2019 Google Local Ranking Factors Made Simple

2019 Google Local Ranking Factors Made Simple

 

As we are nearing the end of 2019, we wanted to share critical insights into the 2019 / 2020 Google Local Ranking factors and explain them in a way that anyone can understand and know exactly what to do to get a leg up over your competition. 

3.5 Billion Searches A Day – Proves that all of us depend on Google more than ever to help find whatever it is we need. That’s why it’s SO important that your business is one of the top 5 organic results that is offered on page page one.

Because we recall few details, we depend on Google to help us complete our thought and connect the dots to what we are looking for. When we ask Google to help, it will respond with its best recommendations.

If You Are NOT In The Top 5 – your competitors are taking your customers!

When you take a step back and chew on that for a second – THAT JUST SUCKS! And I know you didn’t get into business to send customers to your competitor!

Below we are going to explain what Google is looking for NOW, and guide you how, with a little effort, to start ranking at the top where you deserve to be! Local, brick & mortar businesses are especially going to benefit from this breakdown without a doubt!

Ready to get this Google Ranking party started? Let’s go! 

Okay, So Why Is Google our Digital “Crack”?

When it comes to searching for something, anything … we “Google It!” Especially for something “near me”, which is the most searched term on Google. 

  1. 80% of all searches are through Google
  2. 84% of all Google searches are using a mobile device
  3. 72% of local searches are for a store within 5 miles of the consumer

Now how ’bout these apples:

  1. Paid Search Ads (PPC / AdWords) ONLY amount to 26% of the clicks.
  2. BUT . . . Organic Results 1-5 own 74% of the click-throughs! Yeah, that’s 3 out of 4 clicks!

That’s because in our minds, organic ranking has a subconscious credibility. Whereas an “Ad”, due to PPC / AdWords efforts, means they paid their way to jump to the front of the line! We kind of feel like they are cheating their way to our attention.

Google’s New Changes Means What Exactly?

Google wants to always be our Go-To for searching. To do that, it has to offer good directions that always deliver. 

Imagine if someone kept giving you wrong directions. You’ll eventually stop trusting them and not consider them as good source. 

So, the 2018 Google algorithm changes focused on rewarding websites that not only met the fundamental basics, but that also delivered positive user behavior.

So grab a pen and paper and let’s get ready to help you get ahead of the curve of your competitors!

Ranking Factor #1: (25%) Google My Business Listing / GMB

 

One of the biggest changes in local ranking factors is the emphasis on your Google business “signal”. In 2017, your GMB listing was only 19% of the factor, but due to new features added, its importance is now 25%!

Recent updates to the GMB listing:

  • Messaging
  • Services / Menu
  • Google Q&A
  • Google Video Posts  

 

BUT because your GMB settings are critical to how you are ranked, make sure you have the correct categories selected, updated address, hours of operation, photos of your business as well as Google Posts that help keep fresh content available for the algorithm to index and that encourage clicks from users.

It’s just as important that you continue to engage customers with the new Q&A feature.

This not only helps improve your ranking, but more importantly can greatly help prevent and or correct any misinformation about your business being spread around.

Ranking Factor #2: (15%) Reviews Reviews Reviews

Did You Know:

  • 92% of Consumers read online reviews first before making a purchase!
  • 8 out of 10 Consumers consider an online review equal to that of a friend!
  • 72% of Consumers  ay positive reviews make them trust a business more!

Why are reviews so important? One word … TRUST! Positive reviews about your business via Google and Facebook prove that other people find you trustworthy and a great experience.

Remember, people do business with those they trust.

And if someone is is in need, they need a way to close the “confidence gap” from stranger to trusted so they feel their hard-earned money isn’t wasted! 

Positive reviews do just that.

YOUR REVIEW REPLIES CAN Drive Sales Up! Up! UP!

Here is the second aspect to why reviews are CRITICAL to the growth of your local business!

Now, have you ever given someone a compliment and they just stood there with no response? You immediately feel this sense of wanting some form of gratitude for speaking nicely of them.

I mean, hell, we’ve have been raised to at LEAST say “Thank you.” when someone gives us a compliment!

Well, Review Replies are essentially Manners 2.0!

So … don’t make it awkward! Show massive gratitude in ways that prove how much you appreciate your customer’s business!

Because if you do not reply to those reviews immediately, the algorithms of both Google & Facebook think that you don’t care about their users.

In return for your “rudeness”, they will not care about you and not reward you with higher ranking or greater content reach!

So, Google & Facebook reviews are critical for the functional aspect of ranking, BUT … there is also the sales benefit of how to convert those who left a review into a long-term brand advocate!

