Category Archives: SEO

GOOGLE WILL NOW DISPLAY AD UNITS IN ITS IMAGE SERPS

google-analytics

Google is reportedly introducing ads for the first time ever in it’s image SERP ecosystem. The search giant is launching its shopping ads on images in mobile. So the next time you do a Google image search for a particular product, you’ll start seeing a line of sponsored items next to the product on display. However, the update is rolling out slowly, starting with shopping ads which will take its own time to be rolled out completely.

According to media reports, Google Ads will occupy an entire line of screen space, taking a large share of screen space in image search results. As per Google, the reason why ad units find a place in Google’s image searches is the fact that most online shoppers prefer to do an image search on Google before actually purchasing a product online.

Also, most online shoppers are more or less faced with a similar set of queries pertaining to the purchase of a product like how much is the cost of the product and where they can purchase it. Online shoppers can expect most of their queries to be answered through Google’s new look of image search results, which will now include ad units displaying information regarding the product such as product pricing and the location where one can possibly purchase the advertised product.

Google’s new image search results containing ad units are now being officially rolled out to worldwide users. The Google Display network displaying images will display your PLAs in image searches, if you opted to become search partners as a part of your AdWords campaign.

GOOGLE RELEASES GOOGLE MY BUSINESS API’S LATEST VERSION 3.0

google-mymaps

Managing multiple business locations simultaneously can be a strenuous task for businesses with large set-ups. But not anymore! Google’s latest API version comes with some additional features that will enable large businesses to manage their business locations with ease. Although there’s no official word from Google on the release of its latest version, going by the new look of the changelog and the mention of new Business API features in the help section it is more or less confirmed that the latest media reports are right.

It was in December, last year that Google had last updated its Google My Business API, which allowed businesses to automatically manage their listings.

Let’s see what Google has to say about the release of its latest API version.

Version 3.0 adds new functionality for people who manage locations at scale. The “key new features include the ability to read and respond to customer reviews and provide additional attributes for locations, such as whether a restaurant accepts reservations, serves brunch, or has outdoor seating.”

Here’s a list of some new features that the changelog with the latest version brings to the table

  • Attributes:- It provides businesses with more specific, category-based information about their business location.
  • Reviews:- Businesses can now recover and reply to business reviews by using the new API feature.
  • Look for Business Matching Location:- This feature allows businesses to search and manually link their current Map locations with their actual business address.
  • Transfer Business Location:- This is a new actionable feature which lets businesses transfer their location (based on business information) between two accounts (personal or business).
  • Selected Photo:- It gives businesses the option to first display their selected picture in Google Maps business listings and searches.
  • New Google Search Filters:- This new feature informs businesses about new updates from Google.
  • New Business Location States:- This feature now includes information on the verification status of the businesses – whether the business is verified or needs to be verified.
  • Image URL Improvements:- It allows businesses to upload photo based URLs, without any other requirements
  • Backwards Modifications:- Businesses can now update their photos for locations having a Google plus presence. The output section now includes fields such as the category_name and location_name. When setting their categories, businesses can use the category IDs. Location requirements aren’t mandatory for the Field masks section. Businesses can only use Prefix for included fields. The create/update operator now uses business location details with other parameters being included in the query section.

GOOGLE’S NOW TURNING THE HEAT UP ON SITES USING SNEAKY MOBILE REDIRECTS

redirect

After serving several notices to businesses employing “sneaky” mobile redirects that mislead the users to do something unintended, Google’s now coming out to punish those who didn’t heed to its warning.

In its 2015 webspam report, Google had announced that they are taking manual action against sites that sneakily redirect the users. So businesses that recently witnessed a drop in their organic search ranking, need to verify the status of their site on Google’s webmaster forum.

Google’s webmaster forum will make you understand the process that you have to go through to clean up your site of the sneaky mobile redirects. After cleaning up the mess, the site owners must submit a reconsideration request to Google to hopefully waive off the penalties. This, in a way will also serve as a warning to other sites that intend to mislead their online visitors using sneaky mobile redirects.

It was in April, 2014 that Google first updated its webmaster guidelines pertaining to the use of sneaky mobile redirects. This was the first instance where the company openly warned businesses of mass manual actions against sites found guilty of using such tactics.

