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Google Changes

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What to Expect in SEO in 2016!

By | Google Changes, Google Maps, Google My Business, Local Business, local search, mobile phone, mobile search, Mobile Websites, Mobile-Friendly, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Optimization Changes, SEO, Small business, smart phone, Social Media | No Comments

When it comes to SEO, we unfortunately don’t have a guidebook detailing what to expect, or a crystal ball for predicting the date of the next algorithm change.

We do, fortunately, have some hunches about what we think is pretty darn likely to go down in 2016.

Check out what we think might be in the cards for online marketing in the next year.

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Don’t Get Left out in the Cold with Google’s Penguin Roll-Out

By | Google, Google Changes, Penguin Update | No Comments

March of the Penguin Updates

Google rolled out its last Penguin update last December. It was designed to penalize websites with spammy links and keep everyone on the up and up. However, every algorithm roll-out leaves websites as either winners or losers.

If your website is running smoothly and you’re getting the results you want as a business owner, auditing your website and running last-minute checks is probably not at the top of your mind. However, now is a great time to make sure your website won’t be penalized by the new Penguin update, which will roll out next year.Facebook Graphic 3 (4)

Avoiding Penguin Penalties

If your website does not conform to Google’s standards, its algorithms will make sure to penalize your website, meaning that it won’t land on the coveted first page of search results. Searchers will click on your competitors’ websites and buy whatever they’re selling before you even have a chance to show the searcher what you’re all about.

Penalized by not Being Penguin-ized

Spammy practices can mean you get a sudden spike in referring links. and that sudden increase raises a red flag for Google. especially when even a couple of websites link to your website from every page. It’s a good thing when a website refers traffic to yours, but it has to make sense.

Disavowing those referring links means telling Google that you had nothing to do with those sketchy, spammy links pointing to your site. However, simply disavowing a link is not a substitute for getting the links removed manually.

Internal Link Optimization

External links get the most Penguin-related attention, but you shouldn’t ignore your internal links. Internal links don’t necessarily affect rankings, but they do influence how search engines crawl your site in a big way. Your website needs to have varied anchor text, not just the keywords verbatim. It needs to link related pages together — ask yourself, “If someone is searching for Thing 1, would he or she also be interested in Thing 2?”

User experience is everything to Google, and if your website doesn’t meet its standards, you’ll be penalized and people won’t find your website. For more information on how you can get ready for the Penguin roll-out, call Turn The Page Online Marketing at (816) 527-8371 or (844) 889-5001 today.

 

 

 

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The New Google+: What You Need to Know

By | Google, Google Changes, Google Updates, Small Businesses | No Comments

In recent months we’ve seen a flood of changes and updates overtake the Google world as we know it. Google+ has served as an effective social tool for small businesses for several years. Its integration with Google Maps and Google My Business, in addition to its advantage in Google search visibility, have made it a useful platform on which to promote a business and ensure that the business shows up in search results. However, many recent reports have predicted the Google+ apocalypse, partially because Google’s recent changes seem to be moving away from Google+. But then, this happened: the official Google blog announced big changes to Google+ last week, and with those changes a whole new potential for the future of Google+.

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Home Service Ads

Google’s New Home Service Ads Could Spell Trouble for Local Businesses

By | Google Changes, Local Business | No Comments

And you thought the Snack Pack was rough on local businesses. Right around the same time Google rolled out the Snack Pack, the search giant began beta testing in the San Francisco Bay area what could be an even more significant, and potentially devastating, update to its search engine results page (SERP) and local listings.

Google’s New Home Service Ads

Take a look at this screen grab of a search for “san francisco plumber,” juxtaposed with the same search for Lee’s Summit, MO (TTP HQ). Looks a little… different.

Home Service AdsSnack Pack
The Lee’s Summit search is a prime example of the new Snack Pack of local listings, while the San Francisco one seems to throw that update right out the door in favor of an even more refreshed look. And while a map is noticeably missing from the San Francisco search, that isn’t the most significant change with this beta test. This little pack of three isn’t a group of top organic local listings, like in the Snack Pack – these are sponsored, paid advertisements, known as home service ads, from the plumbers listed.

Sponsored

(Okay, they “may” be paid. Right.)

When you click on “More” at the bottom of the pack of home service ads, rather than seeing an expanded map with additional local listings, like you do with the Snack Pack, searchers are now taken to this page:

Send Request
Here, you can select the type of plumbing job you need and then send requests to one, two or all of the listed professionals, straight through Google.

What’s Going On?

Like we mentioned before, this beta testing of home service ads is only in the San Francisco Bay area. It’s currently restricted to handymen, house cleaners, locksmiths and, of course, plumbers (home services), but we predict it will rapidly spread not only across the country, but across industries and professions.

What Does This Mean for Me?

While the answer should surprise no one, that doesn’t make it any less disappointing. The expansion of the home service ads beta testing into a full-blown update comes with a few consequences:

  • SERPs will have more ad space
  • They will have significantly less organic local listings
  • Local businesses will have to spend money

If you are a local business, no matter how hard you have focused your efforts, whether by yourself or through an online marketing agency such as TTP, if you have not invested money in paid search for Google, you will be affected.

With more ad space and less room and focus on organic local listings, we expect clients to see a decrease in calls as their links begin to drop and get buried in the paid results.

What Can I Do?

As local business lovers, we’re on your side. We encourage you to contact your Account Executive with any questions or concerns you may have as to how home service ads may impact your business. And if you’re not yet a client, we welcome you to call us at (816) 527-8371 or (844) 889-5001 to get in touch with one of our online marketing experts.

