Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency: Best Local SEO Consulting, Google Ads Expert, Custom Website Design & Development Companies in Birmingham, Alabama https://webology.io All Star Digital Marketers from Birmingham, Alabama Sat, 19 Sep 2020 21:11:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://webology.io/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/cropped-digital-internet-online-marketing-agency-near-me-logo-32x32.png Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency: Best Local SEO Consulting, Google Ads Expert, Custom Website Design & Development Companies in Birmingham, Alabama https://webology.io 32 32 4 Business Development Pains That Many Law Firms Are Feeling https://webology.io/2020/02/11/4-business-development-pains-that-many-law-firms-are-feeling/ https://webology.io/2020/02/11/4-business-development-pains-that-many-law-firms-are-feeling/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2020 16:39:53 +0000 https://webology.io/?p=6040 This week I had the pleasure of meeting with a collections attorney, a business law paralegal, two divorce attorneys, and a consumer rights attorney. Aside from me thinking about all of us walking into a bar with some clever punchline in mind, I learned a lot from everyone. My sole purpose for the meetings was […]

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This week I had the pleasure of meeting with a collections attorney, a business law paralegal, two divorce attorneys, and a consumer rights attorney.

Aside from me thinking about all of us walking into a bar with some clever punchline in mind, I learned a lot from everyone.

My sole purpose for the meetings was to better understand each firm’s approach to business development. What I walked away with though was a consistent message on four specific pain points that seem to be common, no matter which practice area an attorney specializes in.



Here’s the message I got from some of your peers along with a few practical solutions:


Not Getting the right Referrals



Referrals are great! Webology gets a lot of referrals, so I know the power of a positive word from someone your prospective client trusts.



For attorneys, it’s very much the same. However, not all referrals are good for some obvious reasons.



Think about a divorce attorney that gets a lot of referrals from a bankruptcy lawyer. Sometimes it might be an easy home run but more often than not, these prospects will get sticker-shock and either attempt to DIY their case (never a good idea), or they might seek out a lower price quote from a competing firm with an on-site Coinstar machine.

 



 



A better referral source might be a CPA whose helping a business client split up assets for an uncontested divorce.

Getting the most from Referrals



No matter who your referral partners are though, make sure you take the time to get to know them better. Learn about each other’s business goals and discuss which prospects are the most qualified for their firm.



If you understand their business it makes you a better referral partner. This is all just human nature, but don’t you think that someone you send only the best leads to will also be inclined to do the same? I do. That’s why we try to screen and qualify leads as much as possible before sending them on to one of our partners in a different industry.


Past Marketing Failures & Fear of the Unknown



Being in digital marketing, I get to hear a lot of feedback about past experiences with my industry. It’s a mix of good and bad, but the horror stories do seem to get shared the most.



Horror stories or your own past experiences might be limiting your firm’s growth though. One of the attorneys I met with recently shared a story about spending over $12,000 for a Google Ad campaign that didn’t deliver a single lead!



Let me backup first though and just say that the agency they were working with probably did deliver some leads. Where they most likely failed was in their inability to quantify any sort of ROI on the $12,000 ad budget…



And by ROI I don’t mean impressions, clicks, or any of those other vanity metrics some marketers like to go on and on about. I’m referring to call tracking and form submissions. Tangible proof that leads were being delivered.


How do you Get Over the Fear of Past Marketing Mistakes?



If you’re in a similar situation, don’t just immediately fire the agency you’re working with. Set a meeting and ask them to provide an update on your campaign. If they aren’t using CallRail or some other tool to track inbound calls, ask them to but expect to pay an additional fee if that’s outside the scope of your original agreement.



If they are delivering leads, but the problem is that they are low-quality, just brainstorm a few qualifying questions to add to your website lead form so you can weed out the bad prospects.





Whatever you do though, don’t fall into the trap of assuming that whatever marketing channel you’ve been using ‘doesn’t work’. If that were the case, there wouldn’t be countless attorneys all over the US spending thousands each month on SEO, Google, Ads, and Social Media.


Abysmal Free Consult Closing Rates

free consultation sign with gavel


Adding a very compelling offer to the top banner of every page on your site is something we encourage all of our attorney clients to do. Often, that comes in the form of a free consult.



Free consults are great for starting conversations, but they do come with their own set of problems. One practice I met with completely dropped free consults last year. They were giving away a lot of free advice…





How to Improve Closing Rates on Free Legal Consult Meetings



If you can relate to this story, there are a few steps you can take to continue offering free consultations without as many tire-kickers walking off with your valuable time.



I’ll refer you back to the last section where I suggested improving your website contact form. This is a good start because you can filter out a lot of bad prospects simply by having them answer some qualifying questions within the form.



You might also want to consider listing your hourly rates prominently on your landing page.


Get Targeted and Convert More Free Consults



One of the main reasons people will walk after a free consult is that they are price-conscious. If you know your local area, you can improve your results by simply targeting your marketing towards more affluent areas. Google Ads is the perfect platform for this. It allows you to be so specific that you only target people in certain zip codes.



PRO TIP: Be sure to change the default setting from ‘People in or who show interest in your target locations’ to ‘People in your target locations’.



I may have shown some interest in Beverly Hills in a past Google search, but it doesn’t mean I can afford a home there! Correcting this default setting will make certain your ads are more closely targeted to the right location.

   

Understanding (and beating) the Competition



Competition is fierce in the legal world. The most successful firms understand their competition and do what it takes to beat them.



There’s no need to reinvent the wheel in marketing most of the time. Sure, it’s great to be a trailblazer and stand out but in the world of digital marketing, there’s so much information about your competition that’s just a keystroke away.



Look over their site page-by-page. Who are they marketing to? How often do they blog, and what topics are they writing about.



You can even take it a step further by analyzing their backlinks using a popular tool like SEMrush or AHREFS. This will allow you to go for those same linking opportunities and propel your site to the top of Google.

Insert shameless use of affiliate link here: Try SEMrush free for 7 days. 😆😆😆

Are they running Google Ads? No problem! Just plug their website URL into the keyword planning tool. You’ll be able to see the keywords that Google thinks are most relevant to their site, along with average search volume and a range of bid costs so you can plan and budget for your own campaign.


Conclusion


Talking to several legal professionals gave me a lot of insight into the struggles many law firms are feeling this year.



I’m sure if we met, you’d probably have your own unique challenges and a list of what’s worked and what didn’t work so far.



Let us know all about it in the comments, and feel free to reach out if new client acquisition is one of your struggles right now.



We’re a digital marketing agency that specializes in law firm marketing. We can help generate leads and track them from the first click to their signature on the client intake form.  

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WordPress PHP Mail Settings – How to Set Up SMTP Using the WP Mail SMTP Plugin https://webology.io/2019/12/17/wordpress-php-mail-settings-how-to-set-up-smtp-using-the-wp-mail-smtp-plugin/ https://webology.io/2019/12/17/wordpress-php-mail-settings-how-to-set-up-smtp-using-the-wp-mail-smtp-plugin/#respond Tue, 17 Dec 2019 20:22:14 +0000 https://webology.io/?p=8132 The post WordPress PHP Mail Settings – How to Set Up SMTP Using the WP Mail SMTP Plugin appeared first on Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency: Best Local SEO Consulting, Google Ads Expert, Custom Website Design & Development Companies in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Why am I not getting emails from my website and contact form?

Email Issues Solved! – Just keep reading

Click the section below to easily navigate this article:

 

  1. What is SMTP server?
  2. Fixing common email deliverability [send] issues
  3. Introduction – First configuration step
  4. Installing WP Mail SMTP plugin
  5. Configuration of settings
  6. Settings overview
  7. Possible email server or WordPress issues
  8. Wrapping things up – Verifying access
  9. Alternatives worth considering
  10. Common dev problems
  11. Questions & Answers on SMTP
  12. – or Skip Reading and Get WordPress Email Help Now –

 

 

If you’re reading this article, chances are, your website isn’t delivering emails correctly. This issue can be caused by a multitude of issues, resulting from server or WordPress misconfigurations, but can also be caused by limitations set by your host provider. The good news is that this problem can be fixed easily & quickly using: WP Mail SMTP -a plugin available from the WordPress plugin repository.

Using this tutorial and following each step, virtually anyone can learn to setup external SMTP, within about 45-minutes in WordPress.

 

What is SMTP?

