Gmail’s New Meet Integration Offers 16-Person Chat, Streamlined Security & Personalized Options All from Your Inbox

Gmail’s New Meet Integration Offers 16-Person Chat, Streamlined Security & Personalized Options All from Your Inbox

Google’s recent assimilation of Meet with Gmail couldn’t have come at a better time – simplifying life for their users while giving popular competitors a run for their money 

With features like 16-person chat, tab/audio sharing, cutting-edge protection, and several other options, Google’s integration of Gmail with Meet is going off without a hitch.  

Growing out of Google Hangouts, Google Meet has several of the same elements as its predecessor but incorporates key characteristics from competitors.  Clearly borrowing Zoom’s aesthetic, Google takes things a few steps further, ironing out some of Zoom’s security flaws and offering a seamless user experience from the comfort of your Gmail Inbox.  As part of Google’s G-Suites personal cloud, Google is not charging customers for upgrades to Meet-related features like large video calls during a six-month period ending in September, allowing customers to familiarize themselves while providing communications services during the COVID-19 crisis.

“I’ve seen time and time again customers and prospects coming from other solutions that have not been able to keep up or had concerns in security and reliability,” says Google VP Javier Soltero, pointing to New York City public schools’ jump to Meet from Zoom after the latter’s susceptibility to hackers led to cyber-classroom interruptions.  Soltero goes on to say not developing safeguards for free tools is “inherently wrong.”

Concerns of this matter are critical in business, as any breach in communications and security could have deep impacts.  Considering international demands for social distancing to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus, Google’s new development comes at a pivotal time to assist corporations, institutions, and – most importantly – the everyday user.

Soltero believes this level of security is an evolution and will assist the global Google community “so the products they use at work, they can use at home.”

And critics seem to agree. 

Raul Castanon, senior analyst for workforce collaboration at 451 Research/S&P Global Market Intelligence pointed out, “The integration of chat and video communications into Gmail should provide a more streamlined experience in G Suite that better aligns with user workflows, reducing friction for the end-user.” 

“This should close a gap with key rival Microsoft, which has leveraged its dominance with its productivity suite to gain market traction for Teams,” Castanon elaborates.  “It should also strengthen its position against standalone ‘best of breed’ competitors Slack and Zoom, which have emerged as a competitive threat.”

John Kriney, OptFirst’s CEO, also heralded the introduction, calling it a “brilliant move.”  By “optimizing their opportunities” and simplifying the user experience, John sees the benefit to clients while capitalizing on ad revenue opportunities. 

Three Things about OptFirst Internet Marketing

These 3 differentiating factors makes working with OptFirst different than any other internet marketing company in the world!

John Kriney, President of OptFirst

Longevity of Performance

OptFirst was founded in 2001. Having almost twenty years under our belt gives us an edge in not only knowing what to do, but knowing what not to do. New companies entering the industry do not have the practical experience of growing and adapting with every new Google update. There are certain strategies being deployed by marketing wizards right out of college that we know were banned by Google in 2005. That kind of experience cannot be taught and does not readily exist in the online marketing space where new companies tend to have short life spans. That is why OptFirst has clients for 10+ years and running, which is over twice as long as the average marketing company has been in business. 

ROI Focused

OptFirst focuses on our client’s return on investment over everything else. John Kriney, founder and President of OptFirst, started in internet marketing after successfully ranking his own business, BodyKits.com, first on Google back in 2000. When he eventually sold BodyKits, he had a list of friends he was doing internet marketing for, copying the success he had with his own business. He then created OptFirst out of the enthusiasm of those first few clients. This background has taught him what business owners want from their marketing efforts. It’s not branding. It’s not traffic. It’s return on investment. That is why at OptFirst a positive client return is always our number one objective, because making money is the definition for every business and that is what we love to do for our clients!

