Category Archives: Google Plus

Google Officially Launches Enhanced Campaigns

Today Google AdWords’ platform has changed from Legacy campaigns to their new Enhanced platform. Since Google anticipates mobile usage to surpass desktop by the end of this year, Google’s new Enhanced campaign gears Internet marketers to mobile marketing. As a certified Google AdWords partner, Windy City Strategies has experienced the Enhanced platform before its official launch. With our team’s previous experience, we’ve compiled three must know features of the new Enhanced campaigns.

1. Mobile Marketing

With Google’s Enhanced campaigns, a mobile marketing campaign is built in. Since desktop and mobile are now separated, your website must be available as desktop and mobile versions. This can be accomplished through responsive website designs. Don’t feel pressured to go mobile, though, if your business isn’t suited for mobile. Just be mindful that mobile marketing is separate from traditional desktop and your mobile marketing exists whether you utilize it or not.

2. Mobile Cost-Per-Clicks to Rise

By basic supply and demand, the more people on mobile pay-per-click campaigns and the more people bidding on mobile CPCs, the more CPC prices rise. Your mobile pay-per-click campaign‘s budget must meet the needs of mobile demands. However, remember that you have control over your mobile campaign’s budget. Since only the first two mobile searches usually appear on mobile devices, mobile campaigns are highly competitive.

3. Enhanced Analytics

By using geographical capabilities of mobile devices, expanding into different areas or locations will be easier for businesses. With the enhanced program marketers can target specific areas in one campaign as opposed to having separate campaigns for every area. With increased social annotations, too, marketers can see what’s successful in the campaign overall.

Google’s Enhanced AdWords is here today. Get your AdWords campaign up to date with our team at Windy City Strategies.

The Best Google Analytic Reports

Using Google Analytics may give you insight on who’s seeing your website and how they’re finding you. Understanding your target audience, you can better communicate and market toward your following. Windy City Strategies recommends the following custom reports on Google to help you connect with your audience and learn more about your niche.

Unique Visitors by Page: This report shows you what keywords are successful. Each time your business gets a visit, the Unique Visitors report will record the visit’s source and the keyword they used. You can track how your users found you – whether they used Google, Bing, or another search engine – and identify specific keywords.

Conversions by Date and Time: This report can show exactly when your business is being found. This report is useful for establishing specific times to make your PPC campaign most active. You can use this information to find out what pages are most popular at what time, timing your business’s visibility perfectly.

Customer Behavior: The Customer Behavior report specifies the actions between new and returning customers. It tracks traffic, conversions, and events and how new and returning customers react to your page. By distinguish between your returning customers and new customers gives you new insight. Find out why your following keeps coming back and understand how people find you.

Top Converting Landing Pages: This report shows you your best landing pages. Understand how each page is performing based on goal completions and values. This report will help you understand what gets the most attention and identifies your business’s weak spots.

To get help on your business’s Google Analytics, click here.


Cultivating A Customer Community

Building a relationships with customers is an essential part of building a following for your business, but keeping the customers’ attentions and maintaining your company’s allure helps foster an on-going relationship. Most online campaigns are changing all the time, bombarding consumers with an array of ads. Windy City Strategies suggest the following to help you stand out from new competitors and uphold your current following.

  1. Text Reminders and Emails: Mobile messages help your business stay fresh in the customers’ minds. Sending texts or emails midmorning or on weekends to tell customers about special promotions you’re running might entice them to check out your business.
  2. Polls and Surveys: If you feel out of touch with your clientele, you might want to hear what they have to say. Polls and surveys are great for you to get feedback right away from you customers. When customers know you care about their opinions, it shows that your business is paying attention and seeking improvement.
  3. Sweepstakes: Giving customers incentives to visit your website, sign up for a newsletter, or participating in an event gives you the chance to connect with your customers. Building a community will excite customers and promote your business’s mission.
  4. Push Notifications: Like text messages, push notifications will keep your business on the customer’s mind. Using geo-location technology you can send them a notifications when they pass by your store. If your business is ready to create its own app, you can send them personalized notifications based on their actions on the app.
  5. Social Integration: Let your customers’ share their experiences. Your customers see your business most accurately, so giving them the platform to share their stories supports your business’s community. Respond to messages, too; this let’s them know that you’re listening and value you their feedback.
  6. Loyalty & Membership Programs: Regular customers deserve recognition. Include additional benefits, like exclusive promotions. This will remind them of why they value your business, and make them more likely to share. Your repeat customers can help pass your business along and build your community.

To grow your business’s community, click here.

Google Now Changes Internet Marketing

With Google Now expected to expand to desktop platforms this fall, preparation to target a variety of niche-based audiences is crucial. Google Now facilitates searching for users by delivering answers in organized cards. Based on past searches, commands, and Gmail activity, Google Now will proactively give users search results before you even search for it.

Since Google dominates the mobile search market, marketers must follow suit to remain relevant. Google Now will now require marketers to develop strategies that coincide with current SEO strategies. This means appropriate keywords, prominent web presence, and attractive ads.

