2021 Local SEO Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring is here, and with it comes the perfect opportunity to give your local search engine rankings a boost. If you are looking for some helpful tips on how to do this, then this blog post is for you! We will discuss 8 actionable steps that can be done to improve your local SEO ranking so that people in your area can find you more easily and become a customer.

What is "Local SEO"

Local SEO is the process of making sure that your company website is ranking higher on search engine results pages (SERPS) when people look up a service or product in their area.

It's important to note, though, that local SEO rankings are not the same as regular SEO since they will only show the sites that are most relevant to what someone searched for nearby.

Local SEO results are displayed on the Google Maps Pack (commonly called 3 pack, or snack pack) and on the right side of the search results on desktop.

Essentially the goal of Local SEO is to increase the number of times your company is shown to people who are most likely looking for what you provide in your community, city, or neighborhood.

Verify your Google My Business Profile (before the busy season)

Google My Business is critical for any Local SEO campaign. If you've been putting off claiming and verifying your Google My Business profile you need to get it done.

Start by going to Google My Business click "Start Now" in the upper right. Then follow the steps to look up your business or create a new listing (if one doesn't exist, which is rare if you've been in business for a while).

Add your current business information and continue following the steps as Google prompts you until you come to the verification screen.

Here Google will send you a postcard that contains a code. Keep a lookout because the postcard looks kind of like an advertisement. You'll also want to let your staff know it's coming so it doesn't get thrown away with other junk mail.

When you have the code go back to Google My Business and click "Verify". Enter the code and just like that, you're verified!

Once verified, be sure to fill out as much information as possible about who you are and what you do so people in your community can find your business easily on Google when they're looking for services.

Be sure to add pictures of your business, inside and out, as well as your products and services, any projects you've worked on, and pictures of your staff.

Tip: Don't change your business information until you've verified your business. If you change information about your business you'll invalidate the code Google has sent you and will have to get a new code. However, once your business is verified you have the freedom to change the details of your business.

NAP Consistency. Cleaning up old Name, Address, and Phone Number info

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number.

Your NAP needs to be consistent on every page of your website and on all online listing services and citations.

If you've moved locations, changed your phone number, or your business name, you need to confirm that that information is correct across all instances of your NAP across as much of the internet as possible.

Before starting a NAP audit and cleanup, you need to know what information should be there. This might sound obvious, but differences in NAP can be as small as a Comma between your business name and LLC or not. This might sound petty, but your goal needs to be being consistent and uniform across all listings for your business.

This probably sounds like an impossible task, but there are services to make it easier.

One of our favorites is BrightLocal's Citation Builder. For a few dollars per citation, you can see and fix (usually) all instances of incorrect NAP entries as well as build new citations that will give your business a boost in the rankings.

At the very least, cleaning up your NAP and citations will result in customers being able to find you and contact you. At best, you'll beat your competitors who didn't put in the work to clean up their incorrect NAP entries.

Look for link opportunities in your local community

Use your local newspapers or news blogs to get backlinks to your website.

An easy way to get this done is to create a press release for your business and place it on the service area page or a landing page related to your local area or location.

Then send the press release to the editors. Some news outlets and papers even have a place for you to send your press releases.

Local Business Directories.

These directories won't move the needle as much as they used to. But they are still an important source of backlinks.

You can create a profile and submit your business to these directories, and some of them require a follow-up or verification. If this sounds like a lot of work, there are agencies and services who can perform this for you (Like Prairie Giraffe 😉 )

You may also be able to find some paid local listings that are worth the investment if you know what keywords and industries they target.

Here are a few directories you should consider listing your business in:


Sponsor Local Charities

Chance are there is no shortage of charities in your area that could use your help. And most of them are happy to send links and shoutouts to their sponsors and supporters.

Find local non-profits in your area that align with your vision and values, and make a donation. Simple as that.

You get to help your local community and get a backlink to your website. It's a win-win!

Partner With or Sponsor Local Businesses or Charities

Sponsoring local businesses or charities is another excellent way to get backlinks.

Who do you know?

If you own your own business, you probably know other business owners in your town or neighborhood.

Chances are you're already referring people to businesses you know and like. Take your relationship to the next level by asking the owners if they would be open to linking to your website and you could link to theirs.

Note: Trading links is technically frowned on by Google. But, if you're doing it with people in your town and not making it a regular habit, it can help boost your rankings.

Another way to get local links is to write about local businesses that may have worked with you on a project. This sends signals to search engines that you're active in the community you're claiming to be from, it also encourages those you mention in your article to link to you.

If you've written a good piece of content about a local project and you mention someone else, send them an email with a link to the article and see if they would be willing to link to it from their portfolio or "our work" page.

This is another huge win-win. You did the work of writing the article, but they give you the bigger gift of a backlink.

What questions can you answer?

Search engines aren't just for looking up pictures of dolphins and cats anymore.

Searches performed on Google cost Google money. They have to maintain the servers, power them, pay the engineers who design the software that powers the search engine. It's a lot.

So Google, Bing, or any other search engine wants you to see some ads (so they get paid), get your answer, then get off their server.

So if you can answer the question someone is asking better than anyone else in your area, they (Google) will reward you with the top spot. Because they want to sell ads and give people answers, FAST.

So how do you find the questions people are asking?

There are several ways you can see questions people are asking online, but a few of the simplest (and cheapest) ways of doing it are by:

Google's "People Also Ask" section.

This section shows up on search results right below the first few results.

Just search for terms or questions you know your customers ask, then go to the People Also Asked section and you can see 4 questions at first, but as you open those questions you'll see more and more questions appear.

You can get the exact questions people have asked Google, from Google, and then answer those questions on your own website.

Making you go from just another business with a digital brochure, to a valuable resource online trusted by both people and search engines.

Google Search Console

Most people have never heard of Google Search Console. It is a free service you can sign up for, which will give you valuable information about your website.

You'll be able to see when Google visits your site (Googlebot), what the search terms people are searching that bring them to your site, and more.

All of this data is great feedback on how well or not so well you're answering people's questions.

You can also see what questions are triggering your site, and then write content to improve on those results.

As I'm sure you've heard, "Content is King", but not just mindless wandering content. You need to be giving people content that they care about. Well answering questions is a great way to stop struggling to think of content ideas and actually start attracting customers you want to work with.

Does your website make you sound crazy?

This section is not so much about SEO, but about messaging. Messaging is the foundation of your website and marketing. If you don't know what to say, chances are you're not saying the right things.

Not having a plan of how we will talk to our customers and what our goal is when talking to our customers, means we're probably not saying anything of value, or we're just rambling on about ourselves.

Ask yourself, "would I talk to my customers face to face the same way I'm talking to them on my website?" If someone walked through the door and the first thing you said was WELCOME!!! "We started our company in 1987 when my grandfather had the idea that...."?

Chances are that is not the case at all. And if it is, I'm guessing that people are walking out the door ASAP without buying.

Intuitively, you most likely understand that people aren't in your store because you're awesome, and they don't want to hear about your rich history. They want to solve a problem. They go to the museum for rich history.

You're probably asking something like "How can I help you?" Because your business is there to solve a specific problem, for a specific type of person. Whether you're a camping goods store or a criminal defense lawyer, your core product is solving a problem people can't or don't want to solve on their own.

Here's how to do a quick audit on your own messaging to verify you don't sound like a rambling robot.

Go to your website and look at the words you use in the header.

Do you start with a problem you solve?

Moving down the page, do you highlight the benefits of working with you?

Another area people typically don't think of is the consequences of not working with you? Obviously, if you're solving a problem, there must be something negative a person can experience if they don't work with you.

