Category Archives: Uncategorized

NO MORE REVIEW STARS FOR /LOCAL BUSINESS & /ORGANIZATION MARKUP

A new development by Google now denies businesses the right to add review markup for themselves. It was announced on September 16th that the review stars that appear in the search results will now be managed algorithmically only; they will no longer include reviews from the /LocalBusiness and /Organization markup.

The Idea Behind This New Development

The reasoning provided by Google for this move is that the reviews are meant to be unbiased. When an entity like a business or an organization gets to add a markup and control the reviews about themselves then the reviews end up becoming “self-serving”.

Henceforth, only the following markups qualify for review stars

● schema.org/Book
● schema.org/Course
● schema.org/CreativeWorkSeason
● schema.org/CreativeWorkSeries
● schema.org/Episode
● schema.org/Event
● schema.org/Game
● schema.org/HowTo
● schema.org/MediaObject
● schema.org/Movie
● schema.org/MusicPlaylist
● schema.org/MusicRecording
● schema.org/Product
● schema.org/Recipe
● schema.org/SoftwareApplication

How This Affects Your Business

It now becomes even more vital to ensure that your customers are specific about the product or service that they review. Mentioning the specific product or service name will enable you to use the review within the /Product markup, thus getting you those review stars. You must also remember to use aggregate review markup within all of the above mentioned relevant markups types.

Google's-Sept-2019-Core-Update

BOOST YOUR SITE’S AUTHORITY & STOP WORRYING ABOUT GOOGLE’S NEW SEPTEMBER 2019 CORE UPDATE

Google announced the launch of the September 2019 Core Algorithm Update via Twitter on September 24th and like previous core updates, this year too, there was hardly any supporting document included.

 google-tweet-regarding-2019-algorithm-update

Image Source: twitter.com/searchliaison

Actionable Strategy

Check out the Search Console Performance Report to find out whether your site has been affected by the core update or not. The easiest way to know is to look for a drop in starting around September 24th, the day the update was launched.

There are ways to recover if you see a drop in the position of your site due to the update, as the updates are all about quality. Identifying the issue and putting your site through a security audit is the first step in recovery. At times, the fix has to do with a big focus on building your site’s Expertise, Authority, and Trust (E-A-T) Signals.

As far as our clients are concerned, we aren’t surprised that this update hasn’t affected our websites. The rankings continued to improve as this update rolled out.

What You Can Do If You Have Been Affected!

The following is a list of things that you can do to protect your site from Google’s next Core Update.

  • Read Google’s Quality Guidelines: Reading Google’s Quality Guidelines will give you an in-depth understanding of the various factors that Google uses to “refine results.”
  • Update the “About Us” Page: Adding new images and relevant content is the key to engaging customers. Mention about your recent achievements, endeavors, and more for the customers to know and connect with the content on your site.
  • Improve Page Load Speed: Focusing on mobile page speed is crucial while working on your page load time. Make sure you run your site through the newly updated PageSpeed Insights Tool by Google. Ideal loading time for First Contentful Paint should be less than 3 seconds, while speed index with & without ads should be less than 9 seconds & 7 seconds respectively.
  • Fix Site Errors: Remove any technical issues that your site may have, such as broken links, broken images, chain redirects, and more. Our dashboard crawler helps you identify issues on your website.
  • Have a Clear Call to Action: A clear call to action can be the determining factor between a lead and a conversion. Hence, have a clear and direct call to action telling exactly what you want your customers to do. For example – Call Now!
  • Be Easy to Navigate: Performing a User Experience (UX) audit is vital to look at your site from a user’s perspective, on mobile as well as desktop. It can also pay huge dividends depending on how focused Google is on their version of the ideal user experience.
  • Remove or Rewrite Thin Content: Combine a handful of thin/duplicate pages to create one strong resource on a specific topic when focusing on your site’s thin content.
  • Include a Clear Ad Disclosure: You need a clear ad disclosure on your site if you run a lot of ads on it. A simple sentence such as, “This post may contain affiliate links” (with a link to your disclosure/privacy policy). You can find a suitable example at the top of this page. Also, make use of rel=“sponsored” to highlight sponsored & affiliate links.
  • Add ‘Terms of Service’ & ‘Privacy Policy’ Pages: Both these pages are crucial for your site’s overall authority with Google. You can get more into detail on what these pages must include by reading Google’s Quality rater guidelines.
  • Include References for Medical/Scientific Claims: In case you make Medical, Scientific, or factual claims, always be sure to link out to a reliable site to support your claims.
  • Build up Your Footer: As said by Google, the address in the footer is recommended as it can be seen as a sign of trust. Your footer must contain primary business information with a current copyright date. You can also show your expertise by adding any awards or honors that you’ve earned.

