Are You Ready: Google Changes it’s Algorithm to Better Serve Mobile Ready Sites. Is your Site Mobile Ready?"> Are You Ready: Google Changes it’s Algorithm to Better Serve Mobile Ready Sites. Is your Site Mobile Ready?

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Google is about to change the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones in a shift that’s expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.

The revised formula, scheduled to be released Tuesday, will favor websites that Google defines as “mobile-friendly.” Websites that don’t fit the description will be demoted in Google’s search results on smartphones while those meeting the criteria will be more likely to appear at the top of the rankings — a prized position that can translate into more visitors and money.

Although Google’s new formula won’t affect searches on desktop and laptop computers, it will have a huge influence on how and where people spend their money, given that more people are relying on their smartphones to compare products in stores and look for restaurants. That’s why Google’s new rating system is being billed by some search experts as “Mobile-geddon.”

“Some sites are going to be in for a big surprise when they find a drastic change in the amount of people visiting them from mobile devices,” said Itai Sadan, CEO of website-building service Duda.

It’s probably the most significant change that Google Inc. has ever made to its mobile search rankings, according to Matt McGee, editor-in-chief for Search Engine Land, a trade publication that follows every tweak that the company makes to its closely guarded algorithms.

Here are a few things to know about what’s happening and why Google is doing it.

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MAKING MOBILE FRIENDS

To stay in Google’s good graces, websites must be designed so they load quickly on mobile devices. Content must also be easily accessible by scrolling up and down — without having to also swipe to the left or right. It also helps if all buttons for making purchases or taking other actions on the website can be easily seen and touched on smaller screens.

If a website has been designed only with PC users in mind, the graphics take longer to load on smartphones and the columns of text don’t all fit on the smaller screens, to the aggravation of someone trying to read it.

Google has been urging websites to cater to mobile device for years, mainly because that is where people are increasingly searching for information.

The number of mobile searches in the U.S. is rising by about 5 percent while inquiries on PCs are dipping slightly, according to research firm comScore Inc. In the final three months of last year, 29 percent of all U.S. search requests — about 18.5 billion — were made on mobile devices, comScore estimated. Google processes the bulk of searches — two-thirds in the U.S. and even more in many other countries.

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BRACING FOR CHANGE

To minimize complaints, the company disclosed its plans nearly two months ago. It also created a step-by-step guide (http://bit.ly/1GyC0Id) and a tool to test compliance with the new standards (http://bit.ly/1EVi9R3).

Google has faced uproar over past changes to its search formula. Two of the bigger revisions, done in 2011 and 2012, focused on an attempt to weed out misleading websites and other digital rubbish. Although that goal sounds reasonable, many websites still complained that Google’s changes unfairly demoted them in the rankings, making their content more difficult to find.

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STILL CAUGHT OFF GUARD

While most major merchants and big companies already have websites likely to meet Google’s mobile standard, the new formula threatens to hurt millions of small businesses that haven’t had the money or incentive to adapt their sites for smartphones.

“A lot of small sites haven’t really had a reason to be mobile friendly until now, and it’s not going to be easy for them to make the changes,” McGee said.

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BURYING HELPFUL CONTENT

Google’s search formula weighs a variety of factors to determine the rankings of its results. One of the most important considerations has always been whether a site contains the most pertinent information sought by a search request.

But new pecking order in Google’s mobile search may relegate some sites to the back pages of the search results, even if their content is more relevant to a search request than other sites that happen to be easier to access on smartphones.

That will be an unfortunate consequence, but also justifiable because a person might not even bother to look at sites that take a long time to open or difficult to read on mobile devices, Gartner analyst Whit Andrews said.

“Availability is part of relevancy,” Andrews said. “A lot of people aren’t going to think something is relevant if they can’t get it to appear on their iPhone.”

5 Reasons You Must Optimize Your Website for Mobile

5 Reasons You Must Optimize Your Website for Mobile

The fact is if you aren’t optimized for mobile you’re ultimately losing sales. Research shows that 57 percent of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 30 percent will abandon a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile devices.

Considering how important a website can be for any small business it seems only natural to take the extra care to ensure the website is mobile friendly. It’s amazing to me how so many websites are still not optimized for a mobile experience.

