Google My Business: BIG UPDATES

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Google My Business: BIG UPDATES

Google My Business: BIG UPDATES

There is no doubt that, in the realm of internet marketing, Google is King. Despite this fact, many business owners and marketers struggle with The King and end up with their business looking like the Court Jester.

At the recent Local Search Association meeting, LSA19, held in Dana Point, California, engineers and trainers from Google’s Google My Business team made it clear that GMB is where Google is putting emphasis in terms of local visibility. Mastering this property is a powerful way of controlling a large portion of your company’s online identity.

Over time, your company’s Google presence has been through many iterations. Several years ago, Google created “Google My Business” as the main business listing for each company, for free, within its directory. Your GMB page now touches all things Google, such as search listings and maps, plus information such as driving directions, hours, phone numbers, and more. With the advent of the Google Home voice assistants, your GMB page now powers the voice search results as well, and the list goes on and on.

The bottom line is that, in order to drive more traffic to your site, your phone, and to your business, you will have to master Google My Business – and keep up to date with the latest changes. Keeping up with GMB’s updates will ensure relevance and prominence within searches.

Recently, GMB has rolled out a few such changes to be aware of so that you can rise to the top of the local search pack!

Boosted Visibility of Business Offers

Google announced a new feature in Google Posts that can display multiple offers from your business. These offers will now show up in a dedicated space within your local panel.

While you may be familiar with the idea of offers postings, as they have been around for some time, these offers will now be given more visibility in Google My Business profiles.

This bump in real estate on your Google My Business profile is a great excuse to seize the opportunity and promote your business, with promotions or specials, even events. Make sure that your offers are posted and that they are kept updated. Using well-written copy and attractive graphics, you can create enticing offers to attract new business. High quality imagery will help create a great first impression.

Updated Google Q&A Feature

The FAQ section of Google My Business profiles has been around for some time, as well. While the intended purpose of this feature was to promote clarity about businesses, there has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the new feature. As responses can be generated by any Google user, many business owners and marketers were initially concerned about whether others (including competitors) would either purposefully or inadvertently spread false information.

To help businesses get the real company information out there, Google recently launched a new Q&A section with its latest version of Google My Business. This means that businesses can create pre-answered FAQs with Google Q&A. It is now simpler for business owners to monitor and answer the questions asked about their business, as well. No longer will you need to visit each location’s Knowledge Base on Google to answer every single question, and new API access will allow you to use a variety of platforms to update your company’s information.

Regardless of whether you have taken measures to understand Google My Business in the past, now is the time to capitalize on these new changes and ensure that your Google My Business profile is attractive to prospective customers or clients, and that you are maximizing opportunities to help people find you. OMG National can help you become more prominent and rise to the top of Google as part of our Partner Program.

To learn more about our Partner Program, and what OMG National can do for you to help you conquer Google My Business, click here, or reach out to the OMG National team today!

By: Kristin Matheny

The Google Guarantee is Good for Everyone!

The Google Guarantee is Good for Everyone!

Over the last few years, consumers have been given access to resources that past generations never even imagined. The internet has revolutionized the consumer buying experience, and with the advances in mobile technology, people are Googling every product and service to find “online deals” and “the best… ” before selecting a service provider or making a purchase.

At OMG National, we help thousands of companies, across the nation, build a strong online presence. Using a proven formula for success which encompasses Local Search, Reputation and Brand Management, and Social Media strategy, this digital marketing approach is essential for companies looking to attract new customers. Adding the all-new Google Local Service Ads platform to this approach is the next logical step forward for many companies.

Google Local Service Ads Guarantees the Service

Google has been slowly rolling out the Local Service Ads in specific markets throughout the United States. This roll-out has been slow due to a scrutinizing evaluation of a business’ insurance, licenses, and employee background checks. Another prerequisite is having a stellar Google My Business listing with positive ratings and updated content. Since Google has decided to back these service providers with their own money (up to $2000), you can be sure they are thoroughly vetting the companies who apply.

