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6 Tips For Mastering Video Calls That Wow Your Clients



6 Tips For Mastering Video Calls That Wow Your Clients

What if you and your clients could look forward to video meetings instead of viewing them as a necessary evil?

According to a Korn Ferry 2019 study, “89% of workers say they waste time each week attending unproductive meetings and calls.”

This current trend of poorly executed meetings provides ample opportunity for you to shine as a video meeting aficionado.

You can transform this aspect of the client journey with proper execution, resulting in a more fulfilling role and stickier client relationships that will increase your value in the marketplace.

Before The Meeting

Laying a solid foundation for an excellent meeting is where preparation comes in.

Do Your Homework

It helps to know if your attendees – or someone close to them – have a recent accomplishment that involves congratulating or rejoicing with them or simply asking about it.

You simply want to do proper reconnaissance to ensure you have the right amount of current, meaningful knowledge. Trust me; it’s well worth the extra 5–10 minutes of research and will be a game changer for both parties.

Build Q&As Into Your Agendas

Questions are inevitable in video calls, especially in our industry.

Notwithstanding the verbal recap mentioned later in this article, you’ll want to reserve the last five minutes for questions and answers.

If you neglect this practice, you risk going over time or rushing your exit, both of which are video call no-nos.

Send Manual Reminders

First, you’ll want to send a manual meeting reminder an hour or two before game time.

Automation is not failproof, so manual reminders ensure your attendees show up despite technological glitches.

Manual reminders also add a nice human element by customizing the experience and communicating your involvement and interest.

Consider inserting light humor into these reminders to build a rapport with the participants.

In short, this practice serves as a simple way to go the extra mile.

Confirm Audio & Video

The most important pre-meeting check is firing up your software 5–10 minutes early to ensure your audio and video are in full working order.

You will want to see what your background looks like and confirm that your bedhead is under control.

Take note of the mute button, and be careful not to mute yourself while talking on the call!

During The Meeting

No matter how often you’ve been on video calls, there’s always some discomfort.

Eliminate Awkwardness

Eliminate awkwardness right out of the gate with a question or comment about your attendees or their business.

The ideal scenario here involves you celebrating something with the participants, as we covered above.

This approach may not be as creative as fun icebreaker suggestions, but it is safe.

And it enhances the client experience by adding another level of personal touch.

Here are some life-event examples:

  • Brand anniversary: The company recently celebrated (or is about to celebrate) an anniversary since its launch.
  • Role anniversary: An attendee recently celebrated (or is about to celebrate) their anniversary in their current role, with the company, or in the industry.
  • Recent promotion.
  • Recent post/article.
  • Recent project or case study.
  • Redesign of brand and/or website.
  • Wedding.
  • Wedding anniversary.
  • Birth of a child.
  • Birthday.
  • Graduation.
  • Favorite professional sports team victory.
  • Marathon.

Note: Most of these events are not limited directly to your attendees; they can also apply to one of their loved ones.

Communicate Hard Stops

One meeting party foul, in my book, is not communicating a hard stop at the onset of the meeting.

Let attendees know, as soon as possible, that you need to end at the agreed-upon time.

Failure to do so can create an awkward end to a meeting, depending on how the time is managed.

Reiterate The Agenda

As a strategic courtesy, remind invitees of the timeframe for the meeting and confirm that it still works for them.

Something like, “It looks like we carved out 30 minutes for this meeting. Does that still work for you?”

Second, don’t assume attendees read the itinerary.

Make sure they know what’s on the line-up, and allow them to make an addendum.

This critical step in the meeting sets proper expectations and gives the attendees a sense of control, both of which will put them at ease.

Stick To The Agenda

We all know this is much harder to do than it sounds.

It is important to ensure that you use the agenda as your guide for executing the meeting.

Do not veer off into areas not previously agreed to by both parties.

First, it can be seen as unprofessional to go off on tangents not included in the original talking points.

The reality is that people do this all the time, and it will probably go unnoticed.

However, here is what will not go unnoticed: A tightly run meeting that sticks to the agenda, which will stand out in the crowd every time.

How To Address Peripheral Inquiries

What about tough scenarios where the attendee interjects a comment or question guaranteed to derail or delay the meeting?

In this situation, it is best to simply acknowledge the question and ask for permission to address it at the end of the meeting.

That offers yet another opportunity to provide a sense of control to your guests while managing your meetings efficiently.

The attendee will also appreciate you bringing up their inquiry at the end of the meeting because it is another indicator that they have been listened to and prioritized.

