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4 Tips for the May 2018 Instagram Algorithm Change

It’s no secret that everyone is confused about the new algorithm change that Instagram decided to move forward with. In March of this year, Instagram changed the way posts are shown on the platform – no more chronological order. This month, Instagram decided to change the algorithm again. Now, posts show up in terms of engagement. This change could be perceived as positive or negative. From a business standpoint, this change makes it a lot harder for someone to see your branded posts, but it gives you the urge to work harder for your recognition. Here are four ways you can stay relevant on Instagram after its algorithm adjustment.

1. Give and Get

If you want people to interact with your posts, you have to be sure you’re interacting with them as well. If someone comments on your picture, try responding as quickly as possible to keep your engagement rates high. By engaging with your audience, Instagram rewards you by pushing your post to the top of your audience’s feed. Keep comments as personal as possible. The smartest way to go about this is by not responding with generic comments like “Thanks!” or “Good image.” If you respond generically, your audience will think you use an automated platform that pushes those comments out and they might unfollow you. Also, “like” the posts that you know are relevant to your brand because this will create a better relationship between you and your audience.

2. Run Instagram Ads

Running an ad on Instagram is a great way to increase your brand awareness, because you are in full control. Not only does it help with awareness, it might increase brand engagement by gaining more followers. When you create an Instagram ad, you have the option to pick what goal you are after. If your goal for an Instagram ad is to increase traffic to your website, you have the option to link your website to the ad so the user can easily visit your site. The best part of running Instagram ads is that you can create specific target audiences. You can choose between demographics, age, location, and interests. For example, you can configure your ad to only appear for males within the age range of 18-24 who are in Miami, FL. By creating a specific target audience, it is more likely that the user seeing your ad will want to engage with your account.

3. Day/Times are Important

It is important to check when your followers are most active on Instagram. If you registered your Instagram for business purposes, you can view multiple insights on your followers. Post your content during these times and try to increase engagement from the second you post. A lot of engagement in a short amount of time lets Instagram know that the content you posted is of quality and will rank higher in the algorithm (more people will see your post).

4. Utilize Instagram Stories

Why are Instagram stories more important than ever? Instagram cares about all engagement, not just a post or comment/like. Try posting a story on your account using a poll. You can accomplish this by creating a new story, taking a picture or video, and clicking on the square faced icon at the top right of the screen. Once you’ve clicked on that icon, you have the option to “create a poll.” Creating a poll is a great way to make people engage with your account. The more your users interact with your stories, the more likely your posts will show up in their feed. Use calls to action including action words like “Comment below” or “Swipe Up” because it influences the user to want to engage with your account.

click here to add a poll to your instagram storyJust because Instagram changed their algorithm to favor engagement, you shouldn’t neglect the other factors of running an Instagram account. Remember, an Instagram account is more likely to get a follow if the brand stays consistent. Try using the same filters and similar content to keep your account authentic. Lastly, use as many trending hashtags as possible. By keeping up with trending hashtags, your post is more likely to show up in the explore section and increase your chance of engagement. Instagram has been constantly evolving with the increase of users and it is important to follow their footsteps!

Follow us on Instagram to see how we use each of these strategies to keep our followers engaged.


Adios, Yahoo

Starting November of 2017, The Search Engine Guys is saying “adios” to Yahoo’s search engine. After years of collecting data from Yahoo, we’ve decided to let go of our old friend to redouble our efforts into Google and Bing.

Why Goodbye?

In recent years, the world of SEO has seen a decline in search volume coming from Yahoo. As of October 2017, Yahoo’s search engine market share has dropped to 4.51% as reported by NetMarketShare.com.

SEO Market Share

On top of dropping below 5%, The Search Engine Guys‘s clientele has expressed less and less interest with search rankings in Yahoo in comparison to both Bing and Google. As a result, we will no longer report rankings on Yahoo.

Additionally, Yahoo offers less in terms of access to search data and statistics. This is a major factor considering Google’s Search Console and Bing’s Webmaster Tools do just that: provide us with all the insights and diagnostics about our websites that we need. While Yahoo doesn’t have its own webmaster tool, Bing’s Webmaster Tools can serve some, but not all, functions for both search engines.

Yahoo and Bing

 
Yahoo and Bing

Since 2009, Yahoo has been a part of the Bing network. The partnership originally focused on paid listings in the SERPs. Search pages on Yahoo had to display advertisements from Microsoft (Bing) on all desktop searches. The organic listings in Yahoo were also powered by Bing’s search engine. Part of the deal included Yahoo giving up it’s search engine tech to be replaced by Bing’s.

