reviewus

Generating Reviews for Your Business: The Easy Way

Throughout the past ten years, thanks to the internet, we’ve all changed the way we do business. We have websites, we optimize our websites for search engines, we utilize social media, and in general we promote our presence online just as much as in-person. Although we’ve changed the way we do marketing for our business, we’ve adopted because of the consumer. Nobody walked into our office one day and told us we needed a website. We saw consumers would feel more comfortable with our business if we had a website, so we implemented one, and here we are.

Want to hear something absolutely astronomical? 76% of business owners feel marketing has changed more in the past two years, than in the prior 50. What does this mean? Just having a website to have a website isn’t good enough anymore. You’re not unique. ReachLocal just released a study saying 97% of local business owners have a website Just running television ads, or ads in the local newspaper isn’t going to cut it. We need more: SEO, Social Media Marketing, Mobile Marketing. While people may jump through hoops to rank their site in Google, they miss out on one key element.

People care about what others think.

The numbers do not lie. According to Boast90% of consumers polled after previously viewing online reviews said it influenced their purchase. 90% is a huge number – that’s 9 customers out of ten. If your reviews are negative, that means you’re shutting out 9/10 customers right off the bat.

Boast

If you finally rank your restaurant #1 in Google, but consumers get there and find out that everyone loathes your restaurant, they aren’t going to go there, period. You need a strong online reputation with great reviews to bring a consumer in. You need social proof. According to a new study, 67% of all consumers in the United States are turning to online reviews when making a purchase decision online as well. If your company is misrepresented, people are going to go “pass. next”.

Picture this: you’re an average family in a town you’ve never been in before. You want to eat out at a local family restaurant so you do a quick search on Google while driving around. “Restaurants near me” you type. You start scrolling through restaurants, paying attention to how many stars are shown next to the result. 2.8, 3.5, 4.1, 4.4, and here you are… 4.7/5 with 38 reviews. You’re sold without even needing to read about the restaurant.

But how do you get people to actually leave a review? You’ve been open for years, and yet you only have two reviews online. What’s stopping consumers from reviewing YOUR business instead of others? In the rest of this guide, we’re going to show you a few proven, tested methods to entice your average consumer to do you a huge favor, and leave you a review online.

Before we begin, make sure everything is in tip-top shape on your Google Places listing. Make sure you have relevant, high-quality imagery so people can identify you are the correct restaurant. You can’t skimp on anything here – make sure the address is correct, make sure the links to your website are correct. Spend some time really making it look as good, or better than any other listing in your local area. If you previously had a listing without an address, links, or imagery, there’s a chance this is one of the reasons you haven’t been getting many reviews.

I would also highly suggest getting your business up on websites like Yelp or the Yellow Pages if you don’t already.

How to Get Consumers to Leave Reviews:

Mention Them:

A lot of small businesses are getting stickers that help entice customers right off the bat. These decals can easily be thrown up at the front of your business location and will remind your consumers to leave a review, both when they visit, and when they leave. Make that initial connection when visitors come into your location. When you finish your services, try to mention that they should leave a review if they were happy. Set up a bit.ly link to your local listing to make it easy for viewers to remember. If your business name is “Crush Local”, try something like bit.ly/CrushNewYork if you can. This makes it a quick, easy process for consumers. Remember, they’re doing you a favor, so make it as easy as possible. Here’s what the stickers we mentioned earlier look like:

reviewus

Offer Incentives:

Whoa…why would I offer incentives to my customers in exchange for reviews? Isn’t that pointless?

Not in the slightest – as we showed earlier, by getting more reviews, and higher quality reviews, you’re going to bring more customers in, and rake in more profit. Picking an incentive can be tricky, but personally, I like to kill two birds with one stone and offer a discount on the next purchase if they can provide a review. You can set up some kind of deal where if the customers shows they’ve reviewed your business on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or another website, they get 10% off their order. If you run something like a restaurant this might not fly -say you own a coffee shop for example, try offering a free drink. Something small that gets them to act.

Don’t forget the rule of reciprocity. If you do something for them, they’ll do something for you.

Promote Social Media:

Make sure you’re pushing social media along with reviews. If customers already go through the trouble to follow you on social media for updates, there’s a higher chance that they’re going to give you a review. If you push your social media profile, or have been pushing it for a while, you can also ask customers on social media to leave a review. Interact with your audience, and they’ll interact with you. Remember to push. Let’s look at an example:

Let’s say a customer responded to our coffee shop’s deal for 20% off a Monday coffee and said “coming in for sure! Love the atmosphere, love the deals!”. We could leave a well-placed, interactive comment saying something along the lines of “hey __name__, we’re so glad you love the atmosphere! If you have a spare minute would you mind leaving a review on Yelp here __bit.ly link__?”.

They’ll do it more times than not. You’ve already garnered a positive comment out of them. You’ve already provided a positive experience for them – they’ll be more than happy to leave a review.

Dealing With Negative Reviews:

negative Yelp reviews

As mentioned earlier, negative reviews can hugely harm your online reputation and send customers away. I would classify a negative review as a 1 or 2-star rating on any major website. There are a few keys to dealing with negative reviews as to not steer customers away when they see it.

