Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thank you all so very much for your patronage and support of our company. We love our customers and we love our work. We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a most prosperous New Year!

Cheers!
 – The AutoWeb Technologies Team

83% of Consumers now EXPECT this from your company.

Since April’s recent Algorithm update mandating that web sites be mobile compatible in order to stay atop of the search engines a lot has happened. First, many companies have seen their rankings plummet with Google. Our phones have been busy with “Why is this happening?”. Many times, this is the reason.

Second, a recent survey of consumers by Brightlocal found that 83% of Consumers now Expect Local Businesses to Have Mobile-Friendly Sites. Read this again….83% of Consumers now Expect Local Businesses to Have Mobile-Friendly Sites.

Consumers will no longer deal with the frustration of trying to find and navigate a site that is not mobile compatible. Some additional data from the survey also showed us:

Top types of local businesses they search for on mobile:

  • Restaurants
  • General shopping
  • Doctors & Dentists
  • Clothing shopping
  • Hotels and B&Bs

 

Those are categories where people are really looking, and they’re using their mobile devices while searching. They’re looking for a better mobile experience. We all know it’s very frustrating when you hit a website, and you have to tab around or zoom in to really try to find a phone number. Maybe it’s not clickable to call or it’s an image based text. This makes it very difficult to actually transact or get on the phone with you and move forward.

The Top 5 Things Consumers Are Seeking (In a Mobile Website):

 

  • Physical Address
  • Map/Directions
  • Hours of Operation
  • Phone Number, and
  • Prices (when possible)

 

So those are things you want to make sure that your mobile experience makes it easy to get to.

The top 5 things that will make them abandon a local biz mobile site:

  • No address and/or map feature
  • No phone number
  • The business doesn’t have a local store
  • Bad content, and
  • No pricing info.

 

Again, remember that anyone who is on their mobile device and is looking for your business, the intent is very high. They’re out and about, they’re looking for a place to go either buy or consume something. Make sure your site is easy to use on a smartphone/device.

Not sure if your site is mobile compatible? Visit this link, enter your web address, and find out.

Need help? We’re always here. Contact us today for a free, no-hassle consultation.

To your success!

 – The AutoWeb Technologies Support Team

The Top 3 Things To Think About When Outsourcing Your SEO

When Google’s Algorithm made a very large update in 2013, the SEO landscape changed forever. We saw a complete change in the traditional approach to getting links and building domain authority. This change ultimately brought content marketing into the forefront because we now know that this is the ONLY way to build quality links and domain authority.  If you have the resources to do your content marketing in-house, fantastic. However, more and more companies are outsourcing this need to professional agencies and SEO firms. With that being said, in 2015, there are really three things that you need to think about and understand when you’re looking at outsourcing SEO.

The Top 3 Things To Think About When Outsourcing SEO:

1. Time is Money.

Most companies need to spend their time in the day to day, revenue producing components of their business. Most companies simply do not have the time to stay abreast of the latest trends and what is working in the SEO world. So, when you outsource SEO, you want to make sure that you’ve got thought leaders — people that are very active in the community and in understanding what the trends are.

That group needs to be able to hire and then train a team of people who can actually do the work for you.

Ideally, that team of people can’t be jacks of all trades. You want to have specialization. Writers aren’t good at technical analysis, and people that are good at managing paid search campaigns aren’t always good at running a social media campaign. You want to be able to hire a team of experts that actually have specialization in different areas, and then establish a training program to make sure you build up those skills.

Then, that team needs to be able to project manage and make sure that the services are delivered as expected.

2. Make sure that the team that you are working with is very result-oriented when you are outsourcing SEO in 2015.

Again, there are a lot of people that practice “checkbox SEO”, which is just going through a mechanical list of onsite SEO tagging, offsite content syndication, etc, which is important, but ultimately the end results are what count.  If you don’t have good rankings, you don’t have traffic. You don’t have leads. You want to make sure that your team is looking at and has a very good handle on, “Is the campaign performing?”

Usually, when you’re talking about SEO, you want to make sure that that starts with the rankings and then, of course, leads to traffic and leads. You want to make sure they’re very focused on ROI.

3. It is critical to think about and understand what Google is talking about what they’re looking for with SEO in 2015.

It is very difficult to do good SEO if you aren’t thinking about the end user, making sure that the content you’re creating is actually valuable to a real audience, not just the search engines.

There is always going to be a component where you want to make sure that your content and the activities you’re doing are optimized so the search engine gets maximum value out of it, but you can’t make the search engine the primary audience. It has to be a real person.

That means blog posts that are actually interesting and insightful.

One of the things that we’ve done at AutoWeb Technologies is that we’ve actually aligned a lot of the content that we create with the news. So we’re able to newsjack interesting information and add that to a client’s blog, which, of course, has a much higher value to a potential customer on your website than just recycling the same content over and over again.

The other point there is that you then want to make sure that content gets shared and launched (as we call it in our REAL SEO process) — launched across as many different places on the Web as possible so that you can earn maximum benefit and increase your likelihood of earning links back to your website, which is going to improve your domain authority and improve your rankings.

The bottom line…

If you are considering getting some help with your SEO, you really need a partner who understands all of those things that we just covered….One that really understands return on investment, that has a focus on results, that is using content marketing and PR (which are rapidly merging with SEO) for higher quality content outreach, and earning those links the way they should be, so that they’re building equity in your client’s site.

