I’m interested in finding out how Google currently views subdomains — whether there’s any difference between a site structured as a group of subdomains and …
Google Fined An Astounding $2.7 Billion By The EU For Manipulating Searches
The European Union has fined Google a record $2.7 billion (2.4 billion in euros) fine for skewing search results in favor of Google’s own shopping site. But that may be only a fraction of the ultimate costs of the EU’s demand for Google to cease and desist.
Although Google has plenty of cash to keep it afloat, it may lose much more than the $2.7 billion due to a potential loss of ad revenue along with a regulatory backlash against Google’s other services, including restaurant reviews, maps, and more. This, in addition to the EU’s threats for more penalties.
The decision, brought by Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, brings a 7-year investigation to an end. The investigation came in the wake of accusations from both small websites and well-known sites like News Corp., Microsoft, and Springer SE. While politicians in Europe have called for sanctions against Google, or even demand that it be broken up, U.S. critics challenge the accusations by claiming that EU regulators are deliberately targeting successful American companies.
A binding order from the EU demands that Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, must “stop its illegal conduct” and start giving equal treatment to competing price-comparison services, and notify the EU of its plans to do so within 60 days. It’s up to Google how it wants to accomplish this.
The ultimatum was issued by Vestager, imposing a 90-day deadline to incorporate the changes and give smaller price-comparison competitors a chance against the Google shopping ads that appear alongside search results. The EU states that it plans to monitor Google over the next five years and “may impose stiffer fines in the future” up to 5 percent of Google’s daily revenue if the demands aren’t met.
Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, shared that the company disagrees with the EU’s findings and may decide to seek an appeal.
According to the EU, Google has promoted its own comparison-shopping service as far back as 2008, putting its own services at the top of search engine results when shopping for a new item. Comparison-shopping rivals only have results popping up on page four, putting them at a distinct disadvantage, since the first page garners 95 percent of all clicks.
A lawyer at the Parisian Firm Simmons & Simmons declares that it’s normal for a private company to favor its own services. But the EU’s decision imparts obligations to Google that one might expect for a water or power company. Such companies were once considered a state monopoly.
The fines levied on Tuesday may only be the first in a series of heavy penalties aimed at Google by EU antitrust committees. This comes at a difficult time for Google, which is already fighting for its Android phone software and its AdSense internet advertising service. Vestager hinted that she may also look into Google’s travel, maps, and restaurant reviews, which have also engendered complaints.
In spite of the recent record-breaking penalty, Google is unlikely to be fazed by the $2.7 billion fine when it holds a cache of $90 billion. More concerning is the way EU regulators are trying to force Google to change its online shopping search results, one of the biggest revenue sources for the internet giant, and one of the greatest weapons in its arsenal of online competitors.
At SEO Houston Pros our SEO Experts in Houston confirm that although this ordeal with Google may seem like a bump in the road, we have addressed similar issues in the past. We take pride in keeping ourselves ahead of the curve and by doing so are able to keep ourselves up-to-date on all new algorithm changes. More importantly, SEO Houston Pros spends rigorous hours studying those changes brought to Google’s search engine platform.
We at SEO Houston Pros are incapable of taking on every client, as we only work with 1 client per niche in any given area, but to see if you are a good fit for our services, contact us now by filling out our contact form, or to expedite the process for consideration fill out our discovery application to see if your business qualifies for our service, and one of our executive SEO architects will be back with you promptly.
5 Signs That You Need To Have With A New Website Design
Your website needs to reflect your brand in the best possible light, especially considering that most likely it is the first place that a prospective customer will learn about and see your business. If your website design is outdated and either is not responsive or looks like it from the 1990’s, then it is definitely time for you to upgrade! When a visitors lands on your website, the individual will determine within a couple of seconds whether they want to leave or stay. Frequently, this decision will be based on the way your website navigates, feels and looks. On your home page, do you have a video or music auto-playing? Is your home page lacking engaging images and full of large blocks of text? Does your site have pop-ups on it? If your answer to any of the questions is yes, then you should definitely consider getting your business website design revamped.
