Have you noticed how your website seems to become less and less effective at bringing in customers? Your designer probably poured their heart and soul into producing the most user friendly, engaging and standards compliant creation that they had ever turned out. But I have to ask a question. Did anybody ask the customers what they were looking for or how they search for answers? Did your designer understand the implications of not building in effective mobile website design features? In the last two years and more particularly in just the last twelve months, the whole process and demography of searching for answers has changed.
People’s Buying Habits are Changing: Your Customers are Going Mobile!
People – and most importantly, the people who are your best prospects and customers; are just getting into their groove, with the smartphones that have been burning holes in their pockets for a year or two. Why is that important to you and your local business?
The “best” customers for your business, i.e. the ones with cash to spend, tend to be the most skilled with smart phones and expect businesses that want their business to be mindful of the time they have taken to become fluent. This higher expectation of the businesses they deal with and their short attention spans for anything that doesn’t work well with their mobile devices; is a real and growing Achilles Heel for businesses who thought they had just got themselves online successfully!
Whether the mobile device is: an ipad, smartphone… or Nexus with telepathic Google Now; if the website these customers find when they search for a service, a product or a solution to a real problem isn’t displaying well and needs zooming, they’re gone! If that was your website, you just lost a customer!
Some Mobile Website Statistics to be Aware Of!
The New Media Trendwatch website has compiled a digest of significant data as it researches patterns of behaviour change in the UK. The following is part of the scene setting for the slightly random collection of significant information that the rest of the article contains.
A recent study of UK mobile internet users by the Direct Marketing Association UK shed some light on how smartphone users in the country are conducting mobile internet searches.
The DMA study found that most UK smartphone users (68%) searched using dedicated apps such as those from Google, Bing, etc. Mobile searchers in the country were also slightly more likely to use a brand or store app (such as one from Amazon or eBay) (37%) than a mobile web browser (35%) to find what they were looking for.
In terms of what they were searching for, 54% of respondents cited news, making it the No. 1 mobile search category. Three out of 10 also said they commonly searched for information on local shopping using their phones – further evidence that mobile and local technologies are a natural fit for each other. Close behind in terms of search popularity were searches for movies and music, at 28% and 27% of respondents, respectively.
Top 6 mobile searches conducted by UK smartphone users, October 2012 (% of respondents):
1. News: 54%
2. High street retailers: 30%
3. Movies: 28%
4. Music: 27%
5. Local travel updates: 24%
6. Finance and insurance: 15%
As for why respondents were searching in the first place, practical considerations dominated. The top reason listed for using mobile search was for offers and deals, cited by 50% of respondents. Directions came in just 6 percentage points behind, followed by a desire to find information about a brand (40%)-a finding sure to be of particular interest to marketers. (eMarketer, December 2012)
Local is Mobile:
As some of the figures above demonstrate, even here in the UK a large chunk of online local search happens from mobile devices. Other evidence that has been gathered demonstrates that the size of mobile device has a bearing on the price points of eventual purchases. Typically, searches from tablets tend to lead to higher ticket price purchases. I haven’t found the evidence for this yet, but I suspect the volume of purchases is still very much higher for smartphones than tablets, purely because tablet uptake lags behind smartphone use.
Here is a local example. I searched for “taxi Carlisle” The majority of websites and by implication the business owners haven’t yet bitten the bullet with mobile website design. I can guarantee that at peak demand times people are searching for taxis from their phones! Take a look and imagine the relative thumb gymnastics that have to go on to use these 2 example websites on the 3 phones in the screen grabs. And also bear in mind the relative sobriety of many taxi customers, when they really do NEED a taxi
Which of these are you more likely to respond to quickly? Cumbria Cabs has its thumb friendly, intuitive navigation and little else to distract or slow down page load times. In contrast, the first competitor I happened to sample, does at least have the phone number visible at page load, but other than that, very little going for it when mobile device users find the website. How will your customers react to your website when they finally become mobile searchers?
Contact Consulting Cumbria Ltd today to find simple solutions to your mobile readiness
Mobile Use Infographic via PayPoint
Reputation management isn’t just a simple buzz word for marketing and social media types to extract cash from troubled businesses. In the world of online business, reputation matters. I have spoken to restaurant and hotel owners who are almost scarred by their most recent encounters with a Trip Advisor review or a spiteful attack on their Facebook page. Mike Blumenthal gives the issue a third degree going over in his blog.
Reputation management, at its most basic level, simply involves encouraging more of the positive to show up. However, too many businesses just leave that to chance. The unwanted negativity stays in view for far too long exerting a corrosive effect on your visitors, while some well loved companies simply never move beyond the two stale reviews they picked up 5 years ago. This is a significant mistake as the lack of social proof can now undermine your efforts to get your main website ranked for local searches.
