In today’s technology-driven world, mobile applications have become an integral part of our daily lives. From simplifying tasks to providing entertainment and fostering communication, apps have revolutionized the way we interact with our devices. Behind every successful app lies the hard work, creativity, and expertise of app developers. In this blog, we will dive into the realm of app development and shed light on the top app developers in the world, whose unparalleled skills and innovation have redefined the industry.
Apple Inc. (iOS):
As the creators of the iconic iPhone and App Store, Apple has set the benchmark for app development. Their commitment to user experience, design, and security has propelled them to the forefront of the industry. Apple’s stringent quality control measures ensure that apps developed for iOS devices deliver seamless performance, while their software development kits (SDKs) and frameworks provide developers with powerful tools to build innovative applications.
Google’s Android operating system dominates the global smartphone market, making it a vital platform for app developers. The company’s developer tools, such as Android Studio and the Android SDK, provide an extensive range of resources and documentation to facilitate app creation. Google Play Store offers developers a vast audience to showcase their creations, and with a robust ecosystem of libraries and APIs, Google enables developers to build versatile and feature-rich applications.
Known for its Windows operating system, Microsoft continues to play a significant role in the app development landscape. With the introduction of Universal Windows Platform (UWP), developers can create applications that run seamlessly across multiple Windows devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Microsoft provides comprehensive development tools like Visual Studio, empowering developers to leverage the full potential of Windows OS.
As the largest social media platform, Facebook has made substantial contributions to the app development community. With their developer-centric initiatives, such as Facebook for Developers, they offer a range of tools and APIs that enable developers to integrate their apps with the Facebook platform. The Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK) allows seamless integration of social features, analytics, and advertising capabilities, empowering developers to create engaging experiences for users.
Recognized globally for its creative software solutions, Adobe has made significant strides in app development with its Adobe Experience Platform. Offering a suite of tools like Adobe XD, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Adobe Analytics, they enable developers to create visually stunning and user-centric applications. Adobe’s commitment to cross-platform compatibility allows developers to deliver seamless experiences across various devices and operating systems.
Hailing from China, Tencent has established itself as a global leader in app development. The company’s WeChat platform, with over a billion users, serves as a gateway for developers to access a massive user base. Tencent’s developer resources, including APIs and SDKs, provide extensive functionalities for building innovative applications within their ecosystem. The company’s investment in gaming and entertainment applications has further solidified their position in the app development industry.
App developers play a pivotal role in shaping the digital landscape and enhancing user experiences across the globe. The top app developers mentioned in this blog exemplify innovation, technical expertise, and a commitment to delivering exceptional applications. Whether it’s Apple’s seamless user experience, Google’s versatility, or Microsoft’s platform integration, each developer has its unique strengths and contributions. In a world where mobile applications continue to dominate our lives, the expertise of these top app developers ensures that the future of app development remains bright and promising. Alongside the world’s top app developers mentioned, KMF is also here to assist you in building your own app. With our expertise and dedication to delivering high-quality applications, we provide a comprehensive range of services to help you bring your app idea to life. Connect with us to embark on your app development journey and harness the power of cutting-edge technology.
The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
Back in March, Google announced that the current version of Google Analytics Universal (commonly known as Universal Analytics) will be deprecated as of July 1, 2023, in favor of the new version, GA4.
As a part of this transition, Google will be dropping support and tracking for Universal Analytics (UA), which has been the standard reporting tool for millions of websites since 2012. According to Google, historic data from Universal Analytics will be accessible for “at least six months” after the July 2023 retirement date. Keeping it ambiguous, Google adds:
“In the coming months, we’ll provide a future date for when existing Universal Analytics properties will no longer be available. After this future date, you’ll no longer be able to see your Universal Analytics reports in the Analytics interface or access your Universal Analytics data via the API.”
While 2023 may seem like ample time to prepare for this transition, the truth is you need to check a few boxes sooner rather than later, especially if there are important year-over-year (YoY) metrics that need to be tracked without disruption. In short order, capturing data for next year’s YoY metrics means that your business will need to take action before the end of summer 2022 to ensure:
YoY reporting (including access to historical data) – the full functionality you want/need from your data and analysis toolset
Your team is prepared to use the new tools (regardless of what new solution you choose)
Though Google “strongly encourages” users to make the transition to GA4 “as soon as possible”, we’d argue that – given the scale of the change and the work/resources it will require to properly transition to GA4 (as outlined in more detail below), now is the right time to pull up and evaluate your data tracking stack.
