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Use NAP To Help Local SEO

Francesca
July 29, 2016

A struggle that local businesses continue to struggle with is local SEO. A business can invest a ton of money into tv advertising, print, radio, etc. but if a consumer goes to the web to search for your business and they can’t find you – is it really worth it? This is not to say that using other forms of paid advertising is not advantageous for your business, but you might want to spend some time investing in the basics first.

To help boost your local SEO, the basics can begin with doing a Google search for your business. You’ll probably see a variety of business directories appear on the search engine results page. The results here could make or break your local SEO success. It’s important to click through each of the results and see what the contact information is for each. If the name, address and phone number aren’t the same on each business directory, you’ll want to spend some time updating each to make sure all of the information is consistent. This can be as small as the difference between “S” or “South” in an address. Having consistent name, address and phone numbers (NAP) for your business is the best way to show search engines accurate information for them to drive results to one place when customers are searching for you. For example, if you have two business directories and both have a different business name, Google will not understand that these are both listings for the same business. It’s basically like you’re giving search engines the opportunity to create competition against your business.

Updating these results can take time, but it’s worth your time to do this. As always, give your Marketing Specialist a call! They can be a great resource to help work your way through this process.

Online Reviews Still Important

Francesca
June 22, 2016

As a consumer, you’ve probably bought something and have read an online review before doing so. You might have been considering hiring a local company, but found through online research that they had a very low star rating and this may have negatively impacted your decision. Although it may be clear that some reviews are more valid than others, online reviews have a significant impact when it comes to influencing a consumer.

It’s clear that online reviews can be significant, but how significant can they be – and does this impact both small and large businesses? According to BrightLocal, 88% have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. This number continues to increase year over year. It’s not surprising that this number continues to increase, but it is astounding how much trust consumers put into online peers that they may have never met when it comes to their views on a local business.

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This means it’s more important than ever to take part in the conversation that’s happening about your business. This isn’t something that you can afford to ignore, as the same survey mentioned above found that only 12% of consumers don’t read online reviews. The majority of consumers are relying on customer reviews to impact their purchasing decision, so jump in and take part in the conversation!

Research

Do a search for your business name online and see what conversation is already taking place. Depending on what you see, it may be important to take action! It’s always a good idea to respond to online reviews, whether good or bad, so that is certainly a good place to start. If you like what you see, great! Continue to monitor reviews and encourage customers to post a review for you online. If you don’t like what you see, it’s important to create an online review plan and share with your employees. You might want to consider this either way!

Ask for reviews

Asking for reviews should become a part of your daily work routine when dealing with customers. Plan to ask customers who have been satisfied with your service to leave you a review online about your business. The easiest way to do this is via email, as you can provide direct links to review sites making it as easy for the customer as possible. Having a natural, organic system set in place to collect reviews is a great way to build your reputation online.

If this is the first time doing a search for reviews for your business online, there may be a knee jerk reaction to reach out to a variety of current customers and quickly asking them all to review you at once. Please, don’t do this. Review sites are smart. If you all of the sudden receive a few highly positive reviews on one day they will look into the activity. If it seems not authentic, they will delete all of the activity on your page and you’ll lose everything that may have been on there. Create a natural, easy-to-use system that all employees can take part in to build your reviews online naturally.

As always, if you have any questions on this, reach out to your Marketing Specialist!

 

Should I Add Videos to my Website?

Francesca
March 31, 2016

As we continue into 2016 it’s clear that videos are certainly a hot topic of discussion. We have a lot of business owners wondering if they are valuable to add to their site, where we should place them and what benefits adding videos to their website might have.

Videos can add a lot of benefits to your website in a variety of ways, but business owners often wonder where they should get started. Creating videos for a website can certainly seem very overwhelming and may even be an added expense for your store. Although creating a video about your business is certainly a great way to tell your story, this isn’t the only option available to you if you’d like to add videos to your site. There are about 4 billion video views on YouTube each day, which means there are plenty (millions) of videos for you to search through to add to your site. These videos have already been created and can be embedded to your site to add value to your customers. Still wondering where to get started when searching? Try checking out some of the websites of the manufacturers that you carry in your store to see if they have a YouTube icon with their social media buttons. If so, this is certainly great content to add to your site.

