),” Google’s market share is 72%:

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From September 2017 - August 2018, Google dominated with a 72% market share. Rounding out the top 10 were:

  1. Google: 72.03%

  2. Baidu (China): 14.11%

  3. Bing: 7.76%

  4. Yahoo!: 4.27%

  5. Yandex (Russia): 0.95%

  6. Ask: 0.35%

  7. DuckDuckGo: 0.23%

  8. Naver (South Korea): 0.11%

  9. AOL: 0.05%

  10. Dogpile: 0.04%

Why does this matter? You need to know where your customers are and where they are coming from, especially if you are considering running any Google Ads (or even Bing ads!). Want to know more about the importance of search engines and SERPs? Send us a message here.

References:
Search Engine Market Share. (2018). Net Marketshare. Source: https://www.netmarketshare.com/search-engine-market-share.aspx



 
Google Analytics: What Is Referrer Spam?
 

Google Analytics has the ability to show you how someone came to your sight (remember Direct, Organic, Paid and Referrals?). When it comes to referrals, however, there’s an annoying thing that can show up in reports: Referral spam.

Here’s one of the best definitions I’ve found: “The technique involves making repeated web site requests using a fake referrer URL to the site the spammer wishes to advertise. Sites that publish their access logs, including referrer statistics, will then inadvertently link back to the spammer's site. These links will be indexed by search engines as they crawl the access logs, improving the spammer's search engine ranking. Except for polluting their statistics, the technique does not harm the affected sites. At least since 2014, a new variation of this form of spam occurs on Google Analytics. Spammers send fake visits to Google Analytics, often without ever accessing the affected site. The technique is used to have the spammers' URLs appear in the site statistics, inducing the site owner to visit the spam URLs. When the spammer never visited the affected site, the fake visits are also called Ghost Spam.”

As mentioned, the referrer spam doesn’t necessarily harm your website. It does, however, inflate your website visitor number which can be annoying when it comes to reporting. Although rare, it can also cause server overload if there are too many spam referrals.

How do you fix it? One of the best methods is by utilizing filters in Google Analytics to filter out the URLs that are bothering you. Start by going to Admin > All Filters > New Filter, and from there you can follow Google’s detailed instructions HERE.

References:

Referrer Spam.(2018). Wikipedia. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referrer_spam

 
Advertising: Is It Based On Perspective?
 

There’s this old Seinfeld episode that revolves around a Dockers commercial about khakis:

And, for reference, here’s the commercial in question:

The episode itself is funny (or perhaps I’m biased because I believe every episode of Seinfeld is hilarious). The unintended result of this particular episode is interesting, however, because it shows that different commercials appeal to different people, and how all advertising used to be done. I know, it’s fictional, but in reality, aren’t there commercials you don’t care for? And yet, they continue to be played because somewhere, someone has seen it and bought the product.

And it’s as simple as that - mass marketing. I don’t believe Jerry Seinfeld is the intended target for the commercial. He says, “Tan pants...why do I buy tan pants? I don’t feel comfortable in them.” His girlfriend, on the other hand, says she likes the commercial. Could it be that she was the target market? Perhaps she would buy cotton Dockers for her boyfriend? In the rest of the episode, you don’t hear George opposing the commercial. You know what else? George is always wearing cotton pants, whereas this is the only episode I can remember that has Jerry wearing khakis. I know, it’s fiction. My point is that some people buy Dockers, and that’s why the commercial existed.

Instances like this is also why internet advertising has become so effective. Why waste money on people who are not your target? With social media, Google, etc, I can get very precise on my target market, making my ROI much better.

 
Reading Google Analytics: Direct Traffic
 

If you use Google Analytics (which, you definitely should be doing), you know that there are different “sources” of how people arrived to your website. The default types of traffic, or mediums, are: Direct, Organic, Paid and Referrals. Let’s talk about “Direct” traffic.

How about we start with Google’s definition?

“Source: Every referral to a website has an origin, or source. Possible sources include: ‘google’ (the name of a search engine), ‘facebook.com”’(the name of a referring site), ‘spring_newsletter’ (the name of one of your newsletters), and ‘direct’ (users that typed your URL directly into their browser, or who had bookmarked your site).

