Google+

Google’s Mobile Changes Are Coming Soon – What You Need To Know

150 150 mattd

Google Statement

shutterstock_196913075Dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’ and ‘Mo-pocalypse’, Google is making changes to the way it ranks search results. The changes will take effect from April 21 2015, and will affect search rankings for those not prepared.

 

What exactly is changing?

From April 21 2015, Google will begin to use mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in mobile device search results.

 

This mean that websites which are not designed to give an optimal experience for mobile users will experience a drop in Google rankings for searches carried out on devices such as smartphones or tablets.

 

How will this affect businesses?

Many businesses rely on prospective clients and customers finding them through web searches. Increasingly (now over 60%) these searches are carried out on mobile devices. If your website loses visibility in Google, it will reduce your web traffic and have a knock on effect on sales.

 

Take steps today to avoid shooting to the bottom of Google’s rankings. Contact us by filling in the simple form below and we’ll tell you what you can do to optimise your site for mobile users.

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

What Google Wants Right Now – In A Nutshell

150 150 mattd

Google LogoGoogle is constantly adapting and after the algorithm changes of 2012 it can become more and more complex and difficult for smaller websites and businesses to get noticed, especially when there are much larger companies and more established websites in competition. So how do you get ahead and make sure you still appear near the top in Google web searches? Well, 1st up on the list be, of course, do exactly what Google tells you to:

1/ DO WHAT GOOGLE TELLS YOU TO DO!

Don’t be silly. You cannot ‘outsmart’ Google. It’s waaay too powerful and important to your business. Do what it tells you to do, don’t do anything that you might think maybe it doesn’t want you to do, and everything else should be plain sailing. If you think you might need it, there are plenty of reputable internet marketing agencies out there that can help with optimization techniques.

2/ NO COPYING!

Whether you’re copying text from another website or have a range of websites with selling similar products, it’s all the same to Google. It’ll identify the repeat patterns and the sites will not be listed. Customers want choice and Google knows this. So it’s trying to prevent one company dominating a particular search by having lots of websites advertising the same product. Keep it original, keep it fresh.

4/ DON’T BUY DODGY BACKLINKS!

Google used to keep an eye on how many other websites had a link to yours and make an assumption that the more links you had, the more popular your business. Makes sense, right? Well, no actually. Because this could obviously be exploited as a good business opportunity by sharp entrepreneurs looking to sell lots of backlinks to companies in a bid to up their perceived popularity. And it was. A lot. Which was why when Google cracked down on this kind of behaviour lots of business shot down the rankings virtually overnight.  Don’t fall for it, don’t buy them. Organic (ie legitimate) backlinking does carry some weight still but is certainly no-where near the way forward as it might have been a couple of years ago.

5/ MAKE YOUR CUSTOMER YOUR FOCUS

A lot of businesses will reason that because Google are all powerful, it should be their primary concern with regards to marketing, forgetting all at once the key player in your business. The customer. Google after all, is constantly tinkering with its product to meet the demands of its customers, so this is what you should be doing. Create great, original, fresh new content regularly. Update your website with new ideas, new blogs, share interesting information and people will naturally be drawn to it. Get them reading, sharing and commenting on your content, and search engine traffic will increase as a result.

6/ CREATE A GOOGLE+ ACCOUNT

If you haven’t already, do this now. Then make sure that everything you produce has your name (and/or photo) and is linked to your Google+ account. Then, make sure that your Google+ account lists whatever it is within the contributor section of links. You are doing this because Google has recognized that social signals are a great indicator for search engine rankings. The more ‘shares’, ‘likes’, and ‘+1’s’ your content the higher up the rankings you are going to be. Plus if you regularly blog or post on a particular subject, and you get lots of comments, likes and +1’s, then you’re more likely to be ranked as an author in that particular field. You are using Google, you want Google to like you, so sign up to Google+ and show them you like them too. And make sure you engage on other Social Media platforms too – Google likes this. Social is BIG in 2013.

7/ KEYWORDS

Time was when a website, in order to be recognized in a search ranking, would insert ridiculous amounts of keywords relating to their business in order to fly up said rankings (or worse, from a customer perspective, be taken to their website when they actually wanted to be somewhere else). But Google, again, thinking of their customers, have tried to stop this. Customers don’t want to read reams of pointless keywords (in fact, they don’t, they just click the X and move on), so in order to change this up, Google will now recognize repeated keywords and penalize the offending website accordingly. Whatever you put up, read it back, aloud. Does it sound natural? Are you repeating keywords or phrases over and over again? Mix it up. Make it interesting. Using different words will not only make it far less boring for your customer to read (if they read it at all), but will also serve to increase your rankings in the other words.

