Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve probably already heard about Google’s recent announcement regarding mobile SEO, and in case you haven’t paid much attention, these are the facts straight from google:
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
What that means is that when someone does a search on their phone Google will start giving priority in search rankings to sites that are mobile-friendly. In other words, if your site is not mobile-friendly your rankings will plummet, and if your site is already mobile-friendly, this will only help your mobile SEO.
Although this will affect any and all businesses, it is especially critical for local businesses who’s customers typically come from nearby areas, and if you think this doesn’t apply to you, here is a reality check:
• 50% of all local searches are performed on mobile devices.
• 61% of mobile searches result in phone call
• 59% of mobile searches result in visit
• Only 26% of local businesses have a mobile-friendly website!
(Source Web.com, TechCrunch, Google)
The fact is people search for your business services for different reasons, such as looking for the nearest business of your kind, look up business hours, find a map and directions, or just call for information, and you want them to find your business and not your competitors.
How to do a quick check to see if your site is mobile-friendly
A simple way to check if yours passes the test is to type the name of your business on your phone’s browser (not your website url since this will take you to the web page) and when you see it listed on the results, see if it says “mobile friendly” next to it:
For this example I typed “remodelers fort lauderdale” and the only mobile friendly result is not even a business but a directory. In fact, I had to do some scrolling to actually find one so I could do the screenshot for this post. I did similar searches for other local businesses, such as restaurants, plumbers, hair salons, cleaners, vets, among others, and hardly found any with that notation.
One more thing, when you see the results for your page listed, make sure you look at the one for your website, since there will be other results such as your Facebook page, Yelp listing and other Social and Directories results, which will indicate “mobile-friendly” referring to their own sites and not yours.
How to make sure your site passes the Google test
The best way to test if your site passes the test ( in the eyes of Google) is by using Google’s new mobile-friendly testing tool, that tells you plain and simple, whether your site passes or fails the mobile test, it basically tells you that either you are mobile friendly or you are not mobile friendly.
In trying some random URLs found on business cards I had laying on my desk, these were the messages generated:
• Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.
• Not mobile-friendly
Google is also making it very easy to evaluate optimization issues with your mobile site. For example, for this site, I got an “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly,” but in digging a bit deeper I found a very useful list of issues it detected, not all of them critical, but certainly something I’ll have my team looking into to optimize our mobile SEO. However, for now I just want to bring to your attention how important it is that your site is mobile-friendly by April 21st.
Two options to make your site mobile-friendly
You could either redesign your website with a new mobile-friendly, responsive WordPress theme or just have a mobile-friendly version of your current site created.
New responsive design website – If you’ve been thinking that your website needs a facelift or just doesn’t work well, this is your best bet. This will take longer to complete, but in the end you will benefit from improved SEO, added functionality, and better experience for your website users. If your site is on the WordPress.org platform but isn’t responsive, rebuilding it on a new responsive WordPress theme is relatively simple and quick, depending on how many pages and changes you want to make.
Build a mobile version of your website – This is a quick way to add a mobile-friendly version of your website without touching it, that runs side by side to your existing site. It is also cost efficient (you can get one for $297 at Action). Keep in mind that although this is a quick fix that will get you compliant with Google’s new standards, you may still need to evaluate if is time for a new responsive design website in the near future.
Our team can do either one of these for you. To build a basic mobile responsive site our fee is $297, and if you want to get started or need a quote for a new one please fill out our contact form and indicate the URL of your website, we will get back to you promptly.
If your website was built by our team in the last 3 years you don’t have anything to worry about. But if it’s an older site or build elsewhere, take a few minutes to test it, and do something if it fails the test, before you lose all the SEO you’ve built over the years.
Go to Google’s Mobile Test Tool page clicking below:
Content has become the hottest marketing topic these days and for good reason: we live in the age of information, and that’s why content is king. This doesn’t mean that posting random updates, with no theme or purpose is all you need to do, on the contrary, this practice can actually have a negative impact on your brand’s credibility. In fact, there is a proliferation of thoughtless content in all possible formats that is totally irrelevant to the brand that’s posting it, has no substance, and it’s poorly written. That’s why you need a content strategy.
