Does your Website Pass the new Google Indexing Criteria?

social media expert OntarioEveryone knows the world is going mobile. Given the way users access content on the web, on April 21st, Google began making changes to the way it will be indexing websites moving forward. Does your website pass the new Google indexing criteria?

According to the Google Webmaster Central blog, “Beginning April 21st, 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. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”  What does this mean?

For all you small business owners out there with a website, follow this link and type in your website address.  Your site will be checked by Google Developers instantly and you will get a message back from them with either a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ message. The goal is to get the large green check mark indicating that Google recognizes your site as being ‘mobile friendly’.

If your site does not pass, you will need to contact your website developer. Depending on the type of website you have (custom coded or on a platform like WordPress), the work involved to change your site so that it passes the new Google algorithm will vary, but the cost of not making this change will likely mean a degradation of your site in the search engine indexing results – something no business owner can afford – especially since Google is still the #1 ranked search engine.

For those of you with WordPress based websites, the ideal solution would be to ensure your WordPress theme is what is considered ‘fully responsive’. If it is not, you might consider changing the theme on your site.

As devices continue to change with new technology, along with WordPress and Google changes, finding a theme developer who can stay on top of these changes can be a challenge.  It is also possible that a theme that was considered at the time of development to be ‘responsive’, may now no longer be all it can be.

For those of you that have limited funds available for new templates, there are WordPress plug-ins (some free of charge) available that can be installed that will render your website mobile – friendly. While this is not the most ideal solution, it will satisfy the Google requirement for the time being until such time that you can consider a template change.

If you are an online marketer or have a storefront, you might also want to start thinking about a mobile app for your business. Google noted in their blog, “Starting today, (April 21st), we will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, we may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search.”

Note the word ‘may’ in the sentence above. While they may not start doing this immediately, I believe over time as mobile apps become more prominent and affordable for businesses, this too will become a part of their general ranking algorithm.

As always, I welcome your feedback. You can connect with me by phone or email, leave a comment right here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,


5 Tips for Using Hashtags on Facebook

the power of hashtagsDo you know what hashtags ( # ) are? Are you using them on your Facebook business page? You should certainly be using them on Twitter! They have also become popular on sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. Hashtags turn topics and phrases into clickable links in your posts on your personal Timeline or on your business page.  For the purposes of this blog post, I will only address the use of hashtags on your FB business pages. While they are perhaps not as popular on Facebook as they are on Twitter, making use of the hashtag feature will potentially allow new audiences to find your content based on their searches so it’s worth testing. It’s also another way to get found on FB without having to pay for advertising 😉  Below are 5 tips for using hashtags on Facebook.

Hashtags are particularly useful when there is a major event taking place i.e.,  #2016olympics or tragedies such as the recent #germanwings crash but they can be used to create buzz for your own business. When someone enters the hashtag and the search term (in Facebook on the top search bar), you will get a ‘newsfeed’ of all information that has been ‘hashtagged’ with that particular word string.

Because the content on your FB business page is automatically set to public, utilizing the hashtag feature, allows anyone to potentially find your content. It’s a savvy way to create that buzz and get people over to your page. Take into consideration these 5 tips.

1. A hashtag must be written as a single word, without any spaces. You can include numbers in a hashtag, but punctuation and special characters (like $ and %) won’t work.

2.  Place your hashtag/s at the bottom of the post rather than incorporating them into the middle of a sentence. This is not only annoying but catches the reader up as they are trying to absorb your content.

3. Don’t put more than a couple of hashtags per post as they can lead to less interaction (according to Social Bakers research).

4. Consider using hashtags when creating a contest, raffle or promotion. It’s a good way to get people talking about your brand. Users will be more likely to share these posts if they know they might win a prize by doing so. For example, if you are promoting a new product called XXXX, then your posts should include the hashtag XXXX and offer your prize to those who share that particular post.

5. Get smart about searching for trending hashtags and build them into your own posts for more visibility.

Experiment with hashtags on all your social media sites. Jimmy Fallon is an expert on the use of hashtags and they have become a big part of his brand. Take a couple of minutes to view this funny video he put out with Justin Timberlake…forgive the expletive at the end of it…but it demonstrates how popular hashtags have become.

Get creative!

As always, I welcome your feedback. You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,


7 Tips to Growing your Email List Using Social Media

email marketingWhile Social Media is an excellent tool to build awareness about your business, demonstrate your expertise and build engagement with your clients and prospects, email marketing is still considered a more personal relationship as you are reaching your target market in their personal inbox. So it’s important to include a newsletter or email marketing campaign as part of your overall marketing strategy.  I thought it might be helpful to include these 7 tips on how to grow your list using your website and social media profiles.

