In this post, we provide a summary of the Top 10 Proven Strategies for Internet Marketing in 2020.
Many organizations hire an administrative assistant in hopes that in addition to handling paperwork and phone calls, he/she will also be able to handle the online marketing efforts. When you see the following list, you’ll probably agree as to why that’s a recipe for frustration and failure. Other organizations may have a dedicated marketing director, but he/she has to consider all the options for marketing the company online and explain to the entire staff which strategies to employ and why.
Social media took the business marketing industry by storm a couple of decades ago. It was such a profound addition to a brand’s normal marketing options because it came with so much more social interaction. For the first time in history, companies could publish content that reached the masses and received immediate feedback such as likes, comments, and shares. Try that with a TV or newspaper ad. Thus, social media marketing was born with the advent of online social networks.
Tip: We recommend coming up with a social media content rhythm so that not all your posts are the same type of content: e.g., education, inspiration, offer, repeat – or words, image, video, repeat.
As has been said for internet marketing for years, content is king. And if you can post articles weekly, Google will reward you – your website will begin to rise to the top. While this may initially sound the same as the social media marketing treadmill, the key difference is that blog posts live on forever. They never expire. Their shelf life isn’t hours or days, but years. Every article and video you post is like a fishing net in the water catching new visitors and potential viral shares for years to come.
Here we have essentially the same strategy as the previous section, but in video form. Internet users consume video content more frequently and quickly than all other forms of content combined. And it just so happens that YouTube is the second largest search engine where users search for education content, humor, news, and conduct research on brands, products, and services. If content is king, video content is Superman. Again the principle remains: if you post weekly to your channel, YouTube will reward you.
Email marketing has been thought to be dead for some time ever since SMS, retargeting ads, and chat-bots proved so much more effective. However, while it’s true that email opens, clicks, and replies can be dismal compared to other forms of marketing, it is still the cheapest form of marketing. Furthermore, growing and nurturing an email list has additional benefits as well, including targeting that list with ads on Facebook/Instagram, creating lookalike audiences, and increasing the value of your business if you choose to sell the business in the future.
SEO or SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is one of the most, if not the most, effective internet marketing strategies available today. It’s actually a blend of…
The currency of Google search is trust, and backlinks have been shown to account for 60% of the trust Google assigns a website in search results. Therefore, we build trust on your site by working daily to grow the number and quality of backlinks to your site. We do this in several ways:
More coming soon…
As online search engines improve, more and more people are looking for very targeted results. The expectation is to find exactly what is being searched for on the first page of results. This is why people are in a constant battle to have their website rank highly for competitive keywords.
Focusing on broad, competitive keywords helps to some extent, but too many people still overlook the value of local SEO. By getting a better grasp of local SEO, businesses can capitalize on very targeted opportunities.
What are the keys to great local SEO? Here’s a closer look at some of the top factors that search engines love seeing out of any top-ranking website.
It’s surprising how many small business owners don’t know much, if anything, about Google My Business. A Google My Business listing done the right way can have a significant impact on local SEO relatively quickly. In fact, one study shows a GMB listing accounts for 25% of a website’s ability to rank locally. It doesn’t take long to complete the profile, and even if it seems like basic information, it helps optimize local SEO very well.
Getting this information accurate makes a business easier to find, adds legitimacy, allows for some keyword optimization and impacts local SEO significantly.
Profiles help all businesses, and it makes no sense to ignore maximizing the potential. Fill out the listing, make posts, encourage reviews and more to see even more of a difference.
Most people are already aware of the importance of on-page content for SEO. The world has evolved a bit as far as what type of content works best. Gone are the days where shortcuts and keyword stuffing actually works. This is excellent news for people willing to put in the time and effort for quality.
Relevant, quality content is key. Length helps significantly as well. Striving for at least 1000 words on each page should be the norm.
There is more to it than just writing and letting everything else magically fall into place. Take the time with all on-page content to identify keywords and have them in page titles, header tags, meta descriptions, and more. Maximizing each piece of well-researched content will make every page on a website relevant.
Readers trust online reviews more than ever today (see our post on 4 Ways User Reviews Impact Your Search Results). That’s why a well-written, somewhat lengthy positive review is gold for any business owner. Reviews make a significant impact on local SEO, whether it be directly on a website, or listed in connection to a Google My Business listing.
It’s frustrating and tedious to encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews, but worth it in the end. Once reviews start coming in, others are naturally encouraged to write their own.
Yes, inevitably, there are bound to be a few negative reviews. Some business owners take those reviews as opportunities to respond personally. Others will just let the good outweigh the bad.
To gain trust and authority online, links are huge. This goes for inbound and outbound links. Search engines love seeing activity going both ways from a website. Of course, when focusing on search optimization we focus heavily on inbound links, also known as backlinks.
Inbound link authority is the single biggest ranking factor (>60% of Google’s algorithm!) because it provides basic understanding to a search engine on how to value a website. Having a backlink on a very credible site can be a huge boost compared to several hundred coming from less authoritative sites.
Specific to local SEO, inbound links should be coming from other local domains. That’s why it is crucial to network with other local businesses and different types of websites for those valuable links. Scoring a link from a popular local newsletter is just one example of great SEO value.
Remember that it’s not always a competition on getting as many links as possible. Quantity helps to a certain degree, but the quality is stressed more than ever before. Take the time to write for a guest blog or work with a trusted industry partner for those lucrative backlinks. Don’t focus so much on collecting links if they have little to no search engine value.
Additionally, search engines want to see link diversity. That means making sure that all backlinks are not coming from the same few sources (e.g., websites and servers). The more organic it looks, the better the website is trusted in Google’s eyes.
Gone are the days where people are only doing searches at home. In fact, some people have ditched using a traditional computer for any search engine traffic whatsoever. Searching on a mobile device allows for instant research on the go, and a website that isn’t mobile-friendly becomes a waste of time.
67% of internet traffic occurs on mobile phones! Don’t lose that traffic simply because your website is not optimized for mobile use. Strive to be as accessible as possible. If someone searches on their mobile phone, they should be able to get the same information and enjoy a great experience as they would on a desktop computer.
The same goes for voice search optimization. Do you have a smart speaker at home yet (e.g., Google Home Mini, Amazon Alexa device, Apple smart speaker)? This is the fastest-growing sector for search engines so you want your website and business listings prepped and ready for those local searches. Most people who are performing voice searches are looking for something very specific and local. Missing out on optimizing a website for voice searches and specific, long-tail keywords can really put a business behind competitors.
It used to be that people found local businesses through the printed Yellow Pages directory (to our surprise, they still exist, lol). But in the 21st century, online directories have become the ubiquitous norm. We’ve all used Yelp to find good eats, and there are hundreds more online directories these days. These directories are termed “citations” in the SEO world and are said to account for >10% of local ranking factors. So you definitely want to be listed in as many of these as possible, and more importantly, to be accurately listed in each citation.
The only thing worse than not having local business citations is having inaccurate information disseminated across the internet. While blatant errors are an obvious thing to avoid, subtle differences actually confuse the search engines resulting in less confidence. So while a human can discern your street address whether it’s abbreviated or spelled out, Google and Bing need to see the exact same name, address, and phone number across all the directories.
There are several publishers one can work with to get accurate citations, however, no one publisher covers every directory – and many directories require manual listings. If you’re looking to get started (or clean up a mess of historic citations), we have a standalone service that is also bundled in our monthly SEO service.
While no one can be exactly sure how social media impacts local SEO (e.g., when someone shares your homepage it doesn’t count as a new backlink the same as does a specific website linking to your homepage), but there is a definite connection. The more engagement on social media, the better local SEO will appear. That’s why we call it “social signals” rather than backlinks or citations. Just like with backlinks, it is about more than just collecting a set amount of likes and follows.
Make sure on social media that your business is as engaging as possible. Provide feedback to customers asking questions. Pose open-ended questions that encourage discussion. Have all the relevant links available for people to click through so that they have easy access to the main website.
It’s certainly impressive to see a growing list of supporters on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more, but it’s the engagement with your website links that will begin to move the needle in search results.
There are immense benefits to focusing on search engine optimization for nearby traffic. Depending on your niche and region, you could receive hundreds or thousands of monthly recurring visitors to your website by users who are actively searching for your products or services. These are HOT leads! While every business can benefit from a proper, robust, and balanced SEO campaign, the only question is how long a campaign will take and need to continue in order to outrank the competition on page one of Google and Bing. Do as much as you can on your own to lay a good foundation, then get serious with a campaign by the pros.
In this video, we explore the best WordPress host for small local businesses. You’ll be surprised to find out that we highly recommend a static WordPress host called HardyPress.
