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It’s a Multilingual Market— Are you Missing Out?

It’s a Multilingual Market— Are you Missing Out?

General

When assessing the market in regards to your business, what do you generally see? A variety of businesses and consumers, or perhaps you even have a narrow niche in which you excel. These are all great things that can effectively drive business. Yet in most, if not all cases, what do they have in common? Language. English. Different language communities in many cases aren’t really a consideration when building a business and mapping a market. With the diversity of the local population and immense communities all around us, it actually works to the detriment of companies to not reach out to them.

These communities are here, and just as English speakers, they too use the variety of services that any business has to offer. In the greater Columbus Ohio area, over 15% of people speak a language other than English. That is a massive portion of the population! With over 50,000 Spanish speakers and 45,000 Somali speakers, the communities are too big to not engage with. That doesn’t even include all of the other substantial language communities here in the Columbus area (Arabic, French, Nepali, Portuguese, etc…). What this boils down to is that in the $136 Billion Columbus economy, with over 15% of the market, this means businesses leave over $20.4 Billion on the table by not reaching out to these communities.

While the figures stated above act as an aid in visualizing the possible impact inclusion of these communities can make, the point really comes down to the simple fact that language outreach for businesses really ends up being in the best interest of everyone. The business is able to expand into other communities, grow its customer base, and possibly even become a preferred provider for their particular specialty. For employers, tapping into a whole new workforce and gaining the capability to effectively and professionally train personnel left out by the competition provides a distinct advantage. As for the communities, it gives them the opportunity to branch out and reach more of what is around them.

Bottom Line: if you aren’t communicating, you are being left behind.

Businesses and organizations of all kinds have already started making a concerted effort toward providing language assistance to effectively communicate with the immensely diverse communities that are already established among us. With the consistent and exponential growth of the various language communities here in Columbus, the businesses and organizations that will have tremendous success during this time are the ones that take the simple step of engaging with these communities. Don’t be left behind; strengthen your ties with your local community and expand your organization by taking the simple step of providing language services!

Let us know today how we can help you reach the world. Click here to find out more!


 

Why You Should Spend More Time Thinking About Stripe Vs. Paypal

Why You Should Spend More Time Thinking About Stripe Vs. Paypal

eCommerce

Customers need options from online stores, and it’s not just about the products on offer. Online payments have always been a shaky subject, and if customers have the option to choose their preferred payment method, they’re going to be more inclined to use your service than go to a competitor. There is no limit to the number of online payment methods on the market today, but Stripe has the edge in online payment processing.

The Features

Your website needs to accept credit cards easily, and here are some of the features of Stripe that other companies like PayPal may not have:

  • Easy to use
  • Built-in reporting of finances
  • More than one payment method (credit card, bank transfer, etc.)
  • Refund handling
  • Easy to understand fees
  • Invoice options
  • Security

 

Stripe gives your customers more choice of payment methods, including digital ones like Apple Pay. This makes it easy to invoice and set up recurring payments, too. The pricing policy is easy to understand, and the rate varies from country to country, so check on yours before you use it.

With Stripe, security is a big deal; there is no information stored directly on your website but is sent to Stripe directly.

Stripe Vs PayPal

Everyone has heard of PayPal, but not everyone knows that their fees aren’t as transparent as Stripe’s are. Paypal also falls short in the act that their data export isn’t easy, so switching to a different payment processor isn’t easy.

Choosing Stripe over PayPal could change the face of your business. Don’t you want to give it a go?


 

Improve Your Local Search Ranking With Data Aggregators and Citations

Improve Your Local Search Ranking With Data Aggregators and Citations

Better SEO

You have a great business with a great product that you’re enormously proud of. You have a diligent and hard working team. You have a great track record of customer service and a loyal core clientele. Yet, as important as it is to retain and care for the repeat customers that are the lifeblood of your business, your growth (and even your survival) depend on your ability to attract more customers. For many brands, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) holds the keys to growing your target market. As you steadily climb through search engine rankings, you become better placed to service the needs of people in your area and gain an all-important advantage over your competitors.

We live in an era where no business can afford to take its customers for granted. Competition is both rife and fierce and in an era where they have more choice than ever before, consumers know that they can afford to be fickle. SEO can give you a leg up when you need one. However, what many small businesses do not realize is that…

SEO is a battle on many fronts

There are a number of different kinds of SEO. Local SEO isn’t the same as national SEO which at the same time is a different beast to international SEO. If you have your sights squarely set on the local market, it behoves you to tailor your strategy accordingly.

Here we’ll look at ways in which you can conquer the local market by using data aggregators and citations to improve local search rankings.

