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E-commerce SEO: How To Drive Traffic and Increase Sales

E-commerce SEO: How To Drive Traffic and Increase Sales

Online stores are just as reliant on good SEO as other, content-heavy websites. With a well-optimized website, your e-commerce website can get more traffic and subsequently, make more sales. Explore the secrets of good e-commerce SEO and learn how to apply them.

Many Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts focus on driving traffic to your blog or business website. However, SEO is also important for e-commerce stores. If you’re lagging behind in Google’s search results, then you could also be missing out on sales.

In this article, we’ll explore why SEO is crucial for e-commerce success. We’ll then share 13 tips for improving your store’s SEO, including how to create search engine-friendly templates for your products and product categories.

Table of Contents

What Is E-commerce SEO?

E-commerce SEO is the process of improving your online store’s visibility in search engine results pages and generating more organic (free) traffic to your e-commerce website. The E-commerce SEO process typically involves on-page optimization, technical improvements, and fine-tuning your website’s structure.

There are multiple acquisition channels for e-commerce sites, but SEO is crucial to long-term success. Fortunately, there are plenty of techniques that can help your store climb the search engine rankings. By performing thorough, product-focused keyword research and learning from your competitors, you can get your e-commerce SEO strategy off to the best possible start.

Why Is SEO Important for Your E-commerce Site?

Regardless of your business’ size, target audience, or industry, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for maximizing your profits. Search engines such as Google are now an integral part of the online shopping experience.

You can verify this using any analytics platform, including Google Analytics. Simply log in to your chosen platform, and examine your main sources of traffic. Chances are that organic search will feature prominently. In fact, for many e-commerce stores, Google is their number-one source of traffic.

When you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see why. According to the Global Digital Overview, Google.com is the most visited website in the world. This places it above many other household names, including YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix. 

It’s estimated that 40–60 billion searches happen on Google in the US every single month. For e-commerce stores, organic search means a huge potential audience, and lots of additional revenue just waiting to be tapped into. In fact, over 40 percent of revenue for most stores can be attributed to organic traffic, and 39 percent of online purchases are influenced by a relevant search. 

Organic search results are also far more attractive to users when compared to more traditional, paid advertising. According to research, 62.2 percent of Google searches performed on desktop devices result in an organic click, while only 2.8 percent result in a paid click. 

These figures are similar on mobile devices, where about 41 percent of mobile searches result in an organic click. This is a dramatic increase over paid advertising, where only 2 percent of searches result in a paid click. By concentrating on SEO, you can expect 20 times more traffic opportunities than Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising offers on both desktop and mobile. 

In other words, it’s impossible to deny how important SEO is to your online store’s success. If you neglect SEO, you’re limiting your business’ growth and profits.

How Does E-commerce SEO Work?

Search engines use a combination of crawlers (bots), indexes, and algorithms to determine which content deserves the top spot. To give your store the best chance of ranking high, it’s worth exploring the science behind how search engines work. 

The process starts with “crawling”. This is where search engines send out a team of bots that find new and updated content. That might include a product you’ve just added to your store or a new review left by a satisfied customer. 

The discovered content is then stored in a database known as an index. Once your content is in Google’s index, it’s in the running to appear in relevant search results. Whenever someone performs a search, Google will scour its index for relevant content. If yours is deemed a good match for the query, then it’s more likely to be included in the search results.

Google arranges its content in a way that’s designed to resolve the search query as efficiently as possible. This process is known as ranking. Your page’s rankings will determine where they appear in the search results. The higher each page ranks, the closer it will appear to the coveted number-one spot.

Where your store appears in search results can have a huge impact on how much traffic it receives. Moving up just one spot in Google’s results can increase your Click Through Rates (CTRs) by more than 53 percent. This could translate to a significant increase in visits, conversions, and ultimately more revenue for your e-commerce store. 

What’s more, the first page of Google receives 95 percent of web traffic, with subsequent pages receiving five percent or less of total traffic. If you excel at SEO and manage to score that lucrative number-one spot, then your store is 10 times more likely to receive a click as compared to a page in the tenth spot. That’s an advantage well worth pursuing.

A Step-by-Step Guide to E-commerce SEO (13 Key Steps)

As we’ve seen, SEO is critical for driving traffic, boosting leads, and generating sales. If your e-commerce site is going to thrive, then it’s essential that you climb the search engine results, and get the virtual foot traffic your store deserves.

With that in mind, let’s look at 13 ways you can perform e-commerce SEO.

Step 1: Conduct Keyword Research

Keyword research is where you identify words and phrases that people use when searching for content that’s relevant to your e-commerce store. This includes your services and products.

Keyword research is essential for any successful SEO strategy. The phrases you identify during this step will inform all of your subsequent optimization efforts. 

There are two basic categories of keywords:

  • Informational: These are terms that people use to discover informative content, such as how-tos and tutorials. If your e-commerce store has a blog, then these are the terms you’ll be looking to target.
  • Product/Transactional: These are terms used by people looking for a certain product. For an e-commerce website, these terms will form the core of your keyword strategy.

Finding the Right Keywords

To find the right keywords to target, you’ll need to research the most popular search terms used by people looking for your products.

You can find keywords by using Google automated suggestions and ‘people also ask’ features. These provide useful indications of the most popular keywords. You can also take a look at your successful competitors to see which terminology they’re using for their SEO strategy and emulate them

For e-commerce searches, Amazon is just as popular as Google. You can learn from the best by examining Amazon’s keyword strategies. Head over to Amazon and enter keywords that describe your products. Amazon will then make suggestions based on each phrase:

amazon-keyword-research

These suggestions are a great starting point for your SEO strategy, as they’re terms your customers are likely to be using. You’ll also notice that these suggestions tend to be long-tail keywords, which can be less competitive. 

Alternatively, you can explore Amazon’s search suggestions using a standalone solution such as Keyword Tool Dominator.

Keyword Research Tools

Amazon is a great place to start, but it isn’t the only place where you can perform keyword research. There are a lot of top-quality solutions out there that can help you out. Some excellent tools to get started with include KWFinderAhrefs, and Keyword Explorer.

The SEMrush visibility management platform also provides keyword research solutions. You can perform a quick analysis using Keyword Overview, while Keyword Magic is perfect for identifying long-tail keywords:

semrush-keyword-overview

You can then use Ads History to identify whether these keywords were previously used in paid searches. If a keyword was featured in an ad, then you can view the amount of traffic generated from that promotion. This can help you gauge the amount of interest in the keywords you’re considering targeting.

