Archive for the ‘Search Engines’ Category

Moving Forward After Google Hummingbird: 4 Must Read Articles

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Over the past few weeks, the entire digital marketing industry has been discussing Google’s announcement of their most recent update to their user protocol that is essentially going to be a huge game changer for many marketers and SEOs.

google-algorithm-hummingbird

The big news?
Referring organic search keywords will be 100% encrypted (from Google’s search engine) and will no longer be visible in Google Analytics. It is important to note that you will still continue to see referring keyword data from other search engines like Bing. In a previous update in 2010, Google had encrypted referring organic keywords from users who were signed into Google. This information would show as (not provided) in Google Analytics. But now, this information is being kept confidential regardless of whether or not a user is signed into Google.

Key takeaway and bottom line
As Digital Marketing consultants, we believe this does cause a challenge and there are many opinions on what this means for the future of SEO companies. However, in the interim it means spending a little more time to gather data from multiple resources to extrapolate this data for proper use.

Our key takeaway though based on multiple opinions and discussions from the industry and information provided from Google, is that Google appears to no longer be focusing strictly on a single page but looking at the entire domain and the content that it contains as a whole. So, basically, your entire domain will be measured on the quality of content it produces and the basket of keyterms it is relevant for.

Bottom line: Build a relevant, valuable and useful site for your customers, visitors and prospective customers. This is something we have always encouraged our clients to do. Focus on your customer, where they are in the sales cycle, what information paths they will take and what information you can provide them that is valuable. Optimize for your customer and you will also be optimizing for the search engines.

Below are 4 Must Read Articles to help SEOs and marketers get the data they need:

10 Ways to Get Organic Search Data

Structure Your Sites Content with Rich Data For Better Google Access

Useful Content vs Unique Content

Google 101: Search Engines, Algorithms and Updates

 
Photo credit: Dolores Sanches

Changing Site Latency to PageSpeed

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

For a few years now, Google has been more than hinting at the fact that site latency (how fast your site/pages load) is going to have an impact on your visibility. Why? Well, for one, users are tired of waiting. Over a decade ago waiting three minutes for a page to load was acceptable but these days anything more than 3 seconds can cost you valuable visibility and loss of visits. Users don’t want to wait for pages on your site or elements on your site pages to load and neither to search engines.

Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be a Long, Long Time)
peasap / Foter / CC BY

New Tool: PageSpeed Insights
A few weeks ago Google launched PageSpeed Insights. We are ecstatic about this new tool since we have been pulling from various tools ourselves for creating site assessments and while we believe this doesn’t necessarily cover everything, it does help in prioritizing and figuring out how to make your site faster – and for that- we give three cheers.

We love that these tools make our job easier and faster so we can do more for our clients.

Find out how to make your site faster here.

After that, call us for a full Technical and Marketing Site Assessment to get your site in tip top shape.

Creative 404 Pages: Page Not Found What To Do?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

One of the things we look at during our Search Marketing Site Assessments for clients, is the use of 404 pages no matter what industry you are in. We always recommend having a custom 404 page. A 404 page is when a user discovers a “page not found” on your site.

How does this happen and why should you care?
Well, it may seem like a completely elementary thing to put in place however if someone comes to your site from another site (i.e. they linked to your site – maybe a blog post or old web page). If there is not an appropriate redirect process in place the user will be sent to a “page not found” or 404 error. You have control over what gets displayed on this page and if it is a generic 404 (no branding just black and white) it can mean losing a visitor forever or you could help them discover the appropriate page they were looking for, thus keeping them on your site. Think of it providing a bit of customer service to your visitor – if they entered through the wrong door, you would want to show them the appropriate one or guide them to the location they were looking for.

While creativity and humor might get you far with anyone, it also helps to be…well, helpful. If your page is useful in guiding the user to the area or page they were looking for then you are more likely to create a better customer experience.

