How to Make Money During Coronavirus

How to Make Money During Coronavirus

how htaccess impacts SEO

Your .htaccess is kind of like the front door in your home or the directory you see once entering an office building.  It helps you find the right path to the room you’re looking for, a direct route to the person you are visiting, or to navigate to the nearest restroom if you have to go.  However, in many cases when it comes to SEO, .htaccess is more like the attic.

It’s where you store items you use once a year like holiday decor, things you don’t want to throw out, and all the junk which could land you a runner-up position on the show hoarders.  When you have to open your .htaccess (much like an attic), you remember all of the things you’re supposed to do, but you put it off and let the clutter continue to pile up.  That is where you run into a lot of SEO issues that can prevent your rankings from growing.

By not having a clean and direct .htaccess, you make search engines have to work to find the right pages and versions of your website.  Think about showing up to an interview and being 10 minutes late because the directory was wrong, and the security desk kept giving you wrong instructions to find the HR team, then the administrative assistant sent you back downstairs to start over again.  Now that you know what the .htaccess does for SEO, here is how we used this to increase a client’s positions from the lower part of page 1 in Google to the upper.

Our team is working with a client on SEO, and they have tons of content and backlinks, but their positions had plateaued and they couldn’t figure out why.  It turned out to be a tech SEO issue with one of the big fixes being .htaccess.

During the first round of cleanup, we reduced the file by more than 1,100 redirects and instructions.  We also reset other directives to properly point to the correct pages, or versions of the pages.  From there we reduced redirect chains by stripping them out, and reset the options that needed to remain.  This was only round one.

After this round of cleaning, the results helped the client to remove the stagnant positions, and get them to climb higher on page one.  Often times your SEO will say you need content or backlinks, but that often isn’t true when you already have them, and the content is good.

In the screenshots below you’ll see current ranking positions in the columns (Google, Yahoo, Bing), and then the search volume for the keyword phrases.  I pulled the report on 7/29/2019 with a comparison to the previous 30 days because I want to show the climb that happened once the pages and files were reindexed.  The green number next to the ranking position is the amount of spaces it moved up.  I used this tool to track, just like I do all clients.  If you’re wondering why there are some with 0’s across, we haven’t launched those sections or the content yet.  I add the tracking first so we can watch as it appears and properly monitor.

The niche is fairly competitive with lots of big money players.  The goal was to move from the lower part of the first page to the upper, and this is the way we started the progress.  Keep reading below to learn more about how .htaccess impacts SEO (without all of the other things it does).  BTW, if you’re a programmer and yelling about the explanation above, don’t continue down.  This post isn’t for you.  It is for people like me in marketing, so I changed it to be non-techie for marketing teams.

how htaccess impacts seo results

seo gains from htaccess cleaning

How .htaccess Impacts SEO

Your .htaccess file is going to be big, scary, and complex.  This is especially true for older sites which have had numerous designs, URL structures, and developers working on it.  Knowing how to properly implement, test, and then retest is an art form rather than a science.

.htaccess files require a lot of patience and frustration, so if you’re going through a clean up, get ready.  Here are some of the things that the programmer will be doing, looking at, and trying to fix. [Read more…] about SEO Case Study – How Your .htaccess Can Increase SEO Rankings

What Changes Do You Need To Make To Your Email Marketing Campaign During A Crisis?

What Changes Do You Need To Make To Your Email Marketing Campaign During A Crisis?

As businesses slowly shift in order to comply with the “new normal”, marketers are making changes to their campaign strategies in order to address the needs of their audience. For most brands, emails are the best way to relay important information such as branch closures, alternate ways to transact with their brand, changes in operating hours as well as shipping schedules, and cancellations of events.

But how exactly do you get an important message across during a time when your audience is bound to be bombarded with similar messages? How exactly do you ensure that your emails don’t just make it to the inboxes of your audience, but that they are also opened and read in earnest?

