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    Does Your Mobile Site Pass Google's New Mobile Search Test?

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Is your website truly optimized for mobile search? You may think your website is mobile-friendly, but if your mobile strategy relies on sending mobile search traffic to a mobile-optimized homepage instead of the indexed page that shows up in the consumer’s search for their specific term or query, a new Google update means it’s time to rethink that strategy.

    Here’s what Google is doing and how you can make sure you’re sending searchers to the right page – and not losing mobile traffic as a result of the change.

    Google’s New Mobile Search Results Alert to Content Redirects

    Now that mobile has become such a huge player in local search, Google says that more and more businesses are simply directing mobile search traffic to a mobile home page rather than to the specific indexed page that a searcher really wants to see when they find your site in the search results. This results in a poor user experience for searchers. So Google has changed its mobile search results to  now alert smartphone users if they are about to click a link that may redirect them to a homepage rather than the page they’re actually looking for. The searcher can select either visit the page anyway, or they may instead choose to click on a search result that doesn’t provide this poor user experience and instead offers mobile-optimized content relevant to their search.

    Referring to these mobile homepage links as “faulty redirects,” Google hopes this new notification system will help smartphone users find the mobile pages that are most relevant to their searches. What does this mean to you? If your site uses this approach to mobile search, you will likely see a decrease in your website’s visibility in search results and a drop in mobile traffic over time as users find and visit other sites. 

    Send Mobile Traffic to the Right Page & Avoid Alerts

    So, what do you need to do about this warning in Google search results? Google suggests first checking out how your own site behaves in mobile search to see what consumers see. If it’s redirecting to your homepage when you find a piece of indexed content via search, you’ll need to set up your site so that it takes smartphone users to the correct page on your mobile site that they clicked on.  

    And if you don’t have a mobile version of the page a searcher is looking for? According to Google, it’s best to take users to the desktop version of that page rather than to the mobile homepage, since it’s better for both SEO and user experience to take searchers to the page they clicked on rather than to an irrelevant page just because it’s mobile-optimized. But really, it’s better to have a responsive or fully mobile-optimized website to ensure you’re giving searchers the experience they want.

    This mobile search notification further emphasizes the need for businesses to make sure all their website pages, not just their homepage, are optimized for mobile viewing. A responsive web design is the best way to ensure users view the same content from any mobile device, including tablets and smartphones, that they would see on your full website.

    About the Author

    Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.

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    Sharon Rowlands, ReachLocal CEO, Talks Small Businesses Online Marketing Success

    Last updated 1 month ago

    How does ReachLocal help small and local businesses? ReachLocal CEO Sharon Rowlands answers this question in a recent exclusive interview on Fox Business’s “Closing Bell.” In her interview, Rowlands explains how ReachLocal not only helps SMBs get found in search results and generate leads but also is helping SMBs turn those leads into customers.

    “We have a fantastic value proposition for small business clients, and we are going to focus on not just getting them great lead generation, which is what the whole industry talks about, but also on helping them do a better job of converting leads into sales,” she said.

    Watch the full interview below to hear more about how ReachLocal helps SMBs grow their businesses through online marketing.

    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how local business owners can reach more customers through inbound marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.

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    Lead Management: Your 4-Step Plan for Converting Leads into Customers

    Last updated 1 month ago

    When it comes to getting more customers from your marketing, the first goal is to drive consumers to your website. But that’s still not enough to determine true effectiveness of your online marketing efforts. You need your prospects to take the next step in the consumer buying journey, which is to contact you while they’re visiting your website or immediately afterward. And when prospects do call you, email you, or fill out a form on your website, they move even further down the sales funnel and can become leads once you qualify them. 

    How well you follow up with and nurture your leads at this stage of the buying journey often determines if they become customers. In fact, businesses that nurture new leads with marketing-related emails see up to 45% more lead generation ROI than businesses who do not use lead nurturing. So, how exactly do you turn new leads into customers? Try these four best practices that can help you master lead management and get more customers from your marketing efforts.

