The new program seeks to assist small businesses and local organizations from over 30,000 cities worldwide to set-up complete local listings on Google.
The search engine claims consumers are 38 percent more likely to visit and 29 more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with complete listings, yet a huge number of companies do not have local business listings on any search engine.
For the new initiative, Google is providing each participating city with a custom website where local businesses can see how they appear on Google Maps and in search results.
Google is also giving local business owners an easy-to-follow guide for getting their business listed with Google My Business, as well as a free website and domain name for a year through Google’s partner Startlogic.
The program is also encouraging consumers to get involved, by inviting consumers to create postcards in support of their favorite local businesses which can be shared on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. However, Google makes it clear these postcards won’t have any impact on search engine ranking.
“Sharing the postcards won’t make businesses appear higher in search, but will hopefully spur them to verify and start managing their business listing,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Watch.
Google is also partnering with local organizations such as chambers of commerce and small business development centers to offer workshops aimed at teaching local businesses how to control the information listed about them on Google Search and Maps.
Every week we try to keep you updated with all the SEM news from around the web, but the Google I/O event this week was packed full of so much information there was bound to be some stuff we didn’t get to cover. Today, we’re going to cover all the latest news from I/O and everywhere else. We’ll start with Google, but there is also some interesting Facebook news to discuss near further down.
Android Reaches 1 Billion Active Users Per Month
To open the annual I/O developers conference, Google rattled off an impressive list of statistics, as large tech companies tend to do. Of these statistics, there is one that was noteworthy and shows just how prominent smartphones have become throughout the world.
At last year’s conference, Sundar Pichai told the audience that Android had around 530 million active users per month. Over the past year, that number has almost doubled, surpassing one billion active users every month.
Other interesting stats include:
Android users send 20 billion texts per day.
They take 93 million selfies per day.
Android users take 1.5 trillion steps each day.
They check their phones 100 billion times per day.
Android tablets represent over 60 percent of all tablets shipped.
If you’re wondering what everyone is doing on their phones, you can be assured that it involves apps. comScore released a report this week showing that over half of all digital media time is now spent using apps, though its unclear whether more time is spent on Angry Birds or The Wall Street Journal’s news app.
Google Will Remove Author Images From Search Results
Google is continuing to push an emphasis on authorship authority, but don’t expect to continue seeing author images in your search results for much longer. In the next few days, Google will be stripping the author images and Google+ circle counts from desktop and mobile search results in an attempt to streamline search result appearances. In the announcement on Google+, John Mueller said:
“We’ve been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices,” he wrote. “As a part of this, we’re simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count.”
Danny Goodwin from Search Engine Watch shared an example showing what the results looked like before (shown above) and what they will look like in the very near future (below).
Google is Testing Their Domain Registry Service
Google has expanded into seemingly every facet of online activity, but up until now they have left domain registration to other service providers. That won’t stay the case for much longer as Google recently announced they will be inviting a limited number of people to test their new service called … wait for it… Google Domains.
As the shockingly creative name suggests, Google Domains will let users search, find, purchase, and transfer the domain or domains best representing their business. The service is still being built, which is part of why you shouldn’t expect for it to come out of testing in the close future. But, the service could potentially make the act of creating a website and establishing a company presence online much more easily understandable for the 55% of businesses that still don’t have websites.
Edit the business listing by changing hours, description, etc.
View managers of the page but not manage them
Post to Google+
Add photos and update cover and profile photos
View local insights and analytics
Change business pages and accounts
Watch Now Now Influences Facebook News Feed Video Rankings
Facebook is constantly working on its News Feed algorithm and the latest update is intended to improve the quality of videos being served to users. The new video ranking takes note of how long users watch a video for and uses this information to influence content ranking. This metric will be combined with other long-standing metrics such as likes, comments, and shares.
In the announcement, Facebook said, “In our early tests, this improvement resulted in more people watching more videos that are relevant to them.” The announcement also noted that twice as many people watch videos on Facebook compared to the numbers from six months ago.
Wait, So Facebook is Still Popular With Teens?
You’ve undoubtedly heard the rumors, studies, and proclamations that Facebook is losing traction with teens like a car driving off a cliff. From what everyone wants to believe, all the young kids are moving to the burgeoning messaging apps to escape the prying eyes of their parents and lame extended family. Even President Obama has commented that kids “don’t use Facebook anymore.”
The problem with all this is, the numbers don’t entirely support that conclusion and two reports from the past week confirm that Facebook is still the most popular social site for the demographic by far.
First, Forrester Research released a report showing that more than 75% of US online youth use Facebook at least once a month. Their survey polled 4,517 internet users between the ages of 12 and 17, and that Facebook has twice as many users as Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, and more than Instagram and WhatsApp combined.
The second study, from college and K-12 education review site, Niche, found similar results from a survey of 7,000 teenage users. Specifically, 87% still use Facebook “occasionally” and 61% use it daily (including the 47% who use it “a few times a day.)