Value

You often hear people use the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and if that’s true, then a video is worth about 24,000 words a second. Let that sink in for a second. Of course adding photos to websites is very important, but videos take that even one step further. Businesses that include video on their site generally see higher visitor engagement and click-through rates.

Adding videos to your site also have an SEO benefit in a number of ways including increasing click through rates and lowering bounce rates. According to ComScore, users will stay on your site an average of two minutes longer if you have video. Google cares not only about quality content on your site, but also about content that engages.

Video-Marketing-SEO-4-Key-Metrics

Placement

You can add videos to your site in a variety of places. The most popular for us being the homepage, a videos page or including a video inside a product description. Adding videos to the homepage or videos page allows you to showcase generic or brand related videos all in one place. Including videos inside a product description gives you an opportunity to show instead of tell. According to Animoto Research, 73% of US adults are more likely to spend having watched an explainer video which makes including videos in your product catalog a no-brainer to help influence purchasing decisions.

Getting started adding videos to your site is easy! Contact your Marketing Specialist today!

Understanding Google Local Listings

Francesca
June 30, 2015

Google has been making updates to its search result listings to better serve local searches for years. In doing so, Google has introduced a “pack” local result. This is typically a listing of three businesses, although there are also 5 packs and 7 packs, which helps to provide the most relevant results for a searcher.

If you haven’t seen a pack result yet, here is an example:

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Pack listings are extremely valuable real estate because they carry so much information and tend to show up at the top of search engine results. A pack listing includes your business name, address, phone number, and a link to your Google + page which has a link to your website, reviews, photos, etc.

Pack listings appear typically near the top of the search engine result page. On the screenshot posted above, there are Google paid ads at the top, one organic listing (Yelp), the pack results, and then organic results below. Pack listings do stand out from the rest of the listing on a results page because of their dual screen layout with the business address listing showing on the right.

Reviews Matter
One of the few differentiating factors that appear on the pack listing is the appearance, and number, of star ratings. Research shows that five customer reviews generates the star rating, whether they are positive or negative. Encouraging reviews from customers is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition that appears in the pack local results.

Reviews from customers will help your pack listing stand out from the competition and it will help your ranking on search engines. Reviews from customers play a role in overall ranking factors and pack results.

Looking for tips on how to collect review? Click here for ideas to get started.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them
As mentioned above, other organic listings that do appear on search engine result pages are a variety of business listing sites such as Yelp, YellowPages, Angie’s List, etc. If you do a search for a service that you provide in your area and one of these listings is showing up above your website then take action! You know the old saying, if you can’t beat them, join them? Well that’s exactly what you should be doing. Claiming these pages gives you the ability to edit your listing information to make it more accurate and add your website address to the listing. This will help your website appear in more places, which will help with your ranking on search engines.

Top 5 Ways to Stay On Top Of Your Online Marketing in 2015

Francesca
January 30, 2015

It seems like we say the same thing every year, but where did 2014 go!? 2015 is officially underway and it’s going to be a great year. This year, more than ever, we need to make it a priority to update your website each month.

It’s easier than ever for consumers to find information online. We’ve seen a huge shift from desktop activity to mobile activity over the year. Consumers are searching not just to find anything, but to find the right thing. Search engines, like Google, have tried to make this as easy for consumers as possible – even going as far as providing extra content that the consumer may have been searching for without even realizing it. You make think having a website isn’t important or you’re too busy to update your site this month, but the truth is if you don’t have a website that search engines care about then it’s pretty much like you’re invisible online. It would be like having boards over your windows with no sign out front as customers drive by – they would just keep driving.

