Saturday, April 28, 2018

SEO For Business Growth | Google Search

12 Reasons Why Your Business Absolutely Needs SEO

Many brands and businesses know (or think they know) that they need SEO for their digital properties, and the benefits they will get from that SEO work being implemented on their behalf.

SEO will certainly improve a website’s overall searchability and visibility, but what other real value does it offer? Why is SEO so important?

These 12 reasons should offer some clarity, regardless of the industry or business size, as to why businesses need SEO to take their brand to the next level.

1. Organic Search Is Most Often the Primary Source of Website Traffic

Organic search is a huge part of most business’s website performance, as well as a critical component of the buyer funnel and ultimately getting users to complete a conversion or engagement.

As marketers know, Google owns a significantly larger portion of the search market than competitors like Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, and the many, many others.

That’s not to say that all search engines don’t contribute to a brand’s visibility — they do — it’s just that Google owns about 75 percent of the overall search market. It’s the clear-cut leader and thus its guidelines are important to follow.

But the remaining 25 percent of the market owned by other engines is obviously valuable to brands, too.

Google, being the most visited website in the world (as well as specifically in the United States), also happens to be the most popular email provider in the world (with more than 1 billion users). Not to mention YouTube is the second biggest search engine.

We know that a clear majority of the world that has access to the internet is visiting Google at least once a day to get information.

Being highly visible as a trusted resource by Google and other search engines is always going to work in a brand’s favor. Quality SEO and a high-quality website takes brands there.

2. SEO Builds Trust & Credibility

The goal of any experienced SEO is to establish a strong foundation for a beautiful website with a clean, effective user experience that is easily discoverable in search with thanks to the trust and credibility of the brand and its digital properties.

Many elements go into establishing authority regarding search engines like Google. In addition to the factors mentioned above, authority is accrued over time as a result of elements like:

But establishing that authority will do more for a brand than most, if not all, other digital optimizations. Problem is, it’s impossible to build trust and credibility overnight — just like real life. Authority is earned and built over time.

Establishing a brand as an authority takes patience, effort, and commitment, but also relies on offering a valuable, quality product or service that allows customers to trust a brand.

3. Good SEO Also Means a Better User Experience

Everyone wants better organic rankings and maximum visibility. Few realize that optimal user experience is a big part of getting there.

Google has learned how to interpret a favorable or unfavorable user experience, and a positive user experience has become a pivotal element to a website’s success.

Customers know what they want. If they can’t find it, there’s going to be a problem. And performance will suffer.

A clear example of building a strong user experience is how Google has become more and more of an answer engine offering the sought-after data directly on the SERPs (search engine results pages) for users.

The intention of that is offering users the information they are looking for in fewer clicks, quickly and easily.

Quality SEO incorporates a positive user experience, leveraging it to work in a brand’s favor.

4. Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversions

With the rise and growing domination of mobile traffic, local search has become a fundamental part of small- and medium-sized businesses’ success.

Local SEO aims at optimizing your digital properties for a specific vicinity, so people can find you quickly and easily, putting them one step closer to a transaction.

Local optimizations focus on specific towns, cities, regions, and even states, to establish a viable medium for a brand’s messaging on a local level.

SEO pros do this by optimizing the brand’s website and its content, including local citations and backlinks, as well as local listings relevant to the location and business sector a brand belongs to.

To promote engagement on the local level, SEO pros should optimize a brand’s Knowledge Graph panel, its Google My Business listing, and its social media profiles as a start.

There should also be a strong emphasis on user reviews on Google, as well as other reviews sites like Yelp, Home Advisor, and Angie’s List (among others), depending on the industry.

Daymond John | Entrepreneur, Shark Tank Star

Local SEO - Best Practices | SEO Tips

Take Control of Your Local Rankings with 3 On-Site SEO Best Practices

Local search results got you low-key raging?

As a marketer, you get SEO. That’s the thing! That’s what’s got your foot tapping resentfully as you stare at a quick Google search for “best ice cream” in your area.

What you don’t get is why even though you made your client’s ice creamery an easily digestible website— with metaphorical whipped cream and a cherry on top— their good-for-nothing local rival, Suzie’s Creamery, is still TWO positions higher than your client’s on the search results.

Instead of pouting like a frozen fudgesicle with a stick up your butt (excuse this crudely accurate yet stone-cold illusion), it would be more helpful to reassess your greatest ranking asset— your website.

Your website— or is this case, your client’s site— is one thing you have full control over, and it should be your starting ground for making improvements to boost your local ranking.

Try these perfectly doable on-site SEO tips to increase your site’s position on local searches:

1. Keep Your “NAP” Consistent

This step seems simple, but it should not be taken lightly.

