Gen X, Gen Y Targeting: How to Target Different Generations on Social Media

Highly compelling copy—the kind that rattles the questions of your audience, and shockingly, (and instantly) gives them the answer—isn’t easy to do. It’s an even greater challenge when you’re targeting multiple generations at once. In this article, you’ll learn the three components of turning ‘good’ copy into ‘I gotta buy this’ branding, no matter how old or young your viewers may be.

First Up: Know the Difference Between X and Y (Even Z!)

While you may know a millennial when you see one, do you know how to reach them in a sentence or two? Do you know how to turn a Generation X viewer (otherwise known as a ‘latchkey kid’) into a devoted consumer?  Don’t sweat it out. Instead, learn the key psychological components of what makes them ‘click and buy’ – and then sit back, ride the waves of high sales and repeat:

  • Generation X. Generation X are those who were born between 1966-1976. From no technology to highly sophisticated technology, they’ve come a long way. However, they also tend to get overwhelmed by too much digital ‘noise.’ Consider Generation X your highest educated generation (26% have a bachelor’s degree, or higher). Lead them into full-fledged online engagement by education based products, facts or interview-type posts.
  • Generation Y. Generation Y, otherwise known as the Millennials, dominate on social media. Born between 1977-1994 they are career professionals, many of whom learned in the early 2000’s how to create a website, sell a product and market it to the masses.

Now in their 30’s and 40’s, they are prone to ignoring the typical marketing pitch, and look for compelling content, fine-tuned sales funnels and impeccable images to stay engaged.  They’ve been in the presence of technology since childhood, and crave a variety of digital content, such as ezines, podcasts, and blog posts. Blast them with a variety of marketing content and you’ll keep them engaged and excited for what’s next.

Want to grab hundreds (or thousands) of leads within days and watch your business skyrocket? Give them a free gift (like an ebook or meditation track) in exchange for their email. They want instant gratification now, and they’ll become a loyal customer if you can offer something of high value.

  • Generation Z. There isn’t as much market research for Generation Z, because they’re the ‘babies’ of all generations. Born between 1995-2012, they may grow up to be the most technologically savvy of any generation. Chances are, they will be raised to expect diversity in their classroom (and online learning, such as social media), through interactive learning platforms (live streaming, anyone?). One of the greatest marketing tactics you can use to reach them as they grow up? Interactive webinars, and eCourse platforms.

Three Techniques to Reach Each Generation on Social Media Instantly

Now that you know what each generation is about, it’s time to dive head first into targeting each generation on social media—and meet them where they already are. Here they are: three generations, and three strategies that payoff:

  • Generation X. The baby boomer generation is most responsive to emails, so use it to your advantage! Create an email marketing campaign (do this easily by using a service like Aweber or MailChimp) and grab their attention with three inspiring or informative blog posts a week—sent right to their inbox.

Being the most financial responsible of all generations, hook their loyalty with online deals, home ownership tips, or ‘freebies’ (for example: offer free customization on a product you sell).

  • Generation Y. Ah, the millennials. The generation that makes up for over 70 million, and the potential to become your target audience, alone. Sharp, smart and innovative, they are thirsty for more knowledge constantly.

According to The New York Times, over 64% of millennials would rather make less than $45,000 a year doing what they love than make more money, doing something they aren’t inspired by.

Create content that inspires them. Promote a product that will trigger fearlessness in them to do what they love, increase their productivity, or allow them to instantly achieve greater work/life balance. Just make sure it’s 100% ‘you’. Don’t fake your way to building a brand. Speak, write about, or post videos that are in alignment with your vision, and that you’re passionate about. When you’re ‘you’ and your brand is authentic, they’ll beg for more.

  • Generation Z. According to a study done by, Generation Z spends 74% of their time on social media While they might not be as technologically experienced as Generation Y, they’re on social media constantly—and expect instant contact. Cater to your generation Z audience by developing (and maintaining) a strong presence on Snapchat, or with Instagram Stories (they respond well to stunning visuals and fun filters!) Kill two birds with one stone by live streaming videos on Facebook, and/or weekly YouTube videos.