Here are five reasons small businesses must have a mobile optimized website:

1. Mobile Users are Different

Mobile users have different objectives than desktop users and typically this means they want information in quick, easily digestible bites. Customers report that their mobile purchases are often impulse buys and some statistics show that mobile users spend more money per purchase than customers do on desktop websites.

This underscores the importance of optimizing your mobile experience to match a visitor’s needs and behaviors in the context of how they will most likely be browsing your website. By making the path to purchase or enquiry simple and intuitive you’ll align more precisely with mobile users who need information rapidly to make decisions on the fly.

2. Mobile Gets Traffic

With one-quarter of global web searches conducted on a mobile device by over a billion users worldwide, mobile websites are just as important, if not more so, than desktop versions. Multiple sources report that smartphone users are engaging with mobile websites and apps while watching TV, commuting to work, and simultaneously while using a computer.

As Google made clear with last year’s Hummingbird update the future of search is mobile and websites that aren’t usable on handheld devices will see their search rank suffer for it.

3. Better Brand Engagement

People like your brand more when you offer a satisfying mobile experience and they’re more likely to return to your website later on a desktop. 90 percent of people report moving between devices, or “multi-screening”, to accomplish a task. When your mobile experience is optimized for functionality and consistency it fosters trust and affinity with users.

On the other hand if your mobile website is difficult to navigate customers are more likely to go to the competition than to visit you on a desktop computer. If you can’t provide what they need when they need it you will have lost the opportunity for the sale and risk losing a customer permanently to a competitor.

4. Increased Conversions

Desktop websites in mobile browsers are ineffective at converting visitors into buyers. Calls to action (CTAs) are often obscured, links are difficult to click and contact pages are buried in awkward menus. Mobile shoppers have little patience for an unwieldy website and one-third of them will leave a transaction if the site isn’t optimized for mobile.

To make the most of mobile, CTAs should be clear and easy to click and contact information should be one of the first things visitors see. 80 percent of shoppers admit that mobile purchases are impulse-driven and that they’re more likely to purchase from and interact with a brand that offers an engaging mobile experience.

5. Reduce Your Bounce Rate

Content that looks great on a desktop might be unreadable on a mobile device. Visitors won’t stay on your site if they have to pinch and zoom or squint at illegible type, or worse yet if it runs flash or anything that requires add-ons to display in a browser. If your website isn’t optimized professionally for mobile your bounce rate on mobile devices is going to be extremely high. By providing mobile visitors with an appropriate and intuitive user experience you will obviously engage visitors longer and drive more of them to purchase or enquire.

Mobile Health Check: Pick up your smartphone and go to your website. Ask yourself these questions:

• Does it load in less than three seconds?
• Does it draw your eye to your key selling points or message?
• Is the content easy to read?
• Is it easy to navigate?
• Is it easy to recognize and activate the call to action?
• Does it provide a good user experience?
• Is it a website you would spend time if it was not your own?

If you mostly answered “no”, then it’s time to optimize your mobile site and capture the traffic and sales you’ve been missing out on.

7 Ways That Social Media Impacts SEO

written by Angie Pascale

 

 

To understand what is popular, relevant, and credible, the search engines are turning to social media. And so too must brands.

If you ask 10 different people in the digital marketing industry whether social media impacts SEO, you’ll get 10 different answers. Some state a resounding “YES,” and cite SearchMetric’s 2013 SEO Ranking Factors report, where seven of the top 10 ranking factors were shown to be social signals. Others claim that the data in that particular report only showed correlation, and not causation, and that social has no direct effect on organic rank. These folks cite Moz’s 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors report in addition to different statements by Matt Cutts on this subject. Still others will vehemently claim that SEO is impacted by social signals, but not in direct and obvious ways. This middle ground is more likely the true situation at this point. It’s unclear what the engines will do in the future, but Matt Cutts says that Google will never factor in direct social actions (i.e., Facebook Likes, retweets, and even +1s). He stated that Google has made attempts to incorporate this information into the algorithm, but it became too difficult to organize and quantify, and therefore, Google does not and will not include it. However, social media and SEO do overlap, and social can contribute to the overall organic success of websites in several ways. Let’s take a look at seven specific examples.

