In a sun-filled office in downtown Palo Alto last week I sat with another 25 executives listening to how billions of pictures are shared, tagged, annotated and federated across workflows to drive efficiency. It’s true, every workflow app now allows images to be shared in real time. And I’m not just talking about Instagram.
The team from First National Real Estate enjoyed listening to Bryan Lip, VP Partnerships at Houzz.com – with over 2M paying designers, architects and builders who increasingly enjoy the benefits of workflow collaboration with images inside the online community platform.
On one of the walls inside the meeting room was this sign that images really were the vision of one of America’s greatest pop culture icons.
And around the corner at Unami Burger on University Avenue after the meeting, I ordered up a cow free protein burger from Impossible Foods. This plant based protein alternative to meat is just a reminder that nothing really is impossible. This is America.
2019 has been a great year for technical webmasters and Google Analytics tech heads who want to show clients more engagement metrics. Using Google Tag Manager ‘tags’ (requires html scripting), it’s possible to show clients what ‘clicks’ are taking place on their website pages and go deeper into what elements on a page (buttons, links, images, etc) are being used by ‘users’ on each ‘page view’.
Clients like to know how many people are using their widgets like calculators, price search query tools, how many phone numbers are clicked on, forms submitted. They can then report on granular interactions across their website to management and stakeholders. One of our clients has 150 stores and this is some of the tags our skilled data scientists set up inside Google Tag Manager.
Using Google Tag Manager, it takes experienced developers who understand how to create tags and script them accordingly so they fire off the correct action and it is recorded inside Google Analytics.
Most businesses are faced with Google reviews as a consequence of having a Google My Business account with Google.
The power of customer testimonials can’t be underestimated, which is why 74% of our client First National Real Estate offices achieve Google Review ratings of between 4 and 5 stars. It is fantastic result calculated after SearchForecast audited their membership Google My Business Page reviews.
The quality and quantity of reviews on Google is one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). A well-balanced combination of three review signals – quantity, velocity, and diversity – can help catapult your local business towards the top of Google local search results.
The facts are compelling for businesses to take Google Reviews very seriously:
- The average business star rating is 4.42
- 5% have a star rating below 3 stars
- 40% of consumers will only look at the last 2 weeks of reviews
- 57% of consumers will only consider businesses with 4 or more stars
90% of consumers read 10 reviews or less before they feel they can trust a business so, if you’re ranked below 4 stars, be sure to strive for perfection of 5 star reviews.
Right, good news for our retail clients…
Google is enabling “Store visits” reporting inside Google Analytics, which means users who comes from paid / organic via Google and then visit each physical store are recorded. So how do they do this?
…. “Store visits are estimates based on data from users who have turned on Location History”. That means, when a Google user has their location history turned on inside Google Maps (you can turn it off), Google will record a) website visit and b) store visit.
A small miracle in omni-channel marketing for retail businesses .
There’s one more catch… Google require you to have 90% of your retail stores with a Google My Business citation information up to date and that these are linked locations verified to Adwords accounts.
This is one of the reasons why setting up the Google Ad Campaigns by geo / retail store is so important and where lots of retail clients do not. By having 1 campaign for each store practice linked via a Location Extension to each corresponding Google My Business citation and then syncing the account, the activation for “Store visits” reporting will appear.
Finding the perfect bottle of wine to match that special meal, enhance the food flavour and make a lasting impression on guests, friends or loved one is often the motivation for buying the right bottle of wine. Buying what you know, quickly at the best price to be paid for online and delivered isn’t always what is needed. The best place to start isn’t always the internet is it?
Your local wine cellar offers free advice. They understand pairing wine with food and as they are usually family owned and operated by passionate wine lovers, their advice comes with experience. Wine cellars are in most Australian suburbs and like all small businesses, the owners take great pride in tasting their wines before buying, writing tasting notes for you to read while browsing the shelves and give helpful advice to match the wine with your special occasion.
Developing the Cellars website involved using the Google Maps API in a sophisticated way to ensure that visitors to the website have both search and visual ways to find information across the directory. Latitude & Longitude co-ordinates of each suburb and postcode are included in the database, maximising the accuracy of results when users are searching for a local cellar on their mobile phone. Together with our web developers SEO experience of providing the keyword architecture, this hyper local online directory of over 3,000 cellars ranks highly in Google for thousands of suburb cellar listing keyword phrases.
Every cellar page listing allows users to find name, address, phone number, opening hours and most importantly the map location and driving directions at a click of a button. That’s the most essential part of finding a local wine cellar when navigating on a mobile device.
Oh and just remember that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars creating a logo. This logo was created in PowerPoint using a standard font and reverse out black background.
