Posts

Google is testing making Posts from Google My Business listings more prominent in search engines, with a unique tab that can appear directly within local search results.

The tab will appear when you either search for a specific business or keyword that includes businesses that have created Google Posts.

As many smaller businesses with Google My Business have yet to take advantage of Google Posts, the new tab gives those who are sharing Posts a spotlight to shine with engaging content and high-quality images.

Likewise, I expect Google is hoping for the inclusion of Posts within the search results will boost the number of listings who are creating and sharing posts through GMB.

The feature is obviously in early testing as some have noticed changes to how the Posts can appear within the tab.

While Matt Southern from Search Engine Journal was able to view two separate carousels (one horizontal and one vertical) of images when viewing the Post tab, others (including myself) are only being shown a single vertical feed of Posts.

The tab is also currently limited to mobile searches and does not show up on desktop versions of Google.

Many think that B2B marketing requires a completely different approach than marketing from a business directly to consumers. There is the belief that they B2B audiences don’t use social media or Google the same way that other audiences do and that you have to use a more “old-school” approach.

However, a new survey from Clutch shows that B2B audiences are just as, if not more likely, to use search engines and social media to find business information as other demographics.

The survey of 384 consumers of online business content found that 87% frequently find business content using search engines, 85% use social media to find business content, and 75% encounter content most frequently on company websites.

The findings show that it is more important than ever for B2B-focused companies to modernize their marketing techniques and connect with clients through popular platforms like Google and Facebook.

As part of ensuring they are working with only the most reliable businesses, B2B customers extensively research the companies and products they need online as part of their purchasing process.

They also widely use the internet to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and news in their industry, providing ample opportunities for businesses to advertise and market themselves in their niche.

According to the survey, nearly half of B2B audiences primarily read business content online to stay aware of the latest happenings in their industry. The second most common reason was to inform their purchasing decisions.

The big takeaway here is that B2B marketing shouldn’t be stuck in the past. Purchasers are incorporating modern sources of business content and doing an increasing amount of their business purchasing online. Unless, you’re making your brand a part of those online conversations and research, you’re missing a chance to bring in customers looking for the products and services you offer.

Pinterest just hit a major milestone and they are celebrating by teasing several new features coming soon.

According to a blog post last week, Pinterest officially surpassed 200 million monthly active users, representing more than 40% growth since last year. Notably, more than half of these users live outside the USA which shows how Pinterest is progressing as a global platform.

At the time of the milestone, Pinterest says that over 100 billion pins had been created. It also notes that 85% of all searches on the platform come from mobile devices.

Of course, the company isn’t using the milestone as an opportunity to relax or slow down. The announcement hints at several features planned for the near future.

“You’ve told us what you want to see next, so we’re building them—it’s that simple,” Pinterest says.

For example, pinch-to-zoom functionality has been widely requested and is slated to be released soon. But, that’s just the beginning. Pinterest is also starting to test “boards-within-boards”, allowing users to create subcategories for their Pinterest boards.

Over the next few weeks, Pinterest will be sending invitations to select users to begin testing the feature – as well testing other new ideas.

The platform is keeping mum about any other projects or features they have coming down the pipeline, but the milestone announcement says you can expect to hear more in the near future.

Everyone knows social media is fickle. You can share something you think is great and get no response, while an offhand post that you threw up blows up with likes, comments, and shares. So what makes the difference?

Of course, there are countless reasons that some things perform better than others on social media, but one of the biggest factors is likely something you haven’t considered – timing.

Timing really is everything on social media, but it can be hard to discern exactly when the best time is for you to start posting. The right time on Twitter may not be the right time on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. Complicating things more, the best times are different for varying industries.

So, how do you figure out when the right time is for you? You could just try different things until something works, but I suggest using the infographic below to take a more informed approach.

The infographic from CoSchedule combines all the best data about timing on social media to give you a complete guide for discovering the prime time for your social media activity. Check it out below or head over to CoSchedule’s site for a more in-depth breakdown.

Single-page websites have taken over the internet lately. More and more businesses are choosing to streamline their sites to get straight to the point, and newer brands are opting to avoid paying to create a dozen or more pages. The question is whether single-page websites are actually good for you and your brand.

Admittedly, there are a few clear benefits from single-page websites. They tend to work well on mobile devices and load more quickly than a site with numerous pages. Since more than half of all searches are now coming from mobile sources, these can help you ensure people on smartphones don’t have to wait to check out your stuff.

There are also a variety of free tools that can help set-up a stylish one-page site, while designing a full multi-page site can cost thousands of dollars.

However, it’s not all roses and sunshine when it comes to single-page websites. Here are a few things to consider before you decide to go minimalist with a one-page website for your brand:

Lack of info

The biggest problem with single-page websites is simply cramming everything your potential customers want to know all on one page.

