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Why Facebook surpassed Google in Media Referral Traffic

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1 Google

 

image source: Parse.ly Quarterly Authority Report

Facebook shoots up

In August, the news that Facebook overtook Google in referral traffic, for the second time in less than a year, exploded among SEO sites. This is according to a report by content analytics service, Parse.ly

Headlines blared:

For Major Publishers, Facebook Referral Traffic Passes Google Again” —Marketing Land

Facebook has taken over from Google as a traffic source for news” —Fortune

Facebook, Not Google, Is Now the Top Referral Source for Digital Publishers” —Adweek

Facebook Passes Google In Referral Traffic” —MediaPost

Facebook is now more important than Google for online publishers” —Business Insider

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Content Is Still King

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Content is king Sep 2015

”The Greatest Picture of a Goat I’ve Ever” by Postmemes.com

 

 

Gone are the days when you could rank in a Google search by just making sure all the relevant keywords in your web pages’ metadata (titles, descriptions, and a certain percentage in your body text) and with average quality content. Now, with Google’s Quality (aka “Phantom”) Update  (in May of this year), websites can no longer get away with ranking in Google just by using basic SEO tricks. Your sites got to have quality content.

 And the criteria are …

Neil Patel, of Quick Sprout fame, lists 5 Ways to Create Content That Google Wants to Rank. As a checklist, these 5 points are:

  1. Is your content long and in-depth?
  2. Is your content clear, simple, and actionable?
  3. Is your content user-friendly and readable?
  4. Is your content backed up with expert opinions and statistics?
  5. Does your content give readers multiple options?

Of course, following this checklist, Patel’s article runs to about 4,180 words and is loaded with lots of easy to understand infographics, screenshots, entertaining and relevant anecdotes and Internet marketing advice – all presented in Neil Patel’s friendly writing style (go to the Quick Sprout page to read it).

These five tips are, of course, the hallmarks of high quality content – except probably the fifth point, which is just needed when your content, no matter how high quality, becomes too huge to handle without the help of simplifying filters – which are just a way to help limit what part of the content a visitor sees so the website becomes more useful.

But these points are easier said than done. What Neil Patel describes with his five points to great content are the characteristics that make content (blog post, webcast, video, tweet, infographic, etc.) viral – massively and rapidly consumed (read, viewed, or listened to) and shared.

These five points are a tough challenge to every content writer. It’s no coincidence that Neil Patel also wrote 9 Habits great content writers should develop in themselves – because you won’t easily be able to write long, in-depth, clear, simple, actionable, user-friendly, fact-and-data-rich articles if you don’t have what it takes to write great content.

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eBay Changes Listing Rules For Product Identifiers from 1st July

By | Announcements, Automotive, Blog, Comment, ecommerce, Research, SEO | No Comments

ebay_logo

eBay Australia is changing the listing rules for product identifiers in key categories including auto parts. 

As PARts Australia say – “Ignore it and you may pay a penalty in poor ranking. Embrace it and you may leap ahead of your competition.”

Increasing the accuracy of listing information is an important part of eBay ongoing work to improve the marketplace experience for all users.

That’s why, starting 30 June this year, all new listings of branded items in New and Manufacturer refurbished condition will be required to include product identifiers including the item’s brand, manufacturer part number (MPN), and global trade item numbers (GTINs) such as Universal Product Codes (UPCs) and International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) in select categories.

eBay uses these product identifiers to help buyers quickly find the items they’re looking for. When you’re selling, including these product identifiers not only has the potential to increase your items’ visibility in eBay search results and navigation, it can improve your placement in search engines like Google and Bing, too.

Read more about the eBay new policy and how important it is for eBay sellers and in particular, those selling branded auto parts.

MotoParts Dives into eBay with an E-commerce Solution

By | Automotive, Blog, Comment, ecommerce, Research, tools | No Comments

MotoParts on eBayRecognized as one of Australia’s top distributors of automotive parts and car accessories, MotoParts boasts of a colourful history in the B2B segment of the market, offering wholesale auto parts throughout NSW and Australia.

