Mobile-Friendly Searches – Google’s Recent Ranking Signal Update

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Mobile Friendly

Google reports from its research data that approximately 30% of all searches are originating from mobile devices. As we all know, in the continuous development of their search engine, Google’s main focus is to provide better user experiences on its platform, rewarding those websites that aid in their mission by adhering to Google’s Best Practices, and of course, penalizing those sites who do not. In its pursuit of search engine perfection, Google releases updates to it algorithms seemingly daily, and not just one – but often hundreds of Google algorithm changes.

Google recently delivered news of yet another update: Mobile Friendliness as a Ranking Signal. The release is planned for April 21st of this year. The change to the algorithm, Google states on its blog, “…will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

  • What does this mean for websites indexed in Google?

Everyone will feel the significant affect in some manner. As Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji states,  the impactGoogle Panda & Penguin
will be larger than both the Penguin and the Panda algorithm changes. If your site is already mobile friendly, you should begin seeing a positive change in your rankings after the release. Sites that have not upgraded to accommodate a mobile friendly experience will be the ones that feel the negative effects of this change, possibly losing a percentage of share traffic. Having highly relevant results in a faster than a speeding bullet fashion has become a competitive necessity in search rankings, but now your site’s ranking can be penalized for not also having many of those same qualities on a mobile-friendly site.

At this point, Google has not indicated if this will also affect mobile paid rankings. This recent update currently relates to organic rankings in mobile searches.

You can test the mobile-friendliness of your website here.

  • What does this mean for Blizzard’s clients?

Global web traffic originating from mobile devices grows by the day, and staying relevant for optimal search performance is necessary. Google dictates how the game evolves, as it is the industry leader in all of search engine land, and now the new rule states that websites must be mobile-friendly…or else. Therefore, overall traffic will slow in the mobile and tablet columns if sites do not have a mobile-friendly presence. In today’s business world, any loss in exposure will quickly become a compounding problem.

After having done research on our clients’ overall traffic data, we have confirmed that the approximate average of mobile traffic is just below the average delivered from Google’s data when combining traffic from both mobile and tablets.

  • What can Blizzard do to help?

helpOur professional team of designers, developers and marketers can ensure our clients’ sites comply with Google’s newest algorithm change. Making a website mobile-friendly does require some time, effort, and resources from the owner, but do not allow those small details to get in the way of making an educated, long-term decision for the business. We recommend our clients keep in mind the advancement of online business and the impact it has had on the bottom line. As an internet marketing company, Blizzard Internet Marketing wants nothing more than to help each of our clients’ businesses succeed, keeping each of their best interests in mind. Blizzard Internet Marketing can deliver a mobile-friendly site that is worthy of sharing with the world.

If you find yourself in need of a mobile friendly presence in the wake of Google’s Mobile Friendly Algorithm Change, do not hesitate to contact a sales representative at Blizzard Internet Marketing, and he/she will be more than happy to accommodate any needs, and answer any questions, you may have. Want to give us a call? (888) 840-5893

HTML and XML Sitemaps: Why You Need Both

A well designed map can help lead the way

 

In the SEO world, the use of sitemaps is always advisable. There are two types of  sitemaps, the XML sitemap and the HTML sitemap. These sitemaps are very different with each serving its own purpose and both providing value to your website.

What is the difference between XML and HTML sitemaps?

XML and HTML sitemaps are created for different purposes, but both can help increase traffic to your website and improve its usability.

 The XML sitemap

XML sitemaps are used by search engine spiders, also known as robots, bots or crawlers. Spiders “crawl”, or follow links throughout the Internet, finding content and adding it to search engine indexes.

An XML sitemap is a file containing all of the URLs on the website that you would like to be indexed in search engines. The XML sitemap also provides spiders with the following information:

  • Metadata for URLs
  • When the URLs were last updated
  • The importance of certain URLs
  • Average frequency of changes to URLs
  • URL relation to the rest of your website

Having an XML sitemap is crucial for the proper display of your site’s pages in search engines.

 The HTML sitemap

In simple terms, the HTML sitemap gives users an overview of your website. This can be helpful if you have pages that might be difficult to find. For example, if a user visits your homepage and is looking for a “contact us” page but can’t find the link for the page easily, the user may click on the “sitemap” page. There, the contact page may be accessed a simple click on a link.

An HTML sitemap helps users navigate your website and get to the pages or information they are seeking quickly.

The benefits of using both sitemaps

Having your XML sitemap functioning properly ensures that search engines are finding your site’s information and correctly listing it in search results. This may also often lead to better search engine positioning and send more visitors to your site.

