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Why Mobile Search Matters for your Website

Why Mobile Search Matters for your Website

Two-thirds of Americans now own and regularly use smartphones, and nearly three-quarters of those adults search for local information on their phones before visiting local businesses. This data points to a major shift in the way consumers get online and make choices about where to take their business. If you want to be seen online, you must start taking advantage of the opportunities mobile offers.

Are You Mobile Use Friendly?

Unfortunately, many websites aren’t doing just that. If you own or operate a website that doesn’t display properly on mobile. You might actually be penalized in search engine results. Google announced in June of 2014 that it would start adjusting search result rankings based on how well a website handles mobile visitors. For instance, 404 pages, videos that won’t play, improperly-sized images, and hard-to-read text could all negatively affect a site’s rankings.

Have You Thought About Your Icon?

Another telling move is the addition of “not-mobile-friendly” icons to some mobile search results. The icon, showing a smartphone with a slash through it, could potentially discourage mobile searchers from visiting a site. These decisions clearly show Google’s philosophy on the matter of mobile search: If your website can’t handle mobile visitors, Google isn’t going to send them to you.

That means it’s vital for your site to start handling mobile well. If you aren’t set up for mobile yet, how do you get started?

Two Ways to Handle Mobile

Website owners have two real ways to handle mobile visitors: responsive websites, and dedicated mobile sites. Each solution has its advantages and disadvantages. So you’ll need to decide which one is right for you depending on your goals and preferences. We’ll take a look at each type of site to help you make the choice.

Option 1: Responsive Web Design

Many business owners today are solving the mobile question with responsive websites. These sites handle mobile in an interesting way. Rather than directing users to a separate site, they simply resize the entire website to fit the display of the device the visitor is using. That means that a visitor to your site using a laptop would see a “full-size” version of the site. While a mobile visitor would see a version that is optimized to fit their smaller screen.

With a responsive website, the overall design of your website stays the same, but individual elements (such as images, text, and menu bars) change to suit the device. This has a number of advantages over other solutions, but it can also pose some technical challenges.

Advantages of Responsive Web Design:

  • Only One Site – The biggest advantage of a responsive website is that it allows you to keep the same site across all devices. This makes it easier to make changes to your site, keep track of all your content and pages, and ensure a consistent experience for your visitors.
  • Only One URL – Your site’s web address is important for both search engine rankings and for online name recognition. Using a responsive design allows you to keep the same URL across all devices, making it easier for visitors to know where they are online.
  • Protection from Bounces – In web design speak, a page’s “bounce rate” is the percentage of visitors who come to one page on the site and then leave without going anywhere else. Mobile sites often have a high bounce rate, since they offer a “stripped-down” experience with less design and content. A responsive website avoids that problem by offering all users the same content, regardless of platform.
  • Lower Costs – Because you only have to operate a single website, you keep your costs down. One website is cheaper to run than two.

Disadvantages of Responsive Web Design:

  • Responsive Design Doesn’t Always Respond – While the idea of responsive design is to offer a unified, easy-to-use experience for all users, sometimes your site may actually pose challenges you didn’t intend. Sites that are improperly optimized for mobile can drive off mobile users who want a simple, clean experience.
  • Mobile Has Different Needs – Smaller screen sizes and touch-based interfaces mean you may have to put emphasis on different parts of the same page to achieve conversions from both desktop and mobile. This can be complicated unless you’re an experienced web designer.
  • Technical Difficulties – Older computers or browsers may not always render responsive sites correctly. Plus, new phones or browser apps may also have challenges with a mobile site that hasn’t been updated regularly.

Option 2: Dedicated Mobile Site

Responsive web design isn’t for everyone. Many site owners prefer the relative safety of a dedicated mobile site. While there are some difficulties to operating a mobile site alongside a desktop version, mobile sites also offer a number of advantages that site owners appreciate.