Hello, everyone. Daniel here with page. Perfect. And today I’m going to walk you through the choice for the best WordPress host you could choose for your small local business website. There are a lot of things to consider in the WordPress hosting space. Of course there’s price. There’s also speed. There’s also support. But it also depends on what size of a site you have, like how much traffic it’s getting. And if it’s using dynamic features or not dynamic features are going to include things like the the ability for the public to log into your site. Or if you need a, an employee portal for clients to log into your site, if people need to be able to add public post or listings to your site if your site needs to bring in real estate IDX listings to your site, those are all dynamic features. Even using woo commerce for e-commerce checkout on a WordPress site is a dynamic functionality. And with all of those dynamic features, the customer is interacting not only with the friend of your website, but the backend, the database of your website. So in this video, we’re actually going to feature WordPress hosting for static WordPress sites. And that’s going to be 90% of the websites out there for small local businesses. Don’t need any of those dynamic features. And therefore there’s a lot to gain, and you’re going to learn a lot in this short video. So with that in mind, let’s get going. So first we want to look at what you’ve experienced in a typical WordPress setup. If you already have a website, you’re going to be used to this already, if not, and you’re surveying the potential of using WordPress for your small business, you’re going to want to see this. I’m gonna see if I can steer you in the direction of a static site. So first let’s look at a typical WordPress setup and what you would encounter there. If you already have a small business site on WordPress, you’re going to already know all of these things, but if you’re just getting into the WordPress space and you’re considering it, then these are the things you’re definitely going to go through. And this is going to be a learning curve for you. And so this is why I’m going to steer you towards a specific static host. So first let’s talk about what you’ll expect in a typical WordPress setup. You’re going to have a cheap shared host, and this is going to be a host like GoDaddy. It could be HostGator blue host. Those are the typical long standing ones. There are better ones out there that everyone recommends partially because of their affiliate income that they provide. Those are going to be in motion hosting 82, 82 hosting. I believe site press is one. I might be getting that wrong right now. But those are your typical cheap shared hosting within all of these hosting providers. There is something called C panel, and I’m going to show you right now what that looks like and why really you don’t even want to be in there. All right. So right now I’m going to give you an example, using five cloud hosts. This is another one of those cheap shared hosting platforms. And you’ll see here, of course, this, this really is just your, the hosts dashboard where you, you add services or take them away where you update your billing and where you take it away and where you get customer support. However, within every one of these types of shared hosting accounts for WordPress websites, there is AC panel. And so when you click log in to C panel and click it you’re going to see something like this. And so there’s all of these little details for all of the things that you can do to manage your own hosting environment. I don’t know about you, but if you’re a small business trying to get your website set up, this looks like a nightmare, right? This is like so technical. There’s so much that you can do. And you’re wondering do I have to go into every one of these things and mess with it? There’s a lot to consider here. And so what you’re going to have to do in that typical environment is installed WordPress. You’re going to be asked for, of course, what do you want your username and password to be? And you also have to enter in what’s the database name, user ID and password. I don’t know about you, but the first time I encountered this, I was like, whoa, I’m not prepared to be messing with the database. I just want to access the front end of a website so I can start designing the thing. So that is no fun. Now, other things that you’re going to encounter in a typical WordPress setup is you’re going to have to continually update it. And that’s because WordPress updates run off of three things. We’re going to get to those in just a second. The next thing you will definitely encounter with atypical WordPress setup is the maintenance of that site. And I’m telling you everyone, since the beginning with WordPress until today, if they’re not using a static WordPress hosts, they have to deal with this. So number one, you have to update WordPress core. WordPress itself is like an operating system for a website. And so it receives updates on regular basis. Second, every WordPress site is utilizing some sort of theme. And so that will be updated by its developer on some regular basis. And finally, your WordPress site, what makes WordPress so helpful is that it’s so extensive that you can add so many plugins to enhance the features of your site, but every one of those plugins is made by different developers and therefore they update their plugins at different intervals. What does this mean for you? Well, what it means is if you don’t update this, these things, then you’re going to run into a lot of security problems. And we’re going to look at that in the next slide, but assuming you want to avoid those, you’re going to try updating all of these items. However, they don’t always play well together. So you might update WordPress core and that might break your theme and, or your plugins, or you might update a plugin and it just conflicts with another plugin. So there’s a lot of trial and error that has to happen here to update your site in a way that doesn’t break the site, moving on to security that it just was talking about. If you do not maintain your WordPress site and keep everything updated, then you will create tons of security vulnerabilities because WordPress is the most prolific website building platform on the market for at least a decade. It has the most amount of hackers trying to hack into it and hackers know which outdated themes and plugins create vulnerabilities on websites. And then they have software that can go out and find those websites that are using those plugins to try to exploit the vulnerability and get on the backend of your website. So you want to make sure that your website is not going to be hacked. Additionally, your C panel includes a login and typically includes email accounts and multiple websites. And so it’s an area that hackers can be attacked. I actually have a client who we’re doing their SEO for right now. We do not manage and host their website. Their C panel is now completely hacked, and they’re trying to work through getting that all cleaned up. And the last thing that you’ll expect with WordPress sites typically is going to be your forms, contact forms, as well as comment forms are going to be spammed a lot. And that’s because most WordPress sites are using the same top three developers for their contact forms. And so again, spammers try to isolate and target websites that are using those popular forum plugins. All right, the last thing we’re going to talk about what you’re going to experience as a headache in a typical WordPress hosting environment are page speed issues. Number one, you’ve probably purchased the cheapest shared host possible. And so you’re not having any server caching. And so that means every time your website’s loaded, it is pulling like the database and the backend of that website have to make calculations to serve up the right page to the user. Now, there are caching plugins that are going to be recommended. There’s a lot of them. We use them on our, on some of our clients sites who have dynamic WordPress websites and that’s going to help, but both with the server caching, we’re going to not use a cheap shared host. We’re going to use a premium WordPress hosting environment to enable varnish caching and things like that to speed up the server. And then secondly, we’re going to be using caching plugins on that site to make sure that the pages load as fast as possible. Lastly, we’re going to run all of the photos and files through a content delivery network, otherwise known as a CDN, which also provides caching. What does this mean to you? Can you do it maybe? But it’s very technical. It’s very time consuming. It takes a lot of trial and error to see how far you’ve been pushed the caching without breaking your site. So at this point, I want to introduce you to the best WordPress hosting environment. You could imagine for a small local business that is not needing all of those dynamic features that a WordPress site offers. This is going to offer you a much easier user interface. There are going to be no updates required to your WordPress core, to your theme or to your plugin. All three of those, you could leave in as if it’s a time capsule from three years ago and your WordPress site is going to work just as well. And there are going to be no security issues with that in mind, it is hacker proof. There is no way on the front end of this website that users can try to interact with the database. They cannot try to hack the login or, or a plugin or anything like that because it’s literally a static site being served as if it was hand coded hard, coded HTML CSS. Finally, there’s going to be greatly reduced spam because we’re not using those top plugins for contact forms and comment forums on WordPress. And so those prolific spammers, their software is just going to glaze right over when they try spamming your site. Now it could still be manually spanned, but we’re talking about the spammers at scale. Also, you’re going to have much faster page speed times. I’m going to explain why in a minute, but basically this provider is already got CDN built in, so it’s going to work great. And lastly, it’s very affordable. In fact, your experience on the front end and the backend managing the site is going to be as if you’re paying for a premium WordPress, virtual private server. And yet you’re going to be paying the prices of a cheap shared host. So with all of that set up to kind of wet your appetite, I want to introduce Hardy press Hardy press is a static WordPress host that I came across in the past 12 months. And I’ve been moving as many of our clients over to Hardy press as possible. By the time you see this video, I may or may not be part of an affiliate program with them. And if so, there’ll be a link below and you can click that to explore their site and sign up. And yes, I would get a kickback for that. However, that’s not why I’m showing two. In fact, literally right now, while I’m making this video, I have no affiliate association with them. I don’t even know if they have an affiliate program, all of that to say, this is just who I use. And it is an awesome experience and it is absolutely the best for a local small business. So I want to show you every one of those six points that I have up there. So here we have the Hardy press homepage. And as you can see, they’re advertising zero maintenance on the backend. It’s serverless, meaning the users on your site never interact with the server. It’s all just a static website they’re seeing, which makes it unbreakable and also makes it so much faster. You can read a little bit about here. One of the nuances that they offer is actually support for contact form plugin. And if you use that, you can stick with it. However, you still have to mitigate the spanning issues since that is one of the most prolific contact form plugins. If we look at the features you can see here that WordPress actually gets shut down after 15 minutes of inactivity. So you’re still going to have the WordPress dashboard. I’m gonna show you that in a minute. You’re still gonna have access to all the plugins that you want to use unless they’re dynamic type of plugins. But the nice thing here for security is that WordPress gets shut down and that’s why it’s hacker proof. It’s serverless technology. They use a global content delivery network. You get the free HTTPS or SSL certificate included. You have a staging environment where you can make CIN changes and not affect the live contact content. You’re going to love that feature in a second. This is talking about contact form seven. One of the dynamic features of a WordPress website typically is that ability to search the WordPress website, to pull up everything related to that search. And what they’re highlighting here is they already have a built-in functionality for that. So you don’t lose that ability on your site. Again, this is maintenance free. You don’t have to do any updating on the WordPress core on the theme or the plugins. You get a full year of backups. I can’t even stress this enough. Most people when they start their WordPress journey, totally overlooked the need to backup their site daily and to have at least a month, a month of backups so that if the site gets hacked, or if you do something on the backend that messes up the front end, you can always restore the working site, look at what they have included at no extra costs. And then finally they’re saying, no, lock-in basically you can downgrade at any time. So it’s, it’s a fantastic thing. I want to show you the inside of this before we get to the pricing. So here, we’re looking at the backend of party press, where I’m logged into my account, and we’re looking at a specific site that I’ve titled blueprint. And so this right now is essentially a fully blank site. It just happens to have plugins that I’ve installed and activated on it, which is what I use every time I start a new blue, a new website for a customer. And we’re going to see here is the ability to log into WordPress. And what that’s going to do is it’s going to turn WordPress on. It’s going to be a backdoor where we get to utilize the whole WordPress dashboard experience, install, plugins themes, make changes to the site, et cetera, but after 15 minutes of inactivity, it automatically turns off. You can also manually turn it off. When you’re done working. There are of course links here to log in. You can actually still access the site via FTP file transfer protocol. You can also access the database. If you need to. On this page, we’re looking at the deploys to deploy the site means you are publishing it from that WordPress dynamic experience that turns off and on. You’re publishing it to a static site. Backups. Every time you create a deploy of the site, the site is already backed up. And so you can always restore a backup plugins. You can actually see here from the backend, which plugins are installed, which ones are active versus inactive. And if they happen to know that it is compatible, they’ve already checked it with Hardy press. It’ll say that if it says in review, it basically means they haven’t checked it. If it says if it says that it’s incompatible, then obviously it won’t work. That it would be a dynamic based plugin. That’s not going to work on this site. And lastly, there are settings that can be seen here and the quick and easy ability to change, which PHP version you’re using. Caching settings, deploy settings, contact form settings. You can clone the site. You can destroy the site. So with all that in mind, let’s go ahead and turn this on. And we will see what it looks like to log in to a Hardy press WordPress site there, we have it. So it took less than 30 seconds to turn this on. And now I can log in to this website. What you see here is the very famous backend of WordPress. This is the WordPress admin dashboard, and everything is the same, except for one tiny addition. And that’s up here at the top that says publish changes. So the way that this system works