After making the above fixes, make sure you get people who are not associated with your website to give you a feedback in order to make changes as required. And as always, if you need any help with optimizing your website, we’re just a call away!

FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM LIKELY TO HIDE LIKE COUNTS

Social networking platforms Facebook and Instagram, both are considering removing the like counts from their posts. Starting from Australia, they will expand to other countries depending on how things go. As reported in Techcrunch, users posting the content will be able to view their like counts but it won’t be displayed publicly.

“We are running a limited test where like, reaction and video view counts are made private across Facebook”, a Facebook spokesperson says. “We will gather feedback to understand whether this change will improve people’s experiences.” If this test improves people’s sense of well-being without affecting user engagement, it could expand to more countries or even roll out to everyone. However, no further tests are currently scheduled.

social-post-with-and-without-like-counts

Image Source: techcrunch.com/2019/09/26/facebook-hides-likes/

Our Takeaway: Whether users are happy with this change or not, only time will tell.

Top-Real-Estate-Marketing-Company-SEO-Solutions-Clutch-Award

Clutch Names SEO Solutions Leader in the Advertising and Marketing Industry for Real Estate Firms

Top-Real-Estate-Marketing-Company-SEO-Solutions-Clutch-Award

When it comes to SEO services, SEO Solutions takes a one-size-fits-one approach. Our team is skilled in creating affordable website marketing and SEO strategies designed to boost qualified traffic to our client’s web pages. We pride ourselves in following the most ethical and sustainable web strategies.

After 12 years of hard work, we are proud to announce SEO Solutions has been highlighted in a new report recognizing leaders of the marketing industry. We have been recognized for our marketing and advertising work in the real estate field by Clutch, a trusted B2B market research firm.

Based in the heart of Washington, D.C., Clutch is a ratings and reviews platform dedicated to connecting prospective buyers with top B2B firms. Clutch ranks firms in a wide variety of industries and locations. By featuring ratings and verified customer reviews on each profile, Clutch serves as a comprehensive market research tool for B2B buyers. Below, we have featured a quote from our most recent 5-star client reviews.

“Since I focus on results, our SEO ranking is the number one factor in my assessment. The personal attention has been great. We’re pleased that things have been working smoothly for the past several years” – Daniel Naylor, President, Institute of Real Estate Education

In addition to our feature on Clutch, we have received recognition on The Manifest, a Clutch-owned business news platform that offers state of tech news, how-to guides, and industry rankings. Visual Objects, another Clutch sister site, allows buyers to read further search results on their prospective companies and view portfolios of past work.

SEO-Solutions-Clutch-Profile-Screenshot

SEO Solutions is proud to be a Clutch leader.  We thank our clients for helping us earn this recognition by participating in the reviews process.

“SEO Solutions has been dedicated to the success of our customers through innovation and hard work. We are proud to accept this award!” – Weston Riesche, Marketing Manager, SEO Solutions

If your company is in need of sustainable SEO strategies, get in touch today.

BULK REVIEW MANAGEMENT – ANOTHER FEATURE INTRODUCED BY GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

Businesses with multiple locations often have a hard time managing their customer reviews. Responding to each and every review, from each and every location can be taxing. Google My Business’ recent local updates roll out revealed that now you can easily manage your reviews on the same page.

google-my-business-review-management-screenshot

This new inclusion will enable seeing and replying to reviews across multiple listings on a single page. This might seem like a tiny little addition but it will drastically reduce the time needed for review management for multi-location businesses.

Things to Note:

  • Organization accounts do not have this feature as of yet.
  • Replying to reviews from third-party sources isn’t allowed.
  • You can respond to reviews and see them organized into location groups only after your listing is verified.Final Takeaway

    Getting started is quick and easy. All you need to do is log into your Google account and visit https://business.google.com/reviews, then follow the instructions given.

google-knowledge-panel-example

YOU CAN NOW CLAIM YOUR GOOGLE KNOWLEDGE PANEL

Do local citations matter anymore? Mike Blumenthal and other SEO experts share their opinions about how much attention we should be really giving to structured citations.

