New SERP Penalties For Pop-Ups Affecting Internet Marketing

Google’s New SERP Penalties For Pop-Ups On Mobile Affecting Internet Marketing

Internet MarketingAlthough Google announced in August 2016 that it would be implementing a search engine result page (SERP) ranking penalty for websites that feature “intrusive interstitials” on mobile, it seems that many site owners didn’t appreciate the full impact of this change until it happened in January 2017. The penalty affects sites that cover any page’s main content with a pop-up, or display a stand-alone interstitial which the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content, or where the above-the-fold portion of the page’s content appears in a pop-up, and the user has to click through to get to the original content on the site page. In other words, the content on those pages you’ve indexed for mobile search has to be immediately available to mobile users when they click through to your site. This means we need to re-think how and when we’re using pop-ups for Internet marketing.

New Strategies For New Rules

This pop-up penalty is an addition to Google’s ranking signal of mobile friendliness; if your site obscures its content behind advertising pop-ups, it will no longer pass the mobile-friendliness test. Obviously, removing revenue-generating pop-up ads will be hard to swallow for many site owners, but if you’re using interstitials for your own marketing purposes, there are ways to turn the situation to your advantage. Google is a business, and it is making these new requirements in an effort to increase their perceived value (and ad rates) by ensuring that their users are directed to useful content that is readily accessible. Websites that try to fight this tide by continuing to use these pop-ups on their mobile content will eventually become flotsam, miles off the coast, unseen and alone.

Build A Surfboard For Your Website

The only realistic choice for successful business websites in the face of Google’s new wave of requirements is to build a surfboard and learn to ride the wave. Content marketing provides business websites a way to effectively stay on top of their SERP rankings by using Google’s quality requirements, including mobile-friendliness, to gain an advantage over their competitors, establish themselves as expert resources in their fields, create a sales funnel that actually works, and expand brand awareness and recognition as users share interesting, useful, and original content with their own contacts. Fresh and original content are also part of Google’s ranking signals, so including new content like blog posts, lists and round-up articles, guides, infographics and videos on your site regularly not only pulls visitor into your sales funnel, but also boosts your organic reach.

Internet Marketing Is Evolving

The Naperville Internet marketing firm, Design & Promote, helps companies in the Chicago area and nation-wide to develop websites and marketing plans that get serious results, even through major changes to how Internet marketing gets done. From branding to content marketing to social media, we’ll give your company and its website every advantage for successful sales and marketing.

Using Buyer Personas For More Effective Internet Marketing

Naperville Internet MarketingThe term “buyer persona” is a fairly recent addition to marketing jargon, though the concept of a target customer or audience is as old as marketing itself. It’s easier than ever before access the information needed to create an accurate and effective buyer persona, but many businesses are starting at a disadvantage by misunderstanding what, specifically, a buyer persona is … and what it’s not.

Research Versus Reverse Engineering

A buyer persona is a fictitious, but very specific, individual, created from hard data. Creating a useful buyer persona, or more likely, a few of them, requires analyzing your current buyers, their behaviors, and their motivations, and combining that with data from other sources. This is a point many businesses fail to understand or fully appreciate, and a place where too many websites give away opportunities for success.

Before readily available website analytics, it could be difficult and costly for smaller companies to gather and analyze this kind of data, which left them with few options beside reverse-engineering a more generalized target: “We know what the benefits of our products are, we know that people are buying them, so we’ll start with the benefits and extrapolate to make an approximate profile of people who would buy based on those things, then go forward, pitching to that generalized target.” This process paints a fuzzy target, and it’s never going to achieve results as strong as using a properly developed buyer persona.

Paint A Precise Target

Begin with your company’s own customer website analytics, and consider polling your customers on specific points like what factors prompted them actually make a decision and buy your product. Don’t overlook additional resources like your social media accounts, and your competitors’ website analytics and social media audiences. This can help you form an accurate picture; not only of the customers you have, but also of the customers you may want, as well. You can also purchase or commission market research that examines your specific vertical, to help build an even more effective buyer persona. The more fact-based details you’re able to include, the more useful that persona will be in informing your marketing decisions.

