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Monday, June 18, 2018 6:14:26 PM

by Jayson DeMers

For those of us who work in the industry, the concept of SEO is fairly straightforward. It's simple to understand - almost innate.

But for people on the outside looking in, that may not be the case. Knowing how to communicate with that segment of the business world is essential to your success.

Bridge the Gap Between SEO and Non-SEO

Have you ever found yourself in a physician's office or exam room sitting across from a highly qualified doctor who had decades of experience in his or her field of medicine? If so, you probably weren't thinking about all the skills, technical knowledge, and education embedded in that doctor's brain.

If you could have been given even a momentary glimpse into the person's brain, you would have been shocked by how much information was stored in there. Yet, despite all this advanced training and info, the doctor was probably able to break a complex issue down into practical, digestible bits of information you could understand.

You walked away with some grasp of your condition, illness, or physical state, even without any ability to comprehend the big picture of biology or medicine.

The next time you find yourself lamenting over the fact that you can't possibly explain SEO to someone without a background in it, think about sitting in a doctor's office and having a physician explain what's going on inside your body. If a medical professional can simplify decades of formal education and medical experience in a five-minute conversation, you should be able to do the same with SEO.

The key is to be strategic and purposeful about how you communicate.

Six Tips for Explaining and Discussing SEO

It takes time and practice, but you'll eventually become more proficient at communicating SEO phenomena to the non-SEO stakeholders in your outfit. Here are a few practical tips to help you along the way.

1. Break the Basics Down Into Two Parts

If you're working with someone who has zero knowledge of SEO, it's essential to start with the basics. Everyone has their favorite way of explaining SEO, but be wary that you don't overcomplicate the situation.

One of the best methods for explaining SEO and why it's essential is to break it down into two steps: optimization and authority. Explain that optimization is about making sure Google can understand which keywords you're targeting, which products and services you're selling, and where you sell them.

Then walk the person through the idea of authority and the fact that SEO is about showing Google your website/content is valuable and worthy of being served to their users.

2. Use Layman's Terms

As you interact with other SEO experts and people on your team, there's a common set of lingo everyone on the inside uses. As comfortable as this verbiage is, remember that it will sound foreign to someone on the outside looking in.

The best thing you can do is use layman's terms and illustrations to paint a picture of what's really happening. The key is to simplify without being condescending.

As you explain something, ask leading questions and look for both verbal and non-verbal cues. Make sure people are tracking with you and adjust if you feel like you're speaking below their level of comprehension.

As long as someone understands what you're saying, it's okay to stretch their understanding by throwing in new terminology and raising new concepts.

3. Get Visual

The majority of people are visual learners. The human brain processes visuals at a much faster rate than text, so you can use this piece of knowledge to your advantage.

Instead of rattling off a bunch of statistics and data points, show people what you're doing. A visual dashboard with charts, graphs, and interactive tables can be far more memorable and effective.

4. Don't Over-Explain

When a non-SEO person asks you a question about something, resist the temptation to over-explain or go off on a tangent. Answer the question and stop.

Your goal should be to satisfy the questioner's specific concerns, without overwhelming them with additional information they aren't likely to retain. Always be prepared to explain something in further detail, but let your audience guide the conversation.

People will have questions they want answered, and they would rather focus on those specific elements of SEO than other elements that seem irrelevant.

5. Get Them Involved

Imagine if you had no experience playing a musical instrument and someone tried to tell you about how to play the piano. They explained the concept of keys, pedals, notes, chords, tempo, sheet music, posture, and everything else that goes into playing.

You'd get the basic gist, but without actually sitting down and trying it for yourself, a huge piece of understanding would be missing. So if you want people to understand SEO, get them involved.

Ask them to help you with specific steps and tasks. The more hands-on experience they gain, the more they'll understand the value of it.

6. Be Consistent With Updates

If you only provide an SEO update once or twice a year, don't be surprised if people greet you with confused looks. In order to help non-SEO folks understand what you're doing, be consistent with your updates.

It's much easier for someone to understand bounce rates, conversion rates, and other metrics if they track them from week-to-week or month-to-month. After a little while, they'll start to identify trends and find meaning and value in various specific numbers.

Communicate Like Your Job Depends On It

If you really sat down and spent time thinking about it, the way in which you communicate SEO happenings to key stakeholders in your organization is crucially important to your job security and career growth. If you aren't able to explain why SEO matters and how your department is performing, the folks who lack an understanding of SEO will eventually conclude that what you're doing is insignificant.

At the very least, they'll decide they need someone else for the job.

Instead of viewing this as a frustrating part of your job, start communicating like your work depends on it. With this sort of pressure behind you, you'll inevitably find ways to improve.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Saturday, June 16, 2018 7:16:53 PM

by Robert Clough



1. Understand User Behavior

Many business owners make the mistake of relying on certain keywords to develop their content marketing campaigns. Although keywords are important, there's much more that goes into a good campaign. You have to make use of things like link building, meta tags, and custom URLs to get the most out of the content you create. But, none of this matters if you don't have a good understanding of user behavior! Everything needs to be created with the audience in mind, not search bots. This helps you create the most genuine, memorable interactions possible.

2. Set Clear Goals

Once you've done enough market research and have a clear idea of what your consumers want to see, you have to create new goals for your content marketing campaign. Be as specific as possible. Think about how many people you want to reach, the amount of new traffic you'd like to create, and the conversions you're aiming for, too. Then, set a date on these goals and get to work. If you're having trouble understanding the direction you need to take, reach out to SEO professionals like RBD Design.