The Google Network

150 150 mattd

The Google network is a great way to engage with audiences across the internet. It consists of both
the Search Network and the Display Network.

Search Network: Includes other search engines such as AOL as well as Google.

Display Network: Made up of a number of different websites which are owned by Google i.e.
YouTube and sites which specifically relate to Google such as Gmail.

The Google network makes up thousands of sites which display targeted AdWords. AdWord
campaigns are placed in the Google network by default. However it is possible to opt out of either
network by changing the settings.

Key things to know:

– If you are displaying a keyword – targeted ad, it can be placed across both the search and display network pages. Google uses search- engine- targeting to match keywords that users search for on search engines.

– Google display network pages use contextual targeting to match keywords to web page content, otherwise known as ‘automatic placements’.

-‘Placement-targeted’ ads can only appear on pages in the display network. It works by
choosing a specific audience and site to direct your ad at, otherwise known as ‘managed
placements’. The keywords and placements will combine efforts and work together to
determine the best position for the ad.

-Ads are displayed on Google based on their relevancy.

-Ads that are fully text based can appear on both search pages and on display network pages.

-Ads that feature images or videos can only appear on Display network pages.

Display Network Placements – Where do they go?

Search network ads are shown on pages related to the keywords related to the ad. These ads
appear alongside, above or below the search results and are specific to that particular search query.
Display network placements work differently.

‘Managed placements’ are ads which are placed separately for increased control. There is also the
added option of excluding certain placements for which you don’t want to run ads.

For more information on The Google Network contact us today on 08433 832 732

Google+ Brand Pages Are Now Available

150 150 mattd

Google Plus | Matt Davis MediaGoogle+ Brand Pages are now available, allowing businesses and brands to join Google’s social network.

“So far Google+ has focused on connecting people with other people,” Google SVP of Social Vic Gundotra said in a blog post. “But we want to make sure you can build relationships with all the things you care about—from local businesses to global brands—so today we’re rolling out Google+ Pages worldwide.”

The new Google+ brand pages look similar to Google+ Profiles, except for the little square icon that designates that it’s a Page rather than a Profile. Users can add brands such as Fox News, the Dallas Cowboys and Angry Birds to their circles, check out their information and browse their photos. When users add a brand to their circles, it increases that brand’s follower count.

Read more and see images at Mashable

Set-Up Your Google+ Page

 

 

 

Google+ For Businesses – Coming Soon

150 150 mattd

Google Plus | Matt Davis MediaHaving recently reviewed Google+ in my article Five Great Things About Google+, I noted that there didn’t yet appear to be part of the Social Networking site dedicated to businesses.

Google have today addressed this aspect, asking businesses and brands to refrain from setting up pages for the time being, as they are working on a product that will link to Adwords and provide deep analytics too.

Some major companies including car giants Ford have already established themselves on Google+, so how they integrate this existing profile with Google’s forthcoming offering should be interesting!

Here’s a short YouTube video from Google Product Manager Christian Oestlien explaining more:

5 Great Things About Google+

150 150 mattd

Google.

Even if you’ve never used the internet before, you’ve almost certainly heard of it. Like ‘Hoovering’ became a verb for vacuum-cleaning, so ‘Google it’ is now what you say when you’re suggesting that someone search for something online, much to the chagrin of Yahoo and Bing, who would probably advise otherwise.

But for all of Google’s online dominance, Facebook has emerged as the most popular site on the web – indeed a huge positive for those wishing to embrace Social Media is that Facebook and Twitter are so huge that searches on Google include individual posts in real-time from these sites, expanding the SEO benefits of using these sites enormously.

Google, in the past, has tried and notably failed to become more ‘social’. It’s ‘Chrome’ browser is fantastic, its Gmail service innovative and second to none, and it’s iGoogle homepage is clever if not fully embraced.

However ‘Buzz’, and ‘Wave’ – its last attempts at Social Media, much like my weekend BBQ, failed to catch fire.

Google Plus | Matt Davis MediaEnter Google+. Now in my experience, anything with a + after it, is usually great. Sky+ : life changing. Nike+ : Genius. Lost+ : Better than the original.

And Google+, thankfully, is no different.

Here are five things that make it GREAT.

1. If you’re lucky enough to get a Google+ invite (which I was :-)), and you have a Google account (ie a gmail address) then it’s brilliantly easy to sign up.  Once you’re signed in with your Google account, click the link in your email, and you’re ready to go. Confirm your name, add your gender and optionally change your profile picture, accept the terms, and Join!

