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Search Engine Optimization

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
Kelly Brown from Sanctuary and Patrick Warczak from Freedom Health LLC

Patrick Warczak is an experienced marketing professional with a demonstrated history of developing and managing brands, sales promotions and business development programs in a variety of markets, with special emphasis in the animal health and animal feed industry. He is the VP of Marketing at Freedom Health, the producers of the SUCCEED Digestive Health Program for the equine industry.

Freedom Health’s focus is on finding, perfecting and delivering superior, innovative products that address real and significant health-related issues for animals and the people who care for them. Their dedication stems from their concern for animal well-being, a deep understanding of animal and nutritional science, and a willingness to explore innovative approaches and ideas.

Freedom Health qualifies as an essential business because they practice in the healthcare and agricultural industries. They have the ability to stay open legally, but the question they had to ask themselves was, should they? That decision came down to a balancing of two competing forces:

  1. They have customers and horses that rely on their products.
  2. The health and welfare of their employees and society at large.

The stay-at-home order is about stopping the spread across the state, country and world. That weighed heavily in terms of the health risk. Therefore, just like many businesses during this pandemic, their production is now paused. However, they are trying to get ahead of the curve and be more proactive rather than reactive. Patrick was gracious enough to sit down with us and share how Freedom Health has managed through the current crisis and is preparing their organization, distribution network and customers to get back to business. Here are some key takeaways from our conversation with Patrick:

  • The key during crisis mode is trying to accommodate the individual customers and communicate with them across the board as well as maintaining and strengthening relationships.
  • Use this opportunity to nurture those relationships. People want to talk more than they did before. Talk about things that have less to do with your products and services. Let the customer drive the conversation.
  • Stay true to your business ethics, operating on self-interest is still and will always be the right choice. Health and safety come first.
  • Even when back up and running there’s going to be a slow recovery. People are more likely to ask themselves, “is this an essential product or expenditure?” Where do things fit into the ecosystem of our financial future?
  • If you operate in the immediate self-interest of the company, you’re likely to run that company into the ground.
  • How customers feel about you is just as important as whether or not you fill this particular order on this particular day.
  • From the standpoint of communicating, honesty with your customers can’t be overstated.
  • When communicating, inform but don’t overdo it like you’re the most important one. Don’t be overwhelming or harassing. The nature of the communication should be direct, honest and positive.
  • Crisis communication strategy is “here’s what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how this affects you.” Finish with positive affirmations.
  • Evaluate appropriateness  Avoid Strong, direct selling messages.
  • Just as important to communicate internally with your management team and coworkers as it is to communicate externally.
  • The companies that continue to advertise, at least at some level, come out stronger.
  • We’ve now learned that global pandemics and other sorts of crises can actually happen, we have the experience of seeing what we did wrong and what we can do better.

Watch or listen to the full interview to get more great insight!

 

Watch the Video

Listen to the Audio

A Conversation With Patrick Warczak
News article on mobile phone

Google recently published an article on best practices for news coverage with Search. In these uncertain and constantly changing times, it’s important to make sure you’re getting news out the right way so people actually see it when they need to. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to keep customers informed on what’s happening with the business.

Have you noticed how news articles sometimes look different in search results? Adding Article structured data to your news posts page can make the content eligible for an enhanced appearance in Google Search results, which helps it stand out to users.

How to mark up news posts with Article structured data

Adding structured data to news and blog pages can enhance your appearance in Google Search results. Your articles could appear with rich result features such as headline text and large images that help draw people into your content.

Different features that may show up depend on how you code your content. Google presents two options:

  • AMP with structured data - AMP pages with structured data can appear in the Top stories carousel, host carousel of rich results, Visual stories, and rich results in mobile Search results.
  • Non-AMP web page with structured data - Non-AMP article pages that include structured data can increase the likelihood of appearing in search results with rich result features.

Find examples here to help guide you on how to code your content.