Now I'm not saying to go negative and make your site depressing, but if you don't say what could happen if someone doesn't work with you, they probably aren't going to figure it out themselves.

People want you to help them survive and thrive. If you've talked about the benefits, there has to be a brief flip side to those benefits.

What will your customer's life be like if you solve their problem? After we've touched on the benefits and any consequences there may be to not working with you, you need to point them to a brighter future with you.

Don't just talk about how your mower has a 36" base that doesn't clog. Highlight that your mower saves them time and hassle not dealing with clogs so they can get back to spending time with their family in the best-looking yard on the block.

Dentists shouldn't just talk about the absence of cavities, they should be talking about the confidence that comes from a healthy smile, and how people naturally gravitate to people with better teeth.

Help your audience Survive and Thrive. Always. If you're not creating a brighter future for your customers, then chances are they don't need you, and they'll find someone who does.

(Local) Content is king!

Just because we're focusing on local SEO and diving into things like citations and Google My Business optimization doesn't mean you're off the hook for creating content.

But don't just make any content. Don't type words for word's sake, or hire someone on Fiverr to write about your business for $1 an hour. You need to invest in content your customers actually care about.

As we mentioned above, search engines and people want their questions answered. And people want you to help them Survive and Thrive.

So start focusing on creating content answering questions with localized keywords in mind and creating pages for your products and services.

Start with your products and services that are local to the area so you can rank for keywords like "SEO" or "local SEO". Start targeting these keywords in posts, blog entries, videos, social media content- anything!

Create pages for your service areas talking about the services you provide to those areas. Or talk about each of your locations.

It's tempting to just lump all your services on the same page. This is fine for your home page or a general service directory page, but you really need to be making a page for each service or product.

Chances are when I just said to create a page for each product and service you went cross-eyed and a part of your soul died.

Do not sit down and try to make all of these pages and content at once.

Start writing a page per week, or per month. Whatever you can commit to is fine.

Conclusion

The goal of cleaning up your Local SEO is to start making progress. Creating everything your business could need for SEO overnight is an unrealistic goal and it's actually a signal to Google that something is up.

Good Local SEO campaigns take months or years to complete because the goal is consistent forward movement.

If you can commit to a small chunk of time each day to making your website better, you'll be able to see the progress in a matter of weeks or months while those who refuse to commit will get left behind.

The sooner you start on this journey, the more opportunities and chances for success you will discover for your business!

Don't forget to reach out for help. If you need help with your Local SEO we're here for you. Contact us to schedule a conversation. We'll go over your website and local web presence and can give you some tips to help you move forward, or can get you a price for a fully managed solution.

10 Tips for Improving Your Local SEO Right Now

You want to rank higher on Google for customers in your local area, right?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 tips that can be used to improve your local SEO. These are all simple and easy-to-follow strategies that you can start to implement right now.

We'll start with the first tip: Creating Your Business Page on Google My Business.

1. Create a Google My Business Account

The first step of improving your local rankings is claiming and optimizing your Google My Business profile. Google My Business is Google's free and easy way to manage all of the information about your business and show that information on search results.

To claim and optimize a listing, go to google.com/business, select "Manage this location," then click on "Claim this page." You'll need access to the email address associated with your company’s website domain as well as other information related to your company.

Quick note, if you don't actually serve customers at your location, don't worry. You can tell Google My Business where your service area is, and not publish your address.

Once you've found your business and answered all of Google's questions about your business, it's time to request your verification card. Typically you'll be sent a card from Google My Business with a code on it. You will need to input the code on your business verification request form, which can be found at google.com/business/#verify-a-location.

Clear as mud? Don't worry! Google will walk you through each step as you set up and verify your account.

Once you've verified your listing, it's time to optimize. Google My Business has a number of features that will help you attract more customers and improve your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Here are some tips for optimizing:

Once your information is in place don't forget to create some posts relating to your services and any sales or new products you may have. These posts are displayed below your GMB listing and profiles who post regularly seem to rank better than profiles that don't.

Tip: Don't go crazy making changes to your Google My Business profile until it's been verified. Making changes to your NAP (name, address, and phone number) or category will require a new verification number (unless your account has been verified) and invalidate the first number Google may have already sent. So if you need to make changes to your profile, wait for the verification number to arrive in the mail, verify your account, then make your changes.

2. Get More Reviews from Happy Customers

Google represents 92% of all internet search queries. So it makes sense to use Google My Business as your primary review platform.

To start collecting reviews Google has a link you can send to your customers asking for feedback. You can also use Prairie Giraffe's review management platform to help manage your reviews and automatically send out requests to customers so they can leave their thoughts about you on Google My Business.

Automating the collection of reviews can be a huge time saver. Text automation and email automation are two powerful ways to reach out to satisfied customers and encourage them to leave a review.

You can enter the numbers and or email addresses of your customers and send them an easy-to-use link to your review page on Google My Business. I'm sure you've heard it dozens of times "Sure! I'll leave a review" only to never see the review ever happen. People are busy, and remembering to; go to google, look you up, find the place to leave a review, publish.

That's a lot to ask from someone who also just paid you for your service.

It's way easier to just; click the link, write the review, done.

Important Tip: When someone leaves a review remember to respond to it. Show appreciation and thank the customer for taking the time to leave feedback. If you've identified someone who's left negative reviews then reach out to them privately instead of responding publicly in a review or on social media since that could escalate things quickly.

Make sure your customers can contact you by email, phone number or other means like live chat on your website.

Positive reviews are a significant ranking factor for local SEO. So make collecting new reviews a part of your marketing strategy.

What about negative reviews?

If you have negative reviews you have a few options.

  1. Report any inappropriate, threatening, racist, or other reviews that violate Google's terms of service for reviews.
  2. Bury bad reviews with good reviews.

If a review is a useless rant. Or maybe it's full of profanity and hate speech you can typically get those taken down by reporting them to Google for review.

If the review isn't actually a violation of the terms of use, but a legitimate complaint, Google isn't going to take that down.

If that happens, reply to the review and see if there is a way to make it right. Sometimes you can turn a bad review into a good review just by offering to fix the problem.

This isn't always the case though. Whatever you do, don't get in the mud with someone who's just being rude. It's tempting to lash out when someone is being unreasonable, but the worst thing you can do is to get in an argument with a customer in front of the whole world.

People can recognize someone who's becoming unreasonable on a review and might actually side with the business.

When all else fails get more positive reviews.

If you can't get negative reviews taken down, try to get more positive reviews on the GMB.

It can be a lot of work, but it's worth the time investment if you're trying to clean up your Google Reviews page and will make sure that potential customers are reading mostly great things about you.

3. Optimize for Voice Search

Voice search is becoming more and more popular and will continue to grow as people become more accustomed to AI and digital assistants like Siri and Alexa.

Optimize your website for voice search by using more long-tail keywords and answering who, what, why, how questions.

Being able to answer the question asked to Alexa "what doctor takes blue cross blue shield near me" will give you an edge over your competitors.

This might sound complicated, but searching a question relevant to your industry on Google and then going to the "People Also Asked" section will give you tons of content ideas and show you what people are already asking when looking for your services.

4. Create Content Based on Local News Stories or Events and reference other businesses and landmarks

The main difference between SEO and Local SEO is that it's Local. So create content relevant to your geographic area and business.

Highly localized content is a signal to both search engines and your readers that you really are a business in their area. Referencing other businesses or landmarks in your area in the content also helps you to develop relationships with other local businesses. You're also sending signals to Google that you're located in the community you're speaking about.

Some local content ideas would be:

The options are endless because Local SEO isn't just about getting search engines to place you higher on results, it's about showing your next customer how you can help them and that you're a part of their community.