This new program and other recent changes in the dynamic world of Online Marketing, make managing your business’ online presence more important than ever. Google rewards businesses that abide by their best practices and penalizes those that aren’t following the “signals” which Google has outlined in many forums, interviews, and blog posts. The signals which ensure a company is going to be found during a keyword search for a local business, weigh that company’s:

Distance – How far is the business from the Googler? Your mobile device knows where you are and Google will make sure that a search for Roofing in Miami doesn’t display results for Roofing in Tupelo

Relevance – A keyword search for Air Conditioning Repair in a local market will display a load of results. When reviewing those results, you’ll notice that the top lisings all include a robust amount of content related to Air Conditioning Repair. Sounds obvious, but many companies fail to add the right content (verbiage) to their site, their directories, and their social media platforms.

Prominence – A business with 29 reviews on their website, those called 1st party reviews, and 42 on the combined 3rd party review sites such as Yelp, YP, Google My Business, and now, the all-new Facebook ratings system, is considered more valuable result than a company with 2 Yelp reviews that both appeared on the same date. One might think this gives an advantage to bigger companies, however, it’s mostly about demonstrating to Google that you are actively doing business and consistent reviews show that.

SET UP MY GOOGLE BUSINESS PAGE SO IT’S READY FOR THE GOOGLE GUARANTEE

Also, Consistency is a very important key. Displaying bad information such as old tracking phone numbers on a directory, duplicate social media pages, and multiple address and phone number data, are all negatives. Similar to your credit report, Google’s algorithm looks negatively at this. It’s about digital housekeeping, and leaving it to chance means that not only are you publishing bad information which can mislead, or even turn off a potential customer, but Google will also not display your listing or website as prominently as they could, had you addressed these issues. Consistent business information across the internet is the first, in a series of important steps towards increasing your Google Ranking.

Managing the reviews that come is next. Your reviews and how they are addressed show the public that you are on the ball, and are considered a type of user generated content which will boost your prominence as discussed earlier. Implementing a system for the management of customer reviews is very important. The advent of Google’s new Local Service Ads should be all the proof you need.

As discussed in a previous OMG National blog post, Google’s Local Service Ads give consumers a guarantee of up to a $2000 reimbursement should they be dissatisfied and unable to resolve any issues with the service provider directly. For Advertisers, Google only charges you for leads, not for the clicks, and the intuitive system uses a “slider” which you can use to determine how many leads you want per week at the published rate. Google also works with advertisers on ensuring that the leads are legitimate. If a lead isn’t relevant to your business, there is a process for dispute and in some cases, a refund to your account.

The “Google Guaranteed” Local Service Ads appear above Google’s own traditional AdWords links on the Google Search page. Once your business is included and your Ad created, your business will boast the Google My Business listing’s star rating and a strong Green Check along with the words “GOOGLE GUARANTEED”. If Google’s Guaranteeing the service, it’s gotta be good!

Final Thought

With constant change on the horizon, businesses of all sizes and all industries need to be ready. Managing and maintaining your company’s online presence is now a necessity to ensure you’re found in as many venues as you can, and you’re competing in your market.

Let the professionals at OMG National help guide your company through the maze of digital advertising. An investment in your company’s marketing with OMG, is an investment in the Intelligent Future! Speak to an Internet Marketing Specialist today at 800-789-4619 opt. 3 or schedule a quick and pain free consultation now. (hyperlink to lander)

“Google Guaranteed Program” for Local Businesses

Google Tests “Google Guaranteed Program” for Local Businesses

The Google local search game is about to change drastically! Google is testing what they are calling the Google Guaranteed Program. Currently, the program is in beta and only available to home services, locksmiths and other similar businesses in San Diego, Sacramento, Stockton and San Francisco, CA.

All businesses that want to become “Google Guaranteed” have to go through a strict screening process by Google including a background check, license and insurance check as well as a screening of your reviews and ratings.

SET UP MY GOOGLE BUSINESS PAGE SO IT’S READY FOR THE GOOGLE GUARANTEE

As seen in the image below these Google Guaranteed business listings are the first results shown in a Google search, topping even the traditional Google Search Ads from AdWords and verified Google My Business listings.

When someone clicks on a Google Guaranteed listing they will be taken to a screen like the one shown below, allowing the consumer to request an estimate for the company’s services.

Any customer that works with a Google Guaranteed business and is not happy can submit a claim to Google. Any job booked with a Google Guaranteed business must be done correctly or the customer can receive their money back. The work done by the businesses are guaranteed for up for $2,000.

