Ppc campaign 101: the introduction to pay per click marketing

For a startup marketer thinking about leveraging on Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing. The amount of data and factors to consider to come up with a comprehensive PPC campaign strategy can be overwhelming. There are many factors to consider, you will soon exhaust yourself from the information overload, not to mention the cash concerns especially hitting startups. However, by thoughtful planning, careful consideration, and the right strategies, PPC marketing can be an excellent tool to get your business off the ground. It should, of course, be used as a compliment to your other tools in marketing campaigns. At Evolution DMA, we would recommend the following five key aspects about PPC that will certainly make your marketing campaigns take off.

(1) Identify a particular goal

At Evolution digital marketing, we believe the best way to identify your PPC goal, is by working from the end point coming backward. Here what you need to define is what you hope to achieve when it is all said and done. You need to be as precise as possible in identifying your goal, and then align your overall PPC campaign towards that goal. Next, you must come up with an advertising plan that drives you towards achieving the defined goal. The following are some questions you can ask yourself to help you come up with a comprehensive plan: What is your product? What makes your product different from your competitors? Where can you offer this product? Who is your target audience? Who are the potential customers? What do you want the customers to do (e.g. buy, sign up, subscribe)? How much can you afford to spend on PPC campaign (e.g. per month, per signing up a customer, per sale on one customer)? You need to answer the above questions and be as accurate as possible. This means you will have to spend some time in coming up with the right responses to these questions.

(2) Identify a comprehensive list of keywords

Now that you have defined your product, who you are targeting, and what you want your targeted audience to do, coming up with a list of keywords should be easier. It is also easier to come up with the most relevant and comprehensive list of keywords for your PPC campaign. You should know that long-tail terms keywords are more effective compared to just using a particular keyword. This is because they are highly targeted and perhaps cost-efficient compared to the highly competitive keywords. With the answers to the above questions (1) in mind, do some research on the popular long-tail searches relating to those terms. For instance, let us say you are in car sells, the long-tail terms likely to be used by customers looking to buy a car may be something like “where to buy a car, cars for sale, new cars for sale, second-hand cars for sale” However, technology always makes things easier; this case is no different. Google’s Keyword Planner can give you a comprehensive list of long-tail terms that you can use for your PPC campaigns.

(3) Always keep tabs on your competitors

At this point you should have defined your goals, identified your target audience, build a comprehensive list of long-tail keywords. Next, you need to know who you are going up against in the competition for PPC campaign. You need to study them and hopefully exploit some of the weaknesses, oversights they might have. You should ask yourself the following questions: Is your competition bidding on keywords you missed? Do they offer products with benefits that your products have a stronger differentiation? How effective are their ads and landing pages compared to yours? Getting the right answers to the above questions will give you better clarity with regards to who you are competing with, what tactics they are employing and where you can exploit the weaknesses and oversight to disrupt the market share. It is also just as important to categorize your competitors into harmless competitors and dangerous competitors. You don’t want to waste your time neutralizing harmless competitors campaigns, that time, energy and resources would be better spend de-escalating dangerous competitors’ PPC campaigns.

(4) Monitor your conversions from the get-go

If you want to be PPC savvy, you must quickly learn what is working, what is not working and make the necessary changes swiftly. To be able to do this, you need to track your conversions. This is the only way you will get to know, which endeavors led to how much of conversions, and which one didn’t deliver as expected. This approach is especially useful in optimizing your expenditure; only spend money and time on things that work. Bonus point: you get to know expenditures that led to leads and clicks, in addition to getting to know how to adjust your campaigns across your different platforms for marketing. The intelligent decision on PPC campaign strategies can only be made when you can attribute actual leads and clicks to specific PPC activities. You have some conversions tracking tool at your disposal. Such as the Google AdWords Conversion Tracking or the Google Analytics Conversion Tracking that you can use from the get-go on your PPC campaigns. Please don’t do thing blindly using ‘We’ll cross the bridge when we reach it mentality’.

