Beat Negative Reviews about Your Business with Effective Online Reputation Management

Online reviews can impact your reputation and eventually your whole business. That’s a fact. Want proof? According to research, a massive 80% of consumers can change their purchase decision after reading a negative review online. They do this even if the business in question was referred by a family or friend as a separate study by LMG showed that of those who searched online for referred businesses, 52% looked for reviews or ratings. Online reviews are that powerful.

But reviews aren’t always bad. In fact, they can spur new life into your business and even boost your bottom line. What impact they make – whether positive or negative – will depend on what actions you take today. See what we mean through a short video on online reputation management.

Negative Reviews Are Bad for Business

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. If bad reviews about you or your business are present online, then you need to do something about them. You can’t just sit there and hope prospect customers who find them will be fair in their judgment. They will base your reputation on what they see and read online. According to LMG, 87% of respondents search online for more information about a business that a friend or a family member referred. Also, 85% of consumers read online consumer reviews just to determine if a business is a “good business,” according to a BrightLocal survey.

Meanwhile, findings by Cone Research show that reading a negative review online can spur 80% of consumers to change their purchase decisions. That means if there’s one bad review about you out there online and people saw it, 8 out of 10 interested buyers would change their mind about your product or service. You don’t want to lose that much of your market to competitors, right?

Inevitable: People Read, Write Reviews

Here’s the sad truth: whether negative reviews about you online are true or not, consumers are bound to read and believe them. Various research and marketing firms have already conducted studies on this topic and their findings are similar. BrightLocal says 78% of Americans online use reviews to decide whether to purchase a product or not. Some 79% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Nielsen’s figure is a bit lower – with 70% trusting online reviews – but is still significant. Another respected research company, Forrester, says 71% of consumers trust online reviews.

People even use all types of devices to find more information about a business a friend or family referred. According to research by LMG, 41% use a laptop, 25% use a mobile phone, 25% use a desktop computer, and 8% use a tablet in their search. They will look for you and your reviews, whatever device they currently hold in their hands.

Not only do people seek out, read, and believe consumer reviews, they also write them! In fact, 50% of all Internet users aged 18 and above have left a review online. Needless to say, you cannot escape online ratings and reviews; you can only deal with them.

Be Positive: Seek Help from Happy Customers

While you cannot prevent customers from posting their opinions of your products or services online, you can encourage your happy customers to leave nice remarks about you on the Internet. You can also collect their positive statements and publish them online. You cannot use fake reviews.

The best way to dilute the effects of bad ratings is to have more positive ratings. A study by Dimensional Research found that 90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive reviews influenced their decision to buy. In the social media sphere, Chadwick Martin Bailey / iModerate Research Technologies found that 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are a fan of.

Beyond Reviews: Online Reputation Management

To give prospects the best possible perception of your business, you need to start beating bad reviews with better ones. But that’s just the start. Online reputation management is more than just publishing genuine consumer reviews; it means giving you and your business a positive visibility anywhere on the web, from your own website, to search engines, to reviews sites, to social networks. Here are a few tips based on our experience with online reputation management:

• Always ask for initial consultation with an online marketing agency or reputation manager before you do business with them. This gives you an opportunity to feel whether you like to work with them or not. This is also the time to evaluate the agency’s knowledge on ORM.

• Seek reports. An in-depth web reputation analysis is crucial to know where you currently stand against your competitors. A keyword research report shows what keywords you need to target for the ORM campaign. Use these keywords for your articles, blog posts, and other content.

• Publish genuine consumer reviews only in relevant websites. Always take into consideration your niche, target market, and location in choosing where to publish the reviews.

• Optimize your social media accounts, especially Facebook and Twitter, so your “official” accounts become more visible than fake accounts or negative reviews that are out to ruin your reputation online. Then, join groups and discussions using your official accounts.

• If your website doesn’t have a blog yet, have it set up today and start publishing content that can outrank negative reviews about your business. Make sure the content uses the right keywords, is relevant to your target market, and will establish you as a trustworthy business.

• Finally, track everything. Know how many positive comments you were able to post in a particular timeframe. Know how many articles, blog posts, and press releases you published so you can track your progress. It’s nice to see ranking reports, too.

How We Manage Reviews & Your Reputation

We’re not shy to say that we are experts at online reputation management. We apply the tips above and do more. We start everything with research and back it up with reports. In between, we implement ethical and effective measures to ensure your positive media outrank negative reviews on Google. We use blogs, social media, and reviews sites to give you have a widespread, solid reputation all over the Internet. And best of all, we provide free in-depth consultation so we can analyze your business and target market – allowing us to prepare an ORM plan tailored to your business.

Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on online reputation management.

Want to Know What Makes us at Easy Dial Marketing Different? Read This!

Melbourne is one of Australia’s financial and business hubs, thereby making marketing (especially online marketing) understandably a huge matter in this city. This also means that there isn’t a shortage of marketing firms in Melbourne willing to help further your business, with varying quality and success. If you’re at a loss finding the right firm for you, look no further than Easy Dial Marketing. We have one thing that makes us the best marketing firm for you: we’re different! Continue reading

Website Audit Report: Why Your Website is Not Ranking on Google & Driving Sales for Your Business

Through their website, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are able to compete with larger corporations that are equipped with bigger marketing budgets. It’s no surprise that SMB owners ranked “website” as their top digital marketing solution. They also think it’s more effective than email and social media. With owners putting this much value on their website, it’s normal to think that they are also investing heavily on site troubleshooting, maintenance, and optimization… or so we thought.

When was the last time your website underwent a thorough audit report? Six months ago? Last year? If you answered “never,” you’re part of the majority of SMB owners who may be in trouble. Because really, terrible Google rankings and poor user experience are just the tip of the iceberg. Discover how you can detect your website’s major issues today, before it’s too late.

Poor User Experience Blocks Sales, Referrals

If you have a website, that’s good news. You now have a tool you can optimize to give your business a solid online presence. However, simply getting a website is not enough. In fact, if you do not optimize it to give visitors a good user experience, your website could even do your business harm.

Research by Forrester and Akamai found that 79% of online shoppers who experience a dissatisfying visit are less likely to buy from that site again. Some 64% of respondents said they would purchase from another online store if they are not satisfied with site performance. In a related study, Jupiter Research and Akamai found that 75% of respondents would no longer buy from a retail site if it freezes or crashes, loads or renders too slow, or involves a convoluted checkout process.

What makes poor website usability extra dangerous to your business is visitors’ tendency to share the bad experience. Some 27% will tell their friends and family about it. Poor website user experience therefore doesn’t just prevent you from getting sales; it also robs you of referrals.

49% SMB Websites Guilty of Usability Issues

While poor user experience leads to loss of sales and referrals, many SMB websites have usability issues. Forrester found that nearly half (49%) of all of websites do not comply with basic usability principles. The same research and consulting firm found that 50% of online sales are lost because visitors can’t find the content they need. If your website is full of usability issues, then you are turning away customers.

In most cases, these issues are too glaring. For instance, according to BIA Kelsey and other sources, an alarming…

• 60% of SMB websites are missing either a toll-free or local telephone number on the home page
• 65.7% had no form-fill option to allow consumers to request information
• 74.7% were missing an email contact link on the home page
• 91.2% of SMB websites don’t have a Facebook widget (e.g., “like” button)
• 94.6% lack a Twitter widget (e.g., “follow” button)

Low Google Rankings Cause Online Invisibility

All owners want to rank on Google. Higher rankings on search results mean better visibility, more traffic to the website, and more prospect visitors that can be converted into leads or customers. That’s why owners spend their marketing budgets on SEO, or search engine optimization. And that’s good—that’s the only way to level the playing field and be able to reach consumers searching on Google. But here lies the problem with this approach.

Typically, owners, after getting a website done by a freelancer, will then look for another freelancer offering SEO. This approach works if your website is fully functional and does not have any underlying issues that are not visible to the common eye. Problems like faulty coding could prevent SEO from fully benefiting your website. That’s like trying to fill a bucket full of holes. No matter how much optimization you conduct, if the website is faulty, it will not rank.

No wonder, 26.4% can’t be found in an online search, according to the SMB DigitalScape report. Some 56% don’t even have on-page keyword information, which is crucial for search engines to discover and rank your web pages.

Impact by Search Engine Algorithm Updates

Let’s say your website offers visitors a good user experience. For some time, it even ranked well on Google and other search engines. And then, all of a sudden, your traffic started to plummet. You notice your website no longer ranks for the keywords you used to dominate. In worst cases, it doesn’t even appear when you search the actual business name. What happened? Chances are you were hit with a penalty. And it’s most likely due to non-compliance with algorithm updates.

According to marketing software maker Moz, Google changes the algorithm it uses to find and rank web pages between 500 and 600 times a year. Most of these changes are minimal, but there are some that shake the online marketing industry every now and then. For instance, in 2011, Google launched its “Panda” update, which targeted “thin” websites or those with poor quality content. SEO Round Table, a respected forum on search marketing, polled its members and found that 40% were impacted by the update negatively. Other major changes were “Penguin” of 2012 and “Hummingbird” of 2013.

So, if your website suddenly showed signs of sudden loss of traffic or lower rankings, it could be due to non-compliance with algorithm updates. Poor search visibility means your prospects have trouble finding your business (your location, phone number, product and service details, etc.) online. If they can’t find you, they can’t buy from you.

Website Audit Report: Crucial Areas to Focus On

To know exactly what’s wrong with your website, you need a comprehensive website audit report, particularly in the following areas:

Market Research and Analysis – For more online visibility, know what keywords will actually help your web pages rank. A combination of manual and software analysis is the best option.

Content – See if it is geared to drives sales and is compliant with algorithm updates.

Site Structure – Internal links and tracking systems must be thoroughly checked.

Web Design – It should be mobile responsive (loads in all screens and devices, including smartphones and tablets) and the template should look professional.

Page Title and Meta Troubleshooting – Duplicate and missing information can gravely affect SEO.

Backlinks Analysis – High quality inbound links help in rankings. Check your backlinks.

Error Troubleshooting – Problematic codes could block search engine crawlers from discovering the site and ranking it. Error pages can turn off prospect customers.

Others – Page load speed, bounce rates, malware, and other factors must also be audited.

Free Consulting: Audit Report for Your Website

Usability problems lead to loss of sales and referrals. Non-compliance with algorithm updates and poor website backend, meanwhile, can prevent search engines from displaying your web pages on search results. Other factors like malware infection or slow page load time can aggregate visitors’ negative perception of your business.
As your website is and will always be your No. 1 digital marketing platform, you need to ensure it fairly presents your business. Make it stand out and visible. When prospects visit, give them the information they need and the reason to call you or visit your shop. So whatever issue your website is facing, you must start resolving them today. The first step is always getting a website audit report. Know the problem, and then solve the problem.

We’ll give you free consulting on website audit so you’ll understand how our service can detect your website’s issues today. Call us now or send us a message so we can schedule your free consultation.

