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Tag Archives: business

GOOGLE AND MICROSOFT DROP THEIR LONG STANDING ANTITRUST CHARGES AGAINST EACH OTHER

google-microsoft-antitrust

No sooner does one chapter close, another one opens up – this is how Google finds itself in its current state of legal affairs. It was an action-packed week for Google with EU levelling charges of “unfair business practices” against the search giant, which stem for having Google Apps preloaded on Android gadgets. This however was followed by a bit of relief for the search giant as both Google and Microsoft reached an amicable solution over a long standing feud. As per its new legal priorities, Microsoft officially agreed to drop its long standing legal battle against Google.

Talking about the long standing feud, it all started with Microsoft filing a formal antitrust complaint with the EU, claiming that the search giant favours its own properties in organic searches. Besides that, third-party search engines had an issue with the fact that they were not able to search or index anything from Google owned YouTube.

Settling the long standing antitrust dispute with Microsoft comes as a bit of relief for Google, who also agreed to drop its similar complaint against the company in the EU. It does come as a huge sigh of relief considering the fact that EU recently accused Google of using “Unfair Business Practices”, which stems from the fact that all Android devices come preloaded with Google Apps.

On the other hand, Microsoft has enough on its plate at the moment, with under performing sale of devices impacting its revenue system and the fact that Windows 10 has not been received well by the masses. It was perhaps in their best interest to set aside the dispute, considering the other issues that both Google and Microsoft have to deal with at the moment.

GOOGLE ADDS TO LOCAL SEARCH MARKETERS’ WOES BY BRINGING TWO AD CHANGES

local-listing

Google likes to be in control and that’s why it keeps making changes in its search algorithm, to keep businesses guessing and the search industry on its toes. This time again Google made some changes to the local SERPs. These changes will have an impact on searches pertaining to the physical location of businesses, especially retailers and service providers.

Ads to Now Appear in Local Finder Results

Business ads find themselves in a new space, in the Local Finder results as big brands are being forced out of the local SERPs. Locating these branded ads now becomes a task as the user has to click on the “More Places” option that is being served in Google’s three pack search results. Brian Barwig, the local SEO specialist spotted these ads first in the Local Finder results.

Panic will set in amongst businesses with ads being moved to a new place. But this also serves an opportunity for businesses, especially the lowly ranked service providers and retailers who will now have to figure out a new way to find a place in Google’s top three search rankings. They will have to do so quickly as the new functionality now requires a user to click on the “more listing” option in Google’s SERPs to search for information about the bottom listed businesses. Besides that, SEOs will have a hard time figuring out how to move their clients’ organic search ranking to the top of the SERPs.

The ads that now show up in the Local Finder results will make use of AdWords extensions to get a physical location for listed businesses. The process is similar to the updated Google Map feature that uses AdWords location extensions when searching for a business location. But unlike results in Maps, Business Ads listed in the Local Finder results are not pinned on the Map results.

Let’s see what a Google spokesperson has to say about this new experimental test. “We’re always testing out new formats for local businesses, but don’t have any additional details to share for now.”

Google Maps No longer a Search Partner

Besides announcing a few changes in how ads will show up in Google Maps, Google has now officially removed Google Maps as a Search Partner. On one hand, Google is doing away with the regular text ads and on the other it may soon display ads along with location extensions in Google Maps. Moreover, Google has also made it known to businesses about its decision to remove Google Maps services as a Search Partner.

Here’s what the changes in the Maps’ status may mean to the users

  1. Businesses using location extensions will now be able to run ads in Google Maps to see a surge in their click through impressions when their ads are displayed in the Maps.
  2. Businesses that are search partners but opted out of the location extensions could witness a drop in their click through impressions since their ads are no longer being displayed in the Maps.

Google plans to include more businesses in Maps Ad auctions, which is why it’s been included as a part of Google’s search inventory. Google’s emphasis on location extensions is purely on the basis of it’s over dependence on structured data and feeds, which online retailers will vouch for.

