On November 5 Microsoft released the latest update to its built-from-the-ground-up browser  Microsoft Edge. For some time now Windows users have complained about the inadequacies of Internet Explorer (IE) and its failure to compete with Google’s Chrome or Firefox. 5 Innovative Features of Edge that prove it’s time to say Goodbye to IE So Microsoft set its sights on developing an all new browser for the latest version of its OS – Windows10. Under a project codenamed ‘Spartan’, Microsoft Edge was developed. Since its initial release in the beginning of 2015, Edge has been both complimented and ridiculed for some of its features. The general consensus is that it has some pretty good new features but still needs a bit of work in plenty of areas. Here is a look at the most outstanding features of Microsoft Edge that experts are happy with. Integration with Cortana Edge comes integrated with Microsoft’s intelligent personal assistant for search assist. This is a welcome addition to the browser as it lends convenience and dynamism to searching that has hitherto been lacking in MS browsers i.e. the many versions of internet explorer. Annotation Tools The all new browser comes with a unique new feature that allows you to doodle, highlight or write on any webpage by simply clicking on the ‘Make a note’  option. You can choose from a pen, highlighter, eraser or clipper to make the changes to the web page and then save those changes and even share them with friends. Distraction Free Reading Mode For those who are tired of the many distraction on web pages that interrupt their reading flow, Edge has a special feature that allows you to read any article without any distractions.  The ‘Reading View’ of the browser opens up a clean interface devoid of anything except the content of the article. Sharing via Integrated Share Panel Edge also enables integrated sharing via Share Panel. Just click on the Share icon and a list of all your active social media apps appears. You can easily choose the one you prefer and share stuff with your friends. Analyze Your Site’s Performance Microsoft Edge comes with a unique developer tool that lets you analyze your website’s performance. ‘The Unified Performance Profiler’ is aimed at providing JavaScript and UI responsiveness tools to developers in order to enable a more efficient workflow and help them figure out the kinks that lead to slow website loading so they can remove them. Apart from these unique ones, there are other smaller features as well that make Microsoft Edge a worthy choice when it comes to your go-to browser. By all opinions there is still some work that needs to be done on Edge to make it a competitor of Chrome and Firefox but there is also across the board consensus that it’s time to say goodbye to the old Internet Explorer.
The last decade has seen an exponential rise in the number people using social networks to connect with each other. After Facebook came Instagram and Pinterest, and together they have raised the popularity of visual content to unprecedented heights. Let’s see how and why businesses should use this popularity. The Power of Visual Content Infographic
Mobile traffic has exploded in the last 5 years. The exponential rise in the traffic that goes through mobile devices has been unprecedented to say the least. However, Mobile traffic is further divided into two subsets. The traffic generated by responsive websites built, either exclusively or inclusively, for mobile devices and the traffic generated by mobile apps. New  Mobile Website Vs Mobile App These two are essentially different, from the developer’s desk right up to the way the end users use them. Analyzing these differences can help you determine which platform would be better suited for your business to reach its target audience.  Let’s take a look. Mobile Web                                                                              Market surveys reveal that in terms of time spent by user, mobile websites lag way behind mobile apps. But at the same time mobile websites get almost twice as much overall traffic as compared to apps. Similarly, in terms of the amount of referrals, mobile websites come out on top with Search and Social media being the top sources. User behavior for mobile websites and mobile apps differs vastly. Much of this is due to the fact that the two platforms provide different formats. For example, a random website page found as a result of a search query by a user will include, on average, numerous other outbound links to pages with related or relevant information. Thus even though the time spent by a user on the page might be little, it initiates a chain of exploration that can drive traffic to potentially many other pages or websites. This does not happen in the case of apps. The next section will explain why. Mobile Apps Almost all statistics agree that an overwhelming majority of the people spend most of their times using app rather than mobile website. In fact, about 85 to 90% of the total time spent on mobile device comprises of app usage.  However, the vast majority of this traffic is confined to the top performing select few apps. So much so, that the top 25-50 apps account for nearly 80-90% of all usage. Mobile applications further face the problem of retention. Surveys suggest that most apps would never be opened again after 90 days of installing. The usage graph of most apps out there falls sharply with time, often never repeating the initial spike. Mobile applications by virtue of their format encourage concentrated and prolonged usage but the flipside of this is that they do not generate even half as many referrals and do not drive traffic further. Add to this that mobile applications require substantially more monetary investment during development as compared to a responsive websites. So where should you devote your marketing and development efforts? Keeping the above-mentioned points, business owners planning to build either a website or an app need to carefully consider their objectives and decide which platform best serves them. Experts suggest that unless you have an exceptional team of developers working for you who can create a premium level app that can compete with the best in the niche, it’s a much wiser move to opt for a mobile responsive website. On the other hand, if the service you plan to provide cannot be encompassed by the web platform then you may have no choice but to go for a mobile app. Therefore, before deciding on whether to invest in website development or app development to bolster your business’s online presence carefully evaluate all the factors mentioned here and then settle for the most optimal solution.
AdWords campaigns incur a significant load on the marketing budget of a company. This is especially true for small businesses competing in a tough market. Such a scenario necessitates that the right strategies be used. Let’s see how you can manipulate your ad words strategy to ensure maximum ROI. How to Get the Most Out from your Google AdWords Campaign
Online reviews are increasingly playing a pivotal role in making or breaking a business’s online reputation. Statistics clearly show that an overwhelming majority of people rely heavily on online reviews of a business while deciding whether to buy a product or a service. According to credible reports, nearly 90% of the people surveyed admitted that reviews posted by previous consumers have a huge impact on their decision to choose a business or a brand. Online reviews are the modern day equivalents of word of mouth recommendations. And they are just as potent, perhaps even more so. How Online Reviews Impact your business The significance of these reviews presents a wonderful opportunity for businesses. If handled properly and proactively, customer reviews can become an invaluable asset to your business. Let’s see how.

