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Critical Data For Online Business Listings

Listings for local SEO

If you want to rank well in local search, you need consistent NAP data, website, hours, and more across all major listing directories. This is essential for search engines to validate you as a credible local business.

The more accurate and consistent data there is about your business across the web, the more search engines will trust the validity of the business. And the more the search engines trust the business, the higher they will rank in local SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

According to Moz in their 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors survey, 13% of professionals list citation signals as the most important element in Local Pack Ranking factor.

local listing factors

Moz, 2017


What’s in an online business listing?

The information contained in business listings can vary across verticals and directories—but some key pieces of information hold true across them all.

NAP Data

The most crucial data held in a business listing is the NAP data—name, address, and phone number information. NAP data is critical for the online visibility of any business, and every listing source contains this information for the businesses listed. Having correct NAP data ensures that not only will consumers find your business online, but that consumers will also have accurate, up-to-date information on how to contact you.

NAP data is also important for search engines like Google to display your business in geo-targeted searches. If someone is searching “good seafood” in the Boston area, the local Boston seafood places with correct NAP data will appear. Of course Google gives search ranking priority to business with correct NAP data—how else are they supposed to tell where you are, what you do, and if you’re even a legitimate business at all?

The stats

Consumers are looking for your business! What exactly are they looking for?

  • 53% of mobile searchers are looking for directions
  • 50% are looking for business addresses

Think with Google

Despite the importance of accurate NAP data, our data shows that many businesses are failing even at this basic step into the world of listings.

  • 86% of businesses have either missing or incorrect company name information listed across all listings sources
  • 72% of businesses have either missing or incorrect address information listed across all listings sources
  • 71% of businesses have either missing or incorrect phone number information listed across all listings sources

Data taken from the 140,000+ local businesses in our system

Hours of Operation

One of the most important details about your business to include besides NAP data is the hours of operation. When a consumer is searching for their business (or their goods/services), they have a high purchase intent, and are likely searching for an immediate need.

The consumer will likely a visit a business after the business is shown as “open” on their Google search.

hours of operation

If your business has no hours listed, the consumer would have to go out of their way to find out whether you’re open or closed from their website, or a phone call. Or, worse yet, they drive to visit your business and find that you’re closed! Now they’re not only inconvenienced by not knowing your business hours, but they’re also upset for wasting their time. Let the negative reviews commence!

If your competitor has their business hours listed, they’ll likely capture that consumer. People just want their needs fulfilled—they’d be happy to spend their money at a business that has their hours correctly listed if they were coming in-store to make the purchase.

The stats

  • 73% of purchases that result from mobile searches happen within the same day, and most (63%) within a few hours
  • 76% of consumers report that they expected hours of operation information when conducting a search
  • Over 60% of consumers find that knowing the business hours helps them make their purchase decision

Localeze, 2015

Consumers are often looking to make purchases the same day that they’re searching, so make sure they know your store is open when they go looking!

Websites

Does your business have a central “hub” of information to direct users to online? Throw that website link into your business listings. Consumers will often travel from Google search into a business website to get a feel for the business, and learn more about what they’re offering. So obviously, including a link to your website is important for their online presence.

The stats

  • 93% of businesses have either missing or incorrect website information listed across all listings sources
  • Only 7% of businesses have their website information correct across all listing sources
  • Nearly half of small businesses don’t have a website (Clutch)
website accuracy

Website accuracy by industry

If a user can find your website, they’ll get a better impression of your business, and likely have a more positive experience. With nearly half of small businesses not having a website, you can make your business stand out on the SERP by including your website data in the listing information.

Other listing information to include

Depending on your business vertical, there may be other pieces of information important for you to include in their online business listings.

  • Payment methods
  • Services
  • Brands
  • Holiday hours
  • Photos
  • Social profiles
  • And more!

The more information you include across all listing sources and directories, the easier it will be for consumers to find your business and purchase your products and/or services.

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30 Digital Advertising Statistics for Businesses

While the world of online marketing has expanded far beyond paid advertising, advertising still plays a very important role in generating revenue and business. Digital advertising is the top of the “new advertising stack,” and it’s what can create brand awareness, drive sales, and create visibility across a variety of channels that are oversaturated with businesses trying to stand out.

