Local Listings in Google Are Now Easier to Maintain
Our PowerListings subscription service for local businesses has been expanded to include Google My Business, Google+ and Google Reviews. You can now make changes to your listings in PowerListings that will be instantly reflected across Google search, Google My Business, maps and ads.
You can even indicate which photo from Google My Business should show up with your listing in Google search and Google maps. And you can respond to Google and Facebook reviews directly from the PowerListings dashboard.
PowerListings is important to locally focused businesses because how widely and consistently your business is mentioned in citations directly impacts the likelihood of showing up in local searches and the Local Stack. If you’d like to check how well you’re cited across local listings, you can run a free scan here.
If you’re not currently a subscriber to PowerListings, you can learn more about it here. Or contact us to discuss your concerns.
We’re interested in what you think. Start or join the conversation in the comments below.
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Our readership closely reflects our target market: small and very small businesses. While most of our readers hire us or someone else to manage their SEO and online visibility, a few choose to do it themselves. They often find the subject daunting.
This may help
Whether you want to try to do it yourself or just want to better understand the things we and other SEO companies may be doing for you, we hope you find this infographic helpful and informative.
[Thanks to Nirav Dave for all the work that went into this. He is the co-founder of Capsicum Mediaworks, a digital marketing agency based out of Mumbai, India, that specializes in all things WordPress & SEO. For some elaboration on the points above, Nirav has explanations beneath the infographic on his website.]
There’s a lot here. If you find yourself overwhelmed trying to implement these techniques for your own website, Rank Magic can help.
If you have comments, observations or questions, please join the conversation in the comments below.
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Google recently published some advice for local businesses on how to be more visible when people do a local search for what you do. Proper SEO for your website is essential of course, but there are some other specific things you can do to make sure people find you easily when they do a local search on Google.
Start with Google My Business
Google relies pretty heavily on your listing in Google My Business and offers some suggestions on how to make sure your listing there is optimized for local search. These suggestions will help you show up higher in the organic listings and will also improve your odds of showing up in the Local Stack.
According to Google, there are three main factors controlling whether you show up near the top in local searches:
We’re talking about keywords here; the search terms your customers are using to find what you offer. Keyword research, analysis and selection should always be an integral part of any SEO program. Make sure there are pages on your website that are clearly about the most common and most important search terms. Also make sure your pages include your location address. Be sure to use them in your listing on Google My Business and any other local sites.
The Local Stack on Google
In a local search, distance is very important; we are talking about localsearch, after all. Always specify your location, and be sure it’s consistent every place you’re listed. If you don’t see customers at your location but provide your services at their locations, you can specify that so your street address doesn’t display and send unwanted visitors to your home or private office.
This has to do with how well known your business is. Google bases this on your organic rankings from SEO and on information Google has about your business from all across the web: reviews, links, and local directory listings.
One approach we recommend to our own clients is a PowerListings subscription. That provides a convenient dashboard where you can enter all of the kinds of information Google says is important and synchronizes it across about 70 local search engines, directories and apps, including the essential Google My Business. It also presents you with all your reviews so you can effectively manage them.
All small business owners want the same things: profitability, growth, and customer satisfaction. Regardless of the type of business you own or the current size of your company, you can probably agree on this. In today’s world, it’s not enough to have a local business with an office; you need to have an online presence and rank higher on Google, Yahoo & Bing.
Consider these issues for your small business web site
Creating a search engine friendly website for your business is the first and most essential way to accomplish that.
With the growing popularity of social media, it’s also a good idea to create business profiles on the most important outlets, link them to your website and maintain an active presence there.
You need compelling calls to action, proper heading tags, and contact forms to increase conversion, make it more search engine friendly, and make it easier for your potential customers to contact you.
Your website should have an appropriate sitemap and clean and easy main navigation. These things are important because they’ll make it easier for the search engine to index your website’s pages and for your customers to easily find what they need on your site.
Contact and feedback forms are important to maintain customer satisfaction and often lead to return business or referrals.
There are several other aspects to consider; things that are not required but may still be a positive addition to your website. Features like a search function, FAQ page, and social media sharing buttons are just a few examples.
Sliders are an increasingly popular technique on websites. You know, the rotating images with compelling marketing text that scroll across the top of a web page. Four or five seconds of one marketing message or feature promotion followed by four or five seconds of another, and so forth for anywhere from three to a half dozen or more before the rotation starts all over again. Many websites do this on their home page, but some sites repeat the same slider progression on just about every page.
But sliders can hurt your conversions
Customers are impatient
For one thing, images contain a lot of bytes, and the more images on a page, the longer it takes for the page to appear on a customer’s browser. If your page takes two or three seconds to download, that’s not a problem. But if it takes five to ten seconds to download, impatient or time-stressed customers may well bail on you before the page finishes loading, and go back to the search results to find a better page. When that happens, you’ve lost the customer.
Customers only react to your first slide
Another concern is that customers almost never see anything past the first or second slide in your sliders. They may look at the first one for a few seconds, read it or even click on it for more information. But customers who are looking for what you promote on the second slide or the third may never see them. Why? Because they’re in a hurry and want to see if you provide what they need. So they scroll down your page quickly, moving the slider up and out of sight. They may never even realize it was a slider with more information than they absorbed in the first three or four seconds on your page. It’s no wonder that research demonstrates very few people ever click on any slide past the first one.
Subsequent slides don’t make your page any stickier
Research has shown that you have less than three seconds to convince someone they’re in the right place. That means most people are deciding whether to stay on your site before your second slide ever appears.
Beyond that, when someone is looking for information you cover in later slides that they just don’t see, they are inclined to hit the back button to select something from the search results. When they do that, that’s called a bounce, and that, too, is a negative ranking factor.
How to fix it?
There are a number of alternatives to sliders that don’t carry problems for your rankings and conversions.
This is a single large image at the top of your page that conveys the primary message of the page. You’ll find a good example of that on our own home page. Chances are each of your slider images links to a topical page within your website that focuses on the topic of the slide. Take those slides and turn each one into a hero image on the page it matches. Here’s an example of an excellent hero image on a website’s home page:
Collage or image array
This is like it sounds: one image made up of other images or pieces of them, or a number of separate, static images on your page.
Call to action and/or request form
A static image with either a contact request form or a call to action can be very effective, too.
If you’ve got sliders on your site, consider replacing them with one of the alternatives above. It just may help both your search visibility and your conversion rate.
Questions? Opinions? Please share them in the comments below.
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