4 Major Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses

So you’re a new business, and we bet it’s been pretty tough gaining traction in your target market, right?

Especially if you’re facing competition from established brands in your area. You know, ones that have been around for a couple of years! Thankfully, all this can change with one simple approach.

Yep, that’s right.

Doesn’t matter whether you’re a law firm in San Diego, a restaurant in Miami, or a jewelry store in New York.

Having a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy will certainly level the playing field for you.

Going It the SEO Way

See, the beauty of local SEO is that it’s changed the realm of marketing and advertising as we know it.

No longer do you have to pay for expensive ads in your local listings just to get the word out that your business is up and running.

Or maybe hope to get your first client, who just so happens to be the chairperson of the neighborhood watch; and pray to God they put in a good word for you in the next members’ meeting!

Phew! Thank the heavens you don’t have to worry about all that!

All because of the internet of things. Specifically, the ingenuity of online advertising.

As the backbone of online marketing, SEO is THE MOST vital component when it comes to determining your site ranking on search engines like Google and Bing.

As a matter of fact, check this out….

According to Google Search statistics, Google records a whopping 40,000 searches every second, which then translates to 3.5 billion searches a day, and a mammoth 1.2 trillion annual searches worldwide!

So imagine what a first page, or even a second page ranking can do for your business…

You’ll be vacationing on that secluded Greek Isle, listening to Sade’s Sweetest Taboo in no time!

Sounds nice. But let’s snap back to reality for now….

A first page ranking might feel elusive at first. But with the right research, patience, and dedication, you might find yourself seeing a growth in organic traffic in time.

Keeping this in mind, here are 4 major SEO tips for local businesses that, when used correctly, will gradually increase your SEO ranking as well as online presence!

Optimizing your listings on Google

Hmm, optimizing your listings, does this sound remotely familiar? We bet it does because it’s one of the most vital factors for every website representing a business.

One thing you’ve got to understand is that Google automatically ranks your website the second it goes live, so that anyone searching for you will find you effortlessly.

And when they do, optimizing your listings- which is the process of including important information in your web pages regarding your business- is what will make it easier for them to locate you.

In fact, your website must have the following info to optimize your listings on Google:

  • The NAME of your business

  • The DESCRIPTION of your business. This could be content such as the mission, the vision, the goals, and objectives of your business.

  • The HOURS OF OPERATION. Are you a day, night, or 24/7 business? This can let a potential client know the right time to contact you.

  • The LOCATION. Where is your business located? Is it in Syracuse, Washington, or Miami? As Khabib Nurmagomedov would say, “Send me Location.”

  • The UPDATES. Have you made any major updates lately? Perhaps moved your main office, gotten a new executive hire, or even added some new products and services to your arsenal?

  • The REVIEWS. Honest reviews let your potential clients know that you’re an honest and trustworthy business.

  • The MENU. We can’t reiterate how important this is. Nearly every major business has a menu showcasing the different parts of its website that appears on a search. Everything from Products, Services, Contact Us, Blog, and so forth make for easier navigation.

Hold on, but what if I’m a local business planning to go national?

Well, if you’re local business planning to sprout your wings and soar the National way, then not only do you have to first optimize your local listings, but also invest a lot of time (and money) in OFFPAGE OPTIMZATION.

Hmm, but Good Monster, what is offpage optimization?

Well, let’s break it down for you. Offpage optimization refers to all the tactics applied by your business outside of its website to create multiple high- quality backlinks that will inevitably improve the position of its website’s search ranking.

Everything from backlinks, to anchor text, to domain popularity are facets of offpage optimization.

Many a national business prefer to hire a local SEO company to undertake their offpage optimization strategies.

If you’re a national/local e-commerce business, then Social Media Campaigns are the way to go

Ahh, e-commerce; the powerhouse that drives all online businesses. Unless of course you’re in the Blogosphere, which plays by its own set of rules and regulations.

For you to thrive in the world of e-commerce, you’ve got to have a strong social media presence. We’re talking the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and just about every other famous social media platform out there.

But how do you get such a massive following?

By having a series of great social media campaigns that ‘hook and sink’ as many social media users as possible.

There are many ways in which you can get started with your social media campaign.

However, most national e-commerce companies prefer to hire the services of professional social media strategists to handle all matters pertaining to social media on their behalf.

Last but not least, for both local and national businesses, hello keywords!

No matter the size of your business, keyword optimization is one of the major components of your SEO strategy.

