How many times have we clicked on a link and wound up in Timbuktu because we accidentally clicked on a surprise pop-up ad as we were scrolling through the page? It’s the WORST. Well I have good news, Google is taking steps to punish pages that allow/encourage pop-up ads. (Cue applause, cheering, and general celebration).
Unfortunately this doesn’t mean that Google will blow up any page that continues with pop-up ads but websites that use pop-ups and interstitials will be classified as worse search results and will likely rank lower because of it. As small business owners we know how important it is to achieve strong rankings with Google so this will be a positive step in the right direction. The way this will work is not going to shut down every site that uses but if two sites are “competing” for top billing the site without pop-up ads will get the number one rating.
The goal is to keep results most informative but also results that work better for users. This isn’t the first time Google has taken steps to make our lives easier. In 2015 they started increasing the rank of mobile friendly sites and in 2014 encrypted sites saw a boost in rank. Obviously not all sites are mobile friendly or encrypted so Google doesn’t necessarily say “jump” and have websites reply “how high?” but search engine ranks matter. And Google has a loud voice in the SEO/PPC world.
Starting January 10, sites “where content is not easily accessible” will start seeing their ranks drop and we can all surf new sites just a little easier! Happy searching!
Search. We all use it. Whether you’re on Google’s homepage or in your Facebook toolbar, searching for exactly what you want is something we do without even thinking about it. Believe it or not, search is changing and improving drastically every day because of the consumer’s application of the search feature. But what does that even mean? Well, when I searched SEO on google, I got a pretty great definition: search is the bridge between intent and the experiences the world wide web has to offer. (See what I did there? Search, the unsung hero of internet advertising).
Let’s get to the nitty gritty here, why does this matter? Everything I’ve talked about in 2016 plays into this idea. Digital assistants are the new hotness; Siri, Cortana, Echo allow consumers to essentially have a conversation with the internet. Consumers don’t want to type a word or two into a search engine and hope for the best anymore. They want to express their specific question/desire and get specific, direct results. An example: when you type into your search engine “6 month old toys” your search engine intuits that you want to know about toys for a 6 month old child, not toys that are 6 months old.
BUT WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?! One possibility is movement away from keyword search focus and toward a more interactive search that is more specific and more targeted to YOUR needs, desires, goals, etc. As a business owner this is significant as you work to build that theoretical bridge between potential customers and your site. Marlin CS is working to stay ahead of the game in this exact way, maximizing our clients’ exposure to search engine users. This game is changing every day and we’re here to keep you at the forefront!
We are always discussing social media integration in advertising your small business. Bing has taken it to a new level. If you look at the graphic above, note the “Find more” that’s circled. When your ad comes up on Bing, a potential customer will be able to see your Facebook page, Twitter handle, Instagram, or whatever social media you prefer to use for your business.
Why does this matter? Bing is looking to bridge the gap between traditional web advertising and business’ use of social media to appeal to potential customers. If you are active on social media, this could significantly impact your access to new clientele. Consider the benefit of direct traffic to your Facebook page where you regularly update photos, interact with customers, and build relationships. It is an opportunity to streamline your advertising and social media in the hopes of increasing your visibility on both mediums.
This is truly in the test phase, and Bing users are encouraged to contact Bing if they are interested in joining the social media link test. They’re also soliciting feedback so if this is something you’d like to see become permanent, let them know!
Advertising will always be the name of the game. And competition is the name of the advertising game. Combine those two and you know what we have? Demand, increased cost, and willingness to pay it. In the grand advertising scheme, online ads are at the lower end of the cost spectrum but these continued increases in price will likely force some small companies out. Online advertising historically has given small businesses an opportunity to get their name into the conversation while staying within their limited budget. If costs continue in this fashion, small business will struggle to stay in the game. Getting the most out of your money will become more and more important to your advertising budget and Marlin will be here to help you navigate the landscape.
If you watch television or have an Iphone, you know Siri. You may talk to her a lot, ask her questions, or use her to maximize your hands-free smartphone use. But do you know Cortana? Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Siri. It allows non-Iphone users to experience the same digital “personal assistant” as Siri. Let’s take this a step further, let’s talk about Amazon Echo. Echo is a standalone piece of technology that looks like a little wifi speaker. But it is so much more. The Echo is aimed at creating a smart home. Seriously! You can ask Echo questions just like Siri or Cortana, play your music library, turn on and off all compatible electronics with your voice, or even play an audio book.
What does this mean to you? As a small business owner with a web presence, why should you care about Siri, or Cortana, or Echo? Because part of these new technologies is their ability to utilize search engines when you ask them a question, and just like us, these “assistants” are looking for the best, fastest answer. That’s where we come in. We spend a lot of time discussing search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising here at Marlin. They are two of the best strategies for internet marketing and a major focus in our work. Building on these established strategies, Marlin is ensuring your web presence remains at the forefront of internet marketing. The difference is how we do it: we make sure your business information is easily accessible for these digital “assistants” rather than blindly funnel people to your website. Let us take your website into the new realm of internet search engines.
The smart phone/mobile revolution leaves me feeling like a broken record sometimes but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s happening! According to Google mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic in TEN countries. We’ve been pushing for our clients to ensure their websites are mobile friendly for a long time and now it’s crunch time.
Desktop traffic is dropping and mobile-focused online marketing is taking the lead. Last year Google ran an algorithm update that got the catchphrase “Mobilegeddon”, essentially pushing non-mobile friendly websites to the bottom of their search results IF they showed up at all. While the end of the world apocalypse warnings didn’t quite come to fruition for non-mobile friendly sites, it doesn’t change the fact that they have fallen behind the times and are quickly losing ground in the advertising arena.