In an effort to leverage their current business model, the company decided to dive into a new sales channel, opening a new section of potential growth for the business. As one of the world’s largest marketplaces on the Internet, it made sense for the company to jumpstart their online presence on eBay, this according to MotoParts online director Scott Shillinglaw.

The Need for an E-commerce Solution

To launch a new online sales channel on eBay, MotoParts needed a comprehensive e-commerce solution capable of handling hundreds to thousands of product listings—a solution that could keep up with MotoParts surging online business.

According to Shillinglaw, MotoParts required a robust e-commerce solution that could help manage product feeds, with the additional feature of transforming product data and making it ready for eBay listing. Moreover, the solution had to mesh with the company’s ERP system, in particular, product, pricing, and inventory data, together with eBay and MotoParts’s e-commerce website.

The challenge with automotive parts suppliers is that the complexity and sheer volume of product parts information makes it difficult to find a working e-commerce solution—one that could withstand the impending massive increase in automobile models and corresponding parts within the next few years.

Shillinglaw said that MotoParts needed their e-commerce data to be in a coherent format, allowing their e-commerce managers to list products on eBay by part and vehicle compatibility, all in such a way that entices customers to make a purchase. If the product isn’t presented in a compelling manner, it won’t lead to sales, he adds.

A PARts Driven Solution

MotoParts turned to an e-commerce solution recommended by PARts, an online solution Enform is certified to provide.

With the new e-commerce solution, MotoParts was able to automate and integrate all their product data into one easy-to-access database, through a tool specifically designed for automotive parts content.

MotoParts can now manage and access their product data in one centralised solution, with orders placed on eBay extracted and standardized into a singular format—integrated with the company’s own ERP system. And you can read more about how MotoParts went online profitably with PARts.

MotoParts eBay Listing

Benefits

After just a few months of using the PARts-recommended e-commerce solution to open a new sales channel on eBay, MotoParts saw a surge in total revenue by at least 5 percent. The complete MotoParts e-commerce solution was also fully functional in just a few months. The company also saw a drastic reduction in resource time and IT expenditures.

But more importantly, the addition of a solid e-commerce solution into the company’s business foundation means they can now open as many online sales channels as they want, with very little work required.

You can read more about PARts and auto data opportunities here

Google Search – Is Your Website Mobilegeddon Ready?

By | Blog, Comment, ecommerce, Mobile, Research, SEO, tools | No Comments

Google Algorithm Update

Come 21st of April, Google will roll out its new “Mobile Friendly” algorithm update which will preference search results for web sites that are mobile friendly.

For your websites, this simply means you’ll get left out in mobile search results unless your website is deemed by Google bots to be mobile friendly.

But wait!

How should you know if my site is ready for mobilegeddon? Fortunately Google, being Google, has already foreseen the outcry of website owners if they opted to bring their algorithm guessing game to such an important update so they’ve actually rolled out more than enough tools to help you prepare for this big day.

Without further delay, here are the tools and information you’ll need to be able to do a self-diagnosis of your site in preparation for mobilegeddon:

  1. Mobile-Friendly Test – just simply put in your website URL and hit analyze and you’ll know within seconds if your site is up to speed. Hopefully you’ll get a result like so:Mobile-Friendly Test
  2. Google Webmaster Tools Mobile Usability Report – This is another tool that will help webmasters identify elements of your website that does not fit Google’s mobile friendly standards, because it could be that some NOT ALL your pages have problems. Errors here should be addressed if you want to keep up on mobile search results.Here’s an example result for good measure:Mobile Usability
  3. Mobile Friendly Guidelines – In the case you’ll find yourself in the undesirable side of this update, after using the previously mentioned tools, fret not as here’s all you need to be able to get back in the good light of Google mobile search results.

Remember, this is not just about penalties but also about rewards. A more mobile friendly web site will be rewarded as much as a non-mobile site is penalised.