That’s because factors such as keyword value and keyword density are some of the elements that Google bots use to determine the significance of your web page.

Are your keywords worthy enough to merit a first page ranking for a particular query?

Over the years, keywords have evolved dramatically. So much so that strategies such as keyword stuffing are pretty much dead right now, unless you want to get penalized by Google.

So we did a bit of researching and figured out some nifty ways to increase your keyword value for your website. PSST! Don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret!

  • Placing a keyword in the description of your picture- The pictures that you have on your website are more than just objects of aesthetic value.

As a matter of did you know that Google actually shows the pictures of your website as part of your ranking?

So next time you have a caption or background picture text, make it a habit to include at least one keyword in there!

  • Keywords as part of your tags- Whether it’s your title tags, or your web page tags, include at least one or two keywords as part of them to improve your keywords value.

  • And of course, the proverbial keywords in the text- Yes, as part of the Google business spectrum, it’s a given that you’ll have to include some researched keywords in sections of your text. Remember, the higher the value and positioning of your keywords, the better your chances of ranking.

And voila folks! All good things must come to an end. But we do hope that you’ve internalized all we’ve mentioned in terms of building your brand in the realms of SEO.

Do you have any questions about SEO strategies and directives? Feel free to send us a comment or email here at Good Monster!

How to Effectively Market Your Brand Online

Producing engaging content, branding yourself, and how to set yourself apart from your competition.

Neil de Grasse Tyson loves talking about the universe. And if you’ve ever tuned into an episode of Cosmos, the coolest phrase you’ll probably hear him quip now and then is ‘our universe is expanding infinitely beyond the boundaries of space and time.’

Okay, so maybe you’re not so hyped about science and the cosmos like we are. That’s fine. But let’s start by taking a look at the bigger picture. Let’s liken the digital branding sphere we have today to the universe. And just like the universe, it’s expanding faster than we can say Neil de Grasse Tyson!

In fact, now more than ever, thousands of businesses, companies and brands are turning to new and exciting avenues of digital marketing and branding to reach new customer bases.  But it’s not enough to just start a business Facebook page or simply open a Twitter account; there is too much competition from other similar businesses. You need to be producing engaging, creative content tailored to your specific audience – and a lot of it!

That’s where we come in!  At Good Monster, we know how to navigate the complex arenas of digital marketing, online branding, SEO and social media marketing.  We understand what is needed when presenting your brand online – from identifying your target audience, to creating unique content (and continuing to create it!), and how to effectively set yourself apart from your competition in the digital space.

What are some good ways for businesses to brand themselves online?

By now, most businesses have at least a small online presence, running a Facebook page, Twitter account or an Instagram.  However, just posting sporadically on these accounts is not enough to keep people interested in your company, let own drive any sales or conversions.  In order to stand out and reach your desired audience, it’s best to have a comprehensive social and digital marketing strategy.

For those businesses just beginning to step into the online marketing world, here are a few things to consider with when creating your social media strategy:

  • Research your competitors and review their social media pages – What types of content are similar companies publishing on their social channels? What kinds of reactions are they getting? Pay attention to posts that get a lot of engagement (shares, likes, comments, retweets).
  • Identify and highlight your company’s strengths – What sets your company apart from your competition? Try to hone in on what makes your brand unique, and then create content showcasing that.  Remember when you were reviewing your competitors’ social posts? Make sure your content is different than what they are posting. Highlight your company’s strengths – what type of problems does your products solve? Why would your customers choose you over your competitors?   

Designing a digital marketing strategy that works for YOU

Now that you’ve begun the process of competitor research and are beginning to brainstorm ways in which your company stands out, it’s time to start to creating your digital marketing strategy.

Creating a comprehensive social and digital marketing strategy requires one to really hone in on the skills and aspects of brand building, social media marketing, audience targeting and all other avenues available in the digital marketing field. Again, that’s where we come in at Good Monster! As an agency, we’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of clients in various avenues of the digital marketing landscape; which is inevitably expanding every day.  

Here’s a good example. Just recently, Snapchat released Snapchat ads, a new platform that our clients have been looking to benefit from. That being the case, the first thing we had to do is orient ourselves effectively with the platform, and figure out the best practices that we can employ to give our clients utmost value. We’ve also had to understand the ever-changing search engine optimization landscape, website design and development, as well as the complexities involved with coding.

How do you know that the content you are publishing is responding with your audience?

