About Tech Thursdays Conference:
TECH THURSDAYS Chicago is an annual business owners workshop that brings together 300+ businesses. The workshop brings together a curriculum series presenting practical technology solutions to help business owners advertise, accelerate, and manage the growth of their small business.
Supported by an on0-site assortment of small and large technology manufacturers, retailers, service providers and sponsors, TECH THURSDAYS Chicago 2018 is designed to offer the insight, instruction, samples, free trials, and follow-up support that owners and professionals want and need to grow their businesses.
For the second year in a row, eBizUniverse has been named one of the top digital marketing agencies in Chicago! Expertise, a platform designed to locate local experts, looked at 682 digital marketing agencies serving Chicago and picked the Top 20.
Expertise’s goal is to connect people with the best local experts. They scored digital marketing agencies on more than 25 variables across five categories, and analyzed the results to give you a hand-picked list of the best digital marketing agencies in Chicago, IL.
We want to thank our customers and partners without whom this would not have been possible.
You can now add description of your business directly within the Google My Business. It’s not a new feature though. Google removed this feature back in 2016 when they dropped the Google+ support. And now made it available again. This feature offers a hassle free way to keep the information about your business updated and ultimately help the searchers.
Here’s how you can add business description:
The character limit is 750, out of which only 250 characters will be visible in the knowledge panel. So make it crisp and engaging. You can use the copy from your best-performing AdWords ad as inspiration.
A recent study shows that more review stars translate into higher paid search conversation rates. Businesses with an average of 3.31 stars managed to get 10.42 percent conversion rate, whereas, businesses that had 4.5+ stars achieved a remarkable 12.83 percent conversion rate.
The study also revealed that the response rate also affected the paid search performance. Business with highest response rate saw an average conversion rate of 13.86 percent. While the those with the lowest response rate had to settle down for 10.42.
Engaging with customers & responding to their reviews is directly related to improved conversion rate as it builds trust among other users.
So reviews not only help you improve the local search rankings, but also paid search ranking, and conversion rates as well. So if you are not focusing n reviews, now is the time to do so.
To help you get more reviews for your business, we highly recommend our review widget. It’s a small piece of code which is placed on your website and helps you get positive reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook. In addition, it helps to filter out negative reviews too thus ensuring positive experience to website users. Need more details? Please connect with us.
Google has started rolling out the mobile first index. Google has already moved a limited number of sites to mobile first indexing, but this time it’s on a much larger scale. Apart from sending messages on the search console, they are sending emails to the site owners informing them about the shift.
Here’s how the Email looks:
Mobile-first indexing enabled for “your domain name”
To owner of “your domain name”
This means that you may see more traffic in your logs from Googlebot Smartphone. You may also see that snippets in Google Search results are now generated from the mobile version of your content.
Background: Mobile-first indexing means that Googlebot will now use the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking, to better help our (primarily mobile) users find what they’re looking for. Google’s crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have historically used the desktop version of your site’s content, which can cause issues for mobile searchers when the desktop version differs from the mobile version. Our analysis indicates that the mobile and desktop versions of your site are comparable.
The real take away with this is that you’ll be able to quickly know if your site has been moved or not. No more checking logs or guess work.
Google has announced new features to the Google My Business API, a brand new GMB agency dashboard & also launched a partner program.
Google My Business API Version 4.1 Features
The new agency dashboard is designed for those who manage multiple businesses and gives these folks:
Trusted partners will be eligible for early access to new Google My Business features, a partner manager, and the potential to be featured on the Google My Business website. You can sign up for notification of this program here.
Pinterest has redesigned profile pages for user and brands, with a cover image from a collage of users latest pins. Its a good opportunity for brands to can take advantage of this update and display their best products campaigns, and most pinned items right up front on your profile page.
Once the new profile design is up, your most recent pins will automatically be featured in the cover image. Here are steps on how to get your best pins at the top of your profile.
Pinterest offers three different options for choosing specific pins that you want to feature in your cover image.