Finally, you can use Keyword Difficulty to estimate how challenging it would be to outrank the pages that are currently presented for each keyword. When determining which keywords to target, you should focus on “untapped keywords” wherever possible. These are keywords that have a decent search volume and low competition and have the potential to deliver the highest Return On Investment (ROI). 

Exactly what a good search volume is can vary depending on your industry. However, be wary of keywords that get a very low amount of searches. If no one is using a particular phrase, then it doesn’t matter how well that term converts.

Step 2: Research Your Competitors

The world of e-commerce is highly competitive. However, this can be a good thing, as you can learn from similar businesses. Competitor research involves analyzing your competitors’ SEO strategies. You can then identify the tactics that are working, and reverse-engineer them to use for your own store. 

There are several ways to perform competitor research, but one of the most effective is keyword analysis, also known as keyword gap analysis. This is where you use a tool such as Moz’s Keyword Explorer to identify the terms that your competitors are ranking highly for:

moz-keyword

Then you can analyze those high-performing keywords and identify any that are relevant to your business. For best results, you can focus on keywords where your competitors are outperforming you by a significant margin.

If you manage to improve your rankings for these relevant, high-performing keywords, then you could experience a significant SEO boost. This can improve your traffic and conversions. It also improves your chances of outperforming your competitors and becoming a market leader in your field. 

Another technique is to identify competitor content that has generated a lot of backlinks. Links from third-party websites can significantly improve your search engine rankings. You can identify your competitor’s most popular and frequently-linked content using a tool such as Link Explorer.

Simply enter your competitor’s domain, and open the Top Pages tab. This report will display all of the domain’s linked URLs. Then you can input these top-performing URLs into a keyword research tool, such as Moz’s Ranking Keywords, to see which ones attracted the most external links. This is useful information for informing your own SEO and content creation strategies.

Step 3: Optimize Your Product Pages

Once you’ve performed your keyword and competitor research, you can start to use this information to optimize your on-page SEO. This is where you improve your homepage and inner pages to help them rank higher in search engines such as Google. 

Product Descriptions

Chances are that your e-commerce site features a large number of product pages. The typical product page contains many elements, but the description tends to be the most text-heavy element. This means it offers the most opportunities to optimize on-page SEO.

If you’re using the popular WooCommerece e-commerce platform, then you can define two separate product descriptions:

  • A short description. Most WooCommerce themes display this description immediately after the product title, and alongside its images.
  • A long description. This usually appears beneath the short description.

While these texts should provide relevant information to shoppers, they’re also a great place to include keywords. Wherever possible, try to use your target keywords at least once in both your short description and long description (but make sure to incorporate them organically).

H1-Tags

When it comes to headings, it’s important to ensure that each product page features a single primary title, marked with an H1 tag. Search engine bots will use heading tags to identify your product page’s most important content. Placing multiple H1s on the same page can confuse these bots, and negatively impact your SEO.

Images

Most product pages will also feature at least one image. For an extra SEO boost, it’s important to optimize the alt text and file names associated with each image. 

Alt text can provide Google with valuable information about an image’s content. This increases your chances of ranking product images in Google Image Searches. You can set your image alt text by editing the image and using the Alt Text box:

wordpress-alt-text

It’s also a good idea to use relevant keywords for your image file names. For example, instead of “product-inventory-1423.jpg”, you could label an image “red-laptop-case.jpg”.

Step 4: Optimize Your Snippets

The snippet is the text that represents your web page in Google’s search results. To optimize a page’s snippet, we recommend using a dedicated SEO plugin. 

One of the most popular SEO plugins is Yoast SEO. You can use Yoast to optimize the following:

Meta Title

The meta title, also known as the title tag, is a key indicator to Google about the page’s content. The perfect title is informative and attention-grabbing, encouraging people to click on your link in the search results. The meta title doesn’t necessarily have to be the same as the product or page title.

Meta Description

The meta description should be short, succinct, and compelling. There’s no need to include keywords here, but the few sentences used for the description should be relevant to the search. To encourage people to click on your search results, you may want to highlight incentives such as low prices or free shipping.

URL Slug

This is another way to feed search engines important contextual information about a page’s contents. For e-commerce sites, the auto-generated URL slugs can be complex, particularly when products are nested in multiple sub-categories. It’s a good idea to shorten your URLs, to make them as concise as possible.

Structured Data

It’s also a good idea to explore the worlds of rich snippets. These snippets are used to present richer search results on a Google results page. They can appear as reviews, star ratings, opening times, recipes, events, etc.

Rich snippets use schema markup – HTML code which site operations can add to the page’s existing code. If you’re already using Elementor, you can use the star rating widget, which comes with pre-built rich snippets and Google structured mark-up capabilities. 

Rich snippets are not a direct SEO ranking factor. However, they can help your e-commerce site stand out in Google’s search results, which can boost your CTRs. If you’re using WooCommerce, this widget will automatically add some structured data for products.

Step 5: Optimize Your Category and Tag Archives

Optimizing your single product pages is a great start. However, it’s also a good idea to take a close look at your category pages and tags. Creating unique SEO descriptions for both your category and tag pages helps Google to understand what each page is all about, so it can rank that page appropriately. 

You can write a unique SEO title and description for each category or tag using a plugin such as Yoast SEO. In the WordPress dashboard, navigate to either Products > Categoriesor Products > Tags:

yoast-seo

You can then open the tag or category for editing. Next, scroll down to the Yoast SEO box and create your descriptions. To make these as SEO-friendly as possible, we recommend including relevant keywords, including long-tail variations. 

Some themes will automatically display the description that you set in a category or tag’s settings. However, not all themes display this information. In that case, you can add these descriptions using Elementor WooCommerce Builder. For example, to display the category description you can add Elementor’s Archive Description to your product category template.

Step 6: Consider Modifying Your Breadcrumbs

A breadcrumb or breadcrumb trail is a line of text, often located at the top of a page. This indicates the user’s location within your store:

Many different kinds of websites use breadcrumbs as a navigational aid. However, they are particularly useful for e-commerce stores, where products are often nested inside a hierarchy of categories and sub-categories.