Sure it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all of the tasks that you have going on, but even spending as little as 15-20 minutes per month on your website can go a long way. Adding fresh content is key for two reasons: 1. It helps your website be found more in search engines and 2. Your customers want to see fresh, new content each time they come back.

We’ve certainly talked about Google preferring frequent website updates before, but it’s important enough to cover again. Search engines, like Google, rank websites that are frequently updated higher than those that are not because they consider it to be a fresh source of information for searchers. Here’s a super simple example, if you subscribed to a monthly magazine and each month you received the exact same magazine in the mail with all of the same content you’d probably cancel it pretty quickly. Similarly, if searchers are finding your website with the same content again and again then they will stop going to it. Understanding that, search engines rank websites with fresh content higher to consistently provide new, quality content to its users.

Consumers are smarter than ever, let’s be real, they have small computers in their pockets. They can find anything they want online and with that their expectations have grown. Searchers expect new content each time they visit your site, and by providing them with this you’re actually giving them a reason to return!

Of course we understand how overwhelming this may sound, but you have the help of a Marketing Specialist to guide you through this whole process. Here are 5 ways that you can stay on top of your online marketing this year:

1. Take some time and plan your website updates out for a whole year in advance
This will make it seem much more manageable when new, exciting things are going on to contact your Marketing Specialist! You already have a bulk of the work off your plate.

2. Track your analytics
Spend some time with your Marketing Specialist to see what worked for you last year for each month of updates that you are working on. If you had a lot of activity around “pet dental products” in February or “decking options” in April, they you may want to focus on adding what’s new in your store relating to those topics this year.

3. Schedule it out
Create a time once a month where you and your Marketing Specialist take as much time as you need to work on all of your website updates at once. This can be as easy and walking around your store and reading off SKUs or getting some good ideas for coupons. Having this time set monthly will be an easy way to rely on knowing that your website will be updated each month.

4. Use seasonal purchases as a guide
Create a seasonal chart based around your business and use this as a guide for website updates for years to come! For example, if in the spring your customers are ready to head outdoors to work on DIY projects then build your content around that. Make it as easy for your customers to find you – and rely on you – as possible.

5. Check out your competition
As a business owner, you are probably already checking out what your competition is up to. If something that they are doing sparks your interest, do it bigger and better than they do!

The Importance of Customer Feedback

Francesca
September 30, 2014

We regularly talk about the importance of customer feedback on our blog for two main reasons, it helps current and potential customers understand more about your business and search engines want to see reviews.

Your Customers Care About Reviews

Search engines, like Google, know that customers care about reviews and in an effort to provide customers information that will help them with their searches, have been building reviews into a more prominent placement on search results pages. This prominent placement is known as a Knowledge Card, seen on the right side of the image below.

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Because the knowledge card is so visual, your eye is automatically drawn to the right side of the page. Think of yourself as a consumer, your first impression of this business is generally good, but you probably won’t order the chicken wings. If you don’t have a loyalty to them, or an incentive, you’re probably not going to try the chicken wings. Of course, chicken wings are a smaller ticket item, but put this into perspective for your own business. This is a specific example of how reviews impact current and potential customers.
(Side note: We did get permission to talk about the business example above.)

According to a survey by Dimensional Research, roughly 90% of respondents claimed that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews. Are your current reviews holding you back from selling products or services and therefore effecting your bottom line?

Search Engines Care About Reviews – But How?

Reviews should be important enough to your business because of the impact reviews have on customers, but there is also an SEO factor to consider. According to Moz’s 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors, online reviews make up 10% of your search engines rank your website.

What Can I do Moving Forward?

Make it a priority to work review requests into your everyday business practices. Of course there are right ways and wrong ways to go about this, don’t be too pushy with this request. Simply make it a point to email customers once the sale has been completed and ask them to leave you a review on a variety of accounts that you use, but remember, you can’t ask for a review on Yelp. Other than Yelp, most review sites are okay with you asking for a review, as long as you aren’t specifically asking for a positive review.

