Home » Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization

Digital marketer looking at key metrics in a report

Digital marketing provides an exciting way to reach a large audience—measurably and cost-effectively. With digital marketing, you can reach far more customers than you can with traditional marketing efforts. You can also get to know your customers better, which can help you to build long-lasting brand loyalty. But the critical element here is measurement. How can you be sure if your results are good or bad if you’re not measuring anything?

Though digital marketing is less costly than other efforts, the only way to know if your efforts are paying off is to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Successful marketing campaigns are about much more than conversions. To determine which metrics you should track, you need to ask yourself (and your team) some essential questions. For example, are you trying to get more customers to click-through your email content? Do you want to attract more organic traffic to your website? Are you trying to reach more of the right customers on social media?

15 Digital Metrics that Your Business Needs to Track

Once you know what your digital marketing goals are, you can set metrics so that you can track your digital campaign success. It may seem like there are endless goals for you to track, and that’s true as it all depends on how granular you want to get. But in the least, we have found that these 15 goals will help you get a good handle on your digital marketing strategy's successes (or failures).

Further, we have provided industry benchmarks to help you with a handful of these metrics. For those where a benchmark has not been provided, it means that you will need to create your baseline and look to make improvements from there.

For example, how many social media followers do you have after setting up your accounts? And, how does the number of followers grow each week after that? Do more people become followers when you release a blog, or is there another day of the week that seems popular for your business?

  1. Website traffic - How many people are visiting your website each day?
  2. Website traffic sources - Where are the people who are visiting your website coming from?
  3. New vs. returning website visitors - Are the people visiting your website visiting for the first time or have they visited your website before?
  4. Visit duration - How long are website visitors spending on your website? Most users will leave your website after ten to 20 seconds, but pages that have informative and useful content may drive longer visits.
  5. Popular pages - Which website pages are people visiting the most often?
  6. Exit rate - What percentage of visits end on a specific website page?
  7. Bounce rate - What percentage of people leave your website after visiting only one page?
  8. Conversion rate - What percentage of visitors convert (make a transaction)? Though this rate will vary by industry, you should strive for a conversation rate of 2.5% or higher.
  9. Social followers - How many people are following your social media pages?
  10. Impressions - How often is your content displayed so that potential users will see that content?
  11. Reach - How many people are actually seeing your content?
  12. Open rate (OR) - When sending an email campaign, how many recipients are actually opening the email? If your email open rate is less than 15–25%, you should revisit your campaign strategy.
  13. Click-through-rate (CTR) - In your email marketing and paid advertising efforts, how many people are clicking on your links? Strive for a CTR of 2.5% or higher.
  14. Cost-per-click (CPC) - How much are you paying for clicks for your digital marketing ads?
  15. Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) - What is the aggregate cost to acquire a new customer?

Tracking Return on Your Digital Marketing Investment (ROI)

In addition to the 15 metrics that we mentioned above, you should also track your overall ROI. The easiest way to calculate the ROI from one of your digital marketing campaigns is to make it a calculation in your marketing plan. Take your sales growth figure minus your marketing cost and then divide it by your marketing cost. The equation looks as follows:

(Sales Growth – Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost = ROI

Work with your business leaders to determine the time period by which you should measure ROI. Many marketing leaders choose to measure ROI monthly, quarterly, and annually as part of their overall marketing plan. This period nicely aligns with the measurement of the metrics mentioned above, though you may want to measure every week as well.

Once you have your digital marketing metrics established and a tracking mechanism in place, you can easily create a marketing dashboard. This dashboard should be updated regularly and should become a focal point in any marketing team meeting or presentation. Your marketing metrics and results will quickly become your one point of truth to ensure that your marketing initiatives help you meet your overall business goals.

Partner with the digital marketing experts. We’re focused on results!

At Sanctuary, we’re digital marketing specialists focused on producing real results for your business to ultimately help you grow. When you partner with us, your results will be a top priority and you’ll get to see a report each month highlighting your progress. Talk to us today about digital marketing!

