BoostU Presents

Your 2017 Online Marketing Strategy

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This webinar aired on January 9th, 2017 with Caz Bevan, Colton Miller, and Sani Nielson

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Are there any new Google algorithm changes or ranking changes expected for 2017? How do I effectively get my business name into Google Search? In other words, when someone Google searches keywords that have to do with my business how do I get my business info to come up first and also come up on the maps section so inquires can find us on the map? Can you help us understand the importance of link-building or is it outdated? Is that something that we still need? Any way to prioritize where to link-build first? What its he need for video in improving SEO? How useful is a company like Yext? I’ve had some bad experiences with their reps on the phone. Is there another company like them to use instead? Do you think blogging is still an effective way to boost SEO? And, is there value in having your own blog and linking targeted keywords to specific pages? What if you are utilizing multiple platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, yet you have find consistent content creation and linking is not eliciting the traffic you want. How can one improve visibility? What about Yelp? I have a central office with a remote location business site. We run events in different cities, but our central office is located in California. If we are running an event in Dallas, Texas, would we list our location in California or Texas, or would we create the business name in California and the event name in Texas?
Are there any new Google algorithm changes or ranking changes expected for 2017?

Google has announced "rolling changes." That means, the once drastic changes Google's Penguin and Panda updates had to SEO strategies are now a thing of the past. Google will continue to make changes to their algorithm every year that they exist as a search engine. However, rather than drastic changes, they have announced that they'll roll out new tweaks all year long. Some are more visible as a change than others. At Boostability, we report on any visible change we see in over the 17,500 accounts that we manage.

Answered by Caz Bevan, Colton Miller, and Sani Nielson
How do I effectively get my business name into Google Search? In other words, when someone Google searches keywords that have to do with my business how do I get my business info to come up first and also come up on the maps section so inquires can find us on the map?

Colton: Great question! Probably the first way and the best is to actually start with Google Maps itself. You can actually go and submit your business information to them directly. They often times have a verification process either digitally or they will send a postcard to the physical address of the business. Once that is claimed, most of the time you’ll start showing up right away.

To submit your business to Google Maps click here.

After Google Maps, you can take part in Yext or citation building services to help grow your business popularity within Google Maps. If you have a website, you can help grow that organically as well by doing link-building and having your content tailored toward those keywords that you were talking about there.

There are a few different ways to do it. If you do them all, it all starts working together in a collaborative way to just give you a better online experience for all of your users.

Answered by Caz Bevan, Colton Miller, and Sani Nielson
Can you help us understand the importance of link-building or is it outdated? Is that something that we still need?

Colton: There’s a lot of talk in the industry that link-building is either dead or going away. I can tell you with absolute surety that is not true. Link-building is a way of figuring out who is popular and why. Google still uses it very much as a strong signal to determine who should show up and who shouldn’t. Link-building is very much still a necessity in the online world.

How you do link-building can very. The citation we talked about just now. Those are one form of link-building. You’re not necessarily doing it for the link, but it is a happy byproduct of it. You can get a link going that route. Improving your maps is another way. There are other things you can dot that are still effective as long as you have some moderation in there. Things like online business directories, you don’t want to create a thousand of those. You want to create 1-5 a month and keep going down that right. You can also partake in things like guest blogging where you’ve outreached to another site that’s relevant within your industry and basically try to host some content on their site in exchange for a link as well. That is probably the most common and proven method in the industry today. Or, of course there’s utilizing a service like Boostability that can help you do those. Social is another way and I’ll let Sani and Caz speak to that a little bit more.

The more you put your name out there, especially if is something viral and people like, other’s can post it on their site. That’s another way of link-building. It isn’t always strictly going out to build links. Sometimes it’s getting your content in people that really want to share that, like that, and would like to give that same content to their audience. There are several things, but the overall point of it all is that link-building is very much a necessity. There are lots of way to do it. You do not have to start at the top end. Most of the time, I would recommend starting at the bottom end. If it starts working, great, that’s where you need to go. Things like, adding directories, social bookmarking, and comment link-building are basics for link-building. If that isn’t enough for you, you know you need to step it up and invest a little bit more there, or spend more time doing that.

For a free SEO consultation click here.