 

So, you may have already determined that you need this WordPress plugin, but what is SMTP exactly, and why does WordPress need SMTP to send emails?

The acronym SMTP stands for Secure Mail Transfer Protocol, this is a fancy way of saying that it moves your email across networks, and using the Mail Transfer Agent, ensures that your message is delivered, and to the right mailbox server.

Protocols are used in networks as a standard of communication between servers, and service provider infrastructure. Utilizing a process called “store and forward”, your email messages are sent across networks, and a consistent configuration is essential in deliverability.

The good news, is that you don’t have to be a server expert or educated technical expert to setup SMTP for your website.

 

Fixing common email deliverability issues

 

Although installing and configuring an external SMTP service like SendGrid is probably the safest & quickest way to fix your form issues, you may be overlooking a simple misconfiguration.

It’s entirely possible that your WordPress website is sending the emails correctly, and that due to highly-sensitive server or email client spam filters, the emails in question simply aren’t making it your inbox.

Before diving any further into this guide, it’s highly recommended that you check these filters, and any server error logs ( if applicable ), to determine if this is the case.

Also be sure to check the sender name and email address in your form settings. Typically, contact form plugins will allow you to change the sender address. When configuring any contact form plugins, I typically use: DONOTREPLY@yourdomain.com. It could be that the address that was previously selected is something that your spam filter considers risky.

 

Introduction

 

If you have successfully determined that your issues are not related to spam filters, than it’s definitely time to install WP Mail SMTP.

Before getting started, you’ll need a few things:

  • Administrator privileges
  • Basic familiarity with the WordPress backend
  • Patience! LOL 🙂

Any time you install new plugins, or make changes to your WordPress website, it’s entirely possible that things can go wrong, resulting in a site-wide crash, or a multitude of other issues. Always take backups before undergoing any type of work related to the setup and configuration of your website. It may seem like a hassle, but trust me, if things go wrong -as they frequently do, it’s always easier to restore a backup in minutes, than wishing you did after things go south.

 

Installing WP Mail SMTP

 

As already mentioned earlier, this guide is for beginners. Towards the end of this guide, I’ve included a short Q&A, which should answer any questions if you get stuck. 🙂

Let’s begin!

  • Login to your WordPress website admin panel as pictured below

public view of site panel
  • On the left panel, hover over “Plugins”, and click “Add New”.

screenshot
  • In the search box type “WP Mail SMTP”. After clicking search, select the plugin pictured below, and click Install Now.

screenshot showing circle
  • After the plugin is successfully installed, click the settings link under WP Mail SMTP on the plugins screen.

screenshot with arrow

 

Configuration

 

Now the real work begins!

WP Mail SMTP utilizes the SMTP service of an external email account to send messages from your site. This means that instead of your website sending emails directly, the message content and info is sent out to a 3rd-party such as: GMAIL, which is then bounced and delivered to the proper address. After setup, WP Mail SMTP handles this connection, which allows us to “step around” the problems causing unsuccessful delivery by WordPress alone.

WP Mail SMTP works with a variety of external SMTP providers including:

Gmail ( Includes G-Suite ) – No subscription required

Mailgun – subscription required

SendGrid – subscription required

Other SMTP – No subscription required

It’s important to note that you will need an active account, or subscription ( if applicable ), with one of the providers mentioned above.

By using G-Suite, you can connect your domain using MX records, so that messages from your site will have a branded domain, adding a bit of professionalism to your emails. G-suite has an easy-to-use admin interface making managing your active addresses super simple, and is recommended based on the low cost associated with using their services.

 

Settings overview

 

Now that we’ve installed WP Mail SMTP and created an email address, it’s time to configure our plugin for use.

On the setting screen, you’ll see a text box labeled “From Email” this is the email address that will be sending our messages. Go ahead, and input the new address you created.

arrow pointing to correct box

Be sure to click the “Force From Email” check box.

Next, enter the “From Name” that you’d like to use. This will appear in the message details area when someone gets your messages.

Finally, we’ll need to select our Mailer, which is the service provider your email address is registered with. In this tutorial, I’m using a GMAIL account. So I selected GMAIL- Or Google.

arrow pointing to google

You’ll need to create a Google Web Application request and obtain the Client ID and Client Secret from the G-Suite administrator panel and place both in the corresponding fields at the bottom of the settings page.

another screencapture

In order to create the Web Application, you’ll need to be logged in to your GMAIL, or G-Suite address at the Google Developers website.

Once you’ve added the credentials, it’s time to click “Save Settings” and move on to testing to determine if any further changes need to be made.

Click on the “Email Test” tab located along the top of your screen.

Any email address will work for this test. Once you’ve typed an address in, click Send Email, and check your inbox.

Depending on the provider, it may take up to ten minutes to receive the test message. So be patient!

If you received the message successfully, your SMTP plugin is now setup correctly, and it’s recommended that you go ahead and try any forms on your site that are supposed to send emails to the site administrator.

 

Possible server or WordPress issues.

 

If you didn’t receive the test message, it could be related to several issues.
First, ensure that if your provider required API keys, check to make sure that you copied both correctly, and that you didn’t accidentally mistake one for the other.

It’s also possible that further problems could be caused by a PHP server memory limit in your WordPress configuration file, or a conflict with another plugin or server configuration override.

If you lack access, or the knowledge necessary to check server logs, I’d recommend reaching out to your hosting provider to see if they can help you address the limitations and/or conflicts causing the problems. Let them know exactly what you’re trying to do, and see if they can help you. As always, making any changes to your server configuration is highly-risky, and I recommend taking backups at every milestone if necessary.

 

Wrapping things up.

 

Now that we’ve installed and successfully tested WP Mail SMTP, you should receive any emails generated by your website. Any PHP call to the wp_mail() function, will utilize the new email address.

In order to keep things running smoothly, be sure to keep your website up-to-date including all other plugins, themes, and core versions. Not keeping a regular update schedule, can cause conflicts, and ultimately downtime. Updates maintain both: the security, and dependability of your website. Webology offers a full-service pro solution for this on a monthly subscription. Call (205) 636-8612 if you’d like some help.

 

Alternatives worth considering

 

Although there are plenty of other WordPress SMTP connector plugins available, I highly-recommend WP Mail SMTP, as being the most popular, will most likely have the longest support and update life.

At the end of the day, this plugin acts only as a connector to your chosen external service, so most of the plugins available should work. Try to stick with alternatives that provide good feedback from the users, but also a high-count of live installs. This acts as proof for the reliability of the plugin in question.

It’s also recommended that you research any plugin prior to installation, so that you can determine if there are currently any known issues between the plugin in question, and your themes / any other plugins currently used on your site.

 

Common problems

 

Although we touched on this earlier, be sure to check your spam filters and firewalls to make sure that email deliverability will be successful.

It’s entirely possible that your contact or lead form could be setup incorrectly, so be sure to do a once-over in the settings after configuring WP Mail SMTP.

This should go without saying, but if you’ve already tried alternative SMTP plugins, be sure to disable or completely uninstall them, and be sure that if they added SMTP information to you wp-config.php file, that you remove this to avoid problems.

Unfortunately, WP Mail SMTP is just a connector. There’s no way to prevent it from sending spam messages to you. You’ll need to add a captcha or some other form of anti-spam software to your website. Form plugins like Contact Form 7 integrate seamlessly with Google’s captcha, and is easy to setup once you register your website, and obtain the proper credentials. Best part, it’s free!

 

 

Related

Questions and Answers

   

Q: Can I use any email provider?  

A: Almost. Although this configuration requires a bit more technical knowledge, most providers can be utilized if you select ‘other SMTP’.  

Q: Is it possible to use multiple addresses for each of my forms?  

A: Not at this time. For now, only one account and username can be connected. If you need it delivered to multiple addresses, it is possible to add them each separated by a comma on the settings screen.  

Q: Are there any drawbacks to using a plugin instead of the default WordPress configuration?  

A: Anytime you add plugins to your website, you risk increasing load time, and server burden. Depending on the limitation of your account, this can be an issue. Adding additional plugins to your website always opens you to the possibility of a conflict arising. When you’ve completed setup successfully, it’s recommended to go page-by-page on your website, to make sure that no issues are present.