(5) Have a continuous PPC campaign fine-tuning program,

If you get everything right about PPC campaign and marketing today, that is not a guarantee that you are going to get it right in the future. Especially, if you think the same strategies you are using today, will work a couple of months down the road. PPC is a highly dynamic space characterized by new updates and new features now and then. To remain on top of the game, you need to tweak things now and then as things change. Also, never get too comfortable even especially when you are on top of things at the moment. Always make an initiative to learn new things from competitors, and industry experts. You can also try out a bid management tool; they can optimize your PPC campaigns automatically allowing you to concentrate better on the optimization of your ads, landing page, etc. In case you are worried about the extra expenditure, you would be glad to know there are some bid management tools that gives you a free trial period. During this trial period, you can sufficiently try out its capabilities then decide whether or not to go on to a premium package. At Evolution Digital Marketing Agency, we understand that you a lot of things to manage to make your business a success. Sure, you can also add PPC campaign to your to-do-list, but then you are less likely to be anything but an amateur at it. What if it your competitors are doing a professional PPC marketing? Don’t take any chances! At Evolution DMA, we offer PPC campaign management at affordable prices. Please fill out the form below for free consultation with our PPC marketing experts. What do you have to lose?

6 Engagement Tips You Might Be Missing

The first rules of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) engagements are: writing quality content, (with emphasis being on quality, not quantity), and never writing duplicate content. Most self-proclaimed SEO experts out there at least get this part right. However, there are other numerous SEO engagement factors that only a handful of SEO experts are aware of and even less chose to utilize them. But we endeavor to use all SEO arsenals to propel your website to the top of search engine results page. We don’t shy away or leave anything to chance. The following are some of the SEO engagement tips, that are not so common with many but very common with us.

SEO Tips

SEO Designed URL:

Let’s illustrate this with an example. Put yourself in the shoe of someone searching for accountant information online, and happened to come across an URL for one website reading something like this: “www.example.com/advantages-of-hiring-professional-accountant”. Then another URL reads something like this: “www.example.com/88/99/875688/afjiroywhtl.html”.I think it’s pretty obvious that one would click on the former rather than the latter URL. The point here is; the site’s URL gives you a chance to get more clicks by improving its SEO ranking. Also search engine bots are able to read and understand the clean, meaningful urls easily. A well-designed URL will go a long way towards pushing your site’s ranking higher compared to your competition with regards to SEO. The site’s URL should be designed to showcase the SEO keywords.

Sub-Headings:

Take it from us, backed with our experience in creating high SEO ranking. As a rule of thumb, all of your website’s content ought to have headings and sub-headings. Surprisingly most sites overlook the sub-headings. This can be likened to shooting oneself in the foot, as search engine algorithms look at both the H1 and H2 tags. The same also goes to your site’s visitors; they skim through the webpage looking at the headings and sub-headings before making up their minds to read the content. So having the correctly designed headings and sub-headings will not only just improve your SEO ranking, but encourage more readership of the content.

SEO Friendly Images:

Always ensure that you include a good quality complementary image at the very top of your blog post. From experience, posts with images located at the top usually perform better than those without, but it has to be a good quality image. A poor image is even worse than, not having any image at all, so don’t shot yourself in the foot by picking the first image you come across. Blog images also take your SEO ranking higher, especially if you give them the right SEO-designed Titles, Captions, Alt Text, and Descriptions.

Interlinking Between Pages and Posts:

When it comes to linking, there are two types; linking and interlinking. The former is linking a webpage on your site to another site while the latter is linking your webpage to another webpage within your site. Unfortunately many self-proclaimed SEO experts practice the former and don’t benefit from giving other pages on their site more clout. However, as much as you want to interlink webpages within your site, ensure that you only link pages that are complementary. That way you will enjoy the benefit of having your site’s visitors go from one page to another within your site. The goal here is to reduce your site’s bounce back rates and have more visitors engage in calls to action.

Tutorial Videos:

A lot of people seem to prefer getting a message from videos or images as opposed to reading texts. There are also situations where a video brings out a message better than written text, especially if it involves technical explanations. Inserting videos into a post gives you a great advantage as there are numerous SEO elements (like the descriptive text) that can be employed when inserting a video. But if you can’t use high-quality videos, you are better off, not including any video at all; don’t irritate your audience with grainy footage and shaky cams.

