Why Running Your Business on Old Technology is Unacceptable

It’s always tempting to keep the tech you have, rather than making both yourself and your team learn brand new systems and computer programs. But, while old tech might be comfortable to keep using, you are short changing yourself and your business capabilities by sticking with only the tried and true, and not upgrading. You could be leaving both yourself and your clients at risk, and kneecapping your business capabilities in the marketplace. What sort of problems can you have, and why is running your business on old technology unacceptable?

Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

The first concern you need to face is that using an older interface can keep you from being as secure, both in information and in monetary data. This leaves your customers insecure as well, and it only takes one breach to lose the confidence of those you depend upon for business. Upgrading to newer technology can help protect against the ever-changing cyber security issues which face businesspeople. Knowing that your, and your client’s, data is as secure as possible and has all current cyber security upgrades possible gives you peace of mind. Keep your data and money in your own accounts!

Higher Costs

You don’t have to throw out everything you own if it’s working, naturally. But, the speed of the products you’re working with does impact your ability to do business. Whether it’s a computer with a full hard drive, or programs running slowly in the background, every one of those minutes lost represents money you could have had. A poorly designed website, for instance, can drive away consumers even during the best of sales. While having to micromanage a single worker who doesn’t quite do what he’s asked, or does it slowly, is frustrating, doing the same with software steals from your capability as a business owner.

Lost Work to Competitors

Anything from an old credit card machine that gets confused by modern chip-cards, or not having a mobile site for those on the go can prevent customers from knowing that you are, indeed, a person to be reckoned with. If you were to have two stalls side by side at a festival, for instance, and one business owner had the capability to take credit cards or venmo payments, and the other did not, which do you think would be more profitable? You want to make it easier to purchase your wares, regardless of what goods and services you sell, than your competition in your area. Ease of sales makes a massive amount of profitability.

Decreased Productivity

Any time there is a decrease in your productivity, it’s your job to figure out why. Older technology, working on older systems, can prevent you from being able to build your business in a healthy manner. Accounting software helps you hit deadlines and prevent clients from getting left behind. When doing work online, having machinery with sufficient brainpower to match the brains behind the keyboard is important for both speed and capability as well. The slower the software and hardware, the less you can complete, and the more emotional toll and strain it takes upon the workers using the outdated systems.

Fewer Crashes

Whether online or off, you want to make the purchasing process simple and smooth for your customers, but also for your team. No workers, regardless of how dedicated, want to work on outdated systems that frequently crash. Worse, if you have no IT contractor on site, a sitewide crash can prevent work for an entire afternoon. If this happens a couple of times a month, you have not only lost time, but can be bleeding money from both loss of customer time and from losing your worker’s ability to do their work. Everybody wants to be able to get things done on time…it’s up to you to make that possible.

Warranty Repairs

When you run a small business, you might have been told that having a rental company is the best way to provide all the technology that you need. However, while that is the older form of providing for your business, it can cause complications. For example, you are at the mercy of when and where a rental company can provide assistance if there is a breakdown of products. However, with newer tech, you have the chance to use warranty repair from the companies from which you bought the technology and software. Your issues are covered quickly and often remotely, saving a lot of work lag time.

Cloud 9

Businesses who had already moved their primary work and storage to the cloud or various cloud-based systems found themselves more easily capable of going remote in 2019 when the pandemic hit America. As more and more remote workers are finding their place in the marketplace, business owners are realizing that there might be workers across the country who are spectacular for a job in their remote offices. This gives you an edge, while helping employ those who might otherwise not be capable of physically being in the office, due to either distance or physical disability.

Brand Reputation

If your business has older technology, whether second hand monitors or ancient desktops running older OS, your client sees and makes a snap judgment about whether or not you are capable and efficient at the work that you do. Make sure that you put your first impression under a microscope. What do you see? If your tech is the equivalent of a pile of dusty old magazines and a tacky plastic potted plant in an office, it’s best to realize your brand image might be suffering.

If you’ve not done a software update in a while, or if your hardware needs speed in order to best serve your company, think ahead to use your tax write offs! As a small business owner, being able to do business at speed not only helps you, but also your community. As both are dedicated to growing and flourishing, finding the balance of updated older tech and new tech you need is critical.

Read this next: 16 Digital Marketing Trends to try in 2022

16 Digital Marketing Trends to try in 2022

Try these Digital Marketing Ideas in 2022

As 2021 draws to an end, it is time to start planning your editorial calendar for 2022. While there is a lot of chatter about using AI technology to make marketing easier, many small-and-medium-sized companies find that technology cost-prohibitive. Instead of giving up on digital marketing, consider these techniques for 2022.

 

1. Mobile-friendly Websites

Your website needs to be responsive so that it displays appropriately on any device. Take a look at your website and see where you can reduce scrolling, pinching and panning. Create with a fluid grid instead of pixels. Make sure that all areas where you need users to input data are large enough so that people can efficiently complete the task. Set rules so that only the most essential information displays on smaller devices. Create rules so that images display correctly or not at all, depending on the device’s size.

