Google Webmaster Team defines the future of search

By: Geri Jensen

I recently attended the Publintelligence Conference in San Francisco, Calif., on the Future of Organic Search and want to share what I learned from the Google Webmaster Team about website security and search guidelines to steer users to your website. Change is coming fast, be prepared.

Your web pages should be content-rich, secure and optimized, making it ripe for search to provide relevant and fast search results leading to your website. Factors affecting search results:

1. Google is cracking down on insecure sites—make sure your website uses SSL/ https or it will be left in the dust
Starting in October 2017, Google Chrome will begin to identify a site as non-secure if it has any type of form, including a contact or search form and is not https. If you don’t have a SSL certificate that’s up –to-date for your site, act now to correct this. This type of security notice could have a devastating effect on your customers/readers. In 2018, Google will warn users to leave any site that does not have https. Firefox has already begun to do this.

Many sites use SSL/https for the ecommerce section, but Google insists your entire website be secure by using https. Closely check all links on your site, including the internal ones. For now, your website will be listed with an “i” information icon in the Chrome browser if not deemed secure. Users can click on the “i” icon and it will show your site’s security status. It will be listed as not secure even if you have only one non-https link on the page, which could be a link for text, images and videos.

To check your site, open it in Chrome and look on the browser bar in front of your web address to see if it is listed as “secure” or has an “i” for more information.

2. Make your website mobile-friendly and implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
The Google Webmaster Team emphasized that AMP speeds up page-loading time on mobile devices. You can add AMP to your website manually; instructions are available at the AMPProject.org. Your web platform may provide a plugin or extension for AMP. Google has entered into a partnership with WordPress and has helped develop a WordPress plugin for AMP. Other web platforms in partnership with the AMP Project.org are Canvas, Drupal, Fastcommerce, Hatena, Marfeel and Squarespace. To validate AMP pages, use the AMP tool to check your website.

3. Google will soon begin to index mobile first
Currently, Google’s priority is to index web pages designed for the desktop first. Due to the increased use of mobile devices, the company will be index for mobile first in the near future. This further indicates the importance that your blog, store or website be mobile-ready and responsive on all devices.

4. Use structured data on your website
Google Search uses structured data (rich snippets), which are a standardized format to better understand website content. For example, structured data identifies that a web page contains a recipe because it specifies a list of ingredients, cooking time and temperature. For articles, there is a title and summary. For products, the product name, price, availability and other relevant information is identified.

Google uses Rich Cards based on rich snippets in search results; these “boxes” found at the top of Google’s search result pages include products, recipes and answers to questions.

Most recently, Google began using structured data with image search to identify the source. For example, an image of an item for sale is marked as “product” and links to the retailer. Google follows the structured data standards for rich snippets listed by http://schema.org. You can use the standardized Google Structured Data Tool to see if structured data is working on your website. Schema.org provides information and tutorials about how to add structured data to your website.

5. Page speed is essential
Fast page-loading time will continue to increase in importance and affect your search-engine ranking. The current average score for page speed is 75/100 as measured by Google’s Developer tool for page speed, Insights. The Google webmaster team identified this as too slow and is encouraging webmasters to work to speed up page load times.

6. Ensure your website has technically-valid code
Google robots now read JavaScript; be sure to use a discoverable format such as standard APIs. Use complete links such as <a> <button> instead of including links a <div>.  If your site meets accessibility guidelines, you are more likely to be indexed by Google.

The Pubintelligence conference was organized in conjunction with Ezoic, a certified Google partner. Ezoic recommends following these procedures to rank high in Google:
• User Engagement (low bounce rate)
• Duration of time on website
• Number of pages visited

Using Google Analytics to track the above listed items helps make sure your website is correctly optimized. 

Be proactive on making these security and search changes in Fall 2017 so you’ll be ready on Jan. 1, 2018 to be ahead of the game. Let the search begin.

Market Better: Close More Business

By Kevin Subowski,
Speaker, WBO’s June meeting

Do you need more customers? Almost every business does. Few business owners are satisfied with their marketing. If that sounds like you, you may have some combination of the following three foundational problems with marketing:

  1. You don’t know “who” you are,
  2. You are selling to the wrong people,
  3. You don’t know what you are selling.

Who Are You?
The foundation of marketing is creating an identity to make public. The point of all the artifacts and messages you create is to let people know “who” you are so they can decide whether they should buy frominteract with you. Unfortunately, people struggle with figuring out exactly “who” their business is. It is impossible to create a perfect logo, business card, website or brochure without the context that a crisp conception of the business “identity” provides. They Many business owners have not created a specific n identity to make public. If you feel like you can’t pick the words to describe your company, maybe it’s because you really haven’t constituted your company well.

Wrong Target Market
One of the most common mistakes in business is to go after too broad of a market or one that you don’t like. If your target market is broad, then your messaging will be bland and no one will care. By narrowing your target market to the people that you would love to have as customers and that would love the way you do business, not only will you be more passionate (i.e. attractive) you will also create much more powerful messaging that will resonate loudly with your best fit and you will close more business. Oh, and you will enjoy working at your business.

