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Google Page Experience, search screen and coffee cup

Google announces a large change for 2021 called the Google Page Experience Update

Google has recently announced a set of changes that will impact page rankings. Why is this big news? Firstly, Google doesn’t often announce when it is changing its algorithms, so when announcements are made we should really take notice. Secondly, we’ve been given 6 months’ notice. This has never happened before in the history of Google announcements, so we should all start to consider the changes we need to make.

What will these changes be?

In summary, from 2021 Google will start to rank your website based on “page experience criteria”. This means that your website will be judged on how users perceive the experience and if Google thinks your site provides a poor user experience, your pages might not perform so well on the search results. As these changes won’t go live until 2021, we have plenty of time to prepare. Google have called this the Google Page Experience update.

What is Page Experience?

Google has provided a detailed developer document on page user experience  but in summary you need to think about the end user experience, and these factors include:

  • Is your site mobile friendly according to Google (check here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly).
  • Page loading times (you can check this information in Google Analytics).
  • Is your site secure – we have always encouraged our clients to move from http websites to https. If you don’t have a secure site, we would encourage you to make this move now (speak to whoever hosts your site). You can check your site security here.
  • The page shouldn’t contain malicious (for example, malware) or deceptive content.
  • Does content jump around the page when it is loading?
  • We should avoid intrusive ads / pop-ups.

What are the metrics?

Page experience is already made up of these existing Google search ranking factors and Google calls them “Core Web Vitals”. These are measured as follows:

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – Measures loading performance. This should ideally be within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • FID (First Input Delay) – Measures interactivity. This should ideally be less than 100 milliseconds.
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift). This measures visual stability and should ideally be less than 0.1.

You can speak to your web developer to ensure your website meets all of these metrics.

What does Google say?

Google has specifically said that page experience is not a ranking score, but rather, each element within has its own weights and rankings in the overall Google ranking algorithm. The good news is that content is still King! This is something we have been telling our clients for 10 years – make sure you have good quality content on your website that people want to read.  Google made it clear that great content will still rank highly in Google Search, despite a poor page experience. “While all of the components of page experience are important, we will rank pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search,” Google wrote.

We’ve got plenty of time to prepare for this update, but if you have any questions or if you would like to know more then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Google Page Experience Update 2020-2021

Making the most of your Google My Business Listing

Every business should have a Google My Business listing! It’s free to set up and when done properly, performs brilliantly in local search.  We’ve been telling our clients for nearly 10 years that they should be making the most of Google My Business and this message is increasingly important in today’s competitive market. In recent months we’ve been seeing Google My Business listings appearing in more searches than websites.  The functionality is changing all of the time, so here are some top tips to make the most of your listing.

Create your listing

Creating a listing couldn’t be easier! You just need a free Google account to get started. Go to Google My Business and follow the steps, completing as many fields as possible: https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/business/

Ensure your listing is complete

Ensure you have a listing that is 100% complete as listings that are incomplete won’t perform well in searches.  Google will tell you what you need to do to get to 100% complete on the “home section”. Ensure you add your business hours and include your keywords in your description.  Add photos under every category and add products or services. Ensure you update the areas in which you work too, which is brilliant for local search. The more information you can add, the better. Make it clear and easy for potential clients to get in touch with you.

Add posts 

Now you can add even more information to your listing by adding posts (read our blog about Google My Business posts).

In order to keep posts against your listing for a period of time, you need to create offers and events.  These can be listed with an end date of up to one year in advance and will sit against your listing until that date.  If you offer a free initial consultation, then set this up as an offer against your listing.

Short name

You can now add a profile short name to your Google My Business listing. Please ensure you do this, otherwise your listing will go back to 85% complete (which will impact your rankings).

Our recommendation is to include your business and geography if possible, separated by underscores (limited to 32 characters).

By adding a short name to your listing, you will also get a link to easily send to your customers for Google reviews (much easier and quicker than the old method).


Get reviews and respond to reviews

It’s really important to ask your clients to review you on Google.  If they take the time to leave a review, please ensure you respond (this also has an impact on how you are ranked).

