Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Streamline Your Writing Process in 5 Easy Steps


Many of us writers are pretty particular when it comes to how we piece together our writing samples, especially when it comes to digital rhetoric. Content creation is something that becomes routinized, but getting to stuck in the same groove can lead to writers block, low motivation, and an inability to produce the quantity of content needed.

In my experience, one of the best ways to avoid such issues is by trying out new content creation processes that make you more aware of each step. Every few months when I burn myself out on writing things the same way over and over, I try and change the writing process to hit the refresh button. Check out my current streamlined writing process and give it a try if you’re in a writing rut.

  1. Discover It

Step one is to find something to write about, and Reddit is one of my favorite resources to use for this. Users ask questions, share ideas, and comment on trends for all industries in a very organic way. This facilitates actual discovery of topics at a base level really easy and gives a range of angles on various topics you can cover.

Regardless of where you do your discovering, make sure you carve out time for it. Having the freedom to poke around and lose yourself in topic exploration is an important part of lighting that writer’s fire.

  1. Research It

Once I settle on a topic, I research it to see how many times it’s been covered. This is an important part of the process, because you should really focus on creating content that is unique and entirely your own. If a topic is over-saturated on the internet, the chances that it’ll pick up much traffic are starting pretty low.

Research is also important because it gives your writing some substance. Referencing studies, surveys, and other information in your own writing piece can reinforce the point you’re trying to get across while also making you an authority on the matter.

  1. Format It

Before I write a single word on a content piece, I decide what the format is going to be. Lists, bullet points, infographics, surveys, checklists-whatever. This helps me firstly because it gives me some direction on how to approach the topic while I’m writing it. I wouldn’t write a think piece the same way I’d put together a tutorial. It also keeps me focused on utility, because I’m actively transforming what I’m focused into a usable piece of content that others will actually be able to use.

  1. Outline It

For me, the single most important step in my writing process is creating an outline-I always do it. It always ends up being snippets of writing organized in the order they’ll be in when the piece is complete. Getting those key arguments, ideas, and steps out saves me a lot of time because later on all I have to do is connect the ideas together.

To create an outline, put your main points on paper and try and organize them in a way that makes sense to you. Break each chunk of text down, see what you have, and figure out what you need to fill in the blanks.

  1. Put It All Together

Finally, go back to that outline and fill in the blanks with writing that’s been reinforced by your research. Connecting your ideas and bringing them to life is the fun part, because your content piece will shift from blocks of writing to a comprehensive content piece. After you put it all together, go back over it to make sure it’s polished and communicating exactly what it is you want to say.

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Monday, 26 September 2016

Get Out of Your SEO Comfort Zone


We all have a tendency to find our comfort zones and snuggle in there. In our personal lives and at our jobs, clinging to what’s comfortable is appealing because it’s what we know.

A similar thing happens with brands and their SEO practices-they get comfortable with what’s already being done because it’s what they know, and they know it works, and deviating from that plan of action can feel risky. But getting out of your SEO comfort zone is necessary for finding online success, especially when it comes to SEO.

Consistently doing the same things without evolving your approach will only keep you where you’re at, and while that may seem like enough for your website, that will eventually become the bare minimum. Google rewards the websites that truly go above and beyond, which often entails evolving your search strategy to remain competitive.

The days of updating your title/description tags being enough may not be gone, but that effort alone is simply not enough anymore. Try pushing yourself to do more with your SEO strategy by checking out these easy starting points.

Make a development investment.

Further developing your website can have huge pay offs when it comes to SERP. If your website structure is hard to navigate, investing in some structural development could reap big rewards from search engines. Or if you’re a business or e-commerce website without a blog, adding a blog component and populating it with high quality content can improve traffic and drive your site’s SEO. These may not be things you’re equipped to do yourself, but investing in such developments is definitely a big way to push yourself past your comfort zone. Plus, development investments almost always have a positive turn out, so you can get out of your SEO comfort zone while still playing it safe.

