Archiv für den Monat: August 2018

The difference between on-site blog content and off-site content

Google recently updated its search quality rating guidelines, which has had a profound impact on the way that content is created. Publishing a revised 164-page document, the leading search engine is now paying greater attention on what users are searching for and what information they end up reading.

The tech giant has not been afraid to say that it has a focus on enhancing the user experience across the platform, and the changes that have been introduced for content creators reinforce this statement for marketers around the world.

While well-crafted onsite content can help strengthen your brand’s message and highlight your industry expertise, you’ll also need to produce creative offsite content that will help your business secure the best online coverage across a range of publications to increase rankings while amplifying your brand.

On-site content

There are multiple elements that cover on-site content, and when done correctly, effective on-site content can help increase your website’s search rankings. If you’re looking to become the go-to brand/service for your prospective customers, it’s crucial that you appear at the top of the results page.

Ultimately, blog content on your business website is there to support the user’s journey while providing them with the most insightful information that they need during their visit. This could also support them when making a purchase, as they see you as a more trustworthy figure. There are a few techniques you can use to make sure that your on-site blog content performs exceptionally well.

The first step to creating blog content is to understand who is reading it — usually this will be your main demographic who already have an interest in your products or services. Although you’ve positioned yourself as an authoritative figure, you need to speak to your website visitors as if they’re on your level for both acquisition and retention purposes.

You also want to avoid any industry jargon, as this can be an instant turn off for a reader. It’s important to be transparent with your audience and tell them the information that they need in a concise way that still delivers the same level of information.

You also need to use your blog content as a way to tell your audience that you’re better than your competitors. This can be achieved through showing off your USPs — whether these include next-day delivery or a lengthy warranty on products. If you’re creating an article on your site that drives information to the reader, they won’t mind you being slightly advertorial, as this can also be beneficial to them.

Internal links are a must in your blog post, but only if they are relevant. If you’re discussing a certain product or service that you offer, you should be linking to the relevant page to help improve the overall page authority.

It’s essential that you end your blog post with a call to action, because if a reader has made it all the way through your article, they’re already invested in your business and are more likely to perform an action.

Off-site content

Creating off-site content is completely different from making blog posts for your business website. This time, you’re not trying to appeal to your customers but to journalists and major publications that will drive authority to your website while having the ability to increase brand visibility.

It requires a full team of innovative and creative people to come up with outreach ideas that can support an SEO campaign. You should have an aim to create pieces of content that can be outreached to different publications that cover various niches. For example, an article that discusses how technology has improved health and safety in the workplace would appeal to technology, business and HR websites, all of which can improve your link building strategy for your online marketing campaigns.

This also means that you must carry out extensive research into what is relevant in the news. From an outreach perspective, this can allow you to see what type of content journalists are looking for and what is currently working well in terms of online coverage.

As well as this, you should also be looking at creating content around national or international events or celebrations — as editors are more likely to pick up this type of content because it will appeal to a wide audience and generate an overall buzz. Recently, we saw this with the World Cup and will soon see the same with the upcoming Christmas period.

Publications and journalists will not take content pieces that are too advertorial, as they want to provide readers with content that is informative and unbiased — but that is not to say they won’t credit you with either a brand mention or a link to one of your target pages.

Although content creation for both on-site and off-site may look similar, they can be very different in tone, format and objective.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

12 Songs for 12 Friends – Jordan Prince

gathayde-12songs-01

Mehr Bilder…

“12 Songs for 12 friends” ist das erste Album des amerikanischen Singer Songwriters Jordan Prince. Für das Projekt entwickelte und illustrierte ich das Artwork für CD und LP.

Das Album ist 12 Freunden gewidmet, die das Leben des Künstlers geprägt und verändert haben. Diese Idee sollte sich auch in der Gestaltung wiederfinden. Das Hauptmotiv stellt die 12 Freunde dar und erinnert an ein Familienportrait. Neonfarben und persönliche Fotos verliehen dem Konzept den letzten Schliff.

