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Updates to Google Responsive Search Ads and Shopping Campaign Ads

Google keeps unrolling new features that help us better target our ads or test new aspects of our campaigns, and ultimately help you reach the right people. Google recently revealed new ad features that will affect both Smart Shopping Campaigns and Responsive Search Ads.

Here’s a closer look at the updates to
responsive search ads...

First, let’s review Responsive Search Ads. These ads work within your Google Search Campaigns. They allow you to input numerous assets (headlines and descriptions) and Google will use machine learning to rotate through those assets in different formations. This allows your ads to be shown to internet users more often and in different ways—which, when combined together, usually deliver a higher click through rate (CTR).

To put it in simple terms: Your message will be shown to people more often, and in multiple variations.

Now you can use two additional handy features within these ads: Countdown feature and Location insertion.

Countdown Feature

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Image Source: Alexa Blog

The countdown feature allows you to dynamically highlight sales or time-sensitive deals. This allows you to create a sense of urgency within your ads. Think about those big department store sale ads you might’ve seen. They are often cheesy, but they actually work! And why? Because they make you feel like their sale is the biggest of the year and an event you can’t miss.

You want potential customers to feel this way about whatever you’re offering. You could, for instance, have a countdown that reads “Sale Ends in 6 Days”. This would update each day so that everyone who sees the ad knows exactly how long they have to take advantage of your sale—and could possibly increase your CTR due to increased interest.

Location Insertion

Location Insertion allows you to tailor the responsive search ads to the user by highlighting the location in which your product or service is offered. For example, if you offer services in every city in an area this could be useful instead of creating individual ads for each city. It could look like this: We deliver to {LOCATION(City)}. You can choose to show the city, state or country. This will help show that your product or service is relevant and local to your users.

Changes to Smart Shopping Campaigns

Google side chairs

The other changes that were noted by Google are within the Smart Shopping Campaigns. They started offering Free and Fast Shipping annotations, which have been proven to increase conversion rates by nine percent!

Google is working on creating more visual ads as well with features like video display ads. Later this year, they’ll have a more immersive and browsable shopping experience with a dynamically curated carousel of your most applicable products.

Image Source: Google

Don’t forget about the Customer Acquisition Value Tool that helps unite sales and marketing!

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Image Source: Google

Lastly, there is a new customer acquisition value tool that allows you to add a value to sales from new customers. Your campaign can use sales numbers and this new value to optimize performance, which ultimately can help you increase your revenue from new customers.

If your sales team is wondering what value the company is getting from running Google ads, this tool is a great way to bring the sales and marketing efforts together and put real value on your results.

Get more customers with Responsive Search Ads and Shopping Campaign Ads from Google.

If you need help navigating what these changes mean for your campaigns, we can help! OR, if you don’t have these types of ads running and feel you could benefit from them, we’d love to schedule a consultation with you. Contact us today to connect and get help.

Updates to Responsive Search Ads & Shopping Campaign Ads from Google Help Get More Customers Shopping
Young man on phone | Business Messages via Google Maps and Search

On June 25, 2020 Google announced expanding access to its Business Messages in Maps and Search. While they were at it, Google also announced new feature enhancements as well. When 75% of consumers report that they prefer to engage with a brand over private messaging channels versus traditional channels, this change matters for your business.

What are Business Messages from Google?

Learn how to setup Business Messages on Google Maps and Search

According to developers.google.com, Business Messages is a mobile conversational channel that combines entry points on Google Maps, Search, and brand websites to create rich, asynchronous messaging experiences that delight customers and drive business.

Don’t get intimidated by this explanation of Business Messages from Google Developers. In short, it’s a way for businesses to directly connect to consumers via Maps and Search.

If it sounds familiar, it should. In 2018, Google added a new way in maps to directly contact stores through messages, but it was only available in limited regions and for limited business types. Now, this comprehensive messaging solution is available across Android devices and through Maps on iOS.

More and easier ways for consumers to connect, sign me up, right?

What are the new Business Messages Features?

