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Costly Mistakes That Sabotage A Business’s Local Search Presence (And How To Fix Them)

More customers are actively searching for small businesses online than ever before. Google processes over 3.5 billion search queries per day, over half of which take place on mobile devices. That’s a lot of on-the-go mobile shoppers looking for nearby stores. But that traffic is worthless to businesses that fail to optimize their local search.

Social Media for Small Business OwnersImproving your business’ online visibility and placement in search results is one key to attracting more local shoppers to both your website and your small business location. That said, local competition can be fierce. Small businesses that want to connect with local consumers online can’t afford to make marketing mistakes that place them at a disadvantage.

Although there’s no perfect formula for dominating local search, there are certain mistakes that you must stop making to keep from sabotaging your own visibility. Today, we’ll examine the most common mistakes and what can be done to remedy them.

Writing Content For Search Engines, Not Local Customers

Done right, content marketing can be a powerful tool for local businesses. Publishing consistent content allows you to tell your brand story and educate consumers about products, news, and trends, all while establishing your small business as an industry leader.

Quality blog posts also help search engines learn more about your company, which can lead to increased credibility and higher rankings in search results. To be specific, Google loves E-A-T content — content enriched by the author’s expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Local small businesses need to take it a step further and realize content is most effective when it has a bit of local flavor. A local perspective can infuse blog content with personality, make it more relevant to readers, and help the business build a stronger connection with local customers.

Sacrificing Backlink And Citation Quality For Quantity

Gone are the days when those scoring the most backlinks are guaranteed to come out on top. Backlinks are the number of other websites that have a link in them pointing to your small business website.  Sure, having lots of citations and backlinks pointing to the business’ website can still be great for SEO, but only if the sources are authoritative and credible.

Businesses that invest in high-quality link-building and submit listings to respectable local directories will see a boost in their online visibility. However, search engines do notice when a site receives most of its traffic from untrustworthy sources, which can result in lower search rankings.  Luce Media has a very cost-effective program to get your business on the top 50 online directories.  To check what your online visibility looks like, click here.

Instead of trying to get as many backlinks as possible, focus on earning high-quality citations from reputable sources. The citations themselves should offer up-to-date information, and the business’s name, address and phone number (NAP data) must be consistent across the web.

Here are a few suggestions for improving your web presence through backlinks and citations:

  • Submit small business listings to high-quality local directories
  • Contribute guest posts to authoritative websites
  • Sponsor a local charity event or Little League team
  • Include the website in social media bios for the business

Just remember: Quality is more important than quantity.

The online visibility of any small business is essential for getting found by consumers in this digital age and, if there is bad data, duplicate listings or no listing at all, then small businesses are losing customers. Luce Media has the tools and the technology to make sure your small business is highly visible online.  Online visibility is not a “one and done” process. A small business’s local presence must be monitored, maintained, and adapted based on algorithm changes on a consistent basis.  Contact us here at Luce Media to find out how we can help you improve your SEO and be found more often in Google searches. Luce Media helps companies in McKinney, Allen, Plano and Frisco with social media marketing.

Written by Bernadette Coleman and originally appeared in Advice Local’s blog.

Icons of Locations to Have a Online Presence

5 Reasons Why Having an Online Presence Is Essential for Your Small Business

Having an online presence increases accessibility for your clients or consumers. It’s an effortless way for them to browse prices and hours and compare all these factors with your competition with a simple click. And it’s important that it’s effortless—nothing should take too long to load, and nothing should be difficult to find. Any questions that may need to be answered should be readily available on the site itself, and if they’re not, then you should really be sure that your contact information is displayed in an obvious way.

How visible is your business online? Click here to run a FREE report that will show you what percent of searches your business is potentially showing up in.

An Online Presence Garners a Wider Audience

Graphic with bold words Online PresenceAn online presence also allows the customer to come to you. Even when you’re closed, customers will be able to purchase goods and services online. Basically, they’re doing your work for you, even when you’re not working yourself. There’s no better give and take for a business than that. You’ll be able to reach a wider audience, such as people who are unable to make it to your physical shop for whatever reason, be it disabilities, lack of transportation, or even because they’re in another country.

Enabling your business to reach the widest audience possible will only be beneficial. The best part? When customers like what they see, they’re willing to share the news of your products and services with others. Allowing these secondary customers to see that your site is up-to-date will ensure that you come across as professional. To enhance this, having active social media accounts will allow your products and services to be shared easily between customers, and then you’ll have even more customers coming to your site. Win-Win!

