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How to Engage Your Audience Through Social Media

Is your social media falling flat? Don’t sweat it; many hours have gone into perfecting the use of this not-so-secret weapon. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram strategies are outlined in detail below. Once you understand how they all work and which will suit your business best, learn how to handle them and other factors such as SEO, reviews, and more!


Facebook, Google+, & Twitter

What works: Images, videos, calls to action, industry-related content, general share-worthy content.
What doesn’t work: Lengthy content, bland content, poor business/related/share-worthy balance.

Videos and images are best used to catch the eye of social media readers, though video works a little better to hold the reader’s attention. Whether it’s redirecting consumers to your website or online store, or getting them to stop and look at an interesting piece of content titled by your business, images and videos are your anchor.

The three best ways to get traction from your readers are to:

  • Get them to go straight to your website or store
  • Get them to like/follow
  • and/or get them to share your content

Let’s say three people see your business posts about that 2 for 1 sale. These posts are not likely to be shared, so those same three people will see all your posts, and that’s it. Once people start liking and sharing your posts, you’ll start to see new eyes on your page. This is where industry related/general share-worthy content comes in.

If you’re a physical therapist, for example, get your readers excited to see and share those workout tips and you’ll have a better chance that someone who needs physical therapy will come across them. Having a good mix of these types of posts is extremely important.

Once you’ve gained the attention of your readers with a photo or video, a call to action is a great way to guide them to their next step.

“Do you like these home renovation ideas? Let’s get started with yours!”

As seen in this above example, calls to action can be used for almost every type of post. Tell your reader to check out your website for a business related post, or tell them to read the article or video you’re sharing. Though industry-related or share-worthy content may not lead your reader straight to your website, the posts are more likely to gain likes and shares.

Packaged in with the importance of shared content is the name of your business. Every time your post is shared, someone new has the chance to see you. That’s brand-recognition, baby! When the time comes for that person to need a lawyer, they’ll remember the interesting law posts you shared and seek out the name they remember seeing or hearing about.

On the other hand, lengthy content, bland posts, and a poor balance of business/industry/shareable don’t work well on these media channels. Lengthy content is an especially bad choice for Twitter’s 140 character count limit. As for Facebook and Google+, people just don’t have the attention spans to read posts that are more than a couple of lines long. Keep them short and concise! Don’t post bland, filler content like, “Happy Friday!” unless people have a reason to share it. “Happy Friday, here’s a hilarious cat meme” can improve brand recognition, but only if shared- use humor to your advantage.

Find your balance between business and shareable content. Too much boring business related posts and calls to action can lead to a stagnant viewer count, while too many share-worthy posts may lead to your readers not knowing what your business does.


Pinterest

What works: Images, videos, industry related content, general share-worthy content.
What doesn’t work: Lengthy content, bland content, and it may not suit your vertical.

Pinterest, like Instagram below, is all about the pictures. If you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you know that it’s a very visual sight to behold. The hook of Pinterest is that people are looking for ideas. This will work best for you if your business provides ideas or the means with which to make ideas happen. A hardware store can benefit from Pinterest because you may share tree-house building ideas with your store’s name attached- don’t forget about brand recognition. Once people get the ideas from you, they’ll come into your store to buy the tools they need for the job! The best use of Pinterest includes non-business related content. Show people ideas that may lead them to your business, but don’t try to sell them right then and there.

However, Pinterest may not suit your vertical, and it definitely won’t prosper with too much emphasis on text. Many verticals such as plumbing just don’t have many corresponding ideas given the nature of the job. In this case, Pinterest can only be used for shareable content and brand recognition. The text attached to Pinterest posts is often ignored, so any applicable text should go into an infographic displayed as an image. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use any text. A small headline or message will suffice here.


Instagram

What works: Images, projects.
What doesn’t work: Mostly everything else.

Instagram is a strange beast. The entire point of this medium is to compel readers to follow you and talk about what you offer. This works best for verticals like restaurants because your customers can post images of your food for their friends to see. This also works great for verticals like home improvement. In this vertical, your business can post project and progress images of what you’ve been working on. Seeing these images and sharing them can work well to compel the reader to seek you out.

Instagram posts can’t include links, so just like Pinterest, the aim here is brand recognition. Can you consistently post interesting enough images for your readers to stay interested? Not every business can.


Reviews

Now that we’ve covered the main social media channels, let’s discuss other ways they can be used. Facebook, Google+, and other media channels support reviews. Aside from the engagement from posts, reviews can make or break a business. You may be thinking “I can’t control what people rate my business”, and you’d be right. However, you can control how you respond to people. You can turn around even the angriest rater by replying to their review in a quick and professional manner. See our other articles to learn about the importance of reviews!


Social Listening

Forbes discusses social listening as finding where your audience is discussing topics related to your brand. People are talking about cars somewhere, and these are great topics for your dealership. The short and sweet of this is that you need to be researching your competitors and your peers. What are people talking about, liking, and sharing, and how can you get in on it? You’ll want to shape your social media strategies around what’s getting the best traction everywhere else. Get researching!


SEO

This likely isn’t the first time you’ve read about the importance of SEO, and it definitely won’t be your last. When you search your business’s name or keywords related to your work, how high on the results page does it appear? The more you and your readers are mentioning your name and other keywords in relation to your business, the better your SEO results will be.


Measure Success

Finally, take a step back and look at what you’re doing. Naturally, you’ll want to look for what’s working and what isn’t. Whether you’re counting likes and shares by hand or using Google Analytics to track the information for you, understanding your trends may just be the most important part of the process, so what are you waiting for?

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The Complete WordPress SEO Plugin Mastery

SEO is the key to conquering the internet, and as the digital climate becomes increasingly saturated, it is becoming more important than ever to make sure that you are making every effort to get seen on the web. One of the easiest ways to give your sites a little extra boost is by implementing the right WordPress plugins.

The Problem:

Wait… I thought that finding the right SEO plugin was my problem?

You’re close. Everyone wants the one plugin that is going to single handedly cuddle their site up against that ever-desirable Google search bar. Although this result is possible, the reality is that the SEO market is becoming an increasingly competitive and saturated one. This context makes it more important than ever to have a better structured and optimized website with a search engine friendly hierarchy so that you can set yourself apart, and be ranked above your competition. Much to your dismay, that may involve a bit of a plugin stack.  

The Essential SEO Plugin Stack

Whether you’re building sites for clients, or your own business, mastering SEO will be the key to growing and sustaining a strong online presence.  Fortunately, we know how to get you there.

There are 7 critical pieces to the SEO puzzle. To start, you NEED an overall on-site SEO plugin to cover the basics, such as: meta tags, sitemaps, robots, etc. Then, there are an additional 6 complementary sections for plugins that will offer that competitive edge that you’re looking for:

  1. On-site SEO
  2. Mobile Optimization
  3. Broken Links
  4. Speed
  5. Security
  6. Image Optimization
  7. Rich Snippet

It is true that it’s a bit of a catch 22 when it comes to plugins and website speed, being that the shear volume of plugins being used will have an impact on the website speed. However, by using the right stack to build your SEO, the benefits will outweigh the harms.

