Smart Solutions Blog
The usual route that webmasters take for handling Google algorithm changes is to freak out every time Google announces one, and run scrambling to figure out how your website can benefit from (or at least not be ruined by) it. Surprisingly enough, there IS another option—one that involves a lot less stress and pulling out of hair. It’s revolutionary and controversial, but here it is:
Make a good website.
We know, it’s a little crazy, but here’s the thing—Google just wants to know that your site isn’t full of spam. They want to know that your site is well designed, user-friendly, easy to navigate and provides quality content.
This is what Google is trying to move toward—an index of better websites than they have now. The best way to get ranking well is to make a better website. The list of qualities we listed above is important to have in mind when you’re building a site and when you’re updating it. We expand each quality below:
A Well Designed Website
Google’s spiders won’t see your design the way that a website visitor will, but they do see the HTML—how clean it is, how orderly it is, and how up to date it is with new trends in web development and programming.
User Friendly and Easy to Navigate
Google can judge how user friendly your site is by bounce rates, as well as how your site is set up on the back end. Don’t hide or orphan pages, and make it easy to get from one page to another.
Provide Quality Content
Stop spinning articles and write good copy that relates to your industry. Continue to update it as it needs to be updated, and add more content as necessary. Keep searchers in mind as you write, and incorporate keywords that are applicable.
Make a good website—it’s as simple as that. Keep an eye on Google algorithm changes, but know that if you’re making a website that incorporates these qualities, Google would be hard-pressed to find a reason to drop your site in their next algorithm update.
Do you have more questions about how to make a great website? Contact our web development team to learn more.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it another million times—every website owner should be checking their analytics consistently. The time of letting your website work as a business card is long gone, and the time to learn more about how your site is performing is now.
Google Analytics makes it much easier to see how your site is performing, and they’re constantly adding new features. A feature that was added in just the last few months is this: better social media tracking. Google Analytics has always tracked traffic from social media, but not as a separate entity—this feature will (or should) transform the way you handle your social media accounts.
How to Use Google Analytics’ Social Media
If you log into your Google Analytics account, you’ll find the social media feature under “Traffic Sources” on the left hand side of the screen. The last option is “Social.” Our favorite social media tool on there (and the one we’re examining here) is “Social Visitors Flow.”
The social flow is a chart that shows you where each of your visitors arriving from social media is going. The major social networks bringing traffic to your site are all listed there, and you’ll see right away which ones are working for your business. At Smart Solutions, we came to the startling realization that although we were putting the majority of our social media time into Facebook, the best visitor performers actually came from Linkedin—one of the sites we hadn’t put much effort into.
[picture from analytics.blogspot.com]
Examining this chart for your business website will help you to segment and distribute your social media time into the social media sites that are actually bringing valuable visitors to your business website.
If you don’t have Google Analytics in place for your website just yet, go get it set up! It takes only a few minutes to install the code on your website, and the benefit you get is well worth the effort.
If you’re still resisting joining Google+, stop. Google is not backing out of their new social network, and any resistance at this point is only hurting your business. They continue to integrate Google+ into their search engine more and more, and every sign points to rewarding websites that use their social network.
In this post, we’re going to quickly examine a few of the ways that Google has integrated their social network into the SERP.
This integration is the most noteworthy—it’s something you’ll see whether you’re logged into your Google account or not. Bloggers with Google+ profiles are able to get their content featured a little more distinctively on the SERP. Google will pull in a profile picture from their Google+ accounts, if they simply add a bit of HTML to their blog posts. See our blog post on Google Author for more information.
Google Places Becomes Google+
The Google Places to Google+ crossover was probably the most drasticof Google’s social integrations. All of the local businesses that set up accounts inside Google Places were moved over to a new look—the Google+ look. URLs changed over to plus.google.com and reviews were changed from the 1-5 star to the 30 point Zagat system.
Google+ SERP Share
This only happened (or at least was only noticed) a few weeks ago on Google—sharing enabled from right on the results page of Google. This isn’t a huge change (you can only see it if you’re logged in), but it’s just another sign of how Google is integrating Google+ into every aspect of their search engine.
