A study published by the ad agency Chitika earlier in October of 2012 had found that over 24% of all Google search queries carried out have local intent. Yahoo and Bing users were slightly higher bringing the average of the 3 major search engines to just over 26%. With 1/4th of all searches on the “Big 3” having local intent, the internet is a marketing space local businesses should learn to leverage. If done correctly, a Google Plus Business Page can yield increased local visibility in your targeted areas.
Just creating the page is not enough though, there are several factors that need to be considered and optimized in order to be successful. They breakdown into 3 basic categories:
- Google Plus Profile
- The Business’s Website
- 3rd Party Local Listings (Angie’s List, Yelp, ect)
Google Plus Profile
Begin by creating a new listing or claim an existing listing online. Once verified, optimize your business profile to make sure all information is accurate and up to date. Having consistent naming, address, and phone (NAP) conventions across multiple all online channels strengthens the implied geographic signal to Google.
When defining your categories, pick as many relevant choices from the provided list as you can. If using custom category, test the search in Google to see if it generates local results. If it does not yield any results then the category may need to be reconsidered, and retested. Moreover, whenever creating a listing ensure all information you provide adheres to Google Local Quality Guidelines.
The goal of any profile page is to obtain user flow, which is then refocused at the parent site. To retain user flow, make your profile engaging and unique Images, videos, offers, and coupons are all ways of engaging your local audience. Additionally, ensure your profile is complete by filling out the “details” section including any natural, relevant keywords.
The Business’s Website
The website linked to the Google Plus Business Page plays an important role in the Google Plus listing’s overall rankings for local searches. If your full focus is on local search traffic, take advantage of several opportunities on your site to improve your Google Plus page’s listing rank.
- Include the City, State and Zip Code in the Google Plus landing page title
- Ensure your sites NAP matches your Google Plus page NAP
- Include geographic, product or service keywords in the Google Plus landing page URL.
- Include City, State and Zip code in Websites Page Titles and Meta Descriptions as well as the Header Structure.
- Take advantage of Rich Snippets, like Authorship, Organizations or Reviews. While they may not have a direct effect on rank, they make your listings more robust and engaging, which leads to higher Click-Through Rates.
All of these adjustments improve your sites local signals to Google, leading to increased local listings rank.
3rd Party Local Business Listings
The key to leveraging the strength from other local business listings is consistency, specifically involving your businesses’ NAP. One of the highest ranking factors related to Google Places listings is consistency in NAP across all of your businesses online listings. If you have the time, claim and update all of your businesses listings ASAP. However, if you’re like most small business owners I know, there is simply no time to take care of all of this manually. There are several services like Yext and Localeze that can help automate the process for you, allowing you to update local listing information across all web profiles from one simple submission. Both are strong tools, but I personally favor Yext. Although more expensive, it offers a much more robust selection of profile fields that can be updated.
The most important take away here is to remember that consistency is the key to having a successful local listing on Google and no matter the size of your business or area in which you serve, Google Plus Business is a profile you will benefit from. For more information on how to better optimize your online presence for local search contact Webimax today!
Any time a business uses a third-party’s services, it’s placing itself in a vulnerable position. This goes for any outsourcing, but especially for SEO and online marketing.
How many impressions can be had regarding your campaign? I don’t mean the traditional advertising kinds of impressions, such as the number of times drivers cruise pass your billboard. I mean the impressions of onlookers, whether they are consumers, peers, potential consumers, etc.
I can’t stress enough the importance of the diligence of the business owner in approaching an SEO service. Marketing is all about associating your market back to your brand and services/products. Wow, you’re leaving that up to another source entirely?! Okay, the notion of ‘outsourcing’ is not mind blowing, but the notion of electing a hands-off, leave-it-to-the-experts is very much so.
Here are a few things your marketing company can be messing up for you.
Sure, at present, the Penguin update is a heavy topic of discussion; yet, the notions behind the update are as old as the Web itself. I believe many businesspeople have a limited understanding of SEO. It’s not an insult to their intelligence; it’s just plain fact.
It wasn’t totally insane for businesspeople to be led to believe that a high number of links, signaling what you sell (anchor text), would grant you traction on this totally cool platform ‘everyone’ is now using to shop for goods/services, search engines.
