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In AdWords, your Quality Score is like a warning light, according to a quote in “Google: Stop Losing the  Forest for the…Quality Score” at PPC Hero. It shows how healthy your ads and keywords are, but it isn’t anything more than an indication to look further if it’s low. The warning light is a good illustration, because when it comes on you aren’t supposed to be examining the light itself but the system it is connected to.

This look at Google’s whitepaper on Settling the (Quality) Score (pdf) includes a nice chart on things that matter, and things that don’t. These things make a difference in your Quality Score:

  • user device matters, so think about mobile targeting and landing page experience
  • performance on related keywords matters when launching new keywords, so invest in relevant searches
  • relevance to user intention matters, so make sure ads and landing pages match what they want

However, in terms of that Quality Score, keep this in mind:

  • It doesn’t matter how you structure your account, so do what works best for you
  • It doesn’t matter which networks you target, so feel free to test new networks
  • It doesn’t matter where the ad is on the page, so don’t bid up higher positions to get a higher score–think about user experience instead

The warning light is a valuable tool when it’s used the right way, as a signal that you need to look further into the system it monitors. With the Quality Score, Google is reminding us that it is a tool, not a grade.

You’ll find more insights on PPC Management at http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/pay-per-click.php.

By now you might have seen the Gallup Poll report on The Myth of Social Media that’s just been published. With 72% of adults in the US on some form of social media, it makes sense that they’d be doing the surveys to assess what is going on. Here are some interesting numbers from their survey:

  • 94% of social media users are connecting with friends and family
  • 20% are reviewing a product or commenting on it
  • 5% of those surveyed say social media affects their purchase decisions
  • 62% say it has no influence at all

These numbers are a bit scary to the companies who are investing in social media marketing strategies. According to BIA/Kelsey, that investment was $5.1 billion in the US during the past year. By 2018, the combined expenditure on social media advertising is expected to get close to $15 billion. That’s a lot of ads to be ignored on Facebook.

Why Do We Invest In Social Media If People Ignore The Ads?

The report ends in this statement by Gallup:

“The potential of social media is still being debated. Companies are going to have to experiment to figure out what works best with their customers. The process may involve a lot of trial and error, but there is potential in social media that is not directly related to sales revenue. Companies have an opportunity to build communities with their customers in ways they could not before. But to get there, they must first engage their customers through other channels. Regardless of the hype surrounding social media, consumers are still most affected by their offline experiences.”

Basically, the strength of social media platforms is the conversation and engagement. This is not as easy to measure as a click-through rate, but it is much stronger because it is relationship. Social media provides a way to interact with your customers, providing content they share because it is helpful or interesting. As they share, more people are introduced to your company. It’s the word-of-mouth marketing campaign amplified with technology, and it has always been the best way for a business to be known.

Your social media marketing is part of the entire package you offer your customers, and that’s not a myth. It’s reality.

You’ll find more about social media optimization at http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/social-media-optimization-SMO.php.

Competitive Intelligence is a fairly recent term, but the idea has actually been around for a long time. High school football teams, for instance, used to spend the week before the big game watching choppy footage from previous games in an attempt to figure out what the opposing team’s strategies were going to be. The coach and the quarterback would go over different plays and analyze as much as they could so a winning strategy would be in place.

Familiarity Breeds Competitive Strategies

The more times football teams play each other, the easier it is to figure out ways to win. In business, you aren’t playing for points on a scoreboard, but you are playing to win something. Businesses compete for customers, sales, search engine rankings, and a host of other contests that depend on the industry. So how do you decide what you need to know?

The more familiar you are with your industry and competitors, the bigger your perspective is on how your business fits into the picture. Analyzing the top competitors in your field will reveal things to emulate, but it will also reveal things that you can differ in so you stand out in contrast.

For instance, keywords are a huge part of search engine optimization, but you don’t have to copy the same keywords that everybody else in the industry uses. A move from the short-tail keywords to longer phrases that are specific to your business just might be what pushes your ranking past the other guys. But you need to know what they are focusing on so you can do something different.