Those of your competitors that are thriving online are producing relevant content on a regular basis, and that’s how they seem to be everywhere: their content shows up when you search not only for the services they provide, but also for industry information. They become a resource. The question is, how can you do the same? What makes content relevant and where can you find it?
The answer is simple: create content that your ideal prospects and clients are interested in. In order to do accomplish this there are 2 tasks you need to do first, that you will get done by answering the following 2 questions:
Who are you talking to?
For the content you create to be of interest to your ideal clients, you need to know who they are in the first place. I know this may sound obvious, but so many business owners and even marketers, skip this step. So the first step is to develop your perfect customer profile or “buyer persona”. Think in terms of the group of people who you actually want to work with. The more specific you get the easier it will be to come up with topics that will interest them. To do this you need to go deeper than just age and income brackets, gender, and geographical location, which are important, but you also want to include their education, profession, household composition, marital status, interests, preferences, purchasing habits, as well as challenges and concerns as they relate to your products and services.
Ideally, you want to have these characteristics written down, and add items as you may find more details when evaluating your results from analytics data. One obvious place to start is within your own customer base, and select those you love to work with and want to “clone”. You can survey what they have in common, down to interests and preferences, such as TV shows they watch, hobbies, and how they spend their free time, for example, especially those that relate to the “problems” your products and services solve.
What information are they looking for?
Now that you know who your ideal customer is, finding what they want to read about is the next step, and this is when keywords come into play. Keywords still form a critical piece in online marketing, regardless of the medium, whether it be for ranking pages on your site or blog, videos, imagery, paid search, etc., keywords are one of the most important components when planning your content.
So put on your thinking cap and attempt to get into the mid of your ideal customer who’s searching for you. What are they typing in the browser? What is their intent?. Being on top of your keywords is critical to have a clear picture.
How do you find your best keywords? There are lots of keyword research tools out there, such as the Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, some offer a free version. You want to use these tools to also understand your niche or market, what your competitors are ranking for, and what keyword phrases are getting the most and best traffic.
Pulling it together
Once you have a list of keyword phrases identified, each of these can be turned into a topic, that can be addressed from different angles, and shared in multiple formats, such as your own blog posts, industry news articles to be shared, videos, images, quotes, etc.
Say for example that you are a landscaper, and one phrase you have identified is “best grass for hot climate”. Content that talks about the types of grass is the obvious one, but you can also talk about watering tips, maintaining a lawn, reasons why it won’t grow in certain places, and why a complete maintenance plan, such as yours, is best.
Further, knowing your customers’ profile and interests, will add angles to the topics. Using the same example landscaper example, if your best clients are homeowners with pets, for example, you’ll know that safety will be a topic they will be interested in, so topics related to toxic plants will be of interest.
There point is, knowing your customer’s questions and concerns will give you the opportunity to address them, and position your company as the expert that understands what’s important to your clients.
Although some stock photos can be very useful in crafting good imagery for marketing pieces, too many of them give a generic look to a brand, which is the exact opposite a brand needs to do to stand out. The most fake-looking of them, in my opinion, are those that intend to represent the business world: a bunch of smiley people, dressed in gray-toned neutrals, either posing with their arms crossed, or happily pointing to a chart, or sitting around a conference table… if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all!
And taking these for a spin from boring to fun, Twentieth Century Fox is using the concept to promote their new movie, Unfinished Business, starring Vince Vaughn, about a business man that get’s into all sorts of situations. The movie production company teamed up with iStock by Getty Images to create a set of stock photos featuring the cast of Unfinished Business star in free limited edition series of stock images.
To stay true to the theme, these photos were made by photoshopping actual stock photos, and if you want to see them side by side with the originals, take a look here.
There are a total of twelve images being made available for free download over three weeks. Although for non-commercial, editorial use only, they will sure add a touch of humor to your next power point presentation.
The first four have been released this week, the first is above this post, and these are the other three:
This exec is super excited to show nothing but upward results to the meeting attendants.
Everyone applauds after the big boss speaks….