To further drive ease of purchase, brand loyalty and easier connection with customer support, Business Messages is doing more than just expanding availability. Extra functionality has been added to Business Messages, including:

  • Smart replies to frequently asked questions
  • Customizable welcome messages
  • Visual product carousels within the messaging experience
  • Connection with a live agent

How you can access Business Messages

Business messages are currently available in English. Depending on your comfort level with implementation, there are multiple alternatives for integration.

  • Brands and messaging partners can sign up to access the Business Messages API and developer documentation.
  • Google also has partners ready to help brands optimize their messaging flow with engaged customers.
  • Businesses can also still manage messaging through Google My Business.

Interested in Implementing Business Messages?

At Sanctuary, we understand that even with streamlined implementation guides for something like Business Messages, it’s hard to find the time to roll out everything you want to for your business.

That’s why we’re here. Contact us today for help in using Business Messages to reach your consumers.

Get Messages from Consumers Straight Through Google Maps & Search with Business Messages by Google
Mobile phone users searching the internet - mobile page experience

If you are a marketer for a small business, you know how important your website is to serve your customers. Your website helps promote your products and services, but it also allows you to set yourself apart from your competitors. And if your website isn’t user friendly and doesn’t provide a great user experience, then chances are that your traffic will fall off and you’ll lose out to other businesses that have taken the time to optimize the performance of their site.

That is why it is important to know that not too long ago, Google announced that they would be releasing a new ranking algorithm sometime in 2021. This algorithm is intended to judge web pages according to how internet users perceive their interaction with the web page.

What is Page Experience?

If you aren’t familiar with page experience, it is essentially comprised of a set of signals that measure how someone would experience a website, and how they would feel about it. Metrics include loading performance, interactivity and the visual stability of the webpage. Further, search signals are also included as part of the experience. Those include mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and what is referred to as intrusive interstitial guidelines (aka pop-up ads).

Breaking down the Upcoming Google Page Experience

To make this a bit easier to understand, we have broken down the user-centered metrics, called Core Web Vitals, that will be scored as part of this coming change.

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) - This metric measures the performance of the site load. To ensure a successful and positive load experience, LCP should take 2.5 seconds or less.
  • First Input Delay (FID) - This metric assesses interactivity. To ensure a positive user experience, it is believed that pages should have an FIC that is less than 100 milliseconds, which is the same as 0.1 seconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) - This metric assesses visual stability. For a good user experience, a webpage should cultivate a CLS that is under 0.1.

So what does this all mean? In a nutshell, the page experience algorithm is constructed to assess web pages based on how users interact with it. Your website pages will rank higher when they provide a good experience, especially as it pertains to safe browsing, fewer pop-ups, high page speeds and if the site is mobile-friendly.

Google plans to provide notice of six months before this page experience update will go live. During that time, it is highly recommended that webmasters and business owners focus on improving their LCP (loading speed), FID (interactivity) and CLS (visual stability). You can leverage the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console to help you assess your website speed. You can also evaluate your overall webpage performance with tools such as Lighthouse, PageSpeed Insights and Chrome Dev Tools. By auditing your site now, you can identify where improvements are made and allow your web developers to make the necessary corrections.

Great Content is Still King

This all said it is important not to lose sight of the need for great content. You can make all the changes in the world to your site, and if your content is poor, so will be your ranking. On the flip side, even with poor page performance, if you have great content, it will still rank highly in Google Search results.

If you need help figuring out how to weather this upcoming change, we would love to do some discovery work on your business. Contact Sanctuary today to learn more or request a consultation!

Preparing for Google’s Page Experience Update Coming in 2021
woman searching the internet on phone

For most companies, it takes a long time to earn a coveted spot in one of the top search results on Google. So it’s nerve-wracking for everyone when the company makes a major update like they did toward the end of 2019.

In October, Google announced it would begin using an artificial intelligence system called BERT. Google updates its algorithm hundreds of times each year, but BERT was the most significant change the company had made in over five years.

BERT provides more relevant search results and is a notable shift away from keyword-specific searches. This article will review what the BERT update is, and what it could mean for your business and SEO strategy going forward.

What does BERT stand for?

BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. The algorithm is designed to understand the intent behind a user’s search, not just the keywords used.

Thanks to the BERT update, Google now focuses more on search intent rather than just the keyword itself. It helps Google understand the context behind a search, so that it can deliver more accurate results.