Caz: To give my two-cents there on the link-building side, Colton, being the SEO Director of Strategy for Boostability does a lot of that strategy not only for our clients, but also information for Boostability as a company themselves. Then, on the social media and blogging side, I take care of a lot of link-building relationships. There are two different routes of essentially going there. We have one person for Boostability to do our SEO and goes through and makes sure all our business accounts and local listings are correct and always up to date. They manage that information. Whereas the communications and marketing side of it, what I can do for link-building essentially is make sure that all of our social media profiles are optimized and correct, but also I am the one that builds relationships with other websites. We have a lot of writing relationships with other marketing sites throughout the entire world. We regularly link throughout our articles that we share, and of course in our author profiles it says we work for Boostability and also links back to Boostability.

Recently I pulled a specific report that showed the impact of our guest articles that we have done on other websites, and I can tell you that in many respects we were able to build first-page results around keywords we promoted in these articles.

Some of the keywords are still gaining momentum. SEO takes time. However, there are several first-page keywords we weren’t previously ranking for that are direct impacts of these guest blogging relationships. When building those relationships, the better the website, the better the link. You don’t want to necessarily go write anywhere or on someone’s personal Wordpress account, you want to be able to write for other well-known publications because that’s what really gets you the clicks and link-authority.

Answered by Caz Bevan, Colton Miller, and Sani Nielson
Any way to prioritize where to link-build first?

Colton: Absolutely! There are a few different ways to look at that. It really depends on where you are. To start off, I guess I would san the must basic way would be doing some simple report. You can go to something like Moz for a free report with their Site Explorer.

If you don’t have any links, that’s the point where I say get into the free stuff that’s pretty easy like directories and social bookmarks. Trying to find other relevant sites within the industry such as news sites or a company that makes things for your industry, whatever it might be, go on to their blogs to try to comment and get a link back.

Start there if you don’t have any links.

If you already have some authority and already have some links, in that instance that’s where I would try to bring in more social media tools - Facebook, Twitter, Google+. There are a few tools like BuzzSumo. Basically, you can find out who is writing what kind of content and what is getting shared by similar websites. You can try to create your own version of that content and try to share that.

If you already have an established profile, finding those people that can really take your content and share it with their audience and share it with influencers in your industry. Look for someone that does conferences, webinars, video, and is prominent in your industry.

You can build links with Boostability by visiting the BoostBlog and filling out the “Write For Us” form at the top of the page.

The biggest thing for online marketing is that your competition is your greatest source for information. In this same scenario if you have no clue where to start for link-building, use those same free tools and run them for your competitors. I guarantee you’ll find 5+ places that you can go and do links today, right now, based on your competitors. You can get a lot of great ideas going that right.

Caz: Absolutely. Benchmarking is a regular business practice that I recommend. I always tell people that if it works for you, it likely works for your audience. Most people start a business based on something they’re a fan of or enjoy. Therefore, in a sense, you are your own audience. If it is something you would click on, if it is osmething you would be impressed with, than that’s most likely going to be conducive with the rest of your audience. Go with your gut there, and then test, test, test!

Answered by Caz Bevan, Colton Miller, and Sani Nielson
What its he need for video in improving SEO?

Caz: Video is one of those things where, especially now, we are entering a very competitive space for video. Anyone that has been strongly video before now has kind of robbed everyone else of the limelight, but there is still a chance to get in there before everybody figures it out. That may seem surprising since videos have been around forever, but when it comes to monetizing and companies utilizing it for engagement, it is becoming more and more of the center of a marketing plan. Video is absolutely amazing for link-building because it is so highly engaging - far more than any other social media type. With video, you’re getting more views, more comments, and more likes. There are so many different types of video platforms now - Live YouTube, Live Facebook, Live Periscope, Snapchat - all of these things. You may not think that’s link-building because you think of something like Snapchat, and think, “But I can’t include a link?” The thing is, that it goes in a circle. Doing something like that forces people to search for you and search for your content. If you have been properly link-building across several websites and business profiles, several things are going to show up on the front page of Google, for example - Google Reviews, your Facebook page, and other links like that. Even if someone starts at an organic search, any of those websites by clicking on that and then clicking to you is considered like points. It is another point for you! Everything you do on social media and everything you do with video eventually leads to a link that leads to you, and you get another point! The more points you collect, the higher your authority.

