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A Smorgasbord of Social Media – ‘Richer’ Pins and Emailstagram

Welcome back to another Smorgasbord of Social Media, your weekly roundup of all things social. Here’s the latest in social media news:

 

FACEBOOK 

Facebook Messenger Enables Payment Feature

Tired of Jerry McGuire asking you to “show me the money?” Fret no longer. Message him on Facebook and with 3 easy clicks you can send him what you owe. Although not currently available everywhere, Facebook Messenger has begun rolling out the application in many major US cities. Even though money still doesn’t grow on trees, receiving some could be as easy as opening up an app.

Group-payments

Restaurant Reviews

Yelp may need some help once this feature goes live. Facebook continues to dominate as a social platform, striving to become a one-stop shop for all things social. They are currently testing an integrated critic review feature available when users search or visit restaurant pages. Currently, restaurants have control over the content that is on their page, but Facebook is giving back users their freedom of post. Although restaurants can still delete any negative wall posts, they will be unable to delete reviews.

 Facebook-review

Businesses May Be Messaging You On WhatsApp

Thanks to Facebook, businesses may be able to say ‘Whats up?’ on WhatsApp. Great for customer service issues, but I’d prefer not to wake up to a message from my cable company asking me if I enjoyed the movie I watched the night before. This feature is still in the early stages and is aimed to enhance the business-to-consumer communication- NOT to bog down your inbox. That’s what email is for!

 

INSTAGRAM

Trying To Win Us Back With ‘Highlights’

EMAILstagram. For the first time since Instagram’s launch nearly 5 years ago (yes, it’s been that long), Instagram wants you to know that they love your selfies- sort of. Adopting Twitter’s reengagement process, Instagram will begin sending out emails to all users with ‘What You’ve Missed’ since the last 40 seconds you checked the photo-sharing app (maybe that’s just me) to get users posting and checking the social platform more frequently. Curse you Instagram for drawing me back to the app where I’ll once again spend countless minutes stressing over the perfect filter.

instagram-email-highlights

 

 TWITTER

Tweets Become More Searchable

Having to type in Twitter.com while you’re already on Google to search what’s trending? Now that’s a first world problem. But luckily, you’ll no longer have to. Whatever or whoever you’re interested in looking up on Twitter, you’ll now have access to that information directly on Google. Any Google search will now bring up related and trending tweets on the subject. This has the potential to greatly increase the accessibility and speed of disseminated information for both twitter and non-twitter users.

 

 

PINTEREST

Cinematic Pins

Rich pins just got richer. Pinterest has GIF’d wrapped their Promoted Pins for marketers, introducing new Cinematic Pins. Controlled through scrolling, these motion-based pins are sure to catch your thumb. Watch the video below to see just how these new Promoted Pins show up on different boards!

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 4.28.42 PM

 

 

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5 Insights to Drive Lead Generation with LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

Whenever someone asks me what my favorite social network is, they are often baffled by my response. I love LinkedIn and I’m not afraid to let the world know. Sure, there are large parts of the platform that are underdeveloped and in need of some TLC, but the real value of LinkedIn comes from the user community. Having grown from just 37 million members in Q1 of 2009 to over 364 million in Q1 of 2015, there is no better social network for engaging with business-to-business (B2B) prospects than LinkedIn. Not sure if your prospective customers are on there? Use this handy tool to get a glimpse of your potential audience.

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.30.17 PM

There are over 364 million users on LinkedIn, making it the 2nd largest social network in North America!