Mark live videos with BroadcastEvent

You might want to share news in a more interactive way that’s not just an article or blog post, and there are ways to make your video content stand out as well.

Make your live video content eligible for a LIVE badge in Google Search results by marking your video with BroadcastEvent. It’s recommended to use the indexing API so that the video content is crawled frequently and stays more relevant in Search results.

Ensure your content is up-to-date with cache and related AMP components

For any content that is frequently updated, you want to make sure that users are seeing the most up-to-date version. When people click on an AMP page, it triggers Google to clear the cache and serve fresh content to the next user. You can also force the cache to be cleared by sending an update request to the Google AMP Cache.

AMP Components to Include

  • <amp-live-list>: Add live content to your article and have it updated based on a source document.
  • <amp-script>: Run your own JavaScript inside of AMP pages for more engaging, interactive content like maps, graphs and polls.

Get Help Adding Article Structured Data to Your Website

If you know you need to be pushing your news content more heavily but aren’t sure how to implement this structured data, we’d be happy to help! We can also help build up a blog and news strategy if that’s something your company wants to focus on. Contact us today!

Add Article Structured Data to News Posts to Help Them Stand Out in Search Results
Google Search - Mobile and Desktop

Have you noticed anything different in your Google Search results lately? Google added tiny favicon icons to its organic search results in January. It was part of their plan to clarify where information is coming from for each of the search results. The new look is intended to be helpful to searchers so they can easily scan the page of results and decide which source to get their information from.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/23/squint-and-youll-click-it/

Why are some people not seeing the new update?

“We updated the look of Search on desktop to mirror what’s been on mobile for months. We’ve heard your feedback about the update. We always want to make Search better, so we’re going to experiment with new placements for favicons,” writes Danny Sullivan, Google’s search liaison, in a statement posted to Twitter. “Our experimenting will begin today. Over the coming weeks, while we test, some might not see favicons while some might see them in different placements as we look to bring a modern look to desktop.”

The favicons have been visible in search results on mobile browsers since last year but Google just recently rolled out the update to desktop.

Source: https://www.blog.google/products/search/new-design-google-search/

Google insists that paid ads will still be identified. There is a small bold “Ad” label before the text. However, some critics do think that the icons make it harder to identify which results are ads versus organic results (dark pattern). Others think that it clutters the results or that it was even a ploy for Google to regain some fourth quarter losses.

Here is a look back at the how things have changed:

 

Source: https://searchengineland.com/search-ad-labeling-history-google-bing-254332

As marketers, it’s our job to make sure our clients’ websites results are displaying properly and following all the algorithm rules for Google. They are still the most popular search engine in the world by a large margin (81.5% of the market). Here are directions for you to review to make sure your favicon is displaying properly on Google.

How to implement a favicon for your website that will show up in search results

Here is how to make your site eligible for a favicon in search results:

  1. Create a favicon that follows the guidelines below.
  2. Add a <link> tag to the header of your home page with the following syntax:<link rel="shortcut icon" href="https://mk0sanctuarymgcnfsw1.kinstacdn.com/path/to/favicon.ico">
    rel
    Can be any of the following strings:

    • "shortcut icon"
    • "icon"
    • "apple-touch-icon"
    • "apple-touch-icon-precomposed"
  3. “href” the URL of the favicon. Can be a relative path (https://mk0sanctuarymgcnfsw1.kinstacdn.com/smile.ico) or absolute path (https://example.com/smile.ico), but must be in the same domain as the home page.
  4. Google will look for and update your favicon whenever it crawls your home page. If you make changes to your favicon and want to inform Google about the changes, you can request indexing of your site's homepage. Updates can take a few days or longer to appear in search results.

For more guidelines, head to Google support!

Make sure your website is Google-ready!

Need help figuring it all out? Contact Sanctuary! We love helping businesses optimize their websites.