Data aggregators rule   

Data aggregators are both kings and traffickers in the world of internet searches. If you seek to conquer this kingdom it’s in your best interests to get to know them a little better so that you can leverage them.

Data aggregators supply information to all of the major search engines. While Google is not the only search engine to which they send data, let’s not kid ourselves, Google is the most popular and widely used search engine making it the most important nut to crack. The good news is that leveraging data aggregators can give your local SEO a boost on Google and beyond.

A huge component of local SEO is having a good NAP. This doesn’t mean settling into your office for some shuteye, it means having good business listing info in terms of your business Name Address and Phone number up to date. Having good business listing info on data aggregators can help to ensure that it is accurate on Google.

These aggregators have built enormous business databases from a host of trustworthy listing sources and directories. These include the usual suspects like phone directories, utility records, yellow page listings and various other purveyors of digital business information.

Between these sources these aggregators have, well, aggregated a colossal amount of business data that search engines refer to when finding local listing information from businesses.

So… Hopefully it’s pretty obvious how important it is to leverage data aggregators.

There are four key players to tackle. These are Localeze, Factual, Infogroup and Acxiom. Their databases contain key information on local businesses indexed by location and search engines seek this out to display for users. The same users your business is trying to attract.

This information is the backbone of providing your enterprise with online citations. You may wonder what exactly we mean when we talk about citations. In their simplest terms, citations are instances in which a business is mentioned somewhere (anywhere) online. Broadly speaking, the more citations a business has, the more likely that business is to appear higher up in local search engine rankings. Now, that’s not a hard and fast rule. Some citations are more trustworthy (and therefore of higher value to search engines) than others.

Data aggregators provide information that not only helps businesses pop up in search queries but also helps them to be found correctly on online tools like:

  • Google Maps
  • Bing Local
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo Local
  • Apple and Android devices
  • Voice searches (e.g. Siri, Cortada, Alexa)
  • Yellow Pages

As you can see, when businesses fail to get their NAP information right with data aggregators it can have a huge knock-on effect on their local listings. 

So… Let’s talk about citations!

As we have established a citation is any time a business is mentioned somewhere on the internet. You could be forgiven for assuming that a citation had to mean (or at least include) a link to the business’, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Although a citation can be linked a link does not need to be included to be a citation.

As mentioned above, a citation is simply anytime a business is mentioned somewhere online. Many people believe that citations are links to websites, but this isn’t necessarily true. Although a citation can be linked, they don’t have to contain a link to be considered a citation.

Let’s take a look at how citations can appear online:

  • Business name
  • Business phone number
  • Business name and phone number
  • Business name, phone number and address
  • Business name, phone number, address and link

Now, technically, any of these combinations is considered a citation. If a blogger makes a passing reference to dining at your restaurant this is considered a citation. However, not all citations are created equal.

A citation is not considered complete unless it contains all of the business’ NAP data. When businesses ensure that their NAP data is correct with data aggregators, they stand a better chance of seeing their correct information displayed all over the internet.

There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of citations; structured and unstructured.

A structured citation is the most common and most detailed kind. These are the kinds of citations that occur on business listing sites like the Yelp or TripAdvisor. Structured citations usually contain full NAP data for a business; the information that users are looking for in local searches.

An unstructured citation can be virtually anything. It can be a user review, a mention on social media, a posting on a job site or any other occasion when your business is mentioned. These citations tend not to contain full NAP data.

Both kinds of citations hold sway over local search rankings and data aggregators play an important role in ensuring that businesses are accurately listed and easy to find online.

Building citations is extremely important

As we can see, the more times a business is mentioned online, the more favorable their search engine rankings. However, Google’s ranking algorithms are complex and ever evolving. Some less reputable businesses have attempted to game these algorithms by spamming the web with irrelevant or low quality citations and the search engine has learned to discriminate.

This is why some citations have more value than others. Citations from reliable, high authority domains like listings sites are of high value to search engines while mentions on less than reputable websites or pages that have already been red-flagged can cause rankings to plummet.

You should also consider the role that online reviews, responsiveness (mobile compatibility), domain authority and keyword density play in influencing local searches local search.

Where do data aggregators fit in?

Data aggregators own and operate a space known as the “local search ecosystem”, from which local searches get their data. 

Inconsistencies in NAP data across different aggregators can lead to further inconsistencies all over the web. This can not only damage search engine rankings, they can damage consumer trust. According to Search Engine Watch[1], a staggering 73% of consumers will lose trust in brands if local business listings prove inaccurate.

It’s so important to get it right

As you can see, businesses of all shapes and sizes rely on data aggregators to provide reliable citations which in turn boost their local SEO. The key, then, lies in ensuring that your data is accurate and up to date with the major data aggregators.