However, let’s speed up time to now, when traditional sentiments of marketing caught up to the totally new, cool way to market. Why should a particular domain/page associated with a product/service necessarily be a better provider of such because a search engine says so? Understood, the theory behind engines leads browsers to believe such, but it is a marketing promise (Yes! These engines are brands too! They want you to think they’re great! And great for your business too!) – not a foolproof reality.
DO NOT allow your marketing service to go for numbers rather than quality. Do you make a distinction on quality? Why are you engaged in the matter to start from such a limited position of knowledge? Why are you letting others make decisions for your business?
“Content is…” I can’t even stomach to finish the line. Actually, how many out there assume content strictly means written copy? It does not. “But Anthony, I need a specific number of keywords occurrences on my Web page or I won’t get ranked, I won’t get traffic, I won’t get conversions…”
So, again, who is feeding you these sentiments? What kinds of content can best intrigue your targeted consumers? It could be a picture. It may be an epic poem… It may be a podcast… “But wait, pictures and podcasts don’t have keywords! I need to inundate my pages with them to rank!”
Sure, ranking well for particular terms helps, but it’s not a be-all-end-all necessity. That’s like saying if search engines ‘disappeared’ tomorrow, your business would have to fold-up shop. Really? That would be unfortunate and majorly make me question what kind of brand you have going on over there.
Pay attention to your consumers and serve them with useful content. If you pay more attention to the desires of your target market rather than how many times engines can count your keywords, your business is likely to be more successful…because you’re in business to please the customer, correct?
Search engine ‘optimization,’ to me, means your brand is finding ways to make engines work for you, not the other way around. So, it doesn’t necessarily mean Google serves you first for your “chosen word”; it means your marketing team has utilized engines as another way to create associations to your users, which can mean A LOT of things aside from rank for a particular term.
Who are you placing in power to produce your content? The agency’s writers? Have you seen their (you know, the writer who writes YOUR content) stuff before? What are their thoughts on content? Should yours be written? Audio recorded? Visually recorded? Stocked with images rather than written sentiment? What do you think about it? Do you have an opinion? Why not? You should know your service/product and consumers BETTER than the third-party provider; yet, you leave it up to someone else to make major decisions for your company?
It’s a mistake that both SEO firms and users see time and time again. As more small business owners decide to market their company properties through social media, they end up blundering through the process with little results to show for their efforts. So the best and brightest minds of the faltering business scratch their collective heads. What are we doing wrong? Why aren’t people following us? Why aren’t they sharing our posts?
The fact is most businesses inevitably find themselves operating almost identically to every other company out there. Although every marketing consultant will try to tell you that Facebook can be a goldmine for conversion rates (and it certainly can), many people are disillusioned by the standard sales pitch. While any social media user can become the potential patron of a business, posting content that focuses exclusively on selling goods or services only serves to turn away would-be followers.
So how does a business actually manage to improve itself on Facebook or Google+ without relying on conventional sales tactics? The answer lies in being able to build up fans for one’s listing, as well as finding ways to engage users and motivating them to share your content. Being effective on social media begins by soft selling your brand and getting people to trust you in a variety of ways.
Keeping the Tone Casual and Entertaining
Although a company will want to maintain an air of professionalism when creating content to be shared on a social network, that doesn’t mean it needs to be stuffy about how it’s properties are being presented. Social media users react quite strongly to feed updates and shared images that are as every bit as interesting as they are informative. It only makes sense that people click on those links that are most relevant to them, and so a company should be doing what it can to take advantage of this.
There are multiple methods which can be employed when trying to find content which appeals to one’s potential demographic. Major news magazines and feature-based writing is always a good draw, especially when the sources of these pieces are well-recognized outlets. Video is also an incredibly popular means by which to grab users’ attentions. There are also multiple other forms of media that SMB owners can use in as well, such as regular podcasts from the company or Q&As.
Encouraging Users to Keep Coming Back
In the business world, no one wants to feel like they’re just a customer. Part of the joy of social media comes from being able to build up connections with people and groups you may never see for yourself. This is something that every company will want to keep in mind when posting. Should a business’ update or posted content receive comments from users, then a representative should do what he or she can to reply to posts and keep that momentum going.
