When it comes to the performance of your website, page speed is vital.
Your web pages must load quickly and seamlessly in order to lower your bounce rate and boost visitor engagement.
In this article, we'll explain why it's important, and show you how to measure it.
According to Google research, every second counts when it comes to page loading speed. Increasing loading times from one to three seconds increases the likelihood of a bounce (the visitor leaving immediately) by 32%.
A shocking 90% of visitors will leave a site if it takes longer than five seconds to load.
The speed of a website has a significant impact on user experience, SEO, and conversion rates. Improving website performance is critical for attracting visitors and keeping them engaged. Here are some steps that you can take with your developer to make your website load faster:
Run a Website Performance Test
Website speed tests determine how well a website performs. Testing a website can help developers identify some or all of the areas that are slowing down website performance. And, identify areas for improvement.
There are numerous high-quality site speed tests for measuring performance, many of which are free, such as Pingdom.com.
Google also provides “PageSpeed" Insights for more in-depth performance testing. Google Chrome "DevTools" can also assist developers in evaluating the performance of their website.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
CDNs increase website speed by caching content in multiple locations around the world. CDN caching servers are usually closer to end users than the host, or origin server. Content requests are routed to a CDN server rather than the hosting server. This may be thousands of miles away and spread across multiple networks from the user. Using a CDN can significantly reduce page load times.
Website Image Optimization
Images account for a large portion of Internet traffic, and they frequently take the longest to load on a website. This is because mage files are larger in size than HTML and CSS files. Image optimization and can reduce image load time. Image optimization typically entails lowering the resolution, compressing the files, and shrinking their dimensions. Many image optimizers and image compressors are freely available online.
Lower the number of HTTP requests
Most webpages will need multiple HTTP requests from browsers for various assets on the page. These include things such as images, scripts, and CSS files. Indeed, many webpages will necessitate dozens of these requests. Each request necessitates a round trip to and from the server hosting the resource, which can increase the overall load time of a webpage. Furthermore, because the resources are loaded from multiple providers, a problem with one of the hosts may impact the webpage's ability to load quickly, or at all.
Because of these potential issues, the total number of assets that must be loaded by each page should be kept to a minimum. A speed test should also help identify which HTTP requests are taking the longest. For example, if images are slowing down a page's load time, developers can look for a faster image hosting solution (such as a CDN).
Cache Your Website Pages
Caching is one of the most effective methods for speeding up your website. Caching saves copies of your website's files, reducing the amount of work required by the server to generate and serve a web page to a visitor's browser.
By requiring the server to use fewer resources to load a page, caching your web pages can help reduce Time to First Byte (TTFB).
There are several methods for caching your web pages. This can be done at the server level, which means your host will handle it for you.
Another option is to use a caching plugin, such as W3 Total Cache, a free WordPress plugin that makes caching web pages simple. After you've installed and activated it, go to General Settings > Page Cache and check the Enable box.
Reduce The Use Of External Scripts
Any scripted webpage elements loaded from elsewhere, such as external commenting systems, CTA buttons, or lead-generation popups, must be loaded each time a page is loaded. Depending on the size of the script, this can cause a webpage to slow down or not load all at once (this is known as 'content jumping' or 'layout shifting,' and it can be especially aggravating for mobile users).
Avoid Using Redirects When Possible
A redirect occurs when visitors to one website are forwarded to another. Redirects increase page load time by a few fractions of a second, or even whole seconds in some cases. Every second counts when developing a website that is optimized for performance. Redirects are sometimes unavoidable, but they should be avoided if possible.
Remember that every second your website takes to load increases the likelihood that your visitors will leave. If your website is running slow, how long can you keep running your business while losing leads? Is it time to speed things up?
When it comes to running a business in your local area, search engine optimization (SEO) is essential. If you aren’t sitting pretty in the top rankings on page one, it makes potential customers wonder one thing – how good are you REALLY?
With that in mind, if your business doesn’t have the search engine rankings you need, you might want to consider using some of these local SEO tweaks to give your rankings a boost.
Create more internal website links to boost local SEO
The first place we recommend you start for improved local SEO is more internal links. Internal links are links that take the user from one page of your website to the next. So, if you own a website where you provide various handyman services, such as drywall installation, tile laying plastering and painting, or you would find ways to link to each of your services across various pages.
Example: Applying plaster takes patience and experience. If you rush the process, you will likely end up with sub-par results. So if you don’t have the extra time needed then Painting the area will be your best option.