As a navigational tool, breadcrumbs help improve the User Experience (UX). When customers are enjoying their time in your store, they’re more likely to continue browsing. This increases key SEO metrics, such as session duration and number of pages visited. It can also directly translate into sales, as the more products a customer views, the more likely they are to make a purchase. 

Breadcrumbs help Google understand and crawl your e-commerce store, which can improve your rankings. Google will also display breadcrumbs in its search results. This can help potential customers understand the contents of your web page before clicking on it. 

WooCommerce comes with its own breadcrumbs feature. However, you can get more control over your breadcrumbs by using PHP filters. You can also manually adjust WooCommerce’s native breadcrumbs using an SEO plugin.

For example, Yoast SEO can customize the contents of each product’s auto-generated breadcrumbs. To do this, navigate to Yoast SEO > Search Appearance > Breadcrumbs:

Yoast SEO also adds JSON-LD structured data. This increases the chances that Google will feature your breadcrumbs in its search results.

Step 7: Test Your robots.txt File

Your website’s robots.txt file provides instructions to the crawlers that are responsible for searching the web and recording information about its content. You can use this file to specify which parts of your site these crawlers can access, and which parts they should ignore.

If your robots.txt file is configured incorrectly, then it can prevent Google from crawling and indexing specific product pages, or even your entire e-commerce store. Even simple formatting errors can prevent some of your pages from being indexed correctly, having a disastrous impact on your SEO.

To make sure search engines can actually see all of your products, you should ensure that your robots.txt file is configured correctly. You can test this using Google’s robots.txt Tester tool.

If this tool identifies an issue with your robots.txt file, then you can edit it using an SEO plugin. If you’re using Yoast SEO, you can navigate to SEO > Tools and select File Editor:

yoast-robot-editor

Yoast SEO will display your robots.txt file, and you can edit it or upload an alternative file as needed.

Step 8: Switch to HTTPS

Since you’ll likely be handling payments through your e-commerce site, it’s crucial to provide a secure connection using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). HTTPS is a protocol that encrypts the data sent between your web server and the customer’s browser. 

Switching to HTTPS can help keep your customers safe. It can also improve your SEO, as Google uses HTTPS as a ranking signal: “For now it’s only a very lightweight signal….But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

After analyzing one million Google search results, SEO specialist and founder of Backlinko Brian Dean confirmed that switching to HTTPS does have a positive impact on search engine rankings. The 2019 Ranking Factors Study conducted by SEMrush also concluded that HTTPS is now a very strong ranking factor. 

Therefore, it’s a good idea to verify that your e-commerce store is using HTTPS. If it isn’t, we’d highly recommend making the switch, as it will almost certainly have a positive impact on your store’s search engine rankings (and keep your customers’ transactions safe).

Step 9: Test Your Store’s Performance

It’s also a good idea to explore the worlds of rich snippets. These snippets are used to present richer search results on a Google results page. They can appear as reviews, star ratings, opening times, recipes, events, etc.

Rich snippets use schema markup – HTML code which site operations can add to the page’s existing code. If you’re already using Elementor, you can use the star rating widget, which comes with pre-built rich snippets and Google structured mark-up capabilities. 

Rich snippets are not a direct SEO ranking factor. However, they can help your e-commerce site stand out in Google’s search results, which can boost your CTRs. If you’re using WooCommerce, this widget will automatically add some structured data for products.

To keep your WooCommerce site running fast, you can follow the tips in our guide to speeding up WordPress. You can also improve performance using the WP Rocket plugin, which even has built-in integration for WooCommerce.

When it comes to testing your store’s performance, we’d recommend the following tools:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights. This platform evaluates how well your store performs on both desktop and mobile devices. It will then offer suggestions and best practices for boosting your website’s speed and overall performance. 
  • Pingdom by SolarWinds. You can use this platform to test your website, but Pingdom also provides automated uptime monitoring. A recent study by Moz found that intermittent 500 internal server errors can cause issues with tracked keywords. If your store is offline for a significant amount of time, that could have a negative impact on SEO. Pingdom can notify you if your e-commerce store experiences any downtime. This helps you resolve the issue before it has a chance to impact your SEO. 
  • GTmetrix. This platform provides detailed, real-time performance tracking. The in-depth metrics include a visual representation of how every single asset on your website loads, including your CSS, HTML, JavaScript, images, plugins, and third-party content. GTmetrix also provides recommendations for improving your store’s performance. 

It’s a smart idea to test your store on a regular basis. This helps you identify and resolve any issues promptly before they degrade your SEO. It also means you can continuously refine your store’s performance — and by extension its rankings.

Step 10: Consider Using a Third-Party SEO Plugin

As we’ve mentioned, Yoast SEO is a great option for WooCommerce stores. Even better, there’s a dedicated Yoast WooCommerce SEO extension. This extension adds some useful features specifically designed for online stores, including rich e-commerce details for specific social media platforms. This can be useful if your products receive a lot of shares on social sites.

The WooCommerce extension also cleans up your XML sitemap. This removes irrelevant content, which is useful since the WooCommerce platform does have a reputation for creating a lot of duplicate content.

For example, all the parameters that your customers use to filter your products will create extra URLs that feature duplicate content. You don’t want Google focusing its resources on indexing these pages when it could be concentrating on the content that you actually want it to rank. 

Another popular SEO plugin is Rank Math. This tool has built-in compatibility with Elementor, which is great if you’re planning to use Elementor WooCommerce Builder to design your store. 

Alternatively, you can use the All in One SEO Pack. The free version of this plugin comes with basic support for WooCommerce. However, you’ll need to purchase the Pro version to unlock additional WooCommerce-related features, including setting SEO titles and meta descriptions for product category and tag archives.

Step 11: Create an SEO Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is the process of creating various forms of content, including blog posts, videos, and infographics. This content can attract more traffic to your store, and ultimately drive conversions.

The key to a successful content marketing strategy is to provide your readers with valuable information, especially if it helps them resolve a pertinent problem. This creates a sense of trust that first-time buyers may need before sharing their credit card details with an online store. 

By publishing useful content on a regular basis, you can build a long-term relationship with your customers. You can also inspire a sense of brand loyalty that can transform one-time purchasers into loyal repeat customers. 

For the best results, it’s a good idea to identify the challenges your customers are currently experiencing. You can then produce content that helps them overcome those problems. It may help to interview your target audience about the issues they’re facing, and the topics they’re interested in. You can then create a content calendar that’s tailored to meet their exact needs.