Although there are many new players in the online marketing landscape like email, social media, and reputation, digital advertising isn’t set to slow down yet—a statement that’s underlined by the fact that ad spend is set to grow from $83 billion in 2017 to over $129 billion by 2021 (DMB Adobe).

We’ve compiled this list of top advertising stats so you can spend your advertising dollars where it matters, and get the ROI you need to thrive in the digital world.


Statistics about Digital Advertising

1. Digital ad spend is set to grow from $83 billion this year to $129+ billion by 2021

2. Google and Facebook are set to rake in 63.1% of digital ad spend in 2017

3. Google has +20% y/y advertising revenue growth, Facebook has +62% y/y growth

4. 39% of marketers list search engine marketing as their top business priority for 2017

5. Marketers that invest over 10% of their budgets on measurement are three times more likely to beat their sales targets by 25% or more

6. 56% of advertising use engagement to measure success, 21% use conversion & revenue

7. 34% of social media marketers list “tying social campaigns to business goals” as a top challenge


Video Advertising Statistics for 2018

8. 2017’s video advertising spend is $13.23 billion, and projected to reach $22.18 billion by 2021

9. 68% of consumers feel positively about watching video ads for mobile app rewards

10. 52% of marketers believe that video is effective for brand awareness

11. Online shoppers who view demo videos are 1.81x more likely to purchase than non-viewers

12. 51.9 percent of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI

13. According to retailers, video can account for a 40% increase in purchases

14. Mobile shoppers are 3x as likely to watch a video than desktop shoppers

15. 46% of users act after viewing an ad

16. 80% of consumers remember a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days

17. Combining video with full-page ads boosts engagement by 22 percent

18. Ecommerce sellers find that using product videos increases product purchases by 144%

19. Video ad completion rate for videos 15 seconds long is 93-95%, with 30 second videos seeing a completion rate of 92-93%

20. Over half of video advertising is viewed on mobile


Mobile Advertising Statistics

21. Americans spend 71% of their online time on mobile, with Canada and the UK coming in at 62% and 61% respectively

22. Average smartphone conversion rates are up by 64%

23. Mobile advertising accounts for $37 billion of the $73 billion total ad spend (51%)

24. 81% of consumers feel negatively about mobile add pop-ups

25. Mobile accounts for 60% of click share on Google Search ads, compared to desktop’s 32%

26. Search ad spending on mobile is set to rise by 25% in 2017


Social Media Advertising Statistics

27. 70% of advertisers plan to increase their mobile social advertising budget in 2017

28. 26% of Facebook Users that click ads make a purchase

29. Images account for 75-90% of Facebook advertising effectivity/performance

30. The best headline length for a Facebook ad is four words, with 15 for the description.

Sources: DMB Adobe, 2017 | Smart Insights, 2017 | KPCB, 2017 | Digital  Marketing Depot, 2017 | eMarketer, 2017 | CMS Report | WordStream, 2017 | Small Biz Trends, 2016 | WowMakers, 2016

Contact us to get started with digital advertising for your business today!

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5 Reasons You Need Instagram for Your Business

Instagram has entered the territory of “must” rather than “nice-to-have” when it comes to social marketing for businesses. There are a few key reasons why every business should have an Instagram account, and why you’re going to be pretty left out if you don’t get on this social platform.


1. Skyrocket Your Engagement

The data shows that Instagram is the #1 platform for getting post engagement.

That means that if you want to establish a relationship with your client base (which you do), then you’re going to need that post engagement that only Instagram can provide.

But let’s back it up for a second…

It’s an interesting time to be involved in social media marketing… Facebook is facing major allegations, and as a result—people are doing crazy things like starting movements to delete their Facebook accounts… (For my sake, and the sake of your distant relatives, please do not delete your facebook). As much as internet trolls might have you think that it’s the social media Armageddon, I assure you that life will go on.

It might be looking a little overcast in the internet landscape, but before we pack our bags —there’s still some hope. Facebook’s more charismatic and adopted little brother (Instagram) still has users entranced with its purity and boasts a pristine opportunity for brands who are ready to stir up the marketing pot.

Now, Instagram is the #1 platform for post engagement because its focus on visual content creates a very unique space for brands to interact with others—and if you’re a skeptic, the numbers don’t lie. According to a study conducted by Forrester, Facebook and Twitter organic post engagement levels are currently less than 0.1%. In comparison, the millennial-centric Instagram boasts regular engagement at 4% for brands. (That’s 40x better btw).

instagram stats

2. Grow Your Following with Ease

80 percent of Instagram accounts already follow a business on Instagram, and 65% of top-performing posts feature products. The translation here is obvious, Instagrammers want to see branded content, and they want to connect with brands.