Internal links should be built around relevant keywords used across your website. It is a great way to ensure traffic is more evenly distributed across each page, improving your overall traffic level.
Local SEO is linked to local questions found on Google
Another key to local SEO is to make sure you have the answers to the common questions locals have. If you do a search for the product/service(s) your business offers, you will most likely find a list of commonly asked questions on Google. These questions are a great place to start to ensure you have answers to these common questions on your website. There’s 2 ways you can accomplish this.
Create an FAQ page that lists all these commonly asked questions in one place, with your answers to each question below but the best way to handle this is to…
Create a blog around these questions. For example, if you run a car detailing service, and one of your most frequently asked might be…. “Is it better to clean with steam or soap & water?” So now you have an opportunity to go into more detail about why it’s better to clean with steam VS soap and water and all the benefits your car will receive because of it.
Boost your local SEO with local directory listings
From Google My Business to business directories in your local region, you should be creating as many of these little profiles as you can. Also referred to as citations. Yelp.com, YellowPages.com, BBB.org, Manta.com, Angi.com, are all examples of business directories also called citations. Each one creates another link back to your website. Which is exactly what you want – Useful external links coming from relevant sources.
At the same time, though, these websites provide you a directory listing that helps people to find your business. So not only can you get a local SEO benefit, you will also get traffic coming directly from these sites.
Local directories are useful, but make sure you’ve got a Google My Business page. It’s the “Grand Pumba” of all citations. Technically it’s now referred to as your Google Business Profile, but it is the same thing – and it is free to create, so why not benefit from the potential it provides?
Turn your current content into new opportunities
If one of your main problems is coming up with new content and ideas all the time, that’s totally relatable. One great way to get the most out of your content is to repurpose what you already have. By taking a blog post and turning it into social media snippets, or an explainer video, you can stretch the content you already have and maximize its impact.
Do not ignore your user experience (UX) rating
In 2021, Google released a new search engine update that focuses on the quality of the user experience. Specifically, how fast is your website loading? How stable is your website – does it crash often? And how responsive is your website? Does it work well on all devices and browsers?
Working with your web developer to improve these elements of your layout, design, and back-end should be a priority. Google and other search engines will value your website higher if it meets its higher UX rating. Make this a local SEO priority!
Make the most of Google Discover
One of the best local SEO tweaks we can suggest you try out would be to use Google Discover. This is an AI-managed news aggregator that is created by Google. Essentially, it looks to pair people up with content and platforms the AI feels are relevant based on their previous activities.
Getting people to like your content on social media and on your website – such as leaving comments, sharing links, etc. – can ensure you are more likely to appear in this powerful news aggregator. You’ll need to create high-quality content that encourages engagement, this is a high bar to reach for.
Take your old content and improve it
As time goes on, it is inevitable that new information is discovered and your expertise in your business niche will grow. Is it time to go back to your older content and refresh it? Are there new details you could add now that were not available back when you first wrote that content?
Going back and updating old content is a great way to refresh the traffic volume and squeeze more juice out of what you have already done.
Okay listen, it’s a busy world. If you don't have time to implement all of the SEO tips listed above, that's fine. Start with one or two that seem to be the easiest and begin there. Businesses who succeed at SEO are the ones who take action, so anything is better than nothing. Once you see your rankings increase you’ll know it’s worth the effort!
Small business owners are busy people. You’re running your own company, and you’re also a jack of all trades for the employees that do not have a specific skill set. Your time is valuable, and we know how difficult it can be to find the time to market your small business, or develop small business marketing strategies. That’s where JVI Mobile Marketing comes in!
We provide professional marketing services for small businesses of all shapes and sizes. From social media management to traditional advertising, our team has experience with every industry under the sun. We work with clients from coast-to-coast who need help to get their message out in front of their target audience. When it comes to smaller companies promoting their business, it can help to understand where you can compete with the “big guys”.
Small Business Marketing Strategies #1 – Paid Ads
No one has a traffic problem. As long as you are willing to pay for the traffic. Facebook and Google are two of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get your marketing message out. These networks have a lot of features that small businesses need for their campaigns.
In order to run a paid campaign, you need a combination of 3 elements:
Target Audience – Be crystal clear on whom you want to get in front of with your message.
– You can also target by interest or behavior with Facebook Ads Manager Predefined Audiences, Custom Audiences from your email list on Gmail or Google Analytics data in Adwords.