The chief draw of mobile sites is that they are designed from the beginning for display on a mobile screen. This ensures the content, interface, and design are consistent and optimized for mobile visitors. Mobile sites also handle slower internet connections better than responsive sites, offering quick load times to visitors on cellular connections. This is important for visitors. Google actually uses load times as a factor in its search engine rankings.

Advantages of Dedicated Mobile Sites:

  • Better User Interface – By offering a site designed specifically for mobile users, you ensure that the interface and design of the site handles mobile well. This is a big advantage over many responsive sites that try to shoehorn a desktop experience onto mobile.
  • Speed – Mobile websites often have less elements (pictures, videos, advertisements) that take time to load over cellular connections. This will make your site load faster on mobile devices, and it will also save your visitors from using all of their data allotment on loading your site.

Disadvantages of Dedicated Mobile Sites:

  • Cost – Since you have to design, implement, and manage two websites, it’s understandable that a dedicated site costs more than a responsive one. However, dedicated sites don’t cost as much as you’d think to develop. So this isn’t a huge negative.
  • Technical Challenges – If users on mobile devices try to visit your desktop page, you’ll need to automatically redirect them to the mobile site. This can present some challenges. Especially if you have a large or complicated site structure.
  • Two Sites to Run – With a responsive website, any change you make is automatically applied to the entire site. Dedicated mobile sites are separate from their desktop counterparts. Meaning any change you make to one, you’ll have to make to the other too.
  • Two URLs – Mobile sites have a different URL than desktop sites. This can make your site a little harder to market. Though with automatic redirects its not as challenging as it used to be.

What About Apps?

Many companies have turned to a third solution to the mobile problem: mobile apps that take the place of the mobile website entirely. Often you’ll be prompted to download and install the mobile app when you visit one of these sites. It’s easy to see why owners and designers like apps. They’re not hard to design. They ensure a consistent mobile experience. They can also collect and send back more customer data than a website can. However, apps aren’t a true mobile site solution.

Is Creating An App The Cure All?

When you create an app for mobile users, the app doesn’t take the place of your website. Mobile users that don’t want to download an app will still use your site, and if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re back to square one. Plus, Google and other search engines don’t look at apps when deciding search engine rankings. They aren’t going to rank content that can only be found in an app. You could design the best app in the world put the best content on it, and you’d still lose out on rankings because your actual website doesn’t handle mobile visitors well.

Do Apps Work On All Devices?

Unfortunately apps don’t all work on all devices. You’ll need to develop separate apps for Apple, Android, and Windows Phone devices – a costly proposition. When you consider the costs of maintaining and updating apps across all platforms and devices (each one with its own software update schedule and conflicting requirements), you can see that apps are not a great solution for the vast majority of business owners.

Will You Be Left Behind?

The Internet is only going to become more and more mobile-centric in the coming years. If you want to perform well online and get business out of your website, you need to take advantage of the mobile space. Otherwise, you’ll be left behind.

To learn more about generating conversions and leads from your website, contact us today at (405) 605-8218. We’re a local Oklahoma City Internet marketing firm. We can help you on the path to online success.

Taking Control of Your Local SEO Presence Online

Taking Control of Your Local SEO Presence Online

When most businesses think about search engine optimization, their thinking revolves around big concepts: link building, page structure, content with strong keywords. And of course, these areas of focus can lead to big gains in organic search engine rankings. But unless you’re a huge business with a national client base, organic search results shouldn’t be your only concern. You also need to think about your local SEO presence – getting noticed within your city or local area. So lets dive into learn how you can take control of your local SEO presence online.

 

Local SEO

So what does it mean to take control of your local SEO presence? Local SEO is similar in many ways to SEO as a whole. A good bit of it revolves around creating strong content, having a well-organized page, and getting good links from other respectable websites. But beyond that, local SEO adds several additional criteria that will get you more attention within your specific city.

A few of the most important pieces of taking control of your local SEO presence, beyond content creation and link building, are given below.

