Last updated 3 months ago
Getting your business found in Google is all the rage these days. And, rightly so. Google is still the top search engine, with 67% of all monthly searches happening there. That’s why the inquiring minds of business owners everywhere want to know: “How do I get my business to show up on Google when someone searches?” Here are 10 things Google’s search algorithm loves – so you can add some of these to your online marketing toolbox and improve your business Web presence.
1. Quality Content
One of the number one rules of online marketing today is generating fresh content. What this means is you need to post content that’s original, relevant, and timely that will appeal to people searching for terms related to your business. One of the best ways to actively share quality content is by having a blog for your business. Then, it’s a matter of finding time to create and share content. Start with an editorial calendar and plan weekly posts that are informative and engaging. While long-form content every once in a while is important, you can keep the majority of your posts short and simple. Some blog post ideas can include before and after photos of completed projects, a discount or promotion, an upcoming event, or a new product announcement.
2. Search Ads
Search ads are now emphasized very heavily on the first page of local search results – whether you search for direct local terms or if Google detects local search intent. For instance, when I search for a plumber in Dallas, Texas, six of the results above the fold—the portion of a webpage you see before scrolling— are paid ads – while only two are organic results. In fact, Google only shows between seven and ten organic results beyond ads and map listings— about 13% of the first page— and competition for those spots is high. So, it’s important to have a balanced approach that uses both search engine optimization and search engine advertising so that consumers will find your business when they search for your target and business keywords.
Mobile devices now make up 25% of search clicks. And, 88% of mobile ad clicks are incremental to organic clicks – which means paid clicks aren’t replaced by organic clicks when search advertising is paused. In other words, you get more mobile clicks overall when doing both paid advertising and SEO than when using SEO alone. That means it’s more important than ever to not only invest in mobile advertising, but also to make sure those mobile clicks take consumers to a mobile landing page or website that’s optimized to capture those leads.
4. Map Listings
Whether consumers are searching via mobile or desktop, your map listing is critical in getting found on Google. It’s important to claim and update your Google+Local page, because many consumers see your map listing before they ever find your website in the local search results. Make sure you optimize your listing with your business keywords, business category, address, hours, and other important information. Google+Local is even more important for some business types like restaurants now that Google+ Local results are even more prominent with Google’s carousel results for certain categories.
5. Google+ Pages
Of course Google loves Google+; it owns it. And that means having a Google+ page for your business is an important part of your online marketing strategy. Not only is having an optimized, active Google+ profile an important step in making your maps more robust and useful for searchers, but it’s a great place to share and connect with your audience and influencers who can help share your content. This can help increase exposure, comments, and links back to your content, which can help boost your SEO.
6. Social Shares & Likes
Just like it’s important to optimize your Google+ page, having claimed and optimized profiles on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, along with updated content, can help you claim more territory for your business on the search engine results page. But, it’s not just important to have these pages; you need to post engaging, shareable content that will signal to search engines that these pages are an active, useful resource, which can help your social pages rank higher in search. Plus, social signals like Facebook shares and Tweets from your website or blog can serve as signals to Google search as well.
7. Local Keywords
To get your business found by searchers in your target area, it’s important to use geo-specific keywords. According to the Google search ranking factors, the target keyword you want to rank for, like “emergency plumbing dallas,” should be present in places on your website like your page title, links, and anchor text. It’s also important to use these same keywords on your social media pages, Google+ Local page, and other review or directory sites you may use to drive visits from local consumers. Make sure you choose keywords that are targeted to your location, business type and name, but be careful not to stuff your webpages and profiles with keywords, which can have a negative impact on your results – and on the consumers looking at your content.
Backlinks are still important signals of authority to Google’s algorithm that help the search engine determine the usefulness of your content. Essentially, backlinks are links to your website from other sites around the Web. But not all links are created equal. Google’s recent algorithm updates emphasize the importance of high-quality links, in other words, links to your content from sites and influencers who have authority and credibility. That’s why it’s important to make your content interesting and engaging enough that other sites will want to link to it. You can start by creating engaging content and sharing it on your blog, social media pages, marketing emails, and other properties online. When you share this content, include a call to action that asks your customers, fans, and followers to also share it as well. This can help spread your content and increase quality backlinks that Google loves.
Reviews for your business on Google+ Local are extremely valuable because they appear along with your map listing on the search results page. But, nobody wants to feature their business prominently with one-star reviews. So, ask happy customers to leave you positive, thoughtful reviews on your Google+Local page to make sure consumers new to your business see great things about you. Plus, the more reviews you have with your target keywords, the higher your map listing will display in the search results.
Authorship is a feature of Google+ that lets you link content you publish on another domain directly to your personal Google+ profile. When you do this, your Google+ profile picture will appear directly next to content you have written in the search results, emphasizing your content and helping increase clicks to it. This is great for building your personal brand, which can help you build credibility for your business by establishing yourself as the expert in your field. Plus, using your personal Google+ account is a great way to spread the word about your business to drive interest and shares among your personal network.
