Google Introduces Changes To Make Being Mobile Friendly More Important

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, or easy to use on multiple different devices (desktops, laptops, tablets or mobile phones) Google will begin penalizing it by ranking it lower on mobile search page results.

In April 2015, Google first started ranking non-mobile friendly websites lower, but now, in May 2016, the strategy has been amped up. Let’s explore a bit more what this might mean for you.

Why Is Being Mobile Friendly Important?stocksnap_gs53c70s0a

More Google searches are now executed through mobile devices than through desktop computers. So if your website isn’t mobile friendly, visitors will organically gravitate away from you and move to websites which are easier to navigate.

Being mobile friendly is part of a movement called ‘responsive web design’, wherein no matter what type of device your website is seen on, even a device which has not been manufactured yet, your website should adjust in size appropriately. Being responsive will entice visitors to stay on your website, which will organically increase your search pagerank.

Having a responsive website is very important, because 95% of people do not go past the first page of search results, and 60% of clicks happen within the top three search results.

How To Tell If Your Website Is Mobile FriendlyStrata-mobile-home

A mobile friendly website is one which has a minimum or no need for scrolling, resizing or squinting to see content, no matter what device a user might be on. The website will have a single URL so that the adjustments to certain devices are automatic; a user shouldn’t have to click to visit a mobile website.

How To Become Mobile Friendly

If you’re not a web developer yourself, you’ll likely need to hire a responsive website design company to help you out. A company like Cohlab Digital Marketing will be able to either convert your current website or build an entirely new website, creating a responsive design, and laying the groundwork for optimization of your website to make it rank better in search engine results.

At Cohlab, we have worked closely with many businesses to help them achieve great success in their responsive and mobile friendly web design efforts. We are happy to answer any questions you may have!

How A Responsive Web Design Firm Improves Your Search Ranking

A web design firm, especially a responsive web design firm, can help your business in a lot of ways, from helping choose fonts and colors, to organizing your menus and content.

But certain things a responsive web design firm does have a huge impact on your search rankings. So when you are choosing a new designer, make sure they can help you out in the following ways.

How Does A Responsive Web Design Firm Increase My Ranking?Rankings

Speed

Studies show that if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 57% of your visitors will move on. Those users either close the window, frustrated, or hit the back button, looking for a different, faster answer or result.

As a business owner, you want to serve your customers well. If the doors to your business had a 3 second wait before opening, you’d probably have a lot fewer walk-ins. The only people who would come in are those who are already determined to buy something; it would be hard to get new business.

Check with your web design firm and make sure the speed of your website is up to par.

Future Proofing

A responsive website design effectively “future proofs” your site. Whether someone comes to your website on a desktop, iPhone, laptop, tablet or any other device, your website should automatically adjust to properly fit the screen your visitor is using.

This responsiveness is not “set in stone;” in fact, it’s the opposite. No matter what type of device your website is seen on, even a device which has not been manufactured yet, your website should adjust in size appropriately.

Most Google searches and browsing time is now done on mobile devices, so having a responsive website for the many sizes of screens out there is important so you don’t exclude any potential customers.

Clicks Beget Clicks

Having a responsive website design which is also fast will help improve your rankings, which means more people will be able to visit your site. Those visitors will have a better experience, staying on your website longer and possibly sharing or linking to your content or merchandise. This will also improve your ranking!

Having a responsive website with a good rank is very important, because 95% of people do not go past the first page of search results, and 60% of clicks happen within the top three search results.

“Cohlaboration” With Cohlab

At Cohlab, we have worked closely with many businesses to help them achieve great success in their responsive web design efforts. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

3 Bold Lies: You Get What You Pay For With SEO Prices

When you are unfamiliar with search engine optimization (SEO), the pricing structure can seem arbitrary. Even though it can be difficult to understand without experience, be wary of firms who seem to promise something which doesn’t quite seem right or possible at all, or at least given their SEO prices, because you get what you pay for. Let’s go over 3 bold lies told about SEO ‘black hat’ firms tell to watch out for.