5. Optimize Your Website for Mobile

The trend towards using the internet on a mobile device has continued to grow. It's important that your website is responsive and can be viewed on a mobile device.

If you've been putting off updating your website for mobile the time is now. Google now looks at how your site performs on mobile-first and foremost. And now as of May 1st, 2021, Google is using Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor.

That's a lot of nerd speak for, your site needs to be fast, and work perfectly on phones, or you'll be penalized.

If you're not sure how to make your site responsive, or find out if it's even a problem for you, use Google Lighthouse. It'll tell you what needs work and where the problems are."

To recap: update your design so it looks good on all devices; test load time on both desktop and mobile screens; optimize images, videos, and text for smaller screens - including navigation options like maps.

For hard-core DIY'ers out there we recommend WordPress to build or update your new site with. There are literally thousands of themes and builders that work with WordPress out there that will be mobile responsive by default and will save you hundreds of hours trying to learn to code.

If however, you have better things to do with your life, like running your business, we'd be happy to discuss your options and if we're a good fit, send you a proposal.

6. Prioritize the use of Local Keywords

Your keywords should be relevant to your local customers.

When you think about your business, what words do you use to describe it?

For example, a local bicycle store would have keywords like "bikes," "bike repair," and "where to buy bikes in X city."

A bike shop in New York City might focus on different keywords like "bike-share" and "bike-share near me" or the specific type of biking they offer.

Think about the phrases that people will be typing into their browsers when looking for your products or services. These are great starting points. Your competitors' websites should also provide some insight as well.

Adding signal keywords like "near me", "your town's name", "your product in your neighborhood", tells Google that your business is located in the area.

7. Use Location Pages or a Location-Specific “About Us” Page

Using location pages is a great way to tell your audience and Google that your business is located in the area.

Location pages can also be used to provide information about your location and what you have to offer nearby.

Typically these are listed on a separate page from your main website with links back to those locations at the top or bottom of the page. They might include:

-A map so visitors can quickly find where their desired destination is rather than typing it into Google Maps themselves

-Hours/contact info for that location

-Photos of exterior signage along with photo galleries inside if applicable (like an art gallery)

The "about us" section of your site could be turned into another type of location-specific page by listing local businesses within the neighborhood as well as any other markers or points of interest your customers might be interested in.

If you don't serve customers at your location create service area pages. This might include a map of the surrounding area with distances along with contact information and hours specific to those regions.

8. Give Your Local SEO A Boost With Online Business Directories

Local citations are a critical part of Local SEO. Online directories like Yelp or Google My Business are great places to start when getting your business listed.

Some directories might require that you pay in order to be included. Before you pay for a listing make sure it's legitimate and relevant to your industry. Some directories may be a scam, and others will have nothing to do with your business and would end up being a waste of your time and money.

When in doubt don't pay for citation listings until you are sure they will help your business.

BrightLocal has a citation building service that can help you filter through all the potential listings and choose which ones are the best for your business.

For local citations not connected with online directories, try contacting businesses like restaurants and hotels within the area where your office resides to see if they would consider listing you as well.

Don't focus on national online listings only or "the big guys" (Google, Apple, Yelp, Better Business Bureau). Local directories like your chamber of commerce, event advertising and listing services in your town or neighborhood, non-profits, and other listing opportunities are very valuable and can help you stand out from larger national businesses.

9. Focus on Link Signals (Get High-Quality Local Backlinks)

You've probably heard about link building and how important it is to your search rankings. It's true that links carry a lot of weight, and you should spend time building out great content on your website in order to capture the attention of other websites (and individuals) who would like nothing more than to link back to you.

This is true for Local SEO as well. However, you have a unique opportunity being local. Reach out to local companies, organizations, and individuals who would benefit from your content and ask if they would be willing to link back to your website.

Being local, you probably have an advantage over much larger competitors because you're actually part of the community. Small businesses tend to be willing to help other small businesses, especially when the relationship is mutually beneficial.

For instance, it makes sense for a body shop that doesn't fix glass, to link/refer to a local glass company, and vice versa.

Another example would be a cleaning company linking to a plumber. Plumbers tend not to clean up the mess, and cleaners probably can't fix the pipe that caused the mess.

You see this happening every day across all industries. Now take that everyday practice of referring your customers to other companies you trust, and make it digital, by asking for a link back to your site.

You can also find these opportunities by contacting your chamber of commerce or looking up local directory listings for companies that are most likely going to be interested in what you can offer them (listing opportunities).

The moral of this story is don't overlook an easy source of high-quality links: Local businesses! Reach out to as many as possible with compelling offers on non-competitive keywords while building rapport and generating quality content relevant to their industry. These types of relationships take time but they will pay off over time.

10. Create a Dedicated Webpage for Each Product/Service You Offer

An overlooked way of increasing your rankings on local search is to create a separate web page for each of your products and services.

Include local keywords in the content of those pages as well for an extra boost.

By focusing on a specific keyword and service for each page you ensure that Google knows exactly what that page is about. When you lump everything into one page your message becomes diluted.

Conclusion

There is a lot more that goes into a complete Local SEO strategy but these are the most effective ways to get started. By completing these tasks and implementing the strategies in this post you will start to see improvements in Google search engine rankings.

Remember SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Focusing on a few tasks each week to improve your SEO will lead to long-term success.

If you need help getting your business listing to rank higher on Google so you can start getting more local customers coming to your store contact us. We can have a conversation about your business goals and take a look at your situation and online presence.

Best Practices for Google Shopping Feed Optimization

With the advent of e-commerce in the past few days, hundreds of businesses take up their business online. Be it an age-old business or a new small business looking to operate only online, and numerous people sign up online to tap the increasing demand for online shopping. 

Therefore, it is pertinent to stand apart from the crowd and ensure that your business flourishes. This article helps you understand what Google Shopping Feed Optimization is and how it helps make your online shop boom. 

Create shopping ads and a feed for google merchant center by Danish886

Source Link

What is Google shopping feed? 

Google Shopping is an exclusive service offered by Google that allows customers to find, research, view, and compare various products. Previously known as Product Listing Ads, this service helps make your products visible to those customers who search in Google. 

When you enable and optimize Google Shopping Feed, your products are shown to the customers who search for them on Google.  The products appear either on the main search engine results or under the shopping tab of the page.

Your Google Shopping feed is a database that explains and sorts out your product catalog, making Google easily understand and grab the data.

Google gets into the advertisers' feeds, pages, and websites to decide on the appropriate advertisements for a particular search query. Only when you have a full Google Shopping feed, your promotions become relevant and visible. 

If you are trading with footwear and a potential customer searches for 'shoes' in Google, your products would be displayed under the sponsored ads showing at the top of the page. But making Google display your products at the top of their search results, requires an effective Google Shopping Feed Optimization.

5 Free WooCommerce Google Product Feed Plugins for Quality Leads

Source link

First, the mechanism of Google Shopping feed optimization is very similar to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Just as in SEO, for effective Google Shopping feed optimization, you need to feed relevant data to appear when customers search particular queries on Google.

Regular and proficient optimization is crucial to run a successful shopping campaign that brings profound results lucratively. Activities under Google Shopping feed optimization includes typically creating an impressive data feed, developing a list of negative keywords relevant for your business, managing bids, making bid adjustments with filters for time, audience, device, to name a few.

If you are handling a small business, and deal only in a limited range of products, you can create your shopping feeds manually in Google Sheets. If you are someone who deals in a wide variety of products, you may use an app or service that helps auto-generate your feeds in a Google-friendly manner. 

On the other hand, many market experts offer specialized services for optimization that allow you to save the time, effort, and hassle of optimizing your campaigns. 

Why do you have to create one for your e-commerce store? 