We Have Five Reasons You Need to Work with Us at Easy Dial Marketing

Marketing nowadays doesn’t just involve TV, radio, and billboards; it is now associated with words like social media, search engine optimization, and Internet rankings. As such, you shouldn’t rely on old marketing strategies alone if you wish to get the word out and promote your business. You have to work with a firm that understands the importance of, and can actually adopt, a different approach to marketing. Continue reading

Online Marketing Company and Services Overview: How Does Our Agency Actually Work?

The necessity for your business to have an outstanding online presence and website has never been greater. For this reason, many local business owners like you are trying their best to find digital marketing agencies that can assist them in their online business goals. However, those who have yet to work with a consultant or a marketing group have little idea on what exactly these types of companies do. So how does an online marketing and web design agency actually work? Using our agency as a case study, here’s how.

Online Marketing Company Overview

A digital marketing agency can bring your brand to the masses and ensure your image online is nothing short of impressive. However, you need to ensure that the agency is constantly aware of the current and historical online marketing industry statistics and trends as well as customer behavioral trends that affect your business. Trends they need to be aware of include Google algorithm updates and developments in mobile-friendly web design. Your agency must also be at the frontlines of the industry, constantly testing online marketing techniques based on research.
But more importantly, the online marketing and web design agency must have the desire to make your business much more successful.

Good Agencies Actually Listen: Intake Stage

No one knows your business and your goals more than you do. That’s why your agency must take the time to listen and understand your business, products, services, and who and where your customers and competitors are. They must take note of your past marketing activities to give us a clearer picture of how to help you. This is the intake stage and we use it to learn more about you.

Engagement via In-depth Consultation

When you are looking for a digital marketing agency, make sure they are a company that can provide a unique consulting experience to you. Though this experience can be achieved in many ways, the most effective is comprehensive consultation. Through extensive engagement, your agency can create a customized plan to expand your online presence and increase the attractiveness of your brand.
We are proud to say that we are an agency that provides detailed consultation to our prospects. While the client gets to understand the value of the service they are looking to avail of, we also get something out of the consultation phase. We are able to better understand our prospect and their business – making it easier for us do all the technical work later on.

Effective Project Management

If your agency cannot manage projects effectively, you’ll encounter great headaches in your partnership. Effective project management entails ample capacity because if the agency cannot handle the load you put on it, it will crack under pressure. See to it that the agency can scale with you and can prioritize your projects, big or small.
More importantly, ensure that your responsibilities in the project are clear are at the very start. This will improve management from the intake stage down to the completion stage. For instance, in a typical SEO campaign, some of our pre-launch responsibilities to you are: managing your marketing expectations, communicating our customer support structure, and giving you a list of the requirements you need to submit. On your end, you need to understand the goals of the campaign, abide by agreed upon communication methods / schedules, and submit the requirements we need to run your SEO campaign. If things like these are clear early on, the project will run smoothly.

Efficient Processes and Workflow

Processes and workflow are usually built with time. What we can say is that we have been doing this for years and our processes and workflow are smooth and efficient enough to make the most of the time we spend together during the consultation and the intake. We also have sufficient experience to ensure smooth and fast movement of tasks from one stage to another up to the end of the project.
For instance, in a typical web design project, we would ask you to submit requirements which include the necessary information to build your website. Once all requirements are in, we’ll start the build phase. The theme will be installed, content will be uploaded, and if there are additional configurations needed, these will be arranged too. The build will then go through one or two rounds of revision before the “product” is installed on the hosting environment. You now have a website.

Cycle Includes Continual Improvements

We follow a cycle beginning with an in-depth consultation to identify your needs and determine the best strategy for you. We then measure and analyze the results and listen to your feedback so that we can make our online marketing efforts for everyone a success. We develop our services continually as the online marketing landscape to ensure the best results, regardless of what service we run for you.

Online Marketing Services Overview

One reason that makes us effective in handling your online marketing and web design efforts is our complete service set. From the “core” service SEO to complicated responsive website design to the relatively new Local Search, we can handle it all for you.

• SEO – Having a website (assuming you have one) is not enough. You need to OPTIMIZE it for search engines. Optimizing websites is called "SEO" or search engine optimization. SEO ensures that your web pages are crawled and indexed by search engine robots.
• Local Search – This ensures your business also comes up when prospects search in online maps, reviews, local directory listings, and check-ins in your area of operation. This is a focused marketing effort external to your website in the local, mobile, and social arena.
• SMO – One in every six minutes spent online is now spent on social media. Use Social Media Optimization (SMO) to ensure your business is present and visible in social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
• PPC – Use Pay per Click (PPC) marketing if you're in a hurry to reach the first page of Google. PPC displays your ads alongside search results… instantly. It's perfect for websites where keyword competition is very high. And, you only pay when your ads are clicked.
• Remarketing – Similarly, PPC Remarketing lets you display banner ads to people who have visited your site and left. This gives you another chance to drive them back to your website so that you can get that lead or sale. They see your ads, you get brand exposure.
• ORM – While we cannot fabricate reviews for you, we can publish your genuine customer reviews in the right places – ensuring that positive results push down negative ones. Ask us about our Online Reputation Management or ORM service.
• Web Design – Get a website that is “mobile-friendly” or “responsive.” Why responsive? A Google study shows that 67% customers are more likely to buy from a website that is mobile friendly. 48% feel "frustrated" when viewing a non-mobile friendly website.
• Website Audit – An audit checks the website’s viability to receive optimization. You may uncover major problems that prevent your site from ranking on Google. This “check-up” also enables your agency to better assess your current online standing.

We take the time to listen to your needs through in-depth consultation, which we provide to clients before making any kind of service recommendation. And because we can deliver all these services to you, we’re confident we can help your local business succeed online. Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on online marketing.

Qualities of an Effective Online Marketing Agency: Guide for Business Owners

To give your business a solid online presence, you need the help of an online marketing agency. Research shows that in 91% of small businesses, the CEO also serves as the primary marketer. Playing double roles doesn’t come as a surprise as 96% of these businesses have a staff of five or fewer.

Unfortunately, business owners and managers like you simply do not have enough time to dabble and experiment online. The core business – be it a bakery, carwash, dental clinic, or restaurant – needs you. You need to be running operations. Trying to learn the technical aspects of online marketing and sacrificing time for the business is not worth it.

So why burden yourself when you can leave the technical stuff to an agency, right? Correct! But now, here’s the challenge: how do you choose the right provider for your business? Here’s some helpful advice.

But First, Be Wary of Unrealistic Promises

Internet marketing consultants or companies typically make the same promise to business owners: more traffic, leads, and sales online. What business owner wouldn’t want those results, right? But the question is, can they really deliver? Are they telling the truth, or merely making promises to peddle their services? Just remember, if the promises are too good to be true, they probably are.

It’s easy to plunge into this pitfall as many businesses are in dire need of services, and are assigning these needs to providers. For instance, one research found that 63% of marketers will spend more on content creation this year. That’s how bad they need new content. Meanwhile, 50% will spend more on search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing efforts delegated to agencies.

But while you may badly need these services, remember that falling for “we’ll give you the moon and the stars” type of promises is the biggest pitfall small business owners make when hiring an Internet marketing agency. Be careful when choosing your online marketing provider. After all, that company will represent your business online. If they create a faulty and spammy website, publish irresponsible Facebook status posts, or write articles with terrible grammar, it’s your business that will bear the brunt.

So how do you choose the right online marketing service provider for your business? Here are two qualities you need to look for.

Expertise: Testing and Experience Combined

Unlike major corporations, small and medium-sized businesses have small and medium-sized marketing coffers, too. As an owner, you want to ensure that you will get your money’s worth when entrusting online marketing activities to an agency. And to ensure you get a return on investment, one of the things you should search for in an agency is expertise.

“Expert” level Internet marketing agencies typically possess these characteristics:

  • Carry out research and development
  • Conduct testing
  • Continuously improve services
  • Frontliner in the industry
  • Have sufficient experience

Agencies that are experts in what they do are always on the lookout for new techniques and strategies to help promote your business online. They do not merely rely on previous experiences. They keep on improving services by combining experience and results of new tests they conduct. They stay sharp through research.

That is why they understand what Google Panda and Penguin updates are, what the Hummingbird algorithm is, and what all of these terms mean to your SEO strategy. They understand how to maximize online maps, local directory listings, check-in sites, and review sites to boost your local online presence. They know that sharing content via social media is better than building cheap links and spamming. If a provider is a front liner in the industry, and has sufficient experience, there’s a good chance it can also handle and steer your business to online marketing success.

Passion: How Bad They Want You to Succeed

Passion, they say, is a subjective quality that you cannot measure. But if you ask any entrepreneur, they’ll say that passion is a crucial factor in the success of any venture. And for an online marketing agency to be able to help your business succeed online, they must be passionate in helping you achieve your marketing goals. How can you tell if they have this passion? Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Does this agency listen to my needs?
  • Do they provide In-depth consultation based on these needs?
  • Do they align their services toward my marketing goals?

If you answered yes to all these questions, and you’ve determined their expertise based on the characteristics we mentioned earlier, then you might just be looking at the online marketing agency you’re looking for. The important thing to remember here is that passionate agencies do not simply offer specific packages without first listening to you and analyzing your business. No one knows your business better than you do!

That’s why it’s important that the agency takes the time to listen to you and give you an in-depth consultation based on your needs. Knowing your marketing goals and business needs is always the first step to achieving online success. It’s also a very good indicator of the agency’s expertise and passion in helping your business make the most out of SEO, Local Marketing, Google, Social Media, Facebook, Responsive Web Design and online marketing in general.

We’re not shy to say we’re experts at what we do and we’re passionate in helping businesses succeed online. Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on online marketing today.

How to Evaluate Your Online Marketing Agency Partner

Business owners nowadays understand the importance of working with an online marketing consultant or agency. Owners won’t need to learn the technical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO), social media, web design, and other Internet marketing-related services. They can focus on the core business by employing the help of agencies. Now, the only problem is finding the right agency. But unfortunately, many business owners struggle in this aspect.

That’s why we came up with an infographic checklist that you can use to score and evaluate the agencies or consultants you are considering working with. Simply give your prospect agency partner one point for every question you answer with a “yes.” The more points, the better.

Effective Marketing Agencies Give Value First

If we had to sum up the qualities of an effective online marketing agency, they would be: give value, use up-to-date techniques, offer a complete and ethical set of services and run integrated efforts. Let’s look at value first. How do they provide value?

Getting access to a handful of initial analysis reports will give you a good overview of where your business currently stands online. Online marketing agencies that really care about your success provide these reports and really dive into the details to help you move forward with the right decision going into an online marketing campaign with them. Don’t be surprised too if they stop you from ordering a lucrative SEO package and instead recommend a website audit. It means they want to start things right. They provide value by preventing possible losses due to problems with your website.