Doing guest relationships and writing on other websites, appearing in other videos, talking on other podcasts is always a fantastic opportunity for that same thing. If you’re actually publishing to someone else’s site, a video is super fantastic to get people to pay attention to your posts over any other post. There aren’t very many people taking advantage of guest writing relationships that also do video. That would be very unique to actually take the time to post video to someone else’s website. People aren’t doing that right now, so that will absolutely drive traffic from high authority website’s back to your website. For each link, it’s another point… another point… another point.

If you consider it like a point system, the more points you have and the higher-quality of those points, the more link-authority you’re getting and the more SEO you get out of it. You’ll end up higher in the search rankings and also be searched more often. All the social aspects you do increase people searching for you. That’s why so many people argue that it is so hard to figure out the true ROI for social media because a lot of people rather than clicking directly on something, they’re going to see that brand visibility and eventually they’re going to search for you rather than click on what’s in their News Feed. That’s why you keep doing it. You keep doing it even if you do not see the direct link from here to there. You keep doing it for brand visibility, and when they search for you - there you go, you’re getting points, you’re getting those links and you’re building those clicks!

Answered by Caz Bevan, Colton Miller, and Sani Nielson
How useful is a company like Yext? I’ve had some bad experiences with their reps on the phone. Is there another company like them to use instead?

Colton: Yea. Yext (so everybody can understand what they actually provides) they essentially have direct APIs into a lot of prominent local listings, like Yahoo Maps as an example is 100% controlled and directed with Yext’s data. What that means for somebody like Yext is if you give them your information, they can share it across their entire network of around 75 websites. About 60 of those would be what we consider prominent or well known, things like Bing, Yahoo, and Apple Maps. The only speciality they have there is that they have those direct API connections. That means you give them your information and they can go spread that information around evenly within a week. There information is guaranteed for the most part. That’s part of their feature. As far as direct and immediate impact, it is worth the money. I just have to put it that way. I can’t speak for the rest, but I can say that at least for what you’re getting from an organic standpoint, it is going to be solid.

If you don’t want to go that route, or if this is something you want to do a little cheaper. There are other services. Boostability does have a citation service as well: Visit BoostSEO. WhiteSpark is another option. Basically, that’s a company where all they do 100% is local citations and that is it. That is their entire business model.

Boostability submits manually and we have 100’s of sites we can submit you to for a citation. People that partake in Yext will still come to WhiteSpark and Boostability to continue growing that citation list for their business.

For more information on SEO Services from Boostability, click here. For a free SEO consultation, click here.

Answered by Caz Bevan, Colton Miller, and Sani Nielson
Do you think blogging is still an effective way to boost SEO? And, is there value in having your own blog and linking targeted keywords to specific pages?

Colton: Blogging is still highly effective. For some, blogging has lost it’s lackluster because it doesn’t have that immediate impact or that immediate benefit, but over time you can imagine if you blog every other day or even just once a week, that is 52 new pages or around 132 new pages each year. You’re essentially creating more portals for your website. You’re helping to build your expertise as well. The great thing about blogs which I think a lot of people have forgotten about is that blogs give you the opportunity to build a following as well to go after those fringe keyword phrases that maybe aren’t common to your business or to your industry. That’s going to go back to showing your expertise and showing that you really know what you are talking about. With blogging you start to get into the realm of discovery or research stage with people that may not be ready to buy today, but when they’re ready to buy in the future, if you’ve helped them out a few times or they’ve come to your website because they needed help with something and you’ve had a blog about it, they are a lot more likely to buy from you and visit your website and come back to you time and time again. You’ll see that with your sales pipeline later on down the road. If you’re helping people out whether in the buying process or discovery process. Either way, it is a lot more likely that they are going to go with you to close things and finish things out, getting you the return that you need. When it comes to blogging, I can’t underrate it. It doesn’t have the impact it used to have, but it helps your immediate users and your immediate site to grow and expand your influence within your industry and your area.

Caz: I did some research recently that said websites that have on average 450-1000 pages such as with a blog, their sales conversion rates increase by 16%!

Answered by Caz Bevan, Colton Miller, and Sani Nielson
What if you are utilizing multiple platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, yet you have find consistent content creation and linking is not eliciting the traffic you want. How can one improve visibility?

