Facebook Updates News Feed to Penalize Non-Mobile Optimized Websites

Now, in addition to the penalties imposed by Google, Facebook will impose limitations on websites that don’t take mobile devices into account.

Facebook has announced another News Feed algorithm update, this time focused on reducing the reach of websites which are not optimized for mobile devices.

As explained by Facebook:
“We’ve heard from people that it’s frustrating to click on a link that leads to a slow-loading webpage. […] During the coming months we’re making an update to News Feed to show people more stories that will load quickly on mobile and fewer stories that might take longer to load, so they can spend more time reading the stories they find relevant.”

Just as Google has moved to give priority to mobile optimized sites, Facebook’s now following suit – and given that some 94% of Facebook users access the site via mobile, the focus makes sense.

So how will Facebook measure mobile responsiveness and use it as a ranking factor?

“With this update, we’ll soon take into account the estimated load time of a webpage that someone clicks to from any link in News Feed on the mobile app. Factors such as the person’s current network connection and the general speed of the corresponding webpage will be considered. If signals indicate the webpage will load quickly, the link to that webpage might appear higher in your feed.”

Facebook has actually factored in the device and connection you’re using within the algorithm since 2015:

“For example, if you’re on a slower internet connection that won’t load videos, News Feed will show you fewer videos and more status updates and links.”

In addition to this, Facebook also has another existing algorithm penalty which is relevant to slow-loading sites – back in 2014, Facebook started taking into account the amount of time people spend reading a post after clicking on a link.

“If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted.”

If, as Facebook also notes, some 40% of website visitors abandon a site after three seconds of delay, that would see them coming straight back to Facebook, so there are already penalties in place for slow-loading sites. This new update just adds further emphasis, and underlines, once again, the need for all businesses to ensure they have fast-loading, mobile-friendly systems.

Read More Here

First Appeared On My Blog

Microsoft Patches XP in Response to WanaCrypt Attacks

Just wondering out loud if Bill Gates were still at Microsoft if he would have done this.  It’s probably a good move, though, that will be rewarded by better customer loyalty in appreciation for this move.

On Friday evening, Microsoft released patches for Windows XP, Server 2003, and Windows 8, after those systems were infected with Ransomware on Friday.

WannaCrypt, a variant of WannaCry Ransomware, used previously leaked NSA tools to exploit vulnerabilities in the Windows platform.

The WannaCry attacks on Friday reached 125,000 systems worldwide, impacting the National Health Service in the UK, as well as shipping giant FedEx. The Ransomware infection spread quickly Friday afternoon, as the attackers leveraged code stolen from the NSA (EternalBlue / DoublePulsar) to target Server Message Block (SMB) protocol in Windows.

Read More Here.  First published on my blog.

US Digital Ads Spending to Increase 16% in 2017

Last year, total spending for digital ads surpassed spending for television ads.  Google and Facebook are the current leaders in search and display ads, respectively.  According to Forbes, digital ad spending will reach $120 billion by 2021 (46% of all advertising), including paid search, display advertising, social media advertising, online video advertising and email marketing.

Total digital ad spending in the U.S. will increase 16% this year to $83 billion, led by Google’s continued dominance of the search ad market and Facebook ’s FB -0.25% growing share of display and mobile ads, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast.

Google’s U.S. revenue from digital ads is expected to increase about 15% this year, while Facebook’s will jump 32%, more than previously expected, according to the market research company’s latest forecast report.

But Facebook’s furious growth is also starting to slowly shrink the gap with longtime digital ad king Google. As the overall digital ad industry expands, Google’s share of the U.S. market will shrink slightly to 40.7% in 2017, as Facebook steals share from competitors to reach 19.7% of the market, eMarketer predicts.

Facebook beats Google, Twitter and Yahoo YHOO -0.45% when it comes to display advertising. The social media giant is on track to boost its U.S. display business to $16.33 billion this year, with its market share topping 39%. Instagram is helping drive up Facebook’s mobile business, accounting for 20% of Facebook’s U.S. mobile revenue this year, up from 15% last year, according to eMarketer.

