Google announced last month that they are launching a new Google My Business App that provides a host of features that can help small business owners to easily manage their online presence and respond to customers.

Following are the biggest features and highlights:

  1. Profile Tab

Google has made it extremely easy to upload photos, create offers and add events by providing a post button. You can also update information of your business from the profile tab and it will instantly appear on the search as well as Map.

  1. Customer Tab

People can connect with you in many ways. They can message you, follow you, book a service or leave a review. From now on, you can see all of these customers in one place – The new customer tab. You can not only see but also respond to the reviews & post offers. Not to mention that you will get a notification when you get a new customer connection. Also, you will soon be able to respond to messages directly from the app.

  1. See your Progress in Real Time

The data that matters to you the most is now on the home screen itself. So you can now check how many new people interacted with your business, new connections & more in one place.

Here’s a short video:

Takeaway

Google My Business App is a very powerful tool that every business owner and SEO professionals must have. It’s easy to use and offers a lot of tools that make tracking, analyzing and making changes easy.

The other big news is that Google is about to launch a chat feature for Maps. So users can directly chat with business owners directly after searching for their business. Having a GMB app will help you with this feature as well.

 

 

If you have a WordPress site or manage one for others, then you need to stop everything & check the PHP version of the site.  The PHP version 5.6 & 7.0 will no longer receive security patch from 31st December & 3rd December respectively, which makes them very prone to hacking.

WordPress has released data which shows that most of the sites are built on these two or even older version of the PHP. Only a limited few sites are using 7.1 or higher version of the PHP.

If you are not sure how to check the version of the PHP your site is built on, you can simply contact your hosting company.

To know the life cycle of the all the PHP versions, please see the below table:

Be informed that updating PHP is not that complicated. However, the outdated plug-ins & themes can make it a bit daunting. So we advise you to back up all your website before making any changes.

Not all the Plug-ins that you are currently using would be compatible with the latest version of the PHP that is 7.1 & higher. So before you even start to upgrade, make sure you identify all the plug-ins and themes that can be updated, and remove those that are not compatible with the latest version of the PHP.  The PHP compatibility checker will help with just that.

It’s vital that you remove any plug-ins that are not compatible with the latest version of PHP because they pose a security threat.  Upgrading your site’s PHP version will go like this:

  1. Create a full backup of your WordPress site.
  2. Check the PHP version.
  3. Plugin Compatibility With New PHP Versions
  4. Find an alternative to those plug-ins that can’t be updated.
  5. Go to your web hosting control panel & click on the PHP section.
  6. Update the PHP version.

In case you are stuck anywhere between the whole process, make sure to reach out to your hosting provider and ask them your specific question. Alternatively, you can also reach out to us. Our expert team we will be more than happy to assist you. Call us at (800) 379-2829 or contact us.

 

 

Did you know that around 90% of consumers research online before making a buying decision? Your online reviews play a major role in how a buyer makes a buying decision today. Have you checked your online reputation score?Click To Tweet

MyReviewEngine is a review management tool where your business can get more 5 star reviews and triple your sales. The system automates your review process and makes it easy to invite your clients to review your business, via email, SMS, etc. In addition to growing your reviews on auto-pilot, the tool also prevents negative reviews from being published online and be sent to you so you can handle that directly. There are several other features but those are just a few. Go here to run a review scan and check your online reputation.

How It Works

  1. Just sign up and utilize your custom page. You can place it anywhere you want – on your website, your shopping cart, your email footer, or even send it to your entire email list. You can custom select which platforms you want to improve your reviews!
  2. Customers rate you on a 1-5 star scale. Anything 4 stars or less prompts the reviewer to a private form that only YOU see, preventing negative public reviews! Any 4 or 5-star ratings are prompted to leave a review on the website of their choosing.
  3. Your positive review scores increase on the platforms that matter most to you. This helps with conversions and trust! Additionally, you can place a review carousel or randomize reviews on your website to display all the positive reviews you’ve collected.

 

Popular Review Sites

Many potential customers come to these review sites to see whether or not they would like to come to your business. These reviews have a huge influence on their decision. You can boost reviews on these review sites just like these and even more!

Success Stories

 

 

 

 

Before:                                                                                        After:

Company Background: Chicago Controls (aka Landlord Thermostats) is an expanding nationwide company headquartered in Chicago IL.  In business for over a two decades, Chicago Controls has its origins in a company started by founder Mike Lyle in 1996. The company’s goal is to provide landlord’s, property owners, and property managers tamper-resistant thermostats for their properties. The company has invested heavily in digital marketing to differentiate and to expand their presence online.

