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The digital marketing world moves at a pace fast enough to give most small business owners whiplash. At a graduation party a few years ago, one of my dad’s cousins (who owns a landscaping company up in Central Pennsylvania) was telling me about how he finally set his business up on Facebook.
“You should put photos of your landscape projects on Houzz. It’s worked really well for one of our landscaping clients in Maryland,” I told him.
“You’re telling me I have to be on something else now, too?” he said.
It’s hard to keep up, even for me. I must have received a dozen articles from my coworkers this week about updates in the online marketing world that I should blog about here on the Blue Corona blog. I figured I’d do a quick roundup of the most important ones for small business owners to save you some time:
“Facebook Just Made Life a Little Harder for Brands”
Facebook Algorithm Update
On April 21st, Facebook announced that it was making three updates to what its users will see in their newsfeed:
- The first update will allow users to see updates from the same source in a row.
- The second update will prioritize the content you seem to be most interested in towards the top of your feed.
- The final update will move stories about their friends liking or commenting on a post lower in the newsfeed (or eliminate it altogether).
The third update is the one that’s going to impact business owners the most. The Facebook announcement said “in some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline.”
Fast Company wrote that, “The changes announced today shift more emphasis onto updates from people’s friends, which necessarily means less emphasis on updates from third-party sources, e.g. brands.”
“2 Days After Mobilegeddon: How Far Did the Sky Fall?”
What does the data have to say about Google’s mobile update?
Guess what I can finally say? The blog you are reading right now is mobile friendly! Yay!
When I first wrote about Google’s plans to make mobile-friendliness a ranking factor, Blue Corona was prepping to launch our new, fully responsive website design before the April 21st update (aka our blog was not mobile-friendly at the time…I enjoy the irony).
So if you’ve been living under a rock or in a cave (preferably the cave Jayson Werth looks like he just emerged from…meow), all online marketers everywhere have been freaking out about this announcement. Google said to expect drastic changes between mobile results and desktop result, but now that it’s two days after, Dr. Pete of Moz decided to look at the impact of the update so far and everyone’s concluding (for the time being) that the results so far haven’t lived up to the apocalypse everyone was expecting. Rand Fishkin himself even commented that “A huge number of mobile results were already dominated by listings that were mobile-friendly prior to April 21st. Like you said, 70% of page 1 results were already “mobile-friendly” by April 19.”
Google said the update might take up to a week to roll out, so I’m still biting my nails for our clients who decided NOT to go mobile.
Even if it turns out that the mobile update doesn’t have a huge impact on rankings, I’m still glad that it gave us the push to go responsive, if only to improve our user experience.
“5 Ways Sites Can Dodge Google’s Doorway Page Update”
How to avoid being impacted by this “ignored” Google update
This might get a little technical but if you own a local business, it most likely impacts you. On March 16th, Google released a blog post titled “An Update on Doorway Pages.”
“We have a long-standing view that doorway pages that are created solely for search engines can harm the quality of the user’s search experience. Over time, we’ve seen sites try to maximize their “search footprint” without adding clear, unique value. These doorway campaigns manifest themselves as pages on a site, as a number of domains, or a combination thereof. To improve the quality of search results for our users, we’ll soon launch a ranking adjustment to better address these types of pages. Sites with large and well-established doorway campaigns might see a broad impact from this change.”
Google defines doorways as “sites or pages created to rank highly for specific search queries.” Examples of doorways include:
- Having multiple domain names or pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page
- Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site(s)
- Substantially similar pages that are closer to search results than a clearly defined, browseable hierarchy
To avoid being impacted by this update, Search Engine Land recommends:
- Taking down empty pages.
- Avoiding adding pages that are not tightly integrated into your site navigation.
- Not deploying pages until you have acquired enough unique content to justify them (such as pages that require customer or staff-generated content).
- Avoiding duplicate content.
- Avoiding multiple sites and duplicate content across sites.
Need help keeping up? Let us be your digital marketing coach. Start with a free website analysis below.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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