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Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

Voice search asks, can you hear me now?

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

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We’ve all been there: you ask OK Google to find a great restaurant, or Siri to find you a spot to buy some new shoes. In this new digital age, we’re finding it more convenient and fast to ask your phone to find your favorite “sushi spot in palm springs with WIFI” rather than typing in “sushi Palm Springs”. This change in the way we see and use search with our voice hasn’t gone unseen. In fact, according to KPCB there has been a 35x growth in voice search since 2008. Wow……… that’s a real game changer!

This could really shake up the way we do things day to day, and search to search. Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve just put “dogs” into your keywords and content to target potential customers. What if, instead, you had “Place to get your dog cleaned” or “over-night stays for dogs near Palm Springs”? As the number of voice-searchers continue to increase, so should our habits when creating quality content for clients. Remember, the customer always OK Googles best.

Google’s Mobile Search Algorithm Update: What You Need to Know

Friday, April 17th, 2015

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Move over Penguin and Panda, here comes – you heard it here first – Manatee!

Well, maybe not. But your mobile web presence should be prepared for something big.

Last November, mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic for the first time, according to IBM.  And nearly 28% of all online sales came from mobile devices.

Is your website optimized for mobile and ready for Google’s next update?  While there’s no appropriate animal moniker for the update yet, this one will likely have more of an impact than Panda or Penguin. And it’s only impacting the mobile results.

Google’s official announcement:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

What you need to know:

  • The algorithmic change will take effect on April 21st.
  • This affects organic searches that are performed from a mobile device.
  • The algorithm changes will focus on a number of key areas, including rewarding sites with text that can be read without the need to zoom and appropriately sized content that eliminates the need to scroll.
  • This is at the page level, so pages will get promoted for being “mobile-friendly”.
  • Google has created a Mobile-Friendliness tool that will give you a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on a per-url basis.
  • If a mobile search query is highly correlated with mobile app listings (in the Google Play and iOS App Stores), your app could see significantly more visibility within mobile search results pages.
  • Google has expanded the types of information that they scrape and pull from a site, especially in mobile. Whenever you see a little grey ‘i’ in the upper right hand corner of a mobile search result, it means that Google is probably getting a small portion of any related transaction.

How much traffic do you get from mobile?

The image below shows us how much organic traffic is coming from a mobile device. Then go to Audience > Mobile > Overview > Secondary Dimension drop down > choose Source / Medium.

MobileGoogleArticle-AnalyticsMoz believes that Google will launch a new mobile crawler (probably with an Android user-agent) that can do a better job of crawling single-page web apps, Android apps, and perhaps even Deep Links in iOS apps.

How much will it affect your traffic?

Here’s what Google has to say about it (full story here):

“The mobile-friendly algorithm is an on or off algorithm, on a page-by-page basis, but it is not about how mobile-friendly your pages are, it is simply are you mobile-friendly or not.

But as we mentioned earlier, there are over 200 different factors that determine ranking so we can’t just give you a yes or no answer with this. It depends on all the other attributes of your site, whether it is providing a great user experience or not. That is the same with desktop search, not isolated with mobile search.”

Here are some helpful steps to test your site’s mobile capacity:

  1. View your site on various mobile devices including Apple & Samsung.
  2. Review if the links and buttons on your mobile device are large and easy to find, and spaced properly from other elements of the site.
  3. Evaluate page load time. Limit the number of images.
  4. Test your eCommerce, mobile checkout.  It will convert more if you keep your number of clicks down.  If you have a small e-commerce site that processes payments with PayPal, also consider using Amazon Payments (or an API w/ PayPal) which allows customers to login with Amazon and pay with Amazon while never navigating away from your website.
  5. Show the most important & relevant content.  Content is not necessarily king, when it comes to mobile. Pair it down to the most important information. Make sure to insert a button on the bottom right that allows mobile users to go back to the top of the page instantly.
  6. Make sure there is a visible click-to-call button.  These buttons are designed to call the number, when clicked on a mobile device.
  7. Make the content, products and/or services on mobile sharable: Optimizing for social sharing standards is key.

SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) are changing all the time. Knowledge graph has jumped from 17% to 27% of Google’s queries, according to Moz’s Dr. Pete Meyers.

“Google is essentially competing against us with our own information, and I think that’s a turning point in the relationship between Google and webmasters.” -Dr. Pete Meyers, Moz

Don’t risk a continued drop in rankings, make sure your site is engaging, creative, optimized and mobile friendly.

Make sure your mobile site is nimble and a hell of a lot faster than a manatee.

Google is taking a mobile first mentality. Get on the same page.

We can help.

Google Search, Then & Now

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Google.  For many, it’s the big abyss: a sea of nearly an endless amount of information, products and ways to improve our lives.thumb---googleSearch-infographic

Have you ever wondered how the websites, blogs or news stories appear after typing in a few words?

While it may seem magical at times, it’s actually carefully crafted algorithms that help Google deliver the best results for what you’re looking for.

When you’re searching Google, you’re searching Google’s index of the web – you’re not actually searching the web. The company that has become a verb – when searching for anything your heart desires – is the most effective search engine and a part of our daily lives.

So, how does it work?

A couple years ago, Google put together a helpful 8 minute video. While there have been some updates between then and now, the majority of it holds true.

Step 1: Searching the web.

Google navigates the web by crawling. The building blocks of their search functionality is known as “Googlebot”.  Google keeps track of it all in the Index.

