How To Best Incorporate Social Media Channels On Your Website


There is no one-size-fits all approach to integrating social media into your website: however, a combination of the following strategies are sure fire ways for any ecommerce brand to really start leveraging the power of the social sphere.


 

Homepage Feeds

Homepage social feeds represent an incredibly powerful means of bringing your product to life on-site. Such feeds can help your site feel more human and less like a sales pitch. If you decide to integrate a social feed into your website, keep in mind that you need to ensure that your feed only contains high-quality images and content worthy of your homepage versus unrelated selfies or advertisements. Feeds are a form of social proof, arguably the most important psychological trigger when it comes to drawing in new customers.

 

Social Buttons

Social buttons are an absolute must do for any brand, this is especially true in today’s world where customers are spending a bulk of their time on Facebook versus on-site, it’s incredibly important that you make following your business via social a one-click process versus forcing followers to try and find you. You can also use social media buttons on your website to increase sales: such buttons can promote your brand’s social media channels as a way for visitors to hear about contests or promotions you may be running. Regardless of where you place your buttons, you should keep the following in mind before rolling them out:

  • Make sure that your buttons mesh with your site’s layout and colour scheme.
  • Only highlight the social platforms that you’re active on: if you’re only active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for example, don’t bother linking to your dead Pinterest page.

 

Hashtags

There’s perhaps no easier way to encourage social sharing than by creating a hashtag. Not unlike social buttons, hashtags can be implemented throughout your brand’s visual content to provide customers with a hub of discussion and sharing for your brand and its products. Beyond coming up with something unique, keep the following in mind as well:

  • Keep your hashtag short and sweet (the ideal hashtag length is said to be under 11 characters)
  • Be prepared to curate your hashtag in order to avoid spam or potentially irrelevant images
  • Pick something that you can use for the long-haul: the more you use your hashtag throughout your marketing, the more likely it is to catch on.

 

Product Pages

Social media represents the modern word of mouth: buyers want to show off and share to others about their purchases. To feed into your customers’ needs to share, ensure that you have social sharing enabled on your product pages. Be careful however as it’s crucial that the social buttons on your product pages should not interrupt the buying process, but rather provide a way for customers to receive one-click feedback on their next purchase. Keep the following principles in mind as a means of optimizing your products for shares:

  • Do not use the same social buttons on your homepage and product pages: your product buttons should be smaller and stylized differently.
  • Only offer sharing to the social networks where it makes sense: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are much better than somewhere such as LinkedIn.
  • Make sure that your plugin captures your product’s image and description appropriately as it’s shared
  • Don’t forget about the importance of your customers’ experience once they’ve landed. Give them a chance to share their experience in the buying process: you may be surprised at how many of them are more than happy to sing your praises.

 

Social Sign Ins

Did you know that 73% of users prefer to log in to a site with social login, as opposed to providing an email address and creating a new account?  Improve your website visitors’ experience with social login, and increase your website registration conversions and retention. The benefit of social sign-ins are two-fold: visitors can browse your site without the annoyance of creating a new account and they can comment on your blog with ease.

 

Include Share Buttons

If you sell a product or run a full-fledged eCommerce site and you haven’t added share buttons to your product pages, you are missing out on a whole host of potential social impressions. Share buttons should enable website-goers to seamlessly share or recommend a product. Two broad tools that can help with this are AddThis and ShareThis. Both provide efficient and easy-to-use solutions for social media sharing across eCommerce sites with the added benefit of analytics to see how the content is getting shared.

 

Social Proof

With 79% of consumers trusting social proof as much as personal recommendations, it’s important you integrate the proper social widgets on your website to increase sales and website conversions. One way to do this is to use one of Facebook’s social widgets, such as the “Like Box”. This feature shows your visitors that you’re a credible source, their friends also like your Facebook page, and that you’re a legitimate product or brand. As an added bonus you’ll also be able to increase your Facebook likes with this social media integration.

 

Making Social Part of the Retail Experience

There are many other ways to integrate social media to improve conversions, streamline customer services and drive repeat business and referrals.

  • Improve your post-purchase page with a range of social cues (i.e. Share your purchase) to enhance the customer experience, and to spread the word about your business.
  • Add a simple sharing section which allows a user to send a tweet or a Facebook status with a link to the product they just bought.
  • The post-purchase page can also include quick links to your social media channels, email newsletter and links to access customer services too. This is also the place, as well as in order communications, to share any referral discounts you offer for customers who share with their friends.

 

Reviews and Ratings

Social customer service is just as important as other functions like contact forms, call centres and live chat, so make sure you offer a good service that customers can access. Reviews help reassure customers, improve SEO and encourage repeat business. Linking social sign-in to your reviews set up will more than likely lead to more reviews from customers, as it just makes everything easier and more streamline. Make your social customer service easy and obvious to access by displaying it prominently on your help pages.


 

This is an extract from my new book ‘The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses’ Available now on Amazon as a downloadable eBook and Paperback! Head over to Amazon for a free preview!

