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Category Archives: Search Engine Marketing

Apple Launches “Maps Connect” Self-Service Local Listings Portal

A few months ago, Apple quietly rolled out a new feature called “Maps Connect”, a DIY business listing service that adds business information to Apple Maps. To enhance the mobile customer experience, Apple allows business owners and representatives to quickly update their listings on Apple Maps.

Apple Maps Connect

Apple Maps have long received criticism for poor usability, bad listings, and bad images. But despite this, Apple still has a large user base with more than five billion requests being made on through the Apple Maps application each week. With 42 million people using Apple maps in the United States alone, there is too much opportunity for small businesses to ignore.

Apple Maps Connect allows businesses to capitalize on search traffic via local map searches. In Apple Maps Connect, it’s possible to add links to your website, social media handles, and Yelp reviews in your map listing. This will help increase the chances of visitors to your storefront business. By allowing business owners to take control of their listings, Apple will have to rely less on data aggregators.

Currently, Apple Maps Connect is free to use with the signup process being fairly simple. Business listing verification is completed in real time with two verification methods possible. The first method is an automatic phone call that includes a code that can be entered into the Maps Connect page. The second is registering with an email address that contains the domain of your business. Most listings will be updated in iOS within a week or so.

Additionally, Apple is now allowing users to search the maps app by storefront type (food, drink, bar, etc) to find the best results. Rumors have been swirling since the launch of Maps Connect that Apple Maps will soon be available on Android, increasing the likelihood that your businesses will be found by users at the right time and place.

If you’re a small business, you cannot allow Apple Maps previous mishaps to sway you from taking control over your business listing. While Google Maps might still have the share of the market, Apple is not far behind.

Have more questions on how to optimize your business listings for search? Contact us today!

SEM: Google is Possibly Removing Line Separator Between Organic and Search Ads: How Will it Affect You?

Google is constantly testing their user interface, and in most cases they do not announce what they are testing to the public. As recently as March, Google was testing not displaying the line break or separator between the search ads at the top of the results and the organic listings below. The main question with this change is will it cause more confusion for the searcher and what will it mean to businesses that currently pay for ad space on Google. If this rolls out, it will have quite an impact on users understanding of what is, and isn’t, an ad.

google

What It Means to the Consumer?

While it doesn’t cost searchers anything to click on a paid ad in the Google interface, the results aren’t always what the user intended. For some users, paid ads seem to deliver the correct results the user is searching for, while organic results might land inexperienced searchers on the wrong page resulting in a frustrating user experience.

What It Means For Paid Results?

This test is clearly Google’s attempt at blending paid ads into organic results more seamlessly as what we assume is an attempt to garner more clicks on paid ads. For an average user, this is not going to have much effect, though it may be a bit annoying. A good Search Engine Marketer knows that it’s all about delivering the right ad, to the right user, at the right time. Google’s quality score is based on our ability to do this. When you confuse or mislead the user with an advertisement that is not relevant it will result in accidental clicks and wasted advertising funds

How Can You Prepare for the Change?

We aren’t quite sure if these changes will be implemented on a global scale, but it is safe to assume that anything is possible. One thing is certain, we cannot rely on Google informing us ahead of time of any changes that are coming. In order to prepare for the possibility of these changes, businesses need to focus their attention on creating unique and remarkable content for the websites. This includes any ads they create and the pages to which these ads link.

A skilled Search Engine Marketer knows what needs to be done to ensure that they are ahead of the curve when it comes to changes on Google’s horizon. For more information about how DAS Group can help your business prepare for this possible change contact us today.

Build Your Audience: Remarketing What’s Possible

Building your online audience profile has become an essential component to the development of your digital marketing strategy as more and more consumers are using their mobile devices to access information about the products and services that you offer. This presents an exciting opportunity for marketers to execute creative mobile and online solutions for capturing audience attention, in turn, converting prospective leads into real time sales.

Local MarketingDeveloping a closer relationship with your ideal customer rests in the palm of their hands. With the increased usage of mobile phones and a high consumption rate of smart phones and tablets, marketers can improve the effectiveness and relevancy of their mobile marketing campaigns by capitalizing on location data and local targeting. Through a focused approach, integrating these localized campaigns and harnessing the power of mobile technology, can prove to be truly successful in reaching your ideal customer.

So what is an online audience profile?

As with any marketing strategy, your online audience profile, also known as a persona, provides data and information that highlights specific habits of your online customer. A well-defined profile gives clues to individual lifestyle choices, demographic and geographic information which digital marketers can then utilize with highly targeted advertising, social media campaigns or email marketing campaigns. This provides valuable insight into the products and content that most interests them and enables them to find out through careful messaging placement.

Gone are the days where marketers simply used basic information such as zip codes to define who their customers really are. Location targeting can unlock valuable opportunities for gaining powerful insight into how consumers are really using their mobile devices and what the best strategy is for creating engaging experiences for them.

Location-Based Technologies for Mobile

Mobile Promotion AlertYour ideal customer is within reach of your new product or promotional offer. But how do you capture their attention and delivery a compelling message? More than just “check-ins” or “likes,” consumers are seeking mobile alerts and offers that are most relevant to them in that moment. Ultimately, the more targeted the content is, the better the results for the brand in question. If you’re ready to develop your businesses’ mobile strategy, there are several location data strategies that you can employ:

Geofencing

A geofence is as the name implies; a virtual ‘fence’ or perimeter that surrounds the physical space that your consumer is shopping in or visiting. This offers a targeted way to deliver specific advertising to those who are within those parameters through push notifications that users have opted into.

