Thursday, May 17, 2018

SEO Hacker’s Guest Blogging Guide for 2018

SEO Hacker's Guest Blogging Guide for 2018

Guest blogging is one of the fundamentals of an effective content marketing and link building strategy. If you have a website that is looking to get more traffic, starting out by guest blogging is usually one of the best ways to go. This helps expand your online presence, promote useful content, and establish quality and authoritative links.

The practice of guest blogging has become standard for various websites all over the internet, and with 2018 being a year that will bring in more changes to how we all do search and SEO, there are some new techniques and strategies that will help you get ready for the year.

The main goal of guest blogging will always be helping a website gain traffic through quality content, and while this objective has remained the same for quite a time, here is a handy guide that will help your content become relevant and visible in 2018.

Quality above all

A guest post brings in a good amount of traffic, but only when the content is something that is relevant, useful, and has good quality. With the abundance of choice in the internet, users want to make sure that they are getting the most out of what they are accessing on a regular basis. Guest blogs won’t bring in traffic unless people click and read them, so ensure that your content is something worth reading from start to finish.

Our blog management teams are in charge of our content marketing, and they ensure that the articles that they send in are of top quality, and beneficial for our client’s readers. We ensure this using top grammar checking software like Grammarly and using keyword and content research tools like Ahrefs to look for the best content ideas.

There are many elements when it comes to writing quality content, and combining these elements is guaranteed to help you craft a guest blog worth sharing and reading. Here are some of them:

Doing your homework: Informative articles are some of the most abundant types of articles around, and users will always want to read content about something that the author has substantial knowledge on. Doing some background research on what you will be writing about will help make sure that you have accurate and reputable information worth taking a look.

Interview

Make use of interviews: Interviews are the best way to pick someone’s brain on certain topics and bring valuable insights that you will not be able to get elsewhere. Thanks to the internet and social media, conducting interviews can now be done online, and finding them is usually just a few clicks and keyboard taps away.

Create an identity: One reason why a lot of users go back to articles from the same website or author is that of their distinct writing style. Having a unique or accessible writing style helps bring in familiarity to readers and adds more personality to your posts. Having character adds more color and dimension and makes things much more interesting.

Choose your words wisely: First impressions count a lot, and if the user is greeted by an uninspiring topic title, the chances of getting a good amount of traffic lessen even more. Using actions words and strong statements help get to the point and make help increase interest and pique the curiosity of a lot of readers. Asking a question in your title also helps bring the same effect, and adds a sense of wonder that makes them click.

Google Assistant

Experiment and explore: With so many articles scattered across the internet, you can expect that a lot of the topics that you are thinking of have already been written in one form or another. With that in mind, a great way to find topics, or make your own twist on a familiar topic is to explore different sources and write a topic in a way that it may not have been written before. You can also use different tools, practices, and applications to help you learn more. For example, when I wrote about the potential of Google Assistant to be the most intelligent AI assistant, I tinkered around Google Assistant myself to gain a better idea of what it can do.

The Right Pitch

After finishing a guest post, the next challenge is to be able to pitch it to a website of your choice. Doing a pitch may seem difficult at first, especially when a blog that you have been writing about has been rejected, but these experiences help you learn and refine your process to a point that it will come off as second-nature.

The most important thing to know when doing your pitch is to learn about the site or person that you are pitching to. Doing some background research on the website that you want your post to appear on helps you know if your topic fits their interests, and helps you get to know about the people behind it as well.

Link Responsibly

With guest blogging being an important part of link building, it is best to ensure that people click on them. This means placement and the amount of links are key. Most websites provide an allowance to at least one dofollow link to your website, along with the request that they provide a guest post of their own in return.

When it comes to link placement, having an anchor text that piques interest and curiosity is the best way to go. This might be simple for certain links, but it can take a while to find that anchor text that can make people click.

More Sources

We have written about content marketing and guest blogging before, and it is worth taking a look again to help expand your knowledge on how to create quality blogs. Here are some of them:

Good Content Marketing Means Avoiding These Types of Content – This is a guide that helps you know what types of content you should avoid when writing your guest blogs.

