Tag Archives: Google

How to Survive a Google Algorithmic Update

Do you know Fred?

No, we’re not talking about a person. We’re talking about the latest update to Google’s algorithm, which appeared like a thief in the night to steal traffic and website state. Seemingly without warning, completely out of the blue, Fred caused some website to lose a full half of their organic traffic; for a handful of sites, there were drops of more than 90 percent.

But Fred’s not the only such offender. Google rolls out these algorithmic updates every so often; you may have heard of Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Mobilegeddon, or some of the others. Generally, they cause a fair amount of panic in the SEO community, who rightly fear that they could lose their hard-earned Google rankings.

More updates will come. Always. You can count on it. So the question is, is your website prepared for them?

Why Does Google Update its Algorithms?

To understand how you can prepare for algorithmic updates, it’s important to understand why they happen in the first place. Google doesn’t change things just to keep SEO folks on their toes. No, Google changes things to provide a better product to its consumers. That is, Google changes things to provide high-quality content that is relevant to search engine queries.

If you look closely at some of the changes made by these past Google updates, from Fred on back, you’ll notice that they are essentially quality control measures. For example, Mobilegeddon penalized websites that didn’t have mobile-optimized settings—websites that were difficult to read or to navigate on mobile devices. That may sound mean or it may sound harsh, but Google was only trying to ensure that, when a mobile search engine user tries to find information, he or she is able to do so without any problem or hindrance.

Other updates have penalized pages that have bad content, repetitive content, keyword-stuffed content, duplicitous backlinks—basically, lazy SEO tricks that make the actual website content less valuable or less readable.

Protect Against Google Updates

For small business owners who want to avoid their own websites being penalized, then, the solution is actually fairly simple: Focus on providing useful and easy to read content for your readers—plain and simple. Help Google do its job of providing really first-rate and relevant content to search engine users.

Some specific tips:

  • Make sure your page is mobile optimized. Verify it on multiple types of device. If you need help making it mobile-friendly, talk to your website developer.
  • Beef up flimsy content—pages of fewer than 400 words are especially in danger of algorithmic penalties.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing; use key search phrases naturally and organically.
  • Provide easy-to-read and value-adding content with actionable takeaways.
  • Focus on informing the reader—not merely pleasing the search bots.

It all comes down to excellent content—and of course, that’s something we can help you with. Reach out to the content writing team at Grammar Chic for a consultation about your Web writing needs. Reach us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Why Your Business Should Use Google+

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Here at Grammar Chic, Inc. we are routinely contacted by business owners looking to take their social media presence to the next level. They understand that content marketing offers innumerable benefits, and they come to us eager to launch content on all the major networks—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, sometimes even Instagram and Pinterest.

Well, okay: Most of the major networks. Curiously enough, Google+ is the one most frequently neglected or ignored. If we had to guess, this isn’t only true among our potential clients, but among small business owners in general. Google+ was initially rolled out to sky-high expectations, and the initial reaction was that it simply didn’t measure up to the more established platforms like Facebook. In some ways it has yet to fully recover from those first impressions, yet it has absolutely proven itself to be an integral and influential player in social media.

Bigger Than You Think

Why are some small business owners skeptical about the power of Google+? One reason is the assumption that it simply doesn’t have a lot of users—and that’s true enough, if your barometer is Facebook. Slamming a social network for not having as many users as Facebook, though, would be like saying the United States is tiny because it doesn’t have as many people as India; the comparison is accurate yet also misleading, as it still has a heck of a lot of people.

That’s the boat that Google+ is in. No, it’s not as big as Facebook—but in no way is its population of 540 million active users “small.” You’re still looking at an awful lot of potential traffic you could be driving, and a lot of increased exposure.

The Google Connection

That’s actually not the main reason to be active on Google+, however. The main reason is right there in the title. Google wants people to use its search engine, and has essentially imposed itself on us. Google+ Business pages have started to yield higher and higher search results, and content posted there gets an automatic edge in search engine rankings.

Many companies come to us saying their #1 goal is to increase their search engine visibility—and if that’s where you are, then you simply must have Google+—period.

Rave Reviews

A final consideration is that Google+ reviews play an increasingly large role in the search engine landscape—meaning you can significantly enhance your company’s online reputation simply by encouraging your customers and clients to leave you positive reviews. Yes, Facebook has a review option—but at this point, it’s not as influential as that on Google+.

The bottom line is simply that Google+ is more than most people assume it to be. It’s a powerful and unique tool in the social media toolbox—and you ignore it at your own peril.

To learn more, contact our team today. Visit www.grammarchic.net or call 804-831-7444.

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How “Googleable” Are You?

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In today’s Internet-focused world, Google has become an increasingly important part of a business owner or brand’s success. Now that the Yellow Pages are a thing of the past, Google is the universal key for information. If a potential customer can’t find a particular company online, they have thousands of other choices available to them and will quickly move on to someone with a more profound Internet presence. That’s why “Googleability” is so important. If you don’t exist on Google’s rankings, you might as well not exist at all.

