Category: Digital Marketing

NEW: Claim Your Agency Directory Listing

Claim your listing on the new BrightLocal Agency Directory to begin generating leads from businesses that are searching for help with digital marketing right now.

Every week, BrightLocal’s Customer Success team receives requests for recommendations of top-rated agencies that can help our local business customers with their digital marketing. And, just as often, we receive requests from agencies and consultants to be added to our legacy lists of Top SEO Agencies.

We wanted to help bridge this gap between businesses in need of digital marketing assistance and the many talented agencies and freelancers operating in the US and actively seeking new leads. 

Introducing the Agency Directory


Today, we launched the Agency Directory – an in-depth directory of digital marketing agencies and consultants offering services including local SEO, PPC, SEO, and web design, in 1,000 cities in the USA*. 

A listing on the Agency Directory allows you to show off the key business information that potential leads need to know about when searching for services, so you can start generating leads right from your listing. 

Getting listed on the Agency Directory means you can feature on up to 5 lists of the top-rated agencies in the nearest city to ensure you’re being seen by businesses at the time they want to buy. Whether a business is looking for a local SEO agency in New York City, the best web designers in West Des Moines, or a great PPC provider in Portland, we have local lists aplenty!

*We plan to extend the Agency Directory in the near future to Canada, the UK, and Australia later this year.

Becoming an Agency Directory Partner

It’s free to claim your listing and enjoy the benefits of appearing in local lists for the services you offer.

However, if you’d like to improve your chances of impressing potential customers, you can upgrade to become an Agency Directory Partner. 

Becoming a Partner allows you to:

  • Get priority positioning on local lists to help your agency be seen by local businesses in need
  • Show off your key clients and case studies to tell the story of your agency’s best work
  • Remove links to Similar Companies on your listing to make sure searchers are only focused on you
  • Select and display the industries that you specialize in
  • Link through to your website to help potential customers learn more your business
  • See daily updates of your latest Google reviews, so your reputation stays up-to-date and your listing remains fresh! 

And, of course, it also means you can enjoy the whole BrightLocal toolset – including our brand-new grid tracker, Local Search Grid!

Partner status is reserved for BrightLocal users on a Multi Business, SEO Pro, or Enterprise plan. You can also enjoy these bonus features during your 14-day free BrightLocal trial.

So, how do I claim my Agency Directory listing?

We wanted to make sure the Agency Directory was helpful for local businesses from day one, so we’ve added a number of agencies to the Directory to get started. But this is where you come in. 

Whether you’re already listed or not, if you’re a digital marketing agency or consultant based in the US, you can claim your listing right now. It’s entirely free to join the Agency Directory – all you need is a BrightLocal login. This applies to both BrightLocal customers and non-customers, with no purchase necessary to claim and maintain your listing.

1. Head to the Agency Directory to search for your agency

Browse the list of local agencies in your city or state, or search for your agency to find your listing. 

No listing? No worries! Head straight to the brand-new Agency Directory Details section of your BrightLocal account to add in all the information about your agency.  This lives in Account Details – Agency Directory Details. 

2. If you find your agency is already listed, click ‘Claim Your Listing’

This will connect the listing to your BrightLocal account.

If you’re completely new to BrightLocal, you’ll take a short pit stop to register and get your account set up and ready to connect.

3. You’ll be taken to Agency Directory Details to edit your details

Whether you’re adding a completely new listing or claiming one that’s already live, Agency Directory Details is the central hub of all the information displayed in your listing.

Agency Directory Details

Here, you can manage a number of key elements of your listing, including your contact details, information about your agency and clients, Google reviews connection, and links to your social media profiles. 

Once you’re happy with your information, hit ‘Submit For Verification’ at the bottom of the page. 

4. We’ll verify your listing, and email you when it’s live

To ensure the Agency Directory is as useful as possible for businesses (and free of spam!), we manually verify every listing to ensure they are in the correct location, are legitimate digital marketers, and belong to the person claiming the listing. 

During particularly busy periods, this may take us a little bit of time, so please bear with us. We’ll email you once your listing has been verified.

5. Relax!  

Once your listing is live, you can sit back and rest assured your listing is in safe hands. 

If your agency catches a lead’s eye, they can email or call you from the details supplied on your listing. Emails will land in the inbox of the directory contact you designated in your Agency Directory Details. 

In the near future, we plan to introduce additional functionality to our Agency Lead Generator to help you keep track of the number of calls, website clicks, and views your listing gets – as well as to help you see all of the email leads you get in one place. Watch your inbox, as we’ll be sure to update you when this is live. 

You can update your listing details at any point in your BrightLocal account, and update your clients, case studies, and industry specialisms to reflect your latest work.

Reviews also update automatically to help ensure your listing stays fresh – you don’t need to touch a thing!  As an added bonus, any time you update your listing, you will be featured on the main page for your city to be even more visible to potential leads. 

Want to know more? 

