How to reverse-engineer your content to increase traffic

Every single day, over 4 million posts are created in blogs online. When such a great amount of content is generated, it may be difficult for your posts to actually generate engagement with visitors. This is why understanding what makes particular content engaging is fundamental to businesses looking to develop continuous interactions with users and strengthen their online presence.

One of the key aspects of developing this kind of relationship with users is reverse-engineering your content. What this means is to analyze the ways in which competition generates engagements, study which aspects of their strategies apply to your business, and use this knowledge to cater to your audience in new and innovative ways. We can divide this process in three steps.

Step #1: Find content that’s already doing well

One of the first mistakes sometimes made in content generation is scaling back quality in favor of quantity. It is wrongly assumed that if you’re generating enough content daily, that at least some of it will receive visitors that can sustain your campaign in the long run. This mistake can lead you to spend a lot of time and resources generating material that will barely receive any attention. Thus, by identifying what makes content engaging, you may be able to use your resources more efficiently by crafting high-quality content and increase interest in your business.

If you want to figure out which content in your particular vertical is receiving engagement online, then one of the best ways to figure that out is by looking at what people are already sharing. For example, online content aggregators are continuously curating, promoting and sharing articles about every single topic imaginable. If you want to find out what is currently popular about any topic in particular, content aggregators and forums can give you an advantage to quickly access, categorize and understand which formats or concepts in particular are receiving more attention, and more importantly, you may be able to understand why they are receiving such attention.

This strategy can also help you identify which new trends are currently being ignored by your competition, recognize potential future clients that may be outside of your initial sphere of interests, and improve the way in which users interact with your content. You may realize that infographics and photographs create more engagement than text, that lists receive more visits than video, etc. Every industry is different, and the way you conduct your online business should adapt to generate the most interesting possible format to capture and retain your visitor’s attention.

Step #2: Improve on what you learned

Now that you’ve already identified which content and formats generate the greatest amounts of engagement in your area of interest, you’re ready to improve on this with your own spin. Everything can be improved upon, including posts that have been successful before, and this is where our expertise and knowledge of your field will give you a clear advantage.

One way of doing this is looking for information on a given topic that is slightly out of date, and improving it with any links, studies or new research that could turn old content into new engagements for your business. Another technique you could use is to aggregate and summarize several bits of information found in different places into one definite guide that includes all relevant material. If you manage to deliver more information in one place than your competitors, then you’ll have an advantage.

Another way of improving upon old content is to use innovative design to deliver information. A good enough design can make your content instantly appear more engaging and attractive to potential users.

The last strategy you can use is the writing itself. If you manage to write your content in a way that people enjoy reading, then your information is more likely to be shared. The language you use should portray both your expertise in your subject and your willingness to engage with your users at their level of knowledge. Retaining their attention will only happen if they are both getting something out of your posts and enjoying what they’re reading at the same time.

Step #3: Promote directly to interested users

When you are creating your content, it’s a good idea to think outside the box about which users could find your content interesting. If you realize that your post contains allusions or mentions of subjects outside of your main business, then sharing your content to those interested in this new subject could diversify and increase your audience. Looking for possible new subjects that might be tangentially related to your business is one of the best strategies to expand your audience.

This next strategy that you is a sure-fire way to increase your engagement: find those users who are already sharing material about your subjects and cater directly to them. Since you already know that the material you’re generating is better than the stuff they’ve shared before, then those users are more than likely to engage and share what you’re posting. Be direct and specific about why you’re contacting them. Your communications should include which material they’ve shared before and why yours is more complete, better researched, or better designed.

If you mention any experts or professionals as reference in your material, then it’s a good idea to let them know. A quick email or tweet perhaps informing them that their subject of study is being used and shared through your site is an excellent way of generating fruitful relations with possible future collaborators. Since they’re probably very involved in your particular area of interest, there’s a high chance that they might be sharing your other content too. Having an expert voice onboard will give your material both credibility and authority.

