Toledo SBDC Offers Google My Business Workshop

4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local products and services, however only 37% of businesses have claimed their listing on Google.

google-my-business-workshop
People turn to their computers, laptops and smartphones multiple times a day to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. This means it’s more important than ever for your businesses to be online this holiday season.

Join the Toledo Small Business Development Center, Tim Saddoris of InfoStream Solutions and Patrick Giammarco of PWG Marketing on December 1, 2016 for a 90-minute Google My Business Bootcamp where they’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to get local search working hard for you before the holidays.

“One of the most important times to make sure your business is findable online by the consumers in your community is the Holiday season,” commented Bill Wersell, Toledo SBDC director. “Shoppers often start with online research and keep searching even after they are inside a store. This training is help make sure your business gets found when people are searching for what you have to offer,” he continued.

Some of the things that will be covered include:

  • The impact of Google My Business on your ability to get found online
  • How to set up, claim and verify your Google My Business listing
  • How to optimize categories and keywords for your Google My Business listing
  • The local search power of Google360
  • The importance of ratings and reviews in local search
  • How to get your business listed in Google’s 3-pack

Cost: $25/person
Location: Advanced Manufacturing Training Center | 200 West Scott Park Drive, Toledo Ohio

Space is limited. Visit https://toledoohcoc.wliinc19.com/events/google-my-business-workshop-1550/details?dnh=true to register.

Google 3-Pack to Become 2-Pack + 1 Ad

Google-3-PackFor the last few years, local businesses that excel in their crafts have enjoyed a prime spot on the Google 3-pack listing of hits close to the user’s location. However, Google announced a change that will bring the 3-pack configuration down to just a 2-pack – turning the third spot into a paid advertisement.

Paid-For Inclusions: Is this the End of Good Business?

Traditionally, the only businesses included in Google’s 3-pack of local hits were those that earned their spots by genuinely doing good business. These businesses won their prominent placements through years of hard work, search engine optimization strategy, and positive consumer reviews. Now, Google is giving one of the spots (the top spot, no less) to any business that will pay for it.

RELATED ARTICLE: 6 Quick Tips About Local SEO

Google advertised the system at this year’s SMX Advanced with the tagline: “Fully unlock the potential of local internet on mobile.” It appears the key will cost more than a little elbow grease. The 3-pack was difficult enough for businesses to get into. Now, with a 33% smaller chance, many local businesses feel put out. This change could cause problems for local business owners as well as consumers.

Consumers will lose the guarantee that the top local hit is actually a popular business. They will have to dig further for this information, looking businesses up on Yelp and reading reviews. For many business owners, Google seems to be shutting out old-fashioned, high-quality businesses in favor of businesses that pay for fame; many entrepreneurs who pride themselves on their earned status think this a poor practice.

Some consumers worry that this will be a crushing blow for local businesses, which already spend a good chunk of their budgets on optimizing advertisements for Google. Google’s need to boost revenue is quickly smothering its incentives for good businesses. The apprehension the public feels about this is worse than when Google announced it was cutting the glorious 7-pack down to just 3 back in August 2015.

The Skinny on the Slimmer 3-Pack

The new 3-pack structure – or 2-pack plus 1 ad – will be available as part of Adwords Extensions to local business advertisers. These ads may make Adwords Express a viable marketing channel for local businesses that want to jump to the top of their local 3-pack listings, if it also becomes available on Express.

Google is testing the new 2-pack, meaning we may see something different once it officially debuts. This could even mean more ads and fewer organic results. There is also the question of whether Google will keep the four advertisements at the top of the search results, hitting users with five ads in a row. We won’t find out until Google releases the change, which could be at any time.

Organic traffic appears to be getting lost in the shuffle of a pay-to-play business model with Google’s newest update. It’s too soon to tell what the new 2-pack system will mean to local businesses, but one thing is clear: It’s Google’s world and we’re all just living in it.

For more information on upgrading your SEO strategy, request your free copy of our eBook, Local Search – A Guide to Increasing Your Local Search Presence. Click below to request your free copy.

Request
5 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your SEO Strategy

5 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your SEO Strategy

seo-strategySEO strategy is an ever-changing concept in the digital marketing world. Companies that don’t keep up with fluctuating SEO trends will quickly fall behind. If you’re talking about content marketing, driving traffic online, and creating a better customer experience in 2016, you need SEO.