Once a customer has made their initial purchase, it’s now YOUR chance to show them just how much you appreciate them choosing to do business with you!

So here’s how you capitalize reviews:

  • #1 – Reply Immediately
  • #2 – Be personal (none of this robotic, copy / paste auto-response)! That gives off no touchy-feely warm and fuzzies. State their first name and be authentic with your response. They made the time and so should you.
  • #3 – Incentivize them to return as part of your gratitude strategy. Don’t just say “Thanks. Hope to see you again soon!”

Since they’ve done business with you, it is your obligation to compel them to do business with you AGAIN – but you have to give them a reason.

58% of consumers are more likely to do business a 2nd time IF they had an amazing first experience AND you give them an incentive / discount to return.

But also … give it a window of 30 days or so. That creates a sense of urgency and people will prioritize if given a reason like an expiration date / time-frame.

They in turn leave positive reviews, and your ranking continues to climb as well as your new business opportunities from strangers!

Now – How To Turn Them Into Brand Lovers

53% of 2nd Visit Customers have a great experience, they will make a 3rd purchase … if incentivized!

64% will make a 4th … if their 3rd visit was exceptional AND they were incentivized again! You now have a loyal customer with a growing Lifetime Value!

So yeah … Reviews matter a LOT!

Ranking Factor #3: (50%) Website Performance

Okay, the Website Performance Factor is made up of 4 parts and each carry serious weight to Google AND Facebook algorithms that determine who gets rewarded or penalized!

  1. Website Load Speed
  2. Security
  3. Mobile-First
  4. User Experience / UX

When was the last time you clicked on some link or image that got your attention and it took you to a site that didn’t load immediately?

Your reaction was to click back because it didn’t deliver.

1. Website Load Speed

Well, if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load … you’re causing the same reaction to your prospective customers!

Because we are used to websites loading fast, if yours doesn’t, it’s immediately negated in our minds and we will look for another option.

FACTS:

  • 50% of your website visitors will leave if it takes 3-5 sec to load
  • 90% of your website visitors will leave if it takes 5-10 sec to load

Since it is now the norm, anything slower than 3 seconds is detrimental not only to your ranking, but the growth potential of your business!

Meaning, if you don’t load, you’re old, slow and driving business to your competitor who is fast and ready!

2. Website Security – SSL

If your website does not have an active SSL Certificate activated to your URL, Google considers your site unsafe for its users and will not reward you with higher ranking.

Same goes for Facebook / Instagram.

Not sure if your website has a SSL certificate? Simply go to your website and it will either show:

if it is NOT secure (above), and if it is secure with an active SSL Certificate … will show as ours is (below)

3. Mobile-First Website

So, you may have heard the term “mobile responsive”. Meaning, a code was built to let the website know to respond to the device a website was being visited and adapt to the screen size automatically.

Historically, in order to index web pages, Google used to evaluate their desktops’ versions first and foremost.

To put it simply, indexing is the process by which a search engine scans and saves the information from a website.

Based on this information, the algorithm can then decide what will be the ranking of the website for a specific keyword search.

But since 81% of all website visits are accessed from these tiny things called smartphones, the emphasis put on desktops for the indexing process didn’t really make sense anymore.

This is why Google announced in November 2016 a project to reverse the way pages were indexed:mobile-first indexing.

It means that the mobile version will be considered the primary version of your website when it comes to indexing. 

Bottom line – if your website is not Mobile-First – You’re Last in line to be indexed against your competitors who are!

4. User Experience / UX

The websites that offer a visitor an easy, intuitive and friction-free experience will win every time.

If people are forced to swipe in and out to zoom in order to read and/or click buttons, they will leave.

If that’s your website, like below-left, it is outdated and driving customer-confidence down, creating a pain-point AND sending business to your competition.

Don’t force people to think they need reading glasses just to navigate your website. Think like an app.

Mobile-First is now designing a website for the mobile device, though a separate, desktop version needs to be developed as well.

Not sure of the difference? Think of Facebook and how the app is a streamlined version compared to the desktop UX (User Experience) below.

The goal of your website for a visitor is to keep them engaged, provide them with what is important to them in a FAST and EASY way and continually provide top quality content they like.

Now, here’s the kicker!

If you have attempted to do any social media marketing through Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, and your website isn’t meeting ALL of the above demands, not only is Google penalizing you, but so is Facebook / Instagram with poor content reach and ad delivery.

So now that you’re head is spinning from all of this information, you could be in a mild panic … as you should IF … you now see why your ranking and social media results are diminishing.