Your previous research can also come in useful. Ideally, you should have a list of high-value keywords that are relevant to your e-commerce store. You can build some of your content around those terms.

You can also use your competitor research to influence your content marketing strategy. For example, if a competitor’s post gained an unusually large number of backlinks, then you might create content that covers a similar topic. You can then reach out to the third parties that linked to the existing content, to see whether they’re interested in featuring yours instead.

Finally, when it’s time to publish your content, try to include at least one relevant Call To Action (CTA). This is essential for converting traffic into paying customers.

Step 12: Secure Valuable Backlinks

Link building plays a vital role in SEO. When an external website links to your e-commerce store, search engines count that as an endorsement of your store’s content. Each external link will pass authority, relevancy, and trust to your site. You can measure the strength of your backlink profile by checking the Domain Authority and Page Authority in a tool such as Ahrefs.

The most valuable external links come from sources that are trusted by Google. This might include established websites that have a large following, and a long history of obeying Google’s guidelines. The source should also be topically related to your website’s content. For example, if your electronics store receives a link from a blog discussing the best smart TVs of 2020, then this is great for your SEO. 

The best way to earn backlinks is to produce valuable content. This might involve creating long and in-depth posts, or concentrating on content forms that are proven to attract plenty of external links. According to a study by BuzzSumo, 75 percent of all online content gets zero links, while some types of content are greatly preferred. Popular options for backlinks include list posts, quizzes, videos, infographics, and how-to articles. 

It may also help to perform a link gap analysis. This is where you identify links your competitors have earned that are relevant to your e-commerce site. You can use Link Explorer’s Link Intersect tool to identify domains and URLs that link to your competitors, but not to you. This gives you a list of places to target as a part of your external link building strategy.

Step 13: Don’t Forget About Internal Links

SEO experts put a lot of emphasis on external links, but internal links can also boost your SEO. While backlinks are hyperlinks between two different websites, an internal link is a hyperlink between two different pages of the same website.

Although they’re often overlooked, internal links can have a positive impact on SEO. Research suggests that session duration and the number of pages visited per session are two of the most important ranking factors. Internal links can boost both of these metrics by helping visitors find related content.

Additionally, internal links help to define your site architecture – i.e. the relationship between the pages on your site, and where they fit within the website’s overall structure. Inner pages with lots of internal links will be seen as more valuable. Likewise, pages with internal links from high-value pages, such as the homepage, are seen as focal to your website.

The great thing about internal links is that you’re in control. This means you can choose your own anchor text. Ideally, the anchor text should contain keywords that you want the page to rank for.

Anchor text can also be branded or unbranded. Branded links contain your store’s name, and are useful for improving visibility. For internal links, we recommend using non-branded anchor text, unless the page you’re linking to only has branded content and doesn’t rank for non-branded terms.

Fortunately, it’s easy to create an internal link in Elementor. Simply select the text that you want to link in the text editor, and it will automatically suggest relevant content you can link to.

After adding your internal links, it’s a good idea to monitor the health of those URLs. A study of over 450 million web pages found that 80 percent of the websites had broken links. This can have a negative impact on the customer experience, and damage your SEO. 

You can use a backlink health checking tool, such as Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider, to identify unhealthy link behavior, including broken links. After finding a problematic URL, you can either update it, set up a redirect, or remove it entirely.

How to Optimize the Organic Traffic Conversion Rate

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) involves trying to increase the percentage of visitors who convert on your website. For e-commerce stores, this typically involves transforming visitors into paying customers. 

Just as with a physical storefront, it’s important to get a large number of people through the door. However, if most of those people are content to browse without ever making a purchase, your business will struggle to turn a profit. By concentrating on CRO, on the other hand, you can get more customers from the same amount of traffic.

A successful CRO strategy involves making the purchasing process frictionless. It’s a smart idea to use tracking tools to map the journey buyers take through your e-commerce store. You can then focus your efforts on refining that path. This often involves providing a clear sales funnel, from the moment the visitor arrives on your website right through to the point when they complete the checkout process.

To provide a better purchasing experience, you can also offer multiple payment gateways. This lets customers choose how they want to pay. Wherever possible, it’s also a good idea to give customers the option to check out without creating an account. 

To deliver a seamless customer experience, it may help to conduct customer surveys or perform A/B testing and experiment with various CTAs. For example, a recent test by HubSpot found that anchor text CTAs delivered a much higher conversion rate than end-of-post banners. Every website is unique, so rather than guess what your customers will respond positively to, it’s always a good idea to put your theories to the test.

How to Analyze Your E-commerce SEO Strategy’s Success

SEO optimization isn’t a one time task. Search engines such as Google are notorious for changing their algorithms and ranking factors over time. If you want to maintain your search position, then be prepared to monitor your website’s performance and refine your SEO accordingly. 

You may also add content to your e-commerce store. This might include new products or blog posts that you generate as a part of your content marketing strategy. To help Google understand and rank this new content, it’s a smart move to perform SEO optimization on every piece of new content that you publish.

You can also monitor your SEO using tools such as Google Analytics. In particular, we’d recommend paying careful attention to traffic numbers, and time spent in your store. You can use these metrics to identify and improve issues. For example, a high volume of traffic but a low percentage of repeat visitors may indicate that your store is struggling to hold customer interest.

Boosting Your Sales With E-commerce SEO

If your products aren’t ranking highly in Google’s search results, then you could be missing out on sales. Thankfully, by following our e-commerce SEO tips, you can climb the rankings and maybe even score that coveted number-one spot.

By conducting thorough keyword research and learning from your competitors, you can get your SEO strategy off to a strong start. You can then optimize your product pages to help them rank higher in search engines, using techniques such as snippets and breadcrumbs. Finally, you can increase key metrics, including session duration and number of pages visited, with an effective content marketing strategy. 

What is an A Record and How is it Different from CNAME and MX?

What is an A Record and How is it Different from CNAME and MX?

The Domain Name System, or DNS, is what enables us to navigate the web using easy-to-remember domain names. It ties the various parts of the internet together and helps facilitate communication between them. However, the DNS and its components can be confusing, especially when it comes to DNS records.

In this article, we’ll explain DNS A Records. We’ll discuss what they are, what they do, and how they’re different from CNAME and MX records. Then we’ll show you how to find them for your website.

Let’s get started!