It is no doubt that Google Shopping Ads generates high exposure and immense growth. There are enough examples in the market that prove Google Shopping Feed has played a vital role in increasing brand awareness and standing apart from competitors for many merchants. 

If you are still on the fence about Google Shopping Feeds, check out the following reasons that explain why you need to create one for your e-commerce store now.

1. To show up in the right-product search query

You may own a small business that has just come into the market or been there for quite some time when your products arrive at the top of a search engine result page, and it gets you a competitive edge over others. 

Google Shopping Ads guarantee your products will come out among organic search results, and thus you will be able to effortlessly and effectively expand your brand in the online arena. 

A popular reason why Google shopping ads are incredibly proficient at harmonizing probable customers to your business is that your products are displayed based on the customer's keywords. This means your products are shown to customers who are already attracted to what you put up for sale.

2. To make that prospective buyer click your shopping ad

Having a Google Shopping Feed helps to motivate your customers to purchase what you offer. Customers don't necessarily need to be known with your company or brand to locate you through Google, as your products can come out whenever Google fits them to the customer's search keywords. 

When people show interest and click on your product through advertisement, they have already hoarded enough helpful details about your product. They would know the specifications of your product by the picture and description. 

Hence, prospective buyers who have thoughts to click on your Shopping ads may have a convincing desire to buy.

3. To Optimize your Google shopping ads easily

Creating a well-kept Google shopping feed helps optimize Google Shopping Ads much simpler as Google Shopping Ads removes the keyword hassle entirely. Instead of relying heavily on keywords, Google determines the relevant keywords based on your product data feed. A strategically designed shopping feed thus yields better results.

With a great optimized Google Shopping feed, you are immediately transferring your product data to Google, which employs all the matching keywords to your products. Compared to other services where you require studying the keywords yourself, using Google Shopping feed to create ads helps you notice a noticeable difference in time and effort.

Why Should You Optimize the Google Shopping Feed? 

Setting up your Google Shopping Feed is very easy. Without any trouble, you can set up your Google Shopping Feed in your Google Merchant Center account. 

Data feeds encompass all the essential and relevant information about your products. Thus, the feeds you set up will serve as the spine of all your campaigns, reinforcing the entire course of action intended to drive up your sales.

Google Shopping doles out various benefits and has a better edge over the traditional and the usual text ads of Google Ads campaigns. Shopping campaigns make use of attractive pictures and essential details to endorse your products and make them visible to customers searching for them on Google.

But, these can be achieved only through an optimized Google Shopping Feed. Read on to find more about the emphasis of why optimizing your shopping feed is necessary.

  1. Increase Visibility in Google Shopping 

It is now clear that with Google Shopping ads, you can advantage from attaining more prospective consumers. A single query from a shopper may also give a variety of products from your shop. 

Google Shopping facility allows you to augment the brand awareness of all the associated products you offer and thus attain more attracted people with a better quantity of products. 

But, Google Shopping Ads can be a congested area, especially in recent days, so standing out and being a step ahead of the competitors is necessary. To bring you out, a skillfully optimized data feed is the answer. 

An optimized shopping feed puts your ads forward, making your ads targeted more often as they will be more strongly matched to the search words. 

Google Shopping Feed increases your visibility and makes the searching eyes see towards your listings, all because of the accuracy, specifications, and care put into optimizing your feed.

  1. More Clicks which leads to more sales

The primary goal of listing your ads is to improve your Click-through Rate (CTR) and make as many sales as possible, helping you get the maximum return on your investment (ROI) possible. This idea is complementary to the concept of increasing your relevance, which we would see in the next point.

A higher ROI (return on your investment) means you can enjoy better triumph and financial returns on your business for the time and efforts you put. The higher ROI thus makes you generate more sales by expending less.

With attractive images and great product titles, shoppers will already develop trust and a good feel for your product at just the first glance. The details on price, specifications, and features will all be obtained by them in a few seconds that by the time they click on your ad, you might have already persuaded them to buy.

If you don't include the price or correct details, shoppers may click to see your product but go automatically, generating a higher bounce rate. 

  1. Improved Segmentation

Google's Shopping Ads work by showing your products' attributes inappropriate searches, as an alternative to using keywords. Google Shopping listings allow you to boost your leads' quality by showcasing product information right in your ads. 

Google Shopping Feed helps in segmentation through which the value of shopping campaigns increases. Overall product management advances through better organization. 

To make sure proper segmentation is done, embrace as much data as possible for every product. It's fundamental for segmentation purposes to incorporate the brand, Google Product Category, condition, and product type attributes.

  1. Increased Relevancy

Optimizing your Google Shopping feed is all about enhancement to work with Google's Shopping Ads algorithm. When you're searching for a specific product, attributes such as categories, keywords, and product identifiers (like GTINs) are all encompassed when deciding the best match for a buyer's query. 

Hence, having a comprehensive and thorough feed is critical. The more accurate your feed's information is, the more likely your products are displayed to a search query. If you've fully optimized your feed down, your product is the winner.

Best Practices for Google Shopping Feed Optimization 

It's indispensable to have an optimized Google Shopping feed to utilize your money and boost sales thoroughly. 

After analyzing the various feed attributes, you can put into action certain best practices to develop your Google Shopping campaign outcomes. Make the best use of the following steps to perfect your feed and harvest better results. 

1. Product Titles are the first and foremost thing to optimize

One of the main attributes, product titles deserves a lot of attention as it's where shoppers get the primary details about your product. Product titles are the key to lure people to your ads and listings.

Put critical details at the front of your product title

The most important information should be shown at the beginning as the whole title may not be seen. 

Add Category And Brand To Product Title

Each category such as apparel, footwear, electronics, books, etc. has a particular suggested attribute order for entirely optimized titles. Thus, it is recommended to put your Brand name first.  

Add Specific Product Info Like Size, Material & Condition

You can also add unique product features about gender, age group, size, size type, color, or customization options to match the search queries better and impel a performance boost.

2. Always use high-quality images

The first impression is the best, and the key to nailing this expression in the context of optimizing your Google shopping feed is through the use of high-quality images.

Google Shopping Feed Management | Feedonomics™

Image source

Provide the highest resolution image_link 

Products with high-quality images instantly grab the shoppers behold and are more likely to appear for the search queries. Use images that are eye-candy and aesthetic, the ones that are optimized to both systems and smartphones.

Avoid placeholder images or images that include promotional messages or logos

Be mindful of using only professional images with your brand logo and not other symbols or words to hold your customers' attention.

3. Use perfect product types

Demarcate your products into the right product types to enable Google to throw it up to the correct search query.

Clean up your product types - combine plural and singular duplicate product types as one

If you have too many product types, it is time to clean them up into crisp and fewer types to reduce duplicity and confusion.

Nest Your Product Types

Increase the chances of showing up for various search queries by nesting your products under variable product types.

Provide the most detailed product_type values that you have

Online shoppers tend to search long-tail queries, including detailed product_type values including the color, brand, size, model, style, gender, measurements, and other relevant attributes.

4. Provide your most accurate product data

The product description is the detail that appears below your product title and your product image. Provide concise, crispy, and to-the-point data. Your product data should be detailed and comprehensive, but not spam.

5. Maintain up-to-date price and availability

Often the price of a product may change due to discounts or changes in the cost of production. The availability may vary due to demands. Please keep track of it and update it continuously not to frustrate your customers.

Google merchant center shopping feed - J2Store Documentation

Image source

6. Use google_product_category values that are a minimum of 2-3 levels deep

Your product category is a backend attribute that Google takes into deliberation when populating the Shopping search results. Select a category from Google's Product Taxonomy that has over 6,000 categories and subcategories. 