If your website needs an overhaul to comply with mobile standards, we offer affordable website design plans for businesses small and large!

 

2. Local SEO/ Google Map Optimization

With Google’s latest algorithm changes, the company said that they consider user experience to be the most important factor when ranking websites. Therefore, you must ensure that your website loads quickly, provide the content they want and is easy to navigate.

Google My Business is a key to advertising for small-and-medium-sized businesses. Take advantage of the space to promote products that your customers are likely to want the most. Make the most of this space by filling your description with keywords your customers are likely to use. Post directly to Google My Business so that customers see your information directly on your listing, which can take up to 50$ of the SERP when someone enters your company name.

Optimizing for Google maps can be paramount to your success, so consider these tips.

  • A large percentage of your backlinks should come from high-quality business directories that people can easily access online.
  • Keep Google My Business fresh. You can have up to 10 pictures and photos on your Google My Business. Additionally, you can add a call to action directly from your listing.
  • Ensure all citations are up-to-date. Aim to have your business listed everywhere using the same company name, address and phone number.
  • Add rich snippets to your website’s content. Use the automatic rich snippet generator from Google to increase the space that your website listing gets on SERPS. This will also help Google put you in the correct category on Google maps.

3. Content Marketing

There is usually a bounce upwards after a website hits 100 posts, but after that point, longer posts are generally more effective than several smaller ones in promoting your company. Unless you are in a fast-paced industry, like entertainment or fashion, consider creating longer posts filled with great detail.

Long-form content is more likely to capture your audience’s attention. Furthermore, since it takes people longer to read them, it increases time spent on your site, which often increases how your website ranks in the SERPs.

You may want to consider creating:

  • How-to guides
  • Buyer guides
  • Tutorials
  • Resource lists
  • Industry definitions
  • Case studies

You may want to consider different formattings, like whitepapers, ebooks and blogs.

Long-form content can be very effective at building your voice as an industry leader. Viewers often see it as someone who understands their pain points because the longer form allows you to have room to offer a complete solution. Since people are happier with the content, they are more likely to share it with their friends and family. Longer content is also more likely to attract links that can be important in building your domain authority. Long-form content can increase conversion rates by up to 30%. It is effortless to repurpose long-form content for other purposes, like podcasts, presentations and webinars.

 

4. Online Reviews

While not a new trend, the importance of online reviews will continue to be big in 2022, you need to include customer testimonies on your site because it builds your reputation. You should always ask for reviews when your customer is likely to be the happiest with your product or service.

If you are not happy with the number of reviews that customers are leaving you, then:

  • Make sure that you have a process in place that makes it easy for customers to leave you a review.
  • Provide a template for reviews
  • Send a personalized email or message asking for the review.
  • Explain to loyal customers why you appreciate them leaving you a review

 

5. Google Features

In addition to Featured Snippets and Google My Business, there are other features that small-and-medium-sized companies may want to consider:

• Knowledge panels – These panels that look similar to Google My Business usually contain more details. They are often given to companies that provide good information in that listing and have established domain authority.

• Local pack – These three listings appear at the top of some SERP pages where the user is looking for a particular item, such as a restaurant, gas station or campground. Google selects these entities based on relevance, proximity and prominence.

• Top stories – You may be able to get your news stories published in this feature by submitting your RSS feeds, website URLs, or videos to Google’s Publisher Center.

•Video packs- These are usually YouTube videos. Increase the chances of Google choosing your video by using video Schema markup.

• Related questions – Watch when you enter your keywords into the SERP and see if a list of questions appears. Write good 40–50-word answers to those questions, and you may be able to win a featured snippet.

• Shopping Results – To have a product chosen by Google, make sure you have used Schema product markup and gotten lots of good reviews.

6. Conversational marketing

The pandemic has made many software companies lower prices on conversational marketing software, so it has become more available to smaller businesses.

While your conversion rate may have risen during 2021, stop and think about the customers that did not buy, although you gave them great information wrapped in a pretty package. Now, imagine that you had a way to reach those customers and answer their questions while they are considering your products. People naturally prefer two-way conversations, and conversational marketing makes that possible at a reasonable cost. Many companies have discovered that it has raised their conversions by up to 70%.

The second advantage of conversational marketing is that you can qualify leads easily. This makes your marketing much more agile so that your sales team reaches out quickly to the best prospects.

Conversational marketing also builds trust in your company. This is particularly important for new companies who are still trying to establish a loyal customer base.

Conversational marketing allows you to integrate potential customers who engage with your company into one platform, making your website, direct marketing efforts, and social marketing valuable. This allows to connect with more customers and lead them through the sales funnel at a lower cost.