We’re always here, 24/7/365 and are committed to your success. Click here to get started.

Half of Small Businesses Spend Less than $300 Per Month on Online Marketing

BrightLocal (an online seo analytics tools provider) recently released their annual internet marketing survey of small- to medium-sized businesses. Their survey covered more than 736 small businesses. These are all employers that have less than 50 employees to be qualified as respondents. 

Top Takeaways from the Survey

We see that more small businesses plan to increase their online marketing budgets compared to last year. I know that’s always a question: Is online marketing still an exciting new thing? Is It still a growing space? This data says: yes, it is. Thirty-seven percent say they will be increasing their online marketing budgets this year, which is a 16% increase over the answer to that question at the same time last year. 

More Small and Medium Sized Businesses Sites are Optimized for Mobile

We’ve been blogging about this for over a year (how important this is – See last month’s blog for more details), and, indeed, 66% said their sites are now mobile ready compared to 59% last year. That continues to be a big growth area for small businesses. 

There was also a question about how much businesses are spending on marketing as a whole. It’s interesting; only 16% are spending more than $1,000 a monthEighty-three percent are spending less than $1,000, and, actually, a whopping 70% are spending about $300 a month.  4% don’t do any online marketing at all.

Channels That Are Most Effective

In terms of channels, when people ask, “What is the most effective way of bringing in new business?” Again — this is overall —28% said word-of-mouth, 20% said SEO, 15% local directories, and 10% email marketing. It’s really interesting to see that 28% word-of-mouth, which confirms that you still need a good brand and you still need good customer service, which gets you that word-of-mouth referral.

Top Three Priorities

In terms of priorities — in terms of how businesses are measuring the results of their marketing — 31% said incoming phone calls is the number one priority, 20% said website traffic, and 20% said search rankings in terms of their top three priorities. Again, those phone calls — a live customer on the line [is] still the most important thing, even if you have many page one rankings. People are measuring and looking for phone calls.

In-house versus Outsourcing

In terms of in-house vs. outsourcing – Eighteen percent said they outsource their SEO needs. That’s compared to 15% last year. Sixty-four percent are doing online marketing in-house compared to 68% last year. So a little tick up in people outsourcing — maybe some of the complexities that Google has continued to roll out and the number of different platforms out there — have made people think, “Maybe I need some help doing this.” Only 29% said they understand internet marketing and are doing it themselves compared to 40% last year. In terms of satisfaction with their outsourcer, 75% rated their consultant or agency positively.

The Top Things that SMBs Look for In an Agency

The top three things they’re looking for in an agency are: low cost, and a solid reputationSEO has gotten so much more complex as Google has introduced algorithmic changes. It has pushed us to new and cleaner approaches. People are finding it more complex and wanting to hire an expert. The more that SEO merges with PR activities and press releases and traditional marketing and branding — that makes sense — it’s just a harder thing to do in-house. 

Need help? We’re always here.

Google formally announces mobile friendly ranking factor in latest algorithm update.

This is HUGE news from Google…

Google has made a formal announcement about their mobile algorithm change. April 21st marks the day that Google will be rolling out their mobile-friendly ranking factor into their algorithm. Google said that this new ranking factor will run in real-time, so if you do miss this April 21st deadline, you should see your rankings shortly improve after you fix your site and you have mobile capability.

Many of you have received emails from us recently informing you that Google has contacted us about your site not being mobile compatible. They’re trying to get as many sites mobile friendly as possible before this algorithm update.

This is the FIRST TIME we’ve ever had Google tell the public, “On the 21st, we’re changing our algorithm; here’s what we’re doing.” This is a very big change for people in the SEO world. Google is always a bit ambiguous about  their updates and activity. We suspect that they’re telling everyone openly about this because they need everyone to actively participate and correct any mobile issues. There are no shortcuts here. If your site isn’t mobile compatible, you’re going to suffer.

How Do You Check to Know if You Are Mobile-ready?

Go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ right now and check your site. If having a solid search engine ranking is important, then you must be mobile-friendly at a minimum. That’s not the only consideration, but it’s a big part of it as we’ve blogged about many times before.

How Can You Make Your Site Mobile-friendly?

1. Use a Responsive Website Design

One path is to make the whole website responsive, which basically means that — no matter what screen size you are using — the same page will scale down to the screen. Or there are still people who choose to create a distinct mobile website, either at a different domain or sub-directory that has specific pages just optimized for mobile. We recommend WordPress. It’s clean and responsive if built correctly.

2. Keep Your Website Clean & Simple

You want to make sure your website’s design and content is clean and simple. Complicated components do not translate well in regards to mobile.

3. Prominently Display your Phone Number & Address on Your Site

If you are a business that gets phone calls, you want to make sure that your phone number is prominently placed, typically in the upper part of the site (the header). We always advise clients to put it in the upper right hand corner when possible. When mobile web browsers see a phone number, they typically turn that number into a clickable “click to call” event, which is what you want. Make this EASY for your customers.

4. Provide a Link to Google Maps

The same is true for your address. Most of the mobile browsers will very easily be able to turn your address into a link to a map service, whether it’s Apple Maps or it’s Google Maps, depending on what OS you’re on for your mobile device.

We’re here to help. 20% off all mobile projects/site conversions through the end of April. Don’t delay. Click here to schedule a consultation.