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Google “Pigeon” Algorithm Update for Local Search

26254616_sSeems like Google algorithm updates are becoming increasingly common these days, so it might not surprise you to learn that yet another one was just rolled out. This time, it was a major update to the local search formula. The goal is to provide more relevant and accurate local search results, visible both in Web searches and Google Maps results.

While Google hasn’t revealed the official name for this update, SEO website SearchEngineLand has decided to give it the nickname “Pigeon,” based on the bird breed’s tendency to fly home. (That nickname has quickly taken hold, and now seems to be the accepted way to refer to this update.)

As with other algorithm updates, it’s tough to say exactly what this one involves or what the effects will be, especially this early in the game. That’s because so much of it happens behind the scenes and involves the many mysterious factors that make up Google’s ranking formula.

However, the search giant has revealed a few details, saying this update draws upon more traditional search ranking signals, and will also demonstrate improved distance and location parameters.

So what does this mean for businesses for which local search is a priority? Again, it’s very early in the process, but one of the immediate effects seems to be a boost in visibility for local directory site listings. Meanwhile, many businesses have reported a hard hit to their local search results, while others have seen a boost. And some report their rankings have been fluctuating widely since the update first happened. Google has admitted that there have been a few wrinkles in the immediate post-update period, and it says this is a work in progress while they continue to iron out the kinks. (This could explain the fluctuating results.)

Until we learn more about Pigeon and the specific ranking signals involved, we recommend keeping a close eye on your search rankings and metrics. You may need to tweak a few things or analyze your keywords and content and see if there’s an impact on your rankings as a result.

Of course, we also want to reiterate all of our standard advice when it comes to local search, such as making sure to include location information, using geo-targeted keywords and offering relevant content. Given that local directory/review sites such as Yelp seem to be getting a boost in visibility, it may also be helpful to encourage customers to leave positive reviews.

KEO Marketing specializes in helping businesses improve their local search strategy, and we can help you navigate new developments such as the latest Google update.

Posted in keo marketing, local search | Tagged google, keo marketing, local search

Social Media: Twitter Offers New Detailed Analytics


Ever wondered who is seeing your Tweets and if they really care what you have to say? If you devote any time at all to sharing content via Twitter, you may sometimes feel like you are just putting all of that material (and the hard work that goes into creating it) into a black hole, with no clue if anyone actually reads it.

Well, wonder no more. Twitter recently expanded its analytics so that you now have access to interesting insights relating to your readership and engagement. Until now, users who had access to a dashboard mainly measured the reach and success of their Tweets by watching the number of favorites and retweets, which is information that was available to all other Twitter users, as well.

The new and improved analytics dashboard, available to verified users, Twitter Card publishers and advertisers, provides additional helpful insights into how your messages are being read and received. The impressions data shows you how many times a Tweet has been viewed, and you can even break that data down into hour-by-hour comparisons. For a bigger picture, you can also view a 28-day graph showing how all of your Tweets have performed.

To get a sense of engagement level, you can drill down into the analytics for a specific Tweet and see, for example, how many people clicked on the link or hashtag contained within that message.

Unfortunately, now that you have access to this information, you may not be so thrilled with what you learn. Confirming what many people already suspected, the analytics show that for most users, the vast majority of their Tweets go largely ignored and unread. Just as many businesses (and individuals) have been complaining that their Facebook posts often get b

uried or hidden, it’s also common for your Tweets to be virtually invisible to many of your followers. On Twitter, this is mainly due to the “blink and you might miss it” nature of the channel. Unless you have great timing and post a Tweet when many of your followers are watching, they may never see it, especially if they don’t use a tool like HootSuite to filter and monitor Tweets from their favorite accounts.

As with Facebook, there is a way to get your message more visibility on Twitter, but it will cost you. Investing in promoted Tweets can ensure that your message is seen by a wider audience, including those who aren’t yet following you.

A free alternative is to repost your Tweets, sharing the same message more than once at varying times so you are more likely to be seen by people who may only be watching Twitter activity at certain times of the day.

You also need a well-planned and professionally executed social media marketing strategy that includes Twitter and ensures all of your efforts are working together, which is something KEO Marketing can implement and manage for you.

Posted in keo marketing, keo marketing twitter, social media, web analytics | Tagged keo marketing, social media, twitter

Sheila Kloefkorn on Mobile Marketing in AZ Business

go-mobileSheila Kloefkorn, president/CEO of KEO Marketing, is featured in the July/August issue of AZ Business Magazine. In a story entitled “Go Mobile or Go Broke,” she discusses the critical importance of an effective and thorough mobile strategy for businesses that want to be competitive and successful in today’s high-tech environment. She also shares tips and insights about how to best incorporate mobile tactics among your different channels and venues, such as local, search, email and web design.

One topic Sheila touches on is SoLoMo, the blend of Social, Local and Mobile that characterizes many consumers today. In order to maximize the reach and engagement with these plugged-in consumers, businesses must find ways to use these various channels in a seamless and complementary way, such as by encouraging people to share updates on their purchases and “check-ins” on social media, asking them to review products online or employing geo-targeted campaigns and deals.

For small businesses with limited budget and resources, the prospect of starting a mobile strategy from scratch can be intimidating. But even if you have to start small and expand your efforts gradually, the important thing is to get started. Of course, KEO Marketing can help with all of your mobile marketing needs.

Check out all of Sheila’s advice in the digital version of AZ Business, available online now.

Posted in keo marketing, mobile marketing, mobile optimization | Tagged keo marketing, mobile marketing, mobile strategy

Search Engine Optimization: HTTPS Now Matters

HTTPS-imageMaking your website more secure for visitors can be a good thing for a number of reasons, but now it seems this can also have a positive impact on your SEO rankings.

Google has just revealed that switching to HTTPS (in other words, adding a SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site) may give your site a Google ranking boost. But just how much of an impact will it have, and is it worth it?

In a blog post on its Webmaster Central site, the Google team noted they make it a top priority to ensure the security and trustworthiness of sites that people access via Google. In what seems to be an attempt to provide some extra motivation for sites to beef up their security, Google shared that they are starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it is just what they call a “lightweight signal” because it affects fewer than one percent of global queries and is weighted less heavily than other factors such as high-quality content.

Considering this news was released to the Wall Street Journal proactively, this change is certainly going to become more important in the future.

Of course, as with any website-related change, there is always the possibility of a short-term negative impact on traffic during and immediately following the transition. Google promises to share some best practices in the next few weeks to help make the conversion go more smoothly. For now, you can find more information in their Help Center.

In addition, Google shares these tips:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out Google’s Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

Given the value of providing a secure online experience for your visitors, coupled with the fact that Google will inevitably increase the importance of this as a ranking signal, it seems those who have put off making the switch to HTTPS should be prepared to do so, the sooner the better.

Currently, KEO Marketing’s SEO team is running testing on these updates and seeing positive results. If you need assistance with any aspect of your search strategy or optimizing your website for SEO benefits, KEO Marketing can help.

Posted in keo marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization | Tagged google, keo marketing, search engine optimization