Natural Search Listing on Google

Google my business. Do you know how to test your website is working correctly?

There are only five things that you want a business website to do.

  1. get found natural search
  2. answer questions
  3. bring in enquiries
  4. get prospects to reveal their identity
  5. showcase expertise

What this means is that an effective website should be shortcutting the amount of time it takes to get a new customer. 

Three tests to do now

So how can you tell if your current website is performing? Here are 3 tests you can run which are free and will take you around five minutes to do.

Hubspot Grader – Hubspot has a website grader tool which can easily appraise your current website using publicly available information. This is not perfect but it gives you a score out of 100 and then explains where your website could be improved. Remember this is a marketing tool designed to sell the Hubspot service. https://website.grader.com/

WooRank  This is a Chrome Browser extension which does a similar job to Hubspot and can be used to double check your own website in a similar manner. I find it very useful.  https://www.woorank.com/en/p/developers

Google Page Analytics. If you have Google analytics installed on your website and you are logged into the service you can open up your own website and using the Page Analytics chrome extension appraise exactly the % of people who have clicked on each hyperlink. I like to start with the homepage and to see which links are performing well.

This was what told me that many home page sliders are not working well for our clients.  And has led me to recommend discontinuing using them.  Go check yours out.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/page-analytics-by-google/

What about Search?

Now let us have a look at how are your website displays in natural search on Google.

Firstly Google looks at four aspects of your site: Words, Pictures, Video and Maps. Of course having all of these is the best way to be – but if you only have one, you should plan to add others.

Search for your business by name in your local Google. You should see a listing on the left hand side of the page and a map and logo listing on the right hand side which includes a Google Streetview if you have an address listed. Here is an example of one of them.

Natural Search Listing on Google

Natural Search Listing on Google

If the information is incorrect. It is urgent that you correct it.

I was searching for a Real Estate agent recently and got given the wrong office phone number from my search. You can imagine how annoying that must be!

Change how your business displays in Search

You can edit the display listings on Google search by registering your website in Google My Business. https://www.google.co.nz/business/  You must get verified before you can do the edits but it is very simple.

In the tool you can link your Google analytics account, maps, YouTube account, reviews and G+. This means that Google has an accurate, integrated record of everything your business adds. You can see how important this is as Google dominates search in New Zealand.

Tips for editing your business description

The first 3 lines are the most important part and so you must put both a short description of your organisation, one line about your services or products, and how to contact you. This last should be a hyperlink so you can send visitors to the correct page on your website.

Getting Search to give you insights

Google analytics is your friend because once you have an Analytics account you also get a Search Console account. This was formerly called Google Webmaster Tools. By associating the two accounts you can then help your analytics to display additional useful information. It’s very important to have a sitemap and then you can display insights inside your analytics account for your marketing team.

In the old days Google allowed you to see what search terms were being used that brought visitors to your website. They stopped doing this because it cut into their advertising revenue. Now you can see search phrases and the number of times your website has been displayed for each phrase. It is less specific then before but it still gives you a good general idea. In our e-book how to Get My Website Working For Me we explain how to edit the six pages that Google displays underneath your business name.

You should consider which of these six pages is the most important and the order in which you want to display them. You can “Demote” a page so that Google displays an alternative.  For example you should have your contact us page on the listing but you may choose not to have a list of clients.

Setting the page priority levels is done using your site map this determines the hierarchy of pages. However you may have several pages at the same level on the ‘family tree’. You can switch these around inside Google Search Console based on your needs as I explained above.

So how did your business website perform in your tests?

These simple tools will give you the means to demonstrate to budget holders the importance of prioritising your website improvements and how it displays in search.   

Improving your local SEO is an important part of your business marketing.  It’s all part of Getting your website working hard for your business [there’s a free ebook telling you how].

Read more blog posts about Profile Raising by clicking the icon below. It’s one of the steps in our 8 Step Methodology 

4 Profile

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

How well do you really know your audience?

Do you know what their interests are, what they want and need? Sure, we’d like to think it’s all about us and our brand. But there are strategies to reach your audience in a way that will get them engaged in you and your brand that goes beyond the surface of what you think they want from you. There are tried and true ways for you to know your audience better.

What’s your common denominator?

Find out what you have in common with your audience so you can be the brand that they trust. Engage them to keep them coming back to you. If you’re a marketing communication manager, in public relations, an agency marketer or have done the Audience Industries Sequoia curriculum, you should understand what to do, how and when you need to to make sure your audience comes back to you… every time.