Pro Tip: Use the Facebook suggestions for other targeting options you might not have thought of while selecting your audience
Landing Page (Destination) – This is where you want the person to go when they click on your ad.
It can be a website, Facebook page or another type of social media site.
– Choose the landing page wisely because it will have an impact on conversion rates and your return on investment for the campaign.
Pro Tip: If using a website for a landing page, it should not be your home page. Instead, create a landing page with one focused “Call-to-action” (CTA).
There are several great landing page builders out there. Some of the ones we use are:
## Offer – What valuable chunk of content can you offer in exchange for the user’s contact information?
This is called a lead magnet. Some great examples of lead magnets are :
– an e-book
– a free trial of your SaaS product with no credit card required and full cancellation rights
– video training course on how to use the software or service you offer in exchange for their contact information. This is also called “content marketing” or “inbound marketing”. It’s all about providing valuable content that educates people, so they will reach out to you when they need help.
Small Business Marketing Strategies #2 – Business Reviews
Write a paragraph about the importance of getting your customers to leave a review or feedback for your business and making it public on Google.
Business reviews are crucial for small businesses. Reviews have the power to make or break your reputation, which is why you need to make sure that they’re good ones! The best part about hosting a review system on Google is that it’s so easy and accessible. It’s as simple as opening up the Maps app on any internet-connected device in order to leave your feedback of a local business – and then sharing with all your social media followers at once.
There are also plenty of websites out there where customers can read others’ reviews before deciding who to buy from – these sites include Yelp, TripAdvisor, Glassdoor and Angie’s List just to name a few! Nowadays even big banks like Wells Fargo will ask their clients for reviews. We feel that reputation management is a cornerstone small business marketing strategy!
There are also software solutions that can help you collect reviews from your customers, share them with Google, and build up a library of feedback you can use on your website.
Pro Tip: Use a software program instead of doing this manually.
In all transparency, we built our own software to accomplish this for you. For more information, check out our brand new SaaS (Software as a Service) called Local 5 Stars. www.local5stars.com
Small Business Marketing Strategies #3 – Live (and recorded) Video
Video marketing is more important than ever. Take a look at the Facebook Live feeds of brands like Red Bull, GoPro, and other companies to see what we mean.
– Shoot Short Video Ads for Your Website or Social Media Pages
– Host a Webinar
– Be Creative! People love original content that they’ve never seen before!
Use video to solve you audiences problems. Don’t talk all about your products and services. Instead, show people how your services can solve their issue and speak to them.
Pro Tip: Host a webinar or use video where you are answering questions that people are already asking about online. Two great places to find out what people are asking are Quora and Answer the Public.
– Host your videos on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and other platforms that will help them rank high in search engines like Google.
Don’t forget about newsletters! Use videos for an installment series where they get notified every time the next one is released. And don’t forget to use calls to action at the end telling people how they can contact you if they have any further questions. It’s important not only to show information but also give viewers a way to interact with it as well.
In conclusion, there are a ton of small business marketing strategies out there. Use what you are comfortable with. This is not anywhere near a complete list.
For more tips and strategies to market your small business, follow our sister website, HowTo.Agency.
If you’ve been wondering what the big deal is aboutonline reviews, you’ve come to the right place. Here you'll learn how reviews affect your search rankings, when you should remove your reviews (spoiler alert: not very often) and how to earn more positive reviews to keep your business booming.
Can Reviews Affect Your SEO Rankings?
You already know that local SEO is the name of the game. It’s essential to send Google signals – through keyword use and other SEO techniques – that your business is local. You also want them to know who it serves and where it is.
What you might not know is this:
Your online reviews play a direct role in your business making the cut to appear in the Google local three-pack.
The Google 3-pack is a collection of businesses that appear at the top of Google’s SERP when someone searches a keyword. It turns out that one of the keys to landing a coveted spot in the three-pack is getting good reviews. Here’s what you need to know.
The Proof That Reviews Matter
How can we tell that reviews make a difference in SEO rankings? Google’s algorithm is proprietary and the known ranking factors (keywords, links, and Google Rankbrain, to name a few) don’t include reviews.
Local SEO experts have been saying this for years, but it’s actually fairly easy to see that online reviews are important. Google any local business category and you will get a list of results with a three-pack at the top. When you look at the businesses that made it into the three-pack, you’ll most likely see the following:
Star ratings pulled directly from online reviews of the business
Keywords in those reviews
For example, if you searched for the keyword “Spokane hair salon,” you would see reviews that related to that keyword. That’s all the proof we need to know that reviews make a difference in determining which businesses appear at the top of the SERP.