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PRESS RELEASE: Webology Selected for Elite List of Agencies Certified in Scientific SEO by Page Optimizer Pro https://webology.io/2019/12/16/press-release-webology-selected-for-elite-list-of-agencies-certified-in-scientific-seo-by-page-optimizer-pro/ https://webology.io/2019/12/16/press-release-webology-selected-for-elite-list-of-agencies-certified-in-scientific-seo-by-page-optimizer-pro/#respond Mon, 16 Dec 2019 22:55:44 +0000 https://webology.io/?p=8362 The post PRESS RELEASE: Webology Selected for Elite List of Agencies Certified in Scientific SEO by Page Optimizer Pro appeared first on Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency: Best Local SEO Consulting, Google Ads Expert, Custom Website Design & Development Companies in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Webology, a Birmingham based SEO company, was recently selected to a list of agencies certified in scientific SEO by Page Optimizer Pro. Webology uses scientific SEO practices that are proven to work and are supported by data analysis of competitor averages.

Birmingham, AL: Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an internet marketing discipline that has the primary goal of driving targeted traffic to a website in order to sell a product or service. Traditional SEO work tended to involve following a list of best practices, but new tools allow SEO companies to leverage big data for more precise results. Webology, an SEO company, has been selected to the elite list of agencies accredited from Page Optimizer Pro in scientific SEO and are aiming to test these new methods on more local business websites.

Webology reached this elite list of SEO agencies based on results observed in the last 6 months. The Page Optimizer Pro team reviewed Webology’s progress optimizing multiple client sites, and decided to grant the certification. Being selected to Page Optimizer Pro’s elite list has revolutionized the potential of Webology. Their CEO, Blake Akers, understands the competitive edge it has provided.

“When we first learned about this tool, we approached it with a lot of skepticism,” Akers said. “Many seem to think it gives SEOs an unfair advantage and that Google might use that as justification to crack down on tools that use data analysis to optimize against competitor averages. When we actually used the tool though, we ended up making every page we worked on so much better by adding fresh content and media – the exact things Google wants us to do. When you look at everything in that light, it’s obvious that the only reason Kyle’s page from the Rhinoplasty Plano SEO challenge got deindexed by Google was due to the Lorem ipsum copy. We’re obviously not using that on client sites, and so the results just speak for themselves.”

When individuals work with a Page Optimizer Pro accredited company such as Webology, they have access to a full-service SEO agency that customizes strategy to fit their brand. Whether one wants to generate leads, needs website development, or content writing, Webology can assist in taking one’s company to new levels of success with their scientific methods. Webology prioritizes their time and efforts by solely focusing on SEO methods that produce an ROI and with their new scientific approach to SEO, they’re doing just that.

Webology is located at 1500 1st Ave North, Birmingham, AL and can be contacted via phone at 205-636-8612 or via email at info@webology.io. For more information about being selected to the elite list of agencies by Page Optimizer Pro or Webology’s scientific SEO approach, reach out here.

RESOURCES:

Blake’s Case Study on Pop and Local SEO – https://pageoptimizer.pro/scientific-on-page-and-local-search/

SEO Contest Exposes Weakness in Google Algorithm – https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-algorithm-loopholes/278093/#close

The REAL Reason Kyle’s site got to #1 for ‘Rhinoplasty Plano’ – https://pageoptimizer.pro/the-real-reason-my-site-got-to-1-in-google-for-rhinoplasty-plano/

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How to Optimize Google Maps Listing? Improve your ranking with this Easy Guide. https://webology.io/2019/11/29/how-to-optimize-google-maps-listing/ https://webology.io/2019/11/29/how-to-optimize-google-maps-listing/#respond Fri, 29 Nov 2019 12:11:22 +0000 https://webology.io/?p=7984 Ranking in the Google local pack can really help your business reach the next level. It’s just not as easy as it seems though when you actually start looking into it. There’s all sorts of advice… some good, some bad – on how you go about increasing your map presence. You listen to one ‘expert’ […]

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Ranking in the Google local pack can really help your business reach the next level. It’s just not as easy as it seems though when you actually start looking into it.

There’s all sorts of advice…

some good, some bad – on how you go about increasing your map presence.

You listen to one ‘expert’ and they say don’t worry with citations in 2020. Then another expert will tell you citations are the most important thing you can do for local search.

 

It can be a bit confusing if you’re not immersed in the industry, so let’s try to help separate facts from fiction. First though, we’ll go over the basics of what you – the business owner – can do without any help.

answer questions on GMB business information - great guide on SEO

Optimize Google Maps Listing – First Steps

 

Before we get into the practical optimization tips, let me go ahead and tell you just how frustrating you may find this whole process.

 

Why?

 

Because at the time of writing, Google frankly doesn’t reward your hard work enough in the local map. I’m a member of a Facebook group that I highly recommend called ‘Local Client Takeover’.

 

It’s a great place if you just want to learn about local search but scrolling through the posts, you’ll likely find someone complaining about the fact that they are being completely beaten out by competitors who have done little or no optimization.

 

That’s the frustrating thing about local SEO right now. In spite of your best efforts, you’ll often find profiles that are incomplete with little to no reviews outranking you. If you work hard, you’ll definitely improve your overall traffic though, and you can beat those listings out eventually by increasing your brand prominence. Let’s get started with 10 easy steps:

 

Step 1 – Getting the basics right

 

When it comes to local search optimization, the most important thing to do is consistently represent your business information everywhere. Start with your Google My Business profile though and list all the basics like business name, phone number, address, service area, etc. Here’s how you go about setting up your profile correctly from scratch:

 

Start by going to the GMB help center at https://business.google.com/

  IMPORTANT STEP – You want to search for your business in Google first to see if there is a listing you should claim or request ownership of your local listing instead of creating a new one. Otherwise, proceed to the next steps:  

You’ll want to sign in if you are not already:

sign into Google  

If this is your first time setting up your Google My Business profile you should be greeted with the screen below. If you’ve already set yours up though, keep reading for some important optimization tips.

  manage business  

It’s asking for your business name information here, but stop and read this next section closely…

 

You’re about to edit the most important part of your listing. Your business listing title can make or break your results. Get spammy by stuffing keywords, and a competitor will report you to Google ASAP.

 

But if you find a way to add some of your services here in a way that does not violate their terms of service, you’ve struck local marketing gold. One way to go about this is to legally register your business entity with your local State government in a way that includes some keywords. You can also include keywords in the branding on your business website. Here’s what I mean:

 

OKAY TO USE TITLES:

 
  • Acme Roofing LLC

  • Acme Roofing Service

  • Acme

 

Assuming that your website branding lists your business exactly as “Acme Roofing Service” you’re okay. You wouldn’t want to do the 3rd option though because you’re missing the opportunity to include keywords. I’d literally consider changing my branding – if I was just starting out in a roofing business – to make this work with Roofing Service in the title, because your business title makes up so much of how your profile will rank in the maps. Google doesn’t tell us this explicitly, but it’s been tested to death and proven to be true.

 

NOT OKAY TITLES:

 
  • Acme Roofing Company – Gutter Repair, Metal Roofs, Top Contractor

  • Acme Roofing in Scranton, PA

  • Scranton Area Roofer – Acme Roofing

 

Stuffing industry terms or location keywords may give you a big boost, but it will also land you in ‘Google My Business jail’…

 

Most likely, Google will just edit out the spam. There is a chance though that your listing could be removed because of a Google quality rater finding other issues in their review, and that’s a disaster because…

 

INSIGHT:

 

Google trusts business entities that have been around a while.

 

If your listing gets suspended you’ve lost all the trust that was built up over time, and you’ll have to start over with lost map rankings.

 

I’ve seen direct evidence of this when we – finally – figured out how to get into a client’s 8 year old account and replaced the local listing we had just built with their aged GMB listing from years ago. The local SEO results were dramatic to say the least! It’s very similar to the age of your website domain, which is an organic ranking factor.

 

KEY TAKEAWAY

 

GMB listings age like a fine wine! Never let yours expire, or you’ll be starting over like this…

       

Step 2 – Selecting the right Categories

 

This next step is also an important local ranking factor, so you want to get it right for sure.

category selection

You have a primary category and slots for secondary categories. It’s considered an optimization best practice to list the service that best describes your business in a broad sense as the primary category, while it may or may not be beneficial to list additional services in your secondary categories.

 

My personal take on this is that you start by looking at your high-ranking competition to see what categories they choose. I start by copying what everyone in the niche seems to be doing, but I will also search around for additional categories that might be a good add.

