Local SEO

February 27, 2019

7 New SEO Trends your Business Needs to Utilize

Have you ever paid another person or company to do “SEO” for your website? If so, let me guess … after paying thousands of dollars you still had NO IDEA what it did to your bottom line. Even worse, you don’t even seem to rank any higher on Google.

Well, not to kick you while you’re down, but SEO is going to get even crazier. So, for all you plumbers and e-commerce stores out there, buckle-up! In this article, we will go over 7 of the biggest SEO trends in 2019.

With the media world ever-changing, so are the most effective SEO tactics. In order to rank, outrank, and stay ranking, SEO should be top of mind. If you want your website and content to be seen by as many people as possible you, need to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Let’s cover 4 quick topical terms:

  • User Experience – How website visitors use and interact with the website.
  • Crawlability – How Google reviews your website to index it online.
  • Content – Information and media on your website
  • Backlinks – Links from other external websites back to your website.

To stay competitive, new SEO trends offer businesses a competitive way of standing out  amongst the crowd.

Here are 7 SEO Trends for 2019

1.  The Rise of Voice Search

How often have you heard one of these phrases in the last year or so…

 “Alexa.”

 “Hey, Siri.”

“Ok, Google.”

For those reading (or listening), it’s a race to the top. Who will dominate search?

Have you seen the increasingly popular television commercials? It’s fair to assume you’re in a legitimate industry when you’re running TV commercials during huge sports events and popular hours. This tv ad by Google, “Yo Google”, with Kevin Durant, is just one example of a big international media company trying to eat up market share.

Whether you like it or not, voice search is the future of SEO. It is estimated that by 2020, there will be around 21.4 million smart speakers in the U.S. alone. Also by 2020, experts believe that voice search will make up 50% of all search inquiries. So how can your business stay on top of this trend and utilize it to boost your SEO?

  1. Create Content Good Enough to Make it A Featured Snippet. You may be asking “What is a featured snippet?” A featured snippet is the result you see at first in the Google search results that boxed off at the top of the page. While there is no answer as to how to get featured there, search engines pull the more relevant content that answers a specific question people are asking. This answer should not be something that runs around the question that was asked. Instead, aim to write content that makes the answer clear and easy to understand. 

Content for snippets are pulled from the top 10 results for the specific question that was asked. Make sure your content is ranking by optimizing your SEO with great meta and internal and external links.

In the world of voice, this content is also used to be the voice search result that Google and others can transcribe to you.

2. Make Sure Your Site is Up To Speed.

A major search rank consideration gaining more and more precedence is the power of page speed. 47% of consumers expect websites to load in 2 seconds or less. Your content may answer all of the voice searcher’s questions, but if your website is not optimized to load quickly, your perspective website viewers will drop like flies.

Make sure your website loads as fast as possible. This can be achieved with a few optimizations:

Hostway explains 10 ways to make your website load faster using some of these pointers as examples …

10 Ways to Make Your Website Load Faster

  1. Implement your own content delivery network (CDN). …
  2. Cache everything possible
  3. Evaluate your plugins. … (what to use vs not use)
  4. Compress your content. …
  5. Configure expires headers.

Use Google’s awesome PageSpeed Insights tool to determine your site’s speed and what you can do to improve.

3. Think Like a Voice Search User. SEO can change depending on which platform is being used. We all know that searching something by typing and searching something by speaking are completely different. With each action, you use different words, sentence lengths, and phrases. With the case of voice search, the whole question is going to be different. Therefore, content needs to be composed to answer more natural, conversational questions. Content made to respond well to Voice Search must also answer the question in a short and simple manner – content used as Voice Search results are written at a 9th grade level and 29 words or less.

2.  Featured Snippets (let’s dig deeper)

The Featured Snippets are a format which is supposed to provide users with a concise, direct answer to their questions – right there on the search results page, without the users having to click through to a specific result.

The key to becoming a featured snippet is by making sure that you not only provide the best, most concise and accurate answer, but to making sure your website is also structured properly for Google to scan and index.

There are three types of snippets, depending on the query:

  • Paragraph
  • List
  • Table

According to Rob Bucci and STAT, paragraph snippets are the most common, occupying 82% of the featured snippets, with list snippets appearing in 10.8% of the results and table snippets in 7.3%.