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

GOOGLE NOW INVITES ELECTRICIANS AND HVAC SERVICE PROVIDERS TO JOIN ITS HOME SERVICE ADS NETWORK

google-travel-search

As a part of its latest endeavor, Google’s inviting small business owners like plumbers, locksmiths, home cleaners and other home service providers to better advertise their services on its home service platform. This initiative by Google is directed towards revamping its home service ad platform, which fell short of the company’s expectations last summer after receiving a lukewarm response from customers.

To expand the home services ads platform, Google recently carried out an experiment that enabled users to call or text Google to find a local plumbing service provider. After plumbers, Google’s now inviting HVAC service providers and electricians to advertise their services on Google’s home service ads platform.

hvac-san-francisco-google

After testing beta testing, Google rolled out home service based ads to the San Francisco Bay users in July, 2015. Generally, these home service ads contain listings of three service providers along with their ratings, contact numbers and a call to action button that sends a request to them.

This service enables users to send contact request to up to three local service providers, which now includes plumbers, locksmiths and electricians or HVAC service providers.

After taking care of the formalities, home service business owners can set up their account in Google AdWords to increase their search visibility.

Besides San Francisco Bay, Google’s home service ads are also available to Sacramento advertisers.

The move further indicates that Google has lost confidence in its algorithmic search capabilities to return reliable and trustworthy information or that it’s just trying to move in a new direction, away from the automated algorithmic searches.

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

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! 

HOW “MOVED” BUSINESSES CAN CLOSE THEIR OLD BUSINESS LISTING MARKED AS “PERMANENTLY CLOSED”

In last couple of years, there have been some reports doing rounds in media circles, that there are quite a few businesses who have issues with their Google Search listings being shown in searches as “Permanently Closed”.

This indicates that a business has either closed down or moved their business location to a new place.  In case, relocating businesses fail to update their NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) citations in the Google My Business search listings then the relevant Google searches serve a big, red “Permanently Closed” notice to the searchers; instead of showing their new business address.

The existing issue concerns many such businesses and Google acknowledges this fact. It is, in fact, trying to fix the issue through Google My Business support.

Hardly reported in media circles, the solution to the existing issue that concerns most businesses lies in the Google Map based feature called “Moved”.

Why does the problem arise in the first place?

The problem arises when a business relocates to a new place without updating the new business address to its Google My Business Page. Google on its part, instructs the moving business to update its new business location as that will enable it to be in touch with its business contacts, photos, reviews, followers and other business related information.

More often than not, businesses are hardly aware or forget to update their business listings on Google’s My Business dashboard. As a result, many such relocated businesses forget to claim their business listings and often end up being listed as Closed, since they don’t following the Map Maker’s rule that informs businesses to close listings before relocating.

How you can fix it

As a business owner, if you’re thinking of relocating or have relocated and are facing the same problem, then just follow these simple steps to successfully update Google with your new search listings. First and foremost, contact Google My Business Team through their Twitter handle rather than contacting them over the phone. After connecting with them via Twitter, ask them to mark your old business listing status as “Moved” which is not the same as “Permanently Closed” business status.

There are many such businesses that have little or no information about this existing business status, which doesn’t have any reference either in Google My Business support center. It is available only on Google Maps and not on the Map Maker help page.

google-permanently-closed-listing

 

Changes that occur while Google updates your listing as Moved

So, now, you know how to mark your business listing as “Moved”. After a couple of days, you’ll notice the below changes once Google updates your business listing.