Metrics You Should Be Tracking to Measure Success with Digital Marketing
Website landing page layout

Have you ever been redirected to another website after clicking on an ad or a promotional link?

That new website is, in actuality, a landing page that’s built specifically to welcome anyone arriving from that particular link.

Landing pages do not have any purpose other than building up a call-to-action and providing education to the user. They are promotional pages that further stress the marketing material that compelled you to click in the first place. And now that you are there, it’ll do its best to take you down the sales funnel.

But as marketers will tell you, that’s easier said than done. It’s often a struggle to create landing pages that encourage visitors to take action and convert.

According to sources, the estimated average conversion rate for landing pages is only 4.02%.

However, while the average is abysmal, there are landing pages out there enjoying much better numbers and greater sales overall.

Below are a few ways you can ensure the success of your landing page for better conversions.

Make it Mobile-Friendly

Reports indicate that 86% of the best-performing landing pages are mobile-friendly. More people are using the internet on their phones than on any other device, and making your landing page mobile-friendly will also increase its overall effectiveness.

Make a clear and focused call-to-action, and couple it with easy-to-read content. This tactic will make your landing page specific and efficient.

Although it is good practice to create a separate landing page for mobile devices, adopting mobile-friendly protocols may be beneficial for the desktop version of your page as well.

Create An Effective Headline

The headline is the first thing that the visitor will read, so it HAS to encourage them to read further! In fact, only two out of every ten people make the effort of reading beyond the headline, so you should definitely make sure that the headline gives the reader a good enough reason to keep reading.

The headline could create curiosity about the product, present the reader with an incentive, or just be precise and well-thought-out. Be unapologetically loud with your headline; make it big, bold, noticeable and hard to ignore.

A compelling headline is the foundation of a high-converting landing page, especially when you really understand your target audience, what their pain points are and what they want to hear.

Make An Offer

Sometimes even the most shabbily-made landing pages end up converting. A significant reason for that is the incentive, which is very important in maintaining the reader's attention and compelling them to find out how to capitalize on their interests in your offering.

Some ideas of incentives would be:

  • Give visitors a free trial
  • Take $10 off their first purchase
  • Offer newsletter subscription upon purchase
  • Give readers access to partner services

A good incentive will take visitors deeper into the sales funnel, and that is what we want.

The most effective way to utilize an offer would be to place it in a personalized call-to-action. It makes a landing page 202% better at converting than one with a regular call-to-action.

Use Clean Visuals

Considering how the landing page is one focused webpage, it works to direct all attention towards your call-to-action.

Anything that distracts from that should be discouraged. This includes vivid and heavy imagery. A landing page should divert focus onto the product rather than the page itself.

Here are a few design tips to keep in mind:

  • Use relevant imagery—or none at all. Don’t use a stock image just for the sake of having an image if no one will relate to it. It will only create a distraction from the real purpose of the page.
  • Whatever the CTA is, be sure to introduce it high up on the page, preferably above the “fold” so that users can see it on their screen when they first arrive at the page. Burying it down at the bottom is not helpful when most people don’t make it that far down.
  • Think about what the colors you choose are depicting. Keep colors not too dull and boring but not too distracting or cheesy looking.
  • Isolating the call-to-action on an empty background may seem boring, but it has a higher chance of converting.

Vivid and expressive imagery also takes more time to load, depending on the user's internet service. Your conversion chance can suffer a massive 7% decrease if there is a delay in loading by one second or more.

A surefire way to enhance the effectiveness of your landing page is by building a call-to-action focus into it. Minimize distractions, offer incentives early on and create easy-to-consume content that focuses on the benefits to the user.

You could be making a landing page for pay-per-click ads, social ads, game ads or an email marketing campaign; the tips we have mentioned are geared toward getting your visitors to convert no matter what your objectives are.