ALWAYS Respond to The Review:

I can’t count how many times I’ve cringed in horror after reading how terribly a business owner replied to criticism. The customer may be unreasonable, but they take it to a completely different level. A huge argument spurs out, and you’re left with the business owner cursing out the consumer, saying that their opinion is wrong.

Never do this. The customer is always right, especially when you’re being scrutinized.

Respond to the review in a highly positive manner. Whatever you convey to this consumer is what you’re going to convey to everyone else who reads your comment. Say that you’re very sorry that their experience was negative and tell them that if they’re willing to give you another shot, speak to you directly and you will hook them up with a discount/freebie. End it at that.

You’ve cornered them – they can’t respond to your positivity with another negative comment! If they do, the other consumers are going to see that and think the consumer was unruly anyway. If they respond with a positive comment and say they’ll stop in, you have a chance to make their experience positive. At the end of the day, as long as you run a genuinely good business, you will be able to change the customer’s mind.

If you maintain this mentality, you’re going to avoid negative reviews that actually harm you. In addition, if you pair this with what we mentioned above, you’re going to bring in a flock of positive reviews. By doing this, your online reviews are going to skyrocket in total, you’re going to look more appealing to potential customers, and you’re going to bring in more money.

I hope you enjoyed our guide to online reviews. If you have any questions or comments, leave a comment below and I’ll get to it as soon as I can! Thanks for stopping by and reading my post right here on Crush Local.

Local SEO Services | Crush Local SEO

How to Set Up Google Places For Small Business SEO

 

In the battle for local online recognition, only businesses that have mastered (or invested wisely in) search engine optimization can stand the test of time. As a small business owner, it is important to remember that besides the general SEO practices that every business must have, local SEO must be implemented if your business is to thrive. Local search engine marketing describes the practice of customizing search engine optimization such that it becomes relevant to a particular geographical location. For instance, if you are operating your business in Denver, you want to make it easier for a Denver resident to locate you. Hence, you will have Denver in mind when designing your local SEO.

Local SEO Facts from Crush Local SEO and Google Insights

This is why it is so important to understand the crucial role played by Google Places as far as ensuring your business is visible on a localized scale. If your business has an identity of Google Places, it will show up on Google Maps, Google searches and even Google+ Local.

When creating an account on Google Places for your business, attention must be paid to capture the business details exactly as they appear in the offline world. You are required to list your business’ name, address and phone number, or N.A.P, after which Google will send you a postcard using the address provided. This postcard contains a PIN which will be used to verify that you are indeed the business owner, after which your business will start showing up in the Local results.

In addition to N.A.P, you are allowed to provide information such as business hours, a description of not more than 4,200 characters and even photos. For small businesses that do not have a fixed address, for instance if you travel a lot and take your business with you, you will still be required to provide a mailing address.

After your business has been verified by Google, it will now appear in the SERP or local SEO sites. Hovering over the name of your business on the results page will display the rest of your business information, complete with a Google map. Google will usually display locally optimized businesses in a Local 7-Pack format though sometimes utilizes the Display Carousel. With the use of Business Photos, you are able to create an interactive tour of your location, which is a great way to show the prospective client or customer where exactly to find you and what to expect when they arrive.

Besides Google Places, small business owners should strive to have a presence in all relevant online directories and business review sites as this is the best way to ensure customers are able to find you quickly and easily. When looking for the best SEO package, business owners must ensure that they get a package that caters for local SEO as this is where the most customers are. It is unlikely that any substantial progress is going to be made if you are advertising locally-offered services to people who are outside of your locality. Would you sell hair combs to a bald man? However, if a business owner focuses on reaching the immediate market, and delivers an effective content rich website – the return will be unlimited.

Google Places for Small Business SEO | Crush Local SEO

How To Do Local Search Optimization in 2015

Local SEO is Your Friend This Year, But It Takes Time

Local search is different, and that is not something that everyone understands. While organic search results are updated consistently, and some rumors swirling that it’s almost to the point of a non-stop, real time update, Local search results are updated only so often.

Local SEO Tips | Crush Local SEO

Google is still figuring out local search, as all search engines are.  You can clearly see the difference between a local business trying to rank and let’s say a blog for jet ski aficionados.  There are naturally additional signals present with a local business in the real world, that don’t exist online – plus there are additional “concerns” with ranking websites that send real people through the door. While millions of websites battle it out every day on the SERPs,  there are only a handful of local businesses in every niche, in every city, that can rank and look to stay ranked locally on Page 1.

Local SEO takes time.

Convincing Google that you have an awesome jet ski blog is pretty easy. Write some awesome articles on how to ride a jet ski, get out on the water and shoot some video, link to some global jet ski sites etc.   But what about convincing Google that you are the best plumber in Houston? The best DUI lawyer in Charlotte?

Now they are not just sending web visitors to check out some information on jet skis, but sending real people out into the real world to meet in your real office.  There is a certain liability that comes with that, though we are quite positive their Legal has them covered – the idea is still valid.