SEO Hacker’s Content Strategy for SEO – This article discusses some of our best practices and techniques when it comes to crafting and distributing content.

Why Content Is King and How It Can Benefit SEO – This is a handy guide to how to write SEO-friendly articles, and why content is still king in the SEO world.

Key Takeaway

Guest blogging remains as an SEO fundamental. While there have been many changes and Google updates that have changed the way we do SEO, this simple yet effective practice still generates a great amount of traffic when done right.

If you have any questions and inquiries about guest blogging and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.


SEO Hacker’s Guest Blogging Guide for 2018 was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Insider’s Guide: SearchLove Boston 2018

With just under four weeks until SearchLove returns to our favourite east coast city of Boston, we thought it was time to give you a low-down on what to expect and some insider tips, including:

  • What to expect during the conference
  • Suggestions of where to stay
  • Our speakers recommendation on the best places to eat
  • Recommendations from our local speakers on the best things to do with your spare time while in Boston

Wednesday Night - Pre Conference

The two-day conference has four main parts to it; If you were lucky enough to grab one of our exclusive VIP passes your SearchLove journey commences on Wednesday evening where you’ll be joining some of our speakers for an intimate and relaxed dinner. Here you’ll have the chance to ask your most important questions before the conference has even begun. For those not holding VIP passes, do not despair; the Wednesday evening is still a great opportunity to mingle with the Distilled team, just drop @Distilled a tweet and the team will let you know where they are enjoying a beer.

Thursday - Conference Day One

Next up, registration and breakfast on the June 7th. The Distilled team will be there from 8am on Thursday morning along with our sponsor's STAT, Moz and DistilledODN, and we’ll be ready with your name badges and some delicious continental breakfast. Sessions commence on stage at 9am, so plan your travel to arrive in good time! Driving in? Then you’ll be pleased to hear you can park right on site at Revere for around $30 per day.

After a full day of sessions, we’ll be heading up to one of the highest rooftops in downtown Boston to enjoy some local beers, pizza and good conversation. The free bar will run from 5.30pm-8.30pm in case you want to plan a dinner reservation off-site at one of Boston’s excellent restaurants. (Wait for the recommendations below!)

Friday - Conference Day Two

Set the alarm for a hot breakfast from 8am before day two sessions kick off at 9.15am. We’ll have another jam-packed day of keynote speakers plus our breaking news panel. Then we’ll close out with some relaxed drinks in the hotel lobby bar for those of you not having to jump straight on a plane home.

It’s going to be an intense couple of days but as Rob our emcee always says: ‘lean-in, take notes, engage with your fellow attendees and try to stay off the day-to-day email so that you can soak up all the incredible knowledge that our speakers are excited to share’.

Where to stay

If all of the above sounds right up your street then you’ll want to book your ticket, arrange your travel and that all-important accommodation. You’ll be pleased to hear that the Revere have given us a mini extension on our preferential rate. You have until Thursday 17th May at 5pm EDT to book your stay on site and make the most of every moment of the conference.

Alternatively, if you are working to a smaller budget or just fancy staying somewhere else, why not check out our HotelMap which shows the rates at all the hotels in the area around the Revere. Or you peruse the local Airbnb offerings for a place that fits right within your budget.

Places our Boston based speakers recommend checking out

So, you’re all booked in for the conference and now you are ready to look at what to do when you are there? Well, you are in luck, as here are a few of our speakers who are Boston locals and have lined up some great suggestions for you to check out:

Casie Gillette - KoMarketing

Casie will be speaking on the power of data on day one of SearchLove, and will also be a member of our breaking news panel. She is the Senior Director of Digital Marketing at KoMarketing in Boston. Here are her favourite spots:

Things to do

Duck Boat Tour

If you've never seen the city, I am a HUGE fan of the duck boat tour. It's obviously a very touristy thing to do but it's a great way to see the city and the drivers are hilarious. It's 90 minutes and you can pick it up in a couple different spots, one which is very close to the Revere Hotel.

