Here are the two main reasons you should make sure your website is mobile friendly:
- Mobile traffic – Give your potential clients who come to your website a better experience. We’ve been following mobile traffic in Google analytics for the past 5 years, in that period of time we have seen mobile traffic jump from a range of 1% to 5% (depending on the market) to 20%-35%, with some clients seeing mobile traffic in above 45%.
- Google has announced that they will start to value mobile friendly websites in their rankings. For the past few years, people have speculated whether Google would move in this direction based on various indicators and signs; but up until this past Feb it was only speculation. Click here to read the announcement, where Google explicitly states that they “will be expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal”.
To test if Google considers your website to be “mobile friendly” click here.
Keep in mind that if you have a great website and don’t want to go through the process of re-designing it from scratch, we are able to convert your website into a responsive theme. Depending on your design, some or many elements may need to change… but we can often maintain the overall look and feel of your design.
If you would like to explore a new responsive website, or converting your existing website to a responsive theme – call us at 800.267.1704 and one of our account managers will help you determine your options.
The Search Engine Guys (TSEG) was recently included on bestseos.com’s list of best SEO providers in the legal industry. In fact, TSEG was ranked #1 for “Best in Online Marketing” in the legal category, an honor we are extremely proud of. We were also listed on topseos.com, and ranked #4 in the web design category.
On July 24, 2014, Google released an update to improve its local search algorithm. This new update is intended to leverage traditional web ranking signals in order to provide more accurate and relevant search results for the user. Though Google has not officially given this local search update a name, Search Engine Land has decided to title this update “Pigeon.”
What have we noticed from the Pigeon update so far?
The following are some of the most significant changes that webmasters have noticed from the Pigeon update:
- An apparent decline in the number of local map pack results for a huge number of search queries – from 6-7 local map pack results to only 3
- An increase in exposure and rankings for local business directories such as Yelp and Zagat
- An overall improvement in search results according to distance and other location ranking factors
What should your business expect for the future?
- A lot of change in rankings while this algorithm rolls out, especially for small, local businesses
- More directories appearing in the search results
- A better mobile experience for users that are shopping or looking for near-by businesses
Like other Google algorithm updates, it is difficult to understand the entire purpose of these changes during the early phases of the algorithm roll out. Here at The Search Engine Guys, we will be keeping an eye on the Pigeon update and will provide more information when it becomes available.
If you have questions about how this update may have affected your website or business in the search results, please contact us today at (877) 557-4998.
To contact the author, emails can be sent to: email@example.com
The Search Engine Guys will be in attendance for the American Association for Justice Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on July 26th through July 30th. Say hello to Koby Ackie our Director of Business Development. Koby’s been involved in SEO non stop for the past 6-7 years, so if you have general questions about SEO, or specific questions about your website and how you are doing (or for that matter, questions on any number of topics related to online legal marketing)…find Koby and demand answers!
Yesterday, Google announced the launch of Google My Business. After years of trying to upgrade Places and merge it with Plus, Google has finally released a brand new platform that encompasses all of Google’s business tools, making it easier to manage your local business listings. While this doesn’t change much for our current Google+ pages, the new My Business interface provides clearer instructions on how to fill out, verify, and update a listing. With this rollout, it’s exciting to see that Google is proactively trying to solve the confusion between Places and Plus by creating a unified dashboard that makes life easier for small- to medium-sized businesses.
To contact the author, emails can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Cutts, the head of search spam at Google, recently released a video in which he discussed a future where links weigh less into the ranking of a website. To save you 3 minutes, Google knows that as long as they’re dependent on links for the majority of their algorithm, it will always be easily manipulated. So it would make sense for them to try everything they can to get away from links as the primary factor in ranking.
The First Step Away from Links as a Backbone
Back in 2005, Google filed a patent called Agent Rank for a technique that would allow them to rank a piece of content based on the person who authored it. In theory, when content is added to the web, there would be a digital signature connecting the real life author to the database’s digital author profile. This signature could be unique, and attached to every piece of content that author puts on the web, creating a portfolio of sorts for each author.
An authority score given to different authors, or “Author rank,” could then be used in the future to give weight to new articles and content authored by the author. For instance, the author could launch a brand new website, and because their author rank is high across 20 other websites, Google would associate this author with other great content and potentially give more authority to that website, even though it is new.
Some websites, though, don’t include authorship info, and Google doesn’t have any good way to assign value to these pages outside of links. But that could change with Google’s acquisition of Deep Mind, home to the world’s leading researchers involved with artificial intelligence and deep learning. The term “deep learning” has come around since the mid-2000’s to describe a programming architecture in which it could make connections between different sets of data. It would make sense then, that it deep learning is most effective when it has large quantities of data to sort through and analyse.