  1. This will erase your Google Search and Google Maps listings completely, making it impossible to find it in the searches.
  2. The removal of your listing will also terminate the “Permanently Closed” message, making it completely disappear from Google searches.
  3. Google uses a 302 HTTP status code to set up Google Maps URL to display your old business location. Your online visitor will be redirected to the new business location when he stumbles upon the Maps URL related to the old business location.
  4. As a part of the moving process, your old business reviews from the closed business listings are redirected to your new business listings. Just double check the entire process if that doesn’t happen.
  5. It is impossible to track your previous Map Maker business listings without making use of the direct URL that uses your business related CID number. Hence, your previous business listing will sport a “Permanently Closed” status instead of displaying the “Moved” status on the Map Maker.

This is where Google is trying to fix the issue that will enable a business to edit through Google Maps. If that happens, then it will save businesses a lot of time which gets used up while trying to reach Google My Business support center to get things done.

As seen in the screenshot below, Google Maps sports a “Moved” button that comes under “Suggest an Edit” section, which enables the user to update their new business information.

report-data-problem

 
As mentioned above, you may not accomplish your task by simply hitting the “Moved elsewhere” button, since that may trigger the “Permanently closed” label to completely disappear from the searches. And if you do press the button, then it will only display the little red banner with the “Relocated” message as seen in the image below.

Here you can see, your Google Maps and search result listings now sport a massive red label marked as “Closed”.

google-relocated-listing

 
This is how you need to initiate the process which will hopefully help a lot of struggling businesses that are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

If you still need any help, we can be of assistance. Just write to us at sales@ebrandz.com and our reps will be in touch with you within 24 business hours.

GOOGLE TO ALLOW BUSINESSES TO EDIT THEIR KNOWLEDGE GRAPH INFORMATION

google-knowledge-graph

Much to the delight of brands and users, Google’s Knowledge Graph gets an update that enables them to control the content that is being displayed alongside their search entry.

Typically, Google’s data rich Knowledge Graph, displayed to the right of the search results helps in providing concise information about the brand that is being searched for across the web. And with this new update, Google is giving the authority to business reps to edit any inherent changes that they deem fit.

Although, the proposed changes will take some time to appear in the search results. Yet it’s a big step forward in the right direction which will benefit both users and businesses in their expression of interest. For both brands and companies, it’s nothing short of a big deal, as it will enable them to have a full control of their search information. Besides these changes, they can even update their NAP (Name, Address and Phone Numbers) citations and the change of a CEO as part of their official search information.

barry-knowledge-graph-1
Source: http://searchengineland.com/google-letting-official-representative-of-knowledge-graph-boxes-to-suggest-changes-in-search-results-242121

This is for the first time that Google is sharing authority with businesses via Knowledge Graph, so that the owners can improve upon themselves.

How to edit your Knowledge Graph information

To become an official representative, all you need to do is log-in to your Google account and then follow the steps mentioned below to make changes in your company’s NAP citations:

  • Ensure that the URL in the Knowledge Card is in sync with your company’s official website, YouTube presence or company’s official Google+ pages.
  • Ensure that your official website is attached to your Google search console account.
  • Ensure that you are signed into the Google account that is attached to the company’s website.
  • Ensure that you keep a tab on your web browsing history.

Once Google approves your official ownership credentials, all you need to do is click to “Suggest a change” to update your official business information in Google’s Knowledge Graph Center. You will then receive an email from Google on submitting your changes. Thereafter, Google will review the suggested changes by running checks for accuracy of your content.

barry-knowledge-graph-2
Source: http://searchengineland.com/google-letting-official-representative-of-knowledge-graph-boxes-to-suggest-changes-in-search-results-242121

For further details on the subject, you can click here to check Google’s official Help page.

Or email us at sales@ebrandz.com for assistance.

GOOGLE ROLLS-OUT MORE POPULAR “GOOGLE MAPS” INSTALLATION FOR iOS USERS

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Seems like Google is slowly but surely giving up its monogamous trait of competing with everyone. That’s the reason why even after its recent spat with Apple computers, it’s finally waking up to serve iOS users’ needs. Not just that, it recently pushed the next installation of iOS Maps to update its features which are more in line with its compatriot Android. The new update includes features such as offline maps & navigation, busiest store hours and gas prices.

