Tips for Securing your Site without losing SEO

Securing your site without losing SEOEver since Google announced having a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certification was a ranking signal back in 2014, more and more organizations have prioritized migrating from http to https. If you haven’t yet, we recommend doing so soon. But how exactly do you ensure getting a SSL will boost your SEO? Follow our tips to learn how to secure your site without sacrificing SEO.

1) Make Sure Google Can Index Your New Site

Moving from HTTP to HTTPS will change your URL (from HTTP to HTTPs, naturally). Thus, you will need to add the HTTPS property to your Google Search Console. However, Search Console treats HTTP and HTTPS as separate properties; they are not shared among the pages that make up your website. If you are using both HTTP to HTTPS protocols on your web pages, you will need to have a separate Search Console property for each one. We talk more about this later, but if you are looking for more insight here are a couple great resources from Google:

For more information on what is meant by a site move, see this helpful page:

For more information on site moves and URL changes, get answers here:

2) Purchase An SSL Certificate

You are going to want to get your certificate from a reliable certificate authority (CA). Your best bet is to start with domain registrar, who should be able to get you the certificate your site will need. You will also need to decide what kind of certificate you will need. For example:

  • A single certification for a single secure origin (e.g. www.example.com).
  • A multi-domain certificate for multiple well-known secure origins (e.g. www.example.com, cdn.example.com, example.com.uk).
  • A wildcard certificate for a secure origin with many dynamic subdomains (e.g. a.example.com, b.example.com, c.example.com, and so on).

3) Setup Server-Side 301 Redirects

Redirect your users and search queries to your new HTTPS pages and resources with server-side 301 HTTP redirects. If you need help, we can do this for you.

4) Make Sure To Update All Links To Your Site’s Resources

You will need to ensure your new site can locate all css files, javascript files, images, files accessed by a content delivery network (CDN), and so on. Search your code and templates and update all existing links. In addition, check how your content management system (CMS) stores its URL information. For example, WordPress stores the main URL for a site in a field that you will need to manually update.

5) Update Your Google Search Console

You will need to add your site as a new property to Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). Create a new account for your site and verify your property in Google Search Console as needed.

6) Update Your Google Analytics Account

Go to the settings section of Google Analytics (https://www.google.com/analytics/) and update the listed protocol to HTTPS. Then relink the Analytics to your new Webmaster Tools account.

7) Update Other Tracking Modes Accordingly

Update any other code you are using to track SEO and site performance accordingly. This includes such tools and social media as Facebook, Twitter, and the like. Also, make sure any logos, business cards, badges, and links contained in sites and accounts you operate have the proper URL.

8) Test And Verify That Your HTTPS Pages Can Be Indexed By Google

You want your new site to be found and indexed by Google as quickly as possible. With that in mind, avoid the following 3 mistakes:

  1. Do not block access to your HTTPS pages by using robots.txt files. This will prevent Google from crawling your site and indexing the information contained within.
  2. Do not include metadata noindex tags in your HTTPS pages. This will also prevent Google from indexing your site, making it nigh-impossible to be located by search engines.
  3. Use Fetch as Google (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/googlebot-fetch) in order to test Googlebot can access your page(s).

Need help with any aspect of migrating from HTTP to HTTPS? Get in Touch

If this seems overwhelming or you simply don’t have time to do this on your own, we’re here to help. Drop us a note today.

Why Instagram for Nonprofits?

More than the images that it is so well known for, Instagram makes imagery engaging, evoking primal emotions – such as humor, concern, awe, or intrigue.

Instagram is another platform that nonprofits can use to reach a broader audience. Most of Instagram’s users are of a younger demographic. By using Instagram you will be able to reach the younger subscribers and members that other forms of social media might not reach. More than 500 million people have an Instagram account and 59 percent of online adults ages 18-29 use the network. More than 300 million of them use it daily.

What makes Instagram different from social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter is the way people use it. Instagrammers frequently check the site, often several times a day, and engage with posts at a much higher rate than with other social networks. In short, people who use Instagram LOVE Instagram.

To succeed with Instagram, it helps to have a clearly defined strategy, a noticeable visual style, a commitment to regular posts, and an in-depth knowledge of your target audience (subscribers and members).

On average, nonprofits post to Instagram 1.5 times per day. If your company is creating and sharing great content designed with followers in mind, you will be well received. When used thoughtfully, Instagram is a great way to reach and engage younger volunteers, and advocates.

Content Strategy for Instagram

With millions of photos and videos posted daily to Instagram, how will you break through the clutter and reach your audience?

Balance Consistency and Quality: Post regularly so followers have content to examine. The images posted need to be compelling in a way that also provides context and understanding of your brand. There is a balance in consistency and quality that must be struck for a successful Instagram effort.