Designer + Illustrator
Gui Athayde

Source:: designmadeingermany.de

Title: CMWorld Interview: Eli Schwartz on Curiosity & SEO Around the Globe

Should marketers ignore international and inter-linguistic considerations when it comes to their SEO strategies?

Survey says: BZZZRRRT

In a way, optimizing for search is like participating in the game show Family Feud. To align with searcher behavior and intent, marketers must make educated guesses, and ultimately it is the people who will dictate whether we’re right or wrong.

As we develop content to draw visitors for targeted keywords, search rankings and traffic trends serve as either an affirming “Ding!” or a rejecting “Buzz!” regarding our hypotheses. Web users fulfill the same function as the random samples polled to create Family Feud’s survey response boards.

Eli Schwartz, who leads digital growth initiatives for SurveyMonkey as Director of SEO & Organic Product, spends his days immersed in data, and the actionable insight it can provide. As Google continually evolves its results to be guided less by keyword volume or technical inputs, and more by human behaviors (or machine algorithms designed to mimic them), marketing needs to deeply understand the way customers seek out information.

At Content Marketing World in September, Schwartz will urge us to extend that mindset beyond borders. In his session, “10x Your Content Audience by Going International,” he’ll preach the benefits of building out a global SEO strategy and what it entails.

In advance of his talk, we asked him about the changing search landscape, the importance of thinking internationally, and how smaller brands can gain an edge when competing against the heavy hitters.

What does your role as Director of SEO & Organic Product at SurveyMonkey entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

In my role, I am responsible for the growth of organic traffic to all SurveyMonkey properties and products. As the architect of our SEO strategies, I have a deep partnership with the product, design and engineering teams to ensure everything works together to achieve the best organic results. In addition to SEO, I also lead the efforts to ensure that traffic to our surveys ultimately leads to wider adoption and engagement by people that are not yet our users.

Our mission at SurveyMonkey is “Power the Curious,” a mission that carries through every aspect of the company from the way we interact with customers to how we innovate new solutions. Grounded in People Powered Data — insights on the people that matter most powered by the latest survey technology such as machine learning — we have been able to gain deeper insights on our users — a diverse set of individuals with equally diverse needs. It’s my job to ensure that our website offers helpful content that will be visible every time a user seeks out a solution on Google where a survey could help them make better decisions. If someone is curious to learn more about People Powered Data in action, there is exclusive content and articles that we create for pages like Curiosity at Work. Whether it’s an HR rep looking to increase employee retention, a VP of customer service who wants to measure net promoter score, or a marketer who wants to understand their brand penetration, I make sure we have content that will help satiate their curiosity.

Once I tackle this challenge (and it never ends!) from a domestic and English standpoint, I replicate this exact same effort for every country where we have users. While the needs and the search queries differ between users all over the world, it is my mission to empower all curious leaders to discover the information that will help them reach their goals.


You have a great deal of background in search and SEO. What are the most striking changes you’ve seen on this front over the course of your career?

For as long as I have been working in SEO, the ultimate SEO best practice championed by the search engines has been to optimize for users and not search engines. However, the reality was that no one got ahead by following this widely accepted strategy. Content was stuffed with keywords, doorway pages brought users to unintended landing pages, whole websites were built around things like how to tie shoes or pour water, and there was a massive market in websites that sold links specifically for SEO purposes.

As Google’s algorithm advanced, these tactics stopped working and even caused penalty demotions in search. The ranking algorithms can detect whether content is of high quality and if the inbound links are contextually relevant enough to be natural. The net result is that Google’s algorithm uses artificial intelligence to mimic human behavior, and we are closer than ever to the truism of optimization for users and not search engines.

Google is light years ahead of the keyword driven search engine it was a decade ago. In fact, I recently saw an odd insect on the outside of my home,searched on Google by typing a description of the physical features of the insect — “long neck, wide wings” — and Google returned results that all had the word “snakefly” bolded as if that was the term I searched for! Google’s suggested results will change based on the time of day, your physical location, and your most recent searches. There’s no amount of bad SEO tactics that will help you rank when Google is inside the searcher’s head and knows exactly what they want.