READ MORE

 

Find Your Reputation Score

 

CHECK YOUR REPUTATION SCORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you getting the best return out of your digital marketing? Need an extra pair of eyes to review your online game plan? Let our experts take a look at your current state and do a comprehensive digital marketing analysis at no cost to you. Please call us at (800) 379-2829 or contact us today and we will get to work right away.

 

Marketing has drastically progressed over the past decade. When once a simple flyer or a highway billboard may have been sufficient, the digital revolution has forced marketers to evolve and adapt along with it. Now, marketers have more tools than ever at their disposal, and through thoughtful execution, they can create the most effective strategies possible.

Generally speaking, good marketing boils down to knowing your target audience and being able to connect with them on a meaningful level. In order to do this, you need to gain useful information—or data—about your consumers. Successful marketers will take this valuable knowledge and use it to develop a powerful strategy that will continually adapt based on the results.

Data-Driven Strategies

Getting acquainted with your consumers

Strong data-driven marketing strategies rely on the insights you gain from your target demographics. There are a variety of ways to obtain the information you need (and these can differ based on your business and intended audience), but the following suggestions are great places to start.

Evaluate your analytics

Analytics data is one of the most advantageous marketing tools a brand can have. Over the years, Analytics has become more and more specific, to the point where it is able to give marketers a near complete profile of the people that visit their website and/or social media pages, including details on their purchasing habits.

These visitors provide a great pool from which to draw information about your audiences, and determine if you’re attracting the people you need to be attracting. From age, gender, and location to device, pathway, and page clicks, Analytics gives brands knowledge to leverage to their advantage.

But analytics isn’t just about capturing the right people’s attention, it’s also about creating the best, most personalized shopping experience for customers. Take the British fashion brand Burberry for example, which has created one of the most efficient customer databases in the luxury industry. Their 360 Customer View integrates their online and offline channels to ensure that store employees are always prepared to best service clientele, and that marketers receive an extremely detailed picture of their audience. “Through this data-driven shopping experience, every customer can digitally share their shopping preferences, experiences, and buying history. The information of a particular customer visiting a store can, therefore, be delivered to store employee’s tablets in real time.”

Just ask—and most importantly, LISTEN

Like most things in life, if you need an answer, the simplest thing to do is to ask the question. Collecting data from your consumers is no exception. Sounds easy enough, right? If you want to gain insight on potential consumers—insight that perhaps goes beyond the bounds of tools such as Analytics—ask them to complete a brief survey, post questions to your social media, and encourage discussions that can shed additional light onto who your consumers are and what they’re looking for. You may be surprised to find just how eager some customers are to offer their opinions! Be sure to listen carefully and translate their answers into actions.

Coca Cola is one of the many big-name brands using data to stay better connected to its customers—and this is why they’ve managed to stay one step ahead of the competition. Even way back in 2015, Justin De Graaf, Director of Data Strategy and Precision Marketing at The Coca-Cola Company, was lauding the many benefits data offers for customer retention. “Data plays an increasingly important role in marketing and product development. Consumers do a great job of sharing their opinions with us – either by phone, email or social networks – that allow us to hear their voice and adjust our approach. We often talk about why we have two ears and one mouth – it’s better to listen more than we speak. This holds true with our approach on consumer input. Data is also helping us create more relevant content for different audiences.”

Monitor online outlets

It’s time for you to play detective. If you want to find out how to best connect with your audience, you need to think like your audience. Put yourself in their shoes. Visit the sites they are likely to visit, read their testimonials, view their comments, look at their complaints, and put together a comprehensive profile that you can then target strategically.

There are plenty of tools that can help you monitor your mentions and view online discussions pertaining to your brand or your competitors. Apps such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Klout, Keyhole and Buffer are just a handful of examples.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka brand uses Sprout Social, and have been happy with what it has helped them accomplish. “Sprout’s analytics let us see what is working–we can listen better to our customers and react appropriately,” says Nicole Brentwood, VP of Brand Marketing, “It’s an incredible platform to get a macro look at what’s happening with your brand’s voice in the social space. It aggregates that information and really creates one solid picture for us to understand the feedback loop.”

Creating a strategy from your data

This is the part where you determine how these results translate to your marketing strategy, and then implement them accordingly. Use the data you’ve gathered in the various steps above to create a potent marketing strategy. The data should reveal things such as the channels you should be using to best engage with your consumers, what content best captures the attention of your target audience, what your consumers value in their brands, how they prefer to communicate, how often they’re online, etc.