Tell a Story: Every post should tell a story about your brand and message. Use the caption to expand on the image – develop the story a visitor may not know just from looking at the picture.

Nonprofits Doing Instagram Right

St Baldrick’s Foundation is the self-proclaimed “crazy head-shaving charity,” trying to make a difference for kids with cancer. They use a combination of photos that tell personal stories and graphics that educate and inform. All of the funding that they have received goes to the most promising childhood cancer research. They focus on “passing it on” in every post.

Why Use Twitter?

Twitter is a tricky to work with due to the limitations of the media. Tweets are limited to 240 characters, meaning your message must either be brief and to the point, or split over multiple tweets. In addition, there is no tried-and-true formula for creating the perfect tweet. Your audience may respond to content that another group’s audience may not. The best judge of audience response is likes and retweets, with the latter helping spread your message to others who might not be subscribed to your feed.

Find Your Voice

It is best to develop a distinct voice for your your organization, allowing tweets to be differentiated from the rest. Find a voice that works for your organization, your follower, any members of your organization, and so on. Just remember, social media is about trial and error. Try something, look at how people react, adjust, and try again.

Tweets that work well tend to:

  • Have a personal, human voice.
  • Contain interactive media (memes [material – such as images or snippets of text, that is rapidly passed around the internet], photos, vines, videos, links).
  • Provide updates of real interest to followers.
  • Start a discussion among followers.
  • Inspire the readers with compelling and inspiring quotes

Tweet Engagement

In order for tweets to reach as many people as possible, some general rules of thumb apply:

  • Keep your tweet at 100 characters or less.
  • Use no more than two hashtags per tweet (Hashtags are keywords related to the topic or theme of your tweet. A hashtag is marked with the pound sign (#) before the word or phrase.)
  • Tell your followers to re-tweet (or “pass it on” as we say).
  • Tweet during business hours and on weekends
  • Ask service leaders to tweet to their audience for you.

What Is A Facebook Page?

An active Facebook page creates opportunities for new people to discover  your organization, and can serve as a path for connecting subscribers with new content being offered by your organization. People who “like” your page may see your posts in their News Feed when they visit Facebook. They can then like and share your posts with others, distributing your message to those who are not currently part of your page. At the very least, a business-centric Facebook page can contain contact information allowing visitors to find your online presence and store.

When to Use a Facebook Page?

A Facebook Page is ideal for organizations wishing to expand and connect with the ever-growing global network of Facebook users. For many non-profit organizations, having a single Facebook page helps people find, and stay up-to-date with, a unified voice and message.

What is a Facebook Page For?

A dedicated Facebook page can inform visitors of your organization’s message, relevant news items, developments within your organization, new products, and links to news items of interest to you and your subscribers. It allows you to respond in real time to developments around the world — offering your thoughts, opinions, and reassurances on a variety of subjects.

We Have a Page, Now What?

Creating a business-centric Facebook page is simple, as it only requires the following:

  • About – Give people a quick preview of what your organization is about and what its message is.
  • Profile Image – Help people recognize your organization when they receive a post from your page in their News Feed.
  • Videos – Present infomercials, advertisements, personal messages, breaking news, and the like in either in audio-only formats (thus preserving anonymity) or in full audio-visual releases.
  • Events – Your page is a great way to direct visitors to an online calendar that indicates when major events involving your organization will occur.
  • Notes – A section that can be used for longer messages or statements.

Verified Facebook Business Page

If your organization qualifies, you can be eligible for a Verification Badge, which would tell your followers that any content being posted is official and from your organization itself. In addition, a verified page will show up higher in search results to attract more visitors.

Posting to Your Facebook Business Page

The primary communication channel on Facebook is through posts from your organization. This is the easiest and simplest way to contact followers. The actual posts themselves are simple to create – your updates can be about anything you think subscribers would be interested in. After you have published your post, Facebook gives the option to:

  • Give Important Posts More Attention.
  • Hide a Public Post from Your Timeline so not visible to the public.
  • Delete a Post from Your Page.

Video on Facebook

Video posts perform well on Facebook and are an effective way to create a visual connection between the information presented and subscribers. More than 65% of all video views are happening on mobile devices as people turn to Facebook at different times and places throughout the day.

If your organization has a YouTube channel, be aware that videos uploaded directly to Facebook have proven more successful than those linked to other video players. Part of the reason is that videos uploaded directly to Facebook fill the entire width of and play directly in one’s News Feed, offering a seamless viewing experience. Directly upload videos also autoplay, making them more eye-catching than a video thumbnail. If you link to a video hosted on another site like YouTube, the link appears with a small thumbnail from the video.

Control your Facebook Business Page Content

In the Settings section, you have control over your page and the way your content appears. You have general controls for page and post visibility, whether people can post and/or comment on your page, and who can make changes to your page. You can also control the apps you use on your page, and create posts from your organization’s email.

