Blog

Video Marketing

Video marketing is the use of videos to promote your business and increase engagement across digital and social channels – it allows you to reach your target audience through a different medium. Using video as a marketing tool is smart and effective, and it’s gaining momentum among marketing professionals.

Interesting Video Marketing Statistics:

  • Cisco predicts that 82% of all web traffic will be video by 2022 – up from 75% in 2017.
  • The largest video platform, YouTube, is the second most popular website in the world, following Google.

Furthermore, YouTube has shared some interesting statistics in the past year:

  • Over 2 billion users visit YouTube each month and people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views every day.
  • More than 70% of YouTube watchtime comes from mobile devices.

3 Benefits of Video Marketing:

  1. Video marketing is like an investment. Incorporating video on landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%.
  2. Video makes a great addition to email marketing campaigns. Mentioning the word “video” in an email subject line can increase open rates by 19%. Videos can influence buying behavior and turn visitors into leads and leads into customers.
  3. Video marketing encourages social shares. In fact, 92% of mobile video consumers share videos. When you work with a professional marketing company like WebLocal, you’ll be able to collaborate with the team on your video. Together, we’ll create something that really shows what your company is all about!

Needless to say, video marketing is a tool that reaps great reward. That’s why we incorporate video marketing into each one of our clients’ plans. Consumers want to see personalized videos more than they want to see any other content (HubSpot). Videos are not only informative, but they’re entertaining, and people want to be entertained!

Are you ready to see how video marketing can change your marketing game? Contact us to learn more!

Keyword Research: Why is it so important for SEO?

What is keyword research?

Simply put, it’s the process of determining which words and phrases people search the most and optimizing content around those terms.

Keyword research directly impacts every facet of SEO, including on-page optimization, identifying content topics, links, and promotions. Most would agree that keyword research should be the first step of any SEO campaign.

Keyword research is personal; you’ll gain a lot of insight into what people are searching for, down to the exact words they use. Keywords are like a compass pointing you in the right direction and telling you if you’re making progress or not.

So, what keywords are right for you, and how can you be sure you’ve covered them all?

You want your website to speak the same language as your potential visitors, and a website that is well-optimized will do just that. Same goes for any marketing campaign.

This WordStream post lists a few common rookie mistakes when it comes to SEO research:

  1. Doing SEO keyword research once.
  2. Never updating or expanding your SEO keyword list.
  3. Choosing keywords that are too popular, and therefore too competitive – makes it easy to get lost in the mix.

There are several keyword research tools you can use when getting started, but here’s a list of the top 5 tools most commonly recommended by experts:

  1. Google Keyword Planner
  2. WordStream
  3. KWFinder
  4. Moz’s Keyword Explorer
  5. SEMrush

Each tool may slightly vary from the next in what features are included and how in-depth their searches go. All things considered, you really can’t go wrong with any of these tools – especially if you’re just checking them out.

Finding the right keywords to optimize can be time consuming and not as clear-cut as you’d think, which is ultimately why many turn to the professionals. When you hire a company to implement SEO strategies for you, make sure they understand you, your business, and your goals, to ensure the right keywords are optimized.

Once the best keywords are found, it’s time to make them work for you! We typically see keywords included in high-attention areas on a website, like page titles, URLs, and even meta tags and image files. However, well-optimized websites are often filled with keywords in an organized and thoughtful way beyond those high-attention areas.

With keyword grouping, you can divide your keywords into small, more manageable groups of related keywords. Doing this allows you to optimize a single page which can greatly improve your ranking potential. You now have a website that is filled with keywords working for you in a smart, effective way. Plus, your website won’t look as spammy with well-thought-out keyword organization.

Another very effective strategy related to keywords is the inclusion of long tail keywords, which are search phrases with longer word counts. Due to their longer length, these search phrases are much more specific than searches with fewer words. Let’s use the word “clothing” as an example of a short keyword; its long tail counterpart might be “high end clothing for women”. As you can probably tell, the word “clothing” is very broad and doesn’t really have any obvious targets. On the other hand, someone searching for “high end clothing for women” will get much more targeted results. Long tail keywords cater to a very specific audience.