Convince Google you are a legitimate business, worthy of them sending their customer to  – and you will be rewarded.

So how do you do it?

  1. Local Citations
  2. Local Reviews
  3. Rich Media Sharing

Local Citations

Local citations are the most important Also called local directories, citations allow you to list your business on some of the top website in the world, gaining massive “authority” for your business website. By staying consistent with your NAP – Name, Address, Phone number – you send a clear message of “We are real! Rank us high!” Not to mention the links you get from completing your business profile are often some of the best links a local business can get.  Start by finding out where your business is ranked online, and how well.  If you are planning to use a local SEO agency, ask if they perform a local citation audit before they start.

Click here to read more about exactly how to complete a local citation.

Local Reviews

Reviews are important to both the authenticity of your business, but also the immediate conversion onsite of a new customer.  Today’s consumer is smart and even smarter armed with their latest model smartphone equipped with Google voice search, Siri or any of the incredible local search apps available today.  They WILL read your reviews. Do you know what they will find?

When building up your review program there are many things you can do to get more local reviews. We have described many of these ways in past blog posts.  The main thing to keep in mind is to either employ an aggregate service that gets your best reviews out to all the review sites, or to make sure that your customers do not just stack one site or the other. 10 reviews on Google is great – but 5 reviews on Google and 5 reviews on Yelp is even better.

 

Rich Media Sharing

Do you know what rich media is? Essentially, it is all the awesome content you see online that is not plain text content.  Images, videos, audio files, animations and more are all considered rich media and search engines love the. YouTube is the #2 searched website is the world, first among young people.  Google Image search is the largest searched image database online. Flickr is the fastest growing and most widely shared image platform for online images and apps like Instagram and Pinterest allow for rich media social media postings.

Rich media citations are the listings of your business on these rich media sites.  Sharing videos on YouTube and correctly setting up your company channel and videos is important in today’s fast paced content driven online world.

Complete SEO Services | Crush Local

 

Breaking Down Local SEO Services Pricing

Local SEO Services Pricing | Crush Local

A Guide To Local SEO Services Pricing

Pricing is always such an ugly topic when it comes to SEO, and especially Local SEO services pricing. When dealing with Local clients, money typically is not overflowing from their business checking accounts looking for a home with your search marketing services.

As a quality marketing shop we think pricing should be last on our client’s mind: our shiny results and amazing customer service are worth it, right?!?!? Unfortunately, local SEO costs are typically the first thing on a local business owner’s mind.

Let’s get a couple things straight. We hate the terms costs, pricing, spend, and any other synonyms. What we do like is “invest” and “return”.  We want business owner’s to know you invest in search engine optimization for the long term gains and returns – you do not call us 20 days after signing up to complain you have not gotten any leads.

On the reverse, if we are running PPC campaigns or Facebook advertising you should expect to see results start flowing in fairly soon.

The best local niche authority directories to submit your business to are all run by humans and all take a few months to process requests.  Creating new content and social media accounts all take time and it takes even more time for Google to pick up on new links, contents, profiles and more.

Let’s break down exactly how your money get’s spent on Local SEO – and to make it even and simple we will use a $100 monthly budget which is very low and you will see how it gets spent quick.

  1. Directory Submissions
  2. On Page SEO Work
  3. Local Link Building
  4. Content Creation
  5. SEO data process

Directory Submissions

Submitting your local citations “by hand” is something every good Local SEO company should do.  While some cloud based software/services like Yext can be useful, they don’t take your business niche into consideration and just list you at their 50 partners. Submitting manual local listings to top directories over time builds up your local authority and indicates to Google that you are constantly growing.

Pro tip: Start slow and always build more citations this month than the month before. This shows you are growing. Populate each local citation with as much “rich data” as possible to get your listings to rank. Read this post on how to correctly build local business citations. 

Let’s say we build 30 listings per month at a rate of $2/listing which is below the industry average – that’s $60/mo out of our $100 budget right there.  After 10-12 months you should have about 300 listings claimed and if you do right about 80% live and verified.

On Page SEO Work

Great search rankings these days depend on great On page structure and “optimization.” This means content, keywords, meta tags, Title tags, social meta info, images, videos, internal links and more.  Any experienced SEO knows that On page SEO is where it is at, and typically they charge a lot. Optimizing 1 web page can cost up to $100. Local SEO can be a little easier, but the on page fundamentals stay the same. The local business with the best on page works typically wins. Learning how to correctly optimize Title tags or improve SEO using images is a neat skill to have.

Optimizing 5 pages per month at a very low rate of $10/page equals about $50/mo  so now we are over our $100/mo budget. You can see how SEO work builds up quick and costs are typically justified.

We still have local link building, new content creation and more to do!!!!

$100 a month for Local SEO is VERY LOW.  A really good Local SEO professional should charge between $300-$700 per month for SEO services. Crush Local offers Local SEO pricing starting at $395/mo.

Conclusion on Local SEO Pricing

While pricing is always a tough topic and seems to be the only conversation some people want to have but better than hassle a local SEO company for the lowest pricing, ask them to break down how exactly your money gets spent and why.

