SEO

Assessing Your SEO Program

Are your SEO programs and strategies benefiting your company? Finding out does not have to be difficult, and knowing what does and does not work for your company is vital for expanding your online presence. Now is as good a time as ever to review your goals and analyze the performance of your SEO program – read on to find out how!

Compare and Contrast

Sign on to your analytics platform and pick a time frame. The start of 2015 to the present is a good range to begin with. Compare this data to a previous time period. How does it compare?

  • Finding pivotal information about your SEO program, such as overall traffic and other key performances, will help you assess your successes and failures.

If you are unsure on how to check for this information, simply go to the left hand column, scroll down and click on Acquisition, and proceed to All Traffic and Channels. Doing this will reload the screen on the right hand side and will now display updated, daily traffic information. You can adjust the time range as you please in this screen.

Mobile Traffic Matters.. More Than Ever

Thanks to Mobilegeddon, the new Google search algorithm, taking a critical look at your SEO programs is more important than ever. If your mobile hits and traffic are low, take it as a sign that you need to improve and change your mobile strategy.

  • To see your mobile analytics, go to Audience, then Mobile, and finally Overview on the left hand side. Your centre screen will now reload and display your desktop, tablet, and mobile traffic data.

Is your mobile traffic improving or is it decreasing? Now is the time to optimize your website for mobile browsing, and neglecting to do so will result in lower SERP positions. If you notice a decline, read about how to improve your mobile friendliness.

New, Returning, and Referral Hits

Compare and contrast your new site visitors, returning site visitors, and referred site visitors. Compare these to your last period, and assess which numbers are up or down.

  • Again, go to the Audience section and select Overview, which will update the information on your sites hits and visitors.

Here, you can also see referral traffic. Are you performing up to par on Google or Google Maps? If your traffic is down, now is the time to further optimize your website and work on your SEO program.

woman with search application phone in the park

Will Your Site Be Removed From Google’s Mobile Search Results?

The Mobile search world is becoming a different playing field with Google’s latest update.

Many people will find that their websites are being eliminated from Google’s mobile search results over time. The update is still relatively new, meaning the that removing websites from the search is a process. To the many owners out there who have not yet adjusted or optimized their websites for mobile devices – this update might take millions by surprise.

Don’t fall behind. Keep your site showing on mobile search by testing your site today. Keep reading to learn more!

“Mobilegeddon”, the name given to the newest Google algorithm, has made mobile friendliness a top priority. Step your game up and beat your competitors to the punch!

Here are some great ways to propel your mobile-friendliness forward, with the results not only being improved Google rankings, but also conversions and results!

Create a mobile website that will secure conversions.

With the extreme influx of online mobile users, your website should be prepared for not only views and hits, but also for conversions.

Having a mobile friendly website, which includes easy to read text, click-able links, and pages that size content to fit the screen are all vital features, but there’s more to the game now. The aforementioned features are crucial to have for SERP rankings, but making sure your site is optimized for mobile conversions is also important.

Optimizing for mobile ensures that your website will continue ranking high in Google search, and the hits you receive from this will include conversions. Having a beautifully done mobile-friendly website is great, but without the whole package, it will not aid you in the long run.

See how search keywords contrast between mobile and desktop in search.

If you are not aware of the differences in your ranking for high priority keywords, then take the time to investigate now. Prepare to see a difference in successes and failures from desktop and mobile platforms.

You can easily find how or if your rankings for high priority keywords are affected. To start, log in to Google Webmaster Tools. On the left hand side, click Search Traffic then Search Queries. Once there, you can play around with filters to see only mobile search queries or only web search queries. The information you find from here is important for you to know, as you will see trends and patterns in what keywords are driving traffic to your website from either mobile or desktop platforms.

Local, local, local. Understanding mobile context.

When it comes to mobile searches, there is no denying the extreme amount of local searches. Searching top rated restaurants within walking distance, finding a gym that’s close enough to your place of employment, researching a product in a store before you buy, or simply Googling the nearest Walmart – these are all examples of common, everyday local searches. Understanding that many mobile searches are in the context of local searches will help you to create relevant, useful user content.

You can test your websites mobile friendliness with Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.

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Google Released a Mobile Friendly Update. Is Your Site Ready?

The highly anticipated mobile friendly update from Google has officially launched! This update has been nicknamed “Mobilegeddon”, but don’t let the name scare you. This update optimizes Google for use on smart phones and tablets.

How does the Mobilegeddon update affect my site?

It favours sites with easy to read, large text, ensures search results include easy to click links, and reconstructs the optimization of web sizes for smaller devices. Websites that are not up to mobile standards may see a dip in rankings. Don’t see a change? Do not immediately assume your site has been unaffected. Google has stated that it could take up to a week for all changes to be up-to-date.