A few suggestions for your 404 error page:
- At the minimum have your logo and main navigation on the page, better yet use a page template from your site that will help customize it to your look and feel
- Have a link to your home page or better yet a listing of links to popular sections on your site. You may also want to provide a link to the sitemap and promote it as a “full directory of site pages.”

Here are a few examples of 404 pages that we think work while also maintaining the brand personality:

Thanks to fab404.com for some great examples – check out others to for more ideas.
P.S. We’ve got some work to do ourselves. Do as we say not as we do ;) .

6 Ways To Get Your Google Places Page to Rank Higher

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Whether it’s your own company or a client’s business, having a Google Places page is key to visibility within Google. In 2009, Google was in the deal room with Yelp to purchase the local review site but the deal fell through. A few months ago, Google revealed their own “Yelp-like” product, Hotpot. Google is making a big push into the local market with plenty of attention going to location-based applications (such as Foursquare, Facebook Places) it is important that you are maximizing on your own visibility within the most popular search engine especially now that Google is placing more of an emphasis on local results and blending them with organic search results.

We recently had a chance to hear local search guru, David Mihm discuss the ins and outs of local search that are useful for organizations of any size.

Here are 6 Ways To Get Your Google Places Page to Rank Higher:

  1. Claim your listing if you haven’t. How can you tell if it is claimed? Complete a search in Google Maps, that is the easiest and quickest way to locate your listing. Look in the upper right corner about a quarter of the way down the page (see image below). If your place exists and is not claimed, go through the steps to claim and verify it – then read the rest of this post ;) .
    verifying your listing in google
  2. Reviews are more important thank you think(we’ll keep hitting you over the head with this one over and over). Reviews are one of the key factors that can help your ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) as well as the local listing results that show up within the SERP.

    Tip: Put together a strategy to get a steady flow of reviews coming in monthly rather than a bunch all at once and then nothing at all. Google likes to see consistency. One way to do this is through your social media outlets. Another thing to do is if you use Groupon or any coupon sites try to capture the emails of those who purchased and follow up with them to have them write a review of their experience. Of course we’d all like positive reviews, but as long as you have a good product and good service you should receive good reviews.

  3. When claiming your business make sure your title is representative of your business- do not stuff it with keywords. You want to use descriptive words. You might be able to get away with one or two keywords depending on your company, but remember the algorithm Google uses for local results is not the same as the one used for organic results.
  4. YouTube video’s may help your rank so if you have them add them to your local listing. Also fill it with images. Tip: To optimize your videos add a caption file to your videos, title and description.
  5. Use the maximum number of description categories available (currently 4), use one default category and then create custom categories for the remaining fields. When creating a custom category try using the statement “my business is a [fill in the blank]” as your format. Do not put any geographical terms in as a category- that’s a big no-no.
  6. Multiple branches and/or specialty divisions with the same address should have individual pages. If your business is a large business with multiple branches or specialties all at the same address and there are more areas than categories, don’t worry you can list them separately. For example, if your business is a hospital with different specialty areas – each one of those specialties can have its own Google Places page as long as each area has a different phone number they can and should be created and listed individually.

A big thanks to David Mihm for his support and sharing this great information with us.

Local Series: Getting Your Business Listing Setup in Search Engines (Part 2)

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

If you missed Part 1 of Getting Your Business Listing Setup in Search Engines start there first.

The verification process can sometimes be the most challenging part of setting up your local business listing in search engines. The process can be easy and at the same time difficult for numerous reasons. Below we share with you the various ways to verify your account and what we have often experienced when setting up listings on behalf of our clients during the verification process.

GOOGLE (aka Google Places, this listing will also show up in Google Maps)
www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter

Creating a listing: We recommend you use a general email account with your company domain name. For example, marketing@companyname.com. You do not need a gmail account to setup your listing on Google Places. Google prefers you use an email address with the company domain in it as further verification and legitimacy of your listing.