In an October blog post, Google Vice President Pandu Nayak used the following analogy to explain how the algorithm works...

Let’s say someone searches for the phrase, “do estheticians stand a lot at work.” Previously, Google would have pulled up search results based on the keywords used in that phrase, like “stand.” But the term “stand” is actually referring to the physical demands of working as an esthetician.

Keyword Intent Matching

Thanks to BERT, Google can better understand the context of the phrase and deliver more targeted search results. The update also allows Google to find results for more complex search queries. This idea of using context to figure out the intent of a search is called “keyword intent matching”, which is different from what was happening before, known as “keyword matching”. Google uses artificial intelligence to determine whether or not a user is satisfied with the results of their search, essentially measuring the relevance of the results in relation to the context and intent of the search.

Below is a screenshot that does a great job of showing the difference in how Google understands the words within a search.

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

What does the BERT update mean for your business?

Google says the update impacts 10% of all search queries, and it will also impact organic rankings and featured snippets. So there’s a good chance your website traffic could take a hit, assuming it hasn’t already.

But more importantly, it’s going to change the way users search Google. Instead of using unnatural keywords to search for information online, most people will begin using more conversational search queries.

Optimize for the user, not for Google.

The biggest takeaway from the BERT algorithm change is that business owners and marketers need to change the way they think about SEO. Instead of trying to optimize your content for SEO, focus on optimizing for your reader. In doing that, you’ll in turn be giving Google what it wants and getting better results in Search.

The BERT algorithm favors websites that readers find valuable. Focusing on creating quality content that provides a specific value to your audience will go a long way toward improving your Google search ranking.

Get SEO help from Sanctuary!

If you’re getting poor organic search results or feel that your website content needs updating to appeal more to your ideal customers, reach out to the Sanctuary team today! Our extensive SEO experience and knowledge of Google’s latest updates will help transform your current content and hopefully get you better results as part of a complete digital marketing plan.

Sources: Digital Marketing Institute

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Google BERT Algorithm Update
No Discrimination Advertising

Google is often making adjustments to its policies to better serve its users and ensure quality results. We recently saw two new policy updates for Google Ads advertisers that may affect how businesses target users and create ad copy.

Protecting Users from Discrimination from Housing, Employment and Credit Advertisers

One targeting update is to protect users from discrimination from advertisers. On top of sensitive categories that have already been excluded from targeting for many years, Google has added some new protective measures.

The new policy impacts housing, credit and employment advertisers. Google is working with the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), along with civil rights and housing experts to to address the discrimination and figure out how to move forward. The plan is to eliminate the possibility of the affected advertisers to exclude users based on age, gender, parental status, marital status, or zip code. They’ve been developing these new policies for some time and will be implementing them this year.

Clickbait Ads Policy Bans Clickbait and Sensationalist Text or Imagery

Another way Google is looking to protect users is with the Clickbait Ads policy rolling out in July of 2020, which will no longer allow clickbait or sensationalist text or imagery.

Google considers two types of ads that will fall into these categories:

  1. One using clickbait tactics with text or images, such as text similar to “Click here to find out” or before and after images promoting changes to the human body.
  2. The other type of ad that will not be allowed is an ad that depicts negative life events such as death or bankruptcy. This is to eliminate ads that pressure users to click on an ad to avoid harm or out of fear.

Learn How These Updates Affect Your Business Specifically

You may or may not be affected by these policy updates but we feel like it’s an important update for protecting users. Contact the Sanctuary team if you have any questions on how these updates may affect your business or your customers, or if you need help optimizing your Google Ads account!

Updated Google Ads Policies Put In Place to Protect Users from Discrimination and Clickbait
Add Gift Cards and Donation Links to your Google Business Profile

Due to the impact COVID-19 has had on local communities, Google has been working hard to make supporting local businesses easier. Recently, that extended beyond their initial primary focus of keeping customers informed in a (mostly) digital world.