These Snippets don’t always pull the result from the first position on Google either. They can actually pull from any listing on the first results page. However, position 1 usually gets at least 30% of the featured snippet results.

3.  Prioritize Mobile

Please tell me this isn’t a shocking surprise. Chances are you’re actually reading this from a mobile device.

As a marketer, I probably spend more time on my PC than a smart device, but not by much. Most people I know don’t even have a computer anymore. Why have one if you don’t need it. You have a personal computer in your hands at all times, and that always has an internet connection.

Google has actually moved to mobile-first indexing. Yes, this means even Google has prioritized scanning and indexing website mobile versions first, so as to rank them and give the best results to those searching on mobile devices.

Mobile-first indexing means that Google uses your website’s mobile version as a jump-off point for determining website rankings. If your website does not have a mobile-friendly version, it doesn’t mean you won’t rank. However, because mobile is crawled first, it will affect your website’s overall rank.

(Image via MOZ)

This mobile-indexing process should not come as a surprise – 60% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices. If you are already using SEO, make sure to transfer that data to the mobile version of your site. When building mobile-friendly websites or mobile versions of your site, for SEO purposes, take into consideration…

  • Creating a better user experience. Mobile versions of your website should offer your audience easy navigation and use.
  • Speed. As we mentioned before, your site should be optimized to load quickly. It is wise to have a desktop version of your site and a mobile version. Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Google has your back – try its Mobile-Friendly Test.
  • Optimize your content. Content titles for mobile content should be around 78 characters opposed to the 70 characters for desktop. For the content description, the character length is the same – around 155 characters.

4.  Amazon Search Optimization

Wait…Amazon competing against Google? Go figure, right?

Amazon is a huge search engine competitor. If you want good SEO, you have to be in front of your customers on all major search engines, including Amazon. 72% of shoppers use Amazon to find and order the products they need. 56% of consumers search Amazon for what they need first before they looking at other sites for the same product.

According to BigCommerce, people favor Amazon when it comes to making purchases because Amazon offers great prices, fast shipping, and overall better customer convenience. Not only do people find products on Amazon, but everything they need for their shopping experience including product reviews, similar product suggestions, and other products consumers may be interested in based off of the product they are looking at. Amazon acts as a one-stop stop for online shoppers. With Amazon, there is not a need to use another search engine to find what they need or want to buy.

Amazon is a threat to Google and Google Ads revenue if consumers are searching for products on Amazon instead of Google. If your business has products available for sale, you may want to consider posting your items for sale on Amazon. To get started selling your products there, you must first…

  • Enroll. Choose one of the 20 product categories available on Amazon for your products.
  • Choose a selling plan. There are 2 plans available depending on how many products your business intends to sell.
  • Register and List. Use Seller Central to set up your account.

The reason we want to include Amazon in this blog is simply due to the fact that they have and and will continue to steal market share from Google, YouTube, eBay, and others. Yes, anything you search on, is considered a search engine — even social platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

5.  Domain Authority

Domain Authority and SEO work hand and hand. If you didn’t know, Domain Authority is a search engine score that determines the popularity and quality of the domain itself. It’s a marketing term itself, as coined by Moz and others.

DA scores range from 1 – 100. Domain Authority strives to prove that your website is producing high-quality content about your specific subject matter. To achieve “good” domain authority, your website and website content should have a high number of quality internal and external links. High Domain authority sites, as an example, would include Facebook (99), New York Times (95), ESPN (91).

It is not a realistic goal to have a DA of 100. Instead, focus your time on determining the DA of your competitor’s sites and aim for your website to have a higher number than theirs. The best way to improve your site’s DA is to prove it’s overall SEO. If you decide to work on improving your Domain Authority, you should use some of the same practice that you use for your SEO optimization. Our partners at Hubspot say to improve DA, you can…

  1. Look at Your Links. Search engines like Google only want the highest quality links. Take advantage of tools like SEMrush’s Backlink Checker and MOZ’s Link Explorer to see how you can improve your linking game.
  2. Content, Content, Content. Are you tired of hearing about content yet? In order to boost your Domain Authority, you need people to visit your website. Draw people in by creating compelling content that is answering a direct question. Once you have visitors, use lead nurturing tactics to build a dedicated following that will keep coming back to your site for more.
  3. Get backlinked. Having your content linked out to on a page with a higher Domain Authority than yours will boost your DA number tremendously.