Seeing Favicons in Your Google Search Results? Here’s Why…
Wooden figures representing audience targeting

You have the option to now combine audience targeting to create special audiences for your search targeting efforts in Google Ads. You can layer in elements such as demographics, in-market, affinity and other targeting options. Requiring that users be included in a set of demographics, affinity or intent, and searching for your chosen keywords allows you to really hone in on a specific audience.

Changing the Way You Set Up Campaigns

This may change the way you’d like to set up your campaigns if there is a targeted audience that you would speak differently to or even use different keywords for. Since you’re able to target them so well with this combined audience, you may be able to use more general key phrases that you otherwise would not use.

You can also choose to set up these combined audiences and set it to Observation instead of Targeting to get data on how that audience performs without strictly targeting only that audience. You can test this audience matching without limiting your reach to just those specific audiences this way.

Set Up New Combined Audiences

To set this up, you would need to go to the Audience section within the search campaign you’d like to use. Under Browse, you would select to add a New Combined Audience. You can choose your ideal audience, allowing your search campaign to narrow in on who your ads will be shown to. Google Ads makes this easy to use with their audience builder. For example, maybe you’d like to target the following: Homeowners, Home Decor Enthusiasts affinity market, and in-market for Home Furnishings.

Google will show you information regarding estimated audience size as you build your custom audience. These combined audiences must have at least 1,000 members in order to be used in your campaign. To use this, you should know your audience well and use resources such as Audience Insights in your Google Ads account.

Get Help Targeting the Right Audiences

If combined audience targeting is a little too much to tackle right now, the Sanctuary team would be happy to figure out how we can help maximize your Google Ads. Contact us today to talk more about audience targeting!

Combined Audiences for Search Targeting in Google Ads
Question marks on sticky notes representing frequently asked questions

In the past, FAQ pages have been treated like a non-important essential—if that even makes sense. You know you should have an FAQ page (everyone does, right?), but you haven’t really put much time into making it something beyond a list of questions and answers.

Now that Google is displaying Featured Snippets at the very top of search results, and voice search is gaining in popularity, your FAQ page is key to higher visibility. If you’re trying to think back to the last time you’ve touched your FAQ page and can’t remember, don’t worry! There are steps you can take to optimize the page and help it rank higher in search.

Why Does My FAQ Page Matter?

Featured Snippets, which show up in what is being deemed as Google’s “position zero”, are selected search results that appear at the top of organic results and are aimed at directly answering a user’s question. Google searches content on the internet to find the article that best answers the question, and then displays a snippet from that article. These featured snippets are seen by users as the “ultimate” answer to their question.

Whether performing a traditional text search or a more on-the-go voice search, featured snippets are what pop up first in response to a user asking a question.

It would probably be beneficial to have your content show up in that prime spot, right? Absolutely. And the easiest place to start optimizing your content for featured snippets is the place where all your frequently asked questions are housed—your FAQ page!

How Can I Optimize My FAQ Page?

If you’re looking at your FAQ page and wondering what more you can do to make it effective, it’s helpful to run through an initial audit of the page. Touch on the following points in your audit:

  • Location - Is your FAQ page easy to locate? Or is it tucked down in the footer where no one will likely see it?
  • Relevance - Is your content outdated? When is the last time you’ve refreshed the answers on this page? It’s important to make sure your information is accurate before trying to improve it.
  • Media - An FAQ page that is straight text is not only boring, but probably not all that effective at answering questions. Consider adding in images and video where applicable to make your information even more clear and easy to understand.
  • Content - Beyond answering simple questions about your hours or location, be sure to include highly valuable information on your products or services that will gain traction in search results. Dive deeper into topics that your current and potential customers may think about during the buying process.
  • Design - Do you have to scroll on and on to get to the end of your FAQ page? Consider making the design of your page a little more user-friendly by adding in pagination, a sorting feature, or even just creating separate pages to link out to for more information.
  • Cross-Linking - In addition to creating a new page for each question and linking out to the answer, it’s also a good idea to cross-link to other pages on your website to increase traffic to those pages and provide the user with more information. If your information gets picked up for a featured snippet, this will help gain traffic to other pages on your site in addition to your FAQ page.
  • FAQPage Structured Data - You can add schema markup to any content that represents a question and its answer for a better chance of having a rich result displayed in search results. The great thing about the schema markup is that it can be used for content anywhere on your site where you have a question and answer, not just on your FAQ page.

