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Beth, a content marketing veteran, is responsible for client website strategies and overall project management.  Before joining Pilot Fish in 1999, she worked at Crain Communications' Rubber & Plastics News and Waste News.

New Google Algorithm Update Postponed to June

Google announced this week that it’s postponing the roll-out of its previously announced page experience algorithm update from May to mid-June. It said the roll-out would happen gradually and be completed in August.

This provides a little breathing room for you to get your website’s page experience in good shape. As a first step, here’s the information you need to know.


Core Web Vitals

What Google has termed as Core Web Vitals are at the center of the upcoming page experience update. This comprises three measurements: Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay and Cumulative Layout Shift. We’ll take these one at a time.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) represents how quickly your website loads. Unlike First Contentful Paint, which you may have heard of and which measures when the first element of your web page loads, LCP measures when the largest element on a page loads. To get a passing grade from Google, a web page’s LCP needs to measure less than 2.5 seconds. According to Google, a fast LCP reassures a site visitor that the page is “useful”.

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Is Your Website Ready for Growth?

Most industrial buyers say they rely on company websites for information on products and services.

2020 was a tough year for manufacturers. Covid-19 and the resulting economic slowdown put a dent in business for many companies.

Corporate Optimism Grows

But 2021 looks to be a better year, at least according to the results of MNI’s 2021 Survey of Manufacturers. According to the report, 47% of respondents expect business to return to normal this year, while 77% are somewhat to very optimistic about 2021 business conditions.

Other key take-aways include:

  • 40% are planning or considering a facility expansion or upgrade
  • 62% plan to source more domestic suppliers
  • 62% expect to increase production

The most recent NAM Manufacturer’s Outlook Survey backs up those findings, with 88% of NAM respondents either somewhat or very optimistic about the future. On average, NAM respondents also said they expect sales and production to both grow 4.9% by the beginning of 2022.

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Google Strikes Again with Another Core Update to its Algorithm

As usual, Google didn’t specify what changes it incorporated into the update and offered no useful comments on how to overcome any negative fallout.

You may not have heard about it, but you’ve likely felt some of the reverberations: Google unleashed a major core update to its search algorithm at the beginning of December.

Although Google says it constantly fine-tunes its algorithm, this was the first major update since May. While an update was overdue – Google usually averages around three major updates a year – the timing of this one, right in the middle of the holiday season, was an unwelcome surprise.

Websites that track Google changes identified the December update as more dramatic than the May rollout. Results fluctuated for websites across a wide range of industries in all geographic areas on both desktop and mobile platforms. Some sites reported traffic drops of as much as 40% because of the update.

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1995 vs. 2020: Website Design, SEO & Beyond



Even disregarding the current pandemic, 1995, the year our company was founded, seems a world away.

Bill Clinton was in his first term as president … the Dow Jones, which first surpassed 30,000 last month, ended 1995 at 5,117 … the U.S. population was at 267 million (compared to 331 million today) … and only 12% of those people owned mobile phones in 1995. Cell phone ownership today is estimated at 96% of the population.

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How to Write a Good Blog Post



We frequently recommend that our clients include a blog as part of their websites and that they publish posts regularly on a set schedule.

But we rarely get into the nitty-gritty of blogging.


Why Blog?

Blogging is important for several reasons. The most crucial from our perspective is that it’s good for SEO and content marketing.

Freshness continues to play a role in search engine algorithms – the search engines generally reward sites that are regularly updated. A blog is an easy way to provide fresh content.

Internal links also are a factor in search engine algorithms. A blog post can – and should – provide the opportunity to link to a couple of your most important pages.

Of course, there are added benefits to blogging. A regularly maintained blog can:

  • Develop and strengthen relationships with new and existing customers
  • Increase your brand awareness
  • Position your company as an industry leader

Taken together, all of these reasons make blogging a good idea.

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Do You Have an ADA-Compliant Website?

Disabilities are far more common than most people realize.

When most people think of the Americans with Disability Act, they think of physical barriers, like buildings without ramps or elevators.

But the ADA applies to websites as well, and companies are being sued for having inaccessible websites.


Common Problems

You may want to say, “I don’t get any disabled website visitors,” but you have no way of knowing that, and disabilities are far more common than most people realize. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 56.7 million U.S. residents (18.7% of the population) have some sort of disability, and 38.3 million residents (12.6%) have a severe disability.