Should Your Website Design Be Updated?
If you are wondering whether or not to hire a professional web design company, then you should consider the following tell-tale signs that your site needs to be re-designed right today!
1. Your Website Is Not Mobile-Friendly
Take your phone out and type your website URL in one of the major search engines. What does your website look like? Is it easy to navigate? Is your site easy to view? Take the time to look around and think about these questions. If you discover that it is slow, time-consuming or difficult to move around the website that you have currently on a tablet or mobile phone, it’s time for something new! Most people who are visiting your website will be coming via a mobile device and those numbers will only continue to grow over time. If people are not able to navigate your website easily on a mobile device, then they will leave immediately and get the information they are looking for from your competitor. So don’t allow this basic conversion to prevent you from getting new customers and leads.
2. An Outdated Appearance
Basically speaking, if your website has an old appearance individuals won’t take the time to really review it and check it out. If your website has an old appearance, that means that it is outdated and most likely it is difficult to navigate. Everybody wants to quickly and easily locate what they are searching for when they land on a website. Your site should have plenty of graphics that point to your major products and services, and the main navigation tabs need to highlight your business’s key areas, and every page of your site needs to have a call to action. As a general rule of thumb, get your website redesigned every three years at least. Given how fast technology changes and consumers needs change, this will help to ensure your website stays current.
3. Slow Loading Speed
One of the major components of website design is usability. Are the images on your home page loading slow? Does it take longer than two seconds for the pages on your site to load? In general, people will leave a web page after they only wait three seconds for the page to load! As a society overall we are going to increasingly become more impatient. However, we have the technology as well to meet those demands – so take advantage of this and use it! There isn’t anything users hate more than when it takes a website forever to load. By having a professional company do a new website design for you, they will make sure the loading speeds for you site meets industry standards.
By getting a new website design done by a professional company, they will ensure these loading speeds stay within industry standards.
4. Your Website Is Not Optimized For Search Engines
If your website pages are not optimized, how can new users find your business? Keep in mind that most new customers will learn about your business online. That means that you need to appear within the search engine listings whenever phrases that are relevant for business are being searched. For example, if you are a Houston real estate agent, the best way that you can be found online is optimizing your web pages for some of the main key phrases like “Houston realtor” through using search engine optimization in Houston. By working on your organic marketing on a consistent basis, you can get your business found on Google for the relevant phrases that are relevant to your business.
5. Your Social Media Accounts Are Not Linked And Integrated
Social media offers a huge opportunity. Getting on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook will allow you to encounter new prospects that you have never met before. If your point is to acquire new prospects and customers, then you need to have your social media accounts integrated and linked with your website. With assistance from an experienced brand management and web design company, you can get easy access to all your social platforms using just a click of one button.
We Are Web Design Experts That Can Help You!
Do any of these concerns relate to your current website? If you are ready for your website to get a new design, then give us a call today! We can provide your business with a customized solution that will improve the website experience for your users.
A Powerful Tool For Brand Awareness
It might feel like an elusive goal to build brand awareness. To keep your Houston business running smoothly you have so much work and very limited time. You might be wondering about the best use of your marketing budget. Here are 7 important tips on the impact of a company blog on your brand.
Here are 7 important tips on the impact of a company blog on your brand.
7 Ways Your Blog Builds Brand Awareness
A company blog is an incredibly powerful tool to help you build your brand. Your company website helps establish your web identity while a blog is responsible for drawing people to you. It is your direct channel of communication with your clients. An opportunity for enduring opportunity. Consider the 7 benefits below of a company blog for your brand:
1. Increasing Website Traffic
The content on your website probably does not change all too often. Chances are that you just have a handful of pages that stay constant over extended periods. This makes sense. Web design is important but you need to think about this: each blog post is a new page for the search engines to pick up. It is another hook in the water for fish to find you. Quality content posted frequently will continue driving traffic to your website.