How to harness the power of Online Reviews

It hardly need be stated that a good review of your business will surely have a positive impact on the success of your business. A review like that is the sort of promotion that money can’t buy.  What often throws business owners in a tailspin is how to handle Negative reviews. With the right response, it is possible to turn a negative review into a positive reflection of your business. This is achieved by responding politely and sincerely to the aggrieved customer and addressing their complaints or concerns in a professional manner. Research reveals that businesses that respond to negative reviews and offer to address the problem and make amends are regarded very highly by other customers. Such response shows your customers, both current and future, that you are genuinely concerned about customer satisfaction and are not merely paying lip service to the notion. Through the right response, online reviews can become amazing tools of promotion for your business. Let’s go over the guidelines that will help you deliver the ‘proper response’.  

The Dos and Don’ts of Responding to Negative Reviews

Respond Calmly and Professionally When responding to a negative review it is essential that you keep your tone and language cordial and professional. If you are angry about the incident in question, then it’s best to hold off till cooler heads prevail. A sarcastic or angry response to a negative review can prove catastrophic for your online reputation. Check if a mistake was made and accept it Did you or your staff make a mistake? If the answer is yes, then it’s best to outright accept your mistake rather than make excuses. Acceptance of your mistake reflects your sincerity towards your customers. Offer to make things right and follow through on your promise. Make appropriate amends The best way to placate an aggrieved customer is to offer them some incentive along with a promise of better service in the future. For example if someone has made a genuine complaint about getting very poor service at your restaurants, offer them free dessert of choice on their next visit or better yet a dinner on the house. Such incentives will vary from business to business and case to case but across the board, discounts and freebies work like a charm. Shift to a Private Mode of Communication After the initial response, divert the conversation to a more private mode of communication such as email or a phone call. The object here is to take the ensuing conversation away from the public eye while ensuring that your offer to address the complaint is visible to the public. Use reviews to improve your business Online reviews can become a very good source of suggestions for business development. Once a mistake or error in your ways is pointed out to you, make sure to permanently remove it so it does not reoccur. This way negative reviews can actually help you make lasting improvements to your business. So, the next time a customer posts a negative review about your business, these tips will come in very handy in tackling that problem.
Google has been constantly evaluating and evolving its search algorithm in order to generate better results for the users. Although Google has always been very secretive about the exact mechanisms of its algorithm, they have always been very open, even instructive, about what they want from webmasters i.e. better and relevant content in easy to navigate and responsive websites. Preparing for the latest Google update Every time Google has rolled out an update to its search algorithm(since introducing Penguin) , the rankings of numerous websites have seen drastic changes. Those who were at odds with Google’s changed parameters saw their webpages shift from top results to relative obscurity on the SERPs. At the same time webmasters who followed the guidelines were catapulted to higher rankings in search results. For businesses whose revenue generation is directly related to the traffic that comes in from search results, the impact Google updates can have on the success of the business cannot be understated. The last Google update was rolled out in late 2014 and unsurprisingly it had a major impact on a large number of websites’ rankings. The Latest Google update is about to be implemented. Here’s a look at what we know about its so far.
  • The update is going to happen by the end of 2015. No exact date has been announced but expect it to come into force before the year is out.