Google Updates

Two Years of Google Updates (Infographic)

By | Google, Google Changes | No Comments

Google is always making updates, as is evidenced by their “controversial” new logo, meaning your rankings could potentially be slipping or climbing all across the internet. In this infographic, we take a look at some of their more impactful updates and what they’ve done for websites the world over.

Google Updates

 

For a more detailed look at every update since 2000, be sure to check out Moz’s full list of the Google Algorithm Change History.

Have You Been Hit?

If you’ve seen a dramatic drop in your rankings after one of the past algorithm updates, contact the online marketing experts at Turn The Page, an Inc. 500 company. Call us today at (816) 527-8371 or (844) 889-5001 for more information.

Google Search

Google’s Snack Pack Packs a Punch for Local Businesses

By | Google, Google Changes, Google Plus, Google Search | No Comments

As the new “Snack Pack” continues to spread across browsers, it’s becoming apparent that this new 3-pack listing is part of an official roll out and not just a test. We have analyzed the Snack Pack and offers some insight as to what this change can mean for local businesses.

What is the Snack Pack?

If you’re a small business owner and not a marketer, you’re probably wondering, “What the heck is a Snack Pack?” or “Pudding? Why are we talking about pudding?” The so-called “Snack Pack” is the collection of three listings that you see when you search for a local business. Let’s say you’re searching for an online marketing company in the Kansas City area (*ahem*), so you go to Google and type in “online marketing kansas city” (because nobody searches with capital letters, let’s be real). This is what you would see:

Snak Pak
Behold, the Snack Pack. You get the top three results for your search term, their website and directions to their office (if they have either of those). You also get a map of the area with many pins including, of course, ones for the top hits. At the bottom of the pack is a link leading you to more results and an even broader map.

Snak Pak Map

What makes this an update?

Does it feel like something’s… missing? That certain something is four whole listings. Previously (and still for some people), Google would present you with a “7-pack,” or as the name blatantly implies, the top seven listings for your search term. It also linked you to the map, which you had to click on to view.

Also notable for local businesses is that the new Snack Pack no longer links to Google + pages, following suit with Google’s debranding of the service.

Unfortunately, the web address, address and phone number are not visible either, on mobile or desktop. However, the mobile version of the Snack Pack does feature a convenient “Call” button.

What does this mean for me?

Since the Snack Pack is still in its infancy, we don’t know yet what this will mean for business. Tyler has some theories:

  • More people may click on the organic listings below the local Snack Pack.
  • On the flip side, the majority may click to view more, which will drive more traffic to Google listings.

The TTP Strategy Team is going to closely monitor the Snack Pack to identify trends and determine which way people are leaning. In the mean time, according to a heat map study by Mike Ramsey of Nifty Marketing, organic links see the most clicks, except in the case of restaurant searches.

When it comes right down to it, though, Tyler notes, “This changes increases the importance of local search marketing – it’s important to stay higher up in the local pack.”

Why is Google doing this?

Arguments abound but the most popular idea is that Google is doing this to drive more traffic through Adwords. Hey, the world’s most powerful and beloved search engine’s gotta make money somehow, right?

Call TTP

Still a little hazy? Too many strange, seemingly food-related terms to make sense of? Let Turn The Page understand the Snack Pack, and any update Google may roll out, for you. For more information about teaming up with our freaky online marketing team, give us a call today at (816) 527-8371 or (844) 889-5001 or contact us online.

Google + Local Takes Over Google Places

By | Business Listing, Customer Reviews, Google Changes, Google Places, Google Plus | No Comments

If you haven’t heard, we’ve recently said goodbye to Google Places and hello to Google Plus Local.

At Turn the Page, we’ve anticipated this merge for months assuming that Google+ would become more relevant for local search. The time has come and we are busy making the most of these changes for our clients.

Local Search- Now More Social

Google’s goal of creating a single web experience for users has taken its next step. Google has now integrated Google Plus Local into its networking site to allow users to share information about local shops and restaurants.

With social networking being a huge part of our lives and our businesses, people look to online resources when making a decision. We often seek the opinions of our friends and family as well as the reviews of others before making a purchase. The new “Local” tab on a Google+ page allows users to search for local restaurants, hotels and more with a full integration of reviews, ratings, and comments.

Converting Your Listing

In order for your business to take advantage of Google+ Local, it will need a verified G+ page. A Google places listing will not merge without it. If your business has this in place, the conversion should have been painless.

So is this beneficial? We think so. A consumer now has several ways to find you- Google Search, Google Maps, Google+ Search or in Mobile Apps- and now will have a very consistent experience.

Users then receive a much more engaging experience with reviews and several sources of information. Not only is it more visually interesting than Places was, but it is inviting to social interactions as well.

For a user, by choosing the Local tab, they are given a few options. They can simply browse the home page content for local businesses or they can conduct a search similar to a Google.com search. Two search boxes are visible allowing a category search as well as a location. Of course, Google knows your location, but in case you wanted to conduct a not so local search.

Zagat > Yelp ?

Integrated into this new local tab is Google’s Zagat which includes reviews, rating and comments from friends. Rather than a business being rated on a 1-5 star scale, Zagat allows users to fill out a more comprehensive review.

This helps to separate components such as food, service and atmosphere instead of being forced to factor them all into one. Zagat’s more complex scoring system prevents scores from converging and allows for a much more accurate review.

Changes to Mobile

Android devices have already seen these changes in Google Maps for Mobile. Still pending is app updates to iOS. However, Apple users may never see this based on predictions of its own Maps replacing Google Maps for the iPhone this summer.

Overall, these changes in Google+ Local and the integration of Zagat reviews provide a more useful local search experience for consumers. We are also excited about the large degree of social and recommended content that Google+ Local and Zagat have to offer.

For more information about getting your business active on Google+ Local, contact Turn the Page Online Marketing.