And as always, if you need help in keeping up with all these changes, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us any time.

Web Design – A Humorous Look at Some Potential Pitfalls…

By | Blog, Comment, Mobile, Research, Web Design | No Comments

 

Inspired by Matthew Inman from The Oatmeal with his blog “How a web design goes straight to hell

Web design starts with the best intentions however sometimes personal taste can de-rail the process. At Enform we believe there can be a compromise between what the client wants and what the designer delivers.  But, most importantly focusing on what the user or usomer might want or need.

It is our role to inform our clients on current best practice and provide advice on what will and won’t work  – keeping in mind modern web design needs to:

  • Engage visitors – be visually appealing and easy to navigate
  • Relevance to what the visitor wants – within the first few seconds it should be obvious who you are and what you offer
  • Allow the above irrespective of device they use to access your site – mobile responsive

With all the best intentions in the world the process sometimes goes off track.

Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal, once worked as a web designer. He is now a comic artist with considerable influence, and he compiled his experiences with difficult web design in a comic featured below.

In it, Inman describes the nine steps to the making of a web design disaster, and how clients unwittingly (or wittingly) cause it. We shortened those steps into four for you:

Step 1. All Is Well

Inman writes: “Everything is cool in the beginning.” It’s like the start of many relationships – the clients summarize their needs and the designer tells the client what to expect. If the clients have an existing web site for improvement, they show it to the designer, telling him or her that the previous designer was an idiot.

Toast_original

Step 2. The Initial Design

The designer shows the clients the initial design for comments and approval. Initial designs are expected to be further improved based on the clients’ input. To Inman, this is the high point of the whole process. Then everything goes downhill from there.

Toast_design

Step 3. The Client “Helps Out”

The client suggests his or her ideas for improvement. The designer complies. The client suggests more changes. They may even bring in other people to comment. These can happen several times in the web design process and indeed this step is normal in any collaboration. The result can be something both the client and the designer can be proud of. Or as is sometimes the case, the whole thing can turn into a proverbial “dogs breakfast” trying to satisfy too many different tastes, agendas resulting in a loss of clarity on key concept of the initial design.

Web Design - Some Potential Pitfalls

Step 4: The Design Fails

Intial Design VS Final Design

 

At this point, the designer may be having a nervous breakdown. Get another designer and repeat.

 

A mouse cursor controled by speaking

 

Takeaway

A lot of anguish could be avoided if clients, at the outset, treat a designer as an expert with valuable experiences and opinions that can help the clients achieve the needs of their web site. Designers should not be treated as mere helping hands or worse, just tools to do the clients’ bidding:

Too many cooks spoil the broth – especially when the cooks do not know how to cook.

The main point is this: respect designers as experts in their field. They know what works and what doesn’t. Sure, you could collaborate with the designer to create the best site ever but, if you don’t actually possess good design sense (and you must be honest enough to recognize this), do not hobble the designer with requests that are impossible.

Right at the start of the project, communicate your needs for the web site clearly to the designer. Usually, he or she will tell you if what you want is OK or not.

Whatever you do, always have mutual respect between you and the designer. It is a key ingredient to every successful design project.

At Enform we believe in delivering what a client wants but ensuring we advise and understand any implications that may affect our 3 initial key points on what a web design needs to achieve:

  • Engage visitors – be visually appealing and easy to navigate
  • Relevance to what the visitor wants – within the first few seconds it should be obvious who you are and what you offer
  • Allow the above irrespective of device they use to to access your site – mobile responsive

Contact us if you need advice on your design.

Australian Automotive Aftermarket Sign Historic Repair and Service Information Sharing Agreement

By | Announcements, Automotive, Blog, Comment, Industry | No Comments

 

AAAA_New_141216

 

Finally, after five years of intense campaigning by the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), the heads of the biggest stakeholders in the automotive industry (both from supply and service sectors) have signed a historic Heads of Agreement on December 15 to free the consumers in their choice of vehicle service suppliers and repairers.