It helps to approach this process in a scientific manner—let the data lead you to your solution. Web marketing strategist Alberto Mariutto writes in an article entitled Digital Marketing: Why a data-driven strategy is fundamental that, “we (marketers) don’t choose which direction to go in: it’s the numbers, the statistics, that decide for us. Our ability lies in identifying the right numbers, reading them correctly, understanding what actions they suggest, and putting them into practice in the best possible way. Everything combined – here and now – with the right dose of creativity.”

It’s essential to remember that your marketing strategy should always be evolving based on what your data results tell you. Careful attention to your analytics and to what your target demographics are saying will help you continually activate the right strategy for your brand, at any given time. With perseverance and adaptability, you’ll be well on your way to optimizing your marketing movements from the inside out.

Ellan Dineen is the Marketing Associate at Design Wizard. When she’s not hard at work in the Marketing Department, Ellan can be found en route to foreign lands with a book in her hand and a podcast in her ear. With a Master’s in English and Diploma in Social Media Marketing, she knows the importance of staying up-to-date with the industry’s latest trends and insights and is keen to pass these tips on to her readers

Reviews

 

 

 

 

A Local Service ads click study, sheds some light on how the users interact with local service ads and how it affects organic results.

A total of 5500 “impartial internet users” participated in this study and gave us some invaluable insight into how the local service ads impact the overall results and click through rate.

Below are the highlights from the study:

  1. Local service ads get 13.8% of the overall Google local search clicks.
  2. The local service ad on the top of the search result receives the highest clicks while the lowest one receives the least clicks.
  3. The first organic result gets the highest number of clicks.
  4. Local service ads encourage people to click on paid ads. When it’s live paid ads get 25.3% of all the clicks, while they are absent, the paid ads receive a mere 14.6%.
  5. Review & ratings are the biggest driver of clicks in the local search result.

As much as 91% of customers read reviews while shopping online and that is why the reviews and ratings are the number one factor that customers pay attention to when evaluating a local business. Reviews not only help you generate trust among your prospects but also help you stand out from the crowd as it looks good to the eyes too.

Customers prefer a business which has a healthy number of reviews & it increases the click-through rate up to 25%. The more reviews a business has, the more customers they will get as people generally prefer popular business as compared to the new one, because taking risk is not something we as a human-like to do, very often.

And this is why you should be paying more attention to reviews. If your product or service is good, then it is highly likely that there will be happy customers, who are willing to invest some time and effort in writing reviews.

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 rolled out Google My Business agency dashboard in June. It was launched to help agencies manage a large number of listings. But many agencies faced issues while migrating to the new agency dashboard. To help them out, Google has launched a new tool to streamline the entire process.

First, you have to decide whether you want to shift completely to the GMB agency dashboard or not. So far the migration of the location has been the biggest hurdle. In case you decide to shift to the new GMB, Google is offering you two ways to do so.

Assisted Migration: In order to encourage hesitating agencies to shift to the new GMB agency dashboard, Google is ready to offer them personal assistance in migrating the locations and accounts. It’s good for agencies who have a lot of locations to move. You just have to request for the assisted move and for that, you will need to log into your GMB agency account, then go the Overview tab, click the Got existing locations to transfer? and follow the instructions from there. It will take around 48 hours to complete the entire process and then you can see all of the locations in the manage location tab of your agency account.

Self Migration: You can opt for this option if you are managing only a few locations. In order to transfer the locations into your new agency account, you will have to request access to each location or location group manually from your agency account and then accept the request from your personal account. The steps can differ based on the number of locations, so make sure you read Google’s support page.

We would like to inform you that it’s far easier to manage multiple locations and accounts on the agency dashboard than the private account. Google has also fixed the bugs from the initial launch, so we highly recommend you to use the agency account.

 

 

Google is sending emails to site owners who are struggling with site speed via Google Search Console. The intention is to help them identify and fix the slow loading pages. Here’s the email.

“Google has noticed that your site’s performance is significantly below average. Real user measurement data from the Chrome User Experience Report shows that pages on your site are slow to become interactive. This can have a severe negative effort on your business metrics and can cause user frustration.

Speed is a ranking factor for both mobile and desktop search results. While we don’t disclose the exact factors used for ranking, we recommend using a variety f metrics to understand your site’s performance, including first content paint, time to interactive, and first input delay. In particular, 8.70% of loads on this site have a slow first input delay and 39.7% have had a slow first contentful paint.”