1. “We Can Make Your Website Rank #1 On Google.”Organic Local Search on Google

What a load of hooey! No honest SEO firm can guarantee your website will rank #1 on any search engine, no matter the price. Google’s webmaster guidelines state very clearly to be wary of firms and consulting agencies which guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.

While everyone would love to rank first, it is simply never guaranteed and never should be. In fact, reputable companies will admit outright they can’t guarantee results.

2. “We Can Fix Your SEO In 1 Month.”

The Internet is a living, breathing beast. Change is constant, with websites moving up and down in search engine rankings as users find value in their information or layout.

SEO requires constant monitoring and adjustments to strategy based on Google’s ever-changing algorithms as well as the changing needs of your customers. A firm’s first obligation is to make your online presence useful to customers and second to improve your alignment with Google’s algorithm. Search engine optimization does not happen in a vacuum; your competitors are also constantly working and improving which can place them above you in search results if you don’t keep up.

One month is a completely unrealistic timeframe to work on an SEO campaign for two reasons: 1. If you stop working on it after 1 month, you will fall behind; and, 2. One month is simply not enough time to have any sort of impact. Most work done needs 3-6 months before results can be seen. No amount of money can create long-lasting, effective search engine rankings in 1 month.

You need a firm who can work with your company for the foreseeable future and make recommendations and improvements as you go.

3. “We Use Foreign Contractors To Save You Money.”Money

While this one might not technically be a lie, it is still a terrible tactic for a good search engine optimization firm to pursue.

Yes, using foreign workers may save money in the short-run, but the quality is going to be much lower. Google’s rules change quickly and are intricate. Experience in the field as well as a strong grasp of the language surrounding SEO are paramount to executing a strategy.

You get what you pay for, and often outdated tactics will get your website penalized in the rankings by Google.

You Get What You Pay For With SEO Prices

When hiring a firm, do your homework. The second you hear one of these lies, or feel their SEO prices don’t match their promises, it’s time to start looking at other options.

Always be sure to check out a firm’s website and reviews to make sure they can do the things you are looking for.

Cohlab Digital Marketing has great reviews and tons of information about search engine optimization. If you’d like to learn about our pricing, let us know.

A Responsive Web Design Company Gets You Results

You’ve probably seen it before. You’ll search for something online on your mobile phone, click on the result and be taken to a website which is hard to navigate. You can’t find what you want, or you have to pinch-zoom in to read anything, or it’s one of those mobile-specific websites and it doesn’t have the content you were actually looking for.

A company which designs responsive websites will help you build the website your customers are looking for, including consistent and usable website appearance across multiple platforms as well as higher ranking in search engines.

What Is Responsive Web Design, Really?

Mobile First

Responsive web design starts with considering the mobile display as the primary way people view your website. More people now use mobile phones to browse the internet than desktops so it makes sense to design for mobile first.

The site should be functional but uncluttered so when it responds to a mobile device the branding is not lost in the process. This allows mobile users to load your website faster and find what they need quicker.

Fluidity

So you know you should build your website as optimized for mobile, but which mobile device should it be designed for? The answer is: none of them.

“When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup.                                                                                  

When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle.                                                                          

When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot . . .                                                                       

Become like water my friend.”                                                                                                                                      

– Bruce Lee

Your website should be fluid. As we said earlier, decluttering your web design while maintaining functionality is key, which means your website should have a focused and concise message. This helps mobile devices load the website faster and it makes your website leaner and meaner on a desktop as well. The end result is an experience focused on the key tasks a user wants to accomplish, which is good for the user and good for your business.

A Responsive Web Design Company Gets You Results

You now have a website which flows like water into any device which views it, responds quickly and is focused on your core message. How does this get results for your company?