These are some tips to help you conduct a successful email marketing campaign during a crisis.

Don’t Stop Promotional Campaigns Abruptly

A recent survey among email marketers showed that about 71% of marketers suspended their promotional emails. While this might seem like a good idea in light of the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, doing so — even for a few weeks — shouldn’t be the case because you’d be killing a much-needed potential for leads. Even if this suspension is done in good faith, the fact remains that you need to keep trying to sell, whether it’s a product or an idea.

If we all stop buying and selling things, then the economy is going to suffer more than it already is. There’s nothing wrong with trying to sell something during a pandemic, but we have to do so tactfully. Acknowledge the situation that we’re all in, especially when what you’re trying to sell isn’t something essential. The more genuine a message is, the better. An particular email from Levi’s said “here’s an update on what’s going on at Levi’s” and it later said “not that this is the time to be thinking about buying a pair of jeans.”.

That kind of awareness sends an audience an impression that yes, Levi’s is still around, but that they’re also aware of the situation, and that is exactly the kind of honesty and tact we need. Continue promotional campaigns, pull back on frequency as needed, but never completely stop.

Update Email Templates and Automated Messages

While this should go without saying, its importance warrants a gentle reminder. If your brand has been forced to make changes that directly affect your consumer base, it’s necessary to reflect these changes in your emails. An efficient way to do this is to create temporary templates for your upcoming campaigns. This way, you can simply revert to your original templates once things return to normal. This should also reflect across all your departments to avoid sending mixed messages to your customers.

Specify And Reward Loyal Customers And Subscribers

Nothing tugs the heartstrings as much as a personalized message. A long message from your CEO might appeal to your management and legal team, but it won’t have the same effect on your entire email list, and it may even cause them to unsubscribe from your newsletter. Again, it’s important to send a personalized email to your loyal customers. Even a simple thank you (insert subscriber name here) will do your brand well in nurturing a lasting relationship with your audience.

The need for an online presence cannot be stressed enough, especially during a pandemic. It’s also important to ensure that the content on your website matches the messages you send. It’s for this reason that you might also want to consider working with web design companies like Excite Media to help you.

Wait! Don’t forget to check out these related articles:

4 Insights to Attract More Customers During the 2020 Holiday Season

4 Insights to Attract More Customers During the 2020 Holiday Season

Amidst changing consumer preferences, new COVID-related safety measures, and supply-chain setbacks, many marketers are adapting their playbooks in preparation for an unprecedented holiday season. With the majority of consumers working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) events are bound to be unprecedented.

Big retailers are also closing brick and mortar locations to address public health concerns and to decrease overhead costs. As a result, the current climate is quite unpredictable and at times unsteady. How can brands cut through the noise ahead of the Holiday season to win big?

It’s important for advertisers and brands alike to take a close look at the recent consumer trends in order to properly pivot in order to have a successful Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Holiday Season. Read on for key pre-Black Friday insights and findings.


Black Friday and Cyber Monday Starts Early

Due to the unprecedented and sometimes chaotic nature of the global pandemic, it’s no surprise that consumers may feel overwhelmed or indecisive. A recent consumer report by Fluent revealed that 59% of consumers are unsure when or how they will conduct their holiday shopping.

Holiday shopping and black friday

This presents advertisers with a keen opportunity to help consumers make a holiday shopping plan. By making sure online offers and shopping experiences closely mimic in-person shopping experiences, advertisers can tap into consumers’ needs for a sense of normalcy and familiarity.

Further, many brands are launching their holiday and BFCM deals earlier this year. Walmart started promoting their annual Black Friday sale on the 4th of November. Some brands are even planning on continuing to have BFCM offers beyond the thanksgiving weekend as an incentive to get indecisive shoppers to engage.

