Early this month Google is rolling out some pretty drastic changes to the Google Ad Grants program, which provides up to $10,000 per month in free ad spend on the Google search network to 501c3 nonprofit organizations.
It’s clear by the nature of these changes that Google is making a major push for quality. According to Google, these policy changes are intended to “raise standards of quality for our free advertising grants” program which currently serves more than 35,000 nonprofit organizations.
Here are the major changes nonprofits need to know about – and act on – now:
How many times have you heard someone say “you just need a blog!” to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy? Don’t get me wrong, there’s merit to this claim – when it’s done right. Fresh, quality, original content is king. But how do we define quality? Simply aiming to hit a certain number of blog posts in the name of SEO, rather than writing robust, meaningful content on the topics that are most relevant to your users is probably not worth your effort.
What is Thin Content?
So, what is thin content? And how do we make it thick? In 2011, Google rolled out the Panda update, which assigned quality scores to web pages, aiming to reward the high-quality websites and demote the low-quality websites in search results. In 2016, those filters became part of the algorithm. Google defined thin content as pages with little or no added value, typically those that include: Read more after the jump…
The unending flow of data within our countless digital platforms can make it easier to know what’s working and what’s not – if you know what to look for. Check out these recent case studies and new data points that can help you navigate and make sense of your digital campaign results.
I remember looking for jobs in college. I walked down the street to the Career Center on campus, pulled out a giant binder full of job postings and thumbed through them until something caught my eye. I updated my cover letter and resume from the computer lab, printed off *hard* copies of them and then either dropped them in the mail or hand-delivered them to the hiring manager.
Job Searching in the Digital Era
Since then, things have certainly changed – a lot. Entire websites dedicated exclusively to networking and job seeking, like LinkedIn, and a plethora of other job posting sites have erupted along the way. And then feeds became available that would automatically email you a notification when a job that meets your criteria pops up. Read more after the jump…
In recent years, Apple devices used either Google and Bing to provide search results for users depending on how they searched. Safari on Mac and iOS search results were powered by Google, where Siri, Search inside iOS (previously known as Spotlight) and Spotlight search results were all powered by Bing.
This week, Apple has announced a change. Google will once again be the default search engine for Siri, Search inside iOS, and Spotlight on the Mac. However, image search results from Siri will still come from Bing, for now.
“Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari,” Apple said in a statement. “We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible.”
Given Google’s large search market share, it will be interesting to see how this change impacts trends in organic search traffic to websites.
On a related note, you may also notice Siri is little more chipper while reading those Google results today. Last week, Apple’s virtual assistant had some work done on her vocal cords to sound less robotic and more life-like.
It’s hard to believe that when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 we were living in a T9-texting world without smartphones, Twitter and Instagram, and only college students could use Facebook. Since then, we’ve learned to harness technology and social media to respond to breaking news, including natural disasters. We can declare ourselves safe on Facebook, act as amateur photo journalists on Instagram and donate to charity efforts via Twitter. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma reveal that while Americans continue to demonstrate resolve and resourcefulness, the tools we use to react to natural disasters have changed.
With the addition of our CenterTable Studios video production and motion graphics team you might accuse us of having video on the brain. It’s no coincidence that we’re beefing up our video capabilities while almost all the new features being rolled out this week in social media land are video-related. Projections from people who know say demand for video on digital and social platforms will continue to grow. In fact, a 2016 report says 43 percent of people surveyed wanted to see more video content from marketers.
think with Google: What Brands Can Learn From Educational Content on YouTube If you pitted grumpy cat vs. Mr. Rogers in a YouTube watch time battle, Mr. Rogers would take the prize. According to Google, education and learning videos earn 4X the watch time of animal videos. For brands, that means creating educational and entertaining content can help engage your customers. Another point of engagement, making an effort to put diverse faces on camera.Read more after the jump…
We recently covered how to submit your XML sitemap to Google as part of your onsite SEO efforts, so we wanted to be sure we circled back to talk about submitting that same XML sitemap to Bing, as well.
Submitting the XML sitemap is a great way to tell search engines about all the content on your website and make it quicker and easier for the search engines to find, index and return the website in search results.
Steps to Submit the XML Sitemap to Bing
Jot down the URL for your website’s XML sitemap. For example, com/sitemap.xml.
“Five years ago, you could do SEO in your sleep. Now, you have to actually be awake.” – Bruce Clay
Mobile-first index, AMP, PWAs, featured snippets, chatbots, voice search, virtual assistants… The world of SEO is changing – and changing fast. There were 1,623 Google algorithm changes in the past year alone. That’s an average of four to five updates per day.
I had a blast learning about some of these current and upcoming changes while attending the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle this week. Three days of back-to-back sessions – chock full of nothing but search, search, search. I even joked on day two that there was some hidden meaning in the fact that several of us had to search long and hard to find not only a place to sit to eat our hot lunches, but also to find silverware with which to eat them.
By the end of day three I walked away better equipped to serve GroundFloor Media’s and CenterTable’s clients and excited to for what’s to come. This conference packed quite a punch for those who work (or play) in the search marketing world – and certainly left me wanting more. But like all good things, SMX had to come to an end (until the next one anyway). Here are a few of the many takeaways from the conference:
Top Ranking Factors and Algorithm Updates
Top ranking factors in 2017 include more content, more images and faster speeds – and, obviously, mobile/responsiveness.
The more content you have, the better your chances of ranking well. Recommended page length varies by topic, ranging from 800-2,700 words per page. The most tolerated paragraph length for a user is two to three sentences.
Focus on getting one really good backlink rather than 10 mediocre ones. And buying links on large article sites (think Forbes) are a waste of resources from an SEO perspective.
Speed is crucial: 53 percent of people will bounce out of a webpage if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
You don’t necessarily need to have a high authority website or use schema to get a featured snippet. And if you’re in position six, it can be easier to get to position zero than position one.
Mobile is Huge
60 percent of searches are conducted on mobile devices and 50 percent of website traffic comes from users on mobile devices. This trend is rapidly growing.
The Mobile-First Index is coming – although likely not until sometime in 2018. We need to be preparing now and responsive design is the preferred approach, otherwise you’ve got lots of work to do to get ready for the switch.
People research spontaneously on mobile so it’s a huge lost opportunity if you’re not there when they need you. However, people typically don’t complete their research or buy/convert on mobile. Desktop still matters!
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) seem to be preferred over AMP. But you can apply AMP coding standards to your website to increase its speed.
The Latest in Local Search
Citations (which are online references to your business’s name, address and phone number) are the ante to play in the local SEO game. Once you’re in the game, they don’t make a big difference.
Although proximity is a huge factor in local search, it is not the only factor. You have to have at least decent onsite SEO in place to even make the cut to appear in the local pack. Once you make that cut, Google will then order listings by proximity.
Schema markup is essential for SEO success in local businesses and eCommerce sites for that matter.
Lastly, these quotes I overheard throughout the week really put SEO into perspective for us:
SEO is not something you do. It’s what happens when you have done everything else right.
Make your website so good that Google feels embarrassed if they’re NOT showing it in search results.
Building a website without SEO is like building a house without the wiring.
Over optimization is like putting on too much makeup. At some point, you don’t like it.