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Category Archives: SEO

10 Statistics that Prove the Power of Local Search Optimization

 

In the era of mobile, consumers are more empowered than ever before. In fact, online consumers spend close to 350 hours a year researching local products and services on their smartphones, according to Google. Now more than ever before, “research-obsessed” consumers are making informed decisions about the services they use and the products they buy.

In May, GREENCREST invited local business owners to its office for Google Partners Connect, an event co-hosted with Google to share research, strategies and tips to help business owners put their local business at the top of Google search results and distinguish themselves from the 29 million local businesses in the United States fighting for customer’s attention.

At GREENCREST’s May event, our guests learned a lot about what it takes to get found online. Google presented some statistics that prove that a strong mobile presence has become a prerequisite for doing business.

Better Business Listings

  • Business owners who actively update and monitor their companies’ Google My Business listings are 70 percent more likely to attract customers than businesses that don’t.
  • Completed listings are 50 percent more likely to lead to a purchase than unfinished listings.
  • Businesses with completed listings are 2.7 times more likely to be considered “reputable” by consumers conducting research about local products and services.

The Empowered Customer

  • Three out of four online consumers use a search engine to find a business.
  • Seven out of 10 consumers who found a business online make a purchase.
  • Two out of three smartphone users are more likely to make a purchase from a business with a mobile site or app that is customized to their actual location.

The Power of Online Reviews

  • Two out of three consumers have said that positive reviews played a part in deciding whether or not to purchase a product or service.
  • In the last two years, mobile searches including the word “best” has increased 80 percent.

Ever-Evolving Consumer Search Trends

  • In the last few years, mobile searches for “where to buy” a product or service has increased 85 percent.
  • Searches for businesses that are “open now” have increased 3 times in the last few years.

Consumers conduct billions of searches a month for local products and services. Looking for a way to stand out? Connect with GREENCREST, a Google Partner Agency, for help getting found online!

 

5 Web Design Blunders Every Business Should Avoid

Thinking about building a new website for your business? Considering re-building one that you’ve had for a few years? While the project may seem simple enough at the start, inevitably it becomes more and more complex — and easy to make mistakes.

Working with a great web design agency such as GREENCREST will help you avoid the five most common blunders businesses make online:

Mobile Un-friendly

Over half of all website traffic is mobile now – and it’s still growing. Five to ten years ago, businesses may have been able to get away with a desktop-only site, but that’s no longer the case. Today, companies must have a responsive website that is mobile friendly to survive in today’s smartphone-first world.

Call to In-action

What do you want website visitors to do when they arrive on your page? If you don’t know the answer to this question, do not begin a website design project. Every great website design has a strong call to action “above the fold” — visible when someone first lands on the page.

BUT, don’t jump the gun. If you sell a complex product that is extremely expensive and takes months to complete a typical sales process, do not put a “Buy Now” button on the page. Rather, think about what steps customers typically take in their journey and provide valuable resources to help them make informed decisions. Great calls to action include “Download the Ultimate Guide,” “Schedule Your Free Consultation,” and “Sign Up for a Webinar.”

Ignoring Search Engines

Before engaging with a brand, consumers and business decision-makers do an average of six to 12 searches online. And the overwhelming majority start with a search engine such as Google. If you want people to find your business online, then you need to invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of creating website content and following best practices that lead to ranking highly on search engines and gaining organic website traffic.

Another common blunder that businesses make is trying to “do SEO” after a website is launched. It’s best to begin your project with SEO in mind — you’re much more likely to succeed and avoid wasted investment in content that’s not optimized.

Who Ya’ Gonna Call?

Believe it or not, some businesses are so focused on the call to action and other design elements, they forget to make it easy for customers to contact them.

It should be extremely clear how customers can reach you, and you should provide multiple options including phone, email and web forms at a minimum. One of our favorite design standards is to include a small phone icon in the top right portion of a mobile website that allows customers to click and call you directly.

Set and Forget

Websites require constant maintenance and upkeep. Once your brand-new website is launched, the work is not over. You’ll want to continuously apply security patches and make sure your platform stays up to date.

The other thing to keep in mind is that websites are nothing like diamonds — they do not last forever. The web design your business proudly launched 10 years ago probably looks like, well, it was from 10 years ago. Think of your website as digital storefront — it tells a story to customers of how much you invest in and value your business.

If you’re ready to get started on your next website, contact us at GREENCREST. We can help you strategize, plan, build and succeed online.

