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After RankBrain, BERT is the biggest update by Google Search and is likely to impact 1 in 10 search queries. The previous major algorithm update, RankBrain was introduced by the company around 5 years ago.

BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It is Google’s neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training.

BERT can help computers understand languages a bit more as humans do. In 2018, it was open-sourced by Google. Detailed information about BERT is provided in the Google AI blog.

The rolling out of BERT began earlier this week and it is likely to be fully live within a few more days. As of now, the feature is suitable for only English language queries, but shortly Google might try out other languages.

Google further revealed that BERT is being used globally in all languages in featured snippets.

Understanding the context of words in searches will help better match those queries with relevant results.

Examples of Google Search before and after the release of BERT.

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In one example, Google said, with a search for “2019 Brazil traveler to USA need a visa” the word “to” and its relationship to the other words in query are important for understanding the meaning. Earlier, Google did not understand this connection between words and would return with results about U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil. Google further explained, “With BERT, Search is able to grasp this nuance and know that the very common word “to” actually matters a lot here, and we can provide a much more relevant result for this query.”

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In yet another example, a search for “do estheticians stand a lot at work”, Google said it previously would have matched the term “stand-alone” with the term “stand” used in the query. Google’s BERT models can “understand that ‘stand’ is related to the concepts of the physical demands of the job, and displays a more useful response,” Google said.

In the example below, Google can understand a query more like a human to show a more relevant result on a search for “Can you get medicine for someone pharmacy.”

google search

Here is an example of Google showing a more relevant featured snippet for the query “Parking on a hill with no curb”. Previously a query like this would confuse Google. “We placed too much importance on the word “curb” and ignored the word “no”, not understanding how critical that word was to appropriately respond to this query. So we’d return results for parking on a hill with a curb.”

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The first AI method for understanding queries, that Google introduced back in 2015, was RankBrain. To understand the meaning of the words, it looks at both – the queries and the content of web pages in Google’s index. It’s additive to Google’s ranking system. BERT is not a replacement for RankBrain, but an addition to Google’s methods for understanding content and queries. It will continue to be in use for some queries unless Google thinks a query can be better understood with the help of BERT. A single query can use multiple methods to understand the language including BERT.

 

Google utilizes a lot of ways to understand the language in your query and how it is relevant to the content on the web. In case you misspell something, Google’s spelling systems will help you get the right word that you would be looking for. Also, if you use a synonym that is there in its relevant documents, Google will still return with appropriate search results.

 

Optimizing for BERT is unlikely! Google already cleared that optimizing for RankBrain cannot be done, which only means that Google is improving at understanding natural language. Users can continue to create digital content as they always do.

Google said this change is “representing the biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leap forward in the history of Search.” This update has so far impacted 10% of all queries, which is a big change. However, after running reports for our clients, we have noticed that the rankings haven’t been affected at all – which isn’t surprising considering we do our basics well.

 

Final Takeaway

We recommend you to keep an eye on your search traffic changes sometime next week and check how much your site got impacted by the addition. If your search traffic seems to be affected, know which landing pages got impacted and by which query. And, if you need professional help – do get in touch with us for assistance.

 

Do You Have Questions About Googles Algorithm? Contact Us!

 

 

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According to a Yelp-commissioned study conducted by SurveyMonkey, almost all online adult users are ready to buy services or products from the local businesses that they discover on Yelp. The survey shows that around about 97% of adult users conduct some sort of transaction with the businesses they find on Yelp.

This survey of over 6,000 adults, is actually a follow up of the study conducted by Nielsen in 2012 and 2016. The figures derived from the 2016 study showed that:

  • 92% of online adults conducted a transaction after visiting Yelp “at least sometimes, frequently or almost always”.
  • 42% of respondents claimed that they made a purchase within 24 hrs and 79% made a purchase within a week.

The 2019 Survey Shows High Purchase Intent

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The figures found in the 2019 survey show considerable growth in Yelp’s influence, as more than half i.e. 51% users claim to transact within 24 hours of visiting a site and close to 90% admit to doing so within a week. It also revealed that 93% of Yelp users compare businesses before making any buying decisions.

 

Yelp claims that both the 2016 and 2019 studies show that Yelp is the “most influential and trustworthy” site when it comes to finding local businesses as compared to “Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor and HomeAdvisor”.

Users Look For More Than Reviews While Comparing Businesses

Although Google has more reviews than Facebook and Yelp, respondents appreciate the other factors, beyond reviews, that they can take into consideration when comparing and evaluating local businesses on Yelp.

  • 75% cared about seeing a business or trade license that a business has
  • 71% cared about the ability to request price estimates online
  • 69% cared about seeing the pictures and costs of previously completed projects
  • 58% cared about knowing the unique characteristics of a business like being open late or being family-owned

 

Final Takeaway

At the end of the day, even though the survey responses do give an indication of the user preferences, it may not be the actual user behavior. However, according to an individual study conducted by FreshChalk Yelp does appear in the top 5 results of 92% of the local business searches on Google. This makes Yelp a critical directory for ranking. The company is also set to roll out new products and features this year, in an effort to differentiate from Google and to diversify revenues.

 

Do You Know Your Online Review Score! Check It Now!

 

 

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To improve your SEO it is essential to find and make the most of every opportunity. With digital marketers these days, the first thing they turn to is finding keywords that have a high search volume. However, doing so is not as beneficial as it seems.

Competing with large websites for high or medium volume keywords does not make a huge difference. Here are a few simple methods to rank higher, using more precise, long-tail keywords as primary keyword targets.

Although you might overlook these long-tail keywords as they get less attention than broad keywords that most people look for, they could be just what your SEO needs. With high volume keyword searches becoming more specific, the number of people searching for those terms is likely to decrease. As long-tail keywords have a lower search volume, the competition over them is naturally very less. Fortunately, concentrating on long-tail keywords enables most organizations to set realistic goals for SEO success.

 

  1. Appeal to local searches

Most local businesses struggle to compete with large organizations for broad keywords, and here is where long-tail keywords come into play. Local business owners can get more out of making use of long-tail keywords as compared to broad keywords.

According to statistics, almost half of all Google searches are local searches, and 76% of people will either call or visit the business within 24 hours after making a local business search on mobile. Hence, to give your business more visibility locally, going after local-intent keywords such as your city, zip code, or even state is best for your business. Focus and choose keywords that cater to your city and surrounding areas as they are more specific and the competition is less. This allows your business to become more visible in local searches leading to new customers and increased footfalls.

 

  1. Focus on intent keywords

Be sure to include “Intent Keywords” when tailoring long-tail keyword research for your site’s SEO content as they tend to represent the later stage of a sales funnel and are usually commercial.

Before buying anything online, we always tend to look-up on the internet before making a purchase decision. Online searchers go through the buyer’s journey to get the information they need before they reach any final purchasing decision. During this time, people are inclined more towards long-tail keywords to get more definitive results for the product or service they’re interested in. At first, people search for more general terms such as “black turtleneck” but eventually narrow down the search with specific long-tail keywords such as “ribbed” or “cashmere black turtleneck” to get down to the best, cheapest, or on-sale items.

Intent keywords, such as “best,” “cheapest,” and “discount” have a lower search volume, but the people searching for them can be worth more than a bigger, less interested audience. The search volume decreases as searches get more and more specific with intent keywords, but at the same time, these searches are more valuable.