Wide Campaign Expertise

What started out by doing the right thing for our clients has become one of our core strategic advantages in our expertise. Many marketing companies will tout themselves as a certain industry’s best choice. “We are the best in real estate marketing!”. While this approach sounds appealing on the surface, since that company will speak the right jargon and hit all the hot buttons in that industry, it really should create a red flag for any business owner. If an online marketing company is working with 10 real estate agencies – how can they promise top results to each one? How varied will their strategies and campaigns be? OptFirst works with a single company per industry per location. We have one Miami real estate agency that we work with, to get those coveted top positions. We do this with no loyalties or ties to any competitor in their market. Our work across many verticals allows us to see what is working in other fields and employ performing campaigns in areas that otherwise will not be attempted, for months or even years, by ‘vertical’ marketing companies. Commitment to our clients and expertise across all internet marketing is what OptFirst delivers.

You Can Count On… Clutch Ratings & Reviews

OptFirst Internet Marketing – A Firm That Delivers!

At OptFirst, we specialize in integrated search marketing. We’ve found that search is one of the highest converting media opportunities for possible marketing spends.

Specifically, we put companies in front of the consumers by organic, paid and local search, as well as through Google Shopping, Re-Marketing, Facebook Ads, and Google/Bing maps. Research finds that whether a business decides to use paid and/or organic search to increase their online visibility is an important part of their overall marketing strategy. If a client doesn’t want to miss out on valuable opportunities, they need a partner agency that looks critically at the customer journey and has strong technical knowledge.

We’re always looking for new opportunities to grow and share our unique knowledge. In this light, we’re very excited to announce our most recent partnership with Clutch – a Washington DC-based ratings and reviews site that shows distinguished companies in different fields, including search marketing. Optfirst is listed 4th in their list of Top SEO companies in Miami.

For each firm on the site, there is an intensive research process. Chief among the factors taken into consideration are Clutch’s conversations with clients. In interview-style phone calls, clients are prompted to discuss the services they received, the results of the engagement, and other relevant aspects of the collaboration. Clutch has reached out to our clients to get an overall sense of our services and to ultimately determine if we truly deliver. We’re proud to say that of the 14 reviews published to our profile, we’ve received an overall 4.9-star rating!

Our clients have voiced their opinion of our work, and their feedback has been highly positive! For one client, we provided SEO services and PPC maximization, as well as website improvements and continued maintenance. Some of the changes include blog posts and the creation of a new payment system. We’re proud that this client was satisfied with the outcomes of the collaboration:

“Optfirst has exponentially increased traffic to many websites, in some cases raising conversion rates by 100% in just 2 years. Their robust metrics-reporting tool and customer service are second to none in the industry. Scalable to meet the needs of any sized company makes their team a great partner to grow with.”

The search marketing industry is always evolving, and here at OptFirst, we’re always trying to stay ahead of our competitors. We build websites that not only look great but also perform. Thanks to Clutch, we hope to engage new clients and improve their bottom lines through our unique search marketing practices!

AMP Impacts Organic and Paid Campaigns

AMP appears to have a larger impact than originally thought. Here is how it looks to impact organic and paid campaigns

SEO

Early 2016 Google announced that mobile pages that featured certain technologies, like AMP, would get preferential organic search positions in their mobile index results. – article here: Wired – Fast Loading Tech– Google announced later in 2016 that the mobile-first update would roll out in the first quarter of 2017. The short version is that Google is deleting their original, ‘desktop’ index and only using their newer, mobile index. The mobile index is the only index that will be used to index BOTH mobile and desktop results. What your site warrants to rank on mobile it will rank for both.– The target was Q1 of 2017 but announced a delay and that it will be rolled out throughout 2017 – article here: mobile-first delay article.

AdWords

On May 23rd Google announced that they will AMP their results and charge 50-60% of the CPC for Advertisers using AMP landing pages in their AdWords campaign.

In order to accommodate the mass need for business owners and advertisers to build AMP websites and landing pages we recently launched the beta version of our AMP page builder.

What Happened To My Google Rankings? The Answer is AMP Mobile Sites PLUS Google Rolled Out the Mobile Index Update

Did you just Google your core business keyphrases this morning and are thinking, “What Happened To My Google Rankings?” The answer is a combination of the creation of AMP Mobile Sites PLUS Google’s Mobile Search Index just rolled out.

