How 1-800-Flowers Won Valentine’s Day Search Advertising

1-800-Flowers pulled out all the stops for Valentine’s Day 2018, from using voice activation “skills” and chatbots, but it was brand recognition and a search advertising blitz that put them over the the top, analysis from Adthena shows.

Search analytics platform Adthena examined more than 2,700 text search ads, totaling over 590 search terms and 17.4 million impressions, from 276 US-based floral and gourmet foods gift retailers. The study was conducted between January 15 and February 14, 2018.

In its analysis of Valentine’s Day ads, the top advertiser by text ad volume was 1-800-Flowers. The top-five advertisers by volume were:

1.    1800flowers.com890 ads

2.    proflowers.com830 ads

3.    fromyouflowers.com710 ads

4.    bouqs.com690 ads

5.    ftd.com650 ads

1-800-Flowers vs. ProFlowers for performance supremacy  

While 1-800-Flowers pushed more ads overall, ProFlowers drove more impressions. ProFlowers’ impression share was 18.19 percent.

The top-five Valentine’s advertisers by search impressions were:

1.    proflowers.com18.19 percent

2.    fromyouflowers.com17.09 percent

3.    1800flowers.com16.52 percent

4.    ftd.com14.62 percent

5.    teleflora.com11.92 percent

Meanwhile, in terms of clickshare, the top-five advertisers were:

1.    1800flowers.com35.32 percent

2.    ftd.com14.81 percent

3.    proflowers.com13.5 percent

4.    fromyouflowers.com13.46 percent

5.    teleflora: 9.39 percent

Adthena notes that, technically, Teleflora had the best-performing individual Valentine’s Day search ad, but in the end, just one won’t do.

The Long Island, NY-based 1-800-Flowers, which operates 125 U.S. retail locations nationally, is expanding its use of Amazons’ Alexa, Google Assistant (“Okay Google”), and Facebook Messenger Chatbots as the foundation of its promise to make it “easier than ever to win hearts this Valentine’s Day.”

The voice-activated assistants and messaging platform are offering “new ways to shop on-the-go, opportunities to save big, concierge advice, a destination for enhanced order status tracking and more, the gift-giving experience has never been more convenient or stress-free,” the company has said.

Last month, at the NRF Big Show retail conference, Chris McCann, president and CEO of 1-800-Flowers, discussed the company’s use of voice-activation and AI as coming full circle for the 42-year-old company.

“1-800-Flowers dominated on performance,” said Ashley Fletcher, VP of Marketing at Adthena.

“While they were evenly matched with ProFlowers for impressions, they were miles ahead of the competition on clickshare,” Fletcher added. “Brand name recognition obviously plays a role. Most notably, though — our analysis reveals that 1-800-Flowers had an all-encompassing search strategy. They bid consistently on all high-volume generic keywords like ‘flowers,’ which are expensive, to more niche, Valentine’s Day-specific terms. It was a full court press.”

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Google Rolls Out Olympics Update Across Search, Assistant

Google has launched Olympics-themed features across Search, Assistant, YouTube, and more in a bid to engage users worldwide during the event — as well as aiming to make Google the go-to source for Olympics news over its competitors.

When users search for “Winter Olympics,” they’ll see the latest events and winners automatically at the top of search results. Google will pull in content like medals won by country, as well as suggesting a “daily recap video” from YouTube right at the top of the page.

Finally, Google Assistant is now prepped to answer questions about the PyeongChang games, allowing enthusiasts to ask everything from names of medal winners to event air times.

“No matter how you’re asking — on your phone, speaker, TV or other enabled device — the Google Assistant can keep up with all the important Olympic details,” Google said in a blog post.

And while this update is primarily aimed at keeping people engaged and in the know during the Olympics, the way Google is pulling in content from YouTube and other platforms — and moreover, displaying information in the knowledge card at the top of search results — underscores the way that search has evolved from a list of blue links to a platform for delivering structured answers such that searchers don’t need to click through to a webpage at all.

If businesses fail to present their information accurately, broadly and comprehensively such that they show up in the knowledge graph, they risk missing out on customers and sales — after all, approximately 80 percent of customers prefer to turn to a search engine when it comes time to look up information about local businesses.

For marketers who may not know where to start: Read more here about ranking in the knowledge graph and about featured snippets and why they matter to marketers.

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Accenture: Stand-Alone Digital Voice Assistants Are Taking Consumers Away From Smartphones

Just as marketers have widely adopted a “mobile-centric” approach to reaching consumers, people who own in-home digital voice assistant devices like an Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod are using their smartphones less often for entertainment and online purchasing, according to a survey from Accenture.

Digital voice assistant devices – powered by artificial intelligence, Connected Intelligence, and Natural Language Processing  – have been primarily used for playing music, turning the heat and lights on and off, as well as providing news, weather, and sports scores. But as these devices become more mainstream, they’re starting to impact shopping activity.

Accenture’s online survey of 21,000 consumers in 19 countries during Oct./Nov. 2017 for its report, Time to Navigate the Super Myway: Giving Consumers Exactly What They’re Looking For, indicates that two-thirds (66 percent) of consumers who own digital voice assistants use their smartphones for fewer applications in the home since acquiring a connected home device.

