Ready for Google’s Big Search Update? Why Should You Care And How To Test Your Website

Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve probably already heard about Google’s recent announcement regarding mobile SEO, and in case you haven’t paid much attention, these are the facts straight from google:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

What that means is that when someone does a search on their phone Google will start giving priority  in search rankings to sites that are mobile-friendly. In other words,  if your site is not mobile-friendly your rankings will plummet, and if your site is already mobile-friendly, this will only help your mobile SEO.

Although this will affect any and all businesses, it is especially critical for local businesses who’s customers typically come from nearby areas,  and if you think this doesn’t apply to you, here is a reality check:

• 50% of all local searches are performed on mobile devices.

• 61% of mobile searches result in phone call
• 59% of mobile searches result in visit
• Only 26% of local businesses have a mobile-friendly website!
 
(Source Web.com, TechCrunch, Google)

The fact is people search for your business services for different reasons, such as looking for the nearest business of your kind, look up business hours, find a map and directions, or just call for information, and you want them to find your business and not your competitors.

How to do a quick check to see if your site is mobile-friendly

A simple way to check if yours passes the test is to type the name of your business on your phone’s browser (not your website url since this will take you to the web page) and when you see it listed on the results, see if it says “mobile friendly” next to it:

mobile SEO

For this example I typed “remodelers fort lauderdale” and the only mobile friendly result  is not even a business but a directory. In fact, I had to do some scrolling to actually find one so I could do the screenshot for this post.  I did similar searches for other local businesses, such as restaurants, plumbers, hair salons, cleaners, vets, among others, and hardly found any with that notation.

One more thing, when you see the results for your page listed, make sure you look at the one for your website, since there will be other results such as your Facebook page, Yelp listing and other Social and Directories results, which will indicate “mobile-friendly” referring to their own sites and not yours.

 

How to make sure your site passes the Google test

The best  way to test if your site passes the test ( in the eyes of Google) is by using Google’s new mobile-friendly testing tool, that tells you plain and simple, whether your site passes or fails the mobile test, it basically tells you that either you are mobile friendly or you are not mobile friendly.

In trying some random URLs found on business cards I had laying on my desk, these were the messages generated:

• Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.
• Not mobile-friendly

Google is also making it very easy to evaluate optimization issues with your mobile site. For example, for this site, I got an “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly,” but in digging a bit deeper I found a very useful list of issues it detected, not all of them critical, but certainly something I’ll have my team looking into to optimize our mobile SEO.  However, for now I just want to bring to your attention how important it is that your site is mobile-friendly by April 21st.

 

Two options to make your site mobile-friendly

You could either redesign your website with a new mobile-friendly, responsive WordPress theme or just have a mobile-friendly version of your current site created.

New responsive design website – If you’ve been thinking that your website needs a facelift or just doesn’t work well, this is your best bet. This will take longer to complete, but in the end you will benefit from improved SEO, added functionality, and better experience for your website users.  If your site is on the WordPress.org platform but isn’t responsive, rebuilding it on a new responsive WordPress theme is relatively simple and quick, depending on how many pages and changes you want to make.

Build a mobile version of your website – This is a quick way to add a mobile-friendly version of your website without touching it, that runs side by side to your existing site.  It is also cost efficient (you can get one for $297 at Action). Keep in mind that although this is a quick fix that will get you compliant with Google’s new standards, you may still need to evaluate if is time for a new responsive design website in the near future.

Our team can do either one of these for you. To build a basic mobile responsive site our fee is $297, and if you want to get started or need a quote for a new one please fill out our contact form and indicate the URL of your website, we will get back to you promptly.

If your website was built by our team in the last 3 years you don’t have anything to worry about. But if it’s an older site or build elsewhere, take a few minutes to test it, and do something if it fails the test, before you lose all the SEO you’ve built over the years.

Go to Google’s Mobile Test Tool page clicking below:

Google Mobile Test Tool

 

7 Home Page Improvements For Higher Conversions

When it comes to website effectiveness, many business owners tend to focus on top page rankings, often overlooking the role their home page plays as a key piece of the puzzle. The thing is that rankings are just one step in getting more clients, an important one for sure, but paying to reach the top of google can be money down the drain if visitors leave your site without taking any kind of action.  At the end of the day,  conversions are what really counts, they are a must to stay in business.

In order to keep close tabs on your site’s visitor’s activity,  a good place to start is your Google Analytics report (which you do have installed on your website, right?).  Take a look at your bounce rate,  how long visitors are staying on your site, which pages they view most, etc. One major red flag is a high bounce rate, it clearly indicates that your home page is not communicating to your visitors from the get-go, and you need to do something about it right away.

Fortunately,  even small changes can increase conversions, so we put together these 7 tips that address common mistakes, to help you evaluate your home page, and take care of the changes you need to make.

Change the Headline

One of the most common reasons for site visitors to leave is a headline that doesn’t give them a reason to read more.  If the headline talks about how great you are, or lists your credentials, change it! Make it all about your audience: their reason for seeking your product and how you have the solution.  Think about your potential clients’ pain points and make that the title. For example, if you are a remodeler, one legitimate fear your audience may have is whether the job will take way longer than promised, or you might even disappear after they give the deposit. So your headline could be: Worried your kitchen remodeling will turn into a never-ending story?