Google Rolled Out Support Links for your Business Profile in May 2020

Support links enable merchants to add a donation link, gift card link or both to your profile. In tandem with the support links, a personal message can be shared to inform customers how the funds will be put to use. So far, this new tool is available in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Google Partnered with PayPal and GoFundMe for Donations

You don’t have to look far to see that businesses around the world are looking for support, and communities around the world are searching for ways to be supportive. For gift cards, you can link to an existing page on your website for purchase or to gift card offerings with one of Google’s eligible partners including Square, Toast, Clover and Vagaro.

While there are no Google fees associated with this service, there may be partner processing fees associated. However, the hope would be the benefit would greatly outweigh any fees.

What Your Community Sees on Your Business Profile on Google

GoogleMyBiz

Get Community Support

Community members can now tap a banner straight from Google Maps to find businesses nearby they can buy gift cards from or leave donations for. Here’s what it looks like ...

googlemaps

Learn More About Gift Cards and Donations for Your Google My Business Listing

Let us take care of the details so you can take care of your business. Contact the Sanctuary team today!

Purchase a Gift Card or Make a Donation Straight from Your Google My Business Profile
Google My Business Icon

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every business in the country in one way or another. Google was quick to react and offered assistance to companies with Google My Business listings to provide the most accurate information possible to their customers. The updates were displayed on Business Profiles on Google Search and Maps.

Update Business Details

If your company was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Google offered the following updates to your Google My Business profile:

  • Your adjusted hours of operation (if you had to close early)
  • If your business services were experiencing delays
  • Extra services you provided for the community
  • If your business was "temporarily closed"

Marking your business “Temporarily closed” didn’t affect your local search ranking and was treated similar to open businesses. Google also suggested adding a COVID-19 update post to your profile, editing your business description, adding the hours & services disclaimer (a disclaimer on your profile to let customers know that your business info may not be up-to-date), and connecting with your customers by turning on messaging in the Google My Business app as a way to help your customers reach you. See more from Google.

Additional Options for Food Businesses

If you own a restaurant or food business, Google offered a few more options for you. They suggested updating your hours of operation as stated previously, as well as adding takeout, delivery, no-contact delivery or curbside pickup attributes to your profile. When customers would search for your business, your Business Profile prominently displayed which dining options were available: “Dine-in,” “Takeout,” “Delivery,” or “Curbside pickup.” Supported options had a “✓” and non-supported options had an “X”. See more from Google.

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Free COVID-19 Marketing Kit

Google also made a marketing kit available to businesses. The website contains printable posters and digital social post templates that focus on business updates. These items help to communicate changes about your business, like "temporarily closed" or "order today for takeout and delivery." See more from Google.

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Updates for Healthcare Businesses

Doctors, therapists, and other medical practitioners can add details about services like telemedicine. Factors like search relevance, distance, and your practice’s prominence determine whether your information appears in a search. Here are some options that are available:

Add virtual care & appointment links

Healthcare businesses can add an “Online care” attribute. This attribute lets patients easily find your Business Profile when they search for care options. You can add links for virtual care and appointments to direct patients to those pages on your website or your practice’s profile on a 3P virtual care site.

Manage insurance info for your practice

On your Business Profile under your business’s hours, a “Check insurance info” link might display. Google automatically includes this link if they identify insurance availability through their third-party provider. The link opens an “Insurance information” page that lists the health insurance providers your business accepts.

Add services offered

The services editor is available if you don't already have a services list provided by a third party. There is an option to add the services you offer, along with their descriptions and prices. You can choose what to offer from suggested types of services. If the type of service isn't listed, you can add your own custom services, like “conditions treated,” “house calls,” or “nutrition counseling.”

Update and engage with patients

Help keep your patients up-to-date about major health events, new or popular services like telemedicine, and public health and educational messages by adding posts to your listing.

Manage your practice's information

Offer a way for patients to visit your appointment booking site. Enable patients to request an appointment through Google Forms with G Suite. You can also review and accept a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with Google and explore Google Meet for telemedicine.

Set location info if you're within a complex

Some providers are in a group office or clinic, or their practice is in a complex, such as a medical building or facility already listed on Google My Business. In this case, you can request to have this information displayed in your Business Profile. This feature is useful for individual healthcare providers and practices that don’t display signage on the exterior of the building they occupy. See more from Google.

Don’t have time to make updates? Sanctuary is here to help.

