The Importance of a Google My Business Listing

The Importance of a Google My Business Listing

The two most popular resources consumers use today when making purchasing decisions are customer reviews and Google. We inherently trust what other customers have to say about a business, and if we want to know anything at all, we Google it. It should be no surprise, then, that Google My Business — which incorporates the two together — is becoming one of, if not the most powerful tool for marketing. Let’s take a closer look at exactly how Google My Business helps businesses like yours.

Gain Instant Trust

If your listing appears in a Google search, consumers see that you have been endorsed by Google. If Google trusts you enough to display you in its results, they know they can trust you too.

Get More Website Visitors

Your Google My Business listing gives customers the means to access your business, but more importantly, it depicts what it’s like to actually go there. Even more importantly, it displays all of this information before a user even has to click through to your website. The more a person can envision what it will be like to contact or visit a business, and the more quickly they can do so, the more likely they are to do so.

Get More Sales

Google uses your listing and other real-time data to be able to answer highly specific queries, such as “hair salons near me open now”. This allows for more of the most qualified people to find your business—those who are highly likely to make a purchase.

Engage with Customers

Google My Business now has a posting feature where you can communicate announcements, events, and promotions to your audience. Keeping customers up to date on your business keeps you top of mind. In addition, each of these post types has a call to action, making engagement easier and more likely. If applicable to a particular search, content from your posts may even display in your result.

Create, Claim, and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

If you haven’t already done so, create and claim your Google My Business listing asap. You can’t afford to miss the opportunities Google is giving to you, free. However, your listing must be complete, accurate, and up to date if you want to reap its benefits. In addition to being 50% more likely to lead to a purchase (as mentioned above), an optimized Google My Business listing is 70% more likely to attract location visits and makes a business 2.7x more likely to be considered reputable.

If you already have a listing, ThriveHive’s Google Grader will assess its effectiveness and provide recommendations for improvement. Give it a try!

5 of the Most Common SEO Mistakes You Need to Avoid

5 of the Most Common SEO Mistakes You Need to Avoid

If you have a content marketing strategy in place for your business, search engine optimization (SEO) for your business’s website needs to be a part of it. And any SEO expert will tell you that although it’s a timely process and one that requires diligent effort, a properly executed strategy is invaluable to your business.

Search algorithms and SEO best practices are constantly evolving, and you need to make sure that you follow these trends and implement changes within your own website. When your website isn’t optimized correctly, you’ll miss out on search traffic and risk losing new customers to your competitors who have executed their SEO properly.

Don’t get lazy when it comes to SEO for your small business website. Here are some of the more common SEO mistakes that you’ll want to avoid making.

1. Selecting Irrelevant Keywords

Keywords are the words that tell search engines about the content on your website. When a searcher types in a phrase into a search engine, the search engine will populate with relevant web pages based on those keywords. For your website, you want to make sure that you are choosing keywords that are relevant to your business. This will give you the best odds of showing up in search results for items related to your business.

Determine which keywords and phrases you believe potential customers would search for to find things about your business. Conduct keyword research using tools like Google’s keyword planner or the Moz keyword explorer. These tools will help you gain a better understanding of what’s trending, so you can determine the best, most relevant keywords.

2. Posting Duplicate Content

You wouldn’t reuse another business’s logo or tagline, would you? Well, the same should be true of your content. Your customers expect high-quality, original content, and that’s exactly what you should be providing them with. So, copying and duplicating content from other websites is not an option. Not only does it make your website appear incredibly unprofessional, but search engines pick up replicate content as spam and will penalize you for it. Take the time to come up with fresh, unique content ideas that provide value to your customers.

3. Not Utilizing Meta Tags Properly

Meta tags tell a search engine what the content on your website is about. They cannot be seen on a page, but they appear behind the scenes within the code. They are a huge element of SEO and a necessity for performing well with search engines. You’ll want to focus on the following:

Meta keywords attribute – Keywords that are relevant to the page’s content.
Title tags – The title of your page that appears at the top of the browser.
Meta description attribute – A short description of the page’s content.
Meta robots attribute – Tells a search engine what it should do with a web page.

4. Having a Slow Page Speed

Page speed is the length of time that it takes for a website page to load all of its content entirely. It’s simple fact that the longer a web page takes to load, the more likely it is that searches will leave the site, thus increasing your bounce rate and negatively impacting the traffic to your website, as seen below.

