5 Facts Small Businesses Should Know About Local SEO

Without a doubt, businesses throughout the world all have one thing in common, and that is to bring in more customers to their establishments. No matter how big or small the business is, it is really important for the owner to be able to draw in more people to do business with. Otherwise, they’ll end up having to close the business since there is no way for them to sustain it. One suitable way a company can gain new business is to make sure it targets the right people in his specific geographic location; especially if the business is new. Thankfully, the internet has now given these business owners various ways they can let their prospect customers find them.

But when it comes to utilizing these tools to attract customers, it is important to use them properly. Otherwise, the tool won’t be used to its full potential and it would not lead to good results for the business owner. If you are a business owner, it is important that you know how you can properly target customers to your location. The good news is that you can optimize your online visibility to your local search engine optimization (SEO).

And with the success of this tool, there’s no surprise why search engines seem to be updating itself with new trends every now and then. Because of these changes, companies have been able to place a better local footprint on the results page of search engines. This gives them a tremendous amount of opportunity to be more visible locally and get better exposure of their business and brand to the audience they truly target. In a way, this gives them an edge as it helps make their strategy work for their benefit. Of course, the success of their local SEO search efforts is translated into sales.

The problem is, optimizing local SEO can be very tricky. It doesn’t only end with learning about customary SEO terms and practices, you will also need to continuously do your research on what works in SEO. In this time and age, your visibility online can make or break your brand. Considering the fact that SEO practices continually change, it’s important that you know how things work every time. So how are you to make sure that local SEO works to your advantage? Here are 5 things you need to know about local SEO as a small business owner:

Accurate and Consistent Online Listing

As a business, you want customers to be able to find you and your vital information: your NAP. This stands for the Name, Address and Phone Number. In some cases, it could even be NAP+W (W= Website). Every local optimizer knows how important all these information is. The problem however, is that the accuracy and consistency of these data can be a problem.

A number of users have become discouraged to discover that the business they are looking for online does not update these information whenever they change something. And in truth, there is a large number of businesses who know their NAP+W is no longer updated yet they know that many of their customers rely on the internet for such information. Despite this, many businesses believe they do not have the time to update the information anymore.

As a business owner, you have to remember that these inaccuracies can kill your local SEO. No matter how serious you are with your business, it will be questioned by those who are unable to find updated information of your NAP. This is why you really have to be vigilant and be careful of updating your NAP.

Maximize Directory Listings

Nowadays, there are so many websites that offer directory listings of various companies in their vicinity. So in reality, it’s very easy for your brand to be listed on such websites. The only question is how you will be able to make use of the local directory website to its full potential. It might be very tedious and time-consuming work for you to create a local listing, but in the end, it can be beneficial for your business if you want it to rank on local SEO search. As much as possible, you should fill up the required information on the directory so you can let it work for your advantage.

Researchers have discovered that when a customer looks for a listing, he will want to see the following:
• Address
• Phone number
• General proximity to location
• Hours of operation
• Company name
• Website
• Prices
• General product or service info
• Ratings or reviews
• Compare features, services, other info.
• Forms of payment accepted
As much as you can, try to complete each of these items as every added citation adds to your local SEO uptick. The more complete your online listing is, the better it will be for potential customers to trust your business and patronize it.

Optimize Social Media

Social media has played an important role in everyone’s lives. To this extent, businesses can thrive on local SEO even if they don’t have their own website. As long as they are active on social media, customers can still find them easily. Once a business does not have its own website, its traffic gets redirected to another local listing or a page. This is why it is recommended that you make your business active on websites such as Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, or Urbanspoon. On websites such as these, they can see a star rating or a review left behind by other customers of the business.

With the new Google My Business platform rollout, experts in the field of local SEO insist that it’s very important for business owners to fill out all their needed information as accurately and completely as possible. Thanks to this tool, your customers will be able to find you easily.

Don’t Beg for Reviews

Online, the best way you can get people to trust your business is through the reviews you received from other people who have already used your services. Unfortunately, this is something you cannot force or beg other people to do. As a business owner, you can’t force people to leave a five-star review of you on social media. Instead, you can encourage users to leave a review about your business by giving them a freebie or a discount.