Start looking at analytics.

This is where I push myself out of my comfort zone. The mere word ‘analytics’ intimidates me, so I wasn’t exactly comfortable exporting my traffic reports from our website. If you feel the same, this is exactly where you should be starting. Digging deep into the analytics of your traffic, clicks, and content performance is not only a great way to understand how every day users are interacting with your website, but also an awesome foundation for coming up with new ideas. For me, that meant looking at how certain content pieces out-performed others, and reworking my blogging strategy around similar formats and topics. Whether you’re a business site or a blogging site, looking at your analytics with an open mind and critical eye will reveal where you need to make your next move.

Make advanced updates.

You have to make the most advanced, up-to-date changes to your website in order to remain competitive, plain and simple. For you, that means optimizing your website across the board with content, structure, images, title tags-all of it. It also means following trends that can isolate you from competitors. Take, for example, mobile optimization. It’s advanced update that requires some investment and pushes past old comfort zones, but it’s completely necessary for SEO success. As consumer behavior shifts towards these types of advancements, your SEO behavior must also adjust.

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Friday, 23 September 2016

Return of the Penguin


It’s been two long years since Google’s last Penguin update, Penguin 3.0 happened on October 17, 2014. Finally, Penguin 4.0 is here, and the sites slammed by Penguin 3.0 are finally penalty free. Even more exciting is the news that the waiting game played in anticipation of these updates is over for good, because Penguin 4.0 is the last release of this kind, because Penguin is now real-time.

What does that mean?

In the past, the sites affected by Penguin updates would be labeled as spammy, and slapped with penalties all at once. As webmasters made changes to address the penalty and improve their websites, a waiting game would follow because the list of Penguin sites needed to be refreshed.

Waiting for Penguin to refresh will now be a thing of the past, because Penguin 4.0 refreshes data in real time. This means that as Google recrawls and reindexes pages, the changes webmasters make will be visible much faster.

Anything else?

Yep. Google says Penguin is now more granular, meaning the update is more page-specific rather than dishing out penalties sitewide. There is, however, still some ambiguity about what exactly that means:

penguin Return of the Penguin

Is this update live right now?

For the most part, yes, but the update is still rolling out. The real-time features may take a while to work out glitches and fully integrate, but within the next month you can expect to see a complete roll out.

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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Doing Too Much of This is Slowly Killing Your Brand


Social media brings together people of all practices and experience levels. Yes, novices and experts tweet right alongside one another, bringing together the best of social media etiquette and the worst. From a brilliant marketing campaign to misplaced selfies on LinkedIn, we’ve all likely seen both ends of the spectrum.

While it’s wonderful to see new users and brands getting their social media sea legs, there is one thing that irks me to the core of my being, and that is excessive hashtagging. Ever had a friend on social media who #turns #every #word #into #a #hashtag? If you have, their posts probably look something like this.

http-2F2Fmashable.com2Fwp-content2Fgallery2Finstagram-for-beginners2F4372b44b531cb9fbd411667c1714d243 Doing Too Much of This is Slowly Killing Your Brand

http-2F2Fmashable.com2Fwp-content2Fgallery2Finstagram-for-beginners2F085e2fa175ce43e5649dca0d02dec323 Doing Too Much of This is Slowly Killing Your Brand

http-2F2Fmashable.com2Fwp-content2Fgallery2Finstagram-for-beginners2F956284417726923a69da3479bcd3cd30 Doing Too Much of This is Slowly Killing Your Brand

Posts such as these represent a pet peeve of many, which is why excessive hashtagging is a good way to get yourself, or your brand, labeled as annoying and spammy. If you’re one of those users or brands spamming your own posts with hashtags, I forgive you, but let’s state the obvious and unapologetic truth: no one wants to see a surplus of hashtags in their social media feeds, no matter how #awesome you think they are.

Hashtags are not bulking agents intended to beef up your post like protein powder, and treating them as such probably won’t do you any favors. There are better ways to signal the topics and expressions you feel your posts complement, and there are certainly better ways to treat our dear old friend, the pound sign (#). Here are a few golden rules to go by.

