Voice Search Technology Exploding

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What started with Siri in 2010 has quickly transformed into a growing industry that involves all the big tech players, including Apple, Google, and Amazon. Voice search has not only grown over the last three years, but it has exploded. In one year, voice search went from zero percent of searches to 10 percent, and as of June 2016, it now accounts for 20 percent of searches. That is huge growth in a short amount of time, and that percentage can be expected to continue to grow.

Consumers are using voice search in a few ways, which Hound, a voice query app, has divided into the following four categories:

  • Personal Assistant — creating events, shopping lists, reminders, making calls, or sending texts
  • Fun and Entertainment — listening to music, social media, searching video, or playing games
  • General Information — web searches, news, recipes, or banking and finance.
  • Local Information — finding restaurants, shopping, directions, home services weather, or traffic

Voice-controlled Personal Assistant and the General Information searches are the majority of voice queries.

With this change in how consumers are searching, businesses are going to have to employ new strategies in order to keep up. Since certain voice searches are bypassing the opportunities for competitors to try and attract your attention with high organic listings and paid advertisements, new strategies need to be developed to ensure that small businesses don’t get left behind in the new voice search era. Some things to consider include online reputation, search result rankings on search engines other than Google, and long-tail keywords.

Online Reputation:

Amazon Echo relies on “Skills,” which is Echo’s version of apps, to provide data for its searches. This can leave small businesses at a competitive disadvantage due to lack of capital to create a comprehensive application like big brands and franchises are able to do. This means the best way to compete is to optimize your presence on vertical sites that have applications, like Yelp, for example. Yelp is especially important since it is also the skill that Echo accesses when looking up local businesses such as restaurants or retail shops.

Search Rankings:

Being on the first page of Google is great, but what if a user is searching via Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo? Where does your site rank on the non-majority search engines?

Amazon Echo is the leading personal assistant at the moment and its default search engine is Bing. It’s important to make sure you have good standing across all of the top search engines, not just the majority leader — Google.

Search Queries:

Queries, when using voice search, tend to be more conversational, longer, more nuanced, and actually reveal a greater intent than basic searches. For example, a user who is typing may search for “ac repair near me,” whereas a user using a voice assistant may say, “There is a burning smell coming from my Trane ac unit.” Or instead of searching for a pizza restaurant near you, you will ask your personal assistant to order you a specific pizza from that app on your device. This is also the case with local service providers. Instead of searching for an electrician in your area, you will request your personal assistant to book an appointment with the highest-rated local electrician who is available during a certain time. This last instance can circle back around to our first objective: online reputation.

Since this is relatively new technology, competition, issues, and updates will undoubtedly arise, making it difficult to anticipate what strategies will work. However, if small businesses stay on top of the technology and actively participate as it grows, it lessens the chance of being left behind as this industry changes.

Digital Display Spending to Surpass Search Spending in 2016

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If you haven’t noticed already, be prepared to see advertising budgets change this year. As brands continue to invest more in digital advertising, for the first time ever, spending on digital display ads will surpass search ad spending.

Though spending has increased, it doesn’t mean your ROI is through the roof; marketers are still struggling to engage people across multiple channels and devices—that is, until recently. Advertisers are realizing that addressability is the solution to the various challenges created by cross-channel behaviors. Investing in people-based efforts will help marketers leverage their data to connect with customers in real time. Now, what does that mean? By moving beyond cookies and tapping into first-party customer data, advertisers are able to reach the right person in the right place at the right time.

In a world where ad blocking is the new normal, digital advertising must get better. Improved targeting, formats, and relevancy have become crucial to breaking though to consumers. People-based efforts will help serve more relevant ads to potential customers, thus increasing the opportunity of conversions. The majority of earlier adopters of people-based advertising have seen higher click-through rates and higher conversion rates compared to cookie-based results. As we see digital display budgets increase, we can expect to see people-based advertising as the prevailing trend.

Jiffy Jigs Website Launch

Jiffy Jigs, a small fishing lure business in Vidalia, GA, has become the number one maker of freshwater crappie jigs in the U.S. Such a great product and achievement deserves a great website. Ladies and gentleman, we would like to introduce the fresh, new JiffyJigs.com!

JiffyJigs.com highlights the plethora of products the company offers, all divided by category. No need to scroll through the curly tails if you’re looking for a super grub! The new website also features a detailed order form to ensure you receive the correct lure, size, and amount. If you’d rather just call in your order, you can do that, too!

So if you’re getting ready to go freshwater fishing, stop by JiffyJigs.com to pick up some new lures. And remember, if you ain’t fishin’ with Jiffy Jigs, you just ain’t fishin’.

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SDRA Website Launch

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The Savannah Development & Renewal Authority (SDRA) works with the local government and private sector to plan, develop, and promote greater downtown Savannah. It is important for an organization such as this to have an appealing, user-friendly website that includes all the information businesses and residents need or want to know. That is where we come in. Robmark Web, a website development company in Savannah, GA, has recently launched a new website for SDRA.

