Google and their animals (or birds) lately. You might have already heard about Google Pigeon, or at least have seen the name floating around online. Just what is this update? Was it a web content update? Let’s take a look at just what pigeon is, how it will affect you, and just how you can start writing perfect content that Google Pigeon will adore (think breadcrumbs on a street).
Wait, What Is Google Pigeon?
It really does seem like Google is constantly releasing new algorithm updates, and it is starting to get quite confusing for many. We have Search Engine Land to thank for coining the name ‘pigeon’ for this fairly significant update which tailors local search results for consumers, making it easier for them to find something in their area.
While it is a local search update, it does actually count web content in the changes. This is because your web content needs to be location specific if you want to rank in local searches – makes sense, right?
How Is It Going To Affect You?
The update is mainly going to impact and affect your local search ranking. Link Assistant points out that unlike Penguin and Panda you will not receive penalties for your content, so you can relax on that score. It is, however, going to impact where your site appears in the SERPs when someone in your area is looking for a business that offers whatever you offer. For example, if you are a dog groomer in the Tulsa area, then someone searching for a dog groomer in Tulsa is more likely to find you.
How Should You Start Writing For Pigeon?
With these changes to local search rankings, you’re probably wondering just how to write for your web content and local listings.
1. Utilize Those Local Search Apps
The one thing that is definitely being boosted as a result of the Pigeon update is the ranking for companies that utilize local search apps; specifically Yelp. For awhile, Yelp had problems with how they were being represented in Google searches, but the Pigeon update rectified that.
2. Create Location Specific Content
This new update is all about location, location, location, which means you really need to boost or start working on that location specific content. Creating location specific content was crucial before Pigeon and it is even more vital now since it focuses so closely on local search results for Google users. If you haven’t already, you should start crafting some location specific material such as landing pages, to bring in those local search results. A few tips on getting the best results are to utilize long tail keywords and to have location specific landing pages.
3. Ask For Customer Reviews to Boost Your Local Reviews
Again, local search optimization is vital to this new update from Google, and one of the best ways to get noticed is to have customers review your shop on Yelp or other local apps. You can offer incentives to people when they come in and say, “If you rate our company on our Yelp account, you get an awesome free thing!” This could be a cinnamon roll if you are a bakery or a little gadget for other businesses. Just choose something fun that you know people will like! This can also help boost your review from the customers because they will be in a good mood after getting something awesome for free.
4. Have More Site Authority
As you’ve read multiple times in multiple blogs, site authority is important to ranking. In the Link Assistant article mentioned previously, the higher your site authority, the better your chance to rank in local Google searches. This is one of the great benefits of Pigeon, yet it can be detrimental to some sites with lower domain authority. Several ways to improve your domain authority is by getting rid of bad links, having a great SEO strategy in place, having excellent and likeable content, etc. Head on over to Quicksprout for an excellent guide on improving your domain authority. Remember, you really want to do this to rank well with Google Pigeon – so take some time to read over the guide and look at other industry resources.
5. Fill in The Gaps And Strengthen Those Profiles
It can be cumbersome to write in every little detail on your social media profiles, especially on G+ and the various local search applications available. Laziness, however, has its own pitfalls so fill in the gaps to strengthen your profiles by utilizing SEO, especially local search optimization.
Google Pigeon is really going to benefit a lot of local search results and can definitely help bring in more customers if you have updated your content for local search optimization. This is something that will benefit all involved, so take this opportunity to improve your content and local listings. You’ll be glad you did!
Have you noticed the evolution? If you’ve been paying attention the last few years, you have seen a progression that started with search engine optimization which led to website optimization and finally to conversion optimization. Each has focused on priming your web pages to produce optimal performance in one area or another (search, visitor experience/usability or conversions).
What’s at the center of all of these? Copy. Words. Text.
Whether you’re looking to rank higher on the search engines or sell more/get more leads, good copy on your site (either spoken or written) plays a major role in reaching your goals. Here are three specific instances where improving your copy can ultimately boost your conversion rate.
No. 1 – SEO Copywriting Brings in More/Better-Qualified Traffic
It sounds odd to talk about search engine optimization as part of the conversion process. It is the beginning of the process because your search engine copywriting actually starts with your title and description tags.
If you use your title and description for more than a place to stuff keywords, you can attract more-qualified leads to your site. People who are more targeted to what you’re selling stand that much greater of a chance of converting.
Instead of just cramming all the keywords you possibly can into the 65-69-characters or visible space, differentiate your company/product a bit. Even one carefully chosen word can set you apart from your competition and cause people to click to your web page over someone elses.