Business owners have more reason than ever to claim their Google+ business pages, because Google has finally decided to connect business pages with local listings on Google Maps.
The change allows business owners to have a more coherent presence across the web as well as improve the ability of searchers to find them. The process connects your current page to Google Maps and applies the business information, including the business address, the Google Maps reviews, business hours and more from to your page.
A large number of businesses have more than one Google+ page listed in their Google+ manager page, so this will also help clean up the clutter by combining at least two of these pages.
Google explains in detail how to connect your Google+ business page to your Google Maps verified listing on the help page, as well as instructions for creating a local page if you have yet to add your business to Google.
Pages that are newly connected to maps will display the name and verification badge from the former local page, as well as showing the business information such as hours of operation and phone numbers. The pages will also show reviews from the former local page, but will not show prior owner responses to local reviews.
Taylor Ballhttps://www.tulsamarketingonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TMO-Logo.pngTaylor Ball2014-06-10 13:06:282014-06-10 13:06:28Google Allows Business Owners to Connect Google+ Business Pages to Google Maps Listings
Google is usually pretty public with their guideline revisions, but some of their smaller updates are easy to miss. Last week, Google made a small announcement of the Google Help forums that they have made a clarification update to their Google Places quality guidelines, which could affect local businesses who don’t update their information.
The guidelines establish exactly what business owners can name their business within Google Local. This needed to be clarified, as before it wasn’t clear why type of descriptors were allowed in business titles and how many would be acceptable. The revised guidelines make this clear:
Your title should reflect your business’s real-world title.
In addition to your business’s real-world title, you may include a single descriptor that helps customers locate your business or understand what your business offers.
Marketing taglines, phone numbers, store codes, or URLs are not valid descriptors.
Examples of acceptable titles with descriptors are (in italics for demonstration purposes) are “Starbucks Downtown” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant“. Examples that would not be accepted would be “#1 Seattle Plumbing”, “Joe’s Pizza Best Delivery” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant Dallas“.
The best websites are all designed with the unique needs of a business and their customers in mind, but don’t think there isn’t some common ground between them. Web designers have their own process and plan when it comes to making a new site, but they all share some web design elements that simply can’t be left out.
These elements make a site go from boring to exciting and they ensure users are always happy with their online experience. Today, Carrie Cousins shared 10 different parts of a website you can’t neglect if you’re hoping for success.
Space is the basis for all web design. Space dictates the flow, readability, mood, and style before you’ve even begun to consider the details of your site. The best designers all have a solid grasp on how to use space and they experiment with space in ways no one else is. Whether designers are playing with the idea of wide open space or creating a more clustered environment, you have to take the time to actively decide how you want to manage space if you want a successful design.
Space also plays a strong role in determining the focus of your page. Any image or text surrounded by open space will automatically seem more important and even larger than a design element crammed next to other aspects fighting for attention.
2. Simple Navigation
Visitors can’t actually use your site if they can’t easily navigate it. Every website should have obvious, easy to use, easily identifiable navigation. Even the most complex sites should be able to be fully explored from a set of five to ten menu items.
Navigation doesn’t always have to come in the form of a menu up at the top. Navigation can also be simply telling your visitors how to use your site, such as adding arrows to a parallax scrolling website.
3. About Us
While it may not be the most exciting part of web design, including an ‘About Us’ page is indescribably important for a smaller business or site owner to tell visitors who they are and what they offer. While it may not be as essential for major companies, you will notice even they tend to include one of these pages.
The trick is to keep it simple. You want to tell visitors enough about your brand and what you bring to the table to interest users, but you don’t want to bore them. This shouldn’t be just a simple template page. It should be kind of like a long-form business card. Short and sweet, but informative, and visually interesting enough to help you stand out without distracting.
4. Contact Information
Without contact information, how are you expecting to get feedback from visitors? Contact information is important for letting your visitors reach out to you, but it also helps validate that you are who you say you are. Nothing makes a site seem sketchy like not being able to find a way to contact a business easily.
To make it easier for users to find and reach out to you, you want your contact information to be highly visible and contain all of the modern ways users might want to connect. A phone number and physical address are absolute musts, but you should consider including social media profiles of yours such as Twitter and obviously an email address is expected for any website.
5. Call to Action
Most websites are created with an objective in mind. Whether you want to make a sale, educate the public, or gather contact information to more thoroughly connect with your audience, there is some goal you are hoping to achieve. A call to action is how you get your users to fulfill your goal, and it should be obvious and strong.
You wan to start out by determining exactly what your objective is, then design it so that action is immediately obvious. Color, contrast, and space are all useful tools for drawing users to the buttons and pages you want.
Even a common signup form is an example of a call to action in web design. The best way to use one of these sigup forms is to place it in a prominent location on the page and make it simple enough to not disuade users from filling it out.
It is absolutely shocking how many sites feel they don’t need a search function. Think about all the times you wanted to look up some older information but you weren’t able. Chances are, if you use a site regularly, you will eventually want to search for something, and being stonewalled by a negligent designer can be a real problem.
