Eminent SEO News: Important Customer Update
Ever since 2016 started, we at Eminent SEO have been reviewing all of our products, services, processes and report deliverables to see where we can make upgrades. There were many significant changes in the SEO and digital marketing industries in 2015 (mostly thanks to Google), and 2016 will certainly bring many more.
In light of that, one of the bigger changes we’ve made recently is redeveloping our shared client strategy and fulfillment documents. If you are a client of Eminent SEO, please feel free to open up the live Google document where we report on everything we’ve done on your behalf. If your new report is still “under construction,” don’t worry: Your old reports are still accessible and your new one will be created shortly. The next time we get on a call with you to review your report, we’ll go over all of these changes and discuss how you can contribute to the document.
For all current Eminent SEO customers, please look for a version of this update in your email inbox, as well as other updates from us in the near future.
What’s New in SEO: Google SERPs Upgrades
In February, two significant changes to the Google SERPs (search engine results pages) went in effect, one for mobile and one for desktop search.
No More Sidebar PPC Ads on Google
First, Google suddenly said bye-bye to all of sidebar pay-per-click ads on the first page of search results via desktop.
In all likelihood, as an average web surfer, you probably glossed over these every time you used a desktop or laptop to search Google, but here is what these sidebar ads looked like (in a screenshot taken last August):
That was a search for a “Phoenix AC company,” which elicited three PPC ads above the local pack and organic results, as well as eight PPC ads on the right sidebar (which was maximum a page would show at that time).
Now, if we search for the same term, here is what we get:
That’s right: four PPC ads now at the top and no paid spots on the right side. Even on a 23-inch monitor, the entire local pack isn’t visible above the fold. That means just six spots are immediately viewable to us before scrolling down.
There are still 10 organic results below the local pack for this particular search, and there are even three more PPC ads below that.
SEO experts are predicting that the PPC competition will become even more cutthroat with only four prime spots available above the fold. Google is apparently only going to show four PPC ads at the top for “highly commercial” search terms, so you should see fewer in some instances.
This change has apparently been a long time in the making. For more background and details on Google’s decision to drop “right rail” ads, see this Search Engine Land FAQ write-up on the topic.
Google Launches AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
Just a couple of days after the PPC shakeup, Google debuted another game-changer: accelerated mobile pages (AMPs). This move had been in the works for several months.
At this time, AMPs mostly concern online news organizations. To see what the AMPs look like, you basically just have to use your mobile device to search for any item that’s been in the news lately. What Google will return to you is a horizontal “carousel” of news articles related to your search query near the top of the first page of results.
Each item in the carousel is marked with the letters “AMP” and a lightning bolt icon in the bottom of the box. Basically, these pages are supposed to load ultra-quickly, being that they are stripped down versions of their desktop equivalents.
If you’re not in the news business, you’re probably not going to be too affected by AMPs right now. However, you might be able to use your company’s blog to add your expertise or insight to a topic in the news, and then an AMP version of that blog post might be able to compete with media organizations when users search Google for that subject. Keep in mind that creating AMPs has nothing to do with ranking your website higher in search right now.
While an AMP plugin for WordPress has already emerged, getting your site to show up in the AMP carousel will involve a little bit of coding as well as maintaining two versions of the very same page/article. If you’re ready to learn more about AMPs and giving your website that functionality, read this thorough Search Engine Land tutorial. Note that you have to have a fair amount of programming skills in order to understand this write-up and put it into practice.
February Social Media Roundup
Did you make use of the extra day you had in February, aka Leap Day? Yes, there was an additional day, but it was still a short month, and it came and went in a flash for us here at the Eminent SEO office. Check out the best of our February social media shares below.
— Eminent SEO (@EminentSEO) February 17, 2016
— Eminent SEO (@EminentSEO) February 19, 2016
February Marketing Blog Roundup
Our blog started out February with a thorough post on website security, and then we focused on mobile marketing issues in a pair of posts. If you missed our February blog posts, see an overview of each below and get caught up. As always, we invite you to visit our blog page and click on “Subscribe” so you don’t miss any future posts.
In this post on website security, learn about what an SSL certificate is, if they’re all the same, and the value one provides for your customers and website visitors. Once you’re convinced to make the upgrade, the post will tell you about a few different channels you can explore to obtain an SSL certificate.
Every business seems to be trying to get into the mobile app marketplace nowadays, right? That’s not only untrue, but there are concrete reasons why many businesses should refrain. In this enlightening blog post, learn more about the current mobile app landscape and where you should consider investing your marketing dollars this year as an alternative.
Is shooting a video with your smartphone held vertically sheer laziness, or is it actually a viable format for sending and watching video? In this post, learn about why vertical video does and does not suck, plus why the format is becoming more accepted. Also, you’ll get a few ideas on how to leverage vertical video to drive engagement for and awareness of your brand.
Featured Service: Website Hosting
Speaking of SSL certificates, have you given much thought to how your website is hosted and how a poor setup can hurt a site’s SEO?
Your website will reap many benefits when you go through Eminent SEO for where and how it’s hosted. We start by finding you a U.S.-based server, one that elicits quick loading times for whenever a user pulls up your site on a desktop computer or mobile phone. We also establish a dedicated IP address for your site, and if you own multiple sites you’d like to have us host, we can set each one up with a dedicated IP. Having a dedicated IP address makes it a little easier to obtain an SSL certificate, which, by the way, we can take charge of for your website.
A U.S.-based server, a dedicated IP address and an SSL certificate make up the right foundation to help your website succeed, especially on the search engines. Our process also allows your site to have unlimited bandwidth, even for larger sites, meaning if you see a dramatic uptick in visitors on any given day, your site won’t crash or get bogged down by the newfound traffic.
With Eminent SEO as your website’s host, you also get round-the-clock technical support for anytime an issue arises with your site or you have a pressing question. To learn more, visit our Website Hosting Services page, or call 800.871.4130 today.
Until next time, see ya online!