7 . Video Marketing

Video marketing is not going anywhere, and it probably will not for the next 10 years. Therefore, if you are not already using this technique, you need to add it to your repertoire now. 90% of potential customers in a recent survey indicated they wanted to see videos before making a purchase. Another survey found that companies who used video marketing grew 49% faster than those who did not.

Video marketing is a great way to build brand awareness without spending a lot of money. You can host the video on YouTube, which is the second-largest search engine in the world. Then, embed it into your website or share it on your social media feed. Depending on the video, you may also be able to use only the audio as a podcast. It is easy to set up a television to play your videos in a loop if you do trade shows and other events.

Since about 65% of your target audience are visual learners, video makes it easy to capture their attention. Most people can recall visual content that they see three days later, which is much longer than written or audio content. Additionally, creating a video often makes it easy to teach your audience a difficult concept to explain when only using words.

The types of videos that you can produce are almost endless. You may want to consider:

  • Documentaries with your branding in front or at the end
  • Branded informational videos
  • Product demonstrations
  • Product promotions
  • Product launch videos
  • Crowd-funding videos
  • Animated explainer videos
  • Live feeds
  • User-generated videos
  • Stunt videos
  • Event videos
  • Infomercials
  • Customer testimonials
  • Product reviews
  • Unboxing videos
  • Behind-the-scene videos
  • Customer support videos
  • Frequently asked questions videos

8. Interactive Content

Interactive content is any content that relies on user input to deliver a helpful answer. Using this type of content can be a fabulous way to build engagement, capture more leads and create customer loyalty.

Interactive content is helpful at each step of the sales funnel. For example, at the top interactive quizzes are a perfect way to collect data on customers interested in your product to create other marketing that shows the viewer how your product meets their needs and where they need more education.

In the middle of the funnel, interactive content is excellent at helping the buyer make a buying decision by allowing them to enter specifics about their situation. Then, you can recommend your solution.

At the bottom of the funnel, 360-degree videos are a beautiful way to encourage buyers to go ahead and make the buying decision. You can also upsell during these videos by surrounding the product with useful accessories.

There are many types of interactive content that you may want to consider, including:

  • Interactive quizzes
  • Interactive infographics
  • 360-degree videos
  • Polls
  • Surveys
  • Calculators
  • Assessments
  • Ebooks
  • Emails
  • Webinars
  • Mobile apps
  • Mobile games
  • Troubleshooting tools
  • How-to guides
  • Interactive timelines
  • Augmented reality overlays

9. SERP Position Zero

Often called featured snippets, SERP Position Zero can get your website a lot of traffic. These snippets appear above the fold for many user search queries. While Google advises trying to optimize content for featured snippets, there are some tips you will want to keep in mind to try to capture this coveted position as featured snippets result in 35.1% of all clicks.

About 82% of all featured snippets are in paragraph form, and they usually incorporate a long-tail keyword. While Google will not tell its secret on exactly how it chooses website information to display, they take most featured snippets from websites already ranking high on those keywords in SERPs.

Create content that uses language that your customers use. Featured snippets are almost always well written and answer specific questions from your target audience. Most answers are between 40 and 50 words long. If you cannot adequately cover the answer in that length, consider creating a video as Google and other search engines often use them in SERP position zeros.

Especially if you are a newer company, you may want to think about using keywords with no feature snippet. A recent survey showed that the top search engine ranking on webpages where there was no feature snippet received 6% more hits than when a feature snippet was present.

10. Mobile Commerce

Mobile commerce will continue to grow in 2022. In 2020, customers spent about $339.03 billion online, and consumers made over 50% of those purchases from a mobile device.

Think about the different payment methods that you are going to offer. In particular:

  • Choose a payment method designed to grow with your business.
  • Select a payment method that allows customers to pay quickly and securely to ensure that you leave your customers happy with their experience.
  • Consider fees charged by your payment processor and how you plan to handle those fees.
  • Pick a payment provider with clear analytics so that you can see how your customers are paying and other data.
  • Pick out a provider offering smooth and timely procedures for payouts, refunds, and disbursements.
  • Make sure that you can easily integrate the provider’s code into your website.

11. Alternative Search Engines

Newscasters and others have made a lot of noise in 2021 about big platforms controlling users too much and collecting data that they do not need, often without users’ permission. Therefore, you need to constantly be tracking which platforms your users are using.

Google has consistently lost market share to other search engines, but over 88% of all users continue to use this platform.

In June 2021, Bing received 1.08 billion unique monthly views. In the United States, Bing has over a 34% market share because it cooperated with Microsoft, and that share is growing. Advertising on Bing is very similar to Google Ads, but their agreements with Microsoft allow them to reach at least 66 million users that Google cannot reach.

There are many reasons that you may want to seek out alternatives to Google. The average small business spends about $8,500 per month on Google Ads, which is too much for many small businesses to handle. Additionally, the cost for each customer that clicks on your advertising can be over $50, and they average about $1.50.