According to Neil Patel, implementing long tail keywords is how you’ll outrank the competition. Experts agree that Google ranks long tail keywords much higher than single word search terms, although implementing both is important!

The bread and butter of SEO, and often the first step in building a website, is keyword research. We encourage you to do your own research on keywords using one of the tools listed above and learn for yourself how strategizing around them can help position you in front of your competitors. By doing your own initial research, you’ll be able to see how big of a demand there is for what you offer. You want to make sure you’re looking at keywords that perform well on all search engines, not just one.

When working with a professional marketing company, you’ll have guidance in selecting the right keywords for your business. They will then help build quality content around those keywords. The next step: watch yourself rise in the rankings!

SEO and keyword research is complex and quite a big undertaking to take on yourself. That’s where we come in! If you have any questions or wonder if digital marketing is right for you, give us a call! We offer free consultations.

Text Message Marketing – A Smart, New SEO Trend?

Text message marketing, mobile marketing, SMS marketing – no matter what you call it, it’s on the rise!

As consumers, we’re so used to being asked for our name, email address, and phone number, that we almost provide this information mindlessly.

Have you noticed more and more text messages being sent your way to inform you of an upcoming sale, or other promotional events? We’re willing to bet your answer is a yes.

Almost half of the American population checks their smartphones as soon as they wake up, usually while they’re still in bed, according to a ReportLinker survey.

As cited by Over The Top SEO, text messaging is the #1 cell phone activity with more than 80% of American adults texting. On average, a person will spend 23 hours a week texting. Plus, email has a 20% open rate, whereas text messages have a 98% open rate.

With facts such as these, it’s clear text messaging can be a powerful marketing tool. So, when you’re asked to provide your contact information, whether in person or online, don’t be surprised when the text messages start flooding in!

What are the advantages of SMS marketing?

1. With a 98% open rate, your text messages are much more likely to make it to your intended targets as opposed to email, with a low 20% open rate (Mobile Marketing Watch).

2. Tracking who opened your messages and who didn’t is made easy. Many texting platforms help you manage your campaigns right from your desktop. Companies like SendinBlue allow you to connect directly with your targets, track who opens your messages, what links they click on, create personalized messages, and much more!

3. Text message marketing results in more interaction with your targeted consumers. All they have to do is tap on the ‘reply’ button or click on your link. Consumers like easy, and text messages make it so easy for them to interact!

4. Once you press the ‘send’ button, your message goes out immediately. After setting up a campaign, you can have hundreds of clicks within the first few minutes!

5. You can create personalized messages for your target audience. Adding words like “friends” or “you” and “I” can significantly drive up engagement (Neil Patel). People like to feel special, so make them feel special!

6. SMS marketing will improve your mobile SEO. As consumers start to click on the links in your messages and get directed to your mobile website, you’ll quickly see your numbers rise!

SMS marketing is a tough one to argue against when you consider its many advantages. If you’re looking to improve your mobile marketing game, SMS might be the way to go!

If you want to try SMS marketing but don’t know where to start, try one of these platforms that offer FREE trial services:

1. Slick Text
2. ZipWhip
3. EZTexting

In conclusion, SMS marketing has evolved over the years and is growing in popularity as an SEO strategy. If you can get your intended targets to opt-in, they will never miss an offer or update from your company again! You can also pretty much guarantee that your messages won’t sit unopened or unread for days on end.

Neil Patel recommends starting with exclusive offers to generate a lot of subscribers right off the bat. He also recommends sending coupons and photos to your customers, and running polls and sweepstakes using SMS. Your options are limitless.

Remember, create personalized content too. People like to feel special!

Just like any other marketing or SEO strategy, when done right, you’ll watch your ROI grow fast!

We hope you enjoyed this little piece on SMS marketing – we enjoyed learning more and writing about the topic!

