Google Changes its Search System Every Day

Google Changes its Search System Every Day

The goal of any search engine is to quickly connect users with relevant and useful answers to their queries. Last month, Google’s Danny Sullivan briefly described on the company blog how Google sets about achieving this aim. His comments underscored some of the challenges facing search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search service providers.

Google’s search engine results page (SERP) has changed drastically since the platform’s launch. Where once it delivered a simple list of links to websites, it now offers a suite of useful features, including featured snippets, knowledge panels, and search autocomplete. In fact, Google makes more than 3,200 changes to its search system every year, or about 8 or 9 changes every day.

“Some of these were visible launches of new features, while many others were regular updates meant to keep our results relevant as content on the web changes… And some are also improvements based on issues we identified, either via public reports or our own ongoing quality evaluations,” Sullivan wrote.

While some of these changes took immediate effect, others were implemented slowly.

“Unlike with Search features where we are able to quickly correct issues that violate our policies, sometimes identifying the root cause of ranking issues can take time, and improvements may not happen immediately,” Sullivan continued.

The frequency of Google’s changes reflects the company’s massive growth – in 2009, only 350-400 changes were made.

Digital marketers know that search is always changing. Google has released regular updates for years and will continue to do so. Search engine optimization professionals must respond and adapt to these changes while also identifying trends and predicting the direction of Google’s future changes.

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is positioned to ensure your website remains visible and relevant throughout Google’s changes. Contact us today to learn more about our search engine optimization and paid search marketing services.

Local Businesses Don’t Take Advantage of Marketing Tools

Local Businesses Don’t Take Advantage of Marketing Tools

In July, business recommendation site Fresh Chalk and social marketing platform SOCi each released an important local marketing study. Fresh Chalk analyzed local business websites, while SOCi focused on localized social marketing. Last week, Search Engine Land mined both reports for insights on the state of local digital marketing. Here’s what they found.

In general, location-based businesses and local marketers fail to take advantage of the full variety of local digital marketing tools at their disposal. Many do not have complete business profiles on Google, Facebook, or Yelp, and those that do tend to prioritize one platform above others. As a result, businesses miss opportunities to improve visibility and engage with local consumers.

Claiming your business location on Google, Facebook, and Yelp is as basic as local marketing gets, yet just 78 per cent of total locations were claimed across the three platforms. While most businesses (75 per cent) post content on Facebook, very few do so on Google or Yelp. And many businesses fail to respond to online reviews, a critical misstep in the eyes of consumers.

The key takeaway from the studies is that most local businesses have room to improve their marketing strategies. Building a comprehensive Google My Business (GMB) listing should be the first priority, followed closely by attention to Facebook and Yelp. Soliciting and responding to reviews is also critical, especially when those reviews are negative. Customers want to patronize engaged businesses that care about the quality of their products and services.

As a Google Premier Partner local digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media has a wealth of experience helping local businesses get found by their preferred customers. From GMB optimization to social media management, our team will ensure your local online presence is robust and highly visible.

Social Media Marketing Numbers Released

Social Media Marketing Numbers Released

Last month, Hanapin Marketing released State of Paid Social 2019, a report on “trends and insights in the most popular social ad platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Quora, Reddit, and Snapchat.” The report shows a thriving social media marketing landscape that advertisers are increasingly likely to embrace.

In total, 97 per cent of marketers are engaged in social media advertising, up 10 per cent from last year. In other words, if you’re not advertising on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or another social platform, you’re likely falling behind your competitors. Social media platforms offer access to massive audiences, and their robust targeting options ensure your messaging reaches the right people at precisely the right moment.

Hanapin’s report shows that Facebook is still the most popular social advertising platform. More than 90 per cent of marketers spend money there, while a further 69 per cent spend on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. Forty-eight and 45 per cent of marketers advertise on YouTube and LinkedIn, respectively. Twitter, Quora, Reddit, Pinterest, and Snapchat are used by between 36 and 8 per cent of marketers.

As the benefits of social media marketing have become more apparent, the space has become more challenging for advertisers. Competition for premium placement is fierce, and cost-per-click is rising. Today, social marketing success depends on expert bidding, careful targeting, and eye-catching creative.

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media understands the importance of social media marketing in today’s advertising landscape. Our social media team can help you develop and deploy an effective social media marketing strategy that delivers positive return on investment. Contact us today to discuss how our experienced team can improve your business’s online visibility, establish your staff as thought leaders in your field, and ultimately help your business grow.

Digital Marketing Agencies Boost Advertiser Spending

Digital Marketing Agencies Boost Advertiser Spending

Canadians now spend more time with digital than traditional media and digital marketing agencies have adjusted spending accordingly, eMarketer reports. As we discussed in an article several weeks ago, the average Canadian consumer spends 9 hours and 50 minutes with media every day. Four hours, 55 minutes of that time is spent with digital media, while 4 hours 54 minutes is spent with traditional.

In 2019, advertisers are spending 56.5 per cent of their budgets on digital media; in 2017, they spent less than half. This rapid change suggests digital advertising is becoming more effective, more cost-efficient, and more widely embraced by consumers. It also signals that digital marketing agencies are operating within a healthy, growing industry.

“Digital ad formats are now being embraced in Canada because they’ve matured dramatically in the past few years,” said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Briggs in a recent article. “Compared with traditional formats, the granular reporting and behaviour tracking of digital ads are much more specific in assessing how well an advertiser is engaging a consumer.”

In other words, digital marketing agencies are able to determine which ads, or even which elements of certain ads, are delivering the best results for their clients. By embracing digital advertising initiatives, companies are able to more efficiently manage their advertising dollars. They are also better able to communicate results and outline future advertising strategies for key stakeholders.

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is positioned to help you transition from advertising on traditional media to excelling in the digital sphere. While traditional media advertising remains an effective option for certain industries, digital advertising can help your business get found by the customers that matter most at the moment of intent. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

How Does Google’s Changing Results Page Affect Marketers?

How Does Google’s Changing Results Page Affect Marketers?

Google’s search engine is changing. Where once it supplied answers to queries via links to reputable websites, today it just as often provides answers directly on the search engine results page (SERP). As Search Engine Land’s editor at large Jessica Bowman said during a keynote presentation to digital marketing professionals last month, Google is becoming less of a search engine and more of a portal.

This shift has major implications for businesses and the digital marketing teams that support them. Google now owns more of the customer journey than ever before: users can search for services and products, find troves of information, compare customer ratings, and in some cases even make transactions without leaving the SERP.

The new format has made visibility at the top of Google search results, and by extension paid search advertising and search engine optimization (SEO), more important than ever. Three or four years ago, the top three search results for a given query enjoyed almost-equal visibility. Now, Google content occupies much of that valuable real estate.

So, what can be done to maintain prominent placement? Marketing through Google Ads is an obvious choice. There’s little chance that Google will impede on paid ads’ prime position on the SERP given that ads drive billions of dollars in revenue to the company.

An effective SEO content strategy is also critical. As Search Engine Land notes: “Product information, news stories, how-to guides and various other types of content may receive higher visibility on SERPs if they appear as a knowledge panel, within a carousel or as a featured snippet.”

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is always prepared for changes in the digital marketing ecosystem. If you have questions about the latest updates to Google’s SERP, or if you would like to discuss new digital marketing tactics, don’t hesitate to reach out at any time.