For instance, you don’t want to post images of actuarial tables when you sell insurance. Yes, it’s an integral part of the insurance business, but it’s not going to inspire many people to share your content…
.. And may end up with unfollows if you this approach.
If your business doesn’t translate well on Instagram, you may have to think of alternative methods to get your message out. For example, that same insurance agency could use images of disaster aftermaths and their company disaster relief team helping the people who were affected.
Then ask your followers to comment about their own experiences & encourage them to share their own images.
This is just one example of the many ways you can engage with your audience through Instagram, even if you don’t think you have post worthy content to share.
The more you get your followers involved, the easier it will be to get people to share. Also, the higher the influence of the people sharing, the greater the reach.
This is not to say you should just simply focus on influencers, but, they can definitely expedite the growth of your following.
Instagram is a new medium for small businesses but that is changing, and there hasn’t been a better time to “get in” when it’s good.
Do a little competitor research and find other insurance companies on Instagram (or whatever your business happens to be) and pay attention to the type of engagement that is happening. If It works for them, there is a good chance something similar can work for you.
Another option is to consider partnering with other businesses that are complimentary to yours. Connect with these businesses and brainstorm some mutually beneficial promotional ideas.
One idea is to offer special discounts for your partner’s business through your Instagram and your partner does the same for you. Keep in mind REFERRAL business is the BEST business. And both businesses benefit by tapping into a fresh customer base.
It’s important to not lose sight of the fact that Instagram is a social platform. Be less willing to sell and more willing to reach out and help others. Be involved in a meaningful way.
Find ways to give valuable content that makes it easy for followers to share it and you might find Instagram to be a great platform for your business… No matter what business that happens to be.
It’s your job to lay the groundwork for what you want people to know about your business and then supporting that identity by demonstrating your expertise and capability to deliver what you promise.
However, your customers will be the ones who decide what your overall brand image is based on their interactions with your business.
A well-defined, strategic brand message can build instant credibility in your industry, while helping you gain authority in your market and shape how customers perceive your business. It’s quite often the key difference between a well-structured online presence, and a faltering business that is struggling to connect with its audience.
So, how can you build a recognized brand that provides a clear message that resonates with your market?
Start by thinking about your target audience and what is most important to them. Once you’ve evaluated your audience, you will be able to position yourself so that you are directly addressing their most burning questions, concerns and needs.
To do this, you need to gather as much intel on your market as possible, which you can do easily just by looking at the competition.
What are other business owners and product developers offering your audience? What kind of products and services are they successfully selling?
Take things to social media and begin by evaluating social signals – which are clear indicators as to what is currently in demand, popular and selling well. The higher level of interaction, the more advertising dollars spent, and the more engagement; the better.
Knowing how to develop a strategic brand message begins by recognizing what is already successful and improving on it within your own business.
You want to become the go-to person in your niche market, the obvious choice when customers are considering who to turn to when making their purchasing decisions.
When you work towards building an unwavering presence in your market, starting with a strong foundation of trust, you’ll eliminate the initial barriers standing in the way of you connecting with your target audience.
To do that, you need to learn as much about them (your customers) as possible so that you can build a brand around what is most likely to capture their attention.
You’ll also be able to lower the barrier of resistance and leave a lasting impression on them. When you do that, they’ll come back to you time and time again.
And how do you do begin? It starts with what is called a U.S.P.
USP stands for unique selling proposition (or unique selling point), and it is critical that you establish what yours will be right from the start.
What U.S.P Really Means
Contrary to popular belief, a USP has nothing to do with logos, slogans or graphic design.
Sure, those are components of your overall brand that help people identify your products and recognize you, however, a USP is far more important than that when it comes to building your customer base, and breaking through the barriers of resistance that most businesses experience when they first appear in their market.
A USP is what truly tells potential customers how you are different from the competition. It helps to align your goals with your customer’s. Your USP tells them that you can be trusted, that you have their best interests at heart, and that you fulfill all promises. And most importantly, a USP ensures you aren’t a faceless brand.
This would include key factors that differentiate a product or service from its competition, such as the lowest price, an extended, no-risk guarantee, a unique or exclusive product or offer not found anywhere else, or the first-ever product of its kind.
Your USP should also demonstrate your dedication to satisfying customers, and provide reassurance that you stand by your products, and that there is no risk to your customer when doing business with you.