1. Website Continue reading

5 Tips on Keeping Your Online Experience a Good One

Online Security Welcome to 2015! Let’s start the year off right! Many people are aware of the hacking scandal at Sony. Even large corporations can become vulnerable. But while hacking might become more commonplace, why make it easy for someone to make your life miserable? Google published some online safety tips this week so I thought I would share these with you adding some notes where appropriate. Some of these are common sense but as I have learned over the years, common sense is not so common… Here are 5 tips on keeping your online experience a good one.

1. Passwords Continue reading

Changes Coming to Facebook Business Page Newsfeed

Facebook NewsfeedFacebook recently announced some changes coming to the newsfeed for Facebook business pages. These changes will begin rolling out in January. Facebook has been surveying its members and analyzing content to determine what members want to see showing up in their newsfeed. The surveys show that there are come consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional. They are:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

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Stop Horsing Around and Get Professional Business Support

6176889_sBusiness getting a little ‘rocky‘? Relationships becoming ‘unseated‘? Too many details to ‘rustle‘ with? Maybe it’s time to stop horsing around and get some professional business support.

‘Not enough time’ is what I hear most often. Most solopreneurs discover they just don’t have the time or all the skills to deal with the everyday demands on their own. This can be especially true when it comes to keeping up with the ever changing world of technology. Before long, the relationship between them and their business, clients and prospects begins to suffer and so too, the bottom line. Many sadly, just don’t make it. If you are relating to this scenario, maybe it’s time to get serious about finding the right kind of support to move your business forward. Here are a few things to consider. Continue reading

Facebook Business Pages – Improved Metrics in 6 Tabs

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click image to enlarge

Facebook has been rolling out a new version of Metrics for Business pages. You may or may not have received this yet depending on what server you are on. Overall, business owners should find this version more intuitive and easier to understand.  The metrics have moved to a 6 tab format. Here is a summary of the 6 tab layout:

1. Overview

The Overview tab is a snapshot of the last 7 days of performance on your page, focusing on 3 core metrics; Page Likes, Post Reach and Engagement. You will probably notice a dramatic change in the Post reach over say, the last nine months. No doubt Facebook wants to highlight the dramatic drop in organic reach since they now accentuate the posts in the news feed for those who are purchasing ads. Most say that the organic reach on Facebook is now down to 1%. Continue reading

3 Strategies to Rebuilding Your Mailing List After CASL

Email MarketingIn my previous post, we talked about the impact CASL had on your small business mailing list. If you are like many people, you found that when you asked people to opt back in to your list, only 10-20% actually went through the process. This was no doubt a sobering realization that not everyone is ‘into you’ the way you might have hoped.  Being a glass half-full kinda person, I look at this as an opportunity to re-evaluate the type and quality of information you are putting out there. It’s also time to re-evaluate your tribe.  Who are the people who are invested in you and your business? And how do you attract more like them? Here are 3 strategies to help you rebuild your list.  Remember to spend your time focusing on the people who took the time to opt back in. They obviously find what you have to offer of value to them. Continue reading

Canadian Anti-Spam Laws Killed my List

Canadian Anti-Spam Laws CASLAs a Canadian business, you know that the new Canadian Anti-Spam law came into effect on July 1st.

I would like to say that I am frustrated with the way Canadian government continues to try and strangle our business owners. With the ‘do-not-call’ list (we’ve seen how well this works, NOT), fax/telecommunications laws, and now the anti-spam laws, it is making it very difficult for business owners to reach out to prospective clients and build their lists. I wouldn’t mind so much if they were able to inflict this pain on businesses outside our country being able to bombard us too.  I understand the reasoning behind it, but I question their ability to properly govern it. That being said… Continue reading

Virtually Yours, Joanne Burgess Relocating to Mt. Forest Ontario

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click image to enlarge

It has been my lifetime wish to have more property and live closer to Mother Nature as I have always been a country girl at heart. Being in a subdivision for me is too confining – with the constant barrage of noise; cars, buses, dogs barking, helicopters (we’re on the flight path to Southlake Hospital for critical care) and we even hear the PA system from the local public school. While we back onto a green space behind our home and have a good mix of birds, rabbit, chimpmunk, squirrel, skunk, raccoon and even the occasional fox, they are still drowned out many days with all the other surrounding noise. So, my wish is finally coming to fruition. With the kids grown and mostly gone, my husband and I are relocating to Mt. Forest, Ontario where my husband will tackle retirement! Careful honey, the job jar is already growing.. 😉

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