Currently Google Now tracks a selected number of partner brands emails, and takes note of Gmail users’ habits and certain elements in emails sent by businesses. This information transfers to Google Now Cards making your campaign more visible to customers. The efficiency of this, however, is based on the users’ involvement. Internet marketers must be more adamant now in preparation for Google’s transition this fall.

Are you ready for Google’s change? Click here.

Google+ Gets A Facelift

Google announced earlier this week that it was giving Google+ a facelift and if you haven’t seen the new look, click here to check it out! While some people might not enjoy the new layout if your an avid Facebook or Pinierest user you will find many similarities which make using the new platform easy to navigate.

Google+ has been updated with 41 new features. One of the most talked about feature is it’s content feed. When you or someone else makes a post to your Google+posts show up in one, two or three columns depending on the screen size being used to check out Google+. Previously, the site displayed just one column, so the new look makes it easier to see more posts at one time. Google+ is also allowing video or photo posts to be displayed across the entire width of the screen.

Overall, we think the new Google+ look is much easier to use than the previous version. It gives users a more inviting experience and displays activity much better than before.

And…..If you haven’t already heard as well, Google is launching a new music system, Google Maps and the ability to search using your voice. Google once again is leading the pack of Internet search engines with it’s latest updates.

By Alisha Lowans

SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Search engines are still the number one place people turn when they want to learn something new or solve a problem. If you want your startup to attract and retain the level of attention it needs to thrive, investing in SEO is an easy call. That said, poor SEO can end up being harmful, and it’s easy to make mistakes if you don’t have the experience. Here are some things to avoid if you want your startup to do well in the search engines.

1. Poor/No UI and UX

It’s amazing how often webmasters still believe that you have to sacrifice the user interface and the user experience in order to get the best results in the search engines. If anything, this is the opposite of how search engines work today. Design always starts with the user. Search engines come second.

2. Slow Page Load Time

Do not assume that everybody has an internet connection like yours. Avoid the use of interfaces based on Flash and don’t use images or animations where text will suffice. This is especially important with the recent push toward mobile, where internet connections are much slower.

A large portion of your audience will leave if the site doesn’t load within a few seconds. You don’t have to sacrifice multimedia, but it should load last, and the site should be useable without it.

3. Ignorance of Social Media

Even if all you cared about were the search engines (and what startup is that naïve?), you would still need to care about social media. Mastering social media requires more than testing the placement of your social buttons. It requires the creation of content that demands to be shared, and regular interaction with your target audience. Interaction with social influencers is perhaps even more important.

4. Blog Content with No Value

With every piece of content you create, you need to identify the problem it is attempting to solve, and make sure it solves that problem better than any other piece of content on the web. If you can’t do that, it means one of two things: you’re targeting saturated keywords, or you’re not investing enough in your content.

This is where it’s worth hiring outside talent. Hire somebody with a popular blog on the subject and leverage their reputation to bolster your own. This is what can really set you apart from the competition.

5. Targeting Search Engines Instead of Users

The days of keyword density are over, and they ended a long time ago. It’s amazing how often we still run into this misconception. If your keyword is in the title, and it’s what the article is about, you’ve already met your keyword requirements. Trying to impose any kind of artificial frequency on the use of the keyword just results in an article that looks like spam to anybody who reads it.

6. Poor Site Architecture and URL Naming Convention

This is an especially easy mistake to make and it can be harder to get right than you might expect. Here are a few things you should try to avoid:

Multiple pages with the same or similar content – This one is especially problematic for ecommerce sites, since they often host a huge number of pages with similar content focused on different products.

Dynamic URLs – You’ll want to make sure that your dynamic URLs are created in a folder that gets no-indexed, or it can lead to massive duplicate content issues and confusion about which page to show in the search results.

Meaningless URL Naming Convention – In order to maximize benefit from the search engines, you will want to adjust the way URLs are built in the future. A good URL naming convention makes the hierarchy of the site clear, and makes it clear what each page is about.

7. Not Claiming Google+ Authorship

Google+ is one of the less popular social networks, so it’s not uncommon for digital marketers and webmasters to wonder why it’s worth claiming authorship. This is a mistake, because Google+ is the social network that Google’s search engine has unfettered access to. Every interaction on that social network is monitored by the search engine, and Google can usually tell which accounts are run by actual humans by monitoring activity on their other properties like YouTube and Gmail.

8. Building Too Many Links Too Fast

Any strategy that allows you to build a large number of links yourself (or through automated software) is dangerous. Google frowns upon links that you build yourself. It’s as simple as that. In Google’s utopia, every link to your site would be completely natural, and nobody would point a single link to their own site ever.

9. Ignoring the Value of Content Marketing

Content marketing is the art and science of attracting attention and building trust with content alone. It’s about promoting your content in places where you can expand your reach, and retaining customers with content that keeps on giving. This means that you expand the benefits of content beyond pure SEO, start embracing the power of social networking and email marketing, and you start thinking about guest posts and other collaborations as an opportunity to send referral traffic to your site.

10. Hiring the Wrong SEO Agency

It’s almost always better to hire an SEO agency than to try to do the promotion on your own, but choosing the wrong agency can be even worse. The important thing to remember is that SEO done poorly can actually do more harm than good, so treat it the way you would approach an investment in the stock market.