At the end of the meeting, you have two options.

If you have a hard stop, tactfully highlight the meeting’s success and ask permission to address their question via email or similar.

You can even add it to the next meeting if applicable.

Even if you have some flexibility, you should still underscore the successful meeting before addressing any peripheral concerns, helping to ensure they understand you upheld your end of the deal.

Provide a verbal recap of the meeting (discussed below) and highlight that you’re ending on time, indicating that you managed the meeting well and were respectful of their time.

The recap is followed by a comment like, “Fred, you had a question earlier about ________.  I do have some extra time if you would like to extend the meeting, or we can tackle this via email if that works better for you.”

Notice that you are tactfully highlighting that they are prolonging the meeting.

Provide A Verbal Recap

Verbally recapping a meeting is one of my favorite things to do when it concludes.

It enhances thoroughness, provides helpful summaries, and creates a less awkward ending.

These recaps should be comprehensive, highlighting all the main talking points of the meeting, including incidental topics.

They should also be succinct, bullet point-like statements.

End On Time

This cannot be overstressed.

First of all, it communicates that you respect everyone’s time.

Second, it shows that you know how to run a meeting efficiently.

And, if you’ve covered everything necessary in less than the allotted meeting time – feel free to end the meeting early. After all, who doesn’t love reclaiming a few minutes of their day?

Send An Email Recap After The Meeting

This is just a best practice.

Yet, how many of us are guilty of neglecting this step?

This should be a simple email with a bullet point for everything discussed, including action items.

You should also ask the recipients to confirm that nothing was missed.


Consider practicing a couple of these tactics at a time until they become habitual.

Follow that up by implementing a few more.

This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and thus failing to improve your video call management.

Mastering video calls is a simple way to earn the respect and appreciation of those you meet with.

Equally noteworthy is the great satisfaction you will experience when executing your meetings with finesse.

Here’s to you becoming that digital marketer everyone looks forward to meeting!

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Google Clarifies Organization Merchant Returns Structured Data




Google updates organization structured data for merchant returns

Google quietly updated their organization structured data documentation in order to clarify two points about merchant returns in response to feedback about an ambiguity in the previous version.

Organization Structured Data and Merchant Returns

Google recently expanded their Organization structured data so that it could now accommodate a merchant return policy. The change added support for adding a sitewide merchant return policy.

The original reason for adding this support:

“Adding support for Organization-level return policies

What: Added documentation on how to specify a general return policy for an Organization as a whole.

Why: This makes it easier to define and maintain general return policies for an entire site.”

However that change left unanswered about what will happen if a site has a sitewide return policy but also has a different policy for individual products.

The clarification applies for the specific scenario of when a site uses both a sitewide return policy in their structured data and another one for specific products.

What Takes Precedence?

What happens if a merchant uses both a sitewide and product return structured data? Google’s new documentation states that Google will ignore the sitewide product return policy in favor of a more granular product-level policy in the structured data.

The clarification states:

“If you choose to provide both organization-level and product-level return policy markup, Google defaults to the product-level return policy markup.”

Change Reflected Elsewhere

Google also updated the documentation to reflect the scenario of the use of two levels of merchant return policies in another section that discusses whether structured data or merchant feed data takes precedence. There is no change to the policy, merchant center data still takes precedence.

This is the old documentation:

“If you choose to use both markup and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

This is the same section but updated with additional wording:

“If you choose to use both markup (whether at the organization-level or product-level, or both) and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

Read the newly updated Organization structured data documentation:

Organization (Organization) structured data – MerchantReturnPolicy

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What Is It & How To Write It




What Is It & How To Write It

In this guide, you will learn about alternative text (known as alt text): what it is, why it is important for on-page SEO, how to use it correctly, and more.

It’s often overlooked, but every image on your website should have alt text. More information is better, and translating visual information into text is important for search engine bots attempting to understand your website and users with screen readers.

Alt text is one more source of information that relates ideas and content together on your website.

This practical and to-the-point guide contains tips and advice you can immediately use to improve your website’s image SEO and accessibility.

What Is Alt Text?

Alternative text (or alt text) – also known as the alt attribute or the alt tag (which is not technically correct because it is not a tag) – is simply a piece of text that describes the image in the HTML code.

What Are The Uses Of Alt Text?

The original function of alt text was simply to describe an image that could not be loaded.

Many years ago, when the internet was much slower, alt text would help you know the content of an image that was too heavy to be loaded in your browser.