Once you’ve formed a clear picture of your buyer persona, you can place a precise target on their pain points, their heart, or their mind, whichever one (or combination) is most likely to move your buyer persona to action. You’re no longer aiming your Internet marketing and sales efforts at the general area of pain points you’ve reverse-engineered. Now, you’re using a laser to aim at a spot you’ve precisely mapped out with realized facts, not assumptions.

Avoid Costly Mistakes In Developing Buyer Personas

Creating accurate buyer personas and using them effectively in Internet marketing is a research-intensive process. Beyond the initial research, it requires careful analysis and adjustment to fine-tune each persona, and understand how best to use them in combination to achieve your specific marketing objectives. At Design and Promote, we have the experience and professional tools to help your company avoid the expensive mistake of building your branding, website, and marketing campaigns on inaccurate buyer personas. Whether your business operates locally in Naperville, regionally in the Greater Chicago Area, nation-wide, or internationally, Design and Promote’s variety of services can help you take advantage of every opportunity to expand your reach and grow your business.

writing-scannable-content Test People are constantly bombarded with blog content these days, and it’s a real challenge to write copy that stands out from the rest. In order to understand how to turn content skimmers into actual readers, it’s important to understand how busy people are processing all of the information that presents itself through emails, social media, and websites all day, every day.


Set The Hook


Obviously, the first step is to present your content in a way that gets readers to give it a chance. You do this with titles and email subjects that accurately offer the reader something they want. It’s easy to write enticing titles, but if those titles turn out to be misleading or over-promising, people will quickly stop reacting to anything you send them. Sensationalistic titles that misrepresent the content break the reader’s trust, and you may never get a second chance to win that trust back.


Make Bite-Sized Chunks


When you succeed in attracting readers to open your content and they’re met with the sight of a page that’s solid text, you’re going to see a huge bounce rate for that page. People are skimming to determine whether or not a page’s content merits their time and effort, so writing scannable content is a must.


  • Short, Tight Copy – Overall, the content on a single web page should fall into the range of 400-600 words. On most computer browsers (as opposed to mobile browsers), this allows the readers to see all or most of the page’s text without scrolling. It also shows that you respect their time enough to keep your message brief.


  • Subheads – Breaking your message into short segments with subtitles helps the reader understand the flow of the message at a glance. Even if the reader is in a hurry, they’ll come away from skimming your page with the major points of your message, so you’ve still provided them value for their time.


  • Bulleted Lists – Laying your message out in a logical manner with bulleted lists helps the reader absorb even more information in a short time, and it provides valuable white space on your page, which makes your copy seem more approachable and less overwhelming than a page written in large blocks of text.


Include Easter Eggs


Ultimately, you want people to respond to your content by spending more time on your site, reading your content thoroughly, clicking through to more of your posts, and converting. Embedding links to additional, related content on your site creates a treasure hunt-type feel. Again, use anchor text that accurately represents the linked content, and don’t break their trust with a wild goose chase of a link that has nothing to do with what they’re interested in reading about.


Is Your Website Content Converting Skimmers?

 writing website content

If you’d like to see your company’s web content bring better results, Design & Promote can help. Writing scannable content that drives conversion is our primary focus. Contact us for a complimentary website audit and we’ll help you create content that builds your reputation as a valuable and authoritative source in your field.




content marketing firm chicagoAs a marketer, one of your main jobs is likely developing content that is useful to your customers, especially if you have a strong online presence. From compelling web content that first draws a prospect in, to highly-targeted email campaigns meant to close the deal, content is a vital component to the overall marketing strategy for many businesses.

Unfortunately, many marketers find that they struggle getting their sales team to use the content they created. Why? It often boils down to a lack of alignment between the two teams and a lack of communication about the type of content and messaging needed.

To get sales to use your content, you have to be on the same page about content development. Here’s how:

Powwow With Sales

content marketing strategies for businessOne of the easiest and most effective ways to get on the same page as your sales team is to meet with them on a regular basis. At minimum, get together monthly; more often for larger companies producing a lot of content. The goal is to get feedback as quickly as possible about what’s working and what’s not. The more often you meet, the more quickly you can change gears and adjust your content strategy to provide sales with the content they need – and will actually use.