It’s too easy to make assumptions about needs and requirements being met based on “what we’ve always used,” and end up backed into a corner.
Instead, let’s explore this in detail and consciously select the right platform for your needs.
How is this different from the last GA platform change?
The transition from GA Classic to Universal Analytics was simple. All you needed to do was update the tracking code on your website. Your data was the same. The interface, metrics, etc. – all largely the same. That’s not the case this time around.
How are GA Universal and GA4 different?
Google made some big changes in GA4 that may take time to adjust to. This has many implications, including large differences in:
the interface for navigating and setting up the reports
the base skills/knowledge set needed for people using the new platform
the data set itself (GA Universal data is not compatible with GA4 data)
your ability to access and use YoY data
access to certain (well-loved) functionality, and even some metrics. Some will no longer be available OR require a thorough setup to access.
In short, GA4 is quite literally a re-imagining of how to track and measure website interaction. Much like the transition from USB to USB-C, this means changes to systems/processes, tools, skills/training, and potentially your annual budget, to ensure a smooth transition.
1. Reimagined reporting interface
The most glaring difference between Universal Analytics and GA4 is the reporting interface.
Compared to Universal Analytics, GA4’s interface is more simplified and streamlined. This is because some of the metrics, views, and reports you see in Universal have either been removed or replaced.
The updated interface looks much like Google Data Studio in the way analytics are presented. So if you’re familiar with Data Studio, then navigating GA4’s interface may be more intuitive for you.
Still, changing from what’s known and normal always comes with some level of pain and processing. Even for those who are well-trained in the world of Universal Analytics, adjusting to a new reporting interface will come with some confusion – and perhaps some roadblocks and resistance.
2. Evolving terminology
Once you start perusing the new interface, you’ll notice that Google has changed some of the terminology. “Behavior” is now “Engagement”, “Segments” have become “Comparisons”, and “Channels” is now “User Acquisition”. The “All Pages” reports have been renamed as “Pages and Screens”.
Google has also reorganized the “Audience” reports, and the information that used to be in the “Audience” reports are now in other sections, including “User” and “Acquisition” sections.
Navigating GA4 won’t necessarily be a frictionless experience, especially for those who are regularly immersed in Universal Analytics.
3. Updated measurement models
Universal Analytics and GA4 use different measurement models. While UA relies on a session- and pageview-based data model, GA4 stands on an event-based model. With GA4, any interaction can be recorded as an event.
The somewhat confusing thing about this change is that, in UA (and all previous versions of Google Analytics), an event has an action, category, label, and its own hit type. But in GA4, there is no action, category, or label.
ALL hits are events, and events can contain parameters.
…They don’t have to, though.
For example, in GA4, you can have an event called page_view, and this event can contain parameters: page_title, page_referrer (previous page URL), and page_location (current page URL).
Events in GA4 are grouped into four categories:
Automatically-collected events: You don’t have to manually activate these events. GA4 automatically tracks them when you install the GA4 base code. Examples include first_visit, session_start, and user_engagement.
Enhanced measurement events: GA4 also collects these events automatically, but you’ll need to enable (or disable) enhanced measurement settings in your Data Stream depending on your website functionality. These events include outbound clicks, scrolls, file downloads, and site searches.
Recommended events: These events are not implemented in GA4, but Google recommends that you set them up. If you need an event that’s not collected automatically or is not a part of the enhanced measurement events, you can check for it in recommended events. Examples of recommended events include sign_up, login, and purchase.
Custom events: These are events that you can create and implement by yourself. You should only use custom events when you need to track an event that you can’t find in the first three categories. You’ll need to write and design custom code to implement the custom event you want to track. Fortunately for the less code-savvy, Google has rolled out a tool to assist in importing custom events from Universal Analytics to GA4.
Overall, this approach actually allows more flexibility and configurability to WHAT is measured on your site.