Get to know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Audience Industries is coming to a town near you in May and are bringing Circles with them. Really good news for you. The course is broken up into 7 modules that will help you to really get to know your audience. Audience Industries wants to show you how to bring your audience to you, over and over again. Keep them coming back by speaking their language, learning their paths and optimize your ads to deliver maximum value for your site. Because we know, it’s all about the money.

Here’s what’s in store for you if you sign up for Circles:

  • Module 1: Learn what your audience has in common with you
  • Module 2: Be the brand/business that your audience trusts
  • Module 3: Find out what your audience wants and needs
  • Module 4: Break down the elements of compelling stories and apply them to YOUR story
  • Module 5: Understand what makes your audience take actions on your site and use the information for good
  • Module 6: Get the strategies that create likes, clicks, shares… real engagement on your social media channels
  • Module 7: What you should know before you optimize your ads

Sound like something your business needs?

We thought it might. That’s why founders Dan Morris and Rachel Martin are bringing Audience Industries to New Zealand for the second time. The Circles curriculum is coming to these big NZ cities this May, so book your tickets now while there’s still time:

It’s not just the Circles curriculum that’s coming to town.

If you think the Circles curriculum is good… you’re right! But Audience Industries has 3 other curricula that we think you should take a look at, too, to help you grow your business in an online world. Read more about the Audience Industries NZ Tour from Creative Agency Secrets to see just what else you can learn from Dan and Rachel. Don’t waste any more time wondering how to grow you business revenue online! Book your tickets for a city near you now.

Audience Industries Will Help You Drive Revenue Online

Audience Industries Will Help You Drive Revenue Online

Are you new to digital communications, work in marketing or as a web admin? Good. You’ll want to hear this:

Your online activities for your business can significantly monetize your audience!

Maybe you knew this already but, if you’re here, you may need a little help getting to that point. Lucky you, we have just the thing! The Audience Industries NZ tour is coming to town!

How Audience Industries Will Help You Drive Revenue Online

The Audience Industries program is made up of 4 separate curricula, which together cover everything you need to know about increasing your online profitability.

Let’s focus on the most widely applicable course, the Sequoia curriculum. With 6 modules and 4-8 hours of your time, learn how to turn around your online efforts in simple ways that will make a huge difference to your business.

  1. Learn your audience’s ladder of value, where they came from and when they’ll be ready for you.
  2. Keep the audience coming back for more with pro marketing.
  3. Build the ultimate audience with every word you write.
  4. Stand out so your audience can find you.
  5. Find out how to get your audience from each of your social media platforms to you.
  6. Don’t sell yourself short. Your knowledge is worth a lot more. Start to understand pricing, format and what to expect in the future.

Intrigued?

I thought you might be. When it comes to your business, what you’ll take away from the Sequoia course will be invaluable. There’s no question.

Dan Morris and Rachel Martin

Founders of Audience Industries and your online marketing gurus for the tour, will be arriving on our shores in May to share their marketing expertise with us.  Are you in or near Auckland, Dunedin, or Wellington? If so, read more about the tour and book your spot now while the going is still good!

If you want to improve your online revenue for your business, don’t let this tour pass you up. Book now and take the first step towards maximising the potential of your website.

Twitter is Deprecating TweetDeck Creative Agency Secrets

Twitter is Deprecating TweetDeck

If you’re a TweetDeck user, get ready for a shock: Twitter is deprecating TweetDeck.

Twitter is Deprecating TweetDeck

What’s the good news?

If you don’t know about Hootsuite already, you can set up a free account. Hootsuite is very much like Tweetdeck in its appearance and I would recommend migrating to that. You can continue to manage your Twitter conversations with Hootsuite, keep track of retweets and mentions, etc. You can also manage your other social media profiles with Hootsuite, like LinkedIn. And there’s the Autoschedule function which puts your Tweet in the queue to post when the majority of your followers are actually on and looking at Twitter so they’re more likely to see it.

Althought Hootsuite would definitely be an easy migration for current TweetDeck users, I’m a big fan of Buffer because you can set up schedules for when your posts go out. Also, they show you a graph indicating when the best time to post is using their Optimal Schedule (much like Hootsuites Autoschedule, but they don’t have a pretty graph). But you can’t manage conversations through Buffer just yet. They’ve come out with a Beta program called Respond which also looks a lot like Hootsuite but right now Buffer and Respond are two different social media management tools as opposed to Hootsuite, which is literally the two in one.

