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    5 Common Website Mistakes that Can Kill Your SEO (And Tips to Update It!)

    Last updated 28 days ago

    One of the most common mistakes businesses make when creating a website is not taking the latest search engine optimization best practices into account. Sure, your website might look great, but unless it’s optimized to get discovered when people search, then it’s not being seen by as many people as it could be. Here are a few common reasons your website may be hurting your SEO – and what to do about them.

    1. Your Site Was Designed 5 Years Ago

    One of the most common website mistakes local businesses make is simply not keeping their website design and structure up to date with modern standards. After just a couple of years, websites become outdated and may no longer meet the latest SEO best practices. Static, brochure-like websites don’t perform as well in organic search or adapt easily to frequent changes in search algorithms or consumer expectations. And, sites that were built with technologies like Flash may not even register with search engines because they can’t index the content on them.

    Tip: Redesign your site and make sure it aligns with the latest SEO best practices. Today, that includes a professionally designed website with engaging images and fresh content that’s relevant to the top products and services you want to promote. A site with content and images that are easy to update will work in your favor as search trends continue to change. 

    2. It’s Not Mobile-Optimized

    How many times have you visited a website from your smartphone, only to be greeted with tiny images and copy and no real way to find what you’re looking for? This is an all-too-common experience for small business website visitors. Today, mobile users expect a simplified, easy-to-navigate version of a business’ website with all the company’s contact information front and center. And as mobile usage only grows, so will this expectation from on-the-go consumers.  

    Tip: If your website is not mobile-responsive, invest in a mobile-friendly version of your website, or at least a mobile landing page that consumers visit when they click on your organic links from a mobile device. At minimum, your mobile site should include your:  

    • Business name and logo
    • Top products and services
    • Location with a link to directions or a map
    • Business hours
    • Click-to-call number

    Chances are, consumers looking for your business via mobile are looking for a way to call or visit you. Make sure they can!

    3. You Ignore Your Metadata

    For many business owners, the concept of metadata is the murky, foreign, Web-development side of SEO. And it doesn’t make that much difference anyway, right? Wrong. The metadata found in your website’s code – things like title tags, meta descriptions, and alt text – is crucial to your SEO. For one, it’s part of what search engines look at when they decide which sites to populate in the search results when people search for related terms. Plus, consumers see metadata like page descriptions and titles on your website’s organic listing when it does appear in a search result.

    Tip: That page title and description you see when your site appears in the search results? That’s all from your site’s metadata – so don’t let it slide! Make sure your metadata is both complete and optimized for your target keywords. You should also make sure your page titles, meta descriptions, main page headers and image alt tags clearly indicate what they are representing on your website. This helps your target audience to know exactly what they are clicking. It also helps this information to appear in appropriate organic search results.

    4. You Don’t Have Blog (Or Actively Use It)

    Having fresh content on your website is a huge factor when it comes to SEO. Not only will it help search engines determine the relevance of your website in the search results, but having helpful, informative content may help your site visitors contact you, driving more leads from your organic search efforts. One easy and effective way to publish content about your business, products, and services is by using a blog. But, just having one configured on your site isn’t enough: if you’re not taking the time to publish relevant blog posts about key topics, consumers who may be interested in your products or services may not be finding your website when they search!

    Tip: Add a blog to your website and publish new content to it on a weekly basis. It doesn’t have to be long or overly complex; just make sure it is focused around the core products and services you want your site to show up for when consumers search, and include relevant links to your core products and services, as well as helpful external resources. In addition to written blog posts, you can also post helpful content like videos, infographics, and image galleries that your audience is sure to love. Then, make sure you share your posts across your social media pages with a link back to your blog and ask your followers to share them, so you can build social signals around your content, drive traffic to your site, and enhance your site’s relevance in search. 

    5. It’s Not Built for Local

    As a local business, you want local consumers to find and visit your website. And, Google has made changes to help consumers more easily find and get information about local businesses that offer the products or services they are looking for.  So, why would you not optimize your website to attract consumers who looking for businesses in your area?

    Tip: Every local business should start with local optimization basics to help them get discovered in local search. For one, you should include your city name along with your top keywords in content, so that when consumers search for local terms like “florist Nashville,” your business will appear in the search results.  It’s also important to include your full address on your website – and not just on the Contact Us page. Listing it somewhere like a footer will help your site populate in local search results and help visitors know that they indeed found the business they are looking for. Make sure that you are writing your name, address, and other important details consistently, down to spelling, punctuation, and abbreviations, because Google looks at the consistency and accuracy of this information across the Web, from your website to your local listings. Finally, linking your Google Maps listing to your website will help local searchers find your business, especially when they search directly in Google Maps on their computers or smartphones.