We are oftened asked to explain in simple terms what Google’s Rank Brain Algorithm is. And that means without the words ‘machine learning’ or ‘artificial intelligence’. Let’s speak plainly. Google wants to predict what humans will search for. What their intent is while they are searching and the next search you are thinking of. Not while you’re typing the search query into Google but before you have thought about it. Like pre-empting you the way your Mom, partner or best friend can. You know what I mean?
One way to do this is to ensure you’re writing relevant content. Sounds simple right. Except it requires you to get behind or inside the thought process of your customers. Start by creating personas, asking what your customer segments desire, dislike, fear and are concerned about. This creates questions that your content can answer. Content that is indexed by Google’s machine learning and artificial intelligence technology called ‘Rank Brain’. Makes sense right? They want to rank your brain and put a cognitive predictive sequence in place on what your brain wants to know as you search.
One of our global clients who understand this Google algorithm is Wise-Sync. Wise-Sync synchronises accounting data between ConnectWise and cloud accounting software Xero and Quickbooks Online. By creating content that targets their audience explaining the operational efficiency of automating cloud accounting and improving cashflow by using their technology shows, Wise-Sync suggest to Google they understand the thought process of their clients.
Like most things in search engine content and technologies, the answer maps back to human behavior and the importance of relevant content for the user’s intent when searching.
As Pinterest prepares to IPO, optimizers are faced with the reality of convincing clients to upload content into another walled garden social media network which to us reminds us of a weird mix of Houzz.com meets Darts. We’re not saying it’s not a great platform and very useful if you have more time on your hands than most people, yet as a search intent tool, good luck trying to compete with Google on getting clients to part with their adspend.
Pinterest is responsible, on average, for roughly 8% of referral traffic across the web yet everytime we look inside our clients’ Google Analytics accounts, that is far from the reality. Across 5 brand clients with over 4M monthly unique visitors, we’re seeing less than 1% referrals from Pinterest.
We understand that 84% of Pinterest users claim they use it to help them decide what to buy and the most popular searches on Pinterest are non-branded. Yet it’s a hard shoulder against the client wall to move the conversation to Pinterest.
We do see the Pinterest Smart Feed as being something to automate and take advantage of streamlining and automating content into their platform. That is by far the best SEO tip for engaging Pinterest users with minimal effort.
I am always surprised to find the most emphatic parents who worry about their kids posting inappropriate images or videos online do not own their first-name-family-name domain. The fear of a future employer googling your child’s name while interviewing only to find evidence of youthful behavior that prohibits the opportunity of being offered employment can be offset by taking control of the online reputation and publishing curated content on a personal domain name. Oh and it costs $20 a year to renew a domain name and there are dozens of free template websites + hosting packages! There is no excuse and in an age where the big tech companies own and monetize personal data (thanks Zuck!), you need to be in control of your online presence, reputation and destiny.
With online databases such as ZoomInfo, Crunchbase and LinkedIn publishing profiles of executives, SearchForecast has provided a suite of Online Reputation Management services for our clients. Creating and curating a positive online reputation to ensure the appropriate website links appear in search engines and to ensure the proper facts and narrative is explained as well as helping individuals to restore a damaged online reputation gives our team great satisfaction in being able to achieve for clients.
Building and maintaining Founders websites and CEO websites support the content posted on Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks by executives. Being seen and heard is an important policy for senior executives.
A deeply quantitative firm, SearchForecast will deep dive into the traffic analytics of customer websites constantly. Using a combination of Google Analytics > Demographic data (remember it’s not always 100% accurate), Google Analytics > Locations data + transactional dollar spend data (average order value, etc), our team will then include pyschographic composition of target audiences.
We translate and present our analysis into an easy to read ‘Persona’ of customers. A real client example can be seen below which our team produces. This makes it easier for everyone to understand how keywords, content, blog, articles, social media, keyword buying and content partnerships should be targeted to real audiences. This process brings new ideas, insights and campaigns that can be measured for return on investment.
Simple stuff yet so often clients don’t have a Persona of Customers. Do you?
A wise man once told me that people usually pay for what they can see, not what they cannot. That’s very true of clients. All the thinking about a problem can be hard to quantify in the eyes of a client. Welcome to the world of convincing clients to pay up for Schema Mark Up of their website.
At the essence, Schema Mark Up as detailed at Schema.org is a collaborative efforts to create a deeper richer set of information which searches engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, etc can use to more accurately crawl and index websites.
Along comes Google Tag Manager and suddenly it is a lot easier (that is if you know what you are doing!). We prepare videos of schema mark up for clients in marketing and they can barely watch 45 seconds of this technical deep dive. It’s complicated. We simply explain that the schema mark up will be served from Google Tag Manager engine and you can mark up with schema videos, store listings, blogs, product prices, reviews, etc. Here’s a sample of how it should look in the Google Tag Manager.