Finally, if you’re aware of any particular forums or sites dedicated to curating topics about your area, then engaging directly with them might be just as good as social media campaigns. Niche forums may have tons of dedicated users who are already looking for what you have to offer. If you manage to make them aware of your presence as a good reference, then you already have a captive audience that will probably engage with your site for years.

Market Demands On Software Engineers – The Value Of Good Developers

The market demands on software engineers are higher now than ever before and they will certainly continue to go up – The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects software developer jobs will increase by 30 percent between 2016 and 2026.

In today’s highly digital world, a good web developer is a key aspect of any business that wishes to position itself successfully on the internet, whether through a website, mobile app or any other development.

According to a tweet posted by Bloomberg reporter Jon Erlichman – who our CEO had the pleasure to meet in person during coverage for the “Bloomberg Technology” tv show in San Francisco -, average salaries for web developers and software engineers in top industry companies are currently ranging from $120,000 to $280,000, but why is demand so high?

What We Need From Software Engineers

In today’s digital age, the whole world practically runs on software: Every business out there needs a website and everyone with internet access uses them and apps every day, so the need to keep these resources as up to date, complex and efficient as possible means software engineers need to be able to stand up to the job.

As software is still local and competition gets fiercer by the day, most developments get built many times with a myriad of software solutions being developed to cover basically anything. As software development tools improve and projects get more and more complex, customers expect more everyday. New platforms come out and developers are no longer just needed for web but for iOS, Android and in some cases Messenger, WeChat and so much more.

Considering code has a limited lifetime and needs to be changed and updated constantly, it’s no wonder market demands on software engineers keep going higher and higher. If to this we add the fact that demand is higher than supply, then you can easily understand why a good web developer is more coveted than ever.  

What Makes A Great Web Developer In Today’s Digital World

When it comes to websites and apps, not all of them are built the same, hence why now more than ever companies are placing value on developments that help them stand apart from their competitors and achieve their goals, meaning the bar and market demands on great software engineers will only continue to grow.

However, don’t think that a great software engineer simply needs to write some good code. As the market grows, it also begins asking more from them, necessitating competence in every single aspect required to build, deliver and ship valuable software.

As the IT function shifts into more strategic organizational roles it is demanded of engineers that they add extra abilities to their resume such as being able to work in teams and across departments, combining their technical knowledge with aptitudes outside of traditional IT, such as customer service, analytical skills and communication.

A great software engineer is someone who is continually up to date on the latest developments, technologies, patterns and approaches while understanding precisely the product they’re developing and the business for whom it is made for. A good developer is able to think beyond the code and go to the experience of users of the software, anticipating the impact their decisions have on their team, company and the broader world around the development being worked on.

Top Website Development From LTTR

At LTTR we look to keep our bar high when it comes to website development, hiring only the best and brightest team to build our client’s websites and take care of all of the custom details that make your web presence stand out amongst the rest.

Find out more about the website development services we offer by giving us a call or filling out our online form today.

Ping Tracking, Great for Google, Better for User Experience, Bad for Privacy

Ping tracking is an unexpected but not uncommon use of the ping feature to track user’s online jumps. The ping feature in itself specifies a list of URLs that will be notified once the user clicks on the hyperlink. A standard tool in itself, one of the secondary uses it has involves the storage of information regarding the origin and destination of the request, which allows sites to record hyperlink click tracking. This practice may soon become the industry standard to record this kind of information.

Ping tracking acts as a way to track hyperlink clicks from one site to another, by storing a cookie containing relevant information about the Ping-From and Ping-To parameters, basically tracking origin and destination. At the same time, ping isn’t obliged to return the user to their original site after it has been delivered, which makes it ideal as a seamless to both “redirect” users towards a site and storing the from-and-to information about that redirection in one straightforward process. Notably, ping tracking isn’t limited to only ping back towards the original domain only, it can send that information anywhere the site code orders it to.

There’s an ongoing debate about privacy surrounding hyperlink click tracking. It has been argued that domains shouldn’t have any interest in storing information regarding which sites users visits from their hyperlinks, but Google has a different point of view about this. Their argument lies in the fact that their search engine can only be optimized if they know which links their users are visiting, for how long and/or do they bounce immediately, so they consider this information as crucial for the continuous development and optimization of their trillion dollar software.

