Google Warns Sites with Non Mobile Sites Will Have Lower Search Rankings

Last September, I wrote an article on Top 10 SEO trends of 2015 and I warned that marketers should pay heavy attention to Mobile SEO. The recommendation I made was not only based on market trends and recommendations but also  based on our clients’ data. Almost all of our clients who were B2C businesses were having almost half of their search traffic coming from mobile devices.

We noticed that those clients without mobile friendly websites were at risk of losing business. Knowing Google’s user oriented philosophy (“Focus on the user and all else will follow”), I only expected to be a matter of time before Google comes out and announce that they would give lower rankings for those websites that are not mobile friendly.

A recent update to Google mobile algorithm has been noted as Google is now showing a “mobile-friendly” label next to those sites that are confirmed to be mobile friendly. But Google isn’t leaving it up to website owners to verify if their websites whenever they want! Google is actually taking action by sending warnings via the Webmaster Tools to inform the webmaster if their websites could lose search rankings if they are not mobile friendly! Here is what the warning looks like:

 

Google Mobile Friendly Warning via the Webmaster Tools
Credit: Search Engine RoundTable

Time to Pay More Attention to Mobile

If your website uses the wordpress engine, then all you have to do is to make sure you have a mobile friendly theme or design. But if you are using the other CMS or custom websites, then you should really reach out to your vendor or web developers to make sure you have a mobile friendly website. After that, then you need to do some optimizations following some basic  mobile SEO Tips.  And of course as usual, feel free to contact us if you need help at any point.

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What to Expect in 2015. A Note by Al Sefati

Sefati Consulting

The 2015 has started and we are already into the second week of the year and I thought I share with you some of our goals and expectations for the year 2015:

Sefati Consulting Went Full Time 
Sefati Consulting was launched as a full time firm in 2014. Prior to then Sefati Consulting was a side\part time business because I had a full time job. But in 2014, I resigned from my full time job to pursue Sefati Consulting full time. Thank God things have turned out well as we were able to get busy fast enough to the point that we had to pick and choose clients.

My goal is to continue and expand this firm by expanding our staff, our professional services, our partnerships and future clients so hopefully one day major media can cite “Sefati Consulting” as a major consulting firm in the industry.

Certifications & Credential 
I  have  years of experiance in the world of Web, SEO and SEM but I felt it was necessary to pursue some certificates in order to stay up-to-date and have something to show to my clients in terms of my credentials so I was successfully able to obtain  Google Adwords Certification , BrightEdge Professional Certification,  SearchMetrics Certification, and also become a Yext certified partner. This year I am going to pursue my Google Analytics IQ certifications as I get more into data analysis.

Partnerships (US Based)
We have grown to have our own in-house staff but we also work with other professional firms as I felt it was good idea to team up with established firms that have already built a team and track records hence our clients can expect top quality services and solutions from us. Some of our partners include a custom web development firm, a content marketing firm, and a multiple digital marketing and data analytic firms and experiance consultants.

Reduce Outsourcing 
We  never outsource unless we really have to or if something goes beyond our expertise and even then we inform the client and get their approval first. Also we  never outsource to overseas unless we are working on an international project where the overseas expertise is needed. My goal is to keep it that way and keep everything “Made in USA”. I will personally be involved in every project as well to ensure our clients are satisfied.

Data Data Data
Big Data and Data Analytics are more than a buzz words these days. My goal is expand services to digitals analytics and digital data analysis for 2015. This is why I am working on Google Analytics IQ certifications and then I will be looking into there trainings and certifications. In coming years, my goal is to go more into Data Science field beyond  regular digital analytics. This is another reason why I am working to launch a sister company, Analytics Clarity, that would mainly focus on data analysis and data science.

Beyond SEO and Search Marketing
Traditionally Sefati Consulting has been known to be a vey good search marketing consulting firm that delivers solutions in SEO, local SEO, and PPC (adwords). In 2015 we are going to be looking beyond beyond Search Marketing and expand into  content marketing, social media marketing, data analysis and custom web development.

I am very grateful that 2014 worked out great and I am very excited for a successful year in 2015. Happy New Year and God Bless!

Al Sefati
President | Chief Consultant
Sefati Consulting

 

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PPC for 2015

I admit I have been focusing a lot on 2015 SEO trends and not so much pay per click trends for 2015. The main reason is that 70% of my clients are SEO clients or have SEO focus so naturally I get dragged to talk more about SEO rather than PPC or SEM in general. But I am a search marketer who has a lot of experiance in the field of pay per click. I also have my certificate in adwords. As an adword certified consultant, I know I should try to focus more on PPC posts so here is my shot at it by predicting PPC trends for 2015;

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It’s Official; Local SEO is THE SEO STRATEGY OF 2015

In my post on 2015 SEO Predictions – Top 10, I made an attempt to predict the top 10 SEO trends of 2015 back in mid September of 2014. But as time passed on and I learned more, while I still stand on that article, I was able to filter out the top 5 SEO trends for 2015 in that article I was able to focus that mobile SEO, local SEO, social media, and data analytics is where SEO experts should spend most of their time on. It turns out that I wasn’t too far off the chart in fact I was spot on.