Fenway Tour

If there's no game or there is a later game, Fenway offers tours - even if you aren't into baseball, it's pretty cool to see the park. Fenway is a registered historical landmark, so it's still pretty small and has a ton of history.

Food & Bars

North End

I always recommend a meal in the North End, a small neighborhood located near the TD Garden. The streets are small, the buildings are brick, and there are ~40 Italian restaurants which are all good - want pizza? The original Regina pizzeria in the north end is delicious. Their other locations, not so much.

Also...cannolis. Everyone will tell you to go to Mike's, I prefer Modern.

Top of the Hub

The food is so-so and it can be a bit pretentious at night, but if it's a beautiful day, head up to the bar and have a drink. Amazing views of the city.

Bell in Hand

Close to the North End and near Faneuil Hall is the Bell in Hand, which claims to be the oldest Tavern in America. There is nothing special about it but if you want to say you drank a pint where some of the founding fathers sat, this is the place.

Flour Bakery

Located around the corner from the Revere hotel, Flour is a cute little bakery with some delicious pastries, coffee, and sandwiches. Good for breakfast.

Bukowskis

There aren't many dives left in downtown Boston but Bukowskis is one of the best. Located on the other side of the Hynes Convention Center (not too far from the hotel), it's dark, somewhat dirty, but the food is good as is the beer selection.

Eventide

Somewhat new to Boston but founded in Portland, ME, Eventide is located near Fenway and has some amazing seafood. Oysters, chowder, and most importantly, a hot lobster roll. Highly recommended.

Chris Savage - Wistia

Chris is on the SearchLove stage at 11:50 on day two speaking about the future of video. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Wistia a video platform based in Cambridge, Boston. Here are Chris’ top 4:

  • Eventide Oyster Co is amazing. Originally from Portland, ME. Their oysters and lobster rolls are incredible.
  • Neptune Oyster. This is a tiny spot in the North End. You will love everything about this if you can get a table. They are crazy busy.
  • Thinking Cup has great coffee.
  • Sweetgreen has great salads.

Justine Jordan - Litmus

Justine will be presenting on the state of email at 2:10pm on Friday 8th June. She is the VP Marketing at Litmus. Here are Justine’s favorite spots:

Restaurants:

Attractions:

  • Duck Tour is always fun, and a classic
  • Public Garden
  • North End (Little Italy - take a food tour)
  • Harpoon Beer Hall (get a pretzel)
  • Bowling at Sacco's in Somerville
  • Taza Chocolate Factory tour

Well that all sounds good, right? Don’t forget to follow along on our conference hashtag: #SearchLove and why not engage with your fellow attendees before you arrive and find out where they’ll be eating and hanging out before and after the conference.

See you in Boston!


The Insider’s Guide: SearchLove Boston 2018 was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

A Look Into the Upcoming Google Maps Update

A Look Into the Upcoming Google Maps Update

One of the notable updates announced during the past week is for Google Maps, which will be having new features in the upcoming months. Maps is one of the most popular Google services, as it provides users with a platform that allows them to navigate and travel more conveniently than before. It is also an essential local SEO tool that helps businesses and important locations become more visible.

Being one of the most important services that Google offers, it is fitting that it receives some of the most important updates that will help improve its user-friendliness and introduce new features that help expand its functionality.

Explore

One of the updates will be a newly redesigned Explore tab, which allows users to browse new and nearby locations conveniently. The explore tab is already one of the integral features of Google Maps and seeing it receive an update will help make improve its performance, and provide users with the best choices.

Google Maps Update

The current explore tab has options that allow you to look for the nearest places, such as restaurants, cafes, ATMs, gas stations, pharmacies, and groceries. While this feature already provides you with some quality choices, the update will streamline this feature, and present more top options, with reviews being taken into account more.

Personal Preferences

Along with the new Explore design, a new tab called “For You” will also be launched. Personal preferences have been taken into account more when it comes to search and other Google services, and this is ones of the updates that continues the trend.