The Local SEO Guide found that local reviews were the second most influential factor in determining search rank in their 2017 Local SEO Ranking Factors study. The influence in this study appeared to be limited to reviews that specifically included the keyword searched. Customers, however, are likely to use the most commonly searched terms naturally.
In addition, LSI keywords that are related to the search term may also play a role. Try Googling your top keyword and looking at what’s highlighted in the reviews in the three-pack. You may notice that reviews that use semantically-related words show up even if they don’t use the precise term you searched.
The Reasons Google Likes Reviews for SEO Rankings
There are some concrete reasons that Google thinks reviews matter. They’re directly related to the ways that Google’s algorithm has evolved. In the early days of the internet, it was possible to get a page to rank highly on any search engine by stuffing it with keywords.
That changed because it omitted any concern for the experience of a user who clicked through to a site. After all, if you could click on a site because it ranked for a keyword only to find that it was useless to your needs, you wouldn’t revisit it. You might even resent the search engine that directed you to it in the first place.
With that in mind, here are:
The Top Three Reasons Google Likes Reviews for SEO Rankings
It trusts outside sources more than it trusts you (at least when it comes to the relevance of your site.) This first reason is related to the ongoing importance that Google places on authority backlinks. It stands to reason that it would accept mentions and references from other sources as proof that your site is relevant to certain keywords and topics.
Google uses written content as a way of determining authenticity. When customers write reviews, they describe your business. They may even include information that’s not on your website. Even if you don’t list reviews on your site, these things can help flesh out the information on your site and give Google more context for its interpretation of your site.
Click-through rates also influence Google’s ranking algorithm. That might seem obvious, but what you need to know is that a business with lots of good reviews is, inevitably, going to get more clicks and traffic than a business with a few mediocre reviews. It’s in your best interest to encourage online reviews if you want to boost your Google rank.
These three things explain why reviews matter to Google. The key takeaways here is that Google takes outside resources into account to help it determine the authenticity and usefulness of your website. Users “vote” for your site by writing reviews and describing your site. Just as web users trust peer reviews to help them make buying decisions, Google trusts them to help it make recommendations of which sites are most likely to be useful for the keyword searched.
How to Make the Most of Your Reviews
Here are some quick tips to help you make the most of your online reviews:
Claim your listings on all relevant review sites. This includes Yelp and Google My Business, as well as local review sites. You want to make sure that you use keywords in your listing, link to your site, and include relevant information that will help people find you.
Link to your review pages directly from your website so customers can leave reviews if they want to.
Put a reminder about online reviews on your receipts or comment cards. Remember that dissatisfied customers are often motivated to leave online reviews, but happy customers will do so if you make it easy for them.
Send a note to your email list with a link to your review sites and ask them to leave a review.
Reply promptly to negative reviews to try to resolve them and get the reviewer to update their review.
These things will help you dial up the impact of your reviews and help you get into the coveted local three-pack for your most important keywords.
You know that, and now you can do something about it. Organic traffic is increasingly difficult to come by but encouraging and highlighting your reviews can help you get the biggest possible bang for your marketing bucks.
When Should You Remove Online Reviews?
Not too long ago, business reviews were written by subject-matter experts and printed in well-known publications. In today’s world, that’s simply no longer the case. Nowadays your customers can easily voice their opinion and experience they had with your business online for the world to see.
But that’s actually a good thing – and there are plenty of good reasons why your business should be listed on review sites. The first is that you get to add a link to your website which will boost your traffic – and secondly, people can also get some basic information about your business such as the name of your hours of operation, where it’s located, your phone number and so on.
But most importantly it’s the customer reviews on these review sites (they call them review sites for a reason!), that makes them so important, but it also can be a double-edged sword.
Positive reviews can do wonders for your business, as review websites are considered more credible than any form of advertising. But negative reviews can have disastrous consequences to your bottom line. The complaint can be serious enough to significantly derail your business. Like a report about seeing bed bugs in a hotel room or a cockroach in an entrée at a restaurant. What’s really frustrating is when the report is not true and no merit at all.
But the question is, when should you remove reviews – reviews that make your business look bad?