Implementing search bars is rather common practice, and you all have to do is design that box to be unobtrusive but available. If you want to use an icon, the magnifying glass is accepted shorthand for search, using something else can be confusing.
7. Informational Footer
Many sites use the footer area as a dumping ground for all the information that would otherwise clutter up their site. These unorganized blocks of links aren’t entirely wrong, but they fails to take advantage of the space. Instead, you should try to use the area to communicate a short message or important information in a condensed form, while including those important links in a clear and organized form.
The footer should be simple and streamlined, but it is a good place to include contact information, a small site map, and a selection of important other information. Make it easy to use and understand.
8. Obvious Buttons
It should seem pretty obvious, but every button should look like a button. Pick a visual cue for your site and stick with it so every button is clearly available to users. Not only do you encourage user to click around your site more, but you’ll avoid frustrated users who can’t navigate your page. Using a consistent style is important for web design and branding.
9. High Quality Images
Consider how people are accessing the internet. Smartphones, tablets, and even gaming consoles are all used to browse the web, and most of these have high resolution screens which leave little to the imagination. Users want images to create a visual interest, but you can’t skimp. Low quality images are going to look awful on a ‘Retina’ display. However, with just a few high quality custom images, you can make your site stand out from the crowd.
10. Web Fonts
Just a few years ago, the internet ran on just a few typefaces for everything. They were considered to be the most readable and they solved the issue of making sure every visitor could see text. But, those limitations no longer exist. You can use almost any font you want and you won’t have too many problems.
However there are two reasons web fonts are still important: compatibility and licensing. When you use a web font service, you ensure your search engine optimization won’t be hurt and your site will look consistent on every platform.
Most of the changes we see to Google are relatively minor. The average user might notice that the layout is a little different, or the ads are in a new place, but in general most of the massive changes to Google occur under the hood, in their search ranking and spam fighting algorithms. But, as you’ve probably seen by now, Google Carousel is Google’s latest update, and it is a fairly substantial change to how Google users see results.
The carousel is a row of images across the top of some search engine result pages (SERPs) laid on top of a black background. At the moment, the carousel contains up to 20 results, and it appears mainly on SERPs for travel, hospitality, or restaurant related searches. However, the carousel has also sporadically been appearing on queries for sports, entertainment, and education, suggesting the future directions the carousel may be expanding in.
Instead of getting what was called the 6- or 10-pack, users get these images as well as review ratings, property name, and address. To compliment the new carousel you also see the usual sponsored links you often get for other searches. Interestingly, the variation of terms for which the carousel appears seems to be random. Jim Yu from Search Engine Watch notes that a search for “hotels near disneyland” gets the carousel, while “disneyland hotels” did not.
The first bit of good news for search marketing professionals is that all of the results included in the carousel are essentially all in the first spot. Of course the majority of viewers will likely view the results from left to right, but they are not visually ranked in the same manner they were before.
The other good news is that the Google Carousel opens up numerous opportunities for local businesses to strengthen their brand online. BrightEdge research reported that the carousel currently affects 14 percent of keywords across all industries, with travel and hospitality being the most affected.
Restaurants are also highly impacted by the new layout, while entertainment terms only get the carousel for five percent of searches. Clearly, those most affected are also those with the most to gain: local businesses.
There are a few things you can do to ensure you’re business gets into the carousel for relevant searches in your area, and to be sure to beat the other competition within the listings. Yu suggests:
Set up a Google Places for Business and Google+ page. You can visit this post to learn more about the most important aspects of both services, and understand how to merge the two types of pages for a single business.
Make sure images for your pages are high resolution, unique, and up to date. Keep them sorted in terms of priority, so that users will see the images you want them to first.
Encourage happy customers to review your business on Google. Not only will it help you gain conversions online, research has shown it plays a large role in getting your business in the carousel.
With millions of searches happening daily, it’s no secret that Google can impact your business in a positive way. Google plus is a fairly recent social media platform that focuses on interaction and sharing. Thanks to Unbounce, they have created a beyond helpful infographic that highlights the importance of harnessing this power of Google+ and the hugely beneficial aspects of this service.
As you have likely noticed by now, Google merged Google Plus and Google Places. This has changed the way that Places listings are showing up in a few ways. One of the changes that is most noticeable is the review system – it used to be an easy to see 5-star system. What happened?
In the past, most local businesses never thought they could compete with major companies. The marketing budget needed to really make a similar impact was usually way out of their capabilities. However, with Google’s latest updates, it’s looking like the smaller business has a much better chance of staying within the public’s eyes.
https://www.tulsamarketingonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TMO-Logo.png00TMOhttps://www.tulsamarketingonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/TMO-Logo.pngTMO2010-11-26 22:05:512010-11-26 22:05:51Local Businesses - is Internet Marketing Worthwhile?
Today Google’s made a major change in Google Places (known to many as Google Maps). The 7-box is no longer a separate entity, but is now merged with the full organic results. This is a game-changer for SEO.