Let’s dive in.

1. On-site SEO Plugins

An on-site SEO plugin will be the foundation of your infrastructure. For your convenience, we narrowed it down to only 2 contenders, Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack.

These 2 plugins have both been around for a decade already, and are still at the top of the food chain.

Yoast SEO

Price: Free with Paid Premium Option

Elevator Pitch:

Through walk-throughs and advanced settings, Yoast is the one stop shop for beginners and experts alike. Featuring sitemaps, title and meta descriptions, and the ability to connect Google Search Console, this plugin does everything to please users and search engine spiders alike.

With built in content and SEO analysis, Yoast can also insure that your content is always killer (in Google’s eyes as well as prospect’s eyes). By upgrading to premium, you also gain access to a local SEO extension which adds a local schema markup to your web pages.  Other premium features include video and news extensions.

Key Features:

  • Most used SEO plugin on market with 5M+ active installs
  • Thousands of daily downloads
  • Effectively combines content and SEO
  • Uses JSON_LD for local
  • 5 star-rating across nearly 20,000 reviews on WordPress.org

All in One SEO Pack

Price: Free with Paid Premium Option

Elevator Pitch:

All in One SEO Pack is the original SEO plugin that works out-of-the-box for beginners with  advanced features for developers. XML sitemaps, and overridable meta descriptions/keywords allow users to to optimize their SEO efforts.

This plugin is also highly durable being that it is translated into 57 languages and works well with a variety of other plugins. All in One provides local SEO recommendations and keyword ranking for users as well.

Key Features:

  • The ONLY free plugin to provide SEO Integration for e-Commerce sites, including WooCommerce
  • Over 3M active installs
  • 4.5 star-rating across 500+ reviews on WordPress.org

The On-site SEO Winner

Yoast SEO. Industry experts and Vendastians all agree that Yoast is essentially the modern-day standard when it comes to WordPress SEO plugins. The free version will accommodate users of all levels of expertise and ensure all of your bases are covered.

2. Mobile Website Optimization Plugins

This SEO factor earned itself a priority seat due to the fact that Google is now favoring outlets that are running on AMP code. Google announced just last month, January 2018, that it would begin prioritizing pages with fast mobile loading speed in their search algorithm. What this means is that mobile optimization will now be a high ranking factor in every sites overall SEO performance on Google.

This makes it more critical than ever to have your sites optimized for mobile. Considering that the majority of browsing these days is conducted from mobile devices, it just makes sense.  

AMP for WordPress

Price: Free!

Elevator Pitch:

Ever get frustrated when you’re trying to look something up on your phone and it takes 3 full days to load? We all lead pretty busy lives, and just don’t have time for that nonsense.  

By using AMP for WordPress, you can insure that your prospects never give up hope as a result of a slow mobile site. By creating AMP content, which Google is now factoring into SEO rankings, this plugin caters to the needs of major AMP consumers such as Google Search.

Key Features:

  • Built by WordPress, not a third party, so compatibility is not a concern
  • Many 1 star reviews, and a 3.5 star overall rating on WordPress.org
  • 200,000+ active installs (best in class)

AMP for WP

Price: Also free!

Elevator Pitch:

These guys also spared no creativity in terms of naming themselves, but I guess that there’s no harm in getting to the point either…

AMP for WP is pretty straight-forward, and simply adds AMP functionality to your WordPress site to improve mobile site speed through search engines (like Google!).

Key Features:

  • 100,000+ active installations
  • 4.5 star user rating on WordPress.org (best in class)
  • Yoast (and other SEO) plugin integration

The Mobile Optimization Winner

AMP for WP (the latter—these 2 are damn confusing). The reality is that both of these plugins are going to meet your mobile optimization needs, but it just feels like AMP for WordPress (the loser) has not put as much effort into customer satisfaction. Installs are declining and 1 star ratings on WordPress.org almost pair those of the 5 stars; which might be cause for some concern, ex:

Not what you want to see…

3. Broken Link Plugins

Links are kind of like family photos—sometimes they just go bad. Pages can be deleted, a site that you link to may vanish, or someone might move a post or page without updating others.  These actions can all cause broken links.

And there is NOTHING worse than hitting a “404 Page not found” when you’re trying to find a new photographer for your family pictures.  

By managing broken links on your site, you can mitigate user frustrations, questions of credibility, lost conversions, and damage to your SEO ranking. Yes, broken links factor quite heavily into your SEO ranking.

Broken Link Checker

Price: Free!

Elevator Pitch:

Broken Link Checker scans your posts, pages, comments, blogs, and custom fields to detect links that don’t work, images that may be missing, and link redirects. This parsing can take some time as it verifies each and every link tied to your site. Once completed, it will present you with a list of broken links so that you can manage redirects and prevent prospects and customers from losing interest or losing track of you.

Key Features:

  • Has not been updated in 6 months…customer service?
  • 500,000+ active installs (by far best in class)
  • 4 star rating across nearly 400 reviews on WordPress.org
  • Offered in 30 languages

The Broken Link Winner

Only one candidate, and only one winner. Use this plugin, it will save your customers and prospects a lot of headache, and it will help optimize your overall SEO.

4. Speed Plugins

Page speed is a huge factor in search rankings because it a huge factor in user experience. Google recommends pages load in less than a half second, and that’s not always easy to achieve.

To tie into the above AMP category, this element has actually never been more important with Google recently announcing that page speed is now a ranking factor for mobile searching (where most searches occur).

I have offered up 2 site caching alternatives that will have a substantial impact on site load times, particularly with high volumes of traffic.

WP Fastest Cache

Price: Free, the best price.

Elevator Pitch:

With most of the functionality automated, and active page statistics, the WP Fastest Cache plugin is very user friendly. It creates a static html file so that high quantities of traffic do not produce slow render times on your site, and offers numerous options for managing cached files. It also comes with minify html and css options so that users can decrease the size of pages and css files.

Key Features:

  • Does not yet support WordPress Multisite
  • 5 star rating and over 500,000 active installations
  • Offered in 17 languages

W3 Total Cache

Price: Free, always.

Elevator Pitch:

W3 Total Cache improves SEO and user experience by reducing dowload times and increasing performance. W3 comes with a host of caching options, minification features, as well as various security features. It also offers improved server performance to help weather those high traffic periods.  

Key Features:

  • Only 9 out of 108 issues resolved in the past 2 months
  • 4.5 star rating and over 1 million active installs (best in class)
  • Used by many large companies such as AT&T

The Speed Winner

This is actually a really tough one. I am going to crown W3 Total Cache as the victor for now due to the sheer volume of active users and the number of industry experts that swear by it. However, WP Fastest Cache is an excellent caching plugin, and is growing in popularity and downloads, so it would also make for a great alternative should you choose it.