Yahoo gained more control of the ads displayed on their search pages in 2015 in a new deal with Microsoft that limited Bing’s ads to only display on 51% of searches done on Yahoo. This part of the deal only covered desktop searches – Yahoo had complete control of the ads displayed on searches conducted through mobile devices.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, Yahoo is a mask for Bing when looking at organic search results. The TSEG team believes that abandoning Yahoo to monitor the rankings more closely on Bing while continuing to focus on Google will provide us with richer insights for the future of SEO strategies without compromising the 4.51% of total searches done in Yahoo.

If you would like to learn more about how SEO can help your website, contact us at (512) 806-7955. We’d be happy to walk you through the benefits of optimizing your website for Google.


New Design Alert: Hart, McLaughlin & Eldridge

We are excited to announce the launch of a new website design for Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge!

Overall, the site’s new style reflects the efficiency and the professionalism of this experienced Chicago legal team. Our designers focused on sharp lines with minimal clutter on each page, conveying a formal sense of simplicity and directness. The clean presentation of information, coupled with the crisp lines and the lack of distracting features, should inspire site visitors with confidence. We have found that frustrating or confusing website designs can discourage potential clients from ever contacting the business in question. Our goal with this site’s structure was to create a simple, easy online experience that can flow smoothly into a call or an email to this skilled legal team.

Stylistic Features

The homepage of the new design features rotating images of Chicago in the background. Our attorney’s targeted clientele will most likely recognize Millennium Park and the Buckingham Fountain. The first thing site visitors will see on the homepage is the assertive, reassuring directive “Start with the end game.” Scrolling down the page reveals what the end game is: “Results.” New site visitors will be heartened by the sense that this legal team already has a history of favorable outcomes for their clients.
The other main pages on the site—”Legal Team,” “Practice Areas,” “Accomplishments,” and “Contact Us,” are all tidy and structured. The Legal Team page presents uniform black-and-white photos of the firm’s employees. The consistency of the photos conveys a sense of respectability and attention to detail.
When it comes to simple ease of access, our “Practice Areas” page presents the legal firm’s various fields in neat, direct rectangular boxes. A quick scan can familiarize a viewer with many of their practice areas. The fact that the attorneys handle such a wide variety of cases should impart the idea that this is an experienced team with a wide array of skills.

Contact Us

We are certainly proud of this new design and excited to offer it to a respected client! If you are interested in learning more about how we fit our website design to our customers’ business needs, feel free to contact us at (512) 806-7955.


Are You Amped about AMP?

Accelerated Mobile Pages for Lawyers

Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, have recently been gaining a lot of attention, even though they were first announced in 2015 and were implemented in 2016. We’ve been receiving lots of questions about the value of AMP, especially when it comes to the search results. So far, we have been able to identify some positive features and a few drawbacks to these pages.

For those of you are interested in, here’s what we’ve gathered so far.

What is AMP?

AMP is an open source project that is a subset of HTML, the markup language and specifications for making websites. AMP has restrictions on the type of HTML tags website creators use that allow a mobile web page to load faster. It also includes a proprietary version of JavaScript, which also puts limits on functionality in favor of speed. It was initially engineered by Google, and therefore is obviously of import to SEOs. This is a continuation of Google’s push for more mobile-friendly web design.

The standard was first announced in 2015, began appearing in mobile search results last February, and was rolled out onto Google’s global mobile search results last September. Because AMP is a mobile standard, it only appears on smartphones, tablets, and other smaller-scale devices. It has no bearing on search results on PCs and laptops.

Benefits of AMP

The goal of AMP is to provide speed to mobile webpages, and that’s where it shines. Page speed is a very minor factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, but it’s incredibly important to mobile web users. As more people are searching via mobile platforms, the value of page speed becomes clear. If a webpage takes more than a few moments to load, many people simply hit their back button and go to the next one, which may load faster.

AMP pages have been receiving favorable treatment on search results pages, and even get a nifty lightning bolt icon next to their listings that indicates their AMP status, as shown below.
Accelerated Mobile Pages

As a result of their zippy load times, which are essentially instantaneous, visitors may be less likely to bounce off of AMP pages, which can have an indirect effect on rankings as well.

Drawbacks of AMP

For all of these benefits, it’s hard to imagine why we may be hesitant to add AMP to sites.

Many of our clients have some form of live chat on their sites. Because AMP pages are using a barebones version of HTML that severely restricts the types of elements that can be included in favor of reduced page load times, the JavaScript that chat systems (like Ngage Live Chat for attorneys) is built in won’t work in some cases. This can have a very real impact on lead-capture systems that may outweigh the load speed improvements AMP may provide.

AMP pages are also stored on Google’s servers rather than your site. Any AMP page that appears in a search result is essentially a copy of that page that exists on Google’s servers rather than your web host’s. While this isn’t a problem per se, it does transfer a lot of control to Google, since it makes your visitors Google’s visitors. This also has the added problem of making it difficult to share AMP links, because the URLs for the links are obscured.

