Blog

August 7, 2014

Pigeon Update: What Does it Mean for Your Business?

By Joe Horan

Google’s update to their local search algorithm, dubbed Pigeon, has been live for roughly 2 weeks. It’s clear that Pigeon is still mixing things up and we can expect more updates in the future. This recent update would suggest that citations are no longer enough when trying to rank locally. A more holistic approach involving both listing management and traditional SEO must be a part of your digital marketing strategy. While the impact is still largely unclear, I’ve outlined a few theories. The Pigeon update can be outlined by these two points below:

  • Local search results are now tied more closely with traditional SEO signals.
  • The update supposedly puts more weight on distance and location ranking signals.

Citations don’t play as big of a visible role as they used to Read more »

August 5, 2014

Local SEO and Google’s Pigeon Update

By Joe Horan

On July 24th, 2014, Google began rolling out updates to their local search algorithm, dubbed Pigeon. Most would agree that this was a fairly large update that shook local search results. Like others, we expect search radius plays a large part in determining what results are displayed. We are actively testing several hypotheses to see if the data proves or disproves these theories.

The update was rolled out and can be outlined by the two points below:

  • Local search results are now tied more closely with traditional SEO signals.

  • The update supposedly improved distance and location ranking signals.

Additionally, there seems to be a decrease in the local pack results. Some queries lost the 7-pack while others gained it.

Read more »

July 28, 2014

Bing Capitalizes on Twitter Partnership with New #SearchResults

By Christine Wuertz

The worlds of social media and search got a little closer this month with Bing’s introduction of a new tweet discovery feature. This new tool allows users to search for specific tweets or handles straight from Bing’s homepage without having to open up another tab. While Bing has been displaying Twitter results for quite some time, this new tool intends to make search results more relevant and easier to navigate with live tweets now displaying in a dedicated section below the Bing search bar.

 

 

Read more »

July 11, 2014

Case Study: Meta Keywords Don’t Impact Rankings

By Joe Horan

When onboarding clients, a question typically asked is if meta keywords matter at all in rankings?  It can be a source of confusion for both clients and our onboarding team when they see conflicting opinions within the industry. In an effort to put the argument to rest, SIM took 55 locations within our Velocity platform and conducted our own meta keyword testing.

First, we took one geographic area in the country – in this case we used the Midwest – and deleted the meta keywords at 28 random locations. We then chose an additional 27 random Midwest locations to monitor as a control group that received no changes.

Finally, we uploaded non-branded, geo specific keywords into WhiteSpark and began monitoring any change in rankings over the course of 30 days.

 

As expected, we saw no decrease in rankings despite deleting meta keywords for approximately half of our locations. Of the locations that had keywords within the top 10 results, 45% of those contained no meta keywords. Once again, it’s clear that meta keywords do not matter for rankings.

Even though meta keywords aren’t used in rankings, they can sometimes power site search, depending on the CMS. Site rankings certainly aren’t impacted negatively when including meta keywords so if it makes you or your customer feel better to include these keywords and you don’t have concerns about competitors using that data against you then go ahead and include them. Just be sure to keep them short and concise.

 

July 8, 2014

The Yellow Brick Road a Patient Travels when Searching for a Physician Online

By Amanda Bury

This photo used through Creative Commons by Istolethetv on Flickr

The journey from casual online browsing to scheduling an appointment can be a long and confusing route for a patient with many distractions. Even when a clear digital path is laid, poppy fields and flying monkeys abound. The strength of the digital road you construct will make the difference between positive patient acquisition and low new patient numbers.

For patients to discover your physicians, it is important to lay a foundation by correcting the physician data across the web. Linking this data with physician profiles bridges the gap between browsing and brand. Finally, optimized physician profiles then drive the patient toward requesting an appointment.

