Tag Archives: Tips and Tricks

Social Media Advertising – is it worth it?

Social media advertising spend was over $100 billion in 2019. This is expected to exceed $200 billion in the next 3 years. The potential to build successful social media campaigns is certainly viable but is it worth the risk?

Any company with a social media strategy in place, will most likely have spent money on ads or is planning to in the short to medium term. As competition grows, companies are looking into ways to actively engage with users, to drive traffic, boost sales and increase brand awareness.

Social media usage is at an all-time high. More than 3 billion people are actively using social media on a regular basis*. This means the potential to target your ideal customer is certainly possible on a daily basis. How you choose to do this is key. *source – https://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/

So, taking this into account, what are the best ways to maximise ROI? And which platforms work best?

Facebook

Facebook is, and will be for some time the number 1 for social media usage and social advertising. With over 2.4 billion active users, this platform is absolutely vital to any planned social spend. Here at 2Cubed, we have found Facebook advertising to be the most efficient, cost-effective strategy when advertising online. The ability to target a preferred audience, in multiple locations is a simple process if you know your target audience. The variety of ad types is also quite good (photos, videos, events, jobs etc). The budget spending flexibility is also a great tool and even for small amounts you are likely to see some decent results on engagement and return on investment.

Instagram

With over 1 billion active users, Instagram is a hugely popular social media channel and continues to grow. The ability to place ads on the platform is also a simple enough process since Facebook integrated both platforms centrally in their Ad Manager. Ads created on Facebook can now display on Instagram and again, the ability to target your preferred audience is relatively straightforward. In fact, you don’t even need an Instagram account for your business in order to advertise on the platform. The downside of Instagram advertising can be the lower engagement rate on ads compared to Facebook. In saying that, according to Facebook ‘over 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile per day’. Instagram advertising is certainly one to consider in the coming year. You can read more on this here.

Twitter

In the past few days, Twitter have announced that revenues in the company have exceeded $1 billion for the first time. Advertising money accounts for a large portion of this. This obviously suggests that more companies are considering Twitter for advertising purposes. Audience targeting is simple and efficient but not quite as effective as Facebook. Twitter’s platform is getting better and while we wouldn’t suggest ploughing money into a campaign just yet, a small budget campaign may be worth doing to gauge how successful it can be.

These were just some of the platforms available when considering advertising online. When combined with a solid SEO plan and Google Ads, social can be a great way to tap into your users first hand whilst controlling your budgets closely.

Linkedin

Linkedin is a tricky one. With over 300 million active users, it can be an excellent platform in general but when it comes to advertising, we’ve found it to be not so good for the most part. The cost-per-click is sometimes outrageous and a small to medium campaign can lead to costs spiralling in a short space of time with varying degrees of success. Linkedin advertising may improve and is possibly quite a good tool for large corporations but for now we would suggest sticking to the more user and budget friendly competitor platforms.

Contact us

If you’re looking for assistance with online marketing, 2Cubed can help. Contact us today by using the form below or you can use our dedicated ‘get a quote’ form here.

SEO Trends 2020

In this post, we will take a look at what to look out for in 2020 from an SEO point of view. Search Engine Optimisation is a huge focus for many online businesses nowadays and is more crucial than ever in order to help drive traffic and ultimately sales.

Content and BERT

Fundamentally, SEO has for a long time been made up of a number of set variables, such as; backlinks, content and keywords. As search engines are constantly developing, we’re now at a point where the bots sent out by search engines to crawl websites are smarter than ever and becoming more human like due to advancements in AI. This leads us to think not just about content simply stuffed with keywords but content that is well written and answers the queries of real users. This was highlighted back in October last year by the introduction of Google’s BERT algorithm (Read Here). As mentioned in the article, each day almost 15% of queries searched for haven’t been searched for before. By analysing your website content in a more human format, allows Google to show users the most relevant websites based on the search term. Content is king as they say!