Do you know what generation your audience is composed of? Or, is it a combination X, Y and Z? To know your audience is to compel them to fall in love with your brand. Use the above techniques and see what works best!

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So it’s been a while since posting here.  SEO and SEM is getting easier rather harder.  For example,

Links and embeds are helping to rank all over the place.  Yes I know you’re watching rivals so take this and use it if you think you can keep up.

GMB url:

reviews short url:

Maps Embed code:

maps short url:

an offer you can’t refuse video embed: 

Look at more info:

Black Friday SEO Advice to Get More Sales in 2017

Black Friday is just around the corner, and for many business owners (small and large) it’s the most profitable time of year. According to Techradar, a whopping $3.34 billion was spend last Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Ready to get your piece of the pie this November? It starts, and ends with optimizing your website. Learn the most effective SEO tips to strengthen your brand, achieve higher sales and surpass your ecommerce dreams!

First Things First: Cheat Your Way to Sales Success (With a Checklist)

It’s not really cheating—in fact, it’s a strategy to blow your competition out of the water so that you reach the true ecommerce sales potential that you deserve. While Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, it can also be the most stressful day of the year as well. How do you guarantee your website won’t crash with high volume traffic? How do you best increase the amount of spending per customer? With this handy checklist, of course! Cross off each task one by one, and you’ll skyrocket your sales just in time for Black Friday:

  • Set up an autoresponder series for abandoned cart visitors. If you already use an automated email marketing series to keep your customer engaged, make sure to add a ‘Black Friday’ campaign. All you have to do is capture those viewers who added your product to their cart (but then left your site). Send a reminder email to them with a special, additional 10% off coupon – if they come back by midnight to complete their checkout.
  • Create a pop-up landing page with a discount code. The average viewer only takes three seconds to view your site. Instantly grab their attention with a compelling pop-up landing page, placed front and center on your homepage. Do you want to create a greater sense of urgency? Design a landing page that includes a timer, counting down the hours, minutes and seconds before your deal expires.
  • Create a banner to display your too-good-to-pass-up Black Friday deal. Banners are easy to create (just head over to to create a free one). Create a bold heading and font that specifies what your deal is. The more instantly visible your Black Friday deals are, the more viewers are likely to buy.
  • Be absolutely sure your store can deal with the demand. Don’t underestimate the power of your product. When Black Friday comes, consumers (old and new) will want to take advantage of your deals. Check ahead of time with your suppliers, making sure they can handle your surplus of orders.

Now that you have a website equipped for high sales and a low drop-off rate, it’s time to optimize your online business to reach the masses in record time. Apply these five tips to your site ASAP, and you’ll become the epitome of #salesgoals.

Create SEO-Focused Gift Guides

Forget struggling to optimize your sales. One highly effective shortcut is by suggestive gift guide pop-ups as they go through check-out.  According to Google’s trend report from 2016, over 70 percent of online consumers start shopping without having something particular in mind that they want to buy! For example, if you sell women’s clothing, put together a few gift guides that include related interests for women, such as fashion bracelets, necklaces and a subscription to a women’s magazine.

Utilize YouTube

Make a few ‘Black Friday Gift Idea’ videos on YouTube and reach even more potential customers (a whopping 68 percent of consumers turn to YouTube when they don’t know what they want to buy!) Just make sure you follow YouTube’s SEO rules by including no more than 2% density keywords and 700 words—max—in your video description (or your video won’t get uploaded).

Add Popular Keywords for Holiday Gifts in Your Marketing Copy

Black Friday is the perfect time to utilize SEO keywords in all platforms of your marketing copy, including: emails, landing pages, PPC ads, blog posts and product descriptions. Start off your search with ‘Black Friday’, and make sure to also utilize ‘related searches’ for more keyword ideas.

