Google is one of the biggest, most successful and most universally known brands in history, which is a pretty impressive feat for a company that only rose to popularity in the last two decades. It should come as no surprise that Google is one of the most relevant brands you’ll have to understand in order to succeed online, especially when it comes to paid and organic search.
However, you might not realise the potential benefits to your business from many different services Google has acquired and developed over the years. Here are just a few core services that could really boost your productivity and profits if used wisely.
1) Organic search
Cheap SEO packages like those offered here at 123 Ranking work best if you really get to grips with how Google Search works. If you want your website to rank locally, nationally or beyond, it needs to satisfy Google’s technical requirements as well as meet its standards for quality. The more you use Google Search, the better you should be able to understand what it looks for and how to take advantage of it. Of course, we’re here to help all our clients when it comes to organic search engine optimisation.
Notoriously confusing and constantly evolving, Google+ is a tricky platform to master even for SEO professionals. However, it offers a huge range of benefits that can actively improve your business, to such an extent that you’d be crazy to ignore them. Not only does it function as a social network to share updates with your customers personally, but the real benefits come from information that feeds through into search results.
This includes your Google reviews, which may be featured prominently on Maps as well as Search. Make sure you take the time to ensure your reviews are there and saying something positive to differentiate your brand from the rest.
Paid advertising can be a great way to help your visibility on search engines even before your organic optimisation has had time to kick in. AdWords is the most widely used platform, and although it can be complex to master, you can get started fairly easily. If you need to generate traffic to your site fast, AdWords can be an incredibly worthwhile investment and the near-instant results are a rare advantage when compared against alternative digital marketing strategies.
Once you have traffic coming to your site, it’s time to focus on conversions for most businesses. Whether your goal is to sell a product, get a customer to contact you about a service or just to get some information from visitors, Google Analytics is an invaluable tool that will tell you how to optimise your site for users once you understand its interface. It provides a huge amount of insightful information; you just need to spend some time learning how to interpret the data in a way that’s relevant for your business.
Do you use an email client for work which everyone in the business accesses? If you do, and you’re not using Gmail, you may be missing a trick. Google offers some reasonably priced options for small businesses looking to smoothly integrate their own email systems with other Google services, which can be a great time-saver. Gmail itself functions perfectly as a straightforward email client, so you probably won’t lose any functionality by switching to it from other systems.
Google Drive is a great cloud storage solution for businesses, especially when integrated with Gmail. It makes it very quick and simple to share files and organise folders which can all be accessed by everyone in your team. There are many alternatives out there, but if you’re already using Google and everyone is set up with an account from the beginning, it’s an ideal add-on that many businesses don’t take advantage of. You can even use it to work on documents and spreadsheets simultaneously with colleagues, which can be hugely convenient.
There are just a few of the Google services we use on a daily basis at 123 Ranking, and we’d recommend them all to anyone looking to understand Google better or take advantage of their many tools, both free and paid. If you have any questions about Google search services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we’ll do what we can to help!
Lost access to Google Analytics for your website? It’s a common problem, since we don’t all check it regularly (even though we should!) and sometimes it’s left up to someone else, who may have changed the password and left the company long ago. Web developers may come and go, and within a hectic business environment it’s understandable that logins aren’t kept up to date. But if you find yourself needing to access your old Google Analytics account, there is a solution.
1) Register a Google AdWords account, and if you’re setting up a fresh one, you may be presented with a tutorial on creating your first campaign. Don’t worry about that – you won’t need to use it. If you already have an account, you can just log in.
2) You need to know your AdWords Customer ID, which is in the top right corner of your screen after logging in. Make a note of this and mention it when you contact Google in step 7.
3) You also need the tracking code for your Google Analytics account, or UA. You can do this by viewing the source code of your website’s homepage in your Internet browser and searching for “UA”, which should bring up your code.
4) Go directly to the Google AdWords Help Centre. You can access it through the dashboard on AdWords (unless you’re trapped in the opening tutorial), but the easiest way is to click the link above and go straight to it.
5) Click “CONTACT US” in the upper right corner of the AdWords Help Centre.
6) A box appears to help narrow down the topic you need help with. Select “Google Analytics” followed by “Analytics admin has left”.