12. Social Messaging

Experts predict that 60% of all customer engagements will happen through social messaging before the end of 2022. You cannot afford to lose those customers to your competitors who have embraced this technology. Social messaging is hugely successful because your customers are already using Facebook Messenger, WeChat, WhatsApp, and other platforms. Therefore, when you advertise through social messaging, you engage your customers where they are already comfortable.

Secondly, customers repeatedly say that they want speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service. Especially when you combine social messaging with chatbots, it is easy to deliver those elements to customers in wow moments that will quickly capture their attention.

Customers expect a personalized shopping experience, and it is easy to deliver that through social messaging. You can divide your customer list into different segments and send just the right message for where they are in the buyer’s journey and what products are most likely to capture their attention.

Successful marketing is never a one-way street. It is effortless to capture new insights about your customers through social messaging. This allows you to respond to negative feedback right away and helps you capture more sales when the customer is happiest with their most recent purchase.

Recent surveys show that customers expect to engage more with companies through social messaging in the future, and you cannot afford to get left behind.

13. Visual Search

Visual search allows users to capture an image and search for that product online using the image. Over 90% of the data received by the brain is visual, and you need part of those images to be yours.

Visual search is different than image search because the user enters an image without entering any text. Therefore, it is excellent for those marketing in areas where a picture speaks volumes, such as fashion, home décor and travel.

In a world that seems to be constantly going faster than ever, visual search allows users to find items online quicker. Researchers asked a group to find a particular item online. Those using text-based search found the item in two minutes and 31 seconds. Meanwhile, those who used visual search found the item in 37 seconds.

Additionally, marketing with visual search is a fantastic way to sell more to customers. Imagine that your potential customer has found an outfit online that they love. When each item can be visually searched, you can sell them the pants, shoes, tops and accessories. Then, imagine that customer loves everything about the item, but the shoes. You can easily use images on your website to show them different shoes that look great with the outfit.

A massive benefit of visual search is that you can use programs to create tags for you. You no longer have to spend hours trying to decide what words a potential customer would use to describe that item because the program does it automatically for you. This is a huge benefit when it comes to SEO and having the right keywords on your site.

14. Social Media Stories

Over 1 billion people see stories daily on Facebook-controlled platforms alone. Furthermore, people are more likely to swipe or click on links included in stories than on links contained in traditional social media. You have probably seen these stories on apps like WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.

There are many benefits of using social media stories, including:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Creating more engagement with your followers
  • Cost-effective advertising
  • Increase traffic to webpages
  • Reach a younger target audience

15. Social Commerce

Instagram and Tik Tok are changing the world of social commerce in a big way, and it is likely to become even more significant in 2022. Over 4.48 billion people use social media, and that number has more than doubled in the last six years. Most users are active on at least six different platforms. Find success by positioning your company where your target audience is online. Almost 50% of people in the world use social media.

Secondly, social commerce is a fantastic way to increase your SEO efforts. While there is some debate about the exact numbers, the more you can get people to engage with your social media accounts, the higher your site will rank on search engines if all other things are equal.

Social commerce is a powerful branding tool. You will get authentic engagement that will keep your company at the forefront of people’s minds. Therefore, even if they never place an order when their friends are looking for the products they sell, you are likely to be the first company to pop into their minds.

Social commerce also gives you a platform to build customer trust. As people watch you interact with people who leave comments, they will form a positive impression of your company. This can be key to getting customers to place larger orders.

16. Geotargeting

You may have come out of a business and received a short message promoting a nearby business. This technology, usually based on radio-frequency, can be a great way to encourage people to take a specific action that you want them to take, such as visiting your physical location. While this technology has been around for a while, there are new uses for it worth considering.

You will want to keep in mind several points if you are going to try location-based advertising.

A larger geotarget will cost you more money than a smaller one, but more people may see your advertising. Try setting up several smaller geotargets within 5 minutes of your physical location.

Craft messages that connect with your target audience. Just because someone is in a particular location does not necessarily mean your products will interest them, so you need to create messages that connect with customers.

Your message should give those receiving it a reason to come in. You may want to offer a small discount or a free item if a person responds to your geofence marketing. Of course, you need a compelling call-to-action telling your audience exactly what you want them to do.

Using different types of geofencing helps ensure that you reach the maximum number of people in your target audience. You may want to set your geofencing to only display during a specific time of day or when the user completes a particular behavior. You can also set geofences to show to all people who visit a specific website. This makes them very useful for retargeting customers who have already visited your website or physical location.

 

Setting Your Digital Marketing Goals for 2022

Now that you understand the trends, it is time to set your marketing goals for 2022. To get you thinking in the right direction, consider putting a goal for the year in each of these categories and working on them regularly throughout the year.

As with all goals, they should be SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Then, rate your progress regularly.