Add the engagement levels for brands (4%) that we just saw and we have the optimal landscape for growing your branded following on this platform.

3. Generate Leads

Instagram is a tool for lead generation.

We know that social media strongly influences purchase decisions, even if that is at the subconscious level of the consumer decision-making process.

It’s 2018, and our favorite lead generation tool (Facebook) is making algorithm changes that are making it harder for brands to get heard. With engagement rates already resting around the 0.1% mark, it just might be the ideal time to expand your reach to include some Instagram marketing.

With Instagram, 60% of users have first heard of a product or service through the platform, and over 120 million Instagram users visited a website, got directions, or called/emailed/direct messaged a business as a result of their engagement with the platform (sproutsocial). That means that 120 million Instagrammers have been lead to a business through the platform.

You can easily use Instagram to generate new business and sales with strategic content and links in your bio, as well as reach new targeted and engaged audiences through paid ad campaigns through the Facebook ad platform.

4. Stay On Top of “Instagram Reviews”

A little-known fact is that when an Instagram user posts something on Instagram and uses a location tag, this tag isn’t owned or regulated by the business that owns the physical location. All location tags on Instagram, or “Instagram Geotags”,” are tied to a separate public account that Instagram will store posts under.

Instagram Reviews

For businesses, this is a blessing and a curse.

Best Case Scenario:

Say you own a local restaurant and you have numerous dedicated and consistent customers who love to post at your restaurant and have nothing but glowing words to accompany beautiful pictures of your space. When others look at your location on Instagram, this is what they see, and they are that much more likely to convert and become loyal customers as well.

Worst Case Scenario:

You own the same local restaurant, but one dissatisfied customer took it upon themselves to post a picture of your front door exclaiming their disgust with the service that they received. This post has lingered on the web and likely dissuaded other customers from posting to the location, and has resulted in the loss of unknown amounts of revenue through prospects who steered away from your business as a result.

Although you have no control over the things that users might be saying about your brand (much like standard reviews), you can still help mitigate some possible damages by having a branded Instagram account and monitoring the posts on your location. Much like negative reviews left on other review platforms, by responding to negative Instagram posts, you are much more likely to prevent harm to your reputation.

5. Don’t Get Left Behind

As of 2017, nearly 71% of businesses in the United States were already using Instagram. The release of Instagram business profiles and the ability to to run ads/analytics with ease have been large factors in driving the Instagram growth movement.

business instagram use
Source: eMarketer

You may notice that this looks like an exponential growth graph, and that’s probably because it is. Fortunately for you, just because 71% of these businesses are using Instagram doesn’t mean that these businesses are using it to its full potential.

We can make a pretty good estimate as to where this usage rate is going to reside by the end of 2018, so don’t get left behind.


Don’t wait, get started on your Instagram strategy today to generate new leads, amplify your brand, and build new business!

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Understanding and Optimizing Your Website Speed

What is Page Speed?

Page speed is the amount of time it takes for the content on a website’s page to fully load. In a world where people have come to expect instantaneous results, faster is better.

In fact, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds, according to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com.

But how long do most websites take to load?

The standards many have been using for page load time come from a study conducted by Geoff Kenyon where he compares website speed against the rest of the web:

  • if your site loads in 5 seconds, it is faster than approximately 25% of the web
  • if your site loads in 2.9 seconds, it is faster than approximately 50% of the web
  • if your site loads in 1.7 seconds, it is faster than approximately 75% of the web
  • if your site loads in 0.8 seconds, it is faster than approximately 94% of the web

So how can you determine how your website stacks up?


How to Determine Your Page Speed and Score

Here’s how to measure how your website stacks up:

  1. Hop into your website’s Google Analytics Site Speed reports. This will give you an idea of how your site has performed over various time periods and the load speed of each of your pages.
  2. Enter your site’s URL into Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool. This will give you a report card on your website’s speed performance on mobile devices and desktop. The report comes with some recommended actions you can take to improve your site’s speed.
  3. Check Pingdom’s website speed test to find out the speed, rank and percent faster than the average of Pingdom’s tested websites
  4. GTMetrix will provide a comprehensive look at your site’s speed optimization status.