It’s important to take advantage of all the services Google offers whether in pandemic times or not. Check your GMB listing frequently to see if there are new opportunities to get your listing in front of the right people.

We are always here to help you implement any changes needed, and beyond that, come up with a solid digital marketing strategy to help increase leads for your business. Contact us today!

GMB Updates Offered During the COVID-19 Crisis to Help Effectively Communicate with Customers
Google Search - Event Listings

Visibility for your events is more important than ever, as Google has added some search perks specifically for events. Why is that vital for yours? Because Google Event Packs, Carousels, and Knowledge Panels all are displayed at the top of Google’s results. Right where users always click first.

How to Appear in Google’s Event Pack, Carousel, or Knowledge Panel

Google’s Event Pack

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The Event Pack contains one to three events above the organic results, as you can see.

Users search on “Concerts,” “Festivals,” “Nightlife,” “Shows”, “Parties” or other events and the Event Pack appears: you want to be in the first position, which gets the highest click through rates.

Google’s Event Carousel

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The Carousel can contain 16 results on desktop and four on mobile, and, again, appears above the organic listing.

Knowledge Panels for Events & Performers

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A user types in a performer’s name and reaches the Knowledge Panel, which also contains event listings.

The Difference Between Event Pack and Carousel

When your user clicks an event in the Event Pack, they go to a page Google has indexed – if this is your event, they’ll be on your event page. This is the most desired result.

If they click on the Carousel, they end up on another search results page like the one they’re on now, with the current Event as the search.

How to ensure your event appears in Google’s new event displays

Schema Markup

You must use schema mark-up on your pages, specifically:

  • Event pack
  • Carousel
  • Knowledge graph/panel
  • Rich snippets

Important areas you need to have marked up:

  • Location (venue)
  • Location Address (venue address)
  • Name (Event Name)
  • Location name (venue name)
  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Image
  • Description
  • Offers
  • Offers availability
  • Offers price
  • Performer

Using Google’s schema mark-up (Start date, Event Name, Description) can allow you four good links to your events as follows:

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Marketing your event using content, images and keywords

To ensure your event gets the best publicity possible, you’ll need bright, interesting content and really good, high resolution photos.

Optimize that event name by using keywords that users search on! Use the city where the event will occur, for example. The clearer you are, the higher you’ll appear in SERPs.

How do I make sense of Google’s new Event strategies?

Unless you’re a coder, the best way to bring attention to your events on Search is to contact Sanctuary. It’s what we do, who we are. We can do the tricky coding, the content, keywords and more to ensure your event shows up as high as possible in Google’s search. Contact us for more information!

Optimizing Events for Google Search: Boost That Attendance!
We're Open Again

In times of crisis like we’re currently experiencing with COVID-19, it can be hard to determine the best way to position your company. Through these difficult times you might be asking yourself… what’s the right thing to say? How do you say it? Is it even acceptable to be marketing in times of crisis? What will your customers think?

You don’t want to be perceived as capitalizing on a tragedy! Understanding what tone will strike the right chord to strengthen your company’s position and allow you to serve your clients, your employees and your community is of the utmost importance.

Changes in Tone & Messaging

At this point, you’ve most likely received emails and have seen commercials from just about every single brand you’ve interacted with throughout your lifetime. They’re telling you how they’ve enacted changes within their business, how they’re helping the community and their customers through these “unprecedented” times. People are already starting to tune out the messaging just based on language and tone alone. We’re still seeing a ton of great huggy-feely stuff out there like “#InThisTogether”, but some words and phrases are just turning into noise at this point because there is so much saturation. Just like any other advertising or messaging efforts, you want to avoid fatigue.

Our attention spans are so short, so what are people really interested in talking about? So far, only 13% of Americans polled by Morning Consults strongly feel that companies shouldn’t be advertising during the pandemic. But messaging perceived as explicitly self-serving, situation insensitive and situation impractical should be avoided. So the generality of this is that people are okay being marketed to, as long as your intention with it is right and you are offering services that they can use. People still want to be communicated with about what you have to offer as long as you’re doing it with the right intent. This means it’s time to start thinking forward and offering creative solutions to people’s problems.