How many reviews and testimonials have you generated in recent months? How many have you actually tried to encourage? Like the marketing text books say, the best advertising is good old word of mouth and if you can translate that into “word of mouse” and have those positive words appearing on your web site, then some new ones on a Google Plus Local listing… with a smattering through the directory and business listing sites that have proven to be so powerful for local online marketing then you are a long way towards being able to limit the damage, from a negative review.
It’s worth bearing in mind that in terms of ranking in search engine results, a bad review is sometimes better than no reviews: as it shows that there is something happening at the business. The real poison though is that it obviously colours the opinion of visitors to your website or listings. So what’s to be done? Lots… is the simple answer!
Developing a system which encourages the happy customers to drip feed those good vibrations into your business will soon drown out the chatter from a few malcontents. Malcontents? Supposing the complainer has got a real grievance and isn’t just trying to screw something out of your business? Well it happens to us all. The reputation manager will take the approach of responding first of all to the individual’s problem and where appropriate also responding online to the complaint. Always doing so in a professional manner, even when you and the client cannot agree comfortably is the way you can show how seriously you take customer service.
Most consumers and customers know that… “you can’t please all the people all of the time!”… to pinch a well known saying. They are mostly fairly adept at smelling a rat planted by an underhand rival or a purely spiteful review, from one of those Trolls that are lurking in the online ecosystem. So how are you going to improve your odds of picking up good vibrations and boosting your reputation online?
At Consulting Cumbria Ltd we think we have come up with a simple economical system that can increase the rate that businesses attract customer’s reviews. It doesn’t involve anything that’s dodgy or outside of search engine guidelines. Contact us to find out more.
SEO is the acronym for the process of search engine optimisation. Whatever you do don’t let your eyes glaze over as soon as you hear that geeky sounding word!
Why should you care about something from the land of Geek? Because… time after time, when implemented carefully, it is one of the most cost effective ways of getting in front of customers. Printed advertising, traditional directories and Yellow Pages are dying- rapidly! People are doing their research and price checking online before they have stepped through your door. Are you the business that pops up or is it the competition who are sitting pretty at the top of a mountain of invisible websites?
What SEO boils down to in simple terms, is getting the information about your business up on the web so that it is different to everybody else’s and it is carefully focussed on what those customer’s are searching for. Do you know what those people are typing in to find what they need? Unless you are already the best known business in your area, it won’t be your name! Do you have any idea what the promising keywords are, that your customers think will bring the answer to their need? Does your website answer those “Keyword Questions”?
Visibility online is a competitive business and an understanding of how competitive the keywords are that you are chasing is an important second step after identifying them. There are a lot of other tweaks that can be done and that is the cue for getting an SEO specialist involved. Those skills can save you many hours of “umming and aahing”! That in itself is worth investing in, to save your precious time for running the business.
It’s never about cheating or doing anything dodgy, the bad old days of the “Black Hatters” are long gone. Now it is about understanding your customers and dishing up what they see as an answer to their pain, problem or pleasure! Secondly it is about structuring that information so that it is engaging to the customer and only third in the pecking order is it about playing to the search engines. However that is still a very important third! Search engine optimisation is repeatedly shown by marketing study after marketing study to have the best return on investment. It isn’t a one off, set and forget thing though. There are many processes that need to come together to put you at the top of the listings where you will get most click action. If competition for visibility is fierce, those interacting processes have to be finely tuned by a skilled professional.
Contact Consulting Cumbria today to find out how we can improve the discoverability of an existing website or help in structuring a new website. Your SEO salvation is only a call away on 01228 907 795.
I’ve been intermittently following Ed Dale an Australian marketer with a yen for all things Apple for the past couple of years, but I’d never really seen him as an authority on local search. Â He’s the leader of a pack of gurus who run “The Challenge” which is a 60 day marketing course. His main reason for still being on my radar, is that he has been “right on the money” in his anticipation of changes in the search world. Now; he is usually playing with the big boys and taking on global niche markets. The latest article he produced starts from just that viewpoint. It is so interesting because it picks up on a lot of the disparate threads of the changes in people’s search and review habits and the fundamental shift in Google’s own way of delivering services. Look out for Google Now!
He has been a long standing critic of Google and his insights into the beast suggest that the Giant on the screen had a bigger prize in sight for the past few years. Google +, it seems, might after all be something a little bit more than a crappy social network. The changes they made to Google Places back in May and the virtual absorption of every Google service into Google + suggested that the Big G was upping its competitive efforts against Facebook and Twitter. Since Facebook and Twitter came along , Google has been losing its grasp of what’s really happening: its reliance on links and anchor text was becoming an unreliable indicator of what people really think about the online world. All their work and acquisitions of companies like Zagat have been building up to …. Jellybeans!?