 

 

Business Review Sites

Business Review Sites: The Real Deal

Getting reviews is hard. Not just getting them but keeping them too! Has Google or Yelp removed your 5 star reviews before? It’s infuriating, we know!

(SIDE NOTE: Crush Reviews has launched!!!! Click here to learn more and find out how to get more 5 star local reviews wayyyy easier!!)

OK – back to the information.

Business Review Sites | Crush Local
Local Reviews Graphic For Your Website

Local business review sites are all the rage for local rankings on search engines and high conversions. Not only do most of these mega-site rank really well because of their high authority status (think Yelp), they do really well at enabling rich snippets and local review schema data so your reviews show up in search results as well. Getting reviews on your Google+ page, Yelp page and more is extremely important to your SEO efforts but also don’t forget having more 5 star reviews online than your competition will get you more business and market share at the end of the day. Every local business owner should build a review getting process into their service fulfillment operation – whether retail or service businesses. At the end of this article we compare and contract several of the leading online reputation management services. First let’s explore the top 5 business review websites that you should be focused on.

Local business owners around the world are starting to see the importance of online reviews show up in local search. But what business review sites are worth sending customers to reviews your business on? We will go over the top 5 below as well as the correct strategy for making new reviews help your Local SEO strategy. Use reputation marketing tools like Birdeye to help collect more 5 star testimonials, especially if you are finding it hard, or forgetting to ask.

They are too important for local SEO and for online conversions to not make it a focus.

Ask your developer to add your review stream to your website so people can read your reviews right on your site. Add a graphic like the one below so people can simply click and read. There are a few different solutions for this on the market today – ***Update: we have now added the leaders in this service to the bottom of this article.

Example: Use the below graphic on your site to encourage people to click to your Yelp page or Google+ page. Even better create a review page on your site and have your reviews stream right to that page.

 

What Business Review Sites Are Worth Worrying About?

Quick Tips On Creating Profiles On The Following Sites:

  • Fill profiles with as much rich data as possible; images, videos, PDFs etc all go a long way
  • Use the business name that the post office uses for you
  • Be sure to include the same phone number on each profile, DO NOT use tracking numbers
  • Create a cheat sheet for your business info so you can copy and paste info as you sign up to websites

QUICK NOTE: If you don’t want to fill out local business directories or social media profiles check out our new online shop where you can easily purchase one time services to get you signed up at all the accounts your business needs. Click here to visit our online Local SEO Shop

1. Google Places

Of course, the big kahuna of local search. Having great reviews on Google Places (or Google Plus) only naturally increases your appearance on local search engines. Not just that, but customers are used to searching Google for reviews and Google has no problem giving preference to it’s own products. Try to get 5-10 solid reviews from your best customers on your Google Places page to see a good boost to your search traffic and conversions.

2. Yelp Business

Yelp is the world’s biggest website for reviews of local business. If you run a local business make sure claiming your Yelp page is one of the first things you do. Yelp.com has huge authority so reviews and listings get ranked all the time for local search queries. Getting at least 3-5 great reviews on your Yelp page is highly recommended.

3. Insider Pages 

Insider Pages is a sleek well trafficked, super authoritative website for local businesses to list and gather customer reviews on. Wikipedia describes it like the following: “Insider Pages is an online “local search” service operated by IAC. Before its acquisition by IAC the company was based in Redwood Shores, California, and had over 600,000 reviews of local merchants around the country.”

4. Judy’s Book

While not the most well known or highly trafficked review site out there, the reviews on Judy’s Book are highly authentic, trusted and loved by Google. It’s my belief that reviews on Judy’s Book are some of the highest trusted reviews by Google’s algorithm. Sites like Yelp have had issues in the past with fake reviews, both good and bad.

5. Angie’s List

Angie’s List is a great site to collect lots of reviews on, especially if you are a contractor or in a services business. People trust Angie’s List because all businesses are verified and all reviews are checked out. Angie’s List does have a paid subscription model.

Other good options for getting reviews:

  1. Facebook Business Page
  2. Foursquare
  3. Locallite
  4. Yahoo! Local
  5. BBB or Consumer Reports

 

Getting Local Reviews | Crush Local

Sign Up for Crush Reviews today!

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Conclusion On Review Websites

Well, that’s our list of the best local business review websites. There are hundreds of more local citation sites and a lot of times it depends on your niche or industry which one might be best for you. If you are a plumber Angie’s List is a great choice. Pizza place? Yelp and other hyper-local’s might be great for you. Yahoo Local, City Search and Merchant Circle are all great and social media sites are starting to show reviews too, like Facebook.  Our team can help you gather more reviews AND syndicate them to the best review websites, platforms and apps.

What are your favorite review sites to use? While you are here, why not grab yourself a free Local SEO review to unleash your Local SEO potential?

Use Location Pages Properly When Doing SEO For Local Search

Location pages are a new necessity when doing SEO for local search.

When created, formatted and used correctly, they can be killer for your search engine rankings and traffic.  Why? Two main reasons:

  1. They are a great centralized place to get all the local schema data search engines love onto one page
  2. It gives your users the information they are looking for which is a sign you are focused on your User Experience

SEO for Local Search | Crush Local

 

So what exactly is a location page?

