National Small Business Week is here again! This Small Business Administration (SBA) annual event celebrates small business owners and entrepreneurs along with the important contributions they make to the economy. Not to be left out of the celebration, search giant Google decided to use the week to celebrate and thank the “the dreamers, doers, shakers, and makers” in its own unique way.
There’s no doubt that small businesses play a vital role in the United States economy. According to the SBA, more than 50 percent of the entire American working population is involved in some way with small business activities. They either own a small business or work for one. In fact, two out of every three new jobs come from small businesses. To help boost small business success even further, Google announced the launch of the Google Small Business Community and a new Google Helpouts page for small business owners. These sites are expected to enhance networking opportunities and make useful information easy to access.
Small Business Week and Google Communities
The Google Small Business Community operates on the Google+ social network. It is a wonderful place to make new business connections and share business ideas. The Community is free to join and the number of members has steadily increased since its launch.
Check out the community events from May 12 to May 16 for special messages including one from President Barack Obama. The site also plans to feature useful tips from top businesspeople across a range of industries. Already, business owners are introducing themselves in the community using a variety of hash tags such as #SmallBusinessWeek, #SmallBusiness and #SmallBusinessOwners. You’ll definitely want to use one of these hash tags in order to improve the visibility of your business and engage other small business owners in the process.
Even after National Small Business Week, the community will continue to be the source of helpful information. According to the blog Google and Your Business, training ideas such as daily and weekly posts, series and training will come from what business owners decide they want to learn. Googlers and an advisory team will also be available to handle all your questions.
Helpouts Page for Small Businesses
The Helpouts Page provides an avenue for small business owners to access individual consultations with business experts. These consultations will take the form of video calls. There are expert advisors on a variety of business topics including web design, online marketing, WordPress, bookkeeping and branding.
While there are plenty of Helpouts offered without any charge, you will need to pay to have access to expert opinions in others. Identifying free Helpouts from paid ones is easy. Rates are clearly posted and differ based on the expert offering the consultation. Some sessions use per-minute rates while others charge flat rates. Additionally, Helpout rates may also depend on the level of individual expert’s skills, which you will find outlined in the session description. If you join the Google Small Business Community between May 12 and 16, you’ll also be eligible to get $20 off a Helpout of your choice.Read More
Better local SEO ranking is not only critical for businesses with worldwide reach, but it is also effective for companies interested in reaching customers in their immediate area. Local SEO actually helps brick and mortar businesses compete against larger companies. How does it level the playing field for small business to compete against big brands? By leveraging technology to better serve potential prospects in their own communities.
5 Steps to Maximize Your Website & Gain Local Customers
When you take specific actions in small steps, you’ll find that achieving your business goals will be that much easier. Use the 5 steps below to maximize your website efforts and gain local customers for your business.
1) Take Advantage of Google Local SEO
This free service allows you to set up a local business listing with maps for directions as well as your company’s address to make it simple for potential customers to find you. You’ll also want to optimize your keywords in the business description section so that customers searching for your keywords find your company rather than your competitor’s. Take steps to ensure that your Google Place listing images match the same ones you have in your other listings. The same goes for your company’s contact information. The same information and images across all internet platforms helps with branding your business online. When possible, also include video testimonials from clients for an extra effective method of reaching your ideal prospect.
2) Set Up Google Plus for Social Media Sharing
With a Google Plus account, you’ll have a way to interact with your customers. They’ll also be able to write reviews about your products or services. Google+ provides you with the opportunity to leave comments and gain insight into what your clients need. Because Google Plus is a social media service, you may promote special offers and services to your customers. In return, your audience may share posts, which ultimately may lead to page posts going viral and gaining more exposure for your company.
3) Optimize your Website for Local Searches
Review your website to ensure that keywords and meta tags are specific to your local area as well as industry. For instance, if you are a mechanic in San Diego, use keywords such as “San Diego mechanic” or “San Diego auto repair.” These location-specific keywords help potential customers quickly narrow down the businesses in the local marketplace. Long tail keywords (descriptive keyword phrases usually at least three words long) will also bring you visitors that are more specifically looking for what your offers. Don’t forget to focus on your specialties. Always include any products or services that help you stand out from the competition.