Ed Dale’s Not an Android Fan! But…
Mr Dale Esq. was playing with one of his many gadgets – this time a Galaxy Nexus that he has been weighing up. and it seems he was somewhat blown away: firstly by what he saw on the screen; but secondly by the implications of what he was seeing for Google’s underlying long game plan. He had had a particularly unpleasant epic trying to upgrade the Nexus tablet to the latest version of Android – Jellybean! After some conversations and messages between him and a mate, it was as if the the Nexus almost knew what he wanted to do next and had a whole variety of information ready for him – if he chose to ask! Welcome to Google Now! it’s information in your context.
Now what has a fancy new bit of tech and another fancy pants Google software got to do with “Good Ol’ Carlisle ” and locally focussed businesses in the rest of Cumbria and the Borders? Well the ability of: Google Now in new generation Android devices and Apple’s voice operated Siri to pick up on your habits and anticipate what you might need are going to impact local search sooner than businesses operating on the national or global scales… because that’s where Android and iPhone users are actually going about their daily business. Have you got all your local directory listings up to date? Are you driving reviews to your business as part of your marketing plan? If not then you better get your arse into gear if you want to stay competitive in your local space. Google Now is going to Know!
I’ve pinched some of Ed Dale’s words to give you his view of the scene ahead. It’s worth reading – however you feel about marketing online!
Insights for Local Search – Even in Reiver Country
What Should We Do?
The first to feel the effects of the context economy “ local business (I’m not referring to size here, I’m referring to the fact they operate out of a physical location). (My emphasis – Ray)
It’s going to be vital to keep information up-to-date. My favourite coffee shop does not have a proper Google+ listing, and can not completely take advantage of Google Now.
They also don’t have a good Yelp listing, Siri won’t recommend them as a great cafe nearby. As the context driven economy takes off, this will be fatal.
- If you have a physical real-world business (Or you’re somebody who services these businesses) you need to get your butt into gear. Figure out the information sources both Google Now and Siri are using and make sure everything is up-to-date.
- Encourage regular customers to check in, plus, tweet, like and anything else you can get them to do.
Google has been saying it for the longest time, Google+ is not a social network. It doesn’t need to be.
Google+ is a fundamental foundation layer binding all of Googles properties together to provides signals to Google Now so it can deliver contextual content in anticipation of your needs.
If you’re a taste maker/market leader/influencer in your niche. You need to be on Google+ stat. It won’t drive traffic (unless you’re after Hipsters, Googlers and Digerati) it will do something WAY more important.
Google+ will set your context in your market and in the next five years, this will be way more important than mere traffic
Yes, I’m recommending you use Google+
Yes, a pig just flew past my Window belting out “Hollywood Nights!”
You can read the rest of his article (and it is a fairly long one) at Ed’s Blog
No Flying Pigs but the Androids are Coming
It looks to me as if the next big changes to search are yet again going to be at the local level. That’s the sweet shop and newsagents on the corner and big local independent store – huge opportunities to thrive if you get the next few pieces of your online marketing plan up and running now. The new generation of Google Android phones and tablets are focussed on a much longer game than simply out scoring iOS operating system tricks. Google’s boffins look like they’ve found a way to compete with Faceboof, Twitter, Siri and the march of the iPhone again. Look forward to getting better search results when you search, but most importantly…
Get your business geared up to compete in another new age of local search. The change will be as big as that! At Consulting Cumbria I am working on a simple new service to help with the process of getting your business to show up locally as a living breathing thing that people and search engines should stand up and take notice of.
How Costly Is Strategic SEO?
I spotted one of Search Engine Land’s really informative posts, and even though it was getting late, the title seemed to jump out and grab me by the eyeballs. This is mainly because of the difficulty I seem to have in persuading business and website owners about the importance of planning their SEO strategy BEFORE they build or rebuild their websites. Without the mileage and huge success stories that that SE Land writer’s can fall back on, I sometimes feel like a lone voice across the cyber desolation of the Debatable Lands up here in and around Carlisle.
Trond Lyngb¸ is top SEO chappie at Norwegian company Metronet Norge and with over 10 years of experience in the “working with Google game” he probably has something to tell you. There are many flashy techniques and tricks that can suck you in when funds are tight. I have to own up to letting my guard down when clients wanted results without being willing to invest properly. Cheap “guaranteed” SEO doesn’t really work long term. It is what should be the foundation of your website and all your social-business activity online. I’ve clipped Trond’s summary into my little commentary and I would encourage you to read the whole thing if you have any idea of the long term value of your website.
