Smartphones vs Dumbsites, Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ Algorithm Update

Mark your calendars. Set your clocks! Doomsday April 21, 2015. Are you ready for ZMOT?

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

It’s time to take a gander at what Google Analytics says about the overall mobile traffic to your Website. Check the stats under Audience > Mobile > Overview and look at the breakdown of desktop/mobile/tablet. Google has been paying close attention to these stats since 2011. On April 21, 2015 the next Google algorithm update may cause a seismic shift in their search engine results pages (SERPs).

This moment-of-truth has been coming by degrees for quite some time. In November 2014, Google added a “mobile-friendly” label to the SERP listings for qualifying sites. Google explains, “A page is eligible for the ‘Mobile-friendly’ label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:

  • Website software that’s compatible with mobile (so no Flash, for example)
  • Large, readable text without zooming
  • Content automatically resizes to fit the screen (so you don’t have to scroll horizontally)
  • Large links with plenty of space between each so they are easily tapped

On February 26, 2015 Google dropped the other shoe: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

One of the easiest ways to see if your Website will suffer a ranking loss after the algorithm update is to check it at Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test site. At DesignWise Studios, all of the sites we design are mobile-friendly…

DesignWise websites are all mobile-friendly

Mark your calendars. Doomsday April 21, 2015. Are you ready for ZMOT?

Posted by DesignWise Studios of Door County on Friday, April 10, 2015

Semantics, Siri and Social now Shaping Google SERPs

Google’s Semantic Search algorithm will use the science of meaning within language, in hopes of producing more relevant search results, instead of a list of loosely-related keyword links.

Their newest forthcoming algorithm comes in anticipation of changes brought about by the increasing use of mobile device technology and most notably, Siri (Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface), a particular feature introduced by Apple which is now included in iOS 5 and available on the iPhone 4S.

Freebase explains, “The (Siri) application uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of web services. Apple claims that the software adapts to the user’s individual preferences over time and personalizes results, and performing tasks such as finding recommendations for nearby restaurants, or getting directions.”

Can you see where we are going with this? Whole systems are becoming smarter and increasingly humanistic. Say goodbye to, typing, tapping, texting and just ask…Open the pod bay doors HAL.”

Google is also blending in an optional social layer of results. If you are a logged-in Google user, then your Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are already displaying the additional social influence of Google’s +1 posts.

Try it! If you have a gmail account, open a browser, login and then search Google for a phrase. Then, open a different browser, without logging into your account and go straight to Google. Search for the same identical phrase and compare the net results.

You can turn this feature on and off at will but, the boundaries are blurring as mobile devices get smaller, smarter, social and ubiquitous. In order to respond accordingly Google is building what they call the Knowledge Graph because in so many ways, Google does not yet understand you, based on their simplistic keyword search algorithm …and they want to change that.

Words have much different implied meanings when you put them together, typically quite different than when indexed apart from each other… lake and Michigan, hot and dog, steering and wheel. This is the core of fundamental semantics that Google intends to deliver in their SERPs, more accurate answers to your questions. So, they are creating “entities” of artificial intelligence.

explains, “In 2010, Google purchased Freebase, a community-built knowledge base packed with some 12 million canonical entities. Twelve million is a good start, but Google has, according to Fellow and SVP Amit Singhal, invested dramatically to ‘build a huge knowledge graph of interconnected entities and their attributes.’”

What does this mean to you, the content creator? It means that you must begin to write intelligent answers to questions being asked, if you expect to have greater search engine rank and relevance over pages that are simply filled with clever collections of keyword phrases.

But in the long run perhaps it’s just as HAL predicted, that we humans are just getting in the way…

The Social Graph API in Google Labs Asks you to Explain Your Relationships rel=?

Links now carry much more data than just a URL, in case you have not yet noticed.

I was just working out various ways to add some of my missing Website feeds to Google Buzz when I came across this link… http://code.google.com/apis/socialgraph/. Google says, “We currently index the public Web for XHTML Friends Network (XFN), Friend of a Friend (FOAF) markup and other publicly declared connections. By supporting open Web standards for describing connections between people, web sites can add to the social infrastructure of the web.”

If you haven’t noticed the additional new XFN Link Relationship tagging provided within WordPress Links… here’s what to start paying attention to:

WordPress XFN

XFN explains that they now help users put a human face on linking. “As more people have come online and begun to form social networks, services such as Technorati and Feedster have arisen in an attempt to show how the various nodes are connected. Such services are useful for discovering the mechanical connections between nodes, but they do not uncover the human relationships between the people responsible for the nodes.”

XFN’s new rel= attributes, now found within URL hyperlinks, helps to define a small set of values that describe personal relationships.