Technical SEO

Here at 2Cubed, something we’ve taken a particular focus in over the past year has been technical SEO. We had written a post outlining this in detail here. Technical SEO is the focus on the architecture of your site, the speed, the usability of pages and much more. Google Search Console is an excellent tool to examine any warnings or errors and ensuring these are clear will help massively toward SEO performance. Any site focusing on SEO this year should be fully aware of this.

Structured Data

If you’ve ever searched a term on Google, you most likely will have seen some structured data such as featured snippets. Featured snippets are described by Google as ‘Google’s search results sometimes show listings where the snippet describing a page comes before a link to a page, not after as with our standard format. Results displayed this way are called featured snippets.’

By adding structured data to your site allows you the opportunity to compete for space on the results page above the first position. This is a fantastic way to grow traffic and improve click-through rates.

Voice Search

More and more, users are searching queries by asking questions. Use of Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and others are on the rise and the technology behind these brings us back to BERT. Conversational queries are not text and as such, search engines need to understand what is being asked and which relevant results are to display. By reviewing your content and optimising it with this in mind, you’ll have a much better chance of appearing for a search term and increasing traffic to your site.

This was just some of the trends to look out for in 2020. Applying these to your SEO strategy will most likely lead to positive results! Some others to keep in mind are:

  • Link Building
  • Mobile SEO
  • Local SEO
  • UX

2Cubed can help you grow your online business! Check out a full list of services and our website process here – https://2cubed.ie/services/

You can use our dedicated quotation form below or contact us with any questions you may have here.

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SEO for SMEs

Category: News

If you’re a business owner and you’re looking to expand your online presence, having an SEO strategy in place is sure to bring many benefits. SEO is a complex subject and as the graph below shows, there are many elements that make up SEO overall.

SEO for your Business

A large number of SMEs tend to focus on traditional marketing practices and understandably so as these may have brought success over many years. However, SEO should now be a crucial consideration for any business with a website in order to meet targets and set business goals. This is especially true for SMEs looking to build an online presence.

Competition is something we all deal with in business and SEO is no different. However, having a well planned and thought out SEO strategy can have a number of benefits.

Benefits of SEO

  • Increased traction on search engines (getting your site and brand out there)
  • High quality, relevant traffic to your website
  • A higher possibility to convert a website user into a sale or to convert a goal
  • Decreased budgets on other marketing activities
  • The opportunity to sit down and focus on priority keywords and phrases (how would you like your ideal user to find you?)

To summarise, by deciding SEO is a feasible option for your website, you are sure to see some benefits from doing so. As an SME, coming into 2020 this should be high on your list of marketing priorities moving forward.

You can read more on our Digital Marketing service here – https://2cubed.ie/services/search-engine-optimisation/

Our expert team is on hand to assist with any questions you may have. Check out a full list of services and our website process here – https://2cubed.ie/services/

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Fix Breadcrumbs Markup

Over the past couple of weeks, we have received mass emails in relation to Breadcrumb markup errors from Google. You may have received a similar email:

What are Breadcrumbs?

A breadcrumb, or a trail is a visual element added to show a user where exactly they are within a website. It also indicates the path within the hierarchy of a site. As Structured Data types are constantly evolving, this information is now targeted by Google while indexing and displayed as a rich result to users on the search results page in order to provide users a richer experience. You can see an example of this along with more information here. There is also now a dedicated ‘Breadcrumbs’ option within Google Search Console highlighting error types and potential fixes.

If breadcrumbs are not enabled on your site but you’ve received the email then there may be a setting within the site or theme causing this. This is where we can help. If you have any query or issue in relation to Breadcrumbs or even just a general query, please contact us.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, our expert team is on hand to assist with any questions you may have. In addition, we also offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services and our website process – https://2cubed.ie/services/

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Google’s Nofollow Updates

Category: News SEO

Since the nofollow attribute was introduced in 2005, it has allowed Google to understand link relationships between pages.

What is a nofollow link?