Your local rankings depend heavily on search engines understanding that you’re a local business. That means keeping your businesses name, address and phone number accurate across your website and social platforms, citation listings and anywhere you’re listed online.

Keep your NAP identical— word for word, including abbreviations and spelling— anywhere your business information is listed.

George Freitag’s article on Moz, Why Listing Accuracy is Important, tells us why Google likes consistency.

“If there’s enough sources out there saying something that’s contradictory to what you’re saying in your own Google My Business page, these places can actually override what you’re providing and Google will deem them more trustworthy than the information that you’re directly providing to them.”

Ensuring that your company’s NAP is listed correctly on your own website is a great place to start, but don’t forget to check that it matches across all platforms like social, Yelp, Google My Business, etc.

But remember, the SEO game always starts at home— with your own website.

2. Beef Up Your On-Site Location Page(s)

Create Dedicated “Locations” Pages or a Localized “Contact” Page

Do you have multiple locations? If so, do each of these locations have their own pages?

As a company with more than one location, it is worthwhile to consider building out individual location pages for each office or physical location of your business.

Now, this may sound like a lot of work. Why does each location need its own dedicated page? What the heck can I use to fill up a whole page of space, and wait a minute! Why put in all that effort when I could just list my addresses on my contact page?

Alright Twenty Questions master, hear us out!

Your location page is your gift to Google (and other online search engines).

Having an optimized page about where you operate puts you a point ahead in the local SEO game. It’s a special place that tells the “big papa” search engines, “HEY Google! I’m in Fort Myers, Florida talking about ice cream!”

Why? Because some of your competitors probably don’t have dedicated location pages. They’re making search engines dig deeper for location cues— and although Google is smart as hell, their algorithms, much like actual users, like it when don’t make them think so hard.

When someone types in “ice cream parlor,” Google’s wheeling are spinning— and no matter if you’re on desktop or mobile, the search engine is pulling local results based on your IP.

You’re giving Google a shortcut— telling the search engine to crawl no more, for you’re serving them a local “ice cream parlor” banana split on a silver platter.

We all know that search engines serve URLs that they find most relevant; and your page that’s about your niche in that specific area is relevant AF for local searches.

If you own a successful company with only one location, you can spruce up your contact page with all the same fun on-site SEO stuff.

Here’s what to keep in mind, either way:

Optimize Your Contact or Location Page(s) for Local Search

Regardless of if you’re a small neighborhood shop or a multi-office regional entity, you can show your website some local SEO lovin’ by:

  • Including “location” rooted words like “located, near, by, directions, office,” etc.
  • Linking to other close businesses in your niche (or businesses complimentary to your services)
  • Listing out a few sentences giving step-by-step directions to your business
  • Inserting a Google Maps iFrame of your address
  • Adding links to local attractions

Adding “Location” Rooted Words

These words are location-based or rooted words that signal you’re talking about something relevant to the specific area. Try using words on your page like “located near…” or “our Fort Myers’ office is by…”

Linking to Similar Businesses

We’re not saying to link to your biggest competitor here, but I’m sure Suzie’s Creamery wouldn’t mind a friendly shout-out. Maybe they’ll even link back to you too!
Adding hyperlinks to similar local businesses is just a signal to search engines that you’re relevant in your industry.

If you don’t want to shine light on the other ice cream shops in your area, maybe give a shout-out to your favorite slushie shop for those looking for a refreshing cup of Italian ice.

Linking to Local Attractions (when applicable)

Sometimes it’s nice to add a little flair about your area, and what makes this location special to you and your business. Give your audience ideas for things they could do around your company to make planning easier and give out-of-towners some insights into what’s hot in your city or town.

Giving Detailed Directions & Using Google Maps

This step is just as much for search engines as it is to help real prospects find your business.

Tell them the highway you’re off of and what road to turn onto to hit your shop. Point out the gas station that’s directly to the left of your store and that you’re only 15 minutes away from a super popular attraction that’s more commonly recognized in the area. And link to these businesses! It’ll show search engines your regional connection and improve your on-site SEO.

With Google being the largest search engine, using their Maps iFrame is kissing SEO ass in a good way. You’re telling the bots exactly how to find your business in their own tool. Plus, it’s a quick way for users to pull up directions on mobile.

Entrepreneur Motivational Video | Gary Vaynerchuk

Social Media Tips | Social Media Strategy

6 Tips for a Better Social Media Presence

Launching a startup on social media needs patience and devotion. You need ample time and the right strategy to sustain a successful run.

Find someone skilled in creating content, who embodies marketing experience and entrepreneurship, to elevate your social media presence.