A Brief Introduction to DNS Records

Every device that’s connected to the internet has its own unique IP address. This component functions similarly to a mailing address in that it tells other computers where to send requests and responses. In the case of websites, that transfer of information results in content loading in visitors’ browsers.

However, IP addresses are made up of long strings of numbers, so typing one into your browser to visit a site isn’t exactly user-friendly. That’s where the DNS comes in. It’s a system that assigns websites more legible domain names, such as www.elegantthemes.com, and ties them to corresponding IP addresses so that users can access them.

DNS records are the elements that tell the DNS which URLs are associated with a given IP address. They’re the threads that tie the whole database together so your browser knows where to send requests when you type in a web address.

What Is an A Record and How Is It Different from CNAME and MX?

There are several different types of DNS records, but the most common and important ones are referred to as “A”, “CNAME”, and “MX”. Let’s break down what each one does and how they differ.

A Records are the most basic type. The “A” stands for “Address,” as their function is to tie a domain name or URL directly to an IP address. Here’s an example:

Examples of A records.

Basically, when you type a web address into your browser, the DNS looks up that domain name and then routes your browser to the associated IP address.

CNAME is short for “Canonical Name.” CNAME records are essentially aliases that tie one domain name to another. For example, if you type “elegantthemes.com” into your browser, the DNS directs you to www.elegantthemes.com because there is an alias that points the former to the latter.

CNAME records always point to either an A Record or another CNAME. Here’s what they look like:

Examples of CNAME records.

The advantage of this is that if you need to edit them, you can simply change the A Record, and all the associated CNAMEs that point to it will update automatically.

Finally, MX or “Mail Exchange” records deal with sending email. They tell the DNS where a particular email address is located. Here’s an example:

Examples of MX records.

So, to summarize, A Records point directly to IP addresses, while CNAMEs point to A Records. MX records point to mail servers and help route emails to their proper destinations.

Why You Might Need to Access Your A Records

For the most part, you shouldn’t need to do much with your A Records. Once a site is up and running, they tend to stay the same, and you’ll rarely be asked to provide them.

However, there are a handful of situations where you may have to access and edit your site’s A Records. Most notably, you may need them to change web servers, such as if you’ve decided to switch hosting providers or plans, or to migrate your site to your own private server.

You may also need to update your A Records if you change your site’ domain name but want to keep its content intact. In that case, you can simply change the A Record and the new domain will point to the same location on your web host’s servers.

Finally, if you create subdomains for your site, you may need to generate A Records for them in order to point them to your server.

How to Access Your A Records (In 3 Steps)

You should be able to access your site’s A Records through your web hosting account dashboard. For this example, we’ll use Bluehost. However, bear in mind that your provider’s settings may look different. We recommend consulting the relevant documentation or contacting your host’s support team if you need help.

Step 1: Access Your Web Host’s Domain Settings

First, you’ll need to log into your hosting account. Then look for the domain settings. Typically this is simply called Domains:

The domain settings on the Bluehost admin page

Clicking into this screen should pull up a list of the domains registered to your account.

Step 2: Locate the DNS Settings

Once you’re on the Domains page, locate the one you want to edit the records of. You’re looking for a DNS option. Bluehost users can access this setting by clicking on the dropdown box next to the domain entry and selecting DNS from the list:

Select DNS from the list to edit your A records.

This will take you to a page that lists all the DNS records for that domain.

Step 3: Add, Delete, or Change Your Records

Finally, to add, delete, or change your DNS records, simply select the appropriate option for the one you want to modify. Keep in mind that any changes you make will take some time to propagate across the DNS and take effect (up to 48 hours in some cases).

If you ever need to change CNAME, MX, or any other DNS records, you’d follow the same procedure. Most hosts place all of them on the same page.

Conclusion

The DNS is the secret sauce that makes the internet intuitive to navigate. However, sometimes you’ll have to work directly with the ingredients – DNS records. Knowing which one does what will help you efficiently navigate this process should the need arise.

A Records are the basic building blocks of the DNS. They’re what tie a website’s domain name back to the computer it’s hosted on. Without it, we’d be stuck memorizing IP addresses. Meanwhile, CNAME records deal with website aliases, and MX records handle email routing.

Grammarly: A Overview and Review

Grammarly: A Overview and Review

Writing with proper grammar is essential in business. Bad grammar can not only change the meaning of a sentence and cause miscommunication, but it can also reduce credibility. Many text editors and browsers have tools to help, but there are a lot of things they don’t look for. It’s easy to make mistakes that word processors don’t catch. One of the best tools to check your grammar is Grammarly.

Grammarly is an app for writers that suggests edits in real-time for spelling, grammar, and writing style. It can even suggest edits based on types of writing, such as academic, business, technical, and creative writing. Grammarly is available for free in a limited edition or as a premium edition. I’m reviewing the free edition.

Four ways to Use Grammarly

There are four ways to use Grammarly:

  • Chrome Extension
  • Online Dashboard
  • Microsoft Office Extension
  • Windows App

Let’s look at each method.

Installing the Grammarly Chrome Extension

Google Chrome can also check your spelling and make suggestions. This same tool works with any text editor that appears in the browser such as Facebook and MailChimp. It’s still very basic. Grammarly replaces that with its own tools (unless you disable Grammarly for a particular website).

To add the Chrome extension, in the upper right corner click the three vertical dots to open Chrome’s settings. Hover over More Tools and select Extensions.

Click the Hamburger menu in the upper left corner. At the bottom of that menu click Open Chrome Web Store.

Search for Grammarly. Click the blue button labeled Add to Chrome.

Clicking the image or title opens a modal that provides an overview with a video, reviews, and related extensions.

Clicking Add Extension opens one final modal asking for permission. Click Add Extension.

It will take a few seconds and then open a tab with a message and links for downloads. Here you can download it for Windows, Microsoft Office, and check an online document.

You’ll see the Grammarly logo in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser. Clicking the logo opens settings where you can disable the extension for the current website, show definitions and synonyms by double-clicking, choose your dialect of English, see the premium edition, create a new document, and go to your Grammarly dashboard.

Clicking My Grammarly opens a tab with a dashboard where you can upload documents and upgrade to the premium edition.

Personalizing Grammarly

When you click on Grammarly the first time it lets you set up your personalized options. The algorithms will adapt to suit your needs based on your choices.

Select the type of writing between school, work, or other projects, choose the dialect of English (American, British, Australian, or Canadian), your primary language (choose between English and non-English), and your grammar skill level (beginner, intermediate, and advanced).