7) Here you have a choice. You can send an email explaining your problem i.e. that you no longer have access to Google Analytics, providing your website address, UA and AdWords account number as explained above. Alternatively you can live chat or call the support line.
8) Google will most likely ask you to confirm you are the owner of the website in question. To do this they will send a simple text file and ask you to upload it to the site. You can do this using FTP (file transfer protocol).
Once you have confirmed this, and complied with any other requests, Google Analytics access should be granted to your account! Although this can be an awkward process, it’s the most effective and straightforward method to regain your Google Analytics access without starting fresh.
This is, of course, really important for any small business looking to improve their website by looking at past user data for trends and changes. We assist with Google Analytics tracking for all our clients, since it’s a great way of measuring organic search traffic among other things. If you need any further help with Google Analytics or you’re not sure how it can be useful to you, please let us know and we can talk you through your options.
1. Increase your audience by millions.
2. Improve your chances of ranking for keywords.
3. Get reviews that show up on Search and Maps.
4. Discover new resources and content.
5. Strengthen your brand on all social platforms.
That’s it in a nutshell. Do any of these five main reasons sound attractive to you? If the answer is yes (and if you’re a rational businessperson, we assume it is!), then you should consider these reasons to start using Google+ more. To understand this logic, first we have to establish the basic facts: Google+ is Google’s own social network, originally intended as a rival for Facebook and even Twitter. It’s notable for not being embraced by the general public was warmly as Google might have liked, but for businesses, it’s a unique and incredibly useful platform.
Let’s quickly look in more detail at those reasons once more, and exactly how it works:
1) Google+ has an active user base pushing 4 million. That’s not even the total number of users, that’s just the ones that log in regularly and see updates from brands like yours. An audience like this needs to be utilised if you want maximum reach for your social posts.
2) Optimising your Google+ business listing will help Google to identify what the focus of your business is. By tying in the same SEO keywords you use on your website with Google+ information and social updates, you’re sending a clear message that can help you rank more highly on search engines.
3) Your reviews on Google+ will appear in numerous places, which is helpful if you’re building up a good reputation. Not only do they appear on your Google+ page, but they will be visible next to your business name on Google Maps, and also on a widget that appears when your business name is at the top of the organic search results!
4) If you’re active on Google+ you’re also going to see the posts other people and brands put on there. There’s tons of useful and exclusive content available on there to incentivise people to interact and make more use of the network as a productive tool. Get involved and see what useful tools and information you can find.
5) Google links your local business page to your YouTube channel. This is either done automatically or manually, depending on what order you set up your accounts in and whether you created one or more of them a long time ago. Once linked, your YouTube videos will automatically be pushed not only to Google+ but also to Google Search results.
If you’ve dealt with any SEO company before, including ourselves at 123 Ranking, you will actually have been told already about the benefits of Google+. For many people it’s not a case of not being interested in all the great benefits, but perhaps a lack of time. We’re always here to help, so just let us know if you’re considering having us take on the responsibility of branding and promoting your Google+ page. We can do everything from optimisation to posting regular updates for you – just get in touch to discuss your options.
Google is always springing changes on us when it comes to the SERPs (search engines results pages) and they rarely go to plan, even when we got hints of what was coming months in advance. At the start of this year we saw a classic example, as Google had been dropping clues about an update to its Penguin algorithm until suddenly things appeared to change in early 2016. It turns out the Penguin update was almost undetectable, if it even happened at all, but a more significant core algorithm update has had a major impact on the rankings of some high profile websites.
Many different independent services that monitor major shifts on Google’s SERPs reported noticeable changes as January drew to a close this year. Google employees responded on Twitter to confirm that it was actually the core algorithm that received another makeover and not just one of its smaller constituent parts like Penguin. The top 100 ranking websites in the world are commonly used as a benchmark to judge the significance of algorithm changes, and in this case there was quite a visible shake-up. The changes were rolled out on desktop and mobile SERPs indiscriminately, and it’s taken until now for the dust to settle and patterns to emerge.
