You already know that more of your website visitors are arriving via mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Even if you don’t study your website’s analytics, you surely know that your own activity is increasingly done on devices other than a computer. The website may remain the hub of your digital presence, but social media, email and your presence on other websites are all important components of your organization’s marketing.

Car with sign on roof is early example of mobile advertising.
Old school mobile advertising

We routinely see data showing client websites receive up to   half of their visitors via mobile devices. That’s true on specialty sites receiving few visitors and sites that receive thousands of visitors every day.

Up to half and growing is an important number.

Google is meeting the trend by creating “call-only” advertising campaigns that should be part of every local retailer and service company’s strategy moving forward. The mobile feature launches with the ability for your agency to start scripting messages and landing pages directly for mobile. And that means you can save significant amounts of advertising expenses by optimizing a mobile-only ad campaign.

Mobile advertising has been available for years, but mobile-only is a giant step for the world’s leading search engine company. Remember that almost all Google profit comes from advertising so Google mobile advertising is not a casual test. The company says that “70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results.”

If only a fraction of that number is accurate, your organization needs to be using this new feature fast. Talk with us about call-only advertising if you’re a client or think you should be one.


Source: Charge up your phones with call-only campaigns – Google Inside AdWords
Image: Mobile Advertising by Ardfern via CC 3.0

eBay is a big company that makes a lot of money, but it recently ran afoul of some rules that all businesses must follow. Industry expert Danny Sullivan recapped eBay’s most recent earnings call  and the results detailed in his “Search Engine Land” article weren’t pretty. Sullivan reported that eBay’s penalty from breaking Google’s unwritten marketing rules may have cost the online giant $200 million.

All the Different Rules

We all must follow different rules.

Federal law states that the US flag may not be used for advertising or embroidered on clothing. I’m reliably informed no federal penalty exists for doing this because any penalty is determined by a state or  the District of Columbia.

An HR executive I once worked with used to wash his hands of wrongdoing when an executive asked a tricky question about an HR law:

The speed limit on the highway is 55 miles per hour. My job is to tell you when you’re driving 55, 65 or 100 miles per hour.  Your job is to drive the car.

This passing-the-buck sentiment kept him out of trouble, I guess, although it wasn’t his job. I once tried the same line as a young director working for same CEO, Thousands of unfulfilled orders sat in a warehouse, I told him, but the credit cards had long been charged. The FTC specified that we were supposed to ask each customer for permission  to delay their order. He started and simply asked, “What’s the penalty?”

I stammered, admitted that I didn’t know the penalty. He told me to return when I knew, and in a moment of expediency, told me to call our attorneys to learn the answer.

Breaking Google Law

These days my answer and advice about legal issues is much simpler. I’m not an attorney so if I think a client needs that advice, I simply suggest they speak with an attorney.

But there are other rules out there now that can cripple a business.  Google, Bing, Facebook are among online giants publishing “guidelines”. Marketers have hair-splitting debates about each word.

Monthly, I tell at least once a customer that they are in danger of a serious problem with one of these companies, invariably Google. It’s not that Google’s rules are worse or better than anyone else’s. They simply control about 70% of all search in North America. Mess with them, even inadvertently, and your website and the online reach of your business will be harmed.  We eventually stop working with the companies who ask us about the penalties.

Your takeaway as a small business leader is to push just a little bit when your agency or online marketer tells you that something on your website risks a Google penalty.  Make them explain the penalty so you don’t hear the copout of breaking a rule.  But when your agency is adamant, informed and seemingly well-versed in the issue, you ignore their advice at your own peril.

Silver Beacon has now saved two organizations from these penalties. One is on track now to receive well over one million pageviews. The other is doing fine too.  We talk with our clients about their stories not to brag, but to warn of the dangers involved in breaking a severe Google law.

Your attorney can hand you all the books with all the laws, but that doesn’t mean you should give yourself legal counsel. We can also give you all the guidelines for the big web companies, but only a trained marketer knows which “guidelines” are bad for your traffic and which could have the company manually remove your website from its listings.


Google Penalty Hits eBay’s Bottom Line” – by Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land
4 U.S. Code § 8 – Respect for flag” – Cornell Law
Google Hits eBay with Manual Penalty…” – by Matt McGee, Search Engine Land

Google Documents already had a place in my heart for the ease with which basic lists could be shared across devices and accounts with a complete audit trail.  The features were more than enough for almost any personal or business reason.

Then came word last week that Google Documents was integrating email and comments into “discussions”.  The concept is simple.  Using the @ function that is quickly becoming the standard in new media communications, people sharing documents can now have discussions about them.   Even better is the new “resolve” feature.   After a discussion inside Google Docs without resorting to long email threads that may not have brought everyone up to speed, the item can be marked as “resolved”.    And if the person you’re trying to reach doesn’t have the document shared with them, simply type the @ sign and their email address to bring them in.

Finis.   We’re done here.  On to the next issue or quit tangenting off and focus.

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because the discussion feature in Google Docs is an awful lot like the feature set in Google Wave.  The main difference is that Wave was built around an email box while this new discussion feature is built into the document, spreadsheet or slide deck.  The change of where this functionality is located creates an entirely new way to use docs.  We’ve written before about collaboration inside Google Docs when the ability to share a drawing was launched last year.  We suggested that was really the Google Whiteboard.

That was before seeing this new collaboration feature being used.  This is truly the Google  Whiteboard and a great example of a company repurposing its assets to enhance its service offerings.  With this, Google Apps continue to be the small business’ best friend.  Your takeaway as a small business leader is that Google may not only replace Microsoft Office, but can bring a new level of  collaboration to your operations by integrating partners, remote team members and even clients.

Have a look at the video and start thinking about how you can integrate discussions into your workflow.