RIP GOOGLE’S EXTERNAL TOOLBAR PAGERANK OPTION

google-pagerank

Google has reportedly decided to do away with the PageRank scores option in the Google Toolbar. That means, the next time you’re browsing the internet using a tool or your favorite browser that previously allowed you to track PageRank data from Google, you won’t be able to do that anymore. This is because Google has finally cut the link that allowed a browser to fetch data from Google.

About its decision to do away with the PageRank option, Google said that the company still uses the feature internally within the ranking algorithm, but the external support is going away completely.

Post this decision, there are several media reports claiming that web users are complaining about the unavailability of PageRank score, which previously appeared as an option on their browser’s toolbar.

pagerank-score

Talking about PageRank score, it had been quite a while since Google updated the PageRank scores. This is because Google had been trying to downgrade the importance of PageRank score which also added up to your Google search ranking.

A month ago, Google had officially confirmed reports that it’s going to scrap the first ten ranking scores from Google Toolbar feed and that in the weeks to follow the option would go dark. Last Friday, on April 15, 2016 PageRank was scrapped completely.

GOOGLE FINALLY DECLARES IT’S TOP 3 SEARCH RANKING FACTORS

google-rankings

So, Google has finally revealed its top 3 ranking factors. Wanna know what are they? Read on…….

A week ago, Google’s John Mueller revealed why search ranking shortcuts may not help businesses in the long run. In that Google Hangout video, John Mueller was at his diplomatic best, skipping a lot of queries related to ranking high in Google searches. In that very same Google Hangout session, he went on to reveal that businesses, on a temporary basis, can do a few things to lift their search rankings but it may not last longer. Here is the entire video.

Post that session and after much speculation in media circles, Google finally revealed the top three ranking signals that can help businesses surge ahead in Google’s search ranking algorithm! Any guesses???

Well, as per Google’s Andrey Lipattsev, links, content and RankBrain feature in the list of Google’s Top Search Ranking Factors, but not necessarily in the same order.

It’s not surprising to see Google’s RankBrain Algorithm making it to that list, since Google’s webmaster, in his previous outings made it known of it’s existence as one of the ranking factors.

Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist, Google made it known to us in his recent Question hour video session.

“I can tell you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site.”

While contributing this information about the top three ranking factors, he didn’t follow any specific order as such, but just added on to the list.

1 & 2: Links & Content
3: RankBrain

As of now, we’ve got Links, Content and RankBrain as Google’s top three ranking factors; now officially confirmed by Google.

For more info, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

GOOGLE TO COMPLETELY REMOVE TOOLBAR PAGERANK FEATURE FROM THE BROWSER

google-pagerank

Google reportedly confirmed to some media channels that it has decided to remove the Toolbar PageRank feature from its browser. This, however, means that in the near future you may not be able to see Google’s PageRank feature in the browser you use for surfing the internet.

Talking about this latest development, Google clarified that the PageRank data is still being used by the company for some internal purposes within the ranking algorithm, but it’s withdrawing the external support from the browser’s Toolbar.

pagerank-meter

Image Source: http://searchengineland.com/what-is-google-pagerank-a-guide-for-searchers-webmasters-11068

Over the years, Google had stopped updating the external PageRank score. Hence, it doesn’t come as a surprise that they are now scrapping the feature completely from the Toolbar and the browser in next couple of weeks.

Having said that, if you want more information about Google’s PageRank feature, write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF SECOND-TIER LINKS

links-social-communities

Second-Tier Link Building: The Basic Premise

As you must be aware, building links to your website constitutes your first tier links. Your second tier links are those formed by building links to pages that link to your website.

To build second tier links, all you need to do is link to something new that returns your favor by linking to your site. You can achieve that by leveraging your social media presence to advertise content that links to your official website. Similar results can achieved by asking other publishers to link their article to one of your creations.

This process will do a world of good not only to for your search rankings, but also to the overall traffic to your site. National businesses often make use of second tier links to achieve superior search rankings. They usually “nofollow” those links after achieving desired results.

Given below is how you initiate the second tier link building process to your website.

second-tier-link

Let’s take a look at the number of referring domains to the page.

second-tier-link-ref-domains

As you can see there are 20 domains linking to that particular article. This means that there are 20 potential opportunities for someone to locate the page, plus the possible click-throughs to the site. Now that is worth a try, ain’t it?