Why is it so important for today’s marketers to think globally with their SEO strategies?

As evidenced by the furor around GDPR, which really is only an EU law designed to protect European citizens, we live in a global Internet world where users can come from anywhere. Fear of the penalties for GDPR violations are why the most American of all sites have cookie consent banners on their websites and notices of updated privacy policies.

Yet, most of the websites that were in a midnight panic to comply with GDPR have no European SEO strategy. To me, that’s a paradox that deserves a deeper look.

Serving a global audience begins with understanding them. By gaining insights on your audience through People Powered Data, you can create an SEO strategy that matters to them and reaches them in the vernacular in which they speak. To serve a global audience, your SEO strategy needs to be just as globally informed.

Depending on the potential value of these global users, it may not be prudent to translate the full site or offer free global shipping, but translating that one page that targets the most important international keywords is not that complicated. Additionally, companies can take the very first step towards global SEO by just having a look at where and how their website ranks on Google internationally. They may very well find some low hanging fruit worth building a strategy around.

For us at SurveyMonkey, international audience is very important. Our new accounts (and traffic) outside of the US, especially on mobile, are growing at accelerating rates. For example, on the product side, we extended our SurveyMonkey Audience panels to 100+ countries in 2017 and those global panels are now accessible to customers in 60+ markets. We want to be able to support curious companies and individuals in all countries who are excited to use our products, and it starts with thinking globally to reach individuals globally.


What are some misconceptions you often encounter about international SEO?

The greatest misconception around international SEO is not believing that there is a global audience looking for your product or website. I spent nearly two years living in Singapore and, while I was there, I was given a glimpse into how much people outside the US seek American content and online shopping. Even more surprising to me was that it was not just name brands like Amazon that people were seeking out, but they were also figuring out how to get products from brands like JC Penney or Shoe Palace shipped to them.

International SEO is at the core of having people outside of the US become customers. A website might not even offer convenient shipping options, but, if users can find the products online, they may be willing to pay extra to get the item to their home country. To this vein, easy international SEO could mean having an option to pay for shipping in a specific country or creating tailored product pages translated into other languages.

Where does PPC fit into the global SEO equation?

In English, smart marketers use PPC to inform SEO and vice versa. Globally, companies might not find it worthwhile to conduct PPC campaigns since they don’t know enough about the market or local keywords to run a search campaign. However, if they are generating passive SEO traffic internationally and take the time to analyze the keywords and performance, this could be a great resource for finding low cost PPC ideas to generate conversions.

On another note, if a company is seeing international traffic, it is prudent to ensure that they are bidding on their brand name in the locations where the customer base appears to be growing. If there is enough awareness that customers are bringing themselves to the website via search, there’s a high chance local competitors see this as a great opportunity to bid on your brand. Bidding on your own brand will help protect the loss of those users.


Aside from search, where are some other tactical areas where marketers could stand to think more internationally?

The most critical ingredient of a global marketing campaign is for marketers to put themselves into the target market’s shoes. Making assumptions that global customers are exactly like us or creating hypotheses for why they might act a certain way is absolutely the wrong foundation for an international marketing effort.

From my time living overseas and many customer research meetings, the most interesting customer insight I have learned is around payments. Here in the US, almost everyone has a credit card in their pocket and is very quick to use it for almost anything. Outside the US, fraud protections aren’t as robust as they are here, making people much more judicious about credit card usage. In Asia, customers are liable for all purchases if their credit card is stolen until they put in a stop request. In that environment, people are obviously pretty cautious over who they might disclose their credit card number to. Additionally, outside the US, work expensing policies are a lot more rigorous than what we are used to. Employees have to go through multiple approval hoops even for small purchases and expect to be reimbursed for purchases on their personal cards.