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A Website Audit Can Keep Your Site Front and Center for Search Engines and Prospective Clients

As the economy reopens across the country – and around the world – many companies are adjusting to a new reality. Doing business remotely is the norm now, and manufacturers need to learn to adapt.

With an emphasis on video conferencing and virtual meetings, it’s easy to overlook the basics. But your corporate website is an asset that deserves special attention. Now more than ever, a company’s website offers a vital first impression to people looking for your products and services online.

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Google Algorithm Change to Target User Experience

Google has announced that it’s preparing to add a new algorithm to its arsenal, this time based specifically on people’s experience with web pages.

The good news is that the algorithm won’t take effect until some point in 2021, so you have plenty of time to get ready.

The new algorithm is called the Google Page Experience update. It incorporates several ranking factors Google previously announced, with some new considerations thrown into the mix.

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Content Marketing in the Time of Coronavirus

Customers will remember who stepped up to help.

COVID-19 and its effect on everything from health to industry have everyone’s attention these days. It’s an undeniable fact of our times.

As a result, B2B content marketing strategies need to take this preoccupation into account – not to capitalize on it but to acknowledge customers’ very real and very immediate concerns.

Pushing ahead with your planned content marketing program without that acknowledgement can seem tone deaf if not downright insensitive. You need to adapt your strategies to today’s necessities. Businesses that can pivot to take their customers’ concerns into account will be the ones to succeed.

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Google Algorithm Change Shakes Things Up

Keep focused on great content.
- Google

Google routinely adjust its algorithm a couple times a week to no fanfare, but an update that rolled out in early November caught the attention of SEOs and website owners.

Some websites saw their traffic drop 30-50%. Some of our own clients were slightly affected, and we’ve already initiated activities to get them back on track.

In response to questions from SEOs, Google confirmed that an update had occurred but gave no indication of what website owners could do to combat the change, beyond its usual advice to provide “great content”:

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Chrome Security Hurdle May Affect Your Website’s Usability

50% of U.S. browser traffic comes from Chrome, which means many site visitors may not be able to view your site properly starting in March.

Google is set to throw a new wrench into how visitors view your company’s website. Starting in March, Google’s Chrome browser will start blocking “mixed content” on secure websites.

Which might sound like confusing jargon, so let’s have some definitions first:

A secure website is one whose address starts with https, rather than just plain http. The “s” means the site is secured by extra coding to deter hackers from intercepting the personal data entered by a visitor to that site. The extra coding also allows your browser to verify that it’s really displaying the website you want to view.

A nonsecure website doesn’t have that extra layer of protection. Google often labels these sites as “not secure” and can even block users from easily reaching the site.

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Newest Periodic Table of SEO Factors Outlines What It Takes to Get Good Search Engine Rankings

The basics are simple – good content, careful coding, no sneaky tricks.

Search Engine Land has released the 2019 version of its Periodic Table of SEO Factors, a handy chart of the activities that can positively – and negatively – affect your website’s search engine rankings.

With 200+ ranking factors in Google’s algorithm, Search Engine Land distills all the known information about Google’s methodology into 35 elements, which cover multiple ranking factors.


Positive Attention

Twenty-nine of those elements represent positive ranking factors, those activities you can undertake to help improve your website’s position on the search engines. Seven of the elements dealt directly with content.

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Does Your Website Connect with Customers?

We can’t just put up a generic website and expect people to get a good experience or expect it to help drive engagement for sales.

A B2B buyers survey by Demand Gen Report provided some interesting results that should have a direct impact on how you manage your company’s website and content marketing.

Among the findings, 45% of respondents said they’re using more sources to research and evaluate purchases. Is your corporate website visible enough to be one of those resources? Does it provide the information that your potential customers are looking for?


Information is King

The following variables were reported as very important when the respondents were ready to evaluate suppliers:

  • Features/functionality (72%)
  • Solved a pain point (72%)
  • Demonstrated experience with or knowledge of respondent’s industry (62%)
  • Case studies/testimonials (rated as very important by 47% of survey participants)
     
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The Once & Future Problem with Spam Contact Forms

We’re left to realize that some things never change.  