The move ensures that vehicle telematics (information gathered by sensors on vehicles for a wide variety of purposes, including tracking, navigation, safety and mobile data) in this case, information very critical to having one’s vehicle repaired and serviced, will be made fully available and not hoarded by just a few players who wish to control the market.

This means even the smallest vehicle service and repair business will have access to critical information in order to fix, service, and fine-tune vehicles – information which was previously only available to manufacturers and their preferred dealers. This levels the playing field for small aftermarket businesses

Bruce Billson, Federal Minister for Small Business, said that the agreement is “a significant achievement for the rights of consumers and all automotive businesses, big and small.”

With the signing of the agreement, aftermarket enthusiasts now have a choice on getting the most affordable and efficient vehicle repair and servicing without fears that work done by small vehicle service businesses will be not up to legal and market standards. This means safe and professional vehicle maintenance everywhere in Australia – a very welcome news indeed for Australian aftermarket enthusiasts.

The agreement includes:

  1. Guidelines and governing bodies in the resolution of disputes;
  2. Safeguards to make repair information fully available (even if for a price) to all stakeholders; and
  3. The use of emerging technologies in collecting, processing, transmitting, and diagnosing vehicle telematics while at the same time providing safeguards to owners of data – often the consumers. A report on the progress of these emerging technologies is to be submitted within a year after signing the agreement.

The agreement’s signatories include representatives from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (the car industry), the Australian Automotive Dealers Association (the new car dealers), the Australian Motor Industry Federation (retail motor trades), the Australian Automobile Association (car owners) and the AAAA.

AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity was quoted as saying “the agreement is a win-win-win for all parties. It promotes consumer choice for owners of 17 million vehicles – particularly those in regional areas where there are fewer dealerships. It helps 22,000 small workshops remain business. And the vehicle manufacturers will earn a fair price for the data that they share.”

This is a welcome news not only for Australian aftermarket enthusiasts but for the whole Australian aftermarket sector as well.

Even as Australia’s vehicle manufacturing supply sector declined – underscored by Australian car manufacturer Holden’s decision to stop making cars in Australia by 1917 – the automotive aftermarket manufacturing sector surprisingly grew – fueled by Australian boom-time cash and Australians’ passion for vehicle customisation. The aftermarket sector is a $4 billion/year industry in terms of sales, employing 36 percent (16,000 out of 45,000) of Australian auto industry workers. These auto workers, along with aftermarket enthusiasts, all stand to benefit from the historic vehicle repair and service information sharing agreement.

Enform strongly supports the automotive aftermarket and see’s great opportunities for our customers in this area with knowledge share and marketing through information.

The Current State of Motor Sport in Australia, Marketing Opportunities

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Motor Sport in Australia

Motorsport involvement whether as a participant, sponsor or parts supplier can provide some big Brand affiliation benefits for your business or Brand.   These need to be articulated through all your communications both on and offline, and above and below the line. Successful cross promotion and association is an important way of linking your brand to the BIG business that is Motorsport.

A Look at the Current State of Motor Sport

CurrentState

The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS), the governing organisation in Australia’s motor sport scene, recently published a study highlighting the important role played by the motor sport industry in the country. The study, conducted by multinational professional services firm Ernst & Young, delved into the economic contributions, value add, and employment figures surrounding the industry in 2013.

Also included in the study are figures on the number of participants, car clubs, and motor sport venues across Australia, with data sourced from more than 4300 surveys completed by clubs, category managers, and other participants, as well as financial statements and databases figures from governing bodies.

Some interesting statistics gleaned from the Ernst & Young study include:

Volunteers

Around 17,419 licensed volunteer officials in Australia are to be thanked for running most of the country’s annual motor sport events.

Culture

Motor sport commands a sizeable share of the Australia’s sports industry, being the fourth most watched sport in the country. In addition, more than 80 percent of those surveyed reported ‘being with family and friends’ as an important reason for their involvement with the scene.