Having an easily navigable web page for your business is crucial.

With the extreme prevalence of mobile use for all facets of internet searching, it comes as no surprise that your companies website should be optimized for mobile use to guarantee success. This is even more crucial after the Mobilegeddon update. Even top conglomerates are seeing a dip in their Google rankings, for the sole reason that they do not offer mobile versions of their website.

What do I do if I’ve been negatively affected by Mobilegeddon?

If you see a sink in your rankings after Google’s Mobilegeddon update, there are some quick actions you can take to help boost your website.

  • Make sure your website is readable without having to zoom on mobile devices
  • have buttons and icons that are big enough and easy to use on mobile and touch screens
  • Optimize your website to have a fast loading speed

The aim of this update is to ensure you are providing your clients and customers with ideal browsing conditions. These small changes will not only help you and your website succeed, but it will also helping your Google ranking, win-win!

Make sure to test your site!

Google offers a great way to quickly and easily test your websites for mobile-friendliness. All you need to do is visit Google’s Mobile Friendly Test and enter your website.

You will be given points on how you can improve the mobile browsing experience of your website, which will help your Google rankings prosper.

This update does not have to mean you will lose visitors to your website, in fact, it might mean the opposite. Remember, you’re not the only company being affected by this update, so take advantage of the fact that some of your competitors may also be playing catch-up. Clean up your design to pristine browsing potential and beat them to the punch!

*It is important to note that while this update only affects search results made on mobile platforms, the rise of mobile usage for searching has gone up exponentially. Catering to both types of platforms is the key to success here.

Partnership, Marketing

Working With a Google Marketing Company

To understand why it is important to use a Google Partner Agency think of it this way; would you take a legal advice from a guy in a bar without asking if he is a certified lawyer and has expertise in the specifics that you are interested in?

The Same goes to managing your Google campaigns. You want a company that is certified, has proven track record of success with Google products, understands the market, has the resources to get you the results you are expecting and  that is certified to manage Google products by Google.

Google Partners are online marketing companies that are trusted by Google.

Google Partner Agencies must manage an ad spend of at least $10,000 every 3 months and continuously meet Google’s high standards to maintain partner status.

Google has replaced their original AdWords Certification with the more esteemed Google Partner Badge. The badge recognizes companies that excel using Google’s products and use the best Google practices.

Google Partner Agency

Stripping over 65% of their partner list, Google kept agencies that:

Know Google. Google Partners, as well as their employees need to stay current with the latest Google products and tools by passing exams administered by Google every 18 months.

Have Proven Success. This is what differentiates Partners. Using the best industry practices to manage client campaigns no matter which sector or how much ad spend is being invested. A Partner’s goal is to help your business achieve the best return on their budget. Working with a Google Partner can save your business time and energy.

Keep Ahead of the Curve. Having a working relationship with Google allows Partners to be ahead of the curve. Having access to a range of Google goodies including training seminars and product updates, not to mention the bottomless pool of learning materials helps us to help you.

Provide Professional Service to Clients. A Google partner is expected to provide responsive service to clients that meet the standards of Google are are subject to Google’s ongoing approval of them providing the service under the Google Partner certification. Clients therefore benefit from the extra protection offered by the certification.

Tips for Choosing a Google Partner

Be Selective. See if that agency has worked with businesses in your area before, or worked with businesses that have similar budgets and target audiences to yours. See what other services they provide that can help your business grow and get you a higher ROI.

Only Pick One Partner. You may have a hard time choosing partners, so you decide to divvy up your budget with several partners at once to see who will give you the best results, which is fine- but it is recommended you test one at a time. Only one ad is displayed for your business on a search result list so it will be difficult to judge multiple partners performance at the same time.

Understand the Basics. To learn the basics of Google Advertising is actually easier than you may think. Understanding AdWords will help you make more informed decisions when working with your Google Partner.

Measure Your Performance. Return on investment (new customers in the door) is what matters most about your advertising. Set some time aside each month to review your investment, and if you are getting the results you want to see from that investment.

Verified

Google My Business Verification Via Webmaster Tools

Traditionally, when verifying a business listing on Google+ you would have to wait a few weeks for a post card that holds a verification code to be delivered to your business, and then you must enter it online.

Many users are unaware that you are able to instantly verify your Google Local Listing or Google My Business Listing using Webmaster Tools. Effective as of August 2014, your business is able to be instantly verified on Google My Business. Your business’s website must already be verified with Google Webmaster Tools in order to be instantly verified.

Make sure that you are signed in to Google My Business with the same email account you used to verify your website with on Webmaster Tools. If you have not done already verified your site, click here to learn how, or watch the video below.

You can get the instructions on how to verify with Webmaster Tools, or see other methods of verification here. Note that instant verification is only available for some business categories.