So what are you supposed to do now that you have this information? Embrace Google+ wholeheartedly and learn how to use it best for your business. And remember if you need help, your team here at Smart Solutions is available to assist with social media inquiries.
How does Google get involved in the 2012 London Olympics? By making it WAY easier to get information on how your favorite teams are doing! But Google has taken it to a whole new level this year—instead of just sending you to the website with the right information, Google lists everything you need to know right on their homepage.
Google and the Olympic Countries
Is there a certain country you’re rooting for? Type in “[country] olympics” and you’ll see something similar to the images below. The number of gold, silver and bronze medals they’ve won, which sports have been their best and a schedule of when they’ll be playing next, in your time zone—Google has you covered when it comes to information on the 2012 Olympics.
Google and the Olympic Sports
Maybe instead of wanting information organized by country, you have a favorite sport in the Olympics that you want to keep track of. Google has you covered there as well! Type in “[sport] Olympics” and voila—you get the images below! Learn which countries are leading the way in that particular sport, and find out when the next competition is.
Google was very smart this year, and their knowledge graph is growing by leaps and bounds. Google is moving farther away from directing searchers to external websites, and starting to keep more people on their search engine result pages.
Google Doodles and the Olympics
Other than getting searchers information about the Olympics, Google also has fun with doodles for each of the sports. So far, they’ve had doodles for the opening ceremonies, archery, diving and fencing! For as long as the Olympics are going, there’s sure to be another doodle on the Google homepage. [click to see the images larger!]
Everyone wants a hand in the Olympics, and Google is doing a great job of keeping them covered! Another search engine that has had some Olympic-themed images is Bing—we assume that they’ll have more fun images as the London 2012 Olympics continue!
In the past few months, Facebook has changed up a lot of their business page features in a great way. They’ve really stepped up their game when it comes to Facebook business pages, and we’re seeing a lot of new options available for businesses. The last one we featured on the blog was the new Facebook scheduler feature, but the latest is new administrator roles.
A few months ago, after Google+ business pages launched, we analyzed Facebook’s admin system vs. the Google+ way, and the newer social network came out on top. Now, however, Facebook is offering something not unlike Google+ admin roles.
Five Different Facebook Roles
Facebook offers five different admin roles: Manager, Content Creator, Moderator, Advertiser and Insights Analyst. You can refer to the table below to see which abilities each role is given. The manager is the only one allowed to add, delete or change administrator roles, unlike before when any administrator could.
Many small businesses won’t even need to mess with these roles—the most important thing is to know what your administrators are doing. If you’ve only hired someone to handle your Facebook ads, then you don’t need to make them any more than an “Advertiser.” However, if they’re also posting statuses and adding landing pages, you’ll want to give them the control of “Content Creator.” As a general rule, it’s best to keep only the business owner as “Manager.” Falling outs can happen in any company, and compromised Facebook pages are never a good thing!
So if you have multiple administrators on your Facebook page(s), make sure you edit their roles! If you haven’t touched your admin page since the change, each person will be “Manager.” Also, all new administrators will default to “Manager.”
You can read more about this change on Facebook’s help page!
From Smart Solutions
Web marketing conferences and events are great places to network with other professionals and learn what’s important in web marketing right now. And there is no shortage of events to choose from, if you’re looking to be a part of one.
There are a few web marketing events coming up that we’re particularly excited about, so if you’re considering attending a conference in the next few months, be sure to check out one of these four!
SES San Francisco 2012
8/13/2012 – 8/17/2012
For years, SES (search engine strategies) has drawn in professionals from all over the world to their web marketing conferences. They hold these events in London, Chicago, Berlin, Hong Kong and many other locations across the globe. The event that is closest to our main location in Oregon is their conference in San Francisco.
Right on the edge of Silicon Valley, San Francisco is a hub for innovators and entrepreneurs—the perfect setting for a web marketing conference. The event will feature over 70 different sessions, and speakers from every avenue of web marketing.