The Simplified Guide to Hashtag Usage

Yes: Humor

In my opinion, hashtags have their place in this world, and that place is with Jimmy Fallon. One of the best ways to use hashtags is for humorous purposes. For example, Jimmy Fallon’s hashtag games:

worstfirstdate Doing Too Much of This is Slowly Killing Your Brand

The effect is twofold: it engages his viewers with the show while also providing tons of hilarious, organic content. Users tweet at him and play the hashtag game, and then continue watching the show to see if their tweet gets shared. The main point is that the hashtag doesn’t overwhelm the humor, it merely facilitates it. Rather than hound users with a bunch of hashtags, leave the hashtag in the hands of users to respond and react to freely.

No: Bombarding Users with Brand Names

A hashtag is not a tool for you to bombard users with your brand name. For guidance, look to some big name brands. For example, if you go to Nike’s social media pages, you will never see a series of hashtags like this: #nike #nikeshoes #nikesoccer #nikeUSA #nikewomen. That’s called brand bombardment, and it’s obnoxious.

Rather, the powerhouse brand hashtags their signature phrase, #justdoit, alongside inspired images showcasing their products. Your hashtags should not overwhelm the message you’re conveying, regardless of whichever platform you’re conveying it on. This is especially important for your brand’s tweets, because 140 characters is a limited space to work with already- don’t waste any precious bit of it with unnecessary hashtags.

Yes: Conversations, Q&A

Hashtags are a great way to get dialogue going with your audience. Culture and news publications do it all the time to draw opinions and discussion from their users. Aside from generating significant traffic, it helps bridge the gap between users and the brands they following. A clean and simple hashtag can tether many social media interactions to a theme hosted by your brand. All you have to do is keep it short, sweet, and easy for users to respond to.

No: Irrelevant Hashtags

Hashtagging outdated phrases or words isn’t just embarrassing, it also puts your brand in a negative light. An important thing to remember when it comes to hashtags is that they often have the potential to prompt more trolling than positive participation from users. One stray spelling error or misplaced punctuation could get you the wrong kind of attention.

The same can be said for irrelevant words and phrases. If something goes viral or creates a buzz online, you can’t wait a week or so to chime in; by then, your comment with be irrelevant. Be mindful of not just how you’re using your hashtags, but when you’re using them as well, and don’t try mention things that were once hot and now are not.

fetch Doing Too Much of This is Slowly Killing Your Brand

Yes: Trending Topics

In referencing trending topics on social media, the use of hashtags is always acceptable, because hashtags are how topics become trending in the first place. Note the trends section of your Twitter feed.

twitter-trends Doing Too Much of This is Slowly Killing Your Brand

It shows you what people are talking about across your network and the specific hashtags people are using to reference those topics. As you can see, those trending hashtags aren’t excessively long or spammy; they’re to-the-point and easy to tag in 140 characters. Start by using the trending sections of your brand’s social media profiles to see what your audience is talking about, then leverage those topics into a strategic communication and marketing plan that suits your needs.

No: Over Hashtagging

Above all, do not be a hashtag hag (refer to sample images at the beginning of this article). One hashtag is enough hashtags and a few good hashtags is pushing it. Any more than that and you put your brand at risk for coming off as spam, therein creating a disconnect between users and your online presence.

Remember: be brief, purposeful, and deliberate when deciding when and how to use hashtags.


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Monday, 19 September 2016

Fix Your Low AdWords Quality Score


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2011 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
If you have a low AdWords quality score and don’t know how to fix it, you’ve come to the right place. These tips on how to impgoogle-quality-score-300x294 Fix Your Low AdWords Quality Scorerove your low quality score will keep your keyword results in higher positions and at lower costs.
In AdWords, your quality score is a formula that measures how relevant your keyword is to your ad text and to a user’s search query.  Quality score effects your keywords position, minimum CPC and also if your ad will even be shown. That’s why having a low quality score can drastically hurt your chances of having a successful PPC campaign.