5. Security Plugins

Security is a factor that owns varying degrees of concern. If you are a financial institution or a related field of business, security will likely hold a much greater precedence in your site infrastructure.  

The primary impact of a security plugin for other business demographics is in regards to an SSL certificate (https). This certificate helps your site maintain rank on search providers and is rumoured to become a requirement for google sites in the near future. An SSL certificate can also directly translate to growth in rank, while also encrypting user data – an essential component on many websites.

Besides, who wants to be hacked by some sneaky black hat spammer?

Wordfence Security

Price: Free with Premium Option

Elevator Pitch:

Wordfence Security was built for the specific application of WordPress sites. It includes an endpoint firewall and malware scanner, as well as a Threat Defence Feed that insures that Wordfence is always up to date with the newest firewall rules, malware signatures, and malicious IP addresses it needs to keep your site safe.

Key Features:

  • 2M+ active installs (best in class)
  • 5 star rating across over 3000 reviews on WordPress.org
  • User friendly feeds to monitor performance

The Security Winner

We decided to keep it simple on this one being that Wordfence Security is all around best in class. This plugin is a favorite by industry experts worldwide, so it will surely meet your firewall and malware needs in the free version—with the option to pay for premium as you grow.

6. Image Optimization

The images that you utilize on your site build can have a huge impact on user experience as well as click and conversion rates. However, it is critical that you don’t forget to use an image optimization plugin to reduce image sizes (often up to 50%), and therefore page sizes, to boost your SEO rankings by greatly increasing page speed and user-friendliness.

There are hundreds of compressors, but really only a couple in the runnings.

Smush Image Compression and Optimization

Price: Free with Pro Option

Elevator Pitch:

Smush, seems like a fitting name right? This plugin does the bulk of the heavy lifting for you, so you really don’t need to stress about a steep learning curve. Smush automatically cuts the size of all of the images on your site to provide speed and quality. It also now allows for image resizing and is compatible with numerous other plugins on the market.

Key Features:

  • 5 star rating and over 1 million active installs (best in class)
  • Huge benefits for mobile speeds
  • Highest performance reserved for paying customers only

Short Pixel

Price: Free with Paid Premium

Elevator Pitch:

Short Pixel is on this list as a result of its cheaper premium option in comparison to the other image optimizers on the market. This plugin will accomplish relatively the same as Smush, but nearly all of these image optimization plugins are drastically limited in the free versions.  

Therefore, if you find yourself growing, and in need of something more than what these free versions can offer, Short Pixel has one off the most affordable paid rates on the market, and will still reach upwards of 60% optimization.

Key Features:

  • They have resolved every single issue that has been reported to WordPress.org in the past 2 months (can somebody say customer service?)
  • 4.5 star rating across nearly 300 reviews
  • Also offers huge benefits for mobile site speeds
  • One click bulk optimization (major time saver)

The Image Optimization Winner

Being that I recognized each of these plugins for different benefits, they are both winners in their own light. Smush is a near unanimous favorite for basic free image optimization, and ShortPixel is a great alternative if you are ready to take that first step into the realm of “paid plugins,” but don’t necessarily want to invest the capital that Smush or many others require.

7. Rich Snippet Plugins

What is a Rich Snippet?

Rich snippets are the fields that spice up your search result listing. You know those sites that have pictures and external ratings linked into their descriptions? There is less sorcery involved than you may have thought.

What’s special about this plugin is that you don’t have to write any code what-so-ever (and if your coding is anything like mine, this is a major blessing). Rich Snippet plugins present fields that you fill in, and the plugin automatically generates the code and tags for you.

Many website developers might not consider rich snippets an important tool in terms of SEO, but I’ll tell you why this interaction is important. Although rich snippets do not directly help you rank, they do provide increased visual appeal to your SERP result as you approach that first page of google. This visual appeal will likely increase your click through rate (CTR) which will then cause you to rank higher in terms of SEO.

It’s as simple as that.

All In One Schema Rich Snippets

Price: Free

Elevator Pitch:

Want to add review, event, product, recipe, video, article, or other schemas to your site snippet?  All In One Schema Rich Snippets makes it possible in a highly user-friendly format so that you can make your site more interactive and improve your click through rates.

Key Features:

  • 70,000+ active installs (by far best in class)
  • 4.5 star rating across 100+ reviews on WordPress.org
  • Helps Facebook display proper information when users share your links on Facebook

The Rich Snippet Winner

I know, I did it again…to date, All in One Schema Rich Snippets has more or less monopolized the market, and is your best choice if you want to master all of the categories of SEO on your WordPress build.

Conclusion

Seven is the number of plugins you are going to need to have a world class SEO optimized site:

  1. Yoast SEO
  2. AMP for WP
  3. Broken Link Checker
  4. W3 Total Cache
  5. Wordfence Security
  6. Smush or ShortPixel
  7. All In One Schema Rich Snippets

And one is the page number of Google results that you will likely find yourself on the keywords that matter most if you leverage this plugin combination.

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Improving Your Local Search Ranking With Data Aggregators

Data aggregators run the world. The world of local search, any way. Data aggregators supply information to major search engines like Google, which means that having good business listing info on data aggregators can help it get right on Google. These aggregators have built massive business databases from valuable listing sources like yellow page directories, phone directories, utility records, and various online information providers. They’ve got an unbelievable amount of business data that search engines look to when finding local listing information for businesses.

There are four major data providers: FactualAcxiomInfogroup and Localeze. Their databases contain business information that search engines seek out to display for consumers. This information is the basis of where many online citations come from. What exactly is a citation, you ask? Citations are when a business is mentioned somewhere online, and the more citations a business has generated, the more likely their business is to appear higher in search rankings.

The major data aggregators provide information that help businesses get found correctly on online resources such as:

  • Google Maps
  • Bing Local
  • Yahoo Local
  • Apple/Siri
  • Facebook
  • Yellow Pages

These online resources are only a few of the sources that receive data from the data aggregators. Obviously sites like Google Maps, Facebook and Yellow Pages are crucial places to be listed for businesses that want to be found online. Businesses need to get their information correct with these data providers, or they risk not being found by potential consumers.

Every business wants online visibility! Do you want to master SEO with all of the major data aggregators, and generate and as many business citations as possible? I thought so.

What is a citation?

As mentioned above, a citation is simply anytime a business is mentioned somewhere online. Many people believe that citations are links to websites, but this isn’t necessarily true. Although a citation can be linked, they don’t have to contain a link to be considered a citation. To break it down further, let’s look at how citations can appear online:

  • Company name (alone)
  • Phone number (alone)
  • Company name and phone number
  • Company name, phone number and address
  • Company name, phone number, address and link

Though any of these combinations is considered a citation, a citation is not considered to be complete unless it contains the company name, address and phone number (NAP). Businesses who have their NAP data correct with the major data providers have a better chance of seeing their correct information appearing all across the web.