Besides that, they both allow you to connect a few social media profiles for free. If you went with either of them, it’s likely you would not have to pay for the service. But, really, check out Hootsuite, TweetDeck users, the transition will be smooth, I promise!

Shuttlerock | New Zealand Software for User Generated Content

Shuttlerock | New Zealand Software for User Generated Content

PLEASE NOTE: Some of the details in this article have been rectified per recent conversations with Shuttlerock. These new details are noted below! Thanks for your feedback, Shuttlerock!

We’ve come across marketing software created by a business here in New Zealand called Shuttlerock. It sounds sort of science fiction-y and futuristic – something you might see in a Rae Bradbury novel. In a way, it could be next gen technology in content sharing and revolutionize how businesses aggregate and manage user content to their benefit.

Shuttlerock New Zealand Software for User Generated Content Creative Agency Secrets Aucklance

What Shuttlerock does with user generated content…

If you’re a business and have social media channels, have you ever wanted to capture all your customer feedback and testimonials in one place? Sure, leaving it in the platform from which it originated is perfectly acceptable. But, what about putting it in the one place in which your put the majority of your efforts, i.e. your website. Right now, this information has to be collected manually and configured in an appealing way so that your traffic, your customers and followers, can see: Hey! Other people like this product and have gone so far as to say something about it on the internet!

Shuttlerock New Zealand Software for User Generated Content Steps Creative Agency Secrets Auckland MarketingIncluding content aggregation, Shuttlerock takes it a few steps further

Besides collecting user content for your team to sift through, sort, and put on display on your website, Shuttlerock also helps you promote your brand to get more user generated content. How? Contests and promotions, of course! We know that one of the best ways to get engagement online is to incentivize your followers to promote you and your brand. You can get them to share their visual content promoting your brand and reward them for doing it. If done right, you’ll get a flood of content that you can then share, directly on your site. Not only do you get to share their excitement with your other followers but they’ll also be excited to see that their content is being shared with the world. What better way to encourage and reward loyal followers!

Who is using it and how.

Shuttlerock operates in its home country of New Zealand and now Japan and the US. In recent Shuttlerock news, Lady Gaga used the program to allow her followers in Japan to upload their content to her website. These photos, directly from the source (her fandom), will be collected and used to create a poster for her Japanese ‘Cheek to Cheek’ album. Now, that’s innovative.

What I find interesting about it.

This program puts power into the hands of your marketing team in a way that can really make a difference for the brand. For one, your team can manage the content via apps, as well as share their own related content, which gives the brand a more approachable, human aspect that’s approachable. And, for two, they will have social proof of what is and is not working for the brand that can be shared with upper management. I find that extremely valuable for businesses to really make a dent in their market and bring exactly what their customers want based on their feedback.

Shuttlerock New Zealand Software for User Generated Content Dollar Sign Creative Agency Secrets Auckland Marketing

The cost.

So, the only thing that I’m hung up on is this bit: the flat fee of $500 per month. For big businesses with marketing budgets that would make you swoon, $500 a month is a drop in the ocean. However we can’t forget about smaller businesses with much tighter marketing budgets – to whom $500 a month is completely unattainable. Shuttlerock, there’s nothing inherently wrong with your fees. I’m just suggesting you have a tiered option for businesses big and small. It could be based on company size, or social media following, even the amount of content that gets shared. Just saying.

UPDATE: From our recent contact with Shuttlerock we’ve been informed that the fees are $5,000 per month and are focusing on enterprises… BUT! they’re currently powering their way through some key partnerships with the goal to, eventually, have options for small and medium enterprises. Until then, we’ll look on Shuttlerock with starry eyes!!

But, way to go!

In a world where brands are continuously vying for attention from consumers, having visual, word-of-mouth content directly from other individuals on your website is amazing. And, as a consumer, seeing that other people just like you or from all the way across the globe also like this particular product, it just makes it more endearing! You want it, seeing and knowing that other people want it and are willing to share their opinions about it, all over the web.

Is content syndication a good idea for articles?

Periodically I answer questions on www.Clarity.fm – a broking website for experts and entrepreneurs. This questioner is a startup and wants to know if having his blog articles syndicated will be helpful for his business. The answer applies to established businesses who write articles as well as startups.

The advantages of Content Syndication

I would say that it is 100% a good idea with a couple of caveats.

First, your syndication destination should already have an audience who aligns closely with your startup’s desire clients / customers.

Second, the syndicator must allow link-backs to your website.

So definitely go do it – if it builds audience with prospects and also if it can be made to drive traffic back to your website.

