Posts By: jason

Learn About Google’s Recent Algorithm Updates

We saw a lot of changes in Google’s algorithm back in the fall of 2016. It was one the most dramatic updates we’ve seen and many websites felt its impact. It’s clear that Google is shifting towards rewarding websites with a strong mobile interface and creating more room on the search results page for AdWords.

Things seemed to be fairly smooth in December, but like clockwork more changes came in the early months of 2017. There were two fairly minor updates in January and early February. These updates focused on private blogs and external links.

On February 7th, Google launched what proved to be a major update. There have been big shifts in rankings for websites throughout the Internet. We’ve seen some of our clients jump ten or even twenty spots overnight.

Google has been very clear in the philosophy behind their updates; Google wants high-quality content to appear on their search results page. Each of the updates they make to their algorithm is meant to increase exposure to good content.

Whenever there is an update to Google’s algorithm we tend to see some confusion for the first few days after the update happens. It usually doesn’t take Google long to make corrections and to tweak results.

There are many elements that go into Google’s ranking. Aggressive advertising, auto play videos, deceptive content, aggressive pop-up ads and various other things can hurt your website’s rankings. It’s also important to make sure your site loads quickly and looks great on any desktop or mobile device. Google wants people to know how to rank well and publishes a great guide.

Websites that contain things Google is regarding as negative are seeing certain keywords generate less traffic. It’s important to check your Google Analytics regularly to watch for unusual shifts in organic keyword traffic. Typically, some keywords will generate similar traffic, while other keywords will suffer from significant decreases.

One of Google’s biggest updates was found last year when the various versions of Panda launched. Many sites not meeting Google’s recommended content took a nosedive. Google looked at the update as a rankings adjustment, they were not trying to penalize website owners.

We find that web pages with low-quality content or pages lacking content are most likely to lose their rankings. It’s important to continually review your website and improve your content as you go.

Google is in the process of rolling out a mobile-first search page. This is making a mobile design that much more important. Sites without a strong mobile design will see their pages not rank well on this mobile search page. More importantly, a website with mobile issues will cause a frustrating experience for many of your users. So, make sure you check your website on various mobile devices to ensure your users will have full functionality.

It’s important to ensure your website is not embedding third-party advertising with malware. Also, advertising with misleading content can cause your Google rankings to decrease quickly.

Understanding Google’s updates will help keep you ranking well in Google and will also give your users a great user experience. We help Markham businesses stand out in Google by using the latest SEO marketing strategies to achieve sustainable organic keyword growth. Feel free to speak to one of our SEO specialists and get your website optimized for 2017.

Adding SSL Certification to Provide Better Security and Improved Search Results

Google recently announced that having an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate on your site will help boost your SEO ranking. The search engine giant has been trying to raise awareness about website security for a couple of years and this most recent update is the next logical step to accomplishing this goal.

SSL Certification adds an extra layer of security to a website by establishing an additional encrypted link between a web server and a browser. Basically, a properly installed SSL Certificate will ensure that data transmitted online stays private and secure. Users will notice a domain with HTTPS at the start as opposed to the typical HTTP (htttps://domain.com vs http://domain.com). It’s important to seek the assistance of a professional when making this switch. They will install the certificate properly and ensure that all redirects and 404 pages have been dealt with properly.

Google plans to boost rankings to any website with an SSL certificate, regardless if they collect personal information. That means even if your website doesn’t collect information for online payments, logins, or any other personal information you will still benefit from having the Certification on your website.

The goal is to make the Internet more secure for everyone. What better way to encourage people to spend the money and time to make a switch to SSL Certification than offering an SEO boost.

In order to implement SSL Certification, you will need to work with your web hosting company or your Markham website vendor. There will typically be both a setup fee and an annual subscription fee. The cost will prove to be worthwhile over time and will open the door to more data collection options on your website. Technically speaking, many smaller websites do not actually need the extra security that comes with an SSL Certificate, but installing one may be the difference between appearing at the top of search or falling to the bottom.

With the increase in websites moving towards SSL Certification, more and more average Internet users will begin to understand the importance of online security. Adding an SSL Certificate will tell your users that you care about their information, not having one may make your website appear less professional. Research shows that people feel more confident using a website with a security seal anywhere on the website. A trusted SSL Certification vendor will provide a security seal graphic which many people choose to place in the footer of their site and on any page where people are asked to enter personal information.

In the near future, Google Chrome users will begin seeing an ‘x’ beside search results Google deems to be unsafe. It’s very likely that websites without an SSL Certification will receive a failing ‘x’. This update to Chrome is expected to begin happening in January 2017.