Even now as we enter April, nobody has worked out exactly what happened in the latest core update, because many high ranking sites dropped while others were suddenly boosted. In fact, 50% of the biggest winners and losers from the last update are different now to the ones we would have seen at the end of last year. Here’s what we do know for sure…
1) Content Determines A Lot
Another update focused on rewarding good content!? This isn’t shocking if you have any recent SEO experience, but certain types of content are now being judged as better quality than others. Publisher sites that tend to mention various brands in their articles have seen many of their indexed pages fall on the SERPs, while brands’ own websites have seen their content-rich pages gain positions. This was first spotted in the USA but has later been proven in other territories, so presumably the same new rules are universal.
So what does this actually mean? Well, it seems Google wants to reward brands who own their high quality content and are in control of their brand mentions. If your brand-related keywords are mainly featured on other websites rather than your own, those results might start dropping off. This could be good or bad, depending on how you want people to find you.
2) New Content Is Favoured
Another related point here, but the core update was very much focused on content. Not only is the type important on the SERPs now, but also the age of it. We already knew that fresh content is useful, but this sudden shake-up saw older content tumbling down the rankings fast while fresh pages climbed. Talking about current topics that are widely mentioned in the news and social media also leads to better rankings.
3) Mixed Content Does Better
Do proper keyword analysis! It’s not a good idea to have a page of basic text with multiple mentions of the same phrase if you want to take advantage of the latest Google update. Images and video seem to be helping pages climb, plus having a range of related keywords helps to strengthen the perceived relevance of your text. All these things will usually make your content more engaging for a reader, which explains why Google is starting to prefer them.
4) Answering A Query Helps
For perhaps the first time, keyword-rich content isn’t really essential for certain types of pages to rank at the top of the SERPs. If you answer a question that someone put into Google, your bounce rate will be lower and people will spend more time engaging with your website even if you have no written text that matches the query. You might be able to achieve this by featuring videos or interactive games on your website – Google can’t understand the content of these but it’s learning to recognise the signs of a suitable answer being given in an unusual way. A few sites that only featured educational games on their pages saw their rankings improve based on the new update.
If you’re confused or concerned about how these changes might affect the approach you need to take with your SEO, get in touch with us and find out how we can help. We stay on top of the latest trends so we can keep you informed and make sure all our techniques are helping our clients reach the highest positions as fast as possible. Learn more about our affordable SEO packages for different sized businesses here or drop us a line to see if we can answer your questions.
For any business, even if you are not primarily focused on your online presence, online reviews matter. When people search for your business (or your target keywords, if you have an SEO campaign), your average Google+ rating and the number of reviews you have might show up on the first page of results. These people are going to make a judgement to compare you with your competitors, and if you have bad feedback that’s on display publicly, it’s likely to hurt your business.
Getting bad feedback online can be frustrating. Sometimes it will be as a result of a genuine problem that occurred with one of your real customers. It’s very hard to guarantee perfect service every time, and mistakes happen, so from time to time even the best businesses might have dissatisfied clients. If someone chooses to be vocal about their disappointment on your public social media pages such as Google+ or Facebook, or on review sites like Yell or Review Centre, you will want to keep a lid on it if you can.
However, it’s not about trying to censor your customers’ voices. In fact, most websites simply won’t let you do that. Instead, it’s important to get in touch with that person, reaching out to them and finding a solution that works for both parties. Whether this is public or private will depend on the context. Ideally, you should ensure people know the best way to get in touch with you directly so they don’t have to resort to public reviews in the first place!
What about unfair reviews that you don’t think are real? Sometimes customers might let anger get the better of them and exaggerate their stories, or worse still, deliberately lie to make your business look bad. In these cases the best course of action is also to get in touch with them, although this may prove difficult. Be wary of taking more serious actions, though, as they could have consequences. Depending on the situation there are several things you can try, but it’s better to get professional advice before jumping into an argument online. After all, the reputation of your business is at stake, and the way you respond to criticism publicly says a lot about you to other potential customers.
At 123 Ranking we offer a more detailed help guide specifically for helping you deal with negative online reviews. Our Rank 3 package is our most comprehensive SEO plan yet, and it includes this guide along with a range of others free of charge. To find out more about how we can help, simple get in touch with us now.