Once you start receiving reviews, respond to every single one! Don’t just respond to the bad ones. This shows current and potential customers that you are a human, it shows that you care to thank each customer for their feedback, the same way you would at the register.

SEO: Why it’s important to add products each month

Francesca
February 26, 2014

One of the perks of having an NMR website is the ability to add products each month.  Of course we regularly talk about the benefits of regular website updates, but adding products goes beyond that! We built our system in a way that adding new products will really help to improve your search engine results each time we add new products.

We look at a lot of websites in a day (emphasis on A LOT), which means we see websites of every shape, size and color. A lot of times we will see a website that has one page dedicated to products, this page will either have bullets on the page that outline the manufacturers that they carry or just product names. But then we look at an NMR site, each product has its own specific page with a product name and description. Creating a specific page for each product with a description allows your website to continuously grow with unique content for Google to index. This will allow your website an opportunity to perform better on search engines, which will help your website be found when customers are searching for products in your area!

If you are having trouble coming up with which new products to add to your website each month, we do have a few recommendations to get you started:

1. Just look up

Sometimes it’s just as easy as adding the first products you can see with your eyes when you are on the phone or replying to an email with your Specialist. Because each product is added individually, it’s easy to just say the product number or SKU and before you know it you’ve added an entire line! It’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes.

2. Create a chart

Some of our dealers are more project oriented, so for them it’s easy to make a chart for the year and identify the types of projects that customers will be planning to or already be working on for each month. Creating a chart like this will also help you to identify when you’d like to have in-store sales, which products customers will be looking for each month, etc. This will help you to be efficient when adding products because you know what customers will be looking for ahead of time.

3. Random Aisle Check

In order to make sure that all areas of your products are being covered, try to pull a few products from random aisles in your store. This will help to keep a good mix of products to benefit multiple types of customers who may be looking for different products.

If these tips don’t work for you, please feel free to ask your Specialist for ideas! They are always happy to help!

New Year, New Results

Francesca
January 31, 2014

2014 is officially underway. The holiday buzz has officially died down and we are now returning to business as usual. Hopefully you have a chance to reflect and evaluate different areas of your business with the start of the new year. Reflection and evaluation allows you to strengthen what’s already working for you and improve your weaknesses. Developing a solid marketing plan for your business will help you with both of these areas.

A major focus of 2014 at New Media Retailer is (and always has been) ways that we can improve the search engine results success of our customers. We want your website to be found for a variety of searches in your area. We have set some motions in place to prepare for new Google updates, SEO updates, etc. But you play a major part in this as well.

When developing a marketing plan for 2014, make sure to dedicate time to your online presence. This includes regular website updates, working with your Marketing Specialist to improve title tags, perform tests to see how your website performs in Google etc. Regular website updates are crucial to the success of your website. We built your website in a strategic way, so that you may only update the special offers, but Google will think you updated a variety of pages. You shouldn’t let a month go by where you don’t take advantage of website updates because if you do, you aren’t helping your website to perform as well as it should on Google.

A marketing plan can help you map out website updates for a few months in advance, some dealers even plan for a whole year. You know your business better than anyone, you know what month customers will be looks for specific products, what projects they will be working on, etc. Develop an outline of your top areas of business each month for an entire year and use this as a guide to help you plan your website updates. Once you can easily identify what customers will be shopping for, it will make it easier to decide which featured products to send to us, special offers, and it will help to plan events for your store. This will also help you to be proactive with your search engine results. If your website has the content on it that consumers are looking for, you will have a better chance of showing up in Google!

FAQ: I want my website to be found certain search terms – what can I do?

Francesca
November 27, 2013

This is a topic that we could go on and on about, it definitely deserves more than one post, so we will break this up into a series of posts (check back next month for more). For today, let’s start with what it is that you’d to be found for? If you can answer this question, then you are already doing a good job. It’s important to make sure you are regularly doing searches to see what areas your website is doing well at and what areas you’d like to improve in search engines. Once you have identified a few searches that you’d like to improve, you should take a look at your website to see if anything about this is currently on it.