3. Create a Schedule

The only way you're going to reach your marketing goals on time is if you have a clear schedule. This isn't just for the creation side of the process. You need to have a posting schedule, too. Make use of digital scheduling apps or set post times for all your content within each system you use. You can do this for your own website's blog as well as on social media.

4. Invest in Social Media

Speaking of social media, how many followers do you have? Do you tend to get a good number of likes, comments, and shares when you post something? If not, you've got some work to do. Social media is a crucial part of content marketing. It introduces you to new users, keeps you relevant in the minds of those who are already consumers, and brings many followers to your actual website. It closes the gap between your brand and your audience. Social media provides a platform to share the values you hold, the kind of company culture you have, and more. It's the kind of stuff people can relate to and will be more likely to engage with online.

5. Develop Valuable Partnerships

To raise your engagement levels even further, create a few partnerships. Run a social media contest with a brand that complements what you offer without competing directly with you. Or, hire a few brand ambassadors or influencers. Brand ambassadors promote your products on their page. They talk about who you are and what you do in a way that's genuine and interesting, often offering a discount code as an incentive. Influencers work in the same way, but they tend to have a much bigger audience. They'll come at a higher cost to work with and the value to match.

6. Take a Look at Your Site Map

It's no use investing so much time and money to build your site's traffic if it's confusing to navigate. Take a look at your site map for a second. While it can be beneficial to have multiple landing pages, you shouldn't make it difficult for users to find what they're looking for. Keep the layout simple and watch how much better your content marketing successes become.

7. Update Your UX and UI

While you're tweaking the landing pages and the navigation abilities of your website, think about the UX and UI. What's appealing to users now is not the same as what used to catch their eye a few years ago. There's no shame in doing a bit of a site upgrade to better connect with the design trends of today. This doesn't mean you have to do a full rebranding. But, it does mean you should find ways to make the whole experience more interesting and natural-feeling.

8. Recycle Content

Here is another one of the best content marketing tips: recycle your content! Remember that great blog post you wrote a few months ago? Or the amazing Instagram photo you posted once then never used? Some content is worth putting in front of your audience again, even if you present it in a different way. Make an old blog post the focus of an upcoming social media post. Consider using an old photo you love for a new blog's header, too.

9. Focus on the CTA

Whether you're coming up with fresh content or recycling old material, you have to make the most of your CTA. This is how you make people stop what they're doing and pay attention. A strong CTA can be the difference between a user who keeps scrolling their Facebook and one who clicks on your post. It may also help you make more sales once users arrive on your site.

10. Pay Attention to All Your Metrics

As you're tweaking your site's design, posting content, and partnering with influencers, pay attention to your metrics. Don't focus on traffic and conversions alone, either. Take a close look at how each landing page's bounce rates are doing and the average amount of time a user spends on each page. Notice which parts of your website are getting barely any traffic at all and the ones you can leverage. These will help you create more opportunities with the help of the content marketing tips mentioned above.

Make the Most of These Content Marketing Tips

Understanding content marketing doesn't come easily to everyone right away. However, it's something you have to keep working at if you really want your website to be successful. Start using the content marketing tips above and take note of which ones offer the best results. From there, keep expanding your knowledge of this part of marketing and watch out for algorithm changes or industry updates, too. For more content tips and tricks, click here.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:31:23 PM

by Robert Clough



It Expands Your Influence

The most important part of growing your business is expanding your influence. You can't get more customers if you're just reaching the same old audience. Digital marketing gives you the unique chance to get your message seen by more people. Your content can get shared on social media, opening you up to a whole world of potential customers. With more and more people canceling their cable and satellite TV contracts, your television ads may not be reaching as many people as you think. The growing popularity of remote jobs means people may be driving less, which could limit the chance they see billboards or hear your ad on the radio. But while these methods of traditional marketing are declining, the chance that your audience uses the internet for pleasure is growing.

It Targets Your Niche Market

A problem with traditional marketing is that it can be hard to target your specific audience. Sure, you can choose a time and TV station to air your commercial on, but you're still spending all this money to advertise to people who aren't your target audience. One of the best benefits of using digital marketing is that you can be very specific to your audience. Have you ever been searching for new dog beds on the internet, then noticed dog bed ads pop up on Facebook and other websites? That's because you fit the specific niche market for a dog bed company. You can choose the audience you want to advertise to based on things like their age and interests. This way, all your money is being used towards advertising to the right audience. Once you connect with your niche market, you can use marketing tactics specially designed for them to better advertise your product.

It Helps You Connect with Your Customers

But it's not just enough to get new customers - you'll also want to keep them happy and convince them to come back for more. A huge role of digital marketing is social media. It allows you to comment and message your customers directly, forming a stronger bond with them. This is necessary to build up brand loyalty to help your business grow. It can also help bring new customers in as well. Many customers expect that businesses will have a strong social media presence. If they have a question about your product, they may message you via social media. Quick, positive responses may give them the extra push they need to purchase the product through you instead of a competitor.

It's Affordable

It's no secret that marketing can get expensive. But you have to make money to earn money, right? While the different types of digital marketing and traditional marketing vary in price, digital marketing is typically more affordable than its traditional counterparts. This means that your money will last longer online, and you can do more digital marketing within your budget.

It Allows Mobile Marketing

While the number of people paying for cable and satellite may be on the decline, the amount of time people spend on their phones is on the rise. People spend an average of 5 hours a day on their phones, and they spend more time on mobile apps than they do watching TV. The best part about online marketing is that it transfers to mobile phones too. With people spending so much time on their phones, the chance that your ad will be seen increases.

It Gives You the Chance to Publish Important Content

Blog posts are sometimes overlooked when people think about how to do digital marketing. But blog posts can be one of your greatest assets. While people may walk away from the TV during commercials or close popups as soon as they can, blogs bring the people to you. When someone views your post it's because they were searching for information that you are able to provide. By including some convenient links, you can send potential clients to your website where they have access to more information.