If you choose the option to have a certain board or latest pins featured, Pinterest also creates a tab in the upper right corner to send users directly to that area.
Lately, Pinterest has been striving hard to spruce up its platform and make it more brand-friendly and at the same time helping consumer finding what they are looking for. The new profile design is just another effort of providing a fresher experience on the platform.
Social media advertising is one of the most important digital marketing channels for most businesses. In order to boost your return on investment, here are 10 tips on how to create high-converting social media ads.
The purpose of a headline is to draw the readers’ attention. Of course, this also applies when it comes to social media (SM) advertising and there are different ways for how you can write compelling ad headlines. One is by offering value. Others are by trying to evoke emotions or asking a question.
You want to make clear that there’s a reward for every person that is willing to spend the time to read your ad copy and click through to your site.
Also with headlines in general, you should try to be as specific as you can about your offer and, if it makes sense, include one or more numbers, since they are great to catch the users’ eyes.
Here is a great example:
This is a rather bad one:
Within your ad copy, make sure to address your target audience directly, which requires you to know who you are writing to in advance (more on audience targeting see tip #6).
For example, if you want to get dog owners to visit your eCommerce store and buy some of your premium dog food, you could address them with:
Truth is, people don’t care about your product and its features – at least not to the same extent as you do. What they do care about are the benefits that these features provide. How can your product or service improve the users’ lives? If you are not sure or don’t know how to express these benefits, now is the time to put them on paper.
Did you get stuck focusing on benefits instead of features within your ad copy? Check out this helpful list with “101 Examples of Features Versus Benefits” to gain some momentum.
If there is one element that is most important for creating high-converting social media ads, then it’s CTAs (Call-to-Actions). Every single one of your ads has to include a clear CTA, which basically tells users what it is that you want them to do next.
I know that especially in the beginning it might feel strange to tell someone “click here now and order premium dog food at 50% off”, however, when advertising on SM, you have to provide clear instructions for your audience.
A CTA also requires you to know what the objective of your ad campaign is. Do you want users to sign-up for your email newsletter? Do you want them to download a free eBook? Or do you want to make more eCommerce sales?
Here are more CTA examples that you could use:
On the one hand, emojis can increase conversion rates. On the other hand, they might also make your ads look unprofessional. It really depends on your industry or niche and who you are marketing to.
Images are likely the first element that a user sees when stumbling upon an ad. And everyone can tell the difference between a real photo showing a real person that works at your company or is one of your customers and a fake stock image.
Vwo.com, which provides a platform for businesses to perform A/B tests, has conducted a case study and found out that stock images “look fake and reduce trust on your website”. It only makes sense that the same applies in advertising.
People that don’t like to fish won’t spend money on fishing rods. Most men are not going to buy high heels. And young adults usually have no demand for rollators. That’s why you have to put enough effort into defining a target audience for each of your marketing campaigns.
Facebook and Instagram, for example, allow you to choose one or more target locations (cities, countries or regions), your desired age and gender, specific languages that your target audience speaks, and most importantly interests and behaviors. An example for the latter would be “longline fishing” or “kayak fishing” in case you want to sell fishing rods.
It’s also possible to exclude certain people to narrow down an audience. What’s more, you can set a connection type, which lets you target users that have already liked your fan Page or people who already use your mobile app etc.
As a rule of thumb, the more accurately you describe your target audience, the higher your conversion rate will be. The downside is that if you get too specific, your audience might get too small and click prices increase.
Another very powerful feature that Facebook and Instagram advertising provides are custom audiences. Custom audiences are an advanced tool that require you to set up a Facebook Pixel on your website.
After a user has clicked on one of your ads an lands on your site, every subsequent action will be tracked by the pixel.
eBizUniverse Uses The Facebook Pixel – Screenshot taken from ebizuniverse.com
Let’s say that you run a promotion campaign for your eCommerce store. A users clicks on an ad and gets directed to one of your product pages. He then adds a product to the cart, but abandons the checkout process for whatever reason. With the help of Facebook’s pixel, you can add this users to a custom audience, which also includes every other user that has abandoned the checkout process in your store. Then you could create a specific ad (maybe include a coupon) for this audience only.