Is it the biggest budgets that win the SEO race? Not necessarily according to Trond
Smart Cost Effective Strategic SEO
You don’t need a bigger budget. By using Web analytics smartly, you can find out which tactics are working best, and which ones are not.
Focusing on the effective strategies and moving some investments into the SEO budget can multiply your returns.
Just as you would consult with an architect before laying the first brick of your house, it is wise to discuss your SEO strategy with a specialist (experts at SEO, usability, information architecture and web design) before you start building your website.
Trying to fix it later will restrict your outcome and be much more expensive, especially if you are forced to rein in your plans for expansion. You may have saved some money upfront on consulting fees, but in reality you’ll probably lose a whole lot more from missed opportunities.
Would you build your home in a quagmire, or on property that frequently gets flooded? No?
Then why would you even consider building a website without first finding a safe spot for it? Your market research, keyword analysis and domain strategy will direct you to the right niche. Information architecture and website/URL structure will become your secure foundation.
That’s good reason to incorporate strategic SEO into the DNA of your website structure and information architecture, rather than trying to slap it on later like icing on a cake, when it’s too late to make any meaningful difference to the outcome. The few dollars saved on SEO consulting charges will be wasted several times over as a penalty for having an under-optimized website that leaks money in the form of abysmally low conversion rates and lost sales.
The real cost in strategic SEO is in not harnessing it to your Web development and information architecture right from the beginning!
That last sentence of Trond’s is key! the real cost of SEO is in not using it. Keywords are still the foundation of the information architecture of a good website. Making your content easy for Google to categorise accurately, in the long term and making sure that it is actually authored for real people is long term the core of being found and ranked. External factors like links and social noise are also important; but if the visitor hears the noise and arrives to find that the information is about another noise, then the game is lost.
Make sure your website structure is playing to the right words and the right audience: call Consulting Cumbria right away.
As a business owner you’ve worked hard to develop a great reputation amongst customers and passers by alike. Through exemplary customer service, superb deals on price and always anticipating your customer’s next need, your customers see you as the bee’s knees! No matter how genuine you are: no matter how accomplished your staff; every business falls foul of a customer at some point.
For hotels and cafes and pubs; it’s the nightmare Trip Advisor review that delivers that sinking feeling. For the carpet shop, maybe it’s an “iffy” comment in iCumbria or the quietly corrosive comment in Qype… that has sat there for 2 months without being noticed. It’s then that you realise: the last time anybody said anything about you online was two years ago!
Protecting your brand does need the occasional round of reputation management. It’s yet another plate to spin, for the busy owner. So rather than than frantic firefighting when the occasional lemon is lobbed your way; proactively encouraging a steady stream of feedback and rewarding the customers who take the time to do so; has surely got to be better! Wouldn’t it be great if you had a system that easily encouraged your best customers to give out the good word a bit more regularly?
The Power of Reviews in Reputation Management
So, whether it’s a stinking review on Google’s Plus Local , or a snotty comment on your own blog; as a savvy brand owner, you are big enough to engage with the negativity and satisfy the customer’s dissatisfaction openly. If you weather criticism and make a genuine effort to rectify an unfortunate incident of poor service, it generally does you more good than never having any kind of review. We have also experienced, or heard the anecdotes about, completely unjustified complaints and the sometimes vicious trolling that goes on, to extract a freebie from a business. Answering professionally and not letting your response get inflamed is crucial. And steadily burying the nonsense in a regular flow of positives is the way forward. Of course; if your business attracts nothing but negatives, then maybe you have some issues that need sorting out urgently in the real world before you worry about the online comments.
Reputation management online involves knowing what people are saying about you and your business. Secondly it involves responding appropriately and generating a dialogue that shows that you’ve got a eye on your cyberspace as well… it shows you value what is fed back.
Thirdly and crucially it involves encouraging people to share the good times or the good outcomes that they have had from your business. And that’s where we can come in. There are a few very simple solutions that can help you to increase the frequency of positive reviews. It’s all about generating social proof that your business is real, and it’s generating a community of positive customers.
After the ravages of the “Pandas” and “Penguins” in Google’s search results last year, your social activity online and what people are saying about you, are under scrutiny and directly affect the ranking of your website and with that, the number of eyeballs it appears in front of. After all your hard work don’t get caught out by the trolls!
Contact Consulting Cumbria Ltd to find ways that will help your business get the good word out about you.
Why do I Need to Bother With Local SEO When I’m Only Looking For Customers Near Me?