Businesses Are Starting to Reopen

Many states across the country are starting to reopen businesses as part of phase one in the process. There WILL be restrictions on how many people can be in one place at one time, but the overall feeling is about respectfully and cautiously “getting back to work” and we’re already starting to see some of that messaging. In the coming weeks, what should businesses be doing to prepare for that? Our strategy team highlights some things to consider in our latest roundtable discussion.

  • It’s all about list prep, offer prep and developing creative.
  • It’s important to note that individuals have been impacted differently than businesses. Therefore, B2C and B2B might need to approach reopening differently.
  • People are doing even more research and information gathering during this time, so they’re already about 90% confident in their purchasing decision for whenever they do feel comfortable making a purchase.
  • Put great information and great vibes out there so once the lid has been lifted your business is ready.
  • People are getting tired of hearing “we’re all in this together”. This messaging is getting fatigued at this point. Avoid focusing too much on the stress of this situation.
  • Reopening is the end of the beginning. Now we have a new normal to usher in, so the messaging should shift to that.
  • People are still going to be fearful doing business - Need to reiterate to your customers how you’re going to keep them safe.
  • Think creatively and outside the box. There’s a ton of new offerings, not just new communication tools.
  • You might not be going back to the same job you had before, you need to be flexible.
  • The way people were utilizing your site could be way different at this point. What can we learn from analytics about online behavior that could help us make decisions moving forward?
  • Think deeply about the mental state of your buyer personas so that you can set up different profiles and come up with a great offer that appeals to them.
  • Hyper customization has been extremely important and one of the primary trends we should be focusing on. The current environment is going to force a lot of people’s hands on this.

Watch the full roundtable discussion to get more great insight!

Positioning Your Company in Difficult Times
Mobile First

Until now, Google has been indexing the desktop version of a page’s content, even though most people search from their phone and receive mobile results. What happens when the mobile version of a site has less useful content than the desktop version? There’s an issue, because Google’s algorithms were evaluating the desktop version—and presenting those results to the mobile searcher.

Beginning in September 2020, Google is going to primarily rank pages from their mobile version. So, if your mobile site is different from your desktop site and has less information that adds SEO value, that could mean you’ll lose valuable traffic. Additionally,

How Webmasters Should Prepare for a More-Mobile-Focused Index

If your site is responsive or dynamically served, your content is the same across mobile and desktops. You are in good shape. Otherwise:

  • Ensure that your mobile and desktop content is identical. If it differs, you should likely begin making changes to your site. If you intend for your mobile page to have less content than the equivalent desktop page, be aware you can lose traffic when your site is enabled mobile-first indexing.The easiest way is to ensure your site is built responsively from the start, or create a mobile site. Your SERPs won’t be great without one—the time has come!
  • When developing a mobile site, think about the user’s experience. That screen is small, so your design will be different than that for a large desktop screen.
  • When adding structured data to your mobile site, be sure it’s relevant to your content and ensure Googlebot can access your mobile version by running the robots.txt testing tool.
  • Use the same meta robots tags on both desktop and mobile versions.
  • Ensure your mobile version is added and verified in Search Console.
  • If you’re going to build a mobile version of your site, be aware that a broken or incomplete mobile version is far worse than if you’d just maintained your desktop version. If you want Google to crawl your urls, don’t use ‘disallow’ on them.
  • Take care with copy for your mobile site as well. According to Yoast, use larger fonts and plenty of white space; “...you’ll need to have mobile-friendly copy. This means short sentences and compact paragraphs.”
  • Don’t lazy-load primary content! Obviously, Google won’t load content that requires user interactions such as clicking or swiping.

Questions People are Asking About Mobile-first Indexing

Does mobile-first indexing add mobile pages to a separate mobile index?

No. There’s still only one index, to which Google adds content.

Will only my mobile site be ranked now by Google?

No. Your mobile version will now be primary.

Wait! How will mobile-first indexing change strategy and ranking factors going forward?

There’s a feeling that Google won’t be so dependent on URLS and links, but rather that API-like entity of structured data. If your pages contain relevant structured data now, there’s no need to worry. If not, you might want to look into adding structured data to your site.

Don’t Panic! Sanctuary is here to help.