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of these owners said they use their smartphones less for entertainment — and more than half use them less for online purchasing and general information searches (58 percent and 56 percent, respectively).

“Digital voice assistant devices are challenging smartphones as the central hub for all activities in the home,” said David Sovie, global managing director of Accenture’s High Tech business. “These low-cost devices deliver valuable and practical benefits and are relatively easy to use, and their rapidly growing popularity is one of the most striking trends in the high-tech industry.”

Source: Accenture

Accenture’s survey also buttresses previous studies’ projections that that ownership levels of digital voice assistant devices are projected to more than double in 2018, reaching 39 percent of the online population in India, 37 percent in the United States, 34 percent in Brazil, 33 percent in China, 26 percent in Germany, and 24 percent in the United Kingdom.

In terms of what’s driving those purchases, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents said they are either using or interested in using a digital voice assistant device, with the vast majority (94 percent) of current users either satisfied or very satisfied with these products.

“Consumers are embracing the blended experiences that voice- enablement provides,” the Accenture report states. “Soon consumer interest will shift from new form factors to connected, live intelligence and success will pivot on how well companies create and sustain engaging blended experiences. Integrating natural language processing will be a key imperative for the developer ecosystem such that video, voice and various other interfaces work seamlessly together at home and on the go.”

Just as mobile search has cannibalized desktop search, the rise of voice-activated connected home devices will force brands to figure out new ways to ensure discovery by the consumers they want to reach, Yext VP of Industry Insights Duane Forrester has noted[Full disclosure: Yext owns GeoMarketing. More details on that relationship here]

“Marketers… have to adopt that long-tail, conversational phrase approach to targeting what to produce content around,” Forrester has said. “You do need to build the detailed answers. You have to think about this in terms of the common and uncommon questions that are related to your product and services. Let’s use an example: If a person buys a ‘red widget,’ inevitably, they’re going to need a widget polishing cloth, and you sell a widget polishing cloth. Well, that means you have to talk about red widgets. That’s an easy win for you.”

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How To Get More Reviews – Increase Ranking & Grow Your Business

Get more reviews – it’s one of the easiest ways to build a positive online presence, protect your reputation, and increase the visibility of your business.

Now more than ever customers are sharing their opinions with literally anyone and everyone who will listen. Compliment or complaint, people are searching for and listening to real customer experiences with your products and services before making their purchasing decisions.

How to Get More Reviews SM

Do You Need to Get More Reviews Online?

Online customer star-rated reviews and testimonials are shaping how your business is perceived by consumers, laying the foundation for your brand, and influencing current and potential customers.

Consistently having great reviews posted online also contributes to higher positioning on search engine results pages. This is where star ratings can show with your business listings making you stand out from the competition.

On review sites, higher ratings and consistent raving reviews put your business at the top of their local results lists. So besides inspiring trust with potential customers, your reviews are helping your business stand out among the rest when prospects are searching for the types of products and services your company provides.

If you want to see an increase in new customers, more positive exposure for your business and higher conversion rates, you need to get more reviews and monitor reviews online to protect your reputation.

Next Customers Online Get More Reviews

How to Get More Reviews and Drive Customers to Your Business

Let’s start with a foundation of high-quality products and services. Knowing that a good product and excellent customer service makes happy customers, if you have any shortcomings in those areas, concentrate on that before worrying about encouraging reviews because you won’t like the reviews you get. But if you are wowing people with your service and can’t keep your products on the shelves here are some ways to get more reviews.

Utilize an Easy Reputation Management System

You may feel your business doesn’t have a budget for reputation management and online review monitoring. That it’s not the right time to hire a team dedicated to monitoring, gathering, and promoting customer reviews. But there are inexpensive and highly effective online reputation management software options that can handle the process for you. And you can’t afford to leave the reputation of your business at the whim of customers who are largely more passionate about posting unsolicited bad reviews than positive reviews when left unmanaged. Don’t use budget restraints as an excuse not to make customer reviews a priority.

If you’re determined to DIY your reputation management, use a plan that includes a consistent schedule (at a minimum weekly) of monitoring and responding to your online reviews:

  • Create a simple checklist to remind you to monitor the sites that matter most to you with a frequency that keeps you in the know.
  • Set up a simple (and free) tool like Google Alerts to notify you of mentions of your business on the web, so you know what is being said outside off of your selected review sites.
  • Have a strategy for responding to less-than-stellar reviews to turn bad ratings into opportunities to show you care about your customer’s experiences and expectations.
  • Read “Five Ways to Find the Good in Bad Online Reviews” to learn more about what to do with bad reviews.

Don’t Be Shy – Tell Customers How Much You Appreciate Reviews

Don’t forget to ask for the review. There are so many opportunities when a customer interacts with your business to let them know you value their opinion. If a customer tells you how great their experience was, you’re presented with an excellent opportunity to communicate how much you value their opinion. Let them know how much you’d appreciate if they could share that opinion on the review site that matters most to your business. This is something an automated online reputation management service can do automatically when it reaches out to your customers through email or SMS.