 

Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan [The Ultimate Checklist]

‘If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.’

Whilst Benjamin Franklin wasn’t speaking to the owner of a local cupcake company looking to start a Facebook page when he said those words, they still ring true when it comes to a business starting out on social media. Just as you wouldn’t set up a business without a business plan, you can’t just jump straight into social media, start aimlessly posting and expect the customers to come rolling in. Rather, you have to sit down, grab a cup of coffee and develop a clear social media strategy. While there’s no one-size fits all solution, you can find social media success if you’re armed with the right questions to get you started. After all, a plan equals focus and focus is what is going to drive your business forward online.

 

What Objectives do I Want my Business to Achieve by Using Social Media?

Whether you want to use your social media presence to gain exposure for your brand, directly educate and interact with your customers, promote specific products and services or all of the above, clearly identifying your objectives is the critical first step towards a successful social media presence. Identifying your objectives in the beginning ensures a multitude of critical elements of your social media marketing, it allows you to effectively tailor your content and posting schedule, provide value to your customers, right through to helping you accurately measure your success as you will be aware of the most appropriate metrics to track efficiently.

 

Common Social Media Objectives

  • Build Brand Awareness
  • Drive Traffic to Website
  • Provide Customer Service
  • Engage with Fans
  • Establish Thought Leadership
  • Launch New Products or Services
  • Generate Leads and Increase Sales
  • Research and Insights
  • Build Your Community
  • Improve SEO
  • Competitive Analysis

 

What is the State of My Current Social Media Use?

If you are already present on social media, you need to take a good hard look at your content from the eyes of a new (or potential) fan or follower. There is a whole host of important questions you need to ask yourself when you look through your online presence. Here’s a few taken from the checklist I use when I conduct a Social Media Audit;

  • Assess their presence: has it been thought through? Profile/cover photo/about section completed, effective and branded?
  • Can potential followers immediately get a sense of company culture, products and services on offer?
  • Content: How does their content support their strategy? What content receives the most clicks, likes and shares? Are they sharing engaging content? Do they encourage engagement? Offer something valuable/useful? How often is it updated? Are they engaging back with fans? Do they use hashtags effectively? How do they use images to tell the company story?
  • How are the individual platforms being used to drive traffic to the main web presence? Is it clear what the next step is that they want fans/followers to take? Call to actions in tweets/pins/posts?
  • Record numbers of followers and following – are they both relevant and targeted audience?
  • When the last time was their Twitter / Facebook/Pinterest etc. presence was updated?
  • What feedback do they get from followers?

Who are My Target Audience?

Determining the audience that you want to reach and engage with on social media is fundamental to your strategy.  Whether your target audience is your current or potential clients or customers, affiliate businesses, thought leaders or all four, your aim is to create a successful social media strategy that matches and is tailored towards understanding and acting on your target audience’s behaviours online. Creating Buyer personas helps you define and target the right people, in the right places, at the right times with the right messages. When you learn important factors about your target audience from their age, job status, income, interests, problems, to their likes, dislikes, motivations, where they spend their time online and in what format they like to digest their content online then it becomes easier to target them on social media. The key is to remember that the more specific you are the more successful and targeted you are going to be with your social media strategy that will bring real results and conversions for your business.

 

What Platforms am I Going to use for my Business?

What platforms you choose to use will ultimately depend on where your customers are and which ones are best suited for your business. Spend the time researching where your current customers are online and what platforms can be best utilised with your resources and business. The key is to not spread yourself too thinly across lots of social media platforms just because you think this will gain your business more exposure, rather it is much more effective to run a handful of platforms consistently and efficiently and to spend the time reviewing the platforms you are on to make sure they are as effective as they can be. You should also keep up to date with research into new technologies and platforms that your business could potentially utilise in the future.

Selecting the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business

Each social media platforms is unique, with its own best practices, style, and audience. The key to choosing the right social media platforms relies on you having a clear understanding of your objectives for social media, your target audience and what resources/ information you have to share. Simply put, choose the ones that best fit your strategy and the goals you want to achieve on social media. You don’t have to be on them all—just the ones that matter to you and your audience.

To help you decide the best platform, ultimately ask yourself these questions;

  • Purpose – What information do you want to share with and communicate to your audience?
  • Format – In what format is the best way to present this information? Videos, Podcasts, extended pieces of writing etc.
  • Platform – Which social media platform will allow me to share this message best and which platform has the correct audience that I want to reach?
  • Time – How much time can I devote to a social network? Aim for at least an hour per day per social network. Once you get going, tools like Buffer can help you effectively manage your time.
  • Resources – What personnel and skills do you have to work with? Visual social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram require good quality images. Social platforms like blogging emphasize quality content. Do you have the resources to create what’s needed?
  • Audience – Where do your potential customers hang out? Which social network has the right demographics for you?

Have I Done my Research?