To find out more about the Agency Directory, visit our Help Center: 

If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to BrightLocal support or share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Get More Mileage From Your Site With These 6 WordPress Popup Plugins

Using a WordPress Popup plugin is a fast and easy way to get more value out of your site. Show visitors timely offers, divert them towards key pages – they can boost conversions considerably. Not every popup maker is equal, though, and how you design and place them is equally important.

This guide will take you through some of the best WordPress Popup plugins in the market and how you can use them effectively. Stop losing potential subscribers or customers today with these ultra-handy tools.

6 Best WordPress Popup Plugins

Before you dive into this list, I’d like to take a moment as a reminder. While popups can be very useful, they can also be a double-edged sword. This fact is especially true if you’re new to creating and using them. 

Make sure to check out the tips section once you’ve gone through the options on this list!

1. Popup Maker

Popup Maker - WordPress Popup plugin that is in use on over 600,000 sites at last count.

Website: https://wppopupmaker.com/

Starting Price: Free – $87/year

Popup Maker was the first WordPress popup plugin I came across when I was searching for one. It shows up high on the WordPress plugin repository and is in use on over 600,000 sites at last count.

This plugin allows you to build almost any kind of popup imaginable visually. While that may be expected of a top plugin, Popup Maker also features an incredible number of ways you can have popups triggered by visitors.

Imagine having a bunch of popups that behave following what individual visitors do. Trigger a popup just before they leave, or open a timely offer if they happen to show interest in a particular product.

It’s so easy to use that you can build and deploy a basic popup in a matter of minutes. The free version is suitable for most regular sites, but paid plans have eCommerce support features. 

Top Features

  • Visual popup editor
  • Conditional targeting
  • Popup analytics
  • Third-party form integration
  • Built-in subscriber form

2. OptinMonster

OptinMonster - Popular WordPress popup that works well with several third party services and applications

Website: https://optinmonster.com/

Starting Price: $9/month onward

OptinMonster bills itself as a lead generation tool rather than a popup maker. In reality, though, it is just a popup maker, albeit one with relatively comprehensive features. The plugin feels like it’s almost an entire website builder, thanks to a powerful visual editor.

Part of the reason why OptinMonster markets itself for lead generation is that it envisions how popups are used. Instead of focusing on selling the popup feature, the plugin encourages visitors to create comprehensive popup campaigns to boost lead generation.

It also works with several third-party services and applications such as MailChimp, Salesforce, Facebook, and more. While running your campaigns, you also get intelligent reports that can recommend further actions to improve performance.

The only downside of OptinMonster is the lack of a free version (or even a trial period). This pricing model makes it suitable for commercial use but not very practical if you’re running a personal site or blog.

Top Features

  • Powerful visual editor
  • Build multiple campaign types
  • Multi-event triggering
  • Actionable insights
  • Geo-location targeting

3. Popup Builder

Website: https://popup-builder.com/

Starting Price: Free – from $5 for extra extension

Popup Builder may not rank as highly as some other popup makers, but it does have a sizeable audience. The thing I like most about this popup maker is how simple it is to use. Big and clearly labeled icons segregate the different types of popups which can be created.

This style works in more ways than just simplicity, though. The basic plugin offers what most typical users will need – popups based on image, HTML, or for subscriptions and the like. If you need more advanced tactics, you’ll need to choose an extension.

While this may drive up costs for those seeking an ‘all-in-one’ solution, the extension system is more beneficial than you might think. It helps keep the plugin more streamlined and creates less impact on your hosting resources.

The free version comes with only the basics, and each extra extension you choose comes at a small price. Of course, if you want everything, they have packages that bundle in all extensions as well.

Top Features

  • Modular feature design 
  • Works with PDF forms
  • Animation effects
  • Behavioral targeting
  • Popup themes

4. WP Popups

WP Popups - WordPress popup plugin for real newbies

Website: https://wppopups.com/

Starting Price: Free – $35/year

WP Popups is a pretty good place to start if you haven’t used a popup maker before. It skips past the lead generation marketing speak and jumps into what users want – to quickly get started building a popup.

While not unique, the visual interface is accommodating and has the added advantage of letting you start with templates. The system is convenient for real newbies and can serve as a guidance system.

Beyond that, WP Popups keeps on giving thanks to advanced features that rival almost any popup marker in the market. This comparison is especially prevalent in the area of display rules that allow practically any conditions you need to be set.

Honestly, I find that the way WP Popups is built keeps well to the freemium pricing model. The free version is wholly usable, while paid versions add functionality for those who have mastered the basics.

Top Features

  • Visual editor with templates
  • Highly defined rule system
  • Lots of animations
  • Integrates with email marketing apps
  • A/B testing and analytics 

5. Sumo

Sumo - Popup maker that comes from creators of AppSumo

Website: https://sumo.com/

Starting Price: Free – $39/month

Sumo comes from the creators of AppSumo and takes the form of a suite of tools. While it doesn’t offer pervasive popup functionality, Sumo does help with an essential one for some – list building.

This Sumo feature is dedicated to helping you build your subscriber list and offers a few means to do so. You can either choose to have it done in-line or as a popup. The latter will behave as you configure it to, either on a timer basis, when users try to close your page, or when an event is triggered.