Initially introduced to help with spam, the nofollow attribute was a simple way to tell Google whether or not to count or ignore links to use within their search algorithms. Link building strategies have changed drastically in this time and gone are the days of link spamming comment sections on websites in order to build authority and manipulate search engines as this was seen as a black-hat strategy and would decrease SEO performance for any sites flagged.

By adding a nofollow link, you can tell a search engine not to associate your site with the linked page and this has been the case for 15 years now. Best practice since is to build high quality and relevant links and this remains the same but with some amendments to the process.

What has changed?

On September 10th, Google posted a blog (see here) highlighting the updates to this process. From now onward, outbound links will now be managed using four separate attributes or ‘hints’ which will help Google understand these relationships in more detail.

  • Regular links will be managed as normal and there is no need to add an attribute to these.
  • The nofollow value remains the same and should be added when a link should not be followed or counted.
  • Links towards sponsored content should now be marked with a value rel=”sponsored”. This value is especially important to avoid any penalties when linking to pages where you have received something in exchange.
  • ugc (user generated content) – links toward comments and forum posts for example should be marked with a value rel=”ugc” but with certain conditions.

For more detailed information on these values, please click here – https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/96569?hl=en

It’s also important to note the difference between a nofollow and a noindex value also. The noindex value completely excludes a page from being indexed and should be treated carefully.

In summary, the latest updates to how links are treated should help website owners to correctly mark links to help Google understand the relationship. At present, links already in place will not need to be updated as this would require huge effort for some sites and just isn’t feasible to achieve and there is no incentive or punishment for doing so. Google have said the following:

Why should I bother using any of these new attributes?
Using the new attributes allows us to better process links for analysis of the web. That can include your own content, if people who link to you make use of these attributes.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, our expert team is on hand to assist with any questions you may have. In addition, we also offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services and our website process – https://2cubed.ie/services/

Contact us today for more information on the services we provide – Contact Us

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5 steps to prepare your website for Brexit

At present, the UK is due to leave the European Union as of 31st October 2019. Even though the vote to leave Brexit was way back in June 2016, much uncertainty remains even at this late point in the process. Learning how to prepare your website for the implications of Brexit should be considered. Firstly, understanding how Brexit will affect your business as a whole is vital. We’ve found some useful articles to help fellow business owners here and herebrexit website ready

 

1. Trade

If you run an e-commerce site, purchase products from the UK or engage in any trade across the EU then you’ll likely suffer from higher prices, longer shipping and custom hold-ups and in turn hiked prices for your customers. It may be useful to contact UK suppliers and providers that you engage in to seek assurances. Back in January, Amazon, the largest marketplace in the UK noted that businesses trading on the platform should prepare in case of a no deal Brexit. This remains a real challenge but while there are many uncertainties, this may present a chance for Irish companies to promote buying Irish. If the expected skyrocketing of prices from the UK comes to fruition then there may be a huge potential to bring customers back shopping locally instead of using Amazon, Ebay and other online platforms.

2. Data Protection

Data protection has been heavily in the limelight in recent years. This is mainly due to the GDPR changes that came into place in May 2018. EU wide regulations were updated to protect user data processed by organisations and many businesses were forced to take action in order to meet these stricter guidelines. With the UK leaving the EU, this may require some further thought especially if you own or run a website and process data to or from the UK. If storing any of this data, using a newsletter service such as Mailchimp or taking payments from UK customers then you may need to consider reviewing and amending your existing processes and terms. You can read more on this on https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/bf5200-data-management/.

3. Currency

Since the Brexit vote was announced, pound sterling has been volatile to say the least. The conversion from € to £ has gone from £1.28 to £1.06 over this period and how it will continue remains unclear. As a website owner and especially if dealing with currency conversions, it’s vital to prepare for a worst case scenario. This PDF can help you prepare in detail.

4. Growth and Expansion

Growing your online business within the UK market again remains unclear but in order to protect your business, preparing for a worst case scenario is advised. Many companies may struggle just to stay afloat after a potentially hard Brexit so future plans to expand in another market will need to be examined in a realistic manner. 

