Month: February 2020

Some recent SEO Developments

SEO
Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

I have written a few times previously on the importance of SEO in your Digital Marketing Strategy. Here are a few recent developments in the field of Search Engine Optimisation that I wanted to highlight:

Technical SEO and Page Speed – Google continues to put more emphasis on how quickly your page loads, especially on mobile. They have recently introduced a Speed Report within Google Search Console that shows how fast your pages perform in real world usage. Two key metrics in this report are First Contentful Paint (FCP) and First Input Delay (FID). 

First Contentful Paint (FCP) is the time from when the user requests the URL until the browser renders the first visible element in the URL.

First Input Delay (FID) is the time from when a user first interacts with your page (when they clicked a link, tapped on a button, and so on) to the time when the browser responds to that interaction.

This article has more details on these two terms.

Why Schema Markup is a Pivotal SEO Strategy For 2020 – Schema Markups have been around for a while, but it just does not seem to have gained the attention that other elements of SEO have. I believe, though, that this will change. The rise of Voice Search and other Machine Learning / AI led developments will lead to structured content will become increasingly important. This podcast does a great job of talking about these Scheme Markup topics. Interesting insight for me was that one can use Structured Data within Google Analytics .

What is SEO Content? How to Write Content that Ranks – Ok, there is nothing new here. But I like the comprehensiveness of this article that can be your single reference source when you are figuring out your next piece of content.

E-commerce category pages outperform product detail pages in SERPs – If you are an e-commerce merchant, chances are that you do not spend too much time worrying about SEO for category pages, choosing to focus on product pages instead. Recent research seems to indicate that you might want to relook at this and that category page optimization could be a valuable area to prioritize to boost your organic search rankings and traffic.

Changes in ‘nofollow’ links – This has been a topic of discussion in the SEO world ever since Google announced, back in September 2019, that it was making some changes to the way it treats ‘nofollow’ links. This detailed article will help you understand everything about what’s changing. And in case you are looking for a primer on ‘nofollow’ links, you can refer to one of my earlier posts on SEO and ‘nofollow’ links.

 

 

 

 

Monday Reads – 24/02

Weird mural of Man riding robot
Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

A mix of topics in this week’s selection covering the state of Asian corporates, how to work through an ‘off’ day, tips to write better and one of the most thought-provoking and inspiring articles I have read in a while.

Corporate Asia: A Capital Paradox – A detailed look at the state of Corporate Asia. It does not, unfortunately, paint a very pretty picture. “…capital-intensive Asian companies are not necessarily generating economic profit; this may not be sustainable in the long-term.” Looking forward to reading more in this series from McKinsey & Company.

Sloggy Days – When You Don’t Want To Do Anything – Most of us, I am sure, would have gone through days in our lives when we just do not feel like doing anything. It happened to me last week after a relatively hectic weekend of traveling and work. Rather than fight through it, I just decided to take the afternoon off and have a nap. It really helped. I accept that I am lucky in that I possibly have far more control over my daily schedule than a typical ’employee’. In case you are going through one of such days, you might find this article helpful.

Turning a Passion into a Profession – I have also enjoyed writing. And for the past 18 months or so that I have been maintaining this blog, I have given myself liberty to express myself on topics that catch my fancy. I do not consider myself a very good writer, but my belief is that you can only get better with practice. Please read this article if you would like to explore the creative side of your personality, or indeed have a desire to get better at something. And while on the topic of writing, you might also want to check out this video on ‘3 Ways to Write Better‘.

Stay Weird – A powerful article on the tendency of most corporates to demand conformity from their employees, leading to group think and the killing of individuality. The solution – Stay Weird. In this day and age of ‘diversity hiring’, the real need of the hour is for corporates to celebrate the diversity of thought within their ranks., thereby enabling employees to bring their ‘best selves’ to work every single day (except maybe when they are having a ‘sloggy day’ :-)).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Offbeat Holiday Destinations in India

ball ball shaped color earth
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s Friday, and if you are thinking of where to head for a holiday in the coming months, then you might want to consider these lesser-known destinations within India.

The North-East of India – Very few Indians, let alone outsiders, venture into this remote part of India.

Living Root Bridges – Meghalaya is known for its natural wonders, especially the place that receives possibly the highest amount of rainfall in the world. Another lesser-known natural wonder are these living root bridges.