2. Lead Generation
Blogs are typically not places to sell products. They are a great platform for connecting with clients. However, if you add a call-to-action, each blog post provides a great opportunity for lead generation. Especially if you provide value and high-quality content on topics that your target audience would be interested in. The role of the call-to-action is to prompt the reader to engage with your brand in one way or another. It could be a webinar, free eBook, or just a “Contact Us for additional information.” The call-to-action on your blog will help generate more leads for the sales team.
3. Establishing Your Authority
Consistent valuable content is what distinguishes you as an authority to your clients and in your industry. The more valuable the content, the more it will enhance your authority. Think of the blog as a platform for answering common questions your target audience and clients will love. If you generate valuable content consistently over time you will establish yourself as an authority in your field. Your clients will be coming to you.
4. Supporting Various Social Media Initiatives
Frequent quality content is the key to a successful social media marketing strategy. You can draw from other sources but a blog will provide a steady flow of content to share. Each blog post you share on social media will point readers back to you and not just them but also everyone that they share it with too. It is an opportunity that you would not like to miss.
5. Connecting with Customers
A blog can be considered a way to add a human touch to the business. You can use it to touch people’s hearts, make them laugh, and even engage their minds. You can address the issues that your clients are concerned about. You can use it to give clients an inside look into your company values and culture. A blog can give your company a voice and personality and will make you more approachable.
6. Building Long-Term Relationships with the Community and Clients
Your clients will appreciate the content that you provide over time and will start looking to you as a leader in your community. You will facilitate ongoing conversations and the clients will participate if you offer them the chance. Pay attention to comments to your posts and respond to them. Make an effort to know your clients and allow your brand to connect with the target audience.
7. Gaining Insight Into the Target Audience
Blog analytics can provide valuable insight into the interests of the target audience. You can note popular topics, track readers, keeping an eye on comments and shares, and recording click-throughs. You can use the data to find out what makes the target audience tick and will guide future marketing decisions and blog topics.
A Word of Caution
You might be tempted to use blog posts as written commercials but you shouldn’t do it. The goal is for the target audience to decide to read the content you provide. You can be sure that they are not interested in reading sales material. Provide them with valuable content, which is interesting, funny, or heart-warming and they will keep coming for more.
One Blog at a Time
Brand awareness is a critical part of a long-term Houston internet marketing strategy. A blog is one of the best tools available to you when it comes to building brand awareness. Do not miss this opportunity for connecting with the target audience. Consider starting a blog. We are your resource for digital marketing, branding, and generating high-quality content. If you would like to learn more about digital marketing or to get started with your business blog, contact us.
3 Simple Steps To Managing Your Online Reviews
Are you aware of what people online are saying about your brand? You probably are aware if you are like many of the small to medium-sized business managers or owners in Houston. It is possible that you have come across a few negative reviews of your business. Negative reviews are often the worst nightmare for a Houston business owner. You work hard to build a brand that people know they can trust and negative reviews online can ruin a reputation that has taken years to build in just one day.
The question is, how do you make a comeback once the negative reviews have been posted online?
Types of Reviews
It is important to understand the different types of reviews online. Many people have heard about Facebook reviews, Google reviews, and Yelp! However, there are many other platforms where clients can post reviews. Which platforms are popular in your industry? Think about the different websites that make recommendations for service providers in your industry. Chances are that such websites provide a way to rate and review providers.If you wish to manage the online reviews of your brand online, you need to find out where your clients are posting both negative and positive feedback.
How Do Reviews Affect Your Business?
Many Houston business owners wonder how reviews affect their business. Whether the reviews are posted by ‘trolls’ that treat posting negative reviews as a hobby or by clients that genuinely feel that they had an undesirable experience with your brand, reviews are important.
Just think about the number of times you have undertaken a Google search for “____ reviews.” Restaurant reviews. Product reviews. Movie reviews. You should be getting the picture. You often don’t have a previous relationship with the product or business in question. You thus rely heavily on the opinions of others to make the most informed choice possible for the most desirable outcome. How many stars must a service or product have before you decide to do business with the company? The answer is at least 4 or 5 for most people.
3 Easy Ways to Take Charge of Online Reviews
If you are reading this, chances are that you have had a negative experience with online reviews. You probably realize already that you need to take charge of your reputation online and find a way to manage the reviews. You might have even skipped the introduction to this blog post and come directly to this section.