Citations can appear in a structured or unstructured manner, here’s how you can distinguish the difference between the two:

structured citation is the most common type of citation, and usually the most detailed when consumers are looking for business information. People see structured business citations on business listing sites like Yellowpages, Yelp or TripAdvisor. In most cases, these citations contain the NAP for a business, something consumers are looking for in local search.

An unstructured citation can be found on random websites, blogs, event listings, job posting sites, government records or social media mentions. These are unstructured because they could be as simple as a company mention. Usually these citations don’t include a business’s NAP data.

No matter how a citation appears, it has influence on the local search ranking in some way for a particular business. Data aggregators play an important role in getting a business listed or found on many major websites.

The importance of building citations

Citations have a major influence on local search rankings. Basically, the more times a business is mentioned online, the better chance their business has to rank near the top of local search.

Google’s search ranking algorithm has many moving parts, which means that citation building isn’t the only thing a business has to do in order to rank on search engines. Online reviews, mobile compatibility, domain authority and keyword density are just a few other factors that influence local search.

This doesn’t mean that citations don’t play an important role in local search ranking, though. In fact, David Mihm’s local search study suggest that citation related factors are very important: they make up 25% of the top twenty factors the influence local search.

So what do data aggregators do?

Data aggregators provide a lot of the data to search engines when conducting a local search. The aggregators own the space known as the local search ecosystem, a place where local searches get all of their data.

There you see the four major data aggregators: Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze, and Factual. As you can see, many major directories and listings sites rely on these data providers for their information. Like we mentioned earlier, the data aggregators are the foundation of what builds structured citations on major sites.

Although the picture might seem like a lot to comprehend, the underlying message that you should take away from this is really simple: get business data right with the major data aggregators.

Incorrect data on any of these aggregators could mean that a business’s information online is extremely inconsistent or down right wrong on many major listings sites and directories. Inconsistent information hurts SEO, so be sure to have your business correctly listed with all the major players.

Not only does inconsistency hurt search engine ranking, but it hurts a business. Consumers don’t trust businesses with inconsistent information online—73% of consumers lose trust in brands due to inaccurate local business listings

Business citations rely on the power of data aggregators! We see that data aggregators have a major influence on the amount of reputable sources that a business is cited on because they automatically input business data into various sources for a business. This means not having to manually plug in information into each and every business-relevant site on the worldwide web.

Get it right!

There is no secret that we are keeping from you, or a fancy trick to increasing online citations. It’s as simple as getting it right with the major data aggregators. Local search is a major deal for businesses, especially for small businesses. A company could potentially force themselves into bankruptcy if their online visibility is non-existent.

Consumers rely on the internet and search engines to interact with local businesses. According to Google, “four in five consumers use search engines to find products, services or experiences nearby.” These are searches for anything, from the best pizza in town to the fastest hair salon. Local search is what drives consumers to a business’s front door, and ultimately drives top-line revenue for local business.

Make sure that your business gets it right, and isn’t missing from vital local search results. Start using data aggregator: it’s the first step in building accurate online citations and mastering local SEO.

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Why Your Business Should Want More Reviews on Review Sites

The importance of responding to customers online could not be more prevalent as reviews continue to grow more than ever before. Aside from the fact that reviews from customers help others decide whether they should visit a business or not, reviews are now more prevalent on search results pages—meaning a lot of eyes can see what is being said about your company online.

The influence that reviews have on shoppers is staggering: more than 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decisions (Webrepublic, 2015). Businesses are told to get more reviews on review websites to keep attracting new customers. With so many review websites out there, where does a business even begin? Your business may be afraid to manage customer reviews on review sites as you may not want to end up in one of these situations:

  • receive zero reviews
  • receive zero recent online reviews
  • receive negative online reviews
  • or, your business simply has unmanaged online reviews across multiple review websites

Unfortunately, your business is missing out. This lack of free online word of mouth is actually hurting your business through inaction, because reputation drives conversion.

1) Business reviews and social posts help shape your company’s online reputation

In fact, one of the worst things your business can do is ignore your online reviews and social posts. As easy as it is to make a mistake when handling your business’s online reputation, it can also be easy to recover if done properly (and with apology). While damage will inevitably happen, your business can take steps to mitigate the degree of damage that can occur. The biggest mistake of all your company can make is not participating in helping to shape the conversation about your company online.

2) Business reviews provide valuable feedback for your business

While it can be easy for your business to take negative comments to heart, it is important to recognize that reviews are constructive feedback. All in all, reviews are valuable feedback! They help your company gauge their performance and see how you can improve. There is always room for improvement and a lot can be learned even from positive business reviews. Through reviews, your business can see which products or services you should be boasting, which needs work, and even discover which employees rock at customer service.

3) Your business reviews can now appear in search results

Search engines have caught on to the popularity of reviews and are now displaying them more prominently. So, if someone searches for your business, there is a chance that reviews from review websites could be displayed on the search engine results pages. In Google’s markup—the annotated content that appears in search—of a company or product, business reviews and ratings can now be included in search results. In other words, when a user performs a search on Google, Google will find and possibly display review summaries from online business reviews and consumer ratings. Below is an example of how business reviews now showing up in search results.

How can businesses get more reviews?

There are a variety of methods your business can employ to ask for more business reviews, including emailing consumers manually, using surveys, asking consumers to leave reviews with codes and review sites on their receipts, or utilizing review generation software to automate the business review process.

Three important review website management tips:

1) Remember to add or claim listings on the top review sites

It’s a good idea to add or claim a listing or business profile on the most popular review sites (unless your business doesn’t fit with the niche), correct your business’s listing information and start getting more business reviews!

2) Your business should keep asking customers for reviews

Asking the average customer for a review can be hard work. Granted, it is often easiest to get reviews from consumers that are either really happy or really unhappy with the level of service they were provided. Your business should always remember to ask as customers are busy creatures and will not remember unless they are asked or reminded to leave feedback.

3) Customers are more open to leaving reviews on review sites

Why not just ask for business reviews or testimonials on your business’s website? Well, asking consumers to leave a review on your business’s website seems a lot more screened and inauthentic than simply asking consumers to leave reviews on a trusted review site. Since the review site is a third party, it feels more open for customers to leave an honest, unbiased review.

Business reviews are here to stay

In conclusion, there’s no getting away from business reviews. The good news is that there are methods to get more business reviews as well as effectively managing reviews from customers. Also, businesses needn’t fear negative online reviews, as there are ways to negate the effect of negative reviews.