Benefits of Working with a Google Partner Agency

Google Partner. You’ve probably seen that name and badge floating around the internet — but what exactly is a Google Partner?

A Google Partner is a company that has demonstrated AdWords skill and expertise and has helped clients grow their customer base and revenue through AdWords campaigns. Agencies that achieve Google Partner status are dedicated to search advertising and continuously exceed Google’s standards to maintain Google Partner status.

If you’re looking for an agency to help with your digital marketing efforts, it’s important to make sure they’re certified by Google. Here are some of the benefits of working with a Google Partner:

Work with a Certified Staff

Working with a Google Partner agency assures that their staff members are experts in creating and managing strong, successful AdWords campaigns. With access to the most up-to-date practices and training, a Google Partner agency will have the skills needed to optimize your campaigns and ensure continuous growth.

Receive the Full Advantage of AdWords Features

Google Partners have extensive knowledge in all of the features of Google AdWords. This level of mastery provides them with the capability to help their clients become more profitable with the use of:

  • Expanded text ads
  • Progressive demographic targeting
  • Integration with physical locations
  • Ad extensions
  • Sitelink extensions
  • Call tracking
  • Conversion tracking
  • Negative keywords to eliminate wasted spend

Get Help from a Dedicated Google Representative

Getting in touch with someone at Google isn’t always the easiest task. Every Google Partner agency has access to its own Google representative. This means that Google Partner agencies can address and resolve any AdWords-related client issues much faster than non-Google Partner agencies, saving time and money.

Stay Ahead of Competition with Beta Features

Agencies that have earned a Google Partner badge are among the first to have access to Google’s beta features. When Google develops a new feature or application, its partners have access to test these features before it becomes available to the general public, giving you an edge up on any competitors not working with a Google Partner.

Are you ready to make sure your prospective customers will be able to find you as they begin searching online for solutions to their needs?

As a Google Partner agency, GREENCREST thoroughly understands search engine marketing best practices to help its clients increase traffic to their website. Contact us today to see how online marketing can help your bottom line.

 

How to Build an Online Marketing Fire

Knowing how to build a fire is just as essential for survival in the online marketing world as it is in the wilderness. A blazing campfire provides warmth, light and a way to cook food. The fire you want to build online increases awareness and generates online leads.

Fire-Starting Tools

To start a fire in the great outdoors, you typically need a match and strike board, a piece of flint and steel or a magnifying glass and the sun. In marketing, we consider having a well-defined brand and a strategic plan as the bare necessities to ignite the flame for your business.

Your audience needs to understand who you are as a company, what you stand for and why you’re in business. Without a well-thought-out brand, you run the risk of looking like and sounding like your competitors, and you will be stuck in a continuous lowest-price-wins battle. Without a strategic plan, you’re wandering through the wilderness battling the unexpected and rather than focusing on what you need to do to reach your goals.

Tinder

No matter where you are, creating a flame can be a lot of hard work — and it’s all for naught if there is no tinder to catch the flame.

In digital marketing, your “tinder” would be your website. Your website is the hub, or the core of all your online marketing efforts. For your website to attract and retain traffic — or “catch fire” — it must be optimized for search engines, easy-to-use and appealing. Without a well-optimized and user-friendly website, you will end up rubbing two sticks together all night long with no results.

However, while tinder catches fire easily, the fire quickly dies out without added support.

Kindling

When building a fire, you need materials that provide more substance than tinder provides to keep the flame burning long enough for your fuel wood to catch. This is where kindling comes in.

In marketing, you can use search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising. When following best practices, SEO and online advertising can quickly and easily increase awareness and direct traffic to your website. Just as kindling must be dry to work, your website and online ads must be optimized with keywords to work.

Fuel Wood

The fuel wood might take a little longer to catch fire, but it is what ultimately keeps your fire hot and burning. And if you notice your fire is starting to die down, you can throw more fuel wood on top to keep it going. In marketing, fuel wood is a mix of owned and earned channels.

Content marketing is one owned channel that can help “fuel the flame,” and it includes pieces such as white papers, case studies, e-books or webinars. Advertising such as print, TV or radio also add to the discussion, increase awareness and even drive website traffic. Additionally, email marketing can help nurture the fire and keep it going.

Public relations is one example of an earned “fuel” or channel. When your company receives media coverage from third-party sources, it helps boost your credibility and increase “buzz”. Word of mouth — whether it’s in person or online via social media — is also earned, and it can be a very powerful tool to build a blazing fire.