To start, think about what your product or service has that the competition doesn’t.
Consider ways you can highlight those differences and emphasize the benefits. Paint a clear picture as to why a prospect is making a wiser, sound decision to purchase your product instead of someone else’s.
Your USP is the driving force behind clearly illustrating value and giving potential customers a reason to purchase from you rather than the competition. That’s its one and only job.
Creating a unique brand that stands out in your industry and communicates to customers that you have something better to offer than your competitors can be an up hill climb at times, and nobody said it would be easy.
The key is to focus on defining how your brand is different than others and why customers should choose you over the competition and then going the extra mile for them.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. And, not all customer-attraction methods are necessarily expensive. Here are seven (relatively) low-cost ways to acquire new customers and grow your business.
#1: Update Your Audience Research
I’m always amazed when I talk to business owners and they tell me that the last time they conducted audience research was years ago.
That’s crazy. Audiences change. You’ve got to know who’s interested in your products – and why they’re interested – if you’re going to understand how to bring your audience to your site.
If it’s been a while since you conducted any audience research, it’s time to get back on the horse. For example, you can:
#2: Know Your Competition
Competitor research is another key component of customer acquisition. After all, you and your competitors are vying for the same audience. Knowing what they do and how they’re doing it can help you pull ahead in the race for new business.
A couple of easy tactics to use include:
#3: Focus on Benefits, not Features
Another common mistake business owners make is getting too wrapped up in their product’s cool features at the expense of considering the customer’s experience.
Let’s face it. A potential customer doesn’t want to hear your brag about how awesome your product is. They want to know what it’s going to do for them.
Don’t tell them that a frying pan has a non-stick surface. Tell them that it will simplify their clean-up! That’s a simple example, but it illustrates the point.
You can list your products features briefly, but most of your marketing should focus on benefits. Think about your customer (see #1) and the problem they want solved. Then, explain how your product will solve it.
#4: Build Trust with Your Target Audience
If you know anything about marketing, then you know about the Rule of 7. It says that, on average, a customer must have seven interactions with your brand before they’ll buy from you.
The key to building trust is to use those seven “touches” wisely. You’ll need to be consistent. That means knowing your audience, having a clear vision for your brand, and using the same voice for all your online content, whether it’s on your website or social media.
And speaking of social media, it’s ideal for building trust. You can connect with your followers every day without seeing overly sales-y or obnoxious.
#6: Pair with Other Businesses
You can’t expect your direct competitors to refer business to you. That would be counterproductive for them. But that doesn’t mean that B2B referrals aren’t possible.
Try searching for businesses in your niche – or in a related niche – that aren’t in direct competition with you. Then, approach the owners about the potential for a reciprocal referral program or joint venture.
For example, if you sell dog training products and there’s a company that sells cleaning products for people with pets, you could pair up to create special offers and referrals. You might link to their site and have them link to yours, and you could even create limited time offers and specials.
The key is that you’ll get access to their customer base and they’ll get access to yours – and you probably won’t have to spend anything to do it.
#5: Create a Referral Program
It’s important not to ignore your current customers as ambassadors for your brand. After all, who’s in a better position to tell new customers about the benefits of buying from you?
The key is not to assume that your existing customers will spread the word about you and your products. They might do it without prompting, but why not make it easy for them? A strong referral program can bring you snew business on a regular basis.
Many referral programs incentivize referrals. For example, you might offer customers a free product (or a free month of service) in return for a referral. Or, you might host a special event for customers who refer new business to you.
Make sure to specify the terms of any rewards and to provide customers with what they need to make referrals, whether it’s a supply of business cards or brochures or a dedicated URL on your website.
#7: Create Shareable Coupons and Offers
A referral program is one thing. But what if you could convince your existing social media followers to spread the word about your products in return for a simple coupon?
You can! The next time you’re running a promotion, encourage your followers to share it. Your call to action can say something like, “Why keep all the savings for yourself? Share this post with your friends and family so they can get a bargain, too!”
The key is not to assume that people will share your content. They may not know that it’s okay with you for them to do so – so make sure to ask in your call to action.
New customers aren’t everything…
But, if you want your business to grow, you’ll need to expand your reach. These 7 simple tips can help you attract new customers without blowing through your marketing budget. Instead, you can use them to blow past your competition!