Checking your organic traffic regularly in Google Analytics is a good practice and the factors that you must consider while analyzing this are as follows:

See which keywords drive more traffic to your site and to what pages specifically.

Check out the landing pages to find out what drove the users there.

Analyze the low-traffic web pages that you would want to rank higher and figure out how you can optimize them.

Make the most of what you have learned about intent keywords on high-traffic pages to fix up the pages that are deteriorating without traffic.

 

  1. Use conversational language for long-tail keywords

As the use of voice searches increases drastically, may it be playing songs by commanding Alexa or searching for a local restaurant with Siri, it is now an essential part of our searches. Although voice searches have made our life easier, many in the world of SEO feel uneasy because of it. There is a fear that voice searches will take over consumer behavior and make the traditional practices obsolete, which is not the case.

 

To rank for voice searches, you will have to change your ways of choosing keywords as whatever people search for verbally will have different verbosity as compared to what they would have typed.

 

Start using long-tail keywords for you to compete in the long run. These keywords are more conversational; as if the person is asking a question to someone. Voice searches also include local searches, so prioritizing long-tail keywords considering verbal search is crucial. Keep in mind that the content you create must rank higher for not just voice searches but also traditional searches.

 

Conclusion

Long-tail keywords may not be a top priority for many, but when implemented with the right amount of work and efforts, they can be a source of easy and direct way of ranking higher on search engines. After all, long-tail keywords are a great example of the adage that not even the smallest things must be missed out when it comes to improving your SEO.

 

What’s Your SEO Score?

 

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Agencies just love our SEO Audit reports. It helps them close SEO deals faster. Some of them have been asking for new features in the SEO Audit report for some time now. As always, we have been listening to their feedback and after a lot of research and brainstorming, we have rolled out some awesome features to our SEO Audit report.

 

Top features you’d love!

  • Do you know that more than 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020! So, is your business ready? Our proprietary algorithm tests your local business for voice search readiness and shows how your information is picked up by Google Assistant in real-time.

 

  • We’ve upgraded our SEO Audits to check your business for local visibility issues including NAP (Name, Address, Phone) consistency in Top 8 sites now instead of 4 in the earlier versions.

(Top 8 sites include – Google, Bing, Yelp, Facebook, Merchant Circle, Tupalo, CitySquares and HotFrog)

  • Learn what people are saying online about your business. We check your business reviews on Top 6 sites now instead of 3.

(Top 6 sites include – Google, Facebook, Yelp, Merchant Circle, CitySquares, HotFrog)

Plus tons of changes under the hood to make SEO Audit reports run faster and deliver more accurate results.

Please start using our new SEO Audit Report. Don’t hesitate to share your valuable feedback with us. You can also get in touch with our Support team to know more about this New SEO Audit Report.

 

Free Instant SEO Audit Of Your Website

 

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Here are the latest pay per click updates we have curated for you this month.

 

 

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.

Bing

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The rivalry between Google & Bing has been on for around a decade now, with each search engine carving their niche in the market. However, it seems like the rivals, Google and Bing, have now joined forces as two crucial spots within Bing’s properties are now directly tied to Google.

 

Heart of the Matter

It started with a new beta feature that allows you to import your website into Bing’s Webmaster Tools without a hassle if you are already verified within Google Search Console.

 

 

Later, on August 30th, we saw a reporting of a new Sync option (Sync with Google My Business) being available within Bing Places Accounts. You can make use of this option once you have logged into Bing Places for Business and picked a location to work on.

 

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The feature is currently enabled only for users who have a maximum of 10 businesses in their Google My Business Account. This means the feature is not for those who manage more than 10 businesses in their Google My Business Account.

 

Actionable Strategy

This partnership between Google and Bing might seem weird to many, but the latest features are a step in the right direction. It is now less time consuming and hassle-free for users to verify businesses as well as easier to research within both sets of Webmaster Tools. Although the feature is still in its initial stage, we expect some more features from Google and Bing, like Syncing for users who manage more than 10 businesses, to be launched sooner than later. Big things to come for Google and Bing!

 

Do You Have Questions About Your Local Pages On Google or Bing? Contact Us!

 

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Businesses with multiple locations often have a hard time managing their customer reviews. Responding to each and every review, from each and every location can be taxing. Google My Business’ recent local updates roll out revealed that now you can easily manage your reviews on the same page.

 

 

This new inclusion will enable seeing and replying to reviews across multiple listings on a single page. This might seem like a tiny little addition but it will drastically reduce the time needed for review management for multi-location businesses.

 

Things to Note

  • Organization accounts do not have this feature as of yet.
  • Replying to reviews from third-party sources isn’t allowed.
  • You can respond to reviews and see them organized into location groups only after your listing is verified.

 

Final Takeaway

Getting started is quick and easy. All you need to do is visit https://business.google.com/reviews and follow the instructions given.

 

Do You Know Your Online Review Score! Check It Now!

 

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Now here’s some really good news for hotel owners with verified Google My Business (GMB) listings. Google recently announced that they have now added support to enable hotel owners or those working with hotels to update services and amenity details in the “Hotel Attributes” section.

 

How this will help hotel owners

One of the major reasons for keeping hotel services and amenities details up to date in the listings is that Google pulls the hotel’s highlights from here. These highlights, in the form of bright and colorful icons, appear next to the amenities in the Placesheet. They give potential customers a quick overview of all the amenities offered by the hotel such as ‘Free Wi-Fi’, ‘Free Parking’, ‘Pet-Friendly’, etc.

 

Steps to add new features

  • Sign in to Google My Business (using a computer, not mobile)
  • If you have multiple locations, open the location you would like to make changes to
  • Click on Info
  • Click on ‘Edit’ next to “Hotel Attributes”
  • Search for the attributes you want to add and fill in the necessary details
  • Click on Save

 

For all those who are yet to start out

In case you are one of those hotel owners or SEO professionals who haven’t yet gotten on board with GMB for hotels, then it’s high time you get on with it. Here are 3 simple steps to start the process

 

  • Sign Up for GMB for Hotels
  • Engage With Customers
  • Manage Hotel’s Details

 

Is your online listing up to date? Find out your visibility score today!

 

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While many may have noticed the ‘Google Guaranteed’ label that appears with some Local Service Ads, not many are aware of the fact that only certain industries qualify for this label. You need to go through a quick 3-step process to see if you do or don’t qualify for this label. Professionals such as attorneys, financial planners and real estate agents are amongst those who do not qualify for the Google Guaranteed label.

 

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However, Google has now decided to roll out a new “Google Screened” Local Service Ad label for such professionals. Just like Google Guaranteed, the Google Screened label also comes with its own set of license and background checks. What differentiates the two labels is that there is no money-back guarantee with the Google Screened label businesses.

 

Know whether you qualify for this label

In order to get the Google Screened label, a business must have a rating of 3.0 or above. Moreover, there are business-level as well as business-owner background checks. Also, every professional in the business is required to pass a license and background check for the Local Service Ad to be labeled as “Google Screened”.

 

Final takeaway

Having your Local Service Ad labeled as Google Screened is bound to give your business more credibility and authority in the industry. If you are amongst those who represent an attorney, a financial planner or a real estate agent, then it’s best that you check out the Google Screened label and start the process of getting it added to the Local Service Ad.

