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Google sends email to slow loading websites suggesting improvements

December 5th, 2018 by
Google is sending emails to site owners who are struggling with site speed via the Google Search Console. The intention is to help them identify and fix the slow loading pages. Here’s the email.

“Google has noticed that your site’s performance is significantly below average. Real user measurement data from the Chrome User Experience Report shows that pages on your site are slow to become interactive. This can have a severe negative effort on your business metrics and can cause user frustration.

Speed is a ranking factor for both mobile and desktop search results. While we don’t disclose the exact factors used for ranking, we recommend using a variety f metrics to understand your site’s performance, including first content paint, time to interactive, and first input delay. In particular, 8.70% of loads on this site have a slow first input delay and 39.7% have had a slow first contentful paint.”

Our takeaway: Speed is crucial for both mobile and desktop versions of your site and it is officially part of the algorithm. It not only helps you with your SEO efforts, but also massively boosts the user experience since most of the users want a fast loading page. Site speed translates into better ranking and it also directly boosts the conversion rate. Hence, it is a very crucial aspect of your site which you should be paying attention to.

YouTube determined to provide measurements that you can trust

November 27th, 2018 by
In order to help YouTube advertisers drive more conversions, Google added new features that combine the power of YouTube’s creative canvas with Google’s machine learning and measurement solution. YouTube advertisers soon will be able to use a wide variety of ad extensions, so that they can provide interesting information and compel the audience to take actions. Google now wants to encourage viewers to complete a lower funnel action, i.e.: booking flights, downloading apps etc. and for that, they are testing additional use cases.
Google also wants to enable YouTube advertisers to measure the full impact of their video campaigns by evolving Brand Lift. They are also partnering with IRI so that it will get easier for the advertisers to act upon upper and lower funnel metrics. They also have introduced new metrics: Lifted Users: To know the estimated number of users whose perception changed after seeing your ads. Cost-per-lifted-users: To know the average cost of the lifted users. Google also added that in order to utilize this new measurement tools to the fullest, you should use Maximize Lift bidding. Furthermore, Google is investing heavily in Google Measurement Partners to ensure that the measurements you receive are authentic and not exaggerated. Google said that it’s their topmost priority to provide measurements that advertisers can trust, as it is crucial to their overall advertising efforts. Since Facebook drastically exaggerated activity reports (as much as 900%), having a measurement that you can trust is vital to the success of the ad campaigns. Google also announced their “New MRC accreditations and partners for Google and YouTube ads measurement”. If you are a big brand, then you surely want to check all the new measurement tools and metrics that YouTube has to offer in order to get the most out of your YouTube ad campaigns.

Google Now Allows You to Edit Your Reviews Directly from the Knowledge Panel

November 15th, 2018 by
Sometimes, the first impression is not the last impression. For example, you go to a restaurant and don’t receive the type of service you expected so, you leave a negative review. However, upon a second visit, their service matches your expectations and you want to update the review but, don’t want to do it manually.

To help you with that, Google now allows you to edit your reviews directly from the local knowledge panel. Here’s a screenshot for reference:

Google Now Allows You to Edit Your Reviews Directly from the Knowledge Panel


The question is, will it lead to more review edits? It’s very unlikely. The percentage of people who update reviews is very low.

Google Switched from Word Limit to Character Limit for GMB Posts

October 25th, 2018 by
Google Switched from Word Limit to Character Limit


Before, a Google My Business post had a word limit of 100-300 words. Now, they have changed it to 1,500 characters.

Although it’s not a revolutionary change (1,500 characters roughly translate to 294-320 words), it still provides more convenience over the word limit. Counting words is not as precise as characters. You will now know exactly where to stop while writing Google My Business posts.
 
Google Switched from Word Limit to Character Limit

Are there any changes in how many characters will Google display on Mobile devices without having to click “learn more”? According to our test, it has increased from 55 characters to 140 characters. Google has not officially said anything about this, but few others who have tested it are backing our claim.
 