No. 2 – Copywriting Pulls More Sales from Existing Traffic
Once those prospects arrive on your site, the copy on your web pages will have a heavy hand in keeping them engaged. Copywriting that speaks your target customer’s specific language and connects emotionally with them on their level will create an environment that allows your visitors to find just what they are looking for.
Combine that with clearly stating your unique competitive advantage (UCA) and your leads will quickly see why you are the obvious choice for them. When’s the last time you visited your competitions’ websites? If your copy reads the same as theirs, offers the same products and services, and states the same benefits as your competition, it would be difficult for your customers to make a confident decision.
No. 3 – Calls-To-Action are More Effective with Good Copy
Whether you’re writing a couple of words for a button or an entire paragraph for the closing of a long-form landing page, calls-to-action (CTA) are vital for conversions. Taking for granted that visitors will automatically know what to do next or will actually do it is a disastrous mistake.
I’ve seen many instances where perfectly good copy was ruined by the lack of a well-crafted call-to-action. When writing yours, make sure each one is:
- Compelling – Give visitors a reason to click or call. Using a benefit, an end result or an intriguing vision statement can work well. “Begin losing weight the minute you call” is more compelling than just “Call now.”
- Clear – Offer precise instructions so visitors have no misunderstandings. Pages with no call-to-action (and perhaps just a phone number at the top of the page) or those with unclear direction leave visitors confused and unlikely to move forward. If, for example, you want people to call, tell them so and give the telephone number in the CTA. Don’t assume people will take the time to search for your contact information.
- Visible – Also never assume that your visitors will notice various elements of your design. Using the example above, you may very well have your telephone number in the banner at the top of your page. However, online surfer move at the speed of light so they will likely skip right over that information. Make the CTA a different color than your design pallet, bigger, surrounded by more white space or otherwise set apart so it stands out like a beacon.
Once you decide to optimize your Web pages (whether for the search engines, usability or conversions) following these three tips can help you improve results.
There are other steps you can take as well. If you’re serious about getting higher rankings and conversion rates from each of the pages on your site, you can start by correcting these three common mistakes.
From there, both rankings and sales should rise naturally.
Advertisers Can Track Their Work on Photosharing App
They say the secret to mastering negotiations is seeing and not thinking. One should negotiate in the present and focus on the facts, otherwise it will be impossible to catch up and guess what will happen next. Anticipation is the key to success in business. To predict an opponent’s moves, you have to adopt a special mindset called “discovery-vision-insight.” Simply put, you’re switching your focus from thinking to seeing.
In negotiations, thinking can be dangerous
In today’s extremely competitive business world, the thinking-cognitive mindset is an omnipresent minefield. Analysis, critical thinking, mastering sophisticated and elaborate tools and models such as SWOT examinations, scenario planning, financial modeling, and cost-benefit analysis have gone the mainstream. These techniques are broadly used by companies to reduce risk and help their businesses thrive. Most people are compelled to rely on their intellectual abilities, and some don’t realize that over-thinking an idea can have dreadful effects.
Negotiations are often associated with logical reasoning, hypotheses, expectations, guesses, and assumptions. Many business individuals think too much, and they eventually obsess over facts that can’t lead to anything good. Why bother trying to guess an opponent’s next move, when you should stay focused on your own strategies? Should you be questioning every statement made by a partner just because their business is more successful than yours? No absolutely not. Stop thinking about others and focus on what you want and deserve. Be a good listener, observe, and act.
See, don’t judge
As human beings, we’re used to judging and criticizing everything and everyone around us. During a negotiation, you should just focus on seeing what’s right in front of you. Ask yourself four very simple questions:
- What am I trying to achieve with this negotiation?
- What am I seeing in front of my eyes?
- Who am I seeing?
- How do I want this deal to end?
Although first appearances matter a lot in business, just because your opponent looks terrified, it doesn’t mean that he’s actually terrified. Let’s not forget that unethical negotiation techniques and sneaky strategies are extremely common, and they’re usually used when you least expect it. Judging can often lead to bad deals. A fancy suit, an expensive watch, and an aggressive attitude can often be more powerful than your opponent’s speech. Pay close attention to what they’re saying, assess every claim, and don’t let them intimidate you with their appearance.
For the discovery-vision-insight mindset to flourish, you have to see without evaluating or judging. Empty your mind and ward off assumptions and expectations, whether positive or negative. Be ready to see and discover, gain insight and only form an opinion based on real facts. Assess behavior, body language, tone of voice, and embrace discovery. You may not want to admit it, but oftentimes opponents have a lot to teach you.