Getting access to a reporting dashboard is also valuable to business owners. Marketers, entrepreneurs, and CEOs want to stay in the loop on campaigns being run by their partner agency. Getting access to a dashboard instead of disparate and numerous spreadsheets is a more convenient way of digesting updates.

Up-to-Date Services: Look for the 2R’s

Nowadays, there are two ‘R’s that indicate whether a marketing agency is using updated techniques; the two ‘R’s stand for “Responsive” and “Remarketing”. A responsive web design built means that your website automatically responds or adjusts depending on the device being used to access it. Your responsive website won’t encounter compatibility problems with users who are browsing on smartphones and tablets. This is crucial as mobile Internet users are expected to outnumber desktop users in 2014.

The other R that you need to look for from your agency is remarketing (PPC). Also known as retargeting, it’s a new form of PPC or pay per click advertising that allows you to display ads to users who have already visited your website. You get another chance at obtaining a lead or making a sale by driving visitors back to your website. Similar to PPC, you only pay when your advertisements are clicked. This means you get to expose your business to a wider audience in a cost-effective way.

Genuine Review Publication: Be Safe Than Sorry

Online reputation management (ORM) is a service that’s gaining popularity among business owners. You need to manage your reputation on the Internet as 80% of consumers can quickly change their mind about your business if they see negative reviews about you. Your online marketing agency is great if they run ORM and can fuse SEO efforts with it. This is a powerful combination.

Just be wary of companies that promise to “produce” or “fabricate” reviews about your business. Take note that the New York state Office of the Attorney General is cracking down on fake consumer reviews, as well as agencies that provide this kind of service. To be safe, stay with what is up to date and ethical – publication of genuine consumer reviews. Your online marketing candidate partner deserves a praise if they only work with genuine reviews and know exactly where to publish them online.

Content Creation

It can be a pain to work with multiple Internet marketing agencies at the same time. You’ve experienced this with contractors, right? You don’t need to spend more time coordinating with many consultants and less time managing your core business. That’s why you want your consultant or agency to have the capability to provide a complete, or at least, a wide array of services. One of the crucial services you might not find in smaller agencies is full content creation.

Now, many agencies provide “content creation.” But in most cases, “content” only represents articles for submission sites. Ask your agency candidate if they can help you with press releases, blog posts, and social media updates, too. It’s a plus if they can create infographics and videos.

Getting content from the same company means you won’t have to negotiate with multiple contractors or freelancers; this is going to be more convenient on your part. This also means the content they will create for is aligned with the services (e.g. SEO, social media) that you are also availing from the agency.

Run Integrated Efforts: Fuse Social with SEO

Finally, what really separates effective online marketing agencies from the rest is their ability to fuse together various services. One good example is the integration of social media with SEO efforts. This is because search engines also use “social signals” as a ranking factor. Fusing social media with SEO means they are using Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, and other networks to drive traffic to your website and increase your search rankings. In particular, Google+ can be used to boost your rankings, as well as your “authority” online.

Another example of integrated service is Local Search. Local Search uses a combination of social media efforts and content creation to bring local attention to your business. This local online presence optimization technique maximizes maps, local directories, check-in or geo-social sites, and reviews to increase the number of web properties that your business will appear in. This means you can dominate local searches not just through your web pages, but also through other external pages that contain your NAP or business name, address, phone number. It’s a holistic approach for local businesses that want to crush their competition online.

Getting to Know You via In-Depth Consultation

Finally, your online marketing agency should provide you with in-depth consultation. This is a time for the agency to get to know your business, your marketing goals, and your target market. As for your part, use the consultation to get a “feel” of the agency and whether you think they are indeed the right partner to accomplish your online marketing initiatives.

Agencies also need this time to analyze your current standing online so they can propose which service you need the most. For example, while you asked for SEO and social media optimization, the agency might propose to build for you a responsive website first to maximize SEO and social media optimization efforts going forward.

We believe we are the perfect online marketing agency partner for your business. We offer up-to-date, complete, and integrated online marketing solutions that give value to our clients. Contact us today to see how we can help your business succeed. Call us now or send us a message so we can schedule your free in-depth consultation.

PPC Marketing: Go ‘Non-Traditional’ Advertising for Instant Website Traffic

When business owners notice a drop in leads and sales, they typically launch a promotion and advertise it. They publish ads on traditional media – TV, radio, print, outdoor. And if they’re a bit technology savvy, they put promotions on their website. Problem is, these channels don’t always bring in the urgently needed store visits or the much-awaited online purchases. They should have gone with Pay per Click (PPC) advertising instead. Here’s why.

Cost and Complexity Perceptions Explained

PPC marketing can make your “instant traffic” wishes come true. Despite this, many business owners are reluctant to try it because it sounds complicated and costly. This couldn’t be any farther from the truth. PPC is simple to understand. Ads about your company display online when users search particular keywords in Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Ads may also display on many of millions of web pages online that have to do with your product or service. When people see your ad, they become interested and click it. They are then directed to a specific page on your website called a “landing page,” where you can convert that instant traffic into leads or even paying customers.

And as the name suggests, you only pay for ads that are clicked. Users who click are most likely the prospects interested in your products and services. The price you pay each time someone clicks on your ad is set by a bid. The higher you bid for a keyword, the higher your ad position will be on search results. If managed by a PPC professional, your campaign may drive you the most affordable and targeted traffic needed by your website and your business.

Boost Your ‘Slowly But Surely’ SEO Efforts

Search engine optimization or SEO is needed by any website to ensure it ranks well on Google and other search engines. It is a prime necessity. There is no debate there. However, not many businesses can wait for SEO to take effect. Depending on the competition, strategy, implementation, and other factors, it may take months before your web pages appear on the first page of Google for your target keywords. Some businesses simply cannot afford to wait any longer for more traffic to come to their websites.

PPC can bring your business instant customers and generate a return on investment in a very short period of time. Ads about your business appear online instantly as soon as the campaign is launched. PPC is the perfect complement for SEO as it allows your business to join the competition immediately as your ads make their way to the top of organic search results.

Why Not Traditional Media Ads Instead?

Advertising on television, radio, newspapers and magazines, and billboards has been around for quite some time. Yes, they attract attention. But here’s another truth: they are also expensive. And for small businesses needing that urgent boost in traffic, leads, and sales, traditional media advertising may not be the best use of your limited marketing dollars. While they may have a wide reach, they may not send you the website or store visits you need due to lack of targeting.

On the other hand, the PPC internet advertising model gives you much more control. There are many targeting options to reach your customers. Some of these targeting options are: by device, specific geographic location, language, days of the week, and specific times in a day. Depending on your campaign settings, your ads may also appear on various sites that are part of the Google, Bing, and Yahoo networks based on age, gender, interests, and many more.

When it comes to spending, you can set a maximum bid and budget on a daily or monthly basis. Your ads will automatically stop showing and you will not be charged further when you reach your spend limit. And because impressions and clicks can be measured, you can easily prove your campaign’s ROI.

Remarketing: Get the One That Got Away

Traditional PPC lets you skyrocket to the first page of Google without waiting for months, targeting only the prospects you need, and at a budget you can afford. But there’s another form of PPC that is becoming more popular to small business owners: Remarketing.

Also known as Retargeting, Remarketing gives you another chance to display your ad to people who have visited your website and left without buying or leaving their contact information. Remember, you don’t have their phone number so you can’t call them. You don’t have their email so you can’t send them a message.

With Remarketing, you’ll be able to “follow” prospects within the Google Display Network – a vast collection of over 2 million websites, including YouTube, Gmail, USA Today, New York Times, and other popular sites. This is amazing for branding purposes, and costs nothing unless they click on your banner ad. Wouldn’t that annoy prospects? Not if you limit how long ads are displayed, how often they display, how much time goes by between displaying ads. You have control of these options.

Let us help you instantly generate highly-targeted traffic to your website and increase your leads and customers. Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on PPC advertising.

Pay per Click Advertising: Why Businesses are Spending and Earning on Paid Search

Years ago, businesses realized that their prospects are online and that if they want to reach their target market, they need to have a website. But today, due to tougher competition, smarter business owners are realizing that having a website and optimizing it for search engines is no longer enough. They now know that pure “organic” or free traffic won’t keep the cash register ringing. They need pay per click or PPC advertising.

Unlike SEO, you will need to directly spend for traffic to implement PPC, which is also known as paid search. But there’s a reason why the big players are investing heavily in this channel – they are earning from it. Indeed, PPC can complement “organic” online marketing efforts. When you want instant, targeted traffic, paid search is the way to go.

What Marketers Get from PPC

A survey by marketing research firm MarketingSherpa showed that PPC accounts for 25% of online marketers’ budgets. Safe to say, the biggest players in the online paid advertising industry are getting something out of pay per click. Otherwise, they would not be allocating a chunk of their budget to this channel. The same survey showed that marketers primarily use PPC advertising to:

  • Increase web traffic - 63%
  • Generate more leads - 62%
  • Increase online sales revenue - 57%
  • Achieve or increase measurable ROI - 50%

From these figures, the benefits of PPC are apparent. Increasing a website’s traffic and leads are its main benefits. Much of this is due to PPC’s power to instantly display your ads on the first page of Google, making it an ideal choice for marketers who cannot wait for the results of search engine optimization or SEO to take effect. And because PPC’s return on investment (ROI) is measurable, it’s an attractive choice for businesses that need to track spending. It’s effective for businesses that have an online sales funnel ready.

Paid Search Fuels Google’s Growth

Google is a company that is built on advertising, especially PPC. The search engine displays advertisements on its web properties like Gmail and YouTube, as well as via millions of affiliate websites, collectively known as the Display Network. It also displays PPC ads on search results.
According to the latest figures released by Google, its 2012 revenue from advertising stood at $43.6 billion – a whopping 300% growth from 2003.

Behind Google’s revenue rise is paid search’s massive growth through the years. A survey by Kissmetrics, Magna Global, and efrontier showed that as of 2011, paid search is already a $34.9 billion industry worldwide. It’s bigger than radio advertising ($29.5 billion), outdoor advertising ($23.6 billion), and cinema advertising ($2.9 billion). It’s also closing in on TV advertising, bringing down the gap in spending from 112% in 2006 to only 24% in 2011.

Separate figures released by ZenithOptimedia, meanwhile, forecast that paid search will hit $57.78 million this year in the United States alone. The Magna Global Advertising Forecast estimated paid search growth for 2014 at 13%. PPC is indeed an industry that is growing.

Biggest PPC Players, Budgets Exposed

How much does the biggest PPC advertiser spend on paid search? WordStream estimates that in 2011, the IAC/InterActiveCorp spent $174.23 million on Google AdWords, making it the biggest PPC spender for that year. IAC owns a number of businesses, including popular websites Ask.com. Dictionary.com, and Vimeo. Retail giant Amazon.com is second with a budget of $118.50 million. Telecommunications provider AT&T completed the top three after spending $115.56 million.