Our takeaway: Speed is crucial for both mobile and desktop version of your site and it is officially part of the algorithm. It not only help you with your SEO efforts but also massively boost the user experience since most of the users want a fast loading page. So site speed means better ranking and it also directly boost the conversion rate. Hence it is a very crucial aspect of your site which you should be paying attention to.

Need help with site load time? Connect with one of our Sales rep to assist you further.

 

 

Google unveiled the option to book appointments with local businesses directly from the search results in August 2017 and since then they have been pushing it to local business owners in a very discreet manner. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to appear like a pushy salesman.

However, this feature didn’t receive the kind of warm welcome they were expecting. It might be because people were not sure whether they are just testing it or planning to fully launch it before putting efforts, money and time into it.

If you want to test this out (recommended), first you have to go to your GMB dashboard and check whether your business is eligible for the booking feature or not.

And if your business is eligible, you will have to choose a third party provider from all the listed options. Yes, you read that right. Google has partnered with third-party booking services for this feature and you have to shell out anywhere between $20-$80 a month.  But it “might” be worthwhile for you since bookings can increase given how convenient it is to book appointments directly from the search.

 

 

In order to help YouTube advertisers drive more conversion, Google added new features that combine the power of YouTube’s creative canvas with Google’s machine learning and measurement solution.

YouTube advertisers soon will be able to use a wide variety of ad extensions, so that they can provide interesting information and compel the audience to take actions.

Google now wants to encourage viewers to complete a lower funnel action, i.e.: booking flight, downloading app etc. & for that, they are testing additional use cases.

 

Google also wants to enable YouTube advertisers to measure the full impact of their video campaigns by evolving Brand Lift. They are also partnering with IRI so that it will get easier for the advertisers to act upon upper and lower funnel metrics.

They also have introduced new metrics:

  • Lifted Users: To know the estimated number of users whose perception changed after seeing your ads.
  • Cost-per-lifted-users: To know the average cost of the lifted users.

Google also added that in order to utilize this new measurement tools to the fullest, you should use Maximize Lift bidding.

Furthermore, Google is investing heavily in Google Measurement Partners to ensure that the measurements you receive is authentic & not exaggerated. Google said that it’s their topmost priority to provide measurements that advertisers can trust, as it is crucial to their overall advertising efforts.

Since Facebook drastically exaggerated activity reports (As much as 900%), having a measurement that you can trust is vital to the success of the ad campaigns. Google also announced their “New MRC accreditations and partners for Google and YouTube ads measurement”.

In the end, we would like to add that if you are a big brand, then you surely want to check all the new measurement tools and metrics that YouTube has to offer in order to get the most out of your YouTube ad campaigns.

 

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.

Learn More About Tech Thursdays

Google Searches

 

 

 

 

Google released a core algorithm update in August. Some industries were hit harder than others. Basically, the health and medical industry, and “Your Money Your Life (YMYL)” sites were affected the most. Webmasters were quick to call it the “Medic update”.  In case you don’t know about “Your Money Your Life (YMYL)” sites, Google defines them as sites that can potentially impact the future health, happiness and financial stability or safety of the users.

Google also released a statement after the update launch and gave a generic answer which was along the lines of — “There’s no specific fix for this update or any update. If you notice that your site has been affected, just work on providing the best possible user experience and you will start seeing improvements, because ultimately, our every update is for the same purpose.”

Google did take the time to announce the algorithm update via Twitter:

Google has also updated the Search Quality Rater Guidelines, and has put a lot of emphasis on Reputation. The guideline is rather comprehensive, and it’s worth the read. It tells you about how Google views the websites, pages, and content, so you can use this valuable information to your advantage. Here are some highlights:

  • Build strong links with the influencers & experts of your industry. And then persuade them to write content for your site or write content promoting your business on a reputed website.
  • Find out how your brand looks like on the search engine result pages and is this how you want your business to appear? If not, then you can make changes.
  • It’s important that you have a well drawn out plan to promote your business.
  • Reputation is everything when it comes to business, be it online or offline. Getting positive reviews for your business is vital to manage your online reputation. Our dashboard helps you manage your reputation as well as get more positive reviews in Google and Yelp.
  • When it comes to content, quality beat quantity by a large margin. Don’t post content just for the sake of it. You are not fooling anyone.
  • Have you put efforts to define your brand? What your brands stand for?
  • Interview the business owners for ideas and insights into what makes their business unique over other businesses. We do this as a part of our SEO deliverables.
  • Your About Us page is very important. Use it to show your achievements, what makes you stand out and why people should consider your business over others. However, make sure that you don’t exaggerate, because Google double checks it with reliable independent sources. And if what you have to say about your company doesn’t match with independent sources, then Google will take words of the independent sources for obvious reasons.