Know Your Buzz Words

Once you have your list of Black Friday keywords, make sure that you add holiday specific buzz words to your marketing copy. For example, it’s not enough to simply describe what your product is with ‘Black Friday’ keywords. You have to hook your audience with additional words like ‘Best,’ ‘Incredible,’ ‘Rare,’ or ‘One of a Kind.’

Peak their curiosity with buzz words, so that whether you’re selling champagne filled chocolates or cashmere sweaters, you’ve hooked them and compelled them to click, buy—and become a customer for years to come.

Force the Masses to Discover Your Sale

While content has been and always will be king, never underestimate the power of a really good image. Many businesses use images in their blog posts or web content, but fail to maximize their exposure by forgetting about the alt tags. This holiday season (as well as any other day of the year) remember that your audience is visually inspired. Add stock photos of a picturesque setting, or of a child receiving the perfect gift on Christmas morning. Find images that evoke Universal desires we all have: a sense of joy, wonder and even magic. Then, take advantage of alt tags so that visitors can find you—and inevitably, the perfect Black Friday deal they just can’t pass up.

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Bing is Proving the Future of AI is Now for Small Businesses

Small businesses rely on each employee to wear several hats, but being a jack-of-all-trades also takes time away from employees to do their job and do it well. Small business owners need as much help as possible, whether that is freeing up the hostess to get away from the phones and greet customers or focusing your executive administrator on running the front office instead of taking payments.

An employee’s day can easily be derailed by customers calling to ask the same questions over and over again; Are you open today? Where can I pay my bill? How do I find your prices? Where are you located? So, it’s easy to understand the necessity Bing sees in creating chatbots for small businesses. Chatbots save your paid employees time, which saves you money.

How Chatbots Work for Small Businesses

Bing launched Business Bots several months ago and is the first major search engine to do this. Bing Bots are programmed to know the answers to simple questions about a business. The business owner simply supplies answers to frequently asked questions such as hours of operation, location, menu items and more. The chatbots are engineered to understand questions and respond to those questions in natural language. This gets employees off the phone every other minute to say, “yes, we are open.”

Bing’s bots can be used directly on Bing, Skype and even on a business’s website. If someone searches for a restaurant in Bing, the search engine results page (SERP) will bring up the listing with buttons to the website to call or to chat (see screenshot below).

So what if a bot doesn’t know an answer?

The bot has information stored for general questions, but if a customer asks a question it does not know the answer to the bot will provide the person with the business’s phone number. The bot will then reach out to the business owner so the owner can provide the answer to the question, so in the future the bot can be more helpful and again, continue to provide information about the business for its customers. This development may allow bots to continually update data and conduct transactions in the SERP.

The bot will also be available across platforms in the future – you create it once and publish across multiple channels such as Bing, Skype and SMS. Facebook Messenger and Cortana capabilities are coming soon.

The Evolution of the Chatbot

So, what is a chatbot, exactly? It’s a program that maintains a conversation with a user, using natural language. The bot understands the person’s intent and responds with the appropriate information. A mobile messenger is used for the chat, whether it’s SMS, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, or website.

The explosion of interest in chat bots can be surmised by a few developments:

  1. Mobile messenger popularity: Mobile messengers have grown in popularity and are the most used apps on mobile devices. According to Chatbots Magazine, WhatsApp has reached over a billion users, Facebook Messenger is at 900 million and WeChat is at 700 million. Messenger apps have surpassed social media apps in global popularity. It’s easy to surmise that today, people prefer talking via typing, and businesses should adapt to make that an easier and more developed option.
  2. App fatigue: If you’re thinking about creating an app for your business, you may want to reconsider. App fatigue is growing. App fatigue refers to consumers who are tired of installing and then constantly updating new apps onto their smartphones. Put simply, users often download apps, use them once or twice and then never use them again. According to the same Chatbots Magazine study, as much as 23 percent of mobile users abandon an app after one use. A typical consumer has about 30 apps on their phone, but uses less than five on a consistent basis.  As you can see, often times, the development and launch of an app ends up being a waste of resources.
  3. Support for bots through Facebook, Microsoft and other technology leaders: Bot support has grown within the last year, as both Microsoft and Facebook made announcements in 2016 for development and support of chat bots. This has led to the possibility of creating an approved bot and launching it across platforms, seeing affects all across the globe. 
  4. Dramatic reduction in chat bot development costs: Finally, the development cost behind chatbots has dropped dramatically. Recently, major software companies like IBM, Microsoft, Facebook and Google have released free advanced development tools, frameworks and research data that has allowed companies to design chat bots for a relatively low price. This has led to advances such in Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Understanding, Speech Recognition and other advanced technologies.