SEO strategy is the backbone of every digital marketing activity you tick off the list. Without it, you lose visibility in the online marketplace. Without visibility, even exceptional content goes unnoticed. Here are the signs your company needs to reinvigorate or supercharge your SEO campaign in the near future:

  1. You’ve been ignoring mobile. Your website may rank well in desktop search results, but do you know how well you perform in the mobile world? Having a mobile friendly website optimized for multiple devices is no longer optional. To reach consumers who increasingly prefer smartphones and tablets over a traditional computer, you must prioritize mobile search.
  2. You’re still basing content solely on keywords. Keywords allow users to find relevant content in search engines, but Google no longer rewards old keyword stuffing practices. Instead, marketers should opt for a few long-tail keywords that accurately match popular search terms with relevant, valuable content. As Google algorithms continue to evolve, you can bet more organic content focused on reader interest and value will rank higher than promotional or generic text.
  3. You can’t place a value on SEO tactics. In the age of accessible big data and analytics galore, every company can assign value to optimization practices and measure campaign results in a meaningful way. Start mapping the customer journey with hard data on touch points and conversions. Use that information to assign a dollar value to marketing activities. Focus on weaknesses while supporting your strengths. Your management team will appreciate the streamlined, financial ROI reports much more than where you rank or how much traffic your website received last month.
  4. You’re not engaging online. SEO includes what your company actively does, but it also accounts for secondary activities that drive rankings. For instance, producing content that encourages known-brand influencers to recommend your products or that makes other writers and brands link back to your content helps your SEO. Search engines reward any activities that help users gain access to relevant content. Engage in online communities, and SEO improvement will naturally follow.
  5. You’re still link building with old standards. Stop referencing your own content unless it’s uniquely relevant. Instead, find ways to earn links from other sources. Find broken links in content that parallels your own, and ask the publisher to replace the broken link with yours. Identify broken links in existing content, and update them. Look for brand mentions and attributions without a source, and ask a publisher to add an appropriate reference.

The digital world is constantly in flux, so it only makes sense that search optimization changes constantly, too. Stay current with the latest search engine algorithm updates, revisit your strategy as needed, and look for game changers that may signal a larger strategy shift throughout the year.

For more information on upgrading your SEO strategy, request your free copy of our eBook, Local Search – A Guide to Increasing Your Local Search Presence. Click below to request your free copy.

 

Request
Do You Know the Difference Between Local and Organic SEO?

Do You Know the Difference Between Local and Organic SEO?

If you’re new to the search engine optimization (SEO) game, you may think local SEO and organic SEO are the same thing. They’re not. SEO is a complex field involving many interconnected layers. It drives virtually every marketing and advertising activity your company engages in online, so understanding the difference between local and organic SEO will help you optimize your current strategy for better visibility and consumer engagement online.

Difference Between Local and organic SEO

Organic SEO is an umbrella term that covers the traditional SEO activities you’re familiar with, including creating keyword driven content, using meta-descriptions, engaging on social media platforms and with 3rd party sites, earning links, etc. All of the activities are unpaid, and anyone who has a working knowledge of SEO and a website can use them. Organic SEO is a global approach to earning visibility online. It can include local tactics, but it doesn’t have to.

On the other hand, Local SEO only involves activities that facilitate the movement of traffic towards a physical, geographical location – typically a brick and mortar store or a region of business exclusivity. How many times have you grabbed your phone to locate restaurants or retailers in your vicinity? If a business isn’t optimized for regional keywords, it could lose out to nearby competitors. Any company that has a physical location and wants to target a location-specific demographic should use local SEO tactics to gain the most benefit from online activities.

Best Practices for Organic and Local SEO

The tactics for approaching organic and local SEO overlap, but they have some defining characteristics. Consider this list for optimizing both practices for overall results:

  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Optimize mobile for local SEO. Roughly half of all mobile searches are local in nature. Someone needs to find a gas station, a coffee shop, or a realtor in the area. If someone types in “coffee shops near Phoenix,” will he or she find yours listed on the first page of results? If not, it’s time to start focusing on mobile friendliness and local keywords.Focus on diversification for organic SEO. Any number of pathways can drive organic SEO. Companies should concentrate on discovering where their target markets spend the most time online and what devices they’re more likely to use and start building tactics from there.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Focus on social media, reviews, and citations for local SEO. Make sure area directories list your business information. Create locally focused content, and engage with consumers on social media. Revisit and address online reviews regularly to promote a positive reputation in your vicinity.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Optimize websites for organic SEO. Spend time making sure each landing page has a positive user experience and the right keywords to drive traffic to the website and encourage engagement. Publish content that offers valuable information and clear calls-to-action.
  • [icon type=”angle-double-right” class=”fa-li accent”]Focus on on-page SEO. On-page search engine optimization (SEO) refers to factors that have an effect on your website’s ranking in natural or organic search results. On-page SEO factors are things on your website that are visible and controllable by you; things like page title, page URL, header tags, ALT image tags and Meta description tags.

Many of these activities overlap. When you start working on your organic SEO activities, including website optimization and diversifying your channels, you’ll naturally build visibility online. Any local tactics you pursue in addition to organic SEO will boost how often your geographically targeted market sees your brand in search results.