Google is soon going to roll out three new types of Google Searches: Q&A, FAQ & How To content. It will be pulled directly from the pages & will appear on the search engine result page for enquires that falls under the above mentioned three categories.

Here’s a snapshot of Google’s developer manager, Stacey Chan unveiling the new search types at Google Dance in Singapore.

The sites that are using structured data properly can expect to benefit from it. The three categories are as follows:

  1. Q&A Schema — Use this to markup a page with Q&A or FAQs
  2. Questions Schema — It works in conjunction with the above schema
  3. How To Schema — Use this to markup step by step instructions (How to)

As of now, the above schema types are not included in their featured schema guides.  In order to locate it, go to Google Developer’s page, click on the Left menu > Structured data > Feature guides.

If you want to see the Q&A structured data in action then head straight to StackOverflow.com. They are appearing on the top of the Google search results for the Q&A from quite some time. The best answers are displayed first, which is really convenient for the users.

Some people might argue that this is good for the users and Google but bad for the site, since users will get the entire answer in the SERP itself and they will not bother to enter the website. Most of the Q&A, FAQS & How To answers are short. So displaying the entire answer will not do any good. But, it will give you exposure and will also send visitors to the site since most of them would like to know more about it, but before entering into the website, they would want to confirm that the site is worth their time and actually offers genuine answers.

To stay on top of latest structured data, one can not rely on plugins since they are not up to date and often take time to catch up to the latest version. But there are some plugins that can help you leverage structured data. If you are using WordPress, the SOGO & Kansas City SEO’s plugin will come in handy.

Google has shifted some popular reports to new search console with upgrades. Here’s a look:

  1. Links Report

The new links report combines the functionality of “Links to your site” & “Internal link” reports & now provides the following information:

  • Top linking domains (Which sites link to me the most?)
  • Top linked pages (Which are my top linked pages from other sites?)
  • Which are my top linked pages from a specific site?
  • Top linking text (What link text points to my site?)
  • What are the links from a specific site to my page?
  • What are the top sites linking to my page?
  • Top linked pages (Which of my pages is linked the most from within my own site?)
  • Which of my pages links to my page?
  1. Mobile Usability Report

Now you can not only see the issues but can also fix it by submitting a reindexing request. Google said that they know how important mobile usability is for the site owners and allowing them to request a fix directly from the report will be super convenient.Be informed that the features are the same, the upgrade is that you can now select the error and click “Validate Fix button” & Google will promptly Re-crawl the error.

  1. Site and User Management

You can now add & verify new sites, and manage your property’s users & permissions using the newly added settings page. Although we encountered some bugs while using it, we are sure that Google will fix it very soon.

Takeaway: All the new features and upgrades provide invaluable data. Take your time to explore the new search console and you will be able to figure out what feature and tools are most useful for you and how to use them to your benefit.

 

 

The main aim of having and maintaining your Google My Business listing is to spread awareness about your business. But in case you forget to fill the Service area then you will face something that’s rather strange.

Many users have reported that, when they forgot to fill the service area, a third party lead generation company’s link called “singleplatform.com” appeared in front of the service section.

Upon clicking on the link, it takes you to a page that is dedicated to the business. And the weirdest part is, it doesn’t open in a new window, but rather navigate you out of Google.

Sometimes it shows “Get a Quote” option, not from the business that you have searched for, but from the businesses that have paid on singleplatform.com to get listed.

When you click on the “Claim this Menu”, it will show you a service cost that ranges from $99 to $149 a month. Although we didn’t investigate further, Google forcing business owners to opt for a paid option is a wakeup call for those who think that they “OWN” their Google My Business listing.

Although the above encounters were mostly from the home service industry & were limited to the cities which have Google local services active.

The only way we can see to protect yourself from this is to fill our your services menu within Google My Business. We recommend you do this regardless of your industry. Just because Google is focused on the home services industry doesn’t mean they won’t turn to your industry next.