  • Cost effectiveness: Responsive web design makes your website last longer so you don’t have to update it as often. And having one website rather than one mobile and another desktop site saves you money on hosting, support and maintenance fees.
  • Improved conversion: An optimized and consistent site, no matter which platform it’s viewed on, provides a better experience for the user which is more likely to lead to them engaging with you.
  • Future proofing: Responsive web design is a safe bet as it adapts to any device on the market, and any conceivable device which will come on the market in the future.
  • Search engine optimization: Managing search engine optimization (SEO) for separate mobile and desktop sites is time consuming, more expensive and doesn’t produce great results. Having one site to manage and optimize means you will rank higher.

“Cohlaboration” With Cohlab

At Cohlab, we have worked closely with many businesses to help them achieve great success in their responsive web design efforts. Our team can help you with your blog topics as well as provide you with comprehensive SEO and responsive web design services. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

Measuring Your Website Design ROI: Digital Marketing ROI Series

In this edition of our digital marketing ROI series, we are going to discuss techniques for measuring your website design return on investment (ROI). It is a well-known fact that a good website design is necessary for bringing in real profits for your online business. However, how do you measure returns for a website, especially if you are not running an e-commerce website? It is hard to measure the gains of a great website design into finite measurements such as profit margins, but it can be done.

Track Website Traffic and Length of Stay

Use Google Webmaster Tools to track website traffic. This data can easily be accessed using your Google Analytics account. Calculate your monthly average visitors. An excellent website with useful information is almost guaranteed to bring in many visitors, and this is a great sign of positive returns. In addition to tracking the number of visitors to your website, you should track how long they stay on your website. If a visitor comes and leaves quickly, then something may be wrong. Perhaps your website is not providing the information they are looking for, or maybe your design is too complicated for the average user. Whatever it may be, look into it and try to correct it.

Tally Conversion Rates

How many of your monthly visitors are converted into leads? How many of them act on your website’s calls to action? Calls to action can be anything that encourages your visitors to interact with you, including newsletter signups, contact form submissions, eBook downloads, phone calls, and others. The higher your conversion rates, the more successful your design and its translation to positive returns.

Calculate Lead Closing Ratios

Depending on your business, high conversion rates is likely not the only thing you hope for from your website. How many of your website leads actually turn into sales? What is the closing ratio? It is one of the greatest measures of website design ROI. Divide your total sales with your complete proposals or inquiries to get a closing ratio. Take the closing rate and multiply it to your leads to get a total of your website generated events for that month. The higher the number of events, the better your returns.

Find Out Your Average Sales

With the total number of events, you can now calculate your average revenue. Take the total number of sales on your website and divide it by the total number of website events to get your average sales.

Deduct Total Average Revenue per Month with Expenses

Websites are an investment, and like any business investment they have expenses. Apart from hosting fees, you may also need to pay for ads, SEO campaigns, social media marketing, paid searches, and more, to attract visitors. These digital marketing campaigns cost time and money. It is essential to deduct your revenue from your expenses to learn what your real returns are. If your returns are too low, then you probably need to reconsider your website presence, beginning with your website design.

At Cohlab, we fully understand the importance of knowing your website design ROI. That is why we do take the time to ensure you understand both the tangible and intangible results of your digital marketing efforts. We “cohlaborate” with you on proving out your marketing ROI, and our strategy has been greatly successful for digital marketing clients. Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. Our team would love to speak with you and answer any questions you may have. Our mission is to provide you with Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your organization’s needs.

3 Tips to Get the Most from URL Shorteners | Cohlab Digital Marketing

URL shortening is not new; in fact it has been around for many years. And while some may argue reasons why a small business should not use them, they can’t argue that there are some truly great benefits on the pro side. A URL shortener is a service that takes a long and messy looking URL and shortens it into a small and clean looking address. While this in itself can provide some obvious benefits, there are ways a small business can take the use of a URL shortener to the next level. Here are three important tips to get the most out of your URL shorteners.

What URL Shorteners Should I Use?