  • Mobile-friendly websites
  • SEO
  • Local SEO/Google Maps Optimization
  • Online Reviews
  • Content Marketing
  • SERP Position Zero
  • Alternative Search Engines
  • Mobile Commerce
  • Conversational marketing
  • Chatbots
  • Video Marketing
  • Social Messaging
  • Visual Search
  • Social Commerce
  • Interactive Content
  • Geotargeting

Now that you have your marketing goals in place for 2022, you may feel overwhelmed and wonder how you will accomplish all that you need to before the end of the year. Let us help you meet your digital marketing goals in 2022.

 

References

 

Google Algorithm Changes September 2021

Google Algorithm Update September 2021

If you manage a website, there are some Google algorithm updates and new features that you need to implement. September was a quieter month than the summer when Page User experience rolled out, but you should not have stopped working on your site throughout the month.

Google Discover Rollout

Google is rolling out a new feature that allows people to follow your site and get automatic notifications whenever you post a new article. To take advantage of this feature, you need either an RSS or an Atom feed on your website.

Google Warns Against Republishing Content

Google’s John Mueller once again warned webmasters not to republish content found on another site if they want to rank for those keywords. He says you can share content from another site if you are trying to broaden your audience, but you will not rank well for the chosen keywords.

Updates to Google News

Google will no longer require webmasters to enable amp for their news stories to appear in Google News. Furthermore, users will be sent to the publisher’s site to read the store instead of reading it from an RSS feed.

Google Rolls Out New Automotive Features Section

Google users in the United States can now learn more about the vehicle they are considering straight from the Google search engine page. This feature shows possible prices for different trim levels and various options. Google says they license this content, and it does not come from the internet.

Use Product Structured Markup/ Schema

Google’s John Mueller says that you still should use product structured markup/schema even if you do not have product reviews on your website. You either need reviews, the aggregate rating, or offers to use this markup, but you do not need all three.

Google Adds New Features for Travel and Leisure Businesses

Google has added a new ticket button to their listings of attractions. They are also creating new things to do listings that will include images, reviews, pricing and a booking link that will be shown to users that indicate an interest in an attraction or a particular area. They are also offering a new eco-certified badge for hotel listings.

Google Releases New E-commerce SEO Guide

Google has released a new seven-page e-commerce SEO guide designed to help businesses take their business online. Covered topics include:

  • Understanding where e-commerce content can appear on Google
  • How to share your product data with Google
  • The importance of using structured data in e-commerce
  • How to launch a new e-commerce website
  • How to design a URL structure for an e-commerce website
  • Help understanding an e-commerce website’s structure
  • Learn common UX patterns

Google Search Makes Changes

Google Search has announced that they are rolling out several changes to search result pages. Viewers will now be able to use a “visually browsable” interface. The company has also added more information to their about this result box, including information pulled from a company’s about us page and what others are saying about the company.

 

Sources:

Google Algorithm Update August 2021

Google Algorithm update

Changes to Google Search August 2021

As everyone was scrambling to adjust to Google’s Page Experience update in June and July, Google also rolled out a Link Spam update starting on July 26 and not ending until August 24. Learn more about this update and others in this roundup.

Link Spam Update

If you are using affiliate links, be sure you qualify them with rel=”sponsored” regardless of how you create them. If you do not, you may get hit with a manual action penalty. Ensure that if you are using sponsored or guest posts, you are using appropriate rel codes. As always, use high-quality links that your users will find helpful. Google reinforced that you can link to a domain with lower authority than your site without being hurt as long as you are linking to valuable content.

Google Changes Title Procedures

Google announced that they changed the way that they are generating some titles. They say they have changed titles if they were very long, stuffed with keywords, or the page lacks title tags. About 80% of the time, according to the company, they are still relying on the h1 header or the title that webmasters have indicated in some other way. The company says they may add site names where they feel that information is helpful to viewers.

Google rolled out the new process on August 17, and they say they are already making refinements in the process. Google insists that users prefer the process. When Google makes the change, they will usually use content found in another header on the page, but that is not always the case. In some cases, it is even taking the title from a different page pointed to in the content.

If you need help on your website or need a complete audit to show you what needs improvement, contact us as we are always ready to lend a helping hand.

Resources
Search Herold
Google Developers
Search Engine Land
Brodie Clark
Google Developers

Google Algorithm Updates July 2021

Google Algorithm

Google algorithm update – July

It has undoubtedly been a busy summer for webmasters trying to cope with the algorithm updates that Google has been handing out since the end of May. Before these rollouts began, Google measured user experience by mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS security and intrusive interstitial guidelines. While those factors are still important, the two-part Google Page User algorithm added at least three new metrics that webmasters need to focus on.

Largest Contentful Paint

The largest contentful paint measures the amount of time that it takes the most important content on your website to load. You need a load time of less than 2.5 seconds. Various factors can influence load time, including compressing large images, eliminating third-party scripts, securing sufficient web hosting services and creating an order where your most essential content loads first.