As Sun Tzu famously said, “If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”

Competitive intelligence is an essential business tool. Learn more about it at http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/competitive-intelligence.php#2

The different names Google has for algorithms gives a persona to an enigma. In “Feeding the Hummingbird: Structured Markup Isn’t The Only Way To Talk To Google“, Moz Blog contributor Cyrus Shepard says,

“Ever wonder why Google named certain algorithms after black and white animals (i.e. black hat vs. white hat?) Hummingbird is a broader algorithm altogether, and Hummingbirds can be any color of the rainbow.”

Panda and Penguin were going after webspam. Hummingbird is designed to optimize entity-based search. That means the Hummingbird algorithm is looking at what is said, how the keywords are placed, etc. Since Google uses over 500 algorithms and each one is going after different information, the exact “secret formula” for SEO is always going to be a secret. In fact, since those algorithms are constantly adjusted in an attempt to improve search, the secret formula keeps changing.

The nice thing that is pointed out, though, is that Hummingbird looks at more than the SEO savvy markup and can figure out relationship without it. This is natural search results instead of formulas.

Feeding the Hummingbird

Here’s a quick list of what is important to this algorithm:

  1. keywords (subject-predicate-object triples)
  2. tables & HTML elements
  3. entities & synonyms
  4. anchor text & links
  5. Google Local
  6. Google Structured Data Highlighter
  7. Plugins

All of the elements are balanced and weighted to figure out how to do Hummingbird’s part of the whole secret zoo at Google. Each one of the algorithms plays a role in where your data comes up on the page. Interesting, isn’t it? The thing to remember is that there’s a big difference between trying to play the system and trying to get quality content available for your audience. Google is always going after the players because they want to stay relevant to the rest of us.

For more information on optimizing your site for natural search results, visit  http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/search-engine-optimization.php.

It’s the mid-year mark, and this is a good time to look at the goals you have set for your business and evaluate how far you have come in meeting those goals. Liane Dietrich of Marketing Land walks us through some of the basics in “Time For A Check-Up: Marketing Strategies For A Successful Second Half.

Six Things To Check

The Marketing Land article suggests an evaluation of these areas:

  1. Marketing goals
  2. Attribution models
  3. Performance marketing programs
  4. Joint marketing opportunities
  5. Analytics data
  6. Improve your bottom line

Each one of these aspects of your business should have had some goals set in place for the business year and could be evaluated accordingly. But this is not the only place your business check-up should be looking at.

Other Areas To Consider

Everything your marketing department does should be integrated into the entire enterprise so that the real organization reflects who you say you are. If your ad campaigns are eco-minded, for instance, it is wise to be able to show how your daily operations are also eco-minded.

Having set goals for recycling and being able to show improvement gives things to talk about in social media if you are a company that prides itself on being “green.” A tweet or post about a 25% increase in recycling goals  or developing a recycling program for the community adds authority to your brand.

These types of goals vary according to the organization, but they are definitely things to evaluate periodically. With the ability for the average smartphone user to look you up online in depth, it’s pretty important that your practices and your marketing line up because discrepancies are easy to find. Being able to use data from regular progress evaluations might come in handy.

For more insight on internet marketing, visit reciprocalconsulting.com/internet-marketing-services.php

The majority of the 600 or so very small businesses that responded to a recent survey by Endurance don’t have a strategy for their social media practices. Chris Crum has a nice infographic that breaks it down for us on WebProNews. Here’s a few of the results:

  • 90% of very small businesses are on social media
  • 71% don’t have an established social media strategy
  • If managed internally, 80% of posts are by the company head when they feel like it.
  • About a third don’t have defined brands or profiles and aren’t sure how social media should work for marketing.

Of course there’s more information from the study, but these numbers should give business owners pause. A very small business won’t grow if the social media policy is hit and miss because most of your customers get their information on some form of social media.