 

 

  • Here’s how you can improve your Google Display Network campaigns.
  • Somewhat similar to the relevance score in Facebook ads, Google has released “ad strength indicator” for responsive ads.
  • Give your prospected customers a solid reason to click on your ads & increase the CTR. Here’s how.
  • GoogleAds impression share data are now available in real time. Earlier, you would have to wait for 2 days to have them.
  • Google Ads Automatically Updating Eligible Campaigns to Enhanced CPC Bidding.
  • Google has yet again expanded the search ads. Here’s what you need to know.
  • Bing Ads has released two new automated bidding options which you may be familiar with if you are using Google Ads: Target CPA and Maximize Conversions.
  • Find out how Google automated ad suggestions are performing and if is it really helpful?
  • Here’s a great article on landing pages. It’s sheds light on the importance of having a good landing page. Give it a read.
  • Google Ads MCC Gets An Updated Look. It’s really a bliss for the agencies since they have to switch between multiple accounts. The new look has a drop down menu and other minor changes. But overall it sports a clean interface and is really easy to navigate.

 

  • Google Text ads get Bigger.
  • Starting October 31st, 2018, Bing Ads will no longer be supporting the ability to edit or create destination URLs at the keyword level.
  • Starting from September adsenseformobileapps.com exclusion will not prevent Google Ads from appearing on mobile apps. But there are other ways.

Best Digital Marketing Agency 2018

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.

Speed Update

 

 

 

 

As promised, in July, Google officially made the page speed a ranking factor within mobile search. Google has said that it will not be highly noticeable, as it will only affect a small percentage of queries.

“The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.”

It’s been some time since the speed update has been rolled out and we can hardly notice any changes in the search results. Search experts recently conducted an in-depth study & detected no changes in the rankings of major sites.

But, it’s advised that you still optimize your pages for maximum speed because Google has a habit of updating algorithms. So although you won’t notice any changes when they first roll out the algorithm, it becomes quite noticeable after a few “updates”.  And as they say. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. So why not speed up the website and not only remain safe from the speed update but also provide a good user experience.

But how fast is fast enough? Turns out, a page should be fully loaded and ready to use within 10 seconds. You can take the speed test here.

Meanwhile, Google has also released a mobile speed score that helps advertisers to know which pages need a speed boost. Few points to rememberer:

  1. You will NOT get a notice on Google Search Console if your site gets affected.
  2. This update is just for Mobile. This will NOT affect desktop search results.
  3. AMP & non-AMP pages will be treated equally.

If you have any further questions about this update, please feel free to reach out to us for assistance.

 

 

Google posts have the immense power to boost the bottom line of your business. Those who know how to utilize it to the fullest have seen a huge boost in sales. Ex-Googler & SEO expert Joel Headley increased booking by 11% for his client using Google posts alone. He also shared some great tips on how you can fully utilize the Google posts. A compelling background image with a call to action can help you increase the conversion rate, he added.

Google is very excited about the posts and also want the same enthusiasm level among the business owners too. So they keep adding new features & the latest addition to the Google post is VIDEO. Now you can upload videos of your business or any topic that revolves around it. It’s already proven that Video marketing is extremely beneficial for your business, now the ability to upload it to Google posts further enhances the overall benefits.

Google posts also allow you to schedule your post in advance because they know that sometimes it gets hard to remember.

For those new to it:

  • You can access Google Posts by logging into your Google My Business account.
  • Now you will see the “Posts” option right below the Home.
  • Click on it and upload the type of content you want to share.
  • After uploading, you will have the option to preview it and once you are satisfied, hit the Publish button.
  • After publishing, actively monitor the conversions and see how your targeted audience is responding.

The best way to find out which type of content work best for you is to TEST.  Analyse your audience reaction to different content and then you will be able to figure out what type of content really clicks with your targeted audience.

 

 

  • LinkedIn has redesigned the reporting feature in campaign manager.
  • Find out what SKAGs are and when to use them.
  • Instagram has introduced shopping ads to stories. It was very much expected since the active users on Instagram is growing exponentially.
  • Google expanding store visitation and local conversion reporting.
  • BIG changes coming to Google ads. Here’s what you need to know:
  • Google will soon add “Hotel ads” as a new campaign type within the GoogleAds dashboard.
  • Using redirects can cost you quality score in AdWords. Here’s why.
  • Although In-market audience has been around since 2014, Google is NOW allowing this kind of targeting in search ads. Find out if its beneficial for you.
  • Google’s new responsive search ads seem pretty effective.
  • Not getting any fresh ideas for your next Facebook/Insta campaign? Take inspiration from these ad campaigns.
  • 6 Best Practices for Responsive Ads on the Google Display Network.
  • Bing Ads have made it easy for you to try their ad platforms by introducing Automatic imports.
  • Paid branded search does matter. Here’s a case study of a company that learned it the hard way.