Meanwhile, these industries spent the most on Google AdWords:

  • Finance & Insurance – $4.0 Billion
  • Retailers & General Merchandise – $2.8 Billion
  • Travel & Tourism – $2.4 Billion

Under Finance & Insurance, the top three spenders are familiar brands: State Farm ($43.7 million), Progressive ($43.1 million), and Geico ($23.7 million). Familiar names also topped the Retailers & General Merchandise industry: Amazon.com ($55.2 million), ebay.com ($42.8 million), and Macy’s ($35.6 million).

Can Your Small Company Compete?

Your marketing budget will be humbled by those of big dogs like Amazon, eBay, and State Farm. Does this mean small businesses cannot and should not try paid search? Is PPC an advertising platform where only the wealthiest can compete? What about small and medium-sized businesses like yours?

According to the Google Economic Impact Report, the use of Google search and advertising tools in 2012 resulted in $94 billion worth of economic activity for 1.9 million businesses across the U.S. This simply shows that the benefits of pay per click advertising are not limited to the big corporations. That “1.9 million” figure includes small business and massive enterprises. This means even smaller players can use PPC advertising to instantly land on the first page of Google and reach a targeted audience.

Options for Professionals, Small Businesses

Google AdWords is still the best platform to advertise with. According to estimates by eMarketer, Google holds a 73.8% share of U.S. search ad revenues. That share is expected to grow to 74.4% this year and to 75.7% by 2015. Google also reports that AdWords advertisers typically gain a $2 revenue for every $1 they spend on the platform.

Your next best option would be Bing Ads, which has tie ups with Yahoo and other partners. Together, this group represents a total search engine market share of 30%, or 6 billion searches conducted every month, according to comScore. This network reaches 162 million unique searchers.

But here’s some advice before you proceed: while in general, PPC can be beneficial to businesses both small and huge, you should never easily entrust your marketing budget to any agency. Be sure to get to know the agency first, ideally through free consultation or meeting, to ensure that you get your money’s worth. Trust an agency that understands your needs and your business goals. That’s the only way to earn profits when spending on PPC.

Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on PPC advertising.

PPC Advertising: Online Marketing with Instant, Highly-targeted Traffic and Measurable ROI for Your Business

Business owners are reluctant to engage in online marketing activities not because they don’t want to see their website online, or they don’t have the budget for it. Mostly, it’s because they struggle to track Internet marketing’s return on investment or ROI. Indeed it is difficult to invest in something whose value is not obviously apparent. Good thing there’s PPC or pay-per-click advertising.

PPC not only gives businesses quick results, it also tracks these results – allowing owners to see exactly what they are making through this channel. In fact, a recent study showed that 50% of marketers that use PPC do so because they want to achieve or increase their measurable ROI. PPC is indeed the online advertising model businesses need right now.

‘Complex’ Concept Simplified

When business owners hear the word “PPC,” they usually think of it as a highly complex, completely technical, paid online advertising model that they should stay away from. And indeed you have reason to think of it that way. Perhaps you’ve been approached by a consultant before with terms like “spend, bids, impressions, CTR and quality score” didn’t really make sense to you. But really, what you should know about PPC is in the name itself: pay per click. Unlike other forms of advertising, you only pay when users click your advertisements. No click means no payment.

Paid advertisements may appear on various online locations but the simplest and most popular form of PPC is the search results text ad, which is displayed on top of and beside “organic” search results. Each ad is composed of four lines of text. Currently, 95% of PPC marketers consider these text ads as important, according to a digital marketing survey. Paid ads may also appear as banners on partner sites and on video content (such as YouTube). But in this article, we’ll focus on search text ads.

Should You Spend on PPC Ads?

Research by MarketingSherpa showed that online marketers indeed are dedicating a significant amount of their budgets to paid search. A quarter of the marketing budget is spent on PPC! Another 25% is allotted to the business website. SEO gets 21% of the pie. The rest is intended for email and other channels and activities. In the United States alone, search ad spending is expected to hit $22.86 billion in 2013, up from merely $15.36 billion two years ago, estimates by eMarketer showed. By 2014, it’s expected to reach $25.41 billion and by 2016, a massive $25.41 billion!

Here are other statistics that matter:

  • Estimated $22.86 billion U.S. paid search spending in 2013 (eMarketer)
  • By 2016, PPC is expected to become a $61.1 billion industry worldwide! (Kissmetrics)
  • Increase web traffic – 63% (MarketingSherpa)
  • Generate more leads - 62% (MarketingSherpa)
  • Increase online sales revenue - 57% (MarketingSherpa)
  • Achieve or increase measurable ROI - 50% (MarketingSherpa)

What these numbers is trying to say is this: PPC works. Online marketers are spending on PPC, and are looking to spend more on it in the future. This upward trend in spending says a lot about the power of paid search. But as research shows too, the main hindrance preventing B2C businesses from increasing online budgets is the difficulty to prove ROI. But what it you can track ROI, and see results instantly?

Instantly Appear on Google Search Results

One of the top reasons why pay per click advertising is popular among business owners is its power to propel websites to the first page of Google – “instantly.” Instant in this case is in comparison with SEO or search engine optimization, which is a slower but nevertheless necessary online strategy. With SEO, it can take time to rank on search engines, especially for competitive keywords. But with PPC, you can immediately ascend to the much-coveted search results page and advertise your business to interested prospects without waiting for months.

The instant appearance on Google search results brings instant traffic to the website. Research shows that increasing web traffic is top objective of 63% of PPC advertisers. So if you’re just getting started with SEO, or your website needs a traffic boost fast, you may use pay per click to get it.

Take note though that being on Google’s Page 1 is not just about extra traffic; it’s also about spreading brand awareness. Whenever users see your search result, they get an “impression” of your business. You do not pay for impressions. This means you get to give your brand exposure with little or no cost, and do it instantly. It’s also about converting the traffic to leads and sales.

Measurable: from Impression to Conversion

PPC networks such as Google AdWords and Bing Ads allow businesses to track a wide array of metrics, from impressions to clicks to conversions. These metrics enable businesses to see whether they are indeed getting the “conversions” or results they want from paid ads. You get to see how many people saw your advertisement, how many clicked the ad, and how many performed the desired action on your landing page.

Because you can measure impressions to conversions, you’ll be able to see how much a particular conversion cost you. Calculating your “cost per click” will let you determine the amount you spent for every advertisement clicked by a user. “Cost per conversion or action or acquisition” is the amount you spent for that lead, sale, or whatever conversion you are tracking.

Being able to measure not just traffic but also money spent and earned is an attractive feature of PPC. It is one of the reasons why pay-per-click is very popular in the retail industry, which accounts for 16% of businesses that run PPC ads. Case in point: Amazon. The e-commerce giant spent $55.2 million on Google AdWords in 2011. Retailers are tracking not just how many clicks they got but how much they earn from these clicks. Businesses in other industries are following suit.

Don’t be left behind. We can implement pay-per-click advertising for you and help you get instant, highly-targeted traffic and measurable ROI for your website and your business. Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on PPC advertising.

Customers Are Searching for Local Businesses Online – and How Your Business Can Survive the Shift

Do you still think that a listing on the yellow pages is enough for prospects to find your local business? If so, this is a wake-up call. The truth is this: paying customers are finding more and more ways to research products and services in their area. Widespread Internet access and mobile devices enable customers to find what they need instantly, on the go, and with high buying intent. This also comes with the high propensity to share experiences online with friends. If your business is not capitalizing on this shift, then you are losing out.

Online Trends Affecting Your Local Business

Local businesses that serve a specific geographic area can no longer rely on simply placing their listing on yellow pages. Consumers are going beyond traditional methods of searching for products and services in their area. Here are some trends that you need to know:

  • Local Searches on tools like Google Places and Bing Local grew by 144% between 2011 and 2012 (comScore)
  • 86% of tablet owners made a purchase from their recent tablet-based local search (MarketingSherpa)
  • 72% of smart phone owners made a purchase from their recent smart phone based local search (MarketingSherpa)
  • 78% of all Internet users conduct product research online before making a local purchase (Pew Internet)
  • 80% of users stated they have changed their minds on making a purchase because of a bad review they read online (Cone Communications)

These are trends that your business simply cannot afford to ignore.

The Shift – How Prospects Are Looking for You

Based on the trends above, you’ll see that consumers are no longer dependent on print listings and other traditional media to find businesses they need. They are using the Internet and their mobile devices to quickly locate shops. In fact, a survey by Ipsos found that 61% of global Internet users are doing their research before making a purchase. Aside from traditional search engines like Google, prospects are using tools like Google Places, Facebook Places, and Foursquare. Local Search is a service that optimizes your presence in these location-based web properties. Through Local Search, you can ensure your business is optimized for local business listings, maps of major search engines, and the sites mentioned earlier. And frankly, if your competitors are as interested in success as you are, they will be optimizing their business for these increasingly popular tools as well — if they haven't already. To illustrate the power of Local Search, here’s a “personal” example. Have you ever found a business through Google maps? Checked-in to your favorite restaurant over Facebook? Or decided to visit a local store because you were influenced by a friend who did so? Then you've personally experienced what Local Search is capable of. These online local channels will help you, at the very least, ensure potential customers in your service area know exactly how to get to you and by reading reviews, learn why they should choose you over everyone else.

Crucial Areas Where Businesses Need Help

More than just knowing how Local Search works is knowing what pressing issues local businesses are facing. These issues need to be addressed immediately:

  • Duplicate Local Business Listings – Duplicates will confuse people and search engines alike. Prospect customers won’t know which listing is official and correct. On the part of search engines, they might split your listings’ authority between the correct one and the duplicate. This is one area you should definitely look into to be able to take advantage of Local Search.
  • Lack of Competition Analysis – Do you know where you currently stand in the race? Are your competitors being rated and reviewed by your prospects?
  • NAP Inconsistency – One of the biggest factors that affect local search domination is inconsistency of name, address, and phone number or NAP across all listings. Again, Google knows that if you confuse people with inconsistent information, your search results won’t be good for users, and it won’t rank those results.
  • Absence of Profiles on Major Channels – Be there when your prospects look for you. It’s a major mistake not to open your accounts on Google+, Facebook, and Foursquare.
  • Absence of Promotions – You need to attract in-store visits via deals and online check-ins. Posting promotions on key accounts can motivate prospects to check out your store and existing customers to return.

Manage the Shift – Help Prospects Find Your Business

Statistics show us that prospects are searching for local businesses online and increasingly via mobile. Your response should be obvious: move your marketing efforts online and ensure your local business is visible to those who need to find it. All of this starts with a shift in your mindset as the owner. You’ve seen how Local Search works through statistics. But more importantly, you’ve most likely already experienced its potential. You’ve felt it personally and you know it is no longer enough to rely on traditional methods to be visible to prospects. You need to be online, be visible, and be proactive. To survive the shift to mobile local searches and to thrive in it, you need to start using Local Search for your business right here, right now. Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on Local Search.