 

If I find those, I will often make small changes so that my list better matches what the business does, and test those new categories over a 30 day period. Watch your direct traffic in Analytics and all your other important metrics to see if the change is beneficial or not.

 

Step 3 – Going public?

add location

Confession time – I remember years ago I would tell our customers to use a UPS Store box to get a public address for their business. That’s a total violation of Google’s rules though and this type of listing is most likely to get removed if you try it today.

 

It can also land you in Google’s jail if you use a virtual office space address from a location that does not have a person on staff during business hours to greet the public. Those are harder to detect algorithmically though because we’re usually talking about 10-20 businesses at the same location versus 80-100 at a UPS Store.

 

Why does this even matter?

 

In most niches, Google gives more value to businesses that have a physical office address listed. It’s very difficult to rank a home-based small business with a hidden address, but it can be done in some cases for sure. If you can share a public address, Google will usually reward you with better map rankings.

 

Step 4 – Adding Your Service Area

service area selection

If you visit customers at their location to provide a product or service, you should select as many of your target markets as possible within a 20-30 mile radius. You can go a bit further out than this, but it will take a lot of work to land in the 3-pack anywhere that far away from your physical address.

 

Step 5 – Contact Info and Website

contact details NAP  

Time to submit NAP data. Enter your phone number and if you already have one, your website URL. If you don’t have one, you can select the last option and Google My Business will help you create one using their template builder.

 
PRO TIP:

You can also get a free GMB profile website later on, even if you enter your live URL here.

 

Most local SEO experts will tell you to go ahead and build the business.site template website anyway and we tend to agree. It’s free real estate from Google and they love it when you use their products! We build ours out thoroughly with unique content and links to important brand properties around the web. You can check out an example of one properly optimized by viewing ours here for more inspiration – https://webology-seo-birmingham.business.site/

 

Anyway, back to the main tutorial…After this step, you’ll arrive at the Finish screen. Just hit next and let’s start really optimizing this local listing!

 

Step 6 – Fill in the Details

 

Next you’ll be greeted by a screen similar to this one where you will want to go to Information and fill in as many details as possible about your business profile:

  main google local screen  

At a minimum, be sure to submit the following information:

 
  • Hours of operation
  • Profile short name
  • Appointment URL
    and if you have time…    
  • Products or Services (depending on your business type)
  • Highlights (if any)
  • Complete Description
  • Opening date
 

You should also go ahead and update your hours for any upcoming holidays while you’re here. Google doesn’t want confused consumers showing up to a closed business on New Years Eve and neither should you.

  hours of operation  

For your appointment URL, add your contact page or bookings page here so that customers can find the fastest way to reach you from Google. This is an opportunity to link to your website from a Google property, so don’t waste it!

 

Another important thing to note is just how valuable the space in your listing description is. Fill this valuable real estate with an informative and compelling overview of what you do. It’s your elevator pitch to the Internet, but it is also a great place to include a few important words or phrases if you can.

 

Never Stuff Keywords! – But definitely add your primaries along with a few LSI terms when it makes sense to do so.

 

Step 7 – Add Photos

 

It’s very important to get as many informative and engaging photos as possible added to your Google My Business profile. Everyone pretty much knows that already, but did you know that it also matters where you add your photos to? Check out these screenshots to see what I mean:

  upload images  

Notice the big blue + sign in the top right corner above? Most business owners never leave the ‘Overview’ tab that’s selected by defauly and drop all their photos there.

 

But Google gives us a lot of different options here, and you’ll get better results if you take advantage of them all:

  options  

PRO TIP – It will help to add at least 2-3 images to each section you possibly can. Be sure to update your profile with fresh photos often.

 

You should be able to either hire a photographer or take your own photos to fill up these sections on your profile:

 
  • Overview
  • By Owner
  • Video
  • Interior
    and also don’t forget    
  • Exterior
  • At Work
  • Team
  • Identity
 

For the ‘By Customer’ section, we recommend just asking a customer to take a photo on location or with your team and ask them to upload it to your profile when they leave a review.

It’s definitely okay – per Google’s guide – to ask for reviews from real customers. Other platforms like Yelp may try to prohibit that though and it’s universally considered to be – not cool at all – if you ever try to buy reviews.

   

Step 8 – Encourage User Interactions

 

Let’s expand on that last point about reviews and look at a few options to encourage user interaction with your GMB profile.

 

We’re Finding that GMB Reviews Impact Ranking A Lot Right Now!

 

Both the frequency of reviews and the total number matter for ranking in the 3-pack map. Having keywords in the review copy and your responses – ALWAYS respond to every review! – can help some as well. Just don’t use that fact as justification to spam keywords or pay for Google reviews.

 

In addition to the ranking boost, reviews also inspire trust in potential customers. All other things created equal, the brand on the map with the most reviews will tend to get a higher clickthrough rate than they otherwise would based on position alone.

 

But what about negative reviews from customers?

    via GIPHY    

Aside from the fact that we all dread the possibility of dealing with an angry customer, it’s almost inevitable. You can’t please everyone, but you can be proactive about protecting your brand reputation from the consequences of negative reviews.

 

Respond to negative reviews and attempt to tactfully explain the situation to the customer. Be aware that the person who left the review will get a notice from Google showing them your response.

 

You can try to reach out to them directly and make it right somehow. It’s possible to successfully convince people to remove or change their bad reviews with enough diplomacy but if that fails, don’t beat yourself up too much…

 

The reality is that customers expect your brand to have a few negative reviews if you’ve been in business for a while. Just focus on building your total number of reviews. That way, you should be able to keep your average in the high 4s even if you are unable to get the few negative reviews changed.

 

Oh and to answer the burning question that’s been on your mind since you started reading this section, at present Google does not seem to devalue listings based on negative reviews. Rest easy knowing that your ranking probably won’t take a hit.

 

BONUS – Google now allows users to directly ask a business a question. Treat these questions like a mini FAQ about your company. If you get the same questions repeatedly, ask the next person who brings it up if they would mind asking you the question directly on your GMB page like this:

  q and a  

Having questions from customers shows Google the public is interested in your brand and may boost your ranking a bit. Looks like we need to get busy ourselves! 🤦‍♂️😅 Help us out and use Google to ask us a question if you’d like!

 

Step 9 – Post Frequently

 

Posting Has Been Proven to Increase Map Ranking slightly.

 

And it only takes a few minutes to write a quick update and upload an image or video to your business profile. While we recommend that you post daily, even once or twice a week is better than nothing and will help your ranking in less competitive markets.

  It’s also important to leverage multiple post types: post types

If you’re going to host a lunch-and-learn or put on a workshop, why not spread the word to potential customers in Google? Working on a killer Black Friday deal? Let your audience know about it with an Offer post.

 

Google rewards profile activity and you should try to include as many different post types as possible within your content schedule.

 

Step 10 – Time to Optimize your ‘Off-Page’ with Citations

 

Citations are still a very important ranking signal for local businesses!

But what’s a business citation anyway?

Put simply, this is any text that mentions your brand along with your NAP data, which stands for Name, Address, Phone Number.

If your location data is consistent in driving direction databases and important business directories, it’s easier for your customers to find you.

It’s also easier for Google to trust the validity of your location data, so this is a win for everybody.

We submit small business website citations as an SEO service. There are about 300 business directories we typically submit a local business to. You can also do an aggregator website submission or subscribe to a service like Yext or Brightlocal.

Another way to build citations and attract customers that many overlook is to do a quality press release distribution. You can include your contact info at the bottom of your news release to earn placement on many media outlets, provided your content is newsworthy enough.

Here’s a few ideas on promoting your local brand with a press release submission:

 
  • Celebrating X number of years in business

  • Hiring or promoting a key employee

  • New offers, discounts, and promotions

  • Large charity events or contributions

 

You should be aware though that citations won’t be easy at all:

   

Properly submitting a listing to a directory website takes about 15 minutes per site. That’s after you’ve gathered all your info so you can quickly copy and paste NAP information into form fields. Then there’s the follow-up…

 

Many of these sites get spammed by fake listings, so they will want you to email verify to prove you’re real.

 

I wish that was the end of it but after you’ve invested about 100 hours into your initial submissions, you’ll need to check back in 6-8 weeks to see which ones made it live and then attempt to resubmit the rest.

 

If that sounds like fun to you, get to typing!