We recommend two URL shortening services for small business applications. The first is Google’s own Goo.gl. There are several benefits to using Goo.gl. First, people trust Google. Because a shortened URL provides little detail on what it points to, some can be leery. Knowing that Google is behind it and that they remove short URL’s used in spamming, they may not think twice. Also, Goo.gl offers some great analytics tools and is also fabulously easy to use.

Another great service is called Bit.ly. Like Goo.gl, Bit.ly is also a powerful analytic tracker with a full functioning dashboard to make things very easy and understandable. Also with Bit.ly, you are able to create branded short domains so that your short links are clearly recognized as coming from your company. Whichever platform you choose, it’s always good to use your short links wisely to get the most out of them.

Pay attention to your analytics

One of the best uses for shortened URL’s is the ability to better analyze your statistics. This is especially true for your social media. In fact with Bit.ly, you can even have a different short link for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn that points to the same content, and find which social media platform performs better. It can provide invaluable information about your audience and make your marketing efforts significantly more effective.

Use them in unique ways

Shortened URL’s are great for online marketing. Just don’t overlook ways in which they could be useful for traditional marketing as well. A great example would be to use alternate short links on different marketing materials to see which garner the most response. They are also great for things like billboards or signs so you can match specific content with an easy to remember address. Using a little creativity can make them go a long way for you.

Target Your Marketing

Shortened URL’s make it exceptionally easy to track click-through rates, and even determine in which areas you are finding the most response. This helps you to segment your audience and target the right people based on how they interact with your brand.

Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your digital marketing efforts compare with others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

Meta Tags That Google Recognizes

In our article titled Reasons Why You Should Stop Using Keywords Meta Tag, we discussed the reasons why you should stop focusing on keywords meta tags. Google decided that because of widespread misuse, they would no longer be a focus. Instead, other on-page and off-page optimization techniques should be used that will have a real impact on ranking. And, while keywords meta tags may no longer be of use, there are other types of meta tags that you should continue using that are recognized by Google.  The below list is not exhaustive however it does cover all of the meta tags recognized by Google, any meta tags not recognized by Google have been ignored.

Meta tags are added to the <head> section of the HTML page and typically look like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang=”en”>

<head>

<meta charset=”utf-8″>

<meta http-equiv=”X-UA-Compatible” content=”IE=Edge,chrome=1″>  <meta name=”description” content=”Organize anything, together. Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, know what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.”>

<title>Trello</title>

Google Recognized Meta Tags

The following list includes the current Google recognized meta tags.

  • Description: <meta name=”description” content=”A description of the page” />
  • Title: <title>The Title of the Page</title>
  • Robots: <meta name=”robots” content=”…, …” /> and Googlebot: <meta name=”googlebot” content=”…, …” />
    • “noindex”
    • “nofollow”
    • “nosnippet”
    • “noodp”
    • “noarchive”
    • “unavailable_after:[date]”
    • “noimageindex”
    • “none”
  • No Site Link: <meta name=”google” content=”nositelinkssearchbox” />
  • No Translate: <meta name=”google” content=”notranslate” />
  • Google Verification: <meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”…” />
  • Content Type: <meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”…; charset=…” /> and Character Set: <meta charset=”…” >
  • Refresh (Redirect): <meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”…;url=…” />

Google Recognized Meta Tag Descriptions

<meta name=”description” content=”A description of the page” />

Description meta tags provide a short description of the page, and should be unique for each page.  A readable tag that contains important keywords and entices the searcher to click on your link is the goal. They can be any length; however typically will work best at 160 to 170 characters long. Anything longer will likely be truncated by the search engine so it is important to write quality description meta tags.

<title>The Title of the Page</title>

The title tag is not actually a Meta tag, however it is listed here because the title tag is most often used in conjunction with the Meta Descriptions. Like the description, the title is important because it will likely be shown as the page title in search results just above the description when searchers are provided their results. Read more about Google recognized meta descriptions and titles.