What drew me a non-marketer into the nerdy world of local SEO services for locally focussed businesses? It was a long convoluted story, with more than a fair share of bloodied noses along the way!
When I first got involved in local online marketing; I was appalled by the lack of attention given to expensive websites by designers who had tremendous talents in the visual arts, incredible technical knowledge to make a website work; but were oblivious to simple search engine optimisation techniques. These were completely overlooked or even willfully ignored as if designing to ensure the sophisticated shop windows actually showed up in front of some eyeballs was beneath them! If a website is going to be an effective local or national marketing tool, it’s got to be visible to the target market, to appreciated… and bring customers to the client businesses.
Local search engine optimisation involves understanding what your customers are looking for and that stems from a knowledge of the keywords that are essential for your service and location. These keywords are the questions that potential customers are asking when they type a search query into one of the engines and understanding those words, the searcher’s intent behind them and the actual data relating to them allows a business owner to step into the shoes of his customers. Judicious choice of keywords based on levels of competition, numbers of searches and an understanding of the customer’s needs (or pain as so many marketers like to dramatise it) allows the designer and writer to build web pages that answer the customer’s needs and also show you up as the authority in that field. Those words are then woven into the fabric of the website in such a way that they are engaging and informative for the people in need and also reassure the search engines such as Google and his brethren that the page is relevant to what it claims.
Beyond the page itself, there are the multitudes of links from other websites, directories and social media channels that need to be generated to give the third party seal of approval to the website. Within local marketing these extras are still vitally important in getting a website ranked and therefore seen by your potential next best customer! Using some quite basic techniques that come under the umbrella of local SEO, gives you a perfectly fair and reasonable edge on the less knowledgeable competition, without stooping to questionable tactics. In many cases the competition is low enough within local markets that even a tiny improvement in the many factors that help you to rankl can put you in a locally dominant position.
Knowing which citation sources are going to be effective for improving the local seo performance of your website as a Cumbria based business has been a fairly hit and miss affair. Â In different market sectors, you tend to find a different pattern of Â citations, directories and listing services. Â Citation! That doesn’t sound very Cumbrian, does it? Â I think it would be fair to say that it is another adopted americanism, but all it really means is a mention of your business. Â In terms of improving your Cumbria seo performance, you need to understand the answer to this question: “Why is a mere mention so important to the online health of your business website?” Â Well… it’s all a matter of trust!
Citation Sources Generate Trusted Status
Google and its smaller siblings discover thousands of new websites that claim to be genuine business ventures every single day. Â Sifting out the wheat from the chaff is a crucial part of the Big G’s mission, of only serving up relevant answers to searcher’s questions. Â To do this successfully; Google,Â Bing et al rely on third party signals that a new discovery is genuine. Â A large part of that corroboration, especially at local level, comes from discovering consistent information about the new business on other trusted reference websites. Â At the simplest level, that is why a well optimised listing on Qype, Thompson Local or Hotfrog Â (to pluck 3 random examples from the air) is so important.
What are the Best Citation Sources for Carlisle, Cumbria and Borders Businesses?
As I said before, it was always a bit hit and miss, making the decision about which directory service, paid or free, to subscribe to. Â As a little bloke in a big pond, I certainly never had the data to reliably pick out the best directories to go to. Â This is where staying in touch with the good people at Search Engine Land proves useful again.
Miles Anderson and his Bright Local team, collected data on over 480,000 Google Places listings, which were then analysed; showing 40 different business sectors found in 100 locations in the UK and the USA. Â Associated with those Places Listings wereÂ over 1.1 million Â separate citations. Â A pretty decent statistical sample I think! Â They then shared this valuable research in a short article on the Search Engine Land Blog, with both UK and USA data, for all local business owners with an interest in gaining rank – and those all important new customers.
Using this data, the the “Bright Locals” Â identified how often a citation source was associated with the big collection of Places listings. Â Some of these citation sites were appearing HUNDREDS of thousands of times!! Â There’s no wonder that David Mihm’s annual review of the top 10 Ranking Factors for Local Search has this in its Top 10 – at number 5 in fact. Â The table below lists the top 50 relevant citation sources that would give a significant boost to any local seo work you are carrying out for your website. Â A Cumbria seo focus is particularly important if you are targeting potential customers beyond the bounds of your own town.