WordPress, one the most commonly used website building platforms recently announced that they too will be encouraging their users to install SSL Certificates. Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress recently announced that upcoming builds of the popular software package will require an SSL certificate.

There are various SSL security options on the market, each offers different security and installation options. You will want to find a certificate that provides a full verification of identity, this shows Google that you securing your customer information properly.

Like many updates to Google, this shift towards a more secure Internet will likely happen in multiple steps. The transition from HTTP to HTTPS is happening and Google wants to accelerate this movement  by rewarding websites with SSL Certification. Many high ranking websites have already made this shift to better security.

It’s clear that moving towards better online security will be a focus for many website owners in 2017. Want to learn more about how to rank better on Google and provide better security for your customers with an SSL Certificate? We’d love to help, please feel free to contact us and we’ll find an SSL solution that works for your business needs and budget for both today and tomorrow.

A Guide to Facebook Advertising for Toronto Businesses

Social media advertising works for marketing. Facebook continues to be the leading platform for social media marketing. A well-designed campaign will generate impressions, clicks, and conversions. Advertisers have found that Facebook advertising is a very affordable online marketing solution.  It generates high-quality traffic with very strong ROI.

While it does take some work, it’s possible to see some great results with a budget of only $5 a day.

If you’re new to using Facebook Ads you’ll find there’s a lot to learn. You need to not only create engaging ads, but you also need to find the right audience, set an adequate budget and eventually measure the effectiveness of your work.

Facebook estimates that over three million businesses are now on Facebook and there are 1.13 billion active users connecting to the social network daily, many of whom are on mobile devices. Running Facebook Ads provides you the ability to broadcast a message to the right people at the right time.

Pros of Facebook Ads

  • It’s easy to track your campaigns
  • Instant gains in traffic
  • You have complete control of your daily budget and cost-per-click (CPC)
  • Instant ROI
  • You can target your ads based on towns, regions, age, likes/interests, income bracket and many other demographic elements
  • Easier to set up than Google AdWords
  • Find people while they are early in the buying process
  • You can easily use video and photos in your advertisements
  • The CPC is very affordable when compared to other platforms

Cons of Facebook Ads

  • When not set up properly, Facebook Ads can be expensive
  • It’s easy to add too many people to your audience, this will lead to increased cost
  • Unless you’re using a lifetime budget you cannot target your ads to appear at specific times of the day or certain days of the week
  • Reaching people too early in the buying cycle could reduce your goal conversion rate

Setting up your new Facebook Ads campaign begins by going to the Facebook Ads dashboard (https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager). The dashboard allows you to create a new campaign and manages all elements of an existing campaign. You’ll find a lot of useful features in the dashboard and with time you’ll find it easier to navigate.

Running the Right Facebook Ad

Facebook Ads are very versatile. There are 11 main ways Facebook can produce results for your online marketing.

A Facebook campaign can allow you to:

  1. Boost your posts
  2. Promote your Facebook Page
  3. Send people directly to your website
  4. Increase the amount of conversions on your site
  5. Get people to install your mobile application
  6. Increase the engagement of your application
  7. Reach people geographically near your business
  8. Get more people to attend you event
  9. Get people to claim your offer
  10. Get more video reviews
  11. Collect more leads for your sales team

The Facebook dashboard will allow you the ability to set up campaigns with each of these focuses as a goal.

Pick the Right Audience

After setting up your Facebook campaign’s focus you’ll be asked to select an audience to target. Facebook is loaded with some very targeted audience information. There are many elements you can choose from to target the right people for your online brand. Essentially, Facebook allows you the ability to quickly choose precisely who sees your ad, all based on hundreds of factors. You define your audience by locations, age, gender, language, interests, behaviours, connection and dozens of other criteria. The dashboard’s map integration allows you to have a great visual snapshot of your geographic targeting.

How to Set a Budget for a Facebook Campaign

The budget settings of the Facebook Ads dashboard lets you set how much money you want to spend on your ad and when you want to start spending it.

Facebook will default you to a $20 daily budget, this can easily be changed based on your needs. You can also tell Facebook when to start broadcasting your ad and when to turn it off.

It’s clear that Facebook is not showing any signs of slowing down. The social media giant continues to launch really innovative tools for both end users and advertisers. Facebook provides an unparalleled ability to customize the audience seeing your ads and its ROI is very strong when compared to other marketing expenses.

Toronto and area business owners will quickly see that there’s a lot of learning with Facebook Advertising. We’ve been helping local businesses of all sizes succeed on Facebook, please feel free to send along any questions.