There are also many other rules you can set to govern the way your Sumo list-builder works. For example, implementing controls for mobile devices of varying sizes and the like. Purists may object to Sumo trying to do too many other things in one package.

While there is a free version of Sumo that comes with its branding, you will need to subscribe to a paid plan to remove limitations and branding. Oh yes – free users will still have to sign up for a Sumo account as well.

Top Features

  • Multi-function plugin
  • Connect eCommerce stores
  • Statistics and analytics 
  • Social media sharing

6. ConvertPlus

ConvertPlus - Popup plugin with a crazy amount of features.

Website: https://www.convertplug.com/

Starting Price: Free – $23

Even by the standards of popup plugins today ConvertPlus comes with a crazy amount of features. It seems determined to do everything it can to cover the entire field of lead generation rather than just offer popups.

The plugin offers detailed control over almost everything from background settings to animations and size. If the design options in place aren;’t enough, go ahead and add your own custom CSS to it as well.

Of course, there are also the trigger rules you can set, including a rather unique two-step popup to push your conversion rates even further. YOu can even create triggers on scroll activities!

Despite the name, ConvertPlus isn’t the paid version of it and offers some decent levels of capability. To get the whole shebang, you will need to sign up for ConvertPlus Pro – which sounds a little strange.

Top Features

  • Launch after content
  • Referrer detection
  • Visitor recognition (old vs new)
  • Cookie control

Tips for Using WordPress Popups Effectively

Nothing is more annoying than a website bombarding you with popups constantly. Using a popup maker to create a popup is easy, but working with them to create the results you want may not be.

Here are some areas to consider when using popups with your WordPress site;

Time Popups Carefully

When someone lands on your site, they are likely to have come as part of their search for something. Throwing a popup in their face is both rude and highly annoying. Chances are they’ll simply ignore the popup or even close the browser tab entirely.

Design Effectively

The art of design is more than building something that looks pretty. Popups are distracting for users, and you need to capture their attention quickly. You need a careful blend of colors and text that maximizes impact and effect.

Don’t Be Shy With Your CTA

I’ve seen users that place their Call-to-Action (CTA) so unobtrusively that it’s virtually invisible. Your popup is there for effect, so be bold and make your CTA prominent in color, font, size, and placement.

Follow Guidelines

Aside from what works or doesn’t with visitors, there are serious rules you need to consider. For example, Google will penalize sites using overly intrusive popups (especially for mobile devices). Make sure you’re aware of these potential pitfalls.

Following these guidelines can be difficult, especially since competition is so high nowadays. However, I’m sure you’ve felt the immense frustration at continually being bombarded by popups on every site you visit – show some consideration for your site visitors as well. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I create a popup for WordPress?

Using a plugin is the fastest and easiest way of creating a popup for your WordPress site. There are many to choose from and lots of free options that work well.

Do popup ads work?

Yes, but only if you design and use them carefully. Popups have a bad reputation due to many sites implementing them poorly and affecting user experience negatively.

How do I install a popup plugin?

Finding one from your WordPress plugin dashboard is the simplest way. You can search, install, activate, and configure it from one convenient location.

How do I add popups to WordPress without plugins?

Aside from plugins, you can also code popups manually or use third-party popup services like Popupsmart

What is a lightbox in WordPress?

Lightboxes are popup windows that display an image while dimming the rest of the page behind it.


I’ve tried a couple of the popups on this list, but my favorite is Popup Maker. For me, it was the perfect blend of simplicity and features. Yet all of us have diverse needs, so choose the WordPress popup maker that fits your requirements. Remember, plugins consume resources, so having one that does more than you need isn’t always the ideal solution.

Read more:

F1 Race Stars Out Now on the App Store

Use power-ups, hit jumps, powerslide around corners and speed through shortcuts as you jostle for position with the cast of F1 Race Stars, available now on the App Store for your iPhone, iPad or iPod.

40 super-charged tracks from 15 Formula 1 Grand Prix locations across the world.

Featuring all the cars, teams and drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship racing across over 40 super-charged tracks from 15 Formula 1 Grand Prix locations across the world. Each track has been designed for quick-fire portable gaming and features jumps, shortcuts and a range of awesome power-ups, including Wet Weather, Homing Bubbles, Safety Car and many more.

Using simple touch or tilt controls, handling is accessible, fast and fun – you’ll now be able to build boost by powersliding around corners and then slingshot up the track, slipstream your rivals and hit boost pads to speed through the pack.


Race as your favourite driver or as one of many of our new fantasy characters and make use of our new upgrades system to really make your mark out on the track.