Ask for Reviews Get More Reviews

Make Leaving a Customer Review Easy

Your customer has already invested money in your company by paying for your product or service. Don’t expect that they also want to invest a large chunk of their time in leaving a review. Make leaving a review a fast and easy process for your customers to get more reviews.

Make sure you are listed on the major directories and review sites, so customers can leave reviews where they are most comfortable and have the most influence. Put clear and ever-present direct links to your business profiles on the top review sites on your website and email communications, so all your customers are just a few clicks away from leaving a review for your business.

Automate your Review Monitoring and Reputation Management

Knowing how powerful good reviews are in bringing new customers and increasing exposure, you’ll find that allocating a part of your marketing budget to review monitoring and proactive reputation management through services like Reputation Loop is an easy decision.

Prioritizing the process gathering and monitoring online reviews by selecting an affordable online reputation management service, you save precious time, get more reviews, and gain peace of mind knowing your reputation is monitored and protected.

With automated online reputation management services your customers are asked for their feedback, you are notified of dissatisfied customers before they get to review sites, and your best reviews are promoted on the review sites and social networks that matter most to your business in an almost hands-free automated process.

Customer Reviews Play a Big Role in the Growth and Success of Your Business

Encourage reviews, intelligently respond to negative feedback, and manage online reputation to earn more sales and higher rankings on review site and search engine results pages. Get more reviews, and you’ll see how priceless a five-star review really is.

 

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USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post How To Get More Reviews – Increase Ranking & Grow Your Business appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Falling in Local Search Rankings? 3 Questions to Find Out Why

Have you seen your business listing falling in local search rankings?

Local search rankings can be so complex it’s near impossible to tell why your business listing has fallen in search engine results at first glance. But there are some key questions you can dig into that will likely shed light on where the problem lies.

Once you’ve determined where problems lie, you can get to work on getting back on top and outranking competitors.

Learn about white label reputation management with Reputation Loop.

Falling in Local Search Results SM

3 Questions to Figure Out Why Your Business is Falling in Local Search Rankings

We’ve covered how to raise your ranking in local search a lot here on the ReputationLoop.com blog, and you can check out these articles to help you with raising your ranking:

These following questions specifically cover how to determine what could be happening when you’ve done the work to optimize your business listings to rank at the top of search results, but you’ve seen a fall in rankings.

Q1. Has Google done an update that affects local ranking?

Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms and formulas to create search results that are as relevant and useful as possible. Dozens of updates can happen in any given month, and they usually won’t affect hard-earned rankings. But sometimes they’ll throw out a change or uncover a bug that needs fixing, and your ranking falls because you didn’t know that some search optimization tactic you were using doesn’t affect ranking in the same way anymore.

To stay informed on what is new with Google there are a few reliable sources that you can check to see if an update is affecting your ranking:

Q2.  Have you violated Google’s guidelines?

Use Google Webmaster Tools (go to Search Traffic and select Manual Actions) and Google Analytics (look for drastic changes in search engine traffic) to check if Google has penalized your website.

If you’ve been ranking high in Google search results, then we’ll assume that you are consistently optimizing your Google My Business listings and publishing new or updated on-site and off-site content. Avoid falling in rankings, or worse suspensions, and make sure new web pages or content (such as reviews or business listings) aren’t spammy or misleading by Google standards.

Are you doing any of the following?

Google Organic Clicks Falling in Local Search Ranking

Q3.  Do you routinely update your Google My Business Listings?

Sometimes competitors are passing you because they are simply putting in more effort. If you ever got to the top of local search results, you must have been doing something right. Your competitors want the top spot so don’t slack on keeping your Google My Business listing fresh with new content like reviews and photos, as well as updating hours and services as they change.

Optimize and Manage Your Google My Business Listing

  • Ensure business NAP is (and stays) correct and consistent across the entire internet.
  • Have a Review Management strategy to gather and monitor customer reviews
  • Update business hours with seasonal and holiday changes
  • Pick all the best categories for your business
  • Fill out your listing in its entirety
  • Optimize images with local identifiers

HOT TIP: Use Google Posts to keep fresh content on your listings – Google and search user LOVE those.

Why Did My Business Fall in Local Search Rankings?

You’ve optimized your website, content, and listings and as a result, ranked high in local search results. To remain at the top, you need to consistently put in a little work to monitor and maintain your standing. Asking yourself these questions is the first step in figuring out why your business listing may be falling in local search rankings. Stay ahead of competitors by staying on top of how you are optimizing on-site and off-site towards local search ranking factors.

 

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USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Falling in Local Search Rankings? 3 Questions to Find Out Why appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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White Label Reputation Management – Next Step to Huge Profits

Looking for a way to easily add another revenue stream to your business while providing a new suite of valuable services to your clients? White label reputation management software lets your business deliver more services and take all the credit while an established platform, with expert support, provides the service. If you are a digital marketer or agency with clients, it’s the next logical step in the quest to do less work and make more money.