The main reason why you need reviews is because it can help with your local SEO. The more reviews you have, the more Google will deliver your establishment in local searches.

Never Stop Learning

As Google continues to expand its horizon and target more hyperlocal businesses, your brand should also do the same. It is best that you work with a professional company that knows the latest trends and tools Google uses to make sure that your information stays relevant and on the top results of a page. Only then will you be sure of how you can drive users to your business.

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Are You Scaring Your Customer’s Inner Caveman?

Author credit: Liraz Margalit, PhD Neurosciencemarketing.com

When it comes to improving online customer experience, your visitors are all cavemen.

Why is this important? Because marketers, from tiny entrepreneurs to global enterprises, can unintentionally trigger adverse behavior from visitors if they don’t take psychology into account.

All day long, we humans are trapped in an endless tussle for control of our surroundings, from the big things to minutiae. Since our days dwelling in caves, we crave control because it offers comfort.

When things feel out of our control, our bodies immediately respond. Our deep subconscious floods us with tension until we can remedy things.

This neurological response is the same regardless of the loss-of-control trigger.

If you lose control of a relationship or the buzz of your phone makes you lose control of a pleasant weekend moment, you’re likely to react in the same way.

Case Study: News Content

For businesses with websites, understanding the human need for control offers a powerful tool for enhancing customer experience. In my role as a web psychologist for ClickTale, I recently helped one of the world’s largest and most influential news organizations analyze customer behavior on their website. The news organization was trying to increase video content viewing by having video load automatically on their homepage.

The video in question was slick and well designed, and its content was interesting.

But, there was one aspect the organization hadn’t considered… when a visitor comes to a website planning to read the news but sound and video suddenly jump out at them, the effect is jarring. That surprise makes visitors feel they are losing control.

What we found when we analyzed the page was that visitors tended to always click on the “pause” button as soon as they encountered the video.

Pausing the video put the control of their experience back into the visitors’ own hands.

Automatically starting the video created the opposite reaction. It increased the probability that visitors would not watch the video at all. Instead, it encouraged them to read the text located below the video – not the desired outcome!

The Expectation Factor

This response can be explained by a psychological effect called the expectation factor.

People come into situations expecting to receive something specific. Expectation factors apply to all aspects of life. You go to a job interview and expect the hiring manager to ask certain questions. You go to a birthday party and expect to eat certain foods and have a certain level of fun.

It’s important for businesses to understand that, when customers visit their websites, the expectation factor is also very much at play.

If you present your visitors with an experience that strays too much from what they anticipate, they will end up feeling a loss of control. In response, they will do things to regain the feeling of control. They might click “pause” on a video or even exit the page entirely.

In order to manage this tussle over control between websites and visitors, it’s important to also understand the power of perceived control.

Visitors like to think they are in charge of their actions. When a video plays without visitors initiating any interaction, they feel the opposite.

If a visitor feels that a website is trying to “sell” him something, or push him into viewing certain content without his choosing to do so, he will push back by trying to take back the interaction and intentionally avoid that content. This occurs deep within our subconscious and triggers biochemical prods that are part of a primitive neurological mechanism.

Danger Cues

Why do we react so strongly to encountering a video playing automatically on a website or to a cell phone alarm going off in the middle of a quiet afternoon? The reasons, it turns out, are rooted in our deepest prehistoric history.

The first humans had to be constantly on alert for changes in their environment, because unexpected sounds or sights meant only one thing: danger.

When we click on a website hoping to read an article and instead are confronted with a loud, bright video, the automatic response is not so different from that our prehistoric ancestors, walking in the forest and stumbling upon a bear or a saber-toothed tiger.

Our body reacts first to eliminate the stressor in our midst. Then, because we have an inner need to make sure our thoughts and behaviors are consistent, we then subconsciously rationalize our decision.

“If I stopped the video, it must not be interesting,” you might think to yourself.

By forcing the video upon its visitors instead of letting them choose to click “play,” the news organization significantly decreased the chances readers would have any interest in watching it.