The Google Guaranteed Program is part of its AdWords product and businesses will likely be charged per lead they receive through the program. Because the program is still in beta and only available in certain markets, the pricing is not yet publicly available. However, we can expect that Google will charge businesses a fee to get the Google Guarantee badge to cover costs for its screening process.

Be Prepared For The Google Guarantee To Come To Your Area

The businesses in the beta test have had drastic amounts of success with increased leads by 1800% when compared to other companies who are using other forms of advertising! With this type of success, the Google Guaranteed Program is likely going to attract a plethora of businesses once the availability expands.

To prepare for the Google Guarantee in your area be sure to:

  • Ensure your business is properly licensed and insured.
  • Create, verify and maintain your Google My Business page.
  • Address negative reviews and ask satisfied customers to leave your business reviews on Google and other review platforms.
  • Sign up for the program as soon as it becomes available to your business type and area.

What does this mean for verified Google My Business pages?

GMB is not going away (at least not yet). So of course, you’ll want to maintain your current GMB pages to take up as much real estate on search results as possible. A complete search marketing plan would include Google Guaranteed listings, AdWords search campaigns, a complete GMB page and search engine optimization (SEO).

SET UP MY GOOGLE BUSINESS PAGE SO IT’S READY FOR THE GOOGLE GUARANTEE

Final Word

The OMG National team is actively following the advancements with the Google Guaranteed Program. Stay tuned for more updates. If you need help getting your current online presence up to par before the program launches in your vertical market, contact an expert at OMG National today at 800-789-4619.

Paid Search is Evolving. Are You Ready?

Paid Search is evolving. Are you ready?

By: Henry Heredia

The New Year is here, and at OMG National we can’t help but look ahead to the innovations that will inevitably change the way digital marketing works. As we all know, an unannounced algorithm update can alter a Paid Search campaign completely and understanding the “next big thing” can save time, money, and help improve overall results.

Understandably, there are companies that are content with the business they generate or just aren’t ready to grow. But for those that are, the results gained in 2017 need to be expanded upon and the right Paid Search strategy can propel your business directly to the top.

What will the PPC future bring?

Already, we’ve seen how Google, Facebook, and other digital platforms have changed the way their sponsored ads work and display. Google, in particular, has moved into Angie’s List and Yelp territory with their Google Guaranteed Local Services (an integration of their Adwords Express platform).

Facebook, on the other hand, has created an “Ads Manager” interface where users can take full advantage of the resources offered by this social network. Benefits include setting ads to show to highly targeted audiences as well as Instagram account integration for a much larger reach. Although the Instagram App also offers a paid ads option, the campaign choices are limited, so going through the Facebook Ads Manager is definitely the best bet.

AI and Voice integrations will change how we search.

In November, OMG National’s CEO, Jesse Lubar, sat down with the CEOs of Yext, Yelp, HubSpot, and other players in the Online Tech and Marketing Services space to discuss the future of AI. Bringing in Wally Brill, Senior Persona Designer at Google, the group learned what Google is doing with its Google Home program and how “the bots” are beginning to impact the marketing landscape. The changes which AI and Voice Integrated search tools are creating, heavily impact larger corporations who see these opportunities as cost and time savers. For instance, Amazon’s Alexa has a bot which assists users in ordering pizza right through Alexa and voice command. We also discovered how the small business user will soon be impacted by this brave new frontier, with robots providing the answers to questions and making suggestions based on a company’s well-built and established online profile. The big takeaway was that the small business person cannot ignore these advancements in technology. The landscape keeps shifting and the steps taken now can ensure that your business is well-positioned for change.

Much in the same way AI is being integrated into social networks, websites, as well as mobile and desktop search; voice-activated virtual assistants are becoming parts of our daily lives. Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant understand long string queries and deliver very specific results. Understanding the best keyword strings, parameters, and strategies can mean the difference between failure and success in the intelligent search landscape. The first step is to make sure that you have control and a single source of truth established for your businesses information online. 

Creating these “build-outs”, monitoring, updating, and maintaining them is an essential component which will ensure your success. The OMG Power Network of sites provides 70+ online “properties” where you’d better make sure you have “curb appeal” along with complete and accurate data.

At OMG National, we employ the latest tools and strategies to achieve the best ROI for our clients. Our team of in-house employees work tirelessly to deliver results that help customers find you online and enable your business to grow.