How Google Will Come To Know Us Better Than Ourselves
Well, as of Jan 2014, Chrome has a dominating market share at 55% of all internet browsing, Google Analytics is on over 15 million websites, the Ad Network reached over 2 million websites, and Gmail is the leader in web mail, so it’s no secret that the amount of data that Google is able to collect is simply unfathomable. Up until now, sorting through so much data and drawing informed conclusions has been troublesome for computers. From TechCrunch,
World-renowned artificial intelligence expert and Google’s new Director of Engineering, Ray Kurzweil, wants to build a search engine so sophisticated that knows users better than they know themselves. “I envision in some years that the majority of search queries will be answered without you actually asking.”
But now, Deep Mind’s AI program will play a role in all of Google’s infrastructure, including search, advertising, and social. With the end goal to document and draw smart connections between the real world’s people, places, events, and things, we must assume that Google is going to be using their mass repositories of data to create individual user profiles for each of us – including authors and readers.
Big Data + Deep Learning = Personalized Results
Users will see an increased level of relevancy in searches. For instance, if someone has emails in their inbox discussing the purchase of a new Honda Civic, and then they like Honda on Google+, and finally post pictures of their new Honda Civic to G+ with hashtags, then when that user goes to search for “change spark plugs”, Google will tailor the search results to include videos and tutorials specific to the user’s history, which is changing spark plugs on a Honda Civic.
Conversely, authors will see an increase in engagement from their users. Let’s say I’m a mechanic and operate a blog detailing simple maintenance on Hondas and Toyotas (Japanese cars). Google sees that I frequently discuss related topics to car maintenance, and that I mention Japanese name brands, not American. Hopefully the users who are searching for “how to change my car’s oil” and own Fords won’t see my blog, and by the same token, the time users spend on my site will likely increase because the content is more relevant to their lives.
In the future of the internet, where digital and real life become more integrated, it will be important that we associate ourselves and our businesses with others that are considered to be industry leaders, in hopes of being given credit and benefit of the doubt based on association. As such, we should all start building a digital reputation for ourselves now, so that we aren’t behind when the time comes.
Universal Analytics has been in Beta for quite some time now, but it has finally received the call up to replace Classic Analytics. Universal Analytics allows for more robust tracking and gives more insight regarding user interaction on a given website. There are plenty of changes and updates that are worth mentioning, but one of the biggest changes is the addition of the User ID.
While anonymous in nature, the User ID will allow us to track a particular user’s activity on-site and follow this individual across multiple domains, devices, and sessions. When a user visits one of our sites, they’ll be assigned an ID that will be unique to them and can be referenced if the user returns to the site or visits another one of our domains. This will shed more light on the transaction habits of a user before they convert on one of our clients’ sites, and answer a slew of questions that are important to making decisions for our marketing efforts, ie. Are individuals more likely to convert after a first visit, or does it take repeat visits before a user takes action? If people are more likely to convert on a second or third visit, how long does it typically take for the visitor to return to the site, and what sources are they coming from?
When you start to get a better idea of how people interact with your site, and get the full picture of how someone came to the decision to reach out to you or purchase your product, the choices you make on an advertising and marketing front come with a better foundation and hopefully, a greater likelihood of success. The addition of the User ID to Universal Analytics is a welcomed piece of data that should help us gain a clearer picture of how users interact with our websites, and of course, how we can help our clients successfully market their services.
If you have questions about using Google Analytics to improve your website or marketing efforts, contact us today at (877) 557-4998.
To contact the author, emails can be sent to: email@example.com
There are a variety of social media tools that can be used to improve your online presence and ease the process of promoting your business through social media outlets. When it comes to a successful social media marketing strategy, it can be tough for small businesses to stand out amongst the rest. By using a few helpful tools, however, you can increase productivity and engage potential customers through your online marketing efforts. Having used a variety of these tools, I would like to highlight three of my favorites, which I believe can be very beneficial for businesses.
- Social media management tool
- Free, Pro, and Enterprise plans
- Execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one web-based dashboard
- Schedule messages ahead of time to create a consistent social media presence on all of your accounts
- Track brand mentions
- Analyze social media traffic
- Create custom Facebook tabs and cover photos
- Free, Basic, Pro, and Agency plans
- A variety of design templates to choose from
- Types of custom tabs available: Contests, sweepstakes, coupons, contact forms, and product display tabs
- “Like gate” that helps you gain new followers by requiring visitors to “like” your Facebook page before they can see your customized tabs
- Free graphic design tool
- Search for the best graphics, photos, and fonts, or upload your own, then use the drag and drop tool to create a design with a custom layout or blank page
- Create designs for Web or print, including social media graphics, blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations, business cards, and more
While there are various online tools available for businesses, finding ones that will allow you to stay ahead of the social media marketing curve is essential. Whether you are a small business owner or a national company with several locations, the tools mentioned above can improve your productivity and boost your social media marketing strategy overall.