Caz: That’s definitely a problem many people have. For starters, each website calculates what a click means in a different way so there will be some differences there. Then, things like Facebook analytics and Google Analytics, all of it is isn’t necessarily perfect because it all operates differently. The way that I track it the best that I can is that I use UTM links. I use unique links as often as I can. That gives me a more realistic view as to how many people are clicking on something. If you have done all of that and you’re still feeling like you’re just not getting the power that you need to, the next step is to optimized.

Unfortunately, the more popular the website, the more you have to pay to play. The Facebook algorithm is a pretty sticky algorithm. You can find more about Facebook Ranking Factors, very similar to Google Ranking Factors. Facebook is considered another search engine. So, you have to play the game. Facebook Ranking Factors - things that boost it are having all the information filled out on your business profile, logging in to your profile daily even if you answer your comments and do your posts from something else like a social media tool, log into your account daily! Try to post something to your Facebook page live as often as you can because the truth is Facebook has built out their algorithm to be specific to whether or not you’re active. If you’re not part of Facebook clicking on ads that make them money, then they’re not going to view you or your profiles as active enough to be shown organically.

Likewise, part of their algorithm update they did a couple years ago is that they stopped showing business profile posts in people’s news feeds unless someone has specifically gone to your page, engaged with your page, or specifically subscribed to your page which is a second step to simply following your page.

To add more to this, beyond running a PPC campaign to increase engagement on your social media content, utilize reports from the number of clicks you have received (UTM or otherwise) to optimize the TYPE of content you are displaying. Recently, I want as far as to pull a Facebook report against my UTM report. I took these two reports to determine number of clicks and then viewed the bounce rates for those particular links via Google Analytics. What you’re looking for is the most engaging, highest click content that people stuck with. That means they stayed on that web page a longer period of time and/or continued on to other pages of your website. If you cross-analyze these tools, you’ll have the best view of what your new marketing strategy will be and what types of posts you want to increase in the new year.

When building your engagement through PPC, if you’re feeling disappointed with Facebook, do not forget the second-tier social PPC sites. Similar to running an ad campaign on Google, you can often pay a lot more to try ranking for a keyword via PPC on Google than you would on Bing. Bing would be considered a second-tier or less popular advertising option. If you’re not experiencing what you expect on Facebook, go to Twitter. Twitter is absolutely fantastic for building links since Twitter is shown in Google search results, and Twitter has a lower overall cost per click and cost per engagement than you’ll find on Facebook.

Check out some of the free PPC resources we have

Answered by Caz Bevan, Colton Miller, and Sani Nielson
What about Yelp?

Sani: If you have any listings on Yelp or business listings on profiles like Yelp, one thing to be aware of with Yelp’s algorithm which people tend to have not so fun experiences with Yelp - one of the biggest things is that even if you have reviews on there and you are gathering reviews, if any of your customers leave reviews on their, the reviews are more likely to stick and remain in the unfiltered featured section of Yelp if your reviewer is active and engaged. If you decide to do a review campaign to build your online profile or build your online reputation across platforms on Google, Yelp, or anywhere else, you want to make sure to do a little bit of research on your customers. If you have existing customers that are already active Yelppers, those are the people you want to target initially. If they have a large number of reviews on Yelp or a large circle of friends on Yelp, those specific reviews are more likely to stick in the unfiltered section and will be used in calculating your star review on Yelp.

Answered by Caz Bevan, Colton Miller, and Sani Nielson
I have a central office with a remote location business site. We run events in different cities, but our central office is located in California. If we are running an event in Dallas, Texas, would we list our location in California or Texas, or would we create the business name in California and the event name in Texas?

Caz: You definitely would create the event name in Texas and keep your business location to the business closest to your event. If your only office is California, then the answer would be California. If you had an actual physical business closer to Texas, you would probably want to list that as the location of the business.

Colton: You never want to try building out business listings where your business doesn’t exist. Google will remove these and your’e at risk of being “black listed” in a sense for business listings.

To learn more about choosing a brand page, local page, or service area page, visit our Google Training page on the Boost U.

If you have more questions, you can use the hashtag #2017BoostWebinars and/or tweet us at @AskBoost.

Answered by Caz Bevan, Colton Miller, and Sani Nielson