1. Link Potential

Social media activity can help to increase awareness of a brand or website content. This increased familiarity can lead to links. Let’s say a brand posts a video of a new product feature. That video gets shared 20 times on Twitter. One of those tweets is seen by a Twitter user that runs a blog (or better yet, a reporter for a major publication). The blogger or reporter decides to write about the new feature and links back to the brand’s website and video in the article. That link would not have occurred if the writer had not seen a tweet about the video. So, while the links in those 20 tweets did not contribute directly to the overall link profile of the website, they did lead to links being placed on a site via the article. These links do contribute to the overall link profile, thus contributing to SEO impact.

2. Personalization

Google uses Google+ activity and reviews to personalize search results when the user is signed in. If you are connected to an individual via Google+ and that individual has reviewed a business, +1ed a page, or posted on Google+ about the topic you are searching for, that result is likely to rank higher for you because of the connection.

Take the example below, I searched for “craft beer bars in Denver” and the fourth result is from a person in my Google+ circles. When I toggle from personalized search, this result is not showing.

personalized-google-search

Not all searchers are signed in all the time, of course, and not all searches occur on Google. But Bing is doing the same with friends’ Facebook activity. While difficult to quantify or even view yourself, this personalization of search results does impact ranking. 3. Search Query Volume Social media can help you get your name out to a wider audience. When that happens, you increase the overall awareness of your brand, which can lead to more people searching for your brand as a result. When Google sees that more people are searching for a brand, they view that brand as more popular and well known, and thus award it higher ranking. This is dependent on the query being searched for, naturally, and often is more of a branded search opportunity by nature.

4. Brand Signals

Some think that simply getting mentioned on a blog or site, without a hyperlink, can also contribute to ranking factors. Google calls this co-citation and considers it a brand signal. Social media’s ability to increase awareness of a brand and spur conversation can result in these co-citation mentions.

5. Traffic Volume and Site Engagement

Social media can increase the volume of traffic visiting your website, which is a key factor in search engine ranking. Oftentimes, the items being shared on social media that drive the most traffic are blog posts, videos, event listings, or other interesting content (as opposed to links to your homepage or main category pages). If that content is interesting enough to get users to stick around for a while, reading the entire page or watching a full video before visiting other pages, rather than bouncing right away, you may be rewarded in the organic results. The search engines can measure these metrics – bounce rate, pages per visit, and time on site – and may use it to inform search results and ranking.

6. Authorship

Google has indicated that they intend to incorporate identities into search ranking in the future, and are currently working hard to figure out just how they will do it. This means that certain people – based on their authority, relevancy to the topic, and likely audience size – will receive higher ranking for certain queries.

While Cutts states that Google is working on it, Eric Schmidt said last year that it’s already happening to some extent for verified profiles:

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.”

7. Profile Ranking

A brand’s social media profiles rank high for brand terms, oftentimes on the first page and sometimes above the fold for brand queries. Take a look at the results for “Frontier Airlines” below. The fourth and fifth organic results are for two of Frontier’s social media profiles, and their Google+ page shows up in the knowledge graph box in the upper right corner of the page. This does not directly send traffic to their website, but it does allow them to better control the SERP real estate and ensure they have full branded coverage.

frontier-airlines-google

Knowing that Google has numerous ranking features now, it’s not just about those 10 blue links on the first page. For example, the Knowledge Graph Box, news articles, answer box, in-depth articles, videos, and photo carousel are all features that allow for organic search placement. SEO strategies must consider these other aspects as much as possible, and social channels are one of those considerations.

SEO Isn’t Just Google

SEO and Google have been synonymous – while most SEO tactics and approaches are search engine agnostic, they often get tied to Google ranking. It’s fairly obvious why this is the case – Google is the most popular search engine with 67.3 percent of market share according to comScore. Google also addresses (and condemns) SEO efforts more frequently than other engines. But SEO isn’t just for Google, and really isn’t just for search engines, either. Every social media network has some type of search functionality. As social media usage has risen, so has the volume of searches on these networks (YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google and Twitter receives 2.1 billion queries per day).