Understand Your Brand’s Sales Cycle

How a consumer goes from a lead to a prospect to a buyer is different for every brand. Making sure both your sales and marketing teams understand the sales cycle each person goes through is vital to creating appropriate content at each touch point.

Be Helpful, Not Promotional

Obviously your content should promote your brand to some degree, but content that is deemed as too “salesy” is a turnoff to buyers. Instead, work with your sales team to understand your buyers’ needs and concerns and create content that addresses those in a helpful way.

Make Your Content Easy To Find

Your content should be easily accessible and organized so that your sales team can quickly find what they’re looking for. Cloud or server storage is ideal so that the content is updated in real-time and everyone has access to the most recent files.

Be Sure Your Content Meets Its Goal

If a free eBook download is supposed to result in 50 new leads per month but your email list is only growing by 20, you need to figure out what the problem is. It could be you’re not promoting it enough and an extra email campaign may provide the boost you need. If not, the issue could be with the content itself. This goes back to the importance of regular meetings to provide feedback on the effectiveness of content.

Meet Customers Where They Are

Not all of your content will be in the form of an email or PDF. Brands looking to boost their online presence and authority will use various platforms for publishing content and connecting with customers. One of the most effective is LinkedIn. With more than 400 million users in various niche industries, it’s one of the best places to find customers who are already interested in the type of solution you provide. The key is to ensure your LinkedIn profile is well-optimized so that your brand and content receive good exposure and traffic.


Design & Promote Can Evaluate Your Content Marketing Strategy

If you’re struggling to align your sales and marketing teams around content, a content marketing firm like Design & Promote can help evaluate and update your Chicago business’s strategy. Call 630-995-7109 to learn how we can help you create content that your sales team will actually want to use!

Gone are the days when a consumer would sit down at a desktop, indulge in a lengthy research session, and then make a buying decision. Today, consumers are on their mobile devices throughout the day – as many as 177 times per day, in fact – researching, going, doing and buying in small chunks as the need arises. Google calls these “consumer micro-moments” and it’s vital that you’re in front of your customers in these precise moments.

Consider this, 87% of Millennials have their smartphone by their side day and night. It is the first place they turn to when they want to know something, want to do something, want to go somewhere, or want to buy something.

Is your brand showing up in mobile searches at all of these touch points throughout the sales cycle? If not, you have a tremendous opportunity to shake up your mobile marketing strategy to win consumer micro moments.

Here’s how.

First, You Have To Be There

When a consumer performs a mobile search, they want the best information as quickly as possible. They’re usually not searching for a specific brand – in fact, 90% of users aren’t sure what brand they want to buy from, and 1 in 3 end up buying from a different brand than they originally intended.

To find out how much your brand is showing up in mobile search results, have your web design agency prepare a “share of intent” metric for you. This will tell you what percentage of times your brand shows up in search results for searches relevant to your product or service. Obviously, the higher the number, the better. If you discover gaps, increase your ad coverage for those searches and you will begin showing up in key consumer micro moments.

What exactly are those moments?

I-Want-To-Know Moments 

This is when a consumer is at the research stage. They are curious about something and want quick, useful information. “Useful” being the operative word here. This is not the time for a hard sell, nor is it the time to sneakily direct the user to an unrelated page. Provide helpful, relevant, timely information and the consumer will ultimately reward you with brand loyalty.

I-Want-To-Go Moments 

This is when a consumer wants to physically go somewhere. An example of this type of micro moment is “near me” mobile searches, which have doubled in just the past year. 61% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from brands that use location services to customize a user’s search to their location – for example, listing nearby stores with a search for product in stock.

I-Want-To-Do Moments 

This is when a consumer wants to know how to do something. These are classic “how to” searches and can encompass everything from replacing a toilet to mastering the latest eyeliner trend. It should come as no surprise that video content reigns supreme in these micro moments – in fact, almost half of smartphone users say they are more likely to buy from brands that provide instructional video content on their mobile site or app.

I-Want-To-Buy Moments

The king of all micro moments, this is when a consumer is ready to make a purchase. Hopefully the consumer has already engaged favorably with your brand at some point in their sales journey. The only thing left to do is make the buying process fast and easy – whether the user wants to buy online, via your mobile site, app, or physical store.

