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Is it Time to Start Using Pay-Per-Click Advertising?

So, your company has been active in making sure your site is well ranked on Google through search engine optimization, but you’re starting to see lots of competitors’ ads positioned above your organic listings.

Should you give in and start buying pay-per-click ads on Google?

Let’s first take a look at the changing landscape.

More Competition for Page 1 Rankings

Over time, Google has redesigned and introduced new features on its search engine to continue improving the amount of time used on the site and number of people finding it to be their go-to resource for everything. At the same time, it’s repositioned and tried various ways to display Google Adwords, to generate the best click-through rates and gain new accounts.

When Google first introduced paid ads to its search engine, there wasn’t much reason to consider paying for placement. The ads were positioned to the right of organic listings, making it easy for users to discern paid ads vs. earned listings and the result was that few people clicked on those ads.

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New Google Algorithm Update Postponed to June

Google announced this week that it’s postponing the roll-out of its previously announced page experience algorithm update from May to mid-June. It said the roll-out would happen gradually and be completed in August.

This provides a little breathing room for you to get your website’s page experience in good shape. As a first step, here’s the information you need to know.

Core Web Vitals

What Google has termed as Core Web Vitals are at the center of the upcoming page experience update. This comprises three measurements: Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay and Cumulative Layout Shift. We’ll take these one at a time.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) represents how quickly your website loads. Unlike First Contentful Paint, which you may have heard of and which measures when the first element of your web page loads, LCP measures when the largest element on a page loads. To get a passing grade from Google, a web page’s LCP needs to measure less than 2.5 seconds. According to Google, a fast LCP reassures a site visitor that the page is “useful”.

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Is Your Website Ready for Growth?

Most industrial buyers say they rely on company websites for information on products and services.

2020 was a tough year for manufacturers. Covid-19 and the resulting economic slowdown put a dent in business for many companies.

Corporate Optimism Grows

But 2021 looks to be a better year, at least according to the results of MNI’s 2021 Survey of Manufacturers. According to the report, 47% of respondents expect business to return to normal this year, while 77% are somewhat to very optimistic about 2021 business conditions.

Other key take-aways include:

  • 40% are planning or considering a facility expansion or upgrade
  • 62% plan to source more domestic suppliers
  • 62% expect to increase production

The most recent NAM Manufacturer’s Outlook Survey backs up those findings, with 88% of NAM respondents either somewhat or very optimistic about the future. On average, NAM respondents also said they expect sales and production to both grow 4.9% by the beginning of 2022.

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Are you Getting the Most out of Google Organic Search?

Google organic search is the #1 resource used to find industrial products and services. Imagine if your website appeared on Page 1 of Google for high-value keywords to your business. How much website traffic and how many more additional business leads could you expect? What’s the magic number?

If you don’t employ search engine optimization (SEO) to position your website on Page 1 of Google organic search, your website AND your company are missing out on a lot of site traffic and new business leads.

How do we know that? It’s all in the numbers.  

Companies Using SEO Report Better Results

Pilot Fish tracks the website traffic and leads of its SEO clients and is able to compare that to companies that don’t employ SEO.

Here’s what we know from that research:

  1. Companies that are committed to SEO are ranking on Page 1 of Google search for a broad array of keywords that will help prospective customers find them.
  2. Those Page 1 rankings on Google search are generating traffic to our clients’ sites. That traffic is highly qualified, based on the keyword phrases used to reach those sites and the number of leads our clients receive from having higher website traffic.
  3. Companies that do not use SEO oftentimes don’t give credence to the ability of their websites to generate a significant number of leads because it doesn’t happen now.
  4. Well-optimized websites get a majority of their traffic from one source: Google organic search.
  5. Companies that have succeeded with SEO are willing to attest that it works.

How much traffic are they generating?

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Website Design Tip: You Might Have an Outdated Website If…

Old material will deter visitors from coming back and could damage SEO rankings.

As Google continues to modify its search algorithm to reward what it considers the “best” websites with treasured Page 1 rankings, companies with older websites may find themselves falling to the cutting room floor.

What worked five, eight, 10 years ago, likely isn’t as effective next to shiny new competitor websites that have been optimized to meet Google’s updated search standards.