 

Sadly, the stigma still exists for many that LinkedIn is exclusively a job-seeking platform, which I believe is fundamentally incorrect. While historically LinkedIn may have attracted exclusively millennial job seekers – it’s many of those very millennials who are now doing research for B2B organizations. In fact, according to a recent Google study in 2014, 46% of all B2B researchers were millennials, up from just 27% only 2 years before in 2012.

b2b-buyer-demographics

If you’ve read any reports on the B2B buyer’s journey in the past few years, you’ll know we are living in the age of the informed buyer. We know prospects do their research before they engage with sales, but where are they doing it? Your website? Social media? Review websites? A recent study from Nielsen suggested only 69% of buyers trust information on a brand website, whereas 84% trust recommendations from people they know. Where do people they know exist? Social media! In particular – LinkedIn. By sharing content on LinkedIn, you have the opportunity to receive implicit support from those who like, comment on, or share your content. Why is this so powerful? The LinkedIn algorithm will syndicate content that has been engaged with by an individual to their connections, allowing your message to reach new audiences. This implicit endorsement is huge for gaining awareness & building trust with prospective buyers. However, this isn’t exclusive to LinkedIn, and in fact this factor is present across most social networks. So what makes LinkedIn special? Aside from the unmatched longevity content seems to enjoy compared to other social platforms, LinkedIn audiences have 2 unique & exclusive traits:

 

  • They share their entire professional history: Unlike any other network, people actively choose to include a rich history of their employment, education & professional interests. This ultimately allows you to align closely with the needs of your target audience when sharing content.
  • They have an active mindset dedicated to professional betterment: Rather than passively scrolling through a newsfeed like many Facebook or Twitter users will, LinkedIn users are a lot more in tune with using the site for professional purposes. HubSpot has an excellent infographic discussing the key differences between personal & professional networks.

 

With these factors in mind, sponsored updates provide an unparalleled opportunity to reach & inform prospective buyers with educational content. If you’ve never set up a sponsored update campaign within LinkedIn, Kissmetrics published an excellent overview (with screenshots!) to help guide you through the process. If you have tried using LinkedIn sponsored updates before and didn’t see success, I encourage you try again. The most common problem I see is a lack of granularity with targeting. As a general rule, the wider an audience you target, the harder it will be to find common content for them to engage with. Instead of taking a one-size-fits all approach, focus on one-size-fits one.

LinkedIn-Targeting-by-Location2

 

I hope by now you’ve seen the value of sponsored updates on LinkedIn and are ready to dive on in. Before you do though, here are my top tips for success:

 

  1. Know Your Audience: Do you have personas built out for your prospective customers? This is more than simply knowing their industry or job role, you should know who they are & what motivates them to take action. If you haven’t already defined your target personas, here is a great guide from Buffer to get you started.
  2. Provide Real Value: Ask yourself if what you’re offering will actually have a positive impact on those who engage. Seek first to educate, then to convert. By focusing on education, you’ll align more with prospects immediate concerns and build trust.
  3. Be Engaging & Avoid Sounding Like A Salesperson: Remember this is a targeted campaign on a social network, not search. The only intent signals you have are inferred so you’ll want to avoid hard selling and, instead, focus on problem solving.
  4. Targeting: This single factor can ultimately make or break your campaign. Do your research, find groups where your target audiences are active and listen to conversations. Understand who makes decisions, and why. Focus on granularity and build up as appropriate. SproutSocial have some excellent resources related to determining your target audience.LinkedIn-Post-Targeting-Options-Chart
  5. Tracking In Google Analytics: Unlike other major social networks, LinkedIn doesn’t offer any kind of conversion tracking code – ultimately making it difficult to show ROI. Never fear, it’s easy to set up appropriate tracking within Google Analytics, as this handy guide from Kissmetrics shows.

 

While LinkedIn presents a challenge, it is one well worth overcoming. Sure there are parts of the platform that need to improve, like conversion tracking, but the depth of targeting in combination with the mindset of the audience present new opportunities for B2B marketers. If you’re not sure if your target customers are there, find out! (It’s free!)

If your organization is looking to put together an amazing LinkedIn campaign or find ways social media can help drive the acquisition of new clients, then schedule a time to speak with one of our friendly team members!

 

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A Smattering of SEO News – Quality over Quantity

Hello friends, and welcome to this week’s Smattering! We have had some fantastic news this past week, the biggest being Google finally admitting there was something of an algorithm update recently, this one taking direct aim against low quality and thin content. Google’s been pushing for higher quality and more useful content for a while now, so it’ll be fascinating to watch this change play out in the coming weeks. Check it out!