Beyond Local Online Presence: How Your Local Business Can Keep the Cash Register Ringing with ‘Local Search’

According to statistics, an overwhelming 78% of consumers research about products and services on the Internet before buying locally. The message consumers are sending local business owners is therefore clear: be visible online or get ready to close shop.

A lot of business owners have responded to this message by getting a website done. They also pay for SEO or search engine optimization services to make sure they appear on Google when their prospects look for products they offer. But is this strategy good enough to keep your cash register ringing every day? Or is there a better way to ensure your business dominates “locally”?

The ‘Problem’ with Your SEO Approach

Indeed, optimizing your online presence is a necessity. Some 90% use search engines such as Google to look for products and services. If you do not appear on search results, even your neighbors might not purchase from your shop, and it’s because you are “invisible” on Google. So, business owners employ agencies and professionals to conduct SEO or search engine optimization for their website. That IS the solution. Ironically, that is also the problem: Business owners tend to focus all their attention on SEO, and nothing more.

Traditional SEO works if you want to rank on Google. But if you own a local business and you want to appeal locally, you need to implement optimization efforts that are geographically focused. This goes beyond targeting keywords that include your geographic location. It means creating a “buzz” that 1) enables your business to dominate local search results and also 2) makes people actually visit your physical store and buy.

Higher Ranking, More Search Results

Local search factors differ from general search factors. According to the 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors study by Moz, some of the things you must consider for local search optimization are:

  • Place Page Signals – proper categorization of business, etc. (19.6%)
  • On-page Signals – NAP or name, address, phone number, etc. (18.8%)
  • External Location Signals – NAP consistency across listings, etc. (16%)
  • Review Signals – review quantity and diversity, etc. (10.3%)
  • Social Signals – Google+ authority, Facebook likes, etc. (6.1%)

The items above are signals that surveyed industry experts believe help websites rank in local searches. These ranking factors tell us how we can better rankings on local search results. But to “dominate locally” is another thing. You need to rank high for your website AND get more search results from external sites, too. This way, your business will have more chances of being found by users.

Therefore, you need to optimize your local online presence in other web properties, such as social media, maps, review sites, and local listings. They not only help improve your website’s overall rankings, they also ensure your local business shows up for more search results on Google.

Generate ‘Search’ for Your Local Business

To create Local Search for your business, you need to reinforce your typical SEO work with these location-targeted approaches:

Ensure NAP Presence and Consistency – According to MarketingSherpa, only 58% of businesses list their local business address on their website! This has two major negative consequences: first, a missing or inconsistent NAP can lead to a poor local search ranking, as Moz ranking factors above tell us. Second, it will prevent prospects – particularly mobile users – from taking further action. A study by Google and Nielsen showed that users who searched via a mobile device also called a business phone (7%), visited a store (17%), and made a purchase (17%).

Check for Duplicate Places Listings – Be sure there’s only one listing for your business at Google+ Local, Foursquare, Facebook Places, and Bing Local. You want everyone to check-in only at the right account – your account. Plus, you don’t want to confuse both people and search engines.

Get Published on Review/Rating Sites – According to BrightLocal’s 2013 Local Consumer Review Survey, over 80% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business. In comparison, only 15% do not read online reviews. What’s interesting is that around 65% of consumers say positive reviews make them more likely to use a local business – significantly up from only 50% from two years ago.

Encourage Social Media Reviews – Some 58% of searchers are more likely to use a local business if a social network connection recommended it, says the Local Search Usage research. The study, which was conducted by comScore for 15miles/Neustar Localeze, also found that consumers who actively search for local businesses on social networks also use (50%) and submit (41%) consumer reviews.

Facilitate Web Check-ins – When customers check in on your shop using services like Foursquare, that activity is published and seen by his network. You can use promotions to attract check-ins. Some of the most popular promos are the “friend deal” (reward is given when a group of people check-in together) and the “loyalty deal” (reward is given after a number of check-ins). Why? Research by Pew Internet shows more smartphone owners are now using check-in or geo-social services. The percentage is at 18% as of 2012, significantly up from only 4% in 2010.

These are only some of the methods you can use to create a Local Search for your local business. Yes, traditional SEO will help your website rank well on Google search. But if you want to dominate your competition, you need to dominate local search with results. You must give prospects more links to click when search results are served. More importantly, you need to encourage them to go beyond searching at visit your store to buy. You can do this through “Local Search.”

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We can generate Local Search for your local business. Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on Local Search.

Is Your Local Business Invisible Online? Discover Local Search!

More and more consumers are using the Internet to search for products and services in their area. Sadly, local businesses are struggling to keep up with the trend. They are finding it more and more difficult to stay visible to potential customers online.

On the other hand, a select few local businesses are thriving. They are dominating local listings and enticing prospects to come and visit the shop. Want to dominate your local area for your products and services, too? Discover how you can thrive locally with the help of optimized local listings, customer ratings and reviews, check-ins, and maps – otherwise known as “Local Search.”

Local Search and Why It’s Growing

Many local business owners are aware that nearly 8 in 10 consumers use the Internet to look for products and services online. Google, of course, is the leading search engine of choice. That’s why business owners spend majority of the budget on having a website and optimizing it for search results. What many owners are realizing now is that they should optimize their online presence based on location too, not just on products and services they offer. That’s what Local Search is all about.

Local search happens when prospects type in geographic keywords in their search queries (i.e. “best wedding gowns san francisco” or “website design in chicago). Some 54% of searchers include a local modifier (city, zip code) in their search nowadays.

Much of the popularity of local search can be correlated to the growth of mobile device ownership and usage. Some 74% of smartphone owners get real-time location-based information through their phone, as of February 2012, up from 55% in May 2011, comScore said.

Local Search Means Money for the Biz

For now, it is clear that consumers are online and they are looking for a local business with the help of the Internet. But why should you care? In essence, it’s about your bottom line, your sales. It’s about your business’ future. Local searches are not just aimed at locating a business. They are also geared to make a purchase! As mentioned above, mobile is fuelling local search. So it is no surprise that:

  • 78% of mobile phone searches resulted in a purchase
  • 77% of tablet searches resulted in a purchase
  • 73% of mobile searches trigger other additional action and conversions

Local searchers therefore aren’t just typing queries on Google using their mobile devices; they are looking to buy! Now this is what matters: is your local business “buzzing” on local listings and consumer feedback? Or is it invisible when prospects search online?

Local Search 101: Beyond Traditional SEO

Typically, business owners hire a designer to create a website and then employ an agency to optimize that site. There is nothing wrong with this approach. In fact, these two things should be first in your priority. They ensure your business is present online. But your local business needs more than just exposure on general search results. It needs to be visible in various local listings and entice prospects to visit your shop and avail of your products and services. That’s where Local Search comes in.

Unlike typical and traditional search optimization, “Local Search” focuses on your business’s local online presence. This is done by combining traditional SEO with the optimization of genuine consumer reviews, check-ins, maps, and local listings. This also means that aside from your own web pages, search results from Google maps, Foursquare, independent reviews sites, and local listings will come up when prospects search online. Local Search aims to make your local business visible and appealing to local searchers.

Dominate Local: Check-ins, Listings, Maps, Reviews

Various studies have shown that local listings, maps, reviews, and check-ins not only dominate local search results, they also influence a user’s purchase decision. For example, a BrightLocal study found that the effect of online reviews of consumers is also stronger this year, compared to last year.

  • 85% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses (up from 76% in 2012)
  • 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (up from 72%)
  • 73% of consumers trust a business more because of reviews (up from 58%)
  • 65% of consumers are more likely to use a business with positive reviews (up from 52%)

Aside from reviews, geo-social or check-ins websites and apps should be part of the strategy. Foursquare alone has 40 million users and has logged 3.54 billion online check-ins so far. You may use check-in promotions to entice prospects to visit your local store or shop. Rewarding them after a number of check-ins is one type of promotion.

Maps and listings also matter. For instance, 35% of mobile phone users who search for local businesses via apps use Google Maps, according to comScore. Meanwhile, 76% of searches using Internet yellow pages resulted in either a purchase or intent to purchase, says the Local Search Association.

The message these statistics bring is clear: you need to dominate local listings with location-based services to ensure prospects find you, and that they find you worth dealing with. Your local business needs Local Search.

Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on Local Search.

Social Media Optimisation: A Business Necessity, Not a Luxury

Did you know that within the social media space, there are conversations happening at this very moment that will define your brand? If you don’t capitalize on this vast and growing landscape, your competitors will, and you won’t like the outcome.

Business owners may not realize it yet but social media optimisation is now a crucial marketing necessity if their venture is to compete in this economy. The emergence of social networks over the past few years has changed the way businesses reach out to their audience. In fact, it is no longer enough to have a website, get backlinks, and rank well on Google. Today, a successful business needs essential elements: networking, awareness, engagement, trust, and loyalty – all of which are achievable through social media.

Business owners may not realize it yet but social media optimisation is now a crucial marketing necessity if their venture is to compete in this economy. The emergence of social networks over the past few years has changed the way businesses reach out to their audience. In fact, it is no longer enough to have a website, get backlinks, and rank well on Google. Today, a successful business needs essential elements: networking, awareness, engagement, trust, and loyalty – all of which are achievable through social media.

Social Media Optimisation: A Legitimate Business Need

You might still be wondering, just how important is having a Social Media Optimisation campaign for your business. Well, let us help you put things in perspective.

You might still be wondering, just how important is having a Social Media Optimisation campaign for your business. Well, let us help you put things in perspective.

  • 1 in 4 people worldwide are social media users (eMarketer)
  • 1 in 6 minutes spent online worldwide is spent on social media platforms (comScore)
  • It took 13 years for television to reach an audience of 50 million people (United Nations Cyberschoolbus)
  • It only took Facebook 2 years!

Without a solid social media optimisation strategy, it will be difficult for businesses to make the most out of this trend. Even coping with it will be a struggle. Social media is indeed growing and evolving fast. It's involving more and more people connecting with each other, sharing thoughts and feelings through status messages, likes, tweets, links, photos, videos, and etc.

How connected are you to your target audience? How many people are talking about your business? When a potential customer searches for your business' name on Google, are they going to find (aside from your website) professionally designed and updated social media profiles?

Social Networks as Marketing Tools

In the “State of the Media: Social Media Report,” global information and measurement company Nielsen reported that social media has changed how consumers are influenced to buy. “Consumer decisions and behaviors are increasingly driven by the opinions, tastes, and preferences of an exponentially larger, global pool of friends, peers, and influencers,” the report said.

The Nielsen study also found that, each month, social media users:

  • Read about other customer experiences (70%)
  • Learn more about business products and services (65%)
  • Compliment brands (53%)
  • Express how they feel about brands they like or don't like (50%)

This is both a challenge and a cause for celebration for marketers. While it will be more difficult to control brand messaging, it also opens up new channels for business owners to reach their prospects. If you have a social networking strategy, you can influence how prospects see your brand, and eventually gain their awareness, engagement, trust, and loyalty.