It's Easier to Analyze Data

Everyone knows that marketing is important, but why spend money on something that just doesn't work? It can be hard to know which of your traditional marketing efforts are working and which aren't. One of the benefits of using digital marketing is that it's easier to track and analyze. There are some great marketing analytics tools that can help you uncover which strategies are helping grow your business and which are ineffective. If you're not sure you could use analytics, a digital marketing agency could handle your online marketing and marketing analytics tools for you.

Using Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business

Growing your business can be a challenging task, but there are many types of digital marketing that can help. Not only is digital marketing affordable, but it can help you expand your influence, target your niche market, connect with your customers, advertise on mobile devices, provide important information, and analyze data. Did you find this helpful? Check out our blog for more posts like this.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 9:10:20 PM

by Robert Clough



Joining PPC affiliate programs lets you make money online promoting things you love. You likely do 80-90% of the promotional efforts already. ppcaffiliates.jpg Each mentioned offer in your content is an opportunity to earn commissions. A PPC affiliate converts those free promotions into lead-generating opportunities. Want to know how it's done? This post will explain the basics of PPC affiliate marketing and how to join programs -- plus, ways to begin promoting its offers.

What are PPC Affiliate Programs?

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) affiliate programs are frequently intertwined with Pay-Per-Lead (PPL) programs. In fact, several major affiliate networks blend the two creating confusion. Though, blending also creates a great opportunity to earn. Here's an easy way to differentiate the two:
  • PPC -- You get paid if someone clicks an ad/link
  • PPL -- You get paid if someone clicks AND acts (e.g. buys/submits info)
Within an affiliate program are:
  • Publishers (You)
  • Advertisers (Brands)
An affiliate network acts as a 3rd party if you decide to partner with brands found on the network. Why would an affiliate choose one over the other? PPC ads' job is enticing a click without the hurdle of conversions. This allows a site owner to make money in a single step. PPC ads pay less than lead-based opportunities. But, they're effective for a passive income-making model. To summarize:
  1. You join a PPC affiliate program
  2. You place PPC ads on your site
  3. You earn whenever the ad(s) is clicked
Join both if the advertiser includes PPL within the PPC program. This pays for both click and lead generation.

Part 1: Measuring the Program Qualities

The best PPC affiliate programs have:
  • Quality control for advertisers and publishers
  • Respectable payment models
  • Offers your community would engage
Let's consider how each benefits your site's monetization:

Approval Process

Some programs require a traffic/conversion threshold for approval. Other platforms have open enrollment. Find the middle-ground limiting access to improve user quality without strict performance standards.

Payment Methods

Most PPC programs have a Net 30 payment schedule and use ACH and direct deposit for payments. Find a program offering shorter payment periods with low earnings thresholds.

Offer Selection

Your two biggest ad challenges: Great PPC programs offer tried-and-tested creative and copy. This should include an ample selection of banners and contextual links/call-to-actions. Or, access to the design team for custom creative tailored for your website.

Part 2: Finding a Beginner-Friendly Program

Let's find a PPC program having desired qualities in mind.

ShareASale

ShareASale hosts thousands of brands and online shops. Joining gives partners a suite of tools for tracking and campaign management. Each marketplace program has unique offers and payments organized by industry and niche.

Google Adsense

Google Adsense provides an easy-to-monetize opportunity through a copy & paste code blurb. This displays banner and text ads on your website pulling keywords to match content topics to advertisers.

Bidvertiser

Bidvertiser mirrors Google Adsense with its access to advertisers. Publishers partnering with Bidvertiser gain access to text/banner ads for thousands of brands and online stores.

InfoLinks

InfoLinks provides text-based ad links generated from content keywords and topics. This converts keywords to advertisements automatically upon adding InfoLink code to your website.

Which is Best?

Our four examples are free to join with low thresholds. Each provides publisher tools and an ample selection of branded partnerships. Yet, join and run each for a trial period to measure ad quality and user feedback.
  • Do the ads match your content topics?
  • Are the offers enticing and respectable?
  • Are your visitors clicking the ads?
Review the program's performance and double-down on its use.

Part 3: Creating PPC Affiliates Conversion

Most PPC affiliate programs pull content keywords to match advertiser ads. This dynamic automation makes it easy to display relevant ads. Yet, PPC platforms aren't perfect and need refining to optimize ad delivery. Here are three smart ways to increase PPC conversions:

Improve On-Page SEO

Google uses on-page SEO to understand the content topic. This results in higher search placement and relevancy. The relevancy also improves ad selection by matching keywords to advertiser bids. Do this:
  1. Use a keyword tool to find high-value keywords/phrases
  2. Apply keywords to the title, description, and URL
  3. Expand the content with relevant phrases and keywords
  4. Build new links to the updated page
Doing these will display better ads on these pages.

Placement

Place ads where visitors see them without disrupting content consumption. Try these ad placements:
  • Under the post title before the content
  • At the top of the blog's sidebar
  • Below the content but before comments
Otherwise, try banner ads every couple hundred words to "break up" the content.

Link Building

Use keyword research and visitor feedback to craft share-worthy content. This content type caters to audience wants/needs and entices inbound links. Or, try one of the following:
  • Network and ask for links from relevant sites
  • Guest post on industry blogs and news platforms
These actions increase site and page value lifting its search engine placement. In turn, this drives more traffic creating a larger audience to convert.