 

Google News

  • Google Confirms Quality Algorithm Update – Earlier this month, many site owners and webmasters noticed their rankings fluctuating all over the place. This coincided with what looked to be manual penalties for supposedly thin content. Well, after much prodding and poking, Google has finally admitted that, yes Virginia, there was an algorithm update recently, specifically in how Google processes signals relating to quality. While content networks like Hubpages claim Google was targeting informational sites, or “how to” focused sites, it’s also been seen that sites with informational content have risen in the SERPs as well. The update didn’t seem to go after any particular type of site, just sites with thin or low-quality content, which is kind of awesome. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.
  • panda-penguin-sadGoogle Is Still Trying To Speed Up Panda And Penguin Updates – Several months ago, the folks at Google stated that they were trying to tweak Panda and Penguin so it would update more frequently, therefore giving hope to those who are still living under the penalties of these algorithms. Well, cut to recently, when Google’s John Mueller stated that Google is STILL trying to speed up the algorithms. I wonder when it’ll actually happen…
  • Webmaster Tools Rebranded To Search Console – For what seems like ages now, Google’s Webmaster Tools has been one of the last bastions of transparency when it comes to gathering data from the search engine, especially as Analytics has become less and less useful due to its “not provided” problem. Well, apparently Google recently came to the realization that the term “webmaster” doesn’t apply to everyone who uses their tool, so they’ve rebranded it Search Console. This is, “to make sure that our product includes everyone who cares about Search,” apparently. Other than the name, it doesn’t appear as if anything else has changed, thankfully.
  • Twitter Results Now Live In Google Mobile Results – The deal between Twitter and Google went live earlier this week, with Twitter results now showing up in the carousel of mobile results (mostly at the top, but sometimes at the bottom for some reason). While Twitter doesn’t get any direct ad revenue from these links, the increase in traffic and visibility should definitely be a boon for the social network.

tweets-in-google

  • Removing “Right To Be Forgotten” Requests Is A Very Manual Process – According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, Google gave them some insight on how they go about approving or denying “Right to be Forgotten” requests. Apparently it’s a very manual process, requiring weekly meetings to go over the requests, each of which are manually approved or denied. Also, since the law requiring this right is fairly vague, the final say is with Google itself, which is likely why only 30-40% of requests are approved, one would reckon.
  • seoWebmasterWorld: Google’s Top On-Site Ranking Factors Have Changed – If you’re not familiar with WebmasterWorld, it’s basically the go-to forum on the web to talk about search engines and some of the users there are VERY knowledgeable. One of these users is Roger Montti, and recently he came up with an updated list of what he thinks are the top on-site ranking factors for this year, which are, in order: user experience, shorter title tags, original content, engaging content, and so on. While it’s not a definitive list, it’s very enlightening and definitely worth some thought. Head over to the forum thread and check it out.

 

Other News

  • Bing Planning Own Mobilegeddon, Kind Of – Bing has announced that they too will be launching a mobile-friendly algorithm update to their search engine in the near future (no date was given). However, unlike the fairly scary proclamations coming from Google, Bing is saying their update won’t hurt the relevancy of their results and that even sites that aren’t mobile-friendly will still rank well if they remain relevant. We’ll be keeping an eye on this to see when and how it all comes about.

 

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A Smorgasbord of Social Media – What Facebook is Doing to Enable Businesses and Brands

Welcome back to another Smorgasbord of Social Media, your weekly roundup of all things social. There are some interesting changes we want to catch you up on, so keep reading for the latest in social media news.

 

 FACEBOOK

My Facebook Brings All The Content To The Yard (With Instant Articles)

Facebook recently began hosting content directly on its platform with a new product called ‘Instant Articles.’ Created to speed up load time and enable publishers including The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and BBC News to create content that they control, these Instant Articles can produce interactive brand experiences as well as monetization opportunities.