Ok, but is there more beyond just direct URLs and bookmarks? Yes. Any kind of traffic that cannot be recognized is categorized as “Direct” by Google Analytics, which means:

  • Users using incognito/private browsing mode
  • As reported from other sources, there can be as much as an estimated 7% of organic traffic being shown as direct.
  • Many times, apps and other mobile traffic sources are often marked as “Direct.”
  • When a user follows a link on a secure (HTTPS) page to a non-secure (HTTP) page

I know, it’s frustrating. The good news is that you can help avoid many false “direct” traffic readings by adding parameters to URLs to identify the campaigns that refer traffic. HERE’S HOW.

References:

Traffic Source Dimensions. Google Analytics Help. (2018). Source: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033173?hl=en

Google Makes It Even Harder to Estimate Missing iOS 6 Organic Search Data. Search Engine Watch. (2018). Source: https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2274278/google-makes-it-even-harder-to-estimate-missing-ios-6-organic-search-data

Custom campaigns: Add parameters to URLs to identify the campaigns that refer traffic. Google Analytics Help. (2018). Source: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033863?hl=en

 
Facebook Changes Their Algorithm
 

In response to the “fake news” being circulated around social media, Facebook is changing up their algorithm. Of course, there’s a driving force behind the change: advertisers are pulling their ads. Unilever, for example, said in a press release that “the industry [should] work together to improve transparency and rebuild consumer trust in an era of fake news and toxic online content.” Unilever CMO Chris Weed continued, “Across the world, dramatic shifts are taking place in people’s trust, particularly in media. We are seeing a critical separation of how people trust social media and more ‘traditional’ media. In the US only less than a third of people now trust social media (30%), whilst almost two thirds trust traditional media (58%)....The wider impact of digital on our society and the swamp that is the digital supply chain has become a consumer issue.”  

Keep an eye on more changes to come to as Facebook continues updating their algorithm.

References:


Unilever will not invest in online platforms that create division. (2017). Unilever. Source: https://www.unilever.com/news/press-releases/2018/unilever-will-not-invest-in-online-platforms-that-create-division.html

 
What is Responsive Web Design?
 

It sounds fancy, but what does it mean? When websites were first being created, developers made them for desktops. Once smartphones and tablets were introduced, the websites made for desktops didn’t always work right: images were cut off, websites took too long to load, some websites didn’t work at all on mobile. As a response to the mobile market, developers started creating separate mobile-dedicated sites, which generally had a separate URL (usually m.website.com instead of www.website.com). Finally, after the majority of businesses and developers realized that mobile was the future, the idea was created for a website design that adapts or “responds” to the device being used, thereby introducing Responsive Web Design (RWD).

It can get pretty technical in how it works, but the idea is to create the same usability and satisfaction regardless of the device being used. Images and text render to accommodate any screen size (or “viewing environment”, if you prefer that term). This is especially useful since every new phone seems to have a different screen size.

Responsive web design became even more standard in 2015 when Google announced that their new search algorithm will give priority to mobile-friendly sites in their SERPs (search engine results pages).

These days, responsive web design is pretty standard, with all of the major website builders offering mostly responsive templates. Still, when designing your website, don’t just assume it will look good in mobile. Test out images and content to make sure you are creating the best user experience possible.

 
Some Quick Stats About Mobile and Marketing
 

Mobile usage continues to grow. If you haven’t made a plan to utilize mobile advertising, it’s way past time. Do you use email marketing? According to Return Path, a company who focuses on email marketing data, mobile accounts for 55% of the open rate, which is up from 29% in 2012.

What about when it comes to search? Google reports that since 2015, more searches take place on mobile over desktops. In the current day and age, mobile searches account for OVER HALF of all searches. Google also reports that 51% of smartphone users have found a new company/product when searching with their mobile device.

What about social media? According to Statista, as of January 2018, over 95% percent of active Facebook user accounts use their smartphone to access the social networking site, compared to only 32% using their desktop.

For all of these reasons, and many, many more, it’s time to make mobile a priority in your business. Do you already have a responsive website? How mobile friendly is your company? If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

References:

Mobile is Now the Preferred Platform for Reading Email with More than Half of All Email Opens. (2017). Return Path. Source: https://returnpath.com/newsroom/mobile-now-preferred-platform-reading-email-half-email-opens/

What We Searched for in 2015, and What That Means for Marketers. (2015). Google. Source: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/search/what-we-searched-for-2015/

Being there in micro-moments, especially on mobile. (2015). Google. Source: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/micro-moments/being-there-micromoments-especially-mobile/

Device usage of Facebook users worldwide as of January 2018. (2018). Statista. Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/377808/distribution-of-facebook-users-by-device/

 
Hammerspace Marketing: Awareness From Nothingness.
 