As local searches are the most important component in driving local traffic towards your business, you simply can’t afford not to leverage the power of data aggregators and citations. Google states that “four in five consumers use search engines to find products, services or experiences nearby.”[2] Whether they’re looking for a new bar to try after a hard day’s work, a great pizzeria when they’re too tired to cook or a nail salon to fix their hair for a big interview, these searches are the micro-moments in which your business has the opportunity to position itself in front of consumers at the expense of their competitors.

Make sure that your business gets it right, or risk being absent from all-important local search results.

How we can help 

As you can see, data aggregators hold the keys to accurate citations which in turn are instrumental in reaching your local target audience. We can help by taking the legwork out of keeping your all-important NAP data up-to-date with key data aggregators at all times. With a range of affordable and flexible pricing solutions we can provide you with the keys that unlock ability to conquer local SEO with data aggregators and citations.

Click here to find out more.


[1] Source https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/study/2338839/73-lose-trust-in-brands-due-to-inaccurate-local-business-listings-survey
[2] Source https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/how-advertisers-can-extend-their-relevance-with-search.html

The Difference between Inbound/Outbound Marketing

The Difference between Inbound/Outbound Marketing

General

Digital marketing can generally be separated into two different categories: inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Both categories include a variety of different disciplines and techniques, but they are separated neatly based on which marketing goals they can help you accomplish. Here, we’re going to look at the differences between inbound and outbound marketing, examples of each, what they do for you, and which of the two is better.

Outbound marketing

Once upon a time, this was simply known as “marketing.” Also called interruptive marketing, this represents the traditional form of marketing such as advertising. Outbound marketing campaigns are disruptive by nature, interrupting the audience’s content consumption. They’re designed to reach out to everybody and seek the customers amongst the audience, to highlight the product or the site’s key proposition, and to drive interest towards the site/product.

Outbound marketing, particularly in the form of advertising, is ubiquitous but it’s difficult to ignore. A great outbound marketing strategy can serve as the perfect first step of the customer lifecycle, sparking an interest where there may have previously been none.

Outbound marketing is getting more targeted and more data-driven in the online world, as well. Pay-per-click ads, for instance, allow websites and businesses to set specific criteria for who they want to target, what geographical locations they want to show ads in, and end what time they want those ads to show.

Many platforms show metrics allowing marketing campaign managers and website owners to understand how successful or unsuccessful certain outbound campaigns are, allowing them to learn from their successes and failures and to make the necessary improvements.

Examples of outbound marketing

Here are some of the most common outbound marketing techniques that allow websites and online businesses to directly target their market in a variety of spaces:

  • Pay-per-click advertisements
  • Display ads
  • Video commercials
  • Email marketing
  • Press releases
  • Direct mail

 

Hopefully, you’ve got an idea of what outbound marketing is. It’s time to move onto the other side of the digital marketing coin.

Inbound marketing

Relatively new by comparison, inbound marketing (also known as content marketing) is designed to reach those people in the audience already interested in what you have to offer. While outbound marketing might be thought of as “pushing out”, inbound marketing is about “pulling in.”

Inbound marketing is primarily about the clever positioning of well-made content that appeals directly to the audience’s needs, rather than the product or site’s proposition. Unlike outbound marketing, it’s not meant to disrupt their content consumption, but becomes a part of that content consumption.

Inbound marketing campaigns can be seen as less aggressive and more personalized. What’s more, outbound marketing work on a “one-and-done” basis. A single advertisement is paid for and is viewed once, with businesses and site owners purchasing many to get a wider spread of repeat views. Inbound marketing is about the creation of content that can be viewed time and time again.

Effective inbound marketing is about creating specifically-written content that can better appeal to a broader section of your audience. If the content is engaging enough and if it has the educational, informative, helpful, or entertainment value it needs, then the audience will be pulled further into the site and closer to converting. 

Examples of inbound marketing

Here are some of the components of an effective inbound marketing campaign:

  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media marketing
  • Blogging
  • Content creation
  • Opt-in emails
  • Influencer marketing

The entire journey of inbound marketing is about creating the content that will effectively help customers move on to the next part of the consumer life-cycle (from interest to purchase to post-purchase) and making sure that its visible enough to catch the interest of those it’s most relevant to. 

Which is better?

The question of whether inbound marketing or outbound marketing is better is a tricky one. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. While outbound marketing tends to be shorter-lived and more expensive, it is also more impactful, helping to really drive sales especially in major campaigns around launches, discounts, and the like. However, in a world where the use of ad-blocking software is growing, it’s getting harder to target significant portions of your audience through outbound alone.

Inbound marketing is more cost-effective, it has longer-term effects, and it reaches those most likely to convert, giving them the little push that they need. However, inbound marketing won’t reach any parties who aren’t already interested in your product and it can be slower to see results for that reason. 