What are some things that you’ve noticed feature prominently in Google search? Let us know in the comments!
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.
Last updated 3 months ago
In our continuing efforts to bring online commerce to local consumers and businesses, ReachLocal has teamed up with MerchantCircle as its preferred partner for online booking in the home services industry. This exciting news follows last month’s announcement of ReachCommerce, our local commerce system, as well as a strategic partnership with Yelp to allow consumers to book home services appointments online directly through the site. In the coming months, we will be further expanding the ReachCommerce online booking ability with business and consumers on MerchantCircle.com.
With this MerchantCircle partnership, ReachCommerce businesses will be able to integrate their online booking functionality directly into their MerchantCircle profiles starting in the fourth quarter of this year. And, that means more consumers will be able to quickly and easily book home service appointments online with ReachCommerce businesses.
The booking widget is an instrumental part of the ReachCommerce system, seamlessly connecting both new and returning customers with local home services businesses online. But that’s not all; ReachCommerce completely brings the local commerce lifecycle online, helping merchants digitize payment and invoicing processes, manage their fleet in real-time, automate interactions with their customers and technicians, and track the effectiveness of both their business and their marketing.
Online booking via both Yelp and MerchantCircle will be available to consumers starting in the fourth quarter of 2013. To learn more about ReachCommerce, license ReachCommerce, or speak with one of our specialists, visit http://www.reachcommerce.com.
Last updated 3 months ago
At ReachLocal, we pride ourselves on providing measurable results for our clients. And the greatest compliment to us is hearing reviews from clients who have seen their businesses grow after implementing ReachLocal solutions.
In this recent ReachLocal Review video, a personal injury law firm reveals that they have seen an increase in new business thanks to ReachLocal. Using ReachSearch search engine advertising, ReachRetargeting display advertising, and TotalLiveChat, our live chat solution, along with the ReachLocal mobile app, they have been able to tremendously increase—and measure—the number of leads they are getting for their business. Watch the video review now to see the full story.
“TotalLiveChat has been very effective in terms of getting that person to actually contact me 24 hours, 7 days a week. Someone is always there to interact with that potential client.” - Michael P. McCready, Principal, Offices of McCready, Garcia & Leet, P.C.
Visit the ReachLocal Legal website to see more ReachLocal Reviews from legal clients.
About the Author
Carolyn Rayner is the Sr. Marketing Manager for ReachLocal Professional Services. She provides small- and medium-sized law firms information on how to grow their practice through online advertising, social media and content management. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Last updated 3 months ago
From March 7-16, 2014 names in music, film, and interactive will descend upon Austin, Texas, for the annual South by Southwest conference, or more commonly referred to as SXSW. During these 10 days, hundreds of concerts, screenings, panel discussions, and workshops will showcase great ideas turned into action, and ReachLocal needs your help to be part of it.
This year, we have three discussions submitted in the official SXSW PanelPicker, and we need your vote to help us get a spot on the lineup! Check out the topics below and click on the “Vote Now” link to register and vote a “thumbs up” for these ReachLocal panels.
Content Marketing Across the Buying Cycle
Today, more and more companies are investing in content marketing as an effective way to share their messages, educate clients and prospects, and fuel their online marketing programs. In fact, studies show that today, 33% of marketing budgets are allocated to content marketing.
But, how do you achieve the “holy grail” of online marketing by aligning your content to the sales cycle to more efficiently fuel your sales process with content that entertains, informs, educates – and sells?
We will share practical insights and strategies to align your content marketing with your sales funnel, develop lead nurturing for each stage of the buying cycle, and fuel it all with creative, effective content.
Vote Now for “Content Marketing Across the Buying Cycle”
The $4 Trillion Opportunity in Local
Thanks to services like Uber and OpenTable, and the power of mobile, it’s easy for consumers to book and buy local, want-based services. What about local, needs-based services? With services like plumbing or heater repair, consumers deal with unreturned calls and large service windows because businesses are running like they did 50 years ago- offline and disconnected.
Home services is a $400 billion dollar industry that will invariably undergo the offline to online transformation. With mobile devices, merchants have the ability to deliver speed and accessibility consumers expect. The challenge is convincing small businesses to take risks to digitize operations. If they do, the reward will be great – for them and consumers, who may endure a less painful process of booking and buying.
Zorik Gordon, CEO of ReachLocal and ClubLocal will discuss where the online local services market has been, where it’s going, how mobile drives innovation and how consumers can expect to be impacted.
Vote Now for “The $4 Trillion Opportunity in Local”
Speaking of Mobile, Go JS, Go Native, or Both...