Simply put, it’s a web page dedicated to your location (or locations!) This is great for multi-location businesses and something large franchise businesses take advantage of already.

A location page contains all the information you want your customers to know about a particular store.  If you run a services business or “service area” business, where your work is done primarily at your customers place of business or home this can work for you – skip down to Service Area Business Location Pages. 

Use local schema markup to form the page and list your business location details. Online tools like Schema-creator.org can help you quickly build the correct HTML to add to your pages. An experienced local SEO company can also build the page for you.

Examples of details to include on your new page:

  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Google Map
  • Pricing
  • Hours of operation
  • Reviews

 

Next, you need some images. It’s important to optimize your images for local search and this starts with naming your images with your most important keywords.  For your location page go ahead and include some imagery of your neighborhood or “hyper-local” area where your business is.  What would help your customers find you?

Is there an interesting building near you? An historic landmark?  Include photographs of whatever you think of and add to the page. Be sure to add some text telling your customers why that picture is important.

“We are directly across from the old public library!”

You get the point. One of my best tips when it comes to any SEO is when adding content to your site that seems like a search engine would want (e.g. images) do it in a way that is conscious of your customer as well. What the heck does that mean?

Example: When adding images to your web pages, yes make them search engine friendly but make sure the image impacts your user as well. Like above – we are adding correctly named, fast loading images of our location to our page but we are also doing it to make sure our customers can find us.  Having directions is great, people may see them, they may not – but a picture of a familiar landmark can make a big impact when everyone sees it and says, “Hey, I know where that is!”

How to Create a Location Page Using WordPress

One great plugin we like to use is the LBC Location page plugin for WordPress. It lets you use the simple back end wizard to add things like opening hours, payment types accepted and more. The plugin creates the schema mark up for you.

You can test your page after you are finished adding all of the information by using the Google schema mark up testing tool located inside your Google Webmaster tools dashboard.

What if I have multiple locations?

Well, stay calm and start creating location pages!  This is a great opportunity for you to “silo” your website.  Start making your locations pages like this:

  • Locations Overview w/ links to each location
    • Location A
    • Location B
    • Location C

This allows you to start getting some great structure to your website.  With your URLs looking like this:

mybusiness.com

mybusiness.com/locations/

mybusiness.com/locations/boston/

mybusiness.com/locations/atlanta/

mybusiness.com/locations/charlotte/

What if I have a “Service area” business?

No problem – make a location page about the area you service!  What neighborhoods are you frequently in?  What office parks do you service?  Again add some imagery of your city.  The only part you will skip is the address and directions to your business. Other than that, go nuts.

Conclusion and Bonus Local SEO Tip

Nice little closing H2 there folks – had to get that last opportunity for a keyword in. Anyways – location pages make search engines respect you, know more about you and rank you higher. Location pages make it easy for your potential customers to find you and learn what they need to know. Location pages are a great page to include schema mark up and move your website into the modern search engine optimization era. Location pages are a great page to encourage your website visitors to bookmark because they probably will need this information again.  Contact Us pages are weak and generally just include a form.  Don’t waste time trying to rank your contact us page – create a sweet local SEO locations page and dominate the SERPs.

Oh yea, bonus tip:  Want to show Google you care for your customers and city?  Why not make a location page all about your town?  Links to the local library website, top lawyers, top doctors, the best shopping plazas, directions to the court house etc.  Let your potential customers know about other great businesses in your area that aren’t in direct competition to yours – who knows they may link back!   Local bloggers may link to your new page as well – all the information their readers want in one spot.

OK – you get the point – location pages are awesome!

Do you use Location pages in your SEO for local search strategy?

 

Local Citations: A Step by Step Guide

Research shows that a a large percentage of local buyers use local search to find businesses around them they are in the market for in order to read local reviews from their friends and neighbors. Upon reading favorable reviews, the purchase, sale or transaction is made in person. This is why local citations are so important.  The more places you have your business correctly listed and available to be reviewed online, the better your rankings are plus the higher chance your customers will read and leave reviews for your business.

Local citations | Crush Local SEO

While there are many ways to rank higher in search engines, building local or hyper-local citations is the best strategy for online businesses with brick and mortar or service area businesses (that is businesses that service customers at their location). This used to be a big issue in systems like Google Places but has been since made very friendly for all types of businesses,

What are local citations and why are they important?

Citations are simply listings of your business on online platforms such as directories, relevant commercial websites, social media and blogs among others. Today there are hundreds of more important platforms on which to list your business. Customers are now on not just desktop but mobile search, mobile apps, GPS systems and more.

A well done and complete citation should mention the business’ formal name, its address as well as contact information, preferably a phone number. This is known as the NAPName Address Phone Number.

See this article for another in depth explanation of how local listings improve local SEO rankings:

This information is provided primarily to help clients locate your business or get in touch, but it also helps improve your website’s ranking on local search engines. Engines like Google constantly review local business information across major listing aggregators and assign your business scores and ranking weight based on many things – one of them being the consistency of your business listings, the other being the number and relevancy of your listings.