The Takeaway

In the end, it’s easy to see that the mobile world we live in has become the perfect place for businesses to take advantage of chatbots to garner more interest. Chatbots work well with the generations that have grown up on technology and want the easiest, fastest and simplest way to get information. Of course large corporations see value in these and have the development capabilities, but small businesses should pay attention to this as well. With a small team and everyone stretched to capacity, a chat bot could make a big difference in operations and allow your employees to focus on the jobs that take creativity, personality, and intuition.

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How to Stop Those Annoying SEO Robo Sales Calls

Have you ever answered a phone call from an unknown number, only to hear a pre-recorded message? These “robocalls” are very common, and most of them are scams. In particular, scammers pretending to work with Google often target small business owners. Keep reading to learn how to stop receiving these annoying, predatory, and illegal calls.

The Real Problem with Robo Sales Calls: They’re Illegal

A robocall is an automated phone call that plays a recorded message. As technology makes it cheaper and easier for scammers to send these calls out en masse, robocalls are becoming increasingly prevalent. An estimated 2.4 billion robocalls are made every month. Almost everyone with a phone gets them sometimes.

Robocalls aren’t just annoying. They’re illegal, unless you’ve signed up to receive them, and they’re often fraudulent. Most of the time, robocalls are sent out by scammers to scare people into handing over money or personal information.

How? One common scenario is that you receive an automated call from someone who claims to work for or be affiliated with Google. Some of these callers might claim they can improve your site’s ranking if you pay a fee or sign up for their service. Others might say your business listing is about to expire, and offer to renew or manage it for you. There are lots of ways these scammers might try to fish for your credit card number or other personal information, and you shouldn’t fall for any of them.

Even though this type of call isn’t legitimate, many people mistakenly think Google is behind them. This has tarnished Google’s name a bit, and Google has taken steps to fight back. In 2015, Google sued Local Lighthouse, a California-based SEO company that had been robocalling people and falsely claiming to be affiliated with Google. Google has also published a page with details on how to tell if a call is a scam, and they’ve set up a form where people can submit details about robocalls they’ve received.

Despite all of this, the practice of robocalling is still alive and well. Many of these scammers live overseas and use technology to spoof U.S.-based caller IDs, making them difficult or impossible to track down. It looks like robocallers are going to be around for a while, so what should you do if you find yourself on the line with one?

Identifying a Scam

First, make sure the call is a scam. This usually isn’t hard to do. If you’re not sure, there are a few red flags you can look for:

  • First, know that Google doesn’t use pre-recorded messages unless you request an automated call from them. Any legitimate, unsolicited call from Google will have a real person on the other end.
  • It doesn’t cost any money to list your business or manage your listing on Google. Don’t trust anyone who wants to do this for a fee.
  • Likewise, you can’t pay Google to improve your website’s ranking.
  • Google will not ask you for personal information like your date of birth or credit card number over the phone. (Nor, for that matter, will any other legitimate company.)

What to Do if a Scammer Calls You

Of course, you should never give out any personal information over the phone. There are also a few other things you should do (or avoid doing) if you get an automated call from someone claiming to be with Google.

