Received an email from Google this morning saying that Google Maps Engine is closing at the end of January 2016.
Google Maps Engine is a tool that lets developers create their own maps on top of Google provided maps. The service now faces a shutdown as the engine is supposedly slowing down. Google Maps will remain functional, but the service to create customized maps will be pulled off.
Website owners should check with their web development team to ensure any on-site store locators will still work after the Google Maps Engine closure.
However as usual with any free products provided by Google information is sketchy at best so I cannot provide any more details at this stage.
Best to check the Google Maps Engine webpage for updates & more information. Google Maps Engine
UPDATE: Affirming Google Maps Engine support will end on January 29, 2016, a Google provided the following statement:
Maps and location information are valuable tools for businesses — whether it’s helping people find your store locations or identifying sales opportunities across town. To help our Maps for Work customers continue to get the highest impact from our products, in 2015 we’ll focus on helping customers deliver location information via our Maps APIs and shift away from selling any non-Maps API products. We’ll support our Maps for Work customers through their contracts and work closely with them and our partners through this transition.
Today we are going to give you a real life example of how you can avoid the common SEO mistakes that everyone else (and your competitors) have been making.
In this post we are going to get you up to speed with our 2016 SEO strategy.
Ready? Let’s get into it.
How to 10X your SEO results (Simplified Version)
Previously we showed the top SEO mistakes that most people make that results in them totally giving up on SEO.
It’s so disheartening to see this happen, because as an Sydney digital agency we’ve seen first-hand how amazing SEO can be good for your business…
Here’s an example of how we recently helped a new client to get everything back on track.
Let’s call him Bruce (not his real name).
Bruce came to us with a handful of keywords. He had already had some optimisation on his website but didn’t see much movement.
His site was already getting some traffic, but not enough.
We booked a meeting with him, and in just a short period of time we were able to break down all the troublesome areas and create an SEO plan for him –
Here’s what we did for him:
Keyword Research: Competitive Analysis + Long Tail Strategy
We took a look at his keywords, and they were OK, but not great.
We were then able to pull up his 3 top competitors, show him what terms they were ranking for, which keywords were profitable, and which ones he should be going after.
We took those keywords and created a list of long tail keywords that could get him a combined traffic of 3-4X what he was originally looking at.
Then we showed him how we were going to strategically use all these keywords and what types of links go with which to see results quickly and build up over time.
Fixing Hidden On-Site Issues + Conversion Tricks
We took a look at his site and saw he had the basics down. His title tags were OK and he had enough content on the page. But he was missing a few things that could really improve his SEO.
We showed him a few tweaks to his title tags to get more clicks from searchers (improving his CTR and rank position) – This is a hidden ranking factor that most people don’t consider.
We also showed him an internal linking strategy to keep the juice flowing inside his site and bump his keywords (before we even built any links!).
Link Building Strategy: Link Type Importance
Bruce didn’t really have a link building strategy.
We broke it down and showed him exactly how we can use each type of link (press releases, web 2.0 links, guest posts, high DA homepage links) and how to use each type and in which order to maximize success.
After we showed him the plan it started to *click*…
Link Volume & Velocity Calculation
With the battle plan, we were able to calculate the amount of links that he would need to start seeing results.
The thing is, because we did our keyword research right in the beginning, he can start seeing gains way way quicker that he would have initially.
Because of this cohesive strategy, he won’t waste any more money waiting around for his handful of keywords to rank.
Clear ROI Path
We worked closely with Bruce and showed him how he was missing out on a huge chunk of SEO traffic.
It was important for him to use the complete strategy to get the traffic he needed for his return on investment.
We set the expectations so he didn’t just give up while all his competitors crushed him.
That’s what he really needed – an entire, cohesive SEO plan to get results.
….And that’s what you need to see amazing results in 2016.
The problem is, it can be really confusing to put it all together for someone who sees this for the first time.
On top of that, it’s pretty easy to mess up if you don’t really know what you’re doing.
If you feel like you don’t know what you are doing when it comes to SEO or feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start then feel free to get in touch with the team a Flarecom for an obligation free chat to improve your SEO search results in 2016.
While watching TV last night I was surprised to see Google – the worlds largest online advertiser go back to the old school and advertise on TV. Reason being is they were advertising their new Google My Business platform which aims to help small business get online and of course simplify the process to get them to advertise online through the Google Adwords platform.
Google has over 1.2 billion unique users per month and is an amazing marketing opportunity for small businesses. Fortunately, Google My Business has just been launched in Australia to make it easier for brands and local businesses to connect with customers on search, on Maps, and on Google Plus.
Google My Business brings together all the ways Google can help your business shine in one place:
Update your business info on Search, Maps and Google+ from one place to make it easy for customers to get in touch
Add beautiful photos of your business and a virtual tour of your business interior to help customers see what makes your business unique
Connect directly with your fans and customers by sharing news, events and other important updates from your Google+ page
Stay on top of reviews from across the web, and respond to Google reviews
Understand how people find and interact with your business using custom insights and integration with AdWords Express
Manage your information on-the-go with the Google My Business Android app and theiOS app
Follow the step by step guide below for help getting your Google My Business profile set up and optimised. However if you still find getting set a pain please feel free to contact.
Finding it all too difficult we can help set up and optimise your Google My Business profile page to make your Google My Business profile listing stand out.
You have probably heard me say this before, but if a user visits your site and it does not grab them as almost instantly being what they are looking for they will leave and that is revenue you have lost.
You need to about your target market, what they want…NOT what you want.
To start you off, here are a few simple things you can look at to improve the look of your site that will make a huge difference:
Image – is your image relevant to your niche? Does it help your site or is it so distracting that it draws the eye away from the registration box?