Here are a few easy steps to help you get started from the experts in online marketing Houston.
1. Responding to the Reviews
It is perfectly okay to feel defensive and angry after receiving one or several negative reviews. You need to shake off that feeling and go into customer service mode. What would you have to say to such people if they were right in front of you in your store? How would you handle the situation? This is usually a double whammy in an online environment. The person that left the review will not only see that you care about resolving the issue but so will anyone else who has ever thought about doing business with you.
Upon considering the message and tone that should be conveyed, respond to the reviewer quickly to try to resolve the situation. If necessary, offer to take the conversation offline by providing a phone number or email where you can be reached. You must not allow “empty air” to send an unintentional message. A better approach would be to go for a polite response instead.
Social media marketing can be an effective tool for building brand loyalty and inbound traffic. Use interesting, fun, and useful content to attract and engage people on social media platforms. Establish yourself as an authority in your industry and have fun while you do it. Show the personality of your brand and build trust by giving your company a face through social interaction with consumers. Give the audience a powerful experience with your brand that they feel the need to provide positive feedback.
3. Asking Existing Customers for Positive Reviews Online
It is still important to ask for the review even if the customer experience you provide is top notch. In this information age, many consumers will probably not leave a review unless you request for it. Take note of the clients or customers of the most positive experiences with your business then ask them to leave reviews online. Avoid making them search for you. Whether you would like to be reviewed on Facebook, Google, Yelp, or on any other platform, make it easy by providing a link that leads straight to the page where they can leave the review. The higher the number of positive reviews, the more the “watered-down” the negative reviews will become and the lower the impact they will have on the overall score.
Online brand management is made up of many parts required for proper functioning that make it a complex system. Learning to manage reviews online is a step in the right direction. However, there are still many other parts required for the most favorable outcome. Contact us or call today and learn more about how to get and stay ahead in a highly competitive marketplace from the experts in online marketing Houston.
Top 7 Mobile Marketing Tips
No matter what we might think of it, our mobile devices are increasingly becoming a more significant part of our daily lives. There are some studies that are predicting that by 2018 more than one billion individuals across the globe will be using smartphones.
Marketers need to view this as an excellent opportunity to come up with real-time, personalized and unique ways to engage and connect with their customers, like taking advantage of using Google My Business for example.
But what are the things that are most important to know about mobile marketing?
Our Houston search engine optimization team has put together the following tips to cover the most important things you need to know when it comes to mobile marketing for 2017:
1. Mobile Isn’t Just About Phones
There is more that mobile marketing covers than just reaching individuals on their smartphones. It actually encompasses a wide range of different technologies and devices that you will want to consider. It is important to think about the various operating systems, sizes of device and types of activities individuals are doing on different tablets and phones. For example, a recent study conducted by Forrester showered that 66% of smartphone users use their device while they are in the store, but only 9% of tablet users do this.
2. Fundamental Marketing Principles Are Still Applicable
Whether you are using mobile, print or radio advertising, the small fundamentals of marketing are still applicable. Ultimately, it is all about conveying the right message at the right time to the right customer. Working under the assumption that the initial way that your brand is experienced by customers is via mobile, and utilize tools such as Google Analytics in order to learn as much as you can about their behavior, device, and location.
3. Mobile Marketing Is Constantly Changing
Although it is always a good idea to have a plan, when it comes to mobile marketing one of the most important things that you need to know is that your marketing plan needs to reflect the constantly changing nature of the industry. New operating systems, apps and devices will all come and go and impact the mobile marketing efforts that you do in some way. Your mobile marketing plan should have periodic reviews built into it to help you assess whatever changes are occurring and then making the appropriate adjustments to it.
4. Your Focus Should Be On Responsive Design
When you have a responsive website it means your online content is optimized at all times for viewing on numerous different devices. Not only will this help to ensure that users have a positive experience no matter what device they are using, but it is also important to have a responsive design due to the latest Google algorithm that ranks pages according to how mobile-friendly they are. Those who don’t make the effort to optimize for mobile will be penalized and have lower search rankings.