  • This pending update will be released in real-time. This means that as Google’s search bots find websites that don’t conform to its norms they will be penalized in real time and similarly websites that adhere to Google’s diktats are likely to see a surge in their rankings in real time.
  • There is speculation that with this latest Penguin update is going to penalize websites that have spammy backlinks and are using practices that Google discourages.
  So, the question remains, what do you need to do to prepare for the latest Penguin update. Whether you need to make any changes will depend upon the current practices you are using to push your website to the top of search engine results. Generally, the following are some points on which you can evaluate your website and decide if any changes need to be made. Anchor Text – Instead of exact matches of text, focus on using long tail keywords and brand related text. The aim here is to make it as easy as possible for interested users to find your webpage. Backlinks – Backlinks are going to be a major factor that this latest update  is going to address. So, it makes sense to evaluate the backlinks to your webpages to determine if any of them originate from spammy sources. If so, then have them removed or if you are unable to do that, disavow those links making it clear to Google that you have nothing to do with the origin of the backlink. Internal Links – Optimize your internal links. Again, the aim here is to provide the user, content that he or she would be interested in. Determine whether the internal links on a page are relevant to the content on that page. If you think the content on page A would make a user want to view the content on Page B then add a link. This helps smoothen the site’s internal structure and is also considered a user friendly practice by Google. With the right preparations webmasters can look forward to welcoming the Penguin update instead of dreading it. If someone with the right knowledge and using the right practices is handling your website optimization then this update is likely to have a positive impact on your site’s rankings.
A/B testing measures the impact of changes made on a website by simultaneously making the original website as well as its changed version available to the users. The basic principle behind A/B testing is quite simple. Compare both webpages by measuring conversion rate. The one that performs better, wins! The detailed analytics available today make it a very efficient marketing tool. Let’s see how it works. A B Testing Infographics
YouTube is considered the 2nd largest search engine in the world based on traffic. With over 1 Billion hits per month, its hardly surprising that Google has decided to cash in on the immense popularity of YouTube. Here’s look at YouTube’s new avatar. YouTube Red

What is You Tube Red

YouTube Red offers a Monthly subscription for around $10. This subscription will buy you access to all the videos on YouTube but without the nuisance of advertisements. YouTube Red was released in the U.S. on 28th October, and will be released internationally in the coming months.

What are its Features

YouTube Red offers a bundle of new features aimed at providing a more seamless experience to users. Here are some of its main features
  • You can watch videos without ads. However, this only applies to videos that are freely available in the first place. Paid channels and rental videos are not covered  under this feature.
  • You can save a video to watch it offline. Videos can be downloaded to your device and can be viewed for 30 days without an Internet connection.
  • You can listen to videos with the screen turned off or in the background while using another app.

Platforms Compatible with YouTube Red

YouTube Red will be available on the following platforms:
  • YouTube and its Android and iOS apps
  • Chromecast
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • Gaming Consoles: Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4
  • Roku (LT, 1, 2, 2 HD, 2 XD, 2 XS, 3, Streaming Stick, Roku TV)
  • Supported Smart TVs
The features that allow offline viewing are only available on YouTube and its iOS and Android apps.

What About those Who don’t Subscribe?

The launch of YouTube Red sparked concerns over what would happen to YouTube users who don’t wish to subscribe for the paid version. Google has quelled all such concerns by assuring that the original YouTube format will remain unchanged and everything will go on as before.