Encourage Comments:

If you can encourage your readers to comment on your posts, then the readers will double up as your SEO gurus. Another advantage of this is that it increases the likelihood of readers coming back to the site again; to check on the replies made on their comments.

Online reputation management tips that work

“No man is perfect,” as old as this adage is; it still remain nevertheless right. Even when it comes to running an online reputation management, no business or person is 100% perfect. Be that as it may, there is another saying that goes, “An intelligent man learns from other’s mistakes, a fool must learn from his own mistakes.”In this post, we are going to share with you some of the common mistakes being made with regards to online reputation management.

You are better off, learning some of the common online reputation management mistakes being made and try your best to minimize making them or avoiding them in whole. So before you engage in your next online reputation management project, make sure you observe the following ‘Do’s and Don’ts’.

Replying to Negative Commentaries with Angry Responses:

The feeling people have towards criticism comes like a knee-jerk reaction, where you feel you can’t control yourself. Working with the mentality, “respond to fire by fire” will only build uncontrollable inferno. If. No, when, (you must encounter some) a user badmouths your company on a particular review site, you are better off, not responding at all if you can’t react in a constructive way.

Not jumping on the Social Media Bandwagon:

The rhetoric of the benefits of social media are now becoming a cliche, but I’ll delve into it one more time. Regardless of the size of your company, not having a presence on social media equates to shooting yourself in the foot. As a business worth its salt, find a social media platform that best targets your market and jump into it with full force. The best part about social media is that it’s free.

Being Passive and letting other people determine your reputation:

As a rule of thumb, never allow yourself to lose your voice as a company or as an individual. Never let other companies, people, and even media’s content determine the type of online reputation you are going to have. Even if you seek out the services on ghostwriters, don’t give them too much power over your online presence that they primarily determine your status. Always be on the lookout for what content (both inside and outside your organization) say about you, and make the necessary corrections swiftly.

Lack of Consistent Monitoring of your Online Reputation:

The best way to approach this, is by having a schedule or a routine plan for when you will be checking your online reputation. If you adhere to it strictly, you are bound to address any negative content about your organization before it gets out of hand.

Lack of Regular Content Publishing leading to your Company’s Content being Stale:

The online platform is an extremely dynamic platform on numerous fronts, even when just looking at your competitors’ online activities. You have to consistently and regularly update your content in order to ensure your online reputation is up-to-date, in the eyes of both of your frequent visitors and the search engines.

Failure to ask for Positive Reviews:

You are more likely to get a positive review if you actively suggest to customers that you would like one. Although, you should try not to appear desperate or forceful. But drive the point home, that you would like some positive reviews on some of the review sites. You should also encourage customers to you’re your good name through word of mouth.

Secure Ownership of all your Online Property:

Once you set up a business name, be steadfast in acquiring ownership of the domain names, Twitter handles and Facebook pages associated with your company’s name. Failure to do so will give room for someone else to snatch them, and this could lead to misrepresentation or confusion in terms of your official online content.

Being too Personal and finding yourself in a pickle Online:

Always remember that your business’s Twitter account and Facebook page are not your personal sounding boards for airing your political, religious or other types of opinions. You have to be very professional and avoid posting polarizing opinions that might elicit ‘hard feelings’ towards your business or brand.

If after reading the above ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ and you have discovered, you’ve been wrong ona number of them or all of them. The sooner as you begin following the above instructions, the sooner your online reputation will start improving.

The Basics of Digital Advertising for Local Businesses

In recent years, we have seen traditional advertising take the backseat for modern technology. Traditional media companies are now switching their direction and adopting digital, but why? Because there is an extremely large market interested in digital advertising.

Digital advertising spend is set to grow from $83 billion this year to $129+ billion by 2021

WOW! That’s a lot of money. Statistics like this show us just how high the demand is for digital advertising solutions; and just how successful digital advertising can be in terms of acquiring new customers for local businesses. Digital advertising is becoming a necessary addition to every local businesses toolkit!

So how can local businesses leverage digital advertising to acquire new customers, revenue and generate massive online engagement?

We have the foundation that every local business needs to succeed in the realm of digital advertising.

But first,

How Does Digital Advertising Help a Local Business?

Digital advertising increases awareness—it’s that simple. Digital advertising consists of a range of services, all of which work to promote a business online.