Keep an eye on Insights

Google My Business Insights will show you how well your listing is performing for you.  Not only will it show you the number of searches, it will also show you the search terms people have used to find your business, along with how much traffic your listing is driving to your website.

Continue to revisit your Google My Business listing as new functionality is being added all of the time.  Keep your listing up-to-date and add fresh content (just like any other social media platform). If you need any help setting up a listing or if you have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Google’s June 2019 Core Update and what it means for your website

The 2nd June 2019 will be marked as an important day in Google Updates’ history because for the first time ever, Google announced the roll-out of a major core algorithm change IN ADVANCE!

In short this means we should all take notice!

The roll out took 5 days in total from the 3rd June – 8th June. Here’s what we know:

There has been a lot of discussion about Google’s June 2019 Core Update on social media, with lots of speculation as to what the changes actually mean for website owners. Some companies have already reported large drops in website traffic and falling off the search results.  CCN’s traffic from Google searches dropped more than 71% on mobile overnight, causing the company to shut down temporarily, blaming Google’s Core Update as the reason (N.B. they have since released a statement to say they are trying to work things out with the help of Google and SEO experts) . The Daily Mail has also reported a huge loss in website traffic. You can read more here.

Something to bear in mind is that Google constantly updates their algorithms, often multiple times per day. The fact that Google made the announcement prior to the update suggests that the changes are big. However, nobody knows for sure exactly what these changes are yet and we will need to wait over the coming weeks to see how this pans out. One of the updates is that Google will stop returning multiple listings for most search results (apart from exceptional circumstances). This is due to Google’s domain diversity update which was rolled out between the 2nd-4th June 2019. You can read more about this update here.

Our advice for now is to continue to use use good practices and let’s monitor what changes roll out over the coming weeks. We are encouraging our clients to:

  • Keep an eye on Google Analytics data to measure any drop in traffic.
  • Keep an eye on keyword positioning in search results.
  • Use Google’s Search Console to track the keywords people are using to visit a website.
  • Continue to make the most of Google My Business listings, as these continue to perform brilliantly for local search.

If you have any questions or if you are concerned about your website’s performance, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

June 2019 Core Update

Introducing our experts in Google Ads

We’re often asked by our clients what do we think about Google Adwords. We think they are brilliant if you are trying to reach a wider audience and want to get ahead of your competition on Google. Organic SEO (the natural listings that we like to work on with our clients) and Google Ads should work together and complement each other to drive more traffic to the right pages of your website.

We are therefore delighted to announce that we have teamed up with Dominic Renshaw and the team at Ad-Extra, who are now working as our preferred partner for all things Google Ads!

Google Ads Expert Reading BerkshireWe were trained on Google Ads by Dominic, so we have a good basic understanding and we were really impressed with Dominic’s knowledge and experience.

We have seen first hand the results that can be achieved through Google Ads managed by Dominic’s team, so we’re excited to be working together.

 

If you answer “yes” to any of the below questions, a Google Ads’ campaign could be for you.

  • Do you want to turn Google into a revenue stream for your business?
  • Do you want to appear at the top in searches by prospects who are actively searching for your service?
  • Are you more interested in targeted Google Ads marketing that generates results, rather than broad marketing with no provable income?
  • Do you want to remarket your services to customers who have visited your website, but not bought from you yet?
  • Would you like to know exactly how your website and ads are performing on Google, so that you can maximise your investment?

If you are looking for somebody to set up and run ongoing Google Ads’ campaigns, we would be you in the very capable hands of our friends at Ad-Extra.  Interested to find out more? We’d love to put you in touch!