Another such instance is a site called slideshare.net, which displays an author’s profile page linking to his website, as shown below.

second-tier-link-slideshare

Now see the number of referring domains pointing to that author’s Slideshare presence.

second-tier-link-ref-domains-slideshare

The number of referring domains, as you can see, are 90. This simply means that the author can look forward to 90 potential opportunities for someone to locate their main website. This is how you attract quality traffic to your site. It’s worth a look, right?

But like everything else, there are some dos and don’ts that you need to follow.

Dos

  • Increase your site engagement levels by socializing with the domain that links you in the first place.
  • Invest some of your precious time to build links to those domains much in the way you do for your main website. If someone had referred to your content previously through your main website, write more relevant content and let them know about it.
  • Follow the same quality guidelines to develop some valuable second-tier links to your site.
  • Realize that the site that links to you must be commanding more online authority than your official web presence. In case, you get a chance to write for a major publication, you’ll get more linking opportunities to generate links to your site through your brand new blog article.

Don’ts

  • Be careful not to link your site with domains that are low on authority
  • Don’t go overboard when asking for links. It gets a bit cheesy when you include more than one URL in your email communication and stand a chance to be labeled, by the webmaster, as the one using emailers for promoting their website. That doesn’t look good and doesn’t serve your purpose either.
  • Stop building links to a domain which is low on authority and has previous links pointing to your site.
  • Leverage automated robots to build second-tier links.

Your Final Takeaways

Build second-tier links not just for better search rankings; do it for attracting some quality traffic to your site. A multiple link strategy can be used for spamming purposes, but when used legitimately can work wonders for your content through the site that links back to you.

Have questions? Write to us at sales@ebrandz.com.

GOOGLE INTRODUCES CLICK-TO-CALL FEATURE IN MOBILE’S ORGANIC SERPS

click-to-call

After successfully testing the Click-to-Call feature for ads and local business listings, Google’s now testing it out for its organic mobile SERPs.

Over the years, the Click-to-Call feature has helped Google in expanding its advertising base and it would now be hoping to replicate the success with mobile’s organic search rankings as well. This new development at Google’s end was first noticed by @ryschill. This is the picture he shared on his Twitter profile.


Google, through its previous endeavors, allowed searchers to call businesses directly through their Business Ad Listing and from their local listing NAP citations. But this is the first time that Google is trying to leverage the organic platform.

Seems like Google’s in an experimental mode these days, which it needs to maintain its position as the number one ranking search engine.

Have you seen it yet? Please report it to us by writing at sales@ebrandz.com.

US SMARTPHONE OWNERS WILL OUTGROW ITS DESKTOP INTERNET USERS BY MID-2017

mobile-friendly

If comScore’s recent Mobile and App report is anything to go by, then mobile users may soon overtake desktop internet users in the US market by 2017. According to comScore’s theory, the overall tally of smartphone owners in the US market has grown to be around 79.1% of total mobile users, which is marginally below the 79.3% growth reported in December last year.

comScore’s recent stats show no significant movement in the mobile market share value on a monthly basis. The slow growth is giving rise to a search market scenario where over a period of time the figures remain largely stagnant.

Talking about mobile OS market share value, on one hand, the Android and iOS users are separated by a nine-point gap; while on the other hand, Microsoft’s Windows OS platform has reached its saturation level. The declining number of BlackBerry users isn’t helping Blackberry’s cause either. This is making the mobile OS race a two-sided affair, where Microsoft and Blackberry OS are on the decline and Android and iOS are calling the shots.

As far as the mobile app market share value is concerned, the two major players i.e. Facebook and Google Apps continue to dominate the top App rankings, solely on the basis of their reach and not as per the engagement levels or the duration of time spent. Surprisingly, the popularity of YouTube and the use of Google Play Store to install apps have managed to overwhelm the Google Search App, both in term of ranking and use. This is owing to the inherent differences in desktop and mobile user behaviour.

Coming back to the smartphone penetration levels, the estimated figure largely depends upon the number of mobile users. While there have been many media estimates about the exact number of mobile users, a recent CTIA report states that the US mobile phone penetration is close to 104%. This brings us to a conclusion that the number of mobile phones in the US (which is over 300 million handsets) would possibly outnumber the total US population.

According to comScore’s recent findings, as of March 2016 the tally of smartphone owners in US is around 198.5 million. If we divide this number by the 300 million users then the we get 66% smartphone penetration in the US. The number is a bit low if we happen to divide the smartphone owners figure by 250 million users. That brings the smartphone penetration level tally to 76%. Going by comScore’s previous calculation, if we include American users from age 13 years and above then we get a figure of 234 million, which when divided gives us a healthy 84% tally.