Google’s algorithm is proprietary. That means we don’t know exactly how Google determines rank. They’ve shared some of the bits and pieces but not the entire picture. Marketing & SEO pro’s make a living reading between the lines connecting the dots to help their clients get the highest rank possible.
Here are the 5 things you need to know to improve your site’s rank and rise to the top (or as close as possible) on Google’s SERP.
#1: Backlinks to Quality Sites Still Carry Weight
In a Q & A session from March of 2017, Google revealed their top three ranking factors. Backlinks were number one. Since Google rarely comments publicly about their algorithm, we can’t say for certain that backlinks are still number one, but it’s safe to assume they’re very close to the top.
A backlink is any link that leads from another site to yours. If you want backlinks to have a positive impact on your Google rank, they must be from authority sites. Multiple links from the same site won’t help you since Google evaluates backlinks based on domains, not volume.
Remember that spammy backlinks won’t help you. In fact, they may hurt you. When a low-quality site links to yours, Google may associate your quality site with their low-quality content or practices. Instead of buying links or engaging in other “black hat” practices, focus on organically building quality links.
#2: Content is Still King
The next most important ranking factor is your content. Google’s aim is to provide highly relevant, quality content to searchers. The better your content is, the more likely it is that your site will rise to the top of the SERP.
Not all quality is created equal. You can signal quality to Google by doing the following things:
#3: Mobile Responsiveness is a Must
The next thing to consider is whether your site is mobile-friendly. As of 2017, more than half of all Google searches were conducted on mobile devices. That’s not something you can ignore.
If you’ve been paying any attention to developments at Google, you know that their Mobilegeddon update in 2015 penalized sites that weren’t mobile friendly. As of 2018, not being mobile friendly will have a negative impact on your Google rank.
Mobile users expect the sites they visit to be easy to use – whether they’re accessing them on a smartphone or a tablet. They’re not going to frequent your site if:
#4: Slow Loading Pages Will Drive Users Away & Affect Rankings
Web users are notoriously impatient. People who visit your site will expect it load quickly. If it doesn’t, they’ll find another site, instead.
Since “quickly” is a relative word, let’s talk about what it means. One study found that 47% of web users expect a site to load in two seconds. Of those, 40% will navigate away if the site takes longer than that to load.
You can test your site’s speed with Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. If it’s too slow to load, you’ll need to address the situation. Some things that may affect your loading speed are:
#5: HTTPS is a Must
You probably know that, as of 2017, Google is penalizing sites that aren’t secure. That means that if you aren’t already using HTTPS, you should be.
HTTPS provides a secure user experience for your site. Sites that use HTTPS display a webicon of a lock. Those that aren’t secure get a message stating that the site isn’t secure, instead.
Switching to HTTPS requires buying a security certificate, installing it, and rerouting traffic from your HTTP site to the new HTTPS site. Once you do, your site will display the lock icon and you may get a boost in your Google rank, too.
Google’s Algorithm is Proprietary…
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take steps to improve your site’s rank. The five ranking factors listed here are key to moving up the SERP – and getting the search traffic you deserve.
That’s good news for you, because it means that by taking other options into account, you can get a leg up on your competition. Sounds pretty good, right? So, let’s talk about it.
What Search Engine Are the Missing 35% Using?
If not Google, who?
That’s probably what you’re wondering. You might think that that elusive 35% is split among several search engines. That’s right – but it’s also wrong.
You see, as of 2015, Yahoo made a deal with Bing. Approximately 51% of all Yahoo searches use Bing. And, since Bing and Yahoo are responsible for about 35% of all search traffic, that means that optimizing for Bing can help you capture people you might miss by thinking only about Google.
Bing and Google have a lot in common. But, if you search one of your keywords and compare the SERP, you’ll notice some differences. Addressing those differences can help you stand out from your competitors.
The key is to do it without messing with your Google rank.
Advantages of Optimizing for Bing
Before we walk through how you can optimize for Bing searches without affecting your Google rank, let’s talk about the main advantages of optimizing for Bing.
How to Improve Your Bing Rank
Now, let’s talk about what you can do to improve your rank on Bing. Many of the things that work for you on Google will also work on Bing. The trick is to tweak your SEO just a bit, so your site maintains its Google rank and moves up on Bing.