  • A New Development For iOS – F1 Race Stars’ track design, handling and customisation options are designed to bring fast and fun arcade thrills to racing fans of all ages and is optimised for use on Apple’s latest A7 chip powered iPads and iPhones.
  • Console Quality Visuals – Powered by Codemasters’ EGO Game Technology Platform to feature High Dynamic Range rendering with bloom, full screen post-process effects (blur, distortion, vignettes, anti-aliasing), dynamic weather effects, spherical harmonic lighting and global illumination. Basically, it looks amazing.
  • Official Formula One Cars & Stars – Features all the cars, teams and stars from the 2013 FORMULA ONE season including Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
  • 40+ Tracks To Master – Set at real-world F1™ GRAND PRIX locations, gamers can race over 40 free-to-play tracks. Powerslide around tight and twisty Monaco, speed along a dragon’s back in China or tear up the baseball field in the USA and more!
  • Fast & Fun Handling – Players can powerslide around corners, use slipstream to close the gap and choose touch or tilt, right or left-handed controls and includes support for the latest game controllers.
  • Awesome Power-ups – Unleash the mighty Bottle Rocket to power through the pack, call in a Rain Cloud on the leader, slow rivals with Wet Weather and many more!
  • Fantasy Drivers – Play as your favourite star or choose from a huge selection of fantasy drivers with their own special abilities – including Robot, Ninja, Wizard, Secret Agent and many more.
  • Collect & Combine Upgrades – Players can discover hundreds of upgrades to boost their character’s skills which can be combined to improve and customise on-track performance.
  • Five Race Modes  – Players can choose from Race events, Elimination mode, Slalom Gate events, Pole Position sprints and tactical Refuel races.
  • TV Output & Gamepad – Experience F1 RACE STARS on your TV and use your device as a controller with dual display mode. F1 RACE STARS also includes support for gamepads for the full console experience.
  • Multiplayer & Social Support – Multiplayer racing is available via Bluetooth and WifFi and gamers can unlock 50+ achievements with Game Center and share progress through Facebook.
  • Officially Licensed – From Codemasters, the publishers of award-winning, multi-million selling FORMULA 1 videogames, F1 RACE STARS is officially licensed by Formula One World Championship Limited.


F1 Race Stars is now available on the App Store and free to download, give it a try and let us know what you think on Twitter or Facebook.


Codemasters Community Manager, beard grower, biscuit stealer and fan of all things off road.

Search Scoop: Week of February 15th

Adam Henige
Adam Henige Google Algo Update? Yay or Nay? — This may be a first. Search Engine Roundtable shows some numbers that scream, “There was an algorithm update!” Meanwhile, I ask our staff, “Anybody see any big swings in rankings?” Everyone shrugs. I guess our clients were immune to this one? Or…maybe it wasn’t a thing? Jerod KaramJerod Karam Can’t Find the Name of a Song? Just Hum or Whistle the Melody to Google — Fresh from the “What Will They Think of Next” Department… Apparently, you have to have the Google search app installed. If you’re on Android you’re in luck. You have to download the specific app if you want to test it on iPhone. I’m too lazy. Tell me how well it works. Joe Ford
Joe Ford Google Search dark theme mode expands but search ads are hard to distinguish — In today’s version of news that surprises no one… Google has just released a dark mode version of its SERP. On this, ads are even harder to determine against organic results. Shocking. Kelli KaufmanKelli Kaufman What Are Traffic Bots? How Traffic Bots Are Causing Havoc Online — Have you ever had a huge spike in your website’s traffic in the matter of a single day? It could be likely that bot traffic is to thank for the spike. This article details what bot traffic is and the difference between good and bad traffic from bots. Lexie Kimball
Lexie Kimball How to Find Related Keywords and How to Use Them — If you’re finding yourself with a short keyword list that you want to expand, use this article to help you find more target keywords. Then learn how to implement them into your site’s content. Michael Hall
Michael Hall The B2B Content Marketing Report — Some interesting numbers from this study. One that stands out in particular to me is that there’s a huge variance in organic traffic levels for B2B blogs. The median visits from organic traffic are 280, but the top 10% recieve 22,000. If you’re a B2B and are not utilizing your blog, you may be missing out on a large number of visits from your target audience.

How Much Does VPS Hosting Cost?

When you first signed up for a web hosting plan, you probably started off with an affordable, shared hosting plan. In other words, you rented a space on a huge server and you share that space with several other small to medium-size website owners.

While shared hosting is sufficient for many website owners, it’s possible your website, or development goals, will outgrow a shared hosting plan and you need to scale your server size. 

If this is the case, congratulations. It means you’re getting more traffic, you want to start a gaming server, or perhaps you need a virtual dev environment for testing.

Whatever the reason, it indicates growth and that’s awesome.

While upgrading to a VPS hosting plan comes with more control, extra flexibility, and additional security, it’s also true that it can come with extra costs. This begs the question, “How much does VPS hosting cost?”

The short answer is, it depends, but it can run you anywhere from $19.95 per month to $39.95 per month to start. To answer in more depth, this article will review:

  • What VPS hosting is and whether or not it’s right for you
  • How much different VPS hosting plans cost
  • The add-on features that are worth considering

What is VPS hosting and is it right for you?

When it comes to web hosting, you want to make sure you pick the web hosting plan that fits your needs and goals. Otherwise, you’ll either end up over-paying for features you don’t need, or may not have the functionality or space to support a growing site.