More and more businesses are increasing the amount that they spend on digital advertising, and experts like Jamie Turner suggest digital advertising on social platforms is well worth the spend.

If I were to provide one tip to people who are using social media, it would be this — don’t be afraid of paying for social media reach and clicks.” – Jamie Turner, 60secondmarketer.com

The best part about digital advertising is that results can be easily monitored and ROI can be easily tracked. You probably don’t want to be spending lotsa money without some proof of performance right?

With traditional media channels, there is sometimes no way of tracking the effectiveness of an advertisement in terms of advanced data analytics. With digital advertising, companies like Google and Facebook allow users to access advanced analytics. This way local businesses know that their money is being well spent and that the digital advertisements are positively impacting their storefront.

When determining the success of an ad, the important factors will differ case by case. For the most part, the success of an ad lies in the indicators listed below.

ROI indicators/measures of a successful campaign:

  • Impressions: the actual # of views on an advertisement
  • Clicks: the actual # of direct clicks on the advertisement
  • Engagements: Social & landing page clicks
  • Results: In most cases, results come in the form of a phone call or a store visit.

The Best Places to Advertise

Through our team’s extensive work in the digital advertising space, we have come to the same conclusion as pretty much every digital advertising company. The best places to spend money on digital advertising are:

        
Google & Facebook

With digital advertising, not only is a local business visible online, but they are visible to the right people online. Platforms like Facebook and Google allow for advanced targeting, which puts a local business in front of consumers who are more likely to convert into a sale.

Plus, Google and Facebook accounted for roughly 60 percent of ad spend in 2017!

 

Why Google?

Reach: Google is the largest search network in the world, and consumers are using Google every single day to search for local businesses. Utilizing Google’s massive network capabilities, digital advertisers are able to find ideal prospects and get in front of users looking for their products/services.

In the age of digital, people are not looking at TV commercials or listening to radio ads to find a local business, they are searching for a service and then locating your business online.

With 3.5 Billion Google searches conducted every single day, customers are looking for local businesses and businesses should want to be on Google.

Flexibility: Google allows the local advertiser to spend whatever they want, whenever they want. With flexible options for ad spend, advertisers are able to test what works and what doesn’t work for a business. Spend a bit, wait to see how the campaign performs, and then reinvest in larger budgets for greater prospect reach.

Why Facebook?

AudienceThe audience on Facebook includes 1.32 billion daily active users (DAUs) on average, at an increase of 17% year-over-year. As a local business, you simply cannot ignore the fact that Facebook is likely an intersection in which you can find prospective customers. If the daily average users stat doesn’t have you convinced then let’s talk about how often social media is being used. The average person spends nearly 35 minutes everyday JUST on Facebook, according to a recent study by Mediakix.

If there is one thing to take away it is that the audience on Facebook is MASSIVE, and they are on Facebook a LOT.

Targeting: Facebook Ad targeting is a marketer’s dream. Facebook allows the ability to focus on users so microscopically that you can basically become a bit of a digital stalker (in a good way?). Target users by their interests, behaviours, age, gender, location, and really anything that their Facebook profile may reveal about them including job title.

The Facebook algorithm has brought about changes to the local advertising landscape, but it remains one of the best environments for local businesses to get the word out about themselves!

Conclusion

By leveraging these 2 platforms, every local business can easily take their advertising game to the next level, and begin to rake in new revenue—with the data to back their investment.

Use local searches to direct traffic to your website

Now more than ever before, customers are using local and mobile search engines and directories to locate businesses near their vicinity. At Evolution Digital Marketing Agency, we know what it takes to put your business on the local map and push your brand and product into the front line of local business and brand searches in a given local area.

SOME OF THE TOOLS THAT WE EMPLOY IN IMPROVING LOCAL SEARCH FOR A PARTICULAR BUSINESS, PRODUCT OR BRAND ARE AS GIVEN BELOW:

Claiming and optimizing your Google+ Local page using pictures, videos, descriptions will improve the ranking for your business or brand in search engine local results rankings.
You can use numerous local directories to push forward your website visibility in local search. Some of the popular local directories are; Yelp, FourSquare and CitySearch among others.
Running continuous monitoring, review and ratings on your website.
Always monitor and measure the rankings, profile views and impressions made on your Google and other directories accounts.