Make Sure Your Site is Indexed on Bing
The first step is to make sure your site is properly indexed on Bing. If it’s been around for a while it probably is, but if your site is new, it may not be.
Start by doing a search for site:www.yoursite.com on Bing. That will show you how many of your site’s pages have been indexed.
If they’re indexed, you can move on to the next step. If they’re not, you should go ahead and submit your site here.
Tell Bing How Often to Crawl Your Site
Next, tell Bing how frequently to crawl your site. If you look at Bing’s Webmaster Tools, you’ll notice that the default setting is standard. That’s fine if your site is static; but, if it’s large or you update it frequently, you should dial up the crawl rate for the best results.
Submit a Clean Sitemap
Bing has only a 1% tolerance for dirt in your sitemap. That means if you want your rank to improve, you’ve got to clean it up and submit it. You can do it on your Webmaster Tools page.
Another option is to include a link to your sitemap in your Robots.txt. However, the benefit of doing it through Bing is that you’ll get error messages if there are problems with your sitemap. That means you’ll be able to clean them up as you go.
Use Straightforward Keywords
If you know anything about Google, you know that LSI and context are nearly as important as keyword use. That’s not the case on Bing. They put a higher premium on exact keyword matches than Google does.
Fortunately, this is a change you can make without hurting your Google rank. You’ll want to increase your keyword density a bit, but not so much that it affects the quality of your content.
Using those same keywords in tags – the title tag is hugely important on Bing – is essential, too.
Improve Your Click-Through Rate
Bing pays a lot of attention to user behavior. If users click your site and then hit the back button, it will affect your Bing rank.
You can check your CTR and bounce rate on Bing from your Webmaster Tools dashboard.
Build More Backlinks
Google tends to place more emphasis on the quality of backlinks than the number of them. Bing does the reverse.
You can’t disregard the quality of your backlinks without negatively impacting your Google rank. But, by adding additional backlinks, you can positively impact your Bing rank.
It’s also a good idea to do what you can to improve the quality of your anchor text in your backlinks. Don’t overdo it – that can hurt you with Google – but contacting a few webmasters to ask them to use keywords in the anchor text can help you with Bing.
Use Social Signals to Your Advantage
Unlike Google, Bing comes right out and says that social signals have an impact on the SERP. That means anything you do to boost your social media impact will help you with Bing.
The best way to capitalize on this is to monitor your social signals, attract new followers, and do whatever you can to amplify your reach on sites like Facebook and Instagram.
Ignoring Bing users is a bad idea…
By taking a few simple steps to boost your Bing ranking, you can out-maneuver your competition. When you think about it, it makes no sense to simply ignore a third of all searches – so stop doing it and give Bing the attention it deserves!
There’s no shortage of options. And one option that you may have overlooked is something that you’ve probably spent a lot of time on as a consumer.
I’m talking about YouTube ads.
You probably visit YouTube often – maybe you even go there more than once a day. And when you do, you’ve seen the ads that run before videos. You’ve probably also noticed ads that display with your search results.
When it comes to generating leads, those ads are CRUSHING it.
YouTube Ad Statistics
Let’s start by checking the numbers. We’re warning you – what you’re about to read may shock you, especially if you’ve been spending money on local TV ads and other high-cost ads.
Now, let’s talk about how you can use YouTube to generate local leads.
Know Your Ad Types
The first step is knowing what your ad options are on YouTube. There are three to consider:
YouTube Advertising Best Practices
Now, let’s look at some simple things that can help you generate tons of local leads with YouTube ads.
Keep Your Ads Short
Bumper ads are necessarily short. You’ll be limited in how long they can be – usually, they’re less than 10 seconds.
In-Stream ads can vary in length, but keep in mind that viewers will be able to see how long your ad is as soon as it appears on their screen. They may be willing to sit through a 30-second ad if it interest them, but unless you really grab their attention, they’re not going to sit through a two-minute ad before watching the content they came to see.
Discovery ads can be longer – as much as two minutes – but make sure the content is engaging. That’s the only way that you’ll keep a viewer’s attention and get them to click your call to action.
Grab Users’ Attention from the Start
YouTube advertising isn’t the place to indulge in a slow build. Your ad must grab viewers’ attention immediately if you want them to stick around.