A recent addition to the decent page rank directories is the UK Small Business Directory which is operated by (not too surprisingly) a competing SEO company You can register your business here fort the price of a reciprocal(ish) link. SEO Services.
|Citation Site||Frequency Count||Type of Site||Free or Paid Listing|
|booking.com||52,125||Travel Site||Paid Listing|
|Trivago (multiple domains)||43,335||Travel Site||Paid Listing|
|tvtrip (multiple domains)||31,324||Hotel Site||Paid Listing|
|city-visitor.com||29,043||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|qype.co.uk||26,639||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|hotel-ami.co.uk||23,327||Hotel Site||Paid Listing|
|yell.com||16,282||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|myhotelvideo.com||13,204||Hotel Site||No Listing Offered|
|thomsonlocal.com||12,835||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|hotel.info||11,179||Travel Site||Paid Listing|
|cylex-uk.co.uk||10,740||General Directory||Free Listing|
|localdatasearch.com||8,638||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|restaurant-ami.de||8,565||Restaurant Site||Paid Listing|
|zettai.net||8,561||Classified Listings||Free Listing|
|hotfrog.co.uk||8,324||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|ukcities.co.uk||7,823||Local Directory||No Listing Offered|
|smilelocal.com||7,116||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|tripadvisor.com||6,560||Hotel Site||Paid Listing|
|wego.com||6,550||Travel Site||Free Listing|
|activehotels.com||6,497||Hotel Site||Paid Listing|
|192.com||5,573||People/Business Search||No Direct Listing|
|destinia.com||5,260||Travel Site||Paid Listing|
|hotelguide.com||5,141||Hotel Site||No Direct Listing|
|upmystreet.com||5,051||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|laterooms.com||4,977||Hotel Site||Paid Listing|
|totaltravel.co.uk||4,886||Travel Site||Free Listing|
|wheresbest.co.uk||4,651||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|list.co.uk||4,556||Entertainment Listings||Paid Listing|
|beerintheevening.com||4,545||Bar & Pub Listings||Paid Listing|
|locallife.co.uk||4,233||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|bview.co.uk||4,126||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|touchlocal.com||3,940||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|solicitors.co.uk||3,753||Legal Directory||Free Listing|
|orbitz.com||3,618||Travel Site||Paid Listing|
|freeindex.co.uk||3,608||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|bizwiki.co.uk||3,577||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|accessplace.com||3,558||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|ufindus.com||3,380||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|gofalk.com||2,930||Route Planning/Maps Site||Paid Listing|
|local.trueknowledge.com||2,918||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|wcities.com||2,837||Venue/Event Listings||Free Listing|
|londononline.co.uk||2,597||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|yelp.co.uk||2,533||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|tipped.co.uk||2,520||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|guardian.co.uk||2,475||Newspaper Site||No Listing Offered|
|londondirectory.co.uk||2,286||Local Directory||Free Listing|
|retrieva.co.uk||2,253||General Directory||Free Listing|
|thebestof.co.uk||2,127||Local Directory||Paid Listing|
|whoseview.co.uk||2,087||Local Directory||Free Listing|
Citations Really Do Boost Your Website’s Local SEO Performance
So, whether your business is Cumbrian born and bred, or you are still reiving your way through the Borders business community; don’t ignore the citation websites and business directories that can give you that boost over your competitors. Â Take a look at this table and if you haven’t a clue which citation sources you have got listings in, then you can always try out Bright Local’s own Citation Checker – something I have only recently discovered myself.
Google Places Listings are Essential For Your Business in Cumbria or Anywhere â€“ Here are 5 Reasons Why
Google Places Listings are Essential For Your Business in Cumbria or Anywhere â€“ Here are 5 Reasons Why Google Places is an important component of Google Maps. Starting a couple of years ago, Google set about creating an internet business tool that tied locations and customer facing, local businesses together. For the business owner, this attempt by Google to map out the business landscape of the world means that they can make themselves known to potentially millions of new prospects with relatively little effort, it is like a back door to page 1 ranking in the right hands. The basic idea behind Google Places is for each and every place on Google Maps to have a mini website that distils the essential information that a customer might need into a strictly formatted layout. When a business, or Google themselves, create a Places page it lists your business in Googleâ€™s search results and you have the option to create a marker for it on the Google Maps database. If youâ€™re not careful itâ€™s very easy to let your business slip under the customer radar by ignoring the possibilities of an optimized listing in Google Places. There are many reasons why a Google Places listing makes sense for your business but listed below are five of the really important ones. The Internet is the number one place where people search for business information (particularly locally). Significantly, more than 20% of all Google searches are for local (I repeat) local businesses. Gone is the yellow ten-pound telephone brick. In 21st Century land, search technology is where itâ€™s at when advertising for new customers and keeping in front of established clients. â€œSimplesâ€ reallyâ€¦ if you are not easily found online, you WILL lose customers to businesses that are. You can optimize your Google Places listing to highlight your