Google Plus | Matt Davis Media

2. Circles.

Google+ is built around Circles. Circles are Google’s version of  friend lists, and work by dividing your network into sub-networks of  ‘like’ interests. For example – I tend to share more Social Media related items with my Twitter followers, and more personal stuff with my Facebook friends. I therefore follow a wide range of relevant industry profiles in Twitter lists. In Google+, I can instead add family to a ‘Family’ circle, friends to a ‘Friends’ circle, Social Media experts into a ‘Social Media’ circle and so on. But if my brother happens to like Social Media too, I could add him to my ‘Social Media’ and ‘Family’ circles.

Initially it takes a bit of effort, but Google has worked to make it fun. You can select those people you want to add  and drag them down to the relevant circle, and their name cards will be bundled together with a paperclip to emphasise what you’re doing. Facebook has had lists for some time now, but few people use it since it takes several clicks per friend you want to add. With Google+, a couple clicks is all it takes to add as many friends as you like to circles.

Best of all, once you have established your circles, you can add new friends to lists in just one click. This is more similar to Twitter following than Facebook friends, since you are able to add anyone to your circles, whether they’ve added you or not. However, if they’re private and mostly share updates with their private circles, you won’t see / hear from them very often.

3. The Stream

Now that you’ve added some friends and colleagues to your Google+ circles, it’s time to start sharing. Just like every other social network, Google+ is designed for you to share what you’re doing with others. This aspect is very similar to Facebook in that you can upload pictures, videos and links directly to your updates. You can also add your location, which is turned on by default in the mobile web app. A key aspect is that you can choose to share your update only with certain circles, with all of your circles, with extended circles (all of your circles and all of your friends’ circles), or with the the whole world – the choice is yours.

The main page, (The Stream), will show posts from others, with pictures, videos, link previews, and comments. You can click 1+ to show you like a post, or you can share public and semi-public posts with your own network. New posts and comments show up automatically in near-realtime. Posts are bumped back to the top of your list whenever new comments are added to them, but if you’re tired of seeing a particular update, you can simply choose to mute the post using a drop-down menu. You can also navigate through the posts in your stream with standard Google keyboard shortcuts.

A nice feature is that you can edit your posts and comments anytime after you’ve left them. How often do you supply an update with a mistake on Facebook or Twitter only to have to delete it?With Google+, that’s a thing of the past. Although this can of course potentially change the context of any longer conversations…

Similar to @replies on Facebook and Twitter, adding @ before someone’s name lets you select their name from a list and link to them in the comment

4. Hangouts

A unique feature of Google+ is Hangouts – group audio and video chats where you can bring your friends together even if you live around the world.

Once you’ve installed the relevant plug-ins (takes moments), you can start a new Hangout and invite your circles or individual friends to join in. Or, you can jump into another Hangout that’s already going on. Before you jump in, Google+ gives you a quick preview of how you look in the video if you have a webcam turned on, and shows you who’s already chatting.

Once you’re logged in, Google Hangouts will let others in the chat know that you’re there. You’ll see a large video of the chatter currently talking on the top, and smaller thumbnail videos of everyone else underneath. Hangouts does a great job at recognizing who’s currently talking, and it automatically switches the top video when others start talking. Or, if you only want to see one video feed, click on the thumbnail to only see that video in the larger view.

Yes it’s similar to Skype, but in my opinion much more intuitive and better looking too. There are a few functionality issues to be ironed out, but that’s why we’re still in the test phase!

Alternately, if you prefer text chat, Google+ includes the original Google Talk text chat that you’ve likely already used in Gmail. You can chat with your existing Gmail contacts even if they’re not on Google+, even while you’re talking in a Google Hangout in another window. This gives you the best of both worlds. Full voice, video, and text chat with groups in Hangouts, or one-on-one text chat right in your Stream just like you’re used to in Facebook.

5. Sparks

Yet another unique feature in Google+ is Sparks. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with certain niche topics you’re interested in, so Google built Sparks to give you automatic updates about the things you love. Just enter a topic, and Sparks will bring you highlights from it right to your account. It’s essentially Google Alerts but in a stream on your social media site – great for me.

There’s a little way to go but the initial signs are that Google has really thought this one through and are determined to get it right no matter what. Is it a Facebook Killer? Probably not just yet, but in the way that it integrates with your existing email, calendar and of course your search engine, it’s going to give it a run for it’s money.

For business users though – nothing to really report as yet – but it’s still early days…