How does this sound?

Your business could be earning monthly recurring income while providing the reputation management solution your clients need to build and monitor their online reputation.

By using a white label reputation management solution, you get everything you need to introduce and maximize a new income stream that benefits your clients and your bottom line.

But… let’s back up and clarify what “white label” means.

What is a White Label Service?

A white-label service is a product or software as a service (SaaS) from a third-party that you purchase, rebrand with your own branding or company name, and then resell as your product. Specifically, here we are talking about white-labeling the Reputation Loop reputation management software, making it look like a service run by your business or agency and selling that service to your clients.

White Label Reputation Management

White labeling reputation management has immediate and long-term benefits

Offer an additional valuable resource to your clients

Expand your current service offerings and meet existing client demand for reputation management. With a new service, you will also increase client retention and draw in new clients who are looking for more full-service options.

Your clients will benefit from the ability to:

  • engage with their customers through automated email and text
  • gather feedback, address issues, and make improvements
  • encourage customers to leave reviews where they matter most
  • monitor review sites to quickly respond to negative reviews
  • monitor business directories for accuracy and consistency
  • rank higher in search engine results by building a 5 Star online reputation

Adding a steady income stream without the massive investment of developing a new product

White labeling an established reputation management software allows you to offer new and necessary services to your clients without diverting time and manpower towards researching, developing and deploying a new product.

Ability to focus on your core business while increasing revenue

Launching and supporting a new service can be incredibly time-consuming, but not if you are white-labeling an established reputation management platform. Grow your customer base and increase revenue without diverting resources like sales and admin from your core business.

Access to the technology and expertise of the white label provider

As a white label reputation management reseller you customize the entire platform with your own branding and URL and have full access to our platform.

Reputation Loop supplies a full suite of marketing materials and training for our white label resellers to get up and running quickly. These include professional sales videos, powerpoint presentations, flyers, postcards, business cards, email scripts, phone scripts, and traffic strategies.

Grow and enhance your reputation with branded services

Offering a service that your business has white-labeled as your own branded solution means you retain the perceived value of that service without having to give credit to another brand. That means clients stay with you for this service instead of going to the source and handling their own reputation management.

Agencies and Digital Marketers Love Reputation Loop

White Label Reputation Management Review

Reputation Loop Review Game Changer

Reputation Loop Review Easy to Use2

White Label Reputation Management Review 5 Star

White Label Our Reputation Management Software Platform

Grow your business and increase revenue by offering a valuable solution that helps your clients by white labeling reputation management services. Reputation Loop has aggressive pricing with deep discounts so you can grow your business quick and easy. As an agency or reseller, you can use Reputation Loop’s white label reseller package and provide this multi-million dollar software as your own.

INTERESTED? Learn how easy it is to add a white label reputation management platform to your list of services.

 

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USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post White Label Reputation Management – Next Step to Huge Profits appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Putting Customer Reviews to Work in 2018 – Build a Better Reputation

As 2017 fades we find that consumers are relying more and more on social proof such as online reviews to make their buying decisions. You know how important your online reputation is for growing your business, that’s why we’re going to show you how to leverage your online reviews to show customers you are the right choice, right now.

Customer Reviews are Even More Important in 2018

Positive Customer Reviews Influence Buying Stats

Nearly all consumers (90%) look at online reviews when making buying decisions. All the creative marketing and advertisements your money can buy won’t persuade a customer if you don’t have a stellar reputation online where consumers research their purchases.

Putting your reviews and star ratings where people can see them on your website and review sites is a valuable source of highly-effective marketing generated by your customers and trusted by your consumers.

Reviews also give you the customer feedback you need to improve your customers’ experience.  A recent study by Temkin Group showed that companies that are focused on customer experience have more than a 16% advantage over competitors in willingness to buy, reluctance to switch brands and likelihood to recommend.

Get Recent Customer Reviews Online More Often

Consumers are researching to find the best services and products, relying on online reviews and ratings to help guide them. With the explosion of mobile web searching and increased development of review apps, consumers are making their spending decisions on-the-go and faster than ever.

Here’s How to Get More Positive Reviews Online More Often

  1. Have a great service/product and provide excellent customer service. No business is perfect, but if you give your best, customers will recognize it. In appreciation, many will leave a great review where they would have otherwise not reviewed at all. Make a great first impression, follow through on your promises and customers will want to share that experience with other people. 
  2. Make it easy for customers to complete and submit reviews. Keep the review process short and easy. Provide star rating systems and enable comment functions on your websites. Provide links or clickable images directly to your pages on the popular review sites they are accustomed to using such as Google and Yelp. Remember to provide a few options for where they can leave a review for better conversion.
  3. Make your presence known while monitoring and moderating review channels. Pay close attention to the sites you want your customers to review your business on and ensure a prompt response to issues or problems to handle any negative reviews. Make sure your business is listed on any third-party sites your customers might be visiting. This also applies to major social media sites, as younger demographics tend to voice their opinions on their preferred social media networks.
  4. Ask for a review and send reminders if you have the customers email address. Some business owners are embarrassed to ask for a review but as the saying goes, “closed mouths don’t get fed.” Be honest and say you are trying to grow your online exposure and reviews really help other customers find your business so it would mean a lot if they could take a minute to leave a review.
  5. Time your review request promptly after the service or purchase. Your best chance of getting feedback from people is right after the transaction. The longer you wait, the completion rates for reviews quickly declines. If your business captures emails, this is the best way to connect with customers immediately to request a review.