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SearchMetrics Certified

As I mentioned earlier, I was working on some attaining some industry respected certifications in order to stay up to date, relevant and connected. So far this year I have earned my Google adwords certification, which I thought it was a good thing to do since I have been an adwords expert for so many years. Then I received on my BrightEdge SEO Certification because some my clients have used the platform and also BrightEdge is the leading enterprise SEO platform.

As local SEO is becoming more important, I felt teaming up with Yext was important and as a certified dealer, I had to go through their online training and workshop where I ended up getting my Yext certification and became a Yext Certified Partner.

SearchMetrics Green Belt Certification

SearchMetrics-Certified-Professional-GreenBelt
My thirst for certification wasn’t yet satisfied yet after getting all these certifications so I decided to pursue certifications for  SearchMetrics SEO platform. I really like SearchMetrics company as a whole because they are very active in the search community. They are well known for their platform’s research tool and the rich data it offers hence I thought it would be a good idea to also become SearchMetrics certified.

Earlier this week, I attended their workshop in Palo Alto where I learned more about their platform, its features, and reviewed more advanced SEO and content marketing topics. After completing the workshop, I  took a couple of exams and  certified. First half of the day we spent learning about the basic features of the platform then took an exam and got my Yellow Belt certification then after lunch, we went over more advanced topics and features of the platform where after taking the the exam and passing it,  I received my Greenbelt certification.

I believe they are going to have another workshop in December, where they will offer a blackbelt certification which I am intending to attend and become certified. According to SearchMetrics, Black Belt is the highest certification they have and it has a more holistic approach which it is a good fit more for SEO strategists and senior SEO consultants like myself.

About My Certification Goals
Certifications don’t necessary mean results which is all it matters end of the day. But I believe attending such workshops, trainings, and becoming certified, can give me competitive advantage in winning larger clients, staying up to date with latest trends and stay connected with fellow professionals and industry leaders.

I am planning to pursue more certifications starting with SearchMetrics BlackBelt certificate then Google Analytic IQ certificate.  As an enterprise SEO expert, I understand the need to be as data oriented and as analytical as possible in order to succeed by helping my clients.

 

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SEO Trends for 2015

2015

Learning what other SEO experts had to say about my last blog post on 2015 SEO trends and also reading others’ blogs on 2015 SEO trends,  I am glad to see that I was on the right track. It looks like that all SEO experts anonymously agree on at least few of the points I made in my last article so I to go over them again to elaborate more:

  1. Mobile SEO – Apple realized that it had to make screens of iPhones large because because people use their phones to do perform many activities  such as reading ebooks, stream audio and videos, surf and search among many other things. A large screen will enable users to do just that so Apple facilitated in their iPhone 6 series and it seems that they have by permanently made the iPhone screen sizes larges.SEO’s also need to learn from Apple and need enable their websites to be more Mobile friendly and optimize it for Mobile devices as  mobile traffic is going the predominate method of web surf and web search in 2015 according to data. Mobile SEO isn’t hard one can simply follow some basic  mobile SEO tips and also understand that search behaviors on mobile devices are different and search results can be different too based on many factors including location of the user.
  2. Local SEO – As mentioned above, mobile is going to take over and it may display search results differently due to the location of person performing the search hence it is important that businesses are  fully optimized for local SEO even if their business does not have a local retail presence. If businesses do not have a local retail location, then they should optimize for their main or corporate offices, office of their sales representatives, partners and etc.For example if someone is in Laguna Hills or Orange County searching for for “SEO firms”, Google is more likely to return SEO firms in Laguna Hills or SEO firms in Orange County because of the GEO and the phone number of the surfer. For example, when I googled that phrase while I I in San Diego, I got different results than when I did it when I was in Orange County.
  3.   Social Media – Google has been at odds with major social media players such as Facebook and Twitter mainly due to politics. But data shows that Google is looking more at social signals from the public pages in Facebook. We don’t know exactly what Google plan is for social in 2015 but introducing Google businesses allowing businesses to claim their social media channels, it seems that social signals are going play a larger role in Google’s rankings.
  4. Content  – Great content will remain essential and content will remain to be King in 2015. In order to succeed, businesses need to heavily invest in great content.  Great content isn’t only limited to text but also videos. Just remember that you add a little transcriptions for your videos too.  Just get creative when it comes to content so you can stay ahead. If you are creating great content, you are setting the norm not following it.
  5. Analytics – There are many SEOs who claim to do SEO by a just a few of them actually strategize according to available data. SEO should not be a one size fit all. For example one site may need better content, one size may need better backlinks, or one site may need code fixes. So dividing deep into your  Analytic tools enables you to form a customized SEO strategy for your particular website. Also having strong analytical skills, you can get better idea of what your audience need which can help you deliver what they need in order to get better results.