The key to appraising whether these things are appropriate, are all about building audience, testing the market and getting early adopters.

So consider your articles and whether a call-to-action can be added to the bottom of each one that drives the interested reader to your website. When they get there, can you capture their details by offering something to the reader?

Improving your local SEO is an important part of your business marketing.  It’s all part of Getting your website working hard for your business [there’s a free ebook telling you how].

Read more blog posts about Profile Raising by clicking the icon below. It’s one of the steps in our 8 Step Methodology 

4 Profile

Have you forgotten about directory listings for local search?

Yet again, Google has changed its search page layout – the right sidebar went last week…. Now, does that matter for your business or not?

The old sidebar had adverts in it and now adverts only appear at the very top of the search listings.  This is a “reduced real estate” situation in the lingo.  Where 8 adverts used to appear, there are now only 4.  That means that competition for advertising space is doubled – prices may rise.  What that means for most business owners is that if advertising gets more pricey, you can choose whether to adjust your budgets.  I recommend spending on natural site search as an alternative.  Every recent Google algorithm update has hit the ‘game-the-system’ players hard and rewarded websites with strong on-site content.  Put your money into your own website rather than into Google’s pockets.

Local Search Matters

So first, let’s check your business and how it shows up in the Google local pack.  This is the map and associated listings with pins showing locations.  Google are showing a map of local businesses into your search results.  This allows the physical location of a business to influence whether prospects choose you or not.  So it’s important to get listed accurately.  Go first to Google My Business https://business.google.com and start registering and verifying.

Local google search showing map and address

Local google search showing map and address

Is your information accurate?

Step one is to clean up your NAP citations.  NAP is the acronym for Name, Address and Phone data. This clearly tells a visitor that a business is local.  You should claim your business and get listed accurately.  Be consistent, don’t shorten words like Street or use different variations of ST. St, and Street.  [Did you see the comma and full stop there?]

Now, what about other citations?

Do a broad search for your business name, owners names and all possible variants as well as geographic searches.  List every website where you can be found.  There may be many as most directories are aggregators of others’ content and so mistakes get flicked on and on to more websites.

In the good old days every business was on Yellow Pages and I still think that’s a great place to start your directory listings.  But Yelp is increasingly important..  go and search for your business on yelp.co.nz and ‘claim’ it.  Then you can log in and edit the details.

Yelp claim your business

Yelp claim your business

When you claim your listing, be very careful to select the correct category for your business. And please, be consistent – write down a standard short and medium length text description which you can use everywhere.  Also write one about your products or services.  And another about the business owner(s).

Now here’s a list of the local directory sites where it is worthwhile “claiming” your business listing and this is the process I recommend you run through for each one. 

  1. see if you are already listed
  2. is the information NAP accurate?
  3. edit or insert for the first time as necessary
  4. keep a record of your logins so they aren’t lost to the business when you leave
  5. set a future diary date every 6 months to review and update the listing.

Selected New Zealand online directories

Please share your tips for other directories as we can all learn more!

This article was first published on 

Improving your local SEO is an important part of your business marketing.  It’s all part of Getting your website working hard for your business [there’s a free ebook telling you how].

Read more blog posts about Who You Are and Profile Raising by clicking the icons below. Each is a step in our 8 Step Methodology 

8 step new business process. Step 1 Who are you?4 Profile

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

When you’re new, or growing, and need social proof to prove your worth to the world

So, you’re starting out your business and you know you’ve got a good thing going. But something you don’t have yet from your clients: their endorsement of you and your brand or your product. Sure, they’ve told you they liked working with you and, of course, that made you feel good on the inside. But, with the interwebs, you need to have hard proof that says someone used your services and liked it enough to write it down in a social internet space. Like Google Reviews. Or Facebook. Or even just in an email and with your clients’ blessing. Okay, so, how do you do it?

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, or deduced from the title of this blog post, we’re talking about testimonials. Or reviews. Either or, they can be one in the same, if they contain ratings and words as friendly companions in whatever social app you’re using. There are multiple ways to get those testimonials so that, when a new possible client happens to Google you, lo and behold, they see other people like you and have used you and have provided their friendly feedback. Well, we rolled out with a fun and ‘give-back sort’ of way to request from our clients and those that have worked with us in the past. I think you’ll like it.