A successful social media presence is always aided by a good, solid foundation of prior research. You should look to do initial research into key areas such as your competitor’s social media, your target audience demographics, the latest trends and news in social media, marketing and business as well as many others. Conducting research and paying attention to changes in your industry and audience for example should also be a regular and active occurrence as things, especially social media, evolve and change so you need to keep up to date to ensure your strategy is as relevant and effective as possible.

  • Market Research – Who is your target audience? How do they behave on social media? Where are they online?
  • Competitors – Which platforms are your competitors using? Are they directly engaging with prospects online? What are they good at online? In which areas could they improve? Can you get case studies? (Both successful and unsuccessful examples?)
  • Latest Business and Social Media News, Trends and Techniques – Do you know the latest techniques on your social media platforms that are effective? What is changing in social media and/or business that could affect your marketing?

Am I Clear on My Marketing Voice and Tone?

The temptation at this point might be to jump right in and start sharing. Before you do however, it is crucial to cultivate a voice and tone of your marketing that effectively encompasses your brand.

To help you with this, start with questions like these:

  • If your brand was a person, what kind of personality would it have?
  • If your brand was a person, what’s their relationship to the consumer? (A trainer, friend, family member etc.)
  • What do you want your customers to think about your company?
  • Describe what your company’s personality is not
  • Are there any companies that have a similar personality to yours? Why are they similar?

 

Who is Going to set up and Maintain my Businesses Social Media Platforms?

In the beginning you will need to decide who will implement and maintain your social media accounts. Whether you want to run them in-house or hire a social-media marketing manager or firm, you need to ensure that the person who is in charge of your platforms can effectively represent your brand and has the know-how to create and maintain a successful social media presence. That person is going to ultimately control how your business is presented to others in the online world so you need to be absolutely confident that they are the right person for you and your business.

Have I Chosen My Core Topics?

The key to a successful content strategy is finding the core topics you want your business to be known for and the topics that attract and keep the attention of fans and followers. What topics or categories best represent your company? For most this is a combination of 3 areas,

  • Your Passion – the topic you are passionate and love to talk about
  • Your Assets – the topic you’re known for and skilled and trained in
  • Market Reality – is there a demand on social media for the type of content you are offering?

 

What Resources/ Content do I Have at my Disposal? 

Each social media platform has a certain type of content that is best suited towards it, for example Pinterest is inherently visual and as such requires good-quality and memorable images to be effective. From this, you need to understand what type of content that the platforms you are using is most effective and importantly what content resonates best with your audience. Once you are clear on both these aspects, you will be able to form an effective content strategy with maximised effectiveness. It is important that you share with your audience a diverse and interesting mix of content types that encourages engagement so you need to think about the types of questions you will ask, updates you will share and ultimately what resources you have that you can utilise and repurpose for your social media platforms.

What Should I be Posting?

A quick glance through any social media article, research and blog post will show an emphasis and push towards sharing visual content. This trend towards the visual has plenty of anecdotal evidence too, with it being a widely known fact that image posts get more views, clicks, re-shares, and likes than any other type of post. On Facebook, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts. Similarly for Twitter, in a study of over two million tweets from verified users across a number of different industries, Twitter found that photos have the greatest effect on retweets. Photos average a 35% boost in Retweets with Videos getting a 28% boost. What does this mean for your business? Simple. You must prioritise producing good quality visuals in your social media content strategy.

So now we have established that you need to incorporate the visual into your content strategy. It’s time to take a look at what elements should make up your other content. There are hundreds of rules, strategies and theories on the best way and most effective ways to structure your content, the most used and most simple but effective strategy I use is the 70:20:10 rule.

The 70:20:10 rule

As a general rule of thumb, the rule states;

  • 70% of posts should add value and be brand and business building, stuff that your followers will find interesting, valuable and insightful and that supports who you are as a company.
  • 20% should share ideas or content from other sources e.g. blogs, digital PR, websites, other social media channels etc.
  • 10% should be self- promotional – your offers, discounts, marketing and promotional, sales etc.

 