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7 Social Media Tactics for Businesses That Struggle With Social

A strong social media presence is one of the best ways to be heard, and businesses are no exception to this rule. Forget the doorstep; there’s a whole world of potential customers and fans at your fingertips who are actively looking for brands that they can identify and engage with on a personal level. However, social media skills have to be learned, and many businesses struggle to find an audience and connect with them online. If yours is one of them, what can you do to make the best use of social media and all its benefits? How can you create content that gets people to stop scrolling and start reading, liking and sharing?

These 7 social media strategies will help your business build a presence and a following in the most crowded rooms online by creating content that entertains, educates, inspires and engages.


1. Make a plan

Before you rethink your entire social strategy, ask the tough questions. What are your goals as a business, and how will a strong social media presence help you to achieve them? What actions are you going to take to build presence, and how will you measure your success? Establish achievable and quantifiable objectives that are informed by your marketing and business goals, and put a time-frame on how long they should take to achieve. Find the right KPIs and tools to evaluate your progress, and don’t be afraid to change your tactics if something isn’t working.

And remember: don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! If you’ve done something in the past that worked well, think about how and why it worked, and let it inform your strategy as you go forward. Similarly, look to past failures and learn from them: how have your past social efforts missed the mark, and how can you avoid these mistakes going forward?

With a roadmap to social success in place, your business can begin to make guided changes to its social strategy that work toward definite goals.


2. Know your audience

There are so many eyes and ears out there on the web, but do you know who is going to listen to your brand’s voice? Identifying and empathizing with your demographic and how they spend their time online makes a huge difference in making your voice heard. Picture your ideal customer. What interests them? What are they passionate about? What do they read, watch, and talk about with their friends? What are their goals, and how can the things you do help to achieve them? The better an understanding you have of your ideal customer, the easier it will be to find people like them online and speak to them with your content.

Listen to your audience and their conversations online about your industry in general and your brand in particular. Find the keywords and phrases in these conversations, learn how they’re used, and put them into practice in your own content. These keywords, which can include anything from industry jargon to misspellings of your company’s name, make up the language that your customers speak – to walk the walk, your business needs to talk the talk.

Finally, knowing the social media influencers your audience follows and engaging with the things that interest them can put you straight into your audience’s line of sight. Learn from what influencers do to engage your audience, and put it into practice in your own social media strategy.


3. Tell your story

Just like every person, every business has a story; no two are alike. Use your social media channels to build a narrative around your business that shows how it got to where it is today. Invite your audience to think about where they enter into that narrative: how are your followers involved and invested in your success? How can the things your business does change a person’s day, or change the way they live their lives?

One way to nail a narrative is to find your niche and own it. If your service or product fits into a certain lifestyle, build a story around it, and highlight your place in it. You know the unique value of your business – tell the world about it, and appeal to an audience that will benefit from it.


4. Get conversational

Social media is a two-way street, and driving engagement with your brand means taking hold of the reins and engaging with your audience. Make your business part of the conversation online by asking and answering questions, making friends, and following back. Things don’t always have to be about sales: sharing holiday greetings, discussing local events, and starting a dialogue about current news stories are all ways a business can drive engagement from their audience and learn more about their demographic.

Most importantly, share with your audience and encourage them to share with you! Ask your audience about what they want to see, take the feedback and deliver on it. If you see someone doing something cool with your product or sharing a success story, like it, retweet it, or give a shout out! When your audience is engaged with your brand, you become a part of their network, and everyone gets to see how your business fits into the lives of people just like them. This widens your audience and compounds your chances of generating engagement.


5. Go live!

Facebook Live has quickly become a powerhouse marketing tool for the biggest brands. Your followers are notified the moment you go live, and can join at any time to watch you broadcast the things that matter to the both of you. Is your company reaching a milestone, or releasing a brand new product? Has your warehouse just received a long-awaited and much anticipated shipment? Go live, and share the moment with your fans! Hold a live Q&A session, give fans a sneak peek at exciting things in the works, or simply broadcast a day in the life of an employee. When your fans see the real people behind your products or services and share in their successes, it lays the foundation for a fanbase that is engaged, loyal, and eager to see more!


6. Call to action

Make your statements short and sweet, and provide a way for your audience to follow up and learn more. Succinctness is a virtue and brevity is the soul of wit, especially in the fast-paced world of social media, and many social media platforms have embraced this philosophy to the point of integrating it into the very nature of user interaction. Twitter’s 140-character limit is an obvious example, but Snapchat’s ephemeral photos and videos and Instagram’s bite-sized Boomerang and Stories features are more recent examples. These limitations allow you to create captivating copy and striking visuals that inspire interest and are digested at a glance. Once you have their attention, encourage users to follow up by clicking a link, signing up for an email newsletter, or looking through a complete product line to get more of the content that hooked them!


7. Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3…

Finally, always be improving. Don’t focus on a single successful formula and stick to it. Variety is the spice of life, so keep an eye out for new trends, new conversations, and new mediums to get your message out there – but be scientific about it. Keep your eyes on the KPIs, put your strategies to the test by comparing their results, and learn from your failures as well as your successes to evolve along with your audience and your social media networks as they grow.


To wrap things up

The world of social media is constantly evolving, and with these tactics your business will find its place in the world beyond a brick and mortar shop or a domain name. Take stock of how far you’ve come, and set clear and measurable objectives that correspond to your business goals. Get to know your audience, tell them your story, and get involved by listening to what they have to say. Go live, give your followers a taste of what you have to offer, and provide the means for them to learn more about what you can do for them. Always pay attention to what works, learn from what doesn’t, and test out new ideas to keep improving your reach. Most importantly, remember the point of social media: to connect people! Use your social media channels as a platform to connect to and grow your audience, not just as a megaphone to talk at them. Now get out there and give the people something to talk about!

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Getting Started With Your E-Commerce Website

From startups and small businesses to huge brands, every business can benefit from an e-commerce website, where they can sell their products or services. In today’s competitive and convenience focused society, no longer do consumers want to go out to buy items, instead, consumers want to shop from the comfort of their own homes, making e-commerce a perfect solution for both businesses and buyers. 

But while setting up an online store might seem complicated and time-consuming, it’s actually not too difficult. 

Getting your business up and selling is possible with Website Express. This powerful product allows you to quickly and easily create a website and online store powered by WordPress and WooCommerce. To make the transition to e-commerce seamless, we also have a visual builder within every Website Express account. This allows you to design and create beautiful websites without having to write a single line of code. 

What you’ll need to get started:

  • A Website Express account
  • Products or services to sell
  • 30-60 minutes to set up and add products to your online store

Before you begin

Before you jump into Website Express and start building your store, consider the following: 

  1. Understand your inventory situation. What kinds of products do you sell? How are they typically sold? 
  2. How are you wanting to sell? Local delivery? Pick-up only? While shipping is possible using Website Express, it will cost money. Initially, it may be best to start out with local delivery and pick-up.
  3. Set aside some inventory for online-only selling. Managing inventory with multiple selling platforms can be tricky at first, so it’s best to make it as simple as possible and develop a personalized system as you go along. 
It may be best to start with about five products or services. Putting your entire inventory into your ecommerce store at once could be overwhelming, and managing the listings, sales, and fulfillment can feel like a lot for an online newbie as well. 