Google used to store this information using a method known as HTTP redirect, in which clicking a hyperlink wouldn’t automatically link to an out page but instead they would redirect back to Google before linking the user to their intended site, creating and storing a cookie in the process. This two-step method of hyperlink storage has usually been the standard or common practice, but this same process can be streamlined via ping tracking, which both “redirects” and stores the link click in just one step.

Up until their last version Chrome 73, Google Chrome was the only browser in which Google used Ping tracking instead of HTTP redirect as a way to track destinations, since as a company they know for a fact that their native browser allows for ping tracking to work constantly even if it can be disabled, a certainty they don’t have with other browsers. Safari, Opera and Edge could work like Chrome in that it was enabled by default and could be disabled while Firefox and Brave don’t have it enabled by default. But Chrome 74, the newest update, doesn’t allow the user to disable ping tracking.

This push from Google to use ping tracking as the industry standard among browsers will probably be followed soon by other browsers. Since Google is storing hyperlink clicks from its users anyway, either via ping tracking or HTTP redirect, it’s safe to assume other browsers will soon follow in making ping tracking the standard method.

Ping tracking has benefits for both sites and users in that it makes the process of hyperlink click tracking faster. This parallel process allows sites to load faster and would reduce malicious redirection links hidden in hyperlinks, which from a user standpoint are clear benefits. But at the same time, it would cement the rather controversial issue of hyperlink click tracking as an established feature of web browsing.

Security expert Steve Gibson has described it as “Cleaner but Creepier”, in that it both streamlines hyperlink tracking but at the same time makes it unavoidable. At the same time he has also mentioned that there are currently no efficient methods to stop hyperlink click tracking, so in the end users will end up accepting ping tracking as the most efficient way to allow this practice to continue.

UPDATE: It has been recently announced that Mozilla Firefox will be in fact changing its setting on ping tracking to be enabled by default in its next version. Citing performance improvement as the main reason for this decision, Mozilla declared that disabling ping tracking would not be a meaningful improvement on user privacy since websites already have many alternatives for hyperlink auditing.

Blockchain By Cisco

This is a breakdown of Cisco’s recent announcement about Bitcoin Technology and how they are moving forward with developing the Open Source Technology.

Bitcoin & “Blockchain” is rapidly becoming one of the cornerstones of many industries and organizations, mainly because it brings a level of trust in transactions between different parties in a decentralized manner. Interactions between participants are stored in a shared secure ledger so information can’t be tampered with or altered by just one party. This level of ‘automated trust’ will simplify and fundamentally alter the business process.

The main drive behind this change is that internet business has increased both in size and complexity creating a challenge for business to manage data in a secure and transparent way. Bitcoin/”Blockchain” technology can increase the level of trust in the digitization process, enabling the construction of complex, decentralized ecosystems in which transactions can be automated and simplified.

Removing third party institutions, such as banks or governments, from trade and commerce offers the opportunity to increase efficiency in economy and increase new business value in excess of $3 billion by 2030, primarily by improved cash flow, asset provenance, native asset creation and the increase of trust in business models.

Bitcoin “Blockchain” models can be used across many industries, such as securing supply chains in materials, goods and assets in manufacturing business, automatizing the registration and securing of new products linked to the internet of things, and systematizing data about transportation, energy and utilities in smart cities, thus streamlining interface with citizens and maximizing the use of resources.

Current-day use of Bitcoin “Blockchain” technology is still in an experimental phase, and as it evolves several government and institutions are facing several challenges, mainly focused on which set of standards can meet the complexity of needs of each enterprise, industry-specific solutions for their processes, and interconnectivity between several different blockchain networks. Cisco is currently building the foundations to help businesses meet their needs to deploy large scale operations of “blockchain” networks.

The Cisco blockchain framework is composed of four reference groups, all of them based in Cisco’s proprietary technology. These reference groups are Platform, Interfaces, Infrastructure and Network, and Security and Analytics.