However, with more flexibility comes more set up and forethought, so having a documented measurement plan is HIGHLY recommended for GA4.
4. New BigQuery functionality
If you use BigQuery, then you’ll be happy to know that GA4 connects natively to it. With Universal Analytics, the only way users can export data from GA is through the enterprise version (GA360). But with GA4, users can export data at no additional cost.
Keep in mind the way data is structured in GA4 is different from how it’s structured in Universal Analytics. So you might need to remap your GA4 data before you’ll be able to move it into BigQuery (we find this GA3 to GA4 tool helpful in formatting historical data to align with GA4.) Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to run SQL queries more easily.
The BigQuery integration is available, so we definitely recommend setting it up ASAP. Why? Well, GA4 only stores data for a maximum of 14 months (and default settings are only two months), so for accurate YoY comparisons, you’ll need to rely on this year’s BigQuery datasets you gather now or suffer the losses.
5. Removed functionality
Some existing features like views, custom metrics, and content groups will no longer be supported. If your team relies on these existing features, adapting to GA4 will likely involve figuring out how to fill certain measurement gaps. And if the transition becomes too compromising and painful, keep in mind that there are alternatives.
As you’ve likely gathered, moving from GA Universal to GA4 is not a light undertaking. Between adapting to GA4’s new reporting and measurement models and learning its revised labeling and terminology, it’s going to be a heavy transition no matter what your situation entails. Consequently, now is the time to verify that the outcome of all this work will in fact meet your needs.
What does this mean for you and your company?
All users of Universal Analytics (that’s close to… well, everyone, really), will need to start planning for how and where to continue measuring your website performance.
You’ll also need to take action to save your data for 1) posterity and 2) YoY reporting, given that the data set is NOT compatible, nor will be available to you (if you don’t take steps to preserve it). AKA: we also need to plan for when this needs to happen.
In terms of the how and where, ultimately, there are three primary options (four if your team takes a hybrid approach of combining options 2 and 3), each of which is outlined below.
1. Adopt GA4 and update any current measurement programs
The first option is the big one on most people’s minds. That is, opting to use GA4 and taking the proper steps to preserve data integrity and seamless measurement.
If you determine that GA4 is the right fit, the major boxes to check involve identifying measurement gaps and revising KPIs (or measurement protocols) to fill these gaps. You’ll also need to start collecting data (now) for later YoY reporting needs, as well as ensuring your team is up-to-speed on the new GA4 interface.
Given that the interface in GA4 is considerably different from the interface in Universal, any teams currently using the latter will likely require additional time and training to adapt to the new structure.
2. Move to a different hosted analytics platform
Due to some of the identified gaps, we’re exploring options for both free and paid alternatives to GA4 for our own team. Among the free analytics tools worth considering are Clarity, Clicky, and Mixpanel. While the free versions of these tools are great, some offer upgradeable paid options for more robust capacity/capabilities.
Some businesses may find that their requirements are better met by moving to paid tools or premium versions of certain analytics products. Of those worth exploring are Matomo, Adobe Analytics, Heap, Kissmetrics, Heap, and Woopra. The latter two offer free plans but, in our experience, they’re highly limited.
Keep in mind that not all of these analytics tools offer the same level of utility and features, and don’t forget about privacy and security to support GDPR and CCPA regulations, a growing concern for many brands.
While any new tool would require onboarding, many of them offer training as part of the client onboarding process. Most of these analytics options also offer a free trial, so you can vet a platform hands-on before committing to it.
3. Implement an on-premise/first-party data tracking solution (enterprise solution)
On-premise/first-party enterprise solutions can deliver greater utility, privacy, and compliance, depending on how they’re leveraged. Platforms like Matomo and Countly do offer on-premise implementation, meaning that your company would own ALL of the user data, instead of being passed through to Google Analytics (or any other third party).
If you have other owned digital platforms, coupling an on-premise analytics suite with solutions like Looker (owned by Google!) or PowerBI can allow you to access data across different teams and properties easily.
Please note that the implementation of this approach requires fairly heavy dev/engineering collaboration.
How should you evaluate alternative analytics tool sets?
When exploring alternative analytics options, there are many important considerations you’ll want to evaluate. Here are several key factors to help get you started:
Data ownership: Who actually owns the data? This can be a much larger conversation for companies in regulated industries where more than just marketing stakeholders are involved.