 

 

Facebook has been facing a lot of heat lately for mishandling the data of its users. There were allegations that Russians have used Facebook to subconsciously manipulate US citizens during the elections. So in order to bring more transparency & to whitewash the bad rep, Facebook has released a new feature that allows you to see the ads run by any page.

It will not only help the users to see if they are being manipulated, but it can also prove to be a boon for the business owners who like to keep a tab on their competitor’s ad campaigns. Knowing what your competitors are running can be extremely beneficial, especially before kick-starting your own campaign.

If you want to see the ads run by any company, person or political party, simply go to their page and click the “Info & Ads” Tab. It will show you all the ads run by that page, including the location.

Although this feature was not launched exclusively for this purpose, it’s definitely the best utilization. But be sure not to copy your competitor’s ads, as it will do more harm than good. Take ideas and then develop original concepts that click with your targeted audience.

 

Google

 

 

 

 

Well, Google has decided to remove reviews from anonymous users.

So, what are anonymous reviews? – Reviews that had been left by profiles marked “A Google User” are termed as anonymous.

Google has been struggling to keep its reviews authentic for a long time and anonymous users posed a big threat to it. So Google finally decided to remove it, all of them. Many business owners saw a sharp drop in their business ratings and most of the negative reviews & ratings were from anonymous users – which is a sign that either competitors or someone totally unrelated to business were posting it, using anonymity.

When contacted, Google just gave this simple statement:  “We do not allow anonymous reviews today and we’ve removed legacy anonymous reviews.”

If you have lost reviews that were NOT from “A Google User”, possible reasons could be:

  • Having paid for or incentivized reviews, either directly or via an unethical marketer.
  • Getting too many reviews at once.
  • URLs, prohibited language, or other objectionable content in the body of reviews.
  • Reviewing yourself, or having employees (past or present) do so.
  • Reviews were left from same IP address.
  • The use of review strategies/software that prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews.
  • Any other violation of Google’s review guidelines.

Since reviews and rating affect your business rankings in Google, it’s crucial to keep them authentic. One way to do this is to use our proprietary 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 our sales rep.

 

 

Google’s Chrome browser will soon flag every site that doesn’t use HTTPS encryption. Google was working on it for quite some time and now they have finally decided to launch it this month. Here’s how it will look to users who visit a non HTTPS website.

 

Furthermore, they will stop highlighting “SECURE” and would rather focus on marking the non-encrypted sites as “Not Secure”. The reason being, they want to make it a norm to have an encrypted site. They are planning to launch it in September 2018. It is reported that other major browsers like Safari and Firefox might also follow suit.

Why should you be serious about this?

Google Chrome has the highest browser market share with close to 60% users worldwide followed by Safari and Firefox. These 3 take up more than 80% of browser user share i.e. most of your users are using these browsers to visit your website. And if they get this warning message on your website, you’re likely to lose out on potential leads.

Long story short – your site will get the short end of the stick if your website is not secure.

If you have been already made the switch to an encrypted site, you will have a huge advantage over your competitors who haven’t opted for HTTPS.

So, how to ensure you don’t get this message and protect your business?

You can either get this done at your end OR let our experienced team handle it for you at a nominal rate. Connect with our Sales rep for any assistance.

 

 

Google My Business is rolling out a new report in the Insights section of the console that is designed to show businesses how people are searching within Google Maps or Google Search to find your local business listing. It’s called the “queries used to find your business” report, and it shows the most popular queries for your business by unique users within a time frame.

Mike Blumenthal was the first to spot this and posted the screen shot below on his blog.

A Google spokesperson confirmed this is rolling out more widely. However, we haven’t noticed it yet for any accounts.

Here is the screen shot of the report.

Google also recently added subjective attributes reporting within the Insights section. This section will help you learn what your customers think of your business with the new ‘what your business is known for’ report.

Google announced this on Twitter“We’ve launched subjective attributes to provide more information in your insights tab! Customers of restaurants and cafes can submit subjective attributes to help you and their fellow customers.”

 

 

Here are some most important takeaways to implement Pinterest for your business in 2018.

