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2018-05-17 19:19:35| Search Engine Guide Blog

by Jayson DeMers Local search functions a little differently than national search; you’ll face far less competition, and you’ll be working for a position in the “local 3-pack,” the top 3 results for a given query, based on a user’s location. While many of the ranking factors that affect your national rankings will impact your local rankings as well, you’ll also need to consider some local-specific factors--and the most important one here is the quantity and quality of local reviews. In short, the more reviews you earn on third-party sites (and the better those reviews are), the higher you’ll be able to rank in local searches. Sounds simple, right? There’s one big problem stopping you from getting them, but there are plenty of alternative strategies to help you achieve your goals. The Problem With Requests Yelp and similar third-party review sites are pretty serious about not allowing you to ask your customers directly for reviews. The philosophy here makes sense; if companies were allowed to freely influence their customers to leave reviews, they might skew the reviews in their favor by selecting only the most likely customers to leave reviews, or might use bribery to solicit more positive comments. Strategies for Getting More Reviews So how can you get more reviews if you’re not allowed to ask for them? 1. Make your presence on review sites known. You can’t pressure your customers to leave a review, but you can give them visual indicators of your presence on third-party review sites. Some review sites, like Yelp, will even give you stickers and other visual prompts for free. Advertise your presence on your front door, at the cash register, on your website, on social media, and anywhere else you can think of. 2. Keep your brand top-of-mind. Keep your brand top-of-mind with your customers by sending them greeting cards periodically, or keeping them enrolled in an engaging email list. As long as you keep giving them consistently positive service, they’ll be inclined to say something or do something positive for you when they’re reminded how much you value them. 3. Ask customers for reviews in person. Third-party review sites won’t be able to tell when you’ve asked a customer for a review in person; they mostly don’t want you to buy reviews online or bully your audience into leaving reviews with spammy email practices and the like. Reach out to some of your best customers and see if they’d be willing to give you some positive words. 4. Give exceptional experiences. About 25 percent of consumers will only leave reviews if their experience was exceptionally good, and another 33 percent will leave reviews if their experience is exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. Obviously, you’ll want to be on the positive end of the spectrum here. Go out of your way to give not just good experiences, but exceptional ones, to as many customers as you can. 5. Ask specific questions on social media. Try to gather feedback on social media by asking specific questions about your products or service. You’ll get some immediate feedback in the form of responses and comments, and if you include a link to your presence on a third-party review site, you may also encourage responders to leave a formal review. 6. Respond to existing reviews. You should also take the time to respond to reviews--both positive and negative ones. When other people see that you’ve responded to reviewers in the past, they’ll learn that you take reviews seriously, and will be more likely to leave a review of their own. Additionally, you may earn the chance to rectify a mistake or a bad experience by following up with a customer who left a bad review. Keeping Reviews Positive Of course, you’ll also need to invest extra effort to ensure those reviews are positive. Here are some basic steps you can take: Maintain best business practices. Work on improving the quality of your service in every way you can, and train your staff to give more personal, memorable service to every customer. Listen to constructive feedback. Pay attention to any negative reviews you receive. What points of feedback can you take action on? How can you use this new information to improve the business? Make things right. If a customer is unhappy, before or after they leave a review, go out of your way to make things right. You might be able to turn that 1-star review into a 4-star one just by reaching out. You won’t be able to amass a horde of positive reviews and comments overnight. But if you apply these strategies consistently and keep giving your customers positive experiences, you’ll build your review base in no time. Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2018-05-17 02:06:49| Search Engine Guide Blog