ReachLocal set out to build an app for both Android and iOS with as much shared code as possible. We looked at current hybrid practices and decided they wouldn’t work for us. We know, you’re thinking, “that’s cute and all, but how does it help me?”
Vote Now for “Speaking of Mobile, Go JS, Go Native, or Both…”
Want to help spread the word? Please like, share, and tweet this post and the panels to help us share these ideas!
Last updated 3 months ago
If you use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, you know that it doesn’t cost any money to create your accounts and that posting your content is free. Have you ever wondered then how these sites can afford to operate? Part of that answer is paid advertising.
Businesses small and large buy paid advertising on social media sites in order to target messages and ads to specific users of the particular platform. Advertising on social media platforms like these is a great way you target and increase your reach to your audience. If you’re interested in advertising your own company on any of the social media sites, we put together an overview of some of the options that are available to you and some basic advertising terminology you’ll find on these sites.
With more than a billion users, Facebook offers a massive network of consumers who can be reached through its display advertising. You see these display ads on the right-hand side of a Facebook user’s page, and they consist of an image and text. After you create your own Facebook display ad, Facebook will promote the ad to those users whom you’ve told the site that you want to target. You can select your Facebook audience by country, city, distance from your business, gender, and interests for advertising purposes. For example, a business owner who runs a yoga studio and apparel shop in Atlanta, GA, could choose to market to Facebook users who live in Atlanta, are female, range in age from 22 to 55, and have shared an interest in yoga.
The cost of your display ad is determined on the Pay-Per-Click model; i.e., you’ll be charged any time a Facebook user clicks on your ad.
Facebook Promoted Posts
You can also select to promote a post that you have shared to your followers. When you promote a post, Facebook gives it more prominence in the News Feeds of your followers. You can also select for a promoted post to be shown to friends of followers, helping expand the reach of your content. Any status update, link, image, video, or offer that you share from your personal account or from your company’s Facebook Page can be promoted to more users by clicking on the “boost” link in the bottom right hand of the post. When you choose to promote a post, you select a top cost range you’re willing to pay. Promoted posts start at $5, and total cost is determined by audience size and geographic location.
Twitter: Promoted Tweets
Twitter offers many advertising options, but one of their most popular and most affordable for SMBs is self-service Promoted Tweets. These are tweets that you pay to reach a particular audience you have in mind, even if they are not on your follower list. For instance, you can segment an audience by gender, interests (fashion, gaming, food, etc.), and location (country, state or city). Then, your promoted tweets can appear in the timelines or search results of Twitter users in this defined audience.
Promoted Tweets can appear on mobile, tablets and desktop devices; you’re only charged when your Promoted Tweet receives a click, retweet, or reply. Your campaign runs for as long at it takes to meet the pre-set budgeted amount that you’ve determined in advance.
Let’s say you own a ski shop in Chicago and you’re having an end-of-season ski equipment sale and the majority of your customers are male. With a Promoted Tweet, you could advertise this sale to those Twitter users who fit your target market: in this case, male Chicagoans who enjoy skiing.
TrueView Video Ads on YouTube Videos
As the third most-popular website on the Internet, YouTube is an advertising juggernaut that can help you reach almost any target market through its advertising platform called TrueView. While watching videos on YouTube is free and registered users can upload unlimited videos at no charge, reaching a specific target market that you identify is a paid service. The TrueView platform is managed within AdWords for video, with targeting and bidding options much like Google AdWords campaigns. These TrueView ads operate on cost-per-view (CPV) pricing methods, meaning you’re charged only when people from your identified target audience watch your video.
Videos can be longer than 30 seconds, and there are three formats: in-stream, in-search, and in-display. In-stream videos are shown similar to a T.V. style ad and play automatically before or during another YouTube video. You only pay for videos that viewers choose to watch completely, or that they don’t skip after the first five seconds. In-search videos are those that appear above or to the right on a search results page; the in-display option appears along side other YouTube videos or on Google Display Network websites.
LinkedIn Sponsored Updates
LinkedIn’s paid advertising feature, Sponsored Updates, completed its full roll-out in July 2013. Members with a Company Page can deliver content into the homepage feed of “any segment” of LinkedIn’s premium-audience database of 225 million members. Sponsored Updates are labeled as “sponsored” so readers will know it is paid advertising. Members can follow a company from the sponsored post, as well as like, comment on, and share these posts, much like they can interact with native updates. The main difference is that your messages can be seen by a broader audience.
Sponsored Updates uses a CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per impression) pricing model and can be promoted in up to 20 languages across 200 countries and territories.
What’s Your Social Media Advertising Plan?
These are just a few of the paid advertising opportunities on some of the most popular social media sites. It’s not just large businesses with big budgets that can reach their audiences on social media. Using some of these tactics, you can target your audience too.
Do you have plans to use paid advertising on social media? If so, which sites will you use? Let us know by leaving a comment!
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. Connect with her on Twitter.