1. Write frequently.

We all have a multitude of nice things to say about something. Your startup is no exception.

If you want to, you can write a novel about your business. But keep the verbosity to yourself.

To build social media presence, less means more. Buffer found that Facebook posts with 250 characters or less receive 66 percent more engagement than longer posts. Also, tweets 100 characters or less get 17 percent more engagement than wordy posts.

2. Use the right hashtags.

Hashtags help cut verbose posts without losing the gist. With proper use, it also extends targeted exposure for your brand.

Tweets with hashtags have twice the engagement than tweets without it. But take note that the engagement will drop if you use more than two hashtags.

For instance, photos captioned with multiple hashtags are eyesores. Focus. Find the write keywords that deliver your message.

3. Choose visual over textual content.

Visuals trump textual content on social media. Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement. Tweets with images get 1.5 times more retweets than pure textual content.

The data is true for high quality images, videos and infographics. Try to post blurry, amateur photos though, and you may as well bid adieu to your engagement rates.

Brand Strategy | Rebranding Strategies and Tips

Top 3 Tips for Attracting New Customers and Retaining Existing Fans During a Rebranding

Although many of today’s marketers weren’t even born when it happened, the New Coke rollout in 1985 remains the cautionary tale for would-be rebranders. New Coke — a reformulation of Coca-Cola’s classic soda — was such a spectacular flop that the company reversed course and brought the original Coke formula back within just a few months. File the effort under “how not to rebrand.”

Coca-Cola demonstrated the perils of messing with an iconic brand, but sometimes companies genuinely need to refresh their image and improve their products and services. It may be helpful to think of a brand update as a “refresh” rather than a “rebrand” — the concept of a “refresh” acknowledges that the brand needs to stay current while finding the ideal balance between the old and the new.

If you’re ready to refresh your brand, you’ll need to guard against going too far and not going far enough. If you’re too timid and just nibble around the edges, the brand refresh may not resonate with new customers as you’d hoped. On the other hand, if you change too much, you risk alienating existing customers. These three tips can help you achieve the ideal balance —

Prepare Current Customers for the Change

If you’re changing your look and feel to generate more traffic and attract new customers, let your existing customers in on the secret in advance. Maybe you’re adding new items to appeal to a younger demographic or changing your strategy to improve per-customer revenue. In either case, make sure your existing customers feel like they’re part of the change.

Engage them via social media, email and other channels, and find ways to let them know you still value their business even as your brand evolves to stay fresh and appeal to new customers. If they’re in on the change, your old customers won’t feel abandoned.

Demonstrate Value to New Customers

A brand refresh is a big event within a company and highly visible to regular customers, so sometimes marketers are lulled into thinking it’s a big deal to everyone. But new customers need a reason to give you a shot at earning their business. Prove to your target audience that you are relevant and worthy of a visit by giving them something of value, such as a special offer, a discount or an event that is specifically relevant to their interests.

Provide a sample of your brand experience that is compelling and will invite future visits. Make sure your offer appeals directly to the desired customer segment.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Social Media Marketing | Social Media Strategy

The Six Biggest Challenges Facing Social Media Marketers

Marketers say not having enough staff and financial resources is the top challenge they face in executing well on social media, according to recent research from The Manifest.

The report was based on data from a survey of 344 social media marketers from around the world who work for companies with more than 10 employees. Half of the respondents work for B2B firms and half work for B2C firms.

Some 26% of social media marketers say not having enough human and financial resources is their biggest challenge.

Other top challenges include not having a formal strategy (24% of respondents say so) and building followers and influencers (24%).

Those are followed by tracking results (17%), keeping up with changing features on social platforms (4%), and selecting the right social channels to market on (3%).

GaryVee: Motivation For Entrepreneurs | Gary Vaynerchuk

SEO | Omni Channel Marketing

SEOs Role in Omni Channel Marketing

Over the past few years, SEO has made a resurgence in the world of digital marketing. It’s not because SEO stopped working or was no longer relevant, but more so because it was previously ignored. After the major update known as Hummingbird, many companies that once outsourced their SEO to less than reputable companies, found that many of their “black hat” tactics no longer worked. As Google and the other major search engines have evolved, so has the role of SEO. SEO can no longer be done in a silo. It must be integrated into the digital marketing strategy as a whole.

Today’s consumer is overwhelmed with messages. Whether it comes from traditional sources like radio and TV or the internet via social and search ads, marketing is everywhere. Because of this neverending marketing and sales cycle, people have generally become much better at ignoring the noise.