The Cisco Blockchain Platform is based on a Composable Architecture, which is adaptable for specific implementation across several industries and can be upgraded over time as the technology advances. The platform’s multiple layers can be customized via multiple plugins to meet the specific needs of each enterprise.

This Platform provides tools for both performance management and security, communication and consensus between nodes, secure contracts, authentication authorization and identity management, and ease of development for network administrators.

The Interface allows for an easy way of deploying and managing the network, deployment of necessary tools and integration with existing enterprise systems. It considers the several different users that will have access to the platform and different levels of access for both marketplace users and network managers. The platform offers flexibility for administrators via portal access, a Software Developer Kit (SDK), and a middleware and connector interface that integrates with other enterprise systems and “blockchain” networks.

The Infrastructure and Network offers a secure set of standards to address security risks, including reference architectures deployed on-site: as an enterprise demilitarized zone, via cloud service, or via hybrid deployment. This infrastructure provides flexible support for many infrastructure technologies such as Hardware Security Modules and WAN optimization tools.

The Security and Analytics offers an increased level of defense against threats that can put the blockchain network at risk, such as focused DDos and Sybil attacks, Routing attacks, exploiting of secure contract vulnerabilities, etc. The Cisco Blockchain network is secured with end-to-end security and analytics, with additional protection given by blockchain application firewall (BAF), an analog to a web application firewall that provides security by inspecting unusual patterns via analytics. This service also measures the performance of the network to provide SLAs and service assurance.

Cisco offers experience in several areas that will prove to be fundamental in the deployment of blockchain networks.These include Cloud service, since hybrid deployments will be fundamental to the enterprise blockchain space. Cloud service providers are already starting to offer blockchain tools and templates. Another important area is System integration, since these networks will have to be integrated with legacy systems and the deployment of new app tools. Finally, Industry specialists will provide solutions to specific industry requirements, assist with business case and ROI calculations, and ensure compliance to industry regulations.

Cisco is offering a complete ecosystem of services to provide “blockchain” adoption for enterprises, future-proofing our partners and customers while using all of the possibilities this new technology offers.

Interoperability between blockchain networks will become fundamental once more business start using this technology and their discrete networks start to integrate with each other. This interaction creates the need for industry standards and protocols as well as security toolkits. Cisco is focusing on creating a common data model that can be deployed on any blockchain network, while maintaining a cryptographically secure record of ownership or custody.

Cisco is working with a number of industry and ecosystem partners to develop “blockchain” standards and develop Bitcoin technology to its full potential. These partners include Trusted IoT Alliance, which focuses specifically on developing an interoperability network for digitized physical assets and their smart contract libraries, Hyperledger project, an umbrella project for multiple enterprise blockchain platforms and associated technology, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, which Cisco joined to develop open industry standards to address issues about scalability, privacy and confidentiality on the Ethereum blockchain (a fork of Bitcoin), and the Digital Chamber of Commerce, where Cisco is spearheading efforts to promote the acceptance of digital assets and blockchain-based technology.

Blockchain can potentially change how trust and transparency is managed in digital business. To meet this end, it has to meet the needs of enterprises through established protocols, industry-specific solutions, and the interoperability of Bitcoin “Blockchain” networks. Cisco is building a comprehensive foundation for enterprise Bitcoin “Blockchain” technology based on their strengths in high-availability distributed systems architecture and best-in-class capabilities around security, identity and cryptography, with a powerful ecosystem of partners and alliances. As businesses get ready to adopt this new technology, Cisco is focused on making Bitcoin “Blockchain” enterprise-ready.

Why Am I Not Seeing My Keyword Term Number 1?

“Why am I not seeing my keyword term number 1?” is a question SEO clients find themselves asking, usually right after they’ve conducted a Google search to see the results of their SEO services.

It’s understandable that after significantly investing in SEO, they want to see the results happening right in front of them. However, the truth is that clients asking themselves these questions forget to take into account that Google’s algorithm works in a very complex way, one that may most certainly remain outside the understanding of general users.

