GMB Tests, Duplicates, Streetview Schedule, Website Optimization and more

GMB Testing on a Tear, Especially with Restaurants

Blumenthals reports daily testing — “a testament to Google’s continual effort to gain audience and more importantly, keep that audience at Google long enough to complete a transaction” — especially with restaurants, including a reservation answer box and visual attributes. [Blumenthals]

How GMB Menu Listings Can Change Restaurant Search

With the new GMB feature to publish your entire menu with images, consumers are more likely to search by menu item, and see different restaurant results. [GeoMarketing]

What You Need to Know About Duplicate GMB Listings

With MapMaker dead, here’s the steps from expert Joy Hawkins on how to address. [Moz]

When Will Google Fix My Streetview Image?

There’s a schedule for Streetview updates here. [Blumenthals]

17 Killer Link Building Ideas

Lots of things change in SEO, but one thing hasn’t — links matter. [Search Engine Journal]

Easy Ways to Create Local Content to Boost Local Rankings

From NAP in the footers, a reviews/testimonials page and multiple location pages to FAQs and About Us pages. [BrightLocal]

How to Optimize a Small Website: On-Page & Mobile Factors

Great checklist covering coding, navigation and content. [Search Engine Journal]

What Is A Local Citation for Local SEO

The definition, the different types and why it’s important. [Whitespark]


Google Ads Simplified – Introducing AdWords Express

Google AdWords can be a very powerful tool in the marketing arsenal of a small business.

AdWords is now time-tested. Its proven methods have been in use since October 2000. These methods are utilized by more than a million advertisers. It’s one of three online advertising tools, along with programmatic and Facebook, that every business should consider.

By point of comparison, at its peak in 2000, total newspaper advertising revenues were $67 billion. Last year that dropped to $16.4 billion as Google’s revenues — almost entirely from AdWords — hit $89 billion. A blog post for another day, but Facebook’s revenues last year hit $27.6 billion, passing the entire newspaper industry.

Needless to say, we’ve noticed and it’s a strategy we implement for our clients, often with the help of Infogroup, an Elite Premier Partner. If anyone ever tells you they’re a Google partner, that just means they manage at least $10,000 in Adwords spending every 3 months. Infogroup manages quite a bit more than that and they have good team overseeing it. For budgets under $500/month, we often recommend a simple AdWords Express account.

When used correctly, Google AdWords can really round out a small business marketing strategy. Interestingly enough, while AdWords have become a fundamental strategy for typical “yellow page” advertisers – think service categories like home improvement or legal – over 70% of small and mid-sized business (SMBs) report not having spent much on AdWords, according to Borrell’s annual study.

There’s still opportunity out there.

AdWords Introduced

Google serves answers (mostly in the form of links to websites, but that’s changing) to the questions it’s asked. It’s no coincidence those ads on your Google search results match what you’re looking for. While all those ads together represent less than 10% of clicks, on average, it’s the only way to appear on page 1 quickly. The organic results, the other 90%+ of the clicks on a search page, takes a lot of time and hard work.

For example, if a user types “auto shop” into a Google search, ads appear for nearby auto shops that use AdWords advertising. The obvious benefit is that the ad messages are targeted to the search, delivering pertinent details to users who actually look for them.

There is an intent established on the part of the searcher that isn’t there in most forms of advertising. The traditional media most impacted by this are the role phone books and yellow pages used to dominate.

The AdWords interface has expanded to include display advertising and video ads, but we’re going to focus on the text-based ads seen in a typical search.

How AdWords Works

Google sells its advertising in a very fluid, very fast marketplace, allowing advertisers to “bid” on their advertising based on clicks, which go where the advertiser directs them (almost always your website and preferably an optimized landing page). It’s possible to have Google prominently display your message (impressions) at no cost until an Internet user clicks on the ad.

But bids are only one part (albeit the most important) in the equation. Google considers bids based on another metric – Quality Score. Based on how the ad performs (does it get clicks, do Internet users not bounce immediately after clicking), Google will score each ad’s relevance and click-through rate, with some consideration for the historical performance of your account.

All of these factors together determine which ads are served and in what order.

Getting started with AdWords Express

Small businesses commonly start with Google AdWords Express. This version will offer a suggested range of 3 bid limits and their estimated clicks, making it quick and easy to set up. You can enter your own amounts as well.

  1. Sign up to get started.
  2. Provide information on your business.
  3. Create your ad with the help of Google’s tutorial.
  4. Set up a billing profile and your Google AdWords campaign begins.

A full tutorial on how to set up Google AdWords Express is available from HubSpot.

Google AdWords isn’t complicated, nor is it terribly expensive. Yet kit’s one method of advertising that will complement the marketing campaign of any small business.

If you’d like to explore Google AdWords more and have questions, we can certainly help you.

Google Local Guide Drowns, other GMB Updates, Google CTRs by Ranking Position and more

Google Level 5 Local Guide Dies of Caffeine Poisoning While Reviewing Thousands of Starbucks Last Week

GOOGLE SPAM HALL OF SHAME: We’re not sure he died, but he did leave thousands of reviews for Starbucks the first week in June, 2 weeks after reviewing Chick-fil-A’s from California to New York. He and a few other fake review personas are covering franchises everywhere (and reposting old TripAdvisor reviews). [Blumenthals]

Why Did Google Remove Some of My Reviews?