First, and as a quick review, VPS stands for virtual private server. A virtual private server runs several partitioned virtual machines on a bigger server, but each is fully private and acts like a smaller dedicated server.

In other words, with a VPS you get the enhanced control, root access, and added security of a dedicated server. However, you don’t have to pay the full price of a dedicated server for space that you might not even come close to needing.

If you know you’ve outgrown shared hosting, here are some scenarios to help you decide if a VPS plan is right for you:

  • You are seeing traffic surges. If your website started out with little traffic, but is suddenly getting more simultaneous visits, a VPS is a great idea.
  • You want to build a gaming server. If you want to host an online game for yourself and other gamers, a VPS is an affordable option. You won’t have to pay dedicated hosting prices, and you’ll have enough RAM to support a high-quality gaming experience.
  • You know your website will grow quickly. If you know your website is about to get a lot of new traffic, and you don’t want to risk downtime, upgrade to a VPS.
  • You want to install your own software. Shared hosting is somewhat limited when it comes to allowed software. If you want to install your own software, modules, or apps, then VPS is the right hosting plan.
  • You want a virtual dev environment for testing. If you want to test your own development, then VPS hosting is perfect.

If any of the above scenarios apply to you, then you’re in the right place.

How much does VPS hosting cost?

Now that you know you need a VPS hosting plan, let’s talk about how much it will cost. At HostGator, there are three different VPS hosting plans. The reason? Every website owner has different needs, and we work to accommodate your needs.

The main difference in HostGator’s three plans is how much CPU, RAM, and disc space you may need. 

If you’re not sure, you can always contact one of our customer support members, and we can help you find the perfect plan. Here is a look into the three different VPS plans and their starting prices.

1. Snappy 2000 VPS Hosting Plan

The Snappy 2000 plan comes with 2GB of RAM, 2 cores CPU, 120 GB of disc space, unmetered bandwidth, and 2 dedicated IPs.

If you need more storage than a shared web hosting plan offers or want root access, the Snappy 2000 plan is perfect for you.

Price: Starts at $19.95 per month

2. Snappy 4000 VPS Hosting Plan

The Snappy 4000 plan comes with 4 GB of RAM, 2 cores CPU, 165 GB of disc space, unmetered bandwidth, and 2 dedicated IPs. 

This is the plan we recommend most, especially for people who want to try out a VPS hosting plan. It gives you enough storage to build a robust website, but leaves room for you to scale.

Price: Starts at $29.95 per month

3. Snappy 8000 VPS Hosting Plan

The Snappy 8000 plan comes with 8 GB of RAM, 4 cores CPU, 240 GB of disc space, unmetered bandwidth, and 2 dedicated IPs. 

If you plan on starting a gaming server, then you’ll need to start with the Snappy 8000 hosting plan. This is also the perfect VPS plan for someone who wants to host multiple websites. Finally, if you’re seeing huge surges in traffic and plan to accept payments, then Snappy 8000 is for you.

Price: Starts at $39.95 per month

What features do I need with my VPS plan?

While the Snappy 2000, Snappy 4000, or Snappy 8000 are comprehensive plans, there are some features and add-on services we recommend every website consider. 

Let’s take a closer look at the top four things you should make sure you have with your VPS plan.

1. Domain

The good news about HostGato is you get a free domain name with every HostGator web hosting plan. When you have a VPS plan, you also have the ability to host unlimited domains. These domains can be your additional website domains or domains for clients or friends. 

If you plan to host multiple domains, start with the Snappy 8000 plan.

2. Domain privacy

When you sign up for your hosting account and register your domain, you enter personal details into the WHOIS database.

Domain privacy protection is an add-on service that protects your personal data. It’s $14.95 per year for this service and we recommend it to everyone.

3. SSL certificate

Another benefit of HostGator web hosting is you get a free SSL certificate. SSL stands for secure sockets layer and it’s a security technology that encrypts communication between web browsers and servicers. 

HostGator offers this for free to help protect your website’s sensitive information, including customer data, credit card numbers, and more.

4. CodeGuard

CodeGuard starts at $2.00 per month and absolutely worth the small added expense. CodeGuard includes daily automatic backups to help protect your site from viruses, hackers, and unintended coding problems.

Here is what you get with CodeGuard:

  • 1GB Of Storage
  • Up To 5 Websites
  • Unlimited Databases
  • Unlimited Files
  • 3 Restores Per Month

It also includes daily monitoring and full protection to keep your data safe.

Get affordable VPS hosting with HostGator today!

If you’re ready to take your website to the next level, upgrading to a VPS hosting plan is a wise decision. 

The VPS hosting plans at HostGator start at anywhere from $19.95 per month to $39.95 per month and offer additional control, flexibility, more storage, and easy scaling. Check out our VPS hosting plans today!

Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer specializing in SaaS, tech, and advertising/marketing. In a previous life, she was a Russian teacher at Brigham Young University, a corporate trainer, and a grad student—all at the same time. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world with her 2 kids and husband, reading poetry or taking a deep dive into the fabulous world of comedy. Connect with her on Twitter at @ashleyrcummings.