How to Take Advantage of Social

From account setup to maintenance and tracking, there’s a plethora of actions that can benefit the online social presence of your business. Some of the more important actions you can take, and take immediately if possible, are as follows:

Share Updates via Facebook – If you’re going to inform people of your events, updates, and promotions, make sure to include Facebook in the plan. The biggest of them all, the world’s largest social network now has 1.11 billion monthly active users.

Share Updates via Google Plus – Google’s own social network now has 500 million registered members, 359 million of which are active. Apart from its usual social properties, Google+ is crucial for marketing because of its SEO or search engine optimisation benefits. A recent correlation study by Internet marketing software developer Moz found that high ranking pages tend to have more +1’s.

Tweet Regularly – Establish your presence by posting regular updates on the micro-blogging site. MediaBistro estimates that 67% of Twitter users are far more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter. Twitter’s own survey shows that 63% of people follow SMBs to show their support. Some 85% “feel more connected” to the business after following them.

Join LinkedIn Discussions – LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with 238 million members. It’s a great way to build your credibility and gain customer trust. Feel free to join relevant discussions in over 2.1 million LinkedIn groups.

Create Hype through YouTube – YouTube needs no introduction but to get a glimpse of its power as a web traffic source and social platform, here are some interesting figures. Over 1 billion unique visitors use it every month. Nielsen reports that YouTube has a better reach than any cable network when it comes to the 18-34 U.S. age group. Video is an exciting format and YouTube enables you to take advantage of it.

Social Media Optimisation Benefits

The problem with networking through social media is the time and dedication needed to ensure you have a regular presence. Your followers need to see constant updates on your accounts. Unfortunately, business owners cannot afford to spend all their time away from the core business posting status updates or commenting on discussions. Good thing we can help you in this area. It is, after all, our expertise.

We will help you:

  • Expand your network (acquire friends, fans, followers, connections, join groups)
  • Increase awareness (through tweets, status messages, posts, etc.)
  • Generate engagement (through discussions, commenting)
  • Promote trust and customer loyalty (with regular updates, promos)
  • And boost this further with the amplifying power of social media

We can draft a social media strategy that can help you achieve your business goals, and then help you execute the plan… so you can remain focused on your core operations, and push the business from that end.

We’re offering free in-depth consultation on how social media can help grow your business today. Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on Social Media Optimisation.

Anatomy of a Social Buyer: Use Social Media Optimization to Understand Your Customer & Get Sales

Social media optimization is a known business necessity. Owners understand that for their venture to withstand the competition and survive in the current economic environment, they need to be on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. They need to update fan pages, upload photos, and interact with their audience. After all, 67% of all Internet users use social networks, according to Pew Internet research. Indeed no online marketing strategy is ever complete without it. But at the end of the day, its sales—not likes, retweets, or repins—that keep the business going. So the question now is…

"Do businesses actually get sales from social media?"

Social: Vast Network of Networks

Despite doubts clouding social's power to keep the cash register ringing, business still believe in conducting marketing via social networks. In fact, 83% of marketers surveyed by Social Media Examiner consider social media as important for their business. The same source found that 59% or marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more each week.

As for which site is considered most critical to business, 42% of marketers asked by HubSpot for the State of Inbound Marketing report voted Facebook as their choice. Some 80% of U.S. social network users prefer to connect to brands through it.

Apart from Facebook, which now has 1.11 billion monthly active users; marketers also cited Twitter and Pinterest. According to a study by Edison Research, 51% of active Twitter users follow companies, brands, or products on social networks. Pinterest, on the other hand, is ranked by Experian as the third most popular social network in the U.S., based on traffic. Google's very own Google+ is continuously growing with 359 million monthly active users. Then, there’s YouTube, LinkedIn, and other popular sites.

So, Do Social Users Actually Buy?

Some 43% of social users actually do buy. The purchases happened after conducting some form of social action on the item, like sharing and favoriting, says global research provider, Vision Critical. Broken down by site, Facebook appears to be the best platform to drive sales as 38% of its users have purchased an item after liking and sharing it. Pinterest ranks second with 29% of users saying they have purchased an item. Twitter was third with 22%. Social sites can drive both online and offline sales, it was found.

What do they buy? Recent social-inspired purchases by users fall mostly under technology and electronics, with the category accounting for 34% of sales driven by Twitter and 25% by Facebook. As for Pinterest, the top category was food and drink (24%).

Which type of retail store or site did they buy from? Facebook users mostly purchased from a discount retailer (43%) and supermarket (18%). Discount retailer also ranked first for Twitter (31%) and Pinterest (26%). Twitter users also bought from a department store (31%) while Pinterest users purchased from a specialty retailer (21%).

The Social Buyer: Dissected & Analyzed

The social buyer exists, and is mostly (51%) between the age of 18 and 34. The 35-54 age group represents 34% of social purchasers while the 55+ age group accounts for the remaining 15% or so. Divided by sex, 56% are male and 44% are female.

The demographics change when mobile comes into the picture. The ratio between males and females further favors males, 69:31. The 18-34 age group grows to 68% of the total number of social purchasers using mobile. Facebook (43%) and Pinterest (38%) purchases are mostly not mobile but 35% of Twitter-driven purchases are purely mobile.

So what’s inside the mind of a social buyer? A whopping 70% of Twitter user-purchasers said they were “vaguely” thinking about purchasing the product at the time they bought it. Facebook (60%) and Pinterest (49%) users had the same mindset when they bought a product, adds Vision Critical. The difference surfaces in buyers who “had not thought about purchasing this product” when they bought it. Only 9% of Twitter user-purchasers fall under this group while the figure is 16% for Facebook. Pinterest appears to be the best site for unplanned purchases as 29% their social buyers weren’t even thinking about buying such item when purchased it.

How to Appeal to Your Social Buyer

Use a Specific Network’s Purchasing Influence – Auto posting the same exact stuff on all your social accounts is not the best way to approach social media. If you want to get social-inspired sales, you must understand how a particular network or social website influences a customer’s purchase decision. For example, 43% of Pinterest purchasers said they were influenced by the “additional information on the product,” according to Vision Critical. This means Pinterest is a great choice when providing product details, reviews and recommendations, different models, etc.

For identifying where prospects can purchase the product, 38% of buyers used Twitter. When alerting to a sale or deal, 37% credited Facebook and 32% Twitter. Some 32% got reminders to purchase through Twitter. But when it comes to providing a coupon code, the race is tight between Facebook (18%), Pinterest (14%), and Twitter (18%). The product discovery contest is also close: Facebook (31%), Pinterest (35%), and Twitter (35%).

Network Where Your Targets Are – Leading data firm comScore estimates 80% of Pinterest users are female. Repinly, an online pin directory, says the most popular Pinterest categories are as follows: food & drink, DIY and crafts, women’s apparel, and home décor. Head over to Google+ and the world turns upside down. According to SocialStatistics, nearly 87% of Google+ users are male. Students, early adopters, and engineers are some of the biggest groups. Go to LinkedIn and you’ll find a healthy balance of professionals from both sexes.
The idea is to analyze which site best suits your target market’s profile and then start your social media optimization campaign in that network. This strategy not only gives your marketing direction some focus, it also maximizes your resources.

Get Started in Focused Social Media Today – You can use social media optimization not just to get a legion of followers, but also to generate sales; a fact that's already been proven across multiple industries worldwide. The best approach right now is to get started—if you haven’t already—and give it focus to ensure you influence social buyers to purchase your products and avail of your services today. We can help you.

Need help with social media, attracting social purchasers, understanding your customer, and generating more sales from social networks? Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on Social Media Optimization.

Why is Social Media Optimization Essential to Your Success?

Social media optimization is a marketing strategy that’s simply too important to ignore. Social networks are growing steadily and they are providing small businesses an opportunity to reach out to a bigger audience. In today’s online world, you would need to be thriving socially if you want your business to get more customers and crush your competition. Not convinced with the power of social media?

Amplification: Beyond Reach, Engagement

Social media is an effective tool for reaching your prospects and engaging them. According to Pew Internet research, 67% of all Internet users also use social networks. Meanwhile, comScore estimates that one in six minutes spent online is on social networks. These statistics simply mean that when people are online, they also connect via social media—giving business owners and marketers an opportunity for customer reach and engagement.

But what makes social media powerful is amplification. The more engaged your friends and followers are, the bigger your amplification factor grows. This is turn results in more reach, deeper engagement, and again, bigger amplification. The social cycle goes on and on, and is similar to the buying cycle: awareness, interest, desire, action, loyalty, and advocacy. Amplification, however, makes the difference as it broadcasts the advocacy to a bigger audience, amplifying the number of leads and customers you can reach and engage.

Facebook Leads Social Network Growth

More and more social networks are being created nowadays but some of the crucial ones businesses need to focus on are as follows: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. These are networks that have shown steady growth. These are where most of your prospects share and connect with friends.

Facebook, in particular, should be a business necessity. The social network now has 1.11 billion monthly active users, up from 680 million in 2011. Its mobile user base is around 751 million, surging 62% from only 288 million two years ago. A study by HubSpot showed that 74% of all marketers consider Facebook as important in their lead generation efforts.

Other social networks are also growing:

  • LinkedIn has 200 million users, adding 2 new signups per second
  • Twitter has 288 million MAUs making 1.6 billion queries per day
  • Google+ MAU base is currently at 359 million, making it the second biggest network
  • Pinterest growth skyrocketed 88% over the past 12 months

Get Customers, Sales from Social

Their user base growth may be impressive but can social networks help your business grow? The answer: YES. In fact, customer acquisition through social networks has been increasing. In 2012, 62% of businesses using LinkedIn said they acquired a customer through the world’s largest professional network. This is up from 57% in 2011. Customer acquisition through Facebook and Twitter also went up from 48% to 52% and 42% to 44%, respectively.

You attract prospects for sure, but do they buy? A study by Nielsen found that 46% of online users depend on social media when making a purchase decision. In a separate report, VisionCritical said 38% of Facebook users have purchased an item after liking or sharing it. Pinterest (29%) and Twitter (22%) also bought an item after conducting some social action involving that product.

To get more sales, you need to adjust your approach on the online social realm. The same VisionCritical research recommended that businesses tweak their social content based on the culture of the users within a specific network. They also need to take into consideration the category that content would likely fall under. To make social work, you need to reach and engage your audience with custom content that is in line with the category of your business, as well as with the culture of your prospects.

The Market Leaders and Your Competitors Are Social… Are You?

Market leaders are using social media. For instance, 90% of Inc. 500 companies use at least one major social media platform, according to marketing speaker Heidi Cohen. Majority of marketers (83%) also understand how powerful social is, Social Media Examiner found. Some 59% of marketers use social media for six or more hours a week.

Your competitors are conducting some form of social media optimization today, too. E-Strategy Trends found that an overwhelming 92% of small businesses consider social media as an effective marketing tool. Meanwhile, eMarketer found that 21% of small businesses plan to spend more on social media advertising this year.