Personalizing Your Grammarly Dictionary

Personalize your dictionary from your profile page in the dashboard. Add as many words as you want and Grammarly will no longer flag those words. This is helpful for writers in specialized fields and fiction writers that create their own unusual names.

Using the Grammarly Chrome Extension

The Grammarly icon, a G in a green circle, automatically appears on anything that Grammarly can check.

It underlines the text that it doesn’t like and the icon changes to show that there are errors. This example shows two issues. The logo has changed to a red circle with a number to indicate the number of issues.

Hovering over the text opens a box with suggestions. If I want one of the choices I just need to click on it. It indicates the type of error it is, which can help me improve my writing.

The change is automatically made when you click on one of the choices and it now indicates that I now only have one error.

Hovering on the circle opens it to show a few options. Click the red circle with arrows to open the document editor. The yellow circle shows the number of advanced corrections are available in the premium edition. The power button turns Grammarly off for this website.

Grammarly Document Editor

The document editor opens in a modal over your content where you can focus on your writing and see a few tools and options. Using this is optional.

Each of the tools on the left of the modal open on hover, identifying what they do. Here you can make selections of what to check. When you’re finished, click the back icon in the upper left corner or click anywhere outside of the modal.

Grammarly Online Dashboard Editor

You can also use the online editor to write or check your documents. Once you login to the Grammarly website you’ll see the dashboard. To create or edit your document in the Grammarly dashboard, click New or Upload on the document icon.

This opens the editor where you can type, paste, or upload your text. Clicking the logo in the upper corner opens a few tools to check your work.

Problems will be underlined. Clicking on an underlined word displays options (just like it does in the browser). Click to see more information and it opens an analysis with word options, a rank based on the goals you’ve set, insights, goals, number of alerts, number of premium alerts, a plagiarism tool (premium edition), and a human proofreader (premium).

Insights show stats about your text. It also shows vocabulary (shows the number of unique and rare words) and readability (shows word length, sentence length, and readability score). These are helpful to improve your writing. I like the reading time and speaking time estimates.

Goals allow you to tell Grammarly about your intent, audience, style, emotion, and the domain (choose from general, academic, business, technical, creative, or casual).

Once you’re done making edits you can download, print, or copy your text to the clipboard to be used anywhere you want.

Your new document will now appear in the dashboard where you can edit, download, or delete it.

Installing the Grammarly Apps

In the Grammarly dashboard click Apps to download Grammarly for Office or Windows. Once they’re downloaded, run them the same as any app.

Grammarly for Microsoft Office

The Office app adds Grammarly to Word and/or Outlook. It adds new tools to the ribbon menu with contextual spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, style, and advanced features (which requires the premium edition).

When you click on the Grammarly icon the errors are highlighted in the text and issues are identified in detail on the right. I had no issues with general performance, but it can sometimes take a few seconds to check your document.

Grammarly for Windows

The Windows app looks and works the same as the online dashboard. It even connects to your account and brings in the documents from your dashboard. This is a great choice if you want to work offline.

Grammarly Pricing

Aside from the free plan, there are four premium plans:

  • Monthly – $29.95 per month
  • Quarterly – $19.98 per month
  • Annual – $11.66 per month
  • Grammarly Business – $10 per month per member

The free plan is great for basic checking such as email, social media, and even blogging. The premium editions are better suited to writing that requires the most professional level of quality possible. The free version does have some good tools, but if you need a premium plan then I recommend the Annual option. Even the Quarterly option is a big savings over the Monthly option.

For more information, visit Grammarly.com.

Ending Thoughts

I use several word processors including Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and WordPress’s built-in editor. Word and Google Docs have tools that underline misspelled and misused words. Google Chrome has those tools and applies them to most editors. Grammarly goes further than that.

Grammarly is an excellent tool for improving your writing quality. It’s easy to make writing mistakes that you don’t notice during the editing process and Grammarly highlights those, drawing attention to them.

Grammarly works great but it’s not perfect. It doesn’t always understand how words are used in web design and development, for instance. And I’m sure there are other industries that it doesn’t understand perfectly. This means there might be times when you disagree with its choices, but it’s still a valuable tool that’s worth using. It can be personalized, which helps a lot too.

I was pleased with the types of errors Grammarly highlighted. It shows misspelled words, repeated words, punctuation, missing words, case, tense, pronoun agreement, etc. Some of these issues require a premium edition to highlight and explain them though.

At the very least, I recommend using the free Chrome extension. It works in your browser, so it applies to anything typed within an editor such as WordPress, newsletters, social media, email, etc. It doesn’t work everywhere though. For example, it doesn’t support Google Drive. The best way to analyze the Google Docs text is to paste it into the Grammarly dashboard editor and then paste it back into Google Docs when you’re done.

Grammarly’s designed for anyone wanting to improve their writing, but shouldn’t be used in place of knowing good grammar. It can’t take the place of a professional editor but it does help by identifying a lot of problems that can easily be missed.

The Ultimate List of Free Stock Photo Resources

The Ultimate List of Free Stock Photo Resources

Photos are some of the most valuable resources for any business or creative ministry. While I’m a huge fan of using pictures that are actually taken in your business or church, I’ve learned that’s not always possible. That’s where stock photos come in. A great stock photo can provide professionalism, beauty, and quality that you may not have access.

A Google search for these valuable resources will generate an infinite number of websites with stock images ranging from a few bucks per photo to thousands of dollars per photo.

What if I told you that you could get absolutely beautiful stock photos for free? You’re not dreaming, my friend. Below are my favorite resources to download some of the best photos on the web for $0/photo. Check out these Free Stock Photo Resources.

1. Unsplash

 

2. Death To The Stock Photo

3. Lightstock’s Free Photo of the Week

4. StockSnap.io

 

5. Gratisography

6. Freely Photos

7. Life of Pix

8. No More Clip Art

9. Snapwire Snaps

10. Picjumbo

11. Jay Mantri

12. New Old Stock

 

Do you have any other resources for free stock photos?

Understanding Copyrights, Trademarks, & Patents And How They Affect Your WordPress Business

Understanding Copyrights, Trademarks, & Patents And How They Affect Your WordPress Business

Copyrights, trademarks, and patents are somewhat complex topics. However, they each can have an effect on the way you run your WordPress site, which makes understanding their basics important.The good news is you don’t need to hit the law books to figure out how each of these elements impacts you. In this article, we’re going to discuss the difference between copyrights, trademarks, and patents, and how WordPress is licensed. Then, we’ll talk about what elements of your site you need to protect and how to do it. Let’s get to work!