Don’t let emotions get under your skin
Every human being is an emotional individual. In business, people should hide emotions. Whether you’re an expert negotiator or a beginner, it’s often impossible to get rid of your anxiety, excitement, fear, or concern, and that’s OK. It’s all about control. As long as you choose not to let your nerves get the best of you, nobody will ever guess what you’re feeling. Keep your cool and never lose your temper; don’t allow opponents to use manipulative techniques to get what they want. For those who value knowledge, experience, know-how, and expertise, here’s something to think about: sometimes, the utmost power of a business negotiator is to pretend he doesn’t know what the other party is talking about. This technique is more like a safety measure you can use if the other side is trying to manipulate you, or lie to you.
There are many secrets to successful business negotiations entrepreneurs and leaders are not using. They don’t have the courage to take a risk, and since they lack negotiation training, they would rather stick to basic strategies rather than trying something new. To win in business, you have to think outside the box. Otherwise, you can be perceived as weak, naive, or inexperienced. Seeing can be a lot more important than thinking — observe, assess behavior, listen and only afterwards you can make an opinion. Appearances are deceitful, especially in negotiations.
You’ve probably heard about (and may have been personally affected by) the cyber-attack on Target last year, but did you know these crimes continue to occur every day?
In an era of increasing online connectivity, cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism continue to have an impact on businesses and individuals across the globe. Hackers in various countries employ their skills and software to break into company databases to obtain sensitive information about these businesses and their customers.
Data hacker targets include credit card numbers, banking information, Social Security numbers and business operational information. They use this data for various purposes, including:
- Cybert-errorism. Individuals opposed to Western values or practices may wish to thwart the profits or aims of business or government entities and cause harm to the country as a whole.
- Financial gain. Some cyber-criminals seek to use the financial or identifying information of their victims to obtain money for their own use or that of their employing organization.
- Political purposes. Evidence indicates that some cyber-attacks may be linked to foreign governments who seek to gain information to use for themselves (or against the U.S.).
Regardless of their intent, cyber-criminals represent one of the most serious current security threats to business, individuals, and the government.
Recent attacks on Texas companies indicate continued vulnerability
Despite the international nature of cyber-crime, a recent data breach hit close to home when two Texas companies discovered they had been targeted:
- Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa. On July 8, more than 10,000 guests of the Houston luxury retreat discovered their credit card data had been snatched by cyber-criminals in amalicious software attack. The breach occurred between Dec. 28, 2013 and June 20.
After the U.S. Secret Service alerted Houstonian staff of the breach on June 10, they acted quickly to secure their customers’ information. They replaced and overhauled their existing systems, then employed a data forensics firm to assist with strengthening digital security. They also informed the affected customers by e-mail.
- Spec’s liquor stores. One of the largest liquor store chains in Texas, Spec’s, discovered a data breach in March that occurred between Oct. 31, 2012 and March 20. According to the retailer, about five percent of customers’ transactions became exposed to hackers, including those using credit and debit cards and checks.
To help customers recover from potential harm caused by the attack, Spec’s offered potentially affected individuals free identity theft protection and credit monitoring for the coming year.
How businesses can keep their data safe
Modern businesses retain a great deal of electronic records, from customer contact and transaction information to their own financial records. To combat the increasingly sophisticated threat posed by cyber-criminals and terrorists, companies must implement new security methods, such as:
- Electronic access control. Building security features, such as rack-level electronic locks and RFID card readers, only authorized personnel to gain access to areas where sensitive information is kept.
- EMV cards. Microprocessor chips embedded within credit cards create uniquely coded transaction information with each purchase. This tool — already common in Europe and likely to become so in the U.S. — offers better security than traditional “mag stripes.”
- Point-to-point encryption. Also known as “end-to-end encryption,” this method uses a complicated process to encrypt credit card information from point-of-sale (POS) transactions. Data travels to a secure outside site, which prevents interception as the POS terminal transmits information to a payment processor.
- Securing cloud data. While information stored in the cloud is never completely safe, businesses can use techniques such as creating unique and complicated passwords, encrypting files, and using encrypted cloud services.
- Including mobile devices in security plans. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are as “hackable” as desktops and other infrastructure, but many companies fail to secure these devices properly. Encryption and malware protection applications are essential for mobile devices. In addition, individuals who travel internationally for business should takemeasures to ensure authorities don’t seize their sensitive mobile data.
Fort Worth criminal attorney Jeff Hampton notes theft is a serious crime in Texas, whether it occurs virtually or in person. Businesses and individuals can protect themselves by staying abreast of the latest security trends and threats, as well as remaining cautious whenever they give sensitive information to other parties.