<meta name=”robots” content=”…, …” />

<meta name=”googlebot” content=”…, …” />

It is the robots meta tags that directs how the search engine crawling and indexing behaves. Above you see two examples. The “robots” meta tag is for all search engines while the “googlebot” tag is Google specific. By default, the values are “index, follow” which is the same as “all”. They do not need to be specified, however there are other values that must be added to the tag. If you are using multiple tags, they can be separated by a comma as shown in the above example =”…, …”. The following list of values are used to modify search engine behavior.

  • noindex” – The page will not be indexed.
  • nofollow” – The links from this page will not be followed.
  • nosnippet” – A snippet will not be shown in the search results. In other words, the page will be removed from all search results.
  • noodp” – The alternate description from the ODP/DMOZ will not be used.
  • noarchive” – A cached link for the page will not be shown.
  • unavailable_after:[date]” – Allows you to set a date to end crawling and indexing.
  • noimageindex” – An image that appears will not show your page as the referring page.
  • “none” – This is used to apply both “noindex” and “nofollow”.

<meta name=”google” content=”nositelinkssearchbox” />

The site links search box is sometimes displayed for specific websites, as well as other site specific links. Using this meta tag will stop Google from showing this box for your site.

<meta name=”google” content=”notranslate” />

In some cases, the language your website uses is not likely to be the language the searcher would like it to be. When it is determined that this is likely the case, Google will place a translate link in the search results. While this is a great way to broaden your reach, there are sometimes scenarios when this is not preferred. In those cases, this meta tag will remove the translation link and any translation provided by Google.

<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”…” />

Including this tag on the main or top page of your website allows you to verify ownership of it through Google Webmaster Tools. Google will provide you the input data for “name” and “content”. The site verification tag must match what is provided exactly and is case sensitive. Your site will then be considered “Google Verified”.

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”…; charset=…” />

<meta charset=”…” >

A site’s content type and character set are defined using these meta tags. It’s important to note that the content type value should be surrounded by quotes. Failure to do so may cause the character set to be misinterpreted. It’s also recommended by Google to use Unicode/UTF-8 when it’s possible.

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”…;url=…” />

In some cases, you may want a user to be redirected to another page or site after a set amount of time. This meta tag allows simple way to do this. The caution is that not all browser programs support this code and confusion can result. It is recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium that this is not the best meta tag to use. Google instead recommends using a server-side 301 redirect in its place.  If your site is built in WordPress we recommend the Simple 301 Redirects plugin.

The Importance of A/B Testing Your Tags

Description and Title Meta tags should undergo a/b testing. If you are unfamiliar with the process, a/b testing (also called split testing & multi-variant testing) is a method of comparing two different versions of a web page to see which one performs better. For testing tags, you would simply post two separate versions of the same page, but using a different set of tags. Then, both pages go live and are shown to similar visitors over the same time period. Using your analytics, the two pages are compared to see which version has a better conversion or click-through rate. By testing your tags, it allows you to confirm the success of any new design or change to your webpage. Instead of simply guessing and hoping that your tags will bring success, a/b testing will prove what is performing and allow you to make decisions about any code changes with actual data.

Other Meta Tags

There are many different meta tags that are used and the level of helpfulness they provide is debated. Below is a short list of a few types of meta tags that can be used.

  • Authorship markup meta tags that provide information about the author of your content can also help with your rank. Google is ranking content from authors they decide are reliable sources.
  • Social meta tags including open graph tags can help you gain an edge in the growing world of social media. Using the various tags can help grab attention and gain valuable clicks, and can even optimize how your content will appear in an individual’s social media timeline.

Professional Meta Tags and SEO

With so many changes that occur in SEO, partnering with an experienced and professional digital marketing firm can be a huge help. Many of us are not as in-tune to the trends, nor do we have the experience and knowledge to include meta tags in our web pages effectively. This makes Finding the right SEO company especially important. At Cohlab, we pride ourselves on being on the cutting edge of SEO and are dedicated to ensuring our clients experience real success.

Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website compares to others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.