 

Grade Your Website

 

bing

Twitter mentioned in their blog post, create video content with your phone using these 4 ingenious ideas, that all you need for a campaign to be successful is good content and it can even be created using your phone. The post included some worth mentioning stats to help the users.

 

“On Twitter, brands need to create fresh and engaging visual content on a near-daily basis. Why? Because that’s what your audience wants. Tweets with video attract 10X more engagement than Tweets without video, Tweets with images attract 150% more Retweets than Tweets without images, and even Tweets with a GIF gain 55% more engagement than Tweets without a GIF.”

 

Remember, Twitter audiences love authenticity more than they love creativity. Give them something engaging and they will surely keep coming back to your page. Retweeting other people’s content isn’t going to take you far. Twitter’s blog post will help you out in creating impactful videos, GIFs and images specific to your audiences. Here’s a simple video created using a phone that Twitter shared.

 

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Question about Boosting Facebook/Twitter Engagement? Let’s Talk!

 

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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.

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Do local citations matter anymore? Mike Blumenthal and other SEO experts share their opinions about how much attention we should be really giving to structured citations.

For any local business, giving a quote, managing their local citations i.e. submitting to top local search engines and directories is still one of the things that make it to the top of the local SEO checklist. With a key focus on quick (automated) submissions and consistency, many local businesses turned to Yext as their go-to service and helped it propel to a $170 million business in 2018!

Local citations were historically seen as one of the top ranking factors but things are not the same now. SEO experts such as Mike Blumenthal (GatherUp) now dismiss citations as almost of no use.

 

Here’s what Mike Blumenthal has to say.

“If a business has their data correct on their website and can get their data straightened away at Google, Facebook and maybe Yelp, there is no need for a citation campaign and certainly no need for a recurring cost to do so.

Google cares about local sites and web-references that users engage with and occur on pages on some amount of prominence. So it isn’t just a matter of having a citation at Yelp or HealthGrades or Trip Advisor, but of having a listing that ranks well at those sites and can pass some authority to your local entity. The strongest industry vertical sites, in some industries, do send some traffic so a citation and content build-out is relevant there.

But the idea of getting listed at 80 sites and paying for it annually is an idea whose time has passed. And the traditional idea of an unstructured citation, (i.e., being cited at an authoritative journal or news source even without a link) has merit. But that is more along the lines of PR than a citation campaign and it can have significant influence over the rank of a business.”

 

Similar to Mike Blumenthal, this is what Joy Hawkins from Sterling Sky has to say.

“I often find that people are surprised to hear that my agency doesn’t focus much on citation building or “maintaining” as a strategy.  We’ve found that time is better spent on other high-impact tactics.

We only bother with citation work if the client has recently moved locations. Even then, we notice that it doesn’t make a huge difference.

We don’t ignore it completely; it’s just labeled here as a low-impact tactic so it’s not what we tackle first.”

 

What’s our take on this?

 

The consensus now appears to be that citations are declining in importance. It’s quite true that our industry’s perception of the role of citations has changed a lot. However, we continue to believe local citations still have an important role to play and are not yet ready to throw them out of our toolkit.

Every location-based business needs to own as much of its branded and core keyword SERPs as possible. Taking maximum control of citations is one of the most obvious and sensible ways to achieve a high degree of ownership. Because all forms of citations could be points of entry for consumers, businesses need to manage them for accuracy and consistency.

However, we feel that the idea of getting your business listed on multiple sites and paying for it annually makes no sense at all. Instead, we focus more on manual submissions which are much quicker to show up as compared to automated submissions, you can select which directories to submit to and you have full ownership and control over these sites.

 

Reference:

searchengineland.com/do-local-citations-matter-anymore-five-local-seos-sound-off-320015

 

Questions About Google My Business? Contact Us!

 

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Due to the growing need to bolster online security, every search engine strives to come up with new, innovative ways to make users feel as secure as possible in the digital world. One such measure taken by the search engines is to warn users against insecure sites by showing a “Warning: Security Risk Ahead” message page.

 

How Bing Reacts to Expired SSL Certificate

Google Chrome and Firefox show a “Not Secure” warning to users on non-secure (without https) websites.

 

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If a website has been flagged as a phishing site, it will display this warning before allowing you to proceed on Chrome.

 

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Bing goes a step further by warning the users that there is a problem with the website’s security certificate and that the problem may be an indication that it might be an attempt to fool you or intercept your data.

 

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How This Can Affect Your Business

Even if there is no real security threat to the users or their data, the fact that the search engines redirect the users to a warning page instead of the homepage can have a huge impact on your website’s organic traffic. Hence, it is important that you keep a track on when your site’s security certificate is about to expire and renew it promptly to ensure that potential leads are not discouraged from visiting your website.

 

Grade Your Website

 

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Entities with Google accounts can now claim their knowledge panels to gain complete access over the information that it contains. So if you are a brand that is large enough to trigger a knowledge panel, go ahead and create your own Google knowledge panel today.

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How to Claim?

 

  • Make sure you have a Google account.
  • Search for your entity in the Google search box.
  • Scroll to the very bottom and click on the ‘claim this knowledge panel’ button which will direct you to the entity verification page.
  • Verify your entity by signing in to your listed official site/profile.
  • YouTube
  • Search Console
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Review the displayed information, once the features are granted post verification.

 

Remember: Use the most accurate and engaging information about your entity while you review it. Information that shows up on search (images, stats, facts, etc.) can be changed accordingly.

 

Outcome: Since Google has depreciated the importance of structured data markup for knowledge panels, this is the easiest and latest way of getting your company details updated. So make sure you claim your panel right away!

 

Is your online listing up to date? Find out your visibility score today!

 

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Google recently tested a new “Request A Quote” button feature within the knowledge panels of the businesses that are verified and listed on Google My Business (GMB) and also who have the messaging feature within the GMB App.

Google is automatically adding a large “Request a Quote” button to eligible business listings in search results. The button also appears in mobile search results when the business name is searched for. I, along with others, can replicate this quote feature which means it’s not just a test.

 

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Trying it Ourselves

 

Although the testing of the quote feature was hit-and-miss for us, it did lead us to conclude that there are high chances that for now, Google must have been testing the quote feature in a specific region only.

Google had earlier launched the Messaging feature for Google My Business (GMB) App in June 2017 and since has proven to be a great option to get in touch with businesses for potential clients, that too via TEXT!

The quote feature also allows businesses to set a limit for the number of messages received and can also be turned on/off as and when needed.

Actionable Strategy

 

If you haven’t figured out a way to use the quote feature or haven’t come across it yet then we would highly recommend you to download and try it for your business today. Get entire details on how to make use of this feature here. Those who have the app installed already can proceed with the following steps:

  • Open your Google My Business app
  • Click on the location you want to message from
  • Click the Customers button
  • Click the Messages button
  • Click Turn On

 

Final Takeaway

 

Although the “Request A Quote” feature is not officially launched yet, it is only a matter of time when it will be. The quote feature would surely be a great addition to all of GMB’s features, allowing easy and direct communication between customers and businesses.

 

Have Questions About Your Google Listing? Contact Us!

 

 

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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.

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Earlier in April this year, Google rolled out a Google My Business (GMB) feature that enables users to create short names to define their GMB listing URLs.

With these short brandable names, customers can find you better. Here’s how you can set up a ‘short name’ for your business.