There’s a lot of information on developing social media strategies, and business owners certainly should be keeping their finger on the pulse of what is happening. But just like you have to delegate other areas as a business grows, this is a place you can delegate with proper training.

Of course, that training means a focused strategy must be developed, but most very small businesses are realizing that. To quote the study’s conclusions,

“over half of those we surveyed expressed an interest in learning best practices – so it’s not that they don’t want to, they just don’t know how.”

If you are interested in learning more about social media marketing, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/social-media-optimization-SMO.php

PPC Hero has just come out with Excel PPC Heat Mapping 101, and it offers a way to look at your spreadsheets to see what is going on in one glance. Most of us are visual in the way we process information, so this helpful guide just may be of use to you in more ways than analyzing your PPC campaigns.

Conditional Formatting

Basically, this guide opens your eyes to the way that Excel’s conditional formatting can be used to adjust the cell color and reflect the data in that cell. You can springboard from that basic concept to many other ways to use conditional formatting for PPC analysis.

By individually highlighting each column and assigning color scales based on the numbers you are interested in, you will end up with a heat map that shows exactly what is happening with your data. It’s a lot easier than processing the numbers, because you can see immediately what is getting “warmer” or “cooler” in a big picture.

See Your Data The Way You See

People process information in different ways. Some of us need words, some need numbers, others need charts or visuals. Every way is a valid way to obtain data as long as the data is accurate. What matters is being able to use that data effectively.

The need to analyze data is part of a successful PPC campaign, and good managers are looking at that data all the time. It makes sense to set up your information feed in a way that will be easy to process, because the value is in analysis. Once you set it up, this heat mapping idea is a genius way to keep an eye on your PPC campaigns, and more.

You can learn more about PPC management at http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/pay-per-click.php

There’s a lot about search engine optimization that relies on algorithms, and marketers spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the secret formula is for page rankings. But really, much of what those algorithms are designed to do is interpret human behavior.

The whole reason Google keeps updating is to keep the human interaction at the forefront of their rankings so they are respected as a legitimate source of good content. If people used Google and got spam, it would not take long for Google to fall, and they know it.

SEO Is More Than A Magic Formula

Good SEO has to be more than figuring out the latest version of Google’s secret algorithm — it has to keep the humans you are trying to engage in mind. If you are consistently engaging your customers and using the language your target audience would use to find something on the internet, there’s a natural keyword development. All the details that make up your site must be geared toward making sense to your target audience, and being valuable to your target audience.

The traffic that results from human engagement is measured in numbers of visits and links, but the numbers are meaningless apart from what they represent. Optimizing those numbers focuses on the quality of what is happening, and that is the true value of SEO.

An alogrithm is a tool, but good SEO practices are an art.

You can’t really reduce SEO to an algorithm, but you can learn much more about the art of good SEO at http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/search-engine-optimization.php

 

One of the tasks a webmaster often faces with trepidation is moving content around without taking a hit from Google. So many have expressed this that the official Google webmaster blog has addressed it in the post on Making Site Moves Easier.

3 Kinds of Content Migration

There’s really just two basic categories of site move, but since the second group has two subdivisions, there may as well be three:

  • site moves without URL changes
  • site moves with URL changes
  • site moves to responsive web design

Each kind of move will mean following different instructions, and Google does a good job of explaining the steps.

The Price of Site Moves the Wrong Way

It may seem like there’s no consequence to just shifting around your content on your site on the human level. After all, if your site is logical to you changes will probably will be logical to your customers who are regular users. But the search engines are not reading your site on the human level, and that will affect where your site comes up in the page ranks.

Humans tend to do a search and look at the first page or so. If you want new users, you will need to be found. Moving content around without keeping an eye on the Googlebot will change the way your site comes up on Google. That will change who sees your site.