Local Customer Reviews StatsShow Customer Reviews on Your Website

Showcasing reviews on your website not only helps you acquire new customers by detailing what your users love about your business. Displaying a steady flow of recent reviews also factors into showing up higher in search engine results because Google likes fresh content.

Build Trust in Your Business

Letting website visitors see what your customers think about your products and services increases transparency. With so much advertising and marketing forced on us, consumers look for transparency to know who to trust. When your business demonstrates they have nothing to hide, buyers are more open to listening to your message of why you’re the best choice.

Increase Engagement for Higher Conversion Rates

Customers want to see reviews. When they get to look at those reviews to see those reviews on your site, they are more engaged and stay on your website longer. When users stay on your site longer your conversion rates go up. Give your website users what they want by giving them the recent reviews they are looking for.

Keep Fresh Reviews Continuously Posting Online

According to Search Engine Land, 69% of consumers think reviews older than three months are no longer relevant. A Vendasta list of stats on customer reviews shows around 44% of consumers say a review is only relevant if it was written within the last month.

Additionally, how recent and how many reviews are found factor into the reviews algorithm Google uses to rank websites. Businesses that keep a steady stream reviews keep credibility with both consumers and search engines.

Learn How to Leverage Online Reviews to Grow Your Business

Prioritize the process of reputation management to save time, gather more five-star reviews, and gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are building and protecting a positive online reputation.

If you’d like to learn more about online reputation and automated customized review management, you can click through Reputation Loop’s features and blog.

When you know how powerful good reviews are in bringing new customers and increasing exposure, you’ll find that allocating a part of your marketing budget to the professional management of customer reviews through services like Reputation Loop is an easy decision.

 

Free Demo RepLoop

USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Putting Customer Reviews to Work in 2018 – Build a Better Reputation appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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2018 Local SEO Strategy Planning Using 2017 Lessons Learned

As another whirlwind year comes to a close let’s take a look at what changed in Local SEO in 2017, the lessons we learned, and how we can use that information to create a winning 2018 Local SEO strategy.

With the number of changes that happened in search engine optimization, especially on the local level, there are new factors to take into account when planning for more effective Local SEO in 2018.

Local businesses owners won’t need to make significant changes, as traditional local SEO tactics are still useful. However, businesses that recognize and capitalize on new and better ways to optimize for local search are the ones who will rank above competitors in key local search results.

2017 Local SEO Lessons Learned & 2018 Local SEO Strategy Planning

Take advantage of the opportunity to grow your business using lessons learned from Local SEO in 2017 to build a better 2018 Local SEO strategy.

2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors

Many Business Aren’t Optimizing for Local Search or Doing It Wrong

As we worked through 2017, small and local businesses became increasingly aware of the importance of showing up in local search results, and the colossal impact ranking high in search and map results had on earning more revenue and growing their business. Though business increased their local marketing budgets, they still lagged on using location data to optimize their product and services web pages for search.

Ranking low in search results, or not ranking at all makes a business invisible.  That means no new customers, no growth, and a declining customer base who has or will find another business on their next search.  The winners in 2017 were businesses who knew how to use location data, business listings, and reviews to let search users know that they were close by, open for business, and loved in their community.

ADD TO YOUR LOCAL SEO STRATEGY:

Location data such as city, address, neighborhood, and landmarks should be consistently and accurately be a focus of all on-site and off-site local search optimization activities. 

The first priority for showing up in local and map search results is to optimize your Google My Business Listing by filling it out in its entirety, adding photos with your location in the tags, and getting continuous positive reviews posted to your Google listing. 

When a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) are inconsistent on different online directories search engines, don’t want to use that business in results and possibly give their search users bad information.  That means your business won’t rank in local searches if your business listings are inaccurate.  Ensure your business listings are accurate, consistent and everywhere they need to be.

Online Reputation Isn’t Solely Under Your Control

Your business’s online reputation isn’t solely under your control; this is probably why they call it Reputation Management and not Reputation Control. Your “brand” and the perception of your business is no longer made up of the marketing messages you create internally. With the dozens of platforms available for customers to review and rate your business with ease, you have to MANAGE what is said and displayed about your business.

2018 Local SEO Reviews Important

One customer can turn a five-star reputation into a low-rated nightmare.  With the influence of user-generated content and social proof becoming stronger and stronger as more people rely on internet searches to do research and make buying decisions, businesses need to understand the importance of having a positive and persuasive online presence.

ADD TO YOUR LOCAL SEO STRATEGY:

Reputation Management has to be a part of your local SEO strategy going forward.  Ensure you have a Reputation Management process in place that gathers feedback from customers, handles negative experiences before customers hit review sites, and pushes your happiest customers to leave reviews on sites that matter most to your business.

