Local SEO

3 Tips to Help Your Business Show Up in Google’s 3-Pack

The change from Google’s 7-pack, to a reduced 3-pack has had a major impact on local SEO. Many businesses struggled to get featured when there were seven spots available. Now getting into the top three can seem like rocket science. The good news is that this goal is not impossible.
However, it does take time, skills, and knowledge to get it done. Being seen by local consumers just as they’re searching for your type of product or service is the most targeted type of marketing known today. But getting there can be tricky unless you really know what you’re doing.
To help you get started down the right path, here are three helpful tips:

  1. Get more citations
    When it comes to ranking your local listing, one thing Google pays close attention to is how often a company is mentioned in other sources. In other words, it looks for “citations” to validate your business. A citation is a mention of your business name along with another piece of business information anywhere on the web – with OR without a link back to your website.
    The additional information could be your phone number, website URL, or physical address – combined or individual. In order to count as a citation, the information must be an EXACT match to the information on your Google My Business listing.
    Citations help prove to the search engines that you are a real company; therefore, the more of them you have from quality sources, the better your local listing rankings will be.
  2. Add photos to your listings
    It’s no secret that consumers love photos. The more, high quality images you have on Google local listing profile, the more appealing it will be to potential customers. This goes farther than Google; Yelp has even published advice on how to optimize your business listings, claiming that photos make a massive difference. It even goes as far as to say that according to research from Review Trackers, consumers spent 2.5 times more of their time on listings that featured photos.
  3. Get as many reviews as you can
    Reviews are an important part of getting noticed online these days. Consumers love writing reviews about businesses and they also like reading them. Google has taken note of this. It wants to promote the best local businesses and what better way to determine who those businesses are than through positive user reviews? If you want to really increase your rankings, encourage your customers to leave reviews whenever you can.
    Getting your business to show up on Google’s 3-pack is a lot more challenging than it was with the 7-pack; obviously, because there are less spots. The tips above will help, but you will need to continually keep up with local search changes and ensure all of your company’s information is listed correctly and updated going forward. Not only that, but make sure you make smart use of categories and strategic keyword placement within your profile to give it strength.

3 Tips for Writing Better Copy for Your Small Business Website

Content is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can use in today’s digital world. When written correctly, it has the power to draw in millions of new visitors, increase conversions, build up brand image and develop strong relationships with both new and existing customers.
However, it’s not always easy to get it right. If you’re wondering how to create the most effective copy for your small business website, below you’ll discover three tips that will help.

  1. Start with the most important pieces of information first
    The thing many small businesses forget, is that your website has just a few seconds to grab the visitor’s attention. It isn’t enough to have an eye-catching design; you also need to have captivating copy. It’s important to open the page with key pieces of useful information. For most businesses, this means focus on the pains, wants, and needs of your target audience. Make them want to keep reading to the point where they want to find out more about your products or services.
  2. Always split the content up
    It’s one of the simplest tips to follow, yet one that so many businesses forget. Always make sure the content is split into sections, with ideally no more than 3-5 sentences per paragraph. Nobody wants to read long paragraphs of text.
    You can split the content up in a number of ways, with subheadings and bullet points being the most favorable.
  3. Avoid keyword stuffing
    Back in the day when search engine optimization (SEO) was first introduced, it was encouraged to use certain keywords as much possible in your website copy. That was how search engines determined how highly a site should rank in results. This, unfortunately, led to a high level of sites offering almost incomprehensible, junk content. This is called keyword-stuffing and these days, sites are penalized if they use this practice.
    Your focus should always be on creating informative, useful content that’s easy to read. Don’t focus solely on specific keywords. There are tools out there that can help such as keyword trackers, to ensure you’re not overdoing it.
  4. Don’t forget to the call-to-action
    Every page on your site should have a call-to-action telling visitors what you want them to do next. Calls-to-action have been a primary part of marketing for as long as anyone can remember. Contrary to popular belief, they’re even more important for digital marketing. This is because the digital space is filled with competition and other distractions that can easily take a consumer’s attention off of your business.

Writing effective website copy is extremely important; yet, it’s not as difficult as many businesses make it out to be. Some of them write too much about themselves and leave out the benefits to their target audience. Others create long, boring, ill-formatted content that simply turns visitors off. Others skimp on the content all together and suffer due to a lack of traffic and conversions.
Content will forever be a critical piece of having a highly-effective website. Having a beautiful design is good, but without the right content, it’s not going to do much to increase sales and profits.

Local Website Marketing Tips

Have you ever wondered why some local businesses seem to thrive and be incredibly successful at marketing themselves on the Internet while others can’t even manage to get one customer to their website?

If so, you are not alone. We realise that a lot of businesses find internet marketing very frustrating. There are literally thousands of different ways to market your business on the Internet, so we have put together some basic internet marketing tips we think will be useful to most local small business owners.

Google+ Local

Even if you only started your online business very recently, the chances are it will already be listed on Google+ Local. However, your mission is to make sure the information on your Google Local page is accurate.

To do that, all you need to do is claim your page and make sure that you fill in all of the information correctly (contact us if you need some help as it needs to be done properly or your ranking will suffer).

Local businesses benefit enormously from having their Google Places listing found at or near the top of the page 1 results on Google. Just this one tip alone could make a huge difference to your business.

Remember both Bing and Yahoo have their own local search platforms too
Okay, so Bing Local and Yahoo Local might not be as big and effective as Google’s local search platform but you should not ignore them as they can still drive a lot of traffic to your website. Like Google, they are free and relatively easy to do but it is vital to make sure that you give the search engines the exact kind of information they require in order to benefit fully from them.