business and gather your target audience. Google Places doesnâ€™t let you call the shots when it comes to creating copy for your page, but it does give you some very valuable space to categorise the business entity and then upload a brief description, pictures and videos, creating a page that is completely customized to your businessâ€™ message. Places Pages are quite easily optimized for maximum exposure in search engine results. Carrying out a few carefully calculated tasks goes a long way towards optimising your businessâ€™ page. This can generate significant improvements in search engine results return. You are in sufficient control of your Places page to monitor and adjust its performance. You have the option of altering your page as often as you like and there is even a slot for Tweet-like updates and a slot for customer reviews â€“ which you should be encouraging. A Google Places page is more than a yellow pages listing. The listing is there to use as a very authoritative support for your businessâ€™ standing on the web. Importantly it is able to provide links to your website (or, more effectively sometimes, your most highly ranked directory listing). It gives a platform for a business to post videos of your operation, and to request feedback from customers. Places pages help to drive interaction with your customers, through reviews and ratings. Google Places is perfect for mobile search. With people using the Internet from their mobile devices more often than from their laptops or home computers, Google Places puts your business in front of these customers in a format that can actually be accessed from even the most ancient of Internet phones! Effectively this makes it easy for you to reach this hugely important sector of the consumer market in a readable format! Google Places and its cousins on Bing and Yahoo maps are critical in keeping your business visible in todayâ€™s fast-paced, change orientated market place. It is essential that your business is listed with Google Places. Google has made the process fairly fast, almost easy - and fundamentally free. By expending a little effort, you can have your businessâ€™ Places page up and running very quickly. You can ensure your pageâ€™s success by paying attention to the keywords that YOUR next best customer is actually using to search for your services or products. If you need any help in unpicking the Places process then donâ€™t be shy - call us, Consulting Cumbria, where we specialize in Google optimisation. In plain English we get you more customers from the Internet. Phone 01228 649 795, or email Ray Cassidy.
Local Businesses Need Local SEO Expertise
Local SEOÂ for business owners inÂ CumbriaÂ and the Borders (or any other locality in the UK) could easily be dismissed as a load of old hype! Search engine optimisation is however, a Critical Process for your business listings, websites and other online shop windows. In a fairly thinly populated area like ours, it becomes more important to use the reach of the internet to draw in new customers.That feeling of apparent hype often arrives as the latest cold call SEO company delivers their script… kind of. “Here we go again!” Be warned though, the evidence is all around you: from Google’s own constant changes; to the changing focus of advertising and marketing professionals on the value of marketing locally online. For most people though, this evidence has become so pervasive that it is usually filtered out as background chatter. I am going to highlight one simple “OBVIOUS” that should not be ignored by any local business owner who wants new customers and higher revenues from their shiny new website… that would be all of you; right?Â You don’t want to suffer the fate of the restourants in these results when locals search for somewhere to eat!
The largest search engine on the planet is Google… the ‘Big G’. Nobody who has searched for anything on-line in the developed world will have been immune to the power of the ‘Googleviathan’. Google’s success, in harvesting, analysing and then disseminating relevant information is a huge bonus to most of us – especially if we market products and services locally.
Local SEO and the Search Engine’s Shifting Focus
I would suggest that we are probably all familiar with the search engines’ ability to bring global information to us in an instant. Now that Google has conquered the big picture: of answering searcher’s questions; their focus has shifted to personalising and localising their search results to the individual queries posed by… a butcher in Brampton or a potential community centre customer in Carlisle.
It is this move to personalisation and more importantly for the business owner; localisation that mustn’t be ignored if you are going to put your business in a strong position; moving into economic recovery!Local SEOÂ is the key to getting everything from; your website and Google Places listing to even your social posting activities in the eyeballs of the local customers in search of the answers to problems and needs that your business can solve locally.
Recently, David Mihm, who is a long-established US expert on local search optimisation, published another of his annual, comprehensive reports on the most important Local Search Ranking Factors for getting your website found. The report wasn’t just his personal pontification though! He has enough influence and reputation to gather a group of over 30 of his international peers, including some people from the UK. They discuss and evaluate all their anecdotal and (importantly)tested conclusionsÂ from the preceding year. From this it was possible for me to assemble a small digest of the Top Local Search Ranking Factors that you must focus on, to get your online presence to the top of the local rankings and in front of those potential new customers’ eyeballs.Â There are around 70 or more separate factors identified so far,Â I should point out!
