Google Has Updated Local Listing Ranking Signals

Google Has Updated Local Listing Ranking Signals


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

10 Red Flags of a Shady SEO Provider


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.

Where has all the web design gone?

Where has all the web design gone?

Over the years, web design has become quite beautiful. Simple and attractive sites have become the standard, compared to the chaos that was web design in the first twenty years of the Internet.

We should be proud of how far we have come in web design. While working toward more streamlined designs, we have also reaped the benefits of ease of navigation (when done correctly), standardization in building techniques, ease of prototyping, and strict grid layouts lending themselves to responsive design.

The one downfall is that websites are all starting to look the same. Where has all of our creativity gone? There are several factors that are leading to this cookie cutter trend, including the following:

Responsive design: The simplicity of sites has increased in correlation with mobile usage and the need for responsive design. The layouts need to be basic in order for the grid to collapse for a streamlined look on any device.

Layouts: When you take away all the personality from most websites that you see today, you will notice there are only about five common website layouts.

Free Photography: There are several free or cheap stock photography websites that make beautiful photos easily accessible to website designers. Photography makes or breaks a website, so having these attractive, high-resolution assets readily available can be a huge benefit. However, have you noticed there are some pictures that are so attractive and so easily attainable that they are used everywhere?

In most circumstances, a more standard design is the better choice, whether it is due to time or budget constraints. But just because the framework is standard, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun or clever! Let’s get weird. Let’s get out of our web design box. One way we can do this, while keeping the overall design simple and responsive, is to get funky with the layout. Instead of going straight to a template, draw a design on a piece of paper and do something you have never done. When we said think outside the box, we meant literally. Often you see portals or call outs on a website in simple square blocks. Think geometric! And lastly, use stock photography as an idea, not an end product. Add your own spin to the image to make it unique to you and your brand.

Though it seems the majority of sites are all starting to look the same, there are still some incredible designs out there. Follow this link to see some great examples of web designers thinking outside the box.

 

Buying Domain Variations | Jeb Bush Learned a Lesson

When building a brand, it is Branding 101 in the 21st century to purchase multiple variations of your website domain, even if you don’t plan on using them, to ensure you have control of your brand name on the web. You wouldn’t want consumers to go to another website thinking it’s yours, or worse, someone building a mock website that hurts your brand identity. Unfortunately, Jeb Bush has learned this lesson the hard way while building his brand as the potential next President of the United States.
Jeb Bush’s campaign was running under the domain Jeb2016.com, but his entourage failed to purchase domains with variations of Jeb’s name, including JebBush.com, and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump seized that opportunity. If you try to visit JebBush.com, you will be redirected to DonaldJTrump.com, Trump’s official campaign site. Domain hijinks nowadays don’t make as big of an impact as they did 10 or 15 years ago, but this black eye didn’t help Jeb’s campaign, which ultimately came to an end in South Carolina this past weekend.

Update: The domain has since been deactivated since Bush has dropped out of the presidential race.

 

Google Provides Defense Against Ad Fraud

Ad fraud has become a popular topic nowadays. Rumored to be costing the advertising industry millions or even billions of dollars a year, ad fraud has nearly everyone in agreement that something needs to be done.
Master of the universe and a leader in online advertising, Google has finally unleashed a weapon to help combat ad fraud. This new feature automatically filters the traffic coming from the top ad fraud botnets that are currently plaguing the industry. Marketers can access this new feature on Google Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager.

“Our move to consistently and confidently cut out the traffic from these botnets represents a significant milestone in the defense of our advertising ecosystem,” said Andres Ferrate, chief advocate, ad traffic quality at Google. “Identifying ad fraud malware and protecting ad platforms against botnets is a sophisticated effort that requires deep technical knowledge, diligence, and the ability to think several steps ahead. It’s a game of chess against an opponent that is constantly changing the rules.”

The three main botnets, Bedep, Beetal and Changthangi, have already infected hundreds of thousands of devices and are responsible for generating fake traffic or serving ads that no one actually sees. These botnets are designed to mimic human behavior such as clicking articles or scrolling. In addition, they also control malware-infected computers, which are run by fraudsters who generate a large amount of non-human ad traffic to shady publishers. This then generates a large about of ad dollars for the fraudsters and publishers. A report by Distil Network claims that these fraudsters see $1 for every $3 spent, and according to a recent ad spend report, that would accumulate to over $18 billion annually.

Google states that they are now able to stop these botnets and the new feature is “resilient to possible changes” made to the malware that generates botnet traffic, which is often an issue when filtering out spam. Does this actually work? Only time will tell but for now, Google has again saved the day.

The Future is Native Advertising

Once upon a time, advertising was simple. Buying a half-page newspaper ad or a 30-second TV spot would allow an advertiser to reach thousands, if not millions, of people, and consumers weren’t overwhelmed or oversaturated with advertising. Over the years, more television channels arose and that quickly turned into more media channels, making it even more difficult to make an impactful impression on a consumer. The average consumer is inundated with over 5,000 brand exposures every day, 362 of which are advertisements, and sadly, a mere 12 actually make an impression. Because of this lack of effectiveness, a new advertisement concept has emerged: Native Ads.
Native advertising is paid content that is created to fit the same format as a publisher’s organic content. There are two factors that play a role in the recent success of native advertising. First, the Internet is now a way of life. The average adult spends more than six hours a day online consuming content, so the audience is already there. And second, having it look similar to a publisher’s organic content makes it less intrusive than other type of advertising. These native ads appear as sponsored or paid posts in the same stream as regular content. Some examples would be newsfeed Facebook ads or promoted Tweets. They appear mixed in with all the other content your friends and followers are posting.

Here is an example of a recent native video ad that appeared on BuzzFeed, which is one of the top online content publishers. This native ad for Tidy Cats appeared mixed in with other non-sponsored content and has been viewed over 9.7 million times.

See how it was entertaining and informative with a subtle hint of branding?

Native advertising has already taken off and is expected to quadruple by 2018, bringing in roughly $21 billion. According to Inc., 70% of consumers would rather learn about products through content rather than traditional advertising. Also, people view native ads 53% more than banner ads, and people who click on native ads have 52% higher purchase intent. In addition, these ad placements also have a 54% lower cost-per-click, 49 times higher click-through rate and can generate up to 82% increase in brand lift

Sixty-two percent of publishers currently offer native advertising placements with new ones being added almost daily. Forty-one percent of brands and 34 percent of agencies are already taking advantage of the benefits of native advertising. Will you be next?