Joy Hawkins tries to explain that algrorithmic filter that misses a lot of spam and can catch real reviews. [Whitespark]

The Ultimate Blueprint for Creating a Super Persuasive Testimonial

Use images, include specifics, make traceable and don’t be afraid to go long. [Quicksprout]

Google Click-Through Rates in 2017 by Ranking Position

The top spot is taking even more click-throughs, but even the last spot on the first page gets twice the clicks of the best Adwords. [Ignite Visibility]

The Best [BLEEP]in’ Local Link Questionnaire

Where do you donate time and money, what do you care about and how would all your employees answer those two questions? [Local Visibility System]

Exceptional Customer Care, and How It Changes Everything

Creating the brand experience titans like Apple and Tesla use to create brand evangelists. [Convince and Convert]

The Key to Programmatic Advertising – Internet Cookies

Cookies Aren’t the Monster

Cookies are delicious, but Internet cookies can cause concern for computer users who don’t necessarily understand what they are or what they do. It’s a common misconception that Internet cookies can cause viruses (they don’t) or can place malware on computers (they can’t).

They are, however, one of the key pieces that make cookie-based programmatic advertising possible, so it’s worth knowing a little bit more about them.

What are internet (web browser) cookies?

Cookies (named after a Unix program called Fortune Cookie, according to Indiana University) are small files placed on computers after a user visits a website. Typically, the cookie remembers information that makes it easier to access the website quicker in subsequent visits.

When you visit a vendor online and the website remembers the last item you almost bought and keeps it in your virtual shopping cart, that’s cookies at work. When a website remembers your viewing preferences from previous visits, that’s also cookies. In this respect, cookies can be helpful, allowing websites to load faster and remember information from previous visits for a personalized experience.

Tracking cookies allow information to be accessed by advertisers, potentially across multiple sites. The advertisers embed the cookies in an ad message on one website, so when the user clicks on another ad from the same advertiser on another website, the cookie recognizes the user and may store this information within the advertiser’s database.

Multiple cookies compiled together can give advertisers valuable insight into the preferences of Internet users. This is how most programmatic advertising works. Data Management Platforms (DMPs) aggregate the information from these cookies to help model and target by behavior, content, and interest, to name a few.

The Federal Trade Commission classifies cookies by two categories:

  • Single-session cookies: These are used to provide a faster website experience and are erased once the browser is closed.
  • Multi-session cookies: These may or may not collect data and must be manually deleted from a computer’s hard drive.

Cookies are not viruses or malware

Cookies do not place viruses or malware on computers – they don’t have the capability. Nor can cookies pull sensitive information out of the files of your computer – they can only remember information you supply on a website.

Cookies cannot “hide” from a computer user, particularly when the user sets his or her browser preferences to not allow cookies from websites. Seeing and deleting cookies is relatively simple, depending upon the Internet browser used (here are detailed directions based on browser).

Fingerprinting – The New Cookie?

Cookies continue to alarm Internet users who may not fully understand the technology. Fingerprinting is the upcoming technology that may replace (or augment) the work of cookies to help advertisers better understand online consumers. Fingerprinting allows a website to “study” a user’s computer, gaining information including software installed or even the size of the screen, says Forbes. This technology persists even if users delete their cookies.

The technology that allows advertisers to better understand their potential clients is ever-evolving. Advertisers must be careful to use this technology in a way that does not leave users feeling as though their privacy has been invaded.

Google Insight Accuracy, the State of Inbound, Shifting Future of SEO and more

How Accurate is Google My Business Insights?

A lot better since the new dashboard in 2014, when Blumenthal started sharing with his clients. Today, he finds it quite good. [Blumenthals]

7 Unannounced Updates to Google My Business in 2017

From permanently closed being removed in maps and Google Plus classic disappearing, to GMB insights running 18 months and snack pack ads. [Search Engine Land]

How Long Can a Google My Business Name Be?

100 characters according to Blumenthals’ relentless testing in his Google Spam Hall of Fame research. [Blumenthals]

Google Testing Highlights in GMB Knowledge Panels

This is so new (and still being tested) it didn’t make the unannounced update list. [Search Engine Land]

What You Need to Know About Duplicate GMB Listings

With Mapmaker dead, here’s some best practices for dealing with duplicate GMB pages. [Moz]

Why Moz Local Doesn’t Work for SABs

Moz’s Miriam posts that since Google’s Places API doesn’t support services area businesses (SABs), Moz Local won’t be accurate. [Local Search Forum]

State of Inbound 2017

Hubspot’s annual research report details key trends in the customer’s increasing control of the business relationship thanks to that pesky world wide web. [Hubspot]

4 Tips to Prepare You for the Future of Search & SEO

Psychology and technology should shape strategy, site structure around topics, beyond Google and flexible measurement. [Search Engine Journal]

5 Massive SEO and Content Shifts You Need to Master Right Now

The convergence of SEO and content, mobile first, hyperlocal, text to voice and machine learning. [Search Engine Land]