is we have turned on WordPress temporarily to make changes. However, it’s completely separate from the public facing custom domain. That is your website. Meaning even while we have this on, there’s no way for the public to get into the backend of WordPress, because these are two completely separate sites with no commonalities. So yes, this is on temporarily. We’re going to make changes. Then we’re going to publish those changes, which creates a it’s the same as deploying the site. Those are synonymous here. All those changes, deploy site and the public front end, never experiences a different, nothing ever becomes dynamic for the front end website. I’m going to walk you through real quick, what it’s like to create a new word press site. And if you’ve ever used C panel for creating a WordPress site, you’ll know that there are a lot more options and things you’d have to fill out choices to be made than what this provides. And so let’s check it out. Let’s just do test site. Let’s do test site Daniel that’ll work, and then let’s just we’ll go ahead and generate a secure password. Install, WordPress, that’s it. That’s all you have to do. And that’s it. That’s all you have to do. This site is being spun up by the server. And in a minute, we’re going to be able to log in and have our brand new website where we can design. We have created a lot of websites using C panel, and I can tell you right now, this is hands down. The easiest experience you could possibly have for creating a brand new website in WordPress. So again, if you are brand new to creating WordPress websites, or maybe you’ve had one for a long time, but you’re sick of maintaining it as a small local business, this is the best platform you could use. So there you have it. This brand new blink site has been created on Hardy press, and it probably took it about two minutes to get it all up and running. And now we can just log in and start creating the site. Lastly, let’s look at pricing for Hardy press at the time of this recording for a single site, you’re looking at four Euro a month, which turns out to be about $5 a month. That’s when it’s billed yearly, but it’s only like a dollar more billed monthly. So I’m telling you, you having like a VPs type of server experience for the price of cheap shared hosting, there are frequently asked questions. You can check it all out, but here’s, what’s included in that personal website. So real quick, let’s just revisit the benefits of using a static WordPress host as compared to a traditional WordPress hosting environment. Number one, you’re going to have a much easier user interface. Number two, no updating, no maintenance required. Number three, it’s hacker proof. It’s secure. There’s nothing to worry about. Number four, it’s going to be greatly reduced spam because in a second, I’m going to tell you about using a third party contact forms and comment forms. Fifth. It has much faster page speeds because it already has caching at the server level and caching at the content delivery network level it’s already baked in. So you don’t have to do any trial and error. And lastly, it’s super affordable. A static WordPress site is not without the gotchas. There are caveats and things you have to consider before making this jump. So we’re going to talk about that. Number one, just, you have to understand that a static site means it’s not dynamic, so you can have no public users logging in creating accounts on the site. You can therefore have no users creating content on your site, whether those are blog posts or business listings or classified listings, none of that can happen. Additionally, you cannot use a WooCommerce for an e-commerce platform. Now, if you still wanted to do, e-commerce using a static WordPress site that is possible. You just need to use a third party e-commerce solution that gets integrated with the site so that those dynamics server interactions are happening completely separate from Hardy press third-party forums. Now I’ve already hinted at this. And what this means is we’re going to need a third party solution to provide a contact form on our website. If you need a booking calendar on your website and also comment forms for blog post, if you want people to be able to comment on those. So we have a system that we use for all of our customers that provides our customers, a CRM, a customer relationship management database. It allows for email marketing and allows for a team to log in and view the, all of the records and interact with customers. So we have a very awesome proprietary system. We use for that in that system, it can create contact forms, it can create surveys, it can create booking calendars. And so that’s what we use for all of those forms. When it comes to commenting on blog posts, we use a third party tool called common tow common. So has paid plans if you want their easiest solution, but they also have a self hosted solution that gets very technical. And we set that up for our clients so that there are no ongoing fees. Another consideration for a static WordPress website is that when it comes to third-party embeds for dynamic content, such as Instagram feed, Facebook feed a Twitter feed, you won’t be able to use a WordPress plugin that provides for that. So instead, you’re going to have to use any other sort of embed code that either those social networks provide or that some other tool is providing for those features. The last thing to consider for a static WordPress site is that since there is no seat panel, then there will be no emails hosted in a C panel. Therefore you have options here. You can either just sign up for Google suite and have the best of email experience possible with the best email deliverability rates. That’s what we recommend for all of our clients. Or you could put purchase another C panel on a different host. Don’t use it for websites and only use it for their emails. So those are some options for you there in closing. I want to just thank you for watching this video. I hope it was insightful, and I hope you get excited about the prospect of serving up a static WordPress site and not having to worry about maintenance and security and all of those headaches anymore. And a little bit about us at page. Perfect. We offer WordPress web design. If you haven’t guessed it yet. And that’s going to include the full design top to bottom, the design, the copy of the development and the maintenance. If we’re not using a static host like this second, we offer search engine optimization as an ongoing service to our clients. And we have an excellent track record of getting our clients, his products and services to show up on page one of Google. That includes a local as well as national clients. If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this video, if you want to learn more about our customer relationship management solution, that includes email marketing, text messaging, nurturing campaigns, and the whole nine yards. Please get in touch, browse our website. We’re here to help businesses like you succeed.
Local marketing has become even a more trending topic, following the pandemic-driven pandemic.
Lots of local businesses that used to rely on local foot traffic were forced to turn to the Internet to get found by customers.
That digital transformation brought this huge challenge to just about any local business – how to get found online.
Google offers huge organic search visibility to local businesses through the so-called Local 3 Pack that shows up on top of organic results when search intent reflects buying (or doing) something locally.
Local 3 pack is Google’s search element that includes three relevant businesses from Google Maps results:
Image source: Screenshot by the author
Ranking your business in the Local 3 Pack is no easy task. It heavily relies on proximity of those businesses to the customer’s current location.
However, there are a few things you can do to improve your local rankings:
Image source: Screenshot by the author
Business reviews are known to be crucial for your local (and hence Local 3 Pack) rankings, so make sure to keep an eye on your reviews and reply to all of them.
Note that Google may remove your review if they find you have been using manipulative or misleading tactics when getting those reviews, for example:
While you may notice your competitors implement these manipulative tactics without no obviously negative impact on their rankings, I’d still suggest avoiding these at all costs.
You can invite your customers to review your business on Google through a short URL that’s specific to your local business (and even note that on your business card). But you are not allowed to request positive (five-star) reviews or segment your customer base to only invite happy customers to review you.
If you have a budget, investing in ads on Google maps is also a great idea. This could bring in more customers and reviews.
While claiming your business is generally a good idea to get better control over your branded content, it also gives you additional organic exposure because those listings may rank in organic search results and bring additional exposure.
Hence, your next step is identifying important local directories (like Trip Advisor and Yelp)and claiming your business everywhere.
Here’s a huge list of those you can consider.
Just about any local business out there will need to ensure a strong Yelp presence, for example, so that one will always be on top of your list. Yelp marketing is tricky but if you start getting reviews there, there’s a way to display those reviews on your site to boost your conversions.
When putting your business on maps…
Similar to how foot traffic works for a local business (passers-by may check a store out of curiosity), a well-planned content marketing strategy can drive customers who never intended to buy anything or didn’t know they needed you.
Here are a few ideas for hyperlocal content:
Take note of local People Also Ask results because those are great sources of hyperlocal content.
Image source: Screenshot by the author
Generally, answering local questions is a great idea!
Let’s take a look at this search query: “how far is Central Park from Times Square”
People searching for this may not necessarily be looking to buy anything but there are still some opportunities here as your content may give them ideas on where to dine or stay.
Image source: Screenshot by the author
The beauty of hyperlocal content marketing is that your clients don’t have to be in the area to find your content: They may be planning a trip to your area and discover your business prior to going. This is something local maps placement won’t be able to help with.
Using semantic search is another good way to come up with hyperlocal content ideas because it will help you identify location-based keywords that are able to generate organic traffic. Here’s how semantic search works:
Image source: Screenshot by the author
Organic search provides quite a few opportunities for local businesses to generate traffic and get found by customers. Keep an eye on your local listings and keep creating hyperlocal content to generate relevant traffic for your local business. Good luck!
Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.
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Google is now recognizing 119 different languages on voice search. Which is great for user experience. But it makes ranking a bit more challenging for website owners, especially those who host multi-linguistic traffic. Website owners must act to cater to these people who are taking a different linguistic approach to search. That’s where multilingual SEO comes in, done with voice search in mind.
But before we begin digging deeper into multilingual SEO for voice search, let us first introduce the search of the future aka multilingual voice search.
With the evolution of technology, search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, and others work towards enhancing their user experience and making the search easier than ever.
Keeping up with these efforts, they now let people talk to them in their own language, understand it and yield the results they were searching for.
Moreover, more than 23 percent of American households use digital assistants, and nearly 27 percent of people conduct voice searches using smartphones. This number is expected to increase by more than nine percent in 2021 alone.
This means, more and more people will converse with Google in languages other than English. Like, a German native is likely to search for something by talking in German. A native Indian could use any of the 100+ languages spoken in India, and a US national may use English, Spanish, or some other language.
This increase in the popularity of voice assistants, multilingual voice search inadvertently leads to an increase in the demand for multilingual SEO for voice search.
But do you need to optimize your website for multilingual searches? Yes. How else will your website reach your target audience that searches in their native language?
So far, there are guides only for either multilingual SEO or for voice search. However, gauging the rising importance of this relatively new search, we present you with a guide that combines voice search and multilingual SEO.
Multilingual SEO is a practice that adapts your website to cater to your target audience that uses multi-linguistic search. It involves translating the web page, using the right keywords, and optimizing the web page accordingly. We will go into the details below.
Notice how Google yields Hindi results for a search conducted in Urdu/Hindi. That’s because these results were optimized for multilingual voice searches.
Voice searches are hugely different from regular typing searches. When typing, you want to do minimum physical effort, that is typing, and get results. Anyway, when speaking, you are not doing any physical effort and just talking. Therefore, voice searches tend to be longer and have a more conversational style and tone.
A person looking for a Chinese restaurant will go about it in two different ways when using voice search and regular search.
When typing, this person will type something like “best Chinese restaurant near me.”
On the other hand, when using voice search, he or she will simply say “Hey Google, tell me about the best Chinese restaurants I can go to right now.”
Do you see the difference? To optimize for voice assistants, you have to adapt to this difference when doing SEO.
Adding the multilingual touch to this and you’ll have a multilingual voice search.
From the example above, I searched for the weather in my city.
If I were typing, I simply would’ve typed “[my city name] weather.”
However, when using voice, I used a complete phrase in my native language, and google yielded results in that language. These results showed that they were optimized for multilingual voice searches.
Now, if you want to cater to a global audience and expand your reach. And you want your website to rank when your target audience searches for something you offer, in their own language, you need multilingual SEO.
Below we are discussing some steps to optimizing your website for multilingual searches:
No SEO strategy can ever start without keyword research. Therefore, before you begin doing multilingual SEO for your website, you need to perform proper keyword research.
When translating your website, you can’t just translate the keywords or phrases. Because a keyword that has high search volume in one language may not be that viable when translated in another language.
Let’s look at a case study from Ahrefs to understand this point.
Ahrefs looked at the search volume for the key phrase “last minute holidays.” They found out it received 117k searches from the UK in a month.
However, the same phrase translated into French “ Vacances dernière minute.” Had a total search volume of 8.4k.
The findings from this case study go to show the importance of independent keyword research for multilingual SEO. Because simply translating the keywords won’t yield good results.