Read More Here

As part of a new beta release, our Team Local Marketing digital marketing division is offering a free introductory display ad, in the size needed for any platform of choice.  This article originally posted on our blog.

New Facebook Cover Size

Have you noticed how it’s increasingly difficult to get all the sizes right for social media sites, including desktop, mobile, etc?  Although social media may represent the biggest shift in marketing and mass communications since the industrial revolution, things are changing all the time, making it difficult for business owners to participate.  Below is just one example describing some of the recent changes made by Facebook, as described by marketing consultant Michael Currey (note that when Facebook makes a change like this, it may disrupt the design of cover art for millions of users and business owners, resulting in massive graphics upgrade needs):

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...

Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m going to be releasing all new templates for Facebook very soon, but I wanted to get this news to you ASAP.
Facebook has changed sizes again for cover photos. Right now, 820 wide is the new width for Facebook Pages and Groups. Pages: 820×312 or 820×459 (optimized for mobile) Groups: 820×250 or 820×459 (optimized for mobile)
Events are now 826px wide (changed from being 851px wide). It’s weird that they aren’t 828px wide but I’m not going to argue with the code.
I have to thank my buddy John Aguiar for tipping me off on Monday to the change in dimensions. I’ve already got a new template for Facebook Groups ready to go, just need to update my post on BrainyMarketer.com. Check there later for a transparent .png file. For now, here’s a .jpg you can download and use as you wish.
We’re now offering a free cover upgrade as part of a beta program in order to introduce our new Social Covers capability.  As part of the program, subscribers will get all the major social media covers updated 10 times yearly for events, holidays, offers, etc.
 Article First Appeared on jimgreen.us.

Is Yelp Ripping People Off?

A new client recently told me that he was paying Yelp $300 per month for their “services.” My initial reaction and what I told him was that this was unnecessary, since Yelp listings are a free service.   Although most directories offer premium features which I’m sure have some value,  I wanted to investigate what he’s actually paying for and see if there might be a downside to cancelling what seems to be an unnecessary expenditure.

Maybe you know and maybe you don’t… but Yelp (a local search and reviews online service) offers paid advertising for businesses called the “Yelp Sponsorship Program“.

Yelp

To sum it up, according to the page advertising this opportunity, this Yelp Sponsorship program allows you to:

  1. Put up a slideshow of the images of your business.
  2. Highlight a user’s review that you like the most (as the business owner)
  3. Promote your business as a sponsored search result and on your competitors’ business pages. Target potential clients while they are making decisions about where to spend their money on a business like yours

It sounds all fancy spansy right?  Sounds like you get even MORE control over your business listing which will help “put your best foot forward” and sneak attack your competitors, stealing all their would be clients.

But Stop the Music, Do These Yelp Advertising Features Actually Accomplish Anything?  Or are They Just Fluff Designed to Lure You in so They can Zap You?

Suck Them in & Then ZAP Them!

Before we proceed, I’d like to first state that my experience and knowledge of this Yelp Sponsorship program comes from dealing with them on behalf of one of my clients.  This client signed up with Yelp (despite my warnings – apparently Yelp’s salesman are SMOOOTH) and I got to learn all about this program.

Having said that, that’s only ONE experience which doesn’t make me an expert but it certainly makes me more knowledgeable of this Yelp marketing program than those who’s never experienced it.

Furthermore, in case you are not familiar with how Yelp works, anybody can post a business on Yelp, as long as it falls under one of their categories and is a “fit” per their policies.  And the rightful owner can claim that Yelp page by jumping through some hoops and voila, you have a FREE listing about your business.

FREE Yelp Reviews Page

And for comparison’s sake, here’s an example of a PAID Yelp review page:

PAID Yelp Review Page

With that said… let’s examine feature #1.