As a simple starting point, web pages with large files or images will load slower than those without. In order to avoid this, you can optimize your images and other content. Here are a few more in-depth tips.

5. Not Optimizing for Mobile

In order to succeed in your market, you need to be where your customers are. In 2018, 52.2% of all worldwide online traffic was generated via mobile. Additionally, 57% of all US online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.

Optimizing your website for mobile has never been more important than it is now, especially with the initiation of Google’s Mobile First Index. This practice means that Google now looks to a website’s mobile version in order to create and rank it within search listings.

To make your website mobile friendly, you’ll need to select a website design that’s mobile responsive. You also want to avoid using flash, as users can’t view those items via mobile. Don’t utilize pop-ups either, as they are difficult to close out of on a mobile device and can impact your bounce rate.

How to Take Advantage of Holiday Cheer to Increase Positive Online Reviews

How to Take Advantage of Holiday Cheer to Increase Positive Online Reviews

Almost 95% of customers check out online reviews before making a purchase. This means that if your business has only a few reviews, you lack the social proof to convince users to choose you over a competitor.

In addition, reviews are critical to small business SEO, as search engines use them to determine quality and authority of your business.

To make matters worse, users (and Google) look for reviews in multiple places, including Google My Business, product review sites like Yelp, social media, and industry-specific sites. It’s best if you have at least a couple reviews in all of these places.

Luckily, the holiday season gives you an excellent opportunity to increase your number of positive reviews. Customers are full of holiday cheer and looking to spread their good will. However, it’s still unlikely that they’ll leave a review without some encouragement. You need to have a strategy in place to solicit reviews from satisfied customers.

1. Tap into the Good Cheer of the Holidays

Start a campaign, just for the holidays, where you ask for reviews. You can run this campaign on social media or through email — accompanied with a holiday greeting. If you use an email campaign, include a link to the site where you want users to leave a review.

It’s best if you can find a way to make your campaign holiday themed. For instance, you could ask people to explain how your product brightened up their holidays or to share a holiday story that involves one of your services.

2. Meet Increased Customer Demand

People are more likely to leave you a review if they have a bad experience with your company. You need to avoid disappointing customers at all costs. If you provide an exceptional service, you increase your chances of receiving great feedback.

If the holidays will mean an increase in sales for your business, you need to take steps to ensure that you’ll be able to meet the demand. This means stocking up on your most popular products, making sure that your e-commerce site is accurate about how many products you have in stock, and only guaranteeing delivery times that you can fulfill. You’ll also need to ensure that you respond to queries as soon as possible and otherwise provide great customer service.

3. Share Reviews

Pick your favorite holiday reviews and feature them on your website or social media pages. You can even explicitly say that you will be sharing the most inspiring stories — this should encourage more users to write reviews.

4. Offer a Holiday Gift for Reviewers

A final option is to provide an incentive for leaving a review. Incentives can be a discount on the customer’s next purchase, a freebie, or another type of offer. You can give the gift to all reviewers or hold a contest and randomly pick one user to win.

If you’re sending users to a particular site for the review, you’ll need to check that compensation is allowed. Some sites have strict rules about incentivizing customers — and if you break these rules, you could end up losing all your reviews. This will leave you much worse off than when you started.

Timing is key when soliciting reviews. If you’re using social media, test posting times to find out when your campaign receives the greatest number of responses. For email campaigns, send out requests for reviews when your company is on your customers’ minds. This could be right after a customer receives a product, after a client has used your service or following an interaction with your customer support team. You are more likely to receive responses if the email doesn’t come out of nowhere.

Boostability Webinar Recap: SEO for Small Business — Big Results on a Small Budget

Boostability Webinar Recap: SEO for Small Business — Big Results on a Small Budget

During a recent MarketingBitz webinar, Kelly Shelton, VP of marketing at Boostability discussed the ‘why,’ ‘what,’ and ‘how’ of search engine optimization (SEO) for small businesses on a budget. To kick off his presentation, Kelly quoted the LSA’s 2018 Local Media Tracking study, “Consumers use and trust search engines more than any other source when looking for and making a purchasing decision.”

He first dove into the ‘why’ component of SEO by discussing the differences between various search engine results, including paid ads, local listings and organic results. He also explained how SEO enhances all of your other marketing efforts, like radio, TV and print.

