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    Ratings Featured in Search Results

    05/02/2017

    The searcher wants to find something. You want to sell something. Google wants to be the tool that connects you. 

    To make sure they provide the results most likely to satisfy, Google is testing showing hotel ratings directly in search results. I wouldn't be surprised to see this spread to a variety of categories.

    See: TheSEMpost for screenshots and more details.

     

    Readable Newsletters Get Opened

    04/18/2017

    make your newsletter worth opening a second time

    You don't get a second chance to make your email newsletter worth reading.

    The average office worker gets 121 emails a day, 34% get opened. You are competing with purchase orders, company memos, retail ads, notifications, and letters from Mom.

    Most of your subscribers will decide in the first 5 seconds whether they'll ever open another.

    Make it readable

    The secret isn't how it looks, it's how it reads.

    • Use readable, sans serif fonts: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, and Tahoma. (Comic Sans is not appropriate for a professional newsletter.)

    • Font-size should be 14 - 16px.

    • Colors should be dark text on a light background with enough contrast to be readable.

    • The layout should be responsive to monitor/device sizes. If you don't know what that means, you should be using an email design tool that does.

    Assume your subscriber will scan, not read, the email. Use headings and bullet points. No more than 50% of your email should be images. Make sure that it looks good on a smartphone! Make the links to your website easy to see and easy to fat-finger click on.

    Test!

    Pro tip: The newsletter doesn't have to be the email itself - create that on a blog or website. Use snippets or blurbs to send your subscriber back to the website.

    Content matters

    Did your content match your subject line? Don't promise naked firefighters but write about garden hoses.  You'll never get the visitor to open another email from you.

    Proofread your text for spelling, grammar, and readability. www.grammarly.com and www.Online-Utility.org are excellent free tools.

    Reward their time and attention

    Just by opening your newsletter, the subscriber has earned some kind of recompense. They have given you a huge gift of their time and attention. What are you giving them in return?

    Your reward depends on your business. Common bonuses include:

    •  Discount coupons
    • Special hours or visitor only rates

    • Actionable tips

    • Subscriber-only information

    • A special photo or meme?

    • Always a big thank you!

    The next open is much harder than the first. There was a reason they signed up for your newsletter. Make sure you live up to their expectations.

    ~JoMarie

     

    Mobile First Launch - Update

    04/10/2017

    Mobile First delay gives website owners some breathing room and time to get their website ready.

    Chatter coming out of Google is that the big Mobile First launch is being pushed back to 2018. Before you relax, that's only 8 months away! Mobile only sites are still going to be more affected than responsive sites but everyone should take some time to check on your preparedness.

     

    Fred Proof Your Website

    03/17/2017

    Fred Algo takes down websites.The SEO world and a lot of website owners spent this week trying to understand huge drops in Google traffic. Sites were reporting 80 - 90% loss of visits.

    Google's Gary Illyes, sounding almost gleeful in confirming the latest algorithm update, named it "Fred". 

    So far, we think that the algo went after sites of low quality content, too many badly placed ads and spammy incoming links. If your website's primary purpose is to drive traffic instead of serving quality content you'll be at risk too.

    Now is a good time to reexamine the quality of your site and get things fixed. A good starting place is Jennifer Slegg's SEM Post article from 3/16/17. "Google's Fred Algo is a New Type of Quality Algo"

     

    Mobile First: Another Deadline to Upgrade

    11/30/2016

    A mobile friendly website Mobile friendly is now mobile first. Alaska websites need to think about their mobile friendliness the way Google does.

    More people search the internet on their smartphones than on their desktop computers. You know how frustrating it is to get to a website that hasn't upgraded despite all of Google's warnings about mobile friendly value.

    "

    To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.
    "

    Google's new mobile-first index means that Google will rank it's listings from what they find on your mobile version of the website. 

    What does that mean for my site?

    • If you are using a mobile only version of the site to be served on phones - make sure that you aren't abbreviating the content. "See desktop version" won't be good enough for Google. (And frankly, it's never been good enough for site visitors).
    • If your site is responsive - adapting the size and layout of content for the device - you are probably in good shape.
    • If your site isn't mobile friendly, Google will continue to index your site but will your visitors want to stay? 

    When is this crashing down on us?

    No official launch date but Google is indicating that they are shooting for summer 2017. But whether they launch it tomorrow or next year, mobile-first is a done deal. It's time to get your site ready.

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