  1. Do not say anything. Just hang up. If you say something, you’ll confirm that there’s a real person on your end of the line, and the scammer will probably try calling you again.
  2. Don’t push any buttons. Some robocallers will tell you to press a number to speak to someone or hang up. Don’t do it – this will also confirm that you’re a real person.
  3. Report the call to the FTC. Robocalling is illegal if you haven’t signed up to receive the calls. File a complaint with the FTC here. Note that you can file a complaint for a robocall even if you’re not currently listed on the National Do Not Call Registry (more on this in a minute). Below is an example of the FTC complaint page for robocalls:
  4. Report the call to Google. You can find the form here. The more information you can provide, the better Google will be able to track down the company that called you.

Preventing Robocalls

It’s important to deal with robocalls the right way, but wouldn’t it be great to prevent them from happening in the first place? While you may never be able to get rid of the calls entirely, here are a few things you can do to avoid most of them.

  1. See if you can find your phone number online. You may never find out where the scammers got ahold of your number, but it’s also possible that your number is somewhere on the internet where anyone can see it. Google your number and see what comes up. If your number shows up on social media, a list, or somewhere else easy to find, see if you can get it taken down.
  2. Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry. The National Do Not Call Registry is a list of phone numbers that telemarketers are not allowed to call. Once your number is on that list, it’s illegal for anyone to pester you. Of course, scammers with questionable business practices may not respect the registry, but it’s a good place to start. At the very least, reputable companies won’t call you anymore. Below is an example of the what the webpage looks like, found here.
  3. Block scammers’ phone numbers. Most smartphones have a feature that lets you block certain numbers from calling you. If you’ve been getting persistent robocalls from the same number, this is probably your best option for stopping them. You may also be able to contact your phone company and report scammers that won’t leave you alone. Below is an example from PC Mag:
  4. Use an app or tool to block the calls. If you’re sick of getting flooded with robocalls from different numbers, an app like Nomorobo or TrueCaller might be what you need. These apps can identify callers and filter out robocalls before your phone even rings. But if you ever need to take legitimate automated calls, such as reminders from your doctor’s office, be aware that these apps may filter them out too.

Nomorobo is a popular anti-robocalling app. They claim to be able to tell the difference between legitimate automated calls and scam calls:

Truecaller works as a caller ID while blocking incoming spam calls:

Wrapping Up

Robocalls are annoying, especially if you get a lot of them. You know better than to give away your information, of course, but you’re probably tired of dealing with automated calls when you’re trying to focus on other things. Luckily, while scammers will always be out there, there’s plenty you can do to stop them from bothering you. Put these tips to work for you, and you’ll probably receive a lot fewer robocalls in the future.

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Conversions Might Take a Hit with Chrome 62

Another Google update is on the horizon. In October, the tech giant will release an update to their Chrome browser, and it could have a big effect on your conversions. When it comes out, the new “Chrome 62” will alert users when they type in any kind of information on a page with a non-secure HTTP connection. If you haven’t switched to HTTPS yet, this could be worrisome news for your business. Here’s what you need to know:

Google’s Push for More Security

Google has been nudging webmasters towards improving their online security for a while now. Back in 2014, Google made HTTPS a ranking signal, so more secure sites tended to rank higher than sites using HTTP, and in January 2017, Google released Chrome 56, which warns users when they input credit card information or a password on an unsecured HTTP site.

But Google isn’t finished yet. Chrome 62, which is scheduled to come out October 17, is going to ramp up the security warnings even more. After the release, Chrome users will see a “Not secure” warning message whenever they type anything into a form field on an HTTP page. This includes fields like search bars and lead capture forms. Below is an example of the “!” you see to show you that you’re on an unsecure site:

Chrome 62 will warn users that a site isn’t secure when they type information into any form field. Chrome will also start displaying a warning on all HTTP pages in incognito mode. Many people mistakenly believe that incognito mode keeps information safe from hackers, but it doesn’t – it just disables your browser from storing anything in your history or cache.