It makes sense to follow Google’s instructions when you do site moves because then you will be doing things the way their search engine operates, and that improves your chances to be where you want to be in the rankings.

For more insights on web design, visit reciprocalconsulting.com/web-design.php

If you could see a building’s skeleton, you’d see triangles. The three sides of this basic shape are ideally suited to holding up a lot of weight, because each side supports the other sides.

The Three Sides Of The Reputation Triangle

Online reputation management has three sides, too, and they each support the other. Just like the triangles in the girders of the skyscraper, this basic shape does the work of supporting a lot of weight so that a business can be built to last.

  • Side 1: Proactive Reputation Management – This is the stuff you put out there, on your site, in social media, advertising, etc. Most businesses will be very careful to construct a positive reputation online and this is where many stop. It’s important, it’s foundational, but it isn’t enough because it is only one side of the equation for strength.
  • Side 2: Online Reputation Management Monitoring – Another side of the triangle’s strong shape is the ongoing attention to what is being said about your business. This can change with one disgruntled employee or customer who posts a negative review and snowballs into vindictive rhetoric on a forum. Other times it will be positive recommendations from satisfied customers. Negative or positive, it all has to be monitored or you won’t know what is going on.
  • Side 3: Reactive Reputation Management – The third side of the triangle is the steps taken to repair damage when it happens. It’s easier to fix a leak at the beginning than it is after the flood, and it’s easier to fix a reputation issue when it starts.

If the first two sides of the reputation management triangle are in place, you’ll be able to quickly respond to a problem and deal with it. Action taken depends on what is happening and can be anything from diplomatically calming an irate customer to correcting misinformation on a blog to legal action when appropriate.

It Takes All Three Sides To Be Strong

Kids in science class take toothpicks and make triangles, then use those triangles to build strong supportive structures that hold far more weight than a single toothpick can carry. The strength of the triangle depends on all three sides supporting the others, and the strength of your reputation is dependent upon all three sides of the online reputation management triangle.

For more insights on online reputation management, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/online-reputation-management.php#2

The vast majority of people need a picture…visual aids to understanding content. This is why you are seeing more infographics being used to explain things. Aleyda Solis does a great job of giving us a picture in The Illustrated SEO Competitive Analysis Workflow. The infographic lays out the process of identifying SEO targets and figuring out how you are going to develop your strategies in four steps.

The picture helps us understand a complicated thing: SEO competitive analysis is a subject that very few of us get a good grasp on at first. But this excellent infographic is in the middle of words explaining and enhancing our understanding of the picture.

We Need More Than Pictures

The visual catches our attention and helps us understand the content of a page, but without words we are interpreting the picture by our own perspective. In order to really understand SEO competitive analysis, you’d have to do a little more:

  • read expanded information
  • act on the suggestions using the chart as a guide
  • come back with questions and get answers
  • repeat

SEO Is Part Of A Bigger Picture

All the pieces of the puzzle are needed to give you the chance to see the picture it will create, and they have to be put together correctly first. Most of us need to see the picture on the jigsaw puzzle box while we are working on the puzzle because it helps us figure out where the pieces go. (Those who refuse to look at the picture have other priorities.)

Infographics like the one Ms. Solis did for Moz on SEO Competitive Analysis are great for helping us put the pieces of the puzzle together correctly. It’s a good reminder that people need visuals to help them understand content. It’s also a good reminder that SEO doesn’t exist in a vacuum but in a context, like a puzzle piece in a box with a picture on the lid.

For more about SEO and the context in which it exists, see reciprocalconsulting.com/internet-marketing-services.php#3

 

 

Competition is a funny thing. Have you ever seen that crazy game where an onion is passed around as music is played? When the music stops, the onion holder must take a bite or leave the circle. Eventually, only the competitive people with iron stomachs are in the ring, biting the raw, slobbery onion, and fighting to win before they collapse in agony. Why would they do this? To win a game.