    1. Build Your Contact List

    When an interested prospect contacts you via phone, email, or website contact form, you first need to add their information to a centralized contact list. Collect details like their name, phone number, email address, and product or service interest. This is also the time to classify them as a relevant lead for your business. (If you know when the prospect is looking to make a purchase, you can even designate whether they’re a short- or long-term lead, which can help later in the process.) Having an up-to-date list of contacts and qualified leads gives you an easy and convenient way to organize the information you need to provide timely, pertinent, and consistent follow-up both over short- and long-term sales cycles.

    2. Track the Marketing Source

    How are people finding your business? Online ads? Social media? Direct mail? Radio? T.V.? (You get the picture.) Whether you’ve allocated marketing dollars toward online or traditional advertising channels (or both), you need to track what drives website traffic and contacts so you know which marketing methods are working. When prospects call your business, your staff can simply ask them how they found your company. You can also use tools like call tracking numbers, website URL tracking, and other lead management software to track your marketing sources.

    3. Respond to Calls & Emails ASAP

    Consumers often choose the business that follows up with them first, so it’s vital that you classify and respond to new leads by phone or email as soon as you can. While answering every phone call promptly is ideal, there might be times when you miss a call. In these instances, make sure you have a reliable phone answering service or call recording product in place so you can listen to the call recordings, classify new contacts as leads, and reach out to them quickly with helpful information.

    If you’re responding to leads via email, a quick and simple thank you note can be a great response to start with. Your email should communicate that you’ve received their request and what your next steps will be. For example, you might let your leads know that you’ll be calling them to set up an in-person consultation or to provide a phone quote. Whatever the next steps are, just make sure your lead knows what they can expect next from you.

    4. Regularly Follow Up With & Nurture Your Leads

    It’s important to continually follow up with prospects you’ve classified as leads, but who haven’t yet made a purchase. This is especially true in industries with long lead times. You can stay top of mind with leads by making timely follow-up calls with helpful information and sending compelling emails that nurture leads and convince them to buy. If you’re sending emails, consider messages like customer testimonials, before and after pictures of your work, and special offers and promotions. Don’t be overly aggressive in lead nurturing emails. Rather, focus on providing content that will help leads understand the value of your business and convince them why they should choose you over a competitor. These types of emails can help build consumer trust so that when the time does come, your leads will feel more confident in buying from you.

    Learn how to implement these lead management best practices, see email examples, and get a handy checklist in our latest ebook Convert More Leads Into Customers with the Power of Lead Management. You’ll also learn more about ReachEdge, the marketing system that includes lead management software to help you track, nurture, and convert more of your leads into customers.

    How are you using these lead management best practices in your business? Let us know with a comment!

     

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    About the Author

    Amy Neeley helps small- and medium-size businesses navigate the online marketing world with insights and information featured on the ReachLocal blog. Follow her on Twitter.

    Case Study: How One Client Increased Visits, Leads with a Smart Website & Lead Management

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Think it’s impossible to double your website visits and grow your leads by 116 percent in just 30 days? One local business did exactly that by replacing their outdated website with ReachEdge, the smart website and lead management solution that helps them get more contacts, leads, and customers from their existing ReachLocal search engine advertising  campaign.

    With ReachEdge, ArkLaTex Blinds and Shutters not only got a brand-new website, but one that also helps them manage the current leads that come in to their business and turns them into customers. After just one month of using ReachEdge, this small business doubled the number of site visits and contacts like calls, emails, and Web forms they were getting from their new website. Plus, leads grew by 116 percent.

    Here are three ways ArkLaTex Blinds and Shutters increased visitors and leads with ReachEdge.

    Grew Contacts with a Smart Website

    ArkLaTex Blinds and Shutters’ existing site was problematic because it wasn’t effectively driving prospects to their business, keeping visitors on their site, or professionally showcasing the window covering solutions they have to offer. Alternatively, their smart ReachEdge website engages website visitors with a professional design and simple navigation. Plus, it’s built to capture contacts who reach out to ArkLaTex via phone, email, or form on their website.

    Managed Leads with Automated Notifications & Follow-Up

    The ReachEdge system includes built-in lead management software that provides ArkLaTex with text and email notifications of all the new contacts they get from their website. The company also benefits from automated lead nurturing and reminders that they can use to follow up with their leads via phone or email. And, with a powerful mobile app at their fingertips, ReachEdge enables ArkLaTex owner Chase Lockwood to manage his leads while he’s away from his office, too.