Final thought

It’s a very exciting future for Paid Search, Search Engine Marketing, and technology in general. The possibilities are endless, and we’re ready for what’s coming. PPC, SEO, Social Media Marketing, Website design and development and much more; OMG National is your full-service marketing firm. From print to multimedia content, we do it all!

Are you ready to take the leap? Success is only a call or click away! Let OMG National get your brand on the right track both on and offline. Call today, 800.789.4619 or find out how your company and competitors stack up with a complimentary Paid Search Analysis: CLICK HERE.

GOOGLE VS. YELP

Reviews establish credibility. Customers are more likely to trust online reviews over traditional advertising for obvious reasons, who better to ask than those who have knowledge of your business first hand? People turn to online reviews to decide where to eat dinner, what kitchen appliance to buy, where to shop, and which service provider to hire. Within major verticals there are also review sites, but in general Yelp and Google are the two primary tools used. As we look at these two sites when it comes to online reviews and each has their own positives and negatives, but which is better for your business?

Let’s break them down below:

GOOGLE – Everybody knows Google (they also have the majority of local search traffic)

  • Google is the most powerful search engine in the world, people use it to find almost everything!
  • Google reviews are attached to how Google organizes search results.
  • The more activity you have on any of Google’s platforms, the better your business performs in search engine results. Thus, the more reviews you have, the more exposure you receive.
  • Google reviews show up everywhere and across many services and sites aside from search engine results.
  • Even though Yelp reviews will pop up on a Google search, it’s likely to be 2 or 3 down the line with Google reviews and information posting priority at the top right of the results page.
  • Google is better at minimizing spam and sorting out false reviews

Yelp – Geared more toward local businesses.

*Of note, Google tried (unsuccessfully) to buy Yelp at one point

  • Yelp acts as a sort of virtual yellow pages where people can go to find out information about a business (hours of operation, location, phone number, etc.).
  • Yelp has feature to run ads and specials on the site for customers to take advantage of
  • Can pay to advertise your business to show up more frequently on Yelp search results
  • Yelp is meant to be used in mobile or tablet form, making it easy and convenient for people to pull up reviews and information.
  • Yelp requires that an active user be the one writing a review in order for it to pass through some of its security filters, which means that a happy customer can’t just create a new account, write a review and have it count the same as it would coming from a regular user. Reviews from regular Yelp users carry more weight.
  • Yelp’s mobile app is very popular and operates independently from search engines, a feature that many use and appreciate.

Google vs Yelp? The truth is that any positive online review is a good thing regardless of where it’s left. It can be a bit of overkill to ask your customers for reviews in more than one location so take the above information into consideration, decide which works best for your business and send your customers that way.

How To Incorporate Reviews Into Your Social Media Strategy

How To Incorporate Reviews Into Your Social Media Strategy

Reviews have become extremely important for search engines when determining search results. Nowadays, consumers value reviews as much as word of mouth from friends. Did you know that almost 70% of consumers look at customer reviews before purchasing a product or service?

The kicker for most consumers is the star rating that typically accompanies reviews.  Research shows that increasing your star rating on social platforms such as Google, Yelp, and Facebook can help increase conversion rates by nearly 540%! The key is to continuously gain reviews on all platforms.

Monitor Reviews

The first step is to continuously monitor your reviews. Now, this does not mean to check each of your product star ratings on sites like Amazon, just know your average star rating on each platform. This helps you build a foundation to show progress as your rating increases.

Ensure that you have notifications set up for the top review sites that you care about, such as Yelp, Google, and Facebook. This makes it easy to see when you receive new reviews and respond to them in a timely manner.

Ask for Reviews

You’d be surprised how many customers or clients will review you on social media if you just ask.  If you are not asking for reviews, chances are the only ones you’ll receive are either people who had a very negative experience or those who had an extremely great experience.

Think of it this way, if you have 2 reviews on Facebook, one person who had a wonderful experience and left a 5-star rating and one person who had a horrible experience and left a 1-star rating. This would result in a 3-star rating on Facebook which is not a true representation of your business.

Asking your customers for reviews can help increase those 4 and 5-star reviews which can weigh the average in a more positive manner. To ask for reviews, you can simply hand the customers a card that has links to review sites on it or if you’re emailing a customer a receipt, include the links at the bottom of the email or in your signature.