Note: Don’t puzzle yourself when you see different speed timing in Pingdom and Gtmetrix. As Pingdom will show you load time (The time it takes to show the first result of your website—that’s what google counts and you should too) and GTmetrix will show you full load time (The time it takes to show full page with it’s full functionality running).

For further understanding, it’s always good to see the speed waterfall from both tools.


Why Does Page Speed Matter?

Bridging the gap between user expectations (2 seconds) and average website load time (5 seconds) is the goal of page speed optimization and the tactics we’ll outline later. But why exactly does page speed matter? It comes down to 3 main interconnected reasons:

1. Speed Kills UX

User experience is probably the most important reason you should care about website speed, so we’ll start here.

People don’t have the patience for slow loading websites anymore. In the beginning, just connecting to the internet required a tolerance that just doesn’t exist anymore.

Today, people are constantly online and you’ve got 3 seconds maximum to display your page or they’re gone. More than 3 seconds creates a poor user experience and the bar is only going to get higher in the future.

2. Speed Kills SEO

User experience is actually the driving force behind the SEO implications of site speed. While Google has been slow to officially reveal whether slow websites would receive ranking demotions, it appears that those days are coming. You need to make sure your website is ready.

3. Speed Kills Conversions

Your site speed’s effect on conversions is what should really catch your attention. How can you move people through your funnel if each step takes forever? Your super-fans will do it, but those new, hesitant people who are prone to buyers-remorse will bounce.


8 Tactics to Make Your Website Load Faster

Speeding up your site is not necessarily going to be a snap. If you have a small, light site you may just need to try a couple of tactics on this list.

However, large, older sites with a lot of code and content may require some persistence and the implementation of several tactics on the following list.

Here’s where to start:

1. Leverage browser caching:

When you visit sites, your browser often caches pages on the site to speed up load time.

Browser caching stores webpage resource files on a local computer when a user visits a webpage, so leveraging browser caching is when you instruct browsers how their resources should be dealt with.

Things can slow down when the response from your server does not include caching headers or if resources are specified to be cached for only a short time.

Leveraging caching will load your pages much faster for repeat visitors and so will other pages that share those same resources.

Here’s how to do it

2. Optimize images:

If images load faster, your site loads faster, period. Google notes that “…images often account for most of the downloaded bytes on a page. As a result, optimizing images can often yield some of the largest byte savings and performance improvements.”

This means that you can get some big improvements when the images on your pages can be optimized to reduce their file size without significantly impacting their visual quality.

Here’s how to do it

3. Minify HTML, CSS & JavaScript:

Minifying removes any unnecessary characters that are not required for the code to execute.

Sources of redundant data that you can remove includes code comments and formatting, removing unused code, using shorter variable and function names, and more.

Here’s how to do it

4. Enable gzip compression:

Gzip compression drastically reduces the size of files sent from your server when someone visits your website. This will speed things up considerably.

According to GTMetrix,

“The reason gzip works so well in a web environment is because CSS files and HTML files use a lot of repeated text and have loads of whitespace. Since gzip compresses common strings, this can reduce the size of pages and style sheets by up to 70%!”

Here’s how to do it

5. Reduce server response time:

Server response time is the amount of time it takes for a web server to respond to a request from a browser. This is a key issue to address because if your server response time is slow your pages will display slow, no matter how optimized your pages are for speed.

Google says you should reduce your server response time under 200ms. So how do you make this happen?

Here’s how to do it

6. Avoid landing page redirects:

Your site can really slow down when you have more than one redirect from the given URL to the final landing page. This sets off a redirect loop that takes time to process.

Here are a few examples of redirects that can slow things down:

example.com → m.example.com/home – multi-roundtrip penalty for mobile users.
example.com → www.example.com → m.example.com – very slow mobile experience.

Here’s how to do it

7. Prioritize visible content:

This is the exact message you’ll get from Google’s PageSpeed tool when additional network round trips are required to render the above the fold content of the page.

This “above the fold” content is what you see on a desktop or device when you visit a page. So prioritizing visible content is the recommendation that you prioritize things so that essential elements on your page load first (and quickly) for users and that you defer secondary page elements like social sharing plugins, analytics javascript, etc.