Advantages of Removing Negative Reviews
Purging negative reviews can be a good thing. First of all, it limits the number of people who’ll ever read them – keeping the damage to a minimum. After all, it’s not unusual for a potential customer to reconsider their choice after reading just one negative review over a dozen positive ones.
Another benefit to removing negative reviews means that your average rating will go up. Studies show that a high customer rating means a potential increase of 55% in sales. According to Yelp, a restaurant with a 4-star rating is 63% more likely to be full at any given time than a restaurant with just a 3-star average rating. And a one-star increase in the average rating can bump up your revenue by 5 to 9 percent.
So it’s blatantly obvious why anyone who runs a business would want to remove negative reviews.
Disadvantages of Removing Negative Reviews
But these reasons alone for removing negative reviews doesn’t mean you should necessarily do so. In fact, websites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google don’t make it easy for you to remove negative reviews for one very simple reason— it damages the credibility of the site and the business
Removing reviews is to remove trust People trust review websites because they believe that by and large the reviews are honest and unbiased. To most people it’s an obvious red flag if they only find positive reviews. There’s got to be some contrast. You can’t please everyone and consumers know that. They will become suspicious if all you have is raving reviews about your business.
In this way, negative reviews are helpful because almost 7 out of 10 consumers are more likely to trust the reviews when they see that there is both positive and negative reviews in the mix. In fact, it’s been found that shoppers who read negative reviews are actually 67% more likely to convert than the average consumer.
What to Do When Slapped With Negative Reviews
First of all you need to understand that unless the review is inaccurate, a fake review, or violates the policy of the review website in question – you don’t stand a very good chance of actually getting the review removed.
To start with, you need to keep an eye out for online reviews – whether they are positive or negative. But if you can’t spend the whole day manually monitoring these website, it’s a good idea to consider using an online tool like reviewpush.com to help you monitor the sites automatically.
If you want a free alternative, setting up a Google Alert will pretty much do the same thing.
Once you have been alerted to a new review, it’s best if you can respond to it right away, good or bad. When you respond to positive reviews, it shows that you’re a gracious business owner who acknowledges the importance of your customers.
But when you are responding to negative reviews or complaints, you have several options. For example, if a customer felt your business fell short in some way then you should apologize and promise to do better.
But you can turn a negative into a positive while by taking responsibility but also emphasizing how you’re going to do better next time to balance things out.
Or you can even engage with the customer and ask ideas from them. Apologize for any inconvenience caused and then ask if they have suggestions on how you can do things better.
Whatever you do:
Just be polite.
The good thing about responding to negative online reviews is that 33% of the reviews are amended and become a positive review instead when they get a response from business owners. So it’s a win-win solution.
Negative reviews with inaccuracies or negative comments of your business that are flat out lies posted maliciously–often by competitors, or disgruntled ex-employees are the reviews that you’ll have the best chances of getting removed – but there must be a legitimate reason.
How to Remove Online Reviews
Each review site has its own rules and guidelines, but for most reputable sites you can’t just remove a review simply because it says negative things about your shop. However, you can take a peek at the guidelines governing such reviews, and you can flag a negative review if you think it has violated a rule or guideline.
For Google local reviews, check out the Google local review content policies and see if the review violated any one of its guidelines. If it has, you can flag the review and bring it to Google’s attention. Examples include offensive content, advertising for your competitors, or conflict of interest such as a review which was written by a competitor.
Contact the website’s webmaster, requesting them to remove the content, or at least indicate to Google that it shouldn’t crawl or index the page. They will probably require a compelling reason to remove reviews, so back up your request with as much proof as possible.
Whether you plan to keep or dispute a negative review, your main priority should be to boost the trust of your customers. Remember, positive reviews can make them trust you, but the presence of negative reviews doesn’t always mean that they will trust you less.
It may be better to simply respond to negative reviews in a proactive way than try to remove them. When you show to your customers that you value them by making every effort to give them a positive experience, then even bad reviews can be used to your advantage.
We have 6 tips for you to generate more positive reviews in a smart way. Who doesn’t love receiving positive reviews from a satisfied customer? Every business owner knows the value of positive reviews – and they’ve never been more important than they are right now.
Did you know that more than 80% of all consumers say that they trust a product review from a stranger as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend. Not only that, people trust user reviews more than the official descriptions of products.
If you’re thinking of customer reviews as something that you can’t control, think again. Business owners can do a lot to encourage reviews – and of course, you can increase the chance that you'll have mostly positive reviews by providing excellent quality and service.