Other Stressors

Automatic videos are not the only online situations that promote stress responses. Visitors also start to feel control slipping from their hands when they encounter very long web pages, especially those that require endless scrolling.

I’ve witnessed visitors start scrolling along a page and suddenly realize they don’t know where they are anymore. It’s a thoroughly modern phenomenon but it evokes the same fear triggers that our ancestors felt when they were in a foreign environment and suddenly didn’t know how far they were from home.

Our prehistoric ancestors used trail markers in order to not get lost. And websites that understand human psychology can also do something similar, employing sticky navigation – website menus that move with the page as the visitor scrolls, “sticking” in place and always remaining visible – to keep visitors feeling in control.

Old reactions, new triggers

From an evolutionary standpoint, if we are in control of our environment, we have a better chance of survival. While our behavior adapts to changes all the time, our evolutionary roots continue to affect us.

Even though the threats have become less obvious and sometimes are not even real, our body will generate the same autonomic reactions in response to perceived or imagined threats. The need for control is rooted deeply within us and has a subconscious impact on our online behavior too.

To avoid these threat-driven behaviors, be sure that your website or mobile app:

1.Doesn’t startle the user.
2.Behaves in the way most users expect it to.
3.Leaves the user in control at all times.

Do you need help putting your visitors back in the driver’s seat? Contact gotcha! today.

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Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

Most businesses already know how important social media is. They are already aware of how crucial having good practice of social media can help lead their business to be better. But there’s a problem: not all of them know how to implement things so they can practice what they believe in. For some businesses, the problem actually lies when they try to create good content that will strike their audience on social media positively. If you’re wondering how you’ll be able to make the most out of your content strategy, it’s important that you know just how crucial it is for your business.

So What Exactly is a Content Marketing Strategy?

Think of it this way– it’s your guiding light that you should follow in terms of your planning, production, promotion and measurement of content for your business. If you want to be successful with your content marketing efforts, you also have to take the time to create a solid strategy that you believe will work for your brand. While it could be pretty heavy work in the beginning, it could reduce your workload in the future, thus making your content more effective. And how do you do that? Follow these tips to help you create a content marketing strategy:

Obtain Support from Stakeholders

First of all, keep in mind that content marketing is not just a short-term thing. It’s a long-term commitment that will require you to continuously collaborate and engage with your team members so that your efforts will succeed. If you have an executive team deciding for the business, it’s important that you sell the idea to them before anything else. Once they agree to the voice of the content marketing strategy, you’ll know that you are doing something right with your campaign.

The main reason why you need to get support from the executives of the business is so you can get the funds needed to implement your content strategy. At the same time, this will help you know that there is a commitment from them to fully implement the strategy to see just how well it would benefit the business.

Know Your Audience

Another thing you have to remember about content marketing is that you should know who your audience is. Content marketing is not about selling your products or services. It’s all about entertaining, educating, and informing your readers. This way, you’ll be able to earn their trust over time. By knowing who your audience is and what they are interested in, you’ll be able to determine how viable your current content is and what you’ll need to do to gain their attention.

Take a Customer-Centered Approach

It’s extremely important that you focus on and address what your audience wants. This is why you need to do your research and look for information that’s currently available so you can supply what’s missing. One way you can do this is to investigate social media such as blog and forums. Try to see how your audience is interacting through the use of tools so you’ll be able to collect data needed to help you create useful content. You can also conduct a survey on your customers so you know just what type of information they need from a company such as yours.

Have a Good Content Formula

You’ve already established that content marketing is about building trust between you and your customers. By doing so, they’ll be able to solve issues that are important to them. You can customize your content in a way where you engage with influencers, decision-makers and stakeholders to know what else is missing in your content. And at the same time, they’ll help promote your business since they were tapped to be a guest.

Plan Your Editorial Calendar

A good content marketing program starts with an editorial calendar that has been carefully planned. After all that you’ve researched and created, it’s time for you to execute and implement your content. Through the editorial calendar, you’ll be able to carefully create the content in a way that it doesn’t go against one another.