We have also noticed that a lot of businesses (up to 60%) are doing themselves an injustice by having a lot of errors on their Business Listings. Evolutiondma.com will help you by digging up into directories where your business name is displayed wrongly, or even your business’ phone number is incorrect. You should know that about 92% of customers looking for information online expect to find accurate information about your company.

With those few remarks, we hope you’ve already seen where your business is going wrong. Now, the next step is to correct these mistakes. We have our representatives on standby ready to take your call; the sooner you call the sooner we begin rectifying the errors and have your site feature highly ranks in local search.

Why Your Website Needs an SSL Certificate

Have you ever noticed that some website URLs start with HTTP while others start with HTTPS? Maybe you’ve noticed a tiny lock icon in the top left corner of your browser? What exactly does it all mean?

Websites that are HTTPS have an SSL certificate.

SS-what? SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a secure protocol developed for sending sensitive information over the internet. If a website you are on has an SSL certificate, it means that the site is secure and encrypted. Any data you enter is safely shared with that website and that website only.

Let’s talk technical for a second. How does SSL actually prevent information theft?

When you start to break down what SSL is, you’ll discover it’s asymmetric (or public-key) encryption. This requires each party to generate a public and private key pair. Imagine a padlock on a gate. Anyone can go up to the lock, inspect it, and even try to open it with their key. However, only the right key can actually unlock it. In this example, the padlock is a public key, they are visible to the general public. Private keys are exactly that, private. These private keys are used to unlock public keys.

When you fill out a form on a website without an SSL certificate, the information can be intercepted by a hacker. This site would be classified as not secure.

The information you submitted could be anything from a banking transaction to your credit card information. A hacker could intercept your information in a number of ways, one of the most common is when a hacker places a small, undetected listening program on the server that is hosting a website. That program ‘wakes up’ when a website visitor starts typing their information. This listening program will begin capturing the information and send it back to the hacker.

When you visit a website that has an SSL certificate, your browser will form a connection with the web server and bind to it. This connection is secure so that no one besides you and the website where you’re submitting your information can see or access it.

This connection happens instantly. There is no manual work required. You simply need to visit a website with an SSL certificate and your connection will automatically be secured.

Why is SSL so important?

You might be thinking, I’m not accepting sensitive information through my website! Regardless of if you are in the business of accepting delicate information or not, having an SSL certificate is still incredibly important.

SSL and SEO

In 2014, Google made adjustments to its ever-changing algorithm for SEO rankings. The major change? Websites using SSL certificates. Google began and still continues to flag sites without SSL certificates as untrustworthy.

 

Sites with an SSL certificate receive an SEO boost and will be the default result for searchers. If you want to be findable on Google, having an SSL certificate on your website is absolutely necessary.

SSL and online payments

If you are conducting online transactions through your website, it is imperative that you have an SSL certificate. As an online shop, it’s your primary responsibility to ensure that the information being exchanged over your online store is protected.

How do you prove to your customers that their usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers are not being revealed to malicious hackers? Having an SSL certificate!

SSL and consumer trust

Did you know that Google Chrome is the most popular web browser? 44.5% of internet users search the internet using it. On the Chrome browser, you are able to easily spot a site with an SSL certificate. Next to the URL is a tiny lock icon. If a site has an SSL certificate it shows it locked, however, if a site does not have an SSL certificate the lock will be open and red text will read ‘Not Secure’. The second a customer lands on a website that is labeled ‘not secure’, they are going to feel less comfortable browsing it, even if there is no sensitive information being passed across it. SSL certificates have become an absolute necessity for any business that wants to be perceived as trustworthy.

There’s no denying the confidence and trust that an SSL certificate can provide to a site. Choosing an SSL certificate to secure a website demonstrates that a business values customer trust, which is essential to financial success, customer conversion, and business growth.

How to set up an online store

Selling your products and services online rather than in-store means that you need a website with the capability to handle an online store. But while setting up an online store might seem complicated and time-consuming, it’s actually not as difficult as it seems!

Where possible, many businesses are moving some–or all–of their products and services online. Have you been investigating transitioning some of your business’ sales and operations to ecommerce?