When Chrome 62 comes out, any non-secure form fields in incognito mode will load with a “Not secure” warning. Eventually, Google plans to include a red triangle with an exclamation mark along with its warning that a page isn’t secure. This change will happen in future releases, not Chrome 62.

Note: Eventually, Chrome will start displaying a scarier-looking warning on HTTP pages.

These changes are having a major impact on Chrome users’ behavior, as well as websites’ traffic. According to Google, there has already been a 23% reduction in traffic to HTTP pages requesting credit card information or passwords. With the next wave of changes, traffic will probably take an even bigger hit – unless webmasters take action now.

HTTPS: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

At this point, if you aren’t fluent with technology, you might be wondering what exactly HTTP and HTTPS are. What’s the difference between them, and what’s wrong with HTTP?

  • HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol.

In a nutshell, it’s a method for sending information between two devices. For example, when you go to a website, HTTP is the procedure that sends the information from the web server to your browser.

The problem with HTTP is that it’s not very secure. Hackers can intercept and read any data sent through an HTTP connection. Obviously, this is a huge problem if you’re sending sensitive personal information like passwords, credit card numbers, or social security numbers. Enter HTTPS.

  • The extra S on the end stands for “secure.”

HTTPS encodes all of your data before sending it, so if hackers got their hands on your information, they would just see an unreadable string of gibberish. HTTPS encrypts data with the help of two other protocols – SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and TSL, which stands for Transport Security Layer.

You can tell whether a site uses HTTP or HTTPS by looking at the URL bar in your browser. If the site is using HTTPS (and therefore secure), you’ll see a padlock symbol on the left side of the bar.

Chrome’s new security features are making internet users more safety-conscious. In the past, it was easy to just not notice whether a site was secure. Ever since Chrome 56 came out, though, it’s much more obvious when a site might not be safe. That’s driving a lot of people away from sites that haven’t upgraded to HTTPS yet – nobody wants their information to be compromised.

How Can You Avoid Taking a Hit?

If you’re already using a secure page to ask visitors for any sensitive information, such as payment information, you’re OK for now. But in October, you’ll need to make sure your whole site is secure. If you’re still using HTTP when the update happens, any kind of form field – like a search bar or an email opt-in form – will flag your site as not secure. This can do a lot of damage to your credibility, and you’ll probably see a steep drop in your conversions and new leads.

The solution is simple: make sure you’re using HTTPS by the time October rolls around. Using HTTPS is just a good practice anyways. It increases customer trust, and it could give your rankings a boost. And, of course, security is a must if you ask your visitors for personal information.

Should you migrate your site to HTTPS by yourself? That depends. It’s possible to do the job on your own, but if you aren’t familiar with how the process works, you might find yourself feeling lost or overwhelmed – or, worse, unsure of how to fix something you broke. If you’re worried about that happening, it’s best to ask your web developer to help you, or hire someone specifically to migrate your site.

If you’d rather make the switch yourself, here’s an overview of what you’ll need to do:

  • Obtain a SSL certificate. You can get one for free from Let’s Encrypt.
  • Make sure your server is correctly configured for the update.
  • Install your security certificate.
  • Go through your website and update any internal http links to https links. Check your CSS, JavaScript, images, and canonical tags to make sure you don’t miss anything.
  • Set up 301 redirects from old http links to new https links. That way, people who follow old links to your site from around the Internet don’t end up at a broken page.
  • Update your business’ social media pages, your Google Webmaster Tools account, and any other links around the Internet to reflect your new URL.

After you migrate your site, you might see some fluctuations in your rankings, but those should even out after several weeks. If you can, make the switch to HTTPS at a low-traffic time. That way, Google will be able to index your updated site faster, and your rankings will stabilize sooner.

Google has released a guide on updating your own site to HTTPS. If you’re planning to make the switch by yourself, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the process ahead of time. You can find the guide here.

The Takeaway

For webmasters who aren’t using HTTPS yet, the time to take action is now. Otherwise, your conversions (and your reputation) will be in trouble come October. Luckily, there’s still plenty of time to migrate your site and avoid any negative repercussions of the change. If you still need to make the switch to a more secure site, do it sooner rather than later, so you can work out any snags well before Chrome 62 is released.