Ultimately, what this translates to is: companies need to adjust how they can complete transactions in foreign countries. In Asia, it might mean making arrangements for cash payments and, in Europe, this often means accepting a bank transfer. Additionally, for B2B products, direct response might be a challenge if the customer base is inhibited from an impulse purchase without getting approval.


What can smaller companies do to gain an edge in visibility when competing against larger and more authoritative brands?

In my experience, there is a very clear advantage in search for bigger brands, and brands can establish a ranking on competitive terms with little to no effort. This might make it seem like smaller brands don’t even have a chance; however, big brands have a huge disadvantage in that they are very slow to react and usually don’t focus on search the way a smaller brand can.

Even with a limited budget, a small brand can practically drown a vertical with content before a big brand can complete their myriad of strategy review meetings. Smaller brands will also have some headroom from their first mover advantage and can remain ahead by of the bigger brands by being more innovative and agile with their content.

Testing concepts before you share your content out to the world can be really effective and help smaller brands get this edge. For example, when you have a big idea that you want to get right, it can save you a lot of time and money to concept test it beforehand — just recently we’ve created a guide for our customers, many of which are smaller brands, to help them start implementing concept testing to refine their ideas, from new logos and campaigns to websites and landing pages by getting feedback directly from your target market. By the way, you’d be shocked to learn how many small companies still don’t even have websites — we conduct this quarterly Small Business Survey with CNBC, and only about a half of business owners have websites they can drive customers to.


Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

There are so many presentations that I am excited about at Content Marketing World and I hope I get to all of them! The ones I am really looking forward are Jay Baer’s presentation on Killer Content, John Bucher on Storytelling, Dave Charest on Customer Experience, Dorie Clark on Long Form Content, Joe Pulizzi on the evolution of Content, Scott Monty on Knowing Your Customer, Megan Golden on LinkedIn for LinkedIn.

It’s Time to Play the Content Marketing Game

The game never stops, of course, but action will really fire up on September 4th when CM World gets underway in Cleveland. Will you be on hand for the fun?

To sharpen up ahead of the event, peruse the Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing by clicking through the slides below:


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. |
Title: CMWorld Interview: Eli Schwartz on Curiosity & SEO Around the Globe | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Title: CMWorld Interview: Eli Schwartz on Curiosity & SEO Around the Globe appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Title: CMWorld Interview: Eli Schwartz on Curiosity & SEO Around the Globe

Should marketers ignore international and inter-linguistic considerations when it comes to their SEO strategies?

Survey says: BZZZRRRT

In a way, optimizing for search is like participating in the game show Family Feud. To align with searcher behavior and intent, marketers must make educated guesses, and ultimately it is the people who will dictate whether we’re right or wrong.

As we develop content to draw visitors for targeted keywords, search rankings and traffic trends serve as either an affirming “Ding!” or a rejecting “Buzz!” regarding our hypotheses. Web users fulfill the same function as the random samples polled to create Family Feud’s survey response boards.

Eli Schwartz, who leads digital growth initiatives for SurveyMonkey as Director of SEO & Organic Product, spends his days immersed in data, and the actionable insight it can provide. As Google continually evolves its results to be guided less by keyword volume or technical inputs, and more by human behaviors (or machine algorithms designed to mimic them), marketing needs to deeply understand the way customers seek out information.

At Content Marketing World in September, Schwartz will urge us to extend that mindset beyond borders. In his session, “10x Your Content Audience by Going International,” he’ll preach the benefits of building out a global SEO strategy and what it entails.

In advance of his talk, we asked him about the changing search landscape, the importance of thinking internationally, and how smaller brands can gain an edge when competing against the heavy hitters.

What does your role as Director of SEO & Organic Product at SurveyMonkey entail? What are your main areas of focus and key priorities?

In my role, I am responsible for the growth of organic traffic to all SurveyMonkey properties and products. As the architect of our SEO strategies, I have a deep partnership with the product, design and engineering teams to ensure everything works together to achieve the best organic results. In addition to SEO, I also lead the efforts to ensure that traffic to our surveys ultimately leads to wider adoption and engagement by people that are not yet our users.

