Monthly Archives: May 2017

(Easy) Ways to Improve your Website’s Local SEO Like a Pro

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Victorious corporate man celebrating with his arms lifted in the air because he improved website SEOSearch engine optimization was an entirely different concept when we set up shop 20 years ago. Today, SEO is more of an umbrella term covering all the different tactics that influence the hundreds of signals search engines use to compile search engine result pages. Though SEO has evolved, the value of excellent SEO has not; good SEO is still an important part of reaching (and converting!) local users into loyal customers. Here’s how you can (easily) gain valuable SEO points for your website—and towards your bottom line.

Improve your ranking

Optimizing your website may seem like an abstract concept, but the formula is very real. Use keywords and strong headlines in your website content, use a solid website structure during the designing process, and make sure your website loads quickly to gain favor with search engines and your customers.

Make it easier: Do your research. Contact a SEO provider with a proven track record, affordable local SEO services that have proven results, and the expertise to make it work for your business.

Start blogging (well!)

A website with updated, quality content helpful for online users is a precious commodity to your target audience—and therefore valuable to search engines. Note the adjective: quality. Poorly written advertisements just won’t cut it. Instead, invest your time in writing blog posts on topics relevant to your target audience with information they want to know. As you write, include relevant topics and keywords so the search engines find and put your post at the top of the list.

Make it easier: Supplement your content marketing with outsourced blog posts. Make sure each post is in line with your online marketing plan so the voice and topics are consistent.

Use social media

The relationship between social media and SEO is a complicated one, as outlined in this article by Social Media Today.  While having a solid social media presence doesn’t overtly or directly improve your website’s ranking, it does give you an outlet to push your content out.  The resulting clicks and links that stem from writing excellent content generate signals that the search engines need to move up in the rankings.

Make it easier: Make an online marketing plan that you can stick to and flexible enough that you can improvise with your social media posts (for current trends, interesting content, etc.)

Take an interest in reviews

If you’re like almost every other customer, online reviews matter: 88% factor online reviews into their purchasing decision (Source: Search Engine Land). Fact is, all the online reviews about your company—both positive and negative—matter, and can make a major impact on your bottom line. To make sure there is more positive than negative, establish a solid presence on all major review sites and monitor the reviews that are posted. Use negative reviews as an opportunity to showcase your company’s excellent customer service skills (tips on how to do so here).

Make it easier: Use a reputation management tool that can monitor and alert you to new reviews. To make the process even easier, contact a marketing company that has a quality reputation management tool ready (and that they can assist you with).

What should I post to social media? What do people want to see?

light bulb of social media ideas above girlIt’s the million dollar question “what on earth should I post to social media today?”—especially on days when you feel like you have less than zero ideas for social media posts for your business.  What’s more, the stakes are higher.  With thousands of other brands to compete with, as well as the million other posts that fill up your followers, it’s hard to find the social media ideas that give your brand the edge—and sometimes it’s hard to find anything to post about.

We’ve compiled a list of social media ideas that can spark your inspiration—and the start of a slew of quality social media posts (all carefully planned out-here’s how to create a solid marketing plan).  If you’re tired of continually searching for ideas—and trying to keep up with the freight train that is digital marketing—remember, there is always the choice that gives you a break: outsource your efforts (or even part of your marketing) to the pros.

  1. Photos your followers can caption
  2. Pictures of your employees at work
  3. Share photos from events your business sponsors or is involved in
  4. How-to videos
  5. Pictures that help celebrate a national day (i.e. national donut day, national pet day, etc.)
  6. A picture that leaves users guessing—then ask them for their guesses (i.e. number of candies in the candy jar, number of items on a pallet, etc.)
  7. Historical pictures of your business or early employees
  8. Pictures of your products
  9. Ask people for a prediction
  10. “Inside scoop” video (for new products, inside new location, etc.)
  11. Sneak peak photos (i.e. pictures of part of an address sign from a new location, photos of part of a new product)
  12. Share articles that you find helpful
  13. Memes
  14. Testimonials from customers
  15. Funny things from the workday
  16. News articles about your company
  17. Industry news
  18. Fill in the blank
  19. Ask for feedback on new products or services
  20. Blog post (from your blog)
  21. Reminder about valuable page on your website
  22. Link to a photo gallery
  23. Photos from the past year (a look back)
  24. Reminder about an upcoming date
  25. Unique fact about your business or product
  26. Post with day-theme (i.e. Motivation Monday, Throwback Thursday, etc.)

