4 Reliable Signs That Your Business Needs an SEO Agency

Pagespeed, Local Listings, Content, and More!

As you compare this month’s numbers to last’s, your heart sinks as you see that your profit is slipping month-over-month. You know that it has a lot to do with your website, but you’re not entirely sure what the issues are (other than you don’t like the design anymore). These four reliable signs are great indicators that it may be time for you to hire an agency to improve your website’s online performance.

SEO Search Engine Optimisation Availability Concept

Your website is slow

Studies have shown that 47 percent of people expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. In other words, the longer your site takes to load, the more likely people will leave it. Google’s search algorithms look at how users interact with your website, and if a lot of people are leaving with no interaction it will likely negatively affect your rankings. There are several different ways to improve your page speed, but it can be difficult to fully diagnose the root cause of your site’s slow performance as there are a lot of factors at play. An SEO agency is usually best equipped to both diagnose and solve this issue as it is, in many ways, a cornerstone of overall SEO health of a website.

Your listings have the wrong address or phone number

Have you ever gotten a phone call from an angry customer who can’t find your business because you have the wrong address on one of your business listings (Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook, etc.)? Or, worse yet, have you had to deal with an angry customer in person who tried to call your location but couldn’t reach you because you have the wrong phone number on one of your listings? Unfortunately, if your business has multiple locations and you don’t have an aggregator in place to monitor and update these listings, then you could very easily run into one of these scenarios if you have a change of address, phone number, etc. According to Yext.com, after looking at 40,000 business listings they discovered that 43 percent of them had at least one missing or incorrect address. Since having correct information on listings not only gives customers a better experience with your brand but is also a ranking factor in Google, it is essential that you have the correct information listed. Thankfully, SEO agencies have the capability of aggregating this information for you so you don’t have to spend hours rummaging through hundreds of listing websites making sure all the information is correct.

People have trouble navigating your website

If in between your phone calls dealing with complaints about your listings you also take calls complaining about how hard it is to find things on your website, then you’ve got a serious problem. A website’s layout should be simple, intuitive, and have a clear path laid out for the user so they’ll know where to go without having to think. If a user has to rack their brain trying to find your contact page, then your layout might need updating. User experience is a big ranking factor for Google, and hiring an agency that can perform effective user experience testing and deliver recommendations to improve your site’s layout can have a very positive ROI.

You don’t have a content strategy

Blogging is not just a fad, it’s a proven marketing strategy that works. Having a consistent flow of content helps fuel SEOgenerates more traffic, and makes you 13 times more likely to enjoy a positive ROI. If you don’t have a documented content strategy, you’re not alone. 55 percent of B2B marketers don’t have a content strategy in place while 32 percent say they do. This means that there is still a huge opportunity for your business to implement a content strategy and get ahead of the competition. If you’re unable to find the time to write content for your business each month, hiring an SEO agency to handle it can prove to be an effective long-term strategy.

Partner with the right agency today!

As a business owner, if you’re honest with yourself you know that you can’t do it all. When signs like these start to creep up on you, it might be time for you to partner with an agency that is just as interested in improving your business’ profitability as you are.

Originally published on Go Local Interactive

Who Are You Writing For?

A Simple Philosophy for Writing SEO Articles

A big component of SEO is having the right words on the page. Specifically, if you want to rank for a keyword then you need to have content on your site that relates to that keyword. This is a no-brainer for anyone with basic knowledge of SEO, but there is a much deeper concept that needs to be explored in order to clear up any misconceptions people may have about why their content isn’t ranking well.

Close up hand writing on paper. Close up people writing on paper.

Lose the Litmus Test

When creating content for a website, a common mistake people make is thinking they have to write articles that pass some sort of litmus test with Google. They think that they need to write an article that crosses all the t’s and dots all the i’s such as having the right keywords on the page, having the right amount of links on the page, having the right metadata implemented, etc.