So, what you can do is pick up the phrases from your original website, which we assume is in English and is optimized for voice search. Translate them. Brainstorm additional relevant keywords and plug them into any of the keyword research tools to see their search volume and competition.
Additionally, keywords for voice searches are different from regular keywords as you need to take an intuitive approach by getting to your target audience’s mind to see what they think and speak when searching. And how they do it. Then use these phrases to go ahead with your keyword search and make a list based on high search volume and low competition.
Once you have a list of keywords you want to optimize, the next step is to translate the content that’s already there on your website and optimize it with the keywords.
When translating a website, the best approach is to hire a human translator who is a native speaker of the target language.
You may be tempted to use Google Translate or some other automatic translation tools. But even though Google endorses its translators, it leaves a subtle recommendation on using human translators. Because robots are yet to come as far as competing and beating humans. At least when it comes to translations.
Additionally, make sure the translator aligns the content with the tone of your original website.
Here comes the technical part. Did you really think you can get by multilingual SEO without getting involved in the technicalities?
Hreflang annotation is critical for websites that have different versions in different languages for various searches.
It enables Google to identify which web page to show to which visitor. For example, you don’t want your English visitors to land on the French version of your page. Using Hreflang will enable you to receive English visitors on the English page, and French-speaking people on the page in French.
Another important attribute that will go in your website’s code when doing multilingual SEO is the alternate attribute. It tells the search engine that a translated page is a different version, in an alternate language, of a pre-existing page and not a duplicate. Because Google cracks down on duplicate pages and can penalize your website if you haven’t used the alternate tag.
You can’t discuss multilingual SEO, without talking about URL structure.
When doing multilingual SEO, you are often saving different versions of your website under the same domain. This means, you have to create a URL structure for each version, so the search engine can take the visitor to the right page.
When it comes to URLs for multilingual websites, you have many options, and each option has its pros and cons. You can check out how Google lists these pros and cons in the image below.
Source: Google Search Central
You can choose any option as per your preferences. According to Google, no URL structure has a special impact on SEO except using parameters within URLs. I personally think using a sub-domain as Wikipedia or Sub-folder/directory as Apple, are the easiest options to create a multilingual site. But if you’re using WordPress then you can use a plugin like Polylang to multi-lingual.
The content writing style is quite important when optimizing your website for multilingual SEO. your content should be more focused on conversational style rather than academic or complex sentence structures. As said, voice-related queries are mostly in questions format, so faqs, short paragraphs with more emphasis on addressing questions will be better for voice-related search queries.
Now that you know how to set your website for multilingual SEO, you might be wondering whether it is worth all the hassle.
If your website sees a lot of multilingual traffic, you have no other choice than to go for multilingual SEO for voice search because,
Multilingual SEO for voice search is something that you’ll see all website owners (who receive multilinguistic traffic) doing in the future. Therefore, it is better to start now and get ahead of your competitors.
The key takeaways for optimizing your website for multilingual voice searches are target language keyword search, human translation, hreflang tags, and the right URL structure.
With the right keyword research, a meaningful translation, thorough technical SEO, and by using the URL structure that fits best with your unique web requirements, you can enjoy riding the wave of multilingual voice search when it arrives, and it will arrive soon.
Atul Jindal is Sr. Web Engineer at Adobe Research.
What would happen if instead of having to jump through hoops to rank your new website, you were given a seat at the SERP straight away? Presumably, that would cause all sorts of havoc for SEO professionals. What if I told you that there’s a strong push at Google to do just that? I call it “search equity”. It’s Google trying to remove optimization barriers so site owners (aka business owners) can focus on creating great content and reap the benefits of it.
It’s a move that I think Google is pushing hard for and has already taken steps towards.
Search equity is the ability for a site to be able to compete at some level of significance on the SERP without being impeded by technical structures. It is the ability for a site to rank its content solely because that content is worthy of being consumed by the searcher.
As such, search equity would mean that sites with limited resources can compete on the SERP. It means they would not need to have an overly complex understanding of SEO on a technical level and from a content structure perspective (think things like page structure and other technical SEO aspects).
Search equity gives a business owner the ability to be visible on the SERP and in many ways helps to preserve the overall health of the web.
It’s a spectrum. It’s not even possible to have total search equity. At any given time, there could be more or less of it within the Google ecosystem. It’s not an all-or-nothing equation. It’s not even possible to have total search equity. What matters is that Google is trying to create as much search equity as it reasonably can.
The idea of search equity being highly desirable to your average site is self-evident but it also makes a lot of sense. What do I mean by that?
Business owners are content experts. They are experts on the subject matter that is related to their business. They are the ones who should be creating content around the topics associated with their business. Not SEOs, not content marketers, and not some content agency.
There’s a problem with this, however. That problem is the incentive. Content creation is hard and time-consuming so there has to be a reward for the efforts. Also, there needs to be a way to address the various technicalities that go into SEO, but that’s for later. This is where the current model falls into trouble.
What happens when a business decides to dedicate the time and resources to create content? What happens when they are now faced with things like optimizing their page structure, internally linking, external linking, title-tags, canonical tags, keyword cannibalization, or whatever else floats your SEO boat?
Do you see the problem?
SEO, as it’s often thought of, discourages the very people you want to be creating content for from creating content. Business owners don’t know anything about tags and links and structure. They know about running their businesses and creating content around that expertise.
This is a real problem for Google. It means there is a lot of potential content out there that the current incentive structure doesn’t allow for.
If you think the notion that there’s a gap in the content generation is fantastical, it’s not. For starters, Google has often indicated such a gap exists in non-English speaking markets. Further, Google has an entire “Question Hub” to provide answers for when the “content just isn’t there”.
What I think makes this notion a contradiction and hard pill to swallow as there is an overabundance of content and a lack of it at the same time. This is because a vast amount of content being produced simply lacks substance. I’m not even referring to spam and the 25 billion+ pages of it that Google finds each day. The content bloat we experience is due to the overabundance of low to medium quality content. When was the last time you felt there was just so much really quality content on the web? Exactly.
There is no gap in the quantitative amount of content on the web but there is in its quality. If Google’s main SEO talking point is any indicator, the gap of quality content out there might well be significant. That’s not to say that such content doesn’t exist, but it may not exist in healthy quantities.
To fully capitalize on the content creation resources it needs to maintain a healthy web, Google needs, and has moved towards, search equity.
But not all of Google’s drive towards search equity is purely altruistic—there’s also a business interest. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, in this case, it’s quite healthy. In any event, understanding how search equity aligns with Google’s business interests is an important part of understanding the impending urgency of a more equitable SERP.
The prominence of Google My Business and of the local SERP, in general, has risen in recent years. No longer is local SEO relegated to the loser’s table at SEO conferences. Rather, local SEO has come front and center in many ways.
Part of this is due to the growing importance of having a GMB profile. Local SEO isn’t getting more attention because of some internal shift in SEO, it’s because it’s becoming more important for businesses to have a GMB listing set up.
With the plethora of options and abilities that GMB offers (think Reserve with Google or Product Carousels) having a listing has become a way for a business to showcase itself.
Look no further than GMB itself advocates setting up a profile as a way to “stand out”.
Here too, Google runs into the very same problem I mentioned earlier: incentives. If Google My Business isn’t just about “managing your listing” but is also about standing out and marketing yourself, then the environment on the SERP has to be equitable.
In other words, what would happen to GMB adoption if business owners felt that in order for them to compete on all fronts they had to jump through all sorts of hoops and/or spend a ton of money hiring an SEO on a continuing basis?
Clearly, Google is trying to grow the relevancy of GMB not just in terms of the number of businesses adopting it but in how involved the platform is in the everyday functioning of the business. This incentivizes the business to create a listing, add images, and create Google Posts. What’s lacking, however, is content.
When it comes to the content local sites create, they have to play by the rules of every other site. There is no branded query driving users to their product carousel, Google Posts, or online menu. If Google wants businesses to feel they can thrive with GMB that success has to be across the board. This means sites have to have success within the traditional organic results for a slew of keywords (not just branded local searches).
You can’t have the truly successful adoption of GMB if it doesn’t incorporate the business’ site itself. If a business feels that Google is making it excessively difficult to perform in one area, it will not fully adopt the other area. Meaning, if Google makes it difficult for a business to rank content, that business will not be willing to fully commit to GMB in the way that Google so desires. Businesses have to feel that Google has their backs, that Google is not an impediment before they’ll consider GMB a place to showcase themselves. It’s just common sense.
If GMB is to continue to thrive and grow in unprecedented ways, then Google needs to make sure businesses feel that the entire Google ecosystem is a place where they can thrive.
Search equity is the only way this can happen.
Truth be told, Google has been heading towards greater search equity for a while. I would argue that this movement began back in 2015 when RankBrain entered the scene. As time has gone on and as Google has introduced other machine learning properties as well as natural language processing the move towards greater search equity has followed exponentially.
To put it simply, as Google can better understand content per se, it inherently no longer needs to rely on secondary signals to the extent it used to. This is why the debate about the importance of links and specific ranking factors has grown like a wildfire in a dry forest.
Take headers or title-tags. Whereas at one point in time you might have had to worry about the specific keyword you put into your titles and headers, that’s not exactly the case today. Aligning your title-tags to user intent and being topically focused is more significant than a specific keyword per se (one could even argue, that while still important, the overall ranking significance of the title-tag has diminished as Google takes a broader look at a page’s content).
This is really the idea of taking a more “topical” approach than a keyword-specific approach to a page’s content (an idea that has come to the forefront of SEO in recent years). That’s search equity right there. What happens when you don’t have to rummage through a tool to find the exact keyword you need? What happens when you don’t need to place that exact keyword here, there, and everywhere in order for Google to understand your page?
What happens is businesses can write naturally and, by default (so long as the content is good), create something that Google can more or less assimilate.
In other words, the flip side of Google’s often discussed “breakthroughs” in better understanding content is “search equity”. If Google can better understand a page’s main content without having to rely as much on peripheral elements, that inherently translates into a more equitable environment on the SERP.
You don’t need to look any further than Google’s mantra of “write naturally for users” to see what I’m referring to. Google’s improved ability to comprehend content, via elements such as BERT and the like, allows for site/business owners to write naturally for users, as previous “impediments” that demanded a specific understanding of SEO have to an extent been removed.
Advocating that Google is headed towards increased search equity by pointing to an almost ethereal element, that is, the search engine’s ability to more naturally understand content is a bit abstract. There are clearer and more concrete cases of Google’s ever-increasing push towards search equity.
