Google+ (Google Plus) is officially dead. It died on April 2, 2019, three months earlier than its originally scheduled shutdown. You deserve to know why this epic failure happened, how it affects you and your business, and what actions you should take that might protect your Google+ data. Continue reading
It’s well known that Google is a company constantly in flux. Whether they’re updating their algorithm, rolling out new features or whole new sections of their service, or buying up smaller companies left and right, staying still has never been in the Google playbook.
Lately, they’ve really stepped up the pace of change, and so we’re going to take some time to check and see what the latest is all about, and whether it really is the greatest.
So stay tuned, and we’ll give you the skinny. Continue reading
How do you know if your online marketing is working? What are you using to track and calculate the ROI of your online marketing efforts? The answers to these questions may not be simple, but Google Analytics should be part of the equation. However, for many small business owners, the mere mention of terms like analytics and data related to marketing online can seem overwhelming.
Google Analytics is a tool that allows you to track traffic to your website, see where it’s coming from, what brought it there, and how visitors behave after arriving. When you better understand how your marketing is performing and which marketing efforts are producing more leads, conversions, and sales, you’re able make more informed decisions about investments of time and money in your marketing.
With information that you gather from Google Analytics, you can assess whether your social media strategy is effective, which blog topics are favored among your readers, which landing pages get more sign ups or buyers, which search terms are most popular, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
By diving into the data GA tracks, you’ll be able to gather important insights about your site visitors; and the more comfortable you get working with Google Analytics, you will see that the data offers a wealth of information to refine your marketing strategies and optimize results.
To start making sense of Google Analytics, you’ll first need to become familiar with the 4 main reporting sections: Continue reading
In 2014, Google introduced featured snippet boxes, an exciting new way to give users the quick answers they’re seeking. According to Google, “When a user asks a question in Google Search, we might show a summary of the answer in a special featured snippet box at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). This featured snippet box (also called an answer box) includes a summary of the answer, extracted from a webpage, plus a link to the page, the page title and URL.” A featured snippet might look something like this one that came up when I asked, “What is a featured snippet?”
You can see how the answer to the question is provided in a clear, direct, simple way. This is a great experience for users, and evidently Google likes it, too. Continue reading
We’ve written a number of posts to help demystify some misconceptions and confusion about online search, search engine optimization (SEO), and Google’s never-ending algorithm changes. It’s no easy feat to keep up with Google changing its algorithms 500-600 times a year. With all those changes, SEO today “ain’t” what it used to be!
SEO is growing, changing, and evolving into something different than even a few years (or just a few months) ago. To understand what’s happening, we have to look at the progression of search and adapt to the new ways to optimize search…while not losing sight of creating valuable content. Easier said than done, I think!
As is it’s habit, Google is getting ready to make another major alteration to their search algorithm, and there has been a lot of chatter about what it is going to mean for us web denizens, so I thought I’d clarify it for you.
Here’s the deal — on April 21, Google will be adding a ‘mobile friendly’ component to their algorithm. This new feature basically looks at your site, and tries to determine if it’s mobile friendly or not. If not, then it will drop your site down in the rankings returned to Mobile devices below other sites that are mobile friendly. Basically, if you search on a mobile device, google will rank mobile friendly sites better than non-mobile friendly devices.
The question is, will this impact you? Probably quite a bit. In January 2014, 30% of web traffic was on a mobile device. As of 2015, it’s looking like more than 50% of web traffic is from a mobile device, and there are projections that this will increase exponentially over the next year or so.
So…this is important…but only if you care about search engine rankings.
For those of you who have Solamar-designed sites, if we built it in the past few years, you should be ok. Here’s where things can go awry — if you have older pre-Solamar pages that are straight-up HTML existing outside of WordPress, it’s about 99% likely that these old pages are not mobile friendly. When Google finds these old pages, it will consider your entire site to be non-mobile friendly and drop your ranking accordingly.
We’ve been hearing about this, but were hit face first with it this week. Solamar makes use of Google’s Webmaster Tools to help with SEO stuff. This tool had notified us that 100% of our site was NOT mobile friendly but we knew this wasn’t true. The issue came from a few old HTML pages that were outside of the main Solamar site, leftover from previous iterations of the site that are no longer used. The problem was quickly fixed by simply deleting the pages. We could have ported them into WordPress as well, but they were so old that we just archived them.
