Does Your Small Business Still Need a Website?

Does Your Small Business Still Need a Website?

Most small business owners take for granted that their company needs a website. However, it has become easier of late for consumers to learn about small businesses and their products or services elsewhere on the web – on social media, for example, or via Google’s local listings. This growth of website alternatives has led some businesses to ask their digital marketing agency, “Do I still need to invest time and money into developing and maintaining a website?”

Website Alternatives

 The most viable alternative to a company website is a carefully curated and consistently updated Google My Business (GMB) profile. Interested consumers can find information on the business’s hours, services, location, social media presence, and standing in the community by way of Google reviews.

A Facebook business Page can also stand-in for a website. These pages provide similar information to a GMB and can be used in tandem with a robust Instagram account. Interacting with customers may be easier on social media business pages, but Google reviews are more authoritative than Facebook reviews.

The Virtues of a Website

 While maintaining a website is more expensive and time-consuming than maintaining GMB listings or social media profiles, it also offers unique rewards. Consumers tend to see company websites as more trustworthy than GMBs, Facebook pages, and other listings. They also provide your company with a sort of ‘headquarter’ on the web, a single location to which traffic may be directed and where information is stored and content shared.

 We Can Help

 In other words, we believe that company websites still play an important role in small businesses’ digital marketing plans. As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, we can help you build, maintain, and optimize your website to get it found by valuable customers. Reach out today for more information about our web development and maintenance services.

A Look at Google’s Latest Algorithm Update

A Look at Google’s Latest Algorithm Update

Google updates its search engine ranking algorithm several times each day and thousands of times per year, as every good SEO agency knows, but large-scale updates, known as broad core algorithm updates, are relatively rare. Last month, the search engine announced the September 2019 Core Update on its Google SearchLiaison Twitter account (@searchliaison).

It took a few days for the impact of the September update to be felt by webmasters and SEOs, but soon results were pouring in. The consensus view is that this update was less impactful than the update rolled out in June. However, it has had a significant impact on certain niche industries, particularly in the “your money – your life” (YMYL) categories, according to Search Engine Land.

SEMRush describes YMYL content as “the type of information that, if presented inaccurately, untruthfully, or deceptively, could directly impact the reader’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability.” Understandably, Google wants the content it serves in this category to be beneficial to users, and the September update seems to reflect that. RankRanger found that the “Heath and Finances niches [classic YMYL areas] took the brunt” of the update.

In general, though, the September 2019 Core Update appears to be a relatively minor by major update standards. When search industry personality Barry Schwartz asked his twitter followers who had seen significant changes, 52 per cent said they’d seen none.

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing and SEO agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is ideally positioned to help you weather the rankings storms caused by algorithm updates. Our SEO strategy relies on foundational elements like site performance, strong links, and high-quality content, elements that Google has continued to favour during the past several algorithm overhauls.

If you are concerned about your site’s rankings or have questions about how we can improve your site, don’t hesitate to reach out today.

PPC Remains as Relevant as Ever!

PPC Remains as Relevant as Ever!

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising continues to be an effective digital marketing channel for brands and agencies, according to Hanapin Marketing’s latest State of PPC report. The findings are based on a survey of more than 500 marketing professionals across a variety of industries, 74 per cent of whom called PPC “a huge driver of their business.”

The most popular PPC channel was search, with 65 per cent of brand respondents and 74 per cent of agency respondents calling it their most effective approach, compared to just 16 per cent and five per cent, respectively, who called it their least effective. Social media, remarketing, display, shopping, native, programmatic, and podcast ads also attracted advertiser dollars.

Google is overwhelmingly the most popular platform for PPC advertisers. Ninety-six per cent of respondents pay for Google placements (43 per cent also advertise on YouTube), followed by Facebook at 81 per cent (53 per cent also advertise on Instagram) and Microsoft at 59 per cent. Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram also top the list of platforms that marketers will spend more on over the next 12 months.

Areas for growth in PPC advertising – and digital marketing in general – include video ads through YouTube, Amazon Ads, and ads linked to podcasts. According to the report, only 4 per cent of marketers are advertising via podcasts, despite the fact that more than half of the population listens to them.

“The channel is a great way to share information and keep users engaged with your content,” the report reads. “Though tracking is weak and it is a more passive form of advertising, the benefits of reaching your audience in a new way can be impactful.”

For more information about PPC advertising and our other digital marketing services, don’t hesitate to contact GrowthEngine Media today. As a Google Premier Partner with valuable insights into Google’s preferred practices, our team can provide guidance and advice on the best way to reach your customers.

Internet Users Believe They’re Better Off Without Ads

Internet Users Believe They’re Better Off Without Ads

Most internet users find online advertising annoying, according to a new survey from eMarketer. The data and research company asked a panel of ‘US digital buyers’ – people who make purchases online – what sort of ads they found useful, and what kind they could live without. There was some enthusiasm for static banner ads, sponsored social media posts, and paid search results, but the majority (58 per cent) said that no online ads were ever useful. These results might sound grim for digital marketing agencies, but in reality they shed light on opportunities to stand out.

Internet users and advertisers both consider online advertising a necessary evil. It can be annoying or intrusive to users, but it also helps fund the platforms and content they love. Advertisers, meanwhile, understand that the internet is the best possible place to reach customers, but risk pushing them away with overzealous campaigns.

The solution is to deliver thoughtful messaging to targeted customers at the moments they are most receptive to it – in other words to reach the right people with the right message at the right time. Additional research shows, for example, that more than half of consumers want companies to deliver messaging via email. More than half were also motivated to make purchases by ads for discounts. Sixty-three per cent said they willingly sat through ads when it paid for the content they were watching. Customers are less annoyed at digital marketing in general as they are at bad digital marketing.

That’s why GrowthEngine Media combines sophisticated targeting with relevant, engaging creative to reach customers with agreeable brand messaging. As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media can help you develop an online strategy that draws consumers in rather than push them away. Contact us today to discuss our approach.

What Trends Will Shape SEO in the Next Three Years?

What Trends Will Shape SEO in the Next Three Years?

A recent survey asked more than 1,500 SEO agency professionals and in-house SEOs to rank industry trends on a scale of zero to four, a rank of zero meaning the trend would have no impact on SEO in the next three years, a rank of four meaning it would have a huge impact.

The trend SEOs most expected to affect their business was Google entering new verticals and competing directly with niche publishers. Google already has a history of entering and dominating certain sectors of the internet, search and video, via YouTube, being the two best examples. Now, it is making inroads in the travel-planning business through platforms like Google Flights and Google Hotels.

Respondents were lukewarm on most new technologies. Few expected visual search to significantly alter the SEO landscape, and voice search wasn’t ranked much higher. The impact of AI and machine-learning on Google’s ranking algorithm, on the other hand, was considered quite consequential. In particular, respondents believe more sophisticated AI will shift focus away from technical on-site SEO – keyword research, meta tags, etc. – to content quality.

Zero-click searches are another important trend, according to SEO agency pros. Websites are generating less traffic as more searchers find information directly on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). The shift to zero-click results means SEOs must change the way they optimize content and spend more time on Google channels like My Business. It may also change the way performance metrics like site traffic are considered.

The digital marketing industry changes with the rise and fall of every new social media platform, every Google algorithm update, and every piece of legislation affecting user data privacy. As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency, GrowthEngine Media is constantly adapting client strategies to respond to shifts in the marketing landscape. Contact us today to learn how we can get your website found by target customers.