Building a fire is not as easy as it first appears. It involves a lot of knowledge, preparation, tools and hard work—similar to effective online marketing campaigns. Luckily, the GREENCREST team is ready to support you! Contact us today to get started.

 

Get Found Online with YouTube SEO

online marketing

Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine, after Google? And it is becoming more popular year over year. Video marketing in particular is becoming a mainstay as social media and search engines give it special emphasis in search results and newsfeeds.

According to YouTube, more than 300 hours of video were uploaded to the site in 2015. With so much clutter, businesses can’t expect prospects to find and watch their videos nevertheless have a video go viral.

Therefore, instead of going into all the reasons why your company should be on YouTube or partake in video marketing, I will explain the basics of how to get your video found with YouTube SEO.

Think in keywords

You most likely know the importance of using search engine optimization (SEO) for your website, but have you thought about the importance of optimizing your videos with relevant keywords as well?

As with any Web page or blog article, it’s best to select a focus keyword that relates to the video topic. Make sure the keyword is in the video title, description and tags. Research to see if there are currently any videos showing up in search results for a particular keyword. If so, it’s likely a good keyword to use for your video.

Utilize video descriptions 

You have a 5,000-character limit in the description area of the video. This is the perfect opportunity to include engaging, keyword-rich written content on your video’s page. Include important keywords that relate to your video. Include external links to other videos or landing pages that discuss the same topic.

YouTube and Google use your video’s title, description and tags to rank your video. Take advantage of the high character count and include long video descriptions.

Attract views and likes immediately

Views and engagement are the most important factors in achieving a high-ranking video on YouTube and Google. The No. 1 way to attract an audience is to provide quality content with an engaging title.

By “quality,” I don’t mean it has to be professionally developed. It simply needs to address a common need of your viewers and provide a solution.

“How to” videos, for example, are becoming increasingly popular as many people prefer to watch how something is done rather than read about it. To put it simply, provide value to your viewers.

Also, share your video on social media and other online communities that can relate to or are interested in your video’s topic.

Increase your channel subscriptions

On YouTube, subscribers are essentially people who follow your YouTube channel to ensure they see your latest videos. To increase the number of subscribers, it is best to include a call to action within every video that encourages the viewer to subscribe to your channel. This can be done by verbally saying it within the video and/or by using annotations (graphics or buttons that have a call to action).

Adding a YouTube “subscribe” widget to your website and blog can also help increase your subscriber base.

 

In summary, if you want to optimize YouTube videos, it is important that you provide valuable content, create engaging titles, include important keywords in a long video description, share it on social media and increase the number of subscribers.

The more keywords and engagement you have associated with the video, the more clout you will receive from YouTube and the search engines.

 

If your company needs help with its video marketing strategies and SEO efforts, don’t hesitate to contact the GREENCREST team!

 

Boost Online Conversions with Ad and Landing Page Updates

Tablet computer and financial charts

Receiving online conversions through paid search campaigns requires efforts in more than just ad copy and creativity. Just as important is how those ads appear and where they’re sending users. When you’re focusing on gaining online conversions, your search campaigns should include features like images, sitelink extensions, reviews, testimonials and more.

We’ll explore some essential ad features and landing page updates that we guarantee will help increase your online conversions.

Ad Extensions

These helpful little tools are a simple, yet effective way to get a little more specific with your ads. Sitelink extensions allow your ad to present additional details below the ads like the brands and products you carry, services you provide, etc. and link each individual topic to its own landing page. When using sitelink extensions, it is important to make sure your landing pages are relevant and show correlating content in order to increase user experience and conversions.

Images

Including images with your ads immediately helps them stand out from the clutter of basic text ads. Google has been continuing to increase the number of images allowed to show on search engine results pages because they know people respond better when they can visually see what is being advertised. If a customer sees the product they’re looking for and follows the ad to a landing page with the same product, they’re more likely to make the online conversion because they easily found what they were originally looking for.

Helpful tip: design a campaign using shopping ads to be able to show even more images, along with product pricing, availability and more!

Reviews

Giving people the option to review your products and services provides even more opportunity for conversions because you:

  • Show users that you’re confident in your excellent customer service and deliver exceptional products.
  • Give users a chance to learn a bit more about the products from a third-party perspective rather than strictly selling the benefits and features in the ad.

Incorporating reviews in the ads and on the related landing pages helps keep everything consistent and makes navigating your site easier and more clear for users, because they’re seeing the same things from the ad represented on the landing pages.

