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What You Need To Know

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What You Need To Know

To stay relevant, brands must continue to engage their customers through ads, contests, and other marketing strategies.

But what is a Facebook competition? How does it work? And why should I care?

Competitions are a great way to get noticed and build brand awareness. They are excellent for getting more likes on your page and in your group or boosting traffic to your site. They also provide a fun opportunity to interact with your audience.

Competitions on Facebook can involve posting a question or challenge, then promoting it to engage your followers.

Rewards can include cash prizes, gifts, or even admission to exclusive events.

But before jumping into a competition, there are some things you should consider. To ensure your competition is a success, check out these helpful tips.

1. What Are Facebook’s Official Rules?

Like most aspects of Facebook, there are official rules, including rules for all competitions.

However, the rules tend to change as new policies arise, so it’s important to check them before starting a competition. The current ones include:

Setting Up Your Own Restrictions

When you create a competition, the owner of the Facebook Page or Group’s job is to ensure they run properly and lawfully.

This means you have to set up terms and eligibility requirements which would include the age range for who can participate and the region for the competition.

So, for example, a brand can set guidelines that only people 18 plus in the U.S. can participate in the competition.

It also means that there need to be clear standards of how the competition will be run. Such as how and when the participants will participate and receive rewards.

Transparency is paramount. It will ensure everyone knows how the competition will operate and won’t get your brand in any sticky situations with Facebook or the law.

Create A Statement About Facebook

You will also need to mention in a post or release that Facebook is not involved in the competition in any way. And that the brand itself is in charge and responsible for the competition.

The participants also need to agree to these terms. So, it’s your job to get the participants to consent to these terms before participating.

Restrictions To Where You Can Post About The Campaign

Only official Facebook Pages, Groups, or Events can be used as platforms to promote a competition.

A brand can’t encourage its team or other participants to promote, tag, or share the competition on their personal Timelines.

People can find this as a spammy way to promote a competition anyway, so this shouldn’t impact promoting your competition.

Understanding Who’s Involved

Unfortunately, you are on your own and in charge of running a campaign on Facebook. So, Facebook can’t get involved if issues arise; it’s your job to manage any potential problems.

2. What Objectives Do You Want To Achieve?

Now that you know the rules, it’s time to set your goals for the competition.

There are numerous objectives you can select for a Facebook competition.

Some of them include:

  • Increasing likes or followers.
  • Getting traffic from other pages.
  • Building engagement
  • Promoting a product or service.

If you want to increase the number of likes you receive for posts and use a competition to help with this, then you need to post regularly and interact with users.

To build engagement, you should ask questions to your participants and answer any responses they give.

Additionally, if you want to promote a product or service, you should use promotion tools like Facebook ads.

Generally, the main objectives of any Facebook competition are to increase engagement and gain followers.

If you want to achieve higher engagement rates, you need to create a competition where participants feel like they have something to gain.

This could mean giving away prizes to select participants after encouraging them to participate on your social media pages or directing them back to your website to sign up for your email subscription.

This helps you get more active leads while also generating engagement.

Tracking Your Competition

As you would set goals for other social media campaigns, selecting specific and measurable objectives is paramount. This way, you can track the success of the campaign.

Putting together a couple of key performance indicators (KPIs) can help inform your promotional strategy for your Facebook competition.

It’s also incredibly important to set a schedule to monitor Facebook promotion analytics regularly.

Promote Your Competition

For your competition to gain traction, you need to leverage your marketing efforts.

Whether your competition is run solely on Facebook or you’re using it across multiple platforms, it’s crucial to hit all areas where your customers follow you.

Either direct them back to Facebook to participate or be clear about how and where they can enter the competition on other platforms, such as your website.

Also, depending on your brand goals for the competition, it may be worth boosting it as a paid Facebook post.

You can also customize your campaign by creating unique hashtags. This will help participants associate a post with your competition to remind them to enter if they haven’t done so already or reignite their excitement about potential prizes.

In addition, remember to establish a set schedule for when and how you will post about your competition throughout its duration.

Do You Need An App For Your Competition?

Using a third-party app to run your competition removes a lot of the headache associated with running a promotion but also has some drawbacks.

For example, they may not offer any additional functionality beyond what your team can manage.

Also, if you plan on promoting through Facebook ads, you’ll need to pay separately for each campaign (which could get expensive).

And finally, these apps aren’t usually designed to work on mobile devices, so you won’t be able to access them easily from a smartphone or tablet.

3. Who Is The Audience You Want To Enter?

With your objectives and rules established, it’s time to decide who you want to get involved in your competition. It’s essential to tailor your competition to your target audience.

What do you think your target audience wants? Do you have a new product or product line coming out soon? Then maybe you can gift a couple of participants some of these products.

Or perhaps there is a product that is generally sold out. Then a couple of lucky winners can receive this elusive good.

You could also create a limited edition product specifically for the competition. This way, more people will get excited to participate, so they don’t miss out on this one-time offer.

Figuring out what your audience wants most can help improve the success of your competition. Choose a prize that appeals to your ideal customers. You want your participants to be excited when they finally get their gift.

Finally, think carefully about how you’re reaching your target audience.

Will they respond positively to how you plan to promote your competition? Are you offering enough prizes for the type of following you have on Facebook or across social media?

4. What Type Of Competition Do You Choose?

A Facebook competition requires a lot of planning. Before starting any Facebook competition, you need to decide how much effort and money you want to put into the competition.