Achievement: A Non-profit Facebook Page Success Story

Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Campaign Goals: The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is an event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. The Facebook campaign aimed to recruit participants for the walk, as well as fundraising for the organization.

Impact: Using Facebook, the Alzheimer’s Association organized and rallied supporters from across the country to its yearly fundraising efforts.

The Alzheimer’s Association Facebook page directed users to the Alzheimer’s Association website in order to create awareness about the Walk. During the 2015 Walk season, nearly one-quarter of overall traffic to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website was referred from Facebook. Facebook was a significant source of referral traffic for online registrations.

Based on anecdotal evidence, members often want to help, but do not always know , while those seeking help or additional information may not necessarily know where and how to find out it. By creating a Facebook page and offering information about specific ways members can subscribe, serve, and support your organization, they will know more, and what they can do to share your message.

Why YouTube for Nonprofits?

One-and-a-half billion people come to YouTube every single month. That is the equivalent of one in every five people around the world. YouTube will enable your nonprofit organization to reach members of this large and passionate audience the world over. YouTube’s built-in tools will help improve your video’s performance and subsequently allow you to connect with even more viewers.

  • Engage the Next Generation: YouTube reaches more 18 to 49 year-olds than any cable network in the US, with YouTube’s fastest growing demographics being adults aged 35+ (40%) and 55+ (80%). YouTube is where today’s most influential audience goes to learn, laugh, and be inspired every day, with Millennials preferring YouTube over traditional television by a 2-1 ratio.
  • Create Deeper Engagement: YouTube is the place where the most video viewing occurs every day. On average, YouTube viewers spend over an hour a day watching YouTube on mobile devices, meaning that unlike passive viewership, viewers are much more likely to deeply engage with the message presented.
  • Spark Action Through Empathy: YouTube’s easy-to-follow explainer videos assist and encourage involvement and action.

YouTube Nonprofit Program Overview

The YouTube for Nonprofit Program gives nonprofits access to unique YouTube features to help connect with subscribers, members, and others who will be interested in your brand and message.

Take advantage of powerful tools like G Suite for Nonprofits (a cloud-based productivity suite that allows real time collaboration from anywhere in the world) or YouTube for Nonprofit Program (a suite of tools allowing for optimization of video content, dedicated technical support, and other features).

In addition, your organization will have access to:

  • YouTube Creator Academy lessons
  • “Link Anywhere” Cards
  • Earlier Access to YouTube Spaces
  • YouTube for Nonprofits tools
  • Your cause may be featured in Impact Lab
  • Dedicated email support

Why Google Grants for Your Nonprofit?

Google Grants can bring greater visibility to your organization, resulting in more subscriptions, more service involvement, and a wider awareness of your organization’s brand and message. This happens because Google Grants will display your organization’s ads at the top or bottom of the search results page when people search for terms that relate to your organization.

“…it has helped us reach thousands of supporters around the country, helping us effect change through awareness.” – Ping Lo, The Fred Hollows Foundation

Insights into Your Analytics

Google Grants gives you access to in-depth analytics tools. The more you know about how people are coming to and using your website, the better you can adjust your approach to connect with those people. Analytics will show you which pages are performing well and which are confusing.

Profound and Simple

Even if you are new to Google Grants it is easy to launch effective campaigns, with custom messages crafted specifically for your nonprofit organization. Google Grants offers a range of methods to create campaigns, from Google Grants Express that will automatically manage your ads for you, to a more traditional Adwords approach where you have total control.

Google Grants Success Story: Make a Difference (MAD)

The mission for Make a Difference (MAD) was to increase awareness of children in orphanages and street shelters. MAD was established in 2006, and has operations in 23 cities in India. The organization is based out of Bangalore, India and empowers children to discover their true strengths and unleash their full potential. MAD provides creative learning spaces for these children and works to improve the quality of their education and career opportunities.

To reach their goals, MAD used Google Grants to recruit passionate volunteers that can make a one-year commitment to the organization, raise awareness, drive online donations, and identify and prioritize locations for international expansion.

Google Grants had a tremendous impact on MAD’s growth. Data showed which cities and countries had the highest interest in MAD, and the organization used the data to identify where they should expand. In addition, it allowed them to build a network of volunteers that they would not have been able to reach through traditional methods. In the end, approximately 30% of their website traffic came from their new efforts.

Penguin 3.0’s Action and Reaction Guide

Penguin_3.0

As you know, the digital marketing world is a big, fast-moving place. It seems that every channel evolves every day. So one of the biggest parts of any digital marketer’s job is to keep up with headlines in their area.

At North Studio, a number of people work on SEO, but it is mostly my specialized area of knowledge, so it’s my job to keep up with trends, best practices and updates by Google.

Recently, Google has released major updates to their antispam algorithms. However, the biggest headline was the update to the Penguin algorithm.

