How to Transform Your Google My Business Listing From Good to Great in 4 Easy Steps

If you are like most small business owners, you claimed your Google My Business (GMB) listing years ago and haven’t looked at it since. A small segment of business owners add photos or videos from time to time or update their hours of business during the holidays and that’s about it. To improve your online search visibility, it’s important to take time away from working in your business to work on your business. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day demands placed on you by customers and employees. Make sure you reserve a small amount of time each month to take a look at your marketing efforts. Are the marketing channels you selected providing positive ROI? Is your website traffic up or down? And what is your strategy going forward? Today we are going to give you something to do at your next marketing meeting. We would like you to follow these four tips to optimize your Google My Business listing. You will notice throughout our list of tips that all of the new features in GMB seek to keep users in Google’s ecosystem by replicating features traditionally found on your website. In a sense, it is now your responsibility to maintain both your website and your GMB listing in equal proportion. If you follow these tips, it is our belief that you will see an increase in new customers.

Good to Great Tip 1: Google Services

Google Services was created to emulate the products and services pages of your website. Before the launch of Google Services, the only option available was a list of predetermined categories that described your services. These were often a close approximation of your actual services or only covered a segment of your services. With Google Services, you can enter your services manually into your GMB listing with no limits. It is extremely important to take advantage of this feature as Google will better understand the full breadth of services and display you in their search results for relevant search queries. Because the vast majority of small business owners are not even aware this feature exists, simply entering your services will be a huge leg up on your competition. Entering your services into Google My Business is easy; below, you will find step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Login to your Google My Business listing

Step 2: Navigate to the info tab and then pick services

Step 3: Enter each product or service one at a time until all of your services are listed. This will be a bit time consuming if you have a wide array of services or an entire menu to enter if you are a restaurant owner. Don’t worry if you have to break it up into a few sessions. The important thing is that you get it done.

Good to Great Tip 2: Make Use of Google Q&A

Think of Google Q&A as an interactive FAQ website page. Google Q&A provides prospective customers and returning customers with the ability to ask important questions to guide them along in the buying process. Keep in mind that anyone visiting your GMB listing can answer questions. To reduce the likelihood of a customer answering a question rather than you, we recommend that you keep a close eye on this page and monitor it frequently. Download the Google My Business app on your phone and make sure you are logged in the same account associated with your Google My Business listing to answer questions

Good to Great Tip 3: Use Google Posts

If you only have time to follow one of the four tips outlined here, this would be the one to follow. SEO data provider Moz conducts an annual survey of local ranking factors, and after reviewing the data from November 2018, they advised readers to begin utilizing Google Posts as their number one tip. As you can see from the pie chart below, Google My Business optimization accounts for 25% of a website’s search engine rankings. That means it is important that you squeeze everything you can out of your GMB listing. Which brings us to Google Posts. Google Posts allow you to post blogs directly on your GMB account. Simple, right? Actually, it is simple; the key is consistency. If you are already blogging regularly, we strongly suggest that you allocate half on the blog posts that would normally be posted on your website to your Google My Business listing. Many small business owners ask if they should write differently for GMB than they do for their on-site blog. The answer is that you should write a little differently when creating a Google Post. Try to incorporate local events or landmarks when possible. That will help locate your business for Google and show that you are a member of a community. If possible, try to post once per week; if that is not possible, two per month should do quite nicely.

Steps to post a blog on Google My Business:

  1. Log into Google My Business
  2. Select the “posts” option
  3. Choose “write your post”

Good to Great Tip 4: Create A Google Short Name

If you follow this tip, it is very likely that you may be the first company amongst your competitors to create a short name. A short name is simply a unique, easy to remember GMB URL that you can share with customers. Short names use the following format: g.page.yourbusinessname.

Let’s say, for example, you are the owner of Marv’s Bakery. You could create the following short name: g.page.marvsbakery. Before the advent of short names, you would have had to email a much longer URL string that would not be easy to remember and that would not easily fit on a business card. We advise you to update your stationery business cards and other marketing material to include your short name in an effort to drive additional traffic to your Google My Business listing and website.