    These website updates can not only help your website gain visibility in the search results, but they can also help consumers find the information they are looking for so they contact your business. Don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself? Consider ReachEdge™, a smart website and lead management system, and ReachSEO™, a unique approach to SEO for local businesses, to help you get more visitors, contacts, and customers from the search results. 

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    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.

    ReachLocal at #SXSW: Presenting Our LigerMobile Open-Source Protocol

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Right now, one of the world’s largest interactive conferences, South by Southwest (SXSW), is in full swing in Austin, Texas. And we’re excited to share that members of ReachLocal’s own development team will be demonstrating our newly-launched open-source protocol LigerMobile today at this renowned conference.

    The ReachLocal team developed the LigerMobile protocol to power the mobile apps for our ReachEdge product on both iPhone and Android platforms. The ReachEdge app allows our customers to access mobile contact list, reports, and insights on how their website and lead management are performing.

    We recently released the LigerMobile protocol to the development community as an open-source framework other companies and individual developers can leverage when building apps that need to run on both Android and iOS platforms. A lightweight, open-source  framework the LigerMobile technology helps developers create hybrid apps quickly and easily, making cross-platform app development process much smoother.

    “We want to share that code with the development community to inspire them to create their own cross-platform applications and help us improve the code,” said Kris Barton, chief product officer at ReachLocal.

    Today’s SXSW LigerMobile Workshop will be lead by ReachLocal Senior Software Engineers Alec Plumb, Brad Marsh, and John Gustafsson, and Lead Software Engineer Robert Tomb. You can learn more about LigerMobile by attending our SXSW workshop if you’re in Austin today, or, check it out on GitHub, where you can also access tutorials and resources on writing LigerMobile apps.

    Learn More About ReachEdge
    Learn more about how ReachEdge can power your marketing with an integrated website, lead management, and mobile app by downloading our infosheet or watching the video.

    About the Author
    A seasoned digital and online marketing expert, Tiffany Monhollon shares practical tips and insights about reaching consumers across the Web on the ReachLocal blog. Follow her on Twitter, LinkedInGoogle+

    4 Google Maps Updates Local Businesses Need to Know

    Last updated 1 month ago

    A week ago, Google announced it is making the desktop version of Google Maps widely available. Many of the updates featured in the new Google Maps are designed for the casual user, and include functions such as plane and train routes, directions for multiple locations, and event listings for major venues. But, there are a few key updates that local business owners need to be aware of so they can make sure their Google+ Local listings are claimed and updated with information leveraged by these new changes.

    1. Info Cards

    One of the most relevant additions to Google Maps for small businesses are info cards, which show consumers detailed information about the businesses they are viewing on the map. For instance, if someone searches for and clicks on a restaurant, Google Maps will populate an info card featuring the business’ address, hours, reviews, Zagat ratings, and a link to a menu. Different businesses may have slightly different information on their info cards, based on the business category and information available to Google.  Info cards also provide users with a “Look Inside” button, which includes a 360-degree view of the interior of the business, with photos taken by Google trusted photographers. Additionally, photos featured on your Google+Local page are featured on Google in your Google Maps info cards. 

    What this means for businesses: For businesses where quick access to additional information can sway a potential customer, it’s extremely important to take advantage of the new info cards. Make sure your Google+Local listing is up to date with correct information like address, telephone number, and hours, and make sure to include captivating photos to bring your business to life. Reviews and ratings are also front-and-center on the Maps interface in this update, so it’s critical that you continue to ask happy customers to leave you positive reviews there. 

    2. Hotel and Restaurant Reservations

    Another new feature impacting local business is the ability to book and see hotel and restaurant reservations directly from Google Maps. For instance, if a user clicks on a specific hotel on the map, a booking box will drop down, and they can start a reservation directly from the hotel’s info card. Google can show availability and prices from the hotel’s website and from booking sites like Hotels.com, Priceline, Travelocity, and more. For restaurants, users can currently create reservations using Opentable. In addition, when someone searches for a hotel or restaurant they are already booked for, and they are logged into their Google account, Google Maps will display a card below the search bar displaying the reservation information pulled from confirmations sent to your Gmail account.  

    What this means for businesses: If you run a hotel or restaurant and don’t already allow online reservations, consider adding this ability to land even more bookings now that Google Maps allows users to start a reservation directly from the search results. In addition, sending email confirmations for reservations will also benefit users who frequently book with hotels and restaurants, since the reservation information can populate in Google Maps.