You can find more information about this marketing conference on the SES San Francisco website!
SMX East 2012
10/2/2012 – 10/4/2012
Much like SES, SMX (Search Marketing Expo) hosts web marketing conferences across the globe. The difference with SMX is it’s targeted specifically at search marketing professionals. It’s more advanced than most web marketing conferences out there, and is sponsored by one of the most successful web marketing blogs out there—Search Engine Land.
All of their conferences are worth attending, and the next one in the US is SMX East—in New York City. In addition to their sessions on the second, third and fourthof October, they also have pre-conference workshops on the first, from businesses like Bruce Clay and GetListed.
Learn more about this event on the SMX East website.
Pubcon Las Vegas 2012
10/15/2012 – 10/18/2012
Every year, the exciting city of Las Vegas is overtaken by SEO and social media professionals from all over the United States. Pubcon has held successful web marketing conferences for over eleven years, and each new event they host is sure to be a success.
Although October is a busy month for web marketing events, Pubcon’s Las Vegas conference is worth looking into! And as for sponsors, you know the conference will be quality when business likes Internet Marketing Ninjas and Raven Tools are behind it!
Get more information about the Las Vegas conference on the Pubcon site!
Bend WebCAM 2012
10/25/2012 – 10/26/2012
We might be a little biased about this event because our hometown is the host city, but the Bend WebCAM is worth attending for more than just that. This web marketing event isn’t just for people who love analytics and keyword research—it’s also for creatives and designers involved in web marketing.
This will be the third year of Bend WebCAM, and there are sure to be more to come. Notable keynotes in the past have included Rand Fishking of SEOmoz, and Tim Ash of SiteTuners. This year, they have announced Danny Sullivan as the keynote—editor and author at the Search Engine Land blog.
To learn more, visit the Bend WebCAM website.
The curse of the businessman is that we never have enough time. When you’re the one managing multiple aspects of a business, it’s easy to put aside things that don’t seem as important—and social media is often one of those that gets lost in the shuffle.
But social media doesn’t need to take a lot of time, and Facebook just made it even easier—by allowing you to schedule updates ahead of time.
People have been doing this with Twitter for some time now—scheduling tweets ahead of time using outside websites. People have offered scheduling systems for Facebook, but none of them have been very reliable, so Smart Solutions hasn’t endorsed any in the past.
Now, Facebook has decided to offer a service themselves—one that goes right along with the Facebook Timeline. They’ve made it easy to schedule tweets up to six months in advance—so you can get all your business social media scheduling done at one time.
The new Facebook scheduling service is super easy to work—you simply click the clock on the bottom left hand side of your new post, add the year, month, day and time, and click schedule!
You can also time things for the past, if you’re interested in filing out the rest of your business page’s timeline.
The only problem we’ve seen with this feature so far is that you can’t edit (as far as we can tell) your post once you schedule it. We’ve only scheduled a few things, but we can’t find them anywhere to edit them before Facebook actually sends it out. If you see a spelling error just as you hit “schedule,” you’ll have to wait for the time that you scheduled it in order to fix it. Hopefully that’s something that Facebook will fix in the future.
As we find out more about this feature, we’ll be sure to give updates! Follow us on our social media channels to learn more about us and what we do!
When we went to schedule a post today, we were happy to find that you can now edit scheduled posts! When you schedule a post, Facebook will remind you where to go to edit your post (click the highlighted button below). However, when we’ve attempted to go to our activity log, it’s only been a blank page. There are probably just a few bugs in the system for now, that should be fixed soon!
From Smart Solutions
If you use Google a lot, you’ve probably seen Google Author show up on your SERPs. As a matter of fact, one study noted that about 17% of queries will result in at least one Google Author post showing up. Webmasters in every industry are realizing the benefit, and adding the Google Author tag to their posts.
Understanding the Google Author Tag
As seen in the images below, inserting the Google Author tag gives you a picture next to your link on the SERP. By inserting the HTML tag into your site, you’re telling Google that you’re the author of the article, and to link your Google+ profile to it.