That game is a good illustration of the way we can lose sight of what’s important in the heat of competition. You aren’t competing in an onion-eating game, but sometimes we start competing for the wrong goals in marketing.

Measure What Matters

One example of this game is seen in measuring sales. Only looking at the number of sales is losing sight of the most important thing.

Ultimately, the thing businesses compete for is customers who are loyal. Loyal customers will share their confidence in your business with others and add their friends to your growing base of people who keep coming back to buy. Loyal customers give you feedback and help you develop your offerings and services to their maximum potential. Loyal customers keep your sales growing in the future.

A smaller number of customers who repeatedly buy will be more valuable than a larger number of customers who buy once and go somewhere else. What matters in these two groups is the loyalty, not the initial purchase. In the future, this makes the difference in sales.

Competitive intelligence has to measure what matters in all the areas of your business, looking at what those numbers represent in order to analyze them correctly. Otherwise, you might be like the winner of the onion-eating game, wondering why it seemed so important to win.

There’s a lot to be discovered about competitive intelligence at www.reciprocalconsulting.com/competitive-intelligence.php#2

SEO is always going to be an area that changes, and there will always be something to learn as a result of the fluidity. Moz recently came up with a fun way to see what you know (and what you don’t know) about search engine optimization in their New SEO Expert Quiz.

The quiz is randomized so nobody gets the same questions in the same order, and Moz claims it is “astronaut training hard,” but the fifty questions only take about fifteen minutes to answer. The benefit of taking the time to do the quiz is in the results: you are shown the questions with your answer, the correct answer, and a link to learn more about the subject.

This is like a custom lesson in SEO stuff that targets your weak spots. 

Even if you delegate your search engine optimization to someone else, it’s a good idea to keep learning about how it works overall so that you know what you are delegating. Their job may be to handle the details but you should know enough to appreciate what they do for you.

Understanding SEO basics prepares you for using the Internet with confidence, because the codes are no longer gobbledygook to your eyes. This quiz is a fun, nonthreatening way to gauge your SEO expertise and see where you fall in the learning spectrum. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that you know more than you realized and that your guesses in the quiz were intelligent deductions.

If you would like to learn more about SEO visit reciprocalconsulting.com/search-engine-optimization.php.

The word “audit” can bring up some bad memories, but it really is an important process when it comes to keeping your website functioning the way you want it to. This is because it’s like a content tuneup for your site.

Search Engine Journal has a step-by-step explanation of How To Conduct A Content Audit On Your Site that is extremely helpful. It’s a very easy guide worth bookmarking, because content audits should be part of your regular site maintenance just as tuneups are needed to keep a car running smoothly.

If you are not consistently fixing the small problems and replacing outdated items on your site, then it gradually bogs down under an accumulation of minor issues that become overwhelming. This accumulation of minor issues might not seem like much, but getting rid of them usually results in a boost in traffic and rankings.

What might need a tuneup on your site?

  • page title and url
  • description
  • content
  • keywords
  • alt tags
  • last updated
  • internal links

An audit is simply taking a closer look at the individual components of something. In this case, that closer look is with the ability to do something about what you find. Many times a site will have content or links that were good when it was first put up but has expired or needs to be redone. Once a regular content audit routine has been established, it isn’t difficult to keep up because you are only having to fix what has developed since the last time.

No matter how well a website has been designed, it is going to need regular maintenance to stay effective. Content audits are like tuneups for your site to keep it running smoothly. For more information on web design, visit http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/web-design.php

Recently, Search Engine Journal (SEJ) went through their site and found 9 Noteworthy Social Media Facts in the articles they’ve published and provided links to each one. These facts are noteworthy because they show how social media is becoming one of the most important places to have a presence if you are a business.