The team joyfully celebrates that it’s 5pm Friday…
When it comes to website effectiveness, many business owners tend to focus on top page rankings, often overlooking the role their home page plays as a key piece of the puzzle. The thing is that rankings are just one step in getting more clients, an important one for sure, but paying to reach the top of google can be money down the drain if visitors leave your site without taking any kind of action. At the end of the day, conversions are what really counts, they are a must to stay in business.
In order to keep close tabs on your site’s visitor’s activity, a good place to start is your Google Analytics report (which you do have installed on your website, right?). Take a look at your bounce rate, how long visitors are staying on your site, which pages they view most, etc. One major red flag is a high bounce rate, it clearly indicates that your home page is not communicating to your visitors from the get-go, and you need to do something about it right away.
Fortunately, even small changes can increase conversions, so we put together these 7 tips that address common mistakes, to help you evaluate your home page, and take care of the changes you need to make.
Change the Headline
One of the most common reasons for site visitors to leave is a headline that doesn’t give them a reason to read more. If the headline talks about how great you are, or lists your credentials, change it! Make it all about your audience: their reason for seeking your product and how you have the solution. Think about your potential clients’ pain points and make that the title. For example, if you are a remodeler, one legitimate fear your audience may have is whether the job will take way longer than promised, or you might even disappear after they give the deposit. So your headline could be: Worried your kitchen remodeling will turn into a never-ending story?
Trim Down Information
One of the most sure-fire ways to drive people to leave your site, is having just about everything you offer jammed up on the home page. Make sure the information is to the point, is broken down in a logical way, and organized in terms of what your visitors are looking for so they find it quickly.
Use Colors Thougthfuly
The effect of color in sales has been proven in many studies. Use the wrong color and you could be sending the wrong message subliminally. You can check the meaning of the major colors in this infographic, so be sure that your colors work to support the message you intend to convey.
Use Video and Images Purposely
It is a fact that visual media gets attention, but not just any images and videos will do, so you want to make sure these have a clear purpose in reinforcing the message, are professional, and represent your business properly.
Include Clear Calls to Action
Tell your visitor what you want them to do: download a report, call for an appointment, request a quote. Make it clear and very visible. Don’t use the same stock buttons everybody else does. Be sure you test the shape, wording, placement and colors of your calls to action buttons.
Test each and every element of your home page, as this is where most of your visitors enter your site. One single word change can stimulate visitors to take action. Simply because you like something doesn’t mean it will convert. Test and be ruthless when it comes to conversion optimization. Use A/B tests, as they are less onerous to run and can give you quick results.
Check Performance Regularly
Stay on top of how everything is working on your site. Take some time at least once a month and check the bounce rate, visitor flow, time on the site, etc, so you can monitor results and compare to the conversions you are getting, and make adjustments. Make sure your decisions are based on data, and not “gut feelings” or emotion.
If you are not getting as many leads as you thinik you should in terms as the number of vistors, chances sure your home page needs some adjustmens. If you don’t have the time to get into this, get in touch, we are here to help!
The influence of color on human behavior has fascinated many since ancient times, with the first studies about it being attributed to the early egyptians.
The fact is that a lot of information out there on the topic consists of anecdotal evidence more than scientific facts, because personal preferences, upbringing, cultural differences, context, etc., play a major role on what colors mean to each of us.
However, although the influence of color can be different for each of us, formal studies show broad patterns of how color is perceived, and how it plays an important role in branding, as well as influencing purchasing intent, mostly associated with the “appropriateness” of the use of color, in other words, whether a color fits a brand’s industry or personality in the eyes of the consumer.
In order to help you pick the right colors for your brand and advertisements, our creatives have designed this infographic that summarizes the effect of the 9 major colors on marketing, as well a few major brands who use them.
Business owners most use their resources wisely. When it comes to marketing, with the growing number of options out there, plus all the over- hyped, fly-by-night marketing gimmicks that arise constantly, it makes sense to stick to the basics. On that note, not implementing – and maximizing – those free resources available to us is leaving money on the table, especially if they are provided by the one who calls the shots in the search engine world.