Having a well thought out HTML sitemap improves your visitors’ experience and helps them find the pages or information they want quickly.

By using both sitemaps in combination, you are helping your SEO while increasing the likelihood of visitor retention and return visits to your site.

Blizzard University Workshops Coming Up Soon!

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Join us at our Blizzard University workshop on online marketing during the first day of RezFest in Nashville, on Wednesday, Sept. 17th, or VRMA in San Diego on Sunday, October 26th! Learn hands-on, tactical and practical methods to improve your online bookings and overall reservations by using the most effective online marketing techniques.

 Three Options to Choose From:

Full Day: 9:00 to 5:00 pm

 Morning: 9:00 to 12:30 pm

Afternoon: 1:30 pm to 5 pm

Dan-Blizzard-University
Increase your bookings, and lower your costs, by using the most effective techniques to market your website.

Announcing Our New VP Sales and Marketing!

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Eric and his 3 daughters Celeste, Brooke and Audrey

Last month, here at Blizzard, we welcomed Eric Fullerton as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Eric has a very unique and diverse background in online marketing and technology implementation and we are so excited to have him here!

Eric’s expertise has helped many leading companies develop innovative solutions online which have lead to increases in business and enhanced ROI. For the past 13 years, Eric has worked in online marketing and eCommerce/web architecture for Aspen/Snowmass Resort, Stay Aspen Snowmass, Sport Obermeyer, and Ski.com.  Among other things, he also helped to improve the online presence for over 150 websites in hospitality and other industries.

You may recognize his name from a conference or workshop you’ve attended in the past.  He’s presented at numerous industry gatherings, including Search Engine Strategies in New York and Mountain Travel Symposium, the annual event for the ski industry.  He also co-produced the Partners in Group Sales conference for several years.  His engaging and entertaining presentations have earned him high regards amongst those in both the hospitality and SEO industries.

“I am very excited to be a part of this expert team at Blizzard Internet Marketing,” says Eric, “In the short time I have been here, it is clear that this company’s customer-centric values, service, and professionalism provide a high caliber of comprehensive marketing solutions for hotel, resort, vacation rental, and real estate companies in the US. I am confident that with our modern technology solutions coupled with our excellent reputation and visionary leadership we can go very far.”

Eric holds Bachelors degrees from UC Santa Cruz in philosophy and psychology and a MBA with an emphasis in Marketing/eCommerce from the University of Phoenix. We look forward to Eric sharing his vast knowledge and techniques to continue to push our client’s Online Marketing efforts to the next level.  His expertise and passion for marketing and technology will give us some extra edge!

Be sure to catch Eric at our upcoming Blizzard University on July 16 & 17th here in Glenwood Springs.   He will also be speaking at the national VRMA conference in Nashville and RezFest in Las Vegas this fall.  And if you can’t make it to the Workshop, be sure to keep an eye out for some of his great knowledge on our blog.  If you don’t run into him camping, hunting, hiking or skiing in the mountains, you can follow him here: www.linkedin.com/in/ericfullerton or on twitter: @ericjfullerton

 

Google AdWords Remarketing Campaign Best Practices – Part 3 of 3

A remarketing campaign, when set up well, can cost less than a regular pay-per-click campaign. Here are some best practices to follow for remarketing campaigns:

  1. Know your remarketing campaign’s objective. Is it for general branding or to facilitate a purchase? If it’s for a purchase, remarketing ads are ideal to offer special pricing to customers who have already visited your site and to motivate them to take action now and buy! Also, we recommend using cost-per-click bidding for most campaigns, except for the most generalized branding campaigns, which could use cost-per-impression.
  2. Set up specific bids.  Use the features in AdWords to segment or target your display campaigns based on interests, remarketing lists, or demographics.  In the case of remarketing, you’ll want to set bids based on specific audiences, it increases the chance of your ad displaying properly. Each audience segment will have a specific bid assigned to it that you can manipulate in order to accomplish your goals.  Follow your campaigns and adjust bids as necessary to achieve conversions on your website.
  3. Use remarketing tags. Remarketing tags are specific Google analytics scripts that when implemented, allow you to target website visitors that have been to specific areas of your website.  By using a single code throughout the website, you can build lists within Google analytics based on actions, pages visited, and goals, and use them in AdWords to build your target audience.    When putting together the audience, you will have the ability to exclude people who have completed certain goals or have already purchased from you.  
  4. Use contextual targeting. Contextual targeting matches your ads to those sites on the Display Network that are relevant based keywords or topics, among other factors.  You have the ability to allow Google to choose these sites for you with Automatic Placements or you can manually add websites or pages by using the Managed Placements option.  After your campaign has run for a while, you also have the ability to block sites that aren’t performing or don’t match your goals. 
  5. Limit the frequency that your ad is shown. Don’t be creepy or annoying.  Put a frequency cap on how often your ad is shown to certain users.  We suggest capping your ads at 3 views per 24 hour period.
  6. Measure what works. Review your placement reports and nurture the campaigns that perform the best.  Follow your statistics and keep your goals in mind.