  1. in the last six months there’s been an 80% increase in using mobile devices to read email
  2. LinkedIn has 77% of all job postings on its site
  3. one email address can have many Twitter accounts
  4. there was an 800% increase in infographic search volume from 2010 to 2012
  5. the top 24 most-engaged brands on Twitter have more than a million followers
  6. 60 of the top 100 brands on LinkedIn post videos linked to their YouTube channel
  7. 50% of online customers expect customer service on a brand’s Facebook page, but only 23% of brands on Facebook do it
  8. in 3 years, Instagram got 150 million users and grew by 23% in 2013
  9. in 2013 the digital video advertising industry brought in almost $5.8 billion, up 40% from 2012

How do these compare with what your actual online marketing strategies are? You may choose to ignore Instagram, for instance, without any problems, but if your business is on Facebook, you should make sure it is responsive to the “friends” who engage you there.

It’s a good idea to pay attention to social media. Take a quick look at this list and use it as a launching pad to evaluate and renovate your social media marketing campaigns.

When you think about it, social media is just an extension of your customer circle and it makes sense to optimize it. For more information on social media marketing, visit reciprocalconsulting.com/social-media-optimization-SMO.php

People today are bombarded with far more information than they can handle. Any message that catches their attention has to engage them long enough to get a message across, and for many folks, that means a video.

Video combines many levels of communication into one quick presentation. Eyes, ears, and emotional response integrate to send a message to the brain in more than words. This doesn’t mean that video is better than words alone, but it does mean that a message targeting a visceral response might be best presented in video form, but the type of video matters.

For instance, written content scrolling across the screen may have movement and music, but most people are not going to be reading it unless they are already engaged. Who reads the credits at the end of the movie? The people who know somebody who worked on the movie and are looking for their friend’s name.

That same content presented as a short film clip telling a story or a friendly  speaker explaining a process is far more effective because it will connect on more levels. In addition, there’s more for SEO purposes. Rich snippets, video search engines, and link building all add to the increased conversions seen when a good video element is added to a page.

Perhaps the biggest reason videos maximize marketing is that they work the way most of the population operates. We see, we hear, we move in our real world– so we respond to content that is visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

There’s a lot more on video marketing at  http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/video-production.php

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is an investment of time and money, so you need to know as soon as possible if a particular campaign is successful or not. Search Engine Journal has been talking to different experts in their SEJ interview series and recently caught up with Ilya Lichtenstein from Mixrank to discuss how to run successful PPC campaigns. Here are the highlights from that conversation:

Over 80% of PPC campaigns fail, according to Ilya’s data. So you need to look at leading indicators when you first start a campaign and watch progress with a critical eye. You can usually tell in the beginning if it is going to be in that 80%.

Don’t waste your time tweaking a failing campaign to try and get it going. Good ones don’t start slow most of the time, and failing campaigns don’t resuscitate. You are better off killing the slow starters and investing in the ones that work from the start.

Figure out what makes your successful campaigns work and repeat it. Keep trying until you get some breakout successes and copy the things that work. It will take some time (remember that percentage of failures) but as you find your successful campaigns you will get better at your strategies.

One observation you could make on this advice is that you cannot be emotionally attached to your PPC campaigns. If you have a favorite that is just not taking off, the idea of pulling the plug is painful. But statistically, that failing campaign will not speed up despite anything you try.

According to this expert, you know very soon if your PPC campaigns are going to be successful. And that’s actually good, because you don’t have to waste any time moving on to the successful ones.

For more insights on PPC Management, visit reciprocalconsulting.com/pay-per-click.php

 

Copyblogger just posted an article by a behavioral investigator named Vanessa Van Edwards on nonverbal hacks that can capture attention and convert traffic on your site. It’s an interesting look at human nature and our automatic responses to visual triggers. The reason that nonverbal communication is so important in web design is because people don’t read what doesn’t catch their attention. So the greatest content in the world will go unread by most folks if they don’t notice it.