In summary, in 2015, SEO trends will continue change according to users behaviors. More users are now using their mobile devices, performing local searches and sharing great content on social media. If you like to be successful, you have to make sure you are on top of your game or permanently fall behind.

Need a little help with your 2015 SEO strategy? Let us help you. Contact us today and I personally make sure I lead your projects.

 

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Adwords for Small Businesses

Many small businesses shy away from investing in Google adwords because of how expensive it can be. It is very true, adwords costs can be very expensive and unaffordable especially for small business with very limited budget. However I still advise small businesses to invest in Google adwords for the following reasons;

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Google Update Alert! – Google Says Penguin Update Coming

It seems that Google rep Gary Illyes who is a webmaster trends analyst said that Google update was to come soon at SMX East according to this blog post.

Danny Sullivan from SMX asked the following question where Gary from Google had the following answer.

Danny : “When can we expect that overdue Penguin update, Gary?

Gary : “Soon.  Very soon. Maybe next week.”

Google Penguin is a code name for a search algorithm update employed by Google that was first releases in 2012. The purpose of this update is to attempt to decrease rankings of those websites that violate Google webmaster guidelines algorithmically. b Since then Google has releases multiple versions of that algorithm that has effected near 7% of search queries. As Google learns more signals to fight spam and black hat or gray hat SEO tactics, they update this algorithm and released it.

Are You Going to Be Effected by Google Penguin Algorithm?
If you have no official SEO campaigns, write and promote your website naturally, then you may not have too much to worry about (well at least in theory). But if you have hired SEO experts of SEO firms in the past, there is a good chance some of them may have used some black-hat or gray-hat SEO tactics that they didn’t tell you. Or perhaps some of the tactics they used has now become black-hat that may now have been in the past (like guest posting, press releases, etc).

You need to do a new audit of your website (both onsite and offsite) in order to determine that. If you don’t know how to do that or need help, we are here to help. Contact us and we can offer you a complete website audit and analysis.

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About Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great report and analysis tool that Google has made available free for all businesses. Many businesses have Google Analytics installed on their websites but it seems that they don’t really understand the digital the fundaments of digital analytics and basics of Google Analytics hence they don’t take advantage of this great platform fully.

As web Analytics and Google Analytics consultants, we offer consulting services that include Google Analytics installation, configuration, re-configuration, and Google Analytics data analysis and reporting.

However we also believe in educating our clients and our readers so this post will focus on fundamentals of digital analytics and Google Analytics.

What is Digital Analytics
Digital analytics is usage of available relevant data and insights to improve and create positive changes by making data oriented strategic decisions for your business.

To fully understand the data provided by web analytics, on needs to understand how to create an measurement plans that are measurable and specific to their business.

1. Define Your Organization’s measurement Plan
Define what matters to your business or organization the most. If your an ecommerce site, then your total sales is a great business objective. If your a lead generation website, then number of qualified leads. If your an online news site, then your traffic sessions, pageviews, returning or new visits and email newsletter could be great goals.

2. Document and Understand Your Technical infrastructure
To implement a solid digital analytics, you must fully understand your technical specs. Things such as your server technologies, your website performance (and how would it effect if you install more code to it), your mobile sites, and your programming languages limits and capabilities. For example, with most Ajax, it is hard to track clicks. While there are many ways around it, you must first understand that fully.

3. Implementation
Create a business and technical plan and implement that plan. You will need to involve your business decision makers as well as your technical staff such as your web developers and your server administrators in order to that. In case of Google Analytics it means figure out what you exactly need from business prospective you can create the correct JavaScript code snippets for your website pages. Then you need to make sure your web developers install these tools correctly at the right location of your website.

4. Keep Refining
Web analytics isn’t something you should be doing once. The digital and business world change often so you need to keep at and make sure your measurement plan is maintained and refined so that your data stays as relevant as possible with your business.

5. Choose Your Targets
In order to continue analyze your data properly, you need to choose your targets. That way you know from your business  if the business is doing well or doing poorly according to your KPIs.

There is a lot more that goes into digital analytics. As certified Google Analytics experts we can assist you go deeper. Contact us to learn more.

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Panda 4.1 Is Rolling Out – Official Google Announcement

Official Google Announcement by UK based Googler Pierre Far in his Google plus account, Google seems to have  started a rollout of an updated and improved version of Panda algorithm, which should be Panda version 4.1. According to him, Google expects to have everything rolled out and in place sometime next week.

Based on feed back of users and website webmasters, Google claims to have been able to discover more actionable signals in order to help the Panda learning machine identify low-quality content better and devaluing it from their search results. Hence  this results in a greater diversity of high quality content which according to Google can benefit those small and medium size websites which quality content in terms of ranking. Depending on the locale, this panda update will affect 3-5% of search queries.

This is what Google claims and we can only wait to see how it impacts websites during this and next week when this update is expected to be rolled out. But if indeed does what Pierre has claimed to, it could be a fresh breeze for small and medium websites that invest in quality content.

 

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