Google Ads Support Berkshire

9 tips to improve your Google rankings in 2019

To celebrate our 9th anniversary of being in business here are 9 tips to help you to improve your SEO / Google rankings in 2019:

  1. Firstly consider which keyword phrases you would like your business to be found for and RESEARCH. Keyword phrases are not just for your website! They should be used on your LinkedIn profile, your blogs and your social media posts. We recommend using Google’s Keyword Planner tool.
  2. When it comes to your website, your keywords need to be in the copy of your site and the code behind your site. Content continues to be king and Google likes fresh content which showcases what you do and your areas of expertise. Blogging is a great way to achieve this.
  3. Your site must be mobile friendly to help your Google rankings. Mobile friendly sites have been big news for a while now and of course this will continue to be the case for 2019. Can users click on your telephone number to call you? Is your site interactive? Also consider the end user experience on your website.  Start by checking that your website passes Google’s mobile friendly test: search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.
  4. Is your site secure? We also recommend that all sites should be secure (using https rather than http) as Google likes and trusts secure sites. You can arrange this with your hosting company.
  5. Site speed will continue to be an important factor in Google rankings for 2019. In simple terms, pages that load quickly are going to be a must-have in the future, again considering the end user experience on your site. You can check your site speed in Google Analytics.
  6. Consider optimising for voice search. “50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020” according to com score. As it becomes the norm for our children to ask Siri and Alexa all varieties of questions, voice search will continue to grow in 2019.  So think about providing answers to specific questions, with your business audience in mind. Think about the problem and provide a solution e.g. “How to set up an autoreply on Facebook Messenger”.
  7. Ensure your business is on Google My Business. Every business owner should have a Google My Business listing. It’s free and appears at the top of the page for local search which is amazing for your Google rankings. Google My Business functionality continues to grow on a regular basis and this is one to watch in 2019.
  8. It’s important to ensure your brand is recognised by Google which can be achieved through consistent content. Online branding is a way of promoting your website and its content (including blogs) on various platforms such as social media to gain more audience attraction.  Once the audience starts to know more about your brand, if they are able to relate to your website they will share it with their contacts which will help your Google rankings.
  9. Lastly, measure! Ensure you are measuring all of your efforts by making the most of the tracking tools on your social media platforms (e.g. Facebook Insights). Our favourite tracking tool is Google Analytics and this is a must-have for every website owner. Again it is free and only takes a couple of minutes to install on your site.

We hope you enjoyed our 9 tips to help you improve your Google rankings. You can read our full blog on SEO trends and tips for 2019 here.Google rankings

10 SEO Trends and Tips for 2019

In the ever changing world of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), we wanted to share some SEO trends and tips to consider if you are thinking about your website and Google rankings in 2019.

1. Content continues to be king!

Since we launched One To Three Marketing Solutions in 2010, we’ve been telling our clients about the importance of good quality content. If you share information that your clients want to know about they will come to you for advice and guidance. They are also more likely to link to your website from their own websites and social media platforms.

Create content that your readers want to see and stay consistent. Google likes fresh content so consider blogging about your industry and sharing hints and tips (much like this blog post). We think that video content will become even bigger in 2019. Currently 55% of people watch videos online every day. Did you know that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text? So make sure video marketing is part of your marketing mix in 2019.

When blogging and writing descriptions for your videos, remember to think about the keywords you want to be found for. Include these keywords in the copy of your website and remember to update the code behind your site too.  Ensure you update the meta title and meta description PER blog post. There is often debate about the optimum length of meta data, as Google’s search displays keep changing.  I recommend that the meta title should be between 60-75 characters and the meta description should be no longer than 156 characters (including spaces and punctuation). Having the keywords in the title and the first paragraph will also help your case with SEO. We always recommend creating websites in WordPress using the Yoast SEO plugin which offers a traffic light system to help you improve your SEO and takes you through a step-by-step guide per page of your website.

If you generate good, interesting, relevant content, people will link back to your site and backlinks will continue to play a role in SEO trends in 2019.  The best advice here is to grow your links organically.

2. Branding

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; if content is king then engagement is queen! Encourage debate, ask questions and allow your audience to engage with your posts.

It’s important to ensure your brand is recognised by Google which can be achieved through consistent content. Branding is a way of promoting your website and its content (including blogs) on various platforms such as social media to gain more audience attraction.  Once the audience starts to know more about your brand, if they are able to relate to your website they will share it with their contacts.