The “Slide-Show”

Now, granted the larger images and the “slideshow” adds a bit more snazziness to the page but honestly, how big of a difference does it really make?  If you wanted to see pictures, wouldn’t you be inclined to go visit the business’ actual website?

I’d love to see some split test on this…

Favorite Review

As far as feature #2, I suppose this is a good thing, like Yelp for Business Owners says, “put your best foot forward”.  But then they go and shoot themselves in the foot by posting the “Rating Distribution” graph next to it.  This graph, as you can see, shows all the reviews, INCLUDING the negative ones.

As humans, we are so inclined to ask “what’s wrong” that I reckon most wouldn’t take the “favorite reviews” at face value; they’d go and seek the worst reviews to find out why those folks gave bad reviews.

Yelp’s Business Owner’s Sponsorship Program feature #3 is my favorite.

Yelp Advertising… on Others’ Pages

So the idea here is similar to Google AdWords, when someone searches for a term related to your business, your listing shows up (as, “Sponsored Result”) with the hopes that your business gets clicked on.

Here’s the caveat though, Yelp is charging you per impression basis instead of per click basis.  What this means is that whenever your listing shows up in this manner, it counts against your total allotted amount that you paid of (so you are paying “cost per impression”).  If it were click based (cost per click) you would get charged ONLY if your ad gets clicked.

This brings into a few questions, the least of which are:

  • So how much is it per impression?
  • How many impressions can you expect to get (this is of course dependent on the search volume) – bear in mind that this is a LOCAL search and review online system. Which means that you are really throttling the number of impressions your ads will show up because the number of LOCAL folks doing searches related to you business within your area is a tiny tiny fraction of the searches done nationally combined.
  • Are you able to test different the keywords with which your listing shows up (which is costing you money)?
  • Are you able to TRACK the results you are getting on fine details?  I.e. what keywords are converting, when is the best time to show your Yelp sponsored listing, etc.  Basically, questions that any savvy AdWords expert would ask.
  • How much control do you have over this campaign?  After all, you ARE paying for it.

Before I Go On, Let’s Talk About Leakage

What is “leakage“?  Well, in digital marketing term, it means actions taken by your website visitor that doesn’t contribute to your ultimate goal (such as capturing the lead, making the sale, etc.)  This often includes having active links which serve as distractions that take the visitor ELSEWHERE.

Now… take a good look at just about any Yelp review page, do you see leakage? Do you see links everywhere?  But more importantly (and relevantly from a marketing perspective), do you see the box that says, “People Who Viewed This Also Viewed…”?  Do you see how these links tend to be links to direct competition to the business review page you are viewing?

Yelp.com Pay Per Impression is a Friggin’ Joke (& Rip Off You Can Argue)

Okay, so going back to the sample list of questions listed earlier on.  Let’s dig deeper and find out exactly what sort of program Yelp is running (and charging you for).

First of all, here’s the cost for Yelp’s advertising program:
$300/mo – promotes you to 1,500 people in your area looking for a business like yours.
$500/mo – promotes you to 4,000 people in your area looking for a business like yours.
$1000/mo – promotes you to 10,000 people in your area looking for a business like yours.

Read More Here (first curated on my blog)

What is Google Tag Manager?

For quite some time, Google Analytics (GA) has been around to help you collect, process, configure, and report website and mobile app data that results in actionable insights. Then in 2012, Google announced the release of its new groundbreaking product, known as Google Tag Manager (Tag Manager or GTM).

In short, we love it. And we write about it often! Despite GTM’s usefulness, there’s still a lot of confusion about what it is, what it does, and how it’s different from Google Analytics. So, we’ve decided to dedicate this bit to dissolve the confusion.

Where People Get Tag Manager Wrong

A common misconception is that Tag Manager is the same thing as (or the latest version of) Google Analytics. This is not the case! In actuality, Google Tag Manager is a completely separate tool.

Breaking It Down

In short, Google Tag Manager is a user-friendly solution to managing the tags, or the snippets of JavaScript that send information to third-parties, on your website or mobile app. Adding other products to your site, including but not limited to AdWords Conversion Tracking and Remarketing, DoubleClick Floodlight, and of course, Google Analytics, is a breeze.