Content is king.

Google has said this so many times and it couldn’t be truer. Content is king, but what does that mean? It means you can’t expect Google to know what you want to be found for, you have to make sure it’s on your website. Adding content to your website can be done in a series of ways, it can be as simple as adding coupons or specials each month or you may want to add custom pages so that you have room to really describe your business services around the search term.

It’s important to make sure that the content that you are creating is specific and relevant to what you want to be found for. If you are going to create a custom page, you want to make sure that the content on the page all applies to the same topic. It’s also important to place keywords (the search terms you’d like to be found for) in critical locations, such as the title of the page and headlines of the page. When writing content, do your best to make the keywords sound natural. If search engines like Google think you are overusing keywords, it will work against you. Try to think of it like you’re talking to a real person, this will help to make the content flow better.

There is a bit of a science behind this, but don’t worry, we are here to help. If you’d like to learn more about this, talk to your Marketing Specialist, they can help answer any questions you may have. Just keep in mind there may be some custom fees for doing things like creating custom pages. As I mentioned above, this is a HUGE topic, so definitely check back next month for more tips on this!

FAQ: What Can Title Tags do for my Website?

Francesca
October 31, 2013

One of the perks of our job is the ability to work with so many dealers on a regular basis. It’s so nice getting to build relationships and your questions make us better! Over the past few months we have noticed that we sometimes get asked similar questions from a variety of dealers. We decided to create a “Frequently Asked Questions” column in our Monthly Advisor so that if other dealers have the same question, we can help to answer it here!

FAQ: What can Title Tags do for my website?

What is a Title Tag?
A title tag is a title element that is important for SEO. A title tag is used to describe the content and/or outline an online document. Content (for as far as we can tell) will always be the most important factor for on-page SEO, but title tags are probably the second most important. Title tags appear in three places:

1. Browsers

 

2. Search Engine Results Pages

 

3. External Websites

 

Best Practices for Title Tag use
Title tags should not contain more than 70 characters. This is the limit that Google will display in search results; if there are more characters listed Google will simply disregard them and they will serve little to no purpose.

Title tags are meant to describe the content of the page in a concise, descriptive way. Title tags provide an opportunity for websites to build keywords to help achieve search engine results. When creating title tags, place the most important keywords first. Google will read the keywords in order of significance, so if there are specific keywords that help to describe the page, be sure to place those first.

Creating relevant title tags will also help to encourage user clicks because it will help to describe the content that they will find when they click on the link. It’s really important to think about how the user will search in engines such as Google. Title tags are the first opportunity that a user has to interact with your brand, they should convey a positive message.  As you can see from the search engine picture above, Google bolds title tags which gives your keywords greater visibility, which generally means you will have a higher click rate.

A very common request that we receive is customers wanting to place additional locations into title tags. This may be because a dealer has multiple locations or because a dealer wants to identify surrounding towns and cities where customers may live in (outside of where the location is). Best practice for creating title tags, when mentioning a location, would be one location per page. If you start to get competing locations on a page Google will not make the connection between the search term and several locations listed. For example if your title tags say “pool installation” New Berlin, Norwich, Ithaca, Hamilton, New Hartford, Oxford”, Google will have a very tough time making a connection between “pool installation” with any city past Norwich in the list.

What does all of this mean for me?
Take a look at your website and identify the keywords that are important for each page. Keep in mind, Google ranks specific pages on your website, not your website as a whole. Think of this as each page being its own website, completely independent of one another (for search results only, this obviously is not the case once a user visits your website). Let’s use an example, let’s say that pool installation is a very important part of your business. You have a specific page on your website built to talk about your pool installation services. To create title tags for this you may want to use ‘Pool Installation, Pool Maintenance, Above Ground & Inground Pool’.  The most important keyword should be placed first, in this case, this would be ‘pool installation’.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to target too any terms on one page. Each page should be specific about its own topic, this will help in search engine results and help to encourage clicks. If you have too many varying title tags it will confuse both the search engine and the user.

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