Here’s how to do it

8. Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content:

JavaScript and CSS resources often prevent your page from displaying until they’re fully loaded. This is often a good idea, since the premature display of your above the fold content can look pretty grotesque.

However, this is a common message you’ll get from Google about site speed, and addressing it can really take your page speed up a few notches.

Here’s how to do it

Note: This is the hardest thing to fix for most people. There are WordPress plugins that just do it but they can make your site look like Frankenstein on every load.

Want lightning-fast, Google Cloud-hosted WordPress sites? Contact us today!

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The Basics of Online Advertising

How does online advertising help a local business grow?

Digital advertising increases awareness—it’s that simple. Digital advertising consists of a range of services, all of which work to promote a business online.

More and more businesses are increasing the amount that they spend on digital advertising, and experts like Jamie Turner suggest digital advertising on social platforms is well worth the spend.

If I were to provide one tip to people who are using social media, it would be this — don’t be afraid of paying for social media reach and clicks.” – Jamie Turner, 60secondmarketer.com

The best part about digital advertising is that results can be easily monitored and ROI can be easily tracked. You probably don’t want to be spending lotsa money without some proof of performance right?

With traditional media channels, there is sometimes no way of tracking the effectiveness of an advertisement in terms of advanced data analytics. With digital advertising, companies like Google and Facebook allow users to access advanced analytics. This way local businesses know that their money is being well spent and that the digital advertisements are positively impacting their storefront.

When determining the success of an ad, the important factors will differ case by case. For the most part, the success of an ad lies in the indicators listed below.

ROI indicators/measures of a successful campaign:

  • Impressions: the actual # of views on an advertisement
  • Clicks: the actual # of direct clicks on the advertisement
  • Engagements: Social & landing page clicks
  • Results: In most cases, results come in the form of a phone call or a store visit.

The Best Places to Advertise

Through our team’s extensive work in the digital advertising space, we have come to the same conclusion as pretty much every digital advertising company. The best places to spend money on digital advertising are Google & Facebook.

With digital advertising, not only is a local business visible online, but they are visible to the right people online. Platforms like Facebook and Google allow for advanced targeting, which puts a local business in front of consumers who are more likely to convert into a sale.

Plus, Google and Facebook accounted for roughly 60 percent of ad spend in 2017!

 

Why advertise on Google?

Reach: Google is the largest search network in the world, and consumers are using Google every single day to search for local businesses. Utilizing Google’s massive network capabilities, digital advertisers are able to find ideal prospects and get in front of users looking for their products/services.

In the age of digital, people are not looking at TV commercials or listening to radio ads to find a local business, they are searching for a service and then locating your business online.

With 3.5 Billion Google searches conducted every single day, customers are looking for local businesses and businesses should want to be on Google.

Flexibility: Google allows the local advertiser to spend whatever they want, whenever they want. With flexible options for ad spend, advertisers are able to test what works and what doesn’t work for a business. Spend a bit, wait to see how the campaign performs, and then reinvest in larger budgets for greater prospect reach.

Why advertise on Facebook?

AudienceThe audience on Facebook includes 1.32 billion daily active users (DAUs) on average, at an increase of 17% year-over-year. As a local business, you simply cannot ignore the fact that Facebook is likely an intersection in which you can find prospective customers. If the daily average users stat doesn’t have you convinced then let’s talk about how often social media is being used. The average person spends nearly 35 minutes everyday JUST on Facebook, according to a recent study by Mediakix.

If there is one thing to take away it is that the audience on Facebook is MASSIVE, and they are on Facebook a LOT.

Targeting: Facebook Ad targeting is a marketer’s dream. Facebook allows the ability to focus on users so microscopically that you can basically become a bit of a digital stalker (in a good way?). Target users by their interests, behaviours, age, gender, location, and really anything that their Facebook profile may reveal about them including job title.

The Facebook algorithm has brought about changes to the local advertising landscape, but it remains one of the best environments for local businesses to get the word out about themselves!

Conclusion

By leveraging these two platforms, every local business can easily take their advertising game to the next level, and begin to rake in new revenue—with the data to back their investment.

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How to Respond to Positive Reviews

A good or bad reputation can mean the difference between a business thriving and expanding, or closing their doors for good. In the digital age, a business’s reputation is controlled by consumers using online review platforms like Yelp, Google and Facebook to announce the quality of their business publicly. The good news is that this lets businesses easily monitor and manage their online reputation, a power they can put to good use by responding in a timely manner to the reviews they receive.