6.  Semantic Keywords

Adding Latent Semantic Keywords to Quality Content

LSI keywords are referred to as “semantic keywords.”  In other words, LSI keywords are terms and phrases that search engines find based on the frequency they are used throughout the web.

What are semantic keywords? Semantic termsare not quite like synonyms. Instead, they are more like sub-topically related concepts. For example, if I were to write about landing pages, some potential semantic keywords could include subject line tips, A/B testing, landing page ideas, landing page design, and landing page optimization.

Here are 3 tools that can help you find the best LSI keywords for your content:

  1. LSI Graph is an easy-to-use tool. To use LSI Graph, just write in a focused keyword and new ideas will generate for you! It’s that simple – plus it’s free.

2. Google’s Auto Suggest feature is another way to generate new ideas. Type in your main keyword, but, instead of hitting enter like your normally would, look the suggested queries. These are all things that are ranking on Google from what people are actually searching.

3. Google’s Search Related Feature can be found when you scroll to the bottom of the Google search results page. Here, you’ll see additional suggestions based off of your original Google search. You’ll also get semantically related keywords in bold.

When creating content remember to add LSI keywordsto your content to drive organic rankings. Be sure to include them in your:

  • Subheads
  • Alt Text
  • Image File Names
  • Body Content
  • Link Text

Let’s not forget, your content has to be relevant to both Google and humans. Be sure to include keywords wisely, but never let that degrade or distract from the message you’re sending.

7 – Blockchain Technology’s Influence

When thinking about the idea of Blockchain Technology, it is mostly associated with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. However, Blockchain’s influence has a larger reach than expected. So how does Blockchain Technology and SEO relate?

First, we have to know the logistics of how blockchain works. Blockchain is used to create protected and trusted transactions. The use of Blockchain Technology secures digital relationships through its network. When using Blockchain Technology, transactions will occur directly between the advertiser and the website owner, cutting out 3rd party search engines, like Google, that were meant to build trust.

Utilizing Blockchain can verify identity authentication of your website’s users with 100% accuracy. This accuracy can help with determining whether your ad was viewed by a real person or by a bot crawling your site. Distinguishing this can allow the website owner to only pay for legit clicks from real leads through Blockchain. Some ways you can use Blockchain Technology with your sites are..

  1. Use an Embedded schema markup. This allows websites to record the identity of visitors on your site.
  2. The use of token rewardsBAT, a basic attention token, monitors your website’s user’s activity. If the user is an active user, you will gain “tokens” to reward different user interactions.

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about the future of SEO with our 7 trends for 2019. The key point of this article is that SEO is ever-changing, and that your website must be focused on the future. Your visitors’ experience is the key to making sure your rank continues to climb.

For all future content please subscribe to our YouTube or email list for Momentum Monday marketing tips and trends.

With questions regarding SEO and Digital Marketing, you can reach our director, Mac Frederick.

[email protected]

By nmadmin
March 19, 2018

How to Balance Your SEO and PPC Strategies in The First 6 Months

In the early days of any business, one of your primary objectives will be to bring as much relevant traffic to your website as possible. As you already know, there are two main ways to accomplish this: having a great SEO strategy, and using paid advertising. However, an easy trap to fall into is the belief that these approaches are mutually exclusive.
Long story short, they’re not. In fact, if used correctly, SEO and PPC can be combined to give your business a significant head start in its opening months. To help you get going, here are a few tips on balancing your marketing strategies and getting the most out of both your paid and organic traffic.
Related reading: Using Google Alerts to Get An Edge Over Your Competition.

