Making the Most of Your Local Business Profiles

Online business profiles—particularly on Google and Yelp—can have a profound impact on your ability to pull in customers from your geographic area. That’s because buyers tend to look on the web first when they need to find a new company or vendor, especially if they’re using their phone while on the go.

However, while understanding the importance of local business profiles is a good first step, that’s not enough to actually make the most of them. If you want to see a consistent flow of customers going from your business descriptions on the internet into your company’s accounts, here are a few things you have to do…

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7 Signs Your Business Website Needs Some Work

Occasionally, we meet with business owners who aren’t sure they need our services. It’s often the case that they have been referred by a colleague, or even a customer, but can’t tell whether they should actually invest in some upgrades to their existing web presence.

That’s understandable. Web design is about technical skill and personal preference. Besides, no one wants to spend money on creative work that won’t actually help them attract more leads or customers.

At the same time, however, there are a lot of websites out there that need immediate attention. Today, we want to give you seven clear-cut signs it’s time to make some improvements to the part of your business customers almost always see first…

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What Business Owners Need to Know About SEO Today

If you are a successful business owner, then you’re probably at least familiar with the basic notions behind search engine optimization (SEO). You know that a strong position in Google can help you win new customers every week. And you also probably know that search engine algorithms and formulas are constantly changing, and that a lot of the old tricks and ideas aren’t working anymore.

However, that does not mean you should give up on SEO. For one thing, the benefits of high search visibility are bigger than they’ve ever been. By some estimates, Google currently processes more than 4 billion searches per day. It has immense referral power for your company, and you don’t want to surrender that traffic or those sales opportunities. And for another thing, keeping up with the latest search trends probably isn’t quite as difficult as you might think. In fact, you just have to know which current trends and ideas matter most.

In order to help you cut through all the confusion and outdated information out there, let’s take a look at what business owners need to know about SEO today…

Google’s Basic Formula Still Applies

At the heart of all search visibility is the understanding that Google “reads” your website with automated spiders, looking for terms that match up with the ones searchers use. Also, it will see whether other high-quality websites within your industry link to you as a valuable resource. Get those two things right, and you’re bound to appear in Google more often.

You Can’t Spam Your Way to Success

In the “old days,” a lot of companies tried to game the SEO system by adding low-quality junk pages to their websites that featured the same search terms over and again. Others got away with directing thousands of meaningless links to their sites. These kinds of tactics stopped working a while ago because they could harm your search visibility. You can’t spam your way to SEO success anymore.

Geography Matters a Lot

Being that Google has essentially killed off the Yellow Pages, and millions of users are looking for answers from the phones and tablets while on the go, search engines now factor in geographic location more heavily into their algorithms. It’s important you have geographic terms in your website (like city and state names) so buyers and search spiders can tell where you do business.

Good Web Hosting Makes a Difference

Speed, consistency, and secure connectivity all count as search signals now. It means that fast and stable websites are more likely seen by customers. You can give your company a small advantage over your competitors by paying a few more dollars a month for good web hosting. It also happens to be a great way to improve website performance at the same time.

Mobile Search is a Huge Trend

Mobile search apps, digital assistants, and voice search tools are changing the way SEO works. That’s because people speak differently than they type. Websites with lots of natural language content—especially in the form of blog posts and frequently asked questions—are getting a big boost.

AI is Changing Everything

Google’s RankBrain and other artificial intelligence technologies are moving beyond additional keyword matching. They use advanced formulas to “understand” contextual relationships between pages and ideas on websites. Also they determine quality by evaluating citations, links, grammar, and more. In other words, Google is mimicking its human users and figuring out which search results are good ones.

While it’s true that SEO is undergoing huge transformations, it’s also true that savvy marketers are getting a bigger return than ever on their campaigns and efforts.

5 Frequently Asked Questions about PPC Advertising

New clients often come to us with many questions about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. It’s not hard to understand why. On the one hand, you can have a new campaign of PPC ads up and running within minutes. But on the other hand, those ads are going to cost you money, and you can watch your budget get eaten up hour by hour.

Additionally, most business owners understand—either from stories or first-hand experience—that PPC ads can lead to fast sales or lots of wasted dollars. So, they may be alternatively excited and apprehensive at the idea of running them.