The advantage here is that you already know that every user that is part of the audience is highly interested in your products. As a result, conversion rates are often much higher than what you can achieve with “regular” ads.
With SM advertising, you have to test everything that you do all the time. Test different ad images, different headlines and different ad copy. In addition to that, you should test a number of different CTAs and landing pages.
You can also test if your ads perform better on different days of the week vs. the weekend and at different times of the day. The possibilities are endless. The only thing that’s important is that you don’t lose track of what you are actually testing and not make false conclusions, which could cost you a lot of money.
What’s more, all major social media platforms provide you with insights reports with information about how well your ads perform. Use these reports to learn more about your ideal customer.
The screenshot below shows how one of our Facebook ads performed for different age groups (left column).
Instagram and to some extent Pinterest are the only networks where using hashtags is really important and makes sense.
Instagram relies heavily on hashtags and they are a great tool to connect with niche audiences. One of the reasons for this is that since the beginning of this year, Instagram allows users to follow specific hashtags. Stories and posts that use these hashtags will automatically be featured in the users’ new sfeed.
Above that, the easiest way for users to find content that interests them is by using Instagram’s search function, which again works with hashtags.
With Pinterest, hashtags can also be used by searches to find the type of content that they like. The platform recommends to use no more than 20 descriptive hashtags per Pin and suggests a mix of evergreen and time-sensitive ones.
HTTP is the protocol browsers use to connect to websites.
HTTPS is a secure version of that protocol.
Did you know the ‘S’ in HTTPS stands for secure? Communication sent over a secure protocol is encrypted. Although the communication can still be intercepted, the information that is received by the thief is in a format that can’t be read.
HTTPS serves the dual purpose of protecting the privacy and security of visitors to a website while protecting the integrity of the website itself. It’s common to think that HTTPS is important only for financial transactions, but that’s not the case. Intruders can gather information about visitors to a website that doesn’t use HTTPS technology and use that information for nefarious purposes.
Google has been vocally pushing its goal of making the internet more secure through its advocacy of HTTPS encryption adoption.
Its HTTPS encryption on the web report shows up-to-date progress toward Google’s goal of web-wide adoption of HTTPS usage.
Google Chrome is, by far, the most used browser, with 56.31% of the market share as of January 2018. Chrome’s closest competitor, Safari, holds only 14.44% of market share. It behooves websites to design with the understanding that consumers of their site are most likely viewing them using Chrome.
Now that Chrome users will be able to easily see which sites are not secure, psychologically, people may be less likely to enter personal information into sites that don’t use the HTTPS protocol. This can translate into a decrease in lead data capture for those sites.
Although many resources on the internet are designed to help transition a website from HTTP to HTTPS, it is not a quick and easy change to make. If your business relies on an internet presence, it’s not worth the risk of downtime to take this on without professional help. This is an instance of “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Save yourself the headache and lost time by investing in expert assistance.
From past few years, Google is consistently pushing the website owners to improve their mobile site experience. They have launched multiple algorithms, guidelines, and tools for the same purpose.
Recently, at Mobile World Congress, they launched two new tools, a new Mobile Scorecard and a Conversion Impact Calculator.
The mobile scorecard provides data on the chrome user experience so that you can compare the speed of multiple websites on mobile devices.
The mobile scorecard pulls data from chrome to compare the speed of multiple sites on mobile. That’s the same data that Google uses in the Page Speed Insights tool.
Google said that a site should load within 5 seconds on 3g connections and 3 seconds on 4G connection.
The impact calculator gives a rough idea of how much revenue a business is losing because of slow page load speed. It might seem a bit exaggerated but still useful.
Get both tools here and utilize it to the fullest. And if you are in need of mobile website design or redesign services, please don’t hesitate to connect with us.