What’s the Difference Between Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents?

Before we dive into how these elements affect your WordPress site, it’s important to know what their differences are. For now, let’s keep things simple and talk about them one by one:

  • Copyright. Think of this as proof of ownership over the content you create. For example, if you’re running a WordPress website you can copyright your graphics and content (and we’ll talk more about this later on). On top of proving you’re the owner of your content, copyrights also govern how others can reproduce, imitate, and distribute it.
  • Trademark. Unlike copyrights, trademarking isn’t about protecting your content, it’s all about your brand. Using this method enables you to claim your website’s name, domain, logo, and any other symbols representing your brand. That way, other people can’t use them to deceive your visitors and customers without breaking the law.
  • Patents. This type of protection is reserved for unique business processes and technologies. However, you can’t patent a website as a whole (in the vast majority of cases).

Before moving on, let’s talk a bit more about patents. There’s a common misconception that almost any idea can be patented, but it’s not quite true. In fact, it’s likely you won’t be able to obtain a patent for your product unless you can prove it’s unique (and non-obvious).

To put it simply, if you run a simple WordPress website, you probably don’t need to think about patents. That is unless you’re offering a service you can prove is unique and innovative. If you just want to protect your intellectual property, copyrights and patents are the way to go.

How is WordPress Licensed (And How Does It Affect You)?

Most of you probably know that WordPress is open-source software. What you might not know is that it’s available to the public under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Let’s break down what this means:

  • You’re free to run the platform for any purpose you want.
  • You can have access to the platform’s code and modify it to suit your own needs.
  • It can be freely redistributed. This means you can share the platform with other users if you want, instead of having them download it directly from the developers.
  • You can also redistribute the platform including any modifications you’ve made to it.

This last point is particularly important for you as a WordPress user because it also covers ‘derivative’ works. In WordPress’ case, both plugins and themes fall into this category. It means you can create either of those two options for any purpose, and distribute them without having to pay the original developers.

Plus, if you’re a developer, you can also charge any price you want for your plugins and themes. The only caveat is that they must be made available under the GPL license as well without any additional restrictions. This is where things get a bit confusing if you’re a WordPress user or developer, so let’s discuss what this means for you:

  • You only need to adopt the GPL license if you plan to distribute your plugins or themes. If they’re meant for private use or a particular client, that doesn’t apply to you.
  • If you want to, you’re free to charge extra for technical support and other similar tasks. That’s why you often see plugins and themes available for purchase under limited-time licenses. In that case, you’re not just selling your work, but also your expertise.
  • You can sell your work. However, according to the GPL, once someone purchases it they can also distribute and charge for it.

If you’re a developer, you might be worried about that last point we covered, so let’s elaborate using an example. If you create and distribute a WordPress theme under the GPL (which it must be), anyone who purchases it can legally access its ‘source code’, modify it, and redistribute it. In WordPress’ case, that refers to its core PHP files.

What they can’t do is copy any other part of your work, including bundled graphics, and CSS customizations. That means they can’t just take your theme and resell it under the same name to pocket the profits. In that case, they would be breaching its license and be open to legal action.

Do You Need to Copyright Your WordPress Website?

echnically, you don’t need to copyright your WordPress website – at least not under US law. That’s because websites are considered ‘original work’, and they’re copyrighted from the moment they go live. The same law applies to other types of creative work as long as you document them in a way you can prove, such as writing them down or recording them.

The question is, if you don’t need to copyright your site, why do so many pages on the web bother to include notices to that effect? A lot of them do so as a deterrent to would-be copycats, while others may include them because they actually went to the trouble of registering their copyright.

While a copyright isn’t strictly necessary for every site, it can come in handy. At least in the US, registering this proof of ownership makes it much easier to prosecute anyone copying it. For other countries, the situation could get muddier – so we recommend doing some research with an expert in your particular nation’s law.

What Elements of Your WordPress Website Should You Protect?

We’ve already talked about copyrighting your site, but that isn’t the only thing you can do to keep it safe from a legal standpoint. Let’s check out some of the other elements you can protect and how to do it.

Your Logo, Site Name, and Slogan

These three elements are a big part of what makes up your overall brand, which makes them perfect candidates for trademarking.

To register a trademark in the US, you’ll have to go through the United States Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO). To apply for one, you’ll need to submit a representation of your mark that includes its name and any designs associated with it (such as logos and other related icons).

However, keep in mind that the USPTO enables you to register each of these components separately if you want to do it. This means you can have a trademark for your logo, another for your site name (and URL), and one for your slogan. Doing this provides you with more protection if you decide to mix those site elements.

Keep in mind, registering a trademark with the USPTO isn’t free so you should only do it once your site gains a little traction and you’re sure the investment is worth it.

Getting ahead of the marketing curve: 5 digital trends you must capitalize on now

Getting ahead of the marketing curve: 5 digital trends you must capitalize on now

Many digital marketers believe that their brand provides a positive user experience. However, in many cases, the consumer feels differently. This disconnect can damage brand reputations and hinder the success of marketing efforts.

We now live in a customer-first world. Consumers today have their choice of countless companies within nearly every conceivable niche, and it’s up to the organizations to demonstrate why they should gain more business over their competitors. Staying ahead of digital marketing trends and adapting strategies accordingly are essential to success.

The brands that succeed are the ones that build an online experience tailored to the consumer, meeting their needs every step of the way. Sixty-one percent of customers report that they would not return to a brand’s mobile site after a negative experience, and 40 percent say they would go to a competitor’s site, according to Google.

The need to have an intimate familiarity with customers, what they like and the platforms they live on, is critical. As technology and customer expectations mature, brands need to be alert to the rising trends so that they can provide the optimal user experience for consumers. These top five trends below comprise a critical component of the modern digital marketing strategy. Here is what you should know to make it a part of your organization.

Trend 1: Data and personalization

In the increasingly competitive digital ecosystem, brands need to stand out for their customers. These consumers want to know that you care about their individual needs, and thus you need to create a highly personalized experience. Personalized calls to action, for example, convert 42 percent more than ordinary CTAs. Data and personalization will be the cornerstone of marketing moving forward.

