Due to issues with privacy and security, Google+ is shutting down in April of 2019.

On November 6, 2018, Google+ users were faced with the exposure of their private profile content. Alphabet Inc, Google’s mother company, revealed that a bug allowed 52 million users’ private information to be compromised and given to outside app developers without the users’ consent.

“Protecting the privacy and security of our users has long been an essential part of our mission,” says Google, Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai. Yet, in October of 2018, there was a similar breach of privacy which also provided outside app developers with Google+ users’ private information, including full names, email addresses, genders, birthdays, photos, places lived, relationship statuses, and occupations. It was after this glitch that Google initially announced the demise of Google+, which was to be terminated in August of 2019. Considering the second privacy violation, the date of termination was moved up four months to April 2019.

So, with all these major changes from Google, which platform(s) are most practical and provide the most security for your company?

Google My Business (GMB) is presumed to be the platform of choice for business owners. GMB is a free tool for businesses to supervise their online presence throughout Google, including Google Search and Google Maps. This platform allows customers to find your business’ location as well as inform them about your business, its hours, and contact information.

Within your GMB account, there is a section called Insights which offers new analytic features. Among these are queries used to find your business, customer actions like visiting your website, making phone calls, and direction requests. The platform also allows business owners to place ads, write posts, upload pictures, and update company information. Another aspect beneficial to business owners is that GMB allows for customers to leave a review of the company and compiles them in an easy-to-read list. These reviews can be responded to by the business owners.

Other Social Media You Should Use for Your Business

Social media is the basis of which most customers are going to learn more about your business. Many companies use various social media platforms to not only connect with their customers but to gain visibility throughout the internet as well. It is most beneficial to your company if you utilize multiple social media outlets to market your business. But which ones are worth it?

LinkedIn is the most professional social media platform and allows businesses to network with other people or companies and draw potential customers or clients to your business. On your company profile, you can share any awards bestowed, your accomplishments, and post in detail about current and past projects. In addition to these features, you can post and share articles, videos, and photos on your newsfeed with your network of connections and followers. You can even develop your own articles using LinkedIn Publishing. Another great aspect of LinkedIn that is ideal for business owners is the ability to list job openings and review applications from potential employees. LinkedIn is a one-stop-shop for all your social media, marketing, and business development needs.

Facebook has specific pages and profiles for companies and business professionals. These provide the business with analytics, ad opportunities, and the ability to post events and updates along with photos and videos. Keeping your clients and customers up to date on all that’s happening with your business has never been easier or more condensed into one outlet. Facebook Messenger also provides more interaction with customers. Messenger allows customers to directly message a business and discuss any questions or concerns they may have.

Instagram is perfect for sharing photos and videos from company events and posting promotional graphics to market your products or services. There is a business profile option which will allow you to connect your email address, phone number and website at the top of your Instagram page. Interaction with customers and clients is extremely simple with Instagram’s comments which, depending on your privacy settings, give anyone the ability to write a comment on a post.

Twitter is another great social media platform for businesses to post last minute updates to their followers about promotions, events, or cancelations due to weather. In addition to these updates, Twitter is also a great source to repost from Facebook and Instagram.

Not sure which social media platform is best for your business? Focus on what your company is providing to the public. If you have a lot of photographs to share with your customers, Instagram is a great option to allow your pictures to highlight your business. If your business hosts a lot of events, consider utilizing Facebook to create ads and invite customers to these events. Additionally, Twitter is great for making quick updates to schedules and keeping in contact with clients. If you still aren’t positive about what platform to use, start with one you are personally using. This way, you already have some experience with the platform and can utilize your prior knowledge to increase your business’ exposure.

You may find that you want to have presence on more than one social media network. Being present in multiple areas will increase your company’s visibility and help you reach more potential customers.

Managing Multiple Social Media Accounts

It may seem as if managing multiple social media accounts can become overwhelming. However, there is no need to fret. There are terrific software programs that help consolidate all your social media accounts in one space. Among these are Hootsuite and Buffer.

Hootsuite integrates multiple types of social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter into one interface. Other sites such as YouTube, LinkedIn, and WordPress blogs can be incorporated. If you have multiple businesses or organizations you manage, you may add these organizations along with all their respective social media accounts. Buffer is very similar. You can include multiple organizations as well, and each may have multiple social media accounts. Among those covered are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

These integrations are wonderful because they provide you with the ability to create a singular post and share it on all your social media platforms with just a few clicks. You can also schedule your posts to go out at a later date or time, even months in advance! Both Hootsuite and Buffer provide analytics and the ability to respond to all your comments within the same window.