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At Griffin & Co., we specialize in HAMMERSPACE MARKETING. What is Hammerspace Marketing you ask?

Creating something from nothing.

According to the most common definition, “Hammerspace is a extradimensional, instantly accessible storage area in fiction, which is used to explain how animated, comic, and game characters can produce objects [such as hammers or signs] out of thin air.” - Wikipedia

Remember when Wile E. Coyote from Looney Tunes would pull a random sign of out nowhere?

  Looney Tunes  characters, names, and all related indicia are ™ & © Warner Bros . Entertainment, Inc. 2018.

Looney Tunes characters, names, and all related indicia are ™ & ©Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. 2018.

How does Hammerspace relate to marketing? Let’s say you start a business. Great! Step 1 complete! But wait, your new business isn’t going to magically appear all over the internet. You need to create a website, content for the website, graphics for the website, a Facebook page, a cover photo for Facebook, a Twitter account, an Instagram profile, a Google page, address verification, and on and on and on.

This is where Hammerspace Marketing comes in: One day your brand is nowhere to be found, the next day, BAM! Google and other search engines are indexing your website(s), social media pages, verifying your address for maps, and so on.

Hammerspace Marketing: Building brand awareness from nothingness.

-David Griffin

Have a question about Hammerspace Marketing? Send me a message!

 
SEO: What Is a “Nofollow” Link?
 

Have you ever been reading the comment section of a website and noticed a random, totally unrelated comment with a link? There’s a reason someone posted that, and there’s also a solution to discourage spam like that.

Nofollow links do not allow the search engine bots to follow the link. Why would you want to let bots know to NOT follow the link? As mentioned above, possibly the best example to think about why “Nofollow” links are needed is when it comes to the comment section of a blog or article. Chances are, you’ve seen a random comment on a blog or news article that has a link to a totally unrelated website from the subject matter of the article. It used to be because those links helped websites rank higher. The more links there were pointing back to your site, the higher your placement on the SERP. Before long, blogs and other websites were overrun with people adding spammy comments with links in an effort to rank their site higher via Google’s Pagerank.

To combat the ridiculous amount of spam comments, members of Google’s Blogger team, Matt Cutts and Jason Shellen, introduced the “Nofollow” links. The end result is quite simple and has been adapted by many other sites like Wordpress: By automatically adding in the “nofollow” code for the comments section, people won’t add as many spam comments. After all, if Google or another search engine isn’t going to recognize a link, then why post it at all? Voila!

Dofollow links are exactly what they sound like. Search engine bots as well as people can click them, and the bots index them as well. Legitimate links are Dofollow.

To get a visual, here are Nofollow and Dofollow links compared:

Nofollow Link Example:

 
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Dofollow Link Example:

 
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Neat, huh?

 
SEO: 3 Marketing Stats to Keep In Mind When It Comes to Search
 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a daunting task. Data is always changing, as are people’s search patterns. Google, the number 1 search engine, processes over 3.5 billion searches per day, so what can your business do to stay competitive?

Obviously, the goal is always to be on the first page of the SERP (search engine results page). In fact, almost 92% of people do not even click on the second page, according to to Chitika statistics.

Despite the astronomical odds, there are still some positive things to consider. For one, search results are generally location based, so people searching for your services in your area usually won’t see results from another area first. In addition, not everyone uses search to find products or services - word of mouth and social media can go a long way! When creating content for your website, you should also remember that the blog you’re writing, the recommendation you posted or the product photos are pieces of information that can be shared elsewhere such as social media and email marketing.

Still, we want to create the best and most searchable website we can, right? With all that in mind, let’s look at 3 (of many!) statistics to take into consideration when updating your site.

Statistic #1: The average content length of a Google first page result is 1,890 words. (Backlinko)

What You Can Do: If you’re writing a blog, be thorough on the subject. Give examples, images, infographics, etc. BONUS: You can use the infographics for your social media pages. Research shows that infographics are “liked” and shared an average of 3 times more on social media than other any other type of content.

Statistic #2: HTTPS, rather than HTTP, generally ranks higher.