Obviously we want your website to dominate the search engines for anyone in the market for your product. That’s where Marlin comes in. This is our business. We work to make your website the absolute best it can be and the most accessible it can be to any person in the market for your product. Let’s get started!
Commercials have always been the top of the advertising pyramid. Half the fun of watching the Super Bowl is commercial breaks. It’s the one time in our TV watching lives we don’t want to fast forward to get back to our show. Of course those commercials cost the advertiser millions and millions of dollars so that’s not really an option for most of us, is it? Welcome to 2016, the year of the video ad. Video ads are nothing new but 2015 was such a big year for Vines and the idea of amateur video that it is impacting legitimate business advertising.
We all know YouTube but did you know that Facebook now has videos? You can even create a profile video instead of profile picture! Google is getting into the game, too. What does this mean to you, a small business owner? It means you can create short, informative videos for your client base and they’ll be comfortable with them AND more interested in receiving them.
Video is becoming mainstream and easy to do on our own. Smart phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, actual cameras (gasp!), and video cameras are all geared towards easy sharing on the internet. You can improve your relationship with your client base with regular, short videos reaching out to them on a personal level. Let Marlin help you make this leap in your web presence. We believe in this so much we use it on our website also!
2016 Here we are, beyond Back to the Future! It looks like it’s not the year for flying cars, but I think we’re still in for some fun. We’re going to start the new year off with a series of blogs touching on our expectations for the next 12 months.
First, let’s talk apps. It seems like every time we set foot in a store (particularly a restaurant), or shop online, we’re invited to download the app for faster, easier access to the product. Apple uses the app in their commercials: “There’s an app for that.” I look on the main page of my smart phone and I have a folder of apps for everything from my baby monitor to banking, cheap gas to my calendar.
Why are apps becoming such a strong focus? Millenials. The Census Bureau estimates there are more than 80 million millenials in America today. I think we can all agree that the millenial mindset is quite different from the rest of us. Selfies, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and that’s just off the top of my head. This generation of Americans spends the majority of their time on a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop. They are ALWAYS connected and always looking for the quickest, easiest way to utilize their technology.
What this means for you and your business. It’s time for even small business owners to start looking at apps as part of their marketing plan. While your site being mobile-optimized for convenience on a smart phone, apps can do the same things and in a more convenient, smooth manner. Marlin does apps. We’re here for you and want to help you move your business forward. So let’s gear up and take the app step!
There are any number of reasons a small business in particular needs a website. First, your competitors have websites. From local businesses to large national companies, your business and your website have to stand out. Second, think convenience. I bet you have a stack of business cards you hand out whenever you meet new people. Your website is like an online business card people can find through search engines.
A professional website gives you instant credibility with a potential customer. A website shows your commitment to your business’ success. Your website can help you build relationships with customers by creating emails or newsletters to promote your business.
Building your online identity is like any new endeavor. There are growing pains and things that seem like a good idea at the time. In an effort to soften your head first dive into the world of blogging, here are some tips to consider as you begin your blog. When you sit down and start brainstorming your blog, don’t get wrapped up in what anyone else may want. Put your thoughts on paper and go from there. Be consistent! You can cover lots of different subjects but don’t waffle on where you stand. If you’re sending mixed signals you’re going to lose. Don’t be afraid of your readers; get to know them. If you understand them you can target your writing. Once you’ve begun blogging utilize your audience, get ideas from them. If you’re trying to entice potential customers to your business, listen to them!
Give it time. This isn’t going to happen overnight. Don’t panic! Marlin Consulting specializes in small businesses. Customers will be able to find you and learn about you, increasing traffic for you. Grow your email list and have some patience and a little faith and we’ll see those results.
Happy New Year! For my last post of 2014 I thought I’d touch on one of the most ubiquitous pieces of technology in our world today: the smart phone. It feels like we’re being overrun by mobile devices, from smart phones to tablets. Today’s smart phones are running such high level operating systems they have become one of the best places for businesses to reach out and interact with their customers. Web design companies have a new level of importance in this mobile friendly world. Your website must translate to smart phone internet surfers in order to maximize your footprint. In fact, large companies have made this jump quite smoothly and quickly. Small businesses have lagged behind on this technology leap.
Statistics show the number of smart phones GLOBALLY is growing at unprecedented speeds. Keeping in touch with people is now just a small part of our mobile phone usage. Think about what you can do with your smart phone: make purchases in a store, get on an airplane, deposit checks, take pictures and load them to social media (the selfie. Who saw that coming?) Along this new line of thinking is the opportunity to communicate with your clientele. Many of our clients utilize email newsletters for their customers. Have you considered text messages? One of my favorite sushi restaurants in Jacksonville texts out their specials at least once a week. And it works. I have changed my plans more than once for them.
Regular websites don’t just magically work on a smart phone. It’s critical that your web design company is capable and prepared to develop your mobile site in addition to your regular computer-based site. There are so many opportunities created simply by developing your mobile-friendly site. Research has proven users are discouraged from a company if their website is difficult to navigate from a smart phone. Another unexpected benefit to a good mobile site? Improved search engine rankings. When someone conducts a search on their mobile phone search engines will provide them first with sites that will work on their smart phone.
I can’t overstate how important your mobile presence is in today’s smart phone world. From search engine optimization to online purchases to dinner reservations, the mobile world is becoming a larger and larger part of the web design business plan. Start 2015 with a bang and get your website ready for mobile users! Give us a call and Happy New Year!
Source: MarlinCS Blog