Google Maps For You

The “For You” feature acts like a newsfeed which presents the user with recommended places to go. Users also have the ability to “follow” certain location and receive updates on new and upcoming places that might interest you. The look and feel of this new feature is similar to a social media site, which makes the interface much more user-friendly, and ensure that you would not need to use a different app to look for the best places nearby.

Users also get a list of events and weekly trends, which comes in handy when you are going out to try something new. Google Maps will also look into various local news articles which are about places you want to go as well, which helps give the best results that are tailored for your preferences.

Google Lens and Street View Integration and AI Technology

Along with improved user-focused features, Google Maps will also be receiving an augmented reality upgrade with the integration of Google Lens, along with AI technology. AI technology is one of the technologies that are currently being developed by Google, with Google Duplex soon becoming a part of Google Assistant.

Google Maps Google Lens

The Google Lens integration also comes with Google Street View and is used to help users navigate using the Lens and Maps. Using this new feature, users would be able to receive directions on where to go and prevents one from getting lost. Adding Google Lens allows you to identify various street signs and landmarks, which would then be linked to Maps and Street View. The AI technology is used to interact and guide the user to their destination and provide the best routes.

Group Planning

Lastly, another major Google Maps update is the addition of Group Planning, which allows users to pick the best places to dine with your friends and family. This simple yet effective feature allows you to select a number of suggestions from the list of nearby places, which you can share with your friends and family. This is a great feature, as it helps make deciding where to eat much easier by helping narrow down the selection.

Key Takeaway

These features will be launched by mid-year on mobile devices, which pushes Google’s mobile-first agenda further. The best thing about these updates is that it makes one of the most reliable Google services even more versatile and effective, by adding extra features that make it more intuitive and user-focused. We are surely looking forward to trying this out once it gets released locally.

If you have questions and inquiries about Google Maps or SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

 


A Look Into the Upcoming Google Maps Update was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Friday, May 11, 2018

What We Learned in April 2018: The Digital Marketing Month in a Minute

John Giannandrea, chief of search at Google hired by Apple

In a move that is being seen as a victory for Apple, the tech giant has appointed John Giannandrea, the now former chief of search and artificial intelligence at Google, to lead its AI efforts. Apple has made the move in a bid to close the gap between Siri and digital assistants from both Google and Amazon, an area where Apple is considered to be lagging behind their competitors.

Giannandrea will be heading up machine learning and A.I. strategy at Apple and will be reporting directly to chief executive, Tim Cook.  He joined Google back in 2010 following the purchase of Metaweb where he had been working as chief technology officer. Metaweb was described as a “database of the worlds knowledge” and has been a building block for Google in providing direct answers to user queries in search results such as “How tall is Beyonce?”

Read the full story (New York Times)

Additional reading

Ben Gomes to take over search at Google

Following on from the news that head of search, John Giannandrea, is set to leave Google, the move was made to announce that he will be replaced by two members of the team. Jeff Dean will be heading up Google’s AI efforts, while Ben Gomes will become VP of search.

Ben Gomes has been with Google since 1999 and is one of the early Google employees. Having previously run core search at Google, he will now be running all of search.

Read the full story (seroundtable.com)

Broad core search algorithm update rolled out

Not a day, week or month goes by without Google making tweaks to its algorithms. However, the past couple of months have seen more public announcements regarding updates than we are used to. Towards the end of April, Google confirmed that a search algorithm update took place.

Google stated it had released “a broad core algorithm update”, which was a routine update aimed at improving search quality. Google then went on to state that there is nothing specific a site can do to take advantage of these changes other than continue to focus on improving overall site quality.

Read the full story (SearchEngineLand)

How Mobile-First Indexing Disrupts the Link Graph

Over on Moz this month Russ Jones, Principal Search Scientist at Moz, gifted us some research into what happens to the link structure of the web as Google push for a mobile-first index. In many instances, this is causing developers and designers to sacrifice internal and external links, as they combat limited screen space and user experience over traditional SEO requirements.