So now, you know market leaders are social online. Your competitors are likely going social, too. They are realizing the power of online social networks and how these can help them acquire more customers and get more sales. In short, they know that social media is essential to business success today. But you know that, too. So what are you going to do?

Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on social media optimization.

Responsive Web Design: How Businesses Risk Losing Customers by Ignoring Google’s Recommended Mobile Friendly Configuration

Mobile Internet users are expected to outnumber desktop users by next year. It is therefore no surprise that Google is paying close attention to this development. And so should you. Because if your website is not yet “mobile responsive,” you may be turning away prospects who browse your web pages via smartphones, tablets, or laptops. And frankly, mobile users are prospects you wouldn’t want to lose.

Non-Mobile Ready = Non-Customer Friendly

A study by Sterling Research and SmithGeiger for Google found that a whopping 96% of users have encountered a website that is obviously not designed for mobile. This would not have mattered to you if not for the following findings also uncovered by the same study:

  • 52% of users are unlikely to engage with a company whose website brought them a bad mobile experience
  • 36% of respondents say a non-mobile-friendly site wastes users’ time
  • 67% of users are more likely to purchase if the site is mobile friendly

To add up to business owners’ growing woes, Internet research company comScore estimates that 52.4 million Americans now own nearly 58 million tablets. Another research group, Pew Internet, says 56% of American adults have a smartphone. Worldwide, there will be 1.4 billion smartphones by the end of 2013, adds ABI Research. That’s with a B, billion.

Take note that these devices are not just capable of connecting to the Internet; they will be connected to the Internet. Cisco estimates mobile Internet usage will skyrocket at a pace of 66% in the next five years.

Needless to say, Internet users – including your prospect customers – have been and will be viewing your website using mobile devices. That’s a major problem if your site is not designed to load properly on mobile.

Supported, Not Preferred: Dynamic Serving & Mobile Sites

In total, Google supports three configurations in serving content for smartphones: mobile responsive, dynamic serving, and mobile version website. The search engine prefers the first option. As for the other two, they are supported but not recommended.

Like responsive, dynamic serving uses the same URL for both desktop and mobile. But unlike responsive, it serves different HTML and CSS depending on the device. In this method, you will need to either 1) come up with a different set of code for mobile or 2) use JavaScript to change the code. If not carried out correctly, such as when Google crawlers are not alerted that the site serves varying or dynamic HTML, this option can even cause indexing problems.

The second supported-but-not-preferred option is actually creating another website, a mobile version of the main site. It is often carried out with a different domain, such as m.example.com, indicating it is meant for mobile visitors. The creation is the easy part. Ensuring pages properly redirect to their mobile equivalent pages is the tough task. Faulty redirects mean Google won’t be able to find and rank your mobile pages properly. And oh, now you have two sites to maintain (desktop and mobile) so you have twice as much optimization work to do.

Supported & Recommended: Responsive Web Design

And then there’s Google’s preferred method of servicing mobile users: responsive web design. Of all three configurations supported by the search giant, it leans on responsive more because of its many advantages not just in improving user experience but also in speeding up web page indexing and ranking. According to the official Webmaster Central Blog, here’s what Google has to say when building smartphone-optimized websites:

“Sites that use responsive web design, i.e. sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration.”

Because the desktop and mobile content are on a single URL, it is easier for user to find, link back to, and share that content. It is also easier for Google algorithms to assign the indexing properties to your content. “Google can discover your content more efficiently as we wouldn't need to crawl a page with the different Googlebot user agents to retrieve and index all the content,” the company explains.

What Makes a Website Mobile Responsive

In a nutshell, responsive is serving both desktop and mobile users the same exact HTML, changing only its appearance via CSS. This means your web pages load perfectly on all devices, regardless of screen size, without needing to change the HTML for each device or to create a separate mobile website.

A mobile responsive website has three key features: a flexible or fluid grid, flexible images, and CSS3 media queries. These features allow the website to “adapt to the viewing environment”. The website adjusts for viewers so they won’t need to scroll in all directions and zoom in and out whenever browsing via smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

Why You Need to Shift to Responsive Today

Be More Visible Online – The responsive configuration makes it easier for Google to index pages since its crawlers will only deal with one set of code. Since you won’t create a mobile site, you also avert the possibility of faulty redirects, allowing pages to be discovered and ranked.

Build and Improve Your Brand, Reputation – The Sterling Research and SmithGeiger study also found that 48% of users are “frustrated and annoyed” by a non-mobile-friendly site. Being perceived as “annoying and frustrating” won’t help your brand and reputation.

Capture Desktop and Mobile Targets – Desktop users roam your site effortlessly. But what if they use a smartphone or a tablet to browse? Some 48% of users think companies that have non-mobile friendly sites “don’t care” about their business. Googdbye, mobile user leads and sales.

Dominate Your Competition – The same research found that 61% of users will quickly go to another website if they don’t immediately find what they need on your mobile site. Keep your site non-responsive and your competitors will thank you for the customers you send their way.

Save on Development Costs – You need to spend upfront to get a mobile responsive website but it’s actually more cost-effective in the long run. It’s cheaper than building a separate mobile site and then maintaining two websites. It’s cheaper than losing mobile customers, too.

Give Focus to Your Marketing, SEO Efforts – It is hard enough to make your pages rank on the first page of Google for main keywords. Imagine if you had twice the number of pages you need to carry out optimization for. Imagine promoting a doubled number of URLs. Chaos will ensue.

Prepare Your Business for Long-Term Success – More and more page views are coming from mobile, and less from desktop. Next year, mobile viewers are expected to outnumber desktop users. With a responsive site, you are ready for this long-term shift in website traffic origin.

Ignore Google, Risk Losing Customers

Google is unrelenting when it comes to user experience, and that’s why it has the largest search share.
By following Google’s recommendation, you are providing quality experience to your site visitors, whether they connect via desktop or mobile. Remember, they are not just visitors; they can turn into leads that you can eventually convert into customers.

On the other hand, by ignoring Google’s recommendation of implementing responsive web design, you are preventing your site from being indexed by search engines the best way possible. You are also effectively sidestepping a crucial advice to improve your site visitors’ user experience, and therefore turning away prospect customers. So, do the right thing for your business: get a mobile responsive website today.

We can make your website and business mobile responsive, customer friendly, and ready for the future. Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on responsive web design.

Go for Mobile Responsive Web Design

Getting More Leads and Sales, Not Just Fancy Cosmetic Redesign

Implementing responsive web design means opening up your online storefront to mobile visitors, effectively increasing your chances of getting more leads and sales through your site. While it may come as a mere fancy redesign to some business owners, you should realize that this change is geared toward marketing more than cosmetics. Making the decision to have a responsive site means giving your business more opportunities to grow, especially for the long haul.

Responsive Defined
In a nutshell, a responsive web design adapts itself to multiple screen sizes using the same URL, the same page, the same content, and the same code. Having a responsive web design means your website responds to or adjusts automatically to the size of the screen of various devices: a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone.

Today is the perfect time to go responsive as mobile ownership is up and will continue to rise in the future. In the U.S. alone, there are already over 120 million smartphones and 50 million tablets, estimates digital research firm comScore. By the end of 2013, there will be 1.4 billion smartphones across the world, adds another research firm, ABI Research. It is also expected that by 2014, there will be more mobile Internet users than desktop users.

But it's not just mobile device ownership you should look at; it's what people do with their laptops, tablets, and smartphones that you should pay attention to.

Digital Media Consumption through Mobile

Owners are so engaged with their mobile devices that 37% of time spent on digital media is now driven by smartphones and tablets. Research shows that mobile (43%) is closing in on desktop (57%) in terms of preference when reading news. User preference is the same when it comes to reading and sending emails. Mobile Internet usage is also expected to rise 66% in the next five years.
According to Adobe's Digital Index, web page views via smartphones and tablets were at 7% in 2011 before jumping to 13.3% in 2012. Web page views via personal computers, meanwhile, are on the decline from 93% in 2011 to 86.7% in 2012. Simply put, more and more users are viewing web pages though mobile devices.

Mobile Users Go Social and Local

Using their mobile devices, owners do not just browse websites as they do with their desktop computers. They also engage in social networking and local search. Look at the following findings by comScore:

  • 55% of users choose mobile devices over PC for social networking
  • 53% of smartphone users and 61% of tablet users read posts from people known personally
  • 39% of smartphone users and 47% of tablet users read posts or status updates from organizations, companies, brands, events, or products
  • 37% of smartphone users and 46% of tablet users followed a link to a website posted by someone else

Increased mobile usage also led to the growth of local search to 144% in 2011. And as of December 2012, 27% of total web traffic came from mobile devices accessing directories and other local web resources. This is a major increase from only 6% the previous year.

Consequences of Your Non-Mobile Friendly Site

Sterling Research and SmithGeiger conducted a study for search giant Google on user mobile friendly sites and found that:

  • 36% of respondents say a non-mobile-friendly site wastes users' time
  • 48% of users say a non-mobile-friendly site annoys and frustrates them
  • 48% of respondents said a company whose website didn't load properly on smartphones doesn't care about their business
  • 50% said they will use a site less if it is not mobile-friendly
  • 52% of users are unlikely to engage with a company whose site brought a bad mobile experience

By not being mobile friendly – by not being responsive – your website is turning away mobile visitors. These visitors could have been business leads and sales.

Go Responsive, Reap the Benefits

By going for mobile responsive web design, you’ll enjoy the following benefits:

Great user experience – Your prospects have a better user experience because your website loads perfectly regardless of the device they are using. They no longer need to zoom in and out, and scroll left and right, all the time. They can view your site on more browsers.

No need to maintain multiple versions of websites – Instead of creating a separate mobile site (m.example.com), going responsive allows you to open and maintain just one. There's less maintenance and expenses on your part.

No need to SEO for multiple websites – Getting a mobile site means doing double SEO work. Avoid that hassle by going responsive instead.

Efficient crawling and indexing of search engine robots – Responsive is Google's recommended configuration for serving content to mobile devices. It's easier for search engines to crawl and index your pages since they will be dealing with a single set of codes and content under one URL.

Higher chances of pages getting ranked – You can focus all your optimization efforts on one website, increasing your chances of better rankings. You also avoid redirect problems – common with building mobile version sites – so search engines can find and rank your site with ease.

Best Benefit: Get More Leads and Sales!

Responsive web design isn't merely improving the appearance of your website on mobile devices; it's about showing prospects that you care and that you are ready to cater to their needs, including the need to browse your site through mobile. It's about increasing your leads and sales, as found by studies:

  • 74% of users are more likely to return to a mobile-friendly site (Sterling Research and SmithGeiger for Google)
  • 67% of users are more likely to buy if the site is mobile friendly (Sterling Research and SmithGeiger for Google)
  • 62% of companies reported an increase in sales after designing a site for mobile users (Econsultancy)

Do people actually buy through mobile devices? Estimates show that 11% of e-commerce spending is through m-commerce or mobile in Q4 2012 ($7.2 billion), up from only from 3% in Q4 2012 ($1.6 billion).