   

For the rest of you, this is definitely an area where you should

 

get some SEO help from Webology

 

before you develop a repetitive motion injury!

  attract customers with GMB SEO consulting  

NEXT STEPS:

 

If you’ve completed these basic optimization steps, it will likely take Google a few weeks to reward you for your efforts. Then again, in competitive markets you may be finding that you have a lot more work to do.

Keep an eye on your map rank and if you need more help, the next step will be extensive on-page optimization for your website and an outreach campaign to earn more quality backlinks. Follow that path and you’ll likely be well on your way to map placement. Then you’ll get to share in some of the inbound leads your competitors are enjoying today.

Thanks for reading and reach out to Webology SEO if you need help optimizing your local listing.  

Ads and AdWords certified agency to help attract more customers

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Neil Patel is Killing the Competition – But How did it Begin? https://webology.io/2019/10/09/neil-patel-is-killing-the-competition-but-how-did-it-begin/ https://webology.io/2019/10/09/neil-patel-is-killing-the-competition-but-how-did-it-begin/#respond Wed, 09 Oct 2019 14:37:31 +0000 https://webology.io/?p=7126 If you’re familiar with the concept of digital marketing, it’s very likely you’ve heard of Neil Patel, the 34-year-old entrepreneur who has paved the way to success for marketers everywhere. But do you know how Neil Patel reached such successful heights at such a young age? What about how he created a multi-million dollar brand […]

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But do you know how Neil Patel reached such successful heights at such a young age? What about how he created a multi-million dollar brand that empowers other marketers and industry experts all over the globe? Pull out your notebooks and buckle up folks. It’s time to take a lesson from one of the single most successful marketing experts in the world. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.

Preface: The Early Life



Neil Patel was born on the twenty-fourth of April 1985 in London, England. He was born to an ordinary middle-class family, but Neil dreamed of creating a company that he could profit from and had an interest in business and marketing from a very young age.

At two-years-old, Neil’s parents moved to Orange County, California. This move surrounded Neil in entrepreneurs and a business lifestyle and influenced him in a lot of significant ways over the years.

At the age of fifteen, Neil began to burn CD’s and movies onto discs for his fellow classmates in high school and sold them for around five dollars each his freshman year. After a year of selling DVD’s and CD’s, Neil realized there was a market for black boxes and hacked satellite TV cards and made thousands of dollars selling them to classmates and their families.

Not satisfied, Neil started a job at a farm where his job was to pick up and empty trash cans, clean restrooms and take care of vomit on the sidewalk. This lasted until he began to sell Kirby vacuums for Quality System, going door-to-door trying to convince customers to purchase the $1,600 vacuum.

Neil was no stranger to hard work, but the Monster.com business model inspired him and he spent $5,000 on a website he called “Advice Monkey” and realized too late he didn’t have money left for advertising.

Neil put time into learning traditional internet marketing and over time, Advice Monkey became popular but wasn’t returning a profit because it wasn’t yet transactional.

By advice from his sister, Neil went to school for general education at Cypress Community College. After this, he landed his very first marketing client, Elpac Electronics, on a retainer of $3,500 a month..

With his sister’s boyfriend pitching in to help as co-founder and partner of the project, Neil launched “Advantage Consulting Services” or ACS, an internet marketing agency that quickly won the hearts of clients from an ad agency run by the son of the owner of Elpac Electronics.

Unfortunately, Neil and his co-founder lost around a million dollars after investing in a web hosting service called “Vision Web Hosting”. This was a big blow for Neil, but he took it in stride. He later co-founded a new company called “Crazy Egg” with Hiten Shah. He also continued doing marketing consulting to help pay for new software development for Crazy Egg. Though it felt hopeless at times, Neil knew success was going to take a whole lot of effort and sacrifice and he stuck it out.

In 2005, Neil was named one of the top influencers on the web by The Wallstreet Journal and in 2006, he launched his first blog, Pronet Advertising.

Climbing the Ranks



Pronet Advertising climbed the pages of Google quickly and was named “Best Social Media Blog” by Search Engine Journal.

In 2007, Neil Patel finally launched the Quick Sprout blog and got funding from True Ventures that allowed him to launch KISSmetrics in 2008.

Tragedy Brings Happy Endings?



In 2011, tragedy struck and Neil and his company KISSmetrics had to fight a 12-month long class-action lawsuit for a breach of privacy policies by using cookie technology on the website. It took several hundred thousand dollars, but the company was eventually cleared of all charges.

In 2012, Neil and Crazy Egg purchased Hello bar and in 2014, Forbes named Neil one of the top marketing experts on the web.

Neil and his partner moved on from KISSmetrics and Neil launched a 100,000 monthly visitor challenge on his personal blog, neilpatel.com.

It’s All In the Way You Look At It



There were for sure times that Neil wanted to give up his dream with everything crashing down on top of him, but he didn’t. He kept striving for ultimate success and still works to achieve greater success every day.

Today, Neil Patel’s net worth is estimated to be around 35 million dollars.

Now It’s time to pull a Patel and show the world what you can do. So what are you waiting for???

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SearchStatus Search Extension – A Useful SEO Tool https://webology.io/2019/10/08/searchstatus-search-extension-a-useful-seo-tool/ https://webology.io/2019/10/08/searchstatus-search-extension-a-useful-seo-tool/#respond Tue, 08 Oct 2019 13:14:52 +0000 https://webology.io/?p=7111 Online marketing uses a combination of tools to encourage consumers to purchase products or services. For the marketer, there are many different software packages, apps and other tools that can be used, both for information gathering and for actual marketing. Knowing how a website is performing is very important in terms of online marketing. For […]

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Knowing how a website is performing is very important in terms of online marketing. For example, Google PageRank is among the most important factors in terms of website effectiveness. If your page is not as strong as possible in this metric, then you are under-performing.

SearchStatus is a useful toolbar extension, available for Firefox and SeaMonkey browsers, which is designed to allow you to access performance figures for any website, at any time, anywhere in the world. It is used widely by marketers to keep up to date with real-time performance of websites they are interested in, or are using for marketing purposes.

A Specialized Tool



SearchStatus is a specifically designed tool that is there to help search engine marketers. It offers extensive access to a wide variety of information that can be used to increase performance and monitor progress. The information is displayed in a compact toolbar that is easy to digest, and it provides this information quickly and efficiently.



When you search a website, SearchStatus will provide you with stats on the following:

  • Google PageRank
  • Google Category
  • Alexa Popularity Ranking
  • com Ranking
  • SEOmoz Linkscape mozRANK
  • Alexa Incoming links and Related links
  • Backward links from Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.


Being able to view all the above in one easy to use tool means the marketer can view a sites link importance and also its traffic importance which, when combined, give a very good overall idea of how a site is performing in key areas.

Simple to Use



SearchStatus is easy to use. Access the tools by way of a menu at the bottom of the toolbar, and choose the information you want to access. Some links open in different tabs, and there are automatic selections that you can enable or disable. These are: Google PageRank, Alexa Rank, Compete Rank and mozRank. In the standard settings, this information will be provided automatically.

Installing SearchStatus is also simple, as you simply click the link and it should begin to install automatically. However, it is only available to run on Mozilla Firefox and SeaMonkey browsers currently. That’s fine if you’re one of those ‘tin-hat SEOs’ that’s afraid to use any Google products. For white hats who have nothing to hide though, it would be really nice to get a Chrome version of the tool ASAP! You will need to restart your computer to use it after your install. After that, it should appear in the lower right corner of the screen in Firefox or SeaMonkey.

via GIPHY

Put simply, SearchStatus is an important tool for many online marketers, and for website owners who need to know just how efficiently their site is running in many different areas.

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IBM Watson Campaign Automation – An Overview https://webology.io/2019/10/07/ibm-watson-campaign-automation-overview/ https://webology.io/2019/10/07/ibm-watson-campaign-automation-overview/#respond Mon, 07 Oct 2019 16:41:12 +0000 https://webology.io/?p=7022 The post IBM Watson Campaign Automation – An Overview appeared first on Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency: Best Local SEO Consulting, Google Ads Expert, Custom Website Design & Development Companies in Birmingham, Alabama.

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All About IBM Watson Campaign Automation

Marketing automation software is widely used in the digital age. With the ability to provide mobile solutions, as well as email marketing and lead management functions, IBM Watson Campaign Automation is a leading example of the genre.