  • Sign in to Google My Business.

 

  • Open the location for which you want to create a short name.

 

  • Click on Info from the menu, then on Add profile short name.

 

  • Enter your short name (should be up to 32 characters). Names that have already been taken cannot be reused so try using new words or a combination of words that can best describe your brand.

 

  • Click on Apply. (Your short name will show as pending for a while before it reflects on your business profile).

 

Final Takeaway: If your business is Google My Business verified, then go ahead and create your custom ‘short name’ without wasting any time as it could give your business the exposure it’s worth.

 

Follow this Guide for more information on how to use the custom short names feature and the policies and terms of service.

 

Questions About Google My Business? Contact Us!

 

 

In true Google fashion, the company recently announced that Google My Business support has now come up with a new way of handling the entire Practitioner Listings process.

 

Where Practitioner Listings Come into the Picture

 

When a number of professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, etc. operate from the same office location but have different clients, Practitioner Listings are used. One has to create multiple Google My Business listings to support such practitioners.

 

However, this process has now undergone a few changes. Here’s a quick look at the said changes

 

  • When a Practitioner Retires

Previously, when a practitioner retired, Google My Business by default marked the listing as ‘Closed’, which often lead the customers to believe that the entire business has shut shop. However, now you can request Google to entirely remove the said listing from Google Maps.

 

  • When a Practitioner Dies

Somewhat similar to the above scenario, Google My Business used to by default mark a listing as ‘Permanently Closed’ when a practitioner died. Again, you can send out a request to Google to completely remove the listing from Maps instead of displaying the rather distasteful messaging.

 

  • When a Practitioner Starts Working Elsewhere

In such cases, you follow the same protocol as before. You are expected to update the practitioner’s listing to display their new business location because Google believes that the listing belongs to the professionals and not the business.

 

These updates are still new, so chances are you might run into some problems when trying to make changes to Practitioner Listings. In case you face any issues, you are most likely to receive a quick solution by reaching out to @GoogleMyBiz on Twitter.

 

Have Questions About Your Google Listing? Contact Us!

 

 

On June 17, to celebrate the International Small Business Day, Google announced the launch of its new website which has been built with an aim to help small businesses grow. The site is designed to match local businesses with Google products and services.

 

During the announcement, Google explained how businesses can take advantage of the three main actions the site offers.

 

  • Personalized Plans: Where businesses need to provide their name, answer a few questions about their business and mention their primary goal. On the basis of the given information, the business will receive a step-by-step, plan of recommendation customized as per their needs. Although the plan includes products to help businesses stand out online, reach more customers, and work more efficiently, it lays more emphasis on the goal that’s most important to a business.

 

  • In-person workshops: The in-person workshops will assist the business owners looking for personalized help. Businesses can locate free Grow with Google workshops happening near them.

 

  • Latest News: With the latest news, businesses can stay updated about Google’s small business-focused tools and services.

 

If you are a new business, looking for an opportunity to grow your online presence, this website is the right platform for you.

They provide a mix of free and paid service recommendations, that can help you grow your business. You can analyze which of these could be most helpful for your business and take a trial.

 

Is your online listing up to date? Find out your visibility score today!

 

 

You already know that Google introduced the new Search Console in January. Google has now announced that the new Search Console will NOT support the Preferred Domain Setting.

 

Google stated that the reason for removing the Preferred Domain Setting is that often websites have the same content on multiple URLs, and to make things easier Google will now recognize and pick the one “canonical” URL for you.

 

You can still let google know your preferences.

 

Google is not really taking everything out of your hands; you can still let them know which is your preferred domain. Here are some of the ways in which you can accomplish this:

 

  • Use “canonical” link tag on HTML pages
  • Use “canonical” HTTP header
  • Use a sitemap
  • Use 301 redirects for retired URLs

 

For more details on ways in which you can communicate your preferences to Google, take a look at its help center article – Consolidate Duplicate URLs.

 

How this update affects you

Google has made it very clear that they will no longer use any of the existing Search Console preferred domain configuration and setting. Hence, it is important that you check your Google search results to ensure that the canonical URL you listed in Google has not changed with this update.

 

Grade Your Website

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

It’s true; come July 1st, Google will, by default, use its mobile Googlebot to index all the new sites that come online. This move will help ensure that the users’ needs are placed at the forefront. Besides, Mobile-First indexing is something that Google has already been doing with over half of the search results anyway.

Want to Find Out Whether Your Site is Being Indexed by the Mobile Bot?

Chances are, if your site is responsive and mobile-friendly, then it is already being indexed using the mobile bot and you have nothing to worry about. However, if you still want to check whether your site is being indexed using Mobile-First indexing, then it is fairly easy to do so.

Normally, you will receive an email notifying you that your site has been migrated. In case you missed the mail, you can check using Google’s URL Inspection Tool. All you have to do is add your homepage URL in the top search bar in Google Search Console account and hit enter.

The page that comes next will show you whether the site is being indexed using Google smartphone bot.

If while using the tool you are unable to understand the results you get, go through Google’s URL Inspection Tool guide that offers details on all the different types of results one can get.

 

Questions about Ranking on Google Or Ranking Issues? Talk To Us.

 

Coding errors can pop up anytime and Google is all set to make it easier for us to realize when we have one on our hands. In an effort to offer more transparency on how our structured data is actually performing, Google has added three new reports to its Search Console. These new reports are as follows:

  1. Logo Enhancement Report – If you are using Logo Markup, this report will provide you with details pertaining to the performance and/or errors around your Logo Markup.

 

  1. Sitelinks Seachbox Enhancement Report – This report has been put in place to provide you with insight into the performance and/or errors around your SearchAction Markup.

 

  1. Unparsable Structured Data Report – This error report has been designed to enable you to analyze and resolve issues around markup codes that fail to pass Google’s testing.

As long as your site has these specific markups, you will be able to find these reports listed under the Enhancements tab in Search Console.

 

Why we need these reports?

 

It is fairly common for an error to pop up even after you run a new code through Google’s Structured Testing Tool. These new reports give you a comprehensive breakdown of when Google first discovered the error, the pages with the error and even what the error looks like.

However, while you are trying to see whether you have been able to successfully troubleshoot the markup coding issues in your site, you need to bear in mind that the reports take time to update. It can take around a week or more for the updated page code to reflect on the reports even after you Validate a Fix.

 

Is your Online Listing up to date? Find out your Visibility Score today

 

 

Area 120, Google’s experimental products group, introduces a new call automation service – CallJoy.

A cloud-based phone agent, CallJoy will help local businesses improve, measure and automate their customer service.

Take a look at Google’s promotional video explaining the benefits of their new service.

Here’s a breakdown of how it will work…

  • Post a quick setup, you will receive a local phone number.

 

  • CallJoy will immediately filter calls that matter and start blocking unwanted spam calls.

 

  • An automated agent will answer calls that matter the most, greet the callers with a custom message and provide basic information related to your business, like days of operation, services available, etc.

 

  • If the customer would like to place an online order or book an appointment, the virtual agent will send him/her an SMS containing the URL for the concerned task.

 

  • The calls will be recorded and transcribed for quality purposes regardless of whether the callers interact directly with you or speak to the CallJoy agent.

These features will make it easier for business owners to tag and search each conversation based on the topic. For instance, a restaurant owner is most likely to search how many times a day callers placed orders for a particular dish.