You’ll need to have a Google+ profile in order to make this work for your website, as well as embed a bit of HTML code, something like what we have below:
<p>By <a href=”https://plus.google.com/115191960720554241960/
By linking your Google+ account to your website through that code, and verifying a domain name email, your picture will show up next to your blog or article listings on Google’s SERP, as well.
The Benefits of Using the Google Author Tag
By inserting this tag and going through the trouble of getting verified by Google, you get a huge result—increased visibility on Google’s SERP. Instead of an all text listing, you could have a photo next to your link—your photo.
This code is easy to apply, so don’t let any confusion about HTML stop you from inserting it! If you have a website with us and would like to use Google Author, contact our web marketing team and let us know how we can help you!
Google’s newest product was announced just yesterday morning, and people across the Internet are excited about the online storage service that will most likely be Dropbox’s biggest competitor. But before we throw out Dropbox, let’s compare the two—is Google Drive really any better than Dropbox?
Features of the Newest Online Storage Service
Google Drive Free Storage Space
Google offers a small amount of free cloud storage, like many of the other storage providers. When you sign up for a Google Drive product, you get 5GB of free online storage. Dropbox (the competitor at the forefront of online storage providers) only gives 2GB for free, but also offers additional storage for every person you refer to them—up to 18GB.
Extra storage can be added on to both services, for additional monthly fees.
Google Drive Team Collaboration
Like Google Docs, the new online storage product is inherently shareable. On the Google Drive website, it says you can “Create and reply to comments to get feedback and make files more collaborative.” You are also able to choose who can see, edit or make comments on your files. Dropbox has something a little more advanced (and a little more pricy) for collaborative work—Dropbox Teams.
Google Drive Integration
While Dropbox can be installed on any computer and accessed anywhere, it is a standalone product. Dropbox only does online storage. Google… well they do everything. Your Google Drive account seamlessly integrates with all of the other features of Google that we know and love: Google Docs, Google+ and Gmail.
This is the feature that makes Google Drive so attractive to people searching for an online storage product. So many people already have Google accounts, and Google Drive is a natural extension. Why would anyone sign up for a new Dropbox account when they can get Google Drive and have it already hooked up to their email?
Of course, we haven’t gotten on the inside of Google Drive just yet, because we got the notification that a lot of others have: Your Google Drive is not ready yet. Once we’ve been able to check out what it looks like on the inside, we’ll be able to write something a little more comprehensive about the ins and outs of the newest online storage service!
They brought us an email system, a robust map of the world, mobile payments, cars that drive themselves, a new social network, and they entertain us every holiday with a new Doodle, so naturally, the next step in Google’s inventive journey would be… glasses?
It sounds crazy, but unlike most of the announcements you’ll get from Google during the month of April, the new Google glasses are no April Fool’s Joke. Google’s augmented reality glasses are a real project, coming from the secretive division of Google X. The system seems to be futuristic, but Google is implying that the new glasses will be available within the next few years.
Below are a few pictures of the first prototype of the glasses. Because it’s so early in the design and implementation, we can expect these to change several times before we can actually begin to buy the new google glasses. However, as seen in the picture to the far right, Sergey Brin himself has already started to test out the current design.
Google’s New Glasses – Why?
The obvious question that comes to mind for non-geeky people is WHY. Why do we need glasses that allow us to video chat on a whim, take pictures, call friends, check in to places, make calls, check the weather, see maps and get messages?
Maybe the better question is this: why do we need phones that do all that? The new Google glasses are simply smartphones that you wear—making you a little more connected to the online world. The idea of wearing a smartphone may sound geeky for now, but the next ten years, it might not only be techies and nerds wearing Google’s new glasses (but… no promises).
How the New Google Glasses Work (and would you wear them?)
Google published a video showing us how the new Google glasses work, and it’s intriguing! You can watch the video below, and after you’ve finished, we have one question for you—would you wear the new Google glasses?