Google changes and what you need to know

By Anita Jaynes on August 08, 2015

In this guest post, Trowbridge based Way to go Digital inform TBE readers of the latest Google changes.

In this digital age, if your business is targeting a demographic that includes millennials (people reaching adult status around the turn of the new millennium, born in the 80’s) having an online presence, including social media, is a must.

Every business needs to be found online, those choosing to ignore this simple fact will suffer, possibly to the point of failure.

Customers need to know that you exist, where you are and what you have to offer. Research has shown that over 50% will visit businesses online at the first stage of their customer journey before doing anything else, even if its to find a telephone number. So having a website, directory entry, reviews or social media profiles should be a key component of your overall marketing strategy.

But, it’s not enough to just have a presence anymore. Google have invested heavily this year in developing various improvements for their and your, customer base. Ensuring that all users, whether using laptop, tablet or mobile, enjoy a better online experience.

There are four main areas Google have changed or are changing:

  1. Mobilegeddon – you probably saw this on the news back in April. Google changed the algorithm (coding for the process behind the scenes which allows searches to take place online) to bring websites that are mobile friendly (the screen size adapts depending on which device the customer is using) to the top of the search page (or ranking). Websites that do not alter may not appear in the search at all, leaving some businesses unfound by potential customers.
  2. Google+ unverified pages – In 2012 Google automatically provided 80 million businesses worldwide with a presence on Google+, if you never verified your business you will lose this profile unless you get online and verify it now! Whilst you are there, enhance your listing with photographs, logo’s, links to website and other social media platforms to give yourself the best chance of being found in searches.
  3. Google Maps Business View – is being re-branded as Street View | Trusted. This move is to support professional photographers who publish photo spheres on Google Maps. What is a photo sphere I hear you ask? Not to be confused with the very thin layer made up of numerous granules known as transient convective cells around the Sun, photo spheres are 360 degree panoramic photographs which can be loaded to your business profile and appear in searches to provide potential customers with a view of your premises before they arrive at your door, often helping them decide whether to bother venturing out at all. Google are also changing some of the policies, publishing & editing processes and making enrolment as a trusted photographer easier, again this is to improve the experience of the end user when using Google Maps. Google Maps View will be going offline as you read (Mid August). Later this year they will add the ability to make photo sphere connections.
  4. Panda 4.2 – No not a cuddly black and white bear, but a filter that prevents low quality websites and individual pages of a site from being ranked higher and delivered in searches. This is influenced by Google Quality Raters; questions if you will that Google ask about a page before letting in appear to the end user e.g. “Would I trust this site with my credit card details?” It also encompasses many other filters including, to name a few:
  • Searchability – if you have duplication across multiple pages or low quality content on pages this can affect the whole website.
  • Low quality – spelling mistakes, bad grammar, poor editing and factual inaccuracies will reduce your website’s rating.
  • Webspaming – building links into your content that direct users to completely unrelated selling sites or using coding to “trick” your competitors customers into visiting your site.
  • Trustworthy – secure payment processes and data protection policies.
  • Original – content should not be plagiarised from other sources, it must be original, tell both sides of a story, complete, comprehensive, insightful and helpful.
  • Excessive Advertising – if your sight contains too many advertisements it will rate lower than sites with fewer.

So what can you do about these changes? It’s quite simple really, take heed of the factors mentioned above and take action to rectify any areas you feel are affected.

Ensure you regularly update your website with fresh, new content, don’t let it sit there the same for months on end. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and take a walk through your site – if the content were a book would you buy it to read or recommend to others?

If you are still daunted by the prospect of spending time addressing your website or putting it off until you have more time, why not let Way To Go Digital audit your site for you? Use us as an outsourced marketing department who can review your online presence through fresh eyes and take the customers perspective. Let us help you do better online..

To find out more about Way to go Digital visit: www.waytogodigital.com

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