21 Quick-Fire Example Content Ideas

  • Business Tips: People love to hear valuable business tips.
  • Humour/Relatable: Whether it’s a funny meme or something funny that’s happened in your life or your business, share it.
  • Inspiration/Motivation: Inspiration is the number one most shared type of content across every social media platform.
  • Open-Ended Questions: People love to talk and they love to answer questions.
  • Offers and Deals: Did you know that getting deals is still the number one reason that people like brands on Facebook? We all love a good deal.
  • Behind the Scenes/Sneak Peeks: People love to feel like they’re a part of what’s happening in your business.
  • Opinions: You can give yours and/or simply ask for theirs. People love to give their feedback and feel like their voice is being heard.
  • Industry News: There’s a huge value proposition in this. Firstly, you are educating your community on things that are happening in your space or in your niche. Secondly, doing this routinely will help you become an industry news or thought leader.
  • Fill in the Blanks: It’s an alternative way to phrase a question and the best ones only require a one or two-word answer, which makes it easier for your fans and followers to answer and engage with.
  • Strike Up a Conversation: Take the time to strike up a conversation. It’s a great way to build relationships.
  • Testimonials: Let people know that other people value your services or your products.
  • Open Q&A’s: Are a great way to provide value and get some real-time engagement with your followers.
  • Polls: You can use a poll for a number of different things like collecting opinions and/or ideas. Polls are a great engagement tool, but it’s also a great way to get great information.
  • Caption a Photo: Asking your fans and followers to caption a photo normally elicits good engagement.
  • Make Predictions: People love predictions. They want to know what you think.
  • Crowd Source Ideas: Ask other people for ideas. Whether you’re getting ready to do a new product or anything of that nature…ask!
  • Highlight Your Customers: Let your social media followers know that you value them. It’s important.
  • Tech Tips or Tools: People love tools and they love tech tips.
  • Advice: if you have some great advice and you feel like its valuable then share it.
  • Share Video or Audio Clips: In some cases video and audio posts are more impactful than a simple text based or image post.
  • ASK!: Ask your followers what content they want to see.

 

What is my Publishing Schedule?

Whilst it is wonderfully easy for you to be told from a social media expert that you should post 2 Facebook posts a day, 10 Tweets and 2 Blog posts a week for example, the ironclad and definitive answer to the questions ‘What, When and How often should I post?’ is simple: It depends. Everything about the social media experience is about your individual audience and niche. What works for you might not work for me… the important thing is that you experiment and learn what does work for you.

Your publishing schedule is going to be ultimately dictated by three things, your business capabilities, the platform you’re using and your audience needs. In the beginning you will need to experiment to find a publishing schedule that works best for your business, goals and readers and is the perfect balance of what you want and what your audience wants. Part of this consideration is also understanding the nature of the platform you’re using to publish and whether it is one such as Twitter that favours several short updates per day or Facebook where posting 7+ times a week is effective. Ultimately, when you are creating a publishing schedule you need to ask yourself, Can you keep this schedule consistently? Can you always publish high-quality content at this rate? And will you have enough content for this schedule? Once you’ve discovered the most effective schedule for you, being consistent with your publishing schedule has the benefit of increasing SEO value, maximising value and engagement from readers and encourages readers to come back regularly for more.

 

How Often Should you be Posting?

As you have come to realise, everything about a business social media experience is unique to you. There is no one size fits all approach to what content to post, just like there is not one for about how often to post to social media either. Some of the factors that will impact your specific sharing frequency may include your industry, your reach, your resources, the quality of your updates and the social network you’re using. The best way to discover the ideal posting frequency is by looking at your own analytics and several tools available in the market, these are a great way to show you the best time of day to post on your social media platforms, how often and even when your audience is online. So what are you to do if you are just starting out on these social networks, with no audience and no history? This is where best practices come in. As a good example, SumAll, which compiled timing research from sites like Visual.ly, Search Engine Watch, and Social Media Today has created a great visual resource of what their extensive research found in terms of timing.

  • Twitter – 1-3pm weekdays
  • Facebook – 1-4pm and 2-5pm weekdays
  • LinkedIn – 7-8:30am and 5-6pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
  • Tumblr – 7-10pm weekdays and 4pm on Fridays
  • Instagram – 5-6pm weekdays and 8pm on Mondays with a sweet spot at 6pm
  • Pinterest: 2-4pm and 8-11pm weekdays with weekends being the best
  • Google+: 9-11am weekdays

 

How am I Going to Ensure my Business Branding is Representative and Consistent?

Having a social media presence is a great way to show a wider audience who you are, what you stand for and ultimately why they should love you. From this, it is important that you know clearly what your brand stands for and how this is going to be conveyed consistently and accurately across your platforms. This consideration needs to be applied to everything from the voice you want for your brand that can be consistently applied across all your posts to the creative aspects of your platforms- that is the overall presentation including the colour scheme and typography. By setting consistent guidelines over the presentation and integration of your branding into your social media platforms it ensures that all these factors support and are in line with your overall branding and help reinforce your message and brand.

 

Am I Going to Have to Create a Written Social Media Policy for my Employees?

If there are going to be several different administrators of your platforms or you run a business with staff members who have personal and/or business social media accounts, it is well worth creating a social media policy for your staff to sign so everyone is clear on their responsibilities and what is deemed appropriate and inappropriate behaviour when they are representing or discussing your business online.

 

Have I Considered My Mobile Strategy?

With ever increasing numbers of people accessing the internet and social media platforms from their mobile devices, it is vital that you optimise your profiles for mobile users and give them a mobile friendly experience. Therefore you should test and experiment with your platforms to see how they look on both your desktop and a variety of other mobile devices to ensure you provide a seamless experience for those visiting your social media platforms no matter what device they are viewing them from. When assessing your site from different devices, you should check for several key areas such as; do your images still remain high quality? Are the social media sharing buttons clearly positioned and working properly? If text is used, it is readable on a small screen? The time you spend to perfect your platforms from your desktop should also be spent on making your site work for mobile too, if you fail to do so then you could lose traffic and sales as you will not be providing users with a good experience.