If you’d like to make sure that your website doesn’t have any mobile issues that will alter your Google search rankings for the worse, then the Solamar team is here to help you!
Hands down, your marketing should include video. According to SEJ, “people watch more than 500 years’ worth of YouTube videos on Facebook every day, and they share about 700 videos on Twitter each minute”.
If you’ve ever clicked on a video of a dog riding a skateboard, you understand what I am about to say — video promotes engagement and “likability” or share-ability of anything we want to market. That is why it is so essential that small businesses start to incorporate video into their marketing mix if they haven’t already. It’s just that simple. The only question you’ll have to ask yourself is: which video hosting site should you use?
YouTube and Vimeo are both the metaphorical “King of the Hill” when it comes to marketing and small business. But, they are very different animals. Let’s take a look at why, and how you can maximize your brand using one, or both.
According to the YouTube Press Page, “more than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month, over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube, and 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute”.
That’s kind of a big deal.
Not only is YouTube the second-largest search engine after Google, but it also has a massive reach across social networking sites. Clearly good for large audience numbers, it is no wonder that YouTube is the world’s most popular video sharing platform. But, there are many factors that attribute to YouTube’s recipe for success.
- YouTube is free, both to upload and to watch videos. If you aren’t already on YouTube, SproutSocial created this guide to creating a YouTube account that walks you through the process step-by step.
- It is very easy to share YouTube videos to social media sites and other outlets. This “sharability” just makes sense in the world we live in. What’s more, sharability is crucial to brand awareness.
- YouTube is owned by Google – a relationship that, with a little help, many claim will boost Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. That’s a definite perk.
- Easy-peasy advertising. In three short steps, YouTube walks you through how to place an ad. They also customize your options to allow you to target your audience based on gender, age, interest and location.
If you visit the YouTube Statistics page, you’ll learn even more impressive stats, but the bottom line is that YouTube clearly has the reach that business owners want at a price tag that can’t be beat.
So, if YouTube is so amazing, the question begs — why isn’t everyone using it? Let’s take a look at the popular video hosting site, Vimeo, to answer that.
While Vimeo gets considerably less viewer traffic than video giant YouTube, it has become incredibly popular with peeps looking to export quality video in a boutique environment. According to Sprout Social, “This idea is related to the notion that Vimeo has more quality content. Since the site is much more niche than YouTube, there is a good chance that only serious video creators and watchers are frequenting the site on a regular basis. People viewing and commenting on your videos are a lot more likely to give you constructive feedback.”
- No Video Advertisements. Vimeo doesn’t place advertisements on any videos that they host. This alone is most likely the biggest perk to choosing Vimeo over YouTube. When your audience tunes in — there is a much smaller chance of them sub sequentially tuning-out due to pop up banners and advertisements.
- Quality Peers. Because Vimeo is more of a niche community, it is home to more professionally made and better-looking videos. Want to judge it for yourself? Vimeo offers a Staff Picks page that allows you to explore videos that they feel stand out in the crowd — and they are definitely worth a watch. This able community lends credibility to your video and really just helps your brand to look more professional and polished.
- More Tight-Knit Community. If you are looking for a video hosting site that lends itself to constructive criticism, Vimeo may just be the place for you. On Vimeo, members comment on each others videos regularly. According to Sprout Social, “This site is more close knit than YouTube, so building a community of thought leaders should be one of your highest priorities. This also means you should make sure to respond to those who comment one your videos.”
- YouTube restricts users to turn privacy either on or off. Meaning, it is completely private or available to the public. On Vimeo, users can customize their privacy. Vimeo allows you to hide your videos from folks browsing Vimeo, password protect them, or restrict your videos to be viewed/embedded on specific websites that you dictate. This gives you lots of flexibility to offer products for pay that are delivered in part by video.
At the end of the day, when you are choosing which platform best represents your brand, it is vital to consider the end-game of your marketing plan. Important items to weigh include:
- Who is your target audience?
- Are you looking for conversion or brand awareness?
- What the types of videos do you produce — and how often?
Need help answering these questions before you decide? Give us a shout! Because we do that too.