Privacy concerns: More than data ownership, where is the analytics data being hosted? This means the physical location of the servers where this data is stored. If you require GDPR-compliance, this is essential to know—and get right.
Accessibility: Will you have access to raw data? How long is data retained? Some analytics platforms will vary.
Native reporting: What sort of native reporting capabilities are there, and does the platform integrate into your company’s preferred reporting tools (e.g. Google Data Studio, Tableau, PowerBI, etc.)?
Attribution modeling: How are certain events like conversions determined and assigned across user touchpoints and channels? Does their model align with your attribution definitions? Think about last touch, first touch, etc., across the entire user journey.
Event & transactions tracking: What out-of-the-box event tracking is available? How do you add user ID tracking, and is it still secure and compliant? E-commerce stores and affiliate marketers may have unique challenges here, especially when it comes to communicating with your web platform, e.g. Shopify.
Campaign tracking: How does the system report on custom campaign metrics? These include things like UTMs and tracking URLs you get from the various ad platforms you may use.
Custom tracking: Is custom tracking an option? Does the platform provide their own tag manager, or can you use the tried-and-true Google Tag Manager (that’s probably already installed on your website)? Are there server-side tracking options?
Cross-domain tracking: Is the analytics platform capable of tracking user activity across more than one domain that you own?
Data importing: Can you import your old Google Analytics data, seamlessly or otherwise?
Cost: More than just ongoing monthly/annual fees to use the platform, what set-up fees, implementation costs, and ongoing maintenance efforts are required of you and your team?
There’s clearly a lot to consider when weighing various analytics alternatives. The thought-starters above offer some of the most important considerations to keep in mind. But deciding which data solutions will check the most pertinent boxes for your business can be a time-consuming undertaking in and of itself. To help make this vetting process a bit easier, you can make a copy of this Google Sheet template: Data Solution Option Vetting, which already lists several alternatives.
When should you make the transition from Universal Analytics to GA4?
In the case that you and your team decide to make the transition to GA4, you’ll need to get your ducks in a row sooner than later. The summer of 2023 may seem like ample time to prepare, but your team should start to take prompt action in:
deciding on a measurement solution,
preserving historic data, and
potentially implementing this solution prior to the end of summer 2022, and certainly prior to year’s end.
“Potentially” because some solutions – #3 from above – will simply require more time to implement.
Your data is safe for now: Google will not be removing/deleting your Universal data until the end of 2023. However, to reiterate, if you want to preserve your ability to do YoY reporting, you should take action sooner versus later.
There are some paid solutions to aid this process, but no one is really leading the pack on this one yet. This tool mentioned above can be helpful, however, a complete data export is still a necessary heavy lift.
For now, you can certainly export any of your favorite Google Analytics reports to Excel or Google Sheets using the Export function within the Google Analytics interface. Currently, only GA 360 users have seamless options for exporting their Google Analytics Universal data.
While many current Universal Analytics users will naturally default to GA4, hopefully by now, you’re well attuned to your options. It’s one thing to follow the herd, but it’s another thing to understand the features and limitations of GA4, as well as other analytics platforms, and how those considerations align with your needs and potentially those of your clients.
The Laravel about command released in Laravel 9.21 provides an excellent overview of important configurations for your application. Out of the box, it lists environment details, cache status, and configured drivers:
Another neat feature of the new about command is the ability for packages to add helpful information too. For example, we’ve covered Filament components here on Laravel News; after the release of Laravel 9.21, Ryan Chandler opened a pull request to add useful plugin details to Filament.
I think we’ll see a lot of package authors add helpful details to the about command. Hopefully, the end-user doesn’t get overwhelmed with too much info, or perhaps package developers make the inclusion of data in the about command configurable.
With that intro out of the way, how would you add custom data to the about command?
You can do so in a service provider, using the AboutCommand::add() method within the service provider’s boot() method.
In the following example, let’s say I wanted my package or application to output specific XDebug configuration values:
As the eCommerce industry continues to grow in popularity and effectiveness, so does the importance of social media advertising. Businesses need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. One of the most significant changes we’ve seen in recent years is the move away from general ads and towards more targeted, personalized campaigns.