There are many factors that influence a sites ranking on voice search results. To figure out which factor is most important, Backlinko conducted an extensive analysis. Here are the findings:
This research debunked the myth that Schema is of absolute importance. And also made it clear that page speed is CRUCIAL. All the results that listed well on voice search were almost 2 times faster than traditional pages.
Google’s reliance on domains with high authority for providing voice search results comes from the tendency that they “may” provide higher accuracy as compared to domain’s with less authority. But it is possible that they will come up with a more sophisticated approach for the same in near future.
The research also shed some light on the importance of long-form content. People speak more words that they type, so it’s natural that pages that use comprehensive content will reign supreme in this area.
However, you don’t have to specifically optimize your site’s content for voice search, writing in-depth content will suffice the need.
On a side note, the virtual assistants are on the rise. So the marketers who are willing to offer their clients with latest digital marketing should take these platform seriously.
Google is struggling hard to keep the reviews trustworthy. They are trying to weed out fake reviews and bring genuine reviews, but they have a long journey ahead. As reported in Google My Business forums, recently, a Kentucky law firm allegedly ran a contest on Facebook, offering people zoo tickets in exchange for positive reviews.
This didn’t go down well with other law firms and businesses and they reported the incident to Google. As a result, Google updated their reviews guideline from:
“Don’t offer or accept money, products, or services to write reviews for a business or to write negative reviews about a competitor.”
“In addition to Prohibited Content guidelines, text reviews are subject to the following additional requirements:
Reviews are important and it is almost as effective as a personal recommendation, but be careful how you collect it.
To help you get more reviews for your business, we highly recommend our review widget. It’s a small piece of code which is placed on your website and helps you get positive reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook. In addition, it helps to filter out negative reviews too thus ensuring positive experience to website users.
Need more details?
Vero, the new social media app is luring social media users.
What Is Vero?
Vero is a new entertaining app for the social media lovers who are fed-up from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and looking for something new. It has gained a lot of popularity and is nearing, three million registered users. The app allows the users to post and share movies, books, places, photos, links, etc.
What’s Unique About Vero?
The unique thing about the app is, it has no ads & no algorithm. It shows you post in chronological order. Vero aims to provide its users with an uninterrupted experience by making it advertising free. People around the globe are loving this simple approach to social networking.
Who Should Try The App?
You can try Vero, if you want to experience something new. Instagram, Facebook & Twitter use sophisticated algorithms to show you content, whereas, this app simply lets you view content in chronological order.
Initially, Vero announced that the app is free only for the first one million users. But, due to enormous boost in popularity, they decided to extend the “Free Offer”. But eventually, the company wants to charge a subscription fee. The company says, “We made our business model subscription based, making our users our customers, not advertisers.”
Geotargeting is an important part of international SEO and can benefit your search engines rankings, if done correctly. But the concept behind geotargeting is not the easiest to understand, which is why I would like to provide you with some guidance in this article.
I’ve also included detailed step-by-step instructions on how to set up geotargeting in your Google Search Console (former Google Webmaster Tools) and Bing Webmaster Tools.
So without further ado…
What Is Geotargeting And When Is It Useful?
First of all, I would like to define what geotargeting is and explain why it’s needed to make sure that we are all on the same level.
With the help of geotargeting you can tell search engines which of your domains, subdomains, and subfolders is the most relevant for users in a specific country. An example:
Let’s imagine that you run an eCommerce store for outdoor gear targeted at all the people but only the people living in the United States and your website’s name is awesomeoutdoorgear.com.
Now awesomeoutdoorgear.com is what’s called a ‘generic top-level domain‘, or short gTLD, which means that it’s not specific to any country. If you think about it, it would also make sense to run an eCommerce store for outdoor gear targeted at Canadian residents or people living in the UK and still name it awesomeoutdoorgear.com.
You could even deliver your goods worldwide and keep the same generic top-level domain name.