In order for your website to perform to its full potential, a commitment to ongoing maintenance is a required. This is necessary for higher Google rankings and will prevent your site from looking dated. But, over time, even the most well-maintained websites will eventually need a redesign.

Here are some website design tipoffs that will tell you if your site is outdated and in need of an update or redesign.

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1039 Hits

Google Strikes Again with Another Core Update to its Algorithm

As usual, Google didn’t specify what changes it incorporated into the update and offered no useful comments on how to overcome any negative fallout.

You may not have heard about it, but you’ve likely felt some of the reverberations: Google unleashed a major core update to its search algorithm at the beginning of December.

Although Google says it constantly fine-tunes its algorithm, this was the first major update since May. While an update was overdue – Google usually averages around three major updates a year – the timing of this one, right in the middle of the holiday season, was an unwelcome surprise.

Websites that track Google changes identified the December update as more dramatic than the May rollout. Results fluctuated for websites across a wide range of industries in all geographic areas on both desktop and mobile platforms. Some sites reported traffic drops of as much as 40% because of the update.

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1995 vs. 2020: Website Design, SEO & Beyond

Even disregarding the current pandemic, 1995, the year our company was founded, seems a world away.

Bill Clinton was in his first term as president … the Dow Jones, which first surpassed 30,000 last month, ended 1995 at 5,117 … the U.S. population was at 267 million (compared to 331 million today) … and only 12% of those people owned mobile phones in 1995. Cell phone ownership today is estimated at 96% of the population.

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How to Write a Good Blog Post

We frequently recommend that our clients include a blog as part of their websites and that they publish posts regularly on a set schedule.

But we rarely get into the nitty-gritty of blogging.

Why Blog?

Blogging is important for several reasons. The most crucial from our perspective is that it’s good for SEO and content marketing.

Freshness continues to play a role in search engine algorithms – the search engines generally reward sites that are regularly updated. A blog is an easy way to provide fresh content.

Internal links also are a factor in search engine algorithms. A blog post can – and should – provide the opportunity to link to a couple of your most important pages.

Of course, there are added benefits to blogging. A regularly maintained blog can:

  • Develop and strengthen relationships with new and existing customers
  • Increase your brand awareness
  • Position your company as an industry leader

Taken together, all of these reasons make blogging a good idea.

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SEO Tricks: Is There a Simple Path to Page 1 Google Rankings?

On a fairly frequent basis, we’re contacted by folks who would like to find out “what’s wrong with their site,” which had been performing well on Google until a few years ago.

The simple SEO tricks that previously generated Page 1 rankings on Google aren’t working anymore. The assumption is that someone, a web developer or rogue employee, did something wrong and there’s a simple fix that we can provide to bump the site back to its prior Google rankings.  Or, they understand that Google has made updates to its algorithm, so they want to get the new SEO tricks that will improve their site’s performance.

Unfortunately, in most cases, we find ourselves to be the bearers of bad news.

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Improve Your Site’s Speed to Earn Higher SEO Rankings

You can greatly improve website performance by following a few steps to reduce the impact of those items on your load time.

In recent years, Google has expanded its search algorithm to include technical factors that measure site performance and usability, and it continues to increase those standards. Site speed has become important enough to Google that it now provides a tool where you can see how well your site performs and obtain recommendations from the search giant on improving its performance. 

Improving site speed helps your company in two important ways:  1) It can boost your search engine rankings, and 2) it gives your site visitors a better overall experience, which may lower bounce rate and encourage visitors to spend more time clicking through your site.

Running a Google PageSpeed Insights evaluation on your website will most likely reveal some commonly known problems. Here is a list of those usual suspects and some recommendations and tools to help you boost your score.

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394 Hits

Do You Have an ADA-Compliant Website?

Disabilities are far more common than most people realize.

When most people think of the Americans with Disability Act, they think of physical barriers, like buildings without ramps or elevators.

But the ADA applies to websites as well, and companies are being sued for having inaccessible websites.

Common Problems

You may want to say, “I don’t get any disabled website visitors,” but you have no way of knowing that, and disabilities are far more common than most people realize. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 56.7 million U.S. residents (18.7% of the population) have some sort of disability, and 38.3 million residents (12.6%) have a severe disability.

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