Creating a Business Listing

If your business isn’t visible on Google Maps or Bing Maps, Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, or other sites with a location-based component. You’re never going to get more visibility within your target market. Lucky for you, every business with a physical address is able to claim a free listing on Google Maps, and from there it’s a simple matter of building profiles and making sure your business information – address, phone number, website – matches across sites. This is one of the biggest and easiest step in taking control of your local SEO presence.

Get Local Citations

Once you have your business listed, you need to get it cited. A citation is kind of like a mention; it doesn’t have to be a link back to your site. Instead, it just has to include information like your business’s name and address, phone number, or other identifying details. If you can get your business listed on local directory sites like YellowPages.com or a local chamber of commerce website, those listings will count as citations that increase your overall local visibility.

Reviews, Shares, and Online Buzz

Another way you can take advantage of your Google My Business page, Yelp listing, or Bing Places for Business page is by having satisfied customers post reviews to your pages. If your customers seem reasonably happy, ask them to write a review for you when you’re near to finishing your work with them. Or for restaurants and services, place your website addresses prominently in your location, so people can log on with their phones or tablets and write a quick review as they sip their coffee.

Double-Check Your Data

Unbeknownst to many website operators, Google and other search engines actually penalize your local listing if the information on your website doesn’t match that on your local listing pages. Make sure your website has your address, phone number, city and state, and any other identifying information listed in the same format across every page (and as text, not an image file). Then, make sure that the information there is the same as it is on Google or Bing. If it doesn’t match, your rank will go down.

Post!

One of the best ways to make your local listing more visible is by actually using it. Post links to your blogs or photos, publish updates, and generally stay active with your Google My Business page and social media accounts. If you routinely post quality content, search engines will take notice and boost your rank accordingly. To learn more about Google My Business is you can click here.

How RankMonsters Can Help With Your Local SEO Presence

There are other ways to achieve local SEO success, but these methods are some of the most tested and trustworthy ways to gain exposure and take control of your local SEO presence. Of course, if you need more help getting your business noticed online, you can always talk to us at RankMonsters for advice Just give us a call at 405.605.8218.

Google’s Knowledge Graph Carousel Changes the Look of Local Search

Google’s Knowledge Graph Carousel Changes the Look of Local Search

Last week, Google began to roll out a new feature for desktop searchers. When you search for a local business or feature, such as restaurants, bars, parks, or pools, you’ll see a “carousel” of results in a black bar at the top of the page. And while these features have been available to some mobile users since December, their presence on desktops is a much bigger deal. These results, complete with name, address, and often a picture, are poised to shake up the game of local searches for businesses everywhere. So lets learn more about how Google’s Knowledge Graph Carousel changes the look of local search.

 

 

How Does Google’s Knowledge Graph Carousel Affect My Business? 

So what does this have to do with you and your business? Well, it’s pretty clear that having your business show up in the carousel results is a good promotional tool – it makes you immediately visible to a wide range of local searches, and puts your name at the top of the search results. Add in the factor of novelty – the carousel is a new and eye-catching feature, and people will pay attention to it – and you can see why being a part of those results could be a big boon to your brand.

Getting My Business On Google’s Carousel

Of course that leads to the next question – how can you ensure that your business shows up in the carousel? First off, you need to be listed in Google Places. If you don’t have a places listing, your business won’t show, no matter what. Go to the Google Places signup page to complete this step, if you haven’t already.

Is Google My Business Profile Complete?

Beyond that, you want to make sure that your Google Places profile is as complete as possible. Add photos of your business, links to your social accounts, and as much profile information as you can. Also encourage your customers to review your business online (perhaps by offering incentives for reviews!). All of these steps will help your business show up more in the carousel results.

How Is Your Site Doing?

And beside your Google account itself, you also want to make sure your website ranks high in organic search results. Managing your page well and building strong links from other local sites can help dramatically in this respect – the more reputable your site seems to Google, the better your rank results will be. You can also help this along by updating your site regularly with strong, quality content. A strong local SEO strategy will work wonders here, especially backed by a good showing on Google Places.

How Can RankMonsters Help?