In other words, narrow it down in a detailed manner, at least 2-3 levels deep. If you sell tops, don't just categorize them like this:

Apparel & Accessories > Clothing

Instead, try this:

Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Women Clothing > Western> Tops & Tees

7. Use unique product ID and title value for every item in the product data

A unique product ID and a title value should be added for every item in your product data. Product title optimizations are an essential key to making your ads significant to users. 

The same ID to all the things would keep the history of the data. When a varied ID is used for each product, the customers can meet their needs quickly and easily. 

8. Provide the GTIN whenever available for your products

Every product you sell should have a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), which helps Google comprehend precisely the kind of product you are showing. 

GTIN is a unique item identifier that's used to accumulate information in various databases. 

Every item posted for sale needs a unique, universal GTIN such that the same thing could be recognized among different databases. 

This also means that your ads and listings can emerge in more places such as YouTube and our partner sites.

9. Clean The Product Data

Get your content on product data organized. Centralize your product information and edit your product data to match Google's specifications. Assimilate all other product information to suit Google's content requirements. 

Misspellings

Be extremely careful while typing out product titles, product descriptions, and data as a small misspelling may not make your product visible. This is also relevant between spellings for UK and US English. 

Use of another language

Please refrain from using words or descriptions from another language as it may reduce the possibility of your product's visibility in search results.

Wrong use of capitalization

Excessive capitalization or improper use of capitalization also has a strong influence on your rank on Google Shopping.

Conclusion 

Google shopping feed bears many advantages for businesses and online stores. Google Shopping Feed Optimization makes you advertise your product in the first line and is extremely easy and straightforward to execute. 

If you're looking to stay ahead of your competitors and prevent wasting ad spend, it is time to tweak your marketing efforts favouring Google Shopping Feed Optimization.

Creating and optimizing a Google shopping feed is extremely easy. A feed is an organizer that contains a wide range of products you want to advertise through the Merchant Center. Once you've created a feed, it can be used many times against many Merchant Center features. 

There are multiple types of feeds available in the Merchant Center that you can use depending on your need as a business owner. 

Guest Post Contribution from AdNabu

AdNabu helps improve sales in Google Ads for shopify stores. If you are running google search, google shopping, or display campaigns in Google Ads, Their apps help to increase your sales.

Why you need Managed WordPress Hosting

If you have a WordPress website or are thinking about creating a website you have probably run across the term Managed WordPress Hosting. You may have noticed it seems to cost significantly more with little explanation. We wanted to expound on the difference and which one you should probably choose.

Most of the low end hosting you may have seen during your search for the perfect host is Shared Hosting. These hosts keep costs down by packing as many sites as possible onto their servers. If your site is small with not much traffic (as most sites are in the beginning) this option may be a good solution.

When should you consider moving?

Let's get this out there right away, we recommend moving to a Managed WordPress Solution if your website is tied to your lively hood. If you are making money from your website you need professionals watching your back. Making sure that if the unthinkable happens you are back up in no time.

The purpose of Managed WordPress Hosting is to give you a completely hassle-free hosting experience so you can focus on running your business. Here are just a few of the advantages of Managed WordPress.

 

Speed

Speed is more important than ever. Especially since 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. With professionals Managing your WordPress core, updates, backups, caching and more you know your site will stay snappy.

With shared hosting like what you find on GoDaddy for $10 per month, you won't have consistent speed because the resources of the server are spread across hundreds and even thousands of websites. Your site might load quickly one minute and then load slowly the next. What we typically see are sites that load slowly most of the time because there just aren't enough resources to go around.

 

Security

Cheap shared hosting requires your constant attention to keep your site backed up and updated. Or the knowledge of how to set up and configure automation or management software. With Managed WordPress Hosting your site's security is constantly monitored and if something should get through your site can be restored quickly, and the original issue fixed.

Did you know most "hacks" happen when your CMS is out of date? Check out this article from Cloud Living explaining why you should always keep WordPress and any other CMS you might be using updated. With Managed WordPress Hosting, WordPress is updated and backed up automatically every night.

SSL

Managed WordPress Hosting from Prairie Giraffe includes a free SSL to keep your customer's information coming to and from your website encrypted.

This helps to prevent "man in the middle" attacks, where someone intercepts the traffic from your site and can see your customer's personal information.

An SSL also allows your site to show as secure when someone visits your site. As of early 2018 Google is penalizing websites that aren't secure so this is another reason to make sure your site has an active SSL.

With Managed WordPress Hosting this is taken care of for you so you never have to worry about it.

Optimized

Database, WordPress, CDN, everything is optimized to run as fast and securely as possible. No more worrying about what you don't know.  In addition to maintenance and upkeep, Managed WordPress servers are specifically configured for WordPress.

Speed is the critical for user experience and SEO. Once you get someone on your site, you don't want them to bounce because your site took too long to load, you need a server that is optimized to load your site quickly.

 

Dedicated Resources

Unlike cheaper shared hosting plans you have dedicated resources. Your site will not be packed in with hundreds or even thousands of other websites all fighting for the same CPU, RAM, Bandwidth.

 

Uptimes

Your server and site are managed so someone is watching to make sure your site doesn't go down. Even if you should suddenly have a surge of traffic. With most shared hosting plans you are probably going to have your site become unreachable, crashing, or being charged high overages if you exceed your allowances for site visits.

Managed WordPress Hosting with cloud servers, a surge is no big deal. If the surge isn't a surge but the new normal. As in your website just became very popular and you're getting tons of traffic, the server can be scaled to fit the new load. No need to move your site, deal with support, or hire someone to migrate your site. If you're using Prairie Giraffe's Managed WordPress Hosting the server is scaled so you have the resources you need and that's that.

 

Who doesn't need Managed WordPress Hosting?

If you have a small hobby blog or are just starting out with WordPress you really don't need Managed Hosting. We would recommend signing up with Cloudways instead. They have affordable rates for those who are just getting started.

The one exception would be eCommerce. This also ties back to the beginning when we said: "if your website is tied to your lively hood." If you're going to be making money off of your website we highly recommend going with a Managed WordPress plan from the start.

Have questions or need more information? Contact us about Managed WordPress or any other Hosting question you may have. We'd love to help.

 

🙂

 

 

PPC vs SEO - What's the difference and why both are important

What's the difference between SEO and PPC?

Your website is all set up and running. You list your services, products, and all the reasons your potential customers should be using you over your competitors. You launch and wait, no one comes or the ones that do bounce off your page (or leave quickly without converting).

 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The problem is probably with your SEO or search engine optimization. You need to let search engines know who you are, what you do, and do it in a way search engines can understand.

Things like Optimized Content, Proper Tags, Metadata, Schema Data, and Backlinks are important and having a good handle on what these are and how to use them, or hiring someone who does, is important. You may get lucky and Google will crawl your pages and rank your site at the top of search results. This is more likely if you are in a non-competitive niche, however for most of us, that is not going to happen without doing the work.

 

Google Ads and PPC

If you don't know what Google Ads and PPC are, it's how businesses advertise on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and other websites all over the internet who are paid by search engines and social media ad networks to display those ads. You probably see these ads every day and don't even notice.

These ads can show on millions of websites and are a great way to target customers and potential leads who are either showing signs of being interested in your products and services or who have visited your site in the past (retargeting/remarketing).

Not only can your ads be customized to fit your needs and goals, but you can also track conversions and other metrics. This allows you to get a better picture of not only who is looking at your ads, but also what devices they are using, where they are, and if they are your intended audience.

There are many different types of ads to display on these networks and search engines. The majority of ads fall into three categories:

Display Ads: Visual banner ads that typically include an image and text that display in many different sizes. You’ll see these in your social media feeds, on the sidebar, and across the top of many websites. These ads are great for general promotion and retargeting customers who’ve visited your site in the past.