With billions of people who have day-to-day running, it is currently the ideal location for companies to market their goods. Let’s take a look at what social media eCommerce may look like in the future.
I. Social Media + eCommerce = Social Media Commerce
It is hard to find someone not glued to their handhelds these days. More often than not, they would be browsing through one of their favorite social media platforms. Social media has taken over our lives, especially new platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok. They influence how we think, dress, work, and make decisions. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, and WhatsApp are not far behind in impact.
Social Media has changed the way we look at shopping. You browse through your favorite platform, see an ad specifically targeted at you based on your browsing and buying patterns, see something you like, visit the page – and voila! You end up shopping even if you do not want to.
eCommerce marketers have understood the nuances of a shopper’s mind and have started tapping into the sea of opportunities they see there. Most platforms have begun marketing and selling their products through Facebook and Instagram.
Buyers are welcoming this trend excitedly. They do not have to sit through loud TV or radio ads or go through pamphlets to browse through products. The choices were limited back then and most often would disappoint them.
II. Reasons for Advances in Social Media Advertising
Social media platforms have become highly effective at targeting ads to specific demographics. It allows businesses to laser-focus on their ad campaigns and ensures they reach the right audience.
Social media is exceptionally cost-effective. It is often one of the most economical forms of advertising available. It is because businesses only pay for ads when someone clicks on them.
Social media platforms are constantly evolving and introducing new features that make ads more effective. For example, Facebook recently introduced Dynamic Product Ads, allowing businesses to show specific product ads to users who have already displayed interest in them.
III. Social Media Advertising – Statistics and Trends for 2022
Social media has given a complete facelift to the advertising scene with influencer marketing and targeted Ad campaigns. Advertising agencies now know where to spend their $$ to get the audience to notice what they post.
3.1 The Statistics
The ad spends on social media has taken a whopping hike over the past couple of years. Let us breeze through some of the recent statistics.
The expected figure for digital ad spends for 2022 is $239.89 billion for the US alone
2022 ad spends might see a 13.6% hike from the previous year
The digital world is expecting a massive 16% annual increase between 2020 and 2025
The total figure would hit a $315.32 billion mark by the end of 2025
Digital ad spends will account for 75% of the entire media ad spends by 2025
3.2 The Trends
Here are three social media advertising trends that businesses should keep an eye on in the coming days:
3.2.1 Enhanced Personalization and Convenience
One of the benefits of social media advertising is that it allows businesses to target ads to particular audiences. For example, Facebook allows businesses to target ads based on interests, location, age, and purchase history.
Facebook Messenger and Lego have deployed Chatbots that help customers with their queries and help them shop. Twitter has a ‘Shop’ button and an eCommerce Twitter card with a product title and code, assisting customers in shopping. The same goes for YouTube’s ‘Buy’ button. In the coming year, we expect to see more personalization in social media advertising.
3.2.2 Improved Creative Uses of Social Media Advertising
In addition to increased personalization, we expect businesses to get more creative with their social media advertising. With the continued rise of platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, companies will use more creative formats for their ads, such as video and images.
For example, some businesses may use Twitter for lead generation through promoted tweets, while others may use Facebook for brand awareness with video ads. Live streaming through your channels gives the customers a fair idea about your products. Magento development experts built Magento Social to access the Facebook audience directly for advertising and promoting Magento eCommerce sites.
3.2.3 Increased Focus on ROI
Finally, we expect to see businesses place an even greater emphasis on ROI regarding social media advertising. With the ever-changing algorithms and increasing competition for attention on social media, companies need to be strategic in their approach to see a return on their investment.
Features like Instagram’s shoppable tags let you tag products directly to images and videos, facilitating direct shopping from your account. Brands have also started partnering with micro-influencers for influencer marketing, which is much cheaper and grabs more eyeballs.
3.2.4 Focus on Quality of Content
Another trend we’re seeing is a shift from one-off campaigns to longer-term strategies focusing on building customer relationships. It involves creating valuable and engaging content rather than just selling a product.
It means that businesses will need to focus on creating high-quality content that resonates with their target audience and test different types of ads to see what performs best. By doing this, businesses can ensure they get the most out of their social media advertising budget. User-generated content also gives a clear insight into the look and feel of a product. So does a video.