Hopefully you now understand how Google’s Knowledge Graph Carousel changes local search results. Google’s local carousel could be a huge asset to your business, but only if you take advantage of it. Of course, if you want a hand with managing your online presence, you can always contact us at RankMonsters – we’re experts in boosting your local search ranking, and we would be glad to help get your business to the top. Contact us today for more information.

Google’s Penguin Changes SEO – Again

Google’s Penguin Changes SEO – Again

SEO is a constantly changing game whether its google updates or keeping up with mobile use. Google, Bing, and other search engines are always updating the way they find and rank search results, which means that keeping a website consistently ranked high is a never-ending challenge. A perfect example of this is the recent change Google implemented in their search algorithm, Penguin 2.0. Lets see how Google’s Penguin Changes SEO- again. 

 

What Is Google Penguin?

For those unaware, the original Google Penguin was launched in April of 2012. Google Penguin was aimed at reducing the search engine rank of websites that used so-called “black hat” link building techniques like link spamming and keyword stuffing. Today these techniques add no value to a website’s SEO campaign. Spamming and keyword stuffing can easily result in your page being banned from Google’s search results entirely.

How Does Google Penguin 2.0 Change SEO

Penguin 2.0 goes even deer into targeting these black-hat techniques, and many sites have seen resulting dips in their search rankings and traffic. A number of the companies being affected heavily are older web properties with outdated links still pointing to their pages. However, companies with a wide range of “clustered” pages have also seen reduced rankings, as Penguin 2.0 has also reduced the search visibility of clustered URLs.

Content Creation

What does this mean for you, the page owner? In short, quality content creation is more important than ever. Google’s algorithm is doing its best to rank a variety of different websites that it feels have high-quality, user-friendly content. This is great news for the consumers, but it could be difficult for businesses that have websites without much content.

The New SEO Strategy

The best strategy here is to start building out your content pages and making them worth reading. It’s important to have a cohesive content strategy that positions your site as an authority in the field. To create content that is designed around providing a good user experience. Also, if you have a lot of older, unnatural link assets that point back to your website, even deep content pages. It’s worth working to manually remove and/or disavow those links.

How RankMonsters Can Help

At RankMonsters, we’re dedicated to improving your website’s SEO and page rank. Our monsters work as an extension of your team to provide you with high-quality content for your own website and a diverse and healthy link building profile. If you want to know more about what we can do for your website, contact us today.

Mobile Web Use: More Important than Ever

Mobile Web Use: More Important than Ever

Smartphones and mobile internet are one of the biggest forces online today. According to a report by Marketing Land. This report states that almost 40% of all time spent on the internet is spent on a mobile device. Which means that optimizing your site for mobile web use is more important than ever.

 

What The Data Shows 

The report goes on to detail several categories where mobile use is most prevalent. The biggest, unsurprisingly, are maps and weather, 84% and 60% respectively of all time spent on these sites is on mobile devices. Also of note is that, for time spent on retail and shopping sites, 38% of it is from mobile devices.

What Does This Mean For You?

It means that, unless your site is optimized for mobile visitors, you’re giving up conversions and sales. If a mobile user visits your site and has a difficult or frustrating experience, they likely won’t visit you again. Creating a positive experience for visitors on all platforms. This means their phones, tablets, and or computers.

So What Can You Do?

It’s important to have a mobile site ready to go at launch, alongside your regular web-page. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be attractive and simple. Mobile users don’t like to be loaded down with graphics and heavy design. Since it can be clunky and take a long time to load on a mobile data connection. Try to keep your mobile site lean and easy to use on a small touchscreen.

How Can I Get My Site Optimized For Mobile Web Use?

Of course, it’s also important to make sure your mobile site is optimized for searching by Google and other search engines, just like your main site is. For that, RankMonsters can help you out. We’re SEO professionals, and we can help you make sure your site ranks well both on desktop and for mobile web use. If you want to learn more about the ways RankMonsters can help you, contact us today.