Overall, now you can be able to convince your customers more effectively via Google My Business posts.
 

Now you’ll be able to verify your Google My Business Listing over a video call

October 10th, 2018 by
  Now you'll be able to verify your Google My Business Listing over a video call

It’s quite ironic that an internet giant like Google relied on old school “Postcard verification” process untill now. In order to verify your business, you had to send a request via Google My Business and then wait for 14 days to receive the postcard. In many cases, the postcard arrived on time, but in some cases, it didn’t arrive at all. So the whole process was slow & troublesome, to say the least.

Although Google did offer a phone verification too, it was limited to selected industries because it’s really hard to check the authenticity of a business over a phone call, and Google wants to list only genuine businesses, or at least they try their best to do so.

After a ton of complaints and thousands of emails with subject line “I have not received the postcard,” they decided to verify a business over a video call. Although it’s not currently available to everyone, we can say that it will be a norm in near future.

Here’s how the video verification works:

  • Go to Google My Business and click on the verify my business listing from the left menu.
  • There will be 2-3 verification options depending on the type of your business. Choose “Verify now with live video chat”.




  • You will receive an email from a Google representative, asking you about the right time for the video chat. Confirm the time and date and you will receive a video call from a Google representative.
  • They will ask you to show your place of work & a business card or letterhead that has the exact same address as your listing. They may ask for some other proofs as well. So keep all documents handy.
  • The whole process takes only 10-15 minutes. You will receive a verification email (if everything goes right), within a few hours or 2 days the latest.

  • Three new types of Google Searches on its way

    September 14th, 2018 by
     

    Google is soon going to roll out three new types of searches: Q&A, FAQ & How To content. It will be pulled directly from the pages & will appear on the search engine result page for enquires that falls under the above mentioned three categories.

    Here’s a snapshot of Google’s developer manager, Stacey Chan unveiling the new search types at Google Dance in Singapore.

    The sites that are using structured data properly can expect to benefit from it. The three categories are as follows:

  • Q&A Schema — Use this to markup a page with Q&A or FAQs
  • Questions Schema — It works in conjunction with the above schema
  • How To Schema — Use this to markup step by step instructions (How to)

  • As of now, the above schema types are not included in their featured schema guides. In order to locate it, go to Google Developer’s page, click on the Left menu > Structured data > Feature guides.

    If you want to see the Q&A structured data in action then head straight to StackOverflow.com. They are appearing on the top of the Google search results for the Q&A from quite some time. The best answers are displayed first, which is really convenient for the users.

    Some people might argue that this is good for the users and Google but bad for the site, since users will get the entire answer in the SERP itself and they will not bother to enter the website. Most of the Q&A, FAQS & How To answers are short. So displaying the entire answer will not do any good. But, it will give you exposure and will also send visitors to the site since most of them would like to know more about it, but before entering into the website, they would want to confirm that the site is worth their time and actually offers genuine answers.

    To stay on top of latest structured data, one can not rely on plugins since they are not up to date and often take time to catch up to the latest version. But there are some plugins that can help you leverage structured data. If you are using WordPress, the SOGO & Kansas City SEO’s plugin will come in handy.


    Alert! Google Chrome will now flag non encrypted websites as “not secure”

    July 23rd, 2018 by
    Google’s Chrome browser will soon flag every site that doesn’t use HTTPS encryption. Google was working on it for quite some time and now they have finally decided to launch it this month. Here’s how it will look to users who visit a non HTTPS website. Furthermore, they will stop highlighting “SECURE” and would rather focus on marking the non-encrypted sites as “Not Secure”. The reason being, they want to make it a norm to have an encrypted site. They are planning to launch it in September 2018. It is reported that other major browsers like Safari and Firefox might also follow suit. Why should you be serious about this? Google Chrome has the highest browser market share with close to 60% users worldwide followed by Safari and Firefox. These 3 take up more than 80% of browser user share i.e. most of your users are using these browsers to visit your website. And if they get this warning message on your website, you’re likely to lose out on potential leads. Long story short – your site will get the short end of the stick if your website is not secure. If you have been already made the switch to an encrypted site, you will have a huge advantage over your competitors who haven’t opted for HTTPS. So, how to ensure you don’t get this message and protect your business? You can either get this done at your end OR let our experienced team handle it for you at a nominal rate. Connect with our Sales rep for any assistance.  