There are a few ways to accomplish this. One is to start with a provocative statement, one that target’s your audience’s biggest pain point.
Another option is to use storytelling in your video. If you tell a compelling story, people will keep watching to find out how it ends. But with this option, you will need a killer script for your video. If you can’t write one yourself, hire a pro to do it for you. It will be money well spent.
Don’t Wait to Display Your Call to Action
Keeping in mind that you have limited time to capture your audience’s attention, it makes sense not to wait for the end of your video to display your call to action.
Remember, your goal is to get people to click your CTA. By displaying it on the screen early in your video – and then again at the end – you can maximize conversions.
You may even want to include several calls to action – especially if your video is long. Place them when the content in your video is likely to spur action. You don’t want to overdo it but it’s important to make it very easy for viewers to take the next step.
Optimize Your Landing Page for Video Viewers
Where will the people who view your ad end up if they click your call to action? If you want to use YouTube advertising to generate leads, you’ve got to make sure that your landing page is optimized for the people who see your video.
First, make sure that the content on your page matches what’s in the video. You don’t want people who visit to be confused.
Next, link viewers to a page that’s intended for lead generation. That means that you should have an opt-in form or appointment link on the page. Nobody who lands there should have to guess what the next step is. It should be clear.
Lead Generation on YouTube Doesn’t Have to be Expensive…
Provided you choose the right place to run your ads and follow these simple guidelines, you should start seeing high-quality leads from your ads quickly. And from there, you can nurture those leads and turn them into loyal, paying customers.
The businesses that appear in the top five spots on Google get the lion’s share of the traffic. If you miss the mark, you’ll be missing out on business.
With that in mind, here are the most important things you need to know about what’s changing with Google – and why you should care.
#1: Google Searches Will Be Mobile-First
This first one is a big one and you can expect to have a big impact on your business. Google has a huge advantage in mobile search. One estimate is that while Google garners approximately 63% of desktop services, it grabs a whopping 95% of mobile search. People with smart phones really need to go out of their way to use a search engine other than Google.
Google knows that people are more likely to search local business on their mobile devices than on a desktop, and it also recognizes the importance of the “near me” search term when people are out and about.
You want to make sure that your business grabs one of those top spots in mobile search? Here are some quick tips to help you ensure that it does:
#2: SEO Is Your Key to Showing Google Your Relevance
It’s no secret that Google prioritizes the user experience over everything else. That’s why keywords have diminished in importance while things like LSI, authority backlinks, and local reviews have risen as indicators of a site’s relevance and usefulness.
Keywords may not have the impact they once had, but there are other elements of SEO that are essential to ensuring that Google knows what your site’s about and why users will care about it.
The first thing is creating optimized content that’s highly engaging and useful to your site visitors. The more recent the content the better. If your site doesn’t have a blog, it should – and you shouldn’t wait to add one. Every blog post you write gives Google another reason to crawl your site, and users another reason to visit.
The second thing is your data. If you’re not already drilling down into your data from Google Analytics and social media, you should start. Those numbers aren’t just numbers – they’re a map that can show you the kind of content that’s most appealing to your followers.
#3: Content Still Reigns Supreme
Speaking of content, there’s simply no way to overstate its importance. While you’ll still need to optimize your site for keywords and use appropriate tags, your content is what will ultimately make a user decide to stay on your site or – alternatively – to click the dreaded back button and try again.
The truth is that posting content regularly is likely to garner you up to five times the results that you’ll get without regular content updates. That’s not a statistic you can afford to ignore – and you can be sure that Google will notice if you don’t create content that users care about.
Of course, content can take many forms. It might include:
#4: Video Content is Huge
Finally, there’s reason to believe that 2018 will truly be the Year of Video Marketing. We’ve been talking about the rise of video for a while now, but its importance continues to increase. Let’s start with this:
By 2021, 82% of all global IP traffic will be video traffic.
Whoa. We’re not talking about a tiny chunk of traffic here. Video traffic was already at 73% as of 2016 and its rise is ongoing.
Visitors to your site are four times more likely to watch an explainer video about your product or service than they are to read a page of text. Of course, there are exceptions – but you can’t afford to ignore the fact that preferences have changed.
The good news is that video is cheaper and easier than ever to product. You can pay big bucks for a professional videographer to make videos for your business, but you don’t need to. Even a decent smartphone camera can shoot video that’s good enough to represent your business.