Easy-peasy. Just take a look at the data. If you’re focusing on Facebook or Instagram, then you can use Insights section to see the engagement that all your posts are getting. Moreover, you’ll view important pointers such as the impressions, as well as the reach that you’re getting.

In order to create a great social media presence, you’ve got to have gut instinct and data in the mix. So pay attention to what content is getting the most engagement and focus on it. Secondly, you’ve got to look at the comments to get valuable feedback about the content that you’re putting out.

All in all, good content is about being transparent and presenting yourself. And to do so, you’ve got to focus on what your brand is and how you’re trying to build it. So always ask yourself this question; what is the story I’m trying to put out? If you can answer this question, then you’ll definitely find out what’s ideally working for you!

 

The Pitfalls of Automated Marketing

Part 1: Are You Onboard?

The definition of social media, is right in its name. It’s media distributed in a social manner that your customers can engage with.

So why are there so many companies that view it as just another advertising and distribution channel? So many small businesses just want to check that box, and say “Yeah, we’re doing social media”. However, just posting their lunch menus, TV commercials or coupons on their Facebook pages isn’t worth the effort without any sort of storytelling or engagement. Nobody will care, or worse, they probably won’t even see it.

Let me explain. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter want their users (your customers) to love their platforms. This means that if your content isn’t valuable to them, then they will stop showing it to people. In other words, it has to be special and valuable to people in order for you to develop an audience on social media.

Plain and simple, if you aren’t utilizing the incredible marketing and business development tools available to you as a small business owner, you’re losing. Even if you’re not losing right this second, you’re losing the long game. The reason is because everyone, and I mean everyone, is researching a business online before they even think about calling or buying. If somebody refers you to a friend of theirs, they’re going to go to Google and look you up first–if you don’t have good reviews, then they will probably look elsewhere. If you’re targeting consumers of any age and you don’t have an engaging Facebook page or Instagram page, they’re gone in about two seconds. They’re going to think you’re out of business.

This is the way our world works today. And you have to realize it’s changing every single second. If you think the way you marketed 20 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago or even last year is going to work this year. It’s not. It’s changing too quickly.

You have to move fast if you have any desire to grow.

If you run a small business that needs growth or just to maintain relevancy, you can’t afford to shrug-off where people’s attention is. If you do, you’re going to be out of business in a couple years.

Google is 21 years old. Facebook is 13 years old. YouTube is 12 years old. These platforms along with a handful of others are the most powerful business development tools on the planet– and if growth is really the goal, they should take up the majority of your marketing team’s attention. The days are gone where you can get away with having your 16-year old niece manage your Facebook, or hire a cookie-cutter industry platform to fire out the same post across all of your networks. People see through that shit–your customers see through that shit.

I get it, you don’t want to take on more things to do. Your company has too much on its plate to take on managing additional marketing initiatives. The problem is most small business owners are not looking at it the right way.

If you could invest in a new location to earn more revenue and eventual profit, would you? Of course, if you had the financing. Well, what if you could invest a little time and maybe just a little money into something that could generate revenue steadily for as long as you want to keep the gas pedal pegged?

That is marketing. Invest in it.

“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” – Henry Ford


Part 2: Please Don’t Be Lazy

There is a big market out there for “industry specialists” to manage all of your social media and digital advertising efforts. The problem is that most of them cannot provide you value for the simple fact that automation goes against the exact principles that make people want to visit local businesses – customer service.

How is an agency or program that posts the same industry news across all of its clients websites, blogs, Facebook pages, Instagram accounts or Linkedin profiles going to help you take care of your customers.

Answer: they can’t

Having an automated cookie-cutter social media program isn’t going to bring you any new business or any increase in revenue. People are smart these days when it comes to advertising and marketing. They can sniff out lazy content in a matter of seconds. If you’re just taking a blog post that’s distributed across your industry for everyone to share and expecting that Frank, your local customer, is going to give a shit, you’re wrong. You need to get personal, emotional, tell stories about your community. Film videos about what your business does. Show pictures of happy customers and what you do for them. Share testimonials, post reviews that people have given you. Throw customer appreciation events and have everyone tag you on Facebook and share it with their communities.

None of these things can be done with a cookie-cutter social media program. Social media does not work out of the box, you have to put effort into it if you want any sort of ROI.

If you want to grow your consumer-focused business beyond 2020, you better not just check that box. You better start to get active if you want to reap the incredible rewards of being a customer focused, social media active company.