CallJoy also compiles your data in an online dashboard and mails you a daily update including metrics like volume, new vs returning callers, etc.

At an economical fee of $39/per month, CallJoy promises to deliver customer services for small businesses that were previously available only to larger corporations.

 

Final Takeaway

 

Although it has been noted by many local search experts that Google isn’t that great with automation so far, if you wish to test the system? Sign up for early access here.

 

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A new Automated Ads tool was announced by Facebook recently. The social networking site claims it to be of great help in creating result driven ads.

The Tool Will Have Following Features:

  • Suggestions to create up to 6 different versions of your ad.
    • Call-to-action buttons
    • Text
    • Other creative details

(Facebook will show the best-performing version, once the ad is active)

 

  • Tailored audience recommendations based on the information available on your page.

 

  • Budget recommendations that are likely to generate results as per your goals.

(Your own budget can also be shared to determine the estimated results)

 

Receive timely notifications to help you understand how your ads are performing and how you can improve them.

Additionally, Facebook has expanded its free business tools to allow appointment booking and managing.

You can also find 3 new features added to their video editing tools…

  • Automatic Cropping
  • Video Trimming
  • Image & Text Overlays

Have a look at the announcement page that provides complete details and video guides on how these tools can be used.

 

Need help with Facebook Advertising Or Facebook Ad Setup? Talk To Us.

 

 

 

 

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.

google

google

 

 

 

google

Google recently launched a new feature that lets business owners create a short name to define their GMB listing URL. The intention behind rolling out this feature was to make it easier for business owners to share details with their customers as short names are easy to remember (duh).

 

This is obviously a very useful and smart feature because earlier businesses had to market the extremely long Google My Business URLs. Also, keep in mind that just like the Emails, the short names will run out very quickly, so make sure you hurry up and claim your short name before someone else does.

 

It can even harm you if you don’t act on time as your competitors may use those short names to their advantage. Here’s how it works according to Google:

 

If you’re a verified business, you can create a short name, or a custom name, for your Business Profile to make it easier for customers to find you.

 

When you share your short name, customers can enter the short name URL in the browser’s address bar, like “g.page/[yourcustomname]”, to go directly to your Business Profile.

 

Note: For bulk users, short names have to be claimed individually per listing.

 

Having a short name for your GMB listing will not only help you in sharing it but will also help you to get more reviews. Not to mention that it will be easy for your customers to remember those names so they are more likely to click on that link, instead of passing it away as just another promotional message/Email.

Head straight to the Google support page to know how to create, change and delete your short name. In case you spot someone else using your brand name or spot any offensive or spammy content, you can submit a report using this link.

 

We can not emphasize more on how imperative it is to use it and act as quickly as possible because there’s not a single reason to not use it. It will help you with a lot of your marketing efforts. So get started as quickly as you can.

 

The process is very simple, just follow these instructions.

 

  • Sign in to Google My Business.
  • Open the location you want to create a short name for.
  • From the menu, click Info and then Add profile short name.
  • Enter your short name. You can enter up to 32 characters.
  • If your name isn’t available, you’ll receive an error message and have to choose a different name. Try abbreviating your name or adding other descriptions, like your location. You can also pick another word that describes your business or brand.
  • Click Apply. Your short name will show as pending, and when it’s ready, it’ll show on your Business Profile.

 

Questions about your Google local listing? Contact Us

 

Now you can highlight positive customer reviews for your business easily. Google has rolled out a new feature that allows you to highlight the reviews from your happy customers. It’s called Suggested posts: Customer testimonials.

 

Here’s an excerpt from their announcement:

 

We’re happy to announce a new feature that lets you post automatically suggested reviews as customer testimonials.

 

In some countries, Google My Business will provide suggested posts to help you showcase positive reviews left for your business. You may get suggestions for new testimonials to post when you sign in to Google My Business, or via email notifications.

 

These posts are automatically suggested based on 4 or 5-star reviews recently left for your business. You’ll be able to review and edit the post before publishing it.

Here’s an example of how it looks:

Takeaway

Positive reviews are immensely beneficial to your business and bottom line. So if you have a verified Google My Business listing, you can use Google posts to highlight reviews from your happy customers. It can help you in many ways. Also, do not forget to constantly use Google posts to promote your events, products & offers. In case you are new to Google posts or thinking about how much value it will bring to your business, we highly suggest you give this article a read.

 

CHECK YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION SCORE

 

Google My Business rolled out a Products Beta feature to some business listings last year. It allowed them to add products to their listing just like services. Google has a very easy to understand help page that explains every single detail of this feature.

 

Be informed that currently, it’s only available to a few businesses in select countries. Also, they have special instructions for different categories. So Make sure you read their help page before diving deep into it.

 

If you are eligible to promote products, you are allowed to feature your products within a Google post, which has proven to bring in a lot of sales.

 

But just like the service feature, you will have to add each item one at a time. And because it’s only available to retail merchants, it’s obviously a very slow and tiring process. Let’s see if they will allow bulk uploading in the future but as of now, it’s just one product at a time.

 

We tried searching for answers as to why it’s only available to retail merchants that also to selected few, we just found this statement:

 

Important: This feature may not be available to all retail merchants. We’re working to bring it to all eligible businesses.

 

Takeaway

If you are a retail merchant and eligible for this feature, you can see it in the products tab in the left-hand menu. And if you are eligible, the first thing you should do is to try it out right away. It is a free marketing tool and can bring in a lot of relevant traffic & ultimately boost your sales.

 

Is your online listing up to date? Find out your visibility score today

 

  • Bing Ads is Now Microsoft Advertising: It’s a move to demonstrate that Microsoft is aligning Microsoft Advertising with the broader aspects of search marketing.
  • Facebook has launched a new interface for Ads Manager. It will be effective from May 1. And there’s no way to switch back to the prevision version.
  • Google has postponed the Video campaigns and has launched Parallel Tracking for display campaigns.
  • It is possible that in the near future, product price and seasonality will be taken into consideration as new smart bidding signals in Google ads. Learn more.
  • Instagram is seeing steady growth in term of ad spends and so does the newer ad formats like responsive search ads. We highly recommend reading the Marin’s Benchmark Report Q1 2019 on Most Popular Ad Formats as it sheds light on the latest trends.
  • If you are running Google display ads, then be aware that there is an automated targeted setting that you need to turn it off right away. Although Google says that it targets customers who are likely to convert, but the fact that they have buried it deep in the settings says just the opposite.
  • Bing Ads which is now Microsoft Advertising has launched a new call to action extension. This particular extension help you highlight the CTA on your text ads and those who have participated in the beta have witnessed an average boost of 20% in their click-through-rate.
  • If you are not using responsive search ads, this article might give you some (seven to be precise) reasons to use them in 2019. And even if you decide not to, at least you will have knowledge about it and it will come handy in the future.
  • Here’s an excellent guide on how to graph the new Impression and click share metrics to find data insights in your Google Ads account
  • Amazon is attracting more and more advertisers as businesses are preferring to advertise directly on the E-Commerce platform rather than the search engine. Which means that they are avoiding the first step altogether and jumping straight to the second one & getting good results from it.