Regional Locations

Over 30 percent of participants come from regional areas. Meanwhile, 85 percent of motor sport venues are accessible to those in regional locations.

Competitors

Motor sport competitors reportedly spend anywhere between $12,000 and $15,000 per year on sport-related activities. For those in the aftermarket industry, it’s worth noting that competitors spend $60,000 motor sport vehicle purchases and initial modifications.

Venues

The biggest impediment to continued participation in motor sport events is the current condition of tracks and venues. The majority of those surveyed claimed they would participate more if these were improved.

Participation

Participation

Over 150,000 people participate in motor sport all over Australia, whether through competing, officiating events, or participating in car club activities and events. The country’s motor sport industry consists of the following closely related components.

  • Auto related industries like the aftermarket industry
  • Competitors
  • Officials
  • Car clubs
  • Governing bodies
  • Events and pro teams
  • Tracks and venues
  • Other participants (non-competing car club members)

Motor sport also encompasses a wide range of disciplines, such as:

  • Speed
  • Circuit
  • Speedway
  • Rally
  • Drag racing
  • Off-road
  • Go-kart racing

Both Circuit and Speed take up the largest share in audience and participation, direct output, employment, and valued add among motor sport disciplines in Australia. Together, the two account for more than 60 percent of Australian motor sport industry output.

Industry Output and Value

Australia’s motor sport industry is directly responsible for more than $2.7 billion in direct industry output, $1.2 billion in added direct value, and generating more than 16,300 jobs.

Output&Value

Other Benefits

Australia’s motor sport industry provides other notable benefits, chief among them its positive contribution community development.

Motor sport has deep roots in Australian culture, with an influence encompassing more than just the 76,377 people who compete or officiate in events. For instance:

  • Half of all motor sport participants, or 76,775 of 153,152 participants, may not be competing or officiating in events, but they are active in other club activities related to the industry.
  • In 2013, the 1,391 motor sport car clubs that took part in the survey held around 6,247 events.  The 460 car clubs affiliated with CAMS held 4,311 events, with more than half being non-competitive social events.
  • Family participation is strong in the motor sport industry, with 80 percent of survey participants reporting ‘to be with family and friends’ as being ‘very important’ and ‘somewhat important’ when choosing to participate in motor sport.

Enform can help you capitalise on your association/involvement with Motorsport by working with you to create Marketing strategies that will maximise the exposure of your Brand using the mega Motor Sport Industry Publicity machine. Contact us today to see how we can help.

Email Accessibility: Making Sure Everyone Reads your Email Campaigns

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Email Accessiblity

Vision impairment and blindness are far more serious problems than you might think. It’s estimated that there are about 285 million people all over the world who suffering from blindness and visual impairment. In Australia, about 357,000 people report problems seeing even with eyeglasses and/or contact lenses. This is a topical issue with the current lawsuit against Coles.

As far as emails and web usage are concerned, these issues impede the efficacy of getting your message across. Fortunately, you can enhance the accessibility of your campaigns sent via Enform’s Automailer with a number of practices designed for the vision-impaired and users relying on screen reading devices, and audio prompts.

Below are some of the basic requirements for email messages to be considered accessible.

Use Descriptive Subject Line

Sounds easy enough, but you’ll be surprised to know how many campaigns out there have subject lines that aren’t descriptive enough. The subject line is what draws readers to open the email, so it should descriptive and concise.

This is even more important to people with vision impairments, who rely on subject lines to see whether emails are worth opening up or not.

Consistent Logical Reading Order

HTML email newsletters are typically coded with tables, the most reliable method of building layouts compatible across desktop, webmail, and mobile email platforms. However, these tables have to be planned and built carefully, taking into account users relying on keyboard-only access, who might not read the content in the order intended. For example, screen readers go through tabular content from either left to right or top to bottom.