Read the full story (Moz)

Further reading

Russ also wrote a couple of great posts. We also recommend checking out his article on Backlink Index Comparisons.

Google Confirms Chrome Usage Data Used to Measure Site Speed

After speaking at SMX Munich, our very own Tom Anthony took the chance to catch up with Jon Mueller from Google, to gain a better insight into how Google is currently evaluating site speed. Off the back of that conversation, Tom headed over to Moz to write up his notes, confirming that Google is now using performance aggregated data from Chrome to evaluate site speed rather than relying on data from GoogleBot during its visits.

Read the full story (Moz)

SEMrush raises $40 million in VC funding

Search analytics company, SEMrush has successfully raised  $40 million of VC funding. The tool which is popular among the Distilled consulting team, plans to use the funding to expand beyond US-based search engines, into platforms that are owned by Amazom.com and Baidu. It also plans to buy companies that are already producing software which can be integrated into the SEMrush suite.

Read the full story (Wall Street Journal)

Upcoming Distilled meetup

If you want to find out more about SEMrush, they are visiting our London office on 21st May for a meetup, along with talks on coding for SEO, and analytics and measurement from Distilled consulting team members Robin Lord and Tom Capper. Tickets are completely free and available via Eventbrite.

GET MY FREE LONDON MEETUP TICKET

Celebrity right to be forgotten likely to be denied

Google CEO, Larry Page has said the celebrities using the ‘right to be forgotten’ to remove embarrassing or outdated information are likely to be disappointed. Since the European Court ruled that individuals have the right to request information to be removed from the index, Google has received thousands of applications.

A large number of those requests have come from public figures. However, the ‘right to be forgotten’ is more applicable to “everyday people” rather than public figures, where there may be public interest in knowing such information.

Read the full story (Telegraph)

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica saga continues

While looking back it seems the dust has somewhat settled, April saw the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica saga continue, with images and videos of Mark Zuckerberg being interviewed by over 40 members of the US Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees spread across the press and social media.

MarketingLand took the opportunity to investigate what exactly Facebook did and didn’t know and where that leaves us as users moving forward

Read the full story (Marketing Land)

TSB failed system migration to new IT system impacting 1.9 million customers

A botched system migration by TSB left many of its customers unable to access their online banking account and unable to withdraw money from their account for over six days. Issues of varying levels continue to be reported three weeks after the initial issues were identified.

The migration was a part of a move from legacy technology which had been used by former owners Lloyds. Concerns had been raised in 2015 by consultants that not enough budget had been allocated to allow the complex project to transition smoothly.

Read the full story (The Guardian)

Additional Reading

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/may/06/tsb-crisis-it-meltdown-enters-third-week-but-progress-

https://news.sky.com/story/tsb-calls-in-ibm-to-help-resolve-its-it-crisis-11346819

Distilled News

We kick-started April with a review of SearchLove San Diego 2018, gathering all the speaker’s slides and key points from each session. It turned out to be a fantastic conference attended by over 200 people in the San Diego sunshine. If you have a DistilledU membership, you can now view all of this year’s videos.


While we are on the topic of conferences, Lynsey Little joined us on the Distilled blog to tell us all the reasons she is excited about SearchLove Boston this year including a brand new venue and some of the highest rated speakers that have ever graced the SearchLove stage. Tickets are still available for the conference which takes place on June 7th & 8th.

BUY SEARCHLOVE BOSTON 2018 TICKETS

Also over on the blog, we were joined by senior designer, Leonie Wharton, as she shared with us her quarterly creative round up, covering all the content that has inspired her throughout spring.

Making her first appearance, Distilled analyst Siena Sara covered commonly seen CRO mistakes, alongside some useful tips on how to avoid them.

Lydia Gilbertson revisited her post answering the question, should you use Medium for your company’s content? Medium attracts 30 million users to its content platform each month, and with good user experience as a CMS, easy Google Analytics integration, and highly engaged users, perhaps this is the platform for you.