While these aren’t things you should avoid thinking about entirely when creating content, there’s just one vital piece of the pie you’ve forgotten about during the creation process: the person reading your content! Google, like any company, wants their platform to best assist the people who use it, so it’s safe to assume that they would only want content ranked well that answers its user’s inquiries. A well-written, informative piece of content has a much better chance of doing this than a thin, keyword-stuffed piece of…*ahem*.

“Welcome to My Storage Website! We Have Storage Units, Storage Rentals, Storage California, Storage New York…”

Let’s be honest, it’s very obvious when you come across content that has only been written for the search engines. It tends to be thin, unhelpful and crammed together with lots of keywords making it hardly readable. If you came across a page like that, you would likely leave and look for something more useful, right? Google wouldn’t want pages like these to receive a lot of traffic from their site if users aren’t finding it helpful. They want their own users to think of Google as being the best tool to use when searching for things.

Rather than focusing so much on trying to fit a lot of keywords into your content, try to write your content in a way that would be both engaging and helpful to the reader. As you write, you’ll end up naturally using keywords that are related to the content’s topic. You can, of course, go back and tweak some of the wording if you want to add a keyword here or there, but always be sure that it sounds naturally placed within the content. As Google shifts its focus more toward topicality and LSI keywords, it may not even be necessary to try and fit certain words into the content over time if you want it to rank well.

Always Write With the User in Mind

When creating content for your website, a good motto to live by is, “always write with the user in mind.” The best course of action when creating content is to create something that solves a user’s problem, provides them with invaluable information, or both! The content should be written in an easy-to-read format, have good grammar, and exude the kind of quality anyone would be proud to share.

If you insist on wanting some kind of litmus test to determine if your content is following SEO best practices or not, then use the following question: “What sort of content would I want to read?” Thin, keyword-stuffed content or high-quality, helpful content? I think the answer is obvious.

Originally published on Go Local Interactive

5 Free Tools to Help Automate Your Business’ Online Presence

Implement Automation Without Spending an Arm and a Leg

If the thought of keeping in constant contact with your customers online sounds overwhelming then you’re not alone; 24 percent of small businesses don’t use social media at all. The biggest reason for this is a lack of time. Social media doesn’t stop when the workday ends, so it can be a daunting task to commit to a strategy. And your digital presence doesn’t take vacation time – and you wouldn’t want it to. Digital marketing and social media are great ways to continue to build and engage your customers to drive conversions. With the help of free, online resources, automating your business is more attainable than you think. Use these five tools to get started:

Business Automation

1. Facebook’s Response Assistant

This tool allows you to cut back on time spent monitoring your messages like a hawk. It allows you to automatically respond to anyone who messages your business’ Facebook page with a personalized message. While it’s still ideal to have an employee manually go through the messages at some point to give your customer more relevant information, this feature will help you maintain your page’s response rate. To access this tool:

  1. Go to your Facebook page’s “Settings”
  2. Then “Messaging”
  3. Under “Response Assistant” click “Yes” next to “Send Instant Replies to anyone who messages your Page”

Pro Tip: Place the answers to some frequently asked questions in the message to save yourself some time.

2. Buffer

If you’ve tried to manually publish a social media post every day at the same time, you know how hard it can be. After all, we’re only human. Thankfully, digital tools have a much better memory than we do. Buffer allows you to schedule posts to your social media accounts with ease. On the free plan, you can schedule up to 10 posts per account on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. Buffer also provides in-depth analytics on audience engagement, which is a great way to see what works and what doesn’t. Try adding a mix of photos, videos, questions, and promotions to keep your audience both entertained and engaged.

3. Hootsuite

Like Buffer, Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts to your social media accounts beforehand. On the free plan, you can have 3 social profiles, basic analytics, and an unlimited number of scheduled posts. Hootsuite can also run lead capture campaigns through sweepstakes and even has RSS feed integration allowing you to pull content from other websites. As with Buffer, experimenting with different forms of content can help you determine what’s working.