Smart tips for building accurate and efficient local citations

Several factors should be considered when preparing to build citations for your business in order to ensure the information is accurate and beneficial – wrong and inconsistent information may get your business’ website flagged.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to build local citations:

Determine your business’ NAP

Again, NAP stands for name, address and phone number. This is the basic information that you should cite on different platforms regarding your business.

Caution should be taken here to avoid providing wrong or inconsistent information. To this end, the business name used in the citations should be your business’ formal name as it reads on official mail or as listed with the USPS. Changing the name by adding certain details, like the name of the city it is located in will make it irrelevant to your website, as it will be considered as another business by the search engines.

In addition, ensure your address is fully explained to ease customer’s task and time of finding you – and increase their time browsing, shopping and buying! To do so, of course include details such as the state, city, building where the business is located,  but also the floor and even the room where necessary. However, these details can be safely left out if your business or its location is very distinct.  Use description areas to describe marking characteristics your customers should look out for.

“Look out for the giant yellow truck!”  “Across from the Mercedes Dealership”

The phone number should also be correct and consistent. Unlike changing the business’ name, using multiple numbers will cause the search engines to flag your information as they may consider it suspicious. List opening hours, payments accepted, interesting attributes of your business, services or products provided, price levels and anything else someone may want to know. You may want to think “What would I want to know about my business if I were a customer?”

You can also cite additional contact information such as email addresses, fax numbers, blog links and social media links.

Most modern local websites and platforms are fully integrated with social media and don’t forget most social media profiles are a great way to list your business and get the Local SEO benefits.

Social Media platforms it is worth it to put a local listing on:

  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Foursquare

Finding the ideal platforms to cite on

Citations would be useless when put on irrelevant platforms. As such, you have to identify the ideal online platforms where clients and potential customers are bound to visit and cite there.

Again, the best place to start with is on your social media portals like Google+, Facebook and Twitter among others as all your friends and associates are bound to see it. Search engines visit social platforms every second of every day. To get your local business seen fast by everyone – get on these platforms now!!!

 

Even if Facebook or Twitter is not your favorite platform, hire someone or suck it up and start using it for your business today. With millions upon millions of users (approaching billions) there are bound to be customers in your area using these platforms.

Blogs are also excellent as they are rapidly growing in popularity. To find the relevant blogs on which to cite, simply type the name of your city before the word blog and hit enter. You will be presented with a list of the top local blogs, and you can then proceed to choose those that are most popular and relevant to your business.

Upload SEO friendly images to every listing you create. Google loves images as content and using techniques like ALT tags and Geo-tagged images can greatly improve your rankings.

Repeat this with multiple search engines, as some people prefer to use search engines like Bing Places and Yahoo Local in addition to Google Places.

Most importantly, ensure that you build local citations on the platforms where your  rival and competitor websites are as traffic to these websites would be relevant to yours too. This could also give you the edge on ranking higher on Google.  Make sure you list with the leading websites to get more exposition – type a keyword relevant to your business and competitive websites will be listed.

You can then choose the best websites for your business or niche  proceed to register and cite your NAP.

Making the citations

You might be surprised to find information regarding your business in some of the platforms you choose for citation, eliminating the need to build local citations. Some websites have scan and autolist businesses or an employee at your business might have filled out a profile in the past.  If this happens you can CLAIM your listing and take it over. After you do this it is important that you inspect them and make the relevant changes to avoid inaccurate and inconsistent information.

Continue to slowly create listings on the top website you have chosen to list your business on and as the weeks go by you will build a well made, authoritative local citations portfolio. Again, check that all the information is correct and consistent. Using a service like Crush Local or Bright Local citation building will take this process out of your hands and into the hands of professionals for just a couple dollars per listing.

With these factors in mind and a commitment to steadily building local citations every month, it will be no time at all until your rankings are improving, your traffic is up, you are getting more reviews and you are starting to realize the true ROI behind local SEO services.

#local citations, local citations seo

Local Reviews Drive Local Rankings. But How to Get Them?

How To Get More Local Reviews From Customers

When you own a local business, you know that online local reviews matter a lot. From Healthgrades to Yelp, Trustpilot to Angie’s List, millions of people are sharing their local experiences on major business review sites, and what they say definitely has an impact.

These days, it’s important to get local revies as they can shape your business far more than a paid online Ad. According to a recent Zendesk survey, 93 percent of participants were of the opinion that positive reviews definitely influenced their buying decision, and 78 percent said their decision was influenced by negative online reviews.

As social media expert, James Baker said, “Welcome to a completely new era of service and marketing in which your brand is defined by all those who actually experience it.”

Some businesses focus on strategies to tackle one or two negative reviews, but the best way to combat few negative words on your business is to load up on rave reviews. This means, you should encourage all your happy customers to take time to write about their experiences. Let’s have a close look at some tips to get you started.

Getting Local Reviews | Crush Local

Ask Your Customers

The best way to get more reviews is to simply ask your customers to post them. Your customers know how important positive reviews are to your business. As long as you provide excellent service or products they won’t be annoyed if you ask for a review. However, don’t wait for long as customers are likely to offer you feedback right away.