 

instantarticle

 

Instant Article capabilities include:

  • Tilting your phone to zoom in and see high-resolution photos
  • Watching auto-play videos embedded in the article
  • Exploring interactive maps
  • Listening to audio captions
  • Liking and commenting on individual parts of an article

 

 

 

 

Carousel Ads For Products, And Now Mobile Apps Too!

With the successful performance of multi-product ads, Facebook is now introducing the carousel format for mobile apps too! Hosting up to five images and links, the carousel format allows app developers to prompt engagement, as well as app installs, while highlighting various features or services of the app.

 

carouselads

 

I Just Called To Say, “I Saw Your Facebook Ad.”

Local business advertisers, rejoice! Facebook recently added a ‘Call Now’ button for News Feed Ads, which enables users to call a business directly from an ad. These ads can target people when they are nearby a business, as well as those who live in the vicinity. Previously, local business advertisers were only able to prompt users to ‘Like’ their page or ‘Get Directions’ to their business.

 

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A Smattering of SEO News – Google Owns the News of Late

Hey folks, welcome to another Smattering of SEO News! This installment includes the last two weeks of important news pieces because I sadly had to miss last week, so that’s more news for you! It’s all Google related too, which is interesting in its own way. Enjoy!

 

Google News

  • google-penalty-cardGoogle Goes After Thin Content With Manual Penalties – According to several webmasters,  a major content network that provided “thin content” was manually penalized over the past weekend. Many webmasters reported receiving messages via Webmaster Tools alerting them that their site has been identified as having “low-quality” or “shallow” pages, and having sites with hundreds of pages penalized as a result. Many webmasters go on to say that that they weren’t part of the network that was targeted, so this looks to go beyond it. We’ll keep an eye on this and report if there’s more info.

 

  • Google: “UX Will Never Be More Important Than Content” – While user experience has been becoming increasingly important to a user’s happiness and stickiness on a website, Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed that content is still king. Recently, at the SMX conference in Sydney, Illyes was quoted as saying, “User experience would never be more important than content.” This is a relief to those of us who value content as much as we do.

 

  • penguin-panda-googleUpdating Panda And Penguin Is A Two-Part Process – There’s been quite a bit of confusion as to whether Panda and Penguin are updated in real time or manually. According to Google’s Mariya Moeva, it’s apparently both. Her explanation: “Essentially, both (Panda and Penguin) are built-in in the realtime infrastructure, but the data has to be updated separately. I think this two-part process is what’s leading to the confusion.” This clears it up a bit.

 

  • Right To Be Forgotten Requests Refused More Than Accepted – According to two different articles (which have slightly different numbers), one year since the EU’s ruling on the issue, Google’s right to be forgotten requests are apparently denied more than they’re accepted. Google’s report (in the link above) states that only 40% of requests are accepted, while a report from Reputation VIP says that 70% of requests are refused, so somewhere in the middle there likely lies the truth. Regardless, it’s interesting to see that more requests are refused than accepted.

 

  • “How To” Searches Up 70% Year-Over-Year On YouTube – In an interesting development, YouTube announced that over the past year, the amount of searches covering “how to” videos has increased around 70%, with over 100 million hours of these videos watched this year alone. The most popular videos seem to cover home improvement, beauty, and cooking. Regardless of your industry, this sounds like a fantastic way to get some visibility to your brand, if it can be in any way applicable.

 

  • Despite Much Reported SERP Volatility, Google Claims No Update Over Weekend – Apparently a lot of webmasters have been reporting increased volatility in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) over the past week, especially around the weekend. Barry Schwartz contacted his…er…contact at Google and asked what was up. Apparently, there wasn’t any update at all over the weekend. What, then, caused the volatility? More fallout from the mobile-friendly update? We’ll keep you posted as we find more.

 

  • Improved Search Analytics Report Launched In Webmaster Tools – Google has launched a new and improved search queries report, renaming it the Search Analytics report and making it much more useful. Now webmasters can filter results by location, device type, clicks, impressions, and much more. This will definitely go a long way toward filling in gaps left by the not provided issue in Analytics, we hope.