Get Help Getting More Conversions

At Sanctuary, we’re focused on getting results for our clients—that means figuring out the right ways to get you more leads and conversions. Let us help you put together well-rounded campaigns that point to a conversion-based landing page that gets potential customers to take action! Contact us today.

Top 4 Tips for Optimizing Landing Pages for Conversions
keyword research seo

If you’re not familiar with the concept of search engine optimization (SEO), then the idea of creating a keyword seed list might seem a bit overwhelming. You might not even be sure of what a keyword list is. Keywords are concepts, topics, or short phrases that define what your content is focused on. For example, if a customer is looking for someone to help with their back-pain issues, they might conduct an online search for “chiropractor near me” or “lower back pain.”

When looking to build content for your website, you must use similar language to what your customers would use when searching for products and services akin to what you offer. When those keywords are prominent in your content, customers are far more likely to find your website and engage with your content.

So where do you begin?

Four Easy Steps to Create an SEO Keyword Seed List

keyword research

If you are ready to create content for your website, identifying keywords that should be woven throughout is easy. It just takes some research—which the Sanctuary team would be happy to help with! With the four steps below, you’ll be on your way to building a keyword list and gaining a better understanding of your audience’s search habits.

1. Research common terms and phrases in your industry.

Start by scouring your website and competitor websites for common terms and phrases. Using the chiropractor example above, common keywords might include “lower back pain,” “back pain,” or “lower back pain relief.” These frequently used terms are a great place to start. This SEO keyword research will pay off as it will make the next three steps easier.

2. See what your audience is searching for.

Once you have your initial SEO keyword seed list compiled, the next thing to do is look at the keywords used by your audience. If your website has a search function, this is a great place to start. Have your marketing team pull the list of phrases that have been entered into the search tool. Scour the list. The terms entered into the search function will often mirror or be quite similar to the terms that people use when searching in Google, Bing, or other search functions. If you don’t have a search function on your site (something we highly suggest), consider looking through social media, online communities, and any support tickets to look for commonalities.

3. Check Google to identify common search terms.

To grow your list of keywords, go to Google’s website and start searching for the terms on your list. After Google returns various options to you, scroll down to the bottom of the page. Here you will find a useful box titled “searches related to website scanning.” For example, when we enter “chiropractor for back pain” into Google’s search engine, and we scroll down, we see the following for related searches: “when not to see a chiropractor,” “chiropractor near me,” “do chiropractors really help,” “chiropractic adjustment benefits,” and more. Add these search terms to your keyword seed list.

4. Prioritize your keywords based on your business and put them to use.

While keywords are helpful to ensure that others can find your content, the use of too many keywords can be a turn off to your reader. Keyword stuffing occurs when you use too many keywords and phrases in your content as a way of manipulating your site ranking (trying to get your content to the top of search results). Marketers and small business owners should never try to incorporate all of their SEO keywords into every piece of content.

Instead, leverage a few of the keyword that are most frequently used into your content, and otherwise focus on the keywords that best align with your storytelling. Targeting two or three keywords per page of content is a good rule of thumb to help you get started.

Consider Investing in an SEO Keyword Tool

As your small business grows and your marketing programs begin to ramp up, you may want to invest in an SEO keyword tool. SEMrush, Yext, Hubspot, and Moz offer easy-to-use tools for a reasonable monthly subscription fee. Of course, there are several SEO keyword tools out there, so it is essential to do your homework to determine your small business's best tool.

At Sanctuary, we have a set of tools we love using for keyword research. Let us help you!

Partner with the best SEO team out there.

If you want help putting together a plan for how to use these keywords and take your website to the next level with SEO, contact the Sanctuary team today!

 

How to Build a Keyword Seed List for SEO
organic search engine optimization

You have a website so that you can communicate important information to potential customers and get leads for your business, right? That’s a great reason to have a website, but it’s not enough to just have something with a few pages of content on it. You have to make sure there’s a strategy behind what you’re putting out on the internet and that it aligns with what people are searching for.