Developed as part of IBM Watson Marketing, the package is a comprehensive one catering to a wide variety of customers in different areas of commerce and industry.  It can be used on many different devices and with various applications to engage with the customer and improve their overall experience.

Designed to be simple to use, IBM Watson Campaign Automation uses a sequential editing system – very much ‘What You See is What You Get’ in concept – that enables easy connection between contacts, and it has the ability to provide automated lead qualification to a select set of rules devised by the user.

The software can analyze behavioral statistics using a number of different sources to provide accurate reports on the way customers behave. This allows the user to customize the system accurately to create the right marketing direction. IBM Watson Campaign Automation can integrate with other popular packages such as Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM and SalesforceCRM, making it even more versatile.

via GIPHY

Main Features

IBM Watson Campaign Automation offers a wide variety of features, each designed to deliver analytics and multi-channel working at the highest level. These include:

  • Campaign Automation: by being able to automate campaigns across channels, using a simple visual planner that guides the way, this tool allows for increased collaboration within all your areas of marketing. Used correctly, it will boost return on investment and speed up the marketing process.

 

  • Watson Marketing Assistant: simple development of email campaigns and other forms of marketing communication is enabled by this very handy function. Full, detailed analysis of customer behavior leads to more direct, relevant and targeted marketing communication.

 

  • IBM Journey Designer: this clever tool allows users to create, via drag and drop, combined sales and marketing journeys, fully visualized using a simple system. By way of specially tailored customer service, this tool helps boost engagement with the customer. It’s a vital part of the IBM Watson Campaign Automation package.

 

  • Lead Management & Scoring: high-quality leads are what every business is looking for, and the lead management function within IBM Watson Campaign Automation is a very powerful tool. Reduced costs in marketing, and automated analysis of lead behavior, can mean more streamlined marketing and greater success in procuring the right leads.

 

  • Performance Insights: IBM Watson Campaign Automation is able to use social media , email and other communication media, as well as SMS and more, by connecting to customer devices such as Apple Watch and others. This gives a great idea of what customers are looking for, and allows the user to develop a more personal experience for individual customers. This, in turn, means the user can attend to the customer on a more personal basis, and actively enhance brand loyalty.

Here is a brief explanation of some of the features mentioned above:

Broadcast Email Marketing – this is an email that is sent to many recipients at the same time, and usually consists of a marketing newsletters and promotional content. It is usually sent to those who have opted-in to get such mails, or to your subscribers.

Reporting and Analytics – quite simply, tools in this area allow the user to keep a close eye on how a campaign is performing, via customized templates and dashboards.

CRM Integration – Customer Relationship Management systems allow the user to analyse how the customer responds, and to tailor marketing as and when required for better results.

Lead Management – a major part of growing a business and brand awareness is converting leads into actual sales. Many business are not very efficient in this area, so the lead management feature in IBM Watson Campaign Automation is a great way of enhancing effectiveness. By using the lead nurturing and scoring features, users can further enhance their brand loyalty.

Custom Forms and Landing Pages – IBM Watson Campaign Automation allows for the creation of bespoke landing pages including forms on which the lead fills out their contact details and registers interest, so that the user can use this information in current and future marketing campaigns and for lead management purposes.

These are just a few explanations of the functions found within IBM Watson Campaign Automation, and there are many more that will be of interest.

Implementation and Integration

As it is a cloud-based solution, the IBM Watson Campaign Automation package is very easy to set up and start using. Cloud-based also means there is no extra space taken up on your servers, so your current system does not need to be updated.

If you need help and advice, you should turn to the IBM Knowledge Center. This is a comprehensive resource offering users information on how to start using IBM Watson Campaign Automation, setting up and using new accounts, a wide range of advice on the various features and functions provided by the platform, and a large database of knowledge and articles regarding IBM Watson Campaign Automation.

For new clients, the IBM Watson Campaign Automation also features full support to help with setting up accounts and full training packages for users and management. This includes training in the following:

  • Strategy to use for increasing and maximizing customer engagement, technical advice and product advice, implementing and deploying onto the market new products.
  • On-demand services, according to each user’s requirements, service management, and any requirements that may be unique to the user.
  • How to generate bespoke custom reports, how to enable effective and efficient data migration and active integration, the development of applications and more.

Furthermore, users can take advantage of the full strength of IBM customer support via the Client Support Portal. This allows you to gain access to e Learning courses, webinars, and to enroll your team on training and certification courses for great efficiency. You can also use the portal to arrange onsite training, for whenever is convenient to you and your users.

IBM Watson Campaign Automation includes fully supported, by the vendor, integration with the following:

– SalesforceCRM
– Microsoft Dynamics
– SugarCRM

Further integration is supported on a third party basis with the following:

– Adobe Omniture
– Adobe Genesis
– HootSuite apps
– Corometrics

It can also integrate effectively and seamlessly with other IBM packages including:

– IBM Campaign
– Digital Analytics
– Data Exchange
– Universal Behavior Exchange
– WeatherFX

With such a wide range of integration options, IBM Watson Campaign Automation is aimed at companies of all size, from the smallest to the larger corporations, in a wide variety of different market sectors, and is used by some well-known brands, although IBM does not publicize who it works with.

Customer Service and Further Support

Sorry – I worked in a call center in College, so I can’t talk about customer support without sharing this one first…

via GIPHY

Anyway…

The IBM Client Support Portal is the place to go if you need advice, help or support regarding IBM Watson Campaign Automation, training or any other IBM platforms. The contact details for Customer Service are displayed in the portal. If you need help with problems or troubleshooting, the IBM Knowledge Center is a good start. You can find answers to many popular questions and problems there.

Customer Support at IBM is there for you to use 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with access online or by telephone. They also offer out of hours support in the case of emergencies, meaning you are covered for fast attention should you have major problems with the system.

Tiers and Pricing

IBM Watson Campaign Automation is offered at three pricing tiers, each aimed at particular users and budgets. Each one includes unlimited customer records – which is a bonus – and full CRM integration.

The three tiers are: Essentials, Standard and Enterprise, and they comprise the following:

Essentials – with the Essentials package, you pay a flat monthly fee which covers: 500,000 marketing interactions, 5 environments with 10 users per environments, plus a single scoring model and 20 active programs. This package would be fine for the smaller, growing business.

Standard – aimed at medium-sized to larger business, standard is as the Essentials package, but with a million marketing transactions per month, and double the environments and double the users per environment. It also includes unlimited programs and scoring models.

Executive – with 1.5 million marketing transactions per month, everything else unlimited, and the addition of planning and budgeting features, this is the ultimate IBM Watson Campaign Automation package.

IBM does not display its prices openly – and nor does it give examples of its current customers so please contact them direct for a quote.

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Mobile-First Indexing by Google: Now Local Businesses Must Either Update or Lose Revenue https://webology.io/2019/09/23/mobile-first-indexing-google/ https://webology.io/2019/09/23/mobile-first-indexing-google/#respond Mon, 23 Sep 2019 16:55:19 +0000 https://webology.io/?p=6433 The post Mobile-First Indexing by Google: Now Local Businesses Must Either Update or Lose Revenue appeared first on Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency: Best Local SEO Consulting, Google Ads Expert, Custom Website Design & Development Companies in Birmingham, Alabama.

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We can’t say Google didn’t warn us… All the way back in 2016 they were announcing the move to mobile first indexing. They’ve been fairly patient by taking over two years to roll everything out. These changes are here now though and it’s directly influencing who gets clicks – and therefore money – from Google search. As a result, up to 46.6% of all websites lost ranking – and revenue – by not being ready. More on that later… This hit our industry fast, but it’s honestly been a big boost for many of our clients since we’ve been designing responsive – mobile friendly – websites for years now. On the other hand, we’ve watched competitor sites that were not 100% ready left behind resulting in lost revenue. In many cases, the business owner is completely unaware of the exact reason why the phone stopped ringing as much. Some have gone as far as to call it ‘mobilegeddon’ due to the shakeup in Google ranking that’s had some impact on offline local businesses that rely on customers finding them through a Google search. Over half of the websites that are online today are currently being evaluated by Google’s mobile-first index and now all new websites being built will be graded based on how well users can interact with the pages on a smartphone. If you haven’t made the update yet though, it’s really easy to get back in Google’s good graces with a mobile-friendly face-lift.  

Need Help Now? Click Here to Skip the long read and fix your site in less than 15 days.