Opened book

Private Schools ; Using the Internet as a Marketing Tool

Traditional forms of acquiring new applicants such as direct mail, billboards and print ads are no longer doing the job. The internet has altered the ways families search for, and choose a private school.

More than ever, a strong online brand and presence is crucial for your marketing strategy. This includes your website, social media, advertising and tracking. By having an online presence, your schools exposure is increased meanwhile achieving a better return on investment.

On your website, you should provide educational content along with parent references and the ways your admissions office can be communicated with before people are ready to apply.

Your website should be inviting and engaging. Have images of students and upload videos of events to create awareness of what is happening in school. This allows visitors to learn about as well as get a better feel for your school. When parents see their children in videos, they are more likely to share it to friends and family whom are also prospective applicants.

Have a blog community on your website where you share updates about what has been happening in your school, and where parents can post and communicate with each other. If you do not update your website, there is no reason for people to return to it.

Inbound marketing is a strategy that will be found on Google and social media by your target parents and students. This type of content is found on your blog and website and targets inquiries or concerns that your target audiences are searching for online about private schools in general, not only yours.

Paid advertising such as Google and Facebook ads that bring visitors to the relative landing pages so they are directed exactly where they want to go when they click on your ad. The reach of pay-per-click advertising online is far greater than print.

Social media serves as a retention tool where you can engage with families and students. In order to manage social media effectively, you should understand which channels work best for your school and focus on few instead of all. Check your social media accounts a few times a day, and always respond to messages or tweets you have received.

You can also implement methods for your school to go green. Have weekly newsletters online instead of printed. Post the student handbook online along with any permission forms so they can be downloaded easily. Also, taking electronic payments for tuition and field trips are an attractive option for parents.

Text Keywords on colorful cubes

Beyond Keywords: Practical Tips for Topic-Targetting On-Page Optimization

Gone are the days of relying entirely on web content saturated with popular keywords as a means of optimizing search listing rankings. Search engines still comb title tags, headers, text bodies, and alt image attributes for relevant keywords to grade pages for their search listing rankings, but recent developments in search engine sophistication have lessened the influence of this keyword-centric approach. Now, a transition is underway from an antiquated reliance on keyword density and placement to a more advanced topic-targeting strategy. Fortunately, generating competitive content in this sophisticated new SEO climate does not require fluency in “semantic relationships” or “entity occurrences.” The following four tips will save you the hassle as you fight your way towards a strong search engine ranking.

 

  • Keep crafting high-quality keywords. Though keyword density is no longer the end-all be-all of search engine optimization, it should still make up an important part of your strategic foundation. You should still aim to include keywords that people are likely to use in their queries.

 

 

  • No more tunnel-vision. Don’t let your keyword creation fall victim to tunnel vision by focusing on singular terms. Instead, expand your thinking towards keyword themes that include secondary terms that are related to the core word. Try to imagine a conversation about your topic, or the thought process of a querying user; what would they say about your topic, and specifically, what words would they use aside from the explicit term in question? Predicting these terms and crafting relevant “keyword themes” will draw more attention to your central topic

 

 

  • Focus on conversational language. Crafting content is about drawing eyes and attention, not impressing lingual academics. Connecting with the user is about getting inside their head and playing off of the way they think. This means that content creation is not the time to showcase your big-ticket vocabulary. You don’t need to be an expert in semantic keyword research; you simply need to write using the same conversational language that users will be searching for you with.

 

 

  • Good content provides quality answers. Part of your content creation process should involve systematically trying to answer every question you can imagine the user needing to ask, and then trying to provide concise and accurate answers to those questions. Answers the questions your users bring to the table ensures that you deserve your top-ranking position.

 

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New Penguin Algorithm Update!

Google may be introducing a Penguin algorithm update as early as next week!

This will not only be an update but also a rewrite of the algorithm that Google spent nearly a whole year to release!

If issues arise during the testing phase it is possible that the launch will be delayed.

However, if testing goes well Google might launch the next generation Penguin update.

The updated Penguin will improve webmaster’s lives. Google is striving to make users and webmasters happy with this update.

360 will keep you posted on the release of the next generation Penguin update!

focus on local

Six Salient Factors for Local Search Optimization

As technology maintains its forward march, business owners are given the choice to fall in step, or to stand idly by and risk being trampled. The digital age offers us new opportunities for advertising, connectivity, and engagement, but new challenges are arising in turn, demanding the attention and adaptive action of small business owners. Keeping the needs of small business owners in mind, the following six predictions should help users navigate the continued evolution of local search.

1. National brands seek local conduits

Operating on their own, many national brands seeking access to local demographics will find themselves disadvantaged. By entering competitive local markets already saturated with keywords, online visibility becomes a very difficult prospect for national brand and independent business owners who may become lost in the shuffle.