The Magical Kumaoni village – Not many might be aware, but this place in the Himalayas has been visited by some extremely famous personalities, including Swami Vivekananda, Timothy Leary and Bob Dylan. Having visited this place myself, I can vouch that there is something about Kasar Devi that gives it a serene, almost mystical, air.

The Gateway to the Deccan – Some of the most popular destinations in India are to its north, west and east. Most travelers miss the vast Deccan plateau in the centre of the country, While Hampi, to the South, is now well entrenched in the tourist map, there are many lesser-known gems such as the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh.

The World’s Largest Single Tree Canopy – Most people might not have heard of Thimmamma Marrimanu, but this place in Southern Andhra Pradesh, located about 180 kilometres to the North east of Bangalore, has the world’s largest single tree canopy.

 

Key Digital Marketing Trends for 2020 (and beyond)

photography of laptop computer camera smartphone headphones and mug
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Yes, I know I am late to the party. We are well into 2020. But, as the saying goes, Better Late Than Never!

Here are my views on what key Digital Marketing trends for 2020 (and beyond) might be and the key questions you need to be asking:

  • Rise of Voice Search – The stats for Voice based Search are quite staggering. How are you going to stay relevant when most searches are going to be voice-based?
  • Content is King – A very old statement, I know. But this is going to be increasingly important as brands strive to differentiate themselves and stay relevant in this day and age. How are you thinking about your content strategy as a key strategic element of your marketing and brand strategy?
  • SEO is not going anywhere – It is surprising how many brands directly jump into social amd other media strategies before evaluating and optimising good old Organic or Natural Search. It seems like almost every year fresh obituaries are written for one of the oldest Digital Marketing tactic. To adapt the famous quote (or possibly misquote) from Mark Twain – “Reports of SEO’s death are grossly exaggerated”. Do you have a robust SEO strategy in place, that incorporates the changing nature of Search?
  • The pendulum will keep swinging between Data-Driven and ‘Creative’ Marketing – There will continue to exist two camps in the (Digital) Marketing field. One that believes that data-driven and performance marketing will rule and the other that bemoans the loss of creativity and asserts that marketers will have to stay creative to build and differentiate their brand. A few years ago, I felt that the pendulum had shifted significantly to the data camp. I believe we are now seeing a shift towards the creative side. How will you balance the requirement for creativity with holding your marketing accountable to specific ROI metrics?
  • Process-oriented marketing will be key – AI is helping automate many marketing activities. And we will see more applications of AI when it comes to marketing, especially marketing automation. I have written previously about the importance of process when it comes to Digital Marketing. Do you have a robust processes in place to drive your marketing?

What are your views? What else do you think will be important in Digital Marketing in the near term?

 

 

 

 

Micro-credentials: The Future of Learning?

people notes meeting team
Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

We have all heard the saying that Learning has to be a continuous process. And the digitisation of learning has meant that it’s become easier than ever for people to learn a new skill, at whatever stage in their lives they might be.

I am a Visiting Faculty of Digital Marketing at a few institutes and teach both MBA students as well as Working Professionals. I like teaching, and so I occasionally wonder what the future of education and learning might look like. These are some of the trends that I believe will become increasingly important:

  1. Bite-sized learning – The desire to only invest time and money for learning some specific subjects or skills
  2. Anytime, anyplace learning – the ability to learn at one’s own convenience
  3. Application Oriented learning – learners are keen on pedagogies that prepare them better on how to apply their learnings in their immediate careers

Enter micro-credentials. These have become very popular very quickly to address the opportunities being created by these above trends. While they are not yet a substitute for formal, university oriented education, I have no doubt that these can, and will, play an increasingly important role going forward.

Does that mean that universities and established higher education institutes have reasons to worry?

I do not believe there is undue cause for concern, at least in the near term. There will continue to be the need for centres of academic excellence that provides an environment for people to go deep into a subject and do research. At the same time, there will continue to exist, for the near term, the need for ‘signalling’ – a way for society, especially employers, to be able to filter people by their ability to conform to the set of rules that define success in a typical academic set-up.

I would like this, to be different, though, such that people who might not have the ability, of the willingness, to conform to these set rules can still signal their capabilities and interests to the broader world. I believe micro-credentials can be a means to achieve this end. We are not there yet – the lack of a uniform set of standards to evaluate the various different ways to earn micro-credentials is a major issue that needs to be resolved before this can happen.

 

This post was inspired by the following article published on bbc.com – Could micro-credentials compete with traditional degrees?