 

How am I Going to Measure the Success of my Social Media Marketing Efforts?

Tracking your social-media marketing metrics is a fundamental part of the social media marketing process as it helps gauge which tactics are successful and which areas are in need of improvement. Put a plan in place that allows you to track, measure and assess your results consistently to see what content/strategies resonates best and to ensure you are successfully meeting your social media objectives and if they are still relevant to you. Adjust your strategy and your content when appropriate to keep your social media content fresh and your information topical. The more you post, the more you’ll discover which content, timing, and frequency is right for you.

 

Ultimately, Have I got a Clear Strategy?

Having a clear idea on every aspect of your social media marketing strategy is key to its success. Ultimately, you should easily be able to answer confidently and with clarity the below questions that form a basic social media marketing strategy. Part of maintaining a strong, successful presence is also to regularly assess whether certain aspects of your original strategy have changed (For example are your objectives still the same? Is there a new social media platform that your audience is using?) and then adjust your efforts accordingly. As you become a regular participant on social media you will find ways in which you need to improve certain areas and areas in which you excel in, so never stop learning and listening to what your audience and your analytics tell you.

 

Keep referring back to this handy checklist;

Setting Goals

  • Why have I joined social media?
  • What is my brand’s overall purpose?
  • What does my business aim to achieve with social media?

 

Audience

  • Who is our target audience?
  • Which social networks do they use?
  • What topics and sources of information are most important to them?
  • What problems can I help them solve?
  • What jobs can I help them complete?

 

My Brand

  • What is my brand voice?
  • What is the overall tone of my social media updates?
  • What emotions do I hope to convey through my brand’s messaging?

 

Content

  • What types of content should I post on which social platforms?
  • What type of content best supports my content marketing aims?
  • What are the main topics, categories or messages that support my brand?
  • Should I use social media to provide customer service?

 

Content Creation

  • What realistic resources do we have?
  • Who should set up and maintain my company’s social media accounts?
  • What is the workflow from content creation to publication?
  • How often should I post new content on my social networks?
  • How does social media fit with our other campaigns?

 

Measuring Success

  • How will I measure ROI and define success with my social media strategy?
  • What is working with my social media marketing efforts?
  • What is the customer journey from search to purchase?
  • Where does social media fit within my funnel?

 


 

This is an excerpt from my new book ‘The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses’ available in eBook and Paperback. Want to grab your copy? head over to Amazon! https://read.amazon.co.uk/kp/embed?asin=B079KJG7BC&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_rLDNAbJ6P5P8W

 


What is Google My Business and Why it’s a Must Have For Your Small Business!

Did you know that 70% of online searches are conducted via Google, and one out of every five of those searches is regarding a business or a place, according to Search Engine Watch? Put simply, this means that potential consumers are actively searching online for businesses just like yours. In order to get your business found as quickly and easily as possible, you need to harness the power of Google and its product offerings to ensure you put forward the best representation of your business. From this, If you don’t have your small business listed on Google My Business, that job needs to be put on the top of your ‘To Do’ list!

 

What is Google My Business?

Google my business is a free, easy-to-set-up online platform that Google provides to allow small business owners to manage their presence on Google’s search engine, increase their online visibility and to help people find and review businesses in their local area. Simply put, it’s the most comprehensive and easily accessible business directory ever!

On your Google My Business page you can display important information about your business, such as the opening/closing times, contact phone number, your website link and more advanced options such as your upcoming events.

When someone searches for a business on Google, information such as the business phone number, address, reviews, website etc are pulled from the businesses’ Google My Business page and displayed in the results.

Whenever someone is searching for something which Google determines to have local intent, such as ‘restaurant in Chorley’, links to several Google My Business listings will be displayed below a map of the local area. When clicking on a business’s Google My Business listing, the following information is displayed;

  • The business’s name, address and phone number
  • The business’s location on a map.
  • The business’s opening hours.
  • A link to the business’s website.
  • Photos related to the business.
  • Reviews of the business left by previous customers which give the business a rating out of 5.

 

This is an example of what a Google My Business listing looks like:

GMB

Creating a listing is free and should be regarded as a necessity by all businesses. Even If your business is an online business with no physical shop then you should still consider having a Google My Business page as there are plenty of benefits!


Why Every Small Business Should Be Using Google My Business

People go online multiple times a day to find information to make their lives easier, after all how many times do you hear  —”just Google it!.” Whether through a search result or a maps query, over five billion searches are made each day through Google which makes improving how your business appears on Google a crucial element in your business online presence. Here are four benefits of having a Google My Business listing;

 

It’s Free and Easy to Set Up

Creating a GMB listing has many benefits, but at a most basic level, listings provide key information quickly for searchers which can help them to find a business, decide on a visit and with the handy maps section to help with directions – it all makes it more likely that searchers will visit your store/place of business. Moreover, even creating a relatively basic listing can help to improve your search presence, so it’s well worth setting one up.