To get started, all you need is a website that’s powered by WordPress—we’ll show you how to do the rest using WooCommerce, a free and open source plugin that allows you to easily set up a functioning web store, complete with payment and shipping options, in minutes.

What you’ll need to get started
A website powered by WordPress
Products or services to sell
30-60 minutes to set up and add products to your online store
Set up and install WooCommerce
Step 1: Find and install the WooCommerce plugin
First, you’ll need to install WooCommerce on your WordPress website. You can download it for free from the WordPress repository, or you can install it directly from your WordPress dashboard.

Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New. Search for “woocommerce”, and click Install Now on the WooCommerce plugin (Note that the correct plugin’s author will be listed as Automattic). Wait a moment for the plugin to install, and then click Activate.

The plugin will now be active on your WordPress site.

Step 2: Follow the Setup Wizard
After installing WooCommerce, you’ll have access to the WooCommerce Setup Wizard to configure your store’s key settings like location information, payment and shipping methods, and types of products that you’ll be selling. Note that everything you choose in the setup wizard can be changed later on in your WooCommerce settings.

You’ll first enter information about your store’s address, the currency you accept, and whether you’ll be selling digital or physical products (or both).

Step 3: Choose your payment processing methods
Next, you’ll choose which payments you’ll accept using your online store. By default, you can use Stripe and/or PayPal, but you can also choose to accept offline payments like checks and cash.

Select the options you’d like to use, and WooCommerce will set them up for you. Extensions that allow you to use more payment processing methods are available, if necessary.

Step 4: Choose a shipping method
You can also configure how customers will be charged for shipping. You can set one rate for your specific business area, as well as other rates for customers outside of your business’ area.

 

Step 5: Choose optional add-ons
Once you’ve configured the basic settings for your online WooCommerce store, you can review optional add-ons. None of these add-ons are necessary to run your store, but some, such as Storefront, can simplify certain aspects of setting up your store.

Step 6: Finish setup
Before completing the setup process, you can choose to enable Jetpack, which is another WordPress plugin with additional features that can help in setting up and running your store. This plugin is not required, however WooCommerce recommends that if you’re in the U.S., you’ll want to enable Jetpack given recent legal changes.

 

Once you’ve completed the steps above, your store will now be ready for use, and you can begin adding your products to it.

Managing your WooCommerce store

After installing WooCommerce, two new tabs will be available on your dashboard’s side menu: WooCommerce–which contains your store settings, and Products, containing your product settings.


Follow the link at the end of the Setup Wizard or go to Products > Add New to begin adding products to your store.

3 SEO Tips to Improve Your Keyword Research

Have you heard that improving your SEO will help you get found online more easily? You’ve probably heard that implementing keywords into the content on your website, blog, and URL are key strategies for improving your SEO ranking. However, including the wrong keywords or too many keywords can be just as detrimental.

Although you may not always notice them, keywords play an integral role when it comes to helping a small business get found online. So let’s get to it by breaking down the long and short (tail) of it.

Do Your Own Keyword Research

Keyword research should never be a one-time commitment, but rather an ever-changing process that involves a strategy and a comprehensive understanding of your business and your industry. Including keywords that are specific to your business and industry will help to ensure that the right customers are being driven to your door rather than just any customer. Although we want to increase our customer base, we don’t want to target consumers that may not find the value in our business.

Using the Right Keywords

Short-tail keywords, or keywords composed of very generic keywords, might seem appealing because they’re searched more often than long-tail keywords, however, they’re also a lot more competitive. So, unless you’re writing content for a large organization, like Apple or Macy’s, and consumers are likely searching specifically for your product, you don’t want to enter into a sea of competitors with big brands that have even bigger pockets.

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, may not be as frequently typed into a search engine—think, “Egg” vs. “Poached Egg with Avocado and Bechemel”. By including more long-tail keywords into the content on your page, you’ll attract a larger number of customers who are likely to search for any combination of those long-tail keywords.