Today, images rarely fail to load – but if they do, then it is the alt text you will see in place of an image.

Screenshot from Search Engine Journal, May 2024

Alt text also helps search engine bots understand the image’s content and context.

More importantly, alt text is critical for accessibility and for people using screen readers:

  • Alt text helps people with disabilities (for example, using screen readers) learn about the image’s content.

Of course, like every element of SEO, it is often misused or, in some cases, even abused.

Let’s now take a closer look at why alt text is important.

Why Alt Text Is Important

The web and websites are a very visual experience. It is hard to find a website without images or graphic elements.

That’s why alt text is very important.

Alt text helps translate the image’s content into words, thus making the image accessible to a wider audience, including people with disabilities and search engine bots that are not clever enough yet to fully understand every image, its context, and its meaning.

Why Alt Text Is Important For SEO

Alt text is an important element of on-page SEO optimization.

Proper alt text optimization makes your website stand a better chance of ranking in Google image searches.

Yes, alt text is a ranking factor for Google image search.

Depending on your website’s niche and specificity, Google image search traffic may play a huge role in your website’s overall success.

For example, in the case of ecommerce websites, users very often start their search for products with a Google image search instead of typing the product name into the standard Google search.

Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner]Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner], May 2024

Google and other search engines may display fewer product images (or not display them at all) if you fail to take care of their alt text optimization.

Without proper image optimization, you may lose a lot of potential traffic and customers.

Why Alt Text Is Important For Accessibility

Visibility in Google image search is very important, but there is an even more important consideration: Accessibility.

Fortunately, in recent years, more focus has been placed on accessibility (i.e., making the web accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities and/or using screen readers).

Suppose the alt text of your images actually describes their content instead of, for example, stuffing keywords. In that case, you are helping people who cannot see this image better understand it and the content of the entire web page.

Let’s say one of your web pages is an SEO audit guide that contains screenshots from various crawling tools.

Would it not be better to describe the content of each screenshot instead of placing the same alt text of “SEO audit” into every image?

Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Alt Text Examples

Finding many good and bad examples of alt text is not difficult. Let me show you a few, sticking to the above example with an SEO audit guide.

Good Alt Text Examples

So, our example SEO guide contains screenshots from tools such as Google Search Console and Screaming Frog.

Some good examples of alt text may include:


Tip: It is also a good idea to take care of the name of your file. Using descriptive file names is not a ranking factor, but I recommend this as a good SEO practice.

Bad And/Or Spammy Alt Text Examples

I’ve also seen many examples of bad alt text use, including keyword stuffing or spamming.

Here is how you can turn the above good examples into bad examples:

”google search console coverage report

As you can see, the above examples do not provide any information on what these images actually show.

You can also find examples and even more image SEO tips on Google Search Central.

Common Alt Text Mistakes

Stuffing keywords in the alt text is not the only mistake you can make.

Here are a few examples of common alt text mistakes:

  • Failure to use the alt text or using empty alt text.
  • Using the same alt text for different images.
  • Using very general alt text that does not actually describe the image. For example, using the alt text of “dog” on the photo of a dog instead of describing the dog in more detail, its color, what it is doing, what breed it is, etc.
  • Automatically using the name of the file as the alt text – which may lead to very unfriendly alt text, such as “googlesearchconsole,” “google-search-console,” or “photo2323,” depending on the name of the file.

Alt Text Writing Tips

And finally, here are the tips on how to write correct alt text so that it actually fulfills its purpose:

  • Do not stuff keywords into the alt text. Doing so will not help your web page rank for these keywords.
  • Describe the image in detail, but still keep it relatively short. Avoid adding multiple sentences to the alt text.
  • Use your target keywords, but in a natural way, as part of the image’s description. If your target keyword does not fit into the image’s description, don’t use it.
  • Don’t use text on images. All text should be added in the form of HTML code.
  • Don’t write, “this is an image of.” Google and users know that this is an image. Just describe its content.
  • Make sure you can visualize the image’s content by just reading its alt text. That is the best exercise to make sure your alt text is OK.

How To Troubleshoot Image Alt Text

Now you know all the best practices and common mistakes of alt text. But how do you check what’s in the alt text of the images of a website?

You can analyze the alt text in the following ways:

Inspecting an element (right-click and select Inspect when hovering over an image) is a good way to check if a given image has alt text.

However, if you want to check that in bulk, I recommend one of the below two methods.

Install Web Developer Chrome extension.