TOP TIP! Your Google My Business page determines how your information will show on Google’s results. Since you are in complete control of this information, you have to make sure that every detail of your business is listed accurately and you don’t miss any critical steps to showcase your business!

 

Gain Trust and Credibility With Customers

With the overwhelming popularity of Google, web users searching for businesses on the platform are now accustomed to seeing these GMB profiles and as such, having one yourself will add a degree of credibility to your business. Google itself says that businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers.

Beyond this, the listing looks professional, provides key information that helps people to decide whether you’re a credible business or not and of course the unbiased rating/review system used for Google My Business listings makes reviews on there more trustworthy than those on a business website. Google makes it very difficult for unscrupulous businesses to attain good rankings in their local search results so reviews on here are held in higher esteem than those directly of a business website for example that may not be genuine. Set your sights on achieving as many genuine, positive reviews on Google My Business as;

  • Reviews are a ranking factor that Google uses to determine where you should be placed on search results.
  • Your reviews will showcase your positive business efforts and people are way more likely to visit a business with multiple positive reviews.
  • According to Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results.

 

Better Prominence in Search Results

Google My Business listings are displayed above the standard search results which means the businesses shown there have a greater presence and get more attention. This of course also has the added benefit of you having two 1st page listings instead of one. It’s important to note that whilst having a listing guarantees that you’ll appear front and center in brand name searches, this prominent position isn’t automatic and guaranteed for general ‘business type’ results. For example, my business will appear when someone searches for ‘Scarlett Darbyshire’ on Google, but I may not appear so prominently if the search made was ‘Social Media Marketing Consultant in Lancashire.’ Getting into the ‘top results’ for a generic business search is the aim for all businesses but achieving this can depend on the level of competition in your local area for your business type and factors such as review scores.

TOP TIP! In an effort to prevent spam, Google will not allow you to enter a P.O. Box as your address because this is not considered a physical location. If you don’t have a storefront you can verify your business by using your home address. Don’t be put off by this fearing your privacy – Google will not make your home address public, as long as you mark that you do not receive customers at this address.

 

Find Insights into Customer Behaviour

Google provides useful insights such as how customers searched for your business, where those customers are coming from and how many people called your business directly from the phone number displayed on local search results in Search and Maps. All of which you can use to gain insights into customer behaviour.

TOP TIP! Post photos that show off what you do! Businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.

 


Get started with your listing now, with help from the comprehensive guide from Google: https://support.google.com/business#topic=4539639


 

110 Essential SEO Terms You Should Know in 2015‏

0-9

301 Redirect: This message happens when a URL that you have tried to access has moved to a new location and is permanently unavailable. 301 Redirect is used when you need to change the URL of a page as it is shown in search engine results and make the web page redirect the visitor to the correct page.
302 Redirect: A form of redirection commonly used when a URL has changed location but will be returning to the original location eventually.
400 Bad Request: This means that the request you sent to the website server, such as a request to load a webpage, was somehow malformed and so the Web server was unable to understand the request and process it.
401 Unauthorized: A HTTP status code that means the page you were trying to access requests user authentication (usually a valid user ID and password) before allowing you to load the web page.
403 Forbidden: A message delivered by a web server that means that accessing the page you were trying to reach is forbidden for some reason.
404 Not Found: The server can’t find the page you are asking for.
500 Error: A very general error message, given when something has gone wrong on the web site’s server but the server could not be more specific on what the exact problem is.


A

A/B Test: A/B testing is a simple way to test changes to your page against the current design and determine which one is more effective. You can display two different layouts of the same web page to visitors and track the differences in their behaviour on page A and B.
AdWords: Google’s online advertising service that enables advertisers to compete to display brief advertising copy to web users. The amount an advertiser bids determines their ad’s relative position within the paid search results.
Algorithm: A calculated set of steps used by search engines to rank listings in response to a query.
Alt-Text: A description of an image in your site’s HTML. This is alternate text that will be displayed by a browser when an image can’t be found or loaded.
Analytics: a program which assists in gathering and analysing meaningful patterns in data about website/social media usage.
Anchor Text: The part of a hyperlink that is clickable. Search engines use this text to help determine the subject matter of the linked-to document.
AstroTurfing: The artificial creation of a grassroots buzz for a product, service, policy, individual, or product.
Authority: A score assigned by search engines to measure the power, relevancy, stature and credibility of websites.
Authority Site: A very high quality website that is respected by knowledgeable people in its industry and has many incoming links from other related expert/hub sites.


B

Backlink: Any link into a page or site from any other page or site.
Black Hat: Aggressive search engine optimization tactics that do not obey search engine guidelines. Common tactics include keyword stuffing, unrelated keywords, invisible text, or doorway pages.
Bot (robot, spider, crawler): A software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet. Search engines use bots to find and add web pages to their search indexes.
Bounce Rate: This represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave (“bounce”) without viewing other pages within the same site.
Bread Crumbs: is a website navigation aid at the top of a web page which helps the user to understand where they are on the site and how to get back to the main areas.
Broken Link: A hyperlink which is not functioning. A broken link happens when the link points to a web page that has been deleted or moved.