The fact is 97% of consumers search for local businesses online, and 66% of these local searches are done using Google, which is still the undisputed king of web search. In addition, 71% claim reviews from family members or friends influence their purchase decisions
Here are 7 reasons to optimize your Google+ business profile page 1. High value of local listings
It is clear that Google places a lot of value on local listings in their search results. What’s more, as Google pushes into mobile, it has begun featuring local listings through their mobile apps for Android (currently available) and iPhone (in the works at the time of the publishing of this post), helping nearby customers discover your business. And we don’t expect this to change in the foresee- able future
2. It’s free
It won’t cost you a penny to list your business on Google. That said, it will take you some time to set up your page properly.
3. Increased website/store traffic
Getting found on Google is probably the most compelling benefit. In the digital age, Google is virtually everyone’s first stop when looking for any kind of information – including local vendors. By increasing your visibility in search, you open your business to an *enormous* and constantly growing audience of people who need and want what YOU sell.
4. Get found on mobile searches
Most local businesses struggle to maintain a web presence at all, let alone a “responsive” web presence that is fully optimized for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The fact is, the web is becoming increasingly mobile. Morgan Stanley predicts that mobile web browsing will outpace desktop browsing within just a few years.
By optimizing your Google+ Local page, your business can effectively outsource its mobile marketing to Google, which offers consumers several mobile apps that facilitate local business discovery. These mobile apps help buyers find you!
5. Stand out amongst the competition
According to a recent count, only 20 percent of eligible small businesses have claimed their listing on Google+ Local! By claiming your listing you greatly increase your ability to stand out in your industry or niche. Why leave this low- hanging fruit for your competitors to snatch up?
6. Learn more about your customers
Google, a company founded and run by coders, is all about analytics. And thus, their business tools, Google+ Local included, come with excellent tools for mining data and gathering market intelligence you can use to improve your offering, keep customers happy, and collect bigger profits.
7. Garner customer reviews
Asking customers to leave reviews on Google+ ensures that those reviews are an integral part of your brand assets, and it also boosts rankings, as Google will push to the top businesses that have reviews on Google+
The bottom line is, Google + Local is a free resource that helps you get found online, drive more traffic to your website, and stand out in a crowded market- place. It can also help you acquire insight into your audience profile, engage with your customers, garner reviews and promote special offers. All these combined will help increase sales, and boost your overall profitability.
If you are not sure of how to optimize your Google+ business page, or just don’t have the time, get in touch with us and we’ll give you a hand.
If you are like most business owners, you are aware that having a presence in Facebook is good for your business exposure, but you might not be quite sure how to make it work. One thing is for sure: with hundreds of millions of users, there is a great chance your ideal client is on Facebook, so it makes sense for your business to be there and find a way to connect with them.
Since we come across quite a bit of business owners who ask what type of page they should have, what groups are for, and whether to boos a post, let’s start with the basics and break down the different components of Facebook and how each works, so you can have a better idea ofhow to use themfor marketing.
There are basically 5 different components
1. Your personal profile
2. Facebook pages
3. Facebook groups
4. Facebook ads
5. Boosted posts
1. Your Personal Profile
This is your personal Facebook page and has your personal information, as much or as little as you want it to have, and you want to set it up so only people you accept as “friends” can see it.This is were you post personal status updates and pictures, and where your friends can comment on your posts and write to you publicly.The “friends” who connect with you and see the updates from your profile are often family members, old high school friends, acquaintances from church, and such.Although your profile can be used for marketing, it will give you limited exposure, like for example you will be limited to 5,000 friends,and you your page has little chance to get “discovered” by your potential clients. In addition, your business postsare likely to annoy your personal contacts, who are only interested in your personal activities and want to see photos of your cat, or your latest family trip.
2. Facebook Pages.
Facebook pages is were you create a page for your business, and you want to fill out the information completely, so visitors can see what you do and where you are located, etc. You also want to have your logo and a properly designed brandedcover photo to give the best impression possible. Business pagesprovide marketing tools and benefits not available for personal pages,such as:
– Pages and posts areindexed on Google. This means that if someone searches for your company on Google your Facebook page will appear on the results.