Reviews are a high ranking factor for local search and also factor into appearing in the local pack on Google results pages, right below those top ads.

2018 Local SEO Mobile Searches

Mobile Smartphone and Tablet Users are Increasing – and They Demand Mobile Friendly Experiences

You’ll remember the big fuss around “Mobileggedon 2017” and how the world was going to end if you didn’t have a mobile-friendly website.  Websites that didn’t join the mobile-friendly movement were given fair warning that Google would not continue to rank their clunky websites as mobile search engine use grew to be more than 50% of all users.

As mobile use continues to grow, especially in local searches, mobile-friendly sites dominate search results.  Businesses who cater to local mobile audiences with their SEO efforts are also reaping the rewards of marketing focused on literally “being where your customers are.”

2018 Local SEO Mobile Offers

ADD TO YOUR LOCAL SEO STRATEGY:

We’ll work on the safe assumption that almost every single one of your customers have a smartphone (or 5) in their household.  Go beyond mobile-friendly and make your website an ever-mobile-loving marketing tool.  Optimize all aspects of your website for a pleasant experience for people on their smartphones looking to spend money today.  While you’re at it save some trees and figure out a cost-effective way to add digital coupons for mobile users to your POS system.

Planning your 2018 Local SEO Strategy

Traditional search engine optimization techniques are still going to work for your business in 2018.  But as SEO evolves, especially with local searches, there are multiple opportunities to increase search traffic and get your business in front of paying customers with organic search results, map search results, local packs, searches on review sites, and even paid ads.

As you develop your 2018 marketing plans and budget, take time to reflect not only on the lessons learned in 2017 across the local SEO landscape but also weigh and measure the effectiveness of your business’s search optimization activities over the past year.

  • What worked?
  • What didn’t?
  • Which activities gave you the greatest push in raising your local search ranking?
  • What is the top-ranked local competition in your industry doing that you aren’t?

Use this information to plan out a 2018 Local SEO strategy that puts your business at the top of local search results where new customers are going to find a highly rated service or product they want to do business with.

 

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USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post 2018 Local SEO Strategy Planning Using 2017 Lessons Learned appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Holiday Local SEO To Do List – Get Found Fast This Season

It’s that time of year when everything is centered around your holiday plans.  That includes how to best market your business to local customers looking to spend vast amounts of money not only to give gifts but to make any part of the hectic season easier, faster and more pleasant.  If your business can meet the needs and solve the problems of holiday shoppers, you need to get seen in local search results. Make sure you’re getting found first with this Holiday Local SEO to Do List.

Your Holiday Local SEO To Do List

[  ] Check Business Listings in Local Directories

First thing on your Holiday Local SEO to do list: Make sure your business listings are live, accurate, and consistent across local business directories.  Be sure to include Google My Business, review sites, and social networks locals use to find your business. Managing and monitoring your business listings year around is essential, but especially around the holidays where traffic is high, and hours change, you don’t want any potential customer having difficulty reaching you.

Accurate Business Listings Reputation Loop

Inaccurate, duplicate, out of date, or differently spelled business listings can lead to a long list of problems for search users such as:

  • Not finding your business in search
  • Driving to a wrong address
  • Calling a disconnected number
  • Showing up when you’re closed because you didn’t update holiday hours
  • Location pins in the wrong place on navigation maps

Avoid all of these problems by updating your local listings with holiday hours and verifying that your Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) are correct and the same across all networks. Don’t stop in the New Year though – make sure you are monitoring and managing your business listings throughout the year.

[  ] Update Your Holiday Hours on Local Online Listings and Your Website

Many businesses change their hours over the holidays. Look at the hours on your listing and make sure they are set for your holiday hours. Updating your hours on various days over the holidays may seem like a lot of work as you change but mobile search users are given this information when they are looking for somewhere to spend money.

This is especially important for Google My Business accounts. Navigating with Google Maps, and selecting a business that Google believes is closed or closing soon, you will be asked if you still want to go to this location even though it is closed or closing within the hour. Don’t lose customers because you have wrong hours listed. While you are at it, update your payment options if they have changed to avoid disappointing paying customers.

[  ] Calendar Google Posts to Highlight Your Specials and Events

Google My Business introduced Google Posts as a way to share fresh content with people who find your business through Google Search.  This new Google My Business feature lets you create posts with content you want to be displayed to customers when they find your business on Google.  Most businesses aren’t doing this yet, so here is just one area where the Holiday Local SEO to do list gives you massive leverage over the competition.

Google My Business doesn’t allow you to schedule out your posts, and they only stay live for a week to keep the content fresh.  You should create a calendar where you can pre-write and schedule your Google Post to make sure you always have something showing in search results for your business name. Publish your events, products, and services directly to Google Search in the Knowledge Panel and Maps to let search users know what is going on with your business right now.

HOLIDAY LOCAL SEO TO DO LIST GOOGLE POSTS

Promote your sales, holiday hours, specials and events with Google Posts.  You can learn about Google Posts and how to leverage them for your business here on the Reputation Loop blog.