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5 Guaranteed Ways to Get Devalued by Google

For website owners and/or managers, there are many paths for online marketing and optimization. From SEO to PPC and content marketing to social media marketing, there is certainly no shortage of ways through which to achieve your goals. However, those options and opportunities for your website come with rules that you have to play by, and if you don’t, you could find your website in hot water.

If you’re reading this and what I’m saying applies to you, then there’s a good chance Google is your search engine of choice for marketing and optimization. In regards to SEO and general website management, Google plays by the rules they’ve carefully developed and continue to evolve over time. The guidelines Google has for website management keeps the focus on providing the best experience and information possible for users while also preventing any one website or brand from cheating their way to the top.

That being said, there are many instances in which businesses end up on Google’s bad side or with a penalty without doing so intentionally. You’ve probably heard horror stories of this happening to website owners, seeing a drastic plummet in rankings overnight or realizing they’ve fallen victim to an algorithm update and earned a penalty. Such penalties can severely hurt a website or business, as they can negatively impact traffic, ranking, and performance. In my experience, I’ve seen plenty of websites from clients that were completely unaware they’d done anything to get on Google’s bad side in the first place.

While there’s a long list of things that can get your website slapped with a penalty or red flagged by Google, there tends to be a few common ways that businesses end up in that position. Check them out below, and ensure that you’re actively taking steps to prevent these slip-ups.

Common Ways a Website Gets in Trouble

  1. Black Hat SEO

One of the single most common issues that gets website in trouble is Black Hat SEO. This includes shady practices like cloaking, keyword stuffing, hidden text, using link farms, and much more. In short, black hat SEO practices try and skirt around the rules to get SEO results in half the time. As I’ve said before, there are no short cuts when it comes to SEO, and any practice that tries to take such a shortcut will very likely get you in a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, some businesses hire what they think is a reputable SEO company and later find out that they were doing black hat SEO for their website after being caught by Google. As a rule of thumb, website owners and managers should familiarize themselves with what black hat SEO is so they can spot it early if it’s coming from an SEO provider or avoid it altogether.

  1. Duplicate Content

Many website owners and managers don’t realize what a problem having duplicate content is. This is especially true for e-commerce websites with hundreds of product listing pages, as it can be difficult to come up with unique content over and over again. However, in the eyes of Google, duplicate content directly equates to low-quality or less useful information for users. It’s a labor of love, but the copy on your website should be well written and unique on every page.

  1. Excessive Guest Blogging

Google just recently issued a warning about abusing guest posting in order to gain links. To be clear, guest posting is by no means a black hat or shady strategy. However, having an article published across many different sites or guest posting low-quality content is considered a violation of Google distributor guidelines and should be avoided at all costs. For bloggers especially, it’s important to focus on building relationships that open up valuable guest posting opportunities. The posts you guest blog should be your best work and in no way reflective of spammy or less useful content, or Google will eventually catch up with you.

  1. Slow Page Speed/Poorly Performing Site

This matters a lot, because Google regularly crawls sites and accounts for how functional and accessible they are. Having a slow page speed, not being mobile friendly, or having a difficult to navigate site shows Google that your site isn’t the best option for users to find in their search results. By now we know that page speed, mobile friendliness, and ease of website crawling are factored into algorithms. Checking to see how your website performs through user testing and testing page speed are both things website owners should check on if they haven’t already.

  1. Hacked Websites

Security is a big factor for Google, because they want to know that user information is secure on the websites they visit. Hacked websites are up 32% in the past year, posing a significant threat to the performance and success of websites as well as the security of users. Securing your website is an important and necessary step all webmasters must take if they intend to be successful on Google. From simple practices like implementing two-step authentication to purchasing more advanced security packages, it’s in your interest to make your website security airtight to avoid a penalty from Google.

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