What is the game that you are playing and your player ID ? Share it if it is available in multi-player mode : MobileGaming

lets find each other and play together!

tell us the name of the games, your player ID and a little bit about the concept of the game.

I start from my self:

a chat app with over 30+ group games. Over a million people from around the world use Plato each month to find fun and make new friends with lots of group games ! ( ocho – pool – rable soccer – ludo – werewolf – bankroll – bowlong – cup pong – sea battle – backgammon and lots of card games.

my plato ID is : yasamanmm

Mastermind word finder game app is a memory game that expands your vocabulary by solving word puzzles and also a word guessing game that is the modernized and upgraded version of word searching and memorable word mastermind board game with lots of different game modes. (timer-score battle- frozen time, infinity ,…)

my WMM ID is: GJK

its your turn my dear :)))

[Quiz Result] Are Appointment-Only Businesses Allowed a GMB Listing?


We had 817 people answer this question in our 2020 Local SEO Blackbelt Quiz. The correct answer is yes.

Here’s how the answers broke down.

appointment GMB's

Google My Business currently doesn’t have an option for hours to allow businesses to indicate they are available by appointment only.  If a business is appointment-only, Google states that it shouldn’t provide hours on their listing.

For example, the home-based massage therapist can set themselves up as a storefront as long as they don’t set business hours because they don’t want people walking up without making an appointment.  If the customers are coming to the massage therapist’s house they would want to keep the address visible (not hide it).

This does not mean that virtual offices that are used to meet clients occasionally (by appointment) are allowed since they would not be regularly staffed.

So What?

Google My Business has never had a perfect way to indicate that you are a by-appointment-only business. However, removing your hours, as well as adding a blurb to your GMB description, and perhaps even your Google Posts, is a great way to indicate to customers that you are only available by appointment. Lastly, make sure to select the “Appointment Required” GMB attribute that was launched in 2020.

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Cheat Sheet: Managed WordPress Ecommerce Hosting

More store for less 

Our Managed WordPress Ecommerce Hosting lets you create a robust ecommerce store quickly and easily. That means building the exact store your clients need for hundreds, even thousands, less per year. 

Build more store for less   

Powered by WooCommerce, our Managed WordPress Ecommerce Hosting features powerful flexibility with easy-to-use extensions and client-management tools. That can help you and your clients start  selling quickly and make revenue faster.  

Get online in far fewer steps, thanks to a simplified setup process with WordPress and WooCommerce installed and ready to go. 

Choose to start from scratch or with a gorgeous, eye-catching storefront theme, and then enjoy easier site maintenance with bulk updates and monitoring. A single dashboard cuts down the time necessary for performance optimization, domain management and an array of other administrative tasks. 

  • Free access to over 40 WooCommerce premium extensions 
  • No transaction fees 
  • Unlimited products 
  • Free SSL for life of plan 
  • Malware scan and removal (Website Security – Essentials) 
  • Easy WooCommerce Setup 
  • Free Premium WooCommerce Storefront design themes 
  • Unlimited storage 
  • Unlimited monthly visitors 
  • Concurrent processes allowed – PHP: 30 MySQL: 24 
  • One-click staging site 
  • Yoast SEO plugin 
  • SSH access 
  • SFTP access 
  • Full Asset CDN 
  • File Manager 
  • Auto Migration Tool 
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Where to Be in 2021: Conferences & Events to Improve Your Local Marketing

<br /> Where to Be in 2021: Conferences & Events to Improve Your Local Marketing – Whitespark

The future of Google and what it means for search

30-second summary:

  • Something that all of us in the search industry are guilty of is our over-reliance on Google telling us what is coming next.
  • Understanding Google’s considerations as a business, provide context to many of its recent decisions and provides a sense of what is coming down the road.
  • Global digital agency Croud’s Organic Strategy Director discusses the future of Google, right from Google’s antitrust lawsuit to Apple as a future rival, and more.

It occurs to me that I am part of a cult.

Or at least, something that displays the hallmarks of one. An unchallenged authoritarian leadership, prophets and oracles who deign to share only select information from a mysterious entity, who engage in coercive behaviors, who punish for non-compliance, and followership who are indoctrinated into special teachings and practices and whom parrot back the mantras and sayings of the leaders. Yes, I of course refer to the SEO industry and yes, you may take a small pause here to go through the above statement to see if it works. It does.

Something that all of us in the search industry are guilty of is our over-reliance on Google telling us what is coming next. Whether through announcing prescriptive updates on Google Search Central or retrospectively announcing algorithm updates on Twitter – we rely too heavily on the limited information Google shares with us and, as such, only get a very short-sighted view on the future of our industry.

This needs to change, and in order for that to happen, we need to stop thinking of Google as a search engine.

Google is first and foremost a business, and as such has a responsibility to its shareholders to continue to defend and grow its market capitalization. Understanding Google’s considerations as a business provides context to many of its recent decisions and gives a sense of what is coming down the road.