C

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): is a style sheet language used for describing the look and formatting of a document written in a markup language.
Canonical Issues: Canonicalization refers to the process of picking the best URL when there are several choices available, and it usually refers to home pages
Click Fraud: Deliberate clicks on a PPC advertisement usually by the publisher, automated script, or computer program for the purpose of increasing the payable number of clicks to the advertiser.
Cloak: The practice of delivering different content to the search engine spider than that seen by the user’s browser.
CMS or Content Management System: A web application used to manage web sites and web content. WordPress is a popular example of a CMS.
Code Swapping: Changing the content after high rankings are achieved, i.e. bait and switch.
Conversion Rate: The percentage of site visitors who performed a desired action after landing on one of your pages. A conversion could be a number of actions ranging from making a purchase, completing a download or signing up for a newsletter.
CPA or Cost Per Acquisition: A measurement of the total cost of each sale or lead from the beginning to the end.
CPC or Cost Per Click: A is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites. The advertiser agrees to pay a set fee to the publisher (typically a website owner) when someone clicks on an ad.
CPM or Cost Per Thousand: A commonly used measurement to quantify the average value / cost of Pay Per Click advertisements to one thousand viewers.
CTR or Click Through Rate: The percentage of users that click on an ad out of the total number who see the link.


D

Doorway: Sites or pages created and optimised for particular keyword phrases and only exist to capture that keyword phrase in search engine results.
Directory: a directory on the web. It specializes in linking to other web sites and categorizing those links. A web directory is not a search engine and does not display lists of web pages based on keywords; instead, it lists web sites by category and subcategory.
Domain: A Domain name locates an organization or other entity on the Internet. For example, scarlettdarbyshire.com


F

FFA or Free For All: A page or web site which allows anyone to add a link to them and as such contains many outgoing links to unrelated web sites.
Frames: A web design which allows the use of multiple, independently controllable sections on a Web page.The HTML or media elements that go in a frame may or may not come from the same web site as the other elements of content on display.


H

Hit: A hit is a request to a web server for a file such as documents, graphics, or webpages. For example, when a visitor calls up a Web page with four graphics, that’s five hits, one for the page and four for the graphics.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): is the standard markup language used to create web pages. This is the coding portion of a website that search engines read.
Hummingbird: Google Hummingbird is a search algorithm used by Google, introduced in August 2013. Hummingbird was introduced to closer match ‘conversational’ queries with relevant results. It pays more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words.


I

Inbound Link: A link from one site into another. Links from other sites with high search Authority will improve your SEO.
Indexed Pages: The pages on a site which have been explored and stored by a search engine.
Internal Link: A link from one page to another within the same website, such as from your homepage to your products page.


K

Keyword: A word or phrase entered into a search engine for the purpose of finding relevant results. Specific keywords are targeted for advertising purposes to attract consumers using that word or phrase.
Keyword Cannibalization: Is a situation where multiple pages on a website are targeting the same keyword.
Keyword Density: The percentage of words on a web page which are a particular keyword. This is offered as a percentage by comparing the number of keywords on a page to the total number of words on a page.
Keyword Research: The process of determining which words or phrases people are most relevant and people are using the most in order to use those keywords in SEO and SEM.
Keyword Stuffing: The inappropriately high repetition of the same keyword in order to try to gain favourable search engine results.
KPI (Key Performance Indicators): Is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key online marketing goals.


L

Landing Page: Any page that someone lands on after clicking on an online marketing call-to-action.
Link Bait: A web page with the designed purpose of attracting attention and encouraging those viewing it to create hyperlinks to the site in an effort to drive traffic to the website and improve search engine ranking.
Link Building: The activity and process of getting more inbound links to your website for improved search engine rankings.
Link Farm: A set of web pages created with the sole aim of linking to a target page, in an attempt to improve that page’s search engine ranking.
Link Juice: The amount of positive ranking factors that a link passes from one page to the next.
Link Popularity: A measure of the value of a site based on the quantity of quality Inbound links to your pages.
Long Tail Keywords: Search queries made up of longer and more specific keyword phrases.


M

Mashup: In web development, a mash up is a web page, or web application, that uses content from more than one source to create a single new service displayed in a single graphical interface.
Meta Description: HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the contents of web pages.
META Tags: Statements within the HEAD section of an HTML page elements used to provide structured metadata about a Web page.
Mirror Site: A complete copy of a website or Web page that is placed under a different URL but is identical in every other way.


N

Nofollow: An html code command that instructs robots to not follow links on the page or the specific link.
Noindex: An html code command instructing automated Internet bots to avoid indexing a web page.
Non-Reciprocal Link: One-way inbound links to a site that originate from other sites.