Location-based keywords are keywords that directly relate to your business’s physical location. For example, if your business is a bakery in a popular neighborhood in Charlotte, NC, you’ll want to include not only Charlotte, but also the name of that specific neighborhood. By doing so, you’re more likely to target visitors in your area rather than across town who may or may not ever make it to your location.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Speaking of misleading customers that may not find value in your business, adding practically any keyword under the sun is referred to as keyword stuffing and is largely considered a taboo in the digital marketing world. Like with any other digital marketing rule of thumb, less is more and quality will always conquer quantity. Ideally, a website’s content should include keywords in a natural way. However, by inputting keywords into a few sentences and repeating them over and over, you’re stuffing your content with keywords. Even if they’re good keywords, it’s still too much.

Now that you’ve read through these tips, you’re ready to become an SEO expert too!

What are Listings and Why Do They Matter?

Listings are an online summary of essential information for your business that serve as a powerful tool to help customers find you online and in real life. Here’s what you need to know:

NAP+W

No, we didn’t fall asleep on the keyboard. NAP+W is the acronym that explains all the information that should be included in business listings.

Name
Address
Phone number
+
Website

These four pieces of information are the business listings starter-pack. They provide the basic information potential customers need to have in order to research, contact and locate your business.

Want to score some major bonus points? Include information like hours of operation in business listings—it’s what consumers are most interested in!


Will my listings work?

The effectiveness of a business listing depends on the information’s presence and accuracy. Listings are available through a variety of sources, including search engines, online directories and maps, or social sites. When it comes to listings presence, more is definitely better. Availability on as many sources as possible will create multiple avenues for consumers to find your business. But (and this is a big but), presence only pays off if the listings are accurate. Listings are accurate if the information is correct and consistent across all potential sources. Seems easy enough, right?


Why are listings important?

Listings with good presence and accuracy will undoubtedly pay off for your business. Here’s how:

No more hide and seek

Just as the brightly lit bat signal guides everyone’s favorite caped crusader (that’s right Superman, we said it!), accurate and readily available listings will help guide consumers right to your business’s door steps.

 

They even have similar shapes. Coincidence? We think not…

If a business’s listing is incorrect or missing, the majority of consumers will feel less confident about the brand, likely leading them to choose a competitor’s product or service. The availability of accurate listings ensures customers are actually able to find brick and mortar locations while they’re open for business. This means money in the business owner’s pocket and, just as importantly, it means the business can be reviewed.

“In my humble opinion…”

An ample review pipeline is an essential tool for developing a business’ online reputation and fostering brand loyalty. Reviews allow customers to communicate their experience with a business to potential buyers, but if consumers can’t find a business listed online, their opinion of it won’t be well-informed. Accurate listings create the opportunity for transparency between businesses and consumers in the form of reviews, and the availability of this information will help increase a business’s visibility.

All aboard the search engine

Consistent, accurate listings and the generation of reviews will directly benefit a business’s visibility by boosting its ranking in local search engine results. Search engine optimization is a complex tool, so why not take advantage of it by simply ensuring your business is listed accurately! Increased visibility means more customers, and what business owner doesn’t want that?


Now what?

This listings low-down provides a basic definition and describes the benefits of business listings. Create listings on sites worth lots of points to improve your listings score. We’ve ranked them by importance using a lot of key factors—how many sites reference them, traffic, demographics and more.

6 Reasons Your Local Business Listings Need to Be Accurate

As a business, how likely is it that potential customers will come through your door?
The whole point of an online presence is to entice customers into your store, your leasing office or your showroom so you can convert them to paying customers rather than just browsers online.

Further, nothing is more frustrating as a customer than finding out that you have been given the wrong information about where a business is located. As a customer, how likely are you to give this company your business? Not very. In fact, according to Placeable, 73% of consumers stated that they lose trust in a brand when the online listing shows incorrect information.


1. Missing hours of operation information can be a dealbreaker

There are many things that people look for in listings, whether they are looking at that search engine on a PC or on a mobile device. The top piece of information that most people look for is the hours of operation, since their search is likely for a business that they frequent quite often.

In fact, in a study conducted by local data aggregator Localeze, hours of operation were noted as the most helpful feature in selecting a business during local search. 76% of respondent reporting that they expect this information when searching and 61% believe that it is a feature that helps them to select a business.