Entities with Google accounts can now claim their knowledge panels to gain complete access over the information that it contains. So if you are a brand that is large enough to trigger a knowledge panel, go ahead and create your own Google knowledge panel today.

google-knowledge-panel-example

 

How to Claim?

  • Make sure you have a Google account.
  • Search for your entity in the Google search box.
  • Scroll to the very bottom and click on the ‘claim this knowledge panel’ button which will direct you to the entity verification page.
  • Verify your entity by signing in to your listed official site/profile.  YouTube

    Search Console
    Twitter
    Facebook

  • Review the displayed information, once the features are granted post verification. Remember: Use the most accurate and engaging information about your entity while you review it.

    Information that shows up on search (images, stats, facts, etc.) can be changed accordingly.

    Outcome: Since Google has depreciated the importance of structured data markup for knowledge panels, this is the easiest and latest way of getting your company details updated. So make sure you claim your panel right away!

SEO Solutions Named a Leading B2B Company in Illinois!

SEO Solutions is a Chicago based search engine optimization company. We deliver results by curating great content that people want to connect with, link to and share. We believe that every customer deserves a unique internet marketing solution that fits their needs and solves their problems. As SEO, PPC & SMO specialists, creating fresh and easy to navigate websites that deliver more consistent lead generation is also one of our main areas of focus. All of our content is high-quality, fresh, and unique. We work hard to earn links and we never link farm or build inappropriate links. Our client retention rate is over 80% and we have over 2,500 competitive keywords on the first page of Google for our existing clients. With over 300 providers of SEO services in Chicago, we know achieving this annual award was no easy feat. Specifically, we’ve been named one of the top B2B companies in Illinois.

 

To see the full list of award winners in Illinois, please visit the announcement published on Clutch’s website. All companies are organized according to state, one of 5 categories, and Clutch rank.

 

clutch-award-2019-top-illinois-seo-companies

As a B2B services ratings and reviews agency, Clutch uses typical reviews process with a personal touch. Their analysts often speak with a company’s clients directly, gathering feedback that is insightful and offers a true window into a partnership with that firm. Clutch uses this research to organize the thousands of companies on the site into a directory with multiple shortlists, guiding buyers in their decision-making process. Following this process, SEO Solutions received a perfect rating of 5/5 on Clutch’s platform.

 

We worked with The Institute of Real Estate Education and their President, Daniel Naylor, told Clutch “The results speak for themselves.” And they do, their company ranks # 1 in search results and 200 of their keywords rank on the first page of major search engines.

 

Due to our growing presence on Clutch, we have also been featured among other leading advertising agencies in Chicago on The Manifest and advertising companies on Visual Objects. Both are sister sites of Clutch, providing different information and opportunities for companies to efficiently select a partner that meets their budget and project goals. The Manifest gathers and verifies hard data, expert insights and actionable advice to help firms grow and Visual Objects helps creative and design agencies showcase their portfolios.

 

We are grateful and deeply honored by this recognition and are excited to accumulate more reviews as time goes on, showing the world that this Illinois-based SEO company is in it to win it. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or want to get an estimate about your next project. We are here to serve you!

google-logo

GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE STRUCTURED DATA REPORTS HAS RELEASED 3 NEW REPORTS

Coding errors can pop up anytime and Google is all set to make it easier for us to realize when we have one on our hands. In an effort to offer more transparency on how your structured data is actually performing, Google has added three new structured data reports to Google Search Console.

These new Google Search Console structured data reports are as follows:

  1. Logo Enhancement Report – If you are using Logo Markup, this report will provide you with details pertaining to the performance and/or errors around your Logo Markup.
  2. Sitelinks Seachbox Enhancement Report – This report has been put in place to provide you with insight into the performance and/or errors around your SearchAction Markup.
  3. Unparsable Structured Data Report – This error report has been designed to help you analyze and resolve issues around markup codes that fail to pass Google’s testing.

As long as your site has these specific markups, you will be able to find these reports listed under the Enhancements tab in Search Console.google-search-console-screenshot

 

Why do we need these Google Search Console structured data reports?

It is fairly common for an error to pop up even after you run a new code through Google’s Structured Testing Tool. These new reports give you a comprehensive breakdown of when Google first discovered the error, the pages with the error and even what the error looks like.

