300 million—the number of people on Instagram every single day. Businesses are taking advantage of Instagram by using it as a resource to gain popularity and increase their customer base. In fact, top brands like Nike and National Geographic have over 60 million Instagram followers!
So why would any business pass up this opportunity? If you’re not a regular ‘grammer, starting your own page (and growing it) can be overwhelming. The success of your Instagram will be determined by how you run your account. These Instagram tips will help you gain a booming fan following, and lead the way to sensation status.
Instagram Tips #1: #Hashtags
Hashtags could be one of the most important components of gaining popularity on Instagram. Posts that include at least one hashtag have seen up to 12.6% increased engagement. To put it simply, hashtags are a tag that helps categorize photos with the same theme or content.
In your mastery of hashtags, make sure to keep them short, simple and most importantly, relevant. For example, when posting a photo of my fancy new watch, I may use the hashtags #watch, #michaelkors and #rosegold. Short, sweet and descriptive.
If you want to connect to local ‘grammers, hashtags with your location are a good idea. Additionally, many businesses create their own unique hashtag and ask their followers to use it.
For example, Coca-Cola encourages their fans to post Instagram Coke photos with the hashtag #ShareaCoke. This can be a great marketing tool, and help define your brand online.
Another important note to remember is to not over-hashtag, as this can make your posts look spammy, and will actually attract other spam accounts.
Instagram Tips #2: Tag a brand
When you tag another Instagram account in your photos, your photo will show up in the brand’s ‘“photos of you” section of their profile. They will receive a notification, and with any luck, may even engage with your post! Better yet, they could also start following you back, or even re-gram your photo!
Make sure the photo actually features the brand, otherwise you can get flagged for spam. Most big brands will have an Instagram account, and chances are, they probably have an expansive list of followers themselves.
For example, a jeweler could take a photo of a piece from their newest collection, and tag the designer in the photo. Getting some exposure from a big brand could help you significantly increase followers, and in turn, get more likes!
Instagram Tips #3: Use Visually Appealing Photos
Although it seems obvious, this point is oh-so important. You don’t have to be an expert photographer to have a stellar collection of Instagram photos, but you may need some practice. One of the most important bits of advice is to keep it simple. If you are featuring products in a photo, make sure the background is simple so that your product stands out. A cluttered photo will take away from what you are trying to promote. Sometimes, a crisp white background is the best option.
Instagram has many filters to choose from, so take some time to play around with them to see which one suits your photo best! Does your photo look best without a filter? Simply leave it alone! Alternatively, Instagram gives you the option to use their editing tools, where you can make some simple adjustments like brightening or removing shadows, rather than choosing a filter.
Take a few different photos and decide which is the most visually appealing. Taking good photos may take a bit of time, but like anything, practice makes perfect. Don’t give up, and you’ll be taking photos like a pro in no time!
Instagram Tips #4: Know Your Audience
It’s important to remember your audience and who you are targeting with your posts. What is the purpose of your Instagram page? Whether the purpose is to educate, promote or entertain followers, you should keep that in mind with each and every photo and caption. If your account is purely professional, keep it informative and concise. If you are marketing towards a younger audience and want to keep things fun and upbeat, ensure the dialog matches accordingly. Try using some emojis, be goofy and have fun! Show people what you are passionate about, and just remember to target the people with your same interests!
Instagram Tips #5: Ask For It
Your Instagram account is a conversation point with your customers. Most followers scroll through their feed passively, and won’t take any action unless it’s asked of them. Give them a call to action, and ask for it! For example, Double tap if you like coffee, tag a friend who likes coffee, share this photo if you love coffee, click the link in our bio for free coffee, etc. (Can you tell what’s on my mind right now?) If your customers oblige, this will increase your page’s activity, likes, and followers.
Most importantly, don’t forget to have a little bit of fun! Happy ‘grammin!
Digital advertising comes in many different varieties, including display advertising (those web banners next to your favorite Youtube videos), sponsored ads (such as those on Google and Facebook), and of course, search ads—just to name a few!
So where do you start?
While there are so many online options to choose from, reaching your intended audience will still require a little bit of work. Luckily, using digital advertising to get your message across is easier than you think.