Set Shared Goals
While SEO and PPC have unique strengths, they can be used in tandem for many common marketing aspirations. This means each strategy supports the other, fast-tracking you to your goals, and decreasing the overall investment to achieve those aims.
For example, say you want to boost web traffic by 20 percent, running some targeted PPC ads can be a great way to reach more people, and point them to your website. However, optimizing your web pages to show up more often in search results will also increase the likelihood that the right people will find your store.
However, while using both strategies may see some overlap in audiences, it gives you an even greater boost to your overall visibility. Furthermore, by integrating the two approaches, if someone sees your ad and then decides to look you up, your SEO efforts will make it far easier for them to find you.
Having shared objectives for your campaigns means you can refine your marketing efforts to be complementary. Not only will this reinforce your brand message, it also helps to build a sense of consistency and familiarity which can greatly enhance consumer trust in your brand.

Combine Your Data
Your SEO and PPC campaigns will both yield valuable data that can provide extensive insights into the habits and preferences of your target audience. So rather than having two completely separate teams acting on their associated data alone, it makes sense to pool your resources. This means that you can form a more complete picture of buyer habits, and enable your finding to influence your SEO and PPC efforts simultaneously.

  • Data from onsite searches can help you narrow down keywords for your PPC ads.
  • Success of individual PPC ads can provide insights into the sort of aesthetics and copy that are most popular with your target audience.
  • Targeted ads on social media can provide granular detail about specific demographics, helping to build better buyer personas, and refine your SEO.

Another important reason to pool your data is that it can help to highlight discrepancies. If your paid ads are attracting an entirely different demographic to your organic search results, then you need to know why, and to use this knowledge to optimize your approach.

Optimize Landing Pages
Whether users find their way to your website via search results, or paid ads, having a great landing page is essential if you want to turn that visitor into a customer. Naturally, your SEO efforts will increase your site’s authority, and help these pages to show up in search results. However, if you have a unified strategy for SEO and PPC, these pages will also complement the paid ads that drive traffic to them.
The benefit of this is that users who click on your ads will feel like they have come to exactly where they expected, rather than having to navigate from your homepage to whatever inspired them in your advert. In fact, AdWords allows you to link individual product pages to your PPC ads, which is fantastic for driving impulse sales and creating a highly streamlined experience for your customers.
Test Organic Keywords
Finding the best keywords and key phrases for your marketing campaigns can be a difficult task. Even after reviewing your options using tools such as Wordstream’s keyword finder, it’s really a matter of trial and error to find the exact combinations that work for your business.
This is essential for getting the most out of your SEO, but you should also implement your findings in your PPC strategy. In fact, by reviewing the performance of individual paid ads, you can even use your PPC efforts to determine which keywords are most viable for your organic efforts.
Top tip: if you use an ecommerce host like Shopify to run your online store, you can claim $100 in Google Adwords credit when you spend $25.

Double Your Odds
A final point to remember when weighing up the viability of PPC versus SEO for your marketing approach is that by employing both, you can actually double your presence in search results. For example, if you manage to rank on the first page of search results for a given keyword, and your paid ad also shows up, the user is presented with two immediate options for visiting your site.
This increased visibility will also cause your website to seem more and more familiar over time, as it continues to show up in results. So while many web users are in the habit of ignoring paid search results, this doesn’t mean they don’t scan through them and remember the websites.
Then, if your site also appears in the organic search results, it is already recognizable, and presents the user with an alternative means of reaching your website, without feeling like they’ve been lured their by an advert. This means they arrive with greater trust in your brand, which in turn increases their likelihood of conversion.
                                                                          – Credit: Pixabay
As you can see, there is a lot to be gained both from paid advertising, and from improving your SEO. These two strategies are each powerful in their own right, but become infinitely more impactful when used together as part of an integrated approach.
While it is certainly possible to incorporate either of these tactics into your marketing strategy at a later date, it will always be most effective to implement them from day one. By doing this, you build your campaign upon a foundation of consistency, making it far easier to develop and optimize your approach over time.
Your first few months in business can be hard work, but that attention and diligence will pay off. Put the time and effort in now, and before long, you will not only have built an ecommerce brand to be proud of, but you’ll also have acquired invaluable marketing experience that will benefit you in all your future endeavors.


 Victoria Greene
is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, Victoria Ecommerce, she shares tips on ecommerce and how companies can improve their brand representation. She is passionate about using her experience to help brands improve their reach.