3.2.5Shift to Video Content
Finally, we’re also seeing businesses invest more in video content, as this is one of the most effective ways to reach and engage with customers on social media. With the viewer’s attention span reduced to a few minutes, converting your advertising content to a video format would help in conveying more in a shorter time.
IV. 12 Smart Tips to Make Big Bucks through Social Media Advertising
Create accounts on all relevant social media platforms
Build a social media storefront
Align your content and platforms choices with the latest trends
Build a genuine network of followers
Be regular with posting
Create authentic, quality content that engages readers
Utilize SEO, Google ranking, etc. to boost performance
Utilize tools like Google Analytics to track statistics
Concentrate on short video content
Use AR filters, photography, etc. to enhance the content
Include discounts, offers, and coupons for regular shoppers
Employ an expert team to do your social campaigns
V. Wrapping Up
If you are a business owner and you still have not started advertising and marketing on social media, you have already turned yourself into a relic. It is time to pull up your socks and adopt the latest best practices. Rather than blowing your money on giant billboards, you better start advertising on social media, where you can reach your target audience in the comfort of their homes or offices.
Ready to plunge into the world of Social Media Commerce? What do you think the future of social media advertising holds for businesses? Let us know in the comments below!
The Laravel team released 9.21 with a fresh new look for Artisan, two brand-new Artisan commands, and more. Let’s take a look at all the goodness in the latest Laravel 9 release:
A fresh new look for Artisan
Nuno Maduro contributed a huge refresh of the artisan CLI. “Nearly all the built-in Artisan commands have been reimagined to deliver a better experience.”
Here are a few examples from a fresh install of Laravel 9.21:
If you’d like a deeper dive, check out Laravel: Refreshing Artisan on the Laravel Blog. Also, Pull Request #43065 has the implementation details and dozens of side-by-side comparisons of the old vs new CLI.
Artisan about command
Speaking of Artisan improvements, James Brooks created a brand-new command: about. The about command displays output about the Laravel environment, such as debug mode, PHP version, cache statuses, and more:
Artisan model show command
Jess Archer contributed a new model:show Artisan command that displays helpful information to give you an overview of your model:
It provides data from the database and Eloquent to give you a complete, useful picture of your model in one place. Typically, you’d have to explore the database and the model class to compile this information.
Added a whenCounted method to JsonResource
Steve Bauman contributed a whenCounted method to JSON resources to conditionally include a relation count when the relation is set on the model:
1// new PostResource($post->loadCount('comments'));
The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
It would be hard to overstate the value of the education offered at MozCon. From the impressive accreditation of seasoned speakers to the novel thinking of newcomers, MozCon 2022’s presenters delivered a level of actionable advice and inspiration that resoundingly reaffirmed why this event is one of the best-loved in the SEO world.
As a local SEO, it’s my practice to attend the livestream with ears pricked to catch any takeaway that could be useful to local businesses and their marketers. Local was the core focus of a few presentations, but while the majority of MozCon talks are not local-specific, nearly all of them featured applicable expert advice that we can turn to our advantage. Today, I’ll provide my personal rundown of the best tips I gleaned for local businesses from MozCon 2022, I highly recommend pre-purchasing the video bundle to go beyond my recap to a detailed understanding of how to excel in your marketing.
1. Let’s really talk about landing pages
The SEO industry has zoomed in on the critical role both location and product landing pages are now playing in marketing. The former will come as no surprise to local SEOs, and the latter has become an increasing part of our world as the pandemic has driven local businesses to incorporate shopping into their websites. Some of the brightest ideas shared at MozCon 2022 surrounded what belongs on these landing pages.
Recently, you may have read my column encouraging local businesses to emulate actionable Google Business Profile features on their website homepages, and I was gratified to see this strategy echoed and expanded upon by both Amanda Jordan and Emily Brady in regards to location landing pages.