Some videos – the more formal ones that appear on your site, for example – might benefit from high production values. But the videos that you post on social media can be casual and short – and don’t forget about live video as an option, too
Now, about that Jell-O…
Yes, it’s a pain to keep up with Google’s constant changes. But ultimately, getting a nail through that Jell-O – even if you have to do it again tomorrow – is worth the time and effort. It’s the thing that will bring new visitors to your site – and help your business earn more revenue.
The trick is knowing which platforms are most likely to bear fruit – and which are better left alone. Here are some things that can help.
Understand the Key Attributes of Each Platform
Each social media platform has unique qualities. Sometimes the benefits of one platform overlap with another and sometimes, they don’t. Here’s a rundown of each platform’s marketing value as we see it.
Facebook is still the biggest social media platform. That means that you’re likely to find a significant percentage of your target audience there. In most cases, choosing just one social media site for marketing probably means choosing Facebook.
Facebook is ideal for brand-building, establishing yourself as an authority in your industry or niche, and strengthening customer loyalty. It’s easy to share an array of content, including written, visual, and video content.
Of course, arguable Facebook’s biggest strength in terms of marketing is its advertising options. You can easily segment your target audience, run ads, view detailed analytics, and adjust as needed.
Twitter is built for instant communications. It’s the perfect place to share updates with your followers, create an immediate give-and-take, and release company news without relying on the media.
Twitter’s use of hashtags also makes it easy to track your company’s mentions and trending topics. Many companies have integrated their customer service with their Twitter accounts to provide immediate support when it’s needed.
Pinterest focuses on visual content and is a great platform for driving users back to your blog or website. They also have an option that allows retailers to sell directly on Pinterest.
The ability to create micro-targeted boards and use hashtags can make it easy to ensure that people in your target audience see the content you create.
Like Pinterest, Instagram is a visual platform where you can share photographs and videos of your products or services. It has a slightly more casual feel that the other sites we’ve mentioned so far and that can be useful for some brands because it can help them connect with customers.
Instagram is also a good place for user-generated content. For example. Starbucks uses Instagram every year for its White Cup Contest, where it asks users to decorate a plain white Starbucks cup with a unique design. The contest winner’s design is manufactured each year and available as a limited-run product in stores.
LinkedIn is the best social media platform for B2B marketers. It’s where you can share relevant blog posts, connect with other leaders in your industry, and make the kinds of connections that can help your business grow.
You can target LinkedIn users by their industry and job title, as well as by using traditional keywords. Sharing information about your business is a good way to build credibility and trust.
Identify Your Target Audience’s Preferred Platforms
Now, you’ve got to take the time to clearly define your target audience and identify the social media platforms that they are most likely to use. To do that, it’s helpful to have a demographic breakdown of each site so you can narrow your options.
Know How Much Time You’re Willing to Spend on Social Media
Let’s say that you’ve identified Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram as the most beneficial social platforms for your business. Does that mean you should set up accounts on all three?
To be effective, a social account must be active. That means you’ve got to tend to it every day, creating or curating new content and being there to answer questions and comments as needed. Here’s a rule of thumb for posting on each platform:
Choosing the right social platforms may take a little time…
But, it’s time well spent. Your time is valuable, and it makes no sense to waste it posting on platforms that your audience is not using.
If you’re a CPA or Attorney, you probably don’t use Pinterest…
Auto repair shops probably aren’t too active on LinkedIn…
Home remodeling & roofing contractors don’t do a lot of tweeting…
You see where I’m going with this?
So we hope this article will help you make the best choice for your own business – and for your bottom line.
In case you don’t know, that’s the collection of businesses that appear at the top of Google’s SERP when someone searches a keyword. It turns out that one of the keys to landing a coveted spot in the three-pack is getting good reviews. Here’s what you need to know.
The Proof That Reviews Matter
How can we tell that reviews make a difference in SEO? Google’s algorithm is proprietary and the known ranking factors (keywords, links, and Google Rankbrain, to name a few) don’t include reviews.