Make sure your reviews are current and up-to-date. In order to keep your reviews showing on the ads, ask customers to review products, rate their experience and more. Reviews that are older than 12 months do not appear on the Google Search Network.

So, while the copy of your ad is extremely important in presenting users with specific information, it is even more beneficial to enhance ads with additional features to help boost online conversions.

Contact the team at GREENCREST and let us help you set up your paid search campaigns, enhance your ads, or increase your online conversions with these search engine marketing updates.

5 Steps to Creating a Website Analytics Measurement Plan

 

Tablet computer and financial charts

 

If your business runs online sales or marketing campaigns, it’s important to know which activities are working and which aren’t. Accurate data is key in making smart decisions, and the power of online analytics comes into play.

Website analytics tools such as Google AdWords often include key metrics — the number of website visitors during a given time period, the average time spent on the website, and the number of views for specific web pages. The tools may also provide interesting data: the percentage of website traffic from different sources the percentage of new versus returning visitors, or the visitors’ geographic locations. In order to view the data that best suit your business needs, you may need to tailor it.

You must develop a website analytics measurement plan to decide what you need to measure and implement the data.

 

Follow these steps to begin building an analytics infrastructure:

Step #1: Determine your business goals

To obtain meaningful data, your analytics measurement plan must integrate with the business’s goals. This step must involve the decision makers in your company. Ask some important questions: “What are our business needs right now?” “Where are we headed?” “What obstacles are in the way of us getting there?”

Step #2: Define your digital strategy and tactics

Depending on your goals, the website’s purpose may vary. Websites often exist for one or more purposes: to sell a product or service, increase brand recognition and engagement, inform or entertain visitors, drive sales leads, or publish content that encourages return visits.

Tactics are the steps you take to achieve your goal. This may include a blog to help drive engagement or frequent website visits, a website or mobile app to sell products, or a video to help demonstrate a product or tell a story.

Step #3: Identify the data that matter most

What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most meaningful? What numbers help determine the campaign’s success? If you have an e-commerce website, a KPI is the amount of revenue generated. If you have a lead-generating website, you may be interested in the number of forms or inquiries submitted.

Step #4:  Decide how to segment your data

Properly segmented data is more relevant to your business and enables you to make wiser  decisions. Segmenting analytics by marketing channel shows which source sends the most website traffic or drives the most conversions. Segmenting by geographic regions shows the visitors’ locations. This information can help determine success if you’re running a campaign specific to a certain region or looking to open a new brick-and-mortar store.

Step #5: Determine your targets

Once you select the KPIs and data segments, identify your target metrics. If online form submissions are important, what’s the value of each submission and how many per month (or quarter) are considered a success?

 

Properly done, website analytics become a critical part of daily business activities and decisions. A measurement and implementation plan should always be a cyclical process in order to meet changing business needs.

 

Contact the GREENCREST experts for help with your business’ website analytics today!

 

3 Remarkable Stats that Prove the Power of Video Marketing

3 remarkable stats that prove the power of video marketing

2016 has been heralded by many as “the year of video.” According to Cisco, more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic will be video content by 2019. Video marketing isn’t just the future, it’s now: 96% of B2B organizations use video in some capacity in their marketing campaigns, and 73% report positive results to their ROI, according to a survey conducted by ReelSEO.

With so many incredible stats, it’s hard to believe some companies still have not added video to their marketing plans. If you haven’t yet added video to your strategic marketing plan, maybe these numbers will change your mind.

3 Reasons to Include Video in Your Marketing Strategy:

 

1. Branding

The best way to tell your brand story is through video. Not just telling, but showing users who you are while eliciting an emotional connection to your brand through video will turn prospects into customers and raving fans. A customer loyalty study by Mori found that emotionally engaged customers are three times more likely to recommend the brand, three times more likely to re-purchase, are much less price sensitive and are less likely to shop competitors. (44% rarely or never shop around)

 

2. SEO

Websites with video will experience higher rankings in Google because video is considered rich media and valuable user content. According to older reports, video is 50 times more likely to get organic page ranks in Google than plain text results. In 2016, Brightcove found that video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines.

 

3. Conversions

Video can improve rankings, increase traffic and quickly explain brands and products, but can it actually convert?

  • According to Eye View Digital, having a video on your landing page can increase conversions by 86%.
  • Vidyard reports that 70% of marketers using video claim video produces more conversions than any other content.
  • Another study found that using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%.
  • 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.

 

Interested in learning what video marketing can do for your numbers? Contact GREENCREST and talk with a video marketing specialist today.