You may be able to relate to some or all of these situations. In order to help you make good decisions for your company, we are going to share the answers to five frequently asked questions about PPC ads we hear all the time…

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4 Ways to Get More (and Better) Online Reviews

It’s no secret by now that online reviews drive sales. That’s true whether you have an online store, a professional services company, or a B2B business. According to some surveys and estimates, as many as 90% of all buyers will check out feedback left by other customers before making a purchase or committing to an appointment.

For a lot of business owners and marketers, though, the process of gathering online reviews can feel a little bit random. However, you don’t have to rely completely on luck to get the testimonials you need to make your company grow. In this post, we are going to share four simple and effective ways you can boost your online review profile. Let’s start with one that seems obvious but is often missed…

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How to Look at Your Website Like a Customer

One of the classic mistakes in web design (or any creative endeavor) is being so close to a project that you miss the forest for the trees. It’s a particularly easy to fall into that trap when you’re distracted by so many apps, layouts, and options you lose sight of what buyers really want from your website and business.

The answer, more often than not, is to take a step back from time to time throughout the creative process and look at your new web design the way a customer would. Usually, that involves asking yourself a handful of basic questions…

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Are You Making These Facebook Advertising Mistakes?

Google AdWords and Facebook advertising are built on a similar premise: show your marketing messages to the right people and you can generate an instant response. However, they represent entirely different platforms that work in unique ways. It’s no surprise, then, that so many marketers try to transfer the success they’ve had using search PPC to social media advertising and come up short.

To use Facebook advertising profitably, you have to follow an approach that’s tailored to the social network itself. That means avoiding a few all-too-common mistakes that small business owners tend to make again and again.

Let’s look at a few common blunders you should watch out for in your Facebook advertising campaigns…

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Are Negative Online Reviews Killing Your Sales?

Online reputation management is a relatively new topic in the world of internet marketing. For that reason, it’s not so surprising that a lot of business owners either don’t know what kinds of reviews have been posted about them online, or aren’t too worried about it.

However, we want all of our clients and readers to understand that negative feedback on the internet can absolutely kill your sales. That’s because a bad online reputation is like a hidden expense on your bottom line. It robs you of sales and leads without ever showing you the opportunities that have been lost.

That happens because new customers and referrals are likely to Google you, or look you up on their favorite social media platform, before they ever contact you. When they come across negative reviews, they are less likely to take the next step. Or, if they do decide to investigate more, they may be skeptical about your business. In that way, revenue can be lost even though a business owner isn’t aware of the real reason (or in some cases, that there was even a chance to make a sale in the first place).

So, how do you stop bad online feedback from affecting your bottom line? Here are some quick steps you can take starting today…

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4 Hidden Factors That Affect SEO Effectiveness

When the topic turns to search engine optimization, business owners tend to obsess over keyword density, inbound link scoring, and recent Google algorithm changes. But, while they are often concerned with the overall strength of their search visibility, many never pay much attention to the effectiveness of their SEO campaigns.

From our point of view, effectiveness really comes down to the bottom line results that are being generated. And really, isn’t that what should matter most?

If you agree, then it’s worth considering a few additional factors that can draw visitors to your website and convince them to either stay or leave. Let’s take a look at four details that often get overlooked when evaluating search engine optimization campaigns…

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3 Reasons Most Websites Fail

When business owners and their web design teams launch a site, it’s usually with high hopes and big expectations. Before long, though, those feelings are highly likely to turn to regret and disappointment.

That’s because most business websites fail. They don’t attract enough visitors to affect marketing, fail to help a company stand out, and make no appreciable difference on the bottom line (beyond the sizeable sums that are spent to design them).

Believe it or not, that’s as bad for companies like mine as it is for businesses like yours. When clients are disappointed with their new websites, they are hesitant to invest in online marketing again. And more often than not, they tell their colleagues to avoid making the same mistake.

The mistake isn’t getting a new website, though, it’s going about it the wrong way. I’ve learned again and again over the years that businesses—and especially small business—make the same few blunders that hold them back. To help you avoid them, here are three big reasons most new websites fail…

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