Follow the steps below to create a Google short name:

  1. Log into your GMB account
  2. Go to left side navigation area and then select “Info”
  3. Select “Add profile short name”
  4. When choosing a short name, make sure it is no longer than 32 characters and no shorter than five characters long
  5. Make it easy to remember. If you have a long business name, choose the most important part of it

Putting It All Together

The most important step of all is to begin implementing these tips right away. Most people reading this article and similar articles will not take the final step of enacting the changes recommended above. We implore you to be the exception rather than the rule and get this squared away. If you do not have time to do this on your own, let your digital marketing agency do the work for you. If they do not have the bandwidth needed to handle local SEO implementation, ask them to hire the best white label seo service they can find. A white label SEO program can help provide extra capacity to your local agency. Thank you for taking the time to read this; it is our sincere hope that these tips will create extra foot traffic for your business the remainder of 2019 in into the future.

5 Strategies To Boost Your Social Media Engagement

With mobile dominating the digital marketing world, it’s important to employ a variety of strategies to grow your audience engagement on social media. Without a solid strategy, you run the risk of being out of touch with your target audience.

In 2019, companies are looking to improve their social media strategies to help drive growth. Here are five strategies you can use to boost engagement this year:

  1. Brand personas. This is a unique personality that your brand possesses. Your brand should connect with a targeted group or demographic. It’s important that you develop a personality that resonates with the group and the audience of the social media channel you’re using. You can have different personas on different channels. You might want a brand persona that’s more vocal and artistic on Instagram whereas you might want to be more commercial and business-focused on LinkedIn.
  2. Have active conversations. A crucial element on social media is to engage with your users while vocalizing your agenda. Social media users aren’t likely to engage with posts that are too sales oriented. Instead, ask for feedback, reviews, use polls, or ask questions. You want to find the right balance between content and promotional info if you want high engagement.
  3. Use your channel as a customer service tool. As mentioned previously, it’s a good idea to ask your social media followers questions/feedback. It’s also a great idea to use your social media channel as a customer service tool. When a follower asks a question about your company or your products/services, make time and reply properly. Other social media followers are watching closely when you make that reply. This will help to reinforce your brand’s reputation and improve social media engagement.
  4. Use social media plugins. There are many different social media plugins for various web platforms that you can use online to increase engagement. Social media plugins make it possible for followers to share posts and content from your brand’s website directly to their own social media pages. This creates a viral effect for your content and is especially beneficial for potential consumers who may visit your website from another user’s shared link.
  5. Use live video. Video marketing is increasing in popularity due to the fact that it increases engagement more than images or posts. Additionally, it’s a faster content delivery medium and it gives users a sense of immediacy. Live videos and streaming content also give your brand a direct interaction with your social media users in real time.

How to Increase User Acquisition With Mobile App Development

Today, there are about 2.2 million apps in the Apple App store and 2.6 million apps in the Google Play Store. Mobile Apps account for about 92 percent of all the users time spent on mobile in the U.S. With every passing day, it is becoming an increasing challenge to have a company’s app be unique and really stand out. User acquisition is probably the most important metric through which all organizations, with a footprint in mobile apps, measure how much value is being added to their top line.

Measurement of User Acquisition

User acquisition is measured primarily through two metrics – install rate and number of installs. These two metrics are the most important ways through which one can tell if their apps are being successful in reaching out to the key demographic. Marketers, however, use other metrics as well to properly evaluate the success of their apps:

  • * Cost per install (CPI) – This about $3.15 in the U.S. This is an expensive and not an efficient way to acquire users.
  • * Cost Per Action (CPA) – This is defined as the cost of converting a customer.
  • * ROI – This is used to determine if the users who have been acquired are actually adding value to the company.
  • * Customer acquisition cost (CAC) – This is defined as the total acquisition cost divided by total new customers.

User Acquisition Tools

App Store Optimization or ASO

It is important to optimize one’s app inside the App store after it is launched. Keywords should be put in the (app) app description and the app title. However, care should be taken to ensure that there is no keyword stuffing. Through the title and the description, you have to strive to convey to the key demography the benefits of using our app.

Social Media

Social media is one of the most important parts of any user acquisition strategy. Social media is a great way to reach out to the target audience. Some of the common strategies employed by marketers when working with social media are to follow industry leaders and well-known communities. Social media is probably the easiest and the quickest way to reach out to the key demography by making content go viral etc.

Segmentation

The key to a successful marketing strategy is smart segmentation. Targeting the right customer can increase conversions substantially as opposed to reaching out to an indiscriminate group of customers. Having said that, it is not an easy task to target the right customer for app marketing. Some methods that might help in segmentation are:

  • * Create a profile of your top customers in order to better target the future users.
  • * When building segments, it is important to have more than one with separately defined parameters in order to be able to reach out to customers with separate goals.

