“Google Guaranteed Program” for Local Businesses

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“Google Guaranteed Program” for Local Businesses

“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.

Oh Snap! The Rivalry of SnapChat vs Facebook Just Got More Interesting

When it comes to technology, change happens at such a fast pace that just as we start to get used to something new, it changes again. We live in a very exciting time where we connect at the speed of light with opportunities people only dreamed of just a short time ago.

With that in mind, we want to help you stay on top of the latest and greatest so you can put your best foot forward. We learned late Friday from the Wall Street Journal that one of our favorite social sharing apps is making waves that you may want to stay on top of to keep your business ahead of the game.

What you formerly knew as SnapChat will now be known as just “Snap” and will be soon rolling out new features that pushes the popular app beyond just social sharing. With Facebook as the app’s main rival investing heavily in virtual reality technology with their purchase of Oculus VR a while back, Snap stepped up their game big time with their own take on what it means to be interactive. Snap has done one better than VR glasses that isolate people from the real world. They have developed Spectacles – a pair of sunglasses which integrates a 115-degree-angle lens gives the wearer the ability record up to 30 seconds of video that can be uploaded directly to Snap.

With Spectacles, the user produced video is circular and results in a view that is much closer to the natural perspective of the human eye. Essentially, when you watch a video that was recorded from a pair of Spectacles, you get to relive the person’s memory of the moment almost as the way they truly experienced it. The idea is to bring people together and share their point of view from the real world in a fun way.

Technology has embedded itself in our communications more than ever before and OMG National is on the forefront of social marketing and integrating channels such as Snap into a well-rounded marketing mix. As a small business, keeping up on the latest trends will help you leverage these tools for maximum marketing impact. If your target audience includes people who are young & trendy or if you want to reach tech savvy moms who have major buying power and influence, keep reading. 10 billion videos are viewed every day by the 150+ million people actively using Snap. The app has a captive audience with a reach of 41% of all 18-34 year olds in the US. What this means to a business is 10 billion potential opportunities to build awareness of your brand.

Snapchat Updates

This summer Snap rolled out Snap Ads Between Stories – giving small businesses a less expensive way to advertise on Snap with great features including prompting additional actions when users swipe up on business content. You can send them to an extended video, direct them to a website or article (without leaving Snap), or prompt them to install your app. In a survey of Snap users, the results showed that Snap ads garnered double the visual attention of Facebook and 1.5 times more than Instagram. The ads on Snap were also 1.3 times more effective than YouTube. Those numbers speak volumes.

The rollout of Spectacles will be slow, starting with a limited quantity available this fall at a price tag of $129.99 each. Whether you want to be one of the first to try it or just watch what happens and wait, we’ll keep you updated here so check back soon for the skinny on Snap!

Google Adwords or Facebook Advertising — Which Is Right For My Business?

-Jesse Lubar, CEO OMG National

We all know by now; Google AdWords is the standard by which all other advertising online is measured. They pioneered and perfected the medium, you’re either listed at the top of the page, or you’re invisible, right? Well, not if Facebook has it’s say. Facebook continues to up the ante with its targeted advertising campaigns, complete with robust demographics and an intuitive ad manager which gives you many options for how to advertise your specific posts, promote your page (Facebook), your website, even your phone number directly.

target imageBoth sites are frequently changing the rules of the road, which makes keeping up on the latest algorithm shift an arduous task. With Google, they shift their requirements for landing page density, keyword bids, and page relevance, while Facebook adjusts what users are shown in the news feeds. Keeping up with these changes requires frequent study, testing with various analytical web tools, and just running practical scenarios to see where your ads stand.

But knowing where to spend hard earned marketing dollars is the key. You need results, you don’t want to wait, and certainly don’t want to waste time or money. So which is right for you? With Facebook, the targeting features are unlike anything else we’ve ever seen. Being able to pinpoint your audience in such a granular fashion is very powerful. Here are a couple of examples, pulled from real world OMG clients who are advertising with us on Facebook.

  • Luxury Home Remodeling Company – Miramar, Florida –  This client is looking to target high end remodeling projects in South Florida. What we can do for them is target members of country clubs in the target zone, readers of home design magazines, those with CEO, President, or Business Owner titles listed as their occupation, and so on.
  • Pharmacy – Atlanta, Georgia – This client is looking for new customers within a specific geographic area. We will search for Facebook members in the local area who are current members of AARP, grandparents, aged between 55-79.

You get the idea. Imagine the possibilities for your own business. During a discovery meeting, we will pull ideas from you to help craft this audience. When they log on to Facebook, they are now targeted with either page suggestions, as in “You may like Wally’s Pharmacy”, or sponsored posts from them, this could be a discount, new customer promotions, etc. The advertiser can now broaden or narrow their target list depending on the number of Facebook users who fit the mold. The more defined the demographic gets, the smaller the list becomes.

The big question on the mind of Facebook’s early advertisers was whether or not the ads would convert. The rap on them was that they were not converting enough. Facebook got smart and began investing some of their billions of dollars into Google defectors, filling their ranks with some of the best Google ad pioneers and solving some of these early challenges.

Click here for your Google vs. Facebook Ad Analysis

In looking at the timing of ads in relation to when searchers are making purchases or decisions to purchase, one would give the edge to Google. Google is where you go when you are seeking out services or specific products, however Facebook is coming on strong with a new feature they have rolled out called the Professional Services Listings as well as a new search feature. This makes great sense as more and more consumers are consulting Facebook prior to making purchasing decisions. How many times have you asked those with whom you are “friends” with on social media for a recommendation? Anyone who is a frequent social media user has seen this.

digital-marketing1234

Also, Facebook now has network ads which appear outside of Facebook (even to non-users) across multiple sites, similar to the AdWords enhanced network. This enhanced network is helping Facebook close the gap on Google’s lead in the online/digital advertising race, by combining the carousel-style image ads which can be run on multiple devices with their branding abilities and the inexpensive cost per impression model which is in use with the typical Facebook ad.

These new features and their commitment to continual improvement, are pushing Facebook close to Google when comparing options. However, when looking at the ad viability in a head to head comparison, we still give the edge to Google when it comes to direct service or product based online ads. Using both is a powerful way to capture leads and accomplish enhanced brand recognition at the same time.

Here at OMG National, our experienced digital marketing representatives will work hard to make the most of your budget. Our goal is to get you the most bang for your buck whether you are just starting out, or are working on multiple campaigns for your well established business. We will blend our services and balance the need for “right now” results with the longer term concepts of brand consistency and review management.

For OMG National, this is Jesse Lubar signing off with a smile.