Our mission at SurveyMonkey is “Power the Curious,” a mission that carries through every aspect of the company from the way we interact with customers to how we innovate new solutions. Grounded in People Powered Data — insights on the people that matter most powered by the latest survey technology such as machine learning — we have been able to gain deeper insights on our users — a diverse set of individuals with equally diverse needs. It’s my job to ensure that our website offers helpful content that will be visible every time a user seeks out a solution on Google where a survey could help them make better decisions. If someone is curious to learn more about People Powered Data in action, there is exclusive content and articles that we create for pages like Curiosity at Work. Whether it’s an HR rep looking to increase employee retention, a VP of customer service who wants to measure net promoter score, or a marketer who wants to understand their brand penetration, I make sure we have content that will help satiate their curiosity.

Once I tackle this challenge (and it never ends!) from a domestic and English standpoint, I replicate this exact same effort for every country where we have users. While the needs and the search queries differ between users all over the world, it is my mission to empower all curious leaders to discover the information that will help them reach their goals.


You have a great deal of background in search and SEO. What are the most striking changes you’ve seen on this front over the course of your career?

For as long as I have been working in SEO, the ultimate SEO best practice championed by the search engines has been to optimize for users and not search engines. However, the reality was that no one got ahead by following this widely accepted strategy. Content was stuffed with keywords, doorway pages brought users to unintended landing pages, whole websites were built around things like how to tie shoes or pour water, and there was a massive market in websites that sold links specifically for SEO purposes.

As Google’s algorithm advanced, these tactics stopped working and even caused penalty demotions in search. The ranking algorithms can detect whether content is of high quality and if the inbound links are contextually relevant enough to be natural. The net result is that Google’s algorithm uses artificial intelligence to mimic human behavior, and we are closer than ever to the truism of optimization for users and not search engines.

Google is light years ahead of the keyword driven search engine it was a decade ago. In fact, I recently saw an odd insect on the outside of my home,searched on Google by typing a description of the physical features of the insect — “long neck, wide wings” — and Google returned results that all had the word “snakefly” bolded as if that was the term I searched for! Google’s suggested results will change based on the time of day, your physical location, and your most recent searches. There’s no amount of bad SEO tactics that will help you rank when Google is inside the searcher’s head and knows exactly what they want.


Why is it so important for today’s marketers to think globally with their SEO strategies?

As evidenced by the furor around GDPR, which really is only an EU law designed to protect European citizens, we live in a global Internet world where users can come from anywhere. Fear of the penalties for GDPR violations are why the most American of all sites have cookie consent banners on their websites and notices of updated privacy policies.

Yet, most of the websites that were in a midnight panic to comply with GDPR have no European SEO strategy. To me, that’s a paradox that deserves a deeper look.

Serving a global audience begins with understanding them. By gaining insights on your audience through People Powered Data, you can create an SEO strategy that matters to them and reaches them in the vernacular in which they speak. To serve a global audience, your SEO strategy needs to be just as globally informed.

Depending on the potential value of these global users, it may not be prudent to translate the full site or offer free global shipping, but translating that one page that targets the most important international keywords is not that complicated. Additionally, companies can take the very first step towards global SEO by just having a look at where and how their website ranks on Google internationally. They may very well find some low hanging fruit worth building a strategy around.

For us at SurveyMonkey, international audience is very important. Our new accounts (and traffic) outside of the US, especially on mobile, are growing at accelerating rates. For example, on the product side, we extended our SurveyMonkey Audience panels to 100+ countries in 2017 and those global panels are now accessible to customers in 60+ markets. We want to be able to support curious companies and individuals in all countries who are excited to use our products, and it starts with thinking globally to reach individuals globally.


What are some misconceptions you often encounter about international SEO?