First Input Delay

The first input delay measures the time between the user clicking on a clickable object on your website and the website’s response. This score will be created only for pages where user input is needed, so pages like your blog will not have a score. Ideally, Google wants to see this measurement at 100 milliseconds or less. Improve this score by taking a look at your JavaScript. Eliminate JavaScript where possible and break large chunks into smaller pieces.

Cumulative Layout Shift

Cumulative layout shift measures how much images and other items move around on the page as it loads. A score of less than .1 is acceptable. Ensure that all images, ads and embedded elements have set dimensions. Ensure that you have reserved enough space for ads and images and that your web fonts display correctly. Furthermore, make sure that dynamically injected content loads below existing content.

Google Link Spam Update

While webmasters were still trying to cope with the impacts of the Google Page User update, the company began rolling out a Google Spam Update on July 23. Google announced this update by reminding people who are using affiliate links to qualify them with rel=”sponsored” in the code. Google also reminded webmasters that it was vital when monetizing their sites by using guests posts to code them appropriately. The best way to create links is to build good content. Then, natural links to that content will occur.

Especially with Page User Update, it may be difficult for small-and-mid-sized businesses to have the expertise to fix problems. We would love to be of assistance to you during that process.

 

Resources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2021/07/08/key-things-to-know-about-googles-2021-page-experience-update/?sh=133bf81f68c2
https://yoast.com/page-experience-google-ranking-factor/
https://www.semrush.com/blog/google-july-2021-core-update/
https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2021/07/link-tagging-and-link-spam-update
https://www.seroundtable.com/google-link-spam-update-31820.html

Google Algorithm Updates June 2021

Google algorithm updates

June Google Algorithm Update

Starting on June 2, 2021, Google rolled out a core algorithm update. Unlike regular algorithm updates, these updates are designed to affect every site. The company says that they failed to get parts of the algorithm update ready. Therefore, they will release another core algorithm update in July. It is unprecedented for Google to release back-to-back core algorithm updates.

One of the most significant changes with this core algorithm update is that reference sites moved up noticeably in the search engine ratings. This was especially true of Wikipedia. Google seems to have put renewed emphasis on sites providing definitions to words that users may not know how to define. Likewise, many news sites saw their visibility rise.

One of the biggest losers was travel sites, especially those relying on user-generated data. Often, a site featuring a particular place replaced these websites.

Product review and affiliate sites also saw sizable losses in many cases. In many cases, health, parenting and wellness sites also saw significant losses.

If this update has dinged you, ensure you create unique content designed to meet every possible need of your target audience. Especially with health and wellness websites, ensure that you are linking out to the latest reputable studies.

Page User Update

Google also released a page user update on June 15, 2021, and they say that the rollout will continue through the end of August. Site owners can view their score in the Google Search Console. Remember that this update applies only to mobile sites. Google says that most sites will not see a drastic change with this rollout. They will be looking for several different factors, including:

  • Compliant with core web vitals
  • Mobile-friendly
  • No security issues
  • Must be HTTPS
  • No intrusive ads

A significant change in this update is that AMP is no longer needed for Google to place a story in their news carousel.

Danny Sullivan with Google says that webmasters should not worry too much about this update. He says that it will be used only as a tiebreaker when ranking sites that are close together.

Spam Update
On June 23 and 28, 2021, Google released spam updates. If your site was hard hit starting on those days, ensure that you have not been hit by a spammer. Google claims that they can spot over 90% of these sites and prevent users from reaching them.

As always, if we can be of help to you, please reach out to us.

Google Algorithm Update May 2021

Google Algorithm Update May 2021

After getting everyone primed for a big User Experience update in May, Google decided to hold off a little longer. That does not mean that there was not plenty of other SEO news in May 2021. The month started with an algorithm update, and it kept moving forward.

Product Review Update

While Google initially rolled out its Product Review Update on April 3, many webmasters saw further changes in their rankings from April 30 to May 2. This appears to be a tweaking of the original update. This English-only update impacted single-review sites and roundup review sites. If your site was brutally hit, review each page on your website to ensure that it offers expert advice. Compare the product with past models and help website users understand what sets it apart from the product’s competitors.

Another Google My Business Keyword Stuffing Warning

John Mueller once again warned against keyword stuffing. The results are clear that using keywords in your company name improves its rankings in Google My Business. If you have been tempted to add keywords to your business name, you will receive a penalty from Google about 40% of the time. You may receive a soft suspension where you can no longer make changes to your listing or a hard suspension where your listing is removed. Soft suspensions rarely affect rankings.

What Does Google Expect to see Above the Fold?

An interesting discussion this month is what Google expects to see when they are looking at your site without having to scroll. John Mueller says that Google wants to see some content above the fold. He uses the example of a hotel that displays a photo of their property or an award they have won and a little bit of information above the fold. It is no longer necessary to try to force your keywords into this area. Additionally, Google’s John Muir says that you can have as many H1 tags as you want on a webpage. Your headers, including h2, h3 and so on, should indicate the page’s content.