If you think about it, there is just no point in having a website if it doesn’t attract very many visitors. You want your site to show high up in search results when someone makes a search relevant to your products or services. You want it to be seen!

There are essentially two different ways to get your site to show up in search results: By paying for it, or by results occurring organically. This post will introduce you to those naturally occurring results that comprise what’s called “organic search,” as well as to the steps you can take to optimize your website to show up more often.

Paid Search vs. Organic Search

When you search for something in Google, think about the results that show up. Have you ever noticed how the first couple results always say “ad” next to them? That’s because someone is paying to put those results there! They are called paid search ads and can be implemented on different search engines.

But what follows those paid search ads are organic search results. When you think organic, you likely think natural, which is exactly what those results are—they show up naturally because of their relevance to the search that was made.

You can see the difference between these results in the image below.

paid vs organic search results

While paying for your website to show up in the first couple of positions is effective for getting more website traffic, those results will diminish as soon as you stop paying for them. Ranking organically has a more lasting effect, and implementing tactics to optimize your website for organic search will continue delivering results long after the initial launch.

Why do some websites show up higher in search results than others?

Search engines like Google have extensive algorithms and methods for scanning content on the internet and determining its value. The thing is, value to search engines is very multifaceted and isn’t just about having good content or a site that functions well. It’s about both of those things and more harmoniously working together.

Websites that achieve high rankings have valuable content, a user-friendly interface, logical organization and categorization, a range of media like images and videos, and are relevant to what people are searching for. These websites likely have an ongoing digital marketing strategy that includes things like content creation and SEO—which brings us to the next point…

What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of implementing different updates to a website to make it easier to understand and more attractive to search engines so that your content is shown to potential customers online.

SEO consists of different technical and on-page updates you can make to your site that correlate with results of keyphrase research and a site audit. In addition to one-time updates, SEO also consists of ongoing content creation aimed at representing keywords important to your business.

Why should you care?

Website traffic is valuable for your business, especially when it’s traffic coming from people searching with intent to purchase. As a digital marketing company, we know that there are thousands of people in Northeast Ohio alone who are searching for digital marketing services for their businesses. We want to catch those people’s attention with our website so we can tell them why a partnership with us could be successful. If there are ways to hone in on those searchers and increase traffic, why not do them?

Get Started with Sanctuary

If you have a website and haven’t been able to give it the attention it needs, or you’re just not getting the results you want from it, we can help bring it up to the next level. Contact us today to talk about SEO services for your business.

What is Organic Search and Why Is SEO Important?
SEO - search engine optimization

When it comes to your website, you just want it to be found by the right people. But in order for your site to show up in search results for those who are actively searching for your products or services, you have to make sure it’s performing right. That’s where SEO comes in. There are so many factors that contribute to your overall organic search rankings that it’s easy to get lost and be unsure of where to start. We’ve compiled a list of six actionable items you can start checking off your SEO list right now that will make an impact on your website “health” and ranking.

Beyond these tactics, there are typically other steps we take in a comprehensive strategy to improve your organic rankings and search traffic. Talk to our team today about what that strategy could look like for your company!

1. Install Yoast SEO Plugin

Yoast SEO plugin on a WordPress website

If you already have a WordPress website, that’s great news! While you don’t have to have WordPress to do SEO, this platform makes it much easier to not only implement changes and updates but to see how different pages on your website are scored for target keywords.

This is possible through a WordPress plugin called Yoast SEO—available as both a free and premium version. Yoast makes it really easy to add a meta title, meta description, URL slug and focus keyword every time you create a new post or page on your site.

If you’re not familiar with plugins, we’d be happy to take a look at your site to see what you already have and what’s possible to add if needed.

2. Redirect Broken Links

Crosslinking to other pages on your site is a great way to direct users even further through your content, but it really does no good when the links don’t work! In fact, broken links actually hurt your site’s SEO value and overall ranking. An easy way to get rid of this issue is to go through and clean up those old or broken links by either updating with new links or redirecting the old ones.