Such as how much money you want to spend on Facebook ads and other promotional activities, as well as what prizes you want to give away and how many prizes you’re willing to offer. Then it’ll be easier to select what type of competition would work best.

Three traditional competitions include giveaways, sweepstakes, and contests. Each has different rules.

If you plan to run a giveaway, you should consider limiting how many products you give away. Usually, with a giveaway, a set number of the people who participate first receive a prize.

A sweepstake is more of a lottery where you would select a certain number of participants from the pull of participants that enter the competition over a period of time.

And a contest would have more specific criteria that the participants need to follow, and then the participant(s) who best follow the criteria would win. Such as a picture contest.

How Long Will The Competition Run?

If you want to run a competition on Facebook, then you should know how long the competition will last. The typical duration is one month.

However, some competitions may be open longer if you have the budget and time or certain long-term goals for that competition.

Some competitions end when they reach a certain number of entries, while others continue until a specific date.

5. How Will You Follow Up With Participants?

It’s crucial to communicate how you will follow up with your participants to let them know who won the competition.

This way, you won’t create any unnecessary upsetness or miscommunicate about when the prizes will go out. You don’t want to waste all your hard work by ending the competition on a sour note.

Here are some tips on how you can follow up with participants after the competition ends:

  1. Announce the end of the competition and thank everyone for participating.
  2. Make a note of the winners’ names and send them a message with the information about how and when they will receive the prize.
  3. Finally, don’t forget to check periodically to see what new messages or comments they leave.

Takeaways

Facebook competitions are a fun way to promote your company, brand, product, service, or cause.

Also, they are a great way to build a community around your brand and get feedback from followers.

They’re free to enter, easy to set up, and fun to watch. So, if you want to build a community around your product or service, try creating a Facebook competition.

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Gen Z Ditches Google, Turns To Reddit For Product Searches

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In this photo illustration, the Reddit logo is displayed on a smartphone screen.

A new report from Reddit, in collaboration with GWI and AmbassCo, sheds light on the evolving search behaviors of Generation Z consumers.

The study surveyed over 3,000 internet users across the UK, US, and Germany, highlighting significant changes in how young people discover and research products online.

Here’s an overview of key findings and the implications for marketers.

Decline In Traditional Search

The study found that Gen Z uses search engines to find new brands and products less often.

That’s because they shop online differently. They’re less interested in looking for expert reviews or spending much time searching for products.

There are also frustrations with mobile-friendliness and complex interfaces on traditional search platforms.

Because of this, traditional SEO strategies might not work well for reaching younger customers.

Takeaway

Companies trying to reach Gen Z might need to try new methods instead of just focusing on being visible on Google and other search engines.

Rise Of Social Media Discovery

Screenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Gen Z is increasingly using social media to find new brands and products.

The study shows that Gen Z has used social media for product discovery 36% more frequently since 2018.

This change is affecting how young people shop online. Instead of searching for products, they expect brands to appear in their social media feeds.

1719123963 547 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Because of this, companies trying to reach young customers need to pay more attention to how they present themselves on social media.

Takeaway

To succeed at marketing to Gen Z, businesses will likely need to focus on two main things:

  1. Ensure that your content appears more often in social media feeds.
  2. Create posts people want to share and interact with.

Trust Issues With Influencer Marketing

Even though more people are finding products through social media, the report shows that Gen Z is less likely to trust what social media influencers recommend.

These young shoppers often don’t believe in posts that influencers are paid to make or products they promote.

Instead, they prefer to get information from sources that feel more real and are driven by regular people in online communities.

Takeaway

Because of this lack of trust, companies must focus on being genuine and building trust when they try to get their websites to appear in search results or create ads.

Some good ways to connect with these young consumers might be to use content created by regular users, encourage honest product reviews, and create authentic conversations within online communities.

Challenges With Current Search Experiences

The research shows that many people are unhappy with how search engines work right now.

More than 60% of those surveyed want search results to be more trustworthy. Almost half of users don’t like looking through many search result pages.

Gen Z is particularly bothered by inaccurate information and unreliable reviews.

1719123963 785 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Takeaway

Given the frustration with search quality, marketers should prioritize creating accurate, trustworthy content.

This can help build brand credibility, leading to more direct visits.

Reddit: A Trusted Alternative

The report suggests that Gen Z trusts Reddit when looking up products—it’s their third most trusted source, after friends and family and review websites.

1719123963 403 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Young users like Reddit because it’s community-based and provides specific answers to users’ questions, making it feel more real.

It’s worth noting that this report comes from Reddit itself, which probably influenced why it’s suggesting its own platform.

Takeaway

Companies should focus more on being part of smaller, specific online groups frequented by Gen Z.

That could include Reddit or any other forum.

Why SEJ Cares

As young people change how they look for information online, this study gives businesses important clues about connecting with future customers.

Here’s what to remember:

  • Traditional search engine use is declining among Gen Z.
  • Social media is increasingly vital for product discovery.
  • There’s growing skepticism towards influencer marketing.
  • Current search experiences often fail to meet user expectations.
  • Community-based platforms like Reddit are gaining trust.

Featured Image: rafapress/Shutterstock

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Google Clarifies Organization Merchant Returns Structured Data

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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

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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:

”The
”Google
”List
”Screaming

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
”google
”seo
”seo

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.

FAQ

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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