  But can we really quantify lost revenue or is this just another scare tactic we can ignore? It turns out there’s actually some data to indicate that Google potentially devalued 46.6% of all websites on page #1 for not being mobile-friendly:    
mobile friendly gains and losses

Image originally published at Perficient Digital.

  Ouch! Why Google, why??? To be honest, they’re really looking out for your best interest here. I say that because bad website design can push potential customers away. Google realized that most people search on a phone now and that they needed to only rank sites on page #1 that work well on a 4G network. They’re literally forcing you to do a better job of converting clicks to customers on your website. That’s a good thing! 📲💰😃 If the majority of Google’s users searching for local businesses are on a smartphone, that means the majority of your potential customers do the same. If they have to wait half a minute for your sales page to load or if they have to swipe back and forth constantly to read your sale copy, just plan on them tapping back to Google and calling up your competition. In the internet marketing world we use terms like ‘conversion rate optimization’ to define how we optimize a page to generate the most revenue possible from the traffic we generate for our clients. Design has a definite ROI for local businesses like yours as it will influence how people perceive your brand all over the web, which can directly lead to sales – or a lack thereof.  

What can you do?

  A lot of people ask us if we can make their existing website mobile but to be honest, that’s usually not the right move. Deciphering ancient codes like an archaeologist and dealing with clunky, outdated CMS platforms can take us days of unexpected work. Why bother when a modern, responsive WordPress rebuild can be done properly by one of our skilled developers in a few days? In almost every case, you’re better off upgrading and then letting Google know your site is now mobile-friendly. I’ll share more on how to update Google in just a bit, but first let’s look at costs. WP Beginner lists the cost to redesign an informational website anywhere from $100 to $30,000. It’s a wide range because some projects may require more work and you also have to consider the long-term value of quality design as we mentioned above. When a business website is generating leads, you need to ask yourself how much you can invest in good design and traffic instead of trying to cut costs. Combining design and traffic is the basic formula to make your website produce a profit. INSIDER TERMS: We call any revenue your online presence generates above total cost as your Return On Ad Spend or (ROAS) for short. Typically, you want to dial your ROAS in over time so that you generate $3-$5 for every dollar you spend on digital marketing. If you’re just getting started though, it doesn’t have to break the bank. Many agencies like ours build projects that would be priced in the $2,000 – $5,000 range upfront without charging an initial fee at all. Instead, we let you save money upfront by offering a 12 month hosting and maintenance agreement that spreads that cost out over several months. You need someone to maintain your site anyway, so why not hold onto your 💵 a little longer?

Just click here to learn more about our affordable design upgrades.

 

Testing Mobile Friendliness – How do you know Google Sees Your New Responsive Site?

  One of the first things you should do is to simply use one of the free online responsiveness checkers like https://responsivedesignchecker.com/ that will show your site in different resolution viewports. This way, you can take a look yourself to see how your site appears on many common devices. If everything looks okay visibly, you should still take a look at what Google has to say as well. We often run into responsiveness issues that Google detects, even on pages that look great through a viewport tool. These reported issues can have a direct impact on your ranking, so it’s definitely not a step to skip over! Assuming you already have access to your Google Search Console, this is an easy task. If not, just reach out to your web developer or call us for help getting access to valuable information Google provides you free of charge. If you already have your search console account setup and integrated in your site code, simply navigate to https://search.google.com/ to get started. Once you get there, login to the correct account and click on mobile usability:

  Next you’ll see a screen similar to this. It shows errors over time in a bar chart. Use this to track and ensure that your site remains mobile friendly over time. It’s a great way to make sure your site is being properly maintained and fully qualified to receive mobile traffic from Google:

  As you can see above, Google lets us know exactly how they grade your site for this important ranking factor. Search Console is also the tool you would use to let Google know you’ve updated your website to a new design that’s mobile-friendly. If you’re planning on upgrading soon, be sure to have your developer request indexing so the new pages are seen – and ranked – as fast as possible. The choice is yours though on when and how you’re going to update to a responsive site. We suggest making the move soon thought to make sure you’re not missing out on getting more quality leads from Google. Let us know if we can help by filling out the form below:   [contact-form-7]

The post Mobile-First Indexing by Google: Now Local Businesses Must Either Update or Lose Revenue appeared first on Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency: Best Local SEO Consulting, Google Ads Expert, Custom Website Design & Development Companies in Birmingham, Alabama.

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SPARK Writing Festival – August 5th to 9th, 2019 https://webology.io/2019/07/30/spark-writing-festival-august-5th-to-9th-2019/ https://webology.io/2019/07/30/spark-writing-festival-august-5th-to-9th-2019/#respond Tue, 30 Jul 2019 15:00:49 +0000 https://webology.io/?p=5646 The post SPARK Writing Festival – August 5th to 9th, 2019 appeared first on Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency: Best Local SEO Consulting, Google Ads Expert, Custom Website Design & Development Companies in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Are you a budding writer? Or perhaps you are an experienced writer looking for inspiration to get you back into the swing of things! Either way, you’ll be interested in the event we are going to tell you about, the SPARK Writing Festival, which takes place on August 5th to the 9th at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Organised by the English Faculty, it promises to be an innovative and exciting initiative for all involved.

What can you expect? The Festival has been set up to encourage writers of all levels of experience and interest, and there are three categories in which you can register. You can choose to take part in the Fiction class, the Memoir/Essay class, or to try your hand at poetry, and each workshop will be hosted by an experienced writer who will guide you through the basics.

The SPARK Writing Festival is also a great opportunity for you to meet like-minded people, and talk to other writers, so that you can network, make new friends, and share ideas. Inspiration is the overall idea, and the days have been structured to give you a full range of experiences.

Networking and Learning

The day starts with breakfast and coffee, before the workshop begins with your tutor at 9am. This is a hands-on workshop where you will be given tips and ideas, and be able to talk among the group – there will be up to 14 people in each workshop – and gather ideas. Lunch follows, and you are encouraged to spend time with other participants at a local café or take the time out to work on material, and then the afternoon session begins at 1pm.

The afternoon session will involve your group leader giving readings, followed by a session in which you are led in cross-genre writing; if you register for poetry, for example, you may be invited to write in essay form for this session. This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience that you may not be inspired to partake of on your own.

The end of the day comes with a lecture, these will be delivered by professionals in the writing and publishing worlds, and this format is followed on each of the five days.

Support Network

The overall aim of the SPARK Writing Festival is to give writers, both experienced and otherwise, a network of support from other writers, and from the tutors and group leaders involved. Once you have enjoyed this five-day fully inclusive course, you may decide you want to pursue your writing further, in which case you should talk to the group leaders at UAB about how to move forward.

Whether you are looking for inspiration, want to start writing, or simply fancy trying something new, the SPARK Writing Festival is a great opportunity to have a go at writing, to meet new people, and to enjoy a relaxed yet education and informative environment that may inspire you to move forward and put pen to paper!

 

Creative Content Writing Agency – Birmingham

As a leading content marketing agency in Birmingham, Webology is excited to see this event coming to the Magic City. We hope you’ll attend and make SPARK a success so that it becomes a perennial event at UAB.

The post SPARK Writing Festival – August 5th to 9th, 2019 appeared first on Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency: Best Local SEO Consulting, Google Ads Expert, Custom Website Design & Development Companies in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Best Ways – Marketing Pressure Washing Business? – A Case Study on SEO Results https://webology.io/2019/07/01/best-ways-advertise-marketing-pressure-washing-business/ https://webology.io/2019/07/01/best-ways-advertise-marketing-pressure-washing-business/#respond Mon, 01 Jul 2019 15:00:32 +0000 https://webology.io/?p=5387 The post Best Ways – Marketing Pressure Washing Business? – A Case Study on SEO Results appeared first on Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency: Best Local SEO Consulting, Google Ads Expert, Custom Website Design & Development Companies in Birmingham, Alabama.

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From 18 calls a month to 55 calls per month

SEO – A Top Power Washing Marketing Strategy

Case Study by Webology

Looking for Power Washing Advertising Ideas for your Company?

You’ve come to the right place!

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: The data you see above was pulled directly from Google My Business. The year over year increase in call volume does not even take into account phone calls from the website, which are also much higher in 2019…

 

 

Want to see results like this for your business?