Our eBook on local optimization titled Local Search – A Guide to Increasing Your Local Search Presence, may help you further understand and take advantage of this trend. Click below to request your free copy.

Request

A Simple 3-Step Process for Turning Your Law Firm’s Website into a Lead Gen Magnet

A Simple 3-Step Process for Turning Your Law Firm’s Website into a Lead Gen Magnet

There are a ton of ways to generate leads, but there are only a few ways to get leads targeted to your business. Your firm’s website could be the most valuable tool in gathering ideal potential clients that need your specific services. While there is a lot that goes into inbound marketing we’ve come up with a 3-step process that, if followed, could help you see consistent leads coming right from your site.

Step 1: Clean Up Your Act

Is your current site taking care of the visitors you are already getting? If you were to get a sudden influx of online traffic would everyone know exactly what you wanted them to do?

If you answered no to either of those questions, your website might need a tune up. An online lead generator needs to have a focused purpose.

Find targeted traffic, educate them about your law firm, and get them to contact you.

The design is an important aspect, but looks aren’t as important as the clarity of your message. If you want to represent individuals who have been injured in a car accident then, your website should be an educational epicenter of information on the subject. Answering every last question a person in that situation could ask.

Putting a steady stream of helpful articles or posts online will help make your site ready for the action.

Step 2: Get the Message Out

The best part about using your website along with inbound marketing to generate leads is that you may not have to get on camera. A commercial may seem like a good idea, but why not gather the people who are already looking for a good lawyer?

Using search engine optimization (SEO), you can get your website found by people who need you. The more your content targets ideal clients, the more likely they are to find you. SEO can be a tricky business, but it boils down to providing valuable information that people are looking for. SEO has the potential to create long-lasting and sustainable leads without getting in front of a green screen.

Click for 4 Questions You Should Ask Your SEO Agency

Step 3: Tell Them How to Move Forward

Once you have a growing number of people, who are coming to your website because of all of the value that it is providing you need to tell them what you want them to do next. Offering this information is a great way to get your name out there, but if it doesn’t attract leads, there is no point. You need to set up calls to action.

Have specific next steps that each visitor should take to move them along the process. Things like scheduling a consultation, a quiz that gathers information letting you know how warm the lead is, etc.. Doing this will help you recognize how close the client is to needing your expertise and keep those who may need you in the future in contact.

Take these steps and you’ll have a website that works for you like another office associate. If you would like help implementing these strategies on your website you can contact us for a free consultation today.

Want more information on how to turn your law form website into a local lead generation machine? Click the button below to download our free e-book, Local Search: A Guide to Increasing Your Search Presence.

Request

Law Firm Marketing: How Inbound Marketing Helps Law Firms Grow

Law Firm Marketing: How Inbound Marketing Helps Law Firms Grow

What if you could have a steady flow of leads coming to your law firm’s website? Not just a few, but enough to allow you to choose who you represent and the cases you take on.

Accomplishing this may sound like it would take an expensive marketing budget and a commercial on daytime television, but it’s possible without many traditional marketing methods. Sound too good to be true?

It isn’t.

With so many people near you searching for lawyers, you don’t have to go after them if they find you. Access to the Internet is quickly rendering traditional marketing obsolete. Personal injury, Social Security disability, divorce, settlement claims and other individuals with legal trouble are more likely to look for a lawyer on their iPhone than to call.

How Do You Adjust to This Change?

The best process is called Inbound Marketing, and it can change the way you find clients. So, how exactly can it help your law practice?

This is a tough question to answer. Not because it is a stretch. It’s due to the fact there are so many ways that it works for small businesses, especially law firms. Inbound rather than traditional marketing helps you gather specific, targeted leads that need what you have.

Click to read Top 5 Reasons Inbound Marketing is Better than Traditional

To start, you identify your ideal clients. Figuring out the characteristics of the cases and people that further your business and personal goals as a lawyer will help lay the foundation for your inbound marketing efforts.

Next, you’ll create tailored content directly to those ideal personas and optimize it for search engines, like Google. Then, when one of the many people suited for your skills finds your content while searching, they will be attracted to your firm’s website.

Your Website Plays an Important Role

You probably don’t work alone. There are legal assistants, secretaries, and possibly other lawyers where you work. Everyone is doing their part to ensure the success of the firm. Although, your website may not be pulling its weight. Chances are, your potential clients are visiting your virtual office before setting an appointment with your secretary.

A focused site could be the most important element in your inbound marketing strategy. Having a website that gives an ideal client what they are looking for, while leading them to an action that you desire, is work that only a well-designed and thought out website can do.

This post is just the start into a world of inbound that can bring you ideal clients that have already begun the education process when they contact you.

To see how close you are to having a funnel set up for your law firm, sign up for our free consultation today.

Find out why your customers can’t find you online. Request your free Local SEO and Inbound Marketing audit today!

Request