If a user begins to feel that his or her presence means something to a business, a certain level of trust is earned that will prove invaluable in converting followers into future clientele. This level of trust also improves the impact of those overt sales pitch-related posts that a business may make from time to time. Simply put, a user who has grown accustomed to dealing with a company will be far more likely to click on posted links for time-sensitive bargains, upcoming promotional events and any other revenue-centric activity.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to enlist the aid of experience social media companies so as to streamline these efforts. Should readers have any additional questions, I can be contacted at email@example.com.
The last two weeks have been an incredibly stressful time for every web-focused company. Between Facebook’s recent woes concerning its IPO and General Motors pulling out of its in-network marketing, there’s been more than a little bit of uncertainty in the SEO and online marketing communities as of late. Many of our readers no doubt have their own growing concerns over the state of all-things social media and search engine-related. While current events may have everyone second guessing the viability of their social network strategies, in truth there is no reason to panic.
What about Facebook?
Anyone who watches major news network programming or reads the latest headlines will be familiar with the immense amount of criticism falling on Facebook at the moment. Over the course of the last seven days, Facebook’s underwhelming stock performance has led to a lot of serious questions regarding the effectiveness of the company’s in-network ads as well as whether its mobile efforts will pay off in the end. It’s gotten to the point where even notable SEO experts are making similar inquiries.
Although Facebook’s future is uncertain, that doesn’t mean that businesses should shy away from the social media site here and now. Many of the arguments taking place between pundits over Facebook are based on speculation, and the possible outcomes of these predictions won’t come to pass for months or years to come. While it’s easy to fall prey to the sort of fear-mongering that is common to network television, small business owners need to remember that FB will continue to be a valuable asset to their online marketing efforts.
How is that Done?
If anything, companies operating on Facebook should be focusing less on their in-network PPC campaigning and more on building up a solid social media following. The world’s most popular social network recently hit the 900 million user mark, and this milestone shouldn’t go ignored. In particular, business owners will want to remain dedicated in their efforts to expand the size of their follower base while simultaneously engaging those users that subscribe to their news feeds. This can be done in a number of ways:
- Search for groups or organizations that may share interests that match what your company specializes in. Do what you can to interact with their members and gain their attention.
- Post original and interesting content that is worth reading. This can be done by posting links to blogs and other company properties that may host these materials.
- Comment on breaking industry news that has everyone talking. Users will often take the time to add their thoughts to these posts if they are asked for their opinion.
Despite Facebook’s current predicament, the fact is that the social network still has every bit of impact it had before the company went public. The only difference is the amount of discussion taking place at the moment. Should readers have any additional questions or comments regarding their Facebook operations, they can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few days ago, Google unveiled its newest search feature, Knowledge Graph, to network users. For those readers who are unfamiliar with the announced program, Knowledge Graph is being launched as a sidebar addition to the company’s search engine results. While the company’s SERPs will stay the way they’ve always been, the new feature will serve up interesting facts, details and relevant information for popular keywords entered in queries. Google has stated that it has plans to bring the function to mobile platforms in the future as well.
Although Knowledge Graph has yet to become available to all Google users, numerous SEO companies already have their own stance on how the feature may affect the current state of online marketing. In the recent months, Google has been responsible for some of the biggest and most impactful changes in internet advertising. As a result, everyone in the SEO community is keeping a watchful eye on the company and will be for some time to come. While marketing agencies will let their clients know about important news, business owners should still keep aware of these latest happenings in order to actively improve their web prevalence.
What Should SMB Owners Take Away from Knowledge Graph?
Aside from the supplemental nature of Knowledge Graph, Google’s newest network feature also gives us some insight into the sort of trending page elements that the company regards in high importance. Between the information-based focus of Knowledge Graph and the strength of Wikipedia in the company’s SERPs, one can see that Google wants more informative sites these days. Yet while this realization is made readily apparent through Google’s recent efforts, not everyone is taking advantage of this fact.