On a multiple-page website, you can publish all sorts of content and valuable information that helps your visitors become informed and excited about your products or services. When you cut all that down to one page, you lose a lot of the details that can be a deciding factor in turning someone from a visitor to a customer.

Even with a great layout that includes separate sections for different topics or types of services, it is nearly impossible to include everything your variety of visitors want to find.

SEO limitations

Since you can’t fit in as many types of content or information, it is also hard to target as many keywords or phrases as you have in the past. Sites with lots of pages of content can cover a huge range of keywords related to your business, helping you rank on diverse search pages that might draw in different parts of your audience.

On that note, it can also be hard to keep your site looking “active” since you are only updating it for new products or when you change your business’s phone number. Rather than keeping people up-to-date, single-page websites are typically planned to be “evergreen” and need minimal updating. That may sound nice, but search engines tend to prefer sites that are regularly adding new information and resources – not stagnant sites that are only updated a few times a year at most.

Cost vs. Effect

One of the most common reasons I hear for going single-page is that it is cheaper. You don’t have to hire a web designer to customize numerous pages with unique layouts and images or have a writer fill all those pages with copy and content.

That can all be tantalizing, but as the saying goes: “you get what you pay for.” If you use a free or cheap template for your single-page website, you risk looking bland and forgettable because others are using that exact same layout.

Even if you hire someone to create a great single-page layout, it becomes hard to make your page effective. Strategized approaches get cut to fit within the limited mold, and your copy becomes broad to cover as much as possible as quickly as you can.

All-in-all, single-pages require a ton of work to be anywhere as effective as a traditional website. You have to fight an uphill battle to optimize your site for search engines and hope your content is so insanely precise that you aren’t missing any details your customers want. So, if you are choosing a one-page site for its low-cost, you should realize it will cost you one-way or the other down the road.

The final verdict

As with any trend, it can be hard to resist the urge to be up-to-date and hip. But, trends are fleeting because they often aren’t fully thought through. There will always be a small number of brands who benefit from going to a single-page site, but most discover it’s not as great or easy as they thought it would be.

Google has made it easy for businesses to tell users what accessibility features they provide before they ever visit the store with their latest addition to Google My Business listings.

Now, you can add accessibility information about your business or search for places which provide accessibility features like wheelchair ramps and wheelchair-accessible parking.

You can update your listing by simply going to the main menu of Google Maps for Android, pulling up the main menu, and tapping on “Your contributions.” From there, go to “Uncover missing info” and sort by “Accessibility.”

This pulls up locations near you that are missing accessibility information, including your business. Then, you can begin adding accessibility attributes as needed, including:

  • Wheelchair-accessible entrances
  • Wheelchair-accessible elevators
  • Wheelchair-accessible seating, and
  • Wheelchair-accessible parking

The set-up of the new feature allows any users to add accessibility information about any business they visit, but business owners can take the initiative to update their own listings to alert shoppers about what they offer before they make the trip themselves.

Since the release of the new listing information, Google says users have added accessibility information to almost 7 million places worldwide.

Wish you could put personalized messages into search results? Until now, the only way for you to get a specific message out to people finding your business was to send out tweets popular enough to get included or to publish paid search ads.

That’s all changing now, though. Google released a new feature this week called Google Posts for all businesses with a Google My Business Listing. With Google Posts, you can finally share your message on search results without the costs of ads or hit-and-miss nature of social media.

Any time you share a Post, it will appear in search results and Google Maps pages that include your business listing. The message will initially be just a small snippet, but searchers can expand it with a single tap to read more.

There are potentially limitless ways businesses can take advantage of the new feature. Specifically, Google suggests getting started by updating customers with information about new sales, upcoming events, and new product launches to build excitement.

In addition to your customized message, you can also include photos and custom calls-to-action to encourage making a reservation, signing-up for your newsletter, or linking to your latest special offer.

Google Posts are already available to any business with a verified Google My Business account. You can get started sharing your messages and customizing your listings now from any desktop, iOS, or Android device.

Online marketing can be a scary world sometimes. You invest time and money on building up your brand and improving your online visibility, but it can all come crashing down overnight. It’s terrifying to think of, but it is the reality of the internet – everything is always changing.

While there is no 100% guaranteed way to protect your brand from this risk, you can take a few steps to help you sleep easier and feel assured you won’t wake up to a marketing nightmare. As long as you cover these bases, you’ll be safe from the most common disasters that befall brands online.

Don’t let your domain get snatched up

Website domains are kind of a funny thing. They are the foundation you build all your online marketing efforts on. But, once you have it set it is incredibly easy to forget. It’s one of those things that seems like it should last forever.

But, of course, that’s not the case. If you aren’t keeping an eye on things, it can be easy to one day wake up and discover your domain registration has expired. That alone can be enough to make for a stressful morning, but in some cases you may find you have lost your domain entirely.