Remarketing can be a very successful endeavor for many goals in your advertising campaigns.  It sends a highly targeted message that should result in a substantial ROI.  Following these basic standards will help you to achieve your goals.

How much does Google AdWords remarketing cost? Part 2 of 3

The cost of a remarketing campaign is going to be different for every single advertiser, just like it is for Search campaigns.  You will need to consider that you will incur costs for the actual clicks or impressions you receive (based on your bidding methods, competition, etc.), plus additional costs for the steps you need to take to implement tracking code, privacy policies and create remarketing ads.

There are 4 basic costs to consider:
1.    The cost per click or impression for your ads.

  •  Don’t forget about the time spent on setting up a remarketing campaign!

2.    The cost to add the code to your website.

  •  You will need to replace a single line of code to the existing Google Analytics code on your website. You can get that code from within Google Analytics. This allows Google to track cookies placed on your visitor’s browser, and add them to your remarketing lists.
  •  In addition, if you aren’t already tracking action items on your website, such as reservations, contact forms, etc. you should implement code on key pages of your website that allow you to measure return on investment and other important conversion goals.  Take the time to do this!

3.    The cost to add privacy policy information to your website.

  • This can be added to the current privacy policy page on your site.

4.    The cost to create remarketing ads.

  • You should invest a little time (and money) into ad creation, and have your design team create professional, top quality ads.  You can use the AdWords Display Ad Builder tool if needed.  However, the better the ad, the better your chances of getting that visitor back!

When done properly, you can significantly increase the return on your ads by using remarketing. The time, energy and cost required to get remarketing campaigns going in your AdWords account is worth it in terms of increasing revenue. So, don’t be shy; add the remarketing tags to your website and dip your toe in the water by setting up a small, trial remarketing campaign.

Stay tuned to hear the nitty-gritty on Remarketing Best Practices.

Remarketing in Google AdWords – It’s All About Targeting, Folks! Part 1 of 3

Part 1:

You spend a lot on your PPC ads in Google AdWords. But how many people make a purchase decision the first time that they visit your website? The trick is to capture the traveler who is thinking about coming your way, and still shopping. If you could only capture their email address, you could remind them about why they should stay with you.  But capturing emails means work for the person visiting your site. People hate work.

Remarketing, however, allows you to capture that visitor’s information without your web visitors doing ANYTHING.

Zip.

Nada.

Sound cool? It is! If you aren’t already doing remarketing, then read on.

I was purchasing TV ad time in the early 90s for the small business where I worked. (Yes, I know how that dates me.) I met with the ad rep from CBS, ABC, NBC, and also the “Cable” rep. I could choose my ad time based on the characteristics of the people who watched certain shows. I also purchased magazine and newspaper ads. People who read them had certain traits in common, and I was able to target the people most likely to purchase the products we were offering.

Then along came the Internet and PPC ads. Now we could market to people from all over the world, regardless of where they were, and target them based on what keywords they were targeting. Think about it. I pay for impressions to people searching for keyword terms, and I can limit certain things such as what part of the world they are in, but clearly, I’m targeting a very wide audience with my PPC ads. It’s great to have a wide reach, but also it means a lower number of those people will be likely to book a stay with me, and I can easily pay more per booking, or conversion.

However, when I remarket to those people who already visited my website, suddenly I have the benefit of several things:

1. Repeat impressions. The more often that someone sees your ad, the likelier they are to book. You get that somewhat with PPC ads, but it is diluted. If you use remarketing, however, you specifically target the people who have already been to your website, and you could make it based on viewing a particular page, such as a property that you rent to travelers, or your reservation page.

2. Focus. Your ads are shown to people who already expressed some level of interest in what you have to offer, not just to people who have put in certain keywords into a search engine.

3. Specific Ads for Specific Desires. You can display ads targeted at what the traveler is looking for. If you know that they are coming for a specific event, like Spring Break, you can choose that ad to display to them.

Coming soon: How much does remarketing cost?

Want to learn how to set up remarketing campaigns?

We can help. Our Pay-Per-Click Focus Plans include training on how to more effectively spend your AdWords campaign budgets.