 

 

5 Essential SEO Tips to Improve Your Rankings

Search Engine Optimization SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of any company’s digital marketing strategy. With Google’s ever-changing algorithm, SEO tactics are evolving, growing and changing the way we build websites. It is important for your company to stay ahead of the curve because, otherwise, what good is a website that your customers can’t find?

Here are five essential tips for SEO success with your site:

1. Mobile

Having a mobile-friendly website used to be a luxury. Today, it is mandatory. Google announced last year that there are now more searches performed on mobile devices than on desktops. Users will be seeing your website from their tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. Is your site ready for this? Make sure your site is mobile-friendly, or your rankings will suffer, drastically.

2. Optimization

Not only do you want to make sure your site is built to be seen across devices, you want to make sure it is built so search engines can read it. This includes adding meta data, alt text, h1 headers and enough of the keyword-rich content for a search engine to understand and place your site in relevant search results. Optimizing your site can boost your rankings, which places your website towards the top of the search results.

3. Content

Content is everything. How would we know what a site was for without content? We wouldn’t, and neither would Google. High-quality, relevant content with the right keywords is the simplest way to implement SEO best practices on your site. Unique content is key. Using duplicate content can hurt your rankings. Be sure to include at least 250 words of content on each relevant page of your site.

4. Keywords

With content, come keywords. Keywords are words or phrases users will type into search engines to make your site appear. The more relevant keywords you have, the more your site just might appear. You should be able to know off the top of your head what your main keywords are, but if you’d like to explore further possibilities, using Google’s Keyword Planner can be a great tool. However, be very wary of keyword stuffing. It can damage your reputation with Google and make your rankings drop. No one likes to be tricked, especially Google.

5. User Experience

Last, but not least, consider user experience. You must take into account a user’s experience on your website. This helps not only users but your SEO rankings as well. Does your landing page have a clear purpose and call to action? Are your links broken? Is your text readable? Not only would these errors make your site frustrating for a user, they would hurt your SEO rankings.

Understanding and implementing these essential tips will ensure your website is ready for today’s search engines.

Contact us to speak with our Google-certified SEO experts and get started on boosting your site’s SEO rankings today!

 

Get in the Online Marketing Game

online marketing

Redefining Market Success

Over the past decade, three significant things have redefined what CEOs need to achieve marketing success. Online and smartphone technology has evolved, and the millennial generation has moved into influential roles within business. This has caused a shift from traditional marketing (print, outdoor, broadcast, cable, direct mail) to online marketing (website, search engine optimization, paid search, online advertising, email campaigns, marketing automation, sales automation, mobile marketing, social media).

Here is what you need to do to be part of the online marketing game. Don’t, however, toss traditional media aside—marketing success will come to companies that balance both.

Website

You don’t need to start over, but your site needs to be up to date with Web standards from a usability, search optimization and mobile responsive perspective. Since the objective of online marketing is to drive all traffic to the website and engage users once they are there, investing in a top-notch website is foundational for businesses to compete.

Organic Search and Paid Search

A link to your company website needs to display on page one or two when someone searches for products and services you offer. Otherwise, your website is not being found. Organic search engine optimization is complex and driven by keywords and phrases placed within the code of your website and optimized content marketing.

Paid search is Google AdWords or Bing/Yahoo Ads  campaigns that can put your company website on page one of a search, based on keywords typed into the search bar and a bidding strategy that displays your ad based on criteria you determine when setting up a campaign.

A best practice is to do both organic and paid search.

Online Advertising

If you have not considered digital display or social media advertising, you need to. The fact that 57% of the time a buyer has already conducted online research and short-listed potential vendors, means your company needs to be visible online.

Email Campaigns

Email campaigns are used to nurture relationships your company already has with prospective buyers and current customers. Email marketing rules require opt-in email relationships with your company.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a lead nurturing process that keeps an interested buyer engaged with your company. It is a strategic campaign that combines email, content and website marketing to provide the best opportunity to generate a marketing lead.

Sales Automation

Sales automation is an online version of telemarketing that is similar but not the same as marketing automation. It automates the prospect qualification process and necessary follow-up to engage a prospect.

Mobile Marketing

Website analytics are proving that there are more people getting to company websites via their mobile device. The use of smart phones and tablets has reached market saturation.

Social Media

It you have a social media strategy, it can make a huge difference to the success you can have driving traffic to your website from your social media posts. So do it with purpose.

From Smart Business

 

 

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