Drive Local Traffic to Your Business With Google My Business Posts

Google My Business listings are one of the most effective ways for businesses to be discovered and engaged with on Google. We’ve marketed thousands of clients nationwide from apartment communities, senior living communities, auto dealerships, hotels and hospitals, and have seen first-hand how effective GMB listings are for local businesses.

Across a sample of 409 clients, we found that 28% of their website sessions came from GMB listings. These listings don’t only deliver more traffic than the typical organic search listings, they also deliver higher quality traffic. Website sessions coming from Google My Business listings convert 29% more than the average traffic source.

Google gives businesses plenty of opportunities to promote their company and improve their Google Business profile, but most local businesses don’t take advantage of them or don’t know they exist. In this blog post, we’ll explain how Google determines which listing to show to searchers, how you can use GMB posts to drive local search traffic to your website, and how you can use GMB to convert searchers into leads.

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Brand Jacking: The importance of Protecting Your Brand Name in Search Engines

If you’re doing a PPC (pay per click) campaign for your business, chances are you are focusing mostly on specific keywords to bring new traffic to your site. This is important, but you shouldn’t forget about buying branded search terms to protect your brand name from brand jacking.

Brand jacking is when someone camps on your brand name in search ads, in an attempt to drive people away from your business. If it seems like a sleazy move, that’s because it is. Luckily for us, Google’s quality score metric makes it cheaper for you to buy your brand name than the guy who’s trying to steal it. So, with any luck, you’ll be able to buy your name for $.20 a click while your competitor has to pay $1 a click.

The problem arises when a company doesn’t buy its brand name and a competitor successfully brand jacks it for an extended period of time. The reason this is an issue is because when a competitor gets clicks with their search ad, Google sees them as the most relevant option. So even if a company starts buying its own name, they have an uphill battle until Google realizes they are the rightful owner of the brand term.

Thankfully, it’s easy to combat this. If you manage a SEM or PPC campaign, stop reading right now and go buy your brand term. We’ve seen too many clients who didn’t want to spend $.20 a click on their brand name, and now have to spend $2 a click to overcome their entrenched competitors.

Don’t lose your brand name to brand jackers! Bite the bullet and buy your brand name. Trust us, it’s worth it.

Clicks aren’t the only thing to look at in a display campaign

A lot of the time, people focus on the click-through rate of banner ads to measure how successful they are. This is a fine way to get the baseline statistics on how a display campaign is performing, but banner ads offer much more than just ways for people to get to your website.

One of the ways they help is with overall brand recognition. Your display advertisement could be the first time that someone hears about your brand, and even if they don’t click on it, they are still being exposed to your company.

A second way it helps is by bringing a lift to your search engine marketing campaign. Running a display ad campaign with a SEM campaign has proved to bring significant lift in sales volume. For example, found that running a display campaign with their search campaign increased branded search and conversion volume by 80 percent.

You can also get a lift in your website conversions through Retargeting. Retargeting displays ads to all the people who have visited your website, keeping you top of mind throughout their researching cycle.

Display and search can combine to make your website a lead-generation machine. If you have questions, or want to get started with either search or display ads, contact us for a free consultation.

Mobile, Mobile and More Mobile

We’ve preached over and over how mobile is changing the digital marketing and advertising business. We’ve seen it with our own clients, and marketers across the U.S. are increasing their mobile budgets as well.

The latest report comes from Marin, a search-management software company. They predict that mobile will be bigger than desktop soon, and that marketers need to raise budgets accordingly.

One prediction is that at the current run-rates, mobile devices will account for 25% of all paid search clicks on Google by December 2012. Additionally, the share of ad spend will be 23%. Those are additions of 103% and 164%, respectively.

One of the driving factors behind all of this growth in mobile is the insanely fast consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets. In 2011 alone, Apple sold more iOS devices than the total number of Macs ever sold in the last 28 years.

Another reason for adding mobile into your business’ marketing strategy is that smartphones have higher click-through rate, and a lower cost-per-click than both desktop and tablets. Smartphone users click on ads 4.12% of the time compared with 2.39% for desktops and 3.12% for tablets. Additionally, the cost per click is only $.53 for smartphones, compared with $.83 and $.63 for desktops and tablets, respectively.