Ross Simmonds made a very strong point that content does not equal blogs, and Amanda Jordan emphasized that it isn’t copywriting that makes a landing page great — it’s features, like:
Customer UGC, like photos
Original stats that are strong enough to earn backlinks
Polls and surveys
Awards and recognitions
Emily Brady added to this list by encouraging the inclusion of Google Business Profile attributes on location landing pages. She further urged local SEOs to use the 145 types of local business schema to actually inform content strategy for these pages – a suggestion I don’t believe I’ve ever heard before. She noted that SMBs have few enough landing pages to make it feasible to manually create best-in-market, unique content as a competitive advantage.
Amanda Jordan did a study of the top 10 location landing pages across 50 cities and noted the high percentage of them that emphasized these features:
By focusing on features that customers really want, local businesses can solve the longstanding issues Amanda cited as being associated with location landing pages, namely, duplicate and thin content, low user engagement, and lack of conversions.
On the topic of product landing pages, I’ll quote Areej AbuAli who emphasized that, “Filters can make or break an e-commerce website.” Anyone who has ever shopped online knows the truth of this. Her presentation was a deep dive into the care that must be taken to build a strategy for commerce architecture and indexing that takes details like these and more into account:
Meanwhile, Miracle Inameti-Archibong’s presentation on web accessibility was highly applicable to any business that publishes a shopping website and her talk was filled with moments that honestly shocked me. I’ve never used a screen reader before, and I had no idea what terrible UX websites lacking accessibility best practices provide for the 12 million Internet users who have visual disabilities. I also didn’t know that 80% of what we all learn is done through the medium of vision. These facts should be a wake-up call for all website publishers:
1 in 8 Americans have a disability.
People with vision loss consistently report having advanced internet proficiency.
Working-age people with disabilities cumulatively possess $490 billion in after-tax disposable income.
83% of people with accessibility needs shop on sites with accessibility standards, even if prices are higher.
97.4% of homepages have accessibility errors.
Missing alt text accounts for 61% of all homepage accessibility errors.
Miracle Inameti-Archibong had us sit with her though the terrible experience of trying to use a screen reader in this environment and imagine what it is like to try to shop, manage personal finances, or perform other essential day to day activities online, and I was especially moved by her reminder that all of us have causes we care about, but that implementing accessibility is one SEOs actually have the hands-on opportunity to do something about!
In addition to encouraging everyone to download a screen reader to experience their websites in a new way, she extended this Colab resource to help us all begin tackling alt text issues at scale. With a commitment to supporting the agency of all people, we can ensure that both our product and location landing pages are accessible to everybody.
2. Let’s be part of big trends in thought and tech
Local business owners and marketers will benefit from understanding the evolution of both perceptions and possibilities happening in the wider industry.
On keyword research
Wil Reynolds noted that keyword research is how we gain empathy for our customers and Dr. Peter J. Meyers’ presentation of why we need to stop fixating on the bottom of the sales funnel and embrace the messy middle was, in my opinion, some of the best storytelling of the conference.
Both Dr. Pete and Tom Capper urged us to think not in terms of massive keyword volumes but of groupings by human intent, weaving around and about the complex loops of evaluation and exploration. Indeed, an overall theme at MozCon 2022 was that SEOs are rethinking old views of keywords and reenvisioning them in terms of entities, intent, and topics. If we stop trying to continuously sell and focus, instead, on being there in the messy middle, we will be getting so much closer to real journeys than what we see in familiar funnel structures. Tom Capper further advised us to stop thinking of keyword research as grunt work suitable for junior staff and to employ the skillful art of understanding intent so that we end up actually knowing our customers. He also mentioned that this type of research, done well, can help local businesses discover which of their locations are deserving of the most investment.
On content and content marketing
“Google is capable of recognizing first-person expertise,” was a quote from Lily Ray that underpinned her outstanding presentation on why E-A-T should be moving us all to:
Write in the first person on our websites
Provide step-by-step instructions and objective advice without selling
Offer honest pros and cons
Use first-hand experience to back up claims
Publish unique images
Explain why we are qualified to author our content
In her talk on why E-A-T is the most important ranking factor, Lily Ray shared this persuasive screenshot from one of her clients who had been hit by the Medic update and then re-launched a site that emphasized their expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness:
E-A-T is, in my opinion, a gift to local business owners because so many of them possess the kind of expertise that only comes from a lifetime of working in their field. Our role, as local SEOs, is to capture and promote that expertise in a way Google understands.