by Robert Clough A lot of business owners tend to cringe at the thought of trying to figure out SEO. It seems difficult, complicated, and is a huge time suck.And some of SEO is difficult, complicated, and a huge time suck. But not all of it is. Some of it, like optimizing your Google My Business profile is actually easy and quick. And hugely beneficial for your business. But like everything else, if it's done wrong, you won't reap the rewards. With that in mind, here's your guide on how I optimized my business profile for maximum results.How to Optimize My Business ProfileThe first step to get on Google map listings is to create a Google my business profile. Click here to get started. The next step is to answer a variety of questions that Google asks you to fill out so you can complete your profile properly. Doing so will help you create a profile containing valuable basic data to help your existing and potential customers find information about your company.While you may think it's not necessary to fill everything out, you're wrong. The problem is that if you don't fill everything out, someone else can. What most business owners don't realize is that anyone can suggest a change or an edit to your listing. And that list of "everyone" includes your competition. What's worse is that they aren't just suggested edits. These changes can end up going live on your listing. And you won't even be notified that it's happening.To prevent unwanted information on your Google My Business listing, log on to the dashboard at least monthly to ensure no one has made any unwanted changes to your listing.Wait For VerificationAfter filling out all the information correctly, you'll submit it to Google. Then it's time to verify your listing. This is a crucial step for the visibility and performance of your listing. The best way to verify your business information is by mail. Yes, it takes the longest amount of time but it's the best option. That's because now Google knows for sure the address you've provided is actually an existing business address. Afterall, you're receiving mail there.Receiving verification by mail helps Google weed out false listings that only serve to confuse and misdirect users. False listings also derail the usefulness of Google Map listings and other tools. Until your business is verified, Google will not display your business or any edits you do. You also won't be able to access any analytical information, page insights, or do any edits until it's been verified. Luckily, verification only takes a week or less. Google sends you a verification postcard with an enclosed code you'll use to activate your live listing.Use KeywordsKeywords won't just help boost SEO on your website or blog. You can use keywords to help you create a Google My Business profile. Go ahead and compile your best keywords and search phrases to help your business listing get found more easily. Don't forget to include your business website in your Google My Business listing.Strive For AccuracyMake sure that everything you list on your Google map listings is the same across the board. The information you list should be the same on your website, Google listing, and even on any social media sites, you're on. That includes your business operating hours. It's incredibly important to enter your business hours. But it's also hugely important to update them whenever they change. Most businesses have holiday hours or simply close on certain days during the year. Luckily, Google makes it really easy to customize your business hours during holidays and other special events. Use it to keep your site accurate and your customers happy.Add PhotosJust like photos are important to capture the attention of users to your website, the same is true for your Google My Business listing.Make sure you add a few photos to your listing. Add your logo image. This will help customers identify your business more readily. Don't forget about the cover photo. The cover photo should showcase your brand's personality. Just remember it will be cropped to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio. Other photos you include should be used to spotlight the best features of your business. Especially when it concerns how customers make purchasing decisions at your place of business. Include goods or services your business offers. Add a few photos of your staff working and assisting customers. Take photos of the exterior and interior of the business. Add extra photos you think to highlight the best features of your business. Photos that are too large can't be displayed. Keep your JPG or PNG photos between 10KB and 5MB. Do NOT use stock photos. Only include originals. Hire a professional photographer if you need to.Manage And Respond To Customer ReviewsCustomer reviews on your Google My Business profile are incredibly helpful. Many customers rely and trust on reviews and testimonials from other consumers. In fact, 90% of customers look for online reviews before they make a purchasing decision. This is an opportunity to interact with your customers just by responding to their reviews. Even if you receive a few you don't like. Responding to reviews shows that your business values its customers. You respect what they have to say and the feedback they leave. All positive reviews will have a positive effect on potential customers when they research your business. And those reviews can actually increase your company's online visibility in search results.It's pretty easy to encourage your customers to leave feedback on your profile listing just by creating a link they can click on to write reviews.Using Google PostsTry using Google My Business posts. They're a great way to spread the word about events you're hosting or to even attract more attention to your blog. You can also use the posts to create a sale or even feature a new product. Post as often as you want, but try to do a few posts every month. Doing so will help boost SEO.Keep LearningContinue to monitor your business profile on a regular basis. Add to it whenever you can with posts, updated information, and photos. My business profile is there to help new customers find you. But that doesn't mean there isn't more work you can do. We want to help. Subscribe to our newsletter to learn the very latest in marketing and SEO. Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2018-05-16 22:01:27| Search Engine Guide Blog

