If you’re a business with a brick-and-mortar location, taking steps to increase your visibility on local search could easily result in a boost to your bottom line by this time next year. According to Google, 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find information about local businesses, including store hours, addresses, product availability and directions. Google also reports that 18% of local smartphone searches led to a purchase within a day. As more research is done on consumer behavior, we’re continuing to find that people who conduct local searches are ready to make a purchase decision; and if you’re a business owner, these are the consumers you want to reach. So what can you do to increase your visibility on search engines? Here’s a list of 6 steps you can take right now to help increase your local search visibility.
According to a study by Moz, Google My Business is the biggest driver of local SEO success. Having a My Business account will help your company appear in Google search results and Google Maps when people search for your business, or businesses similar to yours. My Business accounts are also 100% free to set up, making it an easy, cost-effective way for you to boost your business’s visibility on local search results.
2. Increase your number of social sites
The larger your business’s online footprint, the more likely your business is to be noticed and recommended by Google to consumers who are conducting a local search. The key here is choosing social sites that make sense for your business type. For example, if your business sells products that are more visual, like home décor, you should consider creating profiles on sites like Facebook and Instagram; rather than professional sites like LinkedIn. If you’re not quite sure what to post on each site, read this article to learn more about social posting for businesses.
Does your website still say you’re open 7 days-a-week when you’re only open on weekdays? If you’ve made changes to your business hours, address or phone number, it’s crucial that you update all of your online profiles to reflect accurate information, even if it’s just a temporary change. Failing to do so could result in mismatched information across sites and negative customer reviews; both will hinder your likelihood of showing up in local search results.
4. Don’t ignore customer reviews
It’s rare for any business to get all positive reviews online. So if you do happen to get negative reviews from time to time (perhaps, because of misleading business hours), the worst thing you can do is ignore them. Take time to respond to people who gave your business negative reviews with your apologies and any solution you can offer if there is one. You’ll also want to engage with consumers who gave positive reviews of your business. Giving happy customers a little TLC is just as important. Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow when responding to consumer reviews.
5. Optimize your website
If you want to show up in local search results, you’ll want to make sure that your website speaks a language that Google can understand. If you have broken links, make sure they’re updated. If you have images with no meta-tags, add simple descriptions to explain what your images convey. These are all simple updates that you or your web designer can make in one afternoon.
6. Get shout-outs
When other businesses link to your website, it creates a domino effect that leads to increased SEO for your business. Links help create awareness of your business with locals, which can lead to an increase in searches and visits to your business’s website. Gaining a rise in both these areas will benefit your local search visibility because Google wants to recommend businesses that locals are interested in. For example, if a user searches for “restaurants”, Google is more likely to recommend a site that’s been visited 100,000, over a site that’s only been visited 500 times, with the same search.
Take your visibility to the next level
Your business’s ability to appear in local search results is becoming more important as consumers turn to Google for all of their shopping needs. By making these 6 updates, you’re putting your business in a much better position to be discovered by local users at a time when they’re ready to buy.
If you’re looking for a more robust local SEO marketing plan, the experts at DBC Interactive can help you prepare a marketing plan that targets your unique business needs. Our team works with businesses throughout Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, like McCombs Supply Co., Inc., to boost their local SEO. We can help implement strategies for your business like:
If you have questions about these strategies or want to learn more, contact DBC Interactive today to discuss how we can help your business gain more customers in 2018.
For the first time ever, researchers at Adobe predict that more than half of holiday website visits this season will come from mobile phones and tablets, surpassing desktop computers. Consumers today expect to find answers to their questions at a moment’s notice. They’re using their smartphones to search for things like gift ideas, holiday deals, store locations and phone numbers anytime, anywhere.
But that doesn’t mean shoppers are always interested in seeing your holiday ads. Smart business owners know they need to deliver the right ads at the right time. And if your ads aren’t timely and relevant, your messages will be ignored. While a variety of channels should always be part of your marketing mix, advertising through mobile media is one of the best ways to reach shoppers during moments when they want to see your ads. When shoppers perform searches on mobile, they are:
- 57 percent more likely to visit a store
- 40 percent more likely to call a business
- 51 percent more likely to make a purchase
So how can your business reach consumers at the right moment this holiday season? Here are a few best practices put together by the digital marketing experts at DBC Interactive.
1. Be mobile-friendly
Every day, holiday shoppers are turning to their cell phones to find information about items on their holiday shopping list. As more shoppers migrate to a mobile platform, the expectation of the user experience continues to grow. If your website is slow to load or doesn’t adjust to fit your shopper’s device screen, you could easily lose a potential sale. To keep up with shopper expectations, many businesses are moving to websites that have responsive design.