Final Thoughts

AMP can be a great option if your website delivers only text and images, or if you want to keep things relatively simple. With that in mind, sites like that would load quickly anyway, though the boost AMP’s framework provides is welcome. A simple plugin for those using WordPress sites (like we do) makes creating AMP pages even simpler. The issue is that if you want to create a rich experience on your site, AMP’s restrictions and limitations can make delivering that kind of content impossible.

To discuss whether including AMP on your site would be worthwhile, contact The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955.


How Positive Google Reviews can Help Your Business

Reviews from your clients on Google play an important role in your marketing efforts. Good reviews have been correlated with better local rankings and higher click-through rates (CTR). People read reviews before selecting an attorney, so reviews help legitimize your firm to prospective clients. If they see that you’ve helped other people in their area, you are humanized and become more than words and pictures on a screen. You stand out from the herd. Reviews are essential to building a strong online presence and capturing as many positive reviews as you can should be a part of your marketing strategy.

With that in mind, it must be said that your reviews have to be positive for them to have the impact you want on your firm. Negative reviews can end up hurting your efforts. Take, for example, the case of Donald Tobias, a lawyer who received a mysterious one-star Google review that simply said “It was horrible.” Tobias had never met or worked with the person who left the review, and it seems as though the reviewer mistakenly left a review on his page under the assumption they were commenting on the death of another man named Donald Tobias who was hit by a train. Google refused to take down the review, despite Tobias’s objections. This can obviously have negative consequences on his business.

There are ways for firms to respond to reviews on Google, so there is some form of recourse from misleading or toxic reviews, and Google has been known to remove some reviews, such as those from competitors. However, another way to combat a negative review is to simply outnumber it with positive reviews. A person reading reviews of your firm will question the one review that claims to have had a bad experience when faced with numerous people who were happy with your service.

Getting clients to leave positive reviews of your firm can be a challenge. Typically, people aren’t moved to go out of their way to leave a review unless they’ve had a bad experience. For the most part, clients who receive service they are satisfied with don’t feel the need to go online to leave a review. However, when they are prompted to leave a review, these positive interactions can be captured and added to your online profile. Adding positive reviews to your firm’s Google profile can help you get more clients. Getting more clients can net you more opportunities to deliver great service and therefore get more reviews.

We have software that helps streamline how law firms get Google reviews. It enables your firm to obtain reviews from happy clients with a simple text message. They can complete their review right on their mobile phone in a matter of seconds. You can see a demonstration of the software below.

To learn more about The Search Engine Guys‘s reviews platform, contact us at (512) 806-7955.


New Website Launched: The Mokaram Law Firm

Today, The Search Engine Guys is excited to launch a new website for The Mokaram Law Firm.

This new web design features a stunning video at the top of the landing page, showing the attorneys hard at work and highlighting the professionalism with which they carry themselves. The firm’s total settlements of over a billion dollars is prominently overlayed on top of the video, sending a powerful message of success.

website design for lawyers

This site’s use of video and parallax effects is compelling and draws visitors in to see more. This is of incredible importance in web marketing, as most people leave a website within seconds of getting to it. If you are looking for a website design for your law firm that can help you retain visitors, call The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955 and speak with our knowledgeable web development experts.


Launch Alert: Truslow & Truslow

The Search Engine Guys has launched a new website for the Columbia DUI defense attorneys of Truslow & Truslow.

The new website design puts the information searchers need at the forefront and showcases the experienced and  approachable attorneys of Truslow & Truslow. By putting the attorney’s photos at the forefront of the design, we allow potential clients to get to know who they are going to put their faith and trust in through the criminal defense process.

SEO for Lawyers

Building websites for client conversion and SEO requires a specific attention to detail. Additionally, achieving desirable rankings don’t usually happen by chance. At The Search Engine Guys, we’ve been handling SEO for lawyers since 2007. To learn more about our web marketing services, give us a call at (512) 806-7955.


Launch Alert: Therapy Hair Studio

We’ve recently launched a new website for Therapy Hair Studio, a Houston-based hair salon. The new design implements a sleek, smooth parallax scroll, enabling it to deliver a lot of information in a way that looks great and is easy to digest. We’re really proud of the result:

SEO web design

If you’re looking for a new web design for your site, get in touch with us at (512) 806-7955. Our philosophy of designing websites for conversion helps keep our clients’ phones ringing.


Mobile Friendly Search Results are Coming

mobile friendly websites for lawyers

Here are the two main reasons you should make sure your website is mobile friendly:

  1. 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%.
  2. 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.


TSEG ranked #1 for “Best in Online Marketing” in legal field on bestseos.com

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.

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