December 18, 2017

Using Google Alerts to Get An Edge Over Your Competition

Google is a serious source of buyer traffic for each of our clients and making sure we squeeze the most out of every service Google offers only makes sense.

From the G-Suite platform Mac wrote about earlier this year, to Google Trends giving us an idea of what we could or should creating content around, there is tremendous value in free tools that even novice business owners can use to get an edge on local and national competitors.

There will be further posts on how to use individual tools within the stable of Google products, but for this week’s Momentum Monday, I’ll explain how you can go about using Google Alerts to effortlessly keep tabs on your your own brand, competitors, and overall movement in your niche.

Google Alerts: Mediocre Name, Critical Tool

google alerts

When I think of Alert, I think of two things.

The most northern, permanently habitable place in the world – and those annoying fire alarms that went off in residence during college. Despite the boring name, Google definitely has built a tool you can use to keep tabs on what’s going on with almost anything on the web.

With news and blog posts coming out literally every day you need to keep know what your competitors are doing, trends in your industry and new opportunities to connect with influencers and curate content.

You can do all this and still keep your sanity with just a few strategic and well thought out alerts.

Google Alerts basically allow you to be notified as often as you wish whenever new content that meets certain criteria or contains certain phrases is indexed or mentioned on the internet.

Using Alerts To Make Your Digital Marketing Campaigns Easier

Setting up Alerts is dead easy.

Simply login to your Google account and go to google.com/alerts. Any phrase you insert will be monitored and should a mention of these keywords, phrases or brands will trigger an email to your Google account at the interval you’ve specified.

Practical Uses For Google Alerts

You’re already getting tons of emails everyday, so setting these up so they provide the most value and don’t end up annoying you is key.

Here are my favorite alerts and how to leverage them, specifically for SEO.

Brand Mentions: This is easy – insert your brand, and get an email at the frequency you specify whenever your brand name is indexed. Monitor good and bad press, and take it a step further by monitoring brand mentions of your direct competitors.

Any mention of your brand that isn’t linking out to your site is an opportunity for outreach and to get a link placed.

For example if we found a blog or news site mentioning Momentum Digital, without directly linking out to us, we’d send a nice email letting them know our site is http://needmomentum.com and it might help their readers learn more about our services.

Links matter significantly as ranking signal even as we end 2017, according to Search Engine Land so any new indexed and relevant links you can acquire definitely make a difference.

Competitor Creep: The best defense is offense, and you can set up Google Alerts to make sure you keep tabs on your direct competitors marketing strategy online.

Moving into 2018 earned or acquired placements are just a reality, and it can be daunting keeping up with  these opportunities and making sure you capitalize on them all.

Plug your competitor into Google Alerts and get notified anytime they are mentioned in the news, a blog or any other indexed content. What are they doing to get media attention? What are they doing to generate buzz? Giveaways, charitable acts, even bad press – these are all opportunities to learn and replicate what seems to be working for your own brand.

For example, if you see another local business owner has been mentioned in the press as an authority on a certain subject or being recognized for his or her contributions locally, those are all opportunities that can be replicated. Reach out to news or blog sources and let them know you can offer the same insights and are available to comment.

I’ve even setup Google Alerts for my competitors first name in the past to see if they ever get mentioned for other reasons which I could leverage for links.

Content Curation: On a bigger scale, you’ll want to keep tabs on what the general trends are in your industry without manually digging around. Setting up alerts for certain commercial keywords can bring you opportunities for networking and content that you may not have found otherwise.

For Momentum, we love getting out and doing our Small Business Saturday series, so Google Alerts for phrases like opening in Philadelphia, opening in Philly, small businesses in Philadelphia do a good job of keeping us abreast of what’s new in the city and how we can help new businesses that are making a difference. Set them to once a week to avoid being annoyed and yes some results won’t be immediately actionable, but should still be an opportunity to network.

Setting up alerts for broad matched terms like local digital marketing also lets us find similar competitors who may be getting press and blog mentions, and we can always work on reverse engineering these to get ourselves links by creating similar or better content.

You can also use terms in quotes to further narrow down results. Google Alerts previews potential results so you can make changes in real time so you don’t end up with a bunch of potentially irrelevant emails.