The greatest misconception around international SEO is not believing that there is a global audience looking for your product or website. I spent nearly two years living in Singapore and, while I was there, I was given a glimpse into how much people outside the US seek American content and online shopping. Even more surprising to me was that it was not just name brands like Amazon that people were seeking out, but they were also figuring out how to get products from brands like JC Penney or Shoe Palace shipped to them.

International SEO is at the core of having people outside of the US become customers. A website might not even offer convenient shipping options, but, if users can find the products online, they may be willing to pay extra to get the item to their home country. To this vein, easy international SEO could mean having an option to pay for shipping in a specific country or creating tailored product pages translated into other languages.

Where does PPC fit into the global SEO equation?

In English, smart marketers use PPC to inform SEO and vice versa. Globally, companies might not find it worthwhile to conduct PPC campaigns since they don’t know enough about the market or local keywords to run a search campaign. However, if they are generating passive SEO traffic internationally and take the time to analyze the keywords and performance, this could be a great resource for finding low cost PPC ideas to generate conversions.

On another note, if a company is seeing international traffic, it is prudent to ensure that they are bidding on their brand name in the locations where the customer base appears to be growing. If there is enough awareness that customers are bringing themselves to the website via search, there’s a high chance local competitors see this as a great opportunity to bid on your brand. Bidding on your own brand will help protect the loss of those users.


Aside from search, where are some other tactical areas where marketers could stand to think more internationally?

The most critical ingredient of a global marketing campaign is for marketers to put themselves into the target market’s shoes. Making assumptions that global customers are exactly like us or creating hypotheses for why they might act a certain way is absolutely the wrong foundation for an international marketing effort.

From my time living overseas and many customer research meetings, the most interesting customer insight I have learned is around payments. Here in the US, almost everyone has a credit card in their pocket and is very quick to use it for almost anything. Outside the US, fraud protections aren’t as robust as they are here, making people much more judicious about credit card usage. In Asia, customers are liable for all purchases if their credit card is stolen until they put in a stop request. In that environment, people are obviously pretty cautious over who they might disclose their credit card number to. Additionally, outside the US, work expensing policies are a lot more rigorous than what we are used to. Employees have to go through multiple approval hoops even for small purchases and expect to be reimbursed for purchases on their personal cards.

Ultimately, what this translates to is: companies need to adjust how they can complete transactions in foreign countries. In Asia, it might mean making arrangements for cash payments and, in Europe, this often means accepting a bank transfer. Additionally, for B2B products, direct response might be a challenge if the customer base is inhibited from an impulse purchase without getting approval.


What can smaller companies do to gain an edge in visibility when competing against larger and more authoritative brands?

In my experience, there is a very clear advantage in search for bigger brands, and brands can establish a ranking on competitive terms with little to no effort. This might make it seem like smaller brands don’t even have a chance; however, big brands have a huge disadvantage in that they are very slow to react and usually don’t focus on search the way a smaller brand can.

Even with a limited budget, a small brand can practically drown a vertical with content before a big brand can complete their myriad of strategy review meetings. Smaller brands will also have some headroom from their first mover advantage and can remain ahead by of the bigger brands by being more innovative and agile with their content.

Testing concepts before you share your content out to the world can be really effective and help smaller brands get this edge. For example, when you have a big idea that you want to get right, it can save you a lot of time and money to concept test it beforehand — just recently we’ve created a guide for our customers, many of which are smaller brands, to help them start implementing concept testing to refine their ideas, from new logos and campaigns to websites and landing pages by getting feedback directly from your target market. By the way, you’d be shocked to learn how many small companies still don’t even have websites — we conduct this quarterly Small Business Survey with CNBC, and only about a half of business owners have websites they can drive customers to.


Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2018?

There are so many presentations that I am excited about at Content Marketing World and I hope I get to all of them! The ones I am really looking forward are Jay Baer’s presentation on Killer Content, John Bucher on Storytelling, Dave Charest on Customer Experience, Dorie Clark on Long Form Content, Joe Pulizzi on the evolution of Content, Scott Monty on Knowing Your Customer, Megan Golden on LinkedIn for LinkedIn.