Here are 7 tips to fix your low AdWords quality score. 

Organize Your Account – It’s really important to keep a well-structured account. Not only does it make it easier to manage but it will allow you to target your audience better. You will want to split your keywords into more targeted ad groups. For example: green widgets, buy green widgets, what is a green widget, should be in a separate ad group from yellow widgets.
Targeted Ad Copy – For each new ad group you create you need to make sure the ad copy incorporates your main keyword phrase in the title and description.  If your ad group is green widgets your ad should target “green widgets”. Many advertisers make the mistake of not following this simple technique, and it makes It is amazing how many advertisers don’t follow this simple technique.
Targeted Keywords – You might want to get the most possible clicks, but if those clicks don’t convert or they bring your quality score down then you are already fighting an uphill battle. Make sure your keywords are targeted and relate directly to the theme of your ad group and your landing page.
Test Ad Copy – You will want to test different ad copy for each of your ad groups. As a best practice, it’s recommended that you create a minimum of 4 ads per ad group to find which ones perform the best and offer you the best quality score.
Take Advantage of Keyword Matching Options – With some keywords, you’ll get more ad impressions; with others, you’ll get fewer impressions, but potentially more clicks. Testing these different options strategically will lead to better quality scores and lower costs.
Optimize Landing Page – Your landing page should be extremely related to the theme of each ad group and fully optimized. You can do this by creating a separate landing page for each ad group and incorporating the main keyword in the content of that page.
Utilize Your Descriptions – A big part of earning a high quality score is securing a high CTR, which means creating appeal and incentive that makes users want to click your link. Many PPC experts suggest creating that appeal through your descriptions by listing features and benefits, identifying your target audience specifically (e.g. “Perfect for small businesses”), adding a call to action, or promoting limited time offers.
Improving your low AdWords quality score is vital if you ever want to have a successful PPC campaign. While there are many factors that determine your quality score, if you following these best practices will put you well on your way to reducing costs and increasing clicks through a higher quality score. If you have any questions or need more help with fixing your low quality score check out our Pay per Click Management services. Good Luck!

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Friday, 16 September 2016

Spotlight Subject: Quality Score


If you’re familiar with AdWords, then you’ve definitely heard about the somewhat mysterious Quality Score (QS). But even if you’re not big into PPC or don’t have an AdWords account, QS is still something you should know about-especially since some exciting new updates were rolled out earlier this week.

What is Quality Score?

Within AdWords, QS represents how Google rates the quality and relevance of keywords and PPC ad campaigns. It’s calculated by accounting for a handful of factors, including CTR, the history of a past keyword performance, keyword relevance to ad group, and so on. Google keeps how much each of these factors weighs pretty private, which has made understanding QS notoriously mysterious.

Being aware of and understanding QS as best you can is important for those investing in PPC practices, because it could be affecting their budgets. A low QS results in a higher cost-per-click, and a high QS results in a lower cost-per-click. Your QS also affects the moving parts and pieces of search advertising campaigns, and a low score can significantly reduce the success of your traffic.

What changes were made to Quality Score this week?

Released on Monday, September 12, new updates to QS were released that may alleviate some of the surrounding gray area. Whereas keywords with little or sparse history would get a low QS, they will now get a null score. Instead of seeing a default AdWords score of 6, you will now see dashes. This will be a more transparent way to report and more accurately determine a keyword’s true QS.

QS Spotlight Subject: Quality Score

While how quality score is exactly calculated remains somewhat of a mystery, there are certain practices and procedures you can follow to improve your quality score, which we’ll explore more next week.


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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

You got a Google penalty. Now what?


Our colorful friend Google drops the hammer by dishing out manual penalties by the thousands. Their commitment to user experience and trust is what makes them the top dog of search engines, which is why SEO practices have to be carried out in a legitimate, procedural way.