Easy way: phone call. Google will typically place a call within minutes that will give you a PIN number. The PIN number will need to be entered during setup, this is the key step to get your listing verified. We have experienced both never receiving a call and a PIN number left on voicemail. The good news is Google will let you request a PIN again. If this does not work you will ultimately be left without the call option and going the route of the slow way – postcard verification.

Slow way: postcard. You’ll need to keep an eye out for the postcard, it will be small and look like junk mail so be paranoid. This postcard will contain your PIN number. It can take up to 2 weeks to receive the postcard so make sure you have kept your login information handy and in a safe place.


View a 45-minute video on How-To set up your business on Google.

BING (aka Bing Business Listing Center)
https://ssl.bing.com/listings/ListingCenter.aspx

Easy way: phone call. This process is exactly like Google’s except that Bing provides you with the PIN number and you enter it over the phone when they call you (versus receiving the PIN over the phone and entering it online).

Slow way: a letter or postcard will be sent. It takes almost two weeks to receive the letter. It is typically dated just a couple days after you’ve submitted your local listing.

YAHOO! (aka Yahoo! Local Listings)
http://listings.local.yahoo.com/

Yahoo! sends an email confirmation as verification of your listing. Keep in mind this email will be sent to the person who is listed as the contact in the contact information you filled in, which should also be a general email address for your company.*

*Keep in mind that Yahoo! is no longer a search engine. Currently they are still maintaining their local listings and offer a basic and an enhanced listing (you pay for it).

Local Series: Getting Your Business Listing Setup in Search Engines (Part 1)

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

With attention surrounding geo-location services (like Foursquare, Gowalla, Groupon) and significant enhancements in local business listings in search engines (Google Places, bing). We wanted to focus on creating a “Local” blog post series featuring helpful ways for businesses to garner further visibility online utilizing these offerings as well as what to be aware of when participating. We’ll focus on local business listings and a few free marketing ideas for you to take advantage of. So, let’s begin.

Setting Up Your Local Business Listing on Search Engines
When doing local search it’s best to start with the big three. While Yahoo!’s search results have now been replaced with bing’s search engine results, many things are still in tact – this includes business listings for local search. For the most part all three search engines (SE) ask for the same information for a business.

We’ve compiled a quick list to help you prepare for setting up a local search account for your organization:

Basic Information:
- Business name
- Address
- Telephone number (some SE’s allow multiple phone numbers)
- Toll free number (if applies)
- Web site (some SE’s allow multiple websites)
- Email (some SE’s allow multiple emails)
- Fax

Background Information
There are a good amount of sections that can be filled out; you want to fill in as much information as you can. Google recently made some big enhancement to how local search results from Google Places appears in their search results and it is highly recommended to fill in as much information as possible to help your results. Make sure to put in everything you can think of that represents your company.

This includes:
- Description (Google limit is 200 characters)
- Image (logo or any images, great way to incorporate Flickr if client has images there)
- Video (great way to incorporate YouTube if client has videos there)
- Hours (if apply)
- Payment methods (if apply)
- Brands carried or sold by client. Great way to insert keywords that are specific to your client’s products and or services.
- Specialties. Great way to insert keywords that are specific to your client’s products and or services.
- Slogan or tagline.
- Other requests are for professional associations, languages spoken, parking, and more.

Category Details
There are categories to select that best represent your business. You want to ensure that you select the best choice categories as these may help with your visibility within organic search results. Some of the categories can be hidden and you may have to browse to find what is most appropriate to make sure you aren’t missing any. Some SE’s allow more category entries than others. Try to fill in as many categories as you can, this too will be affected by Google Places search results.

At this point you will want to review all of the choices you have made and all of the information you have entered. Make sure to double and triple check everything as editing in the future may not be as easy as you think. Once you have thoroughly checked all of your information and are happy with your location search entry, proceed to the verification process.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on the details of the verification process and detailed requirements.