Local SEO experts have been saying this for a years, but it’s actually fairly easy to see that reviews are important. Google any local business category and you will get a list of results with a three-pack at the top. When you look at the businesses that made it into the three-pack, you’ll most likely see the following:
It’s also worth noting that the Local SEO Guide found that local reviews were the second most influential factor in determining search rank in their 2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors study. The influence in this study did appear to be limited to reviews that specifically included the keyword searched, but customers are likely to use the most commonly searched terms naturally.
In addition, LSI keywords that are related to the search term may also play a role. Try Googling your top keyword and looking at what’s highlighted in the reviews in the three-pack. You may notice that reviews that use semantically-related words show up even if they don’t use the precise term you searched.
The Reasons Google Likes Reviews for SEO
There are some concrete reasons that Google thinks reviews matter. They’re directly related to the ways that Google’s algorithm has evolved. In the early days of the internet, it was possible to get a page to rank highly on any search engine by simply stuffing it with keywords.
That changed because it omitted any concern for the experience of a user who clicked through to a site. After all, if you could click on a site because it ranked for a keyword only to find that it was useless to your needs, you wouldn’t revisit it – and you might resent the search engine that directed you to it in the first place.
With that in mind, here are the top three reasons that Google likes reviews for SEO.
How to Make the Most of Your Reviews
Here are some quick tips to help you make the most of your reviews:
You know that, and now you can do something about it. Organic traffic is increasingly difficult to come by but encouraging and highlighting your reviews can help you get the biggest possible bang for your marketing bucks.
And the secret it a surprisingly simple one:
Create better content than they do.
It’s been a long time since Bill Gates famously declared, “Content is king.” That doesn’t mean that it’s not true. In fact, content is happily sitting on that throne – and it determines how highly your site is ranked by Google and whether people will visit it, subscribe to your list, and turn into paying customers.
Easier said than done? Maybe, but here are 5 methods you can try to drive more customers with content marketing.
#1: Build Social Media Profiles & Engage Your Audience Consistently
There’s no denying that social media marketing is essential for local businesses. In fact, social content accounts for a whopping 93% of all B2B content and it’s responsible for a significant amount of B2C content, as well.
The first step is building your profiles. That means creating a consistent brand image by using your logo and a dedicated brand voice so that someone who finds you on Facebook won’t have any problem recognizing you from your website or other social accounts.
The second step is engaging your audience. You should plan on creating some content that’s unique to social media. You can also share your blog posts, YouTube videos, and other content from your website.
However, you should also be curating content from other sources as long as it fits in with your brand’s message. For example, we found a craft store in Seattle that shares:
The key is to make sure that the content you share is relevant to your followers.
#2: Contact Local Content Creators/Influencers
The next thing you can do is to pair up with local content creators and influencers both for content creation and for amplifying your brand’s reach.
Imagine that you owned a restaurant and you noticed that one of your food suppliers had a large following. You might approach them about creating content together or sharing one another’s content to help both of you. People who eat at your restaurant might like to know more about the person producing your ingredients and likewise, the people who follow your supplier might like to know where they can sample their products locally.
Of course, influencers don’t need to be directly connected to your business. Instead, they might simply have a lot of audience overlap to make cultivating a relationship with them worth your while. Use your imagination and keep an open mind for the best results.
You can find local influencers using websites like .peoplemap.co and tribegroup.co
#3: Partner with Local Businesses
You might also consider partnering with local businesses to build your brand and attract new customers. Sometimes, a partnership is the ideal way to lift both partners while at the same time providing relevant content to your followers.
For example, a local office supply store might pair up with a CPA to create content about how to organize your receipts and other information necessary for filing your taxes. Or a hair salon could pair up with a local charity that makes wigs for chemotherapy patients showing the process of how donated hair becomes a wig.
Here again the key is relevance. Any joint content you create should be relevant to your followers and give them the opportunity to learn something new – or try something new.
#4: Confirm Your Business on Mapping Platforms
Helping people find you online and in person is a key aspect of content marketing – and one you may be neglecting. Here are some examples of what you can do to make your business more visible:
#5: Event Marketing (Hosting Events and Experiences)
Finally, check out local events that you might be able to attend or sponsor. While our focus is on digital marketing, sometimes there’s no substitute for the personal touch.
If your marketing is primarily B2B, you might look for:
Remember, great content will always win out…
It might feel a bit daunting to constantly need to come up with new content, but the five strategies we’ve outlined here can help to demystify the process and ensure that your content is always stands out and gets noticed.