  • There is no longer a PIN limit to business profiles on Pinterest.
  • The order of the keywords does not matter.
  • You can now add as many Pins as you want.
  • Pins from your domains will be more fruitful as compared to repins.
  • Recommended pins must be at – least 600×900 & can be up to 600X1200.
  • Pinterest will no longer warn you for having long pins.
  • To be considered active by the Pinterest bot, you have to create new pin at least once a week.
  • Don’t measure the success of your account from the number of followers, but rather from the number of views you get on a monthly basis.
  • Just like every other platform, original content is the king.
  • There is no hard rule on how much text you can use in images.
  • Adding URLs on pins translates to poor user experience. So try to avoid it.

 

 

 

  • LinkedIn has launched carousel ads.
  • Google will unveil it’s latest innovations for their advertising and marketing products at Google Marketing Keynote.
  • Why you should test target ROAS bidding for shopping campaigns.
  • Bing ads is enhancing the targeting settings experience and the dimensions tab.
  • Compelling ad copy is a must to catch users attention. Here are some tips and tricks for AdWords copy writing.

 

 

 

 

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:

  1. Login to Google My Business.
  2. Click on the info button on the menu bar.
  3. Click on the add business description
  4. Click on the pencil icon and add info.

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.

Grade Your Business

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

  • Customer Provided Media: You can now retrieve and view insights for user generated photos and video for locations you own & manage.
  • Admin Management APIs: You can now list, accept, & decline account and location related invitations for your account.
  • Merchant Provided Description: Describe your business in your own voice and share with users the unique story of your business & offerings.
  • Opening Date: Provide the date that your location opened for business.
  • Offer Type Posts: A new type of Post on Google, helping users find deals available at your locations.

Agency Dashboard

The new agency dashboard is designed for those who manage multiple businesses and gives these folks:

  • Single Organization Accounts on Google My Business to manage all locations and no longer limited to 100 locations.
  • User Groups to manage internal teams and control access to locations.
  • Improved search functionality enabling users to efficiently search for locations within an account and across location groups.
  • Easier workflows to send and receive invitations to manage listings.

Partner Program

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.


    • Google brings AI-powered ad suggestions to AdWords campaigns. The new campaigns will get optimization suggestion from Google’s AI.
  • Google is testing phrase free AdWords
  • Automated PPC bidding is not ideal in all the situations. Here’s a comprehensive article that explains in great detail that when you should not use automated bidding.
  • Google has recently launched a new tool “reach planner” that helps you spend your marketing budget wisely.
  • Don’t want Google to run ads automatically? Here’s how you can opt out of AdWords Ad suggestions.
  • Bing has recently launched 4 new features within their Bing shopping campaigns interface.
  • The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is new privacy regulations that are going into place officially on May 25th, 2018. IN response to this rule, Google is making big changes, especially within Youtube Ads. Find out.
  • Bing Ads has launched New Price extensions. According to bing, this will help advertisers show the right product at the right time.
  • Google has launched TrueView that helps advertisers to promote their products/service more effectively. The bumper ads which are 6 seconds long are the first to be introduced.


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.

  1. Latest Pins – If you choose this option, it will feature the last 24 pins you’ve saved on any board across your Pinterest profile.
  2. Recent Activity – Choosing this option will display pins that other users have saved from your site and other accounts you have associated with your Pinterest account.
  3. Pick a Board – This option will display all the pins you have on a specific board. Use this option along with Featured Boards and this board should have only that pins, which you wish to be featured as 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.

  1. Write Compelling Headlines

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:

Social media ads

This is a rather bad one:

Free Social Media Audit for Your Business

  1. Address Your Target Audience

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:

  • “Dear Dog Lovers,”
  • “To all passionate dog owners,”
  • “Are you concerned about the health of your furry friend?”

Social media ads

  1. Focus On Benefits Instead Of Features

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.

  1. Include A Clear CTA

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:

  • Learn More
  • Sign Up Now
  • Click Here to Claim Your Coupon
  • Start Free Trial
  • Make an Appointment

Free Social Media Audit for Your Business

  1. Try Emojis

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.

  1. Use Real Images With Real People

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.

  1. Become an Expert In Audience Targeting

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.

  1. Implement Retargeting With Custom Audiences

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 pixel

eBizUniverse Uses The Facebook Pixel – Screenshot taken from ebizuniverse.com

For example:

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.

  1. A/B Test 24/7 + Analyze Results

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).

  1. Make Use Of Hashtags On Instagram

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.

Need our experts to take a look at your Online Marketing? Call us at (800) 379-2829 or contact us.