Choosing between outbound marketing and inbound marketing, as well as which techniques you opt for, is all about figuring out the goals of your website or online business. Most commercial websites will find a careful balance of both, making sure they hit all their bases and don’t leave any gaps in their digital marketing campaign.


 

What is Artificial Intelligence and Why You Should Care?

What is Artificial Intelligence and Why You Should Care?

General

Say “hello” to the Age of the Machine.

Everybody has an opinion, but here’s a quick round-up.

AI – in the 1950’s?

You bet!  The first researchers to take the field seriously (outside of sci-fi writers) decided that artificial intelligence covered any job performed by a program or a machine that would be described as “an intelligent process” if done by a human.

That opens the door to lots of questions over whether something is truly AI.  So let’s stick to some easy factors that determine whether something is REALLY AI. To be “real” AI, a system will have to do things that show”

  • Reasoning showing human-like logic
  • Planning that involves some level of social intelligence and creativity
  • Problem solving based on “knowledge” earning, reasoning

AI Applications

The industry has already come up with a broad differential between task-oriented “intelligence” and a general version, named Narrow and General, respectively.

Narrow AI has been at use for some time.  It includes tasks done by computers or computer-based products that have been taught (programmed) or engineered to make “decisions” on how to carry out tasks without specific programming.

Look around – as consumers, you can already see accepted AI machines or processes like Alexa and Siri who actually recommend solutions to questions or answer trivia as well as making purchases and providing instructions.

You can also see it at work in the vision-recognition systems on self-driving cars, Unlike humans, these systems can only learn or be taught how to do specific tasks, which is why they are called narrow AI.

Behind the scenes, AI applications are used to find fraud.

Other Examples of Narrow AI

Taking data and figuring out what’s going on with things like video feeds and organizing calendars. There is also the annoying “Tell me what you would like to do” systems that make trickling sounds when you call customers service and MIGHT connect you with a human if you persevere.

GENERAL AI

Based on human intellectual functions, General AI can handle complex things like surgical procedures or even “reason” its way through a variety of topics and making decisions.  This brings up the whole “Skynet/Matrix” scenario, originally suggested in 2001: A Space Odyssey with the HAL computer.

AI biggies take both sides of the “will or won’t the machines decide they don’t need us?” question.  With the advent of more and more human-like robots, interestingly enough driven by the sex robot business, there is another whole line of concern.

Will we be able to download our consciousness, personality – soul – into a machine/android and live forever?   That depends on neural network creativity levels.

Neural networks mirror the human brain, using interconnected layers of algorithms, which like their flesh counterparts, can carry out specific tasks.  Linked together with some form of weighting – think about the pluses and minuses we humans use in decision-making—they could “learn” like we do.

Current types of neural networks have varied abilities.  Recurrent neural function very well dealing with language processing and speech recognition, while conventional neural networks are more commonly used in image recognition.   But, they have a long way to go.  “Tell me what you would like to do” is till the current level of sophistication.

Stay tuned as they get “smarter.”  And, they WILL get smarter, because despite some concerns, ranging up to paranoia, NOTHING will stop AI from advancing.  Just like the internet, once you open the genie’s bottle, you can’t go back.


 

What’s the Difference between a Web Designer and a Web Developer?

What’s the Difference between a Web Designer and a Web Developer?

General

Back in the Day

Web Designers – Art

Used to just concentrate on looks  – created the layout and other visual elements of the website

Web Developers – Code

Used “hard core” software – HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP  and others – to bring make functional websites

Issues for Clients

  • You had to work with TWO separate people/groups get a usable website.
  • Changes were tough to make – and cost a FORTUNE (New artwork AND new coding)
  • You were “Stuck” with the designer and the developer – THEY basically had complete control over YOUR website. Artwork had to be changed by the “Design people” and the “Development people” controlled the code.

These days – life has changed! 

WordPress has changed the way the world works!  Everything is easy to understand – doesn’t demand fancy art design OR code changes.

  • ONE designer/developer “does it all” for your website
  • BASED on PHP, but you don’t need a “coder”
  • Thousands of themes (designs) are available
  • Pictures, blogs, changes – all EASY and simple to add
  • YOU “Own” your website – no longer “stuck”

 

That’s Why YOU should Use US!

Ultradata Research uses WordPress and has the capability to provide clients with literally hundreds of different themes that would work well for them.

“Custom” isn’t a code word for “hideously expensive” any more.  You pick the “look” you want, and the “coding” is done by WordPress (although we do add touches to make sure your site is “found” by Google and other web browsers.) 

Come see what we can do for YOU!


 

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