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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.

News From Google I/O – Google+ Changes

By | Google, Google Changes, Google Plus, Online Marketing | No Comments

In our world at Turn The Page, the annual Google I/O conference is headlining news. We’re following the announcements and preparing for big changes. Google I/O began on Wednesday in San Francisco. The three day conference for software developers features the newest software for Android phones, updated apps, user experience improvements, and much, much more.

I tuned into the keynote for the news about Google+ updates. Let me tell you; they are making some major improvements and changes. I’ll focus on the Google+ changes. Check back here for information about other big announcements.

Major Google+ Changes Announced

Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President, Engineering for Google, announced they were rolling out 41 changes to Google+. To simplify this for us at the keynote, he went through three big changes.

Google+

Google+ now has a multi-column design. Gone is the flat, single column screen we are used to. This new design is dynamic, changing from 1 to 3 columns depending on the size of your screen. This means you’ll see more stories across the page, and they’ll fit well. This means that your cousin’s panoramic snapshot of the coast will span the entire screen rather than be squashed to fit in one column.

The multi-column design does more than look pretty. The menus and share box move and slide. New cards flip and fade, letting you see related info about a certain story.

The new related hashtags feature lets you explore a certain topic. Click on the hashtag to reveal a card with more stories with the same tag or related information.

Hangouts

Gundotra stressed the company’s philosophy on technology. He said that Google wants people to use technology to do what they do best: live, learn, and love. Instead of letting computers stop us from relating to people in the real world, Google wants us to focus on hanging out.

Gundotra shared the new stand alone hangouts app. He showed the app’s dynamic yet simple system that shows who is in the conversation and who is reading or sending a message. You can easily switch to group video chat, send pictures, video or text. And, you have the ability to save these conversations as long as you’d like.

Photos

Gundotra then presented a load of updates to Google+ Photos. Noting that taking, storing, enhancing, and sharing photographs takes a good chunk of time, he set us up for several time-saving features.

Google already backs up your photos, but now they will also enhance and “awesome” your photos. Google will examine all of your photos and pick the best ones based on a number of criteria. Then, all photos will be auto enhanced. They will even find pictures taken in “burst” mode or very close together and create a GIF-like file for you. This software is appropriately called “awesome”.

Stay tuned for more Google I/O news. We’re excited about the changes and improvements- We’ll keep you updated on how the changes will affect online marketing for local business.

Ranking Outside of Your Physical Location in Local Search

By | Blog, Google, Google Places, Google Plus, Google Search, local search, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization | No Comments

For businesses without a storefront, local search can get tricky.

Google wants to avoid businesses appearing in local search results if that business does not have a physical location in the city searched. They address this in the Google Places Quality Guidelines, where they disallow PO boxes and fake addresses.

The only known exception to this guideline is a business with general service areas. In this instance, businesses are to create a listing under one physical location. They are then allowed to designate those service areas. However, listing the designated service areas may not be effective in those areas with heavy competition.

In order to begin ranking in local search, we recommend the following tips and tricks.

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A Digital Checklist for Your Business Startup

By | Blog, Blogging, Facebook, Google Analytics, Google Plus, Google Webmaster Tools, instagram, Online Marketing, optimization, Search Engine Optimization, Youtube | No Comments

When launching your small business startup, you likely know you need a strong web presence, but you’re lost on where to start. Have no fear, Turn The Page Online Marketing is here! We’ve prioritized the steps you need to take while establishing your business startup’s presence in the online marketing world.

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Taking Advantage of Google Authorship

By | Google, Google Authorship, Google Plus, Search Engine, Search Engine Optimization, SEO | No Comments

If you’re not using Google Authorship to help your website get more traffic from Google, maybe it’s time you took a closer look. Google Authorship made its debut at the end of 2011 and since then we’ve seen an increasing number of established bloggers and companies embracing its benefits. Let’s take a look at Authorship and how it can help your website SEO.

Stand out in Google Search

Google Authorship is visually appealing and it’s not hard to recognize an author who takes advantage of it. You can see how this works in the search result example below. When given the choice many people lean towards visual content. With Authorship, your Google+ profile image is displayed along with the links to your content. This is a great way to make yourself stand out in a sea of competitive search results.

Establish Google Authority

Google Authorship can also be an excellent tool for building a loyal following of readers. When you put your face out there for people to see, they begin to associate it with the topics you are known to discuss. This small visual element helps to establish you as authority in your field. By doing so, you are also building a sense of trust, which separates you from the millions of anonymous creators who are competing in the same search results. Once people become familiar with seeing your face in the search results they will be more inclined to click your links because you’re a face they can trust.

Increase Click Through Rate

You’ll notice that Google Authorship comes with a special author byline. Clicking on the authors name will take you directly to their Google Plus profile. Clicking on the More By link will take you to a mini search result focused on related content that the author has produced. These features give additional opportunities for people to click through and learn more about what you have to offer.

When a person clicks your link in the search results and then uses the back button to return to the results, Google assumes they would be interested in more of your content. The results will then be dynamically modified, showing links to even more content from an author and encouraging the visitor to immediately return back to your website.

Setting Up Google Authorship

The first step is to create a Google+ profile, if you don’t already have one. Make sure to select a great image for your profile pic and then Verify AuthorShip. Google does not guarantee your profile image will always be displayed in Web & News search results. It also might take some time before your image begins to appear. So, once you’re finished make sure that everything is setup correctly by using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. This tool will give you a preview of how your new listings will eventually appear in the search results.

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.