Core Web Values

Throughout May, there has been a lot of chatter about Core Web Values. While the big Page User Update has been pushed back to at least mid-June, improving your Core Web Values can help your site rank better today. These vitals focus on loading, interactivity, and visual stability as measured by loading content paint, first input delay and cumulative input shift.

If you need help preparing for the Page User Update, contact us. Those who move early are likely to see positive changes now, along with more changes once the algorithm is released in mid-June.

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Top 10 Ways To Boost E-commerce Sales

Increase Your E-Commerce Sales

Moving customers through the sales funnel is key to your e-commerce business. Yet, it can be challenging to connect with them and convince them that you have the right answer to their issues. Since your target audience is never without their smartphones with the internet on it, you must connect with your customers each step of the way. The companies who do it best are successful. Some techniques have proven more successful than others, so you will want to be sure and use them.

1. Connect With Your Target Audience Where They Are

The more you keep your company’s name at the forefront of your audience’s minds, the more likely they are to think of you when they need your products. Almost every company can benefit from posting on Facebook regularly. The best time to post depends on your type of business. Consider these survey results:

  • Consumer goods- Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and Fridays at 11 a.m.
  • Media- Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 5 p.m. Friday at 8:30 a.m.
  • Education – Wednesdays at 9 a.m. and Saturdays at 5 p.m.
  • Nonprofits- Wednesdays and Fridays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Technology – Wednesdays from 9-to-11 a.m.
  • Healthcare- Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-to-12 p.m.
  • Finance – Wednesdays at 12 p.m.
  • Recreation – Tuesdays at 2 p.m., Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and Fridays at 11 a.m.

2. Use Influencers to Create Buzz Around Your Company

You can change a lot of people’s minds when the right influencers are promoting your company. If you are a small-to-mid-size company, consider using multiple influencers that have a smaller following. Before hooking up with an influencer, spend some time learning about their followers as you want their followers and your target audience to match as closely as possible. If you are working with a limited budget, adding small influencers can help you attract more attention.

3. Employ Instagram-worthy Photos

While you can find plenty of free photo sites, they will not have the same impact as having a professional take photo of your products. Design each image to have an emotional effect on your target audience. People love to see themselves when they look at your photos, so choose options that feature people like your target audience. Select images that help to emphasize the unique selling points of your products.

4. Utilize Structured Data

On average, creating structured data for each of your web pages increases click-through rates by 43%, impressions by 1% and average position by 12%. Part of the reason is that your site is more likely to get selected for one of Google’s unique features, such as their shopping carts, knowledge panels, and other notable aspects appearing at the top of their page. They make the process simple by offering an easy-to-use tool to add to your code. If your site operates on WordPress, you can even use a tool to take most of the manual labor out of the process.

5. Garner Reviews

Over 70% of customers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision, with the average customer reading 10 reviews before deciding on the product meeting their needs the best. Therefore, you should make it easy for customers to find your reviews by claiming sites where your customers are most likely to look. Create ways to make it easy for customers to leave reviews when they are happiest with your products. Be sure to react to the reviews left regularly. Customers usually ignore reviews written more than three months ago, so you must keep harvesting new reviews an ongoing priority. Depending on your industry, some sites you may want to claim include:

  • Yelp
  • TripAdvisor
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Angie’s List
  • Choice
  • Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Consumer Reports
  • Manta

6. Claim Your Google My Business Page

If you have not already done so, you need to claim your Google My Business page. This location is one of the first places where customers will leave reviews, and you will want others to read those reviews and your responses. Not only does your target audience member see this pop up when they Google the name of your business, but Google is also more likely to pull from this section when they are creating their unique features. Therefore, you should take the time to optimize your listing. Start by filling out your business profile. Take advantage of Google Posts to promote sales, information and other details about your business. As with other reviews, you should be responding to the reviews regularly. You should also write your business description carefully so that it contains your most important keywords without looking spammy.

7. Create a Strong Navigation System

Do not frustrate your customers by making them spend hours on your site before they arrive at the products that they are most interested in buying, or they will head to your customer’s site. Most people look at a webpage in an F pattern. Imagine an F appearing on your page and put the product’s critical details somewhere along that imaginary line. If you have many products to offer, consider letting them lazy load as you only have about two seconds to get your website loaded before your customer heads to your competition. In order to encourage sales, it takes a great product described using your company’s tone by an outstanding copywriter on a well-designed page.

8. Offer a Secure Buying System

Almost 70% of shopping carts are abandoned, but you can do things to lower that number. Start by looking at your additional costs, such as shipping and handling, to see that you have them set at reasonable fees. Offer the customer a small reward for giving you their email address early in their visit and automatically complete this part of the form. Gather only the information that you need to complete the sale. Give your customers an opportunity to checkout as a guest. Allow customers to pay in as many ways as possible. Complete the steps to get an SSL certificate on your site. Provide straightforward ways to reach your customer service and equip the agents to answer most questions.