Passage ranking is the absolute perfect example of Google’s desire for a more equitable search environment. In fact, when discussing Passage ranking, Google’s John Muller had this to say:
“In general, with a lot of these changes, one thing I would caution from is trying to jump on the train of trying to optimize for these things because a lot of the changes that we make like these are essentially changes that we make because we notice that web pages are kind of messy and unstructured.
And it’s not so much that these messy and unstructured web pages suddenly have an advantage over clean and structured pages.
It’s more, well… we can understand these messy pages more or less the same as we can understand clean pages.”
Does that not sound exactly like the concept of search equity as I have presented it here? Passage ranking further equalizes the playing field. It enables Google to understand content where the page structure is not well optimized. In real terms, it offers an opportunity to content creators who don’t understand the value of strong structure from an SEO perspective, i.e., a business owner.
Simply, Passage Ranking is a clear and direct move towards creating a more equitable SERP.
This is a tricky one. On the one hand, there is a tremendous danger to the average site with auto-generated feeds, such as Google Discover. It’s easy to conceive of a person’s feed being dominated by large news publishers, YouTube, and other high authority websites. That would leave little room for the average business owner and their content.
However, let’s take a step back here and focus on the nature of the beast and not the specific content possibly being shown. What you have with Google Discover (and personally this sort of custom feed is where things are headed in many ways), is content delivery without the ability to influence placement via direct SEO. In other words, unlike the SERP, there is far less direct influence over what you can do to optimize a specific page for Discover. There is no keyword that a user implements in Discover, so there are far fewer things SEOs can do to tilt a page in a certain and very specific direction.
Rather, Google Discover relies on the overall relevance of the page to a user’s interests as well as the site’s general authority around the topic at hand. It’s far more a content strategy-focused endeavor that hinges on the production of highly relevant and authoritative content in the context of a site’s overall identity than it is about traditional SEO.
Discover, as such, is inherently a far more equitable construct than the SERP itself. Does that mean that it is in actuality a more equitable environment? That all depends on how Google goes about weighing the various considerations that go into showing content in Discover. Still, as a framework, the feed is of a more equitable nature regardless.
There’s been an interesting development in the role of CMSes for SEO, to which I have a front-row seat (as I work for Wix as their SEO liaison). CMSes, like Wix and Shopify in particular, have put a heavy emphasis on evolving their SEO offering.
As a result, and I can tell you this first-hand as I’m often a direct participant in these conversations, Google seems to be taking a more outright welcoming approach to the closed-CMSes. The reason is that as the CMSes have evolved for SEO, they offer the ability to create an equitable experience on the SERP.
Just look at what John Mueller had to say as part of a conversation around businesses using Wix:
The more small business sites I see, the fewer I see with technical SEO issues, and the more the issues lie with the content (stale, duplicated across multiple sites, incorrect, low-quality, etc). CMSs tend to get most technical things right (or “right enough”) nowadays.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) February 15, 2021
The evolution of some of the closed CMSes is in many ways the missing piece to Google’s search equity puzzle. If a platform like Wix or Shopify provides the defaults and out-of-the-box solutions that remove the impediments associated with the more technical side of SEO then the SERP is far closer to search equity than ever.
This is reflected by John’s statement in the next tweet from the thread I presented just above:
What I recommend to small businesses is: never self-host, avoid plugins, buy your domain name, use a simple & reliable platform, use 2-factor authentication, have 2+ people internally who can update your site’s content, get local SEO help.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) February 15, 2021
Having platforms out there that take care of the user from a technical standpoint puts businesses in the position to be able to rank content. This is search equity.
If you combine what’s happening with the CMSes along with Google’s advances around Passages and the like and you have one massive step forward for search equity.
This creates an environment where the average person can use a platform that handles many of the SEO issues and then rely on Google’s ability to parse unstructured content. That’s a tremendous amount of equity hitting the SERP at one time.
When you look back and what we’ve discussed so far here, search equity is a far-reaching construct. It touches on everything from the algorithm to the CMSes supporting the web. More than that, it’s an enormous shift in the paradigm that is Google search. In a way, it’s revolutionary and has the potential to fundamentally change the search marketing landscape. I don’t mean that hyperbolically either and I’m not generally an alarmist.
No, I’m not saying SEO is dead. No, I’m not saying technical SEO is dead (not by a long shot). What I am saying is a more even playing field for those who can’t invest heavily in traditional SEO is a major change to the SERP and potentially for our industry.
The evolution of search equity might mean that it is (and will be) easier for business owners to create content that ranks. It does not mean that these businesses will have any idea of what to target and how to construct the most advantageous SEO content strategy.
In fact, I speculate that most businesses will end up trying to target extremely competitive spaces. They will try to target top-level keywords without focusing on the elements that differentiate themselves and without creating an “organic niche” for themselves.
The point is, search equity only makes understanding SEO at the strategic level more important than ever. Understanding the algorithm and the overall direction and “inertia” that Google is trending towards will be an extremely valuable commodity.
The business owners who will benefit from search equity will need our help to give their content efforts direction.
(By the way, this is not to say that ensuring these sites adhere to SEO best practices should or will fall to the wayside. Although, I do think this does widen the gap in what it means to do SEO for different kinds of sites).
As mentioned, search equity takes the focus off the “page” and the explicit optimization of it and places it onto the content itself. The spotlight being moved onto content per se creates a new operating framework. Namely, the importance of the site from a holistic point of view versus the significance of a per-page outlook on SEO.
The various pages of content on a site do not exist in isolation of each other. They’re all intricately related. Imagine a site that had pages that talked about buying car insurance and other pages on how to make chicken soup with no clear connection between the two topics. From a per page perspective, each page could offer wonderful content and be intricately optimized and therefore expected to rank. However, if you step back the lack of topical focus brings with it a slew of issues.
Search equity is synonymous with an explicit focus on the substance of a page’s content. You cannot have search equity without Google being better able to understand and subsequently value the content on a page. Search equity is synonymous with an increased valuation of the page content as page content (as opposed to page structure, for example).
An increased focus on the content itself, with ancillary factors having, at times, a diminished role. This means that the site itself comes into a larger focus. Once that happens, the overall purpose, identity, focus, and health of that site become more important as well.
Great content that is out of context relative to the other content on the site is less relevant. Just think about a user who hits the page from the SERP. They finish reading a blog post only to see a carousel of related articles that are entirely irrelevant to them. Who is that good for? Or imagine the internal links in such a piece of content, how relevant would they be? How strong is the content if it intrinsically can’t have any internal links, as internal links can often help support the user’s content acquisition?
The effectiveness of a webpage’s content does not exist in a vacuum. It gains strength and relevancy from the pages that support it. If Google is taking a more direct look at content, the pages that support a given piece of content must also come into focus.
The advancements towards greater search equity require us to take a more holistic view of a website. Search equity and the direct content focus that Google has taken mean that the relevancy of the entire site comes into focus.
This means we need to perhaps shift our attention from the role of individual pages to consider the site’s efficacy overall. This might mean a revamping of our SEO strategies and priorities and directly speaks to the importance of having a well-thought-out SEO outlook (as I mentioned earlier).
At the end of the day, a web that removes impediments to the creation of strong content is a good thing. Might it change the SEO landscape as time goes on? Certainly. A more equitable SERP will most likely have a major impact on SEO over time. Does that mean we shouldn’t embrace it? No. Does that mean SEO is dead? Of course not. Does it mean we shouldn’t be concerned with best SEO practices to the same extent? Clearly, doing so would be a terrible idea.
What it does mean is that we may need to change our outlook on SEO a bit and understand where we have true value to certain types of sites.
Search equity is a good thing.
Mordy Oberstein is Liaison to the SEO Community at Wix. Mordy can be found on Twitter @MordyOberstein.