 

 

 

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.

business

 

 

 

How to adapt voice search in your SEO strategy and what are we doing for Voice Search Optimization.

business

Voice Search is undeniably growing at a rapid pace, and for good reason — it’s fast, convenient, allows you to search on the go, and it’s becoming part of the devices that consumers are using. It has taken a good percentage of total searches across the world. This is thanks in part due to AI assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.

With mobile impacting desktop in terms of search queries, and home automation devices becoming mainstream, voice search will power many future local search queries. Optimizing for voice search conversational terms will be a key differentiator.

The good news is that we already have services in place according to Google’s priorities such as surveys and widgets to boost customer reviews in Google / Yelp / Facebook.  We were one of the first agencies to adopt Voice Search optimization, wherein the content we create is more conversational and matches user’s natural language pattern.

Here’s a list of things were currently doing for Voice Search optimization:

  • Verified and Accurate Google My Business Listing – Most voice search queries will ask for directions to your business address. For this, we will make sure that your business is listed accurately on Google Maps. Without verification, it would be really difficult to rank for voice search queries.
  • NAP (Name, Address, Phone) Consistency across Local Sites – Accurate map listing, in terms of name, address and contact number, across multiple map databases will also help search engines to be more confident about your location, and it will form part of ranking algorithm. We will ensure that your business information (NAP details) is consistent across other top tier and second tier local search engines, directories and review websites.

 

  • Generating Positive Reviews – Customer Reviews are a critical part of ranking algorithm for voice search. We can help you get positive reviews on Google and Yelp for your business via our proprietary Plug and Play Review Widget and Survey Review Booster.

 

  • Mobile Friendly Website – Since most voice searches are done on mobile devices, you MUST have a mobile-friendly site. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, we can help you setup a mobile friendly version with the help of our experienced team.

 

  • Conversational Content – Mobile voice searches will use natural language, which means long-tail keyword phrases are more important than ever. A way to add natural language to your website is by using words and phrases that people actually speak (versus words they type into a search box). The content used will be more conversational in tone, and the keyword phrases will probably resonate more with a person performing a voice search. We have already started implementing this for website content which will help the site rank for voice based queries.

 

  • Microdata & Advanced Schema Markup – Google will start using schema markup both as a site quality and richness indicator (i.e. affecting rankings), and for creating carousel-like results for certain searches, with Knowledge Graph-like summary data on each result in the list. We will help you setup structured data on your site.

 

  • Rank Tracking – We have already started tracking rankings in mobile search results for voice based terms like “near me”, “close to me”, “around me”, etc. around physical location across all verticals and reporting these rankings on our dashboard.

FREE INSTANT SEO Audit Of Your Website

Google My Business itself is not a public-facing, searchable directory (such as Yelp), BUT  your listing on Google My Business is what many other public-facing, searchable directories pull from.

This includes Google Maps, which has become its own hybrid form of a review site/business directory/navigation service.

Your Google My Business listing can also impact your rankings in search results on both Google Maps and regular Google searches.

If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some compelling stats that highlight its importance.

Businesses with a Complete and Accurate GMB Listing:

  • Are 2.7x more likely to be considered reputable
  • Get 7x more clicks

Complete and Accurate GMB Listings:

  • Are 70% more likely to attract location visits
  • Are 50% more likely to lead to a purchase

Here’s how you can optimize and take full advantage of your GMB listing.

BASIC LEVEL

  1. Set up your Google Business listing

The first step is to set up (or claim) your Google My Business Listing. Go to Google My Business page and click “Start Now” in the upper left corner.

Did you know that anyone can list your business on Google? That’s a little scary, but fear not—you as the owner can claim your listing which grants you the access to edit and update your information, to post timely information, and to manage reviews. The claiming process requires a few steps, but it is a must.

  1. Complete your listing

Fill in every relevant field that Google offers. You want to make sure the profile is as complete as possible and that every piece of information is accurate.

The impact of inaccurate or inconsistent listings is not one you can afford. A complete Google My Business listing includes:

  • Business name:The legal / official name of your business.
  • Address:Full address of your business.
  • Phone number:A number with a local area code is recommended. That’s one extra signal to Google that you are actually local. Make sure the number you use for your Google My Business listing is also displayed on your website.
  • Category:Choose a relevant category. This will help Google decide which searches your local listing belongs in.
  • Website:Your website URL.
  • Hours of Operation:The hours your business is open. For days when you have unusual hours, like holidays or special events, you can set special hours.
  • Description:What you offer, what sets you apart, your history, or anything else that’s helpful for customers to know. Allowable limit is 750 characters. Keep in mind that only the first 250 characters show up in the Knowledge Panel, so prioritize your information. Finally, no links or HTML.
  • Photos:Showcase your products and services to people who are looking for what you offer. Consider hiring a Google approved photographer to create a 360-view virtual tour of your business for customers. According to Google, listings that have a virtual tour and photos generate twice as much interest as those without.

Depending on your industry, there may be additional fields such as menus for restaurants.

A complete listing makes it as easy as possible for potential customers to find and contact your business. In addition, the more complete your listing is, the more favor you will receive from Google when ranking you in results.

  1. Make sure your information matches everywhere else

One thing Google’s algorithm looks at to verify the legitimacy of a listing is a consistency in how it’s listed across different websites. While that seems simple enough – your address is the same each time you enter it somewhere – it’s easy for little differences to slip in. Maybe you wrote out the Road part of the street name one time, and shortened it to Rd another time, for instance.

Pick a standard way to write out your address, a consistent phone number to use, and make sure all your listings match both each other and the information you provide on your website. And work on getting your website listed in as many relevant directories as possible.

  1. Avoid penalty-inducing offenses.

Any work you do to optimize your website or local listing will be for naught if you incur a penalty. Google suspends business listings for a range of offenses. Getting suspended is stressful, confusing, and bad for business, so it’s best to avoid doing anything that puts you at risk of it.

Read through Google’s guidelines for Google My Business listings so you have a full understanding of what not to do. Some of the main things to avoid are:

  • Using a URL that redirects to your website’s URL, rather than the actual URL itself.
  • Trying to awkwardly add keywords into your business name field.
  • Having multiple local listings for the same business location.
  • Using any address for your business that isn’t a physical storefront or office space where you meet with customers.

Use common sense and don’t try to play the system or get extra listings and you’ll probably stay on the right side of Google.

  1. Encourage reviews

You’ll notice that the local businesses listed in the map snippet of a local search usually have star ratings next to their name. Google wants to provide the most useful information to its users, and users want to find the nearby business that seems the best. In both cases, it benefits your business to have a high star rating.

Ask your happy customers to take a few minutes to give you a review on Google. Include an encouragement on promotional materials you hand out or put up in your store. A gentle nudge or a reminder of how much it means for your business can make your loyal customers that much more likely to take the time to say a few kind words about you.

Utilize our proprietary Dashboard Review Widget as well as our Survey Module to get positive reviews for your business listing on Google and Yelp.

  1. Make sure your website and content is optimized for search

All the usual SEO advice that helps strengthen the authority of your website in the eyes of Google matters here too. So don’t focus on optimizing just your local listing. Optimize your website as well.

Make sure that you:

  • Incorporate relevant keywords into the meta tags and copy on each page, where you can do so naturally.
  • Add schema markup to your website.
  • Create content with a local focus i.e. locally relevant landing pages.
  • Look for local linking opportunities.

A strong website that’s optimized for both your customers and search engines will be that much more likely to make it into the list of the top three in a local Google search.