Screenshot of Web Developer Extension in Chrome by authorScreenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

Next, open the page whose images you want to audit.

Click on Web Developer and navigate to Images > Display Alt Attributes. This way, you can see the content of the alt text of all images on a given web page.

The alt text of images is shown on the page.Screenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

How To Find And Fix Missing Alt Text

To check the alt text of the images of the entire website, use a crawler like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb.

Crawl the site, navigate to the image report, and review the alt text of all website images, as shown in the video guide below.

You can also export only images that have missing alt text and start fixing those issues.

Alt Text May Not Seem Like A Priority, But It’s Important

Every source of information about your content has value. Whether it’s for vision-impaired users or bots, alt text helps contextualize the images on your website.

While it’s only a ranking factor for image search, everything you do to help search engines understand your website can potentially help deliver more accurate results. Demonstrating a commitment to accessibility is also a critical component of modern digital marketing.


What is the purpose of alt text in HTML?

Alternative text, or alt text, serves two main purposes in HTML. Its primary function is to provide a textual description of an image if it cannot be displayed. This text can help users understand the image content when technical issues prevent it from loading or if they use a screen reader due to visual impairments. Additionally, alt text aids search engine bots in understanding the image’s subject matter, which is critical for SEO, as indexing images correctly can enhance a website’s visibility in search results.

Can alt text improve website accessibility?

Yes, alt text is vital for website accessibility. It translates visual information into descriptive text that can be read by screen readers used by users with visual impairments. By accurately describing images, alt text ensures that all users, regardless of disability, can understand the content of a web page, making the web more inclusive and accessible to everyone.

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Google Dials Back AI Overviews In Search Results, Study Finds




Photo of a mobile device in mans hand with generative google AI Overview on the screen.

According to new research, Google’s AI-generated overviews have undergone significant adjustments since the initial rollout.

The study from SE Ranking analyzed 100,000 keywords and found Google has greatly reduced the frequency of AI overviews.

However, when they appear, they’re more detailed than they were previously.

The study digs into which topics and industries are more likely to get an AI overview. It also looks at how the AI snippets interact with other search features like featured snippets and ads.

Here’s an overview of the findings and what they mean for your SEO efforts.

Declining Frequency Of AI Overviews

In contrast to pre-rollout figures, 8% of the examined searches now trigger an AI Overview.

This represents a 52% drop compared to January levels.

Yevheniia Khromova, the study’s author, believes this means Google is taking a more measured approach, stating:

“The sharp decrease in AI Overview presence likely reflects Google’s efforts to boost the accuracy and trustworthiness of AI-generated answers.”

Longer AI Overviews

Although the frequency of AI overviews has decreased, the ones that do appear provide more detailed information.

The average length of the text has grown by nearly 25% to around 4,342 characters.

In another notable change, AI overviews now link to fewer sources on average – usually just four links after expanding the snippet.

However, 84% still include at least one domain from that query’s top 10 organic search results.

Niche Dynamics & Ranking Factors

The chances of getting an AI overview vary across different industries.

Searches related to relationships, food and beverages, and technology were most likely to trigger AI overviews.

Sensitive areas like healthcare, legal, and news had a low rate of showing AI summaries, less than 1%.

Longer search queries with ten words were more likely to generate an AI overview, with a 19% rate indicating that AI summaries are more useful for complex information needs.

Search terms with lower search volumes and lower cost-per-click were more likely to display AI summaries.

Other Characteristics Of AI Overviews

The research reveals that 45% of AI overviews appear alongside featured snippets, often sourced from the exact domains.

Around 87% of AI overviews now coexist with ads, compared to 73% previously, a statistic that could increase competition for advertising space.

What Does This Mean?

SE Ranking’s research on AI overviews has several implications:

  1. Reduced Risk Of Traffic Losses: Fewer searches trigger AI Overviews that directly answer queries, making organic listings less likely to be demoted or receive less traffic.
  2. Most Impacted Niches: AI overviews appear more in relationships, food, and technology niches. Publishers in these sectors should pay closer attention to Google’s AI overview strategy.
  3. Long-form & In-Depth Content Essential: As AI snippets become longer, companies may need to create more comprehensive content beyond what the overviews cover.

Looking Ahead

While the number of AI overviews has decreased recently, we can’t assume this trend will continue.

AI overviews will undoubtedly continue to transform over time.

It’s crucial to monitor developments closely, try different methods of dealing with them, and adjust game plans as needed.

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