Consider how SEO principles can be used to impact ranking directly on the various social media channels. They may not be as clear and researched as Google ranking factors, and may not be as easy to impact (Facebook has stated that their News Feed has 100,000 ranking factors. That makes Google SEO a piece of cake by comparison!), but there are still plenty of opportunities for increasing visibility of your brand and content within the social media channels themselves. As the search engines become more sophisticated at interpreting search intent, delivering relevant results, and fighting organic spam, the SEO tactics of yesterday no longer cut it. To understand what is popular, relevant, and credible, the search engines are turning to social media. And so too must brands. These seven approaches are just a small glimpse into what the future holds for the integration of social media and SEO.

What Exactly Is SEO?

What Exactly Is SEO?

So what is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. An SEO expert can “optimize” your website internally and externally so that the search engines value it more and will rank it higher in the search results than other similar websites. Simply put, SEO is a key element to landing new clients for your business. For instance, what if you’re in Abbotsford, BC and you need a dentist. You might search in Google for “Abbotsford dentist”. “Abbotsford Dentist” is your “keyword”, and the results that come up on the FIRST PAGE of the search results are the ones that Google considers to be most likely to satisfy your need for information.   If YOU ARE a dentist with an office in Abbotsford, and you are looking for new patients, you want your site to come up first in the search results. So You as a dentist would benefit from a well-optimized website and probably need the services of a good SEO expert to help you out. After all, you’re a dentist – not an SEO expert. It’s usually best to hire experts to complete the job. The thing is, unless you are on the FIRST PAGE of the search results when people search for “Abbotsford Dentist”, then it’s unlikely the potential client would find you – ever. And the higher you show up in the search results on that first page, the more likely they are to notice you. So it’s vitally important that you are high on the first page of the search results, or some competitor who is there will get all of your business.   And that’s where SEO comes into play. Google’s main job in life is to provide the very best matching websites and mobile sites to it’s users. An SEO expert’s job is to make your website pages look like the very best information that Google is able to find. Many website designers make beautiful websites – but do not have a clue about SEO. It’s not good enough to have a beautiful website if nobody can find it! In fact, good SEO is MORE important than a pretty website. If you are not found, it’s like you don’t exist. Your competition gets the business, even if you are a better business person than they are.   SEO is a complex art that is constanty changing. We all are aware of how fast technology advances these days. Google updates its search algorithm many times a year in an attempt to keep their search business relevant – or even they will be left behind. Twitter, Facebook, and many others are in fierce competition for the eyes and ears of the internet users, especially those that are in a mood to spend money. Online commerce is growing by leaps each year and it’s only going to become more and more so. The importance of being online in multiple avenues where the customers are is vitally important to the success of businesses. As people reach into their pockets for their iPhone or Android phone, they are often looking for local businesses. So it’s key to understand that SEO is important for your being able to get these hot leads to bring in new clients for your business. At Pixalcube Web Solutions, that’s our job – bringing new clients to you.   Let me ask you a question – do you think it’s a good deal for you to spend $1 to make $2? What about spending $2 to make $5? or $3 to make $10?   We have access to huge streams of people searching for your business. We can help them find YOU instead of your competitors. If you would like to have those new clients calling on you, let us know and we can work with you to make it happen – quickly. Let’s get started today. Call 778-344-0252 now to get clients calling you!

How Can SEO Help my Business?

If you’ve ever wondered how to get your website on the front page of search results on Google, the answer you’ve been looking for is SEO. It’s an incredibly important, vital component to any successful business website (or any other website, for that matter!) If you want your potential customers to be able to find you, then you have to make it possible for them to do that, preferably quickly and easily, and SEO is your key to making that happen. In a nutshell, SEO encompasses all of the methods and techniques people employ to make it as easy as possible for search engines to find and index their websites, which, in turn, makes it easier for potential customers to find them, too. There are many different ways to go about optimizing your site, from strategic backlinks to achieving the perfect keyword density and much, much more, Search Engine Optimization is a big job, but more than worth the effort it takes to get it right. But you don’t have to personally be an SEO expert for your website to reap its benefits – we’ve got what it takes right here at Pixalcube Web Solutions. We are ready to start optimizing your website today, and we invite you to get in touch with us to find out exactly how we can help make your site irresistible to search engines.

Jamie Middleton