So the next time any of your customer compliments you via phone, email, or in person, make sure you convey that you would appreciate if they can leave some kind of feedback in an online review on sites of their choice, or the ones preferred by you. This is the easiest way to get the testimonials from local customers you want.

Set Up your Profiles on Multiple Review Sites

To get reviews, consider all websites that are relevant to your business: Angie’s List, Yelp, Yahoo Local, Googel Local, TripAdvisor, LinkedIn, and CitySearch. Even if you’re not in a review-driven industry such as hospitability and restaurants, some general review sites such as Trustpilot and Trustlink are great. Infact, Trustpilot has an added benefit of showing up high on Google!

Make your Web Presence Known

Sometimes encouraging your customers to post reviews may turn them off. So what’s the best way to get customer reviews in these circumstances? Well, try to engage them in the online world, by creating a Twitter account or a Facebook group for your business. Many customers prefer to share their experiences online and you can encourage them there to post online reviews. You can also build your company blogs to get local reviews – it does not have to clutter up your nice homepage. Make the review placements and review forms intuitive and in the right spots for customers.

Make It Easy to Leave Reviews

Unless someone has a completely negative review to share, the average person will never look for ways to leave your business a review. That’s why you must ask them to post reviews and make it really easy for them to do so. You can put direct links on your review profiles at multiple places; for instance, a follow up newsletter, email, or your own websites. In fact, Yelp now offers a downloadable “Find Us on Yelp” banners that can be used on business websites ofr you can print out for your store.

Thank your Reviewers

If review website allows it, you should thank each person who’s posted reviews. This will encourage others and you will get more reviews. In fact, you can also surprise top reviewers by sending them freebies or discount codes after they’ve posted a review. This simple act can turn a satisfied customer into any incredibly loyal evangelist.

Make Local Reviews a Part of Your Work Processes

Make sure that all your customer service and sales representatives understand the significance of soliciting reviews from the customers they work with. In fact, you can see a significant increase in the number of reviews once you implement a incentive program where your employees receive some cash bonus for any reviews (for instance, 5 reviews-=$50; 20 reviews=$200)

Choose whatever kind of bonus/program makes sense for your local business. It’s just an added incentive to help your employees remember to ask for each of your customer a review. This will help you get lot of local reviews. Given the importance of reviews in the customer decision making process, this is one of the best and most effective ways to spend your marketing dollars.

How to have a ‘Local Reviews Box’ as a landing page – Plus …

If you would like people to ‘land’ directly on your Google+ reviews, then simply add this code to the end of your Local page: ?review=1. (thanks for Luis Galarza for this tip!) When people click the link, they will get the review …

How to Improve SEO For Images

Improve SEO for Images On Your Website Correctly and See Big Results

 

Improve SEO for Images | Crush Local SEOIf you post images on your website but you don’t use them for search engine optimization, you are missing out on an important opportunity. Images are an increasingly neglected aspect of website development – they are either not creative, slow to load or non descriptive and un-optimized, but every good Local SEO expert knows they can be used to increase your search engine ranking in a big way. Learn how to improve SEO for images below.

 

Some fast tips before reading the whole post:

  1. Name your image files properly; use keywords and dashes, never underscores
  2. Use High Quality Images that help your content and impress your visitors
  3. Optimize to load quickly; tools like Yahoo’s Smush.it can help
  4. Add keyword rich ALT tags and Call to Action Title tags – I explain below.

Change the file name.

It is very important to give your images a descriptive file name. Don’t make them a series of random numbers and letters, as this does not provide any useful information to search engines. Instead, consider combinations of relevant keywords separated by hyphens. Pro tip: use exact keywords so you can leave the written content on your website for the long tails and more natural keyword additions.

Add “alt” tags to your images.

The first step is to create “alt” tags for your images. These are words or sentences that appear in place of your image if, for whatever reason, it cannot be viewed on a user’s screen. For example, some people disable images in their browsers, in which case the “alt” tags show up instead.

Your “alt” tags should suit the content of the page. For example, if you are showing a picture of a product for sale, provide a description of the product in your “alt” tag so readers understand exactly what is supposed to be pictured. Consider using keywords (or alternate keywords) to ensure search engines know the content of the photo, as well.

Remember to include your city and state if local!

Add title tags to your images.

Another important tag essential for SEO is the title tag. It describes your image in a few short, meaningful words. In the example above, you might use the name of the product as the title tag, including any identifying features that separate it from similar products, such as color or size. It’s also a great place for a call to action. While your ALT tag might be a great place for a keyword, your title tag should be a short phrase or command which may or may not include your keyword.

Example ALT tag:  Keyword | Company

Example Title tag: Get a Free Trial for Keyword here!

Decrease image sizes.

Search engines take into account many factors when ranking a site. If you want to rank local websites higher, you might want to reduce the file size of your images. This decreases page load times, which makes your site more attractive to search engines. If you are using WordPress using WPsmush.it plugin will help run all images through the Smush it API reducing your file size.