This may be an advantageous tactic, especially because as we draw near to the holidays, shipping times are expected to increase because online orders have doubled during the pandemic — pre-Holiday season no less. As a brand, it’s important to be very vocal about shipping times. Having constant reminders on websites, in ads and on social media will help to ensure that consumers know when they need to place an order by to receive their delivery in time for the holidays. Recently, there’s also been a shift towards offering free expedited shipping, as opposed to just free standard shipping.


Was Amazon Prime Day Too Early?

Another big change this year was Amazon Prime Day. Amazon typically holds their annual 2-day savings event during the summer. This year however, they opted to have it in October.

According to Fluent’s consumer Pulse report, 22% of surveyed consumer didn’t shop this prime day. Prime day was likely too close to Black Friday to make it worth it for consumers who didn’t participate this year. These consumers are likely waiting for better deals, like the ones typically seen during BFCM. What does this mean for your brand? COVID-19 has led to individuals being placed on leave or furloughed. At this time, shoppers may be putting a greater emphasis on the value of offers and sales. As a result, there has been a recent shift towards deep discounting with some marketers promoting 70% off first-time purchases.

Amazon Prime Day

Another reason for the reduced Prime day participation could be that certain consumers could have been waiting to make up their mind. As we saw from Fluent’s findings, users may not know how to go about shopping this holiday season. This is an opportunity for advertisers to reduce friction and to remove barriers to entry. Making their holiday shopping as painless as possible is sure to be a strong motivator.

Lastly, those who did participate in this year’s Prime day savings event spent more than in previous years. This suggests that consumers who do have the means may be spending more online than ever before. There’s also been an uptick in ‘self-gifting’, likely as a result of restrictions and health guidelines and the impact they’ve had on people’s ‘self-care’ routines.


Mimic In-Person Shopping Where Possible

The pandemic has brought on quite a few unique shopping experiences. More than ever, there is an emphasis on Click and Collect, Buy Online Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup orders to ease tensions around shopping in stores. There is also a big emphasis on highlighting any changes that have been made to ensure in-store safety protocols.

Holiday shopping black friday

Where pickup or in-store shopping experiences aren’t possible, it’s important to make sure that online shopping experiences feel familiar and comfortable to shoppers.

This includes:

  1. Adding deep links to your emails, ads or app notifications and push notifications will make it easier for shoppers to find items they’re interested in.
  2. Adding a pop-up before users check out can entice users to grab a few more items like they would in a check-out aisle in stores.
  3. Offering ‘at-home kits’ for experiences users can no longer have in person (for example, a pre-cooked Thanksgiving meal or an at-home gel manicure set) can increase the bottom line by tapping into new audiences while filling a gap in the market caused by restrictions and closure.

If you’re pivoting, pivot with intention. This is a great time to do it!


Christmas Compassion – Give the Gift of Giving

Since a large number of people are concerned about savings, it’d be greatly advantageous for advertisers to lean into that; people are looking for help this year given that loads of folks have been affected by COVID-19. Any deal or offer that will lower a barrier to entry for shoppers will yield better results.

holiday gifting black friday

There has also been a shift recently where brands are leaning in to more philanthropic and ‘here to help’ messaging and offers to ease concerns around holiday spending and expensive items. Others are actually giving back (via their offers) to COVID relief initiatives, unemployment, or homelessness relief programs. There’s also a big focus on helping small and local businesses who may be struggling due to the pandemic.

Ensuring that messaging and collateral leverages these points where possible (and in a genuine way) is a great way to help consumers get through their gift lists while simultaneously giving back to the community.


Hit the Ground Running this Holiday Season

Given these insights, advertisers should aim to offer more aggressive deals, start Black Friday deals earlier and potentially after Thanksgiving to catch late buyers, and add ‘up-selling’ campaigns to their media plans to capture multi/big purchase consumers.

For more holiday shopping tips and tricks, make sure to watch Fluent’s latest webinar, Holiday Shopping Insights: Trends & Insights for Marketers.

If you are interested in taking your performance to the next level, let’s chat. We’re here to help!