While there are have been other useful mobile apps in the past that offered to show current gas prices, this recent update by Google adds more to your convenience and utility levels. It allows consumers to not only locate the nearest gas service station, but it also matches prices of various gas service providers in your area.

Another useful add-on that comes with the recent iOS Map update is the busiest store traffic hours, which previously supported only the Android version. The company fetches this data through random Google users who have opted to share their location data.

Amongst the three recent updates, Google offline maps & navigation is the most significant one. This pre-announced feature was rolled out last month on first preferential basis to android users and now finds its way to the iOS users as well.

The iOS Google Map users will now be able to download their desired map areas for offline access. This includes every relevant information along with turn-by-turn navigation based on the desired map content (including contact information, ratings and business hours) for a particular location. Let’s see what Google has to say about these recent map inclusions.

“You can download an area by searching for a city, county or country, for instance, and tapping “Download” on the resulting place sheet, or by going to “Offline Areas” in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button. Once downloaded, Google Maps will move into offline mode automatically when it recognizes you’re in a location with spotty service or no connectivity at all. When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route.”

Having said that, Google has pushed down these iOS Map updates amidst reports that Maps on the iOS platform are viewed 3 times more than Google Maps and that Apple have been getting more than 5 billion map-related requests on a weekly basis from its iOS users.

For more information, email us at sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll-Free).

IS YOUR BUSINESS LOCATION DATA HEALTHY ENOUGH?

business-location

The search for SEO excellence continues even as we wait for another year to come to an end.

It’s been a humdinger of a year for some local businesses while for some, it has presented with an opportunity to do some soul searching. By reflecting on their performance in the past 12 months these businesses can draw some positive conclusions and possible takeaways. They can further take inputs from local search marketing trends that made a huge impact on their businesses irrespective of their location. Talking about location, these days a lot of top brands are spending time thinking about their data health. When we say data health – we mean checking out your local listings once a year to see if Google is correctly displaying your business NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) citations in its search results.

Having healthy data is much more crucial not only from search ranking point of view, but also from sales and marketing perspective.

In the past year, a majority of brands made good use of location based marketing by using contextual content to expand their reach. Brands such as Dunkin’ Donuts serve a great example of how to better leverage contextual content as part of your location marketing strategy.

So, what did they do different to get such an overwhelming response from their location based marketing?

While the ‘Find the fastest coffee’ ad did make headlines of sorts by attracting pedestrians in large numbers to their nearby Dunkin’ Donuts stores, they had to fix their location data to realize their recent marketing feat.

On the other hand, data inaccuracy probably would have marred the effectiveness of the contextual ad content by creating an unfavorable consumer response.

Hence, Brands such as Dunkin’ Donuts that treat location data as an invaluable business asset will stand to reap the rewards of their marketing overtures.

What you can do about it?

As you can see, it does pay rich dividends when you’re blessed with healthy location data. It enables businesses with an easily searchable identity and correct data location in the form of local business listing NAP citation.

The only way in which you can have healthy location data is by distributing it equally across your ecosystem so that it attracts your perceptive customers who make their own buying decisions.

For you to replicate the success of Dunkin’ Donuts, you’ll have to make sure that you’ve shared the correct data across your ecosystem, where ‘Near Me’ search possibilities take place.

And when you make the correct data available it makes location marketing more invaluable. A recent online survey conducted by SIM Partners states that brands which increase their data correctness by 20% attract up to 450% more traffic with 216% surge in their conversion rate.

Besides that, a lot depends upon how well you’ve shared this information with data amplifiers such as Facebook and Google, as they ensure higher brand visibility across the virtual domain. So, have you updated your data amplifiers with any changes that may have taken place in your local listings?

Checking your data health on a regular basis will help you identify the way forward on how to deal with the changing scenario involving your brand and the ecosystem.