Still, those things aren’t enough. You can’t afford to sit back and hope that customers leave reviews of your business.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take a backseat to your customer’s whims. Here are six smart ways you can get more positive online reviews.
#1: Email Customers After a Purchase
Do you send customers an email after they make a purchase?
I’m not talking about the confirmation email where you send them an order number if they order online. I mean an email where you specifically ask them how they like your product and request that they write a review.
This is a practice that’s become increasingly common – and for a good reason. Some people automatically leave reviews for everything. They’re the well-known Yelpers who have thousands of reviews.
Many people need a reminder. They’re not going to leave a review of their own accord – but they just might if you ask them nicely. This is the review version of the call to action on your website. It’s a specific request to take a specific action.
Try sending your review request email a week to ten days after the purchase. That way, the customer will have had a chance to use your product and may be ready to offer an opinion.
#2: Empower Your Employees to Ask for Reviews
Sometimes, making the right request at the right time is all it takes to get the reviews you want. That’s why it makes sense to have your employees ask for reviews.
Some Uber drivers do this. Just before they arrive at their passenger’s destination, they ask about the review. The simple request puts the idea of leaving a review in the customer’s mind and greatly increases the chances that they’ll comply and leave a review.
Why ask at the point of service? When a customer has just made a purchase or used your service, the experience is fresh. A cashier who provides a friendly checkout and some banter is ideally placed to ask for a review because they have an opportunity to build rapport with the customer.
If you decide to use this method of getting reviews, consider printing cards asking for reviews and putting links to your review pages on your website. You don’t want customers to be confused about what to do – so eliminate the guesswork and you’ll reap the rewards.
#3: Use a Reviews Provider
The benefit of using a reviews provider like JVI Mobile is that they can get you a bunch of reviews at once. They’re real reviews from your real customers and they can give your page instant credibility.
These providers are a good option for start-up businesses because they can make your website appear to be well-established and popular. As you go, you can supplement the online reviews you get through a service with new online reviews from your customers.
#4: Try to Get a Google Local Guide to Review Your Company
Google Local Guide is a program owned by Google that designates certain reviewers as local experts. The process of getting a local guide can be a complex one, but here are some tips to help you do it:
Make sure your Google My Business listing is up-to-date and active
Join Google Local Guides on your own – you can write reviews of local businesses and raise your visibility provided you don’t use the platform to promote or favor your business
Attend local events with other guides
Invite other guides to come to your business
This isn’t a quick fix, but the nice thing about Google Local Guides is that when a local guide reviews your business, their designation shows up in the review and that gives it more weight than it would have otherwise. Another benefit is that Google requires guides to use their real names, so there’s less of the anonymous ranting that shows up on Yelp.
#5: Automate the Asking Process
If there’s a way for you to automate the process of asking for online reviews, why wouldn’t you do it?
Automation means that there’s no worry that a stressed-out employee will forget to ask. It turns the process into part of your customer service – a hands-off way of encouraging customer feedback and garnering the kinds of online reviews you want.
Here are a few suggestions to help you automate your system:
Set up an autoresponder to send an email requesting a review. Instead of manually sending those emails, link the date of a customer’s purchase to their email and have it go out on schedule. If you link customer purchases to your email marketing provider, you can rest easy knowing that every customer will get a request for a review.
Print up review request cards and put them in the customer’s bag at checkout. This method eliminates the need for your cashier to ask for a review, and makes it simple to do even at times when you’re busy and have a line at the register.
Put review links on your product pages. That way, when a customer makes a purchase they can easily read reviews of it – and it may help to remind them to leave a review after their purchase.
Even if your business is small, you shouldn’t fly by the seat of your pants when you’re requesting reviews. The method you use to ask for online reviews should be part of your company’s standard operating procedures.
Your review system should:
Specify whose job it is to ask for reviews
Specify the language to be used when requesting a review
Specify methods to be used (email, conversation, links and printed cards, to name a few)
Specify the timeframe for requesting reviews
Lay out procedures for responding to both positive and negative reviews
If you codify your system for requesting and managing reviews, you can be sure that there isn’t any confusion and that customers always get the request you want them to get.
Don’t Sweat the Negative Reviews…
We’ve focused here on garnering positive reviews for your business, but don’t get too stressed about negative reviews. If you handle them properly, they can help your business too!
Respond quickly and graciously and offer solutions. Don’t get defensive. Many businesses use negative feedback to demonstrate that they care about their customers.