He then listed a few best practices for small businesses, including creating relevant behind the scenes code (title and h1 tags, meta descriptions), as well as customer facing copy (keywords), and using that content to build trust in your business.

Kelly discussed the steps of the BoostSEO method: Selecting quality keywords over quantity, becoming relevant for those keywords, earning trust and authority for said keywords and earning page one rankings.

He then explained the various stages of the customer lifecycle, which encompasses:

  • The initial campaign setup
  • Keyword optimization/selection
  • Website optimization
  • Business profile development
  • Link portfolio development
  • Custom content creation
  • Ongoing SEO consultation
  • Service and performance reporting

Access to the recording of this webinar and all other MarketingBitz webinars is available to Bitz Pro Subscribers. Click here to learn more.

Key Factors to Consider When Analyzing Your Website’s SEO

Key Factors to Consider When Analyzing Your Website’s SEO

Your website, in many cases, is the first thing a potential customer sees about your business, so you want to make sure that they can easily access it. When a user conducts a search on a search engine, there’s an algorithm in place that determines the pages which best match the searcher’s intent or answer their question.

By having a good SEO strategy in place, the more likely you’ll be to end up in the top rankings of these search results and generate more clicks to your website. Well-rounded SEO can also help you best your competitors who are trying to rank for the same keywords and phrases as you are.

To understand whether or not your website is drawing in this traffic, it’s important to perform an SEO analysis regularly. Here are a few of the components that should be taken into consideration when performing at SEO analysis.

Page Speed

Google has indicated over and over that site speed is one of the main signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. To be blunt, the faster your pages load, the more it will help your SEO. It also provides a better user experience for customers visiting your site and can subsequently lower your bounce rate and increase the average time users spend on a page. Such impacts can also help improve your keyword rankings.

Most certain engines have page speed tests that will provide suggestions for improving page speed. Google, for instance, utilizes PageSpeed Insights, where users can type in their websites and are provided with page speed and optimization scores for both mobile and desktop. Here is an example conducted for www.Target.com:

Additionally, the analysis will show page stats, as well as suggestions for improving optimization. Small businesses can use this tool to improve their page speed and their overall SEO.

Keyword Rankings

Arguably the most important aspect of SEO, keywords are the ideas and topics that tell what the content on your website is about. They are also the words and phrases that users enter when conducting a search. Thus, the keywords present on your website should match up with your business and what you do, as this is how searchers looking for a business that provides products and services like yours will find it.

In order to understand what keywords make the most sense for your business, you must conduct keyword research. If you’re unsure of where to begin, look to your competitors see which keywords are present throughout their websites. This is also beneficial because you’ll want to create better optimized pages to increase your chances of ranking higher than your competitors in search results.

Once you’ve determined some good, useful keywords, use a keyword tool to check how often its being searched for, as well as if there are other variations of the word or phrase being used. Keep in mind, keywords can also be “long-tail,” which indicate 3-4 word phrases that are specific to products and services you’re offering. You’ll want to do your best to optimize for both.

Be sure to type these keywords into Google and see what comes up in the SERPs (search engine results pages). That way, you can gain a better vision for the types of content you’ll create on your site to rank for said keywords. WordStream offers a free keyword tool to help you get started.

Backlinks

When another website links back to yours, that’s a backlink, and they are an incredibly important component of SEO. This is because backlinks help increase your website’s credibility. They are an indication to Google and other search engines that someone deemed your content valuable enough to link to it on their own website.

Certain backlinks mean more than others. Meaning, the more trustworthy and popular a website is, the more beneficial it is to have them backlink to your site. Moz’s Link Explorer tool can help you see the pages and domains that link to your website.

If you’re looking to gain backlinks, you can submit your website to online directories or comment and post your blogs on blogs and forums that are relevant to your industry. You can also ask to guest blog for these relevant websites, then place backlinks to your site within the blog.

Each of these components plays a crucial role in your SEO strategy, so it’s important to monitor them regularly. Use tools and conduct research to gain insight into what’s working and what needs improvement.

Search Marketing 101: How to Track and Measure Your PPC ROI

Search Marketing 101: How to Track and Measure Your PPC ROI

Measuring your success and return on investment (ROI) should be a key part of your search marketing strategy. Measurement helps you to understand if you are meeting your goals, forms a benchmark for future budgeting and justifies your marketing spend. Furthermore, effective measurement helps you to optimize the elements of your campaigns on the fly.