Pick the right Platform
In 2008, only 24 percent of the United States had a social media account. Today that number has skyrocketed to 81%. While traditional mediums such as television and newspapers still have their place, most companies are turning towards digital advertising for the majority of their needs—and who could blame them?
As of 2016, tech titans Google and Facebook together control over nearly 76% of total internet revenue growth. Furthermore, in the third quarter of the same year, Google and Facebook together controlled 99% of advertising growth, with this number projected to be on the rise). So why would you settle for anything but the best? Pick the right digital platforms and go where you’ll be seen.
Know your Audience
Knowing your target demographic is undoubtedly one of the most beneficial tools in your advertising toolbox. Why? First off, not only does it give you a leg up for reaching the most likely people to buy your product or service, but it also helps to pick the appropriate platform and technology to deliver your message. But be warned. Once you have their attention, there’s still plenty of work to do!
To push all the right buttons, advertisers need to know exactly what to say. Great content moves people—and in turn, products. It keeps audiences engaged, entertained and coming back for more!
Did you know? The average clickthrough rate of display ads across all formats is a measly 0.06%. From the moment that first browser opens in the morning until that last cat video before bed, internet users are bombarded with dozens of digital advertisements. By the time they get to work they’ve seen so many digital ads that they’ll likely only remember one or two, if that.That’s why it is vital to have the most creative content on the web to achieve that long sought after CLICK.
When YouTube celebrities Rhett and Link rattled funny bones as the ‘Commercial Kings’ in the late 2000’s, they were an instant hit. Their witty (and often outrageous) videos generated millions of views for small businesses. How, you ask? By parodying cheesy retro-style TV ads. And while you don’t have to break out into 90’s jingles and fake mustaches, you can win over big crowds by being entertaining, and authentically you. So go against the grain and dare to be different!
As the internet continues to advance, media is consumed differently. More and more people are getting their entertainment and news from streaming options such as Netflix, Roku, Hulu and YouTube. So what does this mean for digital advertising? Interaction! Interactive ads get a higher clickthrough rate of around 6 percent, whereas most digital ads remain at a fraction of one percent.
Good advertisements tell a story that engages the audience. If you’re a restaurant owner, enticing future customers with a snappy ad no longer cuts the mustard. But when you intrigue potential buyers with an eye catching video, a hilarious one-liner or a captivating call to action, you give them autonomy. Don’t tell customers what to think, but instead show them why buying your product is the best decision.
Keep it short and sweet
Don’t say too much! Short messages that pack a wallop and avoid cliches go a long way in the digital advertising world. Hook readers in with a memorable joke, a one liner, or a quick play on words.
Tug at their heartstrings
When Coca Cola launched their Remove Labels campaign it gave audiences a friendly reminder not to judge someone by their looks, but by their words. And whether your message is sensitive or funny, at its core it should come across as authentic.
Today’s audiences are smart and expect more than basic pandering. They want engaging content that scratches beyond the surface of a product and relates to them on a meaningful level. That’s why today’s most memorable campaigns reject tradition in exchange for something more sincere.
While traditional word of mouth will always impact local business, the trick is to give them something positive to talk about. The most important thing about your digital advertising campaign should be about connecting with your audience. A little passion goes a long way.
Successful digital advertising plucks viewers’ heartstrings and entices with humor. It takes you on an emotional roller coaster by conjuring up feelings of forgotten memories and nostalgia. Most importantly, whatever your approach, be sure to make an emotional connection with your audience—leave them breathless and standing in awe, or contemplative with the warm fuzzies. Make your digital ad memorable and appealing, and thereby your brand. Remember, if you think your message is fun and entertaining, so will your audience!
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: Factual, Acxiom, Infogroup 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:
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:
A 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Price: Free with Paid Premium Option
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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!).
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Price: Free with Premium Option
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.
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
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.
5 star rating and over 1 million active installs (best in class)
Huge benefits for mobile speeds
Highest performance reserved for paying customers only
Price: Free with Paid Premium
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.
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
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.
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.
Seven is the number of plugins you are going to need to have a world class SEO optimized site:
AMP for WP
Broken Link Checker
W3 Total Cache
Smush or ShortPixel
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
Consumers are looking for your business! What exactly are they looking for?
53% of mobile searchers are looking for directions
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 fora 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).
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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%!”
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
Audience: The 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!
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.