An Online Presence Builds Relationships and Consumer Trust

The beauty of having a site, blog, and social media accounts is that they enable reviews and comments about your products. As an expert in your business, you’ll be able to answer any queries quickly and thoroughly. Any glowing praise that is publicly available will build your online presence and show even brand-new customers that you’re a reputable business.

Even where there are less-than-kind reviews or comments, you can reach out to unhappy customers and resolve the issue so that your good name stays intact. It’s better to know about an unhappy client so you can make amends and carry your name forward, rather than having an angry customer sharing their distaste for your business without you even knowing they were unhappy in the first place. Being able to right wrongs only helps to build customer loyalty. If you’re not forgiven, at least other clients and customers can see that you tried and that you’re willing to do everything in your power to keep customers happy.

An Online Presence Enables Effortless Marketing

Selling your products and services becomes an effortless process thanks to your online presence. Consumers will be able to browse your products and ensure that they’re happy with their choice without feeling pressured by sales associates. And, as we said, you don’t have to be there for this entire process to take place. Even at night, customers will be buying.

Not only is the process no longer limited, but it’s also never-ending (in a good way!). Marketing yourself online can cost as much or as little as you decide. You don’t have to mail out coupons or flyers; you can simply share them with the click of a button. You can advertise your products and services for free across your social media sites and on your blog. And, if you focus on improving your SEO, then the search engines will work in your favor.

An Online Presence Shows You What Works—And What Doesn’t

Finally, an online presence allows you to see the effects of all these efforts. Understanding and tracking the metrics of your site and social media accounts is quite simple. You’ll be able to see numerical proof of what works and what doesn’t.  If you share a new blog post and see a huge spike in visits, then you’ll know you’ve hit on some content that your audience likes to see. Being able to see the results of your efforts will allow you to make improvements in every aspect of your business and let you experience the real ROI of social media marketing.

Building an online presence isn’t just beneficial to growing a small business—it’s absolutely essential. By creating a blog, maintaining your site, and becoming active in social media, you’ll be more accessible to a wider audience. You’ll also build consumer trust and be able to market effortlessly. Best of all, you’ll always be able to make improvements in all these areas.

This post originally appeared on allbusiness.com

Social Media for Small Business Owners

5 Ways Small Businesses Can Improve Their Social Media Presence

If you are like most small business owners, undoubtedly you have a very busy schedule.  There always seems to be a never-ending list of things to do that will help provide success for your company.  One of the many items on the list is probably or should be, to spend time and attention to your small businesses’ social media presence.  In today’s fast-paced world, social media is of utmost importance to the success of small businesses.  Today’s Social Channels are Sales Channels.

Social Media Marketing sign

There are several things that you can do to improve your presence in the social media outlets that you have chosen for your small business.  Below are a few ideas you should review to ensure your business is maximizing what it already has in the social space

  1.    Choose your Social Media Outlets Carefully, Depending on your Audience.

When you are running your own small business, you don’t have a lot of spare time; however, it is important to make some time to attend to your company’s marketing efforts and that often means your social media platforms.  The trick is to choose which platforms you use very carefully.  Research suggests that the majority of people who enjoy social media use Facebook.  Others enjoy Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and the like.  It can be overwhelming to try to post on every social media site, and statistically, it probably does not make sense for you to do so.  Therefore, choose 2-3 networks that you believe will reach your loyal customers effectively, and devote time and attention to your social media presence on those platforms.

  1. Decide Your Small Businesses’ Plan and Goals Prior to Posting.

     Put some serious thought into what you would like to highlight in your social media posts.  It may be wise to write up a long-term plan for a monthly, quarterly, or yearly calendar.  People receive plenty of “junk mail” through emails or on social media sites, so it is a good idea to avoid posting “fluff” items that don’t really have a lot of meaning or purpose.  Choose topics that your customers will find useful in their daily lives.  Also, choose topics that you are very familiar with and ones that you are passionate about.  Stay true and honest to your small business in your social media posts, and aim for posting snippets of value for your customers. This is incredibly important so I will say it again – bring VALUE to your audience and then start building a relationship with them.  They will greatly appreciate it, and in turn, will continue to follow your posts regularly.