By delivering high quality content as you optimize your website, you’ll find that you also benefit from higher search engine rankings. Your content should offer services or information that will keep your clients coming back. For instance, auto repair shops can include content such as regular tips for car maintenance or create posts that answer customer questions.
4) Keep Contact Information Consistent
As mentioned about Google Plus listings above, make sure all your company details remain consistent throughout all your social media profiles, accounts and directory listings. Your branding and reputation relies on providing accurate and relevant information including the exact address of your location, name of your company, website, email address and phone numbers.
5) Design a Mobile Responsive Website
Now more than ever, people are using their mobile devices to search online. Specific links like your Contact, Product and About Us pages should be enabled so that mobile device users can easily access information. Also note that Flash pages and PDF files are not readable on mobile devices. A mobile-friendly website or blog ensures that you don’t miss potential customers searching for your products or services.
Implement these 5 easy local SEO steps as part of your internet marketing strategy, and you’ll discover that your rankings grow while you gain new customers for your products or services.
Which of these steps have you used on your site? If you haven’t used them before, which ones do you plan to implement immediately? Let us know in the comments below.Read More
There’s a battle going on between Facebook and Google for your social advertising dollars. Fortunately, businesses benefit from these two online behemoths fighting for ad market share.
So what exactly is happening with Facebook?
Well, many Facebook business pages have seen drops in their fan engagement. This decrease in fan view is mainly due to the changes in Facebook policy that essentially force business and fan pages into paying to boost their posts. Only a small percentage of Facebook fans see posts in the newsfeed these days. If businesses want their fans to see posts, they must take out ads to increase views.
While this action has upset many page owners, it will definitely weed out some of those posts that simply clog up user newsfeeds with over the top promotion and less than quality content. When pages have to make determinations about which content to promote, fans benefit because page owners are much more likely to only promote content and ads that actually bring value to their followers.
Aside from the fact that new advertising fees also make Facebook shareholders happy, social advertising now becomes an essential element for companies to utilize in their online marketing strategies.
Google Enters the Social Advertising Arena
This past December, Google announced +post ads as a means to create additional engagement across multiple platforms. These ads draw video and photo content from Google+ profiles to serve on the display network for Google properties.
The latest move on Google’s part truly demonstrates how social advertising should be part of every online marketing strategy. Their expansion of +post ad offerings to Google Hangouts means that sites may now create +post ads to include Hangout on air event promotions directly through the ad itself. The ad may feature video from recent events without viewers needing to be there to participate.
With Google supplying a platform for social media advertisements, business owners will need to consider how to add this very viable social media provider to their advertising strategy.
How Does Facebook & Google Affect You?
There’s no doubt that social media is an effective method for increasing website traffic and ultimately your search engine ranking. If you want to make an impact within Facebook and Google, you will need to use Facebook or Google+ ads to reach your audience more effectively.
If you are a beginner just starting out, don’t allow social media concerns to overwhelm you. Create your pages and provide valuable content that your followers or fans will want to share. Link your social media accounts to your website or blog so fans can find you at all your online locations. As your business grows, you will eventually need to use ads on both platforms to increase engagement.
Begin increasing local traffic to your business today by getting our free e-book to learn more about the Niche Quest Formula and how it will help your site get noticed online and in the real world.
By following our informational steps in both our course and blogs, you will easily learn how to develop your site with a focus on local SEO and then build customer engagement to your website and social media pages.Read More
Pinterest is fast becoming a phenomenon and obsession for many internet users. Its growing popularity makes it one site that you should consider in your SEO tool arsenal to increase website traffic. With just a few simple steps, you can use this service to increase website traffic quickly. Get started with optimizing your Pinterest page with the following three tips:
Use Your Business Name
The first action you should take to increase awareness about your business is to include your website link in your Pinterest profile. This step will ensure that your website name is in all of your posts. Simply log-in to Pinterest, go to the “settings” button and then click on “edit profile.” The form already has a website section where you can add your link. See screenshot below:
By adding your link, you’ll be able to garner traffic and send it straight to your website. At this juncture, you should also probably consider opening a Pinterest page as a business. Pinterest will ask you to validate the business page, which allows the service to verify your identity thus inspiring confidence in users visiting your pins.