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10 Office Survival Skills We Learned From Watching Scary Movies

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Eye-Tracking Study: How Searchers View SERPs on Google

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Top 5 Factors Influencing B2B Sales Lead Generation Online

Top 5 factors influencing B2B sales lead generation onlineGenerating sales leads online for B2B products and services can seem counter intuitive at first. After all, those business deals tend to rely on personal relationships developed over years of networking and sales prospecting. In fact, I know a few B2B salespeople who tend to avoid doing any of their networking online. They claim, “not enough time,” “not efficient,” “not how I work.” That is, until I explain the top 5 factors influencing B2B sales lead generation.

Once sales leaders understand the connection between these critical B2B marketing factors and revenue, ears perk up. Funny how that works.

Of course, if you’re among those looking for tips to improve your online B2B sales lead generation and conversion efforts, learn from B2B companies that don’t plan for and invest in an online presence. They’re missing out on our increasingly global marketplace, where potential leads can’t visit your office but can still get to know you through virtual means.

To differentiate and close more online leads, keep reading. Here are Stikky Media’s top 5 factors influencing B2B sales lead generation if you want to convert more qualified visitors into leads.

1. Website

We can’t say it often enough: your website is the virtual equivalent of a first impression. If it’s old, badly designed or simply inexistent, you’ll miss out on quite a lot of potential leads just because visitors will be turned off.

An archaic-looking website jumps out right away, and so do amateur ones. With today’s wide variety of looks and styles, as well as advanced technical possibilities, websites don’t have to be boring. They still need to be usable, but the possibilities are rather close to endless (see some beautiful websites).

What does your website need to be attractive to leads? In short, you need:

  • A clear value proposition
  • Calls-to-action
  • Social proof
  • Good “About us” page
  • Contact info
  • A blog (you’ll see why it matters for B2B leads below)

All of this should be packaged in a visually pleasing website that still follows web usability best practices.

2. Portfolio or case studies

The second most important element to convice potential clients is a good portfolio page or, if you’re not in the creative field, at least a few case studies.

These are really important because they show how your past and current clients have found success with your product or service. If there’s no proof of your company’s ability to serve what it promises, it’s not likely that you’ll develop any kind of trust with visitors and leads.

For example, our projects is a great source of information for our potential clients. There they can find examples of websites in similar fields and categories as their business, and they can check out our work to see if it fits their style and needs.

Case studies are a bit different. They go in more depth about the process, solution and results of using your product or services. They work especially well for complex products and services; they also help a lot for companies with long sales cycles.

3. Content

Content is a rather vague and general term when it comes to the internet; basically everything on there is content. For the purposes of this blog post, we’ll consider content the helpful information found on your website. What “helpful” means depends on who your target audience is.

To determine your level of expertise and your involvement in the field, a potential lead will look through your website for evidence of helpful, informational content that teaches him or her about your product or service, your field of work, etc. This can be developed in several forms:

  • Blog posts, white papers, ebooks
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Slideshare presentations
  • Webinars

Again, companies with longer sales cycles will find that using a variety of content types will help leads move along the cycle faster. Share some relevant content to hook them up, follow up with some great lead nurturing emails, and voilà! a lead that your sales team can close in no time.

4. Expertise of employees

When you deal with a business, you ultimately deal with its whole team, whether you spoke to them in the sales process or not. So it’s good to know that the people who are going to build your product or provide the services you need know what they’re doing.

Bios on team pages can help with that, but do you know what’s more effective? Blog posts.

Every member of your team (or at least a representative of every department) should contribute to your company’s blog. As a potential lead looks at your website and your blog, he or she will see that your employees know what they’re talking about and provide helpful advice.

If that doesn’t contribute to visitor trust, I don’t know what does!

5. Presence on social media

Last but not least, having a presence on social media is among the top 5 factors influencing b2b sales lead generation. A potential lead will also take a look at what you’re saying on social media. There are way too many examples of companies losing bundles of customers because of a mistake on social media (talk with our experts about our online reputation management services, if it should happen to you).

A carefully planned social media presence that still lets individuality and human-ness shine through is the best way to convince site visitors that there’s a human behind every interaction. (Nobody likes robots THAT much.) They’ll have a look at how you interact with followers, how fast you answer to mentions, questions and inquiries, and check out the content you share.

As in the factor above, make sure that your social media presence contributes to your reputation for expertise and helpfulness.

Putting it all together

All these factors will make a difference in how many online B2B sales leads you get. Having a strong digital strategy will help you figure out how to put these pieces together to increase your leads, conversions and sales.

Need Help Implementing the Top 5 Factors Influencing B2B Sales Lead Generation?

Want more details about how you can make your website more effective? Contact the digital marketing experts at Stikky Media to help you convert more online visitors into sales.

Photo by Flazingo.com

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