Section 230 in the spotlight – Google to factor truth in determining search results

The Storming of the US Capitol came as the culmination of a five-year disinformation campaign that went unchallenged and unadulterated by big tech. They cited concerns over the First Amendment, freedom of speech, and public interest as the reasons for a lack of intervention on even the most palpable mistruths, but the events at the Capitol prompted a shift change. Twitter and Facebook de-platformed Donald Trump, Google removed dangerous channels that called for violence from YouTube, and Apple, Google, and Amazon joined forces to take down Parler.

Though the events at the Capitol provoked big tech into action, the shadow of the incoming Biden-Harris administration had already moved them into action (Twitter flagging Trump’s tweets, for instance). As part of the ongoing swathe of antitrust cases against big-tech, protections currently available for platforms under Section 230 will be thrust into the spotlight for review. The crux of it is whether or not platforms are treated as the publisher of third-party content. Currently, platforms are not treated as the publisher and therefore resign any responsibility for the content that appears on their platforms.

Biden, during his election campaign, said,

“The idea that it’s a tech company is that Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one. For Zuckerberg and other platforms.” He added, “It should be revoked because it is not merely an internet company. It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false.”

His recent appointee, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, has told lawmakers that she will pursue changes to Section 230.

If – and it seems likely – Section 230 is at least amended, this evidently raises issues for big tech. It is unlikely that it will be completely revoked – such a decision would likely have a net negative effect. It is more likely that Google will need to demonstrate efforts to moderate content at scale, and have a mechanism by which content flagged by users or other parties. Such mechanisms already exist – such as the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ (in the EU) or DMCA takedown requests for copyright infringements. In these cases, individual URLs can be flagged by users and organizations. Though a much bigger undertaking, in this case, it is likely that such a process will be used to deal with issues of veracity, libel, incitement to violence, and so on. The difficulties here will be firstly manpower to deal with these requests, and secondly the criteria by which these complaints are assessed.

What does this mean for search?

Websites that produce editorial and opinion-based content will need to be confident that what they produce will not contravene guidelines agreed by big tech and governments. Individual infringements might see de-indexing of individual URLs, but continued and flagrant non-conformity could see full domains removed from search results entirely (as is the case with DMCA takedowns).

Antitrust – Google loses market share in search

There are numerous antitrust lawsuits currently filed against Google, which examine its monopoly status in the search market. Google has an estimated almost 90% share of the search market in the US, and this is the foundation upon which its gargantuan online advertising business rests. Its path to monopoly may have seemed organic to most, but the tactics the company used to secure such dominance are now under scrutiny. The purchase of DoubleClick in 2007 gave Google end-to-end ownership of the process of matching advertisers to users, which many at the time raised as a concern, in that it would give Google too much power in this space. The purchase of the Android operating system also allowed Google to push its apps, such as Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, and more onto nine out of 10 mobile devices sold globally each year.

All of the above, and more, will be considered in the DoJ’s case against Google. The precedent for such a case was set by the EU Commission where it determined that Google had broken antitrust laws by abusing its market dominance with Android and had to pay a fine of five billion dollars. Included within the decision, was a ruling that for all new Android devices, Google must offer users a choice in their default search engine. Google created an auction system for rival search engines to appear in the “choice screen”, leading many to once again accuse it of abusing its market dominance for profit, and placing barriers to entry for smaller players that cannot compete. DuckDuckGo wrote a blog post that stated, “This EU antitrust remedy is only serving to further strengthen Google’s dominance in mobile search by boxing out alternative search engines that consumers want to use and, for those search engines that remain, taking most of their profits from the preference menu.”

There is precedent for such an approach to introduce competition, with a similar case launched by Russia’s competition watchdog, and Yandex growing market share by 20% in the years post its introduction. However, it seems to have had little impact in the EU thus far, with smaller search engines either unable to afford to compete in the auction or, even when doing so, getting little traction from it. This could be because the choice screen is only displayed on new Android devices, and, according to the rather cumbersomely named Executive Vice President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager,

“very few Android phones have been shipped due to the Covid crisis.”

In this case, it may be too early to make a strong conclusion as to the effectiveness of measures.

Watching this all from across the Atlantic, the DoJ has slowly collected and built evidence to take on Google. There are a number of different cases, some looking over the aforementioned issues and some looking at new potential avenues to introduce competition to the search industry. The Justice Department has cast its net wide and spoken to third parties within the advertising industry, as well as search competitors as to their thoughts on how to reduce Google’s market share. One such line of enquiry was around which parts of Google’s vast ecosystem it could be forced to sell off. One leading suggestion; Chrome.

Now, they didn’t ask me but had they, I would have said why not force them to spin off the second biggest search engine – YouTube.

Apple – A future rival to Google Search?

Another big investigation point is Google’s continued payments to Apple to remain the default search engine on its devices. It pays $12 billion to do so and has said that if this were ever challenged, it would amount to a code red scenario for the business. However, as an active part of the antitrust lawsuits, this could be something that becomes a reality for Google. In such a scenario, would Apple open up a bidding war for the opportunity, or would it do something fairly shocking… create its own search engine.