Skip reading this full case study and just fill out the form below:

 

 

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When Webology took on the SEO management and online marketing requirements of Superior Cleaning, a pressure washing and window cleaning company in Birmingham, Alabama, we knew we were taking on a project that would need a dedicated approach, and a lot of work. What we found initially was a website rife with problems and Google penalties – more about that later – and very little in the way of local optimization.

When you consider that over half of Google searches are for local services

– which makes sense when you are looking for a services such as pressure washing – it becomes evident how important it is to optimize your online marketing, and your SEO, towards local customers. A business such as pressure washing relies heavily on reaching new customers within a local area, and also on brand loyalty for repeat business.

 

Following is an outline of our work with Superior Cleaning,

who – as mentioned – were in need of help with their website and search engine optimization (SEO). In short, we re-booted their online presence, helped them create many new leads and conversions, and brought them back to the forefront in terms of online visibility. This is an example of what Webology can do for your pressure washing business, and bear in mind that we treat each client individually, as no two projects are alike.

 

Customers Background

 

Superior Cleaning Service

is a company specializing in pressure washing solutions for residential and commercial properties. They’ve been operating out of Birmingham for the past 15 years. They have expertise in their field of work that should put them at the top of anyone’s list when it comes to customer service and quality. The problem was that they were not getting the traffic and leads they expected from their website, nor from their advertising campaigns.

 

For years the brand had benefited from being an established company with an aged domain.

Competition in the local area for the pressure washing niche wasn’t that difficult, so their old website ranked fairly well with thin content and a handful of lower quality backlinks. That all changed when a malicious file infected their website and triggered a Google penalty, sending their traffic and phone calls to nearly nothing overnight.

 

Webology came on board to see what we could do to help,

starting with our first step,which is to perform a full SEO audit. What we found was quite alarming, and immediately gave us an indication as to the scale of the problem. The malware had altered their meta titles making it apparent to anyone who actually found their listing on page 2-3 that the site could not be trusted.

It is worth noting that, following the work put in by Webology,

the number of calls requesting information on services provided increased dramatically, as shown by this graph you’ve already seen once. The orange shows the volume of calls following our review and relaunch, the blue the volume after 1 year of SEO – you can see the difference is impressive.

Marketing results per Google My Business call tracking

The SEO Audit

 

Webology will begin by carrying out a full SEO audit.

This allows us to assess how your campaign has been performing in recent months, and to put into place proposals as to how to improve performance. We keep on top of changes to the Google core algorithms – these are designed to rank websites and also to impose penalties where websites do not meet required standards.

 

Google, once happy to rank ‘keyword stuffed’ pages, now looks for relevant, new and informative content,

so it is important your content is up to date, engaging and not duplicated. What we discovered when we took a detailed look at Superior Cleaning Service’s website and SEO strategy was a website that had clearly been hacked. The meta descriptions – important for Google searches – were full of foreign characters, and the site had been infiltrated with ‘parasite’ pages, which were creating outbound links of massive numbers.

The result of all this was that the site had been heavily penalised by Google.

This, we should say, can happen to anyone and is a reason why you should have an expert team like Webology professionally maintain your website hosting. Our only possible option was to create a new website, free of all the problems and contamination of the old one, and present it to Google for evaluation. Once we had launched the new site, we submitted to Google for reconsideration via Search Console. Then there was about a 60-day period before the penalties were fully lifted. For a pressure washing business – indeed any business relying upon local traffic and leads – 60 days is a considerable amount of potential business lost.

 

What we Did Next – Link Building, Content and SEO

 

Once we had the new site up and running, we began work on improving the brand’s online presence,

starting with on-page SEO on the website. On-page SEO generally just refers to adding code and features to the website which help Google and other search engines understand what your website is about. It’s foundational to everything else you do, and an important first step.

 

We also worked on creating the most essential element of any website: quality, relevant content.

There is an old adage that says ‘content is king’; this is true, but we should add that these days ‘quality content is king’ is a more accurate saying. You need to ensure your content is readable not only by people, but is also acceptable to Google, and as we have seen in this instance, this is a very important factor.

 

Content is so important, but just publishing content for the sake of ranking won’t cut it.

We took a look at the local competition to see how much content their website needed. None of the competition was blogging at all, so we decided to limit ourselves to one post per month. Instead of blogging, we did a lot of work comparing the copy on their homepage and main service pages against the competition and following what seem to be best practices within the niche. Our work then involved link-building on a monthly basis, which is another essential element of good SEO and website ranking. As controversial as the term ‘link building’ may be, it’s still the most important task an SEO can do to improve brand visibility.


SEO results - link tracking

As controversial as the term ‘link building’ may be, it’s still the most important task an SEO can do to improve brand visibility.

Call it ‘link earning’ if it makes you sleep better at night, but the bottom line here is that links are still the most important ranking signal. SEO agencies like ours spend a fortune each month on tools like AHREFS that are designed to analyze and optimize backlink profiles for a good reason. It works…

via GIPHY

We can’t stress the importance of backlinks and citations for local search enough. Quality links still move the needle and generate leads. Avoid spammy links at all cost though.

Here’s a few quality sources of backlinks for marketing a local cleaning company:

  1. Local Business Listing Citations
  2. Data Aggregators
  3. Yext Listing Management
  4. Local Media Links
  5. Guest Posts on Relevant Sites

Just keep in mind that no two local markets are alike. You should always complete a backlink gap analysis to determine which ratios of links will work best for your brand.

Small Budgets Can Bring Big Results in the Local Power Washing Service Niche

Working with a small budget, and with the expertise provided by the Webology team, we were able to achieve results very quickly, despite the period affected by the Google penalty. Not only did we help boost calls to the business, our work in SEO also allowed for many more keywords that had been neglected – in fact, 40 new keywords that gave Superior Cleaning Service an advantage over rival service providers when it came to local searches – and remember, local searches are where it’s at in the cleaning service space.

example of keyword tracking

Out of the 40 keywords we actively track in SEMrush, many of them are considered to be ‘long-tail’ phrases. Meaning, they get lower search volume, but the people who use these terms are generally more informed buyers. We’re also ranking well for many shorter, more competitive phrases contained within the ‘long tail’. In total, the site now ranks for over 760 new keywords according to AHREFS. Paying Google for clicks would cost the brand an (estimated) total of $1,200 per month, making our SEO work extremely efficient in a very objective sense:

AHREFS traffic value estimate for power washing company

SEMrush tracking works great for an overall benchmark of rankings, but it tracks averages over a 24 hour period within whatever geographic area you setup. So, we often do a few manual Google searches in an incognito Chrome window to show our clients a snapshot of their ranking ‘in the wild’. Here’s a few searches we performed after running the reports:

Why Pressure Washing Companies Should Advertise with Webology

As this case study proves, local SEO and online marketing is essential for a business that provides pressure washing services. At Webology, we took the Superior Cleaning Service website and rebuilt it, recovered the site from Google penalties, and increased traffic in a very short period of time. We did this on a small budget, using our expertise and knowledge, and the results are ongoing. By creating quality, readable and relevant content for your website, we can launch it up the Google rankings giving you greater visibility online, and our SEO practices – such as investigating locally-relevant keywords as we did here – keep up with the changes in Google’s algorithms.Our work helps build links, increase traffic, and provide conversions.

chart showing traffic gains over a year

We Work Alongside Your Existing Marketing Team

 

Should you have an ongoing marketing agreement with another agency, that’s no problem at all! Webology can work independently of them on link-building exclusively, and complement their work on your traditional marketing strategy. In many cases, we can generate tangible results without even having to log into your existing website. A lot of agencies simply do not bother to build links, so we might recommend having the Webology team do that work for you as the perfect supplement to your existing efforts.

 

No Long-Term Contract

Webology likes to ensure that our clients get value for money and are not held to excessive commitments, so there will be no long-term contracts when you sign up to work with us. Our minimum is usually just 90-days, so you are free to try our services and see what we can provide in that time.

With our rates for one month’s service as low as $800 for pressure washing service marketing, we keep your costs low.

 

Download the Full PDF

At Webology, we like our clients to be certain that we are the right team to handle their online marketing and manage SEO campaigns, so we ask you to view the full report here so you can see just how effective our work can be. If you think we can help your pressure washing business in a similar way – and we are sure we can – why not get in touch with Webology now, and one of our team members will be more than happy to discuss your requirements and answer any questions that you may have.

GET STARTED

Select the services you’re most interested in and let us know a little more about your business by filling out the form below.
One of our digital marketing strategists will be in touch soon.

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