That’s why many in the industry say that a brand needs 6-8 touches before they become a viable sales lead. In an article from SalesForce, they explain, “Today’s consumers are also increasingly immune to traditional advertising and sales methodologies, meaning they conduct more independent research and take more convincing before they’re sold on making a purchase.’

In order to reach customers more effectively, many brands today are opting for an omni-channel marketing strategy. This is not to be confused with multi-channel marketing. John Bowden, Senior VP of Customer Care at Time Warner Cable put it this way

“Multi-channel is an operational view – how you allow the customer to complete transactions in each channel. Omni-channel, however, is viewing the experience through the eyes of your customer, orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated, and consistent. Omni-channel anticipates that customers may start in one channel and move to another as they progress to a resolution. Making these complex ‘hand-offs’ between channels must be fluid for the customer. Simply put, omni-channel is multi-channel done right!”

While many brands use multiple channels to reach out, very few ensure that the hand-off and interactions between the channels are fluid. This results in a disjointed experience and engagement drop off. So you may be asking, what does SEO have to do with all this?

SEO Strategy - How to Improve Your SEO

Four Key Components Of A Successful SEO Strategy

Improving Your SEO

Let’s get into some specifics. Responsive website design is vital to a good user experience. When websites do not function well on smartphones, users will quickly leave the site to locate a search result that does. What’s worse is Google analyzes and records this user behavior. Websites with high bounce rates will lose their rankings and be kicked off of Google’s first page. If you’re a small business owner, you should request feedback right away from your customers. If they say your mobile website is confusing or unpleasant, you need to act immediately to remedy the situation.

The importance of having a good reputation is as old as time. As such, having a good online reputation is an indispensable asset to any business. Online reviews are the manifestation of a company's reputation, and they’re now the most significant ranking factor for local businesses. The reason companies with more quality reviews outrank companies with fewer or no reviews is because Google assumes that consumers would prefer to work with highly-rated businesses. If your company’s website is not ranking well, take a look at your reviews. Do you have a place for customers to leave reviews online? Do you have an effective strategy in place to acquire feedback from clients?

Finally, quality content distribution is another avenue for increasing rankings on today’s top search engines. For small businesses, the most beneficial type of content often comes from their own websites, blogs, social media posts, videos and newsletters. When companies produce meaningful content designed to truly inform and bring value to users, they enhance their website’s rankings. Companies that do not create quality content associated with their online presence are pulling the rug out from under themselves. Marketers and companies of all sizes alike should be laser-focused on producing genuine online content on multiple platforms.

Social Media Marketing Tips - Entrepreneurs

13 Social Media Marketing Tips You Can Use Today

Social media marketing keeps getting harder. The burning questions entrepreneurs are asking: How do I reach my target audience? How do I get interaction on my business page? How do I stand out in the crowd? And more.

Integrate these tips into your routine today to improve your reach.
  1. Double check graphic sizes before having your graphic designer create any graphics for your ads as they are always changing. My current favorite source is on Dreamgrow. If you use a program such as Canva, their templates are usually current with size requirements.
  1. Graphics of people often convert better than graphics of things. Think about what you relate to most. Is it interesting people or objects? Now how does that apply to your target audience?
  1. Social media marketing is about the conversations you can start or join that advance engagement. Ask meaningful questions and reply to your followers.
  1. If you choose to boost a post or use paid ads, narrow your target. For example, instead of Men and Women in the U.S. between 18 and 65, target Women in the Southeast. between the ages of 30 and 50. This should reflect your target market. You’ll get more engagement, get more results, and reduce costs.
  1. Try boosting blog posts on Twitter instead of Facebook, Twitter has a lower cost per click. If you’re successful, then do it on Facebook too.

Social Media Tips - Brand Strategy - Instagram Stories

Top social media tips: Brands get better organic visibility with Instagram Stories

Stories have been captivating audiences across social media platforms, allowing brands and users to give their Followers a glimpse into their life-moments for a limited time. While Instagram Stories usage among users is exploding – brands are still looking for ways to get in on the action. And brands that haven’t jumped on the Stories train just yet may be missing out on some major engagement.

The popularity of Instagram Stories has exploded since their 2016 debut. In fact, Instagram Stories growth hasn’t slowed down since – boasting 300 million daily active users as of today. Of course, it comes as no surprise that these short clips have become a social media favorite.

However, when it comes to new formats brands sometimes struggle to keep up with user-demand. Many brands understand that Stories are one of the hottest new trends on social but can’t decide if Stories are worth the amount of resources that are invested into creating them. After all, each Story only sticks around for 24 hours.

To find out how Stories stack up against Organic posts Socialbakers took a look at content from more than 1,100 Instagram Profiles. Our conclusions? These time-sensitive clips have BIG potential.