Shortcutting or investing in black hat SEO is a good way to wind up with one of these common Google penalties, but it doesn’t mean your website is ruined forever. You can bounce back from a Google penalty by knowing what to do.

First and foremost, identify what kind of penalty you’ve been slapped with. Google provides step by step instructions for identifying what kind of penalty you got and how to recover from it, so this is your starting point. Unless you’ve committed a major SEO offense, you’ll more than likely be dealing with a manual action penalty.

Next, do a thorough inspection of your website’s architecture and perform a site audit. This will mainly entail checking for clean source code, page depth, and other foundational aspects of your website that Google looks at.

After that, you’ll want to make your website Panda friendly, which deals in large part with content. Believe it or not, things like low quality and duplicate content are punishable because they disrupt a user’s access to reliable content, which is a no -no in Google’s eyes.

Your final step in bouncing back is to build new links that are authoritative and high quality. Despite it sounding like a huge undertaking, a few really good links can drastically improve the traffic and search ranking of your site. Focus less on building bulk spam links and more on securing editorial links on respected websites with high traffic. You can do this through guest posting, developing creative content like infographics or tutorials for others to share on their websites, or even by writing reviews.

While receiving a Google penalty certainly isn’t a good thing, it can definitely be overcome and is certainly not the end of the world. By approaching it as an opportunity to correct the weak spots of your website, the penalty can eventually be lifted and your site left in better standing to build new traffic.

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Monday, 12 September 2016

5 Best Practices for Curating Your E-Commerce Blog


In my last post I talked about the importance of having a blog component for your e-commerce website and how it can impact your brand in lasting, profitable ways. However, the mere presence of a blog on your e-commerce website won’t do anyone much good if it doesn’t have content of value. The point of having a blog is to flex your authority within your industry and give users a reason to read to want to read what you post. The more you populate your blog with interesting and useful content, the more people are drawn to read it and give you their business. It’s about as simple as it sounds, and adhering to a few simple practices can get you started on the right track.

  1. Focus on content with utility.

While it’s definitely okay to toot your own horn here and there, your blog should mainly focus on providing useful content that your audience and target customers will find both interesting and helpful. By producing content with utility readers can use and apply you can give your brand the purpose necessary to be considered a resource. The root of the resourcefulness comes from what you can offers users before they ever even make a purchase. Try and regularly post tutorials, How-To articles, and other ideas relevant to your industry to establish an information-based relationship with your users.

  1. Produce interactive content.

Every post on your blog should be polished in terms of writing clarity and proofreading, but that doesn’t mean is has to consist of formal content. One great way to make your blog approachable and casual for users is to post interactive content that’s based on their participation. Content forms such as polls and quizzes are often received well by site visitors and garner participation, and you can squeeze a lot of SEO points from the attention. Buzzfeed does a great job of creating interactive content, and their casual approach to topics makes just about anyone feel welcomed and comfortable scrolling through their website. Plus, interactive content is highly shareable and will perform well across your social media platforms.

  1. Add compelling visuals.

Visuals take the cake when it comes to the brain’s initial perceptions, and you have to keep that in mind when piecing together content for your blog. On a basic level, you should always use clear, high quality images that are directly related to what you’re posting and explained or captioned in some way. Use visuals to enhance what is already there, and be deliberate and purposeful in how you use them. The last thing you want is a cluttered page of images lacking in flow and relevance.

  1. Share your expertise.

Above all, your blog should showcase your expertise of your industry and business. Share your knowledge and insights as authority, and do it in a way that makes users trust and respect what you have to say. Part of sharing your expertise can include sharing the relationships you’ve made as an industry authority, so don’t be afraid to feature other business owners/experts on your blog. It will bolster the positive way your audience sees you and add a dynamic appeal to your blog.

  1. Make everything shareable.

To increase and encourage user participation, make sure everything you post is shareable. Having those social media icons in plain sight will prompt your viewers to share the content they like most or find useful across their social networks and build upon your following. It also gives your blog a complete, professional look that further emphasizes your authority and trust factors.