However, while you are trying to see whether you have been able to successfully troubleshoot the markup coding issues in your site, you need to bear in mind that the reports take time to update. It can take around a week or more for the updated page code to reflect on the reports even after you Validate a Fix.

Pay-Per-Click-Graphic

MAY 2019 PPC UPDATES

At SEO Solutions, we believe a well-rounded digital marketing and paid search campaign should touch customers in many different places throughout their decision to purchase. This means, using different platforms to engage prospects during their buying journey.

The PPC experts at SEO Solutions have compiled a list of May 2019 PPC updates that you should be aware of. These pay per click updates include information on updates across a variety of platforms including Facebook, Amazon, Bing & Google.

  • Bing Ads is Now Microsoft Advertising: It’s a move to demonstrate that Microsoft is aligning Microsoft Advertising with the broader aspects of search marketing.
  • Facebook has launched a new interface for Ads Manager. It will be effective from May 1. And there’s no way to switch back to the prevision version.
  • Google has postponed the Video campaigns and has launched Parallel Tracking for display campaigns.
  • It is possible that in the near future, product price and seasonality will be taken into consideration as new smart bidding signals in Google ads. Learn more.
  • Instagram is seeing steady growth in term of ad spends and so does the newer ad formats like responsive search ads. We highly recommend reading the Marin’s Benchmark Report Q1 2019 on Most Popular Ad Formats as it sheds light on the latest trends.
  • If you are running Google display ads, then be aware that there is an automated targeted setting that you need to turn it off right away. Although Google says that it targets customers who are likely to convert, but the fact that they have buried it deep in the settings says just the opposite.
  • Bing Ads which is now Microsoft Advertising has launched a new call to action extension. This particular extension help you highlight the CTA on your text ads and those who have participated in the beta have witnessed an average boost of 20% in their click-through-rate.
  • If you are not using responsive search ads, this article might give you some (seven to be precise) reasons to use them in 2019. And even if you decide not to, at least you will have knowledge about it and it will come handy in the future.
  • Here’s an excellent guide on how to graph the new Impression and click share metrics to find data insights in your Google Ads account
  • Amazon is attracting more and more advertisers as businesses are preferring to advertise directly on the E-Commerce platform rather than the search engine. Which means that they are avoiding the first step altogether and jumping straight to the second one & getting good results from it.

These May 2019 PPC updates should help to keep your paid search campaigns headed in the right direction.

Google-my-business-logo-map

YOU CAN NOW CREATE A SHORT NAME & URL FOR YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING

Google recently launched a new feature that lets business owners create a short name to define their GMB listing URL. The intention behind rolling out this feature was to make it easier for business owners to share details with their customers as short names are easy to remember (duh).

This is obviously a very useful and smart feature because earlier businesses had to market the extremely long Google My Business URLs. Also, keep in mind that just like the Emails, the short names will run out very quickly, so make sure you hurry up and claim your short name before someone else does.

It can even harm you if you don’t act on time as your competitors may use those short names to their advantage. Here’s how it works according to Google:

If you’re a verified business, you can create a short name, or a custom name, for your Business Profile to make it easier for customers to find you.

When you share your short name, customers can enter the short name URL in the browser’s address bar, like “g.page/[yourcustomname]”, to go directly to your Business Profile.

Note: For bulk users, short names have to be claimed individually per listing.

Having a short name for your GMB listing will not only help you in sharing it but will also help you to get more reviews. Not to mention that it will be easy for your customers to remember those names so they are more likely to click on that link, instead of passing it away as just another promotional message/Email.

Head straight to the Google support page to know how to create, change and delete your short name. In case you spot someone else using your brand name or spot any offensive or spammy content, you can submit a report using this link.

We can not emphasize more on how imperative it is to use it and act as quickly as possible because there’s not a single reason to not use it. It will help you with a lot of your marketing efforts. So get started as quickly as you can.

The process is very simple, just follow these instructions.

  • Sign in to Google My Business.
  • Open the location you want to create a short name for.
  • From the menu, click Info and then Add profile short name.
  • Enter your short name. You can enter up to 32 characters.
  • If your name isn’t available, you’ll receive an error message and have to choose a different name. Try abbreviating your name or adding other descriptions, like your location. You can also pick another word that describes your business or brand.
  • Click Apply. Your short name will show as pending, and when it’s ready, it’ll show on your Business Profile.