Many of you may have seen Larry Kim has recently created a new start-up allowing users to easily create chatbots. Consultant Robin Lord took the opportunity to catch up with Larry over a webinar to discuss chatbot marketing tactics and how to build your first chatbot

Last but not least, Dominic Woodman headed over to Moz this month to discuss creating effective marketing reports and dashboards.


What We Learned in April 2018: The Digital Marketing Month in a Minute was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Why Google Assistant Can Be The Most Intelligent AI Assistant Yet

Why Google Assistant Can Be The Most Intelligent AI Assistant Yet

It is no secret that Google optimizes all of their services on a regular basis, with 2018 being a year that has been introducing another set of updates. Some of these updates include the implementation of infinite scrolling on Google mobile search, removing the “View Image” option, along with the addition of title tags on Google Images, and the addition of Google Speed in the next few months.

Another major Google service that will be receiving updates in the near future is Google Assistant, which is one of the best AI assistants currently available. While this app can already perform functions such as open applications, search for nearby locations, and respond to search queries, Google demonstrated what else it could possibly do in the future.

At the I/O Developer’s conference on May 8, 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai presented some of Google Assistant’s upcoming features. One of the most notable features is the ability to make a phone call, which was met with awe from the audience.

The video above shows how Google Assistant is able to converse in a casual manner similar to how a person will do. If you were to listen to their conversations, you may not even know that it is being done by an AI assistant. After the first demonstration, Pichai discussed how this is all done using a new technology called Google Duplex. While it might be still under research, with more testing done during the summer season, this shows Google’s willingness to develop their technology, and turn Assistant into perhaps the most intelligent AI assistant available.

Google Duplex: A look into the future of AI

With the announcement from Sundar Pichai, Google Duplex is an AI technology that aims to allow AI assistants to be able to perform natural conversations to accomplish specific tasks. These tasks can be booking a hotel room or setting up an appointment with a nearby hair salon. While still being relatively new, the AI system is being trained to handle more natural conversations in order to communicate much better.

When it comes to overall convenience, Google Duplex allows users and businesses to be able to accomplish basic day-to-day tasks much faster. These calls are being done without user supervision, which frees up more time to perform more important tasks. Another great thing about Google Duplex is that it would be able to create a clear line of communication, especially when it comes to language barriers. With further testing being done, expect Google Duplex to be a system that will be able to interact seamlessly with human communication, and accomplish tasks with full autonomy.

Other Updates

Along with the announcement of Google Duplex, Google Assistant will also be integrated into different Google services and receive new updates as well. One of them is the addition of Custom Routines, which enables users to program a set of actions that Google Assistant will perform after a specific voice prompt. These routines can be set at certain times as well. For example, when you say “good morning”, Google Assistant will respond by performing assigned tasks that you instructed, such as playing some music or even turn some lights as well.

Google Maps Update

Another update is the integration of Google Assistant into Google Maps, which will help users find nearby places, such as restaurants and business establishments. Users will also have a personalized set of recommendations based on their preference and review scores. The popular service will also be integrating Google Lens, which would help users look for important places using images and Street View, and navigate much better. This feature can also be used to integrate augmented reality as well, which can be used by local businesses to tap into possible customers.

Google News will also soon be powered by AI, allowing for more personalized choices, and provide the latest news stories to its users. Users would also be able to subscribe to over thousands of digital magazines and provide quality news articles.

SEO Implications

With the continued development of AI across different platforms, especially with digital assistants, search is indeed getting smarter for its users. We have discussed previously how voice search aims to become an integral part of SEO this 2018, and how phrased searches would make be more prominent on these types of inquiries. Google has also received a good amount of updates, which include semantic search to allow it to understand language much better and generate better results. With Google Assistant receiving new updates, expect voice search to grow more in the next few years.

Key Takeaway

Google Assistant looks to become the best AI assistant available through new features that make it smarter and more efficient with its process. These new updates will not only make Assistant more efficient but also help make our daily tasks and work much faster through accomplishing more tasks and generating quality results.