It’s Time to Play the Content Marketing Game

The game never stops, of course, but action will really fire up on September 4th when CM World gets underway in Cleveland. Will you be on hand for the fun?

To sharpen up ahead of the event, peruse the Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing by clicking through the slides below:


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. |
Title: CMWorld Interview: Eli Schwartz on Curiosity & SEO Around the Globe | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Title: CMWorld Interview: Eli Schwartz on Curiosity & SEO Around the Globe appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

How to optimize your Google My Business listing

We all know the immense importance of local search. It’s about dominating the SERPs for search queries which are closely tied to the user’s location, therefore driving customers to your business with a user intent that is very tangible and very immediate.

In terms of local searches, Google will rank your business based on relevance, distance and prominence. Your Google My Business listing plays a vital part in boosting your rankings for local search, as well as cementing your online presence outside of your website.

From our experience, Google My Business listings are definitely not leveraged enough. There is a tendency to set up a listing, verify it and then forget about it. Yet there are so many reasons to ensure you have a fully optimized listing and one that you update regularly. First and foremost, Google My Business profiles are still the most influential factor in local search results.

As if that wasn’t enough, it has never been more important to bolster your presence in the SERPs. SEOs are increasingly facing the woes of the ‘walled garden‚, where users are no longer needing to click-through to websites. More often than not, all the information they could possibly need is available in the various features of the SERPs. Although this may be having a detrimental effect on website traffic, it doesn’t mean you can’t leverage the situation. It’s only increased the importance of having a fully optimized GMB profile that will rank highly and generate business.

With a top-notch GMB listing, you can rank highly in local packs, significantly boosting visibility and therefore engagement. It will also help bolster your appearance in Google Maps results, plus you can take advantage of Google reviews. And just in case you need another reason, the service is free. There are not many marketing tools quite as powerful as your Google My Business listing that are also completely free of charge. You’d be mad not to take advantage of this.

Set up and basics

Before we get onto the really juicy stuff, it’s worth covering the basics. Some of these may seem obvious but you would not believe how many times we see the same simple mistakes over and over.

Claim and verify

The first step is to figure out whether or not you already have a GMB listing. This is important because duplicated listings can occur and are just confusing for everyone involved. Even if you don’t recall having created one, a loving customer may have done it for you, or a rogue colleague being far too efficient. Simply do a quick Google search of your business (also try this in Google Maps) and see whether a profile pops up for your business. If so, you’ll need to claim it as your business. If not, you’ll need to create a new one. Once done, you’ll need to verify your ownership – Google will send a friendly postcard to your business address with a code. You’ll then need to enter the code to verify it. It’s all very MI5.

Fill out information

Once verified, don’t just stop there. Fill out all relevant information and ensure it is accurate and kept up to date. There is nothing more frustrating than a GMB listing with the wrong opening times: cue angry customers who could have had an extra hour in bed. Also, remember to add any special hours or holiday times.

Be sure to keep the business name as the business name – don’t go shoehorning any sneaky keywords in or you’ll be at risk of violating Google’s guidelines. Write an accurate and enticing description in line with Google’s guidelines and choose a relevant category. This can be a sticking point for many businesses who feel that none of the categories accurately describe the business. It can be very frustrating. Luckily, there’s a relatively new feature called ‘Services‘ where you can add products and services to your business, which will help with the categorization process both from a search engine and user perspective.

Make sure you pay attention to NAP consistency – in other words, that your name, address and phone number, as well as any other information, are all consistent throughout the web. Check other directories and also your own website. It’s a simple concept but mistakes are surprisingly common and it can make a big difference to your local rankings.

Photos

Again, an often overlooked aspect of your GMB listing and one that can make a very noticeable difference to click-through rates. People are visual beings and some snazzy photos will help build an overall positive image of your business. Include a logo, a shot of your premises if applicable and any other photos which you think will help to effectively promote your business. Ensure they are professional, appealing and kept up to date. Think about what might help push a customer to a buying decision.