Use Your Reviews to Market Your Business

Getting good reviews is great for your online presence but you’ll also want to use them in all your marketing materials. For example, let’s say you are printing postcards to mail to people in your area, advertising your sale for the spring. Use a quote from a great review as part of the design to draw people to your good reputation. You’ll also want to include icons for Facebook, Yelp, and Google as a reminder to the consumers that you have more reviews online.

Monitoring and responding to reviews online is a key aspect of any digital marketing strategy. Want some help maintaining your online reviews and overall online reputation? Call the pros at OMG National today at 800-789-4619.

Google is going to shake things up with their new “Home Services Pack”

Google is going to shake things up with their new “Home Services Pack”

While currently, business verification helps set businesses utilizing Google’s powerful My Business platform apart from their competition, Google is working on implementing a new level of verification that is going to shake the game up pretty significantly.

How do things currently work?

Currently, businesses simply have to verify their address or phone number depending on the options that Google chooses to provide in order to verify their My Business listing. Once the listing is verified, business owners can add images, content, service area optimizations, and a vast array of other content in order to set their listing apart from their competition’s listings. An emphasis on reviews is then placed, because Google takes into consideration all of the optimizations made to the listing as well as the amount and frequency of positive reviews when determining the business’ placement in the currently utilized “Local Pack.” The Local Pack appears when an individual searches for a product or service on Google, and it becomes populated with businesses either nearby or in the designated area that the searcher specified.

How are things going to change?

In specific areas, Google is testing an advanced verification system that will allow businesses to appear in a pack situated above the local search pack in search results. This advanced verification is actually being outsourced to a third-party company named Pinkerton. Pinkerton is a security risk management company that verifies employees and companies before you do transactions with them.

Google is actually asking that, at least in San Diego, plumbers and locksmiths adhere to this new advanced verification system or their Google listing will be removed. This is due to a high number of spam listings in the Local Pack in that region, so Google is relying on the Advanced Verification system to weed out the spammers.

What should you do?

It is unclear at the moment what implications this will mean for small businesses around the country. Google is definitely make a shift towards emphasis on the advanced verification system, however it is unclear if refusing to adhere to the new system will penalize business owners in a similar way as it has in San Diego.

OMG National is a full-service digital marketing agency providing SEOpaid searchsocial media managementreputation managementlogo designwebsite design, and more. Do you need someone with experience and knowledge to take the reins and push your business’ online marketing initiatives to the next level? Give us a call at 800-789-4619 or contact us here, and we’ll take care of it.

Making Necessary SEO Adjustments with Google Algorithm Updates in Mind

Google Algorithm Updates

fotolia_5571663_mGoogle makes approximately 600 updates to its search algorithm each year. While most of these updates are minor changes that tweak small things here and there, there are usually several large updates that shake things up fairly significantly. After large updates, you can find that their search results become reorganized, with new emphasis placed on certain aspects of SEO that were not emphasized as heavily prior to the update.

Recent major updates include both “Possum” which was released on September 1st of this year, and Penguin 4.0 which was released afterwards on September 23rd.

When to React

At OMG National, we realize that it is important not to over-react and possibly jump the gun when these updates take place. Since Google is a search engine giant, with a 2015 study showing 65% of users utilizing the platform for their online search needs, any changes that are made do need to be addressed. However, we know that it is important for us to see what specific impacts actually become a reality after the update takes place.

We are constantly monitoring any changes that Google might be implementing, but when a new change takes place, we give it days or possibly even weeks before we start reorganizing our clients’ SEO content since their sites might not even be impacted to begin with. Even if a site appears to be ranked the same in search results, we strategically analyze all reporting regarding a site’s traffic to see if any impacts are present.

When Adjustments are Necessary

Should we find that reporting begins to dip, or that the site placement is not what it used to be, we begin to make necessary adjustments that address the changes Google has put in place. Each significant update to Google’s search algorithm comes with its own set of changes, which causes us to research the update extensively to see where Google is now looking and what exactly they are looking at.

Once we have this information, it becomes time for us to address these changes head on – any content that needs to be created, reorganized or re-positioned is taken care of. Technical changes regarding meta tags, site compatibility, or coding are also addressed. We also make these changes one at a time, in order to make sure that we can fully understand the ramification of each individual change, and if it was positive or negative.