Part 4: Scaling Your Marketing Efforts

Earnings from pay per click affiliate programs correlate with traffic efforts. The more people visiting your site equals more ad exposure. Here are two smart ways to scale your PPC affiliate efforts:

Arbitrage

Arbitrage is spending your money on ads to increase traffic and conversions on ads displayed on your site. For example, you bid $0.10 per ad driving visitors to a page displaying ads offering $0.25 per click. Try this:
  1. Set up and fund a Google AdWords account
  2. Use PPCNerd.com scripts to discover ad opportunities
  3. Write engaging ad copy and select your placements
  4. Run the campaign and measure effectiveness
Start by promoting your best content or highly optimized pages.

Auditing

Disorganized, outdated content can lower publisher quality score with advertisers and PPC platforms. Fix this by removing less-than-perfect website content. Do this:
  1. Use an SEO tool to discover underperforming pages
  2. Choose to update or remove the content
  3. Fix internal links to/from those pages
  4. Build new, quality links to updated or redirected pages
This "tightens" your site's content delivering a better user experience. The result is higher conversion rates (e.g. ad clicks).

Wrapping Up and Moving Forward

PPC affiliate programs provide a host of income possibilities. Each click increase earnings in part to your keen ad selection and strong branded partnerships. Options like Google Adsense are a common starting point. But, there are many others worth tinkering and exploring. You're not restricted to a single program. If you have traffic generation skills then you have what it takes to make money with your website. Use our marketing directory to grow your efforts. Then, find the perfect PPC program for your site because opportunity awaits.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Thursday, June 07, 2018 3:15:55 PM

by Jayson DeMers

Seasonality is something that most businesses deal with on an annual basis. Whether it's actual physical seasons or holidays, different times of year bring unique needs and demands. This is even true with something as technical as SEO.

Understanding Seasonal SEO

We account for seasonality in almost every other aspect of business, so why wouldn't we think about it regarding SEO? Seasonal SEO isn't all that different from traditional SEO - it just takes specific time periods into account.

There are a couple different types of seasonal SEO. There's time-based, which generally takes physical seasons into account (winter, spring, summer, and fall), but can also include an extended period of time as it relates to a particular social occasion - such as the approaching World Cup (which will last for roughly a month.

Then there's event-based seasonal SEO, which focuses on isolated events like Christmas, Easter, or Independence Day. Event-based SEO strategies generally have a smaller scope and focus than time-based SEO strategies, but this isn't always the case.

It's best to view a seasonal SEO strategy as a category of your overarching SEO strategy. It always feeds the big picture, even if it's quite different in approach and execution.

How to Thrive With Seasonal SEO

Being successful with seasonal SEO is all about looking ahead and anticipating what your customers will be looking for during a select time period. Time-based SEO is slightly easier than event-based SEO.

However, both can be done successfully with the correct planning and execution.

1. Develop Some Ideas

As always, content is the meat of your SEO strategy. As think about seasonal SEO, start developing some content ideas.

Chances are, you already have some ideas based on your professional knowledge of your field, but don't be afraid to dig a little deeper. Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a good place to start. You'll also want to analyze the Keyword Planner tool with Google Trends. This helps to ensure you aren't just identifying keywords that have experienced a sudden unrelated spike.

Good seasonal content is magnetic and actionable. It needs a compelling title and introduction to pull people in, but it also has to be insightful enough to move people to action. This article from Beattie Development is a good example. It's seasonal (discussing summer), but also actionable (giving readers clear examples of why they should move during the summer). The hope is that the article will encourage people to move during what can be a slower time for the company.

2. Create Content in Advance

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is waiting until the "season" has arrived to create content. For example, many businesses wait until after Thanksgiving to start creating Christmas-related content. As a result, they feel rushed and end up developing shallow content that falls flat.

To be successful with seasonal content, you need to develop an editorial calendar and create the content in advance. When the appropriate season arrives, this allows you to focus on publishing and sharing. (If you develop your content well in advance, you may need to make some tweaks and updates at the time of publishing. This is totally normal and acceptable.)

3. Nail the Timing

Timing is one of the most important ingredients for successful seasonal SEO. Every business will operate on its own schedule, but you may find it helpful to segment your efforts into three phases: (1) the build-up phase, (2) the execution phase, and (3) the slow-down phase. Here's what happens during each of these periods:

  • Build-up phase. During this phase - which starts a few weeks prior to the peak of the season - your main focus is on creating content and building awareness. Take an HVAC company, for example. If the peak of their business occurs in July and August, they start the buildup phase in April or May. Not only are they optimizing their marketing message, but they're also being strategic with the keywords they use throughout their content. The Estes Services blog is a good example to study.
  • Execution phase. The execution phase takes place during the actual peak of the season or event. Using the HVAC industry as an example, the execution portion of a seasonal SEO strategy would take place in the heat of the summer months. This is when you actually publish the content and focus on driving traffic to it.
  • Slow-down phase. Just as you ramped up towards the season or event, there's also a slow-down phase during which you gradually shift back towards your normal SEO strategy. The goal here is to create a smooth transition that leverages the gains you've experienced over the previous weeks or months.

Mastering these phases takes some experience. It may take a few seasons for you to get used to how each phase leads into another, but you'll eventually get the hang of it.

4. Avoid Dated URLs

Because of the time-bound nature of seasonal SEO, it's easy to get too specific. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is using dated URLs. You'll commonly see fashion websites do this - dating the month and year within a blog post's URL. The problem with this approach is that it severely limits how you can use the URL in the future.

Even if your content is seasonal, you want your URLs to be evergreen. This gives you the opportunity to continue reaping results well after the peak engagement period has concluded.

5. Refresh Content in the Future

Your seasonal SEO strategy will get better with time. Not only should you be reviewing analytics to understand which keywords and content were most effective, but you can also refresh and update your content in the future. This will make your job far easier when future seasonal periods arrive.