    “As a business owner on the go, it can be a daunting task to stay on top of incoming leads. ReachEdge has changed the way we manage our leads and provided us with a way to ensure we are not missing opportunities,” said Lockwood.

    Tracked Results & Saw ROI

    In addition to driving more contacts from their website, ArkLaTex now has an easy way to manage all the leads that come into their business. The company also has access to integrated tracking and reporting of their contacts, leads, and customers through the web portal or mobile app. With the lead source tracking and ROI reports built into ReachEdge, Lockwood and his team can now measure the results of both their existing online advertising and their direct site traffic. 

    Download the case study to get the full details of ArkLaTex’s new website and lead management solution, along with all the results they saw once they started using ReachEdge.

     

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    About the Author

    Amy Neeley helps small- and medium-size businesses navigate the online marketing world with insights and information featured on the ReachLocal blog. Follow her on Twitter.

    Google Panda 4.0: How Will It Affect Your Site's SEO?

    Last updated 1 month ago

    The Internet is abuzz with Google’s latest algorithm update, Panda 4.0, Google’s latest algorithm change has marketers, webmasters, and business owners alike scrambling to understand how it’s impacting their existing websites and SEO efforts. 

    Like many of Google’s previous updates, Panda 4.0 emphasizes high-quality websites and content. But what does that actually mean, and how can small and local businesses make sure their websites are up to par so they can continue to stay visible on the Google search engine and generate search traffic? Here are two key things Google Panda 4.0 update focuses on and how to take advantage of them for your business. 

    Panda Emphasizes Fresh, Quality Content

    The original Panda algorithm release was aimed at ensuring low-quality websites with scraped or copied content didn’t fare well in the search results. And Panda 4.0 continues to make this a priority. This update, more than just a simple refresh, further emphasizes the need to post frequent, high-quality content to your website, and not just regularly changing your product pages.

    If you don’t have a plan in place to regularly publish fresh, quality content, it’s more important than ever to do so. The first step is to ensure that your site has a blog that allows you to post content. But even a well-designed blog wont’ help your site if you aren’t using it actively. So, create a process for generating, posting, and sharing new content on a regular basis.  And, make sure the content you post is unique, relevant, and stands out to both search engines and consumers. Why?

    Panda 4.0 emphasizes the importance of high quality content that’s unique. That means that if you are copying or duplicating content from other sources, posting low-quality, unengaging content, or not generating content at all, you need to rethink your approach to SEO. Set aside time each week to create high-quality, relevant content like how-to articles, lists, videos, and more related to your business and post them to a business blog on your website. If you don’t have time to produce high-quality content on a frequent basis, look for a solution that can provide this for you. 

    Modern Websites Matter to Google

    While the content you publish is a huge part of what makes a quality website, there are other factors you need to consider. When it comes to today’s SEO, quality refers to the entire user experience, such as having an intuitive website structure and navigation, a mobile-optimized site, and user-friendly content and metadata, which can all impact how effective your site is at getting indexed by search engines and found by your target audience.

    If your website is already designed with these elements in mind, then you have no need to worry. But, many small business websites don’t have an intuitive, modern user experience, inherently making it difficult for their sites to drive visits from Google search. Plus, they often contain website content and metadata that are stuffed with keywords, which can hurt them both in search results and in user satisfaction.

    If your site’s structure or experience are outdated, this may mean that it’s time for a new website design for your small business, so you can make sure you’re meeting Google’s recommendations regardless of the Panda 4.0 update. It’s also time to check your site’s metadata (the content that’s picked up by search engines) as well as your on-page site content to make sure it’s written for your readers using natural language and isn’t stuffed with keywords, as sites making this big mistake could be penalized in the search results with Panda 4.0.

    What It All Means to Your Business

    By helping move low-quality websites down in the search results, the Google Panda 4.0 update may work in favor of local businesses, not against them. That’s because this move will reward those that are truly proving themselves to be a quality, useful resource to consumers.

    So, ask yourself: are your website and content helping or hurting your SEO? Now is the time to invest in providing regular, quality content that can make your business an asset to local consumers, which will help drive even more visitors from the organic search results to your website.  

    About the Author
    Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.

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