Every local search agency understands the value of Google Maps listings – and nearly as many have encountered malicious, damaging activity involving those listings. At the end of February, Google My Business Community Manager Marissa Nordahl announced a new way to report fraudulent activity around businesses’ Google Maps listings. Complaints, which will be reviewed in accordance with Google’s existing guidelines, can now be submitted via the Business Redressal Complaint Form in the Google My Business help section.
Google My Business (GMB) profiles are an important tool for businesses seeking to establish online visibility. They help small businesses and franchises provide basic information (business hours, location, contact info, and more) to prospective customers. Unfortunately, GMB listings have also become targets for malicious activity from competitors.
“Google has had a history of issues with spam and worse within their Google Maps and local results,” explained Search Engine Land News Editor Barry Schwartz in a February 28 article. “We see case after case where people, competitors, bad actors, etc. are changing the local data of business to hurt them. They would mark the business as closed, change their hours, change photos or descriptions or worse. Hopefully this new form will help reduce this going forward.”
Unfortunately for every local search agency, the update will not address the issue of fake reviews. Business owners who believe their listing has been unfairly targeted by fake reviews should submit their complaints to Google’s social support team via Twitter (@googlemybiz) of Facebook (@GoogleMyBusiness).
As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing and local search agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is happy to see action being taken to address malicious activity around GMB listings. Both customers and businesses suffer when Maps listings are sabotaged; better regulations will lead to improved user experiences and limit damage to businesses.
Digital marketers have taken a keen interest of late in the growth of Amazon’s advertising business. The platform’s success has led to questions: how can digital marketing agencies and their clients leverage this newfound clout? How will Google, Facebook, and other advertising platforms be affected? Will the digital marketing world’s vaunted duopoly (Facebook and Google) evolve into a ‘Big Three?’
New research reported by Barron’s offers early answers to some of these questions. First, Google and Facebook shareholders have nothing to fear from Amazon’s rise. The research suggests that Amazon’s advertising growth will come at the expense of traditional advertising mediums and smaller digital platforms rather than its two primary competitors.
“We do not believe that market share will be taken at the expense of Facebook and Google, which should each grow as a percentage of digital advertising spend through 2022,” Jeffries analyst Brent Thill told Barron’s. “We believe Facebook, Google and Amazon will take share from smaller players as well as incremental share from offline-to-online transition.”
Though Amazon will remain the smallest of the three, it along with Facebook and Google will account for roughly 65 per cent of digital advertising business today and up to 72 per cent by 2022. A Big Three is indeed emerging, which is a huge development in an industry that has been dominated by two companies for years.
As for how digital marketers can leverage Amazon’s newly powerful advertising tools, it will take time for effective strategies to develop. Advertising on Amazon won’t make sense for every company, but it could be a major boon for retailers.
As a Google Premier Partner digital advertising agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is positioned to improve your brand visibility across multiple platforms. Our expertise extends beyond Google Ads to social media marketing, content marketing, and SEO, among others.
The pace of change in the digital marketing sphere means that best practices often evolve before advertisers are able to catch up. In content marketing and SEO copywriting, for instance, some agencies emphasize tactics that have long-since fallen out of favour with Google. SEOCopywriting.com recently listed a few “outdated SEO writing myths” that could hurt your search rankings rather than help them.
Overemphasizing key phrase density is a cardinal sin among enlightened SEO copywriters. Yes, you should still include keywords and key phrases in your copy, but no, there is no specific key phrase density that guarantees effective SEO copywriting. Google’s focus for the past several years has been on quality content, content that delivers real value and information to readers. That content can – and should – still contain relevant key phrases, but it should never read as spammy.
Overemphasizing word count is similarly misguided. It’s fair to say that longer content will generally rank higher than shorter content, but your focus should be on delivering robust information to your site visitors.
In other words, don’t blog for Google! Regularly adding fresh, relevant, informative, and readable content to your website is awesome for customers and your SEO – but doing so with the sole aim of pleasing Google is a recipe for disaster. “Google doesn’t care how often you publish new content,” SEOCopywriting.com says. “Instead of quantity, think quality content.”
To summarize: SEO copywriting remains an important digital marketing practice that should deliver real, tangible benefits for readers. As Google’s ranking tools become more sophisticated, expect key phrases and content length to take more of a back seat to high-quality writing.
As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media provides content marketing and SEO copywriting services that adhere to the latest and best approaches.
Earlier this month BrightLocal, a supplier of local SEO agency tools, released the results of its annual Local Search Industry Survey. The poll quizzed more than 600 digital agencies, SEO freelancers and in-house marketers on the state of the local SEO sector, according to a Search Engine Land article.
Perhaps the most important finding is that SEOs are incredibly comfortable with the future of their industry. Over 90 per cent of respondents said they were very or fairly optimistic about what’s next for the sector.
However, challenges remain. Despite their optimism, more than half (56 per cent) of respondents said that achieving local SEO results would be more difficult in 2019 than the previous year. This is due in part to increasing competitiveness in the field: “it’s something that every business or brand that sells through physical stores or service outlets should be focusing on,” Search Engine Land’s Greg Sterling wrote in his review.
Another interesting finding is that small agencies continue to dominate the local SEO landscape. Though larger digital marketing providers are beginning to offer local search services, the small local SEO agency has retained a majority of local search advertising dollars.
Survey respondents also listed their most in-demand services, including: website design; on-site optimization; SEO audits and analysis; pay-per-click (PPC); Google My Business optimization; social media; reputation management; citation management; link-building and content outreach; and content creation and optimization.
We have one last interesting finding to relay: word of mouth referrals remains the most effective means of attracting new clients, beating out SEO itself.
As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing and local SEO agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is ideally positioned to help your business get found by nearby customers. Our team works diligently to remain aligned with Google’s preferences to ensure maximum visibility for you and your brand.
At the SMX West search engine marketing conference in San Jose this January, Google announced that paid search text ads can now display on YouTube. Video marketing has become a vitally important digital marketing format, which makes YouTube a powerful advertising platform. With this latest update, Google is aiming to expand the reach of text ads by leveraging YouTube’s popularity and marketing clout.
The update allows search engine marketing text ads to display on YouTube search results pages for mobile users. As with ads on search engine results pages (SERPs), these ads will appear when users search for keywords that are relevant to advertisers’ campaigns. Ad extensions aren’t currently supported.
According to Search Engine Land, YouTube has been testing this functionality for several months. It has seen that paid search text ads on YouTube compare similarly with SERP ads in terms of cost-per-conversion.
“This tells us that, even in a video context, text ads shown to the right person at the right time, matching the right intent, can be really effective at driving conversions,” said Google video ads product manager Amy Vaduthalakuzhy, per Search Engine Land.
Since its founding in 2015, YouTube has grown into one of the world’s most visited websites. Purchased by Google for $1.65 billion in 2016, YouTube has become a dominant marketing platform. As video marketing gains traction with all manner of businesses, and as Google continues to invest in advertising on YouTube, expect the platform’s marketing revenue to continue to grow.
As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is ideally positioned to ensure your brand’s visibility across all online platforms. Our team works within Google’s constantly-evolving search engine marketing framework to ensure that your company is found by your target audience at the moment of intent.