Though it sounds strange and very 21st-century, Googleability refers to the likelihood that a particular person or company will show up in a Google search. It plays a major role in that entity’s chance of landing business in the future, and may even make or break their success in business. For those who are looking to bring their Googleability rating up a few points, here are some tips to consider:

Build a website that’s SEO friendly

When creating a website, content should be the top priority. When a Googlebot crawls that particular site in search of information to index, it must find pages that are search engine optimized. This means that pages are tagged correctly, thus enabling Google to figure out what that particular website is all about.  If you’re unsure about how to do this, seek help from a professional who understands how it works. A firm grasp on SEO best practices is an important part of managing a website, and proper knowledge is a must for any business owner or professional.

Keep it updated

While having an SEO-friendly website is important, it’s actually only half the battle for a professional or a brand. A website that sits untouched for months at a time will quickly fall out of favor with Google, as the search engine also keeps track of how often a site is updated. Google sees sites that are regularly filled with fresh, unique content as more reliable. This increases the profile of that site, thus making it more visible to those who are browsing the Internet.

Add some blog posts

If your website was built mostly to give customers directions to your store and details about hours of operation, you may want to rethink your strategy. A few, high-quality blog posts each week are enough to increase your online presence significantly. A blog provides more chances for Internet users to get excited about your content, thus sharing it with their friends and enabling you to extend your reach further. You can get creative with your blogs, as long as they remain relevant to your business. The more informative the better, and keep them short and easy to skim.

Participate in social media

With so many Internet users spending hours each day on Facebook and Twitter, it’s no surprise that these platforms have become an important way to reach potential customers. In addition to putting you in touch with these prospects directly, social media participation also increases your visibility across the Internet, thus giving Google more chances to index your name or your company’s name. You can share recent blog posts, link to interesting articles, or provide quick facts for a reader to look at. When you use social media correctly, you’re quickly able to become a more established Web presence.

Understanding how your business appears online is an important part of continuing to locate new clients. While a high-quality product or service is always a key to staying in business for years to come, making it easy to get in touch with your company is equally as essential in today’s Google-centric world.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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Online Content Rules: What Does Google Really Want?

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Here at Grammar Chic, it is pretty commonplace to receive calls from frantic business owners and online marketers with ever-changing demands and requests when it comes to content.  No matter if we are addressing word count, keyword saturation, the use of the passive versus active voice…let’s just say to the layperson, it may appear that there is no rhyme or reason in this department.  So if there are conflicting opinions within the professional ranks of online marketing, what is a beginner to believe?  When it comes to content, what does Google really want?

Blow the Trumpets: Content Is King

Admittedly, Google has really put the majority of businesses through the ringer in the past year.  From Panda to Penguin, the Internet has become a veritable zoo.  However, one theme has proven increasingly important: the need for quality content.  While it’s no secret that compelling and interesting content plays a bigger role than ever before, there are also some confusing variables.

Does Google Have Rules Regarding Content?

The wizards behind the curtain that is Google have said repeatedly in recent history that, “content should focus on users, not search engines”; however, what does that mean exactly?  OK, we get it, keyword stuffing is a no-no, as is stale, stagnant content, amongst other things, but what is Google looking for?  To answer that question, here are a couple rules we commonly adhere to at Grammar Chic:

  • Google places a high level of importance on written content that speaks in a unique voice.  This means that you should apply your expertise, wherever it falls, to your written work.  No matter your product or service, don’t regurgitate someone else’s words.
  • When promoting your business, service or product, make sure you are keeping content up-to-date and logging changes as they occur.  At the same time, while you are working to keep posts original, try to be as detailed as possible.  Ultimately, Google is looking to provide comprehensive information to a user.
  • The structure of the content is as important as the voice and the basis of the content.  Therefore, the use of bullet points, headings and subheadings is important when devising a written message.

The Long and Short of It: What This Means to Word Count

Keeping the previous bullet points in mind, it must be stated that Google has never come out and expressly said, “We want to see posts that are at least 500 words.”  At the same time, the Google Gurus have never said, “We are going to penalize you if you are overly wordy.”  However, some online marketers have stated they have been penalized by the search engine and their traffic has fallen off after significantly editing their content from long form to short blurbs.  So the average person might think that “less is bad” and “more is good,” right?

Let’s just say, maybe, maybe not.

I hate to sound obtuse, but there is a double-edged sword in the “less vs. more” content argument.  First, if you have too little content on your website you might experience users bouncing if they have no idea what you do or how you do it.  Conversely, if you have 1,500 words of drivel, paragraph after paragraph, line after line, droning on…blah, blah, blah, you are still going to have visitors bouncing because they don’t have any desire to read your material.  Either way, Google is going to punish you because you aren’t creating content that users want to read.

In closing, it is important to make sure anything you write for use online has some meat.  You need to make sure that your writing is addressing changing issues in your industry, your voice is unique and that you are devising your own opinions and solutions on how this affects your business.  Yes, you want to make the gods at Google smile upon you, but you can only do this by making sure your readers value your wordsmithing.  At the end of the day, you don’t have to feel like a sacrificial online lamb as you create content—if you are looking for help in this department, don’t hesitate to reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc.

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