Keeping Organized With Google Alerts

Email overwhelm is something every business owner deals with and I’m constantly trying to cut down on my notifications, and compartmentalize inbound messages.

Alerts should be set to as-it-happens under how often, but here’s the key. Setup a filter in your email client to put these Alerts aside in a folder and check them when convenient – here’s how to do it in Gmail.

These can then be handed off to an intern or marketing ninja and be followed up on systematically. Building a network like this can definitely help if you’re running a specific promotion and need a media push, but it starts with being proactive and knowing how to get your links and content out there fast.

By admin
November 27, 2017

Top 3 Benefits Of Local Listings For Small Businesses

When you want to try a new restaurant for dinner in your area, do you ever search on Google for “Best restaurant near me” or check Yelp to see who has the highest ratings in your area? The results that populate are called local listings and they can be found on search engines, social sites, review sites, and online directories.

Everyone wants to be at the top of the google search, but what if you’re an up and coming small business with a limited marketing budget? If done correctly, local listings can have many benefits. These benefits include improving local SEO, free promotion for your business, and an easy way to capture new leads. It is very important that you use the correct information when listing your business (Name, Address, Phone Number). I’m going to show you the benefits of listing your business and how to do so correctly.

Something to keep in mind is that these local listings can be created manually or you can use digital tools that will make this process easier. Using tools such as Yext and Moz streamlines the process of getting your businesses information pushed out to all of the relevant online directories. They save you time and eliminate the long tedious process of creating all the local listings yourself. I take you through the step-by-step process of how to properly create your listings using both Yext and Moz in the video below.

Now let’s talk about why your small business should be taking advantage of online local listings.

1. Local SEO

Creating local listings is an important part of the off-page SEO process. If you properly manage your local listings it can have a positive impact on your ranking in Google, and help your business appear more often when being searched by consumers in the area. Every time you create a free entry on a credible directory, it is showing Google that you are running a legitimate business with a trustworthy website. As long as you are showing consistency by using the same name, address, and phone number for each entry, Google will begin to trust your website. These local listings also provide high quality backlinks from each online directory your company is listed on.

This also improves the  position of a website in the search engine results page (SERPs). Therefore when a customer is searching locally for your product or service, your company’s website will populate at the top of the search engine results. Ultimately this will increase your company’s sales through local SEO’s ROI.

local listings

2. Free Exposure

Thats right. The majority of online resources offer free entry for your business listing. The only reason you would have to pay is if you want an enhanced profile or to use digital tools such as Yext. Although it is free to manually enter these local listings, it can be a nightmare to manage. You would have to update the listings one by one, each time you update your business information. This can be very time consuming, not to mention a complete nightmare to stay on top of. Although Yext may be another business expense it saves you time and headaches. Using Yext or Moz Local also decreases the risk of making errors, which is very important for SEO. If there are any inconsistencies with the information in your listings, it will have a negative effect on your SEO. Most small businesses are on a small budget and this allows them to market their brand and build awareness without breaking the bank.

local listings moz 

3. Grow Your Business

Advertising your business through local listing can also help you capture new leads. When you set up your profile for a listing you will be asked to provide information such as what industry you are in and what product or service you are providing. This will target a more specific audience that is much more likely to convert into paying customers. Small businesses will reap the benefits from customers in the surrounding area searching for their product or service. Not only are local listings important for growing your company but they can also help you grow your social media following. You can link your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to your profile. Your business will now grow organically while building a stronger brand awareness.

So why wouldn’t your business utilize such an awesome tool like local listings? There are many benefits that will help grow your business for little to no cost. It’s really a no brainer. If you want to make your life easier, check out Yext and Moz Local. They even offer you the opportunity for a free scan of your businesses website! It allows you to see which sites your business is listed on, if the information is accurate, if there are any inconsistencies, and even customer reviews. From this point you can decide if you want to manually create local listings or if you want to utilize these tools. Remember it is very important that if you choose to do it yourself, the information you enter must be consistent across the board. Otherwise Google will penalize you for this and move you further down in the rankings.
local listings small business

Why?