Enhance Your AdWords Campaign With Google Ad Extensions

Google Ad Extensions are great way to attract more attention through your online PPC advertising campaigns. These Google Ad Extensions allow business to show additional information through links on your Google AdWords ads and can be a powerful tools for a variety of effects, including increasing CTR, boosting conversion rate and decreasing CPA.

These 7 Extensions are:

1. Google Map Extension– Display Your Google Places / Google + page

2. Sitelink Extension- Add up to 4 additional links within your ad to specific pages on your website

3. Click-To Call Extension- A great mobile extension allowing searches to click your phone number in the ad

4. Offer Extension- Give your customers a coupon/deal/special promotion

5. Product Extension- Highlight specific products from your Google Merchant Center in your ad

6. Social Media Extension- Include your Google + page in your ad

7. App Extension- Allow searches to click the link in your ad & directly download your app

If your business is not utilizing the ad extensions provided by Google AdWords, contact Windy City Strategies today. As a certified Google AdWords company, our advanced knowledge and training has allowed us to use these extensions to their fullest potential.

By Alisha Lowans

Spruce Up Your Pay-Per-Click Strategy

With the Internet playing a bigger role in research, pay-per-click advertising proved an increased necessity over the course of 2012. With the success of this strategy and its cost effectiveness, businesses are realizing that online advertising is essential.

Last year businesses saw increased returns from Product Listing Advertising while advertising costs fell. This increased revenue prompted businesses to increase their pay-per-click budgets. Since PPC proves to pay off, more businesses are encouraged to participate in online advertising. As more businesses utilize PLA and PPC, prominence on the Internet is harder to achieve. So businesses must keep their online campaigns fresh to stand out from their competitors.

With this is mind, businesses should prepare to update their online presence. To start 2013 off right, Windy City Strategies offers this advice to keep your business relevant on the web.

1. New Ad Formats

At the beginning of 2013, Yahoo! launched a new ad format called cost-per-lead. This format allows advertisers to start leads directly from the search page. This makes signing up easier and saves customers’ time. Increased efficiency starting on the search page makes your business’s website more appealing.

2. Attention to Psychographics

With the increased use of Google+, Google is collecting more data about the popularity of certain sites. This information will be used for Google’s Remarketing 3.0. Incorporating this information will help Google better direct ads to consumers, so that ads are better matched to their viewers.

3. PPC To Grow in 2013

As online advertising becomes more popular, more businesses are getting on board. Consumers are flooded with business advertisements, so your business needs a creative ad to attract their customers. Incorporating new elements, like catchy content and efficient formats will help set your business apart.

To update your PPC strategy, click here.

Online Reviews On Google Impacted By FTC ruling, And How It Impacts Business

Reviews are a central part in managing a business’s reputation online.   Part of the large overall FTC ruling was a nugget we would like highlight- which is that reviews “scraped” from other websites, may not be part of  a business listing anymore on Google- impacting a business’s overall reviews on Google.

According to today’s article on, “Regarding Google search, the chairman pointed out that Google “allegedly” scraped user-generated restaurant reviews from Yelp “and led consumers to believe that these reviews were its own.”  When websites complained of the practice, he said, “Google allegedly threatened to remove them entirely from Google’s search results.”

The chairman called such practices as “potentially harmful” — practices Google is agreeing to discontinue.

“Going forward, Google will allow websites the ability to opt out of appearing in its vertical properties like Google Local or Product Shopping, without being penalized or demoted in its general search results on,” the chairman said.”

To read the rest of the Wired article, CLICK HERE.

Windy City Strategies will help your business soar in the ultra-competitive web marketplace through our proven Internet marketing campaigns. We manage Google, Yahoo and Bing accounts and offer pay per click campaign management services as well as search engine optimization, website development, and internet marketing consultation. Please contact us for a free proposal and analysis.

Getting Local For The Holidays- Google Enhances Location Targeting

Just in time, Google has introduced some great enhanced location products for the Holidays.   You can read the full article here but here are the highlights for your convenience:

1.  Google has introduced Airport Targeting.  Does your business target travelers by an airport?  Great for promoting apps for people in the airport, or even last minute entertainment and travel opportunities for consumers.

2.  Location extensions and sitelinks are together.  Here is how it looks:

Location extensions allow you to “extend” your AdWords campaigns by dynamically attaching your business address to your ads.  Sitelinks link the consumer to popular pages on your website, including top selling products, your location(s) or deals/coupons.

3.  A bigger, blown up map.  Google is saying that users are clicking more on this new map than the previous.

4.  Better location mapping for our clients- utizing such targeting as US Postal Service zip code targeting, and a more regional approach for destination locations, where consumers will travel a larger distance.

5.  These location extensions offer reporting- allowing us and you to track results.

6.  Google also has international options available.

Windy City Strategies will help your business soar in the ultra-competitive web marketplace through our proven Internet marketing campaigns. We manage Google, Yahoo and Bing accounts and offer pay per click campaign management services as well as search engine optimization, website development, and internet marketing consultation. Please contact us for a free proposal and analysis.