“XFN allows authors to indicate which of the weblogs they read belong to friends, whom they’ve physically met, and other personal relationships,” say the XFN developers. “Using XFN values, which can be listed in any order, people can humanize their blogrolls and links pages, both of which have become a common feature of weblogs.”

The new Google API will let developers do even more with these relationships so, it’s time to start filling in the blanks. Are you using the new Social Graph API yet? If so, please comment on how you find value in it.

Droid vs iPhone, Google’s Open Door Policy Challenges Apple’s Control Model

Once again open-source populism takes on a proprietary system where Apple is King.

Refer to the Android Developers blog for full information.Learn more about ADC 2.

Meanwhile, developers are becoming enraged at Apple’s recent wave of lockdowns and shutdowns… “Truly, this ‘draconion’ license agreement is just an extension of Apple’s control issues, exemplified by its closed system,” says Gavin Dunaway. “And having a closed system will eventually hobble it. There’s a reason why most people and businesses use PCs and not Macs — the former have far more flexibility because they’re open sourced. You can do a lot of neato personalization with OS X, but the limits on customization pale in comparison to a PC in terms of both software and hardware.”

“You may be able to do a lot with an iPhone, but due to Apple’s unwillingness to give some power to developers, you’ll eventually be able to do far more on its competitors.”

Android Dev Phones

Run and debug your Android applications directly on one of these devices. Modify and rebuild the Android operating system, and flash it onto the phone. The Android Dev Phones are carrier independent, and available for purchase by any developer registered with Android Market.

Learn more about the Android Dev Phones »

Maps API Key

If you’re writing an Android application that uses Google Maps (with MapView), you must register your application to obtain a Maps API Key. Without the key, your maps application will not work on Android devices. Obtaining a key requires just a couple of steps.

Learn more »

Download

The Android SDK has the tools, sample code, and docs you need to create great apps.

Learn more »

Publish

Android Market is an open service that lets you distribute your apps to handsets.

Learn more »

Contribute

Android Open Source Project gives you access to the entire platform source.

Learn more »

Target Devices

The Device Dashboard provides information about deployed Android devices to help you target suitable device configurations as you build and update your apps.

Learn more »

Some Current Android Widgets:

Ringdroid for Android 2.2 is a free ringtone app that lets you create tones, alarms, and notifications from MP3, WAV,AAC/MP4, 3GPP/AMR files you load onto your phone through the SD card or that you purchase through the Amazon MP3 store. Unlike many Android apps that use the Menu keys to store some software functions, most of Ringdroid’s controls are out on the interface and all respond to touch.

Introducing home screen widgets and the AppWidget framework

“You can easily add widgets into your existing app, and in this article I’ll walk through a quick example: writing a widget to show the Wiktionary “Word of the day.”

How to Claim and Enhance Your Free Business Listing on Google Maps

If you have a physical address you can claim your “bricks and mortar” business location and gain a lot of free advertising space on Google Maps – add up to 10 pictures and 5 videos.

First things first… every small and large business needs to set up a Gmail account. Why? <— stop now, go back and click that link and read why.

Your Gmail account will be used to manage all of your business interests. So, it could and should just as well be your.name@gmail.com because very soon you will probably want to tie into your Personal Profile appearing in Google Social Search results, just out of the Labs and into Beta – connecting much of your social footprint (Picasa Web Albums and Flickr, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook) – with all of your future YouTube video listings, your Google Adwords accounts, etc..

Google Social Search results

Once your Gmail is set up, you must confirm the ownership of your business in the Business Center – this will require you to be at the actual business phone listed in your Google Map listing in order to answer a validation phone call from Google. Here’s a step-by -step:

Open your Gmail account, look in the upper right corner for:
stephen.kastner@gmail.com
| | Settings | Help | Sign out

Choose Settings and on the next page look at the main row of horizontal tabs:

General |Accounts and Import |Labels |Filters |Forwarding and POP/IMAP | etc. | etc.

Choose Accounts and Import and scroll to the bottom of the new page to select Google Account settings and look for Local Business Center then choose Add new listing

Fill in the listing and watch as Google finds you on their map…
Add in a domain-based e-mail address like info@yourdomain.com
Write the description carefully using specific key words (200 character cap).
Choose 5 categories… (the maximum allowed, but try to take them all) finding ones that come up in Google’s autofill.

When you are done, follow through to Claim this Listing – if Google found you.
The next part is the validation where you must be at the Business phone and online. You will get an instant call from Google to the Business Phone number listed. They will speak a pin number that you must add back into your new listing… the “by mail’ option takes weeks and will slow the process way down, so please do not even consider it.

Do this for any businesses you may have…

Then, you can continue building and maintaining a greater Google Business presence, listening to the talk and responding at once to what your customers are saying.