In this week’s episode of #WebdesignWednesday we feature Different Stroke Motorsports of Manhattan, Montana: https://dsm.deals
Last week we featured Selah Early Learning Academy of Bozeman, MT: https://youtu.be/Z5gT-uybgj4
Happy Web Design Wednesday, everyone. It’s Daniel again with page. Perfect. Bringing you another episode where we show off one of the websites that we’ve designed, as well as talk about some of the valuable search engine optimization components that go into a website. In today’s episode, I’m happy to introduce you to different stroke, motor sports out of Manhattan, Montana, and they are a used motor sports vehicle company that, uh, they reconvene by. They purchase and recondition, um, all sorts of units. And as you can see here, here are all the types of units that they sell. Um, I actually know the couple that owns this business, Justin and Amy personally, and they’re just amazing people above board, you know, super quality people, um, great character. So, um, it was a privilege to get to work on their website for that reason. But also because, uh, long ago this was actually our first website that we designed, um, as part of the page. Perfect umbrella. So a few things that’ll show that we love about this site. Of course, the video header is very fun. Um, just kinda captures the thrill of their brand right out of the get-go video backgrounds are great for that kind of just a show me, don’t tell me what you do and in their case, it just makes you want to go out and have fun. Um, second up, we’ve got that, um, that dynamic heading, which is, um, really fun and again, kind of delivers their core value proposition, um, in about five or six different ways. Uh, with that being a dynamic sentence there a third, what they have going for them is the search functionality. So their site is of course, an inventory based site, um, or you could think of it as a directory based site. Um, and so they’ve got drop-downs here for all of the types of vehicles they have. If you’re looking for a specific brand, you can search by that manufacturing year and of course price point. And when you hit search, it’s going to go to a dynamic search, um, dis uh, directory of all of this inventory. And at the moment it looks like they’ve got a lot of UTVs, which are the side-by-side units. They’ve got a lot of motorcycles and some, a lot of trailers. Um, these are just the latest inventory on the front of the website. Uh, so here, we’ve got some preview functionality so that you can quickly just jump through and see if this is something you’d want to purchase. And again, we’ve got some more like category stuff here. Um, and the description, of course, if we click a listing That, And of course you get all of the information on that listing, You could see it, Everything that they do to tag these, to keep the site organized and relevant. Um, of course, we’ve got the related, uh, inventory here at the bottom of the screen. These are all the same category since we’re in the UTV category. And what else is great about this? One of the things that I love about this site is that users can bookmark any inventory that they like and want to keep track of. And then it asks for a registration or assign, and if the person has signed in before, so that’s great. They can’t, people can leave comments. Uh, I don’t know how many people actually may do that. Uh, we do have financing, uh, which is great. We’ve got a quick call to action buttons here of called bookmark and share. Um, so now let’s dive into the, um, explore page, which is that dynamic directory I was referring to. And here we have, um, all of their inventory listed and it looks like they have 54 items in inventory right now, um, which, uh, are paginated down here at the bottom. Again, these can be previewed. Um, but more importantly, we can filter things by, um, any free form texts that we want to type we can search for. So let’s just say, um, we’re, we’re wanting to know that it has a windshield and if we type windshield, it just filtered down to 27, um, items in inventory. Of course, we also have that as a tick box over here. So we can say, I want something that has a windshield and has seatbelts. Um, I want it to be automatic and let’s see what else may be independent suspension. And it looks like this is an or feature rather than an ant feature. So it’s saying filter by any one of these, we just would be interested in any one of these. Um, and then you can, you can say, you know, you want the mileage a lot less, um, and that will filter it even more. So that’s one way to search is by all of the little components. And then next up, we could just say, take me to the category of motorcycles and let’s, uh, preview one of these. So there we go. All right. So what’s going on for this website in terms of search engine optimization, you know, a lot of people, when they start a website, they’re not really thinking about search engine optimization, they just figure, uh, like most of us do the first time we create a website that if we build it, they will come. And it’s actually not true because a website without proper search engine optimization and marketing is, is kind of like a business card on the internet. It exists, but no one knows about it unless you tell them. So a search engines, um, the benefit you have is if your website is set up correctly, then it shows up in search results. Um, not only for your brand name, which we want, we would always expect that, but also for your specific services or products that your brand offers. And so what’s, what’s going on. Well with this website in particular, is that dynamic search page that we just saw has a lot of pages and a lot of inventory. Um, so that in Google’s eyes is getting a lot of information as to kind of what this site is about. Um, we have, um, the next thing that is very important is, um, on an individual listing, uh, the name of the inventory is called out here very plainly. Now, most of the stuff is not gonna make sense to people who don’t know these units, but for those who do this is all really important stuff. And actually the type of stuff that someone’s going to type in Google. So this is great too. They really filled out their descriptions. Well, um, They’ve even got their name, address, phone number in here, which is great. Um, let’s see. The other benefits that we have here are, um, category tags. So just like with any blog feature of a website, it’s important to have things categorized and tagged because that creates a dynamic page, um, specific to that category. So as you can see in the URL up there, it is forward slash category forward slash UTV. And so this is dynamically updated as is every category page. So every time they add a listing, it’s completing, um, multiple pages based on the category and the tags that are assigned to that Unit. Um, let’s see, they also have an our story page, which is really great, cause you can kind of get to know them and see where they’re located and where they’ve moved to. In fact, they need to, we need to update this, um, when they’re ready, we will update this because they have moved into a much more, uh, grandiose and permanent position, which is awesome for them. Uh, user guides is simply the name of the blog that we, um, picked and to date they’ve only written one article, but, um, always encourage, um, consistent blog writing content to be added to a website for the purposes of showing up in search engine results. Uh, the reason is you’re adding, if you add 500 to 2000 words per blog post, those are all important keywords to your products and services that Google indexes and adds to the knowledge graph and each blog post is in effect propping up your home page. And so your homepage can actually, um, re rise higher in the search results based on, um, the amount of blog categories and blog posts that you have. So, uh, is just something to keep in mind. And, uh, I guess we’ll close this out by saying, um, the last thing that, um, they have here is that when anyone comments or when anyone bookmarks inventory on their site, they have an option to be added to their email marketing newsletter. So that’s going to do it for this web design Wednesday, if you have any questions about the web design process, why WordPress is such a powerful platform and cost-effective, and also just questions about the search engine world and how Optum is optimizing for search engines is done. How we do it, our strategy, as well as just, um, you know, pricing and how long to expect to start showing up for your products and services. Please give us a call Daniel with page. Perfect. Have A great day.
Click the following to learn more about our Bozeman web design and search engine optimization https://runcloud.pageperfect.co
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Belgrade, MT 59714
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When a busy day means dinner will be takeout instead of home-cooked, chances are you don’t simply choose a restaurant at random. Most likely, you’ll use Google or Yelp to search for data on locations or types of food, and then, most importantly, you’ll look at customer reviews. With tacos on your mind, you may look for a casual Mexican restaurant or fast food. But what if it has less than four stars on Yelp? Scenarios like these have become part of daily life in the communities being served by almost any brand you market.
Customer reviews have played a significant role in customer choices for decades, and they aren’t specific to restaurants. In recent years their importance has increased exponentially and can even decide a business’s fate. With 93% of consumers using the internet to search for businesses — and 34% of those reading more reviews than before due to the coronavirus — it’s impossible to understate the importance of a good review.
Good reviews positively affect business exposure. The perceived quality of a company will contribute to a consumer’s eventual decision, and very rarely will a customer trust a three-star repair shop over a five-star one. Often, the three-star business will rank too poorly to be featured in Google’s sets of three local results, called “local packs”. Google’s local packs are meant to make it easy to find top results that match a customer’s query while suppressing less-recommended options. Exposure alone is helpful, but reviews impact both visibility in the packs and searchers’ ultimate decisions.
Reviews generally follow the trend of highlighting a specific feature of the company that stood out to the customer — good service, speed, cleanliness, and so on. If there are multiple negative reviews, there’s a good chance there will also be specific issues reviewers are citing. There are two actions a business can take, ignore the bad comments or actively engage. Since only 48% of people would even consider using a business with less than four stars, negative customer reviews should be taken as serious critiques (at least most of the time).
A good way to immediately engage with reviewers is to simply reply via the owner response function Google provides in the Google My Business dashboard. Replies, thoughtful replies, can net forgiveness, understanding, and even a changed star rating for your business. Customers are more forgiving than you think and actively wait for owner responses. Even without incentives like coupons or gifts, they will appreciate the time and effort you took to understand their grievances. For smaller businesses, a few three-star reviews changed into four-stars can generate a meaningful boost in Google or Yelp search results. Direct communication increases trust from both current and future consumers and can lead to tangible business gains.
Faking positive reviews is nothing new in the business world. While review platforms like Google and Yelp have some safeguards in place for catching or filtering out fake reviews, they don’t automatically discover every review that violates their guidelines. This means that it’s often up to business owners to do their part by asking themselves whether it’s right to intentionally mislead consumers with false advertising.
The answer is, of course, no. Brands that lean on fake reviews in hopes of a quick gain in rankings or foot traffic may find themselves on the wrong end of lawsuits, legal penalties, business listing removal, and permanent reputation damage.
A far better approach for local brands that hope to enjoy many years of success in business is to commit to constantly earning and improving reputation through exceptional customer service. Rather than misleading the public with fake sentiment, embrace consumers as providers of both free quality control (in the form of negative reviews) and the best sales copy anyone could possibly publish about your company in the form of positive reviews.
When you receive an honest but negative review, consider it a mini-inspection one customer made of your business, citing elements you can often actively correct. A flood of negative reviews mentioning similar grievances may require fundamental operational changes to improve customer experience, prompting action on your part that can eventually lead to an enviable, lucrative online reputation. Your brand is so much better off when dissatisfied patrons speak up because stated problems can be solved, and when your public responses show how seriously you act on complaints, you’re offering rock-solid proof that your brand puts the customer first.
Meanwhile, when a happy customer takes the time to leave a positive review, make the respectful gesture of thanking them in return. Use the owner response space to express appreciation and, where possible, mention something exciting about your business like a new menu item or the debut of a new service that you hope they’ll stop by again to experience. Don’t be too sales-y, but do engage. Reviews, at their best, are two-way conversations.
If you’re just beginning to promote your business online and are feeling a sense of urgency about getting your first reviews, study the guidelines of the various review platforms and then create a compliant review acquisition campaign that yields results. But take it slow, too many reviews at once can result in removal, and keep in mind that you’ll be earning reviews for the life of the business you’re marketing. It’s a long hike rather than a sprint. Avoid guideline violations and center excellent customer service and you’ll be ahead of the review game from the get-go.
Miriam Ellis is a Local Subject Matter Expert at Moz.
In this week’s episode of #WebdesignWednesday we are featuring face mask product manufacturer, ColorChoice Industries out of southern California: https://colorchoice.com
Happy webdesign Wednesday, everyone Daniel here with page. Perfect. Bringing you another website, showcase by page perfect design. This one is color choice industries. This is a brand new company with a brand new product. Um, given the pandemic, they went to work on developing a mask that would have a replaceable filter inside and also a really nice seal and a really nice feel along the face. And so this is the safe seal face mask by color choice industries. They’ve also gone ahead and they are marketing this towards men specifically in the industrial construction markets. Um, because it also is providing that level of protection as well from, uh, debris, if you will. So it’s a fantastic product and we were excited to get to do this website and there’s, uh, several challenges that we had for this site. The first is it needed to be e-commerce functional. Um, so that obviously the customers could buy and checkout right on the page, um, right on the site. The second thing with that is we actually put together these videos, all the videos that you see on the site, we went ahead and had those designed. So we have some 3d mock-ups here showing all of the features of the product. And, uh, we also went ahead and did this video. We used locally here, Elijah’s sheet there. Um, you got to check him out if you need some video work, uh, he’s who we use and a huge shout out to him and his work. The next thing that we got going on here that was very challenging, but very exciting is they have a unique feature where they’ve got this face plate on the front of that, and it needs to be able to have the stickers customized. And so what we set up for this company is pretty cheap. It was very challenging, but in the end, it’s a very great user experience. So if you were to order this mask and want it to upload your own logo or your own family portrait or any image you want, you can come here and order these images. And there’s two great things about this. One is that the user gets to, uh, upload and customize the barrier plate is what it’s called the sticker for that barrier plate. We’ve got a lot of, um, different images here that can be chosen that are already, you know, kind of the, uh, stock gallery for them. Um, but most importantly is that people can upload their own image from their own device, as well as from Facebook and Instagram. So it’s a really, really great way to, uh, to get to do this. I’m not going to go through it right now. Um, the second thing that’s awesome about this from the clients. The customer standpoint is that these stickers actually get fulfilled by a third party vendor. And so even though they see the order come through on their website, they actually never have to print and cut and mail these stickers because that’s all happening behind the scenes by a third party fulfillment. So this Is a color choice industries. And, um, really at this point, it’s a very small site, mainly just homepage and the e-commerce section. Um, we haven’t added a lot of about pages or blogs or anything like that yet because they just want it to get to market as fast as possible. Um, the one thing that I will highlight throughout here is the call to action button is a very simple and call, uh, consistent call to action, which is shop now. And except for in this section, we’ve got a different color for the CTA and it’s customized now that’s for those stickers, but everything else is shop now, which takes people directly to the shop where they can order the various products and they can see the variations on those products as Well. So this Is color choice industries on Daniel, and we are page perfect. We design WordPress websites that, uh, you would think costs $10,000 for this type of custom design. I mean, everything here is a custom theme layout. Like we, we’re not just buying and importing themes and throwing your pictures on it. Um, everything here is custom designed and we also go the extra mile to create some unique assets for your company, such as these videos and even the functionality of being able to upload your own media on the front end to place an order. So again, thanks for checking this out. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out, we’ll schedule a zoom call to discover your project’s needs Daniel with page. Perfect. Have a great week.