Start a checklist and work it until each element is up to par so that your efforts of being the best option to your prospects are not in vain.

In closing, IF you want to be rewarded by Google with higher ranking AND by Facebook / Instagram with better content reach & ad performance for 2019, make the following 6 Updates ASAP:

  • Update Your Google My Business Listing
  • Up Your Review Game ASAP
  • Mobile Site Load Speed – 3 seconds or less
  • Secure Server – Activate your SSL Certificate to your domain
  • Update your website to Mobile-First
  • Make the User Experience Fast, Intuitive and Friction-Free
Twitter Posts Record 100M Profit But Loses 1M Followers

Twitter Posts Record 100M Profit But Loses 1M Followers

The social media apocalypse is on us this week.

Just days after Facebook’s stock dropped $123 billion in value, Twitter’s shares are also down nearly 20 percent.

The microblogging service recorded a drop of 1M monthly users in Q2, with 335M overall and 68M in the U.S.. International users stayed consistent, with U.S. numbers down from 69 million in the previous quarter.

Bloomberg reported that Twitter’s share price dropped by 17 percent in early trading following the earnings announcement.

The market seems spooked that Twitter has failed to grow in the U.S.. Indeed, one year ago it recorded 68 million users on home turf, and while it has grown its international presence by a fairly modest 3.5 percent over that period, there are doubts as to whether Twitter can increase its audience.

The company itself said it expects to see its monthly active user count drop by “mid-single-digit millions.”

 

Twitter’s Monthly Active Users

“When we suspend accounts, many of the removed accounts have already been excluded from MAU or DAU, either because the accounts were already inactive for more than one month at the time of suspension, or because they were caught at signup and were never included in MAU or DAU,” Twitter further explained in its release.

The company did say, though, that its work with SMS carriers and reallocation of resources, are the reasons why it is forecasting more user number declines.

While Twitter can (just about argue) that its daily user number grew by 11 percent in the quarter — a little higher than 10 percent in Q1 — the company doesn’t actually disclose this number.

The stock drop will be frustrating for executives because, in its favor, Twitter had a record quarter of profit. GAAP net income came in at $100 million with revenue climbing 24 percent year-on-year to reach $711 million. Adjusted EBITDA came in at $265 million — Twitter is predicting it will decline to $215-$235 million in the next quarter.

That profit was above analyst forecasts of $70 million but, following Facebook’s epic crash this week, investors want to see growth potential… and that means more users. Unfortunately, that’s Twitter’s Achilles heel.

Facebook Has Officially Lost $123.4 Billion in Value

Facebook Has Officially Lost $123.4 Billion in Value

In what could be the biggest one-day drop of all time, Facebook shares opened at $174.89, down 19.6 percent compared to yesterday’s closing price of $217.50 according to NASDAQ:FB. 

Yesterday, Facebook was worth $629.6 billion. Today, it’s now worth $506.2 billion. In other words, Facebook lost $123.4 billion in value in ONE DAY. 

Now, today’s performance isn’t due to yet another data misuse or election interfering scandal.

The company has reported disappointing earnings. For the first time, Facebook’s growth is stalling.

There are barely more people checking Facebook every day compared to previous quarter.

Facebook is still growing, however, it’s clear that GDPR combined with a saturated market isn’t helping the company by any means. 

This is why Facebook is trying to change the narrative.

For example, for the first time ever, Facebook shared a new “family of apps audience” metric.

There are 2.5 billion people using at least one of the company’s app — Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

So it’s clear that Facebook thinks Instagram and its stories represent the future of the company.

But this is going to be bring some questions to life in then next few months as it’s unclear if Instagram can generate as much money as Facebook’s main app.

 

Measuring Facebook’s Losses

$123,400,000,000 is a big number. It’s hard to wrap the mind around how much this kind of money represents given the scale of these massive companies. As TechCrunch’s Jon Russell pointed out, bitcoin’s entire market capitalization is currently $141 billion. So it’s like nearly all bitcoins disappeared overnight.

Who would have thought Facebook could be more of substance than bitcoin? 

Even if you compare it to significant tech companies, this is a huge loss.

For instance, Netflix is worth $158 billion right now. Twitter’s market cap is only $33 billion.

It’s like Facebook did away with nearly 4 Twitters in market cap overnight. And I’m not even talking about Snap, which is only worth $17 billion.

 

Innovating Facebook’s Business Model

Most people have been focused on Facebook’s losses for now. But now it’s time to look at Facebook’s business model and understand what’s causing this these losses to happen.

Facebook is one of those once-in-a-lifetime, incredible success stories.

It did become a massive business in just a few years, but it also has a dangerous business model.