 

  • twitter-googleTwitter Begins To Return To Google SERPs – Google has begun experimenting with putting Twitter information back into results pages, according to reports. It’s been years since we saw Twitter in the search results, but now several users are reporting seeing relevant Twitter accounts show up in mobile searches. This can only help both with visibility and usability.

 

  • Google Announces More Searches On Mobile Than Desktop – Google has formally announced that recently they began to see more searches via mobile than via the desktop in several countries, including the US and Japan. Along with this announcement comes word of expanded services for hotel reservations and car insurance research, along with better ad tools as well. No wonder they’ve been so focused on mobile as of late.

 

  • Report: YouTube Drives More Video Engagement Over Time – While reports have come out saying that Facebook video usage is leading toward more engagement with customers, firm Visible Measures says that’s only true initially. Apparently they found that videos on YouTube videos perform better over time, retaining viewership and engagement over the long haul, while Facebook tapers off after an initial boost in viewership.

facebook-youtube

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A Plethora of PPC News – Testing And Snapchat

Not much of a correlation between the fun things Google is testing and the Snapchat advertising updates, but they’re both discussed below and I hope you enjoy this week’s read!
Testing 1, 2, 3

The search query report is finding a new home in the AdWords layout. To view search queries, we used to have to click under Keywords > Details > Search Terms > All. Now it’s clickable on the Keywords tab right at the top of the page, as are negative keywords. This seems like a major improvement as I think back to the struggle of finding it with my first account. Though it’s now second nature, I think it’s a great idea to make these things more accessible. It’s also not in every account yet but check out the below screenshot for a preview of what’s probably soon to be rolled out to all AdWords advertisers.

new-adwords-search-query-report-layout-new

 

Google is also now testing a “value alert” in product listing ads. As you can see in the image below, the Dermstore ad doesn’t even have the lowest price among the ads shown yet it still gets the alert. Google hasn’t offered much detail but it’s likely the alert is displayed based off the size of the discount. We’ll keep you posted on how this test plays out.

value-alert-google-adwords-pla

 

Oh Snap – Here’s The Latest With Snapchat Advertising

Snapchat just snagged a Google Executive to campaign for political ad dollars. And despite Snapchat’s limited targeting options, Ad Age reports that 70% of its users are 18 or older, making this a prime targeting tool for young voters. Local ad targeting is an option, though, for $50,000 a pop (national “Live Story” feeds start at $100,000 per ad).

In other Snapchat news, it was announced that Snapchat’s publishing partners can now run 10-second ads on Discover at the cost of $0.02 per view. One Snapchat publishing partner referred to it as “the next iteration of social content,” with some obvious bias. Though we do want to keep our eyes on this one since some claim it is now on par with Google AdWords, YouTube’s Tru View, and Facebook’s sponsored updates.

 

Google Showing Fewer Ads Per Search?

Google has been reporting hefty CPC declines, but industry sources show the opposite for Google paid search. We were able to get some clarity as to why from looking at the Q1 2015 earnings call. Google’s CFO revealed that for the first time, were it not for YouTube TrueView ads, Google “sites clicks would be lower but still positive, and CPCs would be healthy and growing year-over-year.”

Upon reading this, I scratched my head but read on. In the above article Mark Ballard, RKG’s Director of Research, speculates that Google may be showing fewer ads. He backs up his argument well, going on to say “showing fewer ads wouldn’t be that different from what they’ve done over the years with the numerous ad extensions that are available and preferentially served for top ads.” While we can’t know for sure that this is the case, it is worth taking a look at the data presented and the argument put forward.

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Smorgasbord – Quick And Easy

FACEBOOK

Deep Linking On Facebook App Install Ads Is Now A Thing!

Wait, what?

Until now, if you were to download an app because you saw an ad for a great pair of shoes, you had to wait for the app to finish downloading and then remember what it was you wanted and then search for it. Thanks to deep linking, marketers can now create App Install ads that will take you directly to that great pair of shoes when you open the app for the first time. Thanks for finally acknowledging our 5-second attention span, Facebook! This is great news for business as Facebook is now placing users one step closer to a conversion.