Are you going to implement SMS into your existing marketing plan?

2019 SEO Trends: The Importance of Comprehensive Content

Let’s discuss a very important aspect to on-page SEO: comprehensive, long-form content.

We know that keyword optimization can greatly enhance search traffic, but what strategy boosts return traffic and user engagement? Well, according to recent studies on the topic, the answer is in-depth, long-form content.

Traditionally, Google would examine your page’s HTML to determine how many times a keyword is used. Google would focus entirely on your page’s content, including your title tag, URL, image tag, description tag, and the HTML heading tag to check if your keyword appeared.

Google still looks at traditional on-page SEO strategies; however, Google is a lot smarter than it used to be. (Brian Dean, Backlinko)

Google no longer only measures content, the new focus is context. Google’s main job is to show users the best result. Nowadays, the best result isn’t “a piece of keyword-stuffed content”. (Brian Dean, Backlinko)

We’re now finding the best results are pages with thorough, well-written content that covers a specific topic.

This type of content gives Google users everything they need – it’s all in one place. You could think of it as one stop shopping. Dean also states his “ranking factors study found that in-depth content tends to rank best in Google”. (Brian Dean, Backlinko)

It’s generally recommended to aim for 250-300 words per page on your website. Quality will always be more important than quantity, but we’re now realizing quantity is just as important. So, instead of jamming as many keywords as possible into every sentence of your web page, consider writing some thorough content that covers one topic, and that topic only. Answer consumer questions right there on your web page so they don’t potentially seek business elsewhere. Make your website a one stop shop for customers.

Additionally, if you really want to go in-depth on topics, consider implementing guides or long-form articles and blogs on your website as these generally outrank short articles on Google. Keep in mind, long-form content generally has a word count of 1,000-2,000.

Although keyword focused content is still an important part of on-page SEO, it may not be the leading approach to gain return traffic. Keyword optimization will get you search traffic, but long-form content tends to be the way to go for return traffic, brand searches, and user engagement. (Dan Shewan, WordStream)

The keywords may get the user to your page initially, but it’s the quality of the content and the topic you are discussing that will keep the user there and bring them back again.

This Dagmar Marketing blog post effectively sums up the reasons why you should write long-form content – we’ve included those reasons here as well:

10 Reasons Why You Should Write Long-Form Content

  1. You’ll be positioned as an authority on the topic of interest to your customers. People turn to the experts when they have questions about a subject. You will be the expert.
  2. Recent studies have found that longer posts rank highly and are more visible online. Check out this Google Article to learn more on how Google selects in-depth content.
  3. People engage more with long-form content, especially when relevant internal links are included. This type of user behavior is likely to have a positive impact on your overall rankings.
  4. Long-form content tends to get more social shares.
  5. Longer content generally gains more inbound links, which is a link pointing towards your page from an external domain.
  6. When you cover one topic, you can aim your content towards people who are new to the subject or people who are well-versed on the topic. This way, your content is useful to many on the buyer’s journey, not just some.
  7. You can reach out to influencers on the topic and ask for input, which could result in more shares.
  8. If your website offers email subscriptions, you can turn this content into the basis of an email marketing campaign.
  9. You can pull material from this content for social media posting.
  10. Regularly publishing long-form material will help you build a community with people who like discussing the same topics as you. You’ll be a source of quality information within your industry, increasing the number of people who link to and share your posts.

Now is the time to implement high-quality, thorough content on your website. If one of the reasons listed on this post isn’t enough to get you on the long-form content bandwagon, we hope you consider doing your own research on the topic to determine if it’s right for you and your SEO strategy. We hope this post helps lead you in the right direction!

Dean, B. (2018, October 24). SEO in 2019: The Definitive Guide. Retrieved from https://backlinko.com/seo-this-year

Long-form Content in 2019: Why it’s Crucial – and How to Write Quality Posts. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://dagmarmarketing.com/guides/long-form-content-crucial-write-quality-posts/

Shewan, D. (2017, December 11). What Is Long-Form Content and Why Does It Work? Retrieved from https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/05/05/longform-content

2019 SEO Trends: On Page SEO_Blog

Trend #2 – On-Page SEO

On-page optimization continues to be a highly effective SEO strategy which is why we consider it to still be trending in 2019.