While negative reviews often get this most attention, positive reviews are as or more important! It’s important to respond to positive reviews to thank customers for taking the time to review your business and to encourage others to do the same.

With 92% of consumers reading reviews online, businesses can’t afford to sit on the sidelines. An effective response will help ensure that a happy first time customer becomes a regular, and 70% of complaining customers will come back if you resolve the complaint in their favor. The first step is engaging with them.


How to respond to positive reviews

It’s simple. Thank the customer, name drop, promote and tell the customer what to do!

  1. Say thank you and be specificNo one would let a compliment pass them by in real life. Apply that same principle to a review response! And make sure to reiterate your customer’s compliment. This let’s the customer know that a real person took time out of their day to acknowledge them, and that feels good.
  2. Use the business name and keywordsDon’t miss out on the opportunity to drive your business up in search results—positive reviews work wonders in search. Referring to your business name, location and category (restaurant, coffee shop, hotel, etc.) helps index that review online.
  3. Market, market, marketIs your business famous for a certain secret sauce? Are you having a promotion next month? A review response is a great place to get the good word out.
  4. Give your customer a taskNot as scary as it sounds. Invite them to try something different the next time they visit, or bring a friend!

As you can see, there’s a ton of potential hidden in a positive review response. Instead of one advertisement to rule them all, each review is an opportunity to sell your business!

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Just Because You Have A Website, Does Not Mean Everyone Will Find You

Having a website is a great way to get more people to know about your business by finding it online. But it’s not an instant shortcut to page one of Google’s search listings. Getting there can take a lot of time and work optimizing your website for search engines. And it helps to have some SEO expertise backing you up.

How does Google determine search results?

To bring up the most relevant results for a user’s search term, Google ranks all the pages on the web using a complex algorithm. There are aspects of this algorithm that even the experts don’t fully know about, and it’s changing all the time to keep improving the user experience.

Google’s search algorithm is based on a number of factors, including:

  • The age of your domain name
  • Relevance of static content (About Us, Services, FAQ, etc.)
  • Quality and frequency of updated content (blog posts, recent news, etc.)
  • Outbound and inbound links
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Website load and page speeds
  • User experience on your site – e.g. bounce rates
  • Social signals
  • Meta-data (back-end coding and HTML)
  • Security (SSL certificate)

Why is my website not listed in Google’s search results?

You’ve probably tried Googling various search terms to see how well your website stacks up in Google’s search listings. It’s understandably frustrating when you don’t see your website listed on the first page or even the second page. Here are some of the reasons that could be behind this…

  1. Your website hasn’t been indexed yet

Google works very quickly, but it still takes time for its bots to work their way through billions of webpages to index them. If you’ve recently created a website for your business, then it might not show up on Google at all because it hasn’t been indexed yet. Here are some tips to help get your site indexed faster.

2. Your website’s SEO isn’t up to scratch

If your website has been indexed and you finally find a link to it on page five of Google, then it might just be that your SEO needs some more work. If Google’s bots scan your website and decide that it’s not relevant enough to the user’s keyword or that your content isn’t of a high enough quality, then it’s going to get pushed down the rankings. Consider how you can improve your SEO with the ranking factors listed above, or let us help you improve your SEO.

3. Competition is high

If you’ve poured time and money into your website’s SEO but still find yourself coming up short, then it might just be that competition in your field and for your keywords is too high. If others are doing it better, you’re still going to get pushed down the pages. Conduct some more keyword research to find keywords and phrases that are less competitive.

Rising up the search engine results pages doesn’t happen overnight, but here at Hallen Media, we’ve got the SEO skills and knowledge needed to get your brand seen by more people online. Contact our team to find out how we can help boost your SEO and improve your brand’s visibility online.

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How to Respond to Negative Reviews

Believe it or not, the same premise applies to negative review response as it does to positive reviews. How you respond to a negative review impacts not only the reviewer, but all the sets of eyes that come afterward. Seeing a business handle a particularly challenging review online suggests that management is proud of their business, and willing to go the extra mile to maintain their reputation!

Make potential clients see the light with these four steps: apologize, promote, get offline, keep it simple.