Even if people are new to a business, it doesn’t give people a good impression if the business hours are not listed and they don’t know that it’s only open from 11 a.m-6p.m. Tuesday-Saturday .Imagine that potential customer who is ready to spend their money in store, but shows up on Monday at 7 p.m. only to find it closed. That customer is likely going to do another search on a mobile phone to find a different store and spend their money there.


2.You can’t spell NAP data (and score a citation) without an A(ddress)

While most people would assume that the number one reason people do a search online is for the address or location of a business, the address is actually behind hours of operation as the second most desired information. But, of course, the whole point of being in business is to make money doing what you love or selling what you love. And that happens by attracting foot traffic and increasing customer base.

It bears repeating that if a business address is incorrect on listing sites such as Google or Bing, then customers will not be crossing the threshold. A simple thing such as the wrong number on a street address, or even the wrong town, can mean that a customer cannot find you. The US Postal Service relies on a complex system of checks to verify and standardize addresses, and many of the search engines will default to the USPS for correct mailing addresses.

What this means for the average new business owner is that unless a business is in an established location, getting the correct address on their listing means that both the address from City Hall and the information on USPS must be consistent. If USPS doesn’t recognize that address, then a business owner must contact them to verify their new address and get that information updated on USPS’s online database.


3. Local searchers are mobile creatures

According to Localeze, mobile-phone-based searches drive in-store purchases with more than 75% of searches ending in a purchase—if a business has their listing details correct. Now if half of the people searching for a business listing on a local search engine, such as Google Local/Maps, can’t find the store’s business listing details, then the business is going to lose 100% of their business.

For ease of use for potential customers, some of those details need to be as readily available as possible in a mobile-friendly manner. This can be accomplished with a responsive website that supports cellphone and tablet-specific versions.


4. Updated, accurate websites still serve as a first impression

At the same time, more than 60% of searches on PC platforms such as website portals, Internet Yellow Page directories and local sites have a similar chance of ending in a purchase. While mobile searches are becoming more of a standard in where a customer searches, a business owner should not discount the power of a fulsome, consistent and accurate listing that is reflective of the business website.

Any listing should be linked to the business’s website and feature the exact same information, but more of it. While a website should be enough to entice a customer to visit or buy, if those inconsistencies exist, then trust issues may arise in a business’s practices before a customer ever crosses their threshold.


5. Local searchers mix it up across multiple devices, situations and times

People who search for listings are doing it in many more ways than when the Internet first coalesced into existence about two decades ago. In that time, we went from working on desktops to laptops to PDAs to Blackberries to Apples to tablets—and in each iteration, the methods of search have changed.

However, that has slowed over the last five years or so as web developers realize that they need to be smarter. Rather than designing three different sites for three different platforms, they have created websites that are scalable to the search device. And that has been helped along by the proliferation of types of devices in use everyday.

According to Pew Research Center, In 2015, smartphone ownership in America was at 68%, with tablet and computer ownership at 45%. Statista says that almost half of American adults use their smartphones the most to search for local information online, the other half being split between computers (40%) and tablets (11%). According to Localeze, like the types of devices used, what we are searching for varies by the time of day and device. Entertainment is searched for during work hours on computers, restaurants during evening using phones and health/fitness evening using tablets.

The most important part of those mobile searches is accuracy. If someone cannot find your business in a local search or find inaccurate results whilst out and about, then your business has lost the chance for that browser to become a customer. So having those listings correct in all of the device formats is a must as we, and our technology, continue to evolve in the way we interact with local businesses.


6. Local search results are trusted sources of information

Last but certainly not least is the fact that local search results are considered the most trustworthy. In a study by Neustar, it was determined that these searches, such as “used games Raleigh”, are what people do the most since they put that trust in local business more than big box, big website stores.

Think about it, would you rather find a local store where you can get that latest purse in town right now? Or you can wait a week for delivery, which is four days past the event that you want it for! Local searches lend themselves to instant gratification and that interaction between browser and salesperson will convert that browser from someone who might get just the minimum to a loyal customer who feels like a million having spent a little more, but getting what they consider to be gold!

Those interactions are what lead people to local searches and the absolute necessity of getting your listings correct. Trust leads to loyalty, which leads to more business, which leads to happy customers and business owners.

And it all starts with that correct listing in that customer’s local search.