If you have questions regarding social media marketing for your business, contact us today at (877) 557-4998.
To contact the author, emails can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
With the first quarter of 2014 behind us, we wanted to take a quick look at some of the biggest news on the SEO / Google front so far this year.
- Webmasters speculate that an unconfirmed algorithm update occurred between January 8-10 due to shifts in placement and traffic drops.
- Google punishes a large French blog network called Buzzea.
- Google tests a knowledge graph snippet overlay, meaning a snippet pops up when you hover over a search result. (Note: I currently do not see this feature happening, so the test may have already ended)
- Matt Cutts personally addresses guest blogging on his personal blog. He writes this message “Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop.”
- Matt Cutts posts a video about not posting to article directory sites such as ezine.com.
- Google announces a “page layout algorithm improvement,” which could potentially penalize any website that has excessive advertising above the fold.
- YouTube videos are enlarged in the SERPs. If someone is searching for a specific music video, the results page will show the YouTube video at the top of the page, making it more accessible for the user.
- Google punishes a German agency and link schemes.
- Google updates the “page layout algorithm” for the third time. This was only a refresh and had little impact in the SEO community.
- The Google Panda update celebrates its third anniversary.
- Google Analytics rolls out a new user interface to make it cleaner and easier for users to access data.
- Google’s OneBox answers become more detailed. Google uses knowledge graphs and authoritative websites to answer questions typed into the query box. Below are two examples of how Google answers these queries:
- User interface in the Google SERPs has been updated several times over the past few months. Some of the most recent changes include:
- Google Ads are now labeled “Ad” in a yellow box instead of being highlighted in a light peach color
- Underlines in each search result have been removed
- Due to the redesign in the SERPs, the font size for title tags has increased, resulting in a decrease in characters displayed on the page. Moz has released a title tag preview tool that can help webmasters choose the length of their title tags.
- Google continues its attempt to fight spam by penalizing link networks in Spain, Germany, and Italy.
- Matt Cutts announces that Google is working on the next generation of Panda updates that will soften the algorithm.
What to Expect for the Summer:
- Fewer announced updates from Google
- More user interface changes, especially in the knowledge graphs and Google cards
- More intuitive answers and results from queries
- An increase in mobile site optimization
Google has kicked off this year with a whirlwind of changes and will only continue to push more updates in order to improve and evolve into a better and more user-friendly search engine.
If you have questions about Google updates and how they may have impacted your website, call us at (877) 557-4998 for more information.
To contact the author, emails can be sent to: email@example.com
It surprises me that there are websites out there that do not consider and incorporate conversion into the fabric of the design. It’s one thing to have a website that is pretty. It’s another thing to have a website that subtly persuades people to read, click, and buy (or submit contact information through a form).
Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind if you are thinking about building a website where the intent is to turn visitors into customers.
1) Make It Incredibly Easy to Connect
Unless the visitor is doing research, most people coming to the site actually do not have much time. Walls of text can turn them away. If the visitor knows what they want and is particularly motivated, it is likely that he or she would rather call or email to connect with a human being before making a decision. Thus, a phone number, email form, or some other form of contact must be less than one click away from any landing page. It should be clear and easy to find.
2) Show the Visitor that You are a Winner
If your product or service has won any awards or accolades, show it off. Even if these awards are not that big of a deal in your industry, you’ve got to remember that your visitor likely does not know this. Accolades show that your company is a leader in the industry, is respected by peers, and is involved in your industry’s community.
3) Teach the Visitor about Your Industry and What You Do
In my opinion, the best customers are informed ones; customers who understand the value and complexity of your product or service. An informed customer asks pointed, perceptive, and inquisitive questions because they want to understand the impact that your company will have. If you have answers to these questions, you become an authority on the topic, you build trust with your consumer, and, hopefully, loyalty through his or her purchase. Information on your industry should be delivered in an easy-to-digest manner with headlines that pique the person’s interest and appeal to both novice and more experienced customers.
4) Don’t Give a Visitor Your Word, Show Them that You Honor Your Word
The best “don’t take my word for it” tool is the testimonial. It’s even better if it is displayed on a third party website like Yelp, Google, Avvo, Angie’s List, CitySearch, etc. This gives you a vote of confidence from a previous customer who went above and beyond to give you a good review. If one hundred people have given you a 5-star rating, what are the chances that this person will have a bad experience?
Remember, even if your website is on the first page of search results, there are other businesses right next to you doing everything they can to get the customer before you do. The last thing you want to get in your way is a website that doesn’t do a good enough job of putting your best foot forward. It may be beautiful, but it’s of no use to the visitor if it is simply a work of art.
To learn more about designing websites for conversion, give us a call (877) 557-4998.
To contact the author, emails can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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