Start Connecting Users with Better Answers to Their Questions

Once you’ve run through an initial audit to see how you can improve your FAQ page, start chipping away at the changes. If you’re not sure where to start or need help making some of the changes, reach out to us to see how we can help!

It’s Time to Dust Off That Old FAQ Page for a Shot at Position Zero
Web push notifications

When a notification pops up on your phone or computer, it’s pretty hard to ignore, right? That’s the whole idea behind push notifications, and the reason why they’re becoming more prevalent. Push notifications are something you will see more brands adopting in 2020 as they find ways to engage with customers on a variety of channels.

Push notifications can be viewed across several devices including desktop, mobile and tablet—meaning more ways to reach users. They can be delivered as long as the user has consented to receiving them and if they have their internet browser open. They also work on some mobile browsers like Chrome and Firefox.

Why are Push Notifications Important?

  • Sign-up rate is higher.
    Twice as many people will sign up to receive push notifications compared to receiving a newsletter. Only 10% of the top email marketers achieve a sign-up rate that matches web push notifications.
  • People see push notifications quicker.
    The average time that passes for when a person will open a newsletter is 6.4 hours compared to someone opening a push notification immediately or within the hour of receiving it.
  • Click Rate is higher for push notifications than email.
    Businesses using push notifications report a 7 times higher click rate.

Different Types of Push Notification Campaigns

  • Promotional - Promote a product, service or event. Unlike an email that can get buried, a push notification is a bit more of an active approach to spreading news and inciting urgency.
  • Transactional - These campaigns are triggered after a person completes a transaction on your website. They would go into a campaign based on the transaction completed. For example, if the customer recently completed a purchase, you could send them tracking information on receiving their purchase.
  • Alerts - These alerts should entice the user to take an action. For example, maybe a sale is ending soon and the message notifies the user of the last chance to participate in the sale. This helps create a sense of urgency for the user.

Best Practices for Using Push Notifications

  • Personalizing messages is important. Personalized push notifications increase open rate by 4% and 54% of users will convert if they receive a personalized push notification, compared to a broadcast message to a larger audience.
  • Timing matters. Send notifications based on a customer’s local time zone. If sent at the wrong time, a customer may view your message as intrusive and they may unsubscribe.
  • Create short and clear content. The basic messaging to include in a notification is a Push Title, Push Description, Website Icon, Notification Image and Call To Action.
  • Target messaging to segmented audiences. The user experience will be enhanced by sending them messages that provide them with value and also increase click rate.
  • Call To Action should be easy to understand. After the user has read your messaging, the Call To Action should guide them on what you want them to do next.
  • Where you are landing the user after clicking the Call To Action is very important. The landing page should be relevant to the push notification because the user cannot go back and re-check the notification after they have clicked on it. If there is important messaging on the push notification (example: discount code), make sure the discount code is also on the landing page.
  • Limit the number of messages sent per day. You should not be sending more than one push notification per day. Sending more than that decreases click rate and can increase your opt-out rate.

Integrate Push Notifications Into Your Digital Marketing Plan

Overall, push notifications are a great tool to explore and see if it makes sense to integrate them into your digital marketing plan. They offer a lot of benefits when done right, and ultimately can lead to increased customer retention and conversion. Contact us today to see if push notifications will help you reach your goals!

Sources: Single Grain, e-goi, PushEngage

Push Notifications: What are They and Why are They Important?