Make Use of Tools to Analyze Your Strategy

When you were still gathering information for your content marketing strategy, you made use of tools to help you out. In the same way, you should also make use of tools to gauge just how successful your strategy is doing. This will be a big help for you to know if you’re doing something right and to pinpoint what that is. Don’t be afraid to use tools for your content marketing. You’ll realize that this is actually one of the best ways you can get the help you need.

As a business owner, you need to know how to make the most out of your content marketing strategy so you can fully implement your business. Follow these tips to help you achieve this. If you need more help, contact gotcha! to learn more about our expert content marketing services.

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Social Media Marketing : Secrets and Lies

While many businesses already understand the importance of having a social media strategy, others might argue that social media marketing is a trend without any real return on investment. There’s a little bit of truth to both. Take a look at the following social media marketing truths and secrets before you embark on building your social presence.

The Road Is Long

The social media road is long and cumbersome. There is no such thing as an overnight success, and it can take a significant amount of time before you see (if ever) any financial return from investing in it. While it might not cost much to build your social profiles, there are other things to consider that will cost both money and time in the long-run. If you’re expecting something that brings sales overnight and makes you a viral success, social media is not the answer.

You Only Get a Peek

The most difficult aspect of building a successful social media presence is actually in understanding your page guests and their behaviors. The problem is, social media only gives you a peek inside of who they are and what their interests are. There’s really no way to really track if they visited similar businesses as your own, or made a purchase outside of your website. The initial demographic reports will help you understand your audience, but it won’t tell you why they chose not to buy from you.

You Have to Maintain It

Posting on social media is a regular, if not daily, effort. In order to keep your brand afloat you will need to devote several hours per week on social media. In the beginning of launching a start-up that might seem feasible. Over time you might get burned on in writing fresh content that matters.

Managing the Workload

When it comes to managing your social media workload you might end up hiring a social media manager or a content writer who will create an editorial calendar and post blogs on a weekly basis. These blogs will help Google find your page and in turn you might rank higher in search results. Because your blog is constantly updated, your business page appears active and authoritative in the industry.

When you can no longer devote the time to writing for you web page, you’ll need to factor in the costs of hiring experts for the job. The problem is, social media marketing will never make you rich. You may never see much return from investing in hiring a social and content writing team. You will, however, have a business webpage and social presence that shows the world more about your brand, and that slowly builds a reputation. If you’re patient, social media marketing can be one of the most rewarding aspects of your brand strategy.

You Need Knowledge

Identifying your social audience takes emotional intelligence. If you hire a manager, they’ll likely begin to analyze your site visitors and try to figure out which sorts of posts and updates receive the best response. The problem is this will take time, and you’ll likely have more fails than success in the beginning.

Beyond understanding the demographics of your guest, you need to identify what makes them buy, or walk away from a purchase. You’ll also need to figure out what makes them “click” to read more. This is exactly why it takes time to build a presence on social media, especially one that carries any sort of return.

What Channels Should You Choose?

It’s always best to keep things simple, especially when you might be juggling your social media management with all the other aspects of your business. When you begin building portfolios for your brand, you’ll need to determine which ones will be the most worthy of your time.

Rather than hopping all over the place, you’ll need to evaluate where most of your customers are active, and then use those platforms to connect with your audience. This might mean adapting to other social platforms such as Instagram or Twitter.

It Costs Money

The last dirty little secret about social media marketing is that it costs money. Sure, everything is free in the beginning, but overtime you will be limited in your organic reach, and it will cost your company money if you want to be shown in reader’s search results. You also might decide to pass the buck and hire a creative team to handle the social side of your business. Either way, social media marketing costs money.

But it’s worth every penny.

Because when someone visits your page and clicks on your blog they should be able to read something relevant and recent. Just like this.

Now you know why social media marketing is important, so we won’t bother you with the lies. For what it’s worth social media is just something your brand has to do. Before you hire a social manager, make sure they aren’t making too many promises.

Do you need assistance navigating the world of social media marketing? We’re butterflies. Contact gotcha! Mobile Solutions today and send us a tweet.

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