[  ] Promote Your Best Reviews on Social Networks and Your Website

The social media world is fast-paced and has a very short memory. Consistency is key with your profile postings and interactions if you want to keep your audience engaged. Posting your best reviews on your social media profiles puts the information consumers really want right in front of their faces.

The reviews you post are not only part of the feed seen by your connections, friends, and followers, but they are also part of your timeline. If prospects search your social media networks for your products/services by your business name or your locality, they will see these five-star reviews.

Another SEO win is when people do online research on your business name, your social media profiles are usually part of the top results. Those prospects who discover your social media profiles can also travel back as far as they want in your posts stream and see not only the smart content you’ve posted but real reviews, by real people who think everything your business does is fantastic.

social_media_shares_reputationloop

The best way to raise your social media ROI is to automate many of the tasks associated with maintaining and growing your social media presence with software that will automatically post your five-star reviews to your social media profiles on the major networks.

[  ] Have a Review Management Plan in Place to Handle Bad Reviews and Complaints Immediately

Customer Review Management is a real thing; it is vital to the success of your business. Monitoring and responding to reviews is especially crucial during the holiday season where competition for business is high, and consumers are relying on reviews to make fast purchasing decisions. A customer’s holiday spirit can deteriorate quickly during a season many people find stressful. That could lead to bad reviews for your business.

Having a Review Management Plan in place lets you leverage good reviews and handle bad reviews with equal ease.  Read “Handling Negative Reviews by Creating a Process” when you get a chance but here’s a quick tip list on how to responding to negative reviews.

Responses to negative customer reviews should:

  • Be prompt, short, and to the point
  • Customized to address the issue specifically
  • Offer an apology for the negative experience
  • Provide a resolution or improvement when possible

The Holiday Local SEO To Do List – G.S.D.

Check off this Holiday Local SEO To Do List and get off the local optimization naughty list. Maybe this is the season you get everything you wanted.  Imagine higher ranking in local search, an increased click-through-rate to your business website, more sales, and a better search engine and purchase experience for the user all wrapped up in a pretty bow just for you.

Free Demo RepLoop

USE THESE FREE GUIDES FROM REPUTATIONLOOP.COM TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing  |  8 Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics  |  Local SEO Checklist: 9 Tips to Get Found Online  |

2017 Reputation Management Checklist  |  Using & Understanding Google My Business INSIGHTS  | Local SEO for Brick & Mortar Businesses Guide

 

Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Holiday Local SEO To Do List – Get Found Fast This Season appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Voice Search Changes Everything: For Marketers, ‘Context Is Queen’ In Today’s Voice-First World

Use of voice-enabled speakers is projected to grow by 130 percent in the next year — and an estimate 50 percent of all searches will be completed via either speech or image search by 2020.

In other words, voice as a primary search interface is here. But according to Yext VP of Industry Insights Duane Forrester, too many marketers are still at square one when it comes to thinking about a voice-first strategy.

For that reason, Forrester just released an e-book titled How Voice Search Changes Everything [registration required] aimed at helping businesses understand how this technology is changing the consumer experience — and the critical steps they can take to communicate with customers and become discoverable in a voice-first world.

GeoMarketing: We’ve seen a substantial rise in the volume of voice searches over the past year — and even the past few months. Why is this trend so important for marketers? And what was the impetuous behind writing this book now? 

Well, as a self-described early adopter of technology like this, I’ve seen this “moment” a number of times: the point where we’ve found ourselves at the tipping point of general mainstream adoption of a product. Smartphones are an ideal example of that — everybody can remember and understand that adoption curve.

With our smartphones today, we now have the ability to stream music, stream video, interact in a live environment, edit documents, everything. Yet throughout all of that evolution from the [comparatively simple] smartphone of over a decade ago, the interface has remained pretty much the same. It’s always been about touching, tapping, or typing on a screen.

Of course, humans being humans, we would prefer something that is easier for us. Enter voice search. It’s been the Holy Grail for a long time; it actually started [quite a while ago] with military applications, and then it evolved over time — similar to how GPS began as a military technology and now it’s standard for everyone.

Anyway, that’s where we find ourselves today with this technology: With the major companies — Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon — investing at unprecedented levels in the voice search arena, it has progressed to the point where functional voice search is a reality. And what’s more, most people become adopters of the technology once they’ve tried it. As soon as they try it, they see how useful it is and how easy it is.

That is what brought me to thinking about this e-book. I interact with dozens of companies in any given week, but in having these conversations [with them] around voice search, in most instances, the conversations are not, “Here’s what we are doing to activate that voice search.” The conversation is more, “uh, yeah, that’s something we should really look into.”

A lot of businesses are still at the very [early stages] of trying to understand what is voice activation and search, how does it work, and how do I play in that field. There just became a natural conversation upon which to build this piece of content and put it out there.

Michelle Robbins at Search Engine Land wrote about your stance on the shift from a “content is king” to “context is queen” world. What do search marketers need to know about the importance of context in today’s marketing landscape?