Google’s Organic Search Soon to Include Facebook & MySpace Updates Along With Tweets and Blog Posts

Daisey Whitney reports that Google’s Real-time Search Surfaces Tweets, Blogs and Soon Facebook Updates.

Stephen J. Kastner
Stephen J. Kastner, DesignWise

Last week I decided to add a specific category called Google Watch to my writing and reporting here in the DesignWise Web Marketing blog. With Google controlling approximately 65% of the search market, coupled with the fact that it is an ever-changing entity, I feel it’s important to pay close attention to the continuous changes taking place at Google.

While searches at Google now include content from Twitter, Friendfeed, Identi.ca, Jaiku and Yahoo Answers, the latest announcement that they plan to include status updates from Facebook and MySpace will be seen by some as an invasion of privacy. I see it as a marketing opportunity. A Daoist would say, “It’s all in how you perceive the cup… half-full or half-empty.

According to Google product manager Dylan Casey, their intention is to have Google’s organic search reflect what people are talking about right now, the current thought-stream…  “real-time search.”

“See what’s being published right this second,” says Casey. “You can select Updates and Latest and actually see that content stream in as its being published.”

Adam Ostrow says, “Now, with one sweeping stroke, Google has grabbed the lead in the real-time search space, and it appears that Facebook and Twitter have both conceded that they aren’t going to outbuild Google when it comes to search.”

Developing a broad social footprint and entering into the dialogue – that means listening as well as talking – is now a given if you expect to have a successful role in contemporary marketing.

Can’t choose a default search engine? Want to compare Bing and Google search results? Google-vs-Bing.com presents the results from both engines side-by-side.

Google’s New Sidewiki, One of 6 Reasons Why Every Small Business Must Now Have a Gmail Account

Since its launch on September 23, 2009, Google’s Sidewiki has been a cause of concern to many Web site owners. It’s no longer a question of “if” you open a Gmail account, it’s a matter of “when.”

That’s because it allows the public to post comments on any Web site. Many people think its dangerous to open up so much opportunity for the 2% who misbehave… and some people are finding some very nice Google alternatives: Google: It’s not me, it’s you.

Nonetheless, Google is not going away, so you may as well face the fact that it is now imperative that you register for a Gmail account and participate in the shaping of your own Web presence (before someone else starts doing it for you) for the following 5 reasons:

  • Google Maps provides any registered business owner whose operations are located at an actual  physical address, with the right to securely claim their Google map listing and then add content to the listing. You can write your own description, add and modify your hours of operation, payment options and  include as many as 10 photographs. You can even add in a coupon to your 100% free Google map listing.
  • Google Local gives businesses listing administrators a free dashboard akin to what Websites get for free with Google Analytics.
  • Google Analytics allows you to see where your Website visitors are coming from, what they are looking at and where they go after they leave. You can start tracking goals in Google Analytics simply by telling Google which of your site pages indicate that a goal (or conversion) has been met. Click for the missing Google Analytics Manual.
  • Google Profiles are the electronic equivalent of a business card – one that allows you to claim and control a key portion of the results of a Google name search associated with you or your business.
  • Google Webmaster Tools require you to verify ownership of your Website by adding a file that Google specifies or an HTML meta tag. Once you have completed either of those methods of proving direct ownership, then you can log into Google Webmaster Tools and click on “verify”.
  • Google Sidewiki, a new add-on to the Google Toolbar, that allows anyone with a Gmail account to make comments on any Website. Those comments can be seen by anyone who is also using the Toolbar. As the registered Website owner, your introductory commentary will always appear at the top of the comments. Note: Sidewiki does not work on secure sites.

Gmail now provides users with more than 7 gigs of free storage – and if that’s not enough you can buy 20 gigs more space for $5 a year. Since your free storage is shared between Gmail and any of your Picasa Web Albums, and if you you take lots of photos, you can buy up to 16 terabytes of storage space.

When you open your new Gmail account…

You can click the “Settings” link in the upper right corner and get to work under the “Accounts and Import” tab easily importing all of your mail and contacts from Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL, or other webmail or POP3 accounts. At the bottom of that same page you can begin working on your business listing by clicking on the “Google Account settings” link. On the page that opens, look for the “Local Business Center‘ and get to work claiming and enhancing your business’ Google Map Listings.

Google is a rolling ball… one that keeps on improving and expanding with a ton of free cloud features like Google docs, calendar and offline synchronization using Google Gears. Here are 5 Gmail tricks everyone should know.

LINKS:

Some Google search results include a set of links below them to pages within the site. They are called called Sitelinks and Google provides the following information on how they generate these links. Here’s a complete analysis on how to get Google Sitelinks.

You can keep track of all the latest Google developments by checking in on…