When it comes to choosing which social media management software is best for your business, it is best to research each software to find one that fits your needs and budget. For further information please contact us at 1-855-PRMG-123 or email us at info@theprmg.com.


Earlier this winter, Google added insight reports, tailored actionable buttons (think take-out ordering or hotel reservation booking) and bulk upload spreadsheet functions to its Google My Business features. Though all are especially helpful to restaurants, the latter is a great tool for businesses with more than one location (and, thus, more than one listing on Google) as it enables page owners to collect information for all locations to one central location. For results-driven business owners, the addition of insight reports means they will have greater access to digital marketing analytics, while the other changes make it easier for customers viewing a profile to take action directly from the listing.

New Additions

With the changing landscape of social media management, and owing to the fact that Google+ never quite became the platform people expected, the behemoth company has once again adapted its platform to make it possible for companies to utilize Google My Business pages in a similar fashion to traditional social media. Using the new Google My Business API (Application Programming Interface), business owners and their marketing departments can manage their Google My Business account in a more efficient manner.

With the latest updates, page owners will now be able to:

  • Edit location information for one or more pages
  • Read and respond to customer reviews from a centralized area
  • Update menu details, such as pricing, photos and descriptions for one or more locations
  • Create and update relevant social media-style posts
  • Add additional business photos as applicable
  • Incorporate a Call-to-Action button, such as “Learn More,” “Reserve,” “Sign Up,” “Buy” and “Get Offer”

In a similar fashion to Facebook, users now have the option to create an “event” – which can be used by restaurants to advertise a holiday special or for destinations to promote a local fundraiser, among an endless assortment of occasions.

Though these new features have already proven to be powerful marketing tools, to be effective, social media pages and listings like Google My Business must be managed properly to ensure positive results. One thing for established companies to consider is the need to migrate Google+ pages to the Google My Business social media page functions.

Taking Care of Your Social Media Profiles

The exposure of your listing works both ways. Though online exposure can draw more attention to your company in a positive way, errors or poor customer service often have a serious impact on your online reputation. Since social media is so, well… social, a business that doesn’t respond to negative feedback on its profile could face consequences from a broader audience of people looking to stir the pot. While many business owners may simply opt to ignore the naysayers, a disproportionate number of negative reviews on one or more social media pages will affect a company’s ranking on a results page on search engines like Google or Bing.

To take advantage of the new Google My Business features, one must regularly check up on these consumer comments and reviews. It is also important to create and manage a social media schedule that reflects the tone of your business. For example, a children’s activity center would interact with its target audience in a different manner than a fine dining establishment. And, it’s important to accurately reflect the atmosphere of your business.

Further, customers want to know that your business is active and responsive. Lack of social media maintenance will affect how search engines view your listing, so it’s important to manage social media pages like Google My Business effectively.

Ask an Expert

Though we’ve outlined the basic feature updates of the new Google My Business API, it takes a some skills and effort to fully and properly integrate some of the more in-depth functions. This includes:

  • Setting up subscriptions to push notifications for new customer reviews
  • Viewing insights for locations
  • Providing additional attributes for locations (like a hotel’s amenities or a restaurant’s menu URL)
  • Inviting and removing managers
  • Managing service-area businesses

The Public Relations and Marketing Group was established 15 years ago, at a time when social media was first coming into fruition. PRMG’s team of social media managers continually learn and grow their skills to keep ahead of changes in the industry and can help you develop your Google My Business page. We can also help to redevelop your existing Google+ and Google My Business pages to take full advantage of the latest updates.

Contact us at info@theprmg.com or call us directly at 631-207-1057, ext. 107.


What makes a company website successful? Many will say it’s search-engine optimization, some will say it’s design, and a few will say it’s user experience. The answer is: all three. When designing a website for business, it is important to keep this in mind and not prioritize one of these aspects at the expense of the others. Individuals are often surprised to learn that both design and user experience play a substantial role in how a website ranks on search engines.

search-engine optimization

Why Design and User Experience Matters

Nowadays, many competitive businesses know to incorporate search-engine optimization in the design of their website. This focus does not need to overwrite the design and user experience (UX), however. With the development of coding languages and the upswing in Internet use, there are now many options for inclusion of both beautiful design and fluid UX.