 

INSTAGRAM

Instagram Music[1]A New Home For Music Lovers With @Music

Recently, Instagram launched @music, an Instagram account fully dedicated to everything music. The account, similar to Twitter’s @TwitterMusic and most recently, @TwitterFood , is meant to be a community based on interest and will feature a wide variety of high-quality, music-related posts. Could @music become another platform for advertisers in the music industry? Maybe, but for now we’ll just have to enjoy the content @music gives us.

 

SNAPCHAT

Snapchat Introduces Discover Messages

In a Snapchat sea of double-chinned selfies and cats with drawn-on eye patches, the super-polished, professionally made content on the Discover feature seems a little out of place. In what appears to be an attempt to rescue the dwindling sponsorship opportunity, Snapchat announced that you can now privately share content from Discover with other users. Even better, you can add your own drawings and text before sending them to all your friends – which means you may be seeing a lot of mustache-clad Cosmopolitan models in your inbox soon.

 

Snapchat Makes It Easier To Find Users

In other Snapchat news, you may finally be able to find your favorite famous cat’s account. Snapchat’s lackluster discovery capabilities made it near impossible to find a friend or celebrity on the app without knowing their exact username or being able to scan the QR code (or “Snapcode”) from the user’s phone. This week, however, Snapchat made it a little easier by allowing users to download vector images of their Snapcodes to put on websites, marketing materials, and just about anything else. It’s a pretty small step considering the vast search functions of Facebook and Twitter, but maybe now we can all find J.Lo on Snapchat and live a happier life.

Snapchat Discover

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5 Reasons You Should Shop Your Own Site

When was the last time you really examined your site? Odds are it has been some time since you’ve given your site some TLC. As we work our way through the second quarter of the year, there is no better time than now to think like your customers and shop your own site.

 

image11.  Every customer is different; they have different shopping preferences and different tastes. As you look at your site with a fresh pair of eyes, you will want to be sure you test on different screen sizes; think laptop, tablet, smartphone, and mini tablet/phablet. In addition, you will want to check out different browsers. Sometimes your site may look perfect in Chrome and be funky in Internet Explorer. By checking all variables, you can ensure customers have a seamless experience regardless of how they access your site.

 

2. Once you are confident with your site’s depiction on various browsers, you can slip into the role of a customer. Act as though you are a customer coming to your website for the first time. If you have a popup box, enter in your information and evaluate how follow-up email communications are.

Try your site’s search capabilities. Enter generic terms and see what pops up. Odds are, first time shoppers will not know the full extent of your product offerings and will search broad terms. If your search result offerings are less than ideal, you may want to alter your item tags and filters to make sure Google hasn’t made changes or updates to their algorithm.

 

image23. In addition, you will want to test out the experience of abandoning your cart. What is the frequency of your follow up emails? Are you satisfied with your messaging? If you believe your messaging falls flat, odds are your customers feel the same way. By redoing your abandoned cart emails and setting an appropriate frequency for which they are sent, you have better odds of converting these seemingly lost customers. It is recommended that your first abandoned cart email be sent within one to two hours after the customer has abandoned their cart. Your second email should be sent within 12 to 48 hours after, and your final attempt should be sent within 48 to 72 hours. Be sure to include a clear call to action and a reminder as to what items are in the cart!

 

4. On the other hand, you will want to purchase an item and see how the communication around that is. Did you receive an email confirming your order was received? How about an email confirming your item has shipped with tracking information? These emails offer a level of transparency to your store, which fosters a sense of trust with your customers. These emails should be triggered shortly after the order has been received/shipped. You’ll want to make sure the emails are personalized as well, as your company will be viewed more favorably by your clients.

 

image3 5. Do you know if your company is providing exceptional customer service? Reach out to your reps via chat/phone/email—any outlet you currently use. Ask them common questions and see how thorough their responses are. If you are not satisfied with your reps, it is time to call a team meeting to review best practices. To learn more about best practices in customer service, check out Desk.com’s infographic!