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing an individual web page with the goal of earning more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page includes optimizing both content and HTML source codes; off-page refers to external signals such as links. On-page optimization is always changing, and it’s important to keep up with the latest strategies.

CEO and founder of WrightIMC, Tony Wright, has stated that on-page optimization continues to be important in 2019. On-page SEO tactics are still providing impressive results for companies working with Mr. Wright.

There are many types of on-page optimization strategies that can be used, but according to Alexis Sanders, a technical SEO manager for Merkle, some of the most important strategies include:

  • Content that answers the most commonly asked questions
  • Make sure internal searches provide relevant results
  • Customer support quickly responding to inquiries related to business
  • Consider using chatbots to improve communication and quick response times
  • Improving the conversion process

Similar to the list above, Rand Fishkin provides an on-page optimization checklist in his article for Moz which includes:

  • Descriptive, keyword-rich titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • Short URL
  • First paragraph of each page optimized for featured snippets
  • Be smart about keyword targets
  • Leverage rich snippet options
  • Optimize your images (keyword-rich filenames)

On-page optimization has been an essential SEO strategy for some time now and continues to be. We’re seeing new trends here and there within the realm of on-page optimization, but don’t see the actual strategy going anywhere anytime soon. In future posts, we’ll delve into different on-page tactics a bit more, to see what works and what doesn’t. For now, know that you want effective on-page SEO strategies in place to improve your page’s ranking.

Continue to stay tuned for future posts about what else is trending in the world of SEO.

References

Fishkin, R. (2019, April 22). The One-Hour Guide to SEO: Keyword Targeting & On-Page Optimization – Whiteboard Friday. Retrieved from https://moz.com/blog/one-hour-guide-to-seo-keyword-targeting-on-page-optimization

Goodwin, D. (2019, February 28). 10 Important 2019 SEO Trends You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-trends/281053/#close

2019 SEO Trends: Voice Searches

What exactly is trending in the world of SEO?

Throughout 2019, we’re going to take a look at what search engine optimization strategies are trending. New ideas and strategies are constantly popping up and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the ever-changing world of SEO.

In order to improve your SEO strategies and dominate in the SERPs, you have to understand your audience, adapt with your audience, and don’t let anything slip through the cracks. You’ll want to put in place digital marketing strategies, or hire someone to do it for you, that will ensure a leading position in the SERPs. If you’re unfamiliar with SERPs, these are the search engine results pages; a list of results a search engine returns in response to specific keyword or phrase queries.

Trend #1 – Voice Searches

ComScore has stated that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Voice-search enabled digital assistants are quickly becoming the go-to search method for consumers all over the world.

According to research done by NPR and Edison Research, American households have acquired 118.5 million smart speakers in 2018.

Between smart phones and smart speakers, the number of individuals using voice searches is rapidly increasing. This increase is one of the biggest changes, or new trends, in the SEO world. New optimization strategies are required in order to keep up with the demand of voice searches. It’s important to keep in mind the difference in searching for something using Google compared to asking a question out loud. The differences in these two ways of searching for information require different answers that lead to the same result. Therefore, you’ll want to put in place SEO strategies that consider all the ways a query could be stated using voice-search enabled digital assistants.

According to OC&C Strategy Consultants, voice search is expected to become a $40 billion channel by 2022. In early 2018, the channel was at about $2 billion. Pretty amazing. Clearly, voice search trends are sticking around and don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Stay tuned for future posts about what else is trending in the world of SEO.