How Google Measures Design and User Experience

To ensure visibility online, your website needs to rank highly in search engine results. Websites designed with HTML and CSS are able to tackle the problem of website ranking, or search-engine optimization (SEO). SEO allows a search engine bot, a software application that runs automated tasks, to read and understand your content,and rank it accordingly. This is how you are able to find relevant information on the web through a simple search. Optimization increases the chances of your site ranking highly in search engines, so your business is organically seen by more people.

One issue many companies encounter is the sacrifice of user experience (UX) in favor of SEO – a compromise of design in the name of site ranking. But this doesn’t need to be the case; web designers can incorporate user-friendly and beautiful designs with code that speaks to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

What Can Be Done to Improve Design and User Experience

Though search engines need text, there are ways to preserve a visual-based site (such as an online clothing retailer). Once such method is adding an expandable division tag (div) to the images. The div might give the user a compelling product description, information about the store, or general contact information, for example. Including text in this way allows the different pages of a website to be ‘read’ by processors that rank it.

Calls to action and other page elements which are often presented as images would also benefit from background code. When these are created with webfonts and coding languages such as CSS and HTML, bots are able to crawl (browse and index) these elements, giving your firm a better reach online.

The Importance of a Strong Web Presence

While 96% of Americans have purchased items online, 51% prefer online sales to brick-and-mortar stores, and 85% of consumers use search engines to find local businesses, creating and maintaining a strong web presence is crucial to business survival.

If a website is not designed with SEO in mind, it is difficult to rank highly in search results and is therefore difficult to achieve the desired result of an increased consumer base. The experts at The Public Relations and Marketing Group are knowledgeable and experienced in search engine optimization and digital presence, including advertising and social media. For sample site designs, please visit //for-your-impact-online.com.  For more information, call us at 631-207-1057, or email us at info@theprmg.com.


Building an online presence is crucial to the success of any contemporary business. From a website to social media, the modern business must create a solid web presence to keep up with today’s most common method of new business acquisition: the Internet.

Search engines are certainly the most popular method for potential new customers to find local businesses, and Google is chief among them. Millions of business owners now look to Google My Business, the analytics and social media software developed to influence Google search results, to attract and retain customers.

Google My Business aims to frequently improve the properties it offers to users, and has continued its usefulness with several recent developments, including new insights, accelerated mobile pages (AMPs), and an “explore interests” feature, among others.

Key features of the new insights tool tell a business owner whether his or her listing is being viewed through Google Search or Google Maps and whether customers view the listing by searching for the business name (specific search) or by a category or related keyword (general search). An additional update removes Google Plus statistics from the insights panels.

Accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) optimize web content for mobile devices. They remove unnecessary resources, which in turn allows a mobile browser to provide a more fluid user experience. Google has announced that AMPs will be immigrating to Google’s main search results, thus increasing a company’s chances of acquiring organic traffic (versus traffic acquired from paid advertising).

Google’s projected “Explore Interests” feature would allow Google users to browse categories which appeal to them, such as music, shopping, food and drink, or sports. This feature can help drive more traffic to your company’s website by offering readers the relevant content in which they show interest.

A screenshot posted by the Android Police in its blog shows the test stage of the new feature:google my business adds explore interests feature

Search engines are an essential tool for businesses in today’s modern marketplace, and utilizing Google as a means to increase traffic, and therefore sales, is a good business practice. Although a well-rounded web presence is critical for the success of today’s business, but it can be overwhelming and sometimes difficult to navigate. The Public Relations and Marketing Group offers expert web development, marketing, advertising, public relations and social media management solutions to help your company compete in a 21st-century marketplace.  To learn more or for a free consultation, please contact us at 631-207-1057, or visit our website at www.theprmg.com.


Mobile-First Marketing

Last month’s Google Performance Summit in San Francisco, CA, revealed a number of changes to Google’s AdWords and Analytics tools. Some of the highlights of Google’s summit included the development of “Promoted Pins” in Google Maps, changes in ad bidding and a new appearance for ads in search results. All of these developments reveal that Google is moving forward into the mobile-first era while continuing to handle trillions of searches every year.

Google announced that its Maps service will soon include a new generation of localized ads, as well as “promoted pins” featuring local businesses. They note, “Nearly one-third of all mobile searches are related to location,” revealing that “people’s online and offline worlds are colliding.” Since locally-based mobile searches are growing, this is a tremendous opportunity for organizations to integrate their advertisements into the stream of their followers’ lives and to show them that they are located nearby.