So have you decided that you need mobile yet? Well if you haven’t yet, I’ll do my best to convince you with some more data about mobile over the next few days.

Search Engine Use Continues to Grow

More than half of adult search engine users make searches at least once a day. That represents a 54% increase from 35% in 2004. This represents a huge increase in the number of people that use search engines to find information.

These numbers come from a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Search engine use has never been higher. Daily use is highest among 18-29 and 30-49 year-olds (60%), college graduates (70%), and people with household incomes of more than $75k (68%).

Search engines are also seen as reliable sources of information, while almost three-quarters of users say that most of the information they find is accurate and trustworthy.

So what does all this mean for small business marketing? Well, it means that if you aren’t in the search results, you need to be. Search engines are being used more frequently than ever to find information, and users see them as a reliable and trustworthy way to find what they’re looking for.

One way to get in the top of the search results is with search targeting. Also known as paid search, search targeting gets your ads into the top of the search results page, resulting in increased visibility and clicks.

Another way to show up in search results is to optimize your Google Places page. Create a unique Google Places page that provides information for people to find your business.

Another way to get better results in the local search rankings is to use a business directory service to get more citations of your business. A service such as Local AdsUpNow gets your business listed in almost 150 directories, giving your business increased presence and authority in Google’s eyes.

It’s not too late to get in the search results. Contact us today to get started with search targeting or Google Places Optimization.

Online Listings Bring New Opportunities to Local Businesses

I consult a search engine about local businesses almost every day. You probably do, too. If I’m looking for the nearest bank branch, gas station or restaurant, I type it into Google Maps on my iPhone and away we go.

Research from eMarketer confirms my personal anecdote. They found that more than 70% of consumers check an online source before going to a local business or restaurant.

That’s a huge number. If you don’t put a lot of stock in your online presence, then you should.

Out of that 70% of people, 43% said they visited Google to find out information about a business. By far and away that was the most popular way of discovering new business. In a distant second place, with 30% of the vote, was

This tells us that the majority of consumers look for local businesses in the same spots, meaning it’s fairly easy to get noticed.

One of the easiest ways to appear prominently to searchers is to optimize your Google Places listing, and appear in hundreds of online directories with Local AdsUpNow. These two things alone will get you exposure to 73% of the consumers who search online for local businesses.

If you have any questions, sound off in the comments, or contact us for a free digital marketing consultation.

An infographic On the History of Google Places

Fellow Local Search Marketer David Mihm put together an infographic showing the history of Google Places changes over the last few years.

If nothing else, this graph shows the importance of diligence when creating a Google Places listing. It’s not something that you can just set up and forget about – it requires maintenance.

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Get the Most Out of Google Places and Business Directories

When users search in Google, the Google Places listings are becoming more and more prevalent. With more and more businesses expanding their online presence, it’s becoming increasingly important to appear in the first page of listings. How do you do that? Just follow these quick, easy steps.

1. Fill out your Google Places listing
We know, we know, this seems like a no brainer, but we mean you have to fill it out completely. Google will rank your business higher if you have more complete business information.

2. Use appropriate keywords throughout the Google Places listing
Making sure to use keywords appropriate to your business throughout your Google Places listing will ensure that you appear in the most relevant searches. Don’t pack your listing too full of keywords, however, as Google might become suspicious and lower your ranking.

Google places search listing

3. Verify your listing
In Google Places, you have the option to verify your listing. This is a must, because it lets Google know that you actually own the business that you’re updating. You can either verify through a postcard or phone call.

4. Make your listing stand out
Put in photos and videos of your business so users can see exactly what your storefront looks like, and give them a reason to choose you over the other guys.

5. Put your listing in as many directories as possible
Google checks to see where else your business is listed, so be sure to include your business in as many directories as possible. However, this can be extremely time-consuming, so I would suggest using a service such as Local AdsUpNow that automatically submits your business to thousands of directories, which gives your listing a higher rank.

Just follow these easy steps and you’ll be on your way to a better Google Places rank. For more information about directory submission services, check out Local AdsUpNow and sign-up to request more information.