So how do search engines – first and foremost Google and Bing as they hold the biggest market share – know that your store is only relevant for users from the U.S.?
Because after all, if you don’t ship your sleeping bags to Canada, why should your website show up in google.ca each time a Canadian user searches for ‘buy sleeping bag online‘? For this search query your store is almost 100% irrelevant, so it shouldn’t be listed in the search results.
At the same time it’s all the more important that your store is correctly indexed in the U.S. version of Google (google.com).
This is one situation where you can use geotargeting to your advantage.
Please note: I’ve presented only one example for when geotargeting is useful. Of course there are many more!
ccTLDs, Regional Targeting & Duplicate Content Issues
I’m going to explain how to implement geotargeting for your website(s) in a minute, but before I would like to mention three other important aspects:
‘Country code top-level domains‘ (ccTLDs) such as awesomeoutdoorgear.us and awesomeoutdoorgear.ca are country-specific domains, which means that they are automatically geotargeted to the associated country. This also means that you cannot geotarget them to another country.
So if you think about expanding your business and going international further down the road, either start with a gTLD in combination with subdomains or subfolders from the beginning (more on that soon), or otherwise you’ll have to manage two or more separate country-specific sites.
Right now it’s not possible to geotarget whole regions like the European Union or North America.
If identical or very similar content can be accessed via two or more different URLs, then chances are that you will face a duplicate content issue. Google has stated that it usually doesn’t penalize duplicate content, however, it’s definitely something that you want to avoid in order to not cause any indexation problems.
I mention this because let’s say we have an eCommerce store targeting users in the United States and we want to expand into Canada, you shouldn’t just copy all of the already existing content onto a new site and the only modifications you make is changing the currency and the shipping country. That would be considered content duplication.
In order for geotargeting to work properly you have to change the content itself, for example by creating new product titles and descriptions, or by offering entirely different products.
How To Geotarget Your Website
Okay, so how can you geotarget a website and make it country-specific?
This is a pretty straightforward process, as there’s a geotargeting feature included in your Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools dashboard.
Your first option is to geotarget a whole domain to a single country, let’s say the United States, if that’s want you want.
But what if you also sell products to users residing in Canada?
The solution here is to either create different subdomains, like us.awesomeoutdoorgear.com and ca.awesomeoutdoorgear.com, and geotarget the first subdomain to the United States and the second to Canada. Or you could create subfolders, such as awesomeoutdoorgear.com/us and awesomeoutdoorgear.com/ca, and set geotargeting for these.
Geotargeting In Google Search Console
The first step for setting geotargeting in your Google Search Console is to claim ownership of the domain that you want to configure, if you haven’t done so yet.
To do that, visit https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home and log into your Google account. Then click on ‘ADD A PROPERTY‘ in the top right corner and complete the verification process.
If you want to geotarget multiple subdomains or subfolders, then you have to claim each one of them separately.
The next step is to choose the property that you want to configure in your dashboard and click ‘Search Traffic‘ in the sidebar on the left hand side. Then click on ‘International Targeting‘.
The page that comes up contains a tab at the top named ‘Country‘. Switch to the tab and check the box below to be able to choose a country from the dropdown menu.
After you’ve hit ‘Save‘, rinse and repeat the process for all your different properties.
Geotargeting With Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing Webmaster Tools makes it a lot more convenient for us to geotarget all our different subdomains and subfolders, because you don’t have to claim and verify each of them separately.
You just need to claim your top-level domain once and you are good to go.
On the homepage of your dashboard click on the property that you would like to configure.
Next click on ‘Configure My Site‘ in the left sidebar and choose ‘Geotargeting‘ from the dropdown menu.
The new page lets you choose between domain, subdomain, and subfolder at the top. You also need to enter your URL and choose a country accordingly.
To save your settings, click ‘SUBMIT‘ and, again, repeat the process for your different subdomains and directories, if need be.
Google has rolled out the beta version of the new and improved search console and SEO’s are more than happy, to say the least. The most promising new feature is the access to 16-month-old historical data. It enables year over year comparison which is great from every aspect.