National marketers looking to penetrate these markets and drive conversions to their local franchises will need to connect with local conduits. A platform effect will be put in place, where coordinated national-to-local strategies are applied to search engine optimization, social media, and content marketing approaches.

2. Content is king

Prominent local search algorithms, including Google’s Hummingbird, will continue their practice of rewarding valuable content. To rise up above the competition in local search listings, business owners will be required to produce original and informative content. Savvy business owners should acknowledge the conversational tone of search users’ queries and provide clear answers to their most common questions to secure high-ranking search results.

3. Mobile-optimized websites’ demand soars

It is in the best interest of business owners to cater their website to the new generation of cell-phone shoppers. Business owners who do not invest in mobile optimization risk leaving customers unable to access their website, costing them significantly in terms of both traffic and conversions. More consumers shop from their phones than ever, with websites owing a significant portion of their traffic to the use of mobile browsers. Mobile devices accounted for nearly a quarter of Target’s Black Friday sales this year, and Google is taking notice of this trend.

In 2013, Google began to reward businesses whose websites were properly configured for mobile device use, and this trend has continued this year. Websites that do not adapt to the demand for mobile optimization may be penalized by Google and other leading search engines.

4. Google gives business rating and review more weight

The past year has seen Google intensify the attention paid to local ratings and reviews, as evidenced by their launching of City Experts, a Yelp-styled review service that will increase their harvest of rich and intimately-local content from consumers. Google is offering businesses incentives to support their rating and review-centric approach, granting those businesses who verify their listings the ability to see and reply to customer ratings in their Places for Business dashboard.

In response to this new direction, businesses should encourage loyal customers to be active reviewers, and also ensure that their local search listings are verified with Google and all other leading search engines.

5. The imbrication of social media and search engine optimization continues

Social media continues to engage internet users more than any other online service, and its prevalence offers business owners some exciting opportunities for search engine optimization. Social media channels will keep driving referral traffic at rates comparable to that generated organically and by traditional directory listings. Search algorithms will continue to take strong notice of social medial referrals, with “people links” weighed higher than those achieved through managed or paid sources. Businesses who take their social media presence seriously will enjoy higher conversions rates generated by greater customer loyalties, positive ratings and reviews, and natural backlinks.

6. More Facebook face-time for small businesses

Though it pales in comparison to dedicated directories like Google+ or Yelp, Facebook remains a powerful resource for marketing, engagement, and consumer connectivity. Facebook easily reaches over one billion users, making it a compelling platform for businesses to launch their conversion campaigns from. Category targeting and remarketing make Facebook a superior platform for paid marketing campaigns, with paid promoted posts an especially effective means of securing greater engagement and local search engine presence.

Local search is engaged in an exciting period of growth and change. Though challenges arise and adaptations are called for, business owners who can successfully navigate this new dynamic will benefit from huge expansion opportunities for their brand and local visibility.

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Google Display Network – Targeting Options

The Google display network is a system of websites with space for advertising, where you can place your ads. Using precise targeting the GDN is able to reach engaged audiences at the right stages to produce better results. It allows you to place your ads on an array of niche websites in the forms of text, images and videos as well as mobile ads.

Potential customers can be reached based on their browsing patterns.

Contextual Targeting includes;
Keyword – Matching keywords in your campaign with websites related to that keyword.
Topic – Select your target audience from a list of over 1700 categories. Google has categorized thousands of pages under this umbrella of categories.
Placement – Ads are placed on specific sites or feeds that your audience will visit.

Audience Targeting includes;

Interest Category Marketing – Ads are shown to people based on their interests and search history.
Demographics – Allows you to select your audience based on age or gender.
Re-marketing – Advertising to people who have previously visited your site but have not taken any actions.
Similar Users – Finding consumers with similar habits to those on your remarketing list.

When both of these methods are combined, the results prove very effective.There are four different phases to a prospective consumers buying cycle. Using display advertisement will help to create awareness, increase the scope of your campaign, assist in driving conversions and ultimately increase the purchase cycle.

Buying Cycle
Awareness Stage – Showing banners of your brand.

Interest Stage – Target customers when they are evaluating.

Consideration Stage – Re-marketing to engage past visitors, includes demographic targeting.

Purchase Stage – Re-marketing targets people who have added items to an online cart, but have not followed through with a purchase. Showing relevant ads help to up-sell products.

After users have moved through the buying cycle the last step is loyalty. By targeting customers who have completed an action on your website in the past is an effective way to maintain brand loyalty. Google +1’s allow customers to spread recommendations across the internet.

The Google Display Network uses mixed advertising to target the right people at the right time, sending them the right message which is why it delivers results.