by Jayson DeMers Many marketers work hard to achieve first page rankings but don't know what to do when they don't get many clicks. It's often assumed that getting on the first page of search results means automatic traffic, but it doesn't. Even getting on the first page for local search results - which is fairly easy to do - doesn't guarantee people will click on your link. If you've achieved first page rankings but aren't getting many clicks, here are some possible reasons and solutions to help you troubleshoot: Does your meta description tell the right story? Users scan the meta description generated by the search engine before clicking on a result. If the meta description displayed doesn't match what a user searched for, they won't click. When crafting your meta description, think about what messaging would make a user click. Focus on, but don't rely on the <meta> attribute You have less control over your displayed meta description than you think. You can work hard to craft the perfect meta description using the <meta> attribute, but users may not see it. Google determines what snippet of content best describes your page, and there's no way to guarantee your official meta description will be displayed. If Google thinks your meta description is better than your on-page content, that's what will be displayed. Otherwise, snippets from your on-page content will be used. Since there's no way to guarantee the meta description Google shows users, the best way to optimize it is to write an accurate meta description and make sure every section of content on your page is clear, concise, and relevant - especially the opening 2-3 sentences of every page of content. Plan for truncated meta descriptions Your best move is to create a meta description that is complete at 155 characters, but is equally complete (and more expansive) at 320 characters. "Google is now displaying, in many instances, up to 320 characters," according to Higher Visibility. "This is great from a search listing real estate perspective, and you should try to utilize as many of those 320 characters as possible." They also advise getting a clear message across in the first 155 characters in case your meta description gets truncated in a search. Your meta description will vary based on a user's search terms In the search results pages, the description Google displays underneath each link will vary depending on the terms used in the search, and where those terms appear on your page. That is, unless the actual meta description is displayed. If you're using a dynamic content management system, get a plugin like Yoast that will let you define meta descriptions for each page. If you can get Google to recognize them as the most relevant description, you'll have more control over how your site is described to users. When Google uses on-page content for the description, you never know what will be used. For example, when searching Google for "how to make a sandwich," a link from Food Network pops up. The meta description displayed under the link comes from tip #4, which describes how to stave off sogginess. It's not entirely clear why this description was chosen over others. It doesn't contain the exact phrase searched for, though it does mention the word "sandwich" twice. The tip is short enough to be displayed in full. However, the first tip (which didn't get displayed) also mentions the word "sandwich" and "sandwiches," and is equally short. Somehow, Google concluded that tip #4 was the best match to the search phrase. Leverage Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Any part of your content could be used as the meta description for your page. While you can't guarantee a specific section of your content will be displayed, you can leverage the power of LSI to increase the likelihood. Remember, Google weighs the relevance of content above all else. Using LSI keywords in a paragraph will naturally boost the relevance of that paragraph. People don't click on the top result just because it's the top result Regardless of where a link shows up on a search results page, a user will only click links that appear relevant to what they're looking for. For example, if a user is looking for home remedies for tooth pain, they're not going to click on a page that appears to promote a local dentist, even if it's the first result. However, if a local dentist published a blog describing home remedies for tooth pain, and the description makes that content clear, a user will click even when it's the last result on the page. Relevance trumps all. Spend an equal amount of time optimizing your titles and descriptions It's great to focus on getting your sites to the first page for various search terms. However, once you're there, make sure to spend an equal amount of time crafting your titles and content in a way that makes people want to click. According to Yoast, when your link gets clicked often, Google will move you up in the ranks. This means you won't stay stuck at the bottom forever. Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Category: Marketing and Advertising


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