We all know a business doesn’t blossom overnight. Once the signs are up and the staff is hired you can’t just sit around waiting for customers to walk in the door. Your first thought is probably to start advertising but there are a few steps before that. These steps will help you no matter whether you own a small business or franchise, or whether or not you have a marketing team working with you. Read More
Forget Facebook’s new Reactions. That’s not the biggest change in online marketing this week by a long shot.
Just when you think you know Google, the search engine giant decides to change up how it displays results.
We blogged about the change to the local listing pack — formerly known as the 7-pack — back when it was rolled out in August. Now, Google has given itself another makeover, creating a sleeker Search Engine Results Page (SERP) with some notable change-ups.[bctt tweet=”See how Google’s #SERP changes impact your #SEO & #onlinemarketing efforts!”]
Here’s what you should know about Google’s new look — and its implications for your online marketing efforts.
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.
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.
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.
(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:
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.
Technology is your friend. Not the kind of friend that you default to because all your other cool friends are out of town or busy, like how you default to Youtube or Facebook because you’re bored. I’m talking about that friend who comes over and helps you paint your house or fix your car. A useful friend. You want technology to save time, not consume it. Mint.com is just that: a time saving, useful friend.
What is Mint.com?
Mint.com is a website that tracks all your transactions from your bank account. Remember checkbooks? I don’t. I never used one. But if your older than 25 you might. Think of Mint.com like a digital checkbook. Instead of having to keep a record of every check you write in your checkbook just to keep track of your balances and expenses, Mint.com automatically reads all your transactions from your online bank account. It shows where you purchased items, how much it costs, and with a little help it categorizes it.
It’s safe. That’s usually the first concern. Mint.com only reads data. This means it can’t deposit, withdrawal or transfer any money, ever. It’s secure under 256 bit encryption, so you never have to worry about hackers.
Getting started is free. All you do is register an email address to sign up. Once you first login you’ll need to start adding accounts. Just search or type in the name of your bank, your username and password you use to login to your online bank account, and that’s it. The magic begins. Mint.com will start to pull your transactions automatically. You can now scroll through all the purchases you’ve made in the transactions section.
Mint.com For Business
Here are a couple ways Mint.com can be useful to your business.Categorizing transactions.
- After you’ve set up your first account, you can now see the transactions you’ve made around town. What you can start doing is clicking under the category column on the transaction and selecting the proper category. As you can see, the name of the business where you purchased the item is listed in the transaction so this makes it easy to categorize. If the category doesn’t exist you can create it by selecting a category on the right side. There’s an option to add/edit categories. A nice feature about Mint.com is once you start categorizing your purchases the system will remember and automatically file it under that category next time you buy something at that location.
- Seeing your trends. Another nice feature of Mint.com is trends. In the trends section you can see all sorts of options. After you’ve categorized a lot of your transactions, trends will start to appear. You’ll see if you’re spending too much on a specific item, like if you’re buying too much office supplies and need to cut down. Another nice feature is you can also track your income. Trends create a nice flow chart of all your assets and expenses. You can see why this could be useful to any business owner.
Now that you’re a little familiar with Mint.com, you can see how it can really save you time. No more pouring over checkbooks, receipts, and expense sheets. You can sit down and view it all from one screen. See, technology can be a useful friend. Now you can get rid of all those other friends. Youtube and Facebook I mean, of course.
Google Maps has just undergone a makeover, and Google claims it’s now better than ever. Changes in format, ads, colors, images, and routes are among the additions; but what does this mean for your local business? More than likely, they will make you more visible and convenient for a potential customer to find you.
According to the big reveal last Wednesday, one of the biggest additions is the Street View feature. Originally launched in 2007, Street View provides panoramic images from street positions around the world. Now users will be able to use their mobile phones to view a business’ location from their vehicles. This means customers will have a clear visual representation of your storefront and the surrounding area before even stepping foot inside the store.
Additionally, users will have access to a contact card with your business’ information just by clicking on its pinpoint on the Map. It will no longer be necessary to navigate through a separate Google search or Yellow Pages app to find your phone number, address, or URL. Be sure to double check that your local search listings are correct and consistent across all digital platforms so this information remains accurate in searches.
After viewing the store’s listing, the user will be able to pull up your business’ Google Offer if you’re promoting a deal at the time. Maps will even make tailored recommendations for customers based on previous searches.
Likely one of the most important features is the traffic rerouting system. Google Maps will change route directions if the user is stuck in traffic or comes across a closed street. It will also provide side-by-side information so your customers can choose the shortest and quickest route to your business.
We are hoping these new integrated features will help your business, even if only by making it more convenient to find your location. While they may not be revolutionary, they will promote your business’ visibility as long as you are keeping your contact information up to date.