Geo-Search

Here, users enter specific location details to find what they’re looking for by way of state, city, street or zip code making for a much more accurate result. For marketers, this is important since the user has indicated that they are seeking products and services in that area, even if they are not physically present at the time.

iBeacons

In the form of small, Bluetooth transmitters, iBeacons are similar to Geofencing, but with a shorter range capacity. iBeacons can trigger notifications when a customer comes in close contact with the device, for example if placed on a billboard, poster, painting or clothing rack.

This is a great way for marketers to capture consumer attention by offering them information or offers directly related to the object that they are close to.

WiFi – Hot Spots

Ideal for targeting ads to those in close proximity to a specific physical location, WiFi hot spots will estimate the user’s location within the radius of a wireless network access point and offers an accurate geo-location method.

GPS

Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite networks orbit around the earth, allowing devices to pick up signals from it. Although accurate, GPS signals sometimes do not work well depending on where the user is situated and is usually coupled with Wi Fi access.

Privacy Considerations

While there is no denying the benefits of location based marketing, it is important to understand the risks and privacy considerations for the user, especially with regard to geofencing and GPS tracking.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) outlines a detailed report surrounding the privacy guidelines and recommendations for those wishing to employ location based marketing techniques.

As the FCC states, “Because mobile devices have the ability—and often the technical requirement—to regularly transmit their location to a network, they also enable the creation of a precise record of a user’s locations over time. This can result in the creation of a very accurate and highly personal user profile, which raises questions of how, when and by whom this information can and should be used.”

When implementing a location based marketing campaign, keeping in mind these top 5 privacy concerns will assure that your customers are 100% aware and knowledgeable about the activities that they are participating in.

  1. Relevance – No one likes spam! Content that is shared with your user should be kept relevant to what they are expecting.
  2. Notification – End users should be aware of how their location information will be used or shared before they are required to authorize this activity.
  3. Opt-out – Consumers should be given the option to retract their decision to allow any activity based on providing their location.
  4. Opt – in – It is absolutely essential that your users are clearly given the choice to agree to receive notifications before disclosing their location information. Any messaging or campaigns that are advertised should constructed in such a way that is obvious to the consumer that they are being given the choice to agree.
  5. Security – Three’s a crowd! Consumers should be expected to receive security measures that do not allow non-affiliated third party notifications or activities.

By treating your consumers as the unique individuals that they are, you open the floodgates for a wealth of opportunities and success with your location based mobile campaigns. Personalized, targeted promotions are a powerful way to connect with your audience and provide them with relevant messaging that drives engagement and instills brand loyalty. Consumers are on the move and so are their phones. Delivering strategic information to them means they will be more likely to consider your products and services over mass marketed, generic messaging.

Everything You Need to Know About Google’s New Mobile Friendly Algorithm

Google announces new algorithm on April 21stGoogle’s newest update began rolling out today and while the community has been referring to today as “Mobilegeddon,” Google has been referring to this update as simply the “Mobile Friendly Update.” While traditionally Google keeps update to their algorithm quiet, in February it was announced their intention to release a new mobile-friendly algorithm. While Google makes small changes to their algorithm frequently but rarely announce them, this announcement suggests that Google knows this change will have a big impact on search results and impacting revenue for many websites who depend on search results.

Potentially, this update will give priority to websites who include a mobile-friendly experience or are responsive. This change is designed to help mobile users to find search results that are formatted to their device. In this post you will find answers to the most common questions surrounding the most recent change and how it will impact your business.

What Changes Have Been Made?

While we only know what has been told to us by Google, but based on what we have seen and heard both with this update and past updated Google has made, here is our best guess of what has changed:

A new mobile-crawler will do a much better job of crawling single-page web apps. A new mobile-only index should be released with the new update and will index both mobile apps and websites. We believe that certain factors such as load speed, mobile UX indicators that are currently showing at the bottom of the Google PageSpeed tool will play into the new mobile algorithm.

How Do I Know If My Website Is Mobile-Friendly?

To see if your website is currently indexed as “mobile-friendly” in the mobile search results, you can use this tool from Google. Google may still need more time to update their indexing to pick up that pages on your site are mobile-friendly. The mobile friendly algorithm is on a page by page basis so even if some of your pages on your website are not mobile friendly, you can still benefit from the changes.

Will the Algorithm Be Delayed or In Real Time?

Unlike Penguin the mobile friendly algorithm is run in real time. In some cases the mobile friendly label may be delayed in showing up in the search results, but Google will pick up on those changes in real time.

Responsive Design is Google’s #1 Recommended Design Pattern

Google favors responsive designGoogle has stated that responsive design are their preferred design pattern. The reason that responsive design is more desirable is that it does not create two copies of the same site. Visitors to your website from desktop and mobile visit the same URL and view the same HTML. We recently shared some information about responsive design on our blog. Our deep dive into responsive went farther than just what is visually appealing. Responsive websites are simple to maintain, easier to crawl, and users love browsing them.

Why This is a Good Change

In most situations, marketers become frustrated with Google’s changes to their algorithm but this change is a very good thing. Modernizing your website to be optimized for how users browse and shop will only do good for your business by increasing conversions and decreasing bounced visits.

As more users are taking to mobile to search for products, gather information, and stay up to date on news, it is important that businesses consider taking their tired websites or mobile redirects out of the equation and opting for a fresh responsive design.

DAS Group specializes in creating responsive websites that are optimized to provide a seamless experience for users visiting from any device. Our designs are created to provide a simplified experience to your users no matter what device they visit from. DAS also stays up to date on Google’s ever changing requirements. Our sites include clean HTML that is crawlable and easily found.