Once you’ve chosen the products or services you want to focus on, find or generate pictures, pricing, and a description for each. Note any important attributes or variations in your products (e.g., dimensions, various sizes, colors).

Let’s start building your ecommerce website! 

Setting up your website 

Enter the Website Express product by clicking on the ‘Website’ tab in the left navigation menu. 

You will be directed to confirm your site name, tagline, and set your subdomain. This is the URL that users will type in to find your site.

  • Now it’s time to choose your template. The three at the top are the Dark, Light, and Blank options. These templates DO NOT have an easy commerce solution and may require more advanced coding. Select one of the options that are [Vertical] – With Divi and WooCommerce to ensure your site has the proper functionality.
  • Preview and compare several different templates. Once you have chosen a template, you cannot change it. 
  • Once you select a template sit back and relax while your new website spins up. This process may take 3 to 5 minutes to load.
  • You will arrive at your website’s dashboard. Your stats will be at zero at the moment, this is the place you can return in the future to see how well your website is performing.
  • On the left-hand side, there will be a button “Edit My Site”. Click it to start editing the front end, or content of your website. 

Editing text/images on your website

  • It’s time to customize your site! Let’s start with text elements. Click on the text box you’d like to edit and start making changes. 
  • Alternatively, when you hover over an element, a small dark toolbar will appear. Click on the gear icon to pull up a window that provides more options for editing and customization. Click on the window’s green checkmark to save changes.
  • This same process also works with any buttons on the page. However, as buttons have more options, you’ll need to pull up the editing modal to further customize it. You can do this by double-clicking the button, or pulling it up through the tab bar in the same way that you did with the text boxes.
  • Now it’s time for images! Many templates will have a large picture set as the background or banner across the top. To change the image, simply hover over it (while not interfering with text or other elements) and double-click. An editing modal should pop up. Click on the “Background” headline. Your current background image should be showing. Click the garbage can icon to delete the placeholder image and then click on the “Add image” icon that appears. You can either drag the image from a file on your computer or click to browse your files for the image you prefer. 
  • To edit other images on the site, simply double-click the image and replace it with your own. 

Adding and removing elements on your website

  • If there are any elements (text blocks, images, etc.) that you don’t want on your website, simply hover over the element and select the trash can icon.
  • If you want to add elements to your page, either:
    • Hover over the area you’d like to add an element and click the grey “+”,
    • Hover over the element above the spot you’d like your new element to be placed, and look for a green “+”. You may have to actually click on the element above for it to appear
  • This will bring up an “add row” selector with different options as to the number of columns in your new element. Perhaps you would like three blocks of text side-by-side? Choose the row with three columns. Maybe a wide picture on the right and a narrow text box on the left? Choose the row that shows the corresponding spacing. Just want something to go straight across your entire page? Simply choose the first option available, the one with a single column.
  • Another window should pop up now with several different element options. Search for the Image option to add a picture, the Text option for adding text, or browse to see what other options are available.

Saving your work and moving on to edit another page

  • Once you’re happy with how your website looks, or every so often along the way, you’ll want to save your progress. Look for the purple icon with three dots at the bottom of your page and click it. The icon should multiply and you’ll now have several purple icons. You’ll also have a green “Save” button in the bottom right corner. Click it to save your changes.
  • To move to another page to edit, click “Exit Visual Builder” at the top of your page. Once you’ve done so, you’ll see your page exactly as your customers will see it. To edit another page, navigate to that page and then re-enable the visual builder using the button at the top of the screen. 

Changing the logo and contact information on your website

  • To change the logo and contact information on the website you will need to navigate to the WordPress dashboard. To do this, click the name of your business in the top left corner of the screen. Once in your WordPress dashboard, in the left navigation bar click the Divi tab. 
  • You are now on the general settings tab. The top row is where you change the logo. Click the “Upload” button. 

  • Once you’ve uploaded your logo, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click the green “Save changes” button.
  • Next, we’ll plug in your business’ contact information. Back in the left navigation. You may notice that the Divi Builder tab has extended to include several sub-headings. Click on “Theme Customizer”.
  • This should bring up a new page with a different left-hand navigation. Click on “Header and Navigation”, and then “Header Elements”. The navigation bar should now contain two text bars for you to plug in your business’s information.
  • Click the blue “Publish” button at the top of the page to save your changes to your webpage.

Setting up your online store 

  1. To begin building out your store, you’ll need to navigate to your WordPress dashboard. Once on the WordPress dashboard hover over the WooCommerce tab in the left navigation and click Settings.  
  2. Once on this page, look to the top right corner. You should see a tab with the heading, “Help” and a downward arrow. Click on it.
  3. An entirely new menu should pop down. Looking at the top left side, you should see four different tabs. Click on the Setup Wizard tab, then the blue Setup Wizard button. Follow all the steps and fill in all forms (as applicable).

Adding products to your online store

  • Now it’s time to add products into your online store! Back on the left side navigation bar of your WordPress Dashboard, you should see the tab, “Products”. Click it.
  • You will see a couple of placeholder products already in your store. You can either edit one of these, or you can start from scratch to add your own products to the store by clicking the “Add New” at the top of the page. 
  • To use the template, simply double-click the product name and replace the existing text with your own. By scrolling down you will see a space for you to input the price of your product, as well as the number of items in your inventory, and a place to add any attributes.
  • You will also be able to replace the image by clicking the “Product Image” on the lower right side. Click on the image to replace it with your own. If you’d like to add additional images, look just underneath to the “Product Gallery” and click on “Add product gallery images”.

Setting up payments for your online store

  • To set up the ability to take payments, hover over the WooCommerce tab in the left navigation and click “Settings”. 
  • Click the “Payments” tab.
  • There will be a number of options available to you. All are turned off unless you enable them, which you can do by clicking on the toggle. It should turn purple once activated. Next, click the “Setup” button to the right of the option you just chose, and it will take you to a page of information to fill out to fully setup the process.
    • If you would like to use a different payment processor (ex. Stripe), WooCommerce has a variety of additional plugins for this. To add it, hover over the Plugin tab on the left navigation bar, then click “Add New”. Once on that page, look for the “Search Plugins” text box and search for “WooCommerce Stripe”. Once it appears, simply click “Add” and “Enable”. Then return to the payments tab from previous to set it up. 
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3 SEO Tips to Improve Your Keyword Research

Have you heard that improving your SEO will help you get found online more easily? You’ve probably heard that implementing keywords into the content on your website, blog, and URL are key strategies for improving your SEO ranking. However, including the wrong keywords or too many keywords can be just as detrimental.