Video Ads

According to e-marketer, digital ad buys in 2017 will top $82 billion and video ads will account for about 15% of that. Mobile video ads consumption is increasing at the rate of 100% every year. Video content is hugely popular. In fact, speculation is that video ads may rival social media as a viable marketing strategy in the coming few years. Some of the most common tools used for video ads are Loop Me, Inneractive, and YouTube Mobile Video Ads.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a very good way to reach out and increase the user acquisition for any app. There are many platforms online which allow you to sign up and talk about your product for free. However, just engaging these platforms in order to market one’s product will not work. Instead, you need to participate and engage customers and convince them into trying out your products. This will happen primarily through engagement via refreshing, entertaining and informative content. Some of these content platforms are Buzzfeed, StumbleUpon, Product Hunt and Quora.

The Inbound Lead Generation Checklist

This month, we are sharing a really solid Infographic from Website Magazine that highlights the key components of Lead Generation. Lead Generation is the lifeblood of every business, large or small. If your business does not have lead flow, your company will die on the vine. Read the article..

3 Reasons Why Backlinks Matter in SEO

Want more leads next year? You need Better SEO. Here is a great article that explains one of the most crucial elements of SEO:
https://www.websitemagazine.com/blog/3-reasons-why-backlinks-matter-in-seo

After reading the article, circle back to us and check out our new, no-risk, onsite SEO consult plan: https://www.autowebtech.com/one-time-seo-consult-package/ 

We’ll move the SEO needle for you and get you started down the path to better rankings and more leads, or it’s free.

5 SEO Mistakes to avoid in 2017

 

2017 is right around the corner. Many companies are reflecting on the current year’s successes, failures, and planning for the new year ahead. Here are 5 SEO mistakes that you should avoid in 2017.

1. BAD KEYWORD RESEARCH
Finding the right keywords can make or break a campaign. Don’t base your campaign on keywords that YOU think are valuable. Do the research. Find out which keywords are pulling the most volume in Adwords. Also, vary your keyword strategy. Traditional broad keywords are valuable and should still be a part of your SEO strategy, but longer-tail keywords are also very valuable. Here is one recommendation:

Create a list of problems or issues that your product or service can solve and use that to create a list of problem-based phrases. For example, instead of “plumbing services” you would target “get broken pipe fixed” or even and educational phrase like “how to make sure your pipes stay clear”.

2. EXPECTING EFFECTIVE RESULTS FROM CHEAP SEO PLANS
You only get what you pay for. Ranking on keywords with no search volume is a waste. Buying links in bulk on low ranking sites is a mistake. Stuffing pages with archaic meta tags and keywords is not effective. You need a qualified team of experts with a holistic approach to SEO. This means creating compelling content onsite and offsite each and every month, syndicating this content, as well as building good, high quality backlinks from articles built on co-citations from strong URL’s. It takes time and an investment of resources.

3. NOT BUILDING LINKS
To make it to page 1, an active link building campaign is needed. If you are working with a company that does not offer link building services, it is time to replace them. Google looks for websites and companies with authority. They do this buy seeing what content is out there on your behalf and what high quality (and low quality) websites are linking to yours. Fads in SEO come and go. Algorithms change. Link building is a staple, if done correctly, of any good SEO campaign.

4. SEO CAN’T FIX BAD PRODUCTS AND BAD WEBSITES
SEO is not “magic” or “voodoo”. If your product doesn’t work or your sales team can’t close deals, SEO won’t be able to fix that. If your site is not user friendly or attractive, people won’t trust or buy from it. If your inbound call center or receptionist has bad phone skills, SEO can’t help you.

5. FAILING TO EDUCATE YOURSELF AS A BUSINESS OWNER
As a business owner, understanding that SEO is a highly measurable, adjustable, and effective method of marketing is important but there are limitations. SEO campaigns take a lot of time (6-12 months, typically, for any significant results). You won’t make it to page 1 overnight. AND, any firm you contract with should be completely transparent. Expect good reports, progress and metric tracking, lead tracking, call tracking, etc. ALL RESULTS SHOULD BE A MEASURABLE RETURN ON INVESTMENT.

What is the Possum update and how it affects Local Pack.