Give Your SEO a Boost

Not every business will benefit from an investment in seasonal SEO, but it can deliver healthy returns for businesses that have products and services that perform particularly well around holidays, events, or weather patterns. Consider your business and head back to the drawing table to figure out if you can enhance your SEO strategy moving forward.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018 9:35:30 PM

by Robert Clough



How to Start (And Promote) a Vehicle Transportation Business

No matter which region you are living in, you will likely be surrounded by people that drive cars. At some point or another, these people will require the services of a car hauling company. It's because of this, that starting a car hauling business is often seen as a good idea. Yet if you've never started a business before, you might not know how to get a car hauling business off the ground. Fortunately, you can follow some guidelines to help get you going in the right direction. In fact, keep reading, and you'll learn how to start and promote a car hauling business. By the time you're finished reading, you'll be ready to quit your job and make car hauling your full-time focus. Let's begin!

Get a Commercial Drivers License

If you are going to start a car hauling business, you need to obtain something known as a commercial drivers license (CDL). A CDL can be obtained by speaking to the proper authorities in your state. Different states are going to have varying requirements when it comes to paperwork for a car hauling business. You, therefore, need to ask the proper authorities if there is any other form of paperwork you need to get. It is important you tell them exactly what you are thinking about doing. If you leave out any information, about the kinds of vehicles you are going to be transporting, you might not get the right paperwork.

Obtain the Correct Insurance

You will need to invest in some insurance for your car hauling business. Fortunately, obtaining the paperwork mentioned above can often make it easier to get insurance for your business. As a result, your startup costs will be a bit more affordable, by taking the steps we've discussed. Needless to say, if you find that your insurance costs are high, make sure you shop around. By speaking to many different insurance providers you should be able to find an appealing quote. When you are investing in insurance, make sure you choose the right kind. There are insurance companies that cater specifically to car hauling businesses. These companies will ensure that both the vehicle and the cargo are protected by the insurance. If you can't find such a company, you should still be able to work with a regular insurance company. But make sure they are going to cover both the vehicle and the cargo.

Get your Equipment in Order

A car hauling business is a business that requires a certain level of capital investment. This capital is needed so that you can purchase the correct equipment. You will need to invest in a vehicle that is designed to haul cars. Now, something to keep in mind here, is that your equipment needs might vary, depending on the kind of car you want to haul. If you are thinking about hauling large vehicles, you will need a setup that is able to help you with this. If you are thinking about hauling cars over a long distance, you will need to invest in a vehicle that is able to do this. Check the fuel requirements of any vehicle you buy and then cross-reference the requirements with your area of service.

Create Solid Contracts

You also need to find a lawyer who can help you create solid contracts that will protect you. You can use these contracts when working with new clients. Incidentally, if a client asks you to sign a contract, make sure you are aware of everything that's on it. This will ensure you don't have any surprises later on.

Finding Clients

There are many ways you can go about generating clients for your haulage company. One way you can find people who will be interested in using your services is by using a website known as Central Dispatch. This website acts as a marketplace that allows for people to post hauling related jobs. You can then approach these people and offer your services to them. It might take some time for you to see results with this website. But you will need to stick with it. You might also want to seek out some brokers that are able to put you in touch with companies that might need your services. If a broker deems you as someone that can help them, they will put you on their list of subcontractors. They will then contact you when there is a job opportunity available. Another way you can find clients is by advertising your services online. You can use Google AdWords to help you do this. All you need to do is find out which keywords your ideal clients are typing into Google, to find a business like yours. You then need to target these keywords, so that people see your business as a result of typing in the keywords you have selected.

Maintaining a Good Reputation

You need to focus on maintaining a good reputation when you are working in this industry. That is because there tends to be a lot of 'middle men' involved. This means that in the beginning, they're going to be the ones who are going to be sending you work. If you do not fulfill a contract, then they're not going to see you as someone who can get the job done. As a result, they will be way about sending work your way in the future.

Cheques from Car Hauling?

Car hauling can be a great business to get into. But if you want to generate sizeable cheques from car hauling, you need to focus on setting up and promoting your business the right way. In this post, we've taken a look at some of the ways you can increase the odds of success when starting a car hauling business. You need to get the right kinds of paperwork, of which depend on the state you are in. You also need to think about obtaining the correct equipment. Promoting your car hauling business can be hard. If you can maintain a good reputation, though, it won't be long before you are generating a lot of business through word of mouth. Want to learn how you can build your brand online? Check out our brand building section to see some of our latest content!

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Thursday, May 31, 2018 10:07:52 PM

by Robert Clough



Have you googled yourself lightly and not liked what you saw? With search engine reputation management you can be sure you're putting your best foot forward.

repmanagement.jpg

It doesn't matter how great of a brand you may be (or think you are). If you have a ton of negative reviews, comments, and ratings online, then your real-world business is going to suffer.


This is because 84% of consumers trust their online comrades' recommendations. If you have a ton of naysayers and "haters," then it's going to harm your online reputation.


But what's worse than having a bad reputation is having no reputation at all. If your prospects can't find you online, then you're getting no new business.


The simple solution is to put together a search engine reputation management strategy. It's not as difficult as it sounds and once you put it into action, you'll gain more visibility for your brand.


If you're not familiar with SEO reputation management, then continue reading for some quick tips.


Let's get to it.

1. Create and Maintain Your Social Profiles

Simply creating brand profiles on all the major platforms isn't going to help your ranking in search engines. Some make the mistake of believing that opening up pages on Flikr, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook will push their brand keywords to the top.