Apple has already begun to tantalize the market with a couple of nods in this direction. First, in 2018 it hired the former Head of Search from Google, John Giannandrea. Second, it is hiring a huge amount of search engineers. Third, Applebot has significantly increased its crawling activity recently. Fourth, in the iOS 14 update, Apple has started showing its own search results when a search is made from the home screen. Fifth, it updated its Applebot guidelines last year in a way that is remarkably similar to guidelines in Google’s Developer Blog. Included are guidance for webmasters around the robots.txt and noindex tags and even what it takes into account for ‘Search Rankings’.

If Apple were to enter the space, it would be the first true contender for Google from a search perspective. Although Google’s years of development and investment into its search ecosystem would certainly be a high barrier to entry, Apple’s massive user base and commitment to privacy would certainly capture a significant portion of market share. In such an event, how would this impact the web? If Google and Apple deviated from each other in search ranking factors – could SEOs be in the position where we have to dance different dances for different masters. Even if Apple does not enter the market, effective antitrust legislation would open up the market for new compelling offerings such as Neeva, You, and Mojeek, as well as existing search engines – such as DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, Baidu, and Bing – attracting more market share. Many of these offer Privacy as a major selling point – and as these issues become more evident in the public consciousness, there will likely be a gradual ebb of users to these other engines. There is a greater risk, however, that in the very public antitrust case, if any major news breaks around how Google uses data collected in search engines, that it could see a max exodus of its user base, as happened recently with WhatsApp and the flocking to Telegram and Signal

What does this mean for search?

  • If Google loses dominance in search, SEOs will need to be fluent in multiple search engines’ best practices. Though likely to be similar in some regards, other search engines may not use, or weight, ranking factors in the same way. They might also have different features in their search results. Consider how different Google and Baidu search results are for instance.
  • Adoption of different search engines could vary across markets, demographics and audiences, and therefore specific verticals may align their websites more to the best practices of one rather than another.
  • Reporting and analysis of the ‘Organic’ channel will become more complex and have a higher cost base.

The battle for ecommerce heats up

Covid has created many new trends and behaviors but has just as importantly served as a catalyst for many pre-existing trends. The penetration of ecommerce as a percentage of total retail sales skyrocketed during the early stages of the global pandemic and has remained high ever since. Amazon was the largest beneficiary of this trend, with its share of ecommerce sales in the US at a whopping 47%. This statistic, and the fact that more product searches begin on Amazon than any other platform, spurred Google into action.

In 2019, Google made clear its intent to recapture market share in this space, with a somewhat understated relaunch of its Shopping platform. It seemed the plan was to slowly capture market share with a gradual introduction of new features across its platform. With the arrival of Covid, however, it began to release features rapidly. Free organic shopping listings came out of nowhere, and the new Google Pay app, which allows retailers to offer targeted coupons and deals to users, is a bold offering.

One of Google’s more unique offerings in this space is enabling and facilitating ROPO (research online, purchase offline) behavior. Its acquisition of Pointy, a software allowing local retailers to list their inventory online and appear in local results, will greatly increase the importance of listing optimization for products and services. Product searches already have a filter for nearby – which will certainly abet impulsive purchases.

Additionally, local has already slowly been building up its integration services with booking engines to allow users to book or buy directly through local listings. 

Google will continue this process of “ecommercification” of its ecosystem. With the likes of Instagram and Pinterest looking to commercialize their content by allowing people to buy products directly from their platform, Google has been fairly transparent about its intentions to do the same with YouTube in the near future. The role of video has largely been seen as an awareness medium up until now, but changes here could very quickly see the video platform having a much more immediate relationship to conversion.

What does this mean for search?

  • Local search becomes far more important as both an awareness and conversion channel – especially for brands that invest in joined-up experiences across online and offline.
  • The value of video and YouTube content is made clearer, playing an increasingly important role in both awareness and conversion for brands. Image search too.
  • Augmented Reality features may be integrated into search results. This has already been tested with Dogs and Dinosaurs, but the early adopters’ program documentation demonstrates this is clearly to be used for ecommerce.
  • Expect further opportunities for brands listing their product inventory on Google and a more advanced version of the fairly rudimentary analytics product currently on offer. 

An ever-changing landscape

The above outlines just a few examples of the challenges facing Google as a business, which will likely have a tangible impact on search.  Here are a few other areas we’ll be keeping a close eye on in the coming months:

  • Google’s acquisition of Fitbit and how this might be used in its Google Health arm
  • Drone delivery legislation, which could enable Alphabet’s drone delivery company Wing to enter the fulfillment space
  • Australia’s new law forcing Google to pay news publishers for the right to link to their content, and the way News might appear in search results
  • Android being installed as a leading main operating system in driverless cars, and the potential impact on search

Pete Eckersley is an Organic Strategy Director at global digital agency Croud, where he oversees organic strategy across the brands within the IWG group.