Major Features of Local SEO

Thought Local SEO was only important for brick & mortar locations?
Think again – SEO applies to everyone, and comprises a number of different focus areas.    

We could talk about the on-site features that need to be taken care of to ensure optimal growth. 

Or we could discuss the various off-page optimization techniques that make a difference in organic score. 

We could even talk about the importance of long tail keywords in generating solid traffic in the long term.  And that’s only the beginning. 

But today, the focus will be on features of local SEO.  Everyone should be aware of local SEO ranking techniques for the simple reason that they apply to every site on the internet. 

In what way do they apply?  Every keyword can be a geographical specification.  A long-tail keyword will often contain a city or region for which it is focused – like “best shoe store Chicago” for example. 

If someone searches for “best shoe store Chicago”, the results will begin with the site that has great local search optimization.

Local search makes a huge difference for a business with a brick and mortar location, but is also useful for an e-commerce company that wants to focus on generating traffic in a specific market. 

That’s why local SEO applies to everyone. 

5 Key Features Make All the Difference

There are a number of important factors that will improve local search rankings.  Here is a little list of some factors:

  1. On-Page Signals

The presence of local keywords is most important.  The specific location needs to be as present as the keywords that define your business.  If these keywords are not accurate, then local search traffic will suffer greatly.  It’s that simple. 

2. Quality of Link Signals

Link signals include a whole number of on-site features.  The most important feature is the quality of the backlinking.  Are you connecting with important local influencers on your site?  If not, then it’s time to build a local support network between your site and others. 

Another important factor are the terms you use to backlink.  The anchor text should be the same as the keywords you are focusing on, or as relevant as possible.  It is also good to use anchor text that is relevant to the site you are back-linking to.  That way your site will share local traffic with the influencer or company you are referring to. 

3. Customer Behavior

If customers are using mobile, then you need to respond to that and make your site as mobile friendly as possible. 

That means keeping it simple with a scroll-down layout rather than a homepage with a list of different pages to click on. 

4. Business Info Needs To Be Accurate

All the brick and mortar info about your business needs to be present on Google, business directories, and social media platforms. 

When it comes to business directories, the most important is Yelp, but there are many more that need to be considered, including Yahoo Local, Tripadvisor, and Zomato (for cafes/restaurants). 

5. Reviews

Not to be forgotten are the reviews of your business. 

Customer satisfaction and online reputation matter in all digital endeavors, but a local SEO campaign will suffer if the reviews are not glowing. 

Getting a solid rating across the business directories and Facebook will contribute a great boost to the more technical features of local SEO that are being executed. 

Start Getting Local Traffic

Each page on your ecommerce site can have a different geographical focus area. 

Or, if you are only targeting one local market, populate your whole site with the same geographical terms. 

In either case, putting extra focus into local SEO will drive meaningful traffic within days, enabling you to reach your ideal clients with greater ease. 

How To Use LinkedIn To Propel Your Brand

LinkedIn used to have an outdated layout and design.  Users could update their profiles and make industry connections, but it was unclear just how beneficial these connections were, given that people did not spend a whole lot of time on the platform. 

Times have changed.  Today LinkedIn is a great resource to grow your personal brand or your small business. 

You don’t have to take my word for it though – you can look at the numbers.  In 2017, LinkedIn reported 500 million users from over 200 countries. 

That is a huge reach, and is especially valuable because users of LinkedIn are on there to do business and achieve new career opportunities.

Or get this statistic: there are over 3 million long form posts on the platform, and 130,000 new long form posts generated each week. 

This is rich content being published, not your average Tweet about food or a casual Facebook update about politics.  Long form posts on LinkedIn are often written by influential players in their niche who are keen to offer their expertise and insight to those who are most interested. 

It certainly helps that Microsoft purchased LinkedIn in 2016.  The recent design changes to the platform are certainly due to the new ownership.

Whether you fancy yourself an expert in your field, or you are just starting to gain some industry recognition for your small business, the fact remains the same: there are some key ways to optimize your profile to propel your brand. 

Tip #1: Professional Headshot

Since you are going to use LinkedIn to make important industry connections, it’s important to get the fundamentals right.  That means get a professional headshot for your profile pick. 

Tip #2:  List All Your Skills

You have to treat your profile like a glorified resume.  If you don’t, how do you expect to impress people you have never met in person before? 

The best way to impress someone is to list all you skills.  That’s the lesson learned from a LinkedIn study that found people who listed five or more skills get 17 times more profile views

Tip #3: Use LinkedIn Publisher

The best example of an influencer who has mastered LinkedIn is Arianna Huffington.  The co-founder of the Huffington Post has been generating a consistent following with her posts about wellness and the value of sleep. 

Sounds kind of random?  Well it’s not.  Ms. Huffington planned to situate herself as a leading voice in the wellness industry before launching Thrive Global, a company dedicated to making sleep the most valuable productivity resource in the corporate world.

That is some exceptional branding by Ms. Huffington, and it can be copied by anyone who has a passion for their chosen industry.  LinkedIn, more than Twitter or Facebook, is the place where you can put this passion to use and generate some actionable insights from it. 

Tip #4: Make Targeted Connections

You probably frequent industry events.  At these events you probably meet some influential people farther up the food chain than you. 

To make these chance meetings more permanent, use LinkedIn to target influential people you have met in person and solidify a mutual recognition. 

Enjoy The Platform

Today it is much easier to use LinkedIn to your advantage than in years past.  The amount of exposure you can gain is incredible, simply by reading and engaging with the rich content that is published every day, and staying in direct contact with some key industry influencers. 

All in all, LinkedIn is a great resource for showing you what skills or connections you need to bring your business up a notch. 

Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Twitter Advertisement

I know what you are thinking. 

Why bother with Twitter advertisement when there are Facebook ads, Instagram ads, LinkedIn ads, and Google Adwords to take care of? 

In terms of pure volume it might seem like Twitter is not worth it.  Facebook is the king of social media platforms with 1.15 billion active users and 4.75 billion share items a day.  That’s huge no matter how you spin it. 

Twitter can claim 232 million active users and 500 million tweets a day.  The discrepancy is pretty huge between these two platforms. 

To give a baseball analogy: Facebook is like the New York Yankees (tons of fans and lots of money) while Twitter is more like the Tampa Bay Devils Rays (a group of devoted fans and not raking in much money). 

But the first thing you learn doing inbound marketing is that volume is not as important as conversion rate.  You can get huge volume on Facebook, with great CTR and impression percentages, without seeing effective conversion rates.  With Twitter, studies have shown that ad performance is actually higher than Facebook because Twitter drives higher conversion rates

Optify conducted a study of social media usage amongst businesses and found that Twitter has a conversion rate of 2.7%, massively outperforming Facebook (0.47%) and LinkedIn (0.8%)

So to bring it back to baseball, the lesson is this: just because the Yankees have a larger fan base and payroll does not mean they will have a better team than the Devil Rays. 

More aspects are at play in developing a strong baseball team, and more aspects are at play in creating effective ad campaigns on Twitter. 

Here are some tried and tested tricks to drive conversion rates with Twitter advertisements:

Give users an emotional motivation to click on your ad.  Videos from you or your staff will get people paying more attention to your brand.  Why? Because it’s tangible (and hopefully you can make them laugh).  Co-ordinate a short video with an advertisement campaign to raise awareness and help drive conversion rates. 

Advertise Percentages, Not Dollars – People are much more likely to respond favorably to 15% off than a $10 discount.  You want to get that snap of interest that will bring a customer from your Twitter page to your homepage, and a percentage deal just looks more alluring than a solid dollar amount. 

Don’t Overuse Hashtags – It’s become a bit of a running joke these days to use way too many hashtags.  While it might be fun to play around with it on your own personal account, the secret to a great Twitter ad is simplicity and a strong visual cue (whether image or video).  ‘Hashtag stuffing’ is something that frequent Twitter users will skip over in an instant. 

Get The Image Size Right – Twitter makes it clear what image dimensions work best for the ad platform.  Read up on them and make sure your marketing department follows through with it at all times. 

Engage Your Customers with Questions – Twitter is the source of so much unconventional content these days, so why not take a stab at it yourself?  Posing a question to your customers is a great way to twist the conventional advertisement procedure, as you can ask the question while sharing your visual advertisement. 

The Last Word

Twitter is dominating the mobile space and consistently showing better conversion results compared to Facebook ads.  Even though it will never have the volume of users that Facebook does it is clearly a resource with a lot of revenue potential for your company. 

5 Tips For Integrating Video Into Your Marketing Strategy

Sometimes the most obvious thing is the hardest to implement.  We all know that video is a great way to captivate audiences and generate strong engagement.  How do we know?  Because we all love watching videos! 

Facebook is always packed full with Facebook Live streams from people’s phones, little segments from the evening news, and of course the embedded YouTube links to interviews, documentaries, or whatever catches your fancy.

You’ve got a couple of great video platforms at your disposal as well, whether it’s YouTube or Vimeo.  Both are great resources for connecting with your audience and giving them some background on your company and it’s line of products or services. 

Then there is Instagram, who recently went from being strictly photo-based app to incorporating a live video component.  Instagram Stories went viral on August 2nd, 2016, and have become a massive success. 

Since Instagram Stories launched, the number of Instagram users quickly peaked over 700 million.  Whether it’s because Instagram is owned by Facebook or because they took the best elements of popular video app Snapchat is beside the point. 

The point of all this is that video is an exceptional marketing tool.  All the data on Facebook video content shows that people are more responsive to video than text or image based marketing, so there really is no question about why it should be used.

The question is how should video be used?  How do you represent your brand in an authentic and enticing way through video without trying too hard to be funny or making some generic style advert that would fit right in with 90s television commercials? 

While I cannot profess to know the answer, I can put forward some tips for how to use video in your marketing strategy.  They include:

Make It Educational – While getting people interested in your product is obviously the goal, sometimes the best way to generate that interest is by educating your customers.  Put together a little video highlighting some interesting facts about your products that can be embedded onto your site or Facebook page. 

Go Live Sometimes – Customers always love to see the CEO of a company appear on screen to answer questions.  It’s certainly not an easy position to be in for CEOs that are a little bit on the shy side, but it sure does bring credibility to your brand if you can go on Facebook Live once and awhile and communicate directly with your customers. 

Keep Them Short, Keep Them Informative – The nice thing about making promotional videos is that they should not be long.  Two minutes is probably the maximum length you need to get your point across, especially if it’s geared towards answering a specific question. 

Interview Industry Experts – Why not do a bi-monthly video feature where your CEO interviews another thought leader in the field?  It can be a little fun and games of course – maybe have a silly question portion of the interview – and should not be overly technical or packed with complicated questions.  The value of video is to draw viewers in and make them more curious about the people behind the products they buy, so in that regard it’s always important to focus on keeping things personal. 

Don’t Post Too Much – Less is more when it comes to video.  Oversaturating your audience’s desire for video content will surely happen if the quality of videos begin to slip.  There is a fine line between informative videos and bland marketing videos.  Always strive for the former if you want to keep your audience engaged. 

Try incorporating some of these tips into your video content strategy, and you’ll probably notice a spike in your key social media metrics like engagement, CTR and conversion rates!