    Adding a business description in Google is now hassle-free

    May 20th, 2018 by

    You can now add description of your business directly within the Google My Business. It’s not a new feature though. Google removed this feature back in 2016 when they dropped the Google+ support. And now made it available again. This feature offers a hassle free way to keep the information about your business updated and ultimately help the searchers.



    Here’s how you can add business description:

    1. Login to Google My Business.

    2. Click on the info button on the menu bar.

    3. Click on the add business description

    4. Click on the pencil icon and add info.

    The character limit is 750, out of which only 250 characters will be visible in the knowledge panel. So make it crisp and engaging. You can use the copy from your best-performing AdWords ad as inspiration.



    Be careful how you collect reviews – Google updates its reviews guidelines

    March 10th, 2018 by



    Google is struggling hard to keep the reviews trustworthy. They are trying to weed out fake reviews and bring genuine reviews, but they have a long journey ahead. As reported in Google My Business forums, recently, a Kentucky law firm allegedly ran a contest on Facebook, offering people zoo tickets in exchange for positive reviews.

    This didn’t go down well with other law firms and businesses and they reported the incident to Google. As a result, Google updated their reviews guideline from:

    “Don’t offer or accept money, products, or services to write reviews for a business or to write negative reviews about a competitor.”

    to this:

    “In addition to Prohibited Content guidelines, text reviews are subject to the following additional requirements:

    • Don’t use reviews for advertising purposes. This includes, but is not limited to, posting email addresses, phone numbers, social media links or links to other websites in your reviews.

    • Don’t include promotional or commercial content.

    • Don’t offer or accept money in exchange for reviews.

    • Don’t solicit reviews from customers in bulk.”

    Reviews are important and it is almost as effective as a personal recommendation, but be careful how you collect it.

    To help you get more reviews for your business, we highly recommend our review widget. It’s a small piece of code which is placed on your website and helps you get positive reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook. In addition, it helps to filter out negative reviews too thus ensuring positive experience to website users. Need more details? Please connect with us.
     

    Google quietly updated its ranking algorithm – The Maccabees Update

    January 2nd, 2018 by

    December is when every business owner out there is busy getting the biggest pie from the holiday cake. So it’s very rare that you see any buzz in SEO forums. But this time, we witnessed something different. Many people were online, sharing their experiences. Just like an unexpected tornado caught them off guard, and took away everything they had. Well maybe it became way too more dramatic, but we would like to inform you that Google has made changes to their core ranking algorithms. And as a result, may websites witness a drop in traffic as massive as 35%!

    Moz reported high volatility in search results through Mozcast as can be seen below.



    A non-seasonal site owner, who hardly witnesses any fluctuations witnessed a drop of 30%! However, they were not alone and this was not due to any glitch. Many other users started sharing their trauma on webmaster forums. After a thorough research, we found out that Google did make changes to their core ranking algorithms and later on they confirmed the same. The statement Google sent was “we released several minor improvements during this timeframe, part of our regular and routine efforts to improve relevancy.”

    We decided to do some number crunching ourselves. Our dataset of 4000+ websites and 350,000+ keywords (local and national) makes it easy for us to get a birds-eye view of how our client campaigns are performing.

    Not surprisingly, we were happy to find that this update didn’t have any negative impact on our client campaigns. Most probably, the SEO deliverables which we offer saved our clients from this update. This is another example of how our strategies future-proof your business.

    So if your organic leads were affected, especially around December 13th or 14th, open Google Analytics and check whether your site was hit by MACCABEES or not. If you were hit by this update OR want to make sure you’re not going to be a likely victim, we can help. Just connect with us and let our professional SEOs to do the work for you.

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