Starting as far back as 2005, Google began working around personalized search results as a way of facilitating queries and providing a better and more efficient search experience for the user. This means that using a combination of algorithms that draw information from cookies, search history, location, data collected on a determined IP address, click history, visit data and more, rankings are continually altered after searching for the same term more than once.

For example, if you enter a certain keyword, like “book shops in Raleigh NC”, more than once, Google may assume you still haven’t found precisely what you’re looking for so it alters the rankings in their search engine results pages (SERPs) in an attempt to provide you with a satisfying answer by showing you different pages and rankings every time. This would be a picture much different from the results a new prospect searching for the same keyword for the first time would get. Let alone your repeated attempts at surveillance of competitors.

Google makes money from collecting personal information (somewhat debatable) in order to sell targeted online advertising, so it makes sense that they use these types of personalized search mechanisms in order to provide users with the most relevant results, and therefore ads. Although the company has recently admitted that their personalization strategies have been reduced to location and immediate context from a prior search, it’s important to understand that just because you’re not seeing your keyword term in the number 1 position every single time you search for it does not mean your SEO company isn’t doing its job properly.

Depersonalized search and how it works

Every time a user conducts a Google search, information about their behavior, meaning which search results they clicked on or if they clicked on nothing and adjusted their search query, is collected.

Google uses this information to personalize any subsequent search in order to cater to what they think this particular user is most likely interested in. This means that their search results and the rankings they see will change by the second and third searches, even if they continue to look for the exact same keyword term. Especially if you as a business are clicking on your competitors to see ‘what they are doing’.

This is especially important for executives, managers and internal employees to understand since their own search results can be significantly skewed from any previous competitor research they may have conducted in the recent or distant past. This would not necessarily be the case for any other regular user/prospect searching for your specific keywords for the first time.

Depersonalized search tools are necessary in order to get the actual results that a new prospect would find when looking for your company or its keyword terms. These types of tools deactivate personalization as much as possible in order to provide you with the best view of actual rankings you would get.

At Look To The Right, we work hand in hand with depersonalized search tools in order to see and analyze precisely how a search term is being ranked without all of the influencing personalization provides. This allows us to provide a much more accurate view of the way SERPs look like when a new prospect searches for your business or associated keywords for the first time.

Since personalized search means there isn’t always consistent search experience across users, their locations, and devices, you need to be aware of the fact that tracking your own keywords without depersonalized search will not give you an accurate picture of what every other regular user sees, which answers your question of “Why am I not seeing my keyword term number 1?”.

Contact us today to increase your rankings! All LTTR clients receive actual rankings and if requested guidance on getting and using tools to do depersonalized searches themselves.

Google Introduces AMP for Email

If you’re looking to create a more dynamic, web-page like experience right at your inbox, discover how Google introduces AMP for Email.

Coming soon to Gmail and other major email providers such as Yahoo Mail, Outlook and Mail.ru, this new development promises to turn email messages into an interactive experience where you can get things done without having to leave your web based email client.

Even though this freshly revealed development was announced over a year ago, it took a lot of back-end work for the public to finally view and experience its results.

Although email experience has largely stayed the same over the past decade, web has not, so with the introduction of AMP technology that turns static flat content into a more interactive one, it was about time that this translated into inboxes as well.

Taking action through your emails used to come from clicking on a link to open a new tab and entering another website, AMP for Emails promises to make messages interactive using AMP supported components, such as amp-carousel, amp-lists and more, meaning that you can now RSVP to an event, book an accommodation or browse through a store’s inventory without ever leaving your inbox.

A few of the companies already supporting this new format are Booking.com, Despegar, Doodle, Freshworks, OYO Rooms, Pinterest and redBus, so expect to try out the development soon if you’re subscribed to any of these. Other partners that will support AMP for Email on their platforms include SparkPost, Litmus, Twilio Sendgrid and Amazon’s SES and Pinpoint email and marketing tools.

For developers with experience in AMP web pages working with this new format should be fairly easy, while marketers will be able to keep their content up-to-date and interactive for their users, who will enjoy a more engaging and actionable email experience.