In more detail, GTM makes your life easier by simplifying the process of adding these JavaScript snippets to your website. Instead of updating code on your website, you use the interface to decide what needs to fire and on what page or what action. GTM then adds the appropriate tracking to your site to make sure it all works.

Google Tag Manager consists of these three main parts:

  1. Tag: A snippet of code (usually JavaScript) added to a page.
  2. Triggers: Defines when and where tags are executed.
  3. Variables: Used to receive or store information to be used by tags and triggers.

Read More Here

This article was first republished on Jim Green Enterprises blog.  If you like this content, you might be interested in our latest beta release software to create Display Ads.  We hope that this content will help you manage your retargeting and analytics needs.

Citation on Trial – Insider Pages

Insider Pages although often viewed as an authoritative source of citations, has become largely irrelevant.  Updates are best accomplished by simply submitting updates to ExpressUpdate.com, which now controls its content.Insider Pages

We don’t recommend falling for the “offer” by Yext to update Insider Pages because their methodology will simply suppress vs. actually correct listings that need to be updated for accuracy or consistency.  Cancelling Yext’s subscription would result in the invalid or inaccurate listings reverting to their previous status.

We continue our evaluation of directory & citation sites with a review of InsiderPages.com. This was an active directory site in 2007-2009 but has gone mostly dormant since then. InsiderPages was acquired by CitySearch in 2007. I’m not entirely sure why they have been maintained as two separate directories since then, but they are.

Since both CitySearch and InsiderPages have directories fed from Infogroup, it’s safe to say that once you’ve added your citation to Infogroup that both of these sites will be updated with that information the next time they upgrade their directory database. So, it’s unlikely you need to deal with InsiderPages directly regardless, even though they are generally listed as a “top” citation source. However, it’s important to point out a recent development that makes it even less important as a directory service.

First, you cannot add a new listing to InsiderPages directly. They encourage you to go to http://www.expressupdate.com/search (Infogroup’s site for adding citations) to add your business, and also explain it will take 1-2 months for your listing to show up in InsiderPages after this process is successfully completed. If you search the InsiderPages directory and do find your business already listed, you can try to claim it by clicking on the “Claim Business” link under the map on the business detail page. Here’s the interesting part – when you click on that link, it takes you to Yext! Yext generates a popup that they’re working with InsiderPages to sync listings online. If you click the large “Claim It” button on the popup, you then get a listing of about 50 directory sites and the status for that business on each site. Here’s what is even more interesting – the InsiderPages listing is not on this list!

Read More Here First Curated Link

What About Bing Local?

With a third of the search engine market, Bing remains a relevant source of traffic for your business.  At a minimum, it is very important to create (or claim) your local Bing business page and optimize it for accuracy and completeness, as it will influence Google as well as show up on direct searches in Bing.  Bing Search for Local Tree Service

Note that Bing still displays more than 3 listings vs. what is now seen on Google search.  Although reviews aren’t part of the equation on Bing, they will display third-party reviews from Yelp, CitySearch, and others.

At last check, roughly 66% of search is conducted through Google. Understandably, search engine optimization has come to mean Google optimization for many business owners. But if a third of your prospective customers are not using Google, it’s worth taking a serious look at the number two search engine – Bing.

Bing Local

Local businesses should first become acquainted with Bing Local. For most, Bing Local will look pretty familiar. Just as local businesses that index in Google Maps have Google+ Local Pages – formerly known as Google Place Pages – Bing has its equivalent. Most businesses with a physical address will find that they already have a Bing Local listing, which can be claimed through the Bing Business Portal.

Upon claiming your listing, the action steps for search optimization are, again, very similar to Google+ Local. Recommended steps include filling out the profile to completion; adding photos; ensuring name, address, and phone number are accurate; and building citations. For a more comprehensive breakdown of these action steps, check out this helpful introduction to Bing Local Optimization.