Once your online brand starts to build, Google will begin to notice your presence and will give results for the queries related to your niche.  If any content on your website is popular across social media then it is possible that Google will index that page much faster in comparison to other pages. Online branding is one to watch out for in 2019 in SEO trends and Google rankings!

3. Optimising for voice search


“50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020” according to com score.

As it becomes the norm for our children to ask Siri and Alexa all varieties of questions, voice search will continue to grow in 2019.  So think about providing answers to specific questions, with your business audience in mind.

Create a piece of content that directly answers a question e.g. “How do I share a post from one Facebook business page to another business page?” Make sure to include the question itself, and a direct answer to it. This is all about content again and providing answers to questions that may attract a new audience.

4. Featured Snippets / Quick Answers

A featured snippet — also known as a “rich answer” or “direct answer” or “quick answer” — is a summary answer to a searcher’s question that Google shows in a special block at the top of the page. It usually comes with a link back to your site, which has great traffic-attracting potential.

SEO trends and tips 2019To try and rank for this rich snippet box, you need to identify queries and the intent behind your user’s search queries when performing your keyword research. You can do this through ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘why’ search terms. You should then aim to directly answer these within your content, simply and easily. A great way to do this is through a Q&A page on your website.  You can provide the user with a quick answer, rather than scrolling through lengthy articles. An example of this can be seen here, with an article we shared on LinkedIn on, “How to set up an autoreply on Facebook messenger”.

5. Longtail keywords

With the increase in voice searches, there will be more of a need to focus on on more long-tail search keywords and a natural language that matches the user’s conversational tone. Longtail keywords are basically a phrase rather than a single keyword. If I’m searching for “shoes” I’m just browsing. If I’m searching for “Where can I buy black patent shoes with a kitten heel, size 5?” this is a longtail keyword phrase and I’m ready to make a purchase.

I always tell our clients it is better to attract fewer visitors to your website who are likely to convert into customers, than thousands of visitors who only spend a few seconds on the site.

Think about more specific keyword searches, related to you and your business to attract the right kind of visitors to your site. If you only want to work in a certain area or are offering events or training courses in a certain place, then geographic keywords are a must.

6. Site Speed 


Speed will continue to be an important factor in 2019. Accelerated Mobile Pages project (AMP) was a Google initiative to build a better, more user friendly mobile web by introducing a new “standard” for building web content for mobile devices. Accelerated Mobile Pages load instantly and improve the end user experience. Ever since its launch in search results in February 2016, AMP has been in the SEO news. In simple terms, pages that load quickly are going to be a must-have in the future. You can check your site speed in Google Analytics.

7. Mobile Friendly

Mobile friendly sites have been big news for a while now (see my blog post from 2015) and of course this will continue to be the case for 2019. As more and more users access websites from their smart phones or tablets, the importance of mobile friendly websites has never been more important. Can users click on your telephone number to call you? Is your site interactive?  Think mobile friendly and speed for your websites in 2019. We also recommend that all sites should be secure (using https rather than http) as Google likes and trusts secure sites.

Doe your website pass Google’s mobile friendly test? www.search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.

If not, Google will tell you what you need to do to fix things.

8. Improved User Interface 


The end user experience continues to be of upmost importance. Encourage your users to stay on your site for longer and reduce your bounce rate. The trick is once you capture an audience, to keep them on the site, so if you are attracting your audience through your blog, ensure you have links to other relevant pages to your website from your blog. Is your site interactive and responsive? Improved User Interface and user needs are going to continue their importance throughout 2019.

Remember to use Google Analytics to track your bounce rate and the time spent on your site. You can also use Google Analytics to work out which pages of your site are turning your clients off and where they are leaving your site. You should continually monitor the end user experience of visitors on your website.

9. Make the most of Google’s free tools


Talking of Google Analytics, we tell all of our client to ensure they are making the most of all of the free Google tools on offer.

Use Google Analytics to track the performance of your website and find out about visitor information: www.google.co.uk/analytics.

Use Google’s Webmaster Tools to verify your site with Google, submit your sitemap and check on any problems on the site: www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools.

Use Google’s free keyword tool when planning which keywords are important for your website.

Every local business should have a Google My Business listing, which leads me nicely onto:

10. Relevance of local search


Everybody who has worked with me will know the importance I place on local search, and as more and more websites are flooding the Internet and with the increase in mobile sites, I think this will be an area of growing importance in 2019. Think about the areas where your clients are based and where you want to work and include these geographic areas in your keywords and throughout your website.

SEO Trends and Tips 2019Also remember the importance of an up-to-date Google My Business listing. Reviews are really important and encourage your clients to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing and be sure to reply to these reviews.  You can now add posts to Google My Business listings and as Google collects more and more data on each listing, I believe this is an area to watch in 2019.  You can read my blog here. You can feature on the first page of local searches on Google with a Google My Business listing, without working on your website at all. Google My Business is adding new functionality all of the time and you can now add short videos to your listing too. Ensure you include your keywords in your business description too.

If you have any questions or have anything to add to this post, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you believe there is there anything else that will rock the SEO world in 2019? Are there any other SEO trends or tips you’d like to share?

 

Google My Business – Change in Service Areas

Google My Business is constantly changing and evolving and we’d like to update you with the latest changes.  If you’ve had multiple listings in the past, you can now manage these under one account as you can now select different areas where your business works.  This can be found under the info tab on the left hand side and then select “add service area”.   You can now add multiple areas by postcode or city.  The old “service area” where you could enter a radius is no longer available.  If you’ve already updated the service area field in the past and entered that you work with clients within a certain mile radius, you can keep this, but you can no longer edit it.

This is great for businesses that have one central address but work in lots of different areas such as a yoga teacher.  However, if you have multiple locations such as several beauty salons, we would still recommend keeping these separate listings, as you can add events to each listing and your customers can leave reviews for the relevant listing. Yes, it means you are still updating multiple listings, but you can post information relevant to each separate location.  Of course, the choice is entirely up to you, so if you’d prefer to have one listing and list your various locations, that is now an option in Google My Business.

You can also add a start date to your business listing.  This is great for new companies that are about to launch, as you can add a start date to let people know when the business will be open. While you are in the info tab, please ensure you’ve updated your business description and remember to include your keywords here.

However you decide to use these changes in Google My Business, the most important thing is that you have a listing and that you update it, encourage client reviews and ensure that the listing is completed as much as possible. Remember to take a look at your Insights too as you can now see which keywords people are using to find your business.  We love to analyse this data!  We’ve always encouraged all of our clients to have a Google My Business listing as it’s free and it’s BRILLIANT for appearing in local searches. If you have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

Google My Business – The place to be!

We’ve been advising our clients for years to create a free Google My Business listing (previously known as Google Maps and Google Places).  Why?  Because you can appear on the first page of Google for local searches, without doing any work to your website whatsoever!  It is also a fantastic free tool that helps you to raise your profile online. Now you can add even more information to your listing by adding posts <read our blog about Google My Business posts>.  In this blog we’d like to share the importance of collecting reviews against your Google My Business listing and how to do this easily.

It takes just a few minutes to create a listing.  Go to https://www.google.co.uk/business/go/ and follow the step-by-step instructions.  Please ensure that your listing is 100% complete and that you include some photos.  Reviews are also really important as they will help to raise your profile and they will also tell other potential clients what to expect from your services.

It’s even easier to ask your clients for a review, simply send them a shortened link, straight through to your listing.  Here’s how:

** Update Sept 2019 – Please note the below steps can be overridden by creating a short name for your Google My Business listing, which in turn generates a link which you can send to your clients for a review e.g. https://g.page/OneToThree_Marketing_Berkshire/review. **

To create a link, you’ll need to get the Place ID for your business. To get your Place ID:

  1. Go to the Google Places API.
  2. Enter your business information in the “Enter a location” field at the top of the map.
  3. Click your business name in the list that appears.
  4. Your Place ID will appear on the map, beneath your business name.