If you’re getting so many reviews that you’re having trouble keeping up, you may want to consider using an online review management system to help you – and having too many reviews is the problem you want to have! That’s how businesses grow.
See how your business stacks up! Get your FREE Review Scan here to generate an instant reputation report and check out how your business appears on local review sites.
Blogging is still one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website and attract new customers. But are you making the most of your local business blog? Maybe not.
If you’re not, the big question is what should you be doing? The answer starts with numbers and ends with specific advice. So, let’s dig into some statistics, and then we’ll look at 5 tips you can use to put your blog to work for you.
Blogging by the Numbers
A massive study of blogging, which reviewed 912 million blog posts, revealed some helpful information that can help you improve the performance of your business blog. Here are some of its key findings.
Backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors for Google. The blogging study found that long-form content gets 77.2% more links than short-form content. That’s a huge difference, but it also has its limits.
The study also found that there was a sharp drop-off in links once a post crept over 2,000 words. But, that said, 94% of all the posts analyzed had no backlinks at all.
It’s also worth noting that some post formats and titles get more backlinks than others. The three most popular post types for backlinks were:
Those three formats got 25.8% more backlinks than “how-to” and video posts.
You might think that blogging can help you out on social media, but the numbers don’t bear that out. For example, there’s no correlation between social sharing and backlinks.
It’s also interesting to note that very few blog posts perform well on social media. The study found that 1.3% of “power” posts generate 75% of all social shares.
There were some specific findings about the length of headlines (longer headlines get more shares) and questions (local business blog posts with questions in the headline get more shares than those without questions.)
List posts are more likely to be shared than other posts, too – and by a significant amount. They get 218% more shares than “how-to” posts and 203% more shares than infographics.
The so-called ‘sweet spot” for getting your blog content shared on social media is between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
One final statistic to inspire you: one study found that blogging can improve your chances of getting a high rank on Google by as much as 434%. How’s that for an impressive number?
Tips to Improve Your Local Business Blog
The data from that study is useful because it can provide you with a framework to improve your business blog. Of course, there’s more to worry about than backlinks and social media, but other bits of data from the study point in a direction that may be useful.
With that in mind, here are 5 tips to improve your blog.
#1: Create (and Stick to) a Blogging Schedule
The first tip is to blog regularly and stick to a schedule. There’s some evidence to suggest that blogging four times a week is optimal. In fact, companies that blog at least 16 times per month get 3.5 times as much traffic as companies that blog between 0 and 4 times per month.
16 blog posts might seem like a lot. But what you may find is that creating a blogging schedule will help you be more disciplined about coming up with blog ideas and getting those posts written. And remember, you can always hire a writer to create blog posts for you if you don’t have the time or inclination to do that much writing.
#2: Give Your Posts Compelling Titles
It turns out that titles make a big difference when it comes to generating traffic, social shares, and backlinks. Here are some pointers:
List posts tend to perform better than other types of content on social media. That’s part of the reason that sites like Buzzfeed have so many lists. People like them and you can use that knowledge to grab more traffic for your site.
Give your posts long-ish titles. One study found that blog posts with titles that had between 6 and 13 words performed the best.
Ask a question. That big blogging study found that blog titles that asked questions got 23.3% more social shares than posts without a question.
Be provocative. Saying something that’s surprising or controversial can get people to click even if they’re not inclined to read blog posts. There’s a reason they say that curiosity killed the cat!
Earlier, we mentioned that the “sweet spot” for blog length is between 1,000 and 2,000 words, with longer posts getting more engagement, backlinks, and sharing than shorter posts.
Does that mean every post you write must be long? Of course not! But, if you’re in the habit of cranking out 300-500 word blog posts, it can help you to write a long post occasionally. It might turn into one of those so-called power posts that generates traffic on social media and Google.
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#5: Add Social Sharing Buttons and Widgets
People are far more likely to share your blog posts if you make it easy for them to do it. That’s why it’s a good idea to add social sharing buttons to your posts.
Be smart about it, though. If you offer a full menu of social sharing buttons, you may find that it has the opposite effect to the one you want. Where’s your social media audience? If they’re mostly on Twitter, put a Twitter button and use the “Tweet this” widget to allow people to share key quotes from your blog. If you’re marketing business-to-business, put a LinkedIn button on your blog.
The good news here is that it’s not hard to improve your business blog. It’s mostly about being aware of what the numbers say and figuring out a blogging schedule and strategy that’ll work for you. If you do that, the clicks, shares, and links will follow.