Step 2: Organizing the informationGoogle Search - Then & Now

Google has written intelligent and complex programs and formulas to deliver the best results possible.  As you search, algorithms go to work to better understand what you’re looking for. Relevant data is then pulled from The Index.

While their algorithms are constantly changing, the heart of their software is PageRank ™, a system for ranking web pages developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But it also analyzes the page that casts the vote and the popularity and importance of that page. It basically tell you how important a page is, compared to other pages.

If you’ve installed the Google Toolbar, you may have the PageRank meter installed.

Step 3: Delivering the results

Your search results can take a variety of forms, from the knowledge graph and snippets to the news and images.

The knowledge graph provides results based on a database of real world people, places, things, and the connections between them.  The news results include results from online newspapers and blogs from around the world. Google loves this because of their relevance, link value and because they are constantly getting updated.

Google takes the following into account when delivering pages in a particular order:

  • Content relevance
  • Content quality
  • Content freshness & updates
  • Users geographic region
  • Site legitimacy
  • Popularity of the site (how many links are pointing to the site)
  • Value of the inbound links
  • Social media popularity & promotions

Links remain the most important external signal for search rankings.  But with this, link quality is also important in determining the search results. An inbound link from a large and reputable website is going to count more than a link from a smaller and less respectable site.

At this point, Google search has become more fresh and current, and crawls very frequently, catching updates and new content. It’s with the amazing amount of content and Google’s “secret sauce” utilizing over 200 different ranking factors that it delivers the best pages that match the search query acroos the entire index.

What’s next?

Google is looking more into artificial intelligence and machine learning, to help computers think like humans. Google purchased DeepMind Technologies and seven other robotics companies to aid in this next breakthrough in technology.

According to Larry Page, many of these breakthroughs are crossing computer science and neuroscience to understand what it takes to make something smart.

Check out the year in search, 2014:

Search on.

Google Launches New Pigeon Update

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Google recently pushed out a new algorithm update for local search, which Search Engine Land dubbed the “Pigeon” update.

Why “Pigeon”?

Depending on how your site has been affected and your recent SEO efforts (or lack thereof), some might argue it’s the proverbial kaka that you may have to deal with in the local search results.

But more likely, it’s based on the heart of Google’s search technology, PigeonRank™, a system for ranking web pages developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. PigeonRank’s success relies primarily on the superior trainability of the domestic pigeon used for thousands of years to carry brief written messages.

But, I digress.

Google confirmed that the update started to roll out on July 24th for US English results. The aim of the update is to provide a more useful, relevant and accurate local search results, with enhanced distance and location ranking parameters. Google also said there were relevancy improvements to distance and location ranking. And unlike Penguin and Panda updates, this is not a penalty-based update, but a core change to the local search ranking algorithm.

  • Local listing packs disappear for a large number of keywords
  • Local rankings are expected to depend more on website authority
  • Local carousel stays as a way to gain extra exposure

Google Pigeon UpdateSEO expert, Mike Blumenthal, noted that 7-local listing packs have disappeared, many real estate related searches have dropped out, while SEO and web design local packs are back after being dropped in 2009.

Search Engine Land reported that the Pigeon update solved Google’s “Yelp problem”:

It looks like Yelp and other local directory-style sites are benefiting with higher visibility after the Pigeon update, at least in some verticals. And that seems logical since, as Google said, this update ties local results more closely to standard web ranking signals. That should benefit big directory sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor — sites that have stronger SEO signals than small, individual restaurants and hotels are likely to have.

In a sense, this update has reduced organic duplicate results, and while the overarching impact is still unclear, there’s speculation that Google is attempting to better align desktop and mobile results.

The assumption of local intent has now been dialed back in a number of cases, so local companies that were experiencing good local pack rankings – despite having a poor SEO website presence – will likely have to step up their game.

Tips:

1.    Create a Google+ Local page for your local business so that you’re included in Google’s local index.
2.    Use a local area code on your Google+ Local page. It should match the area codes traditionally associated with your city.
3.    Make sure the website URL, name, address and phone number of your business match your Google Places/Google+ Local page. Google cross references this to verify everything matches.
4.    City or state should be included in your website’s title tags.

One could speculate that Google *might* be doing what another web powerhouse did recently, working out to their financial benefit. Facebook just experience its biggest financial quarter to date. Did Google just pull a “Facebook”?

Time will tell, but let’s hope not.

Someone once said (attributed to Scott Adams but most likely originated elsewhere), “Accept that some days you’re the pigeon and some days the statue.”  Keep up with your site’s SEO, local search and updates to make sure you don’t get – you guessed it – pigeon-holed.

5 Reasons to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

You’ve decided you need help with marketing your product or service and you’ve joined millions who know that digital marketing is a more cost effective and valued way to reach qualified customers. Digital agencies come in many shapes and sizes, from high end global clients, to boutique and specialty agencies.

Imagine that a sudden rain storm has flooded your backyard and is starting to seep into your newly carpeted game room. Instincts tell you to grab some towels and prepare for the impending stream of sludge.  You wouldn’t think to fix the broken pipe that has released the deluge, so you call an expert not only to fix the problem, but to design something that will work during future storms. Think of a digital marketing agency not only as your plumber, but as your house architect, construction contractor, handy man, real estate agent and property manager.

According to 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends research, put together by none other than the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs, 64% say their biggest challenge is “producing enough content.”

It’s simply more efficient to engage a full service agency as your marketing partner.

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