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Friday, 9 September 2016

5 Reasons Your E-Commerce Site Needs a Blog


The internet is so highly saturated with blogs that starting one now can be intimidating and feel pointless. After all, what’s another blog when thousands of similar blogs exist? Who would even read it? Is it worth it? If you’ve ever been curious about starting a blog but have found yourself stumped by questions like these, it may be time to take the next step on creating a blog for your business.

Adding a blog to your business/e-commerce site can impact your brand in ways that paid advertising can’t and that consumers are eager to respond to. In fact, choosing not to participate in the blogsphere could be putting you at a disadvantage and stunting your business growth. If you’re not sold on the idea just yet, here are 5 compelling reasons your e-commerce site needs a blog.

1. Blogs builds trust. 

Ever been to a website that’s selling products or services but has no trace of real people anywhere? An impersonal presence can be particularly detrimental to e-commerce websites, because it strips the buyer experience down to bare bones. Blogs are a great way to restore that consumer trust and interest, because it gives you a place to add a personal, relatable flair on your website. Take, for example, Birchbox.

birchbox 5 Reasons Your E-Commerce Site Needs a Blog

Birchbox is a popular brand among my fellow twenty-somethings that sends a box of beauty products to try with a monthly subscription. What attracts women to this brand over going to the mall and buying their own beauty products is not just the appeal of getting a monthly package in the mail, but rather a trust in the authority Birchbox has. Their blog is a carefully curated display of tutorials, beauty tips, brands to watch and more that asserts a powerful message: you can trust Birchbox to send you your beauty products, because they know what they’re talking about. The blog is relatable, fun, and enforces the message of their products.

You can do the same for your brand by populating a blog with tips, tricks, and news relevant to your products or services. In doing so you’ll demonstrate to users that you’re an authority worth trusting and investing in.

2.  A blog can grow your following/consumer base.

Not everyone who sees your blog will be instantly inspired to purchase something from your e-commerce site. But in keeping with the build-up of trust, you could amass an enormous following through your blog that will gain you the recognition of other industry authorities as well as consumers who are more interested in making purchases.

It can also lead to beneficial relationships, if not with consumers then with other professionals of similar disciplines. After developing your blog and letting it grow a bit, you can start seeking out guest blogging opportunities to get noticed and feature other useful bloggers on your website. For example, pretend you have a business website that sells subscriptions, gifts, and cases of wine. You could invite a popular sommelier to write a guest post on your blog about pairing wines with certain foods, cooking with wine, etc. Your users would gain the tips and advice from your blog and come back to reference you for more helpful information. Even further, the sommelier may share the guest post across his or her personal network, giving your brand exposure, and even feature your business on their own blog. It may be a hypothetical situation, but real opportunities like this are opened up when you have a blog.

3. Blogs attract new leads.

Adding a blog component to your website opens up new pathways for customers to reach you that might otherwise not exist. By having a blog that consumers can interact with, you can better understand their preferences, styles, concerns, habits, trends, etc. There could be an entire niche you’re unaware of or insights you’re missing due to a lack of customer interaction.

Blogs open up a portal to not only communicate with your client base, but also create share-worthy content that attracts attention from leads you might have previously failed to target or overlook.

4. Blog content will boost your site rank and grow links.

Long form content doesn’t always have an appropriate place to reside on e-commerce websites, which is why having a blog component is so helpful. You can populate the blog with keywords, phrases, and internal links that search engines can easily crawl and respond to.

Strictly from an SEO standpoint, having a blog for your business site is definitely considered a best practice and is one of the surest ways to out-perform your competitors. The sheer quantity of links produced from a blog shows search engines that your site is active and is getting significant user traffic.

5. It’s a built-in content marketing tool.

Channeling your content marketing efforts towards your blog is a great way to cut your time spent strategizing in half. You can focus on promoting high quality, utility-based information that will sustain publicity across social media and professional platforms. The content generated by and for your blog can be shared across the internet and used as a catalyst for getting your brand the attention it needs to be successful.