However, this isn't going to work unless your profiles are getting some link love and activity. This is why it's recommended that you completely fill out your profiles. Make sure the correct name, address, and phone numbers are the same across all of your pages.


Avoid using pseudonyms, if you're building a personal brand. In this case, it's best to go with your real first and last names. Then use your contacts to connect with your pages so you don't have accounts with no followers or friends.


Then to further help your SEO, you should include relevant keywords inside of your about section. But don't go overboard because Google will penalize your pages for being keyword-stuffed.


Most importantly, Google is watching to see if your profiles are active. Make sure you're continuing to make connections and engage in conversations. Another reason to avoid opening too many profiles.

2. Create a Universal Bio

It's essential to maintain consistency across all of your online profiles. When you write a guest blog post or are featured in an article, the company will ask for a bio or profile they can use as a reference in the content.


It's good to give a universal bio that you use on your website, blog, and social media accounts. Then you should also include your brand keywords are referenced across the web. Make sure to include embedded links inside of the bios that lead to your various social profiles and website.


Note that everywhere this bio shows up on the web counts as a backlink for all of the links within your bio. In other words, it'll quickly build link juice for SEO purposes.

3. Attend Speaking Engagements

One of the easiest (and free) ways to get the web talking about your brand is to speak at an event. If you're lucky, you'll be able to find a local event you can go to. Otherwise, you'll have to dish out money for the travel and hotel.


But it's all worth it if you can get the media to talk about the event and the speakers that are attending. They'll include your bio and links, which will help your SEO, as well as build visibility.


Then if the event is recorded and posted online, then this too will help grow awareness of your business. Make sure to share these on your social profiles to help build authority. And create events so that your followers are aware of your speaking engagements and can make plans to attend.

4. Build the Second Blog

You already have the main brand site and blog, which is great for content building and SEO. But if you really want to streamline your efforts, then you should consider building an alternative one.


For instance, you can have your regular business (or personal) blog. Then you can create a second one that talks about something you're passionate about.


An example could be blogging about cooking, mountain climbing, marketing, or whatever your hobby or side hustle is. The idea is to help build more links with your brand name. So make sure the domain name has your brand name in it.


Take time to fill the second blog with great content to help build your web profile and domain authority. If you can connect with your audience with this blog, then the engagement can really help boost your visibility and SEO.

5. Claiming Your Business Listings

It doesn't matter whether you're a local or online business like The Gallas Company. Search engines and various sites are collecting data about your company. If you want to make use of these listings, which show up at the top of local searches, then you'll need to claim them.


When you do, make sure your name, address, and phone number are the same across all your business listings. Fill out everything you can on each profile to better optimize it. Search engines will rank you higher if you have more details than a similar company with little to no data.


If you have business hours, accept specific payments, or multiple locations then add it.

Remember, you're not just filling it out for search engines - you want to give users the info they need to reach out to your business.

6. Open a YouTube Channel

If you have great content to share on your blog, why not repurpose it into video content? About 55% of people watch online video each day and 92% of mobile users share videos with others.


It's even expected that 80% of web traffic will come from video by 2019. That's right around the corner. This goes to prove the importance of video, whether you post them on YouTube or elsewhere.


For instance, videos on Facebook have 135% greater organic reach. So using video in your social media marketing is a definite win.


As for the type of content you produce for your channel depends on your audience and their needs. Do you have topics you can talk about that touches on their questions and concerns? Or maybe they'd like to see product demonstrations to assist with their buying decision.


Roughly 90% of users say that product videos help with their decision to buy. While you don't need professional camera equipment or crew, you should ensure your videos are high-quality.


The lighting and audio should be crisp. Plus, you should offer HD options for 1080p or even 4K.

7. Write Guest Blog Posts

It's not always enough to consistently write amazing content for your own blog. So why not share the love with other blogs? You can find bloggers in your industry who aren't direct competitors that'll post your guest articles.


What's great about guest blogs is that you can include your bio, profile links, and website URL.

If you're able to find a blog that has a high domain authority and lots of traffic from your target audience, then even better.


This will help drive some of their traffic your way, and you'll get backlink love that'll boost your SEO. Make sure your guest post is high-quality and resonates with the audience of the site. Otherwise, it won't yield the results you want (or worse, the blogger may reject it).

8. Answer the Negative Reviews

It happens to the best of us - negative reviews rear their head quite often on the web, which means you need to be on your toes. You don't want to leave these reviews unattended because they'll greatly impact the image of your brand.


By seeking out these reviews and replying respectfully will show that your brand cares. Just keep emotions out of the mix so you don't end up flaming the fire vs putting it out.


The key here is to find out what the problem is and how or if you can remedy it. If you're able to, follow-up with the customer to see if they're satisfied. And if they are, then you can ask them to update or write a new review.


Keep in mind others will see your comments with negative reviewers so it's a great opportunity to showcase your brand as professional and courteous.

Building a Search Engine Reputation Management Strategy

As you can see, there are many ways you can manage your online reputation using SEO. It's one part creativity and one part consistency. With the right knowledge, you'll find that putting together a search engine reputation management plan is rather simple.


If you feel you need more information and tips on this topic, then you can find resources available at Search Engine Guide. We offer a sleuth of guides you can use for every aspect of your digital marketing.


Stop by today to see how we can help educate you to improve your SEO efforts.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Thursday, May 17, 2018 6:19:35 PM

by Jayson DeMers

Local search functions a little differently than national search; you’ll face far less competition, and you’ll be working for a position in the “local 3-pack,” the top 3 results for a given query, based on a user’s location. While many of the ranking factors that affect your national rankings will impact your local rankings as well, you’ll also need to consider some local-specific factors--and the most important one here is the quantity and quality of local reviews.