References

Kinsella, B. (2019, January 07). NPR Study Says 118 Million Smart Speakers Owned by U.S. Adults. Retrieved from https://voicebot.ai/2019/01/07/npr-study-says-118-million-smart-speakers-owned-by-u-s-adults/

OC&C Strategy Consultants. (2018, February 28). Voice Shopping Set to Jump to $40 Billion By 2022, Rising From $2 Billion Today. Retrieved from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/voice-shopping-set-to-jump-to-40-billion-by-2022-rising-from-2-billion-today-300605596.html

Olson, C. (2016, April 25). Just say it: The future of search is voice and personal digital assistants. Retrieved from https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/just-say-it-future-search-voice-personal-digital-assistants/1392459

Chris Maynard: Web Developer

WebLocal, Inc. is proud to introduce a new member to our website development team, Chris Maynard. We are very excited to be expanding our team in order to best serve our clients!

Chris received his B.A. in Professional Digital Writing from Michigan State University in 2018. He has been creating websites and programs for the better part of 8 years and is very passionate about website design and emerging technologies. Chris has most recently worked for Michigan State University as a Web Developer and Lansing Catholic Lawyers Guild as a Web Designer. He has a wealth of experience in creating, editing, and managing websites.

Chris continues to gain knowledge in website development and design as he keeps up with what is trending and leading in the industry. We are proud to be growing our team with experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled professionals!

In addition to Chris’s professional experience, he worked as a traveling musician for years. He continues to write and play music as a hobby and also enjoys being outdoors. He loves reading, programming AI in video games, and going to concerts too!

We are confident that Chris’s professional and creative experience will make him an asset to our company as one of our website developers. Welcome to the team, Chris!

Ashley Walker: Graphic Designer

WebLocal, Inc. is proud to introduce another new member of our team, Ashley Walker. Ashley will be working as a Graphic Designer. We are thrilled to be expanding our creative team!

Ashley has had a passion for design for as long as she can remember. She has many design talents including drawing, painting, graphic design and fashion design. She found her love for graphic design over 6 years ago while attending The Art Institute of Michigan. Ashley has received many awards for her designs throughout her career. She does wedding planning and décor along with other party events in her spare time. Ashley enjoys spending time with her son and family, as well as crafting, cooking, and running.

Ashley graduated from The Art Institute of Michigan with a degree concentrated in Marketing, Management and Advertising. She is also a professionally certified graphic designer through Sessions Creative College and has received many other professional certifications throughout her career. Ashley plans to further expand her education to obtain a BA in Graphic Design & Media Arts : Web Design in the near future.

Ashley provides her creative talents as our Graphic Designer. She sorts our client provided content and graphics and dictates where the new written and visual content will be placed on websites, video thumbnails, and social media. She also creates company logos for our clients.

We are confident that Ashley’s professional and creative experience will make her an asset to our company. Welcome to the team, Ashley!

Reviews: How To Minimize the Negative and Maximize the Positive

Did you know that reviews left on your Google My Business (GMB) page, Facebook Business page, Yelp, or other directories can either enhance your business or lead to your eventual downfall? You can boost your business by 10% with just five positive reviews on GMB; on the other hand, one really negative review can cost your business tens of thousands of dollars (a). Reviews are that critical. Word of mouth reviews have transformed into online reviews. Also, let’s not forget to mention that negative reviews are much easier for people to leave online considering there’s no actual human interaction. So, with that said, how do we minimize negative reviews and maximize positive reviews and customer testimonials?

Negative reviews can impact your social media and web traffic, but they don’t have to be detrimental. One way to improve your experience with negative reviews, and even minimize them in the future, is by taking the time to respond to the commenter. Your goal should always be to provide the best possible customer experience, no matter the circumstances. So, responding to a negative review in a professional and polite manner while addressing the concerns of the individual can potentially turn an unhappy customer into a happy customer.