What You Can Do: Make your site secure! HTTPS stands for “HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure” and is the secure version of HTTP. This all has to do with how data is sent between a browser and a website. Basically, a 'secure' website means all of the exchanges of information between the browser and the site are encrypted. Google basically announced that all sites which are not HTTPS will not only rank poorer, but the user visiting the unsecured site will get a warning saying it isn’t safe. Read Google’s statement here. Wordpress, Squarespace, Weebly and more offer HTTPS sites, so you can look into one of those if your website needs a refresh.

Statistic #3: In the last year, 60% of people have started using voice search (via MindMeld)

What You Can Do: Try incorporating long tail keywords which can better match people’s natural way of talking. While a keyword is usually 1 word, a “long tail keyword” is a search phrase that contains 3 or more specific words.

  • Keyword example (head term): Superhero

  • Long tail keyword example: Superhero action figure, Superhero kid costumes, Superhero movies this summer

There are so many ways you can improve your online presence and search ranking. Be sure to stay in touch for future tips!

 
Social Media: Creating Your Business Facebook Cover Photo and Profile Image
 

Like many businesses, you probably have multiple social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, a Google Business page, Pinterest, Instagram and so on. For this article, we’ll cover Facebook. More specifically, the correct Facebook cover photo size and profile.

First off, let’s start off where anyone should when creating a page online: What device are people using to view your page?

According to Statista, as of January 2018, over 95% percent of active Facebook user accounts use their smartphone to access the social networking site, compared to only 32% using their desktop. When designing your photos, remember this. Small text and logos will only become blurs when viewed on a mobile device.

First rule: If your logo and/or text is to be used in the image, then make sure your profile and cover photos are saved in png format rather than jpeg. A png file allows for a clearer image.

What about the size? According to Facebook, the profile picture “displays at 170x170 pixels on computers and 128x128 pixels on smartphones.”

A Facebook page's cover photo “displays at 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall on computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on smartphones.” The smallest cover photo size allowed is at least 400 pixels wide and 150 pixels tall.

The easiest way to create images with these specific sizes is through Photoshop. In that program, you can set up your template specifically by pixels.

What if you don’t have Photoshop? No worries. You can still make a pretty great looking profile and cover photo using Keynote for Apple. For the profile picture, set the Keynote template to 600 x 600 pts. For the cover photo, set to 820 x 462 pts.

Of course, sometimes you don’t have time to design all of these. For business owners with limited staff and time, we would suggest hiring someone to create them for you (hint hint) or another easy route would be to select a nice stock photo that shows what your business offers.

Still have questions? Send us a message!

 
4 Reasons Why Blogging Can Help Your SEO
 

A large majority of bloggers publish content to help with their Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which can be a tricky thing. For starters, search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com, AOL, DuckDuckGo and more are constantly changing their algorithms - and those algorithms are what match people's queries to your content. 

In addition, it seems like everyone is blogging and yours will just get lost in the mix. It can be overwhelming - in fact, some blogs tell you not to even try. Visit sites like Worldometers and you can see that over 4.5 millions blogs are published daily worldwide. Here's the catch, though, how many of those blogs are geared toward your target audience? How many of those articles have to do with what you are selling? Are they even in the same location as your business?

The answer: a fraction.

Blogging and creating content can serve different purposes. Here are 4 short reasons why:

1) It is a way to answer questions and concerns your past, current and prospective customers have. In addition to your FAQ page, try expanding on the question to answer in detail and address the sub-questions. Not only will this help a prospective customer, it will also help with SEO if you are using the right keywords.

2) It is unique and original content for you. Even if someone else has already written about the subject, this will be YOUR content associated with YOUR brand on YOUR website - a key to successful SEO. 

3) It provides branded shareable content. Many companies share major news stories and information on their social media sites like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. However, sharing content - original content tailored to your business - that drives people to your website (instead of another news-site or blog) is absolutely more effective, especially if you close your blog post with a call-to-action (example: To learn more or to ask us any other questions about this subject, send us a message here).

4) You become a thought leader. A thought leader is the go-to person of the industry for people seeking advice. Having multiple, good articles about a particular industry means you become the expert on the matter and build your social currency. Research shows that people feel more comfortable buying from companies who show their experience and knowledge because it builds trust with the brand.

There are many, many more factors when it comes to successful SEO, but that's where Griffin & Co. Marketing comes in. If you have some questions, give us a shout. For now, though, think of starting that blog as your new year's resolution.

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