Tag Archives: google

Disasters in the Digital Age

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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.

Social Media Today: How to Use Social Media to Stay in Touch Before, During, and After a Disaster
We’re usually explaining why social media is essential to bolster marketing campaigns, but in times of crisis it’s a necessary form of communication. Be sure you are prepared by ensuring you follow key accounts on social and have a game plan, just in case. Read more after the jump…

You want video? We’ve got video.

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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.

Google

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…

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to Bing

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to BingWe 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

  1. Jot down the URL for your website’s XML sitemap. For example, com/sitemap.xml.
  2. Create a Bing Webmaster Toolsaccount and verify that you own the website.
  3. Once logged into your Bing Webmaster Tools account, go to Configure My Site, then Sitemaps.
  4. Paste the entire XML sitemap URL into the box. For example, com/sitemap.xml.
  5. Click “Submit” and you’re done! The status will update when the sitemap has been crawled and indexed.

 

Key SEO Takeaways from SMX Advanced in Seattle

SMX Advanced Conference SEO Workshop with Google“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.
  • Hidden website content with the use of CSS will still rank in a mobile-first index, but Googlebots probably cannot see it if it’s something you have to click to see on the page, such as with JavaScript.
  • 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!
  • Google’s mobile interstitial penalty was rolled out – make sure you’re compliant.
  • 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.
  • Now more people have smart phones than toilets.

 

 

Better visuals are the key to social media success

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You’ve probably heard that pictures are the king, or queen, of social media. But that doesn’t mean mean stock images. We’re talking infographics, and beautiful, original images. Driving people to action and helping them recall your content requires compelling visuals, unless you happen to be a sophisticated Russian hacker. Fortunately, there are a plethora of online tools to help create those visuals and new ones are always popping up.

Tools

VentureBeat: Google launches Data GIF Maker to help storytellers convey information through animations
It can take a lot of time to create infographics. Google aims to simplify the process with their new tool that creates animated GIFs with your data. The tool is meant to help you tell your data story in a more visual way. For now the types of graphs you can create are limited, but knowing Google, if it turns out to be popular they’ll add plenty more options. Read more after the jump…

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to Google

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to GoogleYou’ve poured your heart and soul into creating a new website. The design is perfect. The content flows beautifully. The graphics are stunning. Now you’ve got to get people there.

One of the simplest, and often overlooked, steps of SEO is submitting your XML sitemap to the search engines. Although the search engine bots will eventually find your site anyway, submitting an XML sitemap can help speed up the crawling and indexing processes for your website and help to improve its ability to rank well in search results.

Steps to Submit the XML Sitemap to Google

  1. Visit your website and make note of the URL of your XML sitemap. For example, com/sitemap.xml.
  2. Create a Google Search Console account and verify that you own the website.
  3. Once verified and logged into your Google Search Console account, go to Crawl, then Sitemaps.
  4. Click the red “Add/Text Sitemap” button then add the subfolder portion of the URL to the box. For example, sitemap.xml.
  5. Click “Submit” – and you’re done! Refresh your browser to see the sitemap is now listed. You will also be able to see if there are any errors with the sitemap you submitted.

From Changing Keyword Match Types to Google Algorithm Updates – Get the Latest in Search Engine Marketing

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Finding your audience in search – or more so making it possible for your audience to find you – can be a bit of a moving target. This week we’ve got updates from both the paid (PPC) and organic (SEO) sides of search to keep you on your toes.

Paid Search (PPC)

Wordstream: The Impact of Google’s New Exact-Enough Match Keywords [Data]
If you’ve perfectly honed your keyword targeting and match-type strategy in your PPC account, look out! Google is rolling out changes to its Exact Match keywords and the changes are not exactly what you’d expect.

Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – Where Will 2017 Take Social Media and Digital Marketing?

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The numerous recaps of 2016 have been written, so it’s clearly time to usher in the “what will happen in 2017” articles, and we have a number of interesting insights and predictions for you this week. This is for certain: the only constant in our industry is change.

Fast Company: How Companies Will Use Social Media in 2017

The decline of organic reach on social platforms continued in 2016. Changes in platform algorithms are making it harder and harder to get your messages in front of your followers. But fear not, says Fast Company, “The new social media order that’s taking shape in 2017 promises companies the kind of precision and measurable results long expected from traditional channels like print and broadcast.”

Media Post: Social Video Viewing Enhances Purchasing

While the Fast Company article tells us as many as 25% of purchases are influenced by social media, this research-based article is a bit more specific, “45% of people are more likely to tell friends and family about a brand after watching a good video by that brand on social media.

Social Times: A Look At Social Video’s Big, Bright (And Somewhat Uncertain) Future

Juxtaposed against organic reach, the social media and digital advertising target continues to move at a breakneck pace. The advent of live and 360 video offerings are the latest keeping advertisers on their toes…and there doesn’t seem to be any end to the constant change in sight.

Ad Age: Google Links Brands With YouTube Creators: Are Agencies and Influencer Networks Threatened?

Speaking of change, Google’s latest offering is connecting brands directly with YouTube personalities/influencers, leaving some influencer-related agencies wondering what their future seat at the table will look like.

What CenterTable and GroundFloor Media Blogged About This Week:

Fake News vs. Real News – How Can You Tell the Difference?

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-8-53-19-amThere was a lot of news coverage of “fake news” leading up to and following the recent presidential election, but after doing some digging, it became clear that fake news and fake news sites are nothing new.

And it’s not just fake news that’s getting attention. I came across a story about how a police department in Central California issued a fake news release to the media to protect a person who was sure to be killed by rival gang members. Many in the local media were highly critical of the police’s actions, but the Santa Maria police made no apologies.

In an ever-shrinking media landscape with fewer and fewer “real” media and reporters, how do you tell real from fake news? The New York Times covered this topic in an appropriately titled headline: Inside a Fake News Sausage Factory: ‘This Is All About Income’. The article covered how a computer science major from Georgia (the country), started creating fake stories about Hillary Clinton on a website he set up, and watched his Google ad sales soar as more and more people found the site. He really started making money when he began creating content about Donald Trump.

Read more after the jump…

Drop What You’re Doing & Make the Switch to Google Expanded Text Ads

Ready or not, the time to convert to Expanded Text Ads (ETA) in Google pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is here.

Earlier this year, Google introduced ETAs, which provide more space for ad text over the standard text ads we’re used to, and they are better optimized for the mobile experience.

ETAs have been available to most advertisers for a few months now and many have already started to make the switch and see positive results. If you haven’t already tackled this project, don’t panic (yet!). Google will continue to support and run your existing ads until January 31, 2017. However, after that you will no longer be able to edit those existing standard text ads or create new ones – you will have to make the switch and create new expanded text ads moving forward. Read more after the jump…