    3. Personalized Results from Google+

    As users search the map, add places to their “favorites”, and leave reviews, Google Maps will start to suggest similar or complimentary local businesses they might enjoy. In addition, the updated Google Maps is furthering integration with Google+ by allowing users to filter searches by top reviewers or by those in their Google+ circles.

    What this means for businesses: This feature only strengthens the integration between Google Maps and the Google+ platform. So, the more active you are on Google+ as a business, the more opportunities you have to influence search results by boosting positive fan engagement. You can also help your search results by encouraging your best fans to add you to their Google+ circles, leave you positive reviews, and favorite your business. This also increases your connections and activity as a business, helping it become more visible in the local search results. Plus, the more active your customers are, the more they can help others discover your business when they search in Maps.

    4. Responsive Design

    The new Google Maps update made significant changes for Google Maps users on multiple devices, including smartphones and tablets. For users who are logged into their Google accounts on both their desktop and mobile device, Google Maps can load previous searches. For instance, if you are logged in to Google and look up a dentist’s address and phone number on Google Maps via your desktop, and then get in your car, you can pull up the exact same search on the Google Maps app on your smartphone. As long as you’re logged in with the same account there, you’ll get directions or phone number for the dentist’s office. Users can also add specific locations to their “favorites” to make them available on all their devices.

    What this means for businesses: Mobile devices are only going to become more and more prevalent when it comes to looking for local business information. If your business’ Google+ Local listing is not claimed and updated, you’ll not only lose out on business from desktop searches, but from mobile, too. Plus, it’s critical to make sure your website is mobile-friendly so that searchers who click from the search results to visit your site have a streamlined experience.

    The new Google Maps has a lot to offer for businesses, and it’s important to take advantage of as many of these new features as possible to get the most out of this key destination for local searchers. By improving your Google+ Local listings with positive customer reviews, engaging images, booking functionality, and more, you can not only get discovered when people search on Google, but your listing will provide the information your target audience is looking for. 

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    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.

    Does Your Website Track Conversions? Now it Can.

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Picture this: when it comes to attracting leads to your business website via online marketing, you’re doing all the right things. Your company’s social media pages are up and running; you’re posting great content your audience wants to share with others online and that drives visits. You’re optimizing your website and local listings so that you get discovered in local and organic search. You’ve also launched online search, display, and retargeting campaigns across the Web in order to get visitors to your website.

    The next step would be to know which of these online marketing activities are the most cost-effective at getting visits to your website and leads and customers for your business. With an accurate view of the ROI from each of your marketing sources, you could make sure to spend your marketing dollars on those online activities that are creating leads and pull back on those that might not be as successful. Assessing how many leads each online activity drives to your website is possible to do on your own. However, regularly assessing the data of every lead-generating tactic and comparing it against the other types of marketing you are doing can be complex and time-consuming for many business owners.

    There’s an easy solution when it comes to tracking the leads and customer conversions on your website. ReachEdge, an integrated marketing software solution made of a smart website, lead management software, and a mobile app, does this automatically so businesses can finally see their ROI from all their marketing efforts.

    Here’s how ReachEdge helps you to know the sources of your leads so you can make better decisions about your online marketing:

    1.      Captures Every Contact from Your Website

    ReachEdge offers a smart website that is optimized to capture every conversion like phone calls, emails, and form submissions. Not only is this website designed to convince prospects to contact you, but once they do, it adds their name and information to your contact list. It additionally provides real-time alerts on your mobile phone so you don’t miss any new contacts and can follow up with them quickly, helping to turn them into a customer.

    2.      Smart Website Tracks the Source of Your Leads

    ReachEdge’s technology swaps out your website’s phone number based on which marketing source consumers clicked on to visit your site, whether it’s a search ad, display ad, social media site, or organic link. With this lead-tracking technology, you’ll always know which of your online marketing tactics are working to drive leads to your website.

    3.     Shows You Results via Web and Mobile

    ReachEdge offers data-rich reporting via mobile and desktop platforms. These reports detail the amount of calls, emails, and web forms your marketing sources generate. Plus, you can also see a high-level view of which sources are the most effective at bringing you leads and customers.

    Having a complete picture of your lead generation tactics is essential to determining your marketing ROI and empowers you to make the best decisions regarding your marketing spend. Plus, it frees you up to do what you do best — run your business.

    Want to learn more about ReachEdge? See how it has already transformed real business websites to help them drive more leads to their businesses. Download our new ebook, Try This, Not That: 10 Website Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.

     

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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. Connect with her on Twitter.