According to CIRP’s (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners) mid-February data, the total number of iPhones in the US mobile market is around 110 million handsets. If the total iPhone handsets share in the US market actually comes to 44% markup, then going by the CIRP data we get a rough estimate of 250 million US mobile users.

Irrespective of the correctness of the figures, the overall tally of US mobile users was expected to cross the 80% threshold by February end this year. And by March end, the percentage is predicted to escalate to about 85%. For a population of under 40, the penetration rates even improved to about 90%.

Talking about the number of US desktop and mobile users, comScore report states that there are 234 million sedentary internet users as compared to the ever increasing base of smartphone owners, which is likely to overtake the number of internet users by mid-2017.

If you still haven’t converted your website to adapt well on small screens and to the growing userbase, it’s time to act soon. Check out our mobile website design services to get started. Or email us at sales@ebrandz.com and our reps will be in touch within 24 business hours.

What B2B Businesses Need to Know about Having a Mobile-friendly Platform

mobile-marketing

Post April 21, 2015 the world of internet marketing took a drastic turn. With mobile searches outnumbering desktop crawls, the mobile friendliness of a website was seen as a major ranking factor by Google’s algorithm updates. Last year, Google acknowledged the fact that the desktop crawls are no where near the ever increasing mobile searches, as nearly 75% of US population consisted of smartphone users.

In an ever so increasing mobile world, businesses can simply not ignore the use of mobile technology when chalking out their marketing strategies. While B2C companies are quick to explore the medium to reach out to their end consumers, B2B companies are still trying to figure out the effectiveness of mobile based marketing. To make it easier, we’ve listed out three reasons why B2B marketers need to take up mobile marketing as soon as possible.

1. To positively impact the authority of your website

Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm update may not have had a negative impact on businesses, as some ill-informed SMEs had predicted. But in hindsight, you might just spoil your smartphone visitors’ experience by not creating a mobile-friendly website for yourself.

And going by CWS’s last year’s report, businesses that don’t provide users with great mobile experience can expect the unexpected, such as

  • Poor Organic Ranking
  • Lesser mobile traffic to the site
  • High Bounce Rate

There are many B2B businesses who are not even aware of the fact that by not upgrading their site to provide optimum mobile experience, they are not only hindering their site’s online visibility, but also losing out on active mobile traffic.

2. Leveraged for customer engagement

Besides enhancing your brand’s visibility and the traffic to your website, having a mobile-friendly site helps in driving more on-site engagement, leading to more conversion and customer loyalty. And if you need more stimulus, then this Google report on online behaviour of the smartphone user may help you.

  • Over 70% of smartphone users are more likely to revisit a mobile friendly website in the future.
  • Over 45% smart searchers get annoyed and frustrated when they end up on a website that doesn’t fit the requirements of the small screen size.
  • More than half of your smartphone visitors wouldn’t engage with a company that doesn’t support small screen size requirements.

Well, the stakes are high and B2B businesses can ignore them at their own peril by annoying prospective click through users, who may have entered the sales funnel.

3. Increasing use of mobile devices for making B2B decisions

Besides witnessing a lot of B2C online purchases, an increasing number of the smartphone users are using the medium for B2B business as well. In fact, a lot of B2B decision makers are increasingly making use of the mobile domain throughout the buying cycle. 

A Google survey on the changing face of B2B decision makers reveals their latest research and purchase habits. It states

  • Smartphone researchers contribute to over 40% of online B2B buyers.
  • Smartphone search activity is witnessing a 3X growth in Google search queries.
  • Over 45% of B2B researchers use mobile devices, even during official working hours. 

In fact, there’s an increase in presence of mobile B2B marketers who are trying to provide a solution to their customers, on the go and making some critical business decisions during and outside official hours. 

Some mobile-friendly website tips for you to get started

As B2B marketers, if you’re considering upgrading your website to fit the small size requirements then below are two very simple steps to get you started

  1. Analyze and enhance your site’s Mobile PageSpeed
  2. Find out and execute an appropriate mobile design for your site

Besides improving your website’s PageSpeed Score, Google recommends specific measures to improve your site’s mobile friendly experience. For better results, you can even hire a professional third party service, as HELP is just a click away!