O

Organic Link: The development of hypertext links between web sites with or without an agreement to exchange links.
Organic SEO: The phrase used to describe processes to obtain a natural placement on organic search engine results pages (SERPs).
Organic Search Results: Listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms, as opposed to their being advertisements.
Outgoing Link: Links that link from your site to another web site.


P

Page Title: Showing up in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), the page title is the main text that describes a web page. It is one of the most important on-page ranking factors.
Page View: an instance of an Internet user visiting a particular page on a website.
PageRank: Part of the numerous factors that go into Google’s Algorithm. It is a link analysis algorithm used to help determine the relative importance of a website.
Panda: A change to Google’s search results ranking algorithm that was first released in February 2011. The change aimed to lower the rank of low-quality sites with low quality content and return higher-quality sites near the top of the search results.
Penguin: Refers to a set of algorithm updates for the Google search engine to help enhance the value of search query results for users.
PFI or Paid for Inclusion: A search engine marketing model in which a website pays a fee to a search engine that guarantees that the site will be displayed in the returned search results for specifically named search terms.
PPA or Pay Per Action: An online advertising pricing model, where the advertiser pays for each specified action – for example, an impression, click, form submit, double opt-in or sale.


Q

Query: The keyword or phrase a searcher enters into a search engine.


R

Reciprocal Link: A reciprocal link is a mutual link between two websites, to ensure mutual traffic. In 2005, with their Jagger 2, update Google stopped giving credit to reciprocal links as it does not indicate genuine link popularity.
Referrer: Anything online that drives visits and visitors to your website. This can include but isn’t limited to: search engines, blogs, banner ads and affiliate links.
Referrer String: A piece of information sent by an internet user when they navigate to your website from somewhere else on the internet. It includes information on where they came from previously, which helps webmasters understand how users are finding their website.
Robots.txt: A file in the root directory of a website used to communicate with web crawlers and other web robots.
ROI or Return On Investment: The most common profitability ratio. Simply put it is the benefit to the investor resulting from an investment of some resource.


S

Sandbox: is an alleged Google filter placed on new websites that want to rank in the search results for specific phrases.
Scrape: A technique employed to extract large amounts of data from websites.
SE or Search Engine: A software system that is designed to search for information on the internet.
SEM or Search Engine Marketing: A form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). Search engine marketing incorporates many digital marketing techniques such as email marketing, pay per click campaigns and search engine optimization.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization: The process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
SERP or Search Engine Results Page: Results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword search.
Site Map: A list of pages of a web site accessible to crawlers or users.
SMM or Social Media Marketing: The process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.
SMO or Social Media Optimization: A technique used to increase the awareness of a product, brand or event by optimizing different social platforms with targeted keywords and other techniques.
SMP or Social Media Poisoning: A black hat technique designed to implicate a competitor as a spammer.
Snake Oil: Refers to selling techniques used by some SEO firms and SEO ‘Gurus’ to claim that they can do something unique to achieve top rankings.
Social Bookmarking: Building relevant links on social platforms in order to bring in traffic.
Social Media: Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
Spamdexing: Is the practice of deceptively modifying web pages to increase the chance of them being placed at the top of search engine results.
Spider Trap: A set of web pages that may intentionally or unintentionally be used to cause a web crawler or search bot to become trapped an endless loop of code.
Splash Page: An introductory page to your Web site. They typically offer a feature such as a graphic or logo, a choice of how to enter the site (flash/no-flash, etc.) or technical requirements (browser, version, etc.).
Splog: A fake blog created solely to promote affiliated web sites with the purpose of skewing search results and artificially boosting traffic.
Static Page: A web page that is delivered to the user exactly as stored, in contrast to dynamic web pages which are generated by a web application.
Stickiness: Anything about a Web site that encourages a visitor to stay longer. A Web site is sticky if it successfully keep visitors on the site once they have navigated there and encourages the visitor to return frequently.
Supplemental Index: Pages with very low page rank which are still relevant to a search query.


T

Traffic: The amount of people that come to visit a website and the number of pages visitors click.
Trust Rank: Is a link analysis technique separating useful webpages from spam or pages created solely to mislead search engines into giving higher page ranks.


U

UCG or User Generated Content: Refers to material on websites such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats, tweets, podcasts, pins, and video and audio files, produced by the users of the website.
URL or Uniform Resource Locator: Also known as web address, a URL is a reference to a resource on the Internet. An example would be http://scarlettdarbyshire.com/
User Engagement: A measurement of the level of engagement a user shows through its action on the web.
User Experience: A measurement of the overall experience of a person using a product such as a website or computer application, especially in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use.


W

Walled Garden: On the Internet, a walled garden refers to a browsing environment that controls the user’s access to Web content and services.
White Hat SEO: Refers to any practice that improves your search performance on a search engine results page while staying within the search engines’ terms of service. These tactics include offering quality content and services and Using descriptive, keyword-rich meta tags.
Widget: an application that enables a user to perform a function or access a service.