In short, the more reviews you earn on third-party sites (and the better those reviews are), the higher you’ll be able to rank in local searches. Sounds simple, right? There’s one big problem stopping you from getting them, but there are plenty of alternative strategies to help you achieve your goals.

The Problem With Requests

Yelp and similar third-party review sites are pretty serious about not allowing you to ask your customers directly for reviews. The philosophy here makes sense; if companies were allowed to freely influence their customers to leave reviews, they might skew the reviews in their favor by selecting only the most likely customers to leave reviews, or might use bribery to solicit more positive comments.

Strategies for Getting More Reviews

So how can you get more reviews if you’re not allowed to ask for them?

1. Make your presence on review sites known. You can’t pressure your customers to leave a review, but you can give them visual indicators of your presence on third-party review sites. Some review sites, like Yelp, will even give you stickers and other visual prompts for free. Advertise your presence on your front door, at the cash register, on your website, on social media, and anywhere else you can think of.

2. Keep your brand top-of-mind. Keep your brand top-of-mind with your customers by sending them greeting cards periodically, or keeping them enrolled in an engaging email list. As long as you keep giving them consistently positive service, they’ll be inclined to say something or do something positive for you when they’re reminded how much you value them.

3. Ask customers for reviews in person. Third-party review sites won’t be able to tell when you’ve asked a customer for a review in person; they mostly don’t want you to buy reviews online or bully your audience into leaving reviews with spammy email practices and the like. Reach out to some of your best customers and see if they’d be willing to give you some positive words.

4. Give exceptional experiences. About 25 percent of consumers will only leave reviews if their experience was exceptionally good, and another 33 percent will leave reviews if their experience is exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. Obviously, you’ll want to be on the positive end of the spectrum here. Go out of your way to give not just good experiences, but exceptional ones, to as many customers as you can.

5. Ask specific questions on social media. Try to gather feedback on social media by asking specific questions about your products or service. You’ll get some immediate feedback in the form of responses and comments, and if you include a link to your presence on a third-party review site, you may also encourage responders to leave a formal review.

6. Respond to existing reviews. You should also take the time to respond to reviews--both positive and negative ones. When other people see that you’ve responded to reviewers in the past, they’ll learn that you take reviews seriously, and will be more likely to leave a review of their own. Additionally, you may earn the chance to rectify a mistake or a bad experience by following up with a customer who left a bad review.

Keeping Reviews Positive

Of course, you’ll also need to invest extra effort to ensure those reviews are positive. Here are some basic steps you can take:

  • Maintain best business practices. Work on improving the quality of your service in every way you can, and train your staff to give more personal, memorable service to every customer.
  • Listen to constructive feedback. Pay attention to any negative reviews you receive. What points of feedback can you take action on? How can you use this new information to improve the business?
  • Make things right. If a customer is unhappy, before or after they leave a review, go out of your way to make things right. You might be able to turn that 1-star review into a 4-star one just by reaching out.

You won’t be able to amass a horde of positive reviews and comments overnight. But if you apply these strategies consistently and keep giving your customers positive experiences, you’ll build your review base in no time.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Thursday, May 17, 2018 1:06:49 AM

by Robert Clough



A lot of business owners tend to cringe at the thought of trying to figure out SEO. It seems difficult, complicated, and is a huge time suck.

And some of SEO is difficult, complicated, and a huge time suck. But not all of it is. Some of it, like optimizing your Google My Business profile is actually easy and quick. And hugely beneficial for your business. But like everything else, if it's done wrong, you won't reap the rewards. With that in mind, here's your guide on how I optimized my business profile for maximum results.

How to Optimize My Business Profile

The first step to get on Google map listings is to create a Google my business profile. Click here to get started. The next step is to answer a variety of questions that Google asks you to fill out so you can complete your profile properly. Doing so will help you create a profile containing valuable basic data to help your existing and potential customers find information about your company.

While you may think it's not necessary to fill everything out, you're wrong. The problem is that if you don't fill everything out, someone else can. What most business owners don't realize is that anyone can suggest a change or an edit to your listing. And that list of "everyone" includes your competition. What's worse is that they aren't just suggested edits. These changes can end up going live on your listing. And you won't even be notified that it's happening.


To prevent unwanted information on your Google My Business listing, log on to the dashboard at least monthly to ensure no one has made any unwanted changes to your listing.

Wait For Verification

After filling out all the information correctly, you'll submit it to Google. Then it's time to verify your listing. This is a crucial step for the visibility and performance of your listing. The best way to verify your business information is by mail. Yes, it takes the longest amount of time but it's the best option. That's because now Google knows for sure the address you've provided is actually an existing business address. Afterall, you're receiving mail there.


Receiving verification by mail helps Google weed out false listings that only serve to confuse and misdirect users. False listings also derail the usefulness of Google Map listings and other tools. Until your business is verified, Google will not display your business or any edits you do. You also won't be able to access any analytical information, page insights, or do any edits until it's been verified. Luckily, verification only takes a week or less. Google sends you a verification postcard with an enclosed code you'll use to activate your live listing.

Use Keywords

Keywords won't just help boost SEO on your website or blog. You can use keywords to help you create a Google My Business profile. Go ahead and compile your best keywords and search phrases to help your business listing get found more easily. Don't forget to include your business website in your Google My Business listing.

Strive For Accuracy

Make sure that everything you list on your Google map listings is the same across the board. The information you list should be the same on your website, Google listing, and even on any social media sites, you're on. That includes your business operating hours. It's incredibly important to enter your business hours. But it's also hugely important to update them whenever they change. Most businesses have holiday hours or simply close on certain days during the year. Luckily, Google makes it really easy to customize your business hours during holidays and other special events. Use it to keep your site accurate and your customers happy.