Creating Quality that Search Engines Want
Many of the WebiMax blog readers are small or startup business owners who are looking to get their online properties well-represented on every engine’s search results. Although Google’s ranking trends are not entirely indicative of what other search engines are looking for these days, the company does tend to set the pace for what is seen on most SERPs. If anything, it’s a safe bet that the same sort of informative content that Google’s search algorithm finds desirable will rank well on competing engines.
In order to have better traction in the SERPs, more businesses need to work on creating content for their online properties that is not only informative to readers but also interesting. While not every page of a company’s website may have space for this type of content, a business should always devote some time to creating it where it can. Often times, company blogs and user-maintained pages act as hubs for news and information that readers will find engaging. Other venues for this type of content may include employee sites that focus on related topics and are linked to the aforementioned blog.
While it’s still uncertain where Knowledge Graph will eventually lie in Google’s overall business plan, there are still several useful conclusions that can be drawn from the new network feature. Should readers have any particular questions, I can be contacted at email@example.com.
Although social media users swap countless IMs and posts across PCs and laptops every month, most people fail to realize the amount of direct messaging that takes place between mobile device owners through those same social networks. According to a blog published just a few days ago on the New York Times website, a number of recent studies all point to the conclusion that social media apps are quickly replacing standard phone SMS as a primary form of mobile communication. One particular report states that the amount of text messages relayed by cellphone owners in the Phillipines on a monthly basis has decreased by more than a third from 2010 to 2011 (down to 400 texts from around 660).
Yet, what does this all mean to the standard small to medium-sized business owner? Well, aside from the obvious fact that Facebook and Twitter are quickly replacing traditional phone texting, it’s important to recognize the ever-increasing need for a strong social network presence in the business world. As conversations continue to take place in greater frequency between social media users, companies want to be a part of that dialogue more than ever. It’s one thing to have a prominent link on a Facebook page or Twitter feed, but becoming a talking point in these back-and-forth messages is even more worthwhile.
Maintain an Undeniable Network Presence
Often a luxury exclusive to multi-million dollar corporations, wide-scale recognition on social networks is considered by many business analysts to be the ultimate goal of any social media optimization. At the end of the day, once the ad campaign is over and the dedicated bloggers, tweeters and status updaters have gone to bed, a business owner wants to rest easy knowing that all that hard work is still finding traction. While getting to this point can take months – or even years – of hard work, getting a campaign started on the right foot can make all the difference.
For the best social media results, small business owners and experienced marketers alike need to remain active when seeking out target demographics. By searching for interest groups, watching how the competition approaches their own campaigns, keeping up with industry-related news and always staying active with posts, a social media listing can establish the follower base and ongoing attention it needs to succeed. A dedicated effort on social networks can eventually establish one’s brand across a wide audience and keep traffic going to a page consistently.
Earn, and Keep, the Attention of Potential Followers
Getting communities on social networks to notice a company is not unlike being the center of attention at a party. Although companies can end up handling thousands of followers at a time, getting people to engage a business takes the right approach. Aside from constantly posting new blog content via Facebook and other social media outlets, companies can also remain relevant on social networks by interacting directly with users. In particular, running a contest is a fantastic way to get new followers to jump onto a business’ social network feed. Raffles and community-driven competitions for consumer goods and various leisure items often provide great incentives.
Of course, it can be difficult to secure these users once a contest has ended. Should a business try to use giveaways to bolster its online following, it’s important that it attempts to continually engage these new followers outside of the contest itself. A social media campaign manager should always try to ask questions and for feedback, do community spotlights or even feature posts from social media users. This type of community response rewards users for being actively involved with a company and provides a solid way to keep people following.
Supplement Social Network Activity with even more Activity
While the old adage of “less is more” certainly applies to social media campaigns, businesses still want to make sure their voices are heard. Although one should take care in not turning away users through excessive posting and in-your-face advertising, it’s a smart move to supplement campaign efforts through additional social networks. In particular, Twitter is an excellent avenue through which companies can spread additional links and updates for their other social media assets while not overwhelming followers on other networks.
Maintaining a strong presence in social media conversations is a true challenge that offers as many rewards as it does obstacles. Should readers have any further questions regarding the right practices for social media success, I can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.