View last month’s Bozeman WordPress website feature here.
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Do you want your business to appear in the top local search results on Google? Do you want to attract high-quality traffic that helps you boost sales and grow your business in the long run? Do you want to achieve and sustain target KPIs?
If you answered these questions in the affirmative, you may want to optimize your business for local search if you haven’t already.
An astounding 80% of all local searches on mobile phones result in a transaction.
While you may have created a winning social media marketing strategy and revamped your brand identity, the work doesn’t end there. In fact, it only begins. With the competition becoming increasingly cut-throat each day, standing out among the crowd has become more important than ever—especially for small businesses that are struggling to navigate the digital marketing learning curve during the ongoing pandemic.
To make things easier without compromising efficacy, you need to start off on the right foot by focusing on local SEO.
We’ll break down the basics and offer a step-by-step guide to dominating local search in 2020 so your business can hit the ground running.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your business to improve its visibility in local search results on Google.
Why does this matter? Because local consumers are actively looking for products/services close to them.
If you run a small business, it’s very likely that you operate within a certain area, i.e. a specific city or state. If you fail to optimize your business for local search, you’ll attract generic leads that aren’t capable of making a transaction because of geographical constraints. You’ll also reduce your chances of appearing in the top local search results each time someone runs a “near me” or “close to me” search.
Instead of appearing in the Google 3-Pack (attached below for reference), your business will show up on the eighth, ninth, or 30th SERP.
And while earning a not-so-favorable spot among Google search results may not sound too bad, the large majority of web users never scroll past the first SERP.
So what do you do? You optimize your business for local search.
We’ve rounded up some of the most effective local SEO strategies for small businesses in 2021 to help you get started.
Leveraging Google My Business is a surefire way to give your business a much-needed visibility boost. The popular platform allows businesses to drive local traffic by creating and maintaining a strong online presence on Google Search and Google Maps.
As you share relevant information about your business, Google will effectively crawl, index, and rank your business.
The outcome? Improved local rankings.
Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing to maximize your chances of appearing in the Google 3-Pack.
We suggest sharing the following information:
Google’s algorithm determines the legitimacy of a business by checking for consistency across the board. For instance, if your business hours are inconsistent across multiple platforms, your business will not be perceived as credible or reliable.
Even the slightest deviation can lower your chances of appearing in the Google 3-Pack.
Ensure consistency to dominate local search and increase the visitor-to-lead conversion rate.
In addition, keep your listing updated by sharing fresh content and interacting with customers through Google My Business Messages.
Keyword research is undeniably the crème de la crème of local search. If done right, the process can help your content stand out among the massive pool of competition.
Why should you use keywords in the first place?
Let’s break it down.
If you own a small salon in Los Angeles, most people looking for salon services will search for very specific phrases like “salons in Los Angeles” or “best hair stylists in Los Angeles.” These keywords are a set of industry-specific and location-specific phrases that help customers find what they’re looking for.
If you want your products/services to appear in the top local search results, you have to incorporate these phrases into your content to give users exactly what they’re looking for.
Use Google’s Keyword Planner to find local industry-relevant keywords. It’s important to note that keywords are constantly evolving based on current trends, events, and news. So while you may have assiduously compiled a list of the most relevant keywords, it’s unlikely that they’ll dominate search engines within a few months.
Stay at the top of your game by actively researching and re-researching keywords. You can also use third-party tools based on your preference.
If you’re unsure about how to incorporate keywords based on regional trends, use Google Trends to discover what’s trending.
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing web pages to boost rankings and attract high-quality local traffic.
How does this work? As you focus on specific on-page optimization factors, your website will become more visible on the web.
These factors include:
Each time you create new content, incorporate high-volume keywords in the aforementioned on-page optimization factors, especially the title tag, meta description, URL, and header. This will help you attract local traffic and make your website more search-friendly.
Focusing on your website’s link structure is a great way to optimize your business for local search.
Internal links are hyperlinks that take readers to content or products/services on your own website. Here’s an example to help make things a bit clearer. If you’re writing a new blog for your website and hyperlink an old infographic on your own domain, this will qualify as an internal link. Of course, you can link any type of content, including blogs, articles, press releases, infographics, videos, product pages, service pages, etc.
How does this help? As web users interact with your content, they’re more likely to engage with the internal links. This, in turn, helps Google determine the relevance of your internal pages and rank them accordingly.
If you’re already ahead of the game, you can link location-specific keywords, thereby organically improving your website’s visibility for local search. These factors collectively play a big role in ensuring your business climbs local SERPs and maintains a strong online presence.
External links work in a similar manner. If an external (third-party) website links to your content or products/services, this qualifies as an external link, also known as a backlink.
For instance, if an established website like Forbes links to a value-added blog you wrote a few months ago, you’ll earn a high-quality backlink. As a plethora of potential customers is redirected to your website, you’ll reap the benefits of high traffic for your local business.
High-quality backlinks from websites with a high domain authority (great rankings on SERPs) help Google determine the validity and reputability of a business.
If a considerable number of established businesses are hyperlinking to your content, it’s very likely that you’re producing engaging, informative, and impactful content.
Google’s reward system is quick on its toes. Their algorithm will immediately process the information and make sure your business gradually climbs SERPs. If you were stuck on the 15th SERP, you could climb a few pages.
Of course, if you continue to produce winning content and earn quality backlinks, you’ll manage to break into the first search page.
Optimization isn’t the be-all and end-all of content marketing. If you haven’t produced high-quality content in the first place, it’s unlikely that optimization will help you get any further.
The best way to dominate local search is to strike the perfect balance between optimization and quality. Losing sight of either one of the two could end up doing more damage than good.
Create impactful content around local events, trends, movements, and news.
For instance, find a way to incorporate popular holidays like the 4th of July into your content plan. If you sell pool accessories, you could create a blog titled “Five Tips for Having a Lockdown-Friendly Fourth of July Party This Weekend.” One of the tips could include having a family pool party and ordering fun pool accessories online.
Building these connections will go a long way in helping your business become a familiar sight in local search results.
Of course, don’t forget to incorporate location-specific keywords to make sure you attract high-quality leads that can easily buy your products/services.
Reviews are a gold mine when it comes to improving visibility for local search.
If you run a local search, you’ll notice that each business in the Google 3-Pack includes a plethora of positive reviews.
Here’s an example:
Google doesn’t want to take any risks. The entire point of the Google 3-Pack is to display the top businesses for a specific search. The factors used to determine whether a business should appear in the Google 3-Pack include NAP consistency, relevance, reputability, experience, and—you guessed it—reviews.
If your business has a great review rating and flattering reviews, you’re very likely to earn a spot in the Google 3-Pack.
But how should you generate positive reviews? The most obvious way is to offer excellent products/services and ensure great customer service.
But there’s a little more than meets the eye.
Here are some expert strategies to increase positive reviews for your business:
Actively respond to positive reviews to encourage customers to share reviews in the future. In addition, take correctional measures to make it up to your customers who leave negative reviews. If done right, you can end up turning a bad experience into a good one.
If you’ve been struggling to give your business the boost it deserves, implementing these strategies will go a long way in turning things around.
Closely monitor your progress using Google My Business Insights and additional tracking platforms to determine where you stand and realign strategies accordingly. Ensure consistency to view concrete results in local search rankings and traffic.
We also recommend keeping up with your competition to develop an edge as a small business with relatively less experience. Go over their strategies and replicate certain aspects that seem relevant.
As you develop a holistic local SEO strategy, your business will begin to reach milestones and gear up for long-term growth.
Local SEO is undeniably one of the most powerful weapons in the digital marketing arsenal for small businesses. Polishing these skills can help a business actively climb SERPs for local search and build a wide audience that continues to grow organically.
While implementing local SEO strategies may seem challenging at first, it’s less complex than many small businesses think. The right tools, resources, and expertise can make the process much easier.
Incorporate these strategies into your current marketing campaign to get started. If you have any concerns, feel free to connect with an expert. Good luck!
Joseph Dyson is a renowned content marketing manager at Search Berg. He offers expert small business SEO services and has headed various local SEO campaigns over the years.
It occurs to me that I am part of a cult.
Or at least, something that displays the hallmarks of one. An unchallenged authoritarian leadership, prophets and oracles who deign to share only select information from a mysterious entity, who engage in coercive behaviors, who punish for non-compliance, and followership who are indoctrinated into special teachings and practices and whom parrot back the mantras and sayings of the leaders. Yes, I of course refer to the SEO industry and yes, you may take a small pause here to go through the above statement to see if it works. It does.
Something that all of us in the search industry are guilty of is our over-reliance on Google telling us what is coming next. Whether through announcing prescriptive updates on Google Search Central or retrospectively announcing algorithm updates on Twitter – we rely too heavily on the limited information Google shares with us and, as such, only get a very short-sighted view on the future of our industry.
This needs to change, and in order for that to happen, we need to stop thinking of Google as a search engine.
Google is first and foremost a business, and as such has a responsibility to its shareholders to continue to defend and grow its market capitalization. Understanding Google’s considerations as a business, provide context to many of its recent decisions and provides a sense of what is coming down the road.
The Storming of the US Capitol came as the culmination of a five-year disinformation campaign that went unchallenged and unadulterated by big tech. They cited concerns over the First Amendment, freedom of speech, and public interest as the reasons for a lack of intervention on even the most palpable mistruths, but the events at the Capitol prompted a shift change. Twitter and Facebook de-platformed Donald Trump, Google removed dangerous channels that called for violence from YouTube, and Apple, Google, and Amazon joined forces to take down Parler.
Though the events at the Capitol provoked big tech into action, the shadow of the incoming Biden-Harris administration had already moved them into action (Twitter flagging Trump’s tweets, for instance). As part of the ongoing swathe of antitrust cases against big-tech, protections currently available for platforms under Section 230 will be thrust into the spotlight for review. The crux of it is whether or not platforms are treated as the publisher of third-party content. Currently, platforms are not treated as the publisher and therefore resign any responsibility for the content that appears on their platforms.
Biden, during his election campaign, said,
“The idea that it’s a tech company is that Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one. For Zuckerberg and other platforms.” He added, “It should be revoked because it is not merely an internet company. It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false.”