Use these insights and tips for tracking and optimizing your search marketing investments.

From Impressions to Conversions: A Primer

Before diving in, it’s worth taking the time to review the various opportunities for tracking search marketing success. Paid search networks offer plentiful opportunities to measure the success of your campaigns. The most basic measurements include:

  • Impressions: The number of times your ad appears during a campaign.
  • Click-throughs: The number of times your ad is clicked on.
  • Click-through-rate (CTR): The number of click-throughs divided by the number of impressions.
  • Cost-per-click (CPC): The cost of each ad click-through.

These metrics are great at giving you a partial picture of success. But for a more comprehensive view, you also need to understand how to track conversions.

Conversion tracking helps you measure campaign ROI by counting the type and number of specified activities consumers complete on your website. How conversion rates are defined can vary between campaigns.

For example, for an online retailer with the goal of increasing sales, their conversion rate may simply be the number of clicks that led to a sale. For a B2B that is trying to generate leads, the conversion rate may be the number of people who downloaded a white paper or subscribed to a newsletter.

In general, tracking the following metrics can help you assess conversion rates:

  • Destination URL: The number of visits to a specific web page.
  • Events: The completion of a specified action such as subscribing to a blog.
  • Duration: The amount of time user spends engaging on a web page.
  • Pages viewed per visit: The number of web pages a consumer visits.

It’s important to note that once you have an idea of how you want to track conversions, you will need to use your search network tools to define and track those conversions.

Dealing with a Longer Conversion Cycle

One of the strengths of paid search is the ability to connect a click to a sale, and for e-commerce businesses selling products to consumers, tracking is often one-to-one. However, for B2B businesses, the conversion cycle can be much longer. The path a customer takes from initial research, to comparison shopping, to becoming a lead, and ultimately, to converting can be a long one.

Dealing with a longer conversion cycle can still be done. Target customers with appropriate messaging based on their current stage in the cycle. Understand that an early-stage click that doesn’t result in a lead may still have value. Setting expectations and having a long-term strategy can help you overcome this hurdle.

One-to-one conversion tracking is difficult for B2Bs when customers are interacting with your business through many channels and on different devices. To deal with this challenge, make sure that you have systems in place through your customer relationship management (CRM) system and call-tracking software to help tie everything together and give you the clearest view of how paid search is performing. When you know which campaigns are doing best (or worst), you can optimize and invest accordingly.

Determining Your Key Performance Indicators 

To track success, you must set relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) as part of your campaign planning process. KPIs align to your specific business goals and will help you select the right ways to measure success and to quickly see what’s working and what’s not in your campaigns.

For example, if your goal is to build your customer base, your KPIs may define the percentage of new customers and conversion rates. If you want to increase call volume, you can set KPIs that measure increases in the number of calls and call conversions.

Dealing with Attribution

Even with advanced analytics and lead tracking in place, many businesses deal with the challenge of attributing everything correctly. An attribution model is a way to give credit for leads to different touchpoints in the conversion path. Choosing the right one for your business is important.

The most common attribution model is last click, but that doesn’t make it the best for your business. The last click model assigns credit to whichever channel drove the user to convert (for instance, if a customer clicks an ad and then converts on the site). But what if a user clicks an ad, leaves the site, and comes back a week later via an organic search?

Put a model in place to help you determine what channels are driving your leads. For B2B businesses with long sales cycles, multi-touch models like time decay make the most sense because they account for many interactions with different channels over time.

Strategies for Targeting the Entire Conversion Funnel

Paid search can play a role throughout the conversion cycle. It’s easy to focus efforts on the bottom of the funnel because that’s where most sales and leads come from. Such ads are valuable, but you can attract so many more potential customers by also targeting people in higher stages of the funnel. This is especially important for B2B businesses.

Target customers at each stage of the conversion funnel with different types of ads.

  • High: Customers high in the funnel are far from converting. They are often unfamiliar with your brand and what you offer. To target these customers, use non-branded search and display.
  • Mid: Customers in the middle of the funnel are aware of your brand but are still researching all the options. These customers may respond best to more specific non-branded search keywords and some branded search.
  • Low: Customers low in the funnel are interested in your brand and are ready to convert. Target them with remarketing and branded search.

To learn more about building your KPIs, measuring ROI, and more, download The growth marketer’s guide to search.