If you have questions about Google services and tools, or SEO, leave a comment below and let’s talk.


Why Google Assistant Can Be The Most Intelligent AI Assistant Yet was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

5 Digital Marketing Tips for Local and Small Businesses

Let me start off by saying that digital marketing for local and small businesses does not need to be difficult. Many of the companies I’ve worked with in the past see it as a daunting task that is going to take too much time, money and a team of people to do. Sometimes they are right, but a majority of the time they are just trying to do too much at once. Internet marketing as a whole encompasses a broad set of activities, but local and small businesses do not need to do all of them. They just need to find specific strategies that work for them and capitalize on them.

This blog will be most helpful for local and small businesses such as electricians, plumbers, heating & AC Services, house cleaning companies, restaurants, lawyers and other small business types.

My goal is that you get at least one takeaway that will help make a positive impact on your business's digital marketing efforts. If you still have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section.

OK? Here we go...

Tip #1: Your Website - Keep it simple

Your website is the face of your company online. It’s a marketing brochure for your brand, services, what your company stands for and the kinds of clients you work with. It should contain all the most important things about your business. This makes it easy for someone to find the information they need before making the decision to contact you.

In regards to creating a website, there are plenty of great companies out there that will outline and build a site for you.  Just make sure you do research before contacting them so you know what to expect. The best tip I have for building a site is to... keep it simple.

Keeping a website simple can be very good for user experience, website upkeep and management, and especially SEO (search engine optimization). Here is an example of a basic outline that will encompass everything a viewer should know about your company. This outline will still leave room for you to expand your site and create more content with SEO in mind.

  1. Homepage
  2. Individual Service Pages (including pictures and/or video of past work - if applicable)
  3. FAQ Page
  4. Testimonials / Success Stories / Reviews
  5. Resources (if applicable)
  6. Could be used as a “self-help” or “how-to” section for certain business types
  7. About Us
  8. Contact Us
  9. Blog

One thing to keep in mind is the kind of imagery and copy on your site. A lot of companies decide to use stock imagery and fairly generic copy. I would recommend going another route because this is a big opportunity for local businesses to show that they are human and their company has personality. This is where you can beat big brands for new business. To break this down a bit:

  • For imagery, use images from real projects or services you’ve done in the past. Spend some time ideating what kind of imagery you want to show on your website. Then hire a photographer (yes definitely spend money on these) to get the pictures you desire for your site.

  • For the copy, hire a copywriter who has done work previously for businesses in your industry. Make sure you give plenty of input so they know exactly what you are looking for and they stay in-line with your brand voice. And be sure they are experienced in writing copy with SEO in mind -- that is very important. ;)

One local site that has done well in both categories is Johnson Roofing & Gutters (the name is just a coincidence and I have no affiliation with them).

Last but not least, make sure your website works on all screen sizes so people can view it on all devices (computer, tablet and smartphone). A responsive design or having a separate mobile-specific version is a must. Also, If you already have a website, I highly recommend going through the Technical SEO Audit Checklist for Human Beings to ensure it is healthy and will perform well in search engines like Google and Bing.

Tip #2: Reviews - Your customers are your biggest advocates

Reviews are VERY important for your companies reputation, especially online. Positive or negative reviews and how you handle them can be a customers deciding factor when it comes to their decision to contact you. This is why it is a good practice to respond to every review you can.

Similar to using real images of your work and developing copy that gives your site personality, replying to reviews shows people that you are human. Local and small businesses need to show they care about the customer. If someone gives you a positive review, say thank you. If another person gives you a negative review, respond like you would if someone gave you negative feedback in-person. This shows that you care about what people are saying about your company and you want to engage with your customers even after working with them.

Here is an example of a company that does a good job replying to reviews on Yelp.

  

I would like to highlight two things here:

  1. This company replies to all review types. Even 5-star reviews get attention, which is important because it shows the customer you care about their feedback and their business is important to you. This is a tactic that can help you get a customer for life.
  2. The response to a bad review doesn't just stop at an explanation. It goes one step further and asks the person to get in contact with the general manager (contact info included), so they can learn more about the experience. This is a good tactic to (hopefully) change someone's opinion after a not-so-great, or misinformed experience.