How to respond to negative reviews

  1. Apologize and sympathizeThe first step towards fixing a problem is acknowledging that one occurred. Regardless of what happened, a simple apology and sympathy for your customer’s experience goes a long way.
  2. PromoteSo the famous crab cakes weren’t up to par the day this particular customer visited. If they’re what you are known for, why not reiterate that? “Our crab cakes are usually a hit, we’re sorry to hear that they weren’t up to par when you visited!”
  3. Move the conversation offlineDon’t open a can of worms. Keep the lid on tight by offering the reviewer the chance to reach out via phone, email or both.
  4. Keep it simpleAvoid specifics and don’t ask questions. Those conversations are much better served in a space away from the prying public.

One last pro tip: leave your business name, location and category out of this. You don’t want your negative reviews showing up in search!


Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? You can use software to pull in your reviews from all over the web so you can respond quickly. And if you don’t have time, seek out our Digital Agency services to do it for you. Not only do we guarantee expertise, we guarantee it in a hurry: we respond to reviews as soon as our software pulls them in!

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6 Reasons Your Local Business Listings Need to Be Accurate

As a business, how likely is it that potential customers will come through your door?
The whole point of an online presence is to entice customers into your store, your leasing office or your showroom so you can convert them to paying customers rather than just browsers online.

Further, nothing is more frustrating as a customer than finding out that you have been given the wrong information about where a business is located. As a customer, how likely are you to give this company your business? Not very. In fact, according to Placeable, 73% of consumers stated that they lose trust in a brand when the online listing shows incorrect information.


1. Missing hours of operation information can be a dealbreaker

There are many things that people look for in listings, whether they are looking at that search engine on a PC or on a mobile device. The top piece of information that most people look for is the hours of operation, since their search is likely for a business that they frequent quite often.

In fact, in a study conducted by local data aggregator Localeze, hours of operation were noted as the most helpful feature in selecting a business during local search. 76% of respondent reporting that they expect this information when searching and 61% believe that it is a feature that helps them to select a business.

Even if people are new to a business, it doesn’t give people a good impression if the business hours are not listed and they don’t know that it’s only open from 11 a.m-6p.m. Tuesday-Saturday .Imagine that potential customer who is ready to spend their money in store, but shows up on Monday at 7 p.m. only to find it closed. That customer is likely going to do another search on a mobile phone to find a different store and spend their money there.


2.You can’t spell NAP data (and score a citation) without an A(ddress)

While most people would assume that the number one reason people do a search online is for the address or location of a business, the address is actually behind hours of operation as the second most desired information. But, of course, the whole point of being in business is to make money doing what you love or selling what you love. And that happens by attracting foot traffic and increasing customer base.

It bears repeating that if a business address is incorrect on listing sites such as Google or Bing, then customers will not be crossing the threshold. A simple thing such as the wrong number on a street address, or even the wrong town, can mean that a customer cannot find you. The US Postal Service relies on a complex system of checks to verify and standardize addresses, and many of the search engines will default to the USPS for correct mailing addresses.

What this means for the average new business owner is that unless a business is in an established location, getting the correct address on their listing means that both the address from City Hall and the information on USPS must be consistent. If USPS doesn’t recognize that address, then a business owner must contact them to verify their new address and get that information updated on USPS’s online database.


3. Local searchers are mobile creatures

According to Localeze, mobile-phone-based searches drive in-store purchases with more than 75% of searches ending in a purchase—if a business has their listing details correct. Now if half of the people searching for a business listing on a local search engine, such as Google Local/Maps, can’t find the store’s business listing details, then the business is going to lose 100% of their business.

For ease of use for potential customers, some of those details need to be as readily available as possible in a mobile-friendly manner. This can be accomplished with a responsive website that supports cellphone and tablet-specific versions.


4. Updated, accurate websites still serve as a first impression

At the same time, more than 60% of searches on PC platforms such as website portals, Internet Yellow Page directories and local sites have a similar chance of ending in a purchase. While mobile searches are becoming more of a standard in where a customer searches, a business owner should not discount the power of a fulsome, consistent and accurate listing that is reflective of the business website.

Any listing should be linked to the business’s website and feature the exact same information, but more of it. While a website should be enough to entice a customer to visit or buy, if those inconsistencies exist, then trust issues may arise in a business’s practices before a customer ever crosses their threshold.


5. Local searchers mix it up across multiple devices, situations and times

People who search for listings are doing it in many more ways than when the Internet first coalesced into existence about two decades ago. In that time, we went from working on desktops to laptops to PDAs to Blackberries to Apples to tablets—and in each iteration, the methods of search have changed.

However, that has slowed over the last five years or so as web developers realize that they need to be smarter. Rather than designing three different sites for three different platforms, they have created websites that are scalable to the search device. And that has been helped along by the proliferation of types of devices in use everyday.

According to Pew Research Center, In 2015, smartphone ownership in America was at 68%, with tablet and computer ownership at 45%. Statista says that almost half of American adults use their smartphones the most to search for local information online, the other half being split between computers (40%) and tablets (11%). According to Localeze, like the types of devices used, what we are searching for varies by the time of day and device. Entertainment is searched for during work hours on computers, restaurants during evening using phones and health/fitness evening using tablets.

The most important part of those mobile searches is accuracy. If someone cannot find your business in a local search or find inaccurate results whilst out and about, then your business has lost the chance for that browser to become a customer. So having those listings correct in all of the device formats is a must as we, and our technology, continue to evolve in the way we interact with local businesses.


6. Local search results are trusted sources of information

Last but certainly not least is the fact that local search results are considered the most trustworthy. In a study by Neustar, it was determined that these searches, such as “used games Raleigh”, are what people do the most since they put that trust in local business more than big box, big website stores.

Think about it, would you rather find a local store where you can get that latest purse in town right now? Or you can wait a week for delivery, which is four days past the event that you want it for! Local searches lend themselves to instant gratification and that interaction between browser and salesperson will convert that browser from someone who might get just the minimum to a loyal customer who feels like a million having spent a little more, but getting what they consider to be gold!

Those interactions are what lead people to local searches and the absolute necessity of getting your listings correct. Trust leads to loyalty, which leads to more business, which leads to happy customers and business owners.

And it all starts with that correct listing in that customer’s local search.

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5 Reasons SEO is Essential for Website Success

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a term you’ve most likely heard before. As digital marketing continues to rise, so does the contest for web visibility. If potential customers can’t find you online, you’re missing out on a huge demographic. That’s why we’ve narrowed down five important reasons to use SEO.


1. Website traffic

Traffic is the most important focus of a website other than web design. Up to 64% of website traffic comes from organic search, so if you’re not using SEO tactics, you’re not getting found. The internet is a sea of information; it’s easy for customers to get lost and distracted. Search engines find your site using crawlers that identify key phrases, then index them for users’ organic searches. If these crawlers can’t find your site, neither can potential customers. And if people don’t find your site, they’re not going to sign up for your newsletter or see your sales.

2. Competitive edge

SEO isn’t new. Most businesses are familiar with it and its importance. It’s very likely that your competitors are already using SEO, which is all the more reason for you to get on board with a strategy of your own. And if you’re focusing on local SEO, the playing field is much smaller. Local search is becoming more and more important, and finding your niche can put you ahead of competitors focusing on a broader scale. Now’s the time. The longer you wait, the more you risk other businesses cementing their positions and keywords.

3. Better rankings

When over 70% of clicks happen on the first search results page of Google, you don’t want to be past page two. That means that over 70% of users find what they’re looking for on that first page, which is why you need to use SEO to get there. Using local keywords and having up to date location information are two important steps to take to get Google to notice your site. Be aware of bounce rates, too. If your site doesn’t offer a good user experience, it won’t rank as well.

4. Mobile

Speaking of the user experience, one of the most important factors of website success is whether or not it’s mobile responsive. Responsive web design keeps your HTML and URL the same on web and mobile devices. Google favors websites that are mobile responsive, so take that into consideration when forming your SEO strategy.

5. Inbound marketing leads

SEO and inbound marketing work hand in hand. And while some inbound strategies require lots of attention, SEO requires initial setup, but can then work on its own for awhile. It’s an affordable method of bringing in business. What’s more, effective SEO brings customers to you. You really can’t go wrong.


SEO for ROI

You know why SEO is important for the success of a website and your business overall. Being found in search is one of the best ways to find new customers when they’re seeking out your products or services. While SEO is increasingly important, maintaining rankings and working to constantly push out competitors is an arduous process. If you don’t have time to stay up-to-date on Google’s algorithm changes, cleaning up meta data, keyword research and link building, consider outsourcing to someone who has this as their main focus.