Be sure to follow Google’s best practices in terms of formatting; the recommended specifications are as follows:

  • Format: JPG or PNG
  • Size: Between 10 KB and 5 MB
  • Minimum resolution: 720 px tall, 720 px wide
  • Quality: The photo should be in focus and well lit, and have no significant alterations or excessive use of filters. In other words, the image should represent reality.

You’ll see throughout your Dashboard that Google makes a point of reminding you about photos: “Businesses with recent photos typically receive more clicks to their websites.” They couldn’t make it much clearer than that – if Google says it, then do it.

As of January 2018, you can now add videos to a listing. It’s not something we’ve seen many businesses take advantage of, yet we all know how popular video content is. Any videos you add will appear within the photos section. Just be sure to follow Google’s video guidelines.

Reviews

Google reviews have been around for a long time and it’s no secret how influential they are. In fact, positive reviews make 68% of consumers trust a local business more. Don’t just sit back and wait for the reviews to pour in. Even if you’ve got the most earth-shatteringly awesome business, people still need a gentle nudge towards the review section. Actively encourage reviews because if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Raking in those positive reviews isn’t enough. It’s also good practice to respond to reviews, especially negative ones. Even if a review seems unfounded or overly rude, be sure to keep your cool and respond in a calm and collected manner.

Google Posts

A heavily underused feature of Google My Business profiles is the Google Posts section and it works in a similar way to posting on social media. Posts are displayed as mini updates in a carousel as part of your knowledge panel, although they expire after seven days. As with a standard social media post, you can add media, some copy and a link to a website. It’s always a good idea to include an image but be careful of them being cropped within Google Maps. It’s therefore worth checking how the image formats on both desktop and mobile.

You can use Google Posts for a range of different functions, but it may be helpful to use the four official post types as a guide: What’s New, Events, Offers, Products. The ‘What’s New‘ post type could be populated with exciting announcements, general updates and your latest articles. Don’t forget to add a CTA to your posts to encourage engagement and conversions.

Google posts are very prominent in Google Search so if you’ve got something important to say, then say it!

Monitor

Did you know that anyone can suggest an edit to your profile? That includes your worst enemy trying to sabotage your business. It’s therefore essential that you keep an eye on your profile and monitor any suggested changes, even if you don’t have any enemies. It could be a well-meaning customer who just doesn’t have a clue. Or it could be an internet troll. Either way, business owners are not always notified.

Users can also answer questions about your business, which may be a scary prospect for some. Google likes user-generated content as it’s all part of building a user-centric community. Just make sure that you’re keeping a wary eye out.

Insights

This is one of the most important sections of your GMB listing. It’s all very well having an all singing and all dancing listing, but the fun starts when you see how many conversions it’s generating. It’s pretty standard practice to track all key events and conversions on a website itself, but the conversions generated by the GMB listing are so frequently overlooked. Yet your GMB listing is often the first port of call for customers looking for a phone number to get in touch.

And you know the best bit about Insights? You can even find out whether customers found you via a direct brand search or via a ‘discovery‘ search. This information is vital in terms of reporting, as it allows you to see how successful your SEO work has been in terms of propelling your GMB profile to the top of that local pack for key search terms.

Find out handy information like whether your GMB profile was viewed on Search or Maps, as well as customer actions, such as website visits, direction requests and phone calls. You can also see how successful your photos have been in comparison to other businesses like yours. These comparison graphs are great for pitting yourself against competitors to see where you may be falling behind on the optimization front. It also enables you to do a bit of testing with which photos work best for views and click-throughs. The Insights section is a treasure trove of information, so pay lots of attention to it.

Optimizing your Google My Business listing is not rocket science. It’s very straightforward and simple changes can have a profoundly positive effect on your SEO. Given it’s an area so often overlooked by other businesses, there really is a whole wealth of ranking opportunity up for grabs.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com