Add Photos

Just like photos are important to capture the attention of users to your website, the same is true for your Google My Business listing.


Make sure you add a few photos to your listing. Add your logo image. This will help customers identify your business more readily. Don't forget about the cover photo. The cover photo should showcase your brand's personality. Just remember it will be cropped to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio.


Other photos you include should be used to spotlight the best features of your business. Especially when it concerns how customers make purchasing decisions at your place of business. Include goods or services your business offers.


Add a few photos of your staff working and assisting customers. Take photos of the exterior and interior of the business. Add extra photos you think to highlight the best features of your business.


Photos that are too large can't be displayed. Keep your JPG or PNG photos between 10KB and 5MB. Do NOT use stock photos. Only include originals. Hire a professional photographer if you need to.

Manage And Respond To Customer Reviews

Customer reviews on your Google My Business profile are incredibly helpful. Many customers rely and trust on reviews and testimonials from other consumers. In fact, 90% of customers look for online reviews before they make a purchasing decision. This is an opportunity to interact with your customers just by responding to their reviews. Even if you receive a few you don't like. Responding to reviews shows that your business values its customers. You respect what they have to say and the feedback they leave. All positive reviews will have a positive effect on potential customers when they research your business. And those reviews can actually increase your company's online visibility in search results.


It's pretty easy to encourage your customers to leave feedback on your profile listing just by creating a link they can click on to write reviews.

Using Google Posts

Try using Google My Business posts. They're a great way to spread the word about events you're hosting or to even attract more attention to your blog. You can also use the posts to create a sale or even feature a new product. Post as often as you want, but try to do a few posts every month. Doing so will help boost SEO.

Keep Learning

Continue to monitor your business profile on a regular basis. Add to it whenever you can with posts, updated information, and photos. My business profile is there to help new customers find you. But that doesn't mean there isn't more work you can do. We want to help. Subscribe to our newsletter to learn the very latest in marketing and SEO.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 9:01:27 PM

by Jayson DeMers

Many marketers work hard to achieve first page rankings but don't know what to do when they don't get many clicks. It's often assumed that getting on the first page of search results means automatic traffic, but it doesn't. Even getting on the first page for local search results - which is fairly easy to do - doesn't guarantee people will click on your link.

If you've achieved first page rankings but aren't getting many clicks, here are some possible reasons and solutions to help you troubleshoot:

Does your meta description tell the right story?

Users scan the meta description generated by the search engine before clicking on a result. If the meta description displayed doesn't match what a user searched for, they won't click. When crafting your meta description, think about what messaging would make a user click.

Focus on, but don't rely on the <meta> attribute

You have less control over your displayed meta description than you think. You can work hard to craft the perfect meta description using the <meta> attribute, but users may not see it. Google determines what snippet of content best describes your page, and there's no way to guarantee your official meta description will be displayed.

If Google thinks your meta description is better than your on-page content, that's what will be displayed. Otherwise, snippets from your on-page content will be used.

Since there's no way to guarantee the meta description Google shows users, the best way to optimize it is to write an accurate meta description and make sure every section of content on your page is clear, concise, and relevant - especially the opening 2-3 sentences of every page of content.

Plan for truncated meta descriptions

Your best move is to create a meta description that is complete at 155 characters, but is equally complete (and more expansive) at 320 characters.

"Google is now displaying, in many instances, up to 320 characters," according to Higher Visibility. "This is great from a search listing real estate perspective, and you should try to utilize as many of those 320 characters as possible." They also advise getting a clear message across in the first 155 characters in case your meta description gets truncated in a search.

Your meta description will vary based on a user's search terms

In the search results pages, the description Google displays underneath each link will vary depending on the terms used in the search, and where those terms appear on your page. That is, unless the actual meta description is displayed.

If you're using a dynamic content management system, get a plugin like Yoast that will let you define meta descriptions for each page. If you can get Google to recognize them as the most relevant description, you'll have more control over how your site is described to users. When Google uses on-page content for the description, you never know what will be used.

For example, when searching Google for "how to make a sandwich," a link from Food Network pops up. The meta description displayed under the link comes from tip #4, which describes how to stave off sogginess.

It's not entirely clear why this description was chosen over others. It doesn't contain the exact phrase searched for, though it does mention the word "sandwich" twice. The tip is short enough to be displayed in full. However, the first tip (which didn't get displayed) also mentions the word "sandwich" and "sandwiches," and is equally short.

Somehow, Google concluded that tip #4 was the best match to the search phrase.

Leverage Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

Any part of your content could be used as the meta description for your page. While you can't guarantee a specific section of your content will be displayed, you can leverage the power of LSI to increase the likelihood.

Remember, Google weighs the relevance of content above all else. Using LSI keywords in a paragraph will naturally boost the relevance of that paragraph.

People don't click on the top result just because it's the top result

Regardless of where a link shows up on a search results page, a user will only click links that appear relevant to what they're looking for. For example, if a user is looking for home remedies for tooth pain, they're not going to click on a page that appears to promote a local dentist, even if it's the first result.

However, if a local dentist published a blog describing home remedies for tooth pain, and the description makes that content clear, a user will click even when it's the last result on the page. Relevance trumps all.

Spend an equal amount of time optimizing your titles and descriptions

It's great to focus on getting your sites to the first page for various search terms. However, once you're there, make sure to spend an equal amount of time crafting your titles and content in a way that makes people want to click.

According to Yoast, when your link gets clicked often, Google will move you up in the ranks. This means you won't stay stuck at the bottom forever.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

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