Changes to AdWords bidding will now allow customization based on the platform of choice – desktop, tablet, or mobile. Again this change is driven by Google’s commitment to pursue a “mobile-first” approach to advertising. The increased customization capabilities for AdWords bidding will allow businesses to optimize their marketing for whichever platform drives the greatest response and, ultimately, to reach customers more effectively.

Finally, the “mobile-first” approach to advertising has led Google to reformat the way search results appear to favor mobile platforms. This follows Google’s decision earlier this spring to remove right-hand ads from desktop search results. Expanded-text ads and new responsiveness features in mobile displays further contribute to the versatility and appeal of Google’s world-leading ads program.

Google has published some very helpful information about how mobile searches connect customers to physical businesses. Of course, Google’s search and advertising capabilities have revolutionized the face of marketing in the digital age, and their shift toward a “mobile-first” approach means they are continuing to have influence in this area. The call for professionals in this ever-changing media environment is clear: as Google notes, “accounting for mobile and designing for mobile-first are two very different things.” Mobile advertising and search capabilities offer a promising way to bridge the gap between cyberspace and physical space, as the content users see online pushes them to visit physical locations.

The Public Relations and Marketing Group, LLC (PRMG) is a full-service public relations, marketing and digital advertising agency. A Certified Google Partner, PRMG is dedicated to helping organizations and professionals drive client outreach through strategies like mobile-first marketing. If you are interested in any of the services we offer, please contact us at info@thePRMG.com or 631-207-1057 for a free consultation.


seo-web-optimization-sm

These days, it’s not enough to have a beautiful, user-friendly website. It’s also important to consider the site’s existence on, and interaction with, search engines. Search engine optimization is one of the best ways to initiate and funnel traffic to your website, and a well-performing website utilizes the right combination of on-page, on-site and off-site optimization strategies.

 

On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization ensures the optimal mix and frequency of well-researched keyword phrases. This typically consists of measuring relevancy across items such as: page title tags, meta descriptions, header (h1, h2) tags, image alt tags, link title attributes and paragraph text on a single web page. On-page optimization also focuses on including keyword phrases in the right locations of a web page. Search engines will prioritize the importance of a keyword phrase that’s physically higher up on the page and tagged correctly, and give that particular phrase more weight when categorizing and ranking your website in organic search results.

On-Site Optimization

On-site optimization focuses on the importance of relevancy across many pages of a website, or the entire site. An example of this would be a website for an accountant where all topics, including practice areas, blog pages, articles etc., focus on accounting-related issues, like taxation, filing, bookkeeping, or anything relevant to the business. Typical on-site optimization strategies include a rich link structure that connects keywords or phrases to other related pages that may more clearly define the specified keyword phrase. Ensuring that the anchor text used in a hyperlink is rich with keywords that clearly define what the subject of the destination page is about gives a search engine a better idea as to what the overall site’s theme and category are. A good example of this would be avoiding a phrase like “click here” as a means to link to another page.

Other on-site strategies would include having a current XML sitemap to help search engines crawl and identify the location of all of your website pages without missing any, using schema markup to better translate information about your organization to search engines (location, hours, type of business), identifying and removing duplicate content to avoid penalties, and using DRY (don’t repeat yourself), lean, compressed (minified) code so that your site loads quickly, giving visitors an optimal experience.

Off-Site Optimization

Off-site optimization techniques primarily focus on aspects that can increase the visibility of a website in organic search results by way of factors that are external to the website itself. This would include social media strategies set to drive traffic and inbound links, obtaining backlinks by use of credible online directories, and ensuring that URLs, address listings, and phone numbers are precise and accurate across all locations on the web. Also, writing compelling, original, quality content — like press releases or blogs that authoritative sites like news sites and thought-leading blogs may want to link to — can help increase your organic search rankings.

A healthy combination of on-page, on-site and off-site optimization is the best approach to increasing visibility for your website. The Public Relations and Marketing Group is both knowledgeable and experienced in creating successful optimization and marketing strategies for websites. Call now for a consultation: 631-207-1057 or email us at: info@theprmg.com.