5. Don’t Be In A Hurry To Develop Apps
It is often expensive and time-consuming to develop your own app, and depending on your business it might not actually be necessary. If you are able to achieve the functionality that you need for your website, then it may not be necessary to spend a lot of effort and time on web development. The key to getting all of this is work is understanding what your visitors need the most from your business (location, phone number, hours, promotions, etc) and then provide that to them on your responsive and optimized website.
5. Video Is Becoming Increasingly Popular
Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have been integrated seamlessly to be able to watch video content easily as part of the mobile experience. Utilizing video to advertising on mobile is in its infancy still, but it is among the fasting growing methods. A recent study by Google suggests that individuals who watch videos on their smartphones are 1.4 times more likely to view ads compared to people who watch videos on televisions or desktop computers. In addition, when it comes to sharing videos, smartphone viewers are 1.8 times more likely to do this compared to individuals on personal computers.
7. Listen Carefully To Your Customers
Although you might be very eager to use mobile to get the word out about your products and services to your customers, remember that mobile is an extremely personal type of communication. Trying to blast your way through to customers will likely provide you with negative or subpar results. It is very important that you listen carefully to your customers to be able to establish a connection with the correct audience and communicate the right message to them at the right time. A recent survey conducted by PWC found that users say they prefer a more conversational approach instead of an impersonal one when it comes to mobile advertising.
If you keep these fundamental mobile marketing principles in mind when developing your mobile strategy, it will allow you to attract more customers as well as engage with them over the long-term, effectively. Mobile marketing is rapidly and constantly evolving, so if you can stay up to date on all of the newest technologies and techniques, you will be able to leverage mobile successfully as a key component in building your brand.
Expert Social Media Marketing Advice: Learn Good Pointers
After formulating an SEO strategy to dominate your market, it will then come to sharing and/or linking content on your social media platforms and accounts, then there are a number of guidelines to follow, as well as a few things not to do. When you have created your own social content, it could be an on-site article or blog post, an article from another site, a podcast, or even a produced video. It might just be content that you are sharing with someone else. Anything that’s interesting or of value to others needs to be shared and also linked through the right channels. Here are a few pointers that you can use freely for optimizing your social media content.
If you think you might need further assistance on this matter, then also check out our search engine marketing Houston services website. We can help you out with things like increasing your social media and search engine conversions both with great content, including video production and marketing.
What You Should Do When Linking Social Content
As a general rule of thumb, it’s good to start with Facebook when posting any of your content. This is the biggest social media platform of all, and estimated one-quarter of all Internet traffic goes through links that are on Facebook.
When you do create your own social content, make sure it is linked directly to a web page hosting it, often your company site or business blog.
There’s a pair of ways to accomplish this, as you either get to include the website you are targeting with your Facebook post, or you can just include the Facebook post itself on your actual website using Google Analytics and Facebook SDK Embed tools. That works, interestingly enough, by tracking pixels for every website from Google Analytics and your social sites.
That content also needs to be linked to any indirect pages too. Indirect pages are any Web pages with content that is similar, but not actually your personal page. That means that if you are posting anything important on social media regarding your company, be it an article, video, or press release, then you are able to share your own social link from other sites that have news about your business or industry. That includes your own website, blogs, and even other Facebook pages.
Next, just make sure that your own direct website is linked to any indirect pages, and that part is finished. Do this simply by incorporating your website links where your content originates in the post you share. It’s easier than it looks.
Next, you move into both the middle and bottom sections of the above graphic. The middle section is easy enough, since you should always, always, always duplicate all your content on other sites with social networking. That means that if you post something to a Facebook page you have, it should also get posted on any other social media site that is possible, be it Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Pinterest. If your social platforms are linked, as they should be, this process can be automated. If your various social platforms aren’t linked currently, please click here to learn how you can accomplish this.
The bottom section of your graphic is to be used when sharing any content that you are not the actual or original author of. For instance, if a news reporter writes any news story regarding your company’s new store opening, product, or service, then that reporter should be listed as the “author.” Include their social media sites if it’s not already there, as it’s easiest and best to just do a direct social share straight from their own social media profiles.