Search Ads: These are the ads that show on the top and bottom of search results and are a great way to get into the first three results of Google. These ads are great at targeting high intent customers who are actively searching for your products and services.

Video Ads: These ads show before and during videos on Youtube and social networks like Facebook. These ads are great at showing people what you do or speaking directly to your ideal customer. They have some of the same targeting options as other ad options and can be very effective.

PPC VS SEO

So what's the difference and why are they both important?

Imagine your website is located in a city. Your "store (website)" is new to the neighborhood. No one really knows you, what you do, or if you are trustworthy. On top of that, you couldn't afford prime real estate to the point that your store is 20 miles from town and there is only a single dirt road leading to it (and it’s hidden behind a tree). This is what it’s like for most new websites.

You can direct people to your store using traditional methods like calling them, posting about your store, emailing people, and word of mouth. But people are still going to have to do some searching to find you, because of the long drive and the bad road.

As you can see from this situation you would need to do serious work if you ever hoped to be successful. You would need some better roads, a closer location, a reputation, some advertising, etc. Your product may be really good, and the dirt road going by your shop may be enough that advertising will get customers in the door. However, as soon as the advertising stops most of the new customers stop as well. This is the picture of why SEO and PPC are both important.

PPC is kind of like sticking up a billboard in the middle of your "town (the internet)" and a flier in your potential customer's pocket (in a non-creepy way). PPC will work as long as you can afford it and is probably going to work well if you invest enough time into learning what you're doing (or hiring a company like Prairie Giraffe). However, as soon as you stop paying, the billboards and signs come down and the next person willing to buy those spots gets their ads put up. It's the Pay-to-Play option. It gets people in the door and it does it well, but if PPC is your only strategy, you will pay forever.

SEO, on the other hand, is like building roads to your store, larger, faster, smoother than your dirt trail. Gaining trust from those in your "town" and a good reputation (Links and Domain Authority). The more search engines know who you are, what you do, that other people reference you, and that you are the most relevant result to fulfill their customer’s needs, you will get traffic and people coming to your store (website). The best part is once your SEO has been taken care of and is in good shape, you typically don't have to pay as much to keep the momentum going.

Granted you should always be working on your SEO (creating content, building backlinks, optimizing your website), but unlike PPC, you don't have to pay per click or impression and done right you will start gaining more and more organic traffic.

 

Both are important, but which one should I start with?

Short answer, Both!

You can get customers to your site using PPC advertising. But, your long-term strategy should include incorporating SEO best practices into your website from the beginning. Start including the right headers, alt tags on your images, metadata, and schema where applicable. Make sure your site is fast and works great on mobile devices. Start getting local citations with websites like Yelp, Angie's list (if applicable), Google My Business, Apple Maps, etc. Use content marketing and blogging to show your audience and Google what you do and that you know what you're talking about.

Look for opportunities to get links to your business. If you have a business where you are an authority on something, see if other complementary businesses would be open to guest blogging opportunities or linking to your site, products, or articles. Also if you aren't already, start blogging for your own business website. Nothing tells search engines and audiences that you know what you are talking about better than actually talking about it.

Search engines are really good at reading text. They still struggle with images especially when you aren’t using alt tags. So writing about what you do, problems you solve, questions your customers may be asking you, how you do particular things is a great way to build trust with customers and reinforce your relevancy to search engines.

A word of caution. Don’t stuff keywords into your content. By keyword stuffing I mean don’t use the word just to use it. Use the keywords you want to rank for naturally. If reading your content out loud sounds off, or unnatural, re right it using synonyms or other related keywords. Search engines are really good at context and synonyms and are getting better and better at detecting articles that were written just to trick them into ranking the site. You will be penalized and that’s the opposite of what you’re trying to do.

Here’s an article all about keyword stuffing and why it’s a bad idea.

So now go start building those “roads” and authority today for the long term while getting customers to your site and coming back to your site with PPC.

If you need help getting started with any of the concepts we have talked about here, or if they sound great, but you just don't have the time, feel free to reach out. We would love to help.

 

 

Online Reviews: An Integral Part of Your Marketing Strategy

"Fans are vanity and sales are sanity." These are the words of Lori Taylor who clearly understands how any business thrives in today’s market - by increasing sales. That said, in digital marketing sometimes businesses think the fight is for more fans or more engagement, even more clicks or views are what lead to success. When in reality these mean nothing if they don't lead to one major component - sales! Sales are going to keep your business going and help you grow when the time comes.

 

That's why I'm a firm advocate for user-generated content, and in particular - reviews. Reviews are the only proven, time-tested method to successfully and consistently increase your sales, and that's why most "digital businesses" use reviews.

 

The internet is, after all, a network of peers, and those who go online are clearly influenced by what others say. Therefore they seek out their experiences and input before making a purchase decision. It's relatively easy to do, so it's no longer reserved for expensive purchases but for simple products and services that may even cost a mere $5. That's because reviews are central to the decision-making process and have become an integral part of the human (and social) psyche.

 

Bottom line: If you want to succeed, a portion of your marketing budget has to be dedicated to increasing your online reviews.

 

4 Website Review Benefits

 

All the benefits I’ve mentioned regarding online reviews drive conversion rates - which ultimately lead to increased sales and higher turnovers and profits.

 

  1. Acts As Social Proof

 

If you're a relatively new or smaller brand or business you don't have much social proof, but the two aspects of social proof (confirmation and affirmation) are what makes online reviews so successful. Reviews either confirm that other people are buying your products or services and loving it or they're affirming that you're a reliable brand.

 

In the mind of whoever reads them, they're the only step they need to take before going ahead with a transaction.

 

In fact, all the internet and social media reviewers are is modern-day critics.

 

  1. Builds Trust

 

There's nothing that's more trustworthy than reviews. People talk about what they've experienced and how they’ve been affected - and they’re willing to share that information, whether good or bad. Those who read it trust that candid message. In addition, your business reviews will show up first for specific keywords before any of the content you’ve created has a chance to relay the message you’d like.

 

  1. Starts an Authentic Conversation

 

People are so suspicious of ads and social media content these days, because they immediately smell an agenda. They know businesses use social media and many influencers to control a narrative.

 

That's why they turn to Yelp, Google, and Facebook reviews. Because these are far more honest and are a real-life encounter given by someone who's actually been a client or customer of your business before.

 

When they do decide to get in contact with your business they’ll be far more willing to do business with you.

 

  1. Secures Your Reputation

 

You can tell people countless times, and position yourself as a reputable brand, but that doesn't have as much of an effect when building your reputation. It’s the public who decides what your reputation will be and then they spread that information.

 

Your reviews are essentially people helping other people make informed decisions about whether your business is reputable or not. Your reputation will only be secured if you have a good sprinkling of online reviews.

 

 

But, in order to get these benefits from your reviews you can’t just cross your fingers and hope for the best. Wondering if all the customers or clients that had good experiences will turn to Yelp or Google or if that one client with the only “negative experience” will be the one to write a scathing review.

 

You need to get ahead of the conversation and use software or a web application that’s automated and proven to work. Enter Signal Hype.

Use Signal Hype If You’re Serious About Profiting From The Digital Space

I was amazed when I first discovered Signal Hype - it does what you need it to do, and does it much better than most other software platforms out there. I have been using it for clients ever since as well as recommending it to business owners.

 

My recommendation is: If you’re serious about growing trust online and profit you need to be using Signal Hype.

The ROI from Signal Hype is phenomenal, as one business discovered when they managed to get 150 reviews in a span of a few weeks.