Why Subscribing to YouTube Red might be Good Idea

In addition to the aforementioned features, YouTube will be providing an array of new entertainment and educational series that will be exclusively available on YouTube Red. After the success of Netflix in the past years, it is probable that Google is trying to emulate it with this venture. Which means good news all around for viewers, as more and more fresh series will now have a chance of getting made, adding another glorious chapter to the Golden Age of the small screen.
Driving traffic to your website is important. But even more important is being able to convert that traffic into sales or leads. The only way to do that is to make your website design, experience and content, compelling enough to inspire a visitor to take action. Website design is becoming more and more important as a factor in conversion rate. Research suggests that a mere 12.5% improvement in website design and features can lead to a staggering 83.85% improvement in conversion rate. The anatomy of website that improve conversion rates
So you have optimized your website to conform to the best SEO practices. The titles and descriptions are hitting the sweet spot in character limits and the H1 tags, image files and text, all include relevant keyword phrases. The content creation has been streamlined and relevant and informative content in your vertical is consistently being published on and around your website. After Optimization What next These efforts should have catapulted you to respectable rankings on the SERP’s. But at this stage, it’s common for SE optimizers to feel a vacuum of new ideas as to what more can be or should be done. In order to further advance in the battle for supremacy on SERP’s you will have to engage a host of new tactics and strategies. In this article we offer some methods that’ll help you rise higher on the success graph and gain even more visibility and popularity in your niche. Target New and Varied Keywords Once you have optimized your website for the keywords that directly pertain to your niche, it’s time to expand the scope of your keyword research by including new and varied keywords. This process will involve a lot of intuitive understanding of user behavior and how the average searcher reaches from point A to C on the web. But the rewards of targeting an ever expanding range of keywords that hold varying degrees of relevance with your vertical can be great and worth every bead of sweat you invest in it! Focus on Conversion In the race to reach the top, it’s easy to forget that the ultimate of aim of all your SEO efforts is not just to bring more and more visitors to your website but to get them to do or buy what you want them to. Conversion. That should be the eventual goal. If optimization has raised your site’s ranking on search engines, then it’s time to start strategizing how to convert all the new traffic into paying customers. Structure your On-page content and design to provide maximum motivation to your visitors to follow your call-to-action. Harness the Power of Video One of the most underused resources by business and corporate websites to reach their audience is the video format. A high quality video that delivers your message along with useful information or engaging entertainment can have tremendous effect on your online visibility and popularity. Based on the number of monthly searches, YouTube itself is the second largest search engine in the world. Create a video that would appeal to your target audience and publish it on YouTube. And why stop there? If you have invested time and money to create engaging videos, post them on Vimeo, Dailymotion, YahooScreen.  Each of them boasts hundreds of millions of unique daily visitors. Video content is easy to watch, easy to share and it’s the most powerful medium to reach generation Y. Google Isn’t the Only Answer Google is a behemoth. But it’s not the only place where you can engage your potential visitors. If you are selling products designed to appeal aesthetically, like artistic furniture or custom jewelry, then Pinterest is a great platform to promote your products. If you provide B2B services to major corporate clients then Linkedin and many similar business community sites would be the places you should focus on. The point is – be where your potential customers are likely to be. Fish where the fish are! Local Search Matters With Google’s changing format Local search is becoming more and more relevant for small local businesses. If you search Google for plumbing services, then instead of some highly ranked plumber’s website, Google will provide listings of plumbing providers in your locality. These listing are ranked on the basis of user reviews among other things. So for small local businesses that exclusively rely on local customers, it makes absolute sense to focus on web portals that provide such listings. Yelp and Yellowpages are great places where you can direct your energy and resources to improve your local standing. Target International Consumer Base If you are in the business of selling eBooks, or eServices or products which can easily be shipped overseas, then including foreign traffic in your optimization can open vast potential markets to you. Find out where else in the world people would be willing to pay for your services or products and focus on becoming visible in those markets whether they exist in Eastern Europe or South East Asia. Adopt a proactive Approach to Lead Acquisition If you are an expert in your niche or possess intricate knowledge about the products, share it with the world. Reach out. Instead of simply relying on traffic that Search Engines will bring in, adopt a proactive approach. Publish guest posts; participate in seminars, webinars, anything and everything that gets the word out that you are an authority in your niche. These efforts will draw potential customers, who are looking for your products or services, directly to you.   SEO, day by day is becoming a more and more dynamic process, where single lane strategies will find it very hard to succeed. To gain an edge in the competitive market it’s become imperative to go in all guns blazing and keep up the barrage until you succeed. Hope these suggestions help. Happy Shooting!