– Facebook pages comes with analytics through their “Insights” section, that provide you with information about how many people are visiting your page, what posts are they most interested in,their demographic profiles, and much more.
– Pages has an event section, where you can publish and promote an event you are holding, including full details such as date and time, tickets price and a link for them to purchase the tickets.
– Integration with other applications. You can integrate your Facebook business pages with 3rd party applications that allow for you tohave people sign up to your mailing list, run contests, and much more. This is a functionalitythat you do not have with your personal Facebook page.
3. Facebook Groups.
Facebook groups are createdfor the purpose of gathering people around a particular topic,interest or cause. They have to be created through a personal profile, not a business page, and you can join and interact through your personal profile as well. They can be open, so anyone can join,or private where people interested in joining request to join and the group owner has to grant access.So, say you are a yoga teacher wanting to market your local studio on Facebook. You could create a Facebook group called “Fort Lauderdale Yoga Lifestyle”.At first you would invite friends and clients to join and eventually people interested in yoga would find the group and send requests to join. You would post tips, have people post their questions, share articles from your blog, announce new classes, etc. This is a great way to build credibility and trust, and as the group grows you will have an audience ready to listen to your adviseand eventually convert to clients.
4. Boosted posts.
Every time you post something on your business page you see the option to “boost” your post.What this does is show your post to everyone that has liked your page as well as their friends, so your post gains a lot more exposure that just the 2% or so that Facebook is doing these days. The cost is very reasonable, but unless your fans are at least 90% your target audience, which is rare, boosting a post is not the best way to spend your ad dollars. Typically people who have liked your page are a mix of friends, clients, competitors, vendors, among other non- ideal-prospect type of people.
5. Facebook ads
This offers you an extremely useful means of advertising, where you can select the people who will see your ad based on the criteria you determine, at a very reasonable cost, and great ROI. There is a scientific approach behind getting these ads to work and if you don’t have the time or inclination to learn it,it’s best to have a professional set them up for you, so you get the most of them.
There you have it! I hope this clarifies what each type of page is and how to use Facebook to your advantage. And we would love it if you visit our page here and give us a like! If you have any questions, or need help setting up your page, or designing a professional cover, we’re here to help. Do Contact us, we’d love to hear from you!
We live in an increasingly digital world these days having instant access to information on anything. We expect to find what we’re looking for in a snap, your prospects included. If your website is not quite as functional as your competitor’s, you are at a disadvantage, and you need to pay attention to this. You might not need to replace your current site with a whole new one, but just make some changes to improve it’s functionality, or update the content to make it more functional and get your visitors to take action. But it might be time for a new website all together.
If you have been considering getting a new website developed, but are not quite sure if you really need to make the investment, here are some facts that will help you determine if it’s necessary.
1. You are embarrassed by your website
You know your website doesn’t look great and it doesn’t represent your business the way you want to. Or the information on it is totally outdated. Or you built it yourself and you could never get it to work properly. If this is the case it’s time for a website that will do it’s job.
2. Your website is built entirely with flash or other animation software
It might even have sound effects…These type of sites were state-of-the-art several years ago and came with a high price tag, but they are all show, an outdated one rather, they have no content and hardly rank at all. They also don’t work when accessed though a phone and some times even a tablet. You definitely need a new website if yours is one of these.
3. You built it yourself using a free website builder template
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to free sites that look pretty nice. The drawback is that they show the website’s company logo and they advertise the fact that it’s a free website in order to drive new users for them. This is totally counter-productive, once you manage to get a visitor on your website the last thing you want is for them to be distracted by other companies advertisements. Your website’s job is to promote your business, not someone else’s business.
4. Your website doesn’t work properly
If your site is very slow to load taking more than 3 seconds your visitors will leave, as studies show. Or if you had third party tools installed when it was first built that don’t work anymore, such as a search function or a shopping cart. Or if the navigation is confusing, or there are pages that are not properly linked. These type of issues cause the website to not be functional for visitors who will just leave your site.