5. Website Security

As GDPR is now a vital area of many websites, a critical component on this is ensuring data stored and processed is fully secure. The implications of a data breach can be catastrophic for businesses. A secure website allows you peace of mind that data held is fully secure and allows you to focus on other key areas such as website sales. The storage of this data should be treated as a potential serious security issue. If you have any questions regarding the website hosting or data storage then please use our contact form to send a message – https://2cubed.ie/contact/

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we are on hand to assist you with any required changes to your website which may be impacted as a result of Brexit. In addition, we also offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services and our website process – https://2cubed.ie/services/

Contact us today for more information on the services we provide – Contact Us

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Strong Customer Authentication

From 14th September 2019, the manner in which payments are processed is changing. Strong Customer Authentication is a new rule coming into effect in Europe. What this means is that an extra layer of security is added when making a purchase online and currently this usually is via an SMS sent from your bank with a code to input but as technology is developing rapidly, options such as fingerprint and facial recognition can be used but this is dependant on your banks’ verification process.

How do I know this will impact my business?

If you have an e-commerce store then you’ll need to ensure you have a clear understanding of this new rule.

In order to meet this new PSD2 regulation, you should ensure you are fully compliant if your business is impacted by this new update. If any of the following apply to you, then you’ll be impacted by SCA.

  • Your website serves customers within the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • If your business is located within the EEA
  • You accept card payments on your site (credit, debit etc)

The method used to achieve compliance with this new change is called 3D Secure 2. Our friends at Stripe have some excellent detail on this which you can read here https://stripe.com/ie/guides/3d-secure-2

How will this affect me?

2Cubed have been in contact with Stripe to clarify what action is required and many of our customers who use Stripe, Global Payments, Shopify Payments and so on have been in touch for clarification. The good news is that no action is required on your end. The liability will lie with the e-commerce platforms in order to meet compliance. The following info came directly from Stripe; Right off the bat if you’re using a third party plugin/platform such as Squarespace, Wix, WooCommerce etc then they will be carrying the liability of ensuring your store/checkout flow is SCA compliant. We are working closely with our partners to get their integrations updated before September.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we are on hand to assist you with any of the e-commerce needs above, helping you to understand this new regulation. We also offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

Contact us today for more information on the services we provide – Contact Us

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Google AMP in 2019

Google’s AMP project was launched in 2016 and after a slow start, soon became a common feature across mobile search results. AMP or accelerated mobile pages, is a framework developed by Google to rival Facebooks Instant Articles and the technology allows pages to load almost instantly. Last year, we wrote a post about the importance of AMP – See here. So what has changed in the past year and how important is AMP now? 

Nowadays, online users expect everything instantly. Waiting 10 seconds for a website to load is a big no-no in 2019 so enabling AMP can help enormously in getting traffic into your site while getting ahead of your competitors.

Google have now branched out and added some more features to the AMP framework. At present, it’s possible to create:

  • AMP Websites
  • AMP Stories
  • AMP Ads
  • AMP Email

You can find more information on all of the above and see some case study ‘success stories’ by viewing the AMP resource website – https://amp.dev/

Many sites are now seeing the full benefit of having AMP enabled content on their websites and this is likely to increase further into the near future so this needs to be factored in to your thinking if you own, run or manage a website.

Enabling AMP on your website can be tricky but once done correctly, it’s fairly easy to maintain and use on blog posts etc. For example, a number of WordPress plugins are available to help with layout, templates and amplifying content. As an example, you can view our previous post on this topic on your mobile device by clicking here – https://2cubed.ie/2018/06/the-importance-of-amp/amp/

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we can advise or help you with any of the needs above, helping you to enable AMP on your website. We offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

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8 Great WordPress Plugins

wordpress plugins

If your site uses WordPress, you’re probably familiar with plugins. Plugins are there to make life easier, essentially. We’ve gone through some of the top plugins on WordPress and picked out 8 that you may want to consider for your site.