Meanwhile, Ross Simmonds reminded us all that the phrase “content marketing” includes the word “marketing”. Hitting “publish” is not the end of the journey. Instead, we’ve got to:
I particularly latched on to his suggestion to give out awards and found myself imagining the local links that could flow in if something like a local grocery store formalized giving out awards for “best of county” foods, or a bookstore did the same for best regional authors, or an environmental organization recognized the greenest local businesses. Take this idea and run with it.
Speaking of earning links and publicity, Amanda Milligan told the story of beleaguered local newspapers who are actively seeking content featuring trends in employment and real estate, ways to avoid scams, and “news you can use” articles. She highlighted how some 2,200 local papers have folded since 2005 and explained how those struggling to keep going could be very interested in your contributions to their sections on lifestyle, money, entertainment, sports and news. Gather some original data and offer it to your local and regional newspapers for some highly-relevant press.
And, finally, Crystal Carter’s presentation on visual search re-emphasized the message that content does not equal text. As she noted, “Visual search makes the camera a primary tool for understanding the world.” Crystal is a Level 6 Google Guide and, reminding us that Google can definitely parse images, she encouraged businesses to strategize for solid, consistent, well-lit, unobscured real-world branding, like this:
She also proffered an excellent tip of auditing the photos your customers have uploaded to Instagram and Yelp. Is your branding on the dinner plates of your restaurant? On the uniforms of your staff? On banners at events you sponsor? What is the “that pic” for your business, where customers pose to photograph themselves? Are you uploading great owner photos to your citations so that customers are encouraged not just to shop with you, but to photograph your aesthetics themselves? All of it belongs on your website and Google Business Profile as we enter a multisearch reality and find new opportunities in an environment in which photos have become, not just great content, but queries.
3. Let’s be aware of trends on our periphery
Pretty much anything SEO-related is also part of our local SEO playbook, but sometimes the things SEOs prioritize for remote businesses may exist on the edges of our strategy, rather than at the center, and yet can still be important for us to consider.
A prime example of this is link building. Most truly small local SMBs will not likely have to invest heavily in earning links because our markets are typically finite with a limited number of direct nearby competitors. Nevertheless, more competitive local brands should pay attention to Paddy Moogan’s mention of the fact that 21 of 35 link building tips he presented at MozCon 10 years ago are still good-to-go in 2022, but that he’s observed four trends that have him worried:
Asking for links isn’t sustainable — more than half of SEOs spend 1-5 hours trying to build a single link
Questionable link relevance — who believes that Google wants to reward a business that builds up a massive, but irrelevant, volume of links?
Too much reliance on campaigns — it’s a mistake to focus on big, shiny link building campaigns instead of on actual business impact
Unintegrated link building — for agency and in-house link builders, if your work is happening independently of other departments, you face the risk of being squeezed out in times of economic downturns.
Paddy called on SEOs to solve these problems by reframing links as the outcome of an effective content strategy, using the actual and very messy customer journey to spot link building ideas, focusing on evergreen projects instead of one-off campaigns, and being integrated in multi-department work from the get-go. All of this advice is applicable even to small local businesses and their marketers who want to get the most out of smaller budgets of time and money.
Wrapping up, there was one other talk given by Ruth Burr Reedy on remote workplace culture which might not have seemed laser-focused on local SEOs and their clients, but which really stood out to me as having universal wisdom. Whether your local business staff is still fully in-office or has become a hybrid or fully-remote workplace due to the pandemic, the development of an atmosphere of “psychological safety” is valuable for every kind of team.
I’ve been a strong advocate for many years here in my column of the reputational benefits that result from employers trusting employees enough to use their own initiative to support and delight customers. Ruth’s presentation depicting a working environment that encourages staff to be able to ask anything without risk made me think more deeply about the hard work local business owners need to put into developing a full and healthy culture behind the scenes that is felt by every customer who walks in the door.
MozCon 2022 was absolutely replete with deeply technical, practical, and cultural tips that I’ve only been able to touch on briefly today. For the full experience, you’ll need to watch the videos, with their speaker enthusiasm, beautiful decks, and bountiful guidance. Pre-purchase today!