Thousands of employees are looking for ways to collect more data. Business teams can then sell expensive ads because they’re perfectly targeted.

And the best way to optimize efficient ads is by making addictive products that consumers feel like they need.

If you spend more time looking at stories, you’re going to be exposed to more ads. Period.

That’s why Facebook optimizes for engagement. It gets us (users) outraged, we become sad, and we like and we share the post. This is how Facebook makes money.

2018 is a turning point for Facebook.

People will look back at this moment as an inflection point in the company’s trajectory. But it’s still unclear if Facebook has the answer to its structural issues.

Is UberEats Really Even Beneficial For Restaurants?

Is UberEats Really Even Beneficial For Restaurants?

Image result for ubereats

Let’s be real, it’s pretty awesome being able to order [online] your favorite food and have UberEats deliver it to your doorstep (or anywhere you desire, really), right? I mean, come on. You can be laid up in bed binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix and have UberEats bring you food without moving a muscle.

Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty dope to me! However, notice I said, “me.” “Me” as in “I.” “I” am the CUSTOMER in this scenario, not the RESTAURANT. All I have to do is order/pay online. The restaurant has to make it as well as make sure its given to the appropriate delivery driver. So with that being said, if UberEats is so beneficial for customers, does that mean it’s just as beneficial for restaurants? You be the judge!

UberEats Demands Expensive Delivery Costs

Image result for ubereats delivery

Did you know… UberEats charges a restaurant 30% delivery fee? For example, if a burger joint charges $12 for a burger, UberEats would take $3.60 as a “delivery fee.” Also, UberEats does not permit restaurants to increase their prices to “cover” Uber’s cost. Thus, Uber is telling restaurants that they must “eat the cost and lose money or we won’t deliver for you.” 

Fortunately, for restaurants, this steep delivery fee doesn’t apply to UberEats’ competitors. For example, brands like Delivery.com, DoorDash, Postmates and Caviar all take somewhere between 15 percent and 23 percent of the check. And these percentages are often in addition to a delivery fee.  

There’s a Positive to Every Negative

Despite UberEats’ high delivery fee, there are actually ways restaurants can benefit from using third-party delivery systems. Some of these benefits include, but are not limited to:

  1. No tension of getting food delivered
  2. Extended customer base
  3. An easy and fast way of delivering orders
  4. Empowerment of small restaurant owners to work at a wider platform
  5. Given space to exhibit their market presence for better customer reach and online branding.

So.. there IS a positive to every negative! However, whether restaurants allow the pros to outweigh the cons or vice versa, is entirely up to them. This will vary among different restaurants depending on their needs and budget.

 

 

Social Media Benefits

Social Media Benefits

If you have a business, you need a social media presence. At the very minimum, you should be on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, if you can handle more sites and they are relevant to your niche, then feel free to get on as many as you possibly can. However, we must stress that you need to ensure that you are keeping all your social media channels up to date. If you are not, you will not be enjoying a single one of these benefits:

 

Increased Brand Recognition


Every time you share a piece of content, it is going to be put in front of your followers. Your brand is going to be visible. Eventually, your brand will be recognizable. Your brand will start to become synonymous with whatever you are trying to sell.

Some customers check for the social media presence of a company on multiple networks before they commit to a purchase. If they do not see a company presence online, they are less likely to trust the company and may end up shopping elsewhere.

You can also use your social media networks to establish the voice of your brand.

 

Go Viral


This is probably one of the biggest benefits of having a social media presence. As a small business owner, you will know that ‘word of mouth advertising’ is the best form of advertising. When you are using social media, you will be kicking that into overdrive.

If you share quality content, people will share it with their friends and family. These friends and family may then share that content on further. Every time your content is shared, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of extra eyes on it. This could make you a serious amount of money. It will also get eyes on your business who may not have considered shopping with you before.

 

More Opportunities To Convert


If you only have a website, the only time people are going to have the opportunity to buy from you is if they head to your website. With social media, every time you share a post, you are increasing the number of opportunities to convert a customer. They may not have considered visiting your website in a long while, but if they see your link pop up, they may want to check it out. They may end up making a purchase!

Many studies have indicated that conversion rates through social media are higher than conversion rates on any other platform!

 

Opportunity To Connect With Your Customers


Finally, social media adds a bit of a ‘human element’ to your business. People love to purchase from companies that seem to have a face. If you look at some of the social media profiles of the largest companies in the world, they have all been ‘humanized’ as opposed to being just an opportunity to advertise. If you interact with your customers, answer their questions, respond to their concerns etc. then the chances of you making a sale will shoot up.