Responsive design works by adjusting to fit any user’s screen size, platform and phone orientation, seamlessly creating an easy-to-use interface. According to a study by IAQUIRE and SurveyMonkey, 40% of users will leave your site for another result if your website isn’t mobile-friendly. If your business hasn’t made the move to responsive design, making this simple change could help you bring in business you didn’t know you were missing this holiday season.
Think about how and when your customers use digital tools and devices during their holiday shopping. Are they wandering the mall scouting out the best Black Friday deals or are they researching holiday travel plans well in advance? If you’re working on your business’s holiday marketing plan, it can be helpful to map out the different paths and decision processes of your customers, then plan how you can use digital marketing to meet their needs in those specific moments.
3. Understand the power of search engines
What if I told you that your business’s holiday ads could appear at the top of the most popular websites in the world and you only had to pay for these ads if users clicked on them? This type of advertising might sound too good to be true, but it’s actually a very effective and affordable way for small businesses to promote their holiday gifts on Google. Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are designed to market your business to shoppers who are using search engines to find products or services that you sell, especially during the holidays when competition among retailers is fierce. If you aren’t sure whether or not PPC is right for your business, contact our team of experts at DBC Interactive for help. We can provide you with more information about how PPC works and give recommendations that fit into your business’s marketing budget.
Most mobile devices today are location-enabled, providing business owners with a huge opportunity to target holiday shoppers by their location at any given moment. How could this help your business? Consider this: You’re the owner of a retail shop in the mall and you want to attract holiday shoppers with a 50% off sale. Wouldn’t it be nice to send your 50% off ad to every single shopper using their cell phone in the mall? With geo-targeting, you can do exactly that. Whether your goal is to reach holiday shoppers near your business or shoppers anywhere else on the map, geo-targeting makes it possible for you to very specifically target your ads by location. Another geo-targeting strategy that you can employ is targeting your competition’s location. This tactic works especially well for businesses that sell more niche products.
If you haven’t moved into the world of mobile marketing, now is the time to strike. Contact us today for a free consultation and tell us more about your Delaware, Maryland or Southern New Jersey business.
Google has a great reputation of making its products user friendly and easy enough so that even the most non tech savvy users can navigate. Just think…Gmail seems to have taken control of the email market, Google Business is a go-to for hours and directions, and google+ for business reviews.
But there are also many other products, more geared towards business owners, that while sure they SEEM super easy, but ultimately partaking on your own wouldn’t be the best idea – PPC (pay per click) being one of them. But just because you can and are able to take on this venture yourself, doesn’t always mean that’s the best approach. Business owners and marketers have the best of intentions when they take on PPC without the help of a professional. And why wouldn’t they have high hopes when Google makes it look so easy and is usually accompanied with fun, upbeat videos?
Now, I’m sure there are a lot of smart, self-taught business owners and in-house marketers who have found some success with PPC. But they also have their day jobs, and that’s where it gets tricky to stay on top of all the newest paid search features, trends and strategies that are essential for staying ahead, not to mention trying to monitor and optimize the account daily in between everything else.
Not surprisingly, many do-it-yourselfers end up seeking the help of a professional at some point, and here at DBCi, we are working with a number of those types of clients. From those, we typically see three common mistakes that those who take on PPC themselves make.
Let’s look at those now, and if you’re a DIYer, be sure you’re not making these all too common “mistakes”
1) Bidding too low
You’ll know if your bid is too low in Google AdWords if 1) your maximum cost per click (max CPC) bid is lower than what Google shows as the average cost per click (average CPC) for your keywords, and 2) Google shows that your keywords are below the first page bid estimate.
It can be quite frustrating to create an entire Google AdWords campaign only to discover your ads are not running because your bid is too low. So it’s essential for you to find out when your bid is too low in Google AdWords.
2) Trying to do too much in one ad group
Each ad group should have one job to do, with one focus. A common mistake is to try to make one ad group do too many things by including keyword phrases that are too dissimilar.
If you’re a DIY PPC person, this intro video from Google illustrates how to organize your account conceptually.
Having focused ad groups helps you better tailor the message of the ads that are served for those key terms to make them more relevant to your audience and your business.
3) Not keeping up with innovations
One of the hardest parts of AdWords management is keeping up with all the new features and strategies. It truly is a full-time job. So when you already have a full-time job, it’s nearly impossible to do. This means you can miss out on big opportunities. Opportunities like call-only ads.
If you dabble in PPC internally and take a few days or sometimes even weeks off, you might come back many new AdWords features you now have to learn in addition to your regular workload. It’s just not worth it!
In the end (even though I’m sure Google would beg to differ), businesses that want to remain competitive with their search ranking — and make good money from PPC — should always consider hiring a professional to manage their accounts full time.
If you’re a DIYer, make sure you at least look into some of the pitfalls I outlined here to see if you can make immediate improvements to your PPC account. Need help? Don’t hesitate to contact DBCi today to see what changes we can make for you!