Need a review of your local business blog? JVI Mobile Marketing can take a look and give you suggestions for what you can do to get more eyeballs to your posts!
Who are you and why should anybody care what you think?
If you can’t answer that question in a compelling manner, then you’re probably not an authority figure in your niche.
Maybe you’re just starting out. Or, maybe you’ve been in the game a while, but you’re having a hard time getting people to pay attention to you.
Either way, the solution is to make yourself into an authority.
Here’s the secret that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t know:
Authority is not something other people bestow on you. It’s something you can build. That might surprise you. It shouldn’t. The people you view as authorities created their power by their actions. And you can too.
Why Authority Matters
Why is authority important? It’s very simple. When you have authority, people listen to what you say.
They value your opinion – and when you tell them to buy something, they’ll do it.
That’s why authority is one of Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence. Psychologically speaking, people are inclined to do what an authority figure tells them to do – even if they wouldn’t do it on their own.
A simple example of this principle in action comes from television advertising. Maybe you remember those commercials featuring well-known actors. They always started with something like this:
I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.
You might think of that as a disclaimer, but it’s a statement of authority. People were accustomed to thinking of those actors as doctors. So, when they recommended a cough syrup or headache medication, people trusted those recommendations.
Another way of looking at it is that authority is based on trust. If you do a good job building your credibility, people will trust you and your products.
Branding and Authority
You’ll build authority more quickly if you define your brand and present it in a consistent way in all your online marketing.
Why? Because authority is easier to build if you have a narrowly defined area of eauthoritaty figure stamp of approval that says brandxpertise. Nobody is equally knowledgeable about everything, right?
Of course, there are exceptions. Someone like Oprah is so well known that people might take her word for just about anything. She can present herself as an authority on self-help, alternative medicine, clothing, and books because she has achieved a level of authority that allows it.
Most of us can’t do that. We need to define our niches and stick to them.
Here are some ways you can create a consistent and authoritative brand:
1. Understand how you want people to think of you and your brand and create your brand personality and voice around those things.
2. Create a customer persona and use it to create your online content that will appeal to your target audience.
3. Use the same colors, language, and voice everywhere your brand is represented online. That includes your website, social media accounts, email marketing, and in your comments on review sites and forums.
4. Don’t let yourself get distracted by things that aren’t related to your brand. You shouldn’t be sharing the latest viral video on your Facebook page unless it’s relevant to your followers. Save those things for your personal page.
Think of your brand as the cornerstone of your authority.
Every piece of content you create for your brand must be authoritative. That means that everything on your website, online profiles, social media accounts, ads, and marketing videos must be conceptualized and executed with authority in mind.
It all starts with your website. You need a professional site that uses clear and authoritative language designed to appeal directly to your target audience. It should be easy to use and provide immediate value to the people who visit it.
The same is true of your social media content. Every status update, Tweet, or photo you post must be relevant to your brand and presented with authority.
You may also want to consider creating long-form authoritative content to build authority. Examples include:
Any of these can help you demonstrate your authority.
If you watch cable news, you know that one of the ways they fill the 24-hour news cycle is by booking authority figures to offer opinions about current events.
Think about it. Every political consultant, pollster, or retired general is there for one reason. They have experience and knowledge that is applicable to a story, and because of that, they are viewed as authorities whose opinion is worth hearing.
You can build the same kind of authority online by being opinionated. That doesn’t mean you should spout about politics (unless that’s related to your brand, of course.) What it does mean is that you shouldn’t be afraid to say what you think.
One very effective way to do that is to curate content for your social media pages. Curated content is content that somebody else created. You can find it by following:
It’s not enough to share curated content without commenting on it. That won’t help you build authority.
Instead, read or watch everything you share and then offer an opinion about it.
For example, say you find an article that lists ten essential things about your industry. You might feel that the writer left out something important. You should point that out when you post the article.
Taking a controversial stance can be a good thing, too. When you contradict or rebut something that an established authority says, you’re putting yourself on their level.
The key here is to sound confident when you offer an opinion. If you seem uncertain, people will dismiss your opinion.
There’s one more thing…
The final step to building authority is to put these things together and use them to create marketing campaigns that convert. If you do it right, you’ll set yourself apart from other brands in your niche.
In other words, you won’t just be one option for people seeking products or services in your niche. You’ll be the only option – and all because they view you as an authority figure.
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