Along with the above, reviews can be very helpful for SEO and your company's ability to rank above the competition. Be sure to ask for reviews on site like Google, Yelp and Facebook so you have a diverse review profile on a number of websites. Once you receive reviews, monitor them on a weekly basis so you can reply to them and engage with past customers. A good resource to learn more about why reviews are important is MOZ’s resource on Local Reviews and Ratings.

Tip #3: Social Media - Own your channels and grow your audience

Businesses of any size should be using social media. Create a company page, update it with all necessary information and use it on a regular basis. Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter can be very helpful when marketing a company. Plus, they are great sites to promote your services and post original content such as blogs and video. Use them correctly and you can find and engage with your target market (aka customers) and grow your following. Social media signals are starting to have an effect on SEO, too.

Some websites may have already created a generic page for your business. It’s good to do a sweep of all the main local and small business profile sites and check to see which ones have done this. Once you’ve identified the sites with your profile you can simply request to take ownership of the page and update it with all the correct information. Here is a small list of sites to check:

Now that you’ve taken time to create and/or round up your company profiles, update them with the most accurate data and include photos if possible. Then identify the ones that will be the most effective and start using them to your advantage.

Tip #4: Email Marketing - Keep them short and sweet

Email marketing is one of the best ways to market your services and content to a quality audience. People who sign up for your emails are asking you to communicate with them. You can do this by highlighting specials and deals you may be offering, letting them know about new blog posts or resources on your site, or just sending a monthly update on what your company has been up to and what’s ahead. One easy tip to keep in mind is to keep them short and sweet.

When used correctly, email marketing can be one of your highest converting marketing channels. Keeping your emails shorter is a good way to keep people engaged, while still getting your message across. People can get overwhelmed when presented with too much information. If the goal is to get someone to click on a link, write an enticing description and present an appropriate call to action (CTA). If your business has a new deal or promotion, tell them exactly what it is and how to get it.

Example email opener from Flatstick Pub that covers that month’s events

One more thing to keep in mind is to not overdo it with email marketing. If a company sends too many emails people could become uninterested or annoyed. This can cause people to unsubscribe from your mailing list, which is counterproductive to your goals for doing email marketing in the first place.

Tip #5: Content Marketing - Find your audience and plant some seeds

While content marketing is not always the most ‘important’ online marketing task it can be very helpful for many reasons:

  • Building thought leadership by answering questions around the web
  • Growing your online footprint by being active on Forums and Q&A sites like Quora, Reddit, and industry-specific sites such as AVVO (lawyers and attorneys) and HOUZZ (all kinds of home and garden discussions)
  • Both organic and paid social promotion of services and original content
  • Link building by creating relationships with bloggers and online influencers

Content marketing for local and small businesses can definitely take time to get right. It’s one of those tasks that’s easier to do when you have some spare time to spend on it. You need to identify “where to play”, meaning you need to find the right websites that have the discussions and content for you to engage with. This is also a very good way to identify new blog and page topics for your website. If someone has a question that requires a longer answer, write about it and post the full answer on your site. Then, you can answer the person on the site you found the topic on and refer them to the full answer on your site. Chances are that same question has been asked elsewhere, and now you have the “answer” on your site that you can point them to.

Final Thoughts

A couple things to keep in mind before embarking on any of these tactics are to:

First, make sure you have specific goals. This could include obtaining more organic or referral traffic, growing your social media following, or getting more qualified leads. Each of these tips can help you meet your goals and succeed in the ever-changing digital space.

The second thing to remember stems from my note in tip #1 about websites. Keep it simple. Don’t overthink things, which can cause less action to happen. Don't be afraid to dive in and get familiar with each space. The sooner you start taking action, the sooner you will start finding digital marketing success for your local or small business.


5 Digital Marketing Tips for Local and Small Businesses was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing