For Toronto Small Business Owners – Google Changes and Impact on Web Site Performance
August 2nd, 2012
If you are a Toronto small business owner there are issues that can impact the effectiveness of your Web Presence as a lead generator for your business. I have a little mantra that I apply to websites: Capture – Convince – Convert:
Capture: Bring traffic to your site from search engines, social media and ad campaigns
Convince: Encourage the visitor to stay on your site with quality content
Convert: Provide some kind of Call-To-Action that the visitor takes so that you have at least a name and and email so you can begin building a relationship.
Today I’m going to focus on the “Capture” element. As you know, Google continues to be the top way to search for information, with over 70% market share. Their search algorithm (Google’s highly secret application that translates what you type into the search box into a list of clickable search results) contains over 400 “signals” (says Google) to help determine how your website will rank relative to your competitors for a particular search term.
Over the last year Google has been under pressure on several different fronts, the two most notable being:
1) Search Results. Users were complaining that there were a lot of junk sites showing up in search results – poorly written articles, texts that were so packed with keywords so has to make them “reader-unfriendly”. As Google depends on people using their search engine to be an audience for Adwords, Google had to do something to improve search results.
2) Social Media. Last year was the first time people were spending more time on Facebook than on Google properties. As well, Facebook is a “walled garden” i.e. Google can’t index and rank Facebook content and is therefore missing out on measuring user behaviour inside the world’s largest social media site (900 million users).
Google has responded to these pressures by carrying out a number of adjustments to their algorithm that:
devalues certain types of links that point to your website
places greater weight on recently posted content
places greater weight on the contextual page content and less on the traditional on-page SEO elements.
places greater weight on links coming from social media platforms.
What this means to you and your website:
Blogging on your website is important. Regular postings containing keywords relevant to your business will satisfy both the relevancy and current “signals” for search engines in addition to keep past visitors interested and coming back for more. Make sure you categorize and tag each post using your proven keywords.
Claim your business on Google + Local. Google has merged Google Places (their local search/map service) with Google+ (their social media platform). Cross-linking between Google+ and your website is a good thing.
Getting links from other social media to your site. Satisfies Google’s new emphasis on social media.
Your Next Steps
Most professionals simply do not have the time to keep up with current SEO practices or where their website ranks and what they can do about it. Also, effective blogging on a regular basis is a serious time commitment and often one of the first things to fall off your “to do” list.
Over 80% research the Internet first prior to making a decision.
If you’d like to have a no-obligation 15 minute chat and “health check” of your website and your rankings, please contact me
While world-wide car manufacturers don’t fit the profile of most Toronto small business (especially when it comes to social media marketing resources), I found this article instructive in showing several ways how investing time in social media actually has business payback:
Kia redesigned the seats for their Optima SX sedan after noticing complaints from consumers and automotive writers on the Internet.
Ford invites consumers to submit their vehicle improvement ideas directly to the automaker via a website called thefordstory.com.
Nissan (with three Twitter streams and Facebook pages for each of its vehicle brands) social media is becoming the de facto process to receive and resolve customer-service issues.
As small business owners bravely move into social media, creating content on blogs and social networks like Facebook and Linked In, it’s clear that search engines are promoting optimized videos, especially Google (who owns YouTube) – Videos can help you leapfrog up the Google Search Rankings. So in the spirit of walking the talk, here’s the first in a series of educational videos to help Turn Your Website into a Sales Rep.
Here’s an article from the Toronto Globe and Mail that supports the business maxim “easier to maintain an client than find a new one”.
Ryan Caligiuri, a Winnipeg-based marketing specialist, references several good examples of what to do and what not to do, plus shares an instance of effective social media marketing that works for one small business.
Restaurants Use Social Media to Reach Out to Customers
January 20th, 2011
Restaurants and bars count on repeat business, with customers increasingly expecting more than service, food and drinks. They want to be engaged as well, and major food restaurant chains are turning to location-based social media to help keep customers happy and loyal.
Internet users now spend more time on Facebook than Google
September 13th, 2010
Associated Press: U.S. Web surfers are spending more time on Facebook than searching with Google
According to new data from researchers at comScore Inc., people spent a total of 41.1 million minutes on Facebook — or about 9.9 per cent of their Web-surfing minutes for the month, surpassing the 39.8 million minutes, or 9.6 per cent, people spent on all Google sites combined, including YouTube and Gmail e-mail.
U.S. Web users spent 37.7 million minutes on Yahoo sites, or 9.1 per cent of their time, putting Yahoo third in terms of time spent browsing.
In August 2009, U.S. web surfers spent about five per cent of their online time on both Facebook and Google and almost 12 per cent on Yahoo.
ComScore bases its findings on a combination of reports from a panel of two million users around the world and data from websites’ servers.
The time spent posting photos, updating status messages and scrolling through news from friends has at least grown to rival just about everything else people do online.
TD Small Business Happiness Index reveals benefits of business ownership
TORONTO, July 26 /CNW/ – Ninety-eight per cent of Toronto business owners say owning their own business gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that they are a happy group:
Two-thirds would describe themselves as ‘very happy’
87% say they are happier owning and running their own business.
These are findings from the TD Small Business Happiness Index, which examined the attitudes and behaviours of North American small business owners in a dozen urban centres.