As I write this blog post I’m thinking of the millions of business owners whose rankings will drop as a result of this update. The very same business owners who were told, at one time or another over the past 7 years, they should re-create their business website on WordPress. All of the data they were presented with made sense; the updating technology, ease of use, compatibility with other platforms, mobile responsiveness, that it was built using open source (as they thought to themselves…Whatever that Means!@#\!) and so on.

The challenge is now WordPress does not have a plugin or core update to easily create an AMP site from an existing WordPress site. This difficulty to convert “pages and archives” to the new AMP criteria (cited on WordPress here). This leaves millions of businesses on the WordPress platform at risk of losing their hard-earned Google rankings.

If you are reading this blog then Google just fully released AMP preferential treatment and has switched over to their mobile-first index. Here is a background on all the facts:

1. The story starts to make sense when Google first stated that AMP results will go ahead of non-AMP pages on mobile (cited in Wired here).
2. It was first thought that Google would run two separate indexes, desktop, and mobile (cited in Search Engine Land here).
3. On September 27th AMP results started showing on desktop. The news about their being 2 separate indexes didn’t seem to make sense since Google was showing AMP results on desktop. It made sense that this was a test for the big update to come, one index with mobile-first results (cited in Search Engine Land here).
4. Just this past Friday, November 4th,  it was confirmed when Google announced there will be one index, with mobile criteria leading the ranking criteria (cited in Mashable here).

Learning and watching large players in an industry is important to learn how trends will move. When eBay announced it was AMPing their entire mobile site anyone not paying attention was doomed to be left behind. eBay first figured out the importance of AMP and then announced its intention to AMP their site on July 4th of 2016 (cited in Search Engine Land here). AMP was first announced for news outlets and posts on WordPress but the initiative by eBay made it clear that this was going to be a technology suitable and preferred across all types of businesses and industries. The first reported AMP use on eBay was mid-October and still being tweaked at the date of this article showing the challenges of even the best development teams with the faster but newer AMP code.

On the WordPress platform it is also challenging and we ran into many obstacles using recommended plugins. The way we AMPed our own site is we created a separate AMP website and forwarded amp.optfirst.com and then configured the required forwarding, viewing and tagging. Creating a separate site that is AMP validated is an intense but worthwhile process. It can lead to a mobile version 4X faster of any mobile or responsive website.

To check if a website is AMP’ed or has an AMP version you can install the verified AMP Validator available here.

To learn about all the benefits of Accelerated Mobile Page, code elements and requirements you can view the Official AMP project site here.

5 Reasons We’re So Amped About AMP

As we all know, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) are kinda huge deal for anyone that has a website that people view on a mobile device, i.e. everyone. The AMP framework basically strips away many of the unnecessary web page elements that slows down the mobile experience making it much faster for users. For anyone that hasn’t heard about the roll-out of this user-friendly mobile experience, here are the top reasons why we’re so excited about AMP.

1) It’s super fast – about 15% to 85% faster on mobile. Since it strips down the code to only the essentials, it’s able to showcase websites much more quickly. This is a huge win for anyone that has short attention span.

2) Google is a big fan – Google historically favors websites that optimize user experiences – especially for mobile – which is great for search engine optimization (SEO) rankings.

3) They’re noticeable – AMP sites have a small gray lightning bolt so people will know that your website is the one to click on and bypass your competitors.

4) Will help you get and keep visitors on your page – when over 50% of people are using mobile to search for products/services, it’s best to have the most mobile optimized site and since bounce rates can be as high as 58% for websites that take up to ten seconds to load – you’re bound to get more page views.

5) Last but certainly not least – while Google doesn’t explicitly say that it’ll reward AMP websites with higher rankings, when you look at the other advantages, i.e. fast speeds and optimized user experience, it’s easy to see how being an early adopter will be beneficial for not only mobile, but overall organic rankings.

With all these benefits to AMP-ing up a website, it’s no wonder we’re getting tons of requests from our clients to AMP up their current website!!