The features offered by their web application are remarkable. They’ve simplified the process, so you get more reviews on the sites where you’d most want them - Google, Facebook or Yelp - and easily puts the power of your online reviews back in your hands.

 

Some of Signal Hype’s Best Features

 

For your convenience, I’ve highlighted four of Signal Hype’s best features so you know what you’re getting out of the deal. But if you want a comprehensive list of their features visit the site directly.

Get Reviews On The Sites You Need Them Most

 

Whether it’s Yelp, Google or Facebook Signal Hype integrates with all of these (and more) so you can direct your customers to post reviews where they’re most needed. The process stays the same but it gives you control over where you get those 5-star reviews and can be a great measure if you’re trying to recover from a low rating on a specific site - or if you notice you get more leads from a particular site.

Increase The Amount of Reviews

 

Signal Hype’s software reminds customers and clients to review your business online. And then they guide these clients through the process so it won’t take them long at all. It’s as simple as writing an Amazon review or an AirBnB review but for your small business. It’ll literally take 2 minutes to do which takes the “hassle” out of writing a review online - and is an extremely pleasant experience for customers.

Alert You Before You Get A Negative Rating

 

Negative ratings can be catastrophic for smaller businesses. The worst part is you won’t know someone had the intention of leaving a negative review until it’s plastered all over the internet and affecting your overall score. Thank goodness for Signal Hype! They’ve removed the element of surprise and will warn you about clients who intend to leave negative reviews so you can intervene before they’re published. Now you have the opportunity to rectify a complaint or make amends, so your clients will leave a good review.

 

Synchronizes With Employees

 

Your employees will also be able to get customers to leave reviews based on work they’ve completed, which takes the burden of alerting and sending out reminders for completed work off your shoulders. Your entire team can use the Signal Hype platform which means more reviews, more of the time!

At the end of the day Signal Hype has placed the power back into the hands of businesses, and given them what they need to succeed in an era of social proof.

Sign up for your 7 day free trial of Signal Hype now, to see the benefits firsthand.

Does your company have a COVID-19 advisory notice on your website?

  1. Who needs an advisory notice.
  2. Why you should be posting your notice and policy.
  3. Examples of advisory notices and announcements.
  4. Where you should post your notice.

 

These are crazy times. People are scared, the stock market has tanked and there is no toilet paper anywhere.

But despite there being no tp, you still have to operate your business. However, some things will probably have to change for a few weeks to a few months. Some of these changes affect your customers and because of that, it’s a good idea to have a notice on your website and social media to keep them updated.

Who needs a COVID-19/Corona advisory notice?

COVID-19 affects different businesses in different ways. For instance, if you’re running a doctor's office or clinic you may not be seeing certain patients for a set amount of time. You may be doing more conference calls when you would have had in-person meetings. Or you may not be shaking hands anymore.

There are a whole range of changes that you may be making to help keep your staff and customers safe and your business operating. If COVID-19 is affecting how you do business in any way perceivable by your clients you should post a notice or advisory statement.

Why you should be posting a notice.

Posting your notice lets people know you are on top of the situation and whether you are still operating or not. It keeps everyone on the same page.

No one likes to be surprised by a sudden change. So if how you do business has changed because of a crisis or emergency a notice keeps everyone in the loop and lets them know what to expect.

Examples of COVID-19 Notices.

These are just examples and range from huge corporate franchises to smaller businesses. Not all of them will be right for you, but can give you an idea of what needs to be covered by a notice.

Starbucks
Hubspot
AlixPartners
Appliance Repair Company

As you can see there are different types. From just letting everyone know it’s business as usual with some precautions taken to “We won’t touch you”.

The type of notice will depend on your situation but you should be letting people know:

The reasoning behind any of the changes can also go along way toward putting people's minds at ease and get ahead of questions people may have.

Where should you post your notice?

These notices don’t help anyone if no one sees them.

We recommend you put them up in the following places.

  1. Your website. Having a pop-up or bar at the top or bottom of your site linking to your post is a great way to make finding the post easy without disrupting your whole site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Email your customer list. Chances are no one is visiting your site every day. So an email is a great way to reach those people.

3. Post a link to your policy on your social media accounts. Just like everyone isn’t visiting your website every day, people aren’t looking for your email either. Posting to your social media accounts is another way to get people's attention and let them know what’s going on.

There may be other places you could post your notice like a newsletter. The goal is to get the word out and avoid unnecessary disruptions. So post wherever it makes sense to you.

 

Wrapping Up

This post is not legal advice, health care advice, or human resource advice. Just observations we've made as both a customer of businesses affected by the Corona Virus and an agency taking care of companies being affected.

So we're here to help however we can. If you need help posting a notice or advisory statement feel free to contact us with a copy of your notice and we’ll do our best to get it posted for you, or refer you to someone who can help you get your notice added to your site.

Should I list my company on Yelp or other listing websites?

Should I list my business on Yelp?

 

Yes, Yes You Should...

Your goal should be to be as easy to find as possible. So adding your listing to Yelp is a free and easy way to add a citation and increase the chances your business will be found.

But there are other reasons as well.

For one, Apple Maps relies heavily on Yelp for local business information. So for those Apple and iPhone users who actually use Apple Maps, you need to have a strong Yelp profile to show up on Apple Maps as more than just another name on the list. Apple Maps will also pull reviews from Yelp to display. Like how Google does on Google Maps from your Google My Business listing.

But no one I know uses Yelp...

While this may be true, and Yelp isn't all the rage like it used to be with the rise of Google Maps and My Business. It's still one of the main sources for reviews and local business information on the internet.

Yelp tends to be especially popular in areas with a dense population more so than rural communities because it relies on large numbers of users to be truly valuable. But, even if you don't live in downtown Houston, you can still benefit from showing up on the listing app. Being verified on Yelp helps provide social proof. Proving that you are more than a fly-by-night business who can help your clients and solve a problem.

If you are in an area where there is a lot of reliance on Yelp. Then commit to completing your profile and even run a few ads on Yelp and have them promote your listing. Keep an eye on your analytics and watch for ROI. Make sure you're making a profit and if you are, keep going, promoting your profile and running ads.

So, yes, you should get a Yelp profile and fill it out the best you can, add your location, contact info, and images of your business and your staff working. But don't stop there. Look for other business listing citation services that can help increase the chances of you being found online.

Here are a few you should also consider:

 

If business citations and local SEO are just too much work to learn and seem overwhelming, contact us and we can get your business listed on many local citation services for a low flat fee.

Do you really deserve to be at the top of Google?

How long will it take me to get to the top of Google?

I get asked this question pretty regularly, and the answer is, it's complicated.

But let me counter with another question... What are you doing to deserve being at the top of Google?

 

Are you doing what it takes?

SEO (search engine optimization) is pretty involved. It also takes time for search engines to notice your content and start ranking you higher in the results.

But, are you creating valuable content? Is there any reason the people you want to see your website should click on your link instead of your competition's beside the fact that you want them to?

Are you creating content?

Are you answering questions your clients might have, long before they decide to work with you? 

Are you showing your work? 

Are you the most relevant site for your industry and the site that will make people's lives better for having visited it? 

 

Be a resource, not a menu

If your site is just a static list of services, chances are you will be beaten. Not necessarily by someone who provides better services, but by someone who talks about what they do and how they make people's lives better.

So what are you supposed to do?

Start simple, but be consistent. 

Start by answering questions. Chances are when people call you or talk to you they ask similar questions. Start answering those questions on your website. This is a great way to show you know what you are talking about, that you solve specific problems, and show search engines that you are an active resource.

Commit to doing this every day until you run out of questions to answer. Along the way, you will have other ideas about things to write about. But if you ever run out of ideas, circle back to questions.

It makes sense right? What do people fire at you before signing on with your company? Questions!

 

Show your work

Before and after pictures are great! But don't just through up pictures and leave it at that.

This is another opportunity for you to write about your process, your results, the challenges you overcame, and why your customer is better for having chosen you. Don't be preachy, but be factual and provide context to the projects you complete.

It's one thing to tell people you know what you're doing, it's another to prove you know what you're doing. This helps build trust with potential customers.

Then once you've piqued the interest of a potential customer, they can circle back to your blog and FAQs where you've already invested time in answering any questions they may have.

Now that you've done all this work, don't forget the next step.

 

Provide CTAs on every page

If there's something you want people to do, make it easy for them to do it.

Whether that's calling you, filling out a form, signing up for a class, buying a product. Whatever it is, they shouldn't have to hunt for the next step.

 

I've written content, now what?

Be sure you've submitted your site to Google Search Console.

Your site will be discovered and indexed. Especially if you're adding content to it consistently. But, you can help the process and see if things are improving by submitting your site to Google for indexing.

 

Where should I write this content

If you have a WordPress website, then you already have blog/post functionality built-in.

If you don't have WordPress or don't have a "blog" section set up on your site, you may need to create one or have your web designer do it for you.

There are other solutions. If you have a Squarespace or Wix site these have Content Management Systems as well, though they may need some additional setup.

 

If you become the best resource in your industry, show your projects and work, then not only will you most likely be at the top of "Google" but you will be difficult to unseat.

 

How to use Hashtags to Promote Your Local Business and Events

What is a Hashtag?

You may have seen and heard the term hashtag. But, what is it? Why does it matter?

A hashtag is simply a keyword phrase, spelled out without spaces, with a pound sign (#) in front of it. For example, #InboundHour and #ChocolateLovers are both hashtags.

-Hubspot

So you see it's simple, a Hashtag is a word, phrase, or set of characters behind a '#' with no spaces. ie. #SmallBusinessSaturday, #ShopLocal, or #Caturday2018.

Hashtags were originally used to categorize and make searchable tweets and posts around a topic.

By using a hashtag you are telling the social channel you are posting on to categorize this post into a certain topic.

 

Why would I use a Hashtag?

Hashtags are a great way to drive organic traffic to your social media pages and then hopefully to your website as well.

By using a hashtag associated with your business or the customers of businesses like yours you are making it easier for people to discover you and your business. This can be particularly good for local businesses.

Prairie Giraffe is located in Gillette Wyoming. If I want to do business with other companies in Gillette Wyoming all I need to do is search the official Gillette Wyoming hashtag, #GilletteWy, and just for good measure, I'll throw in a #ShopLocal.

Now I can see all the businesses who are promoting themselves and their posts as local to the Gillette community and are trying to encourage others to shop locally with them.

Shop Local | Prairie Giraffe | Gillette Wyoming

So you can see hashtags allow you to join in on the conversation and engage with a community of people and businesses you wouldn't otherwise be connected to.

Unlike other groups and forums, the conversation doesn't require management. There are positives and negatives to the lack of control. For one, anyone can use your hashtag. An example is #quotes, you will find millions of posts and there will be a lot of "noise".

However, with a tag like #quotes, there will be tons of people who see that content. If you sell signs with inspirational quotes on them to hang in your home, you should use #quotes, but then also use something a little more targeted to your customers like #DreamLivingRoom, #HandPainted, and #ShopLocal.

The upside is anyone can use and see your hashtag. By using a hashtag in your posts you are joining a larger stream. You are opening up your content to a larger audience. People looking for your content.

Suppose you are wanting to get the word out to attendees of an event your business will be presenting at. You should start dropping in the events official Hashtag and those who are attending the event or otherwise searching that tag will see your posts in the stream of other posts with that same tag.

Use hashtags whenever you are wanting to get the word out to a larger community and engage with new people on social media.

We need to stop and just mention the use of Hashtags is only for social media. If you are using email to reach your customers then hashtags should not be used.

 

Using Hashtags to Promote Your Business

Hashtags are a great way to promote your business. As we mentioned before using hashtags allows you to enter the larger stream of posts and get seen by more people. Tags like #ShopLocal, #SmallBiz, #SmallBusinessSaturday are all good general tags for small businesses.

Other great small business tags are location specific. Like we mentioned before, the Gillette Wyoming Tag is #GilletteWy. By using this tag I am letting everyone who wants to shop in Gillette or is just searching for information about Gillette that we are a part of the community.

Hashtags such as #ShopLocal, #SmallBiz, #SmallBusinessSaturday are general hashtags. The more generic a tag and the more often it is used the bigger the cloud of posts that use it. Then there are hashtags that are more industry specific. We recommend using a mixture of both. You never know which tags are going to help you the most so use both.

General Tags

General tags like #quotes, #rainyday, #ShopLocal, #beautiful, #instagood, are super popular and reach a large audience. Your posts can be washed away in the noise, but also have the best chance of being seen by someone.

Industry Specific or Niche Tags

These are more specific and while they may never see the light of day, they stand the best chance of being gold. Someone searching a Niche tag are probably more passionate about what they are searching for and have a better chance of being fiercely loyal. Which is great for your brand!

#FeedFeed, #CoffeeShots, #OutdoorLife, #ApartmentTherapy, #vitamix are examples of niche tags.

These tags will have a much smaller audience than most of the general tags, but they have an audience that are more likely to engage with your brand and are much more likely to follow you.

You should use a mixture of niche hashtags and general/popular tags. You want your content and posts to be getting out to the most people as possible and at the same time attracting those looking for your products and services.

A picture of this in action would be as Prairie Giraffe we make the following post.

Social Media | Prairie Giraffe | Gillette Wyoming

 

You can see we used very generic tags like #seo and used some very niche tags like #OutsourcedCMO, which is limited to our industry. We want to be discovered by people looking for SEO advice and ultimately SEO services and we want to show up for someone looking for an Outsourced CMO service.

 

Using Hashtags to promote your events.

We've touched on it before, but events are great places for Hashtags. It doesn't make sense for every business at the event to make a page or group about the event.

However, most events have official Hashtags. This allows all the news, conversation, announcements, and anything else surrounding the event to be gathered into one easily searchable place that doesn't have to be managed.

Imagine you're holding an event for wedding vendors. You create official Facebook and Instagram pages and you make a few announcements on that page. That's great. But, by having an official Hashtag for the event, you allow people to join in on the conversation about your event. They can make announcements, tell their customers that they will be there, show off the products they are going to bring and more. Without having to be an admin of your page.

So if you are going to an event, it's in your best interest to find out what the official Hashtag will be and start using it in your posts that pertain to the event. Are you announcing a product, are you bringing something special, do you just want everyone to know you'll be there?

There is no downside to using the events official tag. You will be helping make the event a richer experience for everyone and if your competitors refuse to use the tag, you are going to stand out from them.

Another example - let's suppose you are holding your own event. Nothing too big, just a special sale with some new products and a short class related to your industry. You need an official hashtag. What fun is a party if no one shows up? Imagine though if one of your excited attendees shares your hashtag.

Other people see your fan's post and click the tag (since tags act as links). They now get to see what's going on and that they would like to attend as well. You know people tend not to do things unless they are incentivized so you make a deal with your followers that if they like your page and share your hashtag in a post they will be entered into a drawing for a free product, which you hold after the class.

Now you are getting more shares than before and since the prize requires them to attend, even more, people are coming.

This is just an example of the power of Hashtags when used with your Social Media. We will go over more amazing things Hashtags can do in the future.

So get out there and #StartToday, #DontWait, #GrowthHacking, #SavvyBusiness.