What Are You Selling?
This may seem like a trick question. You certainly deeply know the mechanics of producing your product or service, but your clients don’t care about that. Describing what you doyour product or service in terms that matter to them makes an incredible difference to how well your audience listens and responds to your offer. Most people focus on the features of their product or the mechanics of theirhow they fulfill their offer rather than the effect it has on their customers. Mechanics appeals to the intellect but not to the heart. Understand clearly what impact you are seeking to have in people’s lives.you are trying to accomplish in the world and what impact your offer has on the lives of people your best customer cares about .

If you want to improve on these, there are three key strategies for success.

  1.  Work with other people
  2. Use a vetted simple system
  3. Use a structure to track your progress

Work With Other People
We are prisoners of our own minds. We live in our own version of reality that is sometimes just nuts. By working with other people you will radically improve the quality of your business constitution. Other people will expose where you are nuts and add creativity where you don’t expect it. It will make you more compelling to your prospects because it will have gone through the filter of other real people not just your imagination of what other people think.

Use a Vetted Simple System
Using a system like the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) allows you to benefit from the mistakes of others. Since the system has been used by 10s of thousands of people, you know it works.

Use a Structure to Track Progress
We are usually very good at keeping our commitments to customers. It is much harder to keep commitments to ourselves about how we are moving our businesses forward strategically. Get a commitment buddy. Check in on one another weekly as you progress towards your goals.

At Suboski and Company, we form teams of 6 entrepreneurs that help each other define their business brilliantly using the tools of EOS. It is in this work that we continually see the powerful improvement on marketing and peace of mind that comes from clarity. Join us or put together your own team of peers, and you will be surprised at how quickly you accelerate your progress to your goals. You will sleep better too.

Kevin Suboski is obsessed with helping Visionaries put in place leadership structures to pull them out of the day-to-day minutiae of their business so they can rise to their highest best use, achieve their wildest dreams and live the best Visionary life possible. If you want to learn how to get your life back, email Kevin at kevin@suboski.com.

The art of a business conversation

By Liz Cezat
Owner, Cezat Creative Resources, Inc.

When was the last time you had a great conversation with a client? Did you get greater clarity about the other person’s business objectives? Did you learn new facts about the industry?

With smart phones, it’s routine to text a one-liner to people or send an e-mail instead of picking up the phone to talk. You might find it difficult or even alien to have an in-person conversation about a business matter, where you can respond not only to what your client is saying but also to what their body language is saying. In this age of digital technology, the art of conversation needs a brush-up.

Get facts to back up your opinion
It’s good to state your opinion but having facts to back it up makes an even stronger statement. Come to the conversation prepared. Review industry journals that address the topic you are speaking about, so you can make your viewpoint and perhaps – a selling point – more powerful.

When you need quick information, Google is your best friend. It takes only a few minutes to goggle a subject and get a quick primer. My go-to source when writing business articles is Wikipedia. It also provides a wealth of information for conversations.

When traveling in Alaska for fun, we had a tour guide who was eloquent about the history of Skagway and the gold miners rush. I was so fascinated that I wanted to learn more. When I got back home, I looked on Wikipedia and there, literally word for word, was the history that the tour guide gave us.

To ease into a conversation, ask your clients about a special interest, comment on an item in their office or give a sincere compliment. I mentioned to one of my philanthropy clients that she explained things so well that I knew the key messages by heart when I wrote copy for brochures and case statements. She thanked me and said in her line of work – asking people to make donations– she doesn’t get a lot of positive feedback.

How to converse when in conflict
When you and a client disagree about a matter, choose your words carefully. Tune in to the client’s key points and address them. Be sensitive. If the client’s point of view is at odds with yours, watch for words or phrases that seem to strike at your emotions. Then, breathe deeply, get calm and practice your response in your mind before stating it. Think, “How might the client perceive this?”

For example, if your client just came back from maternity leave, don’t talk about the expensive rate of day care as a way to segue into the value of your services.

If either you or your client is confused about what was said, ask pleasantly, “Let’s make sure we’re on the same page. I heard you say…(then repeat the key points). Allow the client time to confirm what you heard or correct it. You could then ask them to do the same with what you said. Thank them for taking the time to add clarity.

Eye contact is key. Look clients in the eye as you’re making an important point but don’t lock eyes in an uncomfortable stare-down. Break eye contact gracefully by looking at their hands or a close-by object.

Use humor appropriately. Never, ever tell a joke that could be construed as racist or demeaning. Attempts at humor, such as sarcasm, may come across as a negative comment. It becomes even more susceptible if sarcasm is used in an e-mail or text, when you can’t experience verbal feedback or body language.

Female conversation traits that need some work
Women, especially, tend to apologize. Don’t apologize if you’ve done nothing wrong. Change the dialogue from, “I’m sorry that I didn’t send the e-mail” to “I totally forgot to send the e-mail. If you still need it, I’ll do it right away.”

Watch your cadence. When you speak, don’t let your sentences drift off into a question, as if you are seeking affirmation. Finally, this isn’t an in-person point, but one that I come across too often. When on the phone, don’t speak too fast when you are leaving a voice message with your name, e-mail or phone number. Speak slowly – but not too slowly- and enunciate clearly.

As Dale Carnegie said, “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.” Being open and ready for feedback from a client makes for the start of a solid relationship, the continuation of a good one, or at least an interesting conversation.