5. Your website doesn’t adapt to mobile screens
The amount of people who search for a business from their phone is growing exponentially. Recent studies show that more than 17% of all web traffic comes form mobile devices, and 88% of consumers that search for a type of business on their phone call or visit that business within 24 hours. In addition to that, google search on mobile shows sites that are responsive above those that are not. So not having a responsive site is enough of a reason for redoing your website, especially if you are a local type of business.
6. Your competitors’ sites are a whole lot better
Most people will make a judgement on your business credibility based on your website, in fact a recent study at Stanford University showed that 75% of users admitted to making a judgement on a business credibility based on their website. If compared to yours, your competitor’s site looks brighter, loads faster, is better organized, and provides clear information about products and services, prospective customers will leave your site, if they actually find it, and end up doing business with them. And you might even be better than them but your site doesn’t communicate it.
Your website is your single most important marketing piece, and there is not getting around this. If your site has even just one of these issues is time for a new one if you want to stay in the game. Your website development isn’t a task to take lightly. It not only requires expertise in function and design to build it, but also how to approach your target market and what kind of information needs to be in it to get them to choose to do business with you. Getting a new website requires a great deal of thought, time and even money but this doesn’t necessarily mean braking the bank, since you’ll get your investment back many times over.
If you need help in deciding what kind of website will work best for your business and your budget we can help. Contact us and get started on getting your website to do it’s sales job.
When a customer leaves a negative reviewit gives you the golden opportunity to make corrections and improvements to your services, especially if you have employees that face the public and you might not really know how they handle themselves.
Every business owner wants nothing but good things to be said about their business and that only happens if customers are happy with their services. If your are committed being the best, knowing what your customers really think of your service and what matters to them is very valuable.
However, when it comes to negative reviews, not every business owner takes negative critique well, and instead of making corrections to improve their service, or attempt to make it right to the customer, some make it a lot worse.
We found these examples of business owners extreme way to handle the situation:
Restaurant owner tracks down to harasses reviewer
A group of friends go eat at an asian food New York restaurant and one of them leaves a one star review on Yelp, with a detailed explanation of why he wasn’t satisfied. The owner was able to track him down through Facebook and started sending a series of really nasty, even threatening messages. This turned out to be a costly decision, all his messages quickly spread in social media, and a group started a Facebook page promoting the banning of the restaurant! This guy eventually apologized but the damage to his reputation was already done.
British couple gets fined £100 for posting a negative review
This british hotel was getting poorly rated consistently with complaints about their state of disrepair. In order to prevent bad reviews, instead of making any corrections, they decided to fine those who didn’t like the hotel and rated them, and started warning customers of their policy in their booking document that reads “…For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review.”
A british couple who didn’t read the small print and left a one start review on Trip Advisor, found this out when they got the extra £100 charge on their credit card. Beverly Hills Dentist Sues Over Bad Yelp Review
A woman had cosmetic dental work done which left her with bigger teeth than everybody to a point that she couldn’t close her mouth. After two years of no resolution, her then husband wrote a pretty bad review of the dentist, calling him a butcher and a crook. The dentist sued the couple in turn, claiming it was another dentist, not him. I don’t know how that will end, but probably not well for neither of them…
What to do instead
If you are one of those who takes it personally and get’s offended, take a deep breath and go for a walk. Accept that this comes with the territory. If you want to be known for the great service you provide, then be open to feedback that will ensure you are on top of your customer service game from your customers perspective, which is the only one that counts. Welcome negative feedback and take it as an opportunity to quickly address any issues, and more importantly, as an opportunity for dialogue with your customers to show them you care about their satisfaction. It is as simple as responding to the comment promising to address the issue and make things right for them. Keep in mind, those searching for reviews will also see hoe you handled it.
How do you handle reviews? Do you have a systematic way of collecting them? Do you check regularly what’s being said? Whatever you do don’t be those guys…
Small businesses rarely take the time to plan their marketing and tend to try random tactics without a strategy behind it, which typically turns into a waste of money. Setting some time aside to take a look at what has worked and hasn’t and do more of what has, as well as evaluate if a new tactic is a match for your audience, will pay off big time. You can start small, with just a few marketing activities, and commit to doing them consistently.
Or you can take a shortcut and give us a call, we’ll help you out, while you just focus on running your business.