Once upon a time, sales seemed simple. You called, visited or mailed your prospects and clients directly. As technology progressed, you might have faxed them. If someone wanted to find you, they could visit your booth at a trade show or look up your phone number and address in a physical directory.

Then the Internet came along, and things got interesting. Now a lot more people could find you much more easily – and you could collect leads more easily, too, because your website had a nifty neato contact form for site visitors to submit.

Then hackers ruined everything by finding ways to automatically fill in and submit the contact forms on websites. Some of these submissions were cold calls, some were mere nuisances and some were actual hazards containing malicious code.

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Content Marketing After the Death of Google+

Corporations large and small use social media every day as a key component of their content marketing.

Google+, the tech giant’s foray into social media, is officially dead and no longer plays a role in content marketing. As of early February, people could no longer join Google+, and, as of April 2, the company will begin to shut down accounts and delete information.

The Birth of Google+

When it launched in June 2011, Google+ was like any typical social media platform: it allowed users to post and store images, provide status updates and share links to interesting stories on the web. Google+ offered “circles,” which allowed a user to slot what other social media sites called “friends” or “followers” into different groups with whom that user could share posts and updates.

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4 Simple Content Marketing Tips to Boost Your SEO

Produce fresh, useful content that appeals to customers and prospects.

With 2019 well under way, now is a great time to review your SEO practices and plan to take some new steps in the right direction when it comes to content marketing.

New, fresh content continues to remain a top priority when it comes to ranking well on the search engines. Google, in fact, rewards pages that display expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.

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Review Your Website to Ensure SEO Success in the New Year

A poorly maintained site usually won’t rank well on Google.

2018 is nearly over, and we all have our own lists of things we’d like to complete before the end of the year.

One task that should definitely be on your list is a quick review of your website.

Let’s be clear: mistakes on your website matter. An old phone number or malfunctioning contact form could keep you from acquiring a new customer, while inaccurate information and broken links can lead new prospects to decide you’re not a vendor they feel comfortable with.

Broken links and inaccuracies matter to Google as well – a poorly maintained site usually won’t rank as well in Google’s search results.

So what’s a concerned site owner to do? Here’s a simple checklist of 10 items to review on your website to make sure your site is in good shape:

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6 Linking Tactics – and a Bonus Tip – for Better B2B SEO

Content marketing & link-building can provide a powerful one-two punch for your B2B SEO.

One easily forgotten element in the battle to improve search rankings is simple linking.

Here are some easy ways to increase the number of links to your website:

  1. Content marketing is the key here: Write new, useful content every month – no one will link to an old, outdated website that has nothing new to offer. This content can include:
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Google Algorithm Changes Stir Things Up

Remain focused on building great content.

Google is up to its old tricks, unleashing several algorithm changes since the beginning of the year.

One of the most important is also one of the ones we’ve known about the longest: Google’s move to a mobile-first index. Although it’s been talking about this change since 2016, Google only began testing mobile-first indexing on a few, select sites in October.

And then on March 26 Google announced that it was officially moving larger batches of websites to mobile-first indexing. Basically, if there’s a mobile version and a desktop version of a website, Google is going to display the mobile version in its search engine results, which is what people will see whether using their mobile devices or desktop computers. Eventually, Google will have one index that favors mobile-friendly websites.

If you have a well-optimized website that works on mobile devices, you should be in the clear. 

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Putting Your B2B SEO to Work on an International Stage

Clients who’ve implemented properly optimized foreign-language websites have received increased leads.

It’s great to have a well-designed website, properly optimized according to B2B SEO best practices. But, if your company targets markets outside of the U.S. and Canada, a well-designed, well-optimized English-language website might not be enough.

You’ll usually find the best success globally when you design your marketing efforts with your international audiences in mind. It might sound daunting, but the good news is that the basics of B2B SEO work well in any language, if you keep in mind the following tips:

Use the right domain name.

If you’ve got deep pockets, you can buy a language-specific domain name for each country you market to and host each website in that specific country. This requires a lot of resources – including hiring and maintaining a web-editing staff in each country – and demands an incredible amount of oversight to make sure that each website remains up-to-date.

An option that’s more time- and cost-efficient while still being highly effective, is to create separate sections within your own website to target each country. Each section should be labeled with the abbreviation for that country, such as yourdomain.com/mx for a website targeting Mexico or yourdomain.com/de for a website designed for prospective customers in Germany.

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