4. IFTTT: If This, Then That

This tool can be a little confusing at first, but can deliver some truly powerful results. IFTTT allows you to set up simple automation “formulas.” It can do everything from automatically posting to Twitter when you publish a Facebook post or keep track of the time you spend on projects. There are plenty of pre-existing formulas that are great for work or for your personal life, but you can also set up your own. There are seemingly endless possibilities with IFTTT, so play around and see how it can benefit you.

5. MailChimp

As one of the best email autoresponders out there, MailChimp just got better because it’s now completely free for less than 2,000 subscribers. MailChimp can help you keep in touch with your audience by sending automatic emails. You can send a ‘Thank You’ email after someone completes a purchase, ‘Welcome’ new subscribers to the club, and even keep your followers up-to-date with a regular newsletter. MailChimp also collects data on your email campaigns and can segment your audience based on email clicks, open rates, or even geographic area. You can then use this information to drive new marketing tactics and increase your conversions.

Make the Most of Your Digital Marketing Strategy

While tools like these can help you save time, remember that nothing beats real human interaction. You and your employees will be able to better answer a prospective customer’s question and provide more empathetic customer service. At the end of the day, a customer wants a genuine relationship with your company. Meanwhile, it’s also important to continually update your strategies to cater to your audience. These tools can help you strengthen your online presence while letting you focus on your brand and your customers.

Originally published on MarketingBitz.com

4 Tips to Increase Your Business’ Instagram Engagement

How to Best Engage With Your Audience on Instagram

Is your business on Instagram? If not, you may be missing out on an opportunity to reach a huge audience! In December 2016, Instagram reported that their user base had grown to an astonishing 600 million users, with their numbers rising each day. If your business is already on Instagram, but struggling to get more engagement, here are 4 tips to promote interaction.

Business Instagram Engagement

1. Take Advantage of Hashtags

Hashtags are searchable indicators of what your posts are about. It’s important to add relevant hashtags to your posts to expose your content to a broader audience. Using a good combination of both general and specific hashtags in each of your posts is key.

For example, if you own a salon, use general hashtags like #salon, #hair, etc., as well as more specific hashtags such as #losangeles if you are located in Los Angeles or #aveda if your salon sells Aveda products.

2. Exclusive, Behind-the-Scenes Access

Consistently creating new content is hard work, and often times consuming. Save your best bouts of creativity for special occasions.

Try documenting things around your business. By posting the work you already do, you can highlight your services and an endless supply of content.

A salon’s Instagram page will often post photos of recently completed haircuts. This shows off the stylist’s skill and keeps their followers’ content cravings satisfied.

People are generally more drawn to content that is organic versus photos that are staged. Once the pressure is off to “be creative” and you are free to document the daily experiences at your business, you’ll not only seem more genuine to your audience but you’ll also find it much easier to post things throughout the day.

3. Victory in Videos

Videos are visually compelling and proven to have higher engagement than photos. Instagram videos can be up to one minute long on your profile, and ten seconds long on your story.

While your content is limited in duration, it shouldn’t be in creativity or production value. Even minimalistic videos are successful when they adhere to your brand voice, and don’t suffer in quality.

While a quick, unorchestrated video is great for the Instagram Stories feature, a video post should be properly strategized and executed.

4. Use Clear Calls-to-Action

A call-to-action (CTA) is a simple phrase that invites your audience to do a specific task. Whether you place these phrases in your images or in your captions, a strong CTA will encourage interaction with your post, and your brand.

You can use CTAs as a tool to initiate feedback, engagement, or word-of-mouth marketing. CTAs have been proven to increase customer interaction and deepen your audience’s relationship with your brand. Experiment with different CTAs to see which works best for your business.

Start Building Your Instagram Brand

Social media marketing is all about meeting your customers where they already are. Instagram has been increasing its user base over the last few years, providing businesses with new opportunities to reach a broader audience. Start developing relationships on Instagram today; and watch your business grow as you implement these simple strategies!

Originally published on MarketingBitz