Google reportedly updated it’s local search algorithm in the first week of September.

The Local search community is calling it “Possum”.

What exactly was the update?
This is one of the biggest updates since Pigeon. However, it only impacted the local 3 pack and local finder, organic search results are completely unaffected from this update. It is believed that this update was applied to diversify the local results and hinder spam from ranking well.

1. City limits have been exceeded.
Earlier, it was very difficult for businesses which “technically” fell out of the city limits to rank well on the search engine result pages. They were facing a real tough time. But after this update, some have witnessed a major hike in their rankings. For example, a business in “Gulf Gate Estates, Florida” ranks for the term “direct home inspections sarasota”

possumm

2. Google has become more sophisticated in identifying businesses.
Earlier, Google used to filter the websites that had the same name, domain, site or address. But a business that had a different NAP and domain name often ranked separately. After this update, Google has become more sophisticated in identifying the business. Now, you might not see the same business ranking twice in the SERP for the same term, even if they have no similarity between their websites. It clearly indicates that Google knows more about the business and the industry than we thought.

However, it is not a penalty and Google is not removing or hindering your business from ranking well. Instead, they have made the local packs work like the organic filter, which picks the best & most relevant listings. So only one of your listings (which is most relevant to the search query) will make it to the local packs instead of all, to keep it fair.

3. Location of the searcher is more important than ever.
One of our clients called us lately. “My ranking in the Google map has dropped from 1 to 9”, he said worriedly. We immediately checked the ranking and to our surprise, his listing was in the ninth position. We were wondering that how it’s even possible? So we decided to a check the rankings from the location the business was actually located i.e. Dallas instead of their headquarters in Alabama (where they were searching from). We sighed a breath of relief as we found out that their listing was still in the first position. So why it was showing a different result?

Well, the recent update has placed more importance on the location of the searcher. If anyone searches for a business listing, sitting far from the location, they are more likely to get zoomed out results, and will get less varying results if they are within the limits.

4. Slightest variations in the search term can bring different results.
Now even the slightest variation in the search term is bringing different results. Earlier, the search results for “New York Lawyers” and “Lawyers New York” were the same. But since the update, we are seeing different results for variations of the search term. So we suggest you to precisely select your targeted keywords while optimizing the site.

possumm2

Local Pack result for “New York Lawyers”

5. Organic filter and local filter are now less connected.
The recent update has drawn a huge line between Organic filter and Local filter. They seem to be completely different & very less connected to each other. Before the update, If Google filtered out your site organically, it was confirmed that your site rankings will suffer.

But after the update, we have seen many sites that are ranking well for competitive terms that are linking to the pages that were filtered out organically.

 

 

Penguin 4.0 and what you need to know.

This past Friday, Google announced the launch of Penguin 4.0 as a core part of their algorithm. We’ve been waiting for this release for most of this year. The details about launch dates, how it might work, and other details have been hazy at best. Overall, our clients are faring pretty well. We are seeing a small decrease in the number of new page one rankings this month, but we are optimistic and pleased overall. Our SEO Team has been working diligently behind the scenes and we have been proactively conducting link audits to make sure we minimize any spammy or low scoring backlinks to our client sites.

The two primary changes this time around for Penguin are as follows (From GOOGLE):

  • “Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google’s algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed. With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page. It also means we’re not going to comment on future refreshes.”
  • “Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.”

Our Comments and FAQ’s:

What is the Penguin algorithm?

First introduced in April 2012, the Penguin update was created to target sites that used “spammy” tactics and manipulative practices that violate the Google webmaster guidelines. The last update was in the Fall of 2014 and sites impacted by that update have been waiting two years for another update.

Is it still rolling out?

Yes, and it is expected to for the next few weeks. It is now a real-time part of Google’s core search algorithm, which means that once it fully rolls out, it will be a constant process rather than periodic updates, as it was previously.

If rankings are fine now, will there be any more changes?

We won’t know the full impact until it has fully rolled out. Once it has, it will be a real-time part of the core algorithm.

Remember that Google is constantly making changes to its algorithm to improve the user experience. With Penguin now part of the core algorithm, it is more important than ever to ensure that your links follow quality guidelines.

If rankings have gone down, what should I do?

Don’t panic and give it some time. It will still be rolling out for the next few weeks. We have already seen some clients’ rankings bounce around and then settle back into their previous positions.