Data can help you uncover topics that matter the most to your target audiences. It also allows you to better track how different personas interact with your content, move through your buyer’s journey, and learn what material will be most helpful for them next. Thus, data informs personalization efforts.

Tips for succeeding with data and personalization

  • Secure data on a broad scale by uncovering trends within your industry and important topics that matter the most to your customers. Rising topics can help you get material published before competitors, building a strong presence in those areas as well.
    Look at personal data to see how particular personas use your website.
  • Look at the content they enter your site on, how they move about the site after reading it, and how they go from visitor to lead to customer. This will help you create personalized experiences, because you will know which content to display next to visitors.
  • Gather statistics about how data and personalization impact the traffic and revenue of your site.
  • Examine your site statistics before beginning these campaigns, including bounce rates, traffic rates and revenue rates, and then compare them to the statistics once the efforts have been enacted. Successes will help you build a case to budget more for data and personalization, driving your site strategy forward.

Trend 2: AI and intelligent agents

The demands of technology and customers are quickly outpacing the capabilities of human marketers. Although the amount of data is expected to reach 40,000 exabytes by 2020 (up from just 130 in 2005), the human brain is only capable of holding about 1 million gigabytes, according to Northwestern University professor Paul Reber. The technology available today can collect information about user behavior and help marketers better understand personas, points in the buyer’s journey and what that particular customer likely wants to read next.

The key to using that information, however, will be artificial intelligence. AI could double the rate of economic growth by 2035, according the Accenture.

AI will never replace quality marketers, because it cannot replace human creativity. What it can do, however, is help optimize content throughout the creation process, make it easier for brands to select topics and assist with the creation of digital strategies. It will allow for the automation of all the steps that can be completed simply by analyzing data and spitting back answers, freeing marketers to focus on how to best utilize this information.

What’s interesting is how digital marketers view and implement AI. There is a clear disconnect between importance and adoption, and brands must come to grips with implementation of AI in 2018.

Tips for using AI for your brand

  • Find areas in your marketing strategy where AI can help, such as the optimization of content or triggering email campaigns. This means taking a closer look at steps that can be automated.
  • Avoid excessively using AI to the point where customers are turned off or feel uneasy interacting with the brand.
  • Incorporate AI into the broader strategy. The same way marketers in different departments, such as PPC and SEO, need to learn to work together, brands need to make sure their AI technology seamlessly integrates with the rest of the team.
  • Have a defined role in the workflow, such as uncovering popular topics and guiding them through the optimization process, to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Trend 3: Mobile and connected devices — the Internet of Things

We already know that mobile has begun to dominate search: The number of searches performed on mobile devices in the US, and several other countries, outpaced desktop back in 2015. Google has also announced an imminent mobile-first algorithm that we should see by 2018. Optimizing content for users should be second nature for website owners now.

Moving forward, we also need to consider the rise of alternate mobile devices, such as fitness trackers and smart watches, as well as the growing importance of voice search, both with personal assistant devices and on these mobile devices.

Customers use this technology to gain rapid answers to their questions, often while on the go. Brands that want to thrive need to make sure that they have prepared their content and digital strategies for these trends as well.

Tips for succeeding with mobile and connected devices

  • Optimize for more verticals than before. Technologies such as personal assistant devices, often use alternate search verticals to find the information for their users. As an example, Kayak.com is used by some devices to pull flight and hotel information, or Yelp supplies information on local businesses.
  • Use schema and high-quality content to move into top spaces whenever possible. With the smaller screens on mobile devices, and even fewer search results given on many non-smartphone devices, brands need to prioritize gaining access to the top spots on the SERP and earning Quick Answers whenever possible.
  • Monitor how customers interact with your content. When you do earn top slots, see how it impacts your mobile traffic and conversion rates. This will offer key insights into how customers interact with your content and help you improve your strategy.

Trend 4: Content and SEO convergence

SEO and content cannot be regarded separately. All content developed needs to be optimized to boost its rankings on the SERP and to ensure its relevance, which means that content and SEO teams need to work together from the beginning.

Fortunately, most companies seem understand this need. A survey completed by my company, BrightEdge, found that that 97 percent of companies view these two functions as more integrated or converging into a single function. There are still ways that companies can improve their integration.

Tips for succeeding with SEO and content convergence

  • Remember that customers recall experiences more than text. Use SEO insights, such as trending topics and keywords, to find topics. Then create outstanding content for digital experiences that align well with customer needs.
  • Do customer analysis. Look at how customers interact with your material, including what devices they use to read your material, customer impressions of your brand and what customers want to see from you.
  • Set realistic goals for your content, and regularly measure how well your efforts align with these benchmarks. Goals might describe traffic rates, rankings, conversions or revenue.

Trend 5: Native advertising growth

Native advertising will increase exponentially over the next few years. An estimated $7.9 billion was spent on this style of advertising in 2015, but that number is projected to reach an incredible $21 billion by just 2018. Mobile native ads are also expected to reach 63 percent of the mobile display ad revenue by 2020.

Native advertising has taken off because of its ability to fit more smoothly into the user experience. Customers have turned away from disruptive advertising practices. They do not respond to pop-ups or other ads that hinder their user experience. They want to see promotions that relate to them and their needs and experiences.

Native ads, which focus on creating ad copy that is relevant and natural for customers reading a particular web page, create positive outcomes both for the host websites and the company formulating the promotion. This form of advertising focuses on creating ads that align with the content that already appears on the website, thus making it more appealing to customers who had arrived on the page organically.

Tips for succeeding with native advertising

Research the audience and the target site’s content. The more familiar you are with these criteria, the easier it will be to select advertising platforms that align best with your target audience while also making it easier to create content that fits well with those visiting the host website.

Create content that will add something for the reader. To attract readers and make a strong impression, you want to focus on creating content that creates a positive experience for them. Just like your search optimization strategy, your native ad strategy should include providing value for those interacting with the material.

Test what advertising content works best where. Unlike using PPC advertising on Google, for native advertising, you have a better ability to target particular audiences that fit particular personas. Track not only what customers respond best to your content, but also the platforms where you find them and how well the traffic on your advertising content ends up becoming leads and then customers on your main site.

Digital marketing continues to change rapidly as technology and customer expectations evolve and mature. Brands that want to not only keep up with the curve, but thrive in this environment, need to capitalize on these emerging trends. These five that I have identified I believe will be the most significant moving forward through the rest of 2017 and into 2018.