The new SDRA.net showcases a responsive design for ease of access on all mobile devices, and includes several features that let residents and businesses alike stay informed on the happenings of downtown Savannah. Businesses have the ability to use the interactive calendar to view available dates and reserve promotional kiosks on Broughton Street and/or banners located on Broughton Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, as well as learn about and apply for ribbon cutting ceremonies. Website visitors can also view and download Board Agendas/Board Minutes, nominate businesses for SDRA’s coveted Golden Broom award, and review Quarterly Block Party information. The website also offers industry resources, including maps and graphics of the greater downtown Savannah area. Last but not least, the new blog feature lets users stay up to date on the latest news and happenings from SDRA.

Needless to say, the SDRA website provides plethora of information about planning, development, and advocacy efforts on sites and projects in the downtown Savannah area. Visit SDRA.net, toggle around, and don’t forget to check their social feed for current events and updates.

Google Has Updated Local Listing Ranking Signals

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Google has updated the ranking signals for local listings. Instead of focusing mostly on proximity, it now takes into account traditional ranking signals used for organic search.

The three main areas Google considers when determining local rankings are relevance, distance, and prominence. “Prominence” is the new section added to the Google document, and within the document, it explains prominence as how well-known a business is. Not only does the prominence ranking factor take into consideration how prominent a business is offline, but they also use information like Google Review count and score, links, directory listings, articles, and organic search ranking to judge how prominent the business is online. This means that SEO best practices and your website’s ranking directly affect how well your Google My Business listing shows in local search results! Another way of looking at it is if you aren’t focusing on traditional SEO, the visibility for your Google My Business listing will suffer, and vice versa. If you haven’t paid too much attention to your Google My Business page, but have been focusing on traditional SEO tactics, your local rankings are likely to increase.

If you’re coming to the understanding that SEO is a necessity for your business’s website, call us! Robmark Web has a talented team of SEO specialists that stay up-to-date on the latest changes and adhere to all of the best practices guidelines.

10 Red Flags of a Shady SEO Provider

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Search Engine Optimization has been a buzzword for several years. Even people who may not know exactly what SEO is know it’s important in order to appear on the first page of Google. Because it is a rather convoluted conversation, many business owners stick to what they know, and hire a company to do SEO for them. Unfortunately there are several companies who take advantage of the complexity of it and may not be fully transparent in their actions. From giving the business owner wrong or bad advice to not following through on promised services, here are ten signs your SEO provider may not be legit.

 

  1. Producing Duplicate or Low Quality Content: Duplicate content is a big SEO no-no. However, some companies will copy and paste the same copy and simply swap out keywords in order to save themselves time and effort. No bueno.
  1. Lazy Tactics: Cramming all of your keywords into a title page and/or Meta keywords is just lazy and outdated. The SEO process takes more thought than that. 
  1. Blogs Only: There is so much more to SEO than blogging. Yes, blogging is one tactic in an overall strategy, but only focusing on blogs will not get you the desired results.

 

  1. Promises of a Low Bounce Rate: Depending on the website and its calls to action, the lowest bounce rate may not be your ultimate goal. For example, if you are urging people to call, a low bounce rate shows they are taking a long time to convert. Whereas if there is a high bounce rate, this could mean your customers are quickly converting and then leaving the site. If your SEO provider promises to drastically lower your bounce rate, you should ask them how they are doing it. There are companies that do it artificially by adding a script that pings Google Analytics, versus optimizing the content on the website.

 

  1. Al La Carte Services: SEO is an overall strategy that is broken up into several tactics, including copywriting, authoritative link building, Meta keywords, and more. These tactics work best when all done together. If an SEO company is giving you an option to choose one or the other, reconsider.

 

  1. Promised Outcomes: Google’s algorithms change with the wind. New businesses come into the market every day. Businesses change their strategies frequently. There are a lot of variables when it comes to organic listings, which is why nobody can guarantee rankings. If your SEO provider promised you the number one spot on a search engine results page, walk away.

 

  1. Cheap Services: SEO is a service that requires a human. It cannot be automated. And paying a real person to do real work is not cheap. This is very much a “you get what you pay for” service.

 

  1. Setup Fees: Because SEO is a manual task, not an automated one, there is nothing that needs to be “set up.” If a company tries to charge you a setup fee, ask them what it includes. A lot of research goes into an SEO project and providers will try to recoup the time by adding this extra fee. Or it is a possibility that they are just charging you extra money because they can. Either way, setup fees are something worth inquiring about.

 

  1. No Analytics Access: If your SEO provider set up Google Analytics, but won’t give you access, that is a huge red flag. And vice versa. If you already have analytics set up and your new provider doesn’t ask for access, buh-bye. How can they know what is going on with your website if they aren’t monitoring the website analytics?!

 

  1. No Monthly Reporting: R&M does offer quarterly reporting options for a client with a smaller budget, but monthly reporting is always recommended when it comes to SEO. Because there are constant tweaks being made and the organic listings atmosphere is frequently changing, it is beneficial to be able to see the continual progress.

 

If you are working with an SEO company and you noticed one or more of these red flags, cut your losses. Robmark Web has been Savannah’s top SEO company since 2008 and we pride ourselves on staying up on the latest trends and being fully transparent when it comes to our actions, access, reporting, and billing. Your success is our success.