9. Give Your Customer More Than They Expect

There are many ways that you can give your customers more than they expect. Even if you must raise your prices a little, consider offering free shipping or free shipping over a reasonable dollar amount. Create opt-in offers that allow you to capture their email address. Suggest packages that give customers bargains if they buy more at one time.

10. Make Use of Remarketing Techniques

One of the keys to successful remarketing is to hyper-focus on what pages a customer visited. For example, if a customer reads one blog and left, you will want to capture them with a general message. Alternatively, if the customer visited several pages and looked at products in one of your categories, target them specifically with content fitting that category. Spend some of your resources retargeting customers who have brought from you in the past. Assuming they were happy with their first purchase, they are more likely to return and statistics show that they will usually buy more at one time.

Keep these tips in mind and watch your e-commerce business thrive. If you need help implementing them, be sure to contact us.

Google Algorithm Updates March 2021

Google Algorithm for March 2021

Google started the month with an update to their page speed score and released lots of news during the month. Let’s look at all the various things that happened in the world of SEO during March 2021.

Google Page Speed Updates

While you may have taken steps to improve your page speed, Google changed how they measured it, so everyone got an instant reward. Since Google is now using HTTP/2 protocol to gather page speed, you should be using an HTTP/2 host. If your host is only HTTP/1.x, then you need to find out how to activate the HTTP/2. Once activated, be sure to test it with a tool like Google’s Lighthouse to be sure it is working.

Core Web Values Update

When Google introduced Core Web Values in December 2020, many websites struggled to meet those requirements. Google announced on the last day of March that pages with the best content would still outrank pages with worse content, regardless of the Core Web Value score. It is still a great idea to work towards improving your site’s score.

Evasive Ad Content

Google is extending its Evasive Ad Content policy to include text in domains, subdomains, and logos. It also prohibits using UNICODE characters in ads unless they deem that those characters add value to ad viewers.

URLs Too Similar

Google’s John Mueller says that if the company crawls two pages and discovers that they contain similar content, they assume that all pages with a similar URL structure have duplicated or very similar content. This mainly comes into play with websites containing city names. For example, you may have very similar content on pages listing hotels in a big city and its suburbs. If that is the case, then Mueller suggests that you use rel canonical. Then, Google recognizes that each page is essential and keeps it indexed.

Google’s Rich Result Page Updates

Google made two changes to their rich result pages, impacting your report in the Google Web Console. There are new requirements in job posting structured data. These changes are likely a result of Google releasing its Career Certification Courses. The second change is that the company is now checking FAQ and Q&A structured data below the root level. In both cases, the company will issue warnings and advice on what you need to do to fix the problem.

Site Going Offline

If your site is going offline for a few hours, you should use a 503 server status code. This has been standard practice for a long time, but if you know that your site will be down for several days, then Google says that you should upload a temporary, static version of your important pages. If going offline is unexpected, you can use Google’s Wayback Machine to create these pages.

Property Promotion Ads for Hotels

Google now allows property promotion through their Google Ad Interface. Previously, the company owning the list had to be on Google’s whitelist. These ads are designed to show a property when a user does not have a brand preference but knows the geographical area where they want to stay.

No Limit for Title Tags

Google says that there is no limit to title tags’ length, and they refuse to suggest a length. While most titles are between 50 and 70 characters long because that is what the search engine displays correctly, Google says that title length is not a ranking factor. The company’s recommendation is to use titles that precisely convey what users will find on that page.

If you have questions or need help, then contact us. We are ready to assist you!

Google Algorithm Updates for January 2021

January Algorithm Updates

The new year started quietly for Google algorithm updates. For the most part, it stayed that way throughout the month.

SMITH Algorithm

The company placed renewed emphasis on the SMITH algorithm as the year started. Google designed this tool to help them understand passages within a document. They did not mean it to replace BERT, but for both instruments to complement each other. This change may be huge, especially for researchers, because it may help Google locate more relevant documents for particular topics.

Index Coverage Data Improvements

Google has been quietly rolling out improvements to their indexes since mid-November. This index that you can view in your Google Search Console shows you what Google found when trying to crawl your site. You may have gotten a generic crawl anomaly message in the past, but the company is trying to be more helpful. Now, if there is a problem, you will see:

  • Indexed but blocked – These pages were blocked by a robots.txt when Google tried to crawl them.
  • Indexed Without Content – Google did not find any content when crawling these pages.
  • 404 errors- Google says soft 404 error reporting is more accurate.

Google Page Rankings Influenced by Site Quality

SEO experts worldwide have long debated whether Google issues rankings based on entire sites or if they issue rankings based on individual pages. The answer is a little of both, depending on what information they can discover. Therefore, you need to make sure that it is clear how each page on your site fits into your overall scheme to build your domain authority. You also need to make each page is the best that it can be to get a higher quality score and to impress real people.

We want to help you have a more productive year in 2021. Let us help you move towards your SEO New Year’s resolutions.