ADVANCED LEVEL

  1. Post to Google My Business

Just like with other social media platforms, you can now post directly to Google My Business. Your posts show up on the “Posts” tab of your listing, but might also become visible on your Google Maps or Google Search result, depending on relevance.

Through Google posts you can make announcements, create events, highlight products, and run promotions. The information in these posts is that which customers need in order to stay engaged with you, which is ultimately what leads them to choose you over competitors. In addition, each post type has a call to action button, making the experience from discovery to engagement seamless.

If you’re not already convinced the impact Google Posts can have on your audience, check out this quote from Google:

“Seventy percent of people look at multiple businesses before making a final choice. With Posts, you can share timely, relevant updates right on Google Search and Maps to help your business stand out to potential customers. And by including custom calls-to-actions directly on your business listing, you can choose how to connect with your customers.”

  1. Utilize Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers is a great feature for Google local search. It’s very cool! Just like it sounds, Q&A allows people to ask questions about your business and you can answer those questions.

The Google My Business Q&A feature is the perfect opportunity to hear directly from “the people” and you can respond to them. Win-win.

One thing you should do is be proactive and create a Frequently Asked Questions list to preempt people’s GMB Q&As. Check with your sales reps and your customer service staff to identify the questions people most often ask, then put those Q&A questions on your GMB listing.

TIP: Google has said that upvoting questions can make them more visible. If someone has a particularly important question, go ahead and upvote it.

  1. Google My Maps Syndication with Driving Directions

Google My Maps Syndication is an advanced level strategy to gain local With Google My Maps Syndications, you can get:

  • Map mentions from top ranking GEO locations
  • Locally optimized Tier 2 links and embeds
  • Driving directions to your location from serviceable areas
  • Improved local search rankings

Here’s how an optimized Google My Map with driving directions (embedded on the website) looks like:

  1. Respond to Customer Reviews. Even Negative ones

The reviews on your GMB page can be a deciding factor in whether or not a buyer engages with your brand. Just check out some of these statistics about Local Consumer Reviews:

  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
  • 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked
  • 30% of consumers say they’ve judged a business based on its responses to reviews

When making a purchase decision, people look to others for their opinions. We all do it. And we do it often. We want to learn from the experiences of those who have purchased before us. Always respond to your reviews. Positive reviews give a good impression of your business and should be easy to respond to.

But what do you do about the inevitable 1-star rating and the scathing negative review?

Many businesses shy away from them, hoping they’ll go unnoticed. But you need to respond to those reviews. The people leaving them deserve it, and the people reading them need it.

Conclusion

There are many ways customers can find your business, but there is no denying that Google My Business is an incredibly powerful gateway to your website.

It positions your important business information in front of the eyes of potential customers who are looking for your product, service, or experience.

It helps with your local SEO, offers a chance to engage with your customers via reviews or posts, and provides useful insights on your customers’ purchasing paths.

Is your online listing up to date? Find out your visibility score today

If you run a business that relies on local search traffic for the majority of your custom, Yelp is an essential asset to your business’ online strategy. Fortunately for you, businesses can also establish a presence on Yelp to communicate with the community of users built up on the app. This puts you in the driver’s seat where your business is concerned, and allows you to harness this incredible platform to grow your customer base.

Let’s Get Started

If your business has been recently established, you may not even be listed on Yelp. Fortunately, the app has a comprehensive infrastructure for helping you register your business, or take control of it if it has already been listed on the app.

  • If the business is already listed, visit the Claiming Page and click “Claim your Business”.

  • If you searched for your business and couldn’t find it, simply click “Add a Business” at the bottom of the page.

  • If your business has already been unlocked, that means someone else has already claimed your business. You need to get in contact with Yelp to find out how that happened, and prove you’re the real owner to reclaim the account.

 

  • If your business has been listed by users, you can unlock it. You’ll be expected to provide your first and last name, email address, a password, and as with any app, agree to the Yelp terms of service. This will create the business account for you to start posting.

 

  • If you have any issues creating your business account on Yelp, the Yelp for Business Ownerssection of the site has all the information you should need.

 

Yelp for Business Owners: 3 Versions to Choose From

While most of the best practices for Yelp for business owners above are available on the free subscription to Yelp, there are available three different versions to you.

  1. The free version allows you to claim your business and establish your profile among the Yelp community. You’ll have some control over the content that’s on your profile, and the ability to upload your own photos and respond to reviews. Yelp describes this level as allowing you to do the following:
  • Update your business information
  • Upload photos
  • Add your categories and service offerings
  • Respond to reviews
  • Respond to appointment or quote requests
  • Create a Yelp Deal or Check-in Offer
  1. The next product offered for Yelp for business owners is a paid service, called “Page Upgrades.” As Yelp describes, this version allows you to “turn visitors into customers.” Basically, this version allows for more customization than the free version, as you can add call-to-actions and remove your competitors’ ads. Here’s what Yelp says this version can do:
  • Add a call-to-action button
  • Remove competitor ads from your page
  • Customize a photo slideshow
  • Get access to Yelp customer support
  1. And finally, the most expensive version of Yelp for business owners is the Yelp Advertising product.

This product is pretty straightforward – it allows you to set up ads on the Yelp app. With this account, you can customize all your ads on Yelp. You’ll also have access to customer support to help you with your advertising efforts. Here’s how Yelp describes this level:

  • Set your own budget
  • Start/stop your campaign anytime
  • Customize your ad’s photo, text, and more
  • Get access to Yelp customer support

As part of Enhanced Yelp optimization, one should aim for a Verified Yelp listing.

To verify that you are the owner of your business, Yelp may call the number listed on your business page and prompt you to enter a verification code. Please ensure you are at your place of business to answer this phone call. To claim your business, click on the “Claim your Business” option next to your business. You will be required to give your email address. Once that is done, you will receive an automated phone call to the number mentioned in the listing. If the listing has a wrong phone number, you will have to send a request to Yelp to change it before they call you.

A verified Yelp listing allows you to update following things

  • Update your business information
  • Upload photos
  • Add your categories and service offerings
  • Respond to reviews
  • Respond to appointment or quote requests
  • Create a Yelp Deal or Check-in Offer
  • Hours

Under this section, add your business’s opening hours. If your business stays closed on a particular day, choose that option. Also, if your business is closed temporarily, fill out this form to let customers know that your business is closed and until when.

  • Specialties –Include information about what your business specializes in. Make sure that you include all important keywords about your business here.

 

  • History –In this section, you can describe the history of your business and the year of business establishment. This will help customers know more about your business and its values.

 

  • Meet the Owner/Manager –Under this section, you can describe a bit about the owner or manager of the business. Write a short bio about the manager/owner and also upload a bio photo. This information will be helpful for your potential customers and it will easier for your customers to directly contact you.

  • Create Check-In Offers –Check-in offers can help you attract new customers and reward your existing customers. With check-in offers, your customers will unlock a special offer when they “check-in” to your business using Yelp. This way, your customers will broadcast to their friends on Yelp that they are at your business. With this Yelp feature, businesses can create special offers like a discounted price or a free item for customers who check-in.

  • Encourage Positive Reviews –Ask your happy customers to take a few minutes to give you a review on Yelp. Include an encouragement on promotional materials you hand out or put up in your store. A gentle nudge or a reminder of how much it means for your business can make your loyal customers that much more likely to take the time to say a few kind words about you.