    "Opening Soon!" Seven Ideas to Promote Your New Location Online

    Last updated 2 months ago

    Opening a new location for your business soon? Congratulations! Expanding a business for any small business owner is a great sign that customers want what you have to offer. But in the middle of making sure your location is physically prepared to handle new customers, the importance of making sure online consumers know about your new addition may slip by you.

    So, in order to make sure that both current and potential customers know about your great news, here are seven ideas to help you prepare and promote your new business location online, too.  

    1. Claim Your New Location on Local Directory Listings

    Claiming your business on local directories is a simple and effective way to promote your new location for several reasons: local listings often have high visibility in search results for your business name, they are easy to set up, and the larger ones are tied to maps, which show up on both desktop and search results on mobile browsers and apps.

    Three of the most common directories you should pay attention to are Google+ Local, Bing Business, and Yelp. With more than 67% of explicit searches on Google sites, claiming your business on Google+ Local will help ensure that Google searchers find your new business location when they search for your business name and for your top products and services. Google+ Local is directly tied to Google Maps, and Google prioritizes business locations that have claimed their business on Google+ Local. As Bing and Yahoo! share the same network, claiming your business on Bing Business will help consumers using these search engines to find your new location as well.

    Claiming each of these directory listings will also allow consumers to find your business location on mobile search for each mobile search engine. But to enable people searching via Apple Maps, make sure you claim your new location on Yelp, which provides locations, pictures, and ratings to consumers searching on iOS devices. Plus, with the latest partnership of Yelp and Yahoo!, Yelp reviews and locations will now appear in Yahoo! search results, too. 

    2. Add Your Business Locations to Your Website

    Your website is one of the most important places to add your new location, as this is where consumers will typically find information about where to find you. When you add your new location, make sure to follow the same format as your previous locations. For example, if your other listings include different hours of operation, a phone number, and an address that links to a map, make sure the new location includes these elements, too.  

    3. Create a New Facebook Page or Update Your “About” Section

    There are many benefits to having an individual Facebook business page for each of your locations. For example, having an individual location page allows you to post content specific to each location, such as discounts, product availability, or relevant news and events. So if your business already has individual Facebook pages for your locations, then make sure you take action today and build a page for your new location.

    However, if managing multiple location pages isn’t practical for your business, then worry not (you’re not alone!). A simple way to feature your business locations on your business Facebook page is to include the locations in the “About” section. Once in your page settings, update the “Long Description” to add information about each of your locations, such as the general location, phone number, and operating hours.

    4. Add the Geographic Area in Your Search Advertising

    There are many reasons you should use paid search advertising to promote your business, one being that it allows you to target consumers within a specific geographic location. If you currently run paid search advertising, make sure that you update it so that you target the new location. You can either create a new campaign for that specific location, or simply add geo-targeted keywords to a broader campaign. For instance, you could campaign within a certain geographic radius and leverage special “Grand Opening” offers to entice local consumers to visit your website and hopefully become a new lead or customer. In either case, make sure that your landing page is optimized to include messaging or details about your new location so that you don’t lose consumers along the path of contacting you or visiting your new location. 

    5. Promote Your New Location on Social Media

    Opening a new location is a celebration, so why not share it with your social fans and followers? For example, if you break ground on a new location, consider posting images on Facebook or Instagram that show the progress from the ground-breaking ceremony to the ribbon-cutting ceremony. If you have special offers or sales for your grand opening, share them as posts or create images that your current fans can share as well. If you have press releases or other write-ups announcing your new location, share them on Facebook. Plus, you can use Facebook advertising to target ads to your audience within the geographic area of your new business location.

    6. Send an Email Announcing Your New Location

    If you have a current email list, sending an announcement email is a quick way to share information about your new location with people who are already interested in your business. This could also be a great way to convert leads who may not have chosen your business because of proximity into customers. Make sure to include all the information people need, including details about the store location, opening date, hours of operation, phone number, and any grand opening specials or offers they should take advantage of.

    7. Host an Event and Invite Local Bloggers

    For some businesses, hosting a “Family and Friends” event before the official opening of your new location can be a great way to generate buzz about your business within the area. Invite current customers, fans, and other people you know who live in the general area to check out your new store, sample products or services, and share their experiences online. This can also be a great training opportunity for new members of your staff and help you detect any issues you can change before the big opening day.

    If you know of subject matter experts, bloggers, or others who have influence within the community, this event is a great time to have those people visit your new location and share the news with their own fans and followers.

    Overall, opening a new business location is a huge success, so take a deep breath and realize that you’re on the right track! Promoting it with some of these ideas is just the beginning to adding to that success.

    Have you opened multiple locations already? What other ideas do you have for promoting it online? Share your ideas in a comment!

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    About the Author

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

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