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For Searchdrop this week we’ll be looking at the ethical standpoint behind requesting reviews from customers (given the current situation) and taking some advice from some industry experts (plus from the team of geniuses here at ASSISTED). We’ll look at top tips for managing PPC in the new ecosystem created by the pandemic, and finally explore four top tips for improving page speed, which is a vital aspect of user experience and a considered ranking factor.

Should you continue to ask for reviews during the current climate?

Reviews are a major part of any businesses optimisation. They support users as trust signals, they impact your search results by providing a very appealing star rating and they can be marked up with schema to add additional value to your site’s content. But given where the world finds itself, are we still able to proactively chase these reviews in the same way?

With Google suspending the upload of new reviews and their subsequent responses you’d be forgiven for believing so. Various industry experts weighed in and delivered a number of recommendations on the subject.

Considerations / Options

  • Consider cultivating reviews on other platforms such as Feefo, Trust pilot Reviews.io, Facebook etc
  • If you decide to stop reaching out for reviews then push any budget normally allocated to this into other channels and monitor and support users questions.
  • Create a COVID-19 FAQ’s page and link it to a site-wide banner to support users questions and ensure they understand whether or not your business is running ‘normally’.
  • Be mindful of both of your industry and customer circumstances when asking for reviews – for example, you may have had to cancel a number of bookings for your hotel, so now may not be the best time to reach out.
  • Don’t use boilerplate communications when reaching out to customers at the moment. Address the current situation and ensure that your customers know how you’re dealing with it internally, how you can help them and in turn how they could support you.

Read the full article on reviews during the pandemic here

Top tips for managing your PPC during the pandemic

The advertising ecosystem has completely changed in the month the country has been put into lockdown. As a result, businesses need to be more agile and bold with their advertising spend. There’ll be businesses that need to re-allocate their ad spend, but other businesses that should be brave with their spend (particularly in financial services, where the cost per click for a variety of phrases has dropped significantly).

When adjusting your spend you should consider:

  • Can your product be tied to anything essential or one of the main trends during lockdown (family togetherness, social distancing etc)?
  • Should you ad copy change? e.g. “visit us in-store” should be updated accordingly
  • Review your spend and allocate more of your budget into top performing / relevant campaigns
  • Consider the change in search behaviour. People will be more receptive to services delivered online or delivered to their homes (safely).
  • Remove COVID-19 related terms – the Google Coronavirus search trends tool is good for this.
  • Review the channels you market to and the information you share. People are more inclined to take in news and video. Additionally, Facebook has noted a major increase (50%) in use of its messaging apps, so this could be an interesting time to review how you market via messenger apps (chatbots, for example).
  • Be prepared to move back to ‘normal’ as bans and rules on people’s lives change.

For more tips click here.

Top tips for improving page speed

Page speed is a huge consideration for users and businesses trying to market online. With people using their smartphones to search, you need to ensure that – whatever the connection – users are served quickly.

To this end we’ve expanded on some of the quick wins you can achieve for your page speed.

  • Does the user need this? – Rich media is a great asset when it comes to search and your sites ability to rank, but too much of a good thing can be detrimental. Images and videos all add to the load speed of a page, so consider whether the user really needs your media when you’re uploading it.
  • Compress your assets – compression of imagery, stylesheets, javascript files etc all make a big difference to the ‘weight’ of the load for the user. Images tend to be an area that is neglected, with sites sometimes just uploading a file without consideration to the size of it. Tools like tinyPNG, or imageoptim are good lossless compression tools you can consider when compressing images.
  • Enable caching – This may require some developer support, but enabling browser caching allows browsers to store key assets for your page load, helping returning users to load the site quicker. If your site uses a CMS it’s likely there will also be a caching plugin available. Examples for WordPress are W3 Total Cache and WP Fastest Cache.
  • Consider a CDN – If your site receives a lot of traffic from overseas then you should consider the use of a CDN (Content Delivery Network). This allows you to store your site’s assets on ‘servers’ closer to the location of your users, reducing the ‘digital distance’ between the user and your site’s content.
  • Third party scripts – often sites add scripts for various different types of functionality. An example of this might be social sharing tools like Addthis. These scripts are great for a quick way to allow users to share your content. They do however come at quite a major cost to page speed. Ensuring you’re only loading these sort of scripts on pages where they’re required is a great way of ensuring the quickest experience possible for most users.

To find out where your site needs improvement check out Google’s Page Speed Insights, Pingdom and GTMetrix.

For more on this click here