At Sanctuary, we have tools we use like SEMRush to help us identify these broken links, but you can start doing this yourself by clicking on each link you see within your website content and ensuring that it goes to the right place. If not, you’ll need to log in on the back end of your site to make the update.

3. Correct Meta Issues

Yoast SEO WordPress plugin meta title and meta description

One of the first things we do for a new client is to run a site audit to assess the health of your website. This clues us into the different issues that are present on your site that need to be tackled in order to improve your ranking. These issues include things like:

  • Missing or duplicate meta titles and descriptions
  • Missing alt text for images (see more on that below)
  • Broken links
  • and more

Things like meta issues are usually quick fixes and just involve taking the time to write unique, keyword-rich meta titles and descriptions for pages that don’t have them or that have duplicates. If you’re not sure what a meta title or meta description is, here’s a quick summary:

A meta title and meta description work together to tell search engines like Google what a web page is about. These elements provide a great opportunity to use important keywords that people are searching for so that when your content shows up in search results, they know it will satisfy their needs. A meta title must be less than 60 characters long, while a meta description should be kept to less than 160 characters.

Meta title and description example

4. Optimize Content

Another quick fix you can make is to the actual content on your site. Make sure that each page has a top heading (H1) and subheadings (H2s and H3s) throughout that contain important keywords. For example, if you have a web page about air conditioners, be sure to include air conditioners in the page title and subsequent headings throughout.

In addition, you should aim to have at least 250 words of content on each page of your website. There are definitely a few pages where that doesn’t apply, such as the ‘Contact Us’ page or the sitemap, but generally speaking, you want to hit that target for the majority of your webpages.

Why? It not only signals to search engines that it’s a “real” page, but it shows that you’re credible and putting substantial content out there. It also gives you more opportunity to tell search engines and internet users about what you offer and what your business is all about. The more information and content search engines have to scan, the better they’ll understand who you are and who needs to see your content.

5. Run a Site Speed Test

Use a free tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test the speed of your website. This particular tool actually generates suggestions for how to improve page speed on a specific web page after it’s done analyzing it. Suggestions will probably include a few fairly simple things like condensing image sizes (which you could tackle yourself if you have the time!), among other coding and development tasks that an experienced team should handle. But the first step to making improvements is seeing where you stand now—and learning how to get better.

6. Optimize Images

How to add alternative text to an image in WordPress

Condense Images
Make sure that images on your site aren’t too large, because that could be slowing down overall site speed. As a general rule when uploading an image to your site, we recommend keeping it between 1500 and 2500 pixels wide so it displays correctly and doesn’t slow down the page you use it on.

Add Alternative Text
In addition, each image on your site should have “alternative text” or “alt text” to let search engines know what the images are showing. This is another great opportunity to include keywords if applicable. You can also add title text, but that’s more for telling the end-user what an image is about, rather than the search engine. For example, if someone were writing an article about leash training a puppy, they might include an image of a puppy on a leash. The alt text for that image would be something like “puppy walking on leash with owner practicing leash training” (with the key phrase being “leash training”).

Add More Visuals
Not only should you optimize the images that are already on your site, but you should also try to add more images or visuals where at all possible or logical. Internet users are more interested in visual content, which means they’ll spend more time on a page that’s more visual—and Google knows that! A web page with more diverse media such as images, infographics and videos has more ranking power than one with just purely text.

Contact the Sanctuary team for more extensive help with SEO.

Changing meta titles and adding keywords into your content isn’t too hard to tackle on your own, but there are definitely elements of SEO that you should have the experts take care of. We’d love to help you take these couple of steps even further to see great improvements in your organic search results. Contact us today to learn more about our SEO services!

Six Quick Fixes for Improved WordPress SEO
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
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.

image1

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.

image2

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

image1
image3

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

image2

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

Knowledge Panels for Events & Performers

image5

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:

image4

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