Bloggers from the public relations and marketing groupBy now, most bloggers are familiar with the phrase “content is king,” and while there really is no substitute for good content, many bloggers are simply not getting the audience their content merits.  A lack of knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques is the main reason for low readership on well-written and frequently updated blogs. But even those who are not tech-savvy can optimize their blogs by improving the quality, images, tags and links (assuming you are using a user friendly website such as WordPress, Drupal or CMS). Continue reading


SEO Analysis

In today’s digital world, search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! have become powerful tools that play a large role in the success or failure of many companies. Ranking high in search engine results can help a business gain market share and strengthen their brand. When a business appears on the first page of search results for key terms, whether the consumer is actively searching for the business or not, it can directly result in leads and sales. The consumer will start to identify with the brand and build perceptions of the company just by seeing them at the top of the page. Having low results in search engine queries can hurt your business as much as good results can help. No matter the circumstances, all businesses should be on the first page for a certain term, such as their company or CEO’s name.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving a website so that it appears higher in search engine results. Improving such results can be a lengthy process that requires much effort. In order to improve results, one needs to pay close attention to key performance indicators associated with SEO. Tools such as Google Analytics allow developers of a website to track metrics vital to a website’s SEO success. However, none of these statistics will help if one does not truly understand them. Below are nine metrics and terms that one needs to know in order to improve their SEO: Continue reading


 googleplus

Google+ and your business

Businesses tend to think about Google+ as just another social network, similar to Facebook or Twitter.  While this is basically true, Google+’s influence extends beyond social networking, and ignoring its presence can cause your business to fall behind.

So what exactly makes Google+ so valuable to businesses?

Google+ is guaranteed to have an effect on your search engine ranking

Google+ users receive a bump in Google search engine ranking simply by keeping an active Google+ account, providing fresh content and engaging with other users. A number of studies, such as the one done by Search Metrics*, show a powerful correlation between search rankings and the number of Google +1’s (equivalent to Facebook’s “Like” button).

Simply put, +1s will create a followed link back to your post, causing organic link building, which is an important part of any SEO strategy. In addition, +1s indicate to Google that your website has been vouched for by a third party, giving you another boost in the search ranking process.

Continue reading


googleplus

With over 343 million users, Google+ is rapidly changing the landscape of social media, web searching and search engine optimization (SEO). As Google continues to dominate the search engine market, Google+ profiles personalize search results through authorship and social searching techniques. By understanding how Google+ affects web searching through tools such as rel= “author” and Search plus Your World, you can use Google+ to become a leader in your industry and maximize your website’s potential.

Authorship: Rel=“author”
Web searchers use Google to find credible online sources. As a result, Google has emphasized authorship and given higher rankings to web authors with frequently updated, original content. With the rel=“author” tag, you can claim authorship of your content and build your own credibility by linking your Google+ profile to your website or blog posts in Google search results. If your website is properly tagged with rel=“author,” your name and Google+ profile picture will appear next to your website listing when it appears in Google’s search results. Through this, you put a name and a face to your website or blog posts, while also catching the attention of Google searchers. By clicking on your name or your picture, the user will be directed to your Google+ profile and have the option to “follow” you. Most importantly, rel=“author” establishes your credibility and if searchers have visited your website before or liked a post you have written, they are more likely to visit your site or blog again when they see your profile picture and name pop up next to the search entry. Depending on whether you are writing for your own blog, as part of a guest blog, or under a larger group, the ways in which to implement this authorship tag will differ.

Social Searching: Search plus Your World
Search plus Your World is a form of social searching that gives personalized results, based on the circles and contacts in your Google+ profile. Social searching incentivizes both businesses and individuals to remain active on Google+ and make as many connections as possible to maximize the possibility of placement in search results. For example, if you own an ice cream shop and are connected to Joe on Google+, then it is highly likely that your shop will appear in Joe’s Google search results for “ice cream shop.” Likewise, if your best friend, with whom you are connected on Google+, just posted pictures from her vacation to London on her profile, you may find her pictures popping up on Google if you do an image search for Big Ben or Buckingham Palace. Social searching levels the playing field of search engine optimization and places more emphasis on personal relationships than domain authority or other SEO techniques, so it is necessary to engage with followers on Google+ and continually develop new relationships to stay relevant. As of now, the Search plus Your World feature is strictly limited to Google+, and contacts from other social networks like Twitter and Facebook will not appear in the search results.

We predict that Google’s attempt to integrate social media with web searching will have an enormous impact on SEO and basic web searching. As Google continues to alter search algorithms to include social and personal features, it will focus on relationships through social media and increase the chances of appearing in search results without using other SEO strategies. Google may also tap into other social networks like Twitter and Facebook to develop even more personalized results. Overall, we recommend that you use Google+ to develop your online brand and credibility through authorship tags and forge new relationships through social searching to increase traffic to your website and blog posts.

If you have any questions or are interested in developing your social media and search engine optimization strategy, contact 1-855-PRMG-123 or info@theprmg.com.