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Thursday, 8 September 2016

Why Customer Reviews are Important for Local SEO


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2012 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

With user trends showing a strong relationship between mobile browsing and local SEO, many business owners and SEO companies are finding that customer reviews are incredibly important. Customer reviews work twofold because your prospective customers get a good idea about the success of your company, and search engines love the authentic content it creates. Fortunately, getting started on your business/website reviews is pretty simple.

Why Online Customer Reviews Matter to Local SEO

Google loves to see customer reviews because users love to see customer reviews. SEO is all about optimizing your website for Google, but Google should be about optimizing your website for users. A few important things to keep in mind regarding customer reviews and SEO include:

  • Quantity. The number of reviews that you have on your website is important. Google likes to see a good amount of reviews, somewhere between at least ten and twenty; just make sure you don’t get too crazy and create a cluttered website.
  • Ratings. Although it may sound obvious, it’s important to remember that the actual ratings you’re given in your reviews are good. It’s certainly OK to put some less-than-perfect reviews on your page because you don’t want to appear untruthful, but do remember that Google looks at the quality as well as the quantity.
  • Keywords. If you have your product name and/or keywords in the customer reviews, Google bots will surely find your site relevant and start placing it at the top. Keywords are important for SEO in every aspect of your website, so customer reviews are just another place to make it happen.
  • Competition. Your competitors will have customer reviews on their sites, so they will have an edge when it comes to a local SERP for the reasons discussed above. However, it’s important to remember that just because they got started first doesn’t mean they’re going to finish first. You still have plenty of time to get a strategy together and outrank your competitors.
  • Mobile. Many mobile users look for reviews when searching for a local establishment to make a purchase from. Reviews in conjunction with mobile-friendly websites will drive twice the traffic to your business compared to those without.

How to Increase Your Number of Customer Reviews

Getting customer reviews in the first place as well as increasing your number isn’t difficult, but just a bit time consuming. Below are the three tips and tricks to making it happen:

  • Be quick. Waiting to ask people to send you reviews is never a good idea because people will be “over it” by then. Asking someone for a review right away gives you a better chance of success. Try and make a habit of asking customers to leave reviews right after their experience with your business. You can also add incentives, such as discounts on later purchases, in exchange for online reviews.
  • Be easy. The last thing your customers want is to be asked to review your company through some complicated form or procedure. The best way to ask for reviews is when you have the customer face to face just before they leave your business. If this isn’t possible, sending an email with a simple survey or a link to your Facebook or Google page will prompt customers to leave feedback.
  • Be persistent. If someone doesn’t review your company right away, send a follow up email three or four days later asking for feedback on their experience.

In the end, it’s important to remember that great reviews come from great service. It’s never good to force a review out of someone or try to fake it. If customers don’t want to give your reviews or you’re not getting the results you want, go back and change some things about your business, or seek feedback on how to improve your services. Not only will it help your local optimization, but it will also help your business thrive and develop the consumer base needed to be successful.

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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

How to Spot a Phony SEO Company


Search engine optimization has become an increasingly necessary component of website management. In order to perform well on search engines, your website has to be optimized. Not optimizing your site gives your competitor’s an advantage and your consumers a disadvantage by not being able to find you. This is how SEO has ingrained itself into the strategies of businesses big and small, resulting in hundreds of SEO service providers.

But finding the right service provider is easier said than done. The relative newness of search engine optimization has opened a door for scammers and frauds, making untrustworthy SEO companies a common issue. Here are the red flags to look for.

  1. Guaranteeing things that can’t be guaranteed.

As an employee at an SEO firm, I’ll be the first to say we can’t actually guarantee anything. By doing good work with relevant SEO methods, we can improve your website and see positive results over time. But what a good SEO company knows is that there’s no telling exactly how much time that process takes, and there are certainly no guarantees on anything that will happen. If your SEO provider is guaranteeing you’ll see a specific increase in traffic in within a certain amount of time or something similar, it’s a red flag.