Trim Down Information

One of the most sure-fire ways to drive people to leave your site, is having  just about everything you offer jammed up on the home page. Make sure the information is to the point, is broken down in a logical way, and organized in terms of what your visitors are looking for so they find it quickly.

Use Colors Thougthfuly

The effect of color in sales has been proven in many studies. Use the wrong color and you could be sending the wrong message subliminally. You can check the meaning of the major colors  in this infographic, so be sure that your colors work to support the message you intend to convey.

Use Video and Images Purposely

It is a fact that visual media gets attention, but not just any images and videos will do, so you want to make sure these have a clear purpose in reinforcing the message,  are  professional, and represent your business properly.

Include Clear Calls to Action

Tell your visitor what you want them to do: download a report, call for an appointment, request a quote. Make it clear and very visible. Don’t use the same stock buttons everybody else does. Be sure you test the shape, wording, placement and colors of your calls to action buttons.

Test Everything 

Test each and every element of your home page, as this is where most of your visitors enter your site. One single word change can stimulate visitors to take action. Simply because you like something doesn’t mean it will convert. Test and be ruthless when it comes to conversion optimization. Use A/B tests, as they are less onerous to run and can give you quick results.

Check Performance Regularly

Stay on top of how everything is working on your site. Take some time at least once a month and check the bounce rate, visitor flow, time on the site, etc, so you can monitor results and compare to the conversions you are getting,  and make adjustments.  Make sure your decisions are based on data, and not “gut feelings” or emotion.

If you are not getting as many leads as you thinik you should in terms as the number of vistors, chances sure your home page needs some adjustmens. If you don’t have the time to get into this, get in touch, we are here to help!

 

Photo by Nokhoog Buchachon,  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6 Signs You Need a New Website

We live in an increasingly digital world these days having instant access to information on anything. We expect to find what we’re looking for in a snap, your prospects included. If your website is not quite as functional as your competitor’s, you are at a disadvantage, and you need to pay attention to this. You might not need to replace your current site with a whole new one, but just make some changes to improve it’s functionality, or update the content to make it more functional and get your visitors to take action. But it might be time for a new website all together.

If you have been considering getting a new website developed, but are not quite sure if you really need to make the investment, here are some facts that will help you determine if it’s necessary.

1. You are embarrassed by your website
You know your website doesn’t look great and it doesn’t represent your business the way you want to. Or the information on it is totally outdated. Or you built it yourself and you could never get it to work properly. If this is the case it’s time for a website that will do it’s job.

2. Your website is built entirely with flash or other animation software
It might even have sound effects…These type of sites were state-of-the-art several years ago and came with a high price tag, but they are all show, an outdated one rather, they have no content and hardly rank at all. They also don’t work when accessed though a phone and some times even a tablet. You definitely need a new website if yours is one of these.

3. You built it yourself using a free website builder template
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to free sites that look pretty nice. The drawback is that they show the website’s company logo and they advertise the fact that it’s a free website in order to drive new users for them. This is totally counter-productive, once you manage to get a visitor on your website the last thing you want is for them to be distracted by other companies advertisements. Your website’s job is to promote your business, not someone else’s business.

4. Your website doesn’t work properly
If your site is very slow to load taking more than 3 seconds your visitors will leave, as studies show. Or if you had third party tools installed when it was first built that don’t work anymore, such as a search function or a shopping cart. Or if the navigation is confusing, or there are pages that are not properly linked. These type of issues cause the website to not be functional for visitors who will just leave your site.

5. Your website doesn’t adapt to mobile screens
The amount of people who search for a business from their phone is growing exponentially. Recent studies show that more than 17% of all web traffic comes form mobile devices, and 88% of consumers that search for a type of business on their phone call or visit that business within 24 hours. In addition to that, google search on mobile shows sites that are responsive above those that are not. So not having a responsive site is enough of a reason for redoing your website, especially if you are a local type of business.

6. Your competitors’ sites are a whole lot better
Most people will make a judgement on your business credibility based on your website, in fact a recent study at Stanford University showed that 75% of users admitted to making a judgement on a business credibility based on their website. If compared to yours, your competitor’s site looks brighter, loads faster, is better organized, and provides clear information about products and services, prospective customers will leave your site, if they actually find it, and end up doing business with them. And you might even be better than them but your site doesn’t communicate it.

Your website is your single most important marketing piece, and there is not getting around this. If your site has even just one of these issues is time for a new one if you want to stay in the game. Your website development isn’t a task to take lightly. It not only requires expertise in function and design to build it, but also how to approach your target market and what kind of information needs to be in it to get them to choose to do business with you. Getting a new website requires a great deal of thought, time and even money but this doesn’t necessarily mean braking the bank, since you’ll get your investment back many times over.

If you need help in deciding what kind of website will work best for your business and your budget we can help. Contact us and get started on getting your website to do it’s sales job.

What is a Landing Page ?

Using landing pages as part of a campaign has become quite popular because of their effectiveness as well as how fast and easy they are to set up. A landing page is any page on a website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a single action. It is a page where visitors arrive after clicking on a special offer ad, and they are presented with…

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