If this is far more than you yourself have time to do, remember that we are always here to help you implement any changes needed, and beyond that, come up with a solid digital marketing strategy to help increase leads for your business. Contact us today!

Google’s Latest Update: Mobile First Indexing
How to Reach a Quarantined Audience

If you’re like us, you’re most likely doing your best to socially distance yourself to help flatten the curve of this pandemic we’re facing. There’s no doubt about it, being under quarantine is tough. If you have kids at home trying to get through school, you know what I’m talking about. If not, you’re still probably wondering how many times you can mow the yard or binge watch TV before it seems weird. While we’re all on some sort of lockdown, that doesn’t mean business has completely stopped. Now more than ever, we need to do everything we can to survive and strengthen our relationships with current customers and prospects.

Digital marketing is a powerful tool to not only stay connected with your current customers, but reach out to new audiences and engage with potential customers. In times when people are being ordered to stay at home, they are on their phones, tablets and laptops even more, making digital the best route for engaging with potential customers and staying connected with existing customers.

Digital tactics like paid social media advertising and paid search campaigns can help get your business noticed by the right people, and ultimately get your more leads—even during a pandemic! In our latest roundtable discussion, we talk about how best to reach B2B and B2C audiences while they are staying at home. Here are some key takeaways if you’re afraid of having a good time with us:

  • Direct email, marketing email, webinars, blog posts, video demonstrations, social ads, organic social content are all the top channels to focus our attention to
  • Increase and improve your social media presence both organically and with ads
  • Run Google search ads to stay visible for potential customers still looking for your products and services
  • Utilize Google My Business profile to update your hours and communicate COVID-19 related announcements
  • Communicating with clients and prospects during quarantine is less channel specific and more messaging specific
  • Don’t be afraid to over-communicate with your current clients and prospects at this time
  • Think outside of yourself - put yourself in the client’s shoes and understand what they’re going through right now
  • Shift your tone. Messaging should be empathetic, patient and compassionate. It’s all about transparency, authenticity, vulnerability, recognition that we’re all going through similar challenges
  • Set expectations for orders, communicate the current status of the business, set expectations for the service they’re getting, etc.
  • In a way we’re being forced into rapid adoption of technology. The way we communicate is going to change now and most likely moving forward

Watch the full roundtable discussion to get more great insight!

Roundtable: How to Reach a Quarantined Audience
Search Bar with Pointing Finger

Google made an announcement earlier this year that featured snippets, which were once considered “position zero”, now count as position one on the first page of search results. This means that if your webpage is picked up to be used as a featured snippet, your listing will not be repeated in the first page of organic search results—the featured snippet is the only chance for users to click through to your website.

Google’s announcement reads as follows, “If a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer repeat it in the first page of results. This declutters the results and helps users locate relevant information more easily. Featured snippets count as one of the ten web page listings we show…”

What does this mean for organic ranking?

Previously, position zero was thought of as a coveted position, because not only did you get position zero, you also got a position in organic results. Now with this change, it appears that the old position zero or featured snippet is being treated as position one out of ten. MOZ has an article with screenshots that really help show this change in action.

Is this change good or bad for CTR?

You might think that if your web page shows up as a featured snippet, you’ll get more clicks because it’s treated as the top, trusted answer. However, people generally read featured snippets to get a quick answer and move on, which could mean less clicks to your website.

So, what can you do to find out if winning the featured snippet has a good or bad effect on your website traffic? Only tests will tell…

There are ways you can play around with this to see how much it affects your traffic. If after winning a featured snippet you find that your traffic is decreasing, you can opt out of them by implementing a nosnippet tag to block Google from pulling your content for a featured snippet.

This will be a very interesting time for us as we monitor our clients’ rankings, as really only time will tell what the impact of this really is. The bottom line is that it’s always good to be answering your users’ questions and creating rich content, as that generally increases search visibility.

Increase Traffic and Results

At Sanctuary, we’re focused on the great results we get for our clients. If you’re struggling with getting traffic to your website, and ultimately with getting more leads for your business, the Sanctuary team can help! We know how to utilize your website to increase results. Contact us today to talk!

Google Featured Snippet Update: Position Zero is No More