Research has shown it takes five tenths of a second to make a good first impression online. That means visual rather than verbal is the first thing to pay attention to as you decide how to set up your website. Here are the six wordless ways you can do it:

  1. Understand eye patterns, and set up your headings and buttons in the normal F-shaped way that readers tend to process information: upper left corner, across, down, across, down. This is how we read text in English. (Non-English readers may not automatically do this if their normal script is written right-to-left.)
  2. Photos and videos should show your hands and positive facial expressions. This generates trust without saying a word in any culture.
  3. Guide actions nonverbally with images showing hand gestures or eye directions (looking to the video or button you want them to click).
  4. Utilize the research that has identified where visitors focus: logo, main navigation menu, search box, social networking links, primary image at top of page, written content, website footer.
  5. Take advantage of all the studies on color and psychology and match the colors of your site & logo to the main idea of your brand.
  6. Simple beats over-cluttered every time. Every time.

For more on ways to improve your site’s web design, visit reciprocalconsulting.com/web-design.php

 

“When we think about the future of marketing it’s easy to slip into the trap of thinking purely about technological challenges. However, the truth is that marketing isn’t changing because of technology. Marketing is changing because consumers’ expectations are evolving.”

This quote by Hannah Smith is taken from her post on Moz titled, “Bacon, Burritos, and the Future of Marketing.” It’s an interesting stroll down memory lane if you have been in marketing for any length of time. She moves from keyword density and anchor texts through the various names Google dubbed its tweaks (Vince, Caffeine, Panda, Venice, Penguin, Hummingbird) and the goals of those tweaks. Then there are ads, always an interesting topic.

The predictions made at the end are insightful. It is safe to say we will see more devices being used, which will result in challenges as marketers try to create messages that work across all channels. Analysis becomes even more important since we need to know what is happening during a session and figure out what people are actually doing. This analysis will help with the flexibility that is key to staying strategic, instead of being locked in to one plan of action.

The “out there” prediction in the article, that only brands that stand for something will survive, is accompanied by several illustrations and a challenge: consumers are able to find information and discuss brands on a level that is unprecedented in human history. They are savvy enough to research the brands their friends suggest and expect a seamless experience when they look you up. They also expect a response when they speak and wield great influence on their friends.

What should brands do?

 

A brand must meet the customer’s expectations or they will go somewhere else. And what do customers expect of a brand? A consistent story, a mission and goal, that the brand “stands for something” worth joining. The challenge is that it’s so easy to have that “something” be tarnished as unfavorable information goes viral. With smartphones, friends can find all the dirt while they are in the restaurant talking about it.

This is why reputation management is more than an afterthought. Good online reputation management practice keeps your brand “standing for something” in the eyes of your customers through all marketing changes. 

For more information on online reputation management, visit reciprocalconsulting.com/online-reputation-management.php#2

 

Is your business coming up when someone searches for it? When it comes up, do your hours and location leap to the eye? Can someone see if you have the product they are seeking?

These questions are the ones to ask, according to the latest Google Think Insights Study. Marketing Pilgrim took a quick look at the highlights and here they are:

  • 4 out of 5 consumers use their smartphone (88%) or tablet/computer (84%) to do a local search
  • 50% of smartphone searchers visit the store within a day vs 34% of tablet/computer users
  • smartphone users look for business hours (54%), directions (53%), and address (50%)
  • tablet/computer searchers are interested in availability of product (45%), hours (42%), and address (38%)
  • 60 to 70% of consumers want to search by customizing for city or immediate surroundings

The full Google report on understanding consumer’s local search behavior is here. The takeaway for a business is in making sure that the information — ALL the information — that comes up when someone searches for anything related to their business is accurate, easy to find on the page with a small screen, and links to their home web page for further information like menus or products.

Many people are willing to come to a store to get what they want if it is nearby and they know it is available. This is the advantage local has over online sales, because there’s immediate gratification when you get what you want at the time of purchase instead of waiting for it to be shipped. Your site has to come up in a search, be updated, and easy to navigate or your visitors will go somewhere else.

For more insights on local search and SEO visit reciprocalconsulting.com/search-engine-optimization.php