For example you can update your customers through your local listing about your Business Working Hours; especially during the holiday season. This will enable the search giant to update this information in its algorithm searches. Multiple location businesses need to update these changes on a regular basis.

So it does matter when we ask how healthy is your location data? And if you have no clue about it then you’re probably missing out on a large chunk of nearby located customers which could come in through location data marketing.

For more information, you can email us at sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll-Free) for assistance.

TOP FOUR WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS LISTING RANKINGS

local-business-listing

Off-late local businesses must be feeling the pinch to have been left out by Google in its Google+2.0 scheme of things. But there are four ways through which Google My Business Help forum can help you promote your listings in Google’s SERP.  Although, Rahul J. from Google, recently added that the fourth way completely depends upon the number of clicks that your listing gets in Google’s search results.

Here’s what he had to say in his post, “Search history: In the past how many times has the listing been clicked on by users searching with the keyword.”

Below mentioned are the top four ways through which local businesses can positively impact their Google My Business listing rankings:-

  • Relevance: How relevant is your business category/listing to the search phrase used by the user?
  • Prominence: Traffic to your business listing. How established is the business online.
  • Distance: How close the business is located from where the search is being made.
  • Search history: In the past how many times has the listing been clicked on by users searching with the keyword.

Post that he went on to list some more ways, like you need to ensure that you have listed your business in the right category and shared the listing URL across, which helps you achieve more profile clicks, generate great reviews and share new updates and photos with your happy customers. And if that doesn’t suffice your listings requirements then Click Here for some cooler ranking tips.

You can even share your business related concerns in Google My Business Help and Local Search Forums.

For more information, email us at sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 ( Toll Free ) for assistance.

 

GOOGLE LEAVES OUT LOCAL BUSINESSES REVIEWS FROM ITS GOOGLE+2.0 SCHEME OF THINGS

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It seems like Google now wants to focus more on the bigger markets and that’s the reason why local business reviews no longer figure in Google’s revamped Google+ scheme of things.

In fact, the Google+2.0 version that was launched recently seems to focus more on its most popular features such as Communities and Collections and in the process got rid of the local display of business reviews, including other local information such as NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) citations.

Here’s a glimpse of the changes brought about by the search giant in Google+ 2.0 version:-

Google+’s older version looked like

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Google+ 2.0 version looks like this

new-googlemb

Let’s see what Google’s Community Manager, Elizabeth Powers has to say in her Google post on the changes brought about in Google+’s dashboard - Reviews will no longer be shown on Google+ Pages in the new Google+ design. But are still accessible on Google Search and Maps which have always been the primary way that users find business reviews.

This drives our point home that Google indeed would want to focus on businesses with bigger market presence and that’s why it’s showing the backdoor to the SMEs. There’s a separate management of business listings taking place on the Google “My Business” page. The scrapped business review feature worked on a simple dashboard functionality by recommending Google+ subscribers to visit business pages only when businesses have something new to share as part of their content marketing strategy.

With that gone, let’s see what one of the local search marketers Mike Blumenthal has to say on the subject.

Over the past two years I have discussed the parting of the ways between local and Plus but through all of that Google had retained the essence of tabbed business pages and given the owner the ability to add a description, photos, videos and provided a place to send customers to see and leave their reviews.

That is all gone. In focusing on content, communities and collections Google has hung out a new and bold sign.

If you haven’t gotten the message yet it should finally be clear in the release of their new and improved G+: BUSINESS UNWELCOME.

Local business marketers are faced with many such issues that Mike Blumenthal and others have raised, one of them being the concern over a permanent forum to post local business reviews. And that seems to be confusing not only the local search marketers, but also the search giant. That’s why Google has now brought the curtains down on the local business feature. In the meantime, if you are looking for some other similar options then Linda Buquet has something in-store for you.

What are your views about this new change by Google? Please let us know by writing to us at sales@ebrandz.com or call 1-888-545-0616 (Toll-Free) directly.