Utilize our proprietary Dashboard Review Widget as well as our Survey Module to get positive reviews for your business listing on Google and Yelp.

SCAN YOUR REVIEWS AND CHECK YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION SCORE

Although most of us in the industry already knew (without even a hard proof) that click-through rate does affect the ranking of a site. But now we have got the proof.

Wall Street Journal has obtained an integral Google document via the US Freedom of Information Act that says the Google indeed uses CTR as a ranking factor.

Here’s the most important bit from the document.

“In addition, click data (the website links on which a user actually clicks) is important for evaluating the quality of the search results page. As Google’s former chief of search quality Udi Manber testified:

“The ranking itself is affected by the click data. If we discover that, for a particular query, hypothetically, 80 percent of people click on Result No. 2 and 10 percent click on Result No. 1, after a while we figure out, well, probably Result 2 is the one people want. So we’ll switch it.””

Google’s co-founder and the president of the parent company Alphabet also confirmed that apart from helping them understand that whether their search algorithms are providing users with high-quality results or not, the click data is also important for many other purposes, including ranking well on the SERP.

What does it mean to you?

Site owners are already trying their best to get more traffic to their site using various means. So their second most important goal has always been getting more clicks and the first being, well, increasing profits for their or their client’s business.

But those who didn’t prioritize CTRs, NOW is the time to do so. But before that, It’s important to understand that Google ranking is one thing and CTRs are something else.

Actionable strategy

Click through SEO is about giving the users more reasons to click on your website. Like writing attractive titles & page descriptions, showing positive reviews on your listing etc. No doubt that the basic remains the same like trying to get a higher position on the search engine result pages, getting featured snippet status etc. But when it comes to CTR SEO, you also pay attention to the aspects that do not directly impact your rankings.

Grade Your Website

The messaging feature on GMB app relied on their own Google Allo, a messaging app that is about to be discontinued by Google in March 2019.

Which means that messaging feature will no longer be available unless Google comes up with some other alternatives. It will cause major inconvenience to both agencies and small business owners as many of them heavily relied on the messaging feature to connect with their customers.

An agency owner who handles digital marketing of a client with 500+ locations said that it is going to disrupt the whole chain since the company heavily invested in integrating the messaging. Many were utilizing the messaging option with their chat program. It allowed them to use the same chat program with GMB, their website, Facebook and other platforms.

To rub salt on the wound, Google prompts you to download Google My Business App if you try to add the messaging feature on any listing.

It may work for those who handle one or two locations, but it is not possible for agencies or business that have 100+ locations.

If you run an agency and are using the Google My Business agency dashboard, you cannot access the GMB app. Trying to do so gives you an error that tells you that you have no listings in your account.

A user on the Google My Business forum sums up why this sucks for agencies:

“This is horrible. We were utilizing messaging option with our chat program. Were onboarding many clients that would allow them to use same chat program with GMB, their website, FB, and more. This shuts that down really fast. Plus, I utilize Agency GMB dashboard, which does not work with the App. So to help clients that still want to use GMB messaging separately from the easy to use third party, I have to walk them through it, because I cannot help them through my dashboard access.”

Takeaway

It’s very unlikely that Google will entirely discontinue a feature that helps customers and companies connect with each other in the most convenient way possible. So there’s a high chance that they will come up with some other alternatives to the GMB chat. But until then, we would advise you to not invest in the messaging and chat features until there is a solution that makes sense.

Questions about your Google local listing? Contact Us

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

Search Console

 

 

 

 

It’s quite ironic that an internet giant like Google relied on old school “Postcard verification” process till now. In order to verify your business, you had to send a request via Google My Business and then wait for 14 days to receive the postcard. In many cases, the postcard arrived on time, but in some cases, it didn’t arrive at all. So the whole process was slow & troublesome, to say the least.

Although Google did offer Phone verification too, it was limited to selected industries because it’s really hard to check the authenticity of a business over a phone call, and Google wants to list only genuine businesses, or at least they try their best to do so.

After a ton of complaints and thousands of emails with subject line “I have not received the postcard,” they decided to verify a business over a video call. Although it’s not currently available to everyone, we can say that it will be a norm in near future.

Here’s how Video verification works:

  • Go to Google My Business and click on the verify my business listing from the left menu.
  • There will be 2-3 verification options depending on the type of your business. Choose “Verify now with live video chat”.

  • You will receive an email from a Google representative, asking you about the right time for the video chat. Confirm the time and date and you will receive a video call from a Google representative.
  • They will ask you to show your place of work & a business card or letterhead that has the exact same address as your listing. They may ask for some other proofs as well. So keep all documents handy.
  • The whole process takes only 10-15 minutes and you will receive verification email (if everything goes right) within a few hours or 2 days at max.

 

 

Google launched a beta version of the new Search Console at the beginning of this year. Since then, they have added a lot of features to it and it’s now out of Beta. Here’s a list of features you need to know.

More data

  • Index coverage report that shows a precise view of your website content.
  • Access to 16 months of search analytics data.
  • Links report to view all the links pointing to your site.
  • URL inspection tool to get information about the indexed version of a specific page.

Automatic alerts and other fixes

  • Get automatic alerts. Also, you will now be able to see the pages affected by indexing, AMP, crawling or other issues.
  • Now you can see the HTML code (If any fix is required) directly from the reports.
  • A more convenient way to share information within your organization to quickly fix any issue.
  • After fixing an issue, notify the Google and they will review your page and get back to you. Here’s how you can file a reconsideration request.
  • Manual action report has gotten a new look and it also shows any manual action that is pending.

Simplified account settings management

  • Now you can submit sitemaps and help Google better understand your site structure.
  • You can submit the URLs of individual pages.
  • You can now effortlessly add a new site to your account & manage users with ease.

Be informed that not every feature is available in the new search console. Here’s what Google has to say:

“While the old Search Console still has some features that are not yet available in the new one, we believe that the most common use cases are supported, in an improved way, in the new Search Console. When an equivalent feature exists in both old and new Search Console, our messages will point users to the new version. We’ll also add a reminder link in the old report. After a reasonable period, we will remove the old report.”

If you are having a problem migrating to the new search console, head straight to their help center.

Earlier, a Google My Business post had a word limit of 100-300. Now, they have changed

it to 1500 characters. Although it’s not a revolutionary change, because 1500 charterers

roughly translate to 294-320 words, it still provides more convenience over the word limit.

How?

Because, counting words is not as precise as characters. You will now know exactly

where to stop while writing Google My Business posts.

Are there any changes in how many characters will Google display on Mobile devices without having to click “learn more”? According to our test, it has increased from 55 characters to 140 characters. Google has not officially said anything about this, but few others who have tested it are backing our claim.

Overall, now you can be able to convince your customers more effectively via Google My Business posts.

 

 

Sometimes, first impression is not the last impression. It happens that you go to a business say a restaurant & don’t receive the type of service you expected so you leave a negative review, but upon second visit, their service matches your expectation & you want to update the review but are too lazy to do it manually.

To help you with that, Google now allows you to edit your reviews directly from the local knowledge panel. Here’s a screenshot of the same:

But the question is, will it lead to more review edits? To be honest, it’s very unlikely. Because the percentage of people who actually bother to update reviews is way too less.