Although you may not always notice them, keywords play an integral role when it comes to helping a small business get found online. So let’s get to it by breaking down the long and short (tail) of it.

Do Your Own Keyword Research

Keyword research should never be a one-time commitment, but rather an ever-changing process that involves a strategy and a comprehensive understanding of your business and your industry. Including keywords that are specific to your business and industry will help to ensure that the right customers are being driven to your door rather than just any customer. Although we want to increase our customer base, we don’t want to target consumers that may not find the value in our business.

Using the Right Keywords

Short-tail keywords, or keywords composed of very generic keywords, might seem appealing because they’re searched more often than long-tail keywords, however, they’re also a lot more competitive. So, unless you’re writing content for a large organization, like Apple or Macy’s, and consumers are likely searching specifically for your product, you don’t want to enter into a sea of competitors with big brands that have even bigger pockets.

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, may not be as frequently typed into a search engine—think, “Egg” vs. “Poached Egg with Avocado and Bechemel”. By including more long-tail keywords into the content on your page, you’ll attract a larger number of customers who are likely to search for any combination of those long-tail keywords.

Location-based keywords are keywords that directly relate to your business’s physical location. For example, if your business is a bakery in a popular neighborhood in Charlotte, NC, you’ll want to include not only Charlotte, but also the name of that specific neighborhood. By doing so, you’re more likely to target visitors in your area rather than across town who may or may not ever make it to your location.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Speaking of misleading customers that may not find value in your business, adding practically any keyword under the sun is referred to as keyword stuffing and is largely considered a taboo in the digital marketing world. Like with any other digital marketing rule of thumb, less is more and quality will always conquer quantity. Ideally, a website’s content should include keywords in a natural way. However, by inputting keywords into a few sentences and repeating them over and over, you’re stuffing your content with keywords. Even if they’re good keywords, it’s still too much.

Now that you’ve read through these tips, you’re ready to become an SEO expert too!

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Why Your Website Needs an SSL Certificate

Have you ever noticed that some website URLs start with HTTP while others start with HTTPS? Maybe you’ve noticed a tiny lock icon in the top left corner of your browser? What exactly does it all mean?

Websites that are HTTPS have an SSL certificate.

SS-what? SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a secure protocol developed for sending sensitive information over the internet. If a website you are on has an SSL certificate, it means that the site is secure and encrypted. Any data you enter is safely shared with that website and that website only.

Let’s talk technical for a second. How does SSL actually prevent information theft?

When you start to break down what SSL is, you’ll discover it’s asymmetric (or public-key) encryption. This requires each party to generate a public and private key pair. Imagine a padlock on a gate. Anyone can go up to the lock, inspect it, and even try to open it with their key. However, only the right key can actually unlock it. In this example, the padlock is a public key, they are visible to the general public. Private keys are exactly that, private. These private keys are used to unlock public keys.

When you fill out a form on a website without an SSL certificate, the information can be intercepted by a hacker. This site would be classified as not secure.

The information you submitted could be anything from a banking transaction to your credit card information. A hacker could intercept your information in a number of ways, one of the most common is when a hacker places a small, undetected listening program on the server that is hosting a website. That program ‘wakes up’ when a website visitor starts typing their information. This listening program will begin capturing the information and send it back to the hacker.

When you visit a website that has an SSL certificate, your browser will form a connection with the web server and bind to it. This connection is secure so that no one besides you and the website where you’re submitting your information can see or access it.

This connection happens instantly. There is no manual work required. You simply need to visit a website with an SSL certificate and your connection will automatically be secured.

Why is SSL so important?

You might be thinking, I’m not accepting sensitive information through my website! Regardless of if you are in the business of accepting delicate information or not, having an SSL certificate is still incredibly important.

SSL and SEO

In 2014, Google made adjustments to its ever-changing algorithm for SEO rankings. The major change? Websites using SSL certificates. Google began and still continues to flag sites without SSL certificates as untrustworthy.

Sites with an SSL certificate receive an SEO boost and will be the default result for searchers. If you want to be findable on Google, having an SSL certificate on your website is absolutely necessary.

SSL and online payments

If you are conducting online transactions through your website, it is imperative that you have an SSL certificate. As an online shop, it’s your primary responsibility to ensure that the information being exchanged over your online store is protected.

How do you prove to your customers that their usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers are not being revealed to malicious hackers? Having an SSL certificate!

SSL and consumer trust

Did you know that Google Chrome is the most popular web browser? 44.5% of internet users search the internet using it. On the Chrome browser, you are able to easily spot a site with an SSL certificate. Next to the URL is a tiny lock icon. If a site has an SSL certificate it shows it locked, however, if a site does not have an SSL certificate the lock will be open and red text will read ‘Not Secure’. The second a customer lands on a website that is labeled ‘not secure’, they are going to feel less comfortable browsing it, even if there is no sensitive information being passed across it. SSL certificates have become an absolute necessity for any business that wants to be perceived as trustworthy.

There’s no denying the confidence and trust that an SSL certificate can provide to a site. Choosing an SSL certificate to secure a website demonstrates that a business values customer trust, which is essential to financial success, customer conversion, and business growth.

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How to set up an online store

Selling your products and services online rather than in-store means that you need a website with the capability to handle an online store. But while setting up an online store might seem complicated and time-consuming, it’s actually not as difficult as it seems!

Where possible, many businesses are moving some–or all–of their products and services online. Have you been investigating transitioning some of your business’ sales and operations to ecommerce?

To get started, all you need is a website that’s powered by WordPress—we’ll show you how to do the rest using WooCommerce, a free and open source plugin that allows you to easily set up a functioning web store, complete with payment and shipping options, in minutes.

What you’ll need to get started

  • A website powered by WordPress
  • Products or services to sell
  • 30-60 minutes to set up and add products to your online store

Set up and install WooCommerce

Step 1: Find and install the WooCommerce plugin

First, you’ll need to install WooCommerce on your WordPress website. You can download it for free from the WordPress repository, or you can install it directly from your WordPress dashboard. 

Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New. Search for “woocommerce”, and click Install Now on the WooCommerce plugin (Note that the correct plugin’s author will be listed as Automattic). Wait a moment for the plugin to install, and then click Activate

The plugin will now be active on your WordPress site.

Step 2: Follow the Setup Wizard

After installing WooCommerce, you’ll have access to the WooCommerce Setup Wizard to configure your store’s key settings like location information, payment and shipping methods, and types of products that you’ll be selling. Note that everything you choose in the setup wizard can be changed later on in your WooCommerce settings.

You’ll first enter information about your store’s address, the currency you accept, and whether you’ll be selling digital or physical products (or both).

Step 3: Choose your payment processing methods

Next, you’ll choose which payments you’ll accept using your online store. By default, you can use Stripe and/or PayPal, but you can also choose to accept offline payments like checks and cash.

Select the options you’d like to use, and WooCommerce will set them up for you. Extensions that allow you to use more payment processing methods are available, if necessary.

Step 4: Choose a shipping method

You can also configure how customers will be charged for shipping. You can set one rate for your specific business area, as well as other rates for customers outside of your business’ area. 

Step 5: Choose optional add-ons

Once you’ve configured the basic settings for your online WooCommerce store, you can review optional add-ons. None of these add-ons are necessary to run your store, but some, such as Storefront, can simplify certain aspects of setting up your store.

Step 6: Finish setup

Before completing the setup process, you can choose to enable Jetpack, which is another WordPress plugin with additional features that can help in setting up and running your store. This plugin is not required, however WooCommerce recommends that if you’re in the U.S., you’ll want to enable Jetpack given recent legal changes.

Once you’ve completed the steps above, your store will now be ready for use, and you can begin adding your products to it.

Managing your WooCommerce store

After installing WooCommerce, two new tabs will be available on your dashboard’s side menu: WooCommerce–which contains your store settings, and Products, containing your product settings.

Follow the link at the end of the Setup Wizard or go to Products > Add New to begin adding products to your store. 

WooCommerce has extensive documentation and tutorials on how to set up, manage, and operate your store. Here are some handy links for how to add products, sell and ship them, manage orders, and more:

Add and manage products

Adding and Managing Products

Adding Product Images and Galleries

Managing Product Categories, Tags and Attributes

Product CSV Importer and Exporter

Payment options

Managing payment options (Stripe, Paypal, payment on delivery, etc.)

Setting up Taxes in WooCommerce

Which Payment Option is Right for Me?

Shipping options

Managing shipping options (Flat rate, local pickup, free shipping, etc.)

Setting up Shipping Zones

Product Shipping Classes

Order management

Managing Orders

Email FAQ

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Setting Up Google Search Console in the Executive Report

We are happy to bring SEO reporting to your Executive Report through Google Search Console! In this article, you will learn why SEO is relevant to your business, what Google Search Console is, and why it’s important to connect your Google Search Console Account to your Executive Report.

SEO Overview

You work hard to be found by your customers online. Right now, you can see your performance pay off in several individual areas, whether it be managing your reviews, listings, social media, or advertising, which is of utmost importance. With Google Search Console reporting, you can also see how all these efforts come together to improve your overall Search Engine Optimization performance. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. For a business to appear in top organic search results, you need to have a strong SEO strategy. Many components make up your website’s SEO – the number of reviews you have and your star rating, how many listings are correct and consistent across the web, how active you are on social, website speed and security, mobile responsiveness, and more.

What is Google Search Console in the Executive Report?

Google Search Console is a tool that Google provides at no charge to website owners, to measure a website’s search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your site shine in Google Search results.

Among its many features, one is the ability to see detailed analytics about organic ‘SERP’ (Search engine rank position) of a website, what search queries (keywords) are being typed into Google, and what pages are appearing the most via organic search.  Our integration brings these features into the Business App Executive Report.

Visit the Google Search Console website for more info.

With the Google Search Console section in your Executive Report, you get metrics on your website’s SEO performance. This provides proof that all the work and resources you are putting towards being found by your customers is resulting in your business’s website appearing more often right where your customers are searching: On Google. 

By connecting Google Search Console to Business App, you can see detailed automatic proof-of-performance analytics on searches happening on Google:

  • how many queries their website appears on page one of Google
  • how many clicks their website is getting
  • how many impressions their website is getting
  • which queries are getting the most clicks, and their avg. position in search results
  • which website pages are getting the most clicks and impressions

With this powerful no-cost feature, you can see how all the hard work you do on your business’s marketing (website content, blog, listings, reviews, social media, etc) is resulting in real-world improvements in your SEO – and helping you get more customers!

Connect now, or read on to learn more.

Understanding the importance of Google Search Results

Google search results have three primary forms of results. The first is paid media, such as Google Ads. The advertiser is paying to be at or very near the top of Google search results. The searcher knows what results are paid ads, as seen in the screenshot below.

The second section in Google Search Engine results is the local pack. This comes from owned and earned media. It showcases local businesses close to your search location. SEO always plays into the local pack ranking factors.

The third and final result are organic search results. This is where 40% of website traffic comes from, so it’s extremely important your business’s website is ranking on the first page of search results so that customers can find you.

Why connect Google Search Console?

With the addition of Search Console to the Executive Report, you have a powerful tool for SEO reporting that will help you see how all the hard work you do for your business is paying off in higher search ranking.

Our reporting also provides a unique KPI that is not available from within Google Search Console itself: “Queries on 1st page of Google Search”. This number is calculated daily, and reveals if your business is making progress in the outcome you truly want: to show up on page one of Google search, and get more website visits from more potential customers.  This metric tracks exactly that, with no extra noise.

Best of all, this reporting is automated. Connect it once to deliver automatic, ongoing proof-of-performance reporting.

1. Setup Google Search Console

Ensure you have a Google Search Console connected to their website using the URL-prefix property, and fully verified. If you don’t yet have a Google Search Console account, you can set one up in a few quick steps here or reach out to your account rep.

Note: it takes 24-48 hours after a new property is connected to Google Search Console for data to start to appear on Google’s side.

2. Connect Search Console to Business App

  • In Business App > Connections, you’ll find a card to connect Google Search Console.
  • Click ( + ) to add an account. Only one connection per account is permitted at this time.
  • Log into your Google account that has permission to access this Search Console account.
  • All accounts that can be connected will appear in this list. Choose the account you want to connect.
  • Once connected, it will take up to just a few minutes for existing data to appear in the Executive Report. 30 days of history is pulled in when an account is first connected.

Note: If the account you want to connect does not appear here, make sure it is a ‘URL-prefix property’, and not a ‘domain property’; make sure it is fully verified; and make sure the Google account you are connecting with has sufficient permissions to view this search console account.

3. Customize the queries tracked in the Exec Report

You can completely customize the keywords that are tracked and reported on in the Executive Report, via Search Console.

  • When Search Console is first connected, Business App will automatically pull in the top 10 search queries for this business, by clicks for reporting 
  • You can customize these keywords, remove, or add, up to 20 keywords to be reported on in the Executive Report.
  • Go to Business App > Connections > and click the kabob > click “Edit Queries”

FAQ

I’ve connected Search Console to Business App, but I don’t see any data in the Executive Report?

  • It can take up to 5 minutes to pull in data to display in the Executive Report. The app automatically pulls in 90 days worth of data, and you should usually be able to see data in the most recent weekly Executive Report.
  • If there is nothing appearing, this will happen when there are no queries that have received clicks in the last 30 days. With no clicked queries, there are no performance metrics to report on, and therefore the cards do not appear. As you work at improving the SEO of your website, and it starts to receive organic clicks, data will appear in the report.