Bing Reviews

The first thing you need to know about Bing reviews is that there is no such thing. Instead of hosting their own reviews like Google+ Local, Bing Local listings display review snippets and ratings pulled from third-party review sites. While Bing’s partnership with Yelp! has been widely publicized, Bing Local listings also draw reviews content from Citysearch.

Quoted Source May be Seen Here ; originally curated on my blog.

You Can Still Get a Free Yahoo Business Listing

With the advent of Yext, many small business owners have “thrown in the towel” and simply started paying Yext for their listing updates.  But, as this article indicates, it is still possible to get a free Yahoo listing.

The below excerpt was written in 2015, but I tried this earlier today, and it still works. If doing this for a client, you’ll have to send an automated verification call to their listed phone number after going through the process. So pick a time that they are actually open for business for best results.

Free Yahoo Listing Example

Use highlighted link after following the instructions.

Believe it or not, 1 out of every 8 searches in the U.S. are still done through Yahoo, so you want your local business to be properly represented there. Yahoo has gone through a lot of confusing changes recently, but the good news is you can still claim a free local business listing. Here’s how.

Earlier this year, Yahoo announced it was spinning off its small business division into a separate company called Aabaco. They said the local business services would be branded under the name of Luminate. To further complicate things, Yahoo then outsourced management of its local business listings to Yext.

Now Luminate is gone, Yahoo Small Business has become Aabaco Small Business, and Aabaco outsources to Yext to manage local business listing under a product called Localworks.

Confused yet? You’re not alone!

Don’t worry about all of this. There’s only one thing that’s important … here’s how can still get a free local business listing on Yahoo.

How to Claim a Free Local Business Listing on Yahoo

  1. Go to Yahoo, search for your business, and you should see a link to “Add or update your business”.
  2. That link will take you to http://www.yext.com/pl/yahoo-claims/index.html (you can just go here directly if you prefer).
  3. Enter your business information and click “Find My Listings”.
  4. You’ll then see page that is powered by Yext. It’s a bit intimidating with an “error rate” and all of these warnings that you’re not standing out and not verified through Yext. For now, don’t worry about all of this, just click the big “Continue” button.
  5. Next, you can update the information about your listing. Complete this page fully … and don’t forget to use the same NAP (name, address, phone) that you use everywhere for your business. Click the “Continue” button when you’re done.
  6. Yext will then present you with four paid plans, but immediately below these plans is a tiny link that says, “Claim your Basic Listing only on Yahoo” … click that link.
  7. You’re now at the “Yahoo Basic Listing Checkout” page. Complete the checkout and click “Place Order” (it’s free).
  8. Yext will send you an email to verify your email address. Click the link, create a password, then login to your account.
  9. The final step is to verify you represent this business. The easiest method is to have them call you, but there are other methods as well.

Read more & watch a video of the process here. First curated on my website.

The Epic Guide to Creating, Building and Growing a Successful Instagram Ministry

The following are many of the insights I have learned over the last few years (using Instagram every single day) and my hope is to encourage you and instruct you with the “best practices” that I have learned from my own trial and error.

My heart in sharing this information is that you would be able to make a difference for God’s Kingdom. My hope is to empower you to go out and start your own Instagram ministry that shares the Gospel, encourages, blesses and helps a ton of people every day.

Okay, let’s get started. I will be answering many of the common questions you may have.

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What is an Instagram Ministry?

Any Instagram Christian page that posts content intended to encourage, bless, minister, or promote: Jesus Christ, the Gospel, the Word of God and Christian living.

Anyone can start and run an Instagram ministry. We are all called to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19) and we are all “ministers” of the Gospel.

I can’t tell you how many times my followers (or their friends) have commented something like: “This is exactly what I needed to hear” or “Perfect timing! God is good!”

As the body of Christ, we are the Lord’s hands and feet. God will use our efforts and work to bless and help others.

Read More Here  (article originally curated on my main blog)