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Google Phantom Updates: Are You Ready?

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by | Nov 30, 2016 | Social Media & Online

A well-conceived marketing plan takes into consideration a whole slew of angles, from the hyperlocal to the World Wide Web. Each has the power to greatly influence your potential customer’s path to your door, and the easier and more positive you make that journey, the more likely you are to hear them knocking!

One gatekeeper along that journey is the all-powerful Google. Google is the most widely used search engine in the world. It’s become synonymous with learning and discovery – think of how many times you’ve “Googled” something to find answers to your questions. As a professional in this industry, you know for sure that your customers are actively Googling your organization. That means that in order to be found when someone searches for you, there are certain rules you have to “play by” to appease Google and ensure you appear at the top of your potential customer’s search results.

“Google regularly rolls out updates to its platform and algorithm that can have a significant impact on whether or not your customers will find you online,” says Jason McCloud, Vice President of Digital & Integrated Strategy at SageAge Strategies. “Being aware of these updates and changes can help you approach your online presence in a smart and effective way, to ensure that whoever searches for you and your services will find you at the top of the list.”

The online community names such updates, and the most recent one has been dubbed “Phantom.” The updates and changes contained in Phantom revolve around improving the Google user’s experience and ensuring the results they receive are of the highest quality. Today, let’s look at what those changes entail, and how you can make sure your web presence is up to par.

What Updates Were Made, and How to Handle Them

In general, Google made updates that put even greater importance on sites creating quality content. This update is often referred to as a “quality” update. Here’s why.

  1. A focus on better content and less ads. Google wants site owners to put more quality content into their pages and to have a better ad-to-content ratio. That means that if your site looks like the classified pages, it won’t perform well in Google searches.

    How to fix it: Be brutal when it comes to assessing your site for advertisements. If your page is ad-heavy and content-light, it won’t do well. Aim for a website with pages that are mostly keyword rich content with minimal, unobtrusive advertisements.

  1. Making sure that a page’s content is reflective of its keywords. When Google chooses what pages to show in a search result, it considers a wide range of characteristics. The keywords listed in meta descriptions and page descriptions is part of that. But if the keywords there don’t match the actual content on the page, Google isn’t happy.

    How to fix it: Ensure the content on your page is reflective of the keywords you are targeting. If you have a page titled and described as a guide to assisted living, for example, and the content doesn’t revolve around that, either change the content or change the keywords/descriptions.

  1. An overall focus on page quality. It isn’t enough to have one piece of the puzzle in place. Today’s internet users want a multifaceted experience, and that involves content, design, ad placement and frequency, layout, and more.

    How to fix it: Look at your website as a multidimensional experience, not just a vehicle for distributing information. The way your user navigates the site, its ease of use, and the beauty of the design: they matter. If you haven’t done a website revamp in a few years, it’s probably time to think about it!

Those are some specific Phantom-related tips and insights, but it’s worth taking a look at the bigger picture as well. While considering Google’s rules is a big part of the online success puzzle, it’s not the only thing that matters. Here are some general tips for improving your web presence.

  1. Pay attention to your visitor analytics. Pay particular attention to the places at which your prospective customers bounce or exit your site. These are big red flags about the user experience in those places. If you have a limited amount of time and resources to devote to improving your site, this is the low hanging fruit you should tackle first. Make improvements to the content and user experience in these pages first and foremost.

  2. Continually add relevant, fresh, useful content. All search engines and their users love sites that are dynamic. They’re all looking for sites that provide content that isn’t just keyword rich, but insight rich. Creating and maintaining a blog is a great way to accomplish this, and something the SageAge team is well versed in helping you with!

  3. Keep the presence of ads minimal. Ads are like spices in a recipe – that can enhance the experience, but too much is extremely overpowering. Use ads sparingly and only in places where there is a strong likelihood for conversion. Make sure your ads aren’t preventing your website readers from reaching their goal, which is likely to gain information.

The internet is a dynamic place, and the rules for success are constantly changing. Our passion is working with community leaders who recognize the importance of this channel and want to deliver great content and experiences to their customers. If you’re looking to do just that, get in touch!

Proven Sales and Marketing Expertise That Connects with Today’s Seniors

If you are managing a senior living community and are in need of expertise in precisely profiling, targeting and connecting with your target markets, contact us for more information today. SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / adrienne@sageagestrategies.com.

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