Mention Your Website URL in Pictures and Descriptions
In other Nichequest blog posts we’ve discussed the importance of optimizing your blog images, pictures and videos. On Pinterest, it’s not any different. You’ll be able to maximize your traffic by adding your website to the alt tags in each pin and then including that information in the description. The benefit of adding your website to pins is so that anyone re-pinning your images will have your website information right in the pin description and on the image. Your website link makes it easy for users to click on through to your offer, landing page or blog, and it adds to your linking strategy as well.
Post Product or Brand Info on Pins
Posting your products on Pinterest is a smart move. It creates instant authority for your brand, products or services. Images can relate to your actual products or industry and then link back to your website. The cuter, bolder pictures command the most attention to Pinterest users so look for innovative and inspiring images that will encourage viewers to re-pin and also click on your site links for more information. This step also allows you the opportunity to offer deals that will interest potential customers. Diversity in offers will help you reach a broader audience and gain new followers. When you appeal to a wide variety of groups, you will be growing your presence and reach at the same time.
Increasing your website traffic with Pinterest is a choice you make through smart marketing and the constant renewal of your feed. If you use your feed right, you are going to make a lot of new friends on Pinterest and gain customers at the same time. If you work hard at it, most of your traffic can come from this very popular website that brings people and ideas together in one place.
Do you include Pinterest in your online marketing strategy? Please share your results with our readers in the comments section below.Read More
Google Places Integrates with Google+
Today, Google made the announcement that Google Places integrates with Google+. This creates Google+ Local, their newest social local search experience that will spread across Google Places for Business, Google+, Google Search and Google’s mobile search. It uses Zagat ratings and Google+ connections. This new creation gives businesses a chance to make their local search presence more social.
Google said “business owners will continue to manage their local listings the same way, using Google Places for business”.
Google Places Integrates with Google+ | “Huge Advantage…”
“As Google Places integrates with Google+ it will be a huge advantage to our local and national clients.” Said David Gagnon, Co-founder of NicheQuest Inc. “We have always had the philosophy that what you do for a client off the website is just as important as what you do for them on their website. This recent addition of Google Places for Business into Google+ is a huge advantage for our clients”
Google Places Integrates with Google+ | “Adapt or die…”
“Their are so many local business owners who do not have the time, training or experience to keep up with all the changes in the internet marketing world.” Said Ed Winslow, Co-founder of NicheQuest Inc. “We help owners all the time who realize they must adapt or die in the digital world. Evey time something changes, the uniformed fall further behind those who adapt to the changing market. At NicheQuest, we pride ourselves on keeping our clients programs evolving to keep ahead of their competition”
“Google seems to be making Google+ a much bigger part of the local search equation. This is the best way Google has to have Google+ continue to compete with Facebook” said Gagnon.
Check out this video
We have heard a multitude of questions from Local Business owners about this change. A Google spokesperson provided the following response to these common questions.
Will businesses have to be on Google+ to be listed in Google Places when Google Places Integrates with Google+?
“Much of the information from a business owners’ Google Place page – such as the business address, phone number, description, and Google reviews, and photos submitted by business owners and users – will automatically be ported over to the upgraded local Google+ page.”
“People used to be able to find information about a business on the Google Places page, but now, they’ll find much of that same information on the local Google+ page and enjoy the added ability to share that information with the people in their Google+ Circles. This means that a business listing that could previously be found across Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Maps for mobile is still available in all those places, but is now also more easily discoverable to the millions of users on Google+ as well.”
Will users have access to the same info from Google Places that they always have, if they do not have Google+ accounts?
“We encourage people to sign-in to Google+, as it will provide the best experience possible across Google. For example, if you sign-in, Google+ Local shows the recommendations from your friends and the Google+ community, and you can share your own experiences. You will also get free access to the full Zagat scores and reviews, and results will be tailored to your interests and location. People who choose not to sign-in to Google+ get all same information they could before, including basic information like a business address and phone number, as well as Google user reviews, maps, etc. They will also see Zagat score highlights and review snippets.”
When Google Places Integrates with Google+Is the Google Places name going away?
“Google Places for Business remains the place business owners should go to manage their local listing. Over the coming months, we’ll enable easier management of a business’ presence across Google, whether a business owner is posting on his local Google+ page or updating his local listing. A single page through which businesses can manage their online presence is a top priority, and we’re committed to ensuring business owners have a clear voice in how their business is represented on Google, via Google+.”