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Before the holidays, our Chief in Command, Rebecca, came across a non-profit organization called StarJam. Briefly, I just want to let you know that what they do is amazing. Through music and performing arts, StarJam lifts kids with disabilities up, helps them to learn new skills, and gives them confidence. Just take a look at the photos they have on their website, every time I do I just want to be a part of that! Anyway, back to the story. Rebecca wanted Creative Agency Secrets to be able to give to StarJam. We also, you guessed it, wanted to get testimonials. Testimonials in one hand, giving to a good cause in the other… hmm. There’s got to be a good way to put these two together.

And SMASH!

It’s the holidays, right? We can send out a good will email to our clients! WE will donate money in your name to StarJam if you can write a few words on Google about your time with Creative Agency Secrets. So, we reached out to StarJam to get their permission, find out if they felt comfortable with our plan, requested a few images to use and then started crafting an email.

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Key items we made sure to have in our email

  1. Make your headline engaging
  2. Make your text interesting to read
  3. Tell the reader what you’re doing or what you’re asking them to do

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials4. Hyperlink to wherever they need to go or whatever you’re referring to

5. Use images

The main thing we wanted to make sure to do was inform our followers HOW to submit a review. Some people don’t have Gmail. I know, crazy world, but we had to come up with a foolproof way to say ‘This is easy! Here, we’ll show you’.

Be Innovative with How You Get TestimonialsVoila! We created this easy to read image with everything needed to tell our audience how to do what we were asking them to do.

Then what? Well, we could wait around with baited breath. But, by this time, it was Christmas and we decided we’d come back to it in the New Year with fresh eyes and suntans.

And when we did… no reviews! We could have been sad and wallowed a bit but that’s now how you get good reviews. So we sent a follow-up email. Sort of a, “Hey, we know you were busy over the holidays, but…” reminder. Good idea, right? Of course.

But when you’ve asked the same way twice and you still get no response

You try another tactic. This time, we called, or in some cases walked over to, those who had worked with us in the past to ask them, oh so kindly, to provide us with a review while we donated to a good cause in their name. Sometimes it just takes the glimmer in your eye, the inflection in your voice, or just good ole human contact to make the connection you need.

And now we’re on the MAP!

Be Innovative with How You Get Testimonials

Tips to those using Google reviews!

  1. For one, you need 5 reviews to be able to see your star rating.
  2. For two… even if you have 5 star ratings for all 5 of your Google reviews… somehow you still only rate 4.8 stars

Number two will remain a bit of a mystery.

I hope this helps any startup businesses out there looking to get on the map as well with testimonials and reviews. As they say, right now, the BEST way to get business is by word of mouth. And online rating systems like Google, Facebook, and others are the next best things with the worldwide web!

Alexa rank for Creative Agency Secrets

How to compare my website with a competitors’

Sitting with a client, he brought up a competitors website and asked me how much traffic they got in comparison to his site.

Top 3 ways to compare websites

There are several free tools you can use to compare your public website statistics with other websites.  Remember things like Google Analytics only work if you are authorised to see them – so they’re no good for competitors.

Alexa

The top non-Google site for appraising the popularity of websites on a worldwide scale.  I use the Chrome Alexa extension to get this screen grab for our website showing incoming links, global ranking and local country ranking.  We are the 405, 597th most popular website on the planet.

Alexa rank for Creative Agency Secrets

Alexa rank for Creative Agency Secrets

SimilarWeb

A cute comparison for two sites that shows more information than Alexa.  This gets different data from Alexa but adds in some nice additional features like traffic volumes (in thousands), bounce rate, time on site, page views, countries, traffic sources (direct, referrals, social, email, display), Audience interests and similar sites.  Then you can add in a competitor site URL and get a direct comparison.  Very cute.

Similarweb for Creative Agency Secrets

Similarweb for Creative Agency Secrets

SEMRush

The digital marketers best friend for detailed data comparison, SEM Rush is the big daddy here.  It dives deeper than the others into keywords, comparing paid and organic traffic, main competitors, branded search vs non-branded (helpful for marketing).  Plus you can choose from 26 country search engines to use (Google.com or your local google.com.au for example).

SEM Rush for Creative Agency Secrets

SEM Rush for Creative Agency Secrets

This article first published in Marketing Online Magazine Issue 4

Doing a comparison of your website with your competitors is a useful exercise.  It’s all part of Getting your website working hard for your business [there’s a free ebook telling you how].

That’s what Creative Agency Secrets specialises in.  Give us a call or email for an appraisal of your site, your business marketing and how to improve.

Read more blog posts about Analysis and Profile Raising by clicking the icons below. Each is a step in our 8 Step Methodology 8 Analysis & Feedback icon4 Profile raising icon