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.

Looking for ongoing marketing services? Let us help you!

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.

How to Expand Your Local Marketing Reach

Today’s marketing helps your business reach more people than ever. However, businesses sometimes forget how much customers interact with local campaigns. Learn to take advantage of both traditional and online tools to expand your brand and reach your local audience.

Master SEO

Over the years, successful companies have learned how to take advantage of local searches through SEO. Here are a few tips to improve your site’s performance and its local reach:

  • Optimize your Google Business Account: Improving your Google Listing can improve both your rank on Google Maps and help your business gain ground on local Google searches. If you haven’t already, create your My Business Account with Google. Keep this account up-to-date and post regularly.
  • Get Glowing Reviews: Be sure to encourage reviews from your customers in-person and online. When engaging with online posts, respond promptly and professionally.
  • Create Content Based on Local Events: Writing blog posts responding to new stories or community interests can improve engagement with your business and improve your SEO with local searches. Including local keywords in your site also makes your business more relevant.
  • Use Backlinks and Location Pages: Backlinking to quality websites helps your business appear in “snack packs” of localized results. Location-specific pages help locals find your business if you have multiple locations. However, be sure to include custom content on each of your location pages.
  • Optimize SEO for Voice Searches: With voice command speakers and software becoming more common, it’s important to make sure your site is formatted to catch these kinds of searches. To help catch more of these, your site should be mobile-friendly and its metadata should account for more conversational words and question phrases (who, what, where, when). You can also create blog posts that specifically answer voice-based queries.

 Source: https://mailchimp.com/marketing-glossary/seo/ 

Don’t Neglect Traditional Marketing

Some of the best ways to engage with local customers are as old as time. People respond to content that reflects their personal interests. Traditional marketing offers businesses a way to interact with locals more personally. Old methods like asking for reviews in-person, supporting community events, and even mailing flyers can significantly increase local engagement. In fact, direct mail can give you an incredible 1,300% ROI.

Source: https://www.podium.com/article/marketing-channels/ 

Community Outreach

Learn to engage with your local community through community outreach. Community outreach allows your business to interact with the community in a positive way. Here are a few great ways to reach out:

  • Get involved with community programs
  • Pick a cause for your business to support
  • Create a mentor program for interns and new employees
  • Partner with local schools and promote student events

Source: https://www.hatchbuck.com/blog/small-business-philanthropy/ 

Focusing on local marketing allows your business to find more overall engagement. Collaborate with your marketing and outreach team to see how you can optimize your business for local searches. You can also work with localization specialists to help optimize your online presence. Small improvements can provide amazing results!

Need extra help with your SEO? Check out our services!

What To Look For In A VoIP Provider

voip providers

VoIP Provider: Serving All of Greater Milwaukee, WI and the Midwest with Quality, Affordable VoIP phones and service!

As you start investigating the move to VoIP phone service, you may have many questions about selecting the best phone provider for your area. Work with a value-added reseller because they are experts at tying all the pieces together so that you get the customized service that best meets your needs. There are several factors to keep in mind when choosing your VoIP service provider.

FCC Certified and Compliant

When you pick up the phone during an emergency, you want a dial tone. Working with a provider who is FCC certified and compliant helps ensure that it is going to happen. A VoIP service provider must clear many hurdles before receiving this certification, and you can be sure that they have by consulting a current VoIP providers list. One thing that FCC certification ensures is that you can reach E911 in case of an emergency. If you do not provide this essential service to your employees and customers, you may find yourself facing legal problems. Additionally, it is the right thing to do.

Upstream Carrier

It is common for VoIP providers to use many different upstream carriers. Providers that you are considering should be willing to show you their worldwide list that is fully compliant. Additionally, there should be lots of redundancy built into the system so that if one area is busy or has suffered some disaster, your call automatically reroutes to an available service.Confirm that the upstream carrier owns and manages the phone number. If they rely on another company to provide the numbers to them, you may lose your number if they choose to stop doing business with that supplier. Losing your number can cause enormous problems for your business as you would have to redo any advertising containing that phone number. Additionally, your current customers may think that you went out of business when they cannot reach you at your existing number.

Even if the upstream carrier and the provider are still working together, your business may get caught in a number audit resulting in your business losing its current phone number.

Contract-Free

If the VoIP provider requires you to sign a contract, especially a long-term one, a warning flag should go up instantly in your mind. Some carriers make customers sign contracts because their customers want to flee for better service from other companies.

Contact us today as we want to be your VoIP provider. We give each customer outstanding customer service with the best PBX software for just $23 per month after taxes per phone line. We will never ask you to sign a contract because we keep our customers by providing a superior product backed by an unstoppable customer service team.

Google Algorithm Update December 2020

 

Google Algorithm Update December 2020

Google gave webmasters a gift on December 5, 2020, when they rolled out a broad core algorithm update. While some welcomed the changes amid a busy holiday season, others groaned loudly. Google even changed it a little late in the month. Here’s what you need to know about Google algorithm updates occurring in December 2020.

Google Properties Claim Even More Space

Throughout 2020, Google continued to claim more of the space on search engine pages for properties that they owned, such as YouTube, and that is particularly noticeable with this update. Meanwhile, direct competitors, such as Amazon, took a hit.

Original Well-sourced Content

Another group of big winners with this core update are sites providing great original content that is well-sourced. You need to be working with experts in your field to stay up-to-date and providing that to your target audience in bite-size pieces that they can easily understand. The content needs to be presented in a manner that your target audience will find interesting and helpful. Be particularly careful that your heading matches as close as possible what a searcher is looking for when they enter a phrase or word into Google’s search engine results page.

Content Structure

Concentrating on your headings and content structure across your entire site may pay huge dividends because this update seems to be more sitewide than more recent updates where individual pages won or lost.

Ads

Many sites that lost ranking during this Google core update had intrusive ads interfering with the user experience. Look at your site if you allow ads to display to make sure that they are out of the way of users getting to your main content. Some sites with lots of gambling and alcohol ads took a particularly hard hit during this update.

Google Eliminates Penalty Reporting

Be aware that manual penalties are no longer available on your Google dashboard. It is not that Google has stopped looking at the things outlined in the Google User Rater Guidelines, but they have stopped letting you know what you are doing wrong.

What Can You Do If Google’s December Core Algorithm Update Felt Like Coal?

If your site took a hit during the December update, then you may have felt like Google gave you coal instead of a present. If that is the case, make sure you have sourced every fact with a reliable source. Look at your about page to ensure that it paints an extremely clear picture of your company and its purpose. Compare yourself against those who jumped ahead of you to determine what they are doing differently and copy their methods without stealing their content. Be sure that your content is well organized with titles and subheadings that tell the reader precisely what they will find there.

If you need help, contact us. We will be glad to help.