Digital Marketing Plan… Part 2
In our last blog post we talked about two ways to make your Website more relevant through some basic digital marketing, and by that we really mean organic guerilla digital marketing. That’s a lot of words right there, so let’s look at what we mean by that. When we talk about “organic guerilla marketing” we’re not talking about no pesticides were used in the making of this Website lol. . .what we’re talking about is the fact that the tips we are giving you will not cost you any money (if you do them yourself). So we are not talking about buying ads, or e-mail lists or mailing lists, or banners or anything like that—although all of those are good marketing moves as well. We are talking about taking the time to do some very simple, down to earth things that can boost your Website’s ranking with Google, making it more relevant and more likely to appear in the first five pages of Google.
Just to refresh your memory, last time we mentioned blogging on your Website as a way to keep it constantly updated, have people visit it more often and boost it’s ranking with Google. We also talked about setting up reciprocal links with other local business Websites that are relevant “power partners” or “referral partners” to your own business.
This second idea about reciprocal links is based on the fact that Google loves it when you have a lot of inbound links to your Website and gives it a higher ranking. This makes sense right? After all, if other business Websites find your site relevant enough to link to you, then your Website must be important to them and their customers too. So here’s another couple of ideas to increase the number of inbound links to your site:
- Business Directories. There are so many business directories out there right now, that often when you Google a specific business category, the first five to 10 listings on the first page of Google are directories, not individually owned businesses. Some of the main directories to make sure you are listed in are Google Places, Bing, superpages.com, yellowpages.com, manta.com and more. All you have to do is actually Google the phrase “best places to list business websites for SEO.” But there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, your listings in each directory must be exactly the same, or Google will penalize you. Second, this is an arduous process, to be honest with you. Each directory has it’s own way to verify that you are indeed a legitimate business and you are the owner of it. Google actually “snail mails” you a postcard with a verification code, some directories simply email you a verification code, and some are verified via phone. It often takes us several days to do this kind of SEO work for a client’s new website, so be sure to plan in the time to do it.
- Review Websites. No doubt, when on vacation, you’ve used Yelp or TripAdvisor to find the best seafood restaurant, or the coolest new café in town. Nowadays, you can find everything listed on Yelp and Angie’s List and, of course Google Places, from the top 50 accountants to the best place to buy flowers, to the handyman everyone loves to use. So no matter what service or product you provide, you want to be sure you are not only listed on these review sites, you also want to be sure you are getting great reviews there too. Many businesses list testimonials on their own Website, and we highly recommend that you do that. But you also want those reviews out there on other review sites on the Web, for two reasons. The first is that Google Places is always going to have relevance, and it will have more relevance, the more reviews that are placed there. The second is that every review on one of these other sites, also acts as an inbound link to your Website, and as we’ve mentioned above, Google loves that.
The trick is to make sure you ask your customers for reviews, and maybe even incentivize them to do it. My hair-dresser asked me for a review on Yelp the first time I went to her and when I did it, she sent me a coupon for $10 off my next haircut! Make it easy for your customers. Send a follow up email to them with a link to the review site you want them to review you on. Make sure you do several review sites and change the links up each time you send an email to a customer so you get reviews on all of them! The other important caveat to remember about is: sometimes you’re going to get a bad review. Respond to it immediately! Don’t just let it sit out there stinking up your reputation! First call that customer immediately and offer a solution to the problem, and ask them to update their review if they are satisfied with the solution. Then follow up on the review website with a note of your own talking about how you handled the problem. And finally, make sure you bury that review with a lot more positive reviews on that same site. This requires monitoring the sites you are reviewed on, at least on a weekly basis.
We have a number of other suggestions for helping your organic search results, and will be writing about them over the next few weeks. But if you’re ready to get this kind of digital marketing plan in the works for your website right now. . . please give us a call and we can get you started immediately.