Having your domain snatched up when it lapses is shockingly common and can happen to businesses of any size. Even huge brands and public figures like the Dallas Cowboys and Microsoft have dropped the ball and had to pay huge amounts to regain control of their domains.

Thankfully, most registrars now offer services to help you maintain control of your domain. Some allow for auto-renewal, while others offer text message warnings before your domain expires. In the case of GoDaddy, the service keeps your domain safe for almost 20 days after it expires so that you can get them back.

Watch your rankings (properly)

I know more than a few business owners who maintain the same ritual. Every few days, they will pull up the browser of choice and check their ranking for a few specific keywords. So long as they remain fairly high on the first page, they stay happy.

If that sounds like you, I have some bad news. The search results you see aren’t necessarily what others are seeing and you may have been sliding down the page for everyone else all this time.

Online marketing disaster

Every major search engine does some form of customizing search results for individual users based on a variety of factors. This can include demographic data, location information, and search behaviors. So, if you’re regularly visiting your website or searching from inside the office, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be high-up when you search for your company.

Instead, get a real look at how you are performing by using an analytics service. There are a number of free services available, but I always recommend Google Analytics as a starting point. The learning curve can feel steep, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you can quickly find everything you want to know about your site’s performance.

Take control of your reputation

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A small business is gaining steam and popularity. Suddenly it all comes screeching to a halt, as your internet traffic dries up and your website stops converting. The culprit? A single bad review in the right place.

It is perhaps the scariest campfire story you can tell a business owner. Sites like Yelp have become notorious for destroying local businesses who handled a negative review the wrong way.

In some cases, the business owners just try to ignore the bad review while it festers and drives away any interested customers. Unfortunately, ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. In even worse situations, a business owner can let their emotions get to them and lash out at the reviewer – a move pretty much guaranteed to make you go viral for reasons you don’t want.

Neither of these is the right approach, and both can cause you headaches for a long time to come.

Thankfully, there is a right way to make sure your online reputation remains stellar no matter how scathing of a review you get from a disgruntled customer – address it head on every time. Rather than letting it get to you, keep an even head and treat every customer how you’d like to be treated. You’d be shocked to see just how many angry customers can be flipped into brand advocates so long as they feel their voice is heard.

The most important thing here is to be sure to watch all the major places people are likely to be talking about your business and be able to respond appropriately. This includes Yelp, Twitter, and Facebook. Check at least once a day to make sure you haven’t gotten any new reviews that need your attention. While you’re at it, it also never hurts to take the time to show your thanks to any positive reviews or mentions you’ve received as well.

These days, everyone knows about content marketing in some form. Whether you’re a business releasing blog posts and videos, or a consumer downloading ebooks and clicking on sponsored posts, there’s no denying that content marketing is ubiquitous in the modern day.

But, you might be surprised to learn this isn’t a new phenomenon. Content marketing has been around long before the social media, blogs, or even the internet.

It would be hard to pin down exactly when someone got the idea to promote something through content in some form, but Uberflip suggests content marketing’s seeds go all the way back to cave paintings in their Back to the Future themed infographic.

Let’s hop in the Delorean and check out all the landmarks and milestones that have shaped our modern content obsessed culture with A Visual History of Content Marketing:

A Visual History of Content Marketing

Last month, Google told the world it would be shuttering its Google Trusted Stores program, its long-standing ratings and certification program. Well the time has come, as the program said farewell this week. In its place, Google has launched “Google Customer Reviews” – a new ratings program that aims to be more accurate and valuable to consumers.

Customer Reviews vs. Google Reviews

The launch of the new program has brought some confusion, as Google now has two separate ratings systems.

The classic ratings system allows users to leave reviews and ratings on any business’s listing. These “Google Reviews” are then aggregated into the search results. While the system mostly works, there is one big issue – literally anyone can leave a review, whether they’ve been to your business or not.

With “Customer Reviews”, Google is aiming to make reviews more accurate and reliable by only allowing those who have legitimately made a purchase from the business’s website. That means no trolls bringing down your rankings, but the new program really only works for online retailers.

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After you’ve collected some reviews, you can highlight your high rankings on your site with a customizable badge.

Notably missing from the program is the customer protection aspect of the Trusted Stores program. Online businesses will have to turn to other certification programs to help prove they are a legitimate and reputable business.

How To Join Google Customer Reviews

Businesses that were already participating in the Trusted Stores program have been automatically migrated over to the new program.

If you’re an online merchant who isn’t already participating in the program, follow these four steps:

  1. Sign into or sign up for a Google Merchant Center account.
  2. Select “Merchant Center programs” from the dropdown menu in the upper-right corner.
  3. Click “Get Started” within the Google Customer Reviews card and accept the Program Agreement.
  4. Add the survey opt-in code to your site.

Once you’ve gotten all set up, you can put the badge code for displaying your seller rating anywhere you want on your website.