For about the last four to five years, there has been a really big push in the SEO world around content. Prior to that, you did have a subset of SEOs who were always stressing this — but then, eventually, the search engines actually came out with a statement, “Content matters because that what people are looking for.”

But working in this industry for a long time, I was fortunate enough to be able to understand that content is a sign post on the road. The road is still going somewhere; we’re not there yet. What I mean is, if [a brand basically says], “Hey, I’m going to stand next to this sign. It says, ‘content.’ I feel like I’ve reached the destination,” and they don’t explore where the road continues to go ahead of them, they’re missing an opportunity. That other opportunity is context.

We’ve seen that shift starting to happen, but the adoption of mobile and the advent of voice search have really forced context into the spotlight. It’s so incredibly important. If I’m sitting at home, and I ask my device for information about a restaurant in downtown LA, I’m doing research. That’s very clearly what I’m doing; I’m 50 miles away from the location. I’m not likely to walk in there. There’s nothing immediate about my voice query related to that restaurant. That’s the context of me in my home.

This notion of context, then, flips over completely when my device can tell that I am in my automobile, and I’m driving in the direction of the location, and I ask about it. Now, it understands, “Oh, do you want directions to that location from where you are? This is the best route. I can make reservations for you.” All of these things now have a different context, compared to when I’m sitting in my living room.

We can see, in the very near future, a deepening of this context idea, where the systems will be able to understand things about me — like if I go to Starbucks in the morning five days a week. Then, on Saturday morning, I’m out running errands, and the system will see that I’m running errands because it’s all in my calendar. During all of that, it can actually bring forward the notion that, “Hey, you know what? You haven’t been to Starbucks today. Maybe you want to go to Starbucks.” It can ask me if I want to open the app, pre-order something, and so on.

This is the next kind of generation of contextual alignment. And this is really hard, because it’s not as simple as keyword research in the world of voice search. We’re talking about incredibly long-tail queries. Almost all of them are unique instances; how I would ask for something versus how you would ask for something may be substantially different — even if we are technically asking for the same concrete thing. That is not an easy thing for computers to crack, but that’s the point that we’re at today.

How can brands start thinking about positioning themselves such that an intelligent assistant or voice assistant might recommend them as the best option to users making voice queries?

For example, is it about framing their content such that it’s written in a way that actually answers users’ questions? Is it just making sure that all their business information is really consistent? What are the tips that we can extract here?

Yes and yes — it’s all of that and so much more.

Here’s the reality: You have to think about the customer’s journey. That is the foundation for all of this, right? This is a relatively straightforward thing to do: I mean, all of us are consumers ourselves. So take a look at your own actions during a customer journey. Whether you’re going to get groceries, or you’re going to buy a new Xbox, take a look at the discreet steps you go through as an individual.

To purchase an object, for example, there may be four or five distinct steps that you take. So now you know as a search marketer that there are at least four or five stages this person has to go through. So, then, how do you position your business? How do you create content that actually intercepts those people at each one of those points in that conversation — because you don’t know exactly when you’re going to show up in a search, but you do know that at some point, the person is going to ask for the help or directions, right?

Voice search is very much about “ask a question, get an answer.” It’s not just about, “Let’s go do some keyword research and focus on keywords now.” This has expanded into the concept of topics: If I am purchasing a new Xbox, what else might I be purchasing? I might be purchasing HDMI cable. I might be purchasing an extra controller. I may want games. I’m probably going to want a subscription online. So there are at least four other discreet elements there that are directly related to the purchase someone is making that, as a marketer, I need to be talking about [in my content.]

It’s very important to understand that there are discreet questions, and you need to have answers for them. There does come a point, though, where it gets to be too much. But that’s up to the marketer to determine. Right now, we don’t have reliable tools and systems out there that give us all of this conversational data broken out — that is still difficult to come by.

But you have to adopt that long-tail, conversational phrase approach to targeting what to produce content around. You do need to build the detailed answers. You have to think about this in terms of the common and uncommon questions that are related to your product and services. Let’s use an example: If a person buys a “red widget,” inevitably, they’re going to need a widget polishing cloth, and you sell a widget polishing cloth. Well, that means you have to talk about red widgets. That’s an easy win for you.

Along with that, two other points: Make sure you clean up your own house. That means making sure your website is completely crawlable, it’s fully indexable, that everything is there and logically laid out. Manage your internal link structure properly. If you make it difficult for people to find content that’s related to something you do, or you have broken links, the engines won’t send people to that poor site. They will shift to something else they feel is a better user experience. So secondly, that means making sure of [simple] things like that you are mobile friendly and responsive. In fact, if you are not mobile friendly today, you’re just fighting a losing battle at this point.

That’s just table stakes today. 

Yes. Actually, I’m going to take it even a level lower than table stakes: Think of the little sign on the front door of a restaurant that says, “No shoes, no shirt, no service.” If you’re showing up and you’re not mobile friendly, you’ve got no shoes. You’re not even getting into the building to play the game of poker at that point — period.

Read How Voice Search Changes Everything here.

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