Add your Place ID to the following URL to create your link:

  • https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=<place_id>

Using our listing as an example, the URL with the Place ID added would be:

Now just shorten this URL, so you can easily send this out to clients. Hootsuite has a URL shortening tool built in which is very handy. You can also use the websites tinyurl.com and bit.ly for free. The above link, now becomes: http://ow.ly/KcL930fQYtv. Once you have reviews, ensure you respond to each review (whether it’s good or bad).  If you want to remove a review, the best thing to do is ask the person who wrote the review to remove it.  You can now click on this link and write a review for One to Three Marketing Solutions!

As Google collects more and more information on Google My Business listings, we really think this is one to watch for 2018.  So don’t miss out!  Ensure you have a listing, make it as complete as possible and start asking for reviews. Please note that you need to have a Google account in order to add reviews.

 

 

How to add a post to your Google My Business listing

We always recommend that all local businesses should have a Google My Business listing (sometimes referred to as Google Places or Google Maps).

Some new functionality has just been added where you can now add a post to your listing.  This is another place to share content, and being Google we believe it could be helpful for SEO too.

Each post can be up to 300 words and you can add a link and a photo.  This is a perfect place to add any events too.

Simply login to your Google My Business listing at https://www.google.co.uk/business/. Then you will have the option to add a post:

Add a photo (it must be a minimum of 344 pixels wide and 344 pixels high).

You can add a link to your post by selecting “Add a button”.

You can also edit and delete any posts.  The post appears immediately against your Google My Business listing.  We say go for it, what have you got to lose?

It’s worth noting that these posts only last 7 days (as of July 2017).  Event posts are slightly different, in that they will last until the event date and be removed thereafter.

Are you making the most of Google’s free tools?

I recently presented at a networking event and I shared a number of Google’s free tools that some people just aren’t aware of. Most people recognise that Google has the largest share of the search engine market (even my children use the term “just Google it”), but many people don’t have a Google account, let alone use some of the great tools Google has to offer.

Google has had a huge impact on the digital marketing world and it’s something that touches just about every channel us marketers use on a daily basis.  In order to make the most of the tools below, you’ll need to get a free Google account – www.google.co.uk. You can sign up on the top right hand side of the screen and it only takes a few seconds.

Here are some of my favourite free tools from Google:

Google Analyticsgoogle.co.uk/analytics
This is my favourite tool! I tell all business owners to sign up to Google Analytics. It’s quick and easy to install on any website. It will then give you all of the information you’ll ever need to know about your website traffic – how your visitors are reaching your site, where they are coming from and more importantly the quality of this data. There’s no point in having a lovely website if you have no idea if your potential customers are accessing it. Google Analytics can measure pretty much all of your digital marketing activity from email campaigns to social media.

Google Alertsgoogle.co.uk/alerts
You can type in any word relevant to your business and Google will give you a list of the latest press articles and blogs on that subject – perfect for sharing on your social media channels. I use this tool every week. You can even create alerts to send straight to your inbox on a daily or weekly basis.

Webmaster Toolsgoogle.co.uk/webmastertools
This is where you can check the overall health of your site, find out which keywords people are using to find your site and even check the mobile compatability of your website.

Google Placesgoogle.co.uk/places
Here you can add the physical location of your business, including your website and telephone number. Google Places listings often appear on the first page of Google, right under the Ads on geographic searches.

Google Keyword Tooladwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
Want to know what people are actually searching for in Google each month and which keywords you should be using? This tool can you help you plan your keywords for each page of your website and even lets you know how competitive each search is.

Google+plus.google.com
Google’s social media platform with over 300 million monthly active users.  Adding content here will help your content get noticed and indexed by Google’s searches.

Bloggergoogle.co.uk/blogger
Google’s free blogging tool which is easy and intuitive to use, again giving you the opportunity to submit fresh and new content to Google.

If you have any questions on any of these free tools or would like to find out more, just get in touch.

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