Call To Action (CTA) – what does your call to action say? What do you want site visitors to do, phone, book online, capture email address? It must be relevant and lead the user to want to register.
Registration Form– you need to assess your fields, do you have too many and are they relevant eg do you ask users to fill out country when this step is unnecessary. Testing haa proven short forms increases online registrations.
CTA Button – your text, colour, size and prominence is very important to your page. Also important is where the button is positioned, ideally it should be above the fold so visitors can see it without having to scroll down. The CTA button needs to catch your user’s eye.
Please get in touch, I would love to go over your website and see what can be done to improve it for your business!
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At a special event in the garage where Google was born, Google added a new animal – the Hummingbird to its growing menagerie. Google announced a new “Hummingbird” search algorithm is live.
Google disclosed the existence of the new search formula on Thursday at an event held in the Menlo Park, California, garage where chief executive Larry Page and fellow co-founder Sergey Brin started the company 15 years ago.
The changes could have a major impact on traffic to websites. Hummingbird represents the most dramatic alteration to its search engine since it revised the way it indexes websites three years ago as part of a redesign called “Caffeine”, according to Singhal. He estimates the redesign affects about 90 per cent of the search requests Google gets.
Any reshuffling of Google’s search rankings can have sweeping ramifications because they steer so much of the internet’s traffic.
“Hummingbird” is the company’s effort to match the meaning of queries with that of documents on the Internet, said Singhal from the Menlo Park garage where Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin conceived their now-ubiquitous search engine.
“Remember what it was like to search in 1998? You’d sit down and boot up your bulky computer, dial up on your squawky modem, type in some keywords, and get 10 blue links to websites that had those words,” Singhal wrote in a separate blogpost.
“The world has changed so much since then: billions of people have come online, the Web has grown exponentially, and now you can ask any question on the powerful little device in your pocket.”
Hummingbird is the only group of birds with the ability to fly backwards – don’t think Google will be going backwards on this though!!
Keeping your mobile website’s visitors engaged can be tricky. While your desktop site can afford to feature tons of images, videos and other information, smartphones screens are limited in terms of space & loading speed.
So here are a few tips to keep people coming back to your mobile site week after week:
1. Keep It Simple
Simplicity is king in terms of designing a mobile site. Don’t overcomplicate things by overloading on videos, full-resolution photos & surplus content. bMobilized users can take advantage of our handing “hide” function, to prioritize what content really matters!
Example: Dailyfinance.com takes the extremely complex world of finance & simplifies it down to 4 core menu items. Simple. Focused.
2. Consider The Context
Think about it, what’s the reason for visiting your mobile site? It’s probably not to spend hours reading company bios, more likely it’s to get some quick info or get in touch. Make sure your click-to-call, click-to-map and other call-to-action buttons are clearly visible!
Example: Agency Care’s has a clear focus – get more clients. Their site is essentially a portfolio with contact buttons always at the bottom of the screen.
3. Design For The Screen
There is no “required” size for fonts and buttons, but there are a few loose guidelines. The default font size should be at least 14px – even if it seems too big – and headlines should be at least 18px. Example: Basil Gloo understands the restrictions of the mobile canvas – text is easy to read & the design is not cluttered.
4. Brand It
Mobile sites give your business an incredible opportunity to build a brand. Make it professional, include your company logo, color scheme and style to make it instantly recognizable.
Example: Dolce & Gabbana’s branding is always front & center without overshadowing the
rest of the page – picture speak volumes & can reinforce your brand identity effortlessly – just make sure they’re optimized for mobile!
I thought I’d share this interesting article about the top 100 Global Brands and their use of YouTube which had some interesting stats and learnings.
Top performing brands release approximately 78 videos per month, the biggest brands (mainly media related) release upwards of 500 videos per month.
Top 100 brands publishing rates on YouTube have increased 73% since 2009.
The top 100 brands have generated 9.5 billion collective video views.
Over 50% of the videos produced by the top 100 brands have less than 1000 views.
Adding new video content is more beneficial than using multiple YouTube channels
There is a correlation between the number of videos a brand produces and the amount of views a video receives.
SEO optimisation of YouTube will help brands harness additional views and lead to greater social sharing.
YouTube videos have a much higher shelf life than other forms of social media with 40% of total views occurring in first 3 weeks, and 30% of total views happening between 4 and 12 weeks after the publishing date. The remaining third will occur up to year after the original date.
Mobile is local. And location-based mobile marketing is the latest and greatest in expanding your customer base.
Here are 4 ways to attract more local customers using mobile:
1. Mobile Optimized Website (obviously)
OK, it’s something that we repeat over and over again, but a mobile optimized site is crucial to success in today’s business environment. Don’t make your customers visit a desktop website on their smart phones…they probably won’t come back.
2. Mobile Search Engine Optimization
Just as you would with desktop site, mobile SEO is a must-have. The easiest way to start is listing your business on online databases such as Google Places, Yelp and Yellowpages.com. Have as much information available as possible – location of your business, hours, contact info, etc…
3. Mobile Search Ads
Invest in a mobile search ad campaign. Those are the ads/results that appear at the top of Google searches. And with mobile, they are that much more useful since ads target searches that are done in the area of your business. For example, 75% of searches trigger a follow-up action – calling a business, visiting its website or stopping by the physical store. Flarecom can offer its own mobile ad campaigns.
4. Mobile Coupons
These aren’t your basic online coupons. Mobile coupons take into account location. Consider using a service such as Yowza to send out coupons to customers who are near your business. In a survey by RetailMeNot, 51% of people said they would be more likely to buy products in-store if they received a mobile coupon while nearby.
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