 

By shopping your own site and viewing it with a fresh perspective, you can make beneficial changes that should help increase your conversion rates. In addition, you can identify your strengths and commend yourself on a job well done. Keep our five recommendations in mind when you put on your consumer cap, and you can unlock the Ecommerce success you deserve.

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The Real Winners Of Mobilegeddon: Small Business Owners

With national small business week in our sights and the aftermath of Google’s mobile algorithm update still pending, we think it’s time to talk about how small business owners have been, and will be, impacted in coming months. While everyone’s attention has been on the Fortune 500 companies, the true winners of Mobilegeddon may be right here in our own backyards.

 

At Wpromote, our Strategic Partnerships department oversees and manages online marketing strategies for around 400 local and regional clients. When the news about Google’s impending mobile algorithm update broke in early 2015, we knew we had just been tasked with an enormous feat: making sure all of our clients’ sites were ready by the April 21st deadline.

mobile1

When the update was first announced, the reaction on industry blogs and social media echoed panic, as if we were bracing for a storm. Some predicted this update would negatively impact many small businesses, catching owners off-guard and rendering them unaware, or unable, to pool the resources necessary to quickly adjust to this change. Others speculated that the real losers would be the 44% of Fortune 500 companies that weren’t passing Google’s mobile-friendly test. Regardless of speculation, our team took a proactive stance by notifying our clients of the upcoming update and helping them to get ready in time.

For clients without web development resources in place, we vetted and suggested free or low-cost mobile website creation tools, like DudaMobile. For clients with WordPress sites, we suggested plugins like WPTouch. Both of these tools can be implemented with relative ease and require no “coding” experience. This illustrates one benefit of working with small businesses: there is less red tape when it comes to making changes, because most of the time, we work directly with the business owner.

 

Even with these available solutions, some clients remained doubtful and confused. One common misconception among clients was that Google was forcing everyone to have a mobile site. Another misconception is that their current site would fall off Google mobile search engine results completely. It is important to note that this update was not intended to remove sites that are not mobile-friendly from mobile search results. Google addressed this concern in the FAQ section of their blog post on the day of the update, noting that mobile-friendliness is merely one of many ranking factors.

 

So why did Google choose to roll out this update? In 2013, approximately 17% of mobile searches happened on-the-go, in other words, away from homes and workplaces. Just two years later, in 2015, another study found that 52% of mobile searches were now happening on-the-go. The trend became clear: more people were conducting searches on their mobile devices while out in the community. With more people searching on mobile devices, it makes sense that Google would want to improve the search experience for those users. Most of us have probably experienced frustration when trying to check out a restaurant’s menu on our phones only to find out that we can’t click on the menu button or the page doesn’t load properly. Google doesn’t want you to be frustrated anymore; they want to send you to a site where you will be able to navigate with ease.
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But once you’re on that mobile site, exploring fluidly, how likely are you to actually convert into a paying customer? An independent study released by Google in 2014 found that 34% of consumers visited a store within 24 hours of their local search on a desktop or tablet. In this study, a local search is defined as one which shows local intent, such as “dentist near me.”

 

However, what’s really interesting is that of those consumers who performed a local search on a smartphone, 50% visited a store within 24 hours of their search. Therefore, local queries on mobile devices provide a strong indicator of a consumer’s intent to visit or otherwise purchase from a local business. This is why the focus on having a mobile-friendly site stands to benefit our small-business clients in a big way, by allowing them to be right at the customer’s fingertips when the customer is searching.

While the mobile update will undoubtedly continue to roll out with new additions being announced in due time, one thing is clear: going mobile creates massive benefits for small businesses. Why then, are these small businesses being left off the lists of winners and losers of Mobilegeddon?

In the panic of this mobile algorithm update, we’ve ignored the businesses that are right in front of us each and every day. The names on our list should be the mom-and-pop restaurant on the corner, the dentist you’ve been going to since you were a kid, or even that donut shop you drive by on your way to work. Savvy small business owners who are willing to embrace these changes will emerge as the real winners of Mobilegeddon when the dust clears.

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