How can I protect my business’ online reputation?

Smiling businesswoman standing with laptop and showing thumb up after reading positive review about companyYou don’t have to be the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation to know how valuable it is to protect your company’s brand online.  Poor reviews, fraudulent claims, and negative comments may seem small, but can have a huge impact on your brand—and your bottom line.  Bad reviews (literally) cost you sales.  Since the process of protecting your brand is so valuable, it’s never too early to get started protecting—and building—your business’ reputation.

Provide excellent customer service

Adequate customer service won’t do.  Every customer interaction—both in-person and online—should result in a positive review.  For consistent in-person customer service, train every member of your team that interacts with customers and vendors on proper phone and sales tactics.

For your online brand, assign customer service to a specific staff member or group of staff members to make sure every customer interaction is promptly addressed. Customers expect—actually demand—a reply to their questions within hours (or minutes) of their inquiry.  Take that customer service to the next level by offering a response that sounds like a human.  Canned responses won’t do; use that and these other online customer service tips to ensure that your customers are happy—and leaving positive reviews about the excellent service they received.

Reach your customers with everything they need

If you want your customers to choose your product or service, give them everything they need—and more than your competitors do.  For new customers, reach them early in the purchasing process before they are ready to buy.  Think like your customers do, and give them the tips and information (answers to their questions!) they’re looking for while they decide what to buy.

Search engine optimization (SEO), website content, content marketing, and social media are the four tactics that together can achieve that purpose. Together, these four online marketing tactics combine to reach potential customers and gain their trust.  SEO optimizes your website for the search engines so your website appears at the top of the listings when they look for products and services (local listings when you use local SEO).   Website content gives them the information your targeted audience needs.

Content marketing answers all their questions beyond what your website provides.  Through a series of content and images, content marketing answers your customers questions and gives them the information they need.  To search engines, content marketing is a signal that you are giving your customers what they want and need.  It also “tells” search engines that you are keeping your website updated with fresh new content. (If you don’t have time to deliver quality content, contact a marketing group that can.)

You can push your content marketing pieces out through social media channels, which is another way to gain your customers’ trust.  Use the 80/20 rule: 80% of your posts should be information, tips, and entertainment that can build their trust.  Twenty percent should be direct selling about your products and services.

Establish a strong online brand

Your company goes to great lengths to create a favorable impression with your in-person customers and vendors; do the same online.  Craft a solid website that anchors all your online marketing efforts (use these tips to ensure your website is quality).  Respond to all website inquiries that come through promptly.

Use social media sites to make the conversation with your customers two-way.  Research social media sites and post regularly on the sites where your customers are (more information on choosing the right social media sites for your brand here).  In your social media posts, build trust and reach your customers with information about your products and services (social media post ideas here).  Respond to all inquiries promptly with excellent customer service.

Monitor online reviews

If you don’t use online reviews to choose a company product or service, you may be the only one.  Research has shown that 88% factor online reviews into their purchasing decision (Source: Search Engine Land).  Monitor online reviews on social media sites and review sites to see what customers are saying about your business (after all your potential customers are).

If someone does post a negative review, take a deep breath.  Do not try to argue with the customer.  Do not use a canned, blah-blah-blah response that sounds like a bad customer service recording.  Instead, contact the customer with a human voice and ask to start a private conversation with them.  Ask them for information about their contact with your business.  Don’t be defensive; instead work together with the customer to come to a resolution.  There are automated solutions that can make the process more efficient; however, remember that the human element should always shine through as your protect your business’ reputation.