Check your <Title> tag

Visit your website and look at the very top of your browser window. What do you see?

  • Does it describe the page that you are looking at?
  • Is it a personalized description relating to your website or is it a generic default description that could apply to any business online?
  • Does it contain keywords and phrases you would expect people to use when searching for a business like yours in the search engines?
  • If you are a local business depending on local customers in your area to find you, does it contain local search keywords?

If not then this will be another reason why you are not getting many visitors to your website.

Determine what you want your website to do

A lot of local business owners give total control of their website to their web designers. While they may be good at actually designing websites they usually don’t have a clue about marketing and making the website work efficiently for their clients. So instead of letting your designer have free rein, spend a few minutes thinking about what the goal of your website is? Yes, you want it to boost your profits by driving extra sales but how exactly will it do that? Start with just one goal, such as increasing the number of phone calls, and branch out from there. Although it is important to set goals, you also need to come up with a system for measuring the results of those goals.

Spread the word in Local directories

There are numerous directory sites on the internet, each with hundreds of thousands of visitors. Some, like Insiderpages.com, even get millions of visitors per month. It makes sense to get your business listed in these online directories, especially if there is a directory relating specifically to your industry niche.

Not only will you benefit from the extra visitors from the directories but as an added bonus, being listed will actually strengthen your rankings in Google+ Local.

Check out your competition

When was the last time you visited any of you competitors’ websites? Do you know who your competitors are? Find out what sites appear when you type in keyword and phrases that you think potential customers would use when looking for your site.

Visiting your competitors’ websites is a great way to get ideas and take stock of your own company’s online marketing efforts in comparison to theirs. Take a look at the kind of information they have on their site and see how their site compares to yours? Try to analyse why their site might be ranking higher than yours.

Join your local Chamber of Commerce and networking groups

Although this comes with a price tag, the benefits of joining the local Chamber of Commerce or a local networking group like BNI.com are enormous. You have the potential to get much more business, save your business money with member-only deals and provide a boost in the local search rankings. Here is a list of just some of the benefits:

  • Increased exposure to many other people and local businesses eager to do business with you
  • Substantially increased referrals
  • Participation in numerous networking groups each week
  • Get invited to take part in tradeshows (where you’ll have an opportunity to market your business)
  • Free workshops
  • And much more

The knock on effect for your business is definitely worth the investment and your local business is likely to grow as a result.

Post online videos

Youtube is one of the biggest search engines on the Internet and Google owns it. Google also rewards businesses who post videos on YouTube with higher search rankings, so it would be foolhardy to ignore it. Using YouTube and other online video sites is free and well worth the effort to create a video and post it online.

Don’t panic. You don’t need to produce a Hollywood Blockbuster movie. If you have a video camera or even a decent smartphone with a video camera on it, you can video yourself or members of your staff showcasing some of the services you provide or displaying some of the products you have on offer. Record a demo of how to use one of your products or you could interview some of your best customers. You could even give people a video tour around your premises. If you don’t have a video camera, you could create a simple slide show presentation in Powerpoint with some pictures and add a brief voice over.

Then, create a YouTube channel and upload it. There are many videos on YouTube itself showing how to personalise and brand it. In the video’s description add a full link to your website and make sure that it is clickable. Don’t forget to add “tags” using words that people are likely to search for (keywords relating to your business or the area that you live including your city or town).

Don’t just stick to YouTube. There are other sites such as Vimeo.com and Dailymotion.com to post on, and you can add your video to your own website by using the embed option from YouTube and your Facebook page.

Make friends with local journalists

This is probably one strategy that your competitors are not doing and it works like a charm. But you are probably wondering how you would even start to make friends with a journalist. Watch your local news items on TV, read your local newspapers and compile a list of the local reporters. Most TV stations now include the journalist Twitter ID or email address alongside the correspondent’s name while they are presenting their news item.

Start off by commenting on a story that your journalist friend wrote in the newspaper or presented on the TV. Don’t flatter them but make your comment insightful. Add value to what they have reported and make them think. You want them to remember you. Send them a story idea that has nothing to do with your business, something you think might be of interest to them. Write a blog post, Tweet or add a comment on Facebook about something that they have covered and explain why you found it interesting.

In time, you could start sending them stories you think would be newsworthy, or show them you are an expert in your particular field so if a story ever crops up relating to your business you will be the first person that they think of.

Get involved on Social Media

Why should you use Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter? Well, many budget-conscious companies have already started using these free marketing source as a way to promote, connect and brand their company, and connecting with your customers is the main reason to use social media for your business.

You will be able to communicate with your customers easily because Facebook, Twitter, etc have become a daily habit. Many log on to update as soon as they wake up, even before brushing their teeth.

To succeed with in social media marketing, don’t try and sell anything to your followers. It’s a place consumers can go to easily access your phone number, address, and other key information, even on their mobile phones. Instead, start to engage with people interested in your business: Thank customers for their business; respond to customer complaints; market your business to people most likely to support your company. Try offering/sending out exclusive discounts and deals on your social media fans and followers.

Once you have your Facebook page and Twitter accounts up-and-running, try giving LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube a go. The more you use the world of social media, the higher your return will be – perhaps not in direct revenue, but with increased brand loyalty, greater word-of-mouth, and stronger emotional attachment to your brand.

We can provide you with some great ways to use Facebook and other social media sites to their full potential and win over thousands of potential new customers. Give us a call to discuss all the different ways we can help you gain more traffic to your website through effective marketing and increase the sales power of your website.