Get a Free Consultation on Your Responsive Website

Before we even offer to create your mobile responsive website, we need to get to know your business and your target market. This helps us customize our approach, leading to better results. That’s why we’re offering a free in-depth consultation with you.

Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on responsive web design today.

SEO Goes Natural & Social with High Quality Content

How to Comply with Google Panda and Penguin Updates

Doing effective SEO has evolved into a more “natural” and “social” process. Algorithm updates, particularly Google’s Penguin and Panda, are continuously changing the course of conducting search engine optimization. Penguin targets bad links while Panda goes after poor content. Google, through their algorithm updates, has reiterated that website owners and search engine optimization practitioners must create a better experience for users. And that trying to manipulate rankings through keyword over optimization, link schemes, and black hat methodologies will only harm your website — and your business.

Here are some Penguin and Panda update-compliant SEO methodologies.

Publish High Quality Content

The era of run-of-the-mill, duplicate, and poor content is over. If you want to get into the SEO battle and win, then producing high quality, compelling content should be in your arsenal. Great content is key to increased visitors, more engagement, more inbound links and higher rankings.

  • 72% of B2B marketers use content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy – BtoB Magazine
  • 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing – Content Marketing Institute
  • 90% of consumers find custom content useful. – TMG Custom Media
  • 90% of CMOs say high quality content has a positive effect on audience attitudes – Custom Content Council
  • 79% of marketers say their organizations are shifting to branded content – Forrester
  • 72% of marketers rate branded content as more effective than magazine ads – Custom Content Council
  • 60% of consumers feel more optimistic about a company after reading onsite custom content – Content Plus.

Stamp it with Google+

Google+ Authorship & Publishership
Google+ is not just the search engine giant’s answer to Facebook. Plus is a social layer that connects all your Google activities. Google+ authorship in particular is a powerful SEO tool as it stamps your content on your website or blog with your identity as an author or publisher; and you are given credit for every piece of content you publish. The accumulation of authorship credits helps you to rank higher on search engines.

Google+ is Growing Fast

  • Has 359 million monthly active users as of March 2013
  • This is way up from 135 million in December 2012
  • From only 100 million users in September 2012

Claim your Authored Content
By creating a Google+ profile and linking it to your website or blog, you can claim authorship of your content with your Google+ profile. Once authorship is claimed, your Google+ profile will show up next to your search results.

Get Indexed Immediately
Content posted on your Google+ will be indexed immediately into the Google search results, increasing the possibility of your Google+ network seeing your posted content in their search results. When your audience engages with your content it will be further advertised to your audience’s network. In this chain reaction, posts have the ability to go viral.

Great Content plus Google+ Influence Search Rankings
High quality and compelling content will most likely receive +1s and shares. These act like social recommendations, influencing what searchers see on Google SERPs while they are logged in to any Google account.

Blog It!

Create Content and Publish it on your Blog
Blogging revolutionized publishing content on the web and is the mother of social media. It is now, and more than ever, a great tool for providing high quality and fresh content to your target audience and for SEO.

Write informative and engaging posts that people want to read, make use of and share with their friends and you acquire back links without engaging in black hat techniques.

Blogging/Content Generation

  • Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links – HubSpot
  • 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog – HubSpot
  • B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those that do not. –InsideView
  • Companies that blog receive 434% more indexed pages on average – HubSpot
  • Businesses that blog at least 20 times/month get 5x more traffic than those that blog 4 times or less – HubSpot

Do Articles, Press Releases the Right Way

Mass-produced articles and press releases are often tagged as duplicate or poor content, partly due to article spinning, anchor text over optimization and massive submissions. But when implemented the right way, well-written articles and press releases attract the right kind of site visitors.

  • 70% of consumers prefer articles over advertisements when it comes to getting to know a company – Content Plus
  • 80% of business decision-makers prefer a series of articles over advertisements when it comes to getting information about a company – Content Marketing Institute

Just make sure to AVOID:

  • Massive submission of articles and press releases
  • Submission to article and press releases farms
  • Keyword-rich, overly optimized anchor texts

Use Promotional Copy

Promotional content is a powerful tool. Consumers are attracted to promotional copy because people inherently like good deals. And it’s also a type of content that they will share with friends. Consumers visit a site over and over again to check on their latest promotions. Promotions attract visitors, are shared around and produce back links naturally. Promotions attract traffic, leads, customers – and keep them loyal.

  • 83% are likely to tell a friend about a company that uses sales promotions, such as special offers, discounts or coupons
  • 76% said they have a positive feeling toward a company that offers online sales promotions
  • 71% said they are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers online sales promotions
  • 66% said online sales promotions improve a company’s image
  • 65% said online sales promotions help finalize decisions for undecided buyers

Share It Socially

It’s not enough to create high quality content. You need to share it with the world; make sure everyone sees it so that they can link back to your site and share it with their networks. Social sharing completes the modern SEO methodology of attracting social and natural traffic and links. Social media is beneficial not just to SEO, but also to sales as 90% of users listen to recommendations shared from friends.

  • 92% of consumers around the world say they trust online recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising
  • 70% read other experiences
  • 65% learn more about businesses, brands, products & services
  • 53% compliment brands
  • 50% express concerns about brands, products & services — Nielsen
  • Users spend 30% of their time online on social channels where content can be shared. – AOL & Nielsen

“Natural and social” SEO focuses on creating high quality content users want to read, use, and share. High quality content can spread naturally across social networks as well as build natural links. This consequently results to higher Google rankings.

Google Penguin and Panda updates are meant to improve Google search results for users. Business owners can do their share in improving the user experience by employing SEO service providers that use natural and social methodology. Quality SEO will result in increased exposure of your website, higher rankings in the search engine, more traffic to your website, and result in more sales for your company.

Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on SEO.

Is Your SEO Service Provider Compliant with the Dreaded Google Penguin & Panda Updates?

Most people think of cute animals when they hear the words “Penguin” and “Panda” but for many search engine optimization service providers, these two words are to be feared. Google’s Penguin and Panda are algorithm updates that play separate roles in improving the overall experience of online users.

While algorithm updates should be primarily a concern for companies providing online marketing services, business owners who use SEO services should also know about them. That’s because if your SEO service provider happens to violate Google’s SEO guidelines, these algorithm changes will drastically affect your website’s ranking and your business will suffer the consequences. So before it’s too late, read our guide on the dreaded Google Penguin and Panda updates and what they mean to your business.

Introducing Penguin, the Web Spam Fighter
The Penguin algorithm is targeted at web spam. It was launched in April 2012. Its second version was released just this May, with two other updates in between Penguin 1 and 2.0. “The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines,” says Google’s official announcement. “Next generation” Penguin affected 3.1% of search queries.

Google search spam chief Matt Cutts advised webmasters to build websites that “people will tell their friends about and bookmark,” as opposed to conducting spamming. Web spam is often conducted by SEO providers desperate to get back links. In short, Penguin is about links.

Get to Know Panda, the Crusher of Poor Content
The other algorithm change that shook the SEO industry was Panda, which was designed to target poor quality content, particularly duplicate articles. It was launched in February 2011, with the most recent update rolled out just this July.

“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful,” says Google’s announcement. At the same time, Panda will also improve the rankings of “high-quality sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis, and so on.”

What These Updates Mean to Your Business
In the online marketing world, there’s a popular term called “slap” which is when Google penalizes a website for “black hat” methods, or practices that violate its guidelines. Sometimes a penalty can be as “subtle” as a slight drop in rankings. Sometimes it’s as worse as being removed from search results. Regardless of what penalty your site receives, it can lead to a massive drop in traffic and in the overall positive reputation of your website. No traffic means no visitors, no leads, and no sales.

The hard part is recovering from these penalties. You will need to clean up your website, remove spammy backlinks, and so on. And then you will need to reinvest your marketing budget on more SEO efforts, this time hoping that you will not be penalized. Investing in non-compliant SEO service providers, therefore, is not a wise move. Any black hat activity they conduct can result to penalties for your website, and lost opportunities for your business.

How to Tell Compliant SEO from Spammy and Poor SEO
Not all business owners have the technical know-how when it comes to online marketing. That’s why they rely on trusted SEO service providers to take care of their websites and online presence. In essence, they entrust their business to SEO service providers. It is therefore crucial to know if you are indeed entrusting your business to a provider that is compliant with Google’s SEO guidelines and in tune with these search algorithm updates.

Here are some indicators that your provider is up to date with SEO best practices:

  • Focusing on High Quality and Fresh Content – Content must be written for the target audience and not for search engines. Content must be something of value, something useful to users connecting your business, products or services to them. It is therefore important that your provider makes an effort to understand your business, target market, products and services through consultation and provide a mechanism for regular creation of content.
  • Building Natural Backlinks – The best way for people to link back to you is to publish high quality content that is engaging and worth sharing.
  • Using Social Media – A smart SEO service provider uses social media to help spread your content in the digital social sphere. Likes, pluses, shares, tweets, and retweets strengthen your social signal which is important as it is part of the SEO signals that Google detects.
  • Saying No to Spammy Techniques – Make sure your provider does not involve spamming in their SEO practice. Unnatural or spammy links will get you and your website in trouble. A compliant, high caliber SEO service provider does not do the following:
  • Massive submission of articles to article submission sites
  • Massive forum postings
  • Massive guest postings
  • All of the above with the same sets of keyword-rich anchor texts
  • On-Page, Off-Page Optimization – Ensure your SEO provider optimizes not just the content on your site but also your navigation, SEO tags such as the title, description, alt texts; overall site structure. They also optimize (but not over-optimize) content and links placed on external sites such as blogs, press release sites, social media and social sharing sites.
  • Knows Panda & Penguin Updates – Online marketing services providers must know all about Google’s algorithm updates. If they could not provide consulting about it, then it’s either they’re not yet compliant or worse, they really don’t know about them.

How to Deal with Google Algorithm Updates
Recovering from Panda and Penguin penalties will be difficult and time consuming. But if that happens, you will need a comprehensive website audit report to know what could be the possible causes of the penalties. Bad links need to be removed. Bad content needs to be improved or taken down. Your compliant provider will know what to do.

The best way to deal with algorithm updates still, is prevention. While business owners need not know the technical aspect of SEO, it will help if they can determine whether a provider is up to date with the latest search algorithm changes. All it takes is to ask the provider about the items above. Doing so will give you some idea on whether they are compliant and if you can indeed entrust your website and your business to them.

Our SEO methodologies comply with the latest search algorithm updates, including Google’s Penguin and Panda. We are not into black hat techniques, spammy practices and over optimization of anchor texts. We focus on creating high quality and fresh content, building natural links, uses social media, maximizing Google+ for improved SEO footprint, and conducting on-page and off-page optimization.

Call us now or send us a message to schedule your free consultation on SEO.