Instead of spending thousands of dollars on paid marketing campaigns, make sure you have the basics down first. Local listings are a great way to get you company’s name out there, and should be taken advantage of by all small businesses.

When it comes to growing your business it is not always about making sales. It is about building a brand and creating a company that people trust and stand behind. Brand awareness is very important when scaling a business. Think about it, would you rather buy a laptop from a brand that you know and trust or from a brand you’ve never heard of. “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek explains this perfectly. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” You must have that strong reason why you do what you do and believe in it. This will cause your business to thrive. Even though local listings are just a part of the equation, they are still very important and should not be overlooked.

My name is Dave Lacamera and I’m a SEO Specialist here at Momentum Digital. If you have any questions about how local SEO can help your business feel free to contact us at any time!

September 11, 2017

Optimizing Local Reviews For Your Small Business

In business, reputation has always been one of the biggest factors in a customer’s buying process. Even before brick-and-mortar stores were built, traders and merchants were known to be fair and good or deceitful and unscrupulous. Before internet age, restaurants were written up on a weekly basis by newspaper critics that could seal their fate as a hot place for a bite, or a low-rent establishment to avoid at all costs.

No matter the time period, the industry, or the location, consumers have always looked towards each other for more information and suggestions about businesses they have yet to go to. Today, how people speak about businesses to each other is one thing and how people review businesses online is a whole different animal. To take advantage of local search, business owners must learn how to deal with the hundreds of review sites, how to interact with those reviews, and how they can be proactive before having to be reactive.

Review Sites

The amount of different review sites on the internet is staggering, each catering to a different industry or a niche group of people. Learning how to manage incoming reviews and interacting can be very overwhelming in itself, but a necessary evil for all business owners. People can be ruthless online, slandering your business and giving it 1 star for very small instances of bad service or experience, which is detrimental to how you appear online to potential new customers.

The first thing a business owner should do is claim all of their listings on review sites and take the wheel moving forward, you can’t help yourself by being a passive bystander.

Next, turn on review notifications on all of these sites and deal with each review as they come in. Positive, negative, or neutral, feedback is everything; tell your happy customers you’re happy they had a good time, and most importantly, show your unhappy customers you care! Don’t stoop to their level by telling them they’re wrong about you, put yourself in their shoes, show some empathy, and try to work through the issues.

In some instances, unhappy customers may even take down the review because of your response. On top of helping out your image, search engines take these interactions into account and will boost your local presence for being an active participant in the community discussion.

Being proactive

Responding to reviews and working with unhappy customers is a great place to start with local reviews, especially if you’re an established business taking the reins of your online presence. However, there are plenty of ways to get ahead of negative reviews and manage your reputation with offense instead of defense. Let’s work with the example of an established local restaurant.

You’ve been around for a while, have a had your fair share of good and bad experiences over the life of the business, and are located in an active community. Use that to your advantage! The best way to get ahead of bad reviews is to have your listing flooded with positive ones from your customers. Reaching out to past customers or regulars are the first people you should look to help you! Surely, they have helped you via word-of-mouth, but ask them to leave you a review on your Yelp page or a Google review.

After talking with friends, family, and regulars, go through your email and remarketing lists, if you have them, and begin reaching out. If it makes sense for your business, offer a discount at the time of purchase or at their next visit! Remember to always get legitimate reviews and not to fake them from ghost accounts or “bots”, these will be flagged quickly by any site and can result in your account being banned or, worse, real legal action. The point of review sites is for an open and honest conversation, not a place to plant fake stories.

At the end of the day, being passive only gives the control away to those who want to hurt your business, being active on review sites allows you to take control of your business’ narrative online and reaps rewards in terms of SEO.

If the idea of managing your local presence seems overwhelming, there are plenty of tools out there to automate the process and give you more ease of use. Our agency recommends Yext & Moz to help manage local listings and reviews across the web. Both platforms partner with a wide variety of directories and review sites, notify you when any reviews go up, allows you to quarantine bad reviews to work with customers, as well as providing custom insights about your business.

Using this information to help your business in the long run is where things can begin to get tricky, if you have any questions about managing local reviews and taking advantage of these resources, the Momentum Digital team is always here to help.

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