Improving your website speed and load time is great for all aspects of your SEO and your images might be the perfect place to start. Look into a CDN like Cloudflare to help instantly make your site faster and cache images so they don’t need to load everytime a user visits your site.

While we are on the subject of speed, an online tool like GTmetrix (http://gtmetrix.com) can help you single out problem areas.

 

Consult a professional (shameless plug).

If you aren’t sure how to target your images for SEO, consider hiring a professional or company that does local SEO services to assist you with the appropriate changes. With affordable local SEO by your side, you will put your website (and your business) in a much better position in the search engines, and you will avoid many of the common mistakes novice users commit. that are perfect for this.

First 3 Steps to a Successful Local SEO Program

When starting a local seo program, its often overwhelming to take that first step. It’s important to stay organized and neat so you can refer back to past work, be sure not to duplicate work both for your rankings and sanity, and a myriad of other benefits. Staying organized is the theme of this post, and we will discuss the first three steps to a successful Local SEO program below to accomplish our theme.

Our First Step: Create your data depositories

When starting a local SEO campaign you need to be prepared to have a lot of files to store and data to record. Let’s make it easy to do this by initially creating our folder structure, back up system, reporting spreadsheet and the all important notebook.

In your desired folder on your computer create your project folder. I am a fan of using the desktop for your current projects as this is really the point of the desktop, your current work….much like the real wooden thing you are sitting at.

Project Folder –> Content; Graphics –> Social; Reports; On-Page

 

The semi-colons represent a new folder, so essentially you will have a main project folder with 4 sub folders “Content” “Graphics” “Reports” “On-Page”. Your “Graphics” folder will have its own sub-folder called “Social”.

Now, simply inside the main project folder, create your “Project Reporting Spreadsheet” with the following Sheets.

Accounts. Links. Keywords.

While somewhat self explanatory, I will quickly review each sheet’s purpose.

Accounts: it is here you will enter your login credentials for each account you create, this will end up being in the hundreds if you are ambitious so its important to stay organized.

Links: record all the high quality links you will be building here. Local SEO depends on good link building in part, so its important to keep track of your hard earned links

Keywords: You can record here all of your targeted keywords by category along with keyword ideas and competition keywords

OK – hopefully you have a back up system like Pogoplug so set your folder to back up automatically, just in case. This step is purely optional but recommended. This is important data we are talking about.

Second Step: Take care of Google +

This is your most important citation and it’s important to do it correctly. If you have not signed up for a Google account, take a break and go ahead and do that. If so, log in and click the little +YourName in the top right corner. Enter Google+.

A quick search for your business will let you know if you have any pages out there, but hopefully not.

Hover over the menu on the left and choose “Pages”.  Click “Create my Page” and go through the easy process of entering your business name and contact information.

When you come to categories…STOP.

Click here. Use the tool to find the best categories for your business. This is important. Choose the top 5 and enter them into your page

Be sure to complete the following:

  • 5 Categories
  • Email address
  • Phone Number
  • Correct Business Name
  • Business Hours
  • Payment Methods

Then upload 5 pictures you have taken of your business.  Tip: Take these pictures with your iPhone so they get “geo-tagged” with your local coordinates.

Not done yet….

Next you need to write an accurate and keyword rich description of your business in the space provided. Does keyword rich mean… “local dentist in San Diego practicing dentistry with a local dentist office downtown serving local dental patients daily”? No.  Follow the following template:

{Business Name} is a leading provider of {main keyword} in {City, State.} With not only the experience to get the job done, but a focus on customer service to make sure you are happy from day one, there is a reason we are consistently rated #1. We can provide the following:

  • Service/Product 1
  • Service/Product 2
  • Service/Product 3

For a free estimate or quote please contact us today. Visit our showroom for a hands on look at our top selling items. If you are serious about finding a {main keyword here} in {City, State}

Done. Notice how in the last sentence there is a link. We highly recommend making this a link to your #1 targeted inner page. There are already 2 links on the page to your homepage so lets diversify and get your visitors one step down your funnel by landing on a service page.

Request your verification card and wait for the PIN – this you will simply enter and click OK. Easy.

Expert tip:  Your page is now set up, so the only thing left to do is connect your business website with your Google+ page. You can do that easily by putting this line of code in the <head> section of your website. (or have your web guy do it)

<link href=”http://plus.google.com/+yourgooglepage#here” rel=”publisher” />

 

Our third and final step to starting a successful Local SEO program is to make a plan and stick to it.

This will not happen over night. Create a plan that includes keyword research, a blog topic calendar and signing up to local business directory sites.  Each week write one blog post with one of your target keywords, sign up for 10 directories, make 4 Facebook posts….whatever your plan is, the point is stick with it. You may not see results in 60 days. That’s OK.

Commitment is the Local SEO expert’s friend. Commit to a website and focus on delivering high impact content and links to get results. Do not falter for the steady optimizer is rewarded in the end.

Conclusion

Working with local SEO experts like Crush Local can yield fast results because we are skilled at the set up.  We are organized, skilled, and streamlined because of our experience. In short, we have set up many SEO campaigns and made all the mistakes that we have gotten our process down pat.