Unfortunately, when a patient initiates an online search, there is not a band of merry Munchkins waiting to send them in your direction. However, there are tactics that can help drive patients to your physician information. Brand discovery can be greatly increased by cleansing and distributing a physician profiles’ correct NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information. By pushing this basic data throughout the ecosystem of listing directories, GSP directories and search engines, consistency and trust is built for search engines. With over 77% of online health seeker starting on a search engine such as Google, Yahoo and Bing it is critical for a physician listing strategy.

The NAP can be enhanced on many sites by adding physician information, hours, insurances accepted, videos/images and procedures offered. By adding a link to an optimized physician profile you can guide the patient toward a deeper interaction with the brand.  Now your Emerald City is in the patient’s view.

Once the patient reaches your physician profiles the following elements to help increase acquisition:

  • Strong call to action with a phone number and request an appointment online if available
  • Spotlight the physician with their education, publications they have been a part of and also special interest. Patients want to feel connected to their physician and the profile page is the face of that physician
  • Embed any videos that highlight the physician
  • Optimizing the patient experience for mobile and tablet users is highly suggested

By delivering a welcoming patient experience you can make them feel right at home and as we know there is no place like home.

July 1, 2014

Managing Not Provided In Organic Search

By Joe Horan

What is ‘Not Provided’?

When people use a search engine and visit a site, the keyword they used is typically passed to the Webmaster. For example, doing a search in Google for ‘encyclopedia’ and clicking on en.wikipedia.org used to pass that information onto Wikipedia. Within analytics, it would show that a user found the site by going to Google and typing in ‘encyclopedia’. In an effort to protect privacy, Google has recently cut down this practice.

In October 2011, Google began blocking this data from webmasters when the searcher is logged in to his account. It started in the single percentages, around 8%, but as time goes on, we’re finding this is steadily increasing. The recent Google update, Hummingbird, in Q4 2013 has drastically increased the amount of visits showing ‘Not Provided’. Today, it’s not uncommon for 70% of organic searches to have the ‘Not Provided’ keyword. We expect that in the near future, 100% of organic traffic will be ‘Not Provided’.

History & Outlook

Figure 1: Content Marketing Institute, Google Analtyics Read more »

June 24, 2014

SIM Partners At Techweek Chicago 2014

By Ashley Sandal

Techweek is back in Chicago this week! Don’t miss our CEO, Jon Schepke, give his “Confessions of a Tech Entrepreneur” Thursday, June 26th at 5:00p on the Single Hop stage. We look forward to seeing you there!

June 19, 2014

Google My Business – The Future of Google’s Local Business Strategy?

By Alexis Gui

Google My Business was introduced last week in a global rollout that rebranded the discrepancies and confusion of Places, +Local, +Business into one unified portal to manage your local and brand business listings. However, I would hesitate to just call it a ‘rebrand.’  My Business improves usability on the backend with an updated Plus dashboard layout and some new features, but the real takeaway should be that it points to Google’s commitment to the local business space and its future direction to invest in this space.

What’s New?

  • Dashboard layout

The layout is cleaner, more usable. At the very top are clear calls to action with step by step instructions to edit your profile. Next, you have the social sharing box, available now on desktop and mobile, followed by other apps (Insights, Reviews, Hangout).

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 9.45.43 AM.png

Read more »

June 3, 2014

Team Member Spotlight: Xucheng Miao

By Ashley Sandal

This week our Team Member Spotlight features Xucheng Miao, our Software Developer and 2014 SIM Olympic Silver Medalist!

1. What would you do if you won the lottery?
If someone told me I won the lottery, I would first make sure it is true because there’s no such thing as a free lunch! If it is true, I would stop playing the lottery because free lunch is almost impossible to come twice in life.
2. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
If I could choose to live anywhere, I would live by water because that’s where I was born, where I received education and where I am working now.
3. What is your favorite thing about working at SIM Partners?
It’s hard to pick only one favorite thing at SIM Partners because of its flexible working environment, high efficient teamwork, kind team members, etc. What’s more amazing is that it attracts different people from different parts of the world to come together, to work together and to create value together. I think that our unique culture makes it!