  1. Commit to Staying-on-Top of your Social Media Posts.

Social media provides a two-way street between a small business and its’ customers; therefore, you need to commit to staying current with your posts and reply to customers, as needed.  It is important to respond to any unanswered questions, as well as thanking your customers for positive comments.  Conversing with people online should be done in the same way you do it in person. Be genuine.  This shows that your company is interested in their customer’s opinions, as well as setting a good example for other clients who may be watching.

  1. Keep your Posts Consistent and Clear.

     You may decide to choose one staff member or a team of members that have the responsibility of operating your social media platforms.  By appointing one person or small group of people this task, your posts have a better chance of remaining clear and consistent on a regular basis.  Even though you may have multiple people that can contribute to social media ideas or posts, it is a good idea to have one person act as the “poster”, the editor, the monitor, and the responder, should the need to respond arise.  Choosing social media posts can be very challenging and stimulating, so it’s a positive thing to have ideas from several different sources.  Several people can provide input in all of these areas, but by using one responsible person for the final social media product, it will be simpler to have the same “voice” throughout multiple posts.

  1. Post on Social Media on a Regular Basis

It is a wise idea to post on your social media platforms on a very regular basis.  You can either achieve this by creating a calendar and following through with that designated schedule, or you can use one of the many sources available that will automatically post things for you.  There are software programs available that can be used to post snippets automatically, once you create all of the settings.  You might also decide to outsource the project of providing a social media presence for your small business.

Lucé Media is a company that offers full-service social media marketing and a project-based approach.

Summary

If you own a small business, then having a social media presence is vital to the success of your company in today’s society.  People are so interconnected via social media platforms these days, that, as a small business owner, you should really be a part of this connection.  Social media sites are not just for promoting your small business, but they also provide a place for you to give valuable information to your audience and share the knowledge and expertise that you have acquired over the years.  Use this outlet wisely, and chances are that social media will not just benefit your small business, but will prove beneficial to everyone who sees your posts.

There are a couple areas that will give you free information on how you are currently performing in digital and social media marketing.  One tool allows you to see how visible your company is online, in searches and on multiple platforms.  Click here to add your business and zip code and get your free report.  The second free service is a topline review of your current social media efforts.  To get that review, click here and schedule an appointment.

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$10 Billion Dollars Lost – Bad Online Data

A friend of mine recently returned from a vacation and we were discussing the good times she had. Since we are both in the digital space – the talk eventually led in that direction and how digital impacted her vacation.  One of her comments: “I couldn’t help but remember how much inaccurate online data I came across while my family and I were looking for something to do, eat, shop, or visit while we were away.”

Using Mobile to Drive New BusinessEvery day, people like my friend are traveling and searching online for locations of businesses that they are ready to visit right then, only to be failed by their local search experience.

The address is wrong, the phone number’s not there, or they can’t find the business at all. The listing is not claimed, the hours are not stated, the website is wrong… The list goes on. For businesses, this disconnection not only means lost foot traffic but also a lost opportunity for new customers to discover their location and become a future client.

Local presence management is critical to ensuring that businesses are visible, especially to travelers. We have become so dependent on our phones telling us what to do and where to go that it is imperative today to get online information right.Woman looking at cell phone

Believe me when I say – I know that inaccurate location data can undoubtedly frustrate your potential customers, as well as spread and corrupt a brand’s online presence in more ways than you can count…

According to a study completed by Andrew Shotland and Gregg Sterling, bad data cost over 10 billion dollars per year.

  • 18% of listings had a missing or incorrect phone number. When it comes to insurance companies and agents, it’s even worse. As many as 30% of insurance listings fail to list the correct number when customers are looking for a new policy.
  • 43% of listings had missing or incorrect addresses. As people get more mobile with their devices, the impact of this problem – spanning from maps and navigation to local search engines – will only get worse.
  • A full 14% of business listings were missing completely across industries. Although there are many ways that inaccurate information prevents customer visits, the research team looked deeply at how much their lack of digital listings were contributing to the problem.
  • Businesses who have missing listings and are not present online suffer a cost of $10.3B a year. This number was calculated by looking at how many more choices consumers now have as they purchase offline and how digital is changing the game for local businesses.

The new digital world we live in has created this problem of inaccurate or missing listings. The online data available to consumers is often

Sign up and get our free e-book on LocalPresence Management by clicking here.

Let Lucé Media help you get your business and your correct information on the maps – the right way. Schedule a demo today.

Getting local businesses found online is what we do. Let us get your online data right today.