His recent appointee, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, has told lawmakers that she will pursue changes to Section 230.
If – and it seems likely – Section 230 is at least amended, this evidently raises issues for big tech. It is unlikely that it will be completely revoked – such a decision would likely have a net negative effect. It is more likely that Google will need to demonstrate efforts to moderate content at scale, and have a mechanism by which content flagged by users or other parties. Such mechanisms already exist – such as the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ (in the EU) or DMCA takedown requests for copyright infringements. In these cases, individual URLs can be flagged by users and organizations. Though a much bigger undertaking, in this case, it is likely that such a process will be used to deal with issues of veracity, libel, incitement to violence, and so on. The difficulties here will be firstly manpower to deal with these requests, and secondly the criteria by which these complaints are assessed.
Websites that produce editorial and opinion-based content will need to be confident that what they produce will not contravene guidelines agreed by big tech and governments. Individual infringements might see de-indexing of individual URLs, but continued and flagrant non-conformity could see full domains removed from search results entirely (as is the case with DMCA takedowns).
There are numerous antitrust lawsuits currently filed against Google, which examine its monopoly status in the search market. Google has an estimated almost 90% share of the search market in the US, and this is the foundation upon which its gargantuan online advertising business rests. Its path to monopoly may have seemed organic to most, but the tactics the company used to secure such dominance are now under scrutiny. The purchase of DoubleClick in 2007 gave Google end-to-end ownership of the process of matching advertisers to users, which many at the time raised as a concern, in that it would give Google too much power in this space. The purchase of the Android operating system also allowed Google to push its apps, such as Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, and more onto nine out of 10 mobile devices sold globally each year.
All of the above, and more, will be considered in the DoJ’s case against Google. The precedent for such a case was set by the EU Commission where it determined that Google had broken antitrust laws by abusing its market dominance with Android and had to pay a fine of five billion dollars. Included within the decision, was a ruling that for all new Android devices, Google must offer users a choice in their default search engine. Google created an auction system for rival search engines to appear in the “choice screen”, leading many to once again accuse it of abusing its market dominance for profit, and placing barriers to entry for smaller players that cannot compete. DuckDuckGo wrote a blog post that stated, “This EU antitrust remedy is only serving to further strengthen Google’s dominance in mobile search by boxing out alternative search engines that consumers want to use and, for those search engines that remain, taking most of their profits from the preference menu.”
There is precedent for such an approach to introduce competition, with a similar case launched by Russia’s competition watchdog, and Yandex growing market share by 20% in the years post its introduction. However, it seems to have had little impact in the EU thus far, with smaller search engines either unable to afford to compete in the auction or, even when doing so, getting little traction from it. This could be because the choice screen is only displayed on new Android devices, and, according to the rather cumbersomely named Executive Vice President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager,
“very few Android phones have been shipped due to the Covid crisis.”
In this case, it may be too early to make a strong conclusion as to the effectiveness of measures.
Watching this all from across the Atlantic, the DoJ has slowly collected and built evidence to take on Google. There are a number of different cases, some looking over the aforementioned issues and some looking at new potential avenues to introduce competition to the search industry. The Justice Department has cast its net wide and spoken to third parties within the advertising industry, as well as search competitors as to their thoughts on how to reduce Google’s market share. One such line of enquiry was around which parts of Google’s vast ecosystem it could be forced to sell off. One leading suggestion; Chrome.
Now, they didn’t ask me but had they, I would have said why not force them to spin off the second biggest search engine – YouTube.
Another big investigation point is Google’s continued payments to Apple to remain the default search engine on its devices. It pays $12 billion to do so and has said that if this were ever challenged, it would amount to a code red scenario for the business. However, as an active part of the antitrust lawsuits, this could be something that becomes a reality for Google. In such a scenario, would Apple open up a bidding war for the opportunity, or would it do something fairly shocking… create its own search engine.
Apple has already begun to tantalize the market with a couple of nods in this direction. First, in 2018 it hired the former Head of Search from Google, John Giannandrea. Second, it is hiring a huge amount of search engineers. Third, Applebot has significantly increased its crawling activity recently. Fourth, in the iOS 14 update, Apple has started showing its own search results when a search is made from the home screen. Fifth, it updated its Applebot guidelines last year in a way that is remarkably similar to guidelines in Google’s Developer Blog. Included are guidance for webmasters around the robots.txt and noindex tags and even what it takes into account for ‘Search Rankings’.
If Apple were to enter the space, it would be the first true contender for Google from a search perspective. Although Google’s years of development and investment into its search ecosystem would certainly be a high barrier to entry, Apple’s massive user base and commitment to privacy would certainly capture a significant portion of market share. In such an event, how would this impact the web? If Google and Apple deviated from each other in search ranking factors – could SEOs be in the position where we have to dance different dances for different masters. Even if Apple does not enter the market, effective antitrust legislation would open up the market for new compelling offerings such as Neeva, You, and Mojeek, as well as existing search engines – such as DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, Baidu, and Bing – attracting more market share. Many of these offer Privacy as a major selling point – and as these issues become more evident in the public consciousness, there will likely be a gradual ebb of users to these other engines. There is a greater risk, however, that in the very public antitrust case, if any major news breaks around how Google uses data collected in search engines, that it could see a max exodus of its user base, as happened recently with WhatsApp and the flocking to Telegram and Signal.
Covid has created many new trends and behaviors but has just as importantly served as a catalyst for many pre-existing trends. The penetration of ecommerce as a percentage of total retail sales skyrocketed during the early stages of the global pandemic and has remained high ever since. Amazon was the largest beneficiary of this trend, with its share of ecommerce sales in the US at a whopping 47%. This statistic, and the fact that more product searches begin on Amazon than any other platform, spurred Google into action.
In 2019, Google made clear its intent to recapture market share in this space, with a somewhat understated relaunch of its Shopping platform. It seemed the plan was to slowly capture market share with a gradual introduction of new features across its platform. With the arrival of Covid, however, it began to release features rapidly. Free organic shopping listings came out of nowhere, and the new Google Pay app, which allows retailers to offer targeted coupons and deals to users, is a bold offering.
One of Google’s more unique offerings in this space is enabling and facilitating ROPO (research online, purchase offline) behavior. Its acquisition of Pointy, a software allowing local retailers to list their inventory online and appear in local results, will greatly increase the importance of listing optimization for products and services. Product searches already have a filter for nearby – which will certainly abet impulsive purchases.
Additionally, local has already slowly been building up its integration services with booking engines to allow users to book or buy directly through local listings.
Google will continue this process of “ecommercification” of its ecosystem. With the likes of Instagram and Pinterest looking to commercialize their content by allowing people to buy products directly from their platform, Google has been fairly transparent about its intentions to do the same with YouTube in the near future. The role of video has largely been seen as an awareness medium up until now, but changes here could very quickly see the video platform having a much more immediate relationship to conversion.
The above outlines just a few examples of the challenges facing Google as a business, which will likely have a tangible impact on search. Here are a few other areas we’ll be keeping a close eye on in the coming months:
Pete Eckersley is an Organic Strategy Director at global digital agency Croud, where he oversees organic strategy across the brands within the IWG group.
In this week’s episode of #WebdesignWednesday we are featuring acupuncture wellness center, Bodhi Tree Wellness (Kyrsten Riested) of Bozeman, Montana: https://bodhitreewellnessmt.com
Hey, Happy Wednesday everyone, Daniel here with Page Perfect bringing you another episode of our web design Wednesday series where we’re showing off some of our client sites that we’ve had the privilege to design. And today we’re going to look at Bodhi tree wellness. This is an acupuncture service here in the Bozeman area by Kirsten rice did. And this was the design that we got to do for her. I believe it was 2019 that we did this. And so we’ll just kind of scroll through and see some of the features of her website. Now, one thing I’ll call attention to is we’re a big believer in giving a user a lot of room to scroll, a lot of info on the first page. This is kind of like receiving a brochure, and you’re going to give them your key info. From that first page experience. Some people will ask well, I don’t even know to scroll down the page. Well, most users these days do no to scroll down the page. But if that is an issue, it’s okay, we’ve always got the menu up here. So if people want to specifically jump to sections of the website, they have that option, and will find their way through the website. Another thing I’ll call our attention to which I always like to do is our book now button up here, this is the main call to action that’s going to be consistent on the site. So we’ve got it at the top and bottom of every page. And this is actually leading to her schedule the city page, which she chose to keep and use for booking online appointments. Just know that since we build our websites on WordPress, we can absolutely build in to your website, that same functionality of have showing a calendar. So people can book on your website without having to leave it. They can prepay for those appointments, they can see multiple service options for your services. And we can have that do a sync with your Google calendar or preferred calendar of choice. But in this case, Kiersten decided to stick with Schedule A city and not have us go all the way on that. Alright, so this is our services page. And we learned a lot about acupuncture, designing this website, I had no idea about these many techniques and treatments. So if you are looking for acupuncture in the Bozeman area, definitely check out Pearson here at the Bodhi tree wellness mt.com. And we’ll keep going here to her about page. And one thing I’d like to highlight here is the Frequently Asked Questions section of a website. This is a fantastic way to not only get more information out there in a very aesthetically pleasing way, like this is how you can put as much content as you want in an FAQ section. Without it taking over, you know making a page really long, or strictly a text, you know, information overload presentation. The other advantage of an FAQ section is it actually will provide a great opportunity to overcome a user’s objections. So for example, if a person is this deep into the website, let’s say page three at this point, and they’ve scrolled down, they’re obviously pretty interested in the service. But there’s they might be trying to overcome their own objections right now, because they haven’t clicked the book now. They’re just still in that learning phase and decision making phase. So an FAQ section is a great place to think about what are the common objections that people have to your product or service and get those addressed address those objections right here in the FAQ. All right, so moving on here, we also have a blog, blog role, which we never actually had any blogs written for this site. But the capability is there. And let’s look at Lastly, the contact page. Pretty straightforward. We do have an interactive map here.
And the typical thing so there we go. This is Bodhi tree wellness, just a classy looking website. We host it we with a premium host provider I should say. And we provide all of the premium plugins, all of the monthly maintenance and so you end up having a very done for you experience when working with us at Page Perfect. If you have any questions about this particular project, or perhaps your own project that you’re considering. Don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re nice people. We just want to help you have the best online presence possible at a very affordable price. So, thanks for watching today. I’m Daniel with Page Perfect and we’ll see you next week.
View last week’s web design in Bozeman Featurettehttps://runcloud.pageperfect.co/webdesignwednesday-featuring-quest-cabinetry/.
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