Our Final Thoughts

These changes can feel overwhelming, but with our firm grasp on SEO practices, we know how to remain cool under pressure and make any and all changes necessary, should we find that they actually become necessary.

OMG National is a full-service digital marketing agency providing SEO, paid search, social media management, reputation management, logo design, website design, and more. Do you need someone with experience and knowledge to take the reins and push your business’ online marketing initiatives to the next level? Give us a call at 800-789-4619 or contact us here, and we’ll take care of it.

Google is Testing a New Content Platform: How It Will Affect Your SEO

We’ve all seen Google Plus go through many changes over the past couple of years as Google has tried to keep the platform relevant as a social network. While struggling to keep it afloat, Google has made yet another change to its content landscape.

Google Plus users will likely lose the ability to post updates on the social network with Google’s new content platform called “Post with Google.”

Brands’ organic and paid search marketing campaigns will be impacted from this latest development, as posts on the new platform will appear in Google search results.  Businesses and individuals who are verified will be eligible to share posts on the new platform. Updates by the brands, celebrities or companies will appear in the direct brand search results. For example, someone searching for Nike would see updates from the company in the search results as well.

The “Posts with Google” content is displayed prominently in the search results with links, photos and videos from the platform. Located directly under the Google ads, pushing down the organic results, the content from “Posts with Google” will likely steal clicks from the organic search results.

However, this new platform will allow businesses to post new sales and promotions and be seen immediately by people searching on Google, which would likely increase the conversions on company websites. If Google provides search metrics on these post results, it will be interesting to see how sales and leads for businesses are affected.

Ultimately, the idea is to provide quality and useful content to people in real-time. “Posts with Google” goes hand-in-hand with the Google Knowledge Graph that populates with quick information on the right side of search results for celebrities, brands, historic locations and more.

The look of the “Post with Google” profile is very similar to that of other social networks with a profile image, cover photo, and post feed. Interested in joining the new network? You can join the wait list here.

Want to get ahead of the curve? At OMG National, we can help you stay relevant in the search results! Contact a member of our team at 800-789-4619.

The Time For A Mobile-Friendly Site Is Now: Google has prioritized mobile search indexing over desktop.

Over the next few months, Google has announced that it will begin prioritizing mobile search results indexing over indexing the results of searches performed from desktop computers. What does this mean? Ultimately, it is now more important than ever to make sure that your business’ website is mobile friendly.

searchSearch Indexing

Search indexing is the method used by Google to scan the web and then ultimately determine how their search results will be presented to the individual performing the search. Previously, Google searched and indexed both mobile and desktop sites evenly, with no priority given to either in any way. However, moving forward, Google will be updating the placement of results from searches performed on mobile devices much more frequently than those that take place on a desktop computer.

Google has long been slowly transitioning into a search engine with mobile users at the forefront of its mind. Google’s decision to prioritize their search engine in a way that favors mobile users is consistent with industry trends overall, with many platforms slowly transforming into mobile-centric entities.


connectedWhat is this going to change?

In the coming months, Google’s search bots will be crawling the internet and evaluating mobile sites much more frequently than they will be examining desktop sites. This is going to greatly enhance the user experience on a mobile platform. Any individual searching from a mobile device will be presented with results that are current, up to date, and a great reflection of what it is that they were searching for in the first place. Their results will be comprised of websites that are fully optimized for mobile browsing, ensuring that any result they click will load quickly and properly on their mobile device.


briefcaseWhat this means for business owners

As a business owner, it is important to stay in-tune with trends such as these. For years, internet users have slowly been adopting more and more mobile browsing habits. With such a prevalent search engine giant clearly embracing this trend, it is now more important than ever to make sure your business has a mobile friendly site with rich SEO content.

Do not fall behind! The internet is a dynamic, and ever-changing environment. It is also the tool that most customers use to find new businesses that meet their needs. If you don’t know if your business has a mobile-friendly website, you can use Google’s own mobile-friendly test.

How did your business do? If you find that there’s some work to be done, don’t forget that OMG National is a full-service digital marketing agency. If you would like to make your business’ website mobile-friendly, give us a call at 800-789-4619.