  1. Promising rank positions on search engines.

Similarly to guaranteeing things that can’t be guaranteed, safe and reliable SEO service providers should never promise websites a certain rank position on Google or another search engine. Those spots can’t be bought, and all the SEO practices in the world might not get you a top ranking. Rather than promising you a coveted search engine rank position, a reliable SEO provider will promise you an efficient plan of action that will help your website achieve organic search success.

  1. Encouraging link building automation.

There are some SEO practices that can be automated and some that cannot. Link building and content generation are two areas that should not be automated. Because automation is risky to invest in and only works temporarily, it holds the potential to cause more damage than benefit. Google frowns upon and punishes link building automation with heavy fines, so be sure your SEO service provider is organically growing quality links.

  1. You’re never offered reports or data about services.

Successful SEO service companies know the importance of looking at data and running reports to keep track of progress. If you’re working with or considering working with a company that withholds status updates with concrete numbers and data, it’s a red flag. Make sure you’re regularly getting updates and are in the know about how your site is progressing.

  1. Vague explanations of services.

If you’re new to it, SEO talk can sound like a different language. What your SEO provider should never do is talk over your head, down to you, or deliberately over-complicate explanations. Keeping you in the dark about what each SEO service entails and how it gets carried out. Instead, the ideal SEO point of contact will be accommodating to your understanding of SEO and ask to make sure you’re clear on everything being explained.

  1. Messages come from a third party email.

An easy way to identify a spammy SEO company is by the email used to contact you. All communication should be done through emails corresponding to the website name, not a Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail account. It’s also worth noting that truly successful SEO companies don’t typically obtain their clients by way of cold calls. Do the reaching out yourself to find the best SEO provider.

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Friday, 2 September 2016

Location Optimization Tool Adds Analytics


A marketing platform we’ve previously discussed on this blog has added a new tool to their lineup of services and features. PinMeTo, a company that offers localization solutions for brands of all sizes, has developed Insights, a feature that details the social media reach of brands and their posts.

The Insights feature records and reports everything from likes and shares to clicks and comments. The clean and user friendly interface of the Insights tool holds true to the local-optimization-made-easy theme of the PinMeTo platform, giving brands and businesses the most straightforward look at their social reach. It also includes a “Negative Feedback” section, which reports the number of times posts are hidden and pages are unliked. The monitoring of negative feedback allows brands to gain a better understanding of the kind of content users don’t want to see so they can focus more on what they do want to see.

pinmeto Location Optimization Tool Adds Analytics

In seeing and understanding exactly how users are reacting across different platforms, brands can effectively rethink their marketing strategies. This could not only help businesses achieve more effective promotion and branding across a broader audience, but potentially save them money as well.

How? In having a simplified way to see the measured impact of brands and their posts across social media platforms, you can compare it to traditional marketing forms, such as print or TV advertising, and see where you’re getting the most traffic. That being said, it’s no secret that marketing, advertising, and user behavior has been shifting towards digital/mobile for quite some time. For businesses seeking local optimization and a clearer understanding of which social platforms are worth their time, PinMeTo provides specific, detailed information.

“Stores that publish weekly specials and flyers on paper, such as Home Depot or grocery stores, would actually save money by using our tool,” PinMeTo COO Andre Tiwari explains. “Insights can be used to develop an e-flyer. It’s better for the environment, they will reach more people, users can share and tag their friends, and people would have the e-flyers with them all the time.”

PinMeTo has proven to be quite successful for the businesses using it. With the help of PinMeTo’s Insights and other features, one of their smallest users, Redfellas, accumulated over 2 million views in just 54 days. Perhaps more importantly, the Insights tool guided the brand’s marketing in the right direction. Sometimes simply finding the right direction is the hardest part of carving out an online presence for your brand. As PinMeTo continues to ease that difficulty and evolve as a digital service, you can expect to see more businesses flocking to this type of tool.

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