Example:

“I went into this store today and was treated very poorly by one of the employees. The customer service is absolutely terrible. It’s too bad because I love the products this store sells, but I will not tolerate being treated that way. I highly recommend no one go to this store—you can find one similar enough elsewhere. It’s not worth going if they are going to treat you so disrespectfully.”
– Anonymous

As you can tell from this hypothetical example, this made-up person is very unhappy with her experience at the store she visited. Now, how should the business respond to this individual? Let’s look at a couple examples:

Anonymous, we’re very sorry to hear you had a negative experience in our store recently. We’d like to further discuss this incident with you. If you could call or email us, and provide us with more information about the employee you interacted with, we’d greatly appreciate it! We would also like to offer you a 10% discount on any item in our store. Again, we’re very sorry you feel that you were disrespected by one of our employees—we have zero tolerance for poor customer service. We hope you accept our sincerest apology.

Or…

Anonymous, we’re very sorry to hear you had a negative experience in our store recently. We have zero tolerance for poor customer service and will address this with that particular employee immediately. If you could call or email us, and provide us with more information about the employee you interacted with, we’d greatly appreciate it! We hope you accept our sincerest apology.

Again, your goal should be to provide the best customer experience possible. So, if you have an unhappy customer complaining online about a poor experience she had with one of your employees, you should acknowledge her concerns and offer her something in return (whether it be a small discount, for example, or a sincere apology); in most cases, you want the customer to come back. In some cases, you’ll have customers who aren’t going to be happy no matter what. You could provide them with the best customer service ever and they still will find something to complain about. In these cases, acknowledging their concerns in a polite and professional manner will suffice. What you DO NOT want to do is fight back, especially online where you’re on display. People love reading online reviews and determine whether or not they’re going to use your business based on the reviews they read. It’s important to keep in mind that many potential customers are reading reviews as well as your responses. Not only is your response directed to an unhappy customer, but in a way, it’s directed towards all previous or potential customers. Don’t forget who your audience is!

Tell the customer you’re very sorry and that you want to provide them with the best possible experience. Your response should reinforce your brand’s customer service values and communicate that you’re going to address their complaints ASAP. Remember, humility and humanity are important here. Sometimes, customers just need to be reminded that we’re all human–we all have bad days and make mistakes.

Now, how do we minimize future negative reviews and maximize positive ones?

The answer is simple, really–address issues with customers immediately when they arise, especially in person. People are way less likely to post negative reviews when issues have been resolved quickly. Taking immediate action makes the individual with a complaint feel important.

As far as maximizing positive reviews, you can do many things but here are some of our favorite tips:

  1. Invite or encourage customers to leave positive reviews–create an incentive for them!
  2. Simply ask for a positive review as a favor if you know you have a satisfied customer
  3. Ask for reviews on receipts
  4. Re-target past customers by reaching out via social media or email and ask them for positive feedback
  5. Simplify the process for them–ask customers to leave a review on one platform in particular (GMB, Facebook, Yelp, etc.)–this decreases the amount of decisions customers have to make

Apply these 5 simple tips and you’ll drive your online ratings up very quickly! At the end of the day, people just want to be listened to and respected. We’re all human. If we treat each other with respect, we should come to mutual agreements and understandings much quicker.

References

(a) Luca, M. (2016). Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com. Harvard Business School. Retrieved from https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication Files/12-016_a7e4a5a2-03f9-490d b093-8f951238dba2.pdf.

Kristen Redman: Content & Media Specialist

WebLocal, Inc. is proud to introduce another new member of our team, Kristen Redman. Kristen will be working as a Content & Media Specialist. We are thrilled to be expanding our creative team!

Kristen has been designing and creating since an early age. She has dabbled in many mediums including painting, drawing, graphic design and pottery.  For over 30 years, she has created and sold custom pieces locally, and world wide on Etsy for nearly 10 years.  She is an avid photographer; capturing images of the beautiful Michigan scenery as well as special moments for weddings, senior portraits, and other events. Kristen enjoys going on adventures with her two young sons, as well as cooking, reading, and creative writing.

Kristen provides her creative talents as our Content and Media Specialist. She researches our clients presence online, and creates new written and visual content for their advertisements, websites, blogs, and social media.

We are confident that Kristen’s professional and creative experience will make her an asset to our company. Welcome to the team, Kristen!