Site And App Performance

The best mobile marketing strategy in the world will fall flat if your mobile site or app doesn’t perform well. While many factors play into speed and functionality, you basically have less than 3 seconds for your site to load before a user leaves. Likewise, once they get to your site, the information they need should be easily found with minimal clicks and data entry.

A successful brand is one who researches their consumers’ potential micro moments and optimizes their mobile marketing strategy to ensure they are showing up and providing the needed information at precisely the right time. If you want to win consumer micro moments, contact Design & Promote, a Chicago web design agency specializing in internet marketing strategies designed to get brands noticed.

All statistics: Being There in Micro-Moments, Especially on Mobile – Think with Google. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Most blog structures are flat or horizontal in nature. They lack organization (even if each new post is associated as a “category”), and the more you blog, the more cluttered it becomes, and the more disjointed it feels as readers are jolted from one topic to the next.

If this isn’t what you want your readers experiencing, creating a silo structure for blogs is the solution.

What Is A Silo Structure?

In the simplest terms, a silo blog structure allows you to categorize your content in a common-sense way for both readers and search engines. It makes internal linking easy and logical and allows readers to “drill down” to more in-depth information within a topic.

Take a look at the example below. There are two silo pages (Superfoods and Healthy Fats), and below each are some main category pages (types of superfoods and types of healthy fats). Below that we expanded just the healthy fats silo for the sake of space and to drill down to examples of foods that contain the different types of fats. Next we talk about the health benefits of the foods. Finally, we attempt to answer specific questions readers might have and provide useful tips and recipe collections.

blog silo structure


Implementing A Silo Structure For Blogs

Logically, the blog silo structure makes sense, but many companies seize up at the thought of implementing it. While it’s ideal to create a silo structure for blogs during the planning phase, which requires longtail keyword research to identify what type of content your readers are looking for, it is possible to reorganize your existing blog based on the topics you have already covered. The upside to reorganizing an existing blog is that by creating a hierarchy type chart like the one above, it will help you fill in the gaps and identify topics that would fit above, below or beside your existing content.

Linking, Navigation And Search Engines

Once you have your silos, categories, topics and subtopics in place, internal linking becomes a breeze as you find yourself naturally linking to posts up and down within the silo. Just remember to go back to old content and link it to new posts where applicable.

For navigation, efficient silo structures use a sidebar navigation that expands as the reader drills down from a main category to more specific topics and subtopics. This provides laser-focused results for the user looking for “health benefits of coconut oil”, versus returning all of the posts you’ve ever written and categorized under “healthy fats.”

Search engines will see the same thing and reward you with higher rankings for having a topically relevant blog with comprehensive coverage on the queries within a topic. This means when someone searches for the “health benefits of coconut oil,” your post will be in the top results.

Design & Promote Can Help You Create A Silo Structure For Blogs

If you’re thinking about adding a blog to your site, or you want to reorganize your existing blog, Design & Promote can help. We create silo structures for blogs that get noticed – by readers and search engines! Contact us today to learn more about our web design and development services.




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New SERP Penalties For Pop-Ups Affecting Internet Marketing

Google’s New SERP Penalties For Pop-Ups On Mobile Affecting Internet Marketing Although Google announced in August 2016 that it would […]

Naperville Internet Marketing, Digital Marketing Naperville

Using Buyer Personas For More Effective Internet Marketing

Using Buyer Personas For More Effective Internet Marketing The term “buyer persona” is a fairly recent addition to marketing jargon, […]


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Test People are constantly bombarded with blog content these days, and it’s a real challenge to write copy that stands […]

content marketing firm chicago

A Content Marketing Firm Helps Get Your Sales Team On Board With Content

As a marketer, one of your main jobs is likely developing content that is useful to your customers, especially if […]

consumer micro moments chicago web design agency

Chicago Web Design Agency Helps You Win Consumer Micro Moments

Gone are the days when a consumer would sit down at a desktop, indulge in a lengthy research session, and […]

Blog Silo Structure

What Is A Blog Silo Structure – And Do You Need One

Most blog structures are flat or horizontal in nature. They lack organization (even if each new post is associated as […]