Finally, if you any content you get and share come from an original website, then a link back to it needs to be included with any other links that might be relevant based on the content or circumstances in question.
What You Shouldn’t Do With Social Media Content Posting
When you are posting various content on your social media sites, always make sure that you incorporate links back to your website, the other social media platforms you’re on, or even both. You should never just post something trivial regarding your business and then put your feet up waiting for conversions.
Why Your Local Business Should Focus on Google Maps
Google Maps offers buyers and sellers a chance to see how easy it is to transact business. A search on Google Maps can provide all available businesses in an area, offering the consumer choices in which business they want to visit.
Google Maps can provide a link to the company’s website for additional information, or provide contact information for the business. That’s why it’s extremely important to ensure you’re precise, the use of citations and the ability to build great local links has huge potential. The more precise your information is, the better Google can categorize your business. With proper categorization, your business will be able to generate targeted local traffic for keywords that are widely searched
Google updates the maps periodically. SEO Houston Pros is ranked highly in the Google Maps for SEO in Houston and other major markets. We make sure we use the best data to create keywords, generate citations, build local links, and any other parameters needed to get a site ranked well to get the attention of local SEO clients.
Some Things Google Maps SEO Can Do For a Small Business
Influence Consumers – A better ranking means you get more calls and leads.
Creates interaction – Great for businesses that have customers who use mobile search.
Provides relevant information
Provide potential customers with company reviews – Which is a great thing!
It can be expensive to rank organically depending on your business industry or niche. However, Google Local is a cost-effective method of generating traffic. A small business can compete with larger local businesses. This platform can get your business on the web, which for come small businesses is enough to get their business moving in the right direction, giving them a fighting chance against the larger competitors.
So, there’s no reason for a business to not have a verified Google listing. Business owners should be researching SEO tips and looking for articles like this one to learn how to find ways to beat the competition. Or, they should be seeking help from an SEO professional, like those at SEO Houston Pros, the lead Houston search engine marketing company.
Local SEO companies like SEO Houston Pros will source citations needed for local business listings. We get the precise keywords needed to bring targeted leads or customers into your business. A local business’ top priority should be to be visible in the search engines. A high traffic volume can increase a business’ revenue in the long run.
A customer navigates through Google’s Houston Maps to find routes to a destination and nearby places to visit. Local business must be aware that this search plays a role in the choice the customer makes when looking at Google Maps.
The Google map search is mainly made up of location, keywords, and industry. If you use the right citations you gain a competitive edge. Local Seo companies look for citations since they are one of the most powerful tools that can be used to build trust with Google and improve your listing in Google Maps.
A small business owner should quickly learn that citations are important on Google Maps. Google relies on this information to determine the niche and rank you. Based on your citations you may be ranked above or below your competitors.
The SEO company you work with should conduct competitor research to determine what links your top competitors have. Then, they can get those links for your business. This eliminates the double leg work.
Google maps can improve your businesses bottom line. The perks of knowing what tactics to use to dominate Houston or other markets will make your businesses online exposure unstoppable. However many clients make simple mistakes that can cost them dearly when it comes to building their citations. If you do it right a citation can bring in a better search engine rank. A good ranking is a basis for bringing in more leads and customers.
A Citation Must Be Precise and Unique
You should avoid generalizations – Reach out to your customer by being specific.
Restructure the citation – If you change one listing, you must change all of them.
Avoid using ambiguous keyword terms
Use a consistent N.A.P – Company name, address and phone number.
The competition in local search is high since all businesses want more customers. That’s why you need to work with a top marketing company in Houston, and other major markets nationwide. The company you hire will be involved in optimizing your citations as needed since the usage should be relevant to your local area.
Google Maps should be verified periodically to update listings and ensure all of your company information is correct. When you have a high user rating, Google will believe your business is established and trusted. A local business thrives when it has frequent visits on its listing and reviews. If you need help establishing your business online and dominating your competition, we’re just a phone call away!