Google has built the new search console from the scratch and not all features are available yet. They are still working on it, and they will keep on adding useful features from the old search console to the new. So as of now, most of the tools you will click on will have a coming soon message.
However, you do have access to the performance tool which is easy to understand with filtering options like: By device, country, impressions, CTR and more.
The Index coverage report is the perfect blend of old index status & crawl reports errors. It enables you to see how well Google is indexing your site as well to identify and fix any issues.
The new search console will also help you validate newly fixed AMP URLs. The updated AMP status report will provide details into the specific Errors.
As of now, the above-mentioned tools and features are the biggest highlights of the new search console. But it’s still in the beta mode and many tools and features are yet to come, so stay tuned.
We will keep you updated on new features as and when they go live.
Google was testing a new video feature in early January that allowed business owners and customers to add videos, related to the business. Allyson Wright from Google My Business advertiser community announced that they have fully rolled out the video feature and now all the business owners can add videos to their listing. These videos will be visible on Google Maps and local search results.
Some important points to consider:
The process to add videos is same as photos. Go to your GMB dashboard, click photos on the left and instead of adding photos, add the link to the videos.
It’s 2018 and if your web page takes more than 10 seconds to load, then you are far behind! Nobody likes to wait for minutes just for your page to load — they will simply hit the back button. According to a study, 53% of the users will abandon the site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load! So it came as no surprise when Google announced that site speed will be a ranking factor within the mobile search results from July 2018.
However, Google assured that only a small percentage of the sites will be affected by it since the majority of the site loads faster than 10 seconds. Also, there will be exceptions to websites which provide relevant and high-quality content to users. Those websites can still rank well in the search engine result pages because the intent of the search query is still a strong factor.
If you are not sure about your site’s speed, you can use the Google’s “Test My Site” tool. This tool uses a standard 3G connection to replicate what most people are using to surf the web using mobiles. It not only tells you about your site speed but also gives suggestions on how you can improve.
What About AMP?
Google’s announcement stated that it “applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page”, which means AMP gets no special advantage except that by its very nature it will pass all of these speed standards with flying colors. However, that doesn’t mean that you get an automatic pass if you’re using AMP because you need to be sure that everything is set up properly.
If you need any help with mobile optimization, we can assist. Just reach out to us and we will be able assist you further.
Re-marketing is good but only if done in a balanced manner. Many advertisers overdo it and as a result, annoy the users. Although Google can’t tell advertisers to stop targeting a particular user, they may give the power to the users to block re-marketing ads coming from a specific advertiser.
Recently, YouTube has announced that it will demonetize all the small channels on the platform, as per the site’s new eligibility criteria channels need to have more than 1,000 subscribers, with at least 4,000 hours of watching within the past 12 months.
The decision came after Logan Paul’s ‘suicide video’ incident. According to the company, the decision of demonetizing the small channels is taken in order to, “prevent bad actors from harming the inspiring and original creators around the world who make their living on YouTube.”
The channels that fail to meet these criteria will no longer be able to monetize and will lose access to tools and features associated with the YouTube partner program by next month. If any channel fails to meet the criteria but, later if they manage to pass it, will be automatically re-evaluated in the new criteria. All the new channels joining the platform will have to, manually apply for evaluation.
Though many are criticizing YouTube’s new policy and terming it as “favoritism” for big channels or “penalty” for small channels, it is not a bad decision.
Google started rolling out Questions and Answers (Q&A) feature for local search in the
beginning of August. As with all the testing, it was initially available, exclusively for
Android users via the Google Maps App, but eventually, they made it available to
everyone searching from a mobile device using either Safari or Chrome browsers.
The main motto behind introducing the Q&A into local search is to get the most
updated and relevant data about businesses and places. Q&A is always been one of the
best sources to get fresh content. Amazon has already tested it and employing it the
way it should be.
Click here to see what it looks like on mobile device.