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
Facebook Is Developing a Singing “Talent Show” Feature

Facebook Is Developing a Singing “Talent Show” Feature

Facebook Develops New Talent Show Feature

Facebook’s plan to take on Musical.ly may involve more than just its own take on a lip syncing feature.

They’re also working on “Talent Show,” which would allow users to compete by singing songs then submitting their audition.

The feature isn’t live, but was rather an uncover in the Facebook’s code by Jane Wong.

Wong has a history of uncovering yet-to-launch features or those still in testing through the use of reverse engineering tactics.

She’s spots things like Instagram’s first time-well-spent feature, Lyft’s bike program, and Instagram’s new ways of displaying IGTV videos.

In the case of “Talent Show,” Wong discovers an interface that allows users to pick songs, and then start recording themselves singing the track.

The app’s code also makes references to the feature as “Talent Show” and includes mentions of elements like “audition” and “stage.” The auditions load as videos, Wong notes.

How Is Facebook Benefiting From The Talent Show Feature?!

The development would offer Facebook another way to take advantage of its more recently acquired music licensing rights.

The company, starting last year, began forging deals with all the record labels – including the majors like Universal, Sony, and Warner, and several others, as well as the indies.

The deals mean Facebook won’t have to take down users’ videos with copyrighted music playing in the background, for starters. But the company also said it planned to leverage its rights to develop new “music-based” products going forward.

One of those is Lip Sync Live, an almost direct copy of the popular tween-and-teen lip syncing app Musical.ly, which today has 200+ million registered users and 60 million actives.

Like Musical.ly, Lip Sync Live – which is still in testing – a way to broadcast your lip sync recordings to friends.

Talent Show (assuming the code analysis is on point) seems to take a different angle.

Instead of lip syncing for fun, people are actually singing and competing. It’s similar to the newly launched app FameGame.

However, Wong notes that the feature may be restricted to Facebook Pages, similar to Facebook’s new trivia game show feature.

So, it may offer those partners who’re using Facebook to build out games on their own pages.

Also, Talent Show sources the music via the new Rights Manager, used by record labels to track copyrighted tracks’ usage on Facebook.

Over the years, Facebook has taken aim at any other social app that gathers a following and then reproduces its own version of the app’s key draw – as it did with Stories, Snapchat’s biggest differentiator.

It’s no surprise, then, that it now has Musical.ly in its sights, with regard to lip syncing.

And with the Talent Show feature, it may challenge YouTube as the place where new talent can be discovered, too.

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.

Snapchat Is Ending Its Money Transfer Service, SnapCash

Snapchat Is Ending Its Money Transfer Service, SnapCash

Image result for snapcash

Tragedy has recently struck one particular company in the social media world. Confirmed by TechCrunch, Snapchat is ending its money transfer service, Snapcash, on August 30, 2018.

So what does this mean for Snapchat users? Well, it didn’t say what’d happen to users’ accounts, but it did promise that they’d be notified.

This may devastate those frequent Snapcash users, but this was bound to happen eventually with all the competition that Snapcash faces.

 

Snapchat Couldn’t Keep Up With The Competitors

Snapchat officially launched Snapcash in 2014 as a partnership with Square, another money transfer service.

This partnership gave both entities a boost: For Snapcash, they got a payment platform with little-to-no work. For Square, they were able to attach their service to a very familiar brand.

Snapcash provided Snapchat users with an easy way to send money, but it failed to attract interest outside of paying for adult content.

Now this most likely isn’t the main reason for the ending of Snapcash, but it’s definitely not good for the company’s image.

Now the real reason Snapcash is ending has not yet been revealed, but there’s a good chance it’s due to their inability to fight off the competition. 

One of the competitors that Snapcash wasn’t able to compete with is Venmo.

Venmo has really been the go-to apps when it comes to paying your friends.

Unfortunately, however, Venmo isn’t Snapcash’s only competitor.

They’re also going up against competition from the likes of Facebook, Zelle and even Apple Pay Cash and Google Pay.

That said, no matter how well Snapcash worked, it was just one platform that couldn’t continue swimming above the surface.

 

What’s Next For Snapchat?!
Image result for snapchat project eagle

According to TechCrunch, earlier this month, they revealed that Snapchat’s code mentioned a camera search feature codenamed “eagle.”

It’s designed to allow users to scan an object or barcode using their Snapchat camera and see product results in Amazon.

But since the report, mentions of Amazon have disappeared from the code.

It’s unclear what will happen in the future, but camera search could give Snapchat new utility and monetization options.

So it’ll be interesting to see how Snapchat executes its commerce strategy now that it’s discontinuing Snapcash.

Only time will tell!