As the search engines have evolved, online marketers have carefully tried to discover ways that their products and services can be found. Many of them have tested extensively to see how the search engines actually process their offerings. And these are the honest guys I’m talking about! Alongside the honest and competent people are plenty of unscrupulous types. These individuals and groups have been up to no good and have frequently destroyed the honest work of the decent marketers. The response of the search engines has been to increasingly filter the content of the World Wide Web for relevance to the searcher, their location and relevance in to the questions sent its way.
Emerging Ranking Factors for Local SEO
Such evolutionary pressure has rendered it more difficult for a business to get its material to the top of the search results honestly. The flip side however is that it is beginning to make sure that the search engines users are receiving useful information that is pertinent to Carlisle or other searcher’s locations. Make no mistake about it, Google and its brethren still serve up rubbish at times- because their algorithms and even their monstrous computing power are still some way behind the curve of the schemers. Nevertheless, quite specific guidelines for local search have emerged and by playing to the rules set out byÂ Google, Bing, YahooÂ and the others, you are far more likely to have the right sort of notice taken of you and your business.
In brief,the 10 most important factorsÂ that you need to attend to when setting up your web presence, involve making sure that your website, yourÂ Google places listing, and your surprisingly important online directory listings give out a consistent and trustworthy message.
Local SEO Ranking Factors
Top 10 for Business Websites Make sure that:
Business address is in the area, city or particular town you say you belong to – TRUST
You claim your Google places listing and make it your own: if you don’t – clearly you don’t care about your online presence!
Include the location of your business in the title tags of as many pages as possible without spamming it.
Business address is in the area, city or particular town you say you belong to – TRUST!
Ensure that your Google Places listing is labelled with the appropriate categories for your business. Use at least 1 of Google’s preset categories.
Get customer reviews up regularly on websites, your Places listing and your directory listings.
Get lots of customer reviews up – the volume is significant.
Include product or service keywords (what you sell or deliver) in your Place Page description to ensure you show up for the right searches (even though the description text is frequently hidden).
Get customers and even loyal employees to add your business to their Google map – teach them where to find MyMaps.
Photos on your Google places listing really work wonders! Especially if their filenames are carefully and informatively keyword related.
Obviously, your local SE0 consultant like you to come to their office to help you get your business on the road to getting more customers from Google and his siblings! There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s essentially what I would like too. However there are steps that you could take yourself to get this process rolling. Don’t think for one minute I am offering a cheap instant solution! If that’s what you want, go and pay the Adwords bill.SEO; locally or globally, is a longer term strategyÂ that can bring rewards in the months ahead. The advantage if you are a local business looking for relatively local customers, is that it is much easier to compete when you are playing against competitors in a smaller geographical pool. If you compare the number of businesses in the Borders county of Dumfries and Galloway, with the density of businesses in the big cities of Britain, you quickly see that competition up here is much less intense than in Manchester, for instance.
Getting to the meat and potatoes of why and how to achieve some of those 10 essentials is a job you should not put off.The information you need IS freely available out there, but the time you would spend in digesting, filtering and selecting the useful stuff, would effectively leave your main business on standby.Â For the vast majority of Cumbrian business owners, it is far more effective to get a locally basedÂ SEO consultantÂ to come in and give you their advice – they’ve already done the digging and filtering.
The evidence of why it is CRITICAL for businesses in Cumbria, the Borders and the UK generally to get their expertise up to speed in local SEO is the simple fact that Google has dedicated itself (over the last year in particular) to tweaking the features of local search results continuously and consistently. Alongside the changes such as the recent Panda / Farmer updates are a constant stream of announcements this year of other smaller tweaks to the search algorithms. These alone are huge clues to the search engine giants’ intentions and the growing importance of locally based internet marketing. It is worth reading David Mihm’s previously mentioned report onÂ Local Search Ranking FactorsÂ andÂ Google’s SEO guidelines.
Local SEO Next Steps for Your Business Website
Local SEO expertise for Carlisle, Cumbria and Borders based small businesses is an essential online step to your offline economic health. I have indicated some of the more important Local Search Ranking Factors to improve your own knowledge and let you start raising the rank of your business website. Alternatively, contact me and ask me to assess your website for you.
Consulting Cumbria Ltd provides simple, straightforward solutions to the Internet Marketing needs of local businesses in Carlisle,umbria and further afield, who know that they need to get themselves online but are unsure of where to start.
With a particular expertise in local SEO strategies, Consulting Cumbria can help you get your online marketing processes working for your success.
If you would like the SEO strength of your website assessed and some advice on how to improve visit Consulting Cumbria’s Site Analysis section for a quick picture of why yourte performs at its current level in the search results.
Ray Cassidy runs Consulting Cumbria Ltd from a tiny cupboard, deep in the heart of his Peel Tower to stay safe from maruding Reivers