  • Woocommerce – Woocommerce powers over 40% of all eCommerce websites on the web. Powerful and easy to use, it allows you to manage products, orders, discount codes and much more. You can read more on Woocommerce here
  • Yoast SEO – Yoast is a plugin to help with SEO on your site. Yoast is a free plugin but the premium version offers more features for advanced SEO. See here for more information.
  • WP Rocket – A number of caching tools are available for WordPress sites and WP Rocket is one of the most popular. Caching helps to maximise site performance and improve speed. The free version offers limited features but a premium version with more advanced options is available. You can read more on WP Rocket here
  • Elementor – This page builder has become one of the more popular tools out there in the past year and the reviews are outstanding. This powerful page builder allows you to easily manage page content and includes both a free and premium version. See here for more.
  • Smush – This plugin is mainly used for image compression and resizing. Having multiple large images on your site will cause issues with speed and performance. Smush helps with this by automatically compressing images once uploaded and again comes with either a free or premium version. You can view the full list of features here
  • Slider Revolution  – Powering over 2.5 million websites, Slider Revolution allows you to add sliders, carousels and more. Currently there isn’t a free version but it is cheap to purchase and includes a good deal of functionality but the premium version gives access to many more templates and features. View a full list of features here
  • Sucuri  – This security plugin helps to flag any security issues or breaches on your website and alerts you if anything does happen. Generally, your website host will look after security but this added layer of protection gives you peace of mind. See here for more info 
  • Redirection – This plugin allows you to easily manage 301s, 404s and more which can help reduce errors and improve site ranking. This plugin can be a useful tool but used incorrectly it can cause some issues. Take a look at more features here 

These are just some of the tools you can use to improve your WordPress site. *Please be aware that installing and updating plugins on your website may cause some issues*

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we can assist you with any of the needs above, helping you decide on and install / updating plugins. We offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

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A Quick Guide to Technical SEO

In this post, we’ll look at a critical element of search engine optimisation; Technical SEO. This has become a fundamental and sometimes overlooked area of SEO but we’ll explain why it’s more important than ever below.

Technical SEO contains many topics we could dive in to, but by understanding the key elements, it should allow you to gain an understanding of what it is and best practices to follow. As you would have seen in or SEO Audit post, technical SEO was listed as a key element along with on-page and off-page optimisation.

So, what exactly does it mean? Essentially, the technical health of your site indicates how well Google and other search engines can crawl and index the information on your website. If they encounter any issues, these will be flagged as errors or warnings in Google Search Console.

By resolving these issues, you’ll ensure your site is in good standing from a technical sense and means that the site crawlers can index your site fully without any obstacles. Some of the common issues you’ll need to address are as follows:

  • 404 errors – nobody likes seeing these, especially soft 404s. You can manage 404s by implementing 301 redirects
  • 5XX errors – server errors or timeouts which are blocking access to pages
  • noindex issues – noindex is commonly used to block access to a page that you do not wish to be indexed (such as private or secure pages). If you submit a url in the sitemap but it includes a noindex tag then you’ll need to address this
  • blocked by robots.txt – another method to block access to a page. You can see more here – https://support.google.com/webmasters/
  • Mobile Usability – Google analyse each page and flag any anomalies that may cause a poor user experience on mobile. For example, if clickable elements are too close together, if a page is not fully mobile responsive, text is too small to read and so on. Keeping your site fully mobile responsive ensures a good user experience, decreased bounce rate and just an overall better experience for your website users.  

Most of the errors above can be viewed on the Index Coverage Status report within Google Search Console – https://support.google.com/webmasters/

This brief overview of technical SEO should hopefully give more understanding of the variables a search engine goes through in order to show your website on Google.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we can assist you with any of the needs above, allowing you to ensure your website is in good technical standing. We offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

Contact us today for more information on the services we provide – Contact Us

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