Use Code to Indicate Headings

HTMLT heading tags <table>, <body>, <h1> and the like are critical to ensuring screen readers understand content hierarchy in email messages. Simply styling text by changing the font and increasing font size won’t work with assistive devices.  These visual cues have to be coded into the text for screen readers to understand them.

Provide Obvious Contrast Between Text and Background Colours

Users with vision problems or colour blindness are less sensitive to colour contrasts and luminosity when reading images and text on emails, so it’s important to differentiate text, images, and background with the right colours and contrast. Colours should be chosen not just for aesthetic reasons, but for accessibility too.

You can choose from a number of applications to test emails for contrast and help integrate non-colour based cues for everyone to understand your messages.

For Images, Be Sure to Offer Text Alternatives

Again, screen readers rely on code to relay content to vision impaired users, so images that serve an aesthetic purpose (i.e. preserving layout) should contain null alt attributes (alt=””) to signal they should be ignored.

However, images that should inform screen readers, like company logos, should have alt text to notify their meaning to screen readers. Example below.

<img src=”enformlogo.png” alt=”Enform Automailer” />

Incorporating these steps into your campaigns isn’t difficult at all, and simply means taking an extra step to expand the reach of your email messages. Give them a try and your campaigns may just reach more people.

HTTPS and Website Encryption Will Now Influence Google Search Rankings

By | Announcements, Blog, Comment, ecommerce, Research, SEO, Web Design | No Comments

 

google-https

In an effort to promote a more secure web and better reflect relevant search results, Google recently announced that it would now take into consideration website encryption, also known as HTTPS, when ranking sites on their search engine results pages (SERPs).

It’s a move that should wake up web developers who have procrastinated over their implementation of security measures, or site owners who may have wondered if their sites were “important enough” to need encryption.

According to Google, HTTPS will initially be a minor search rank signal, affecting less than 1 percent of all queries around the world.  So, that means it won’t immediately have as immediate an impact as other ranking factors—like the quality of content in a web page for instance—as Google wants to give webmasters enough time to switch over to HTTPS.

google-secutiry

Still, that doesn’t mean you can drag your feet with your site’s security, as encryption is bound to have a major effect on search ranking, what with Google being a staunch advocate of website security. It’s best to start as early as possible, and with the potential bonus of higher search rankings, there’s no better time than now.

Best Practices

To facilitate the switch to a more secure web, the company is looking to publish a series of guidelines around HTTPS, helping website developers better understand what needs to be done in properly encrypting their websites, as well as how to avoid common mistakes. Google adds that these tips will include best practices on things ranging from the type of certification needed, the proper use of relative URLs for resources under the same secure domain, allowing site indexing, and many more.

Furthermore, Google recommends website developers to test their HTTPS-encrypted websites through the Qualys Lab tool, while further questions on encryption and its relation to search ranking can be sent to Google’s Webmaster Help Forums where the company actively interacts with a larger community of site owners and developers.

Search Engine Result Pages

Reactions

Like most Google announcements involving its search ranking algorithms, it has drawn plenty of feedback from website owners and developers, as well as those in the SEO industry. Google’s blog post on the subject has more than 1,500 comments as of this writing. Reactions are mostly in favour of the change, with many seemingly expecting that such a development was going to happen sooner or later. One commenter opined, “So, it’s not often that you’ll get SEO tips directly from Google — but here’s one that I’m proud to be associated with: HTTPS is now being used as a ranking signal.”

Google’s announcement is consistent with its efforts to better secure its own traffic, which included encrypting traffic between its servers. Gmail now uses an encrypted HTTPS connection by default, preventing mail from being snooped when moving between users and Google’s servers.

In a time when paranoia over government cyber spying is at a frenzy, tech companies are scrambling to beef up their own security measures. In November last year, Yahoo! also announced plans to encrypt its own data centre traffic.

Posicionamiento-web

At Enform, we’ve long seen encryption and HTTPS as fundamental measures for improving a site’s security, no matter how small it may be. This time around, Google’s efforts only provide another incentive for webmasters to make the switch.