 

You want a checklist? Okay here you go:

  1. Find someone to work for you who can take fantastic pictures with his or her phone. Have that person take a picture or video everyday of your business helping a customer.
  2. Pull $100-$1000/month from somewhere that is not generating any value and put it into Facebook advertising.
  3. Find 5-10 other local businesses that have active social media communities and come up with an event or promotion in which you both can share your audience’s attention.

 

There are three things that you could do today for your restaurant, car dealership, accounting firm, real estate business, doctors office, fitness facility, law firm, clothing store, pool cleaning business…..

I could go on forever. The point is that when you realize businesses are increasing stale revenue numbers just by getting creative with their social media, you can start to win.

Influencer Marketing: We’re Going About It All Wrong

Marketers ruin everything – I’m sure you’ve heard this term before, but maybe you haven’t had it explained. It means that once a platform gains massive amounts of attention, marketers swarm to sell stuff to all the people spending their time there. Then, people quickly begin to get turned off by the marketing and, if nothing is done to filter the marketers, they will end up leaving the platform.

This describes what is happening with “Influencers” across social and digital media.

To clearly describe what I’m talking about let’s define the term influencer. An influencer is someone with a large following that pays attention to what they have to say. The concept is nothing new, we’ve been paying attention to people we respect for centuries. But we began coining them influencers to label people engaging their audiences across social media.

As new as the term influencer is, it was pounced on by marketers across the world to the point of saturation. Just surf Instagram or Youtube for an individual who has gained and large following due to their looks, talents or status, and you will probably find them promoting products or services.

As of this writing, Influencer Marketing is one of the most efficient way for a brand to spend their time. The problem is, many marketers are going about it the wrong way. We are all so romantic about the views. Marketer’s pitch influencers based on their follower numbers, instead of how engaged their following is.

To explain where I am going with this I want you to imagine you are at a party with 500 people in the same room. None of the 500 people know each other, and know one knows who the host is. Then all of a sudden the host comes out, introduces himself as an author and tries to immediately sell everyone his new book which they can buy in the back of the room.

This is a terrible way to get people to buy something, and it’s the same way brands are approaching influencers. Instead of identifying Influencers who have the most engaged audiences relevant to their goals, they are targeting influencers purely on their follower numbers.

If you pay an Instagrammer who has 4 million followers to post your product, but they also get paid $200k a year to post products for hundreds of brands, your product won’t really make that much of an impact. Their audience isn’t hanging on their every recommendation because they know all they do is promote products.

This is why you won’t see results from using an Influencer Marketing network or service. They are full of influencers who are just trying to make a buck for posting content with products. All you will get are views, which don’t mean shit when your goal is to sell products.

If you really want to make Influencer Marketing have a positive ROI for you brand, you have to go about it in a thoughtful way.


First and most important, figure out what your goal is. If your goal is to immediately drive revenue you’re going to have to go big and find an Influencer who is widely respected in their industry. Authoritative influencers captivate their audiences who tend to hang on their every word. A note of caution however, if you don’t have a huge value prop for them, they won’t even entertain your offer.

If your goal is to experience long term brand growth and trust, you should go after influencers with smaller audiences that are highly engaged. Just look at the likes, comments and shares on each of their posts and compare that with their audience size. Do they have 100-200 points of engagement with only 5k-10k? That’s pretty damn good. Are the comments authentic and positive, or are they spammy and fake? When you find an influencer that looks like they are a perfect partner reach out to them with a very specific request and a huge value proposition for them.

For one of our clients, we ran an Influencer campaign in which we asked them to create content using our client’s product in any way that they felt helped grow their own brand. In exchange, we would post their content on our clients Instagram and tag the influencer as the host of a contest. The contest would ask people to tag someone who found value in the post, and they could win a prize. We then boosted the content with some of our client’s media budget as “payment” for the influencers participation. Finally, the influencer got to takeover our clients Instagram Stories to announce the winner.

There was multiple points of value for the influencer:

  • They got exposure to our client’s audience
  • They got exposure to new audiences supported by our client’s media budget
  • They got to giveaway a free gift that they didn’t pay for
  • They got to interact with our audience with an Instagram Story takeover

Our client got the benefit of:

  • Gaining the attention of the influencer’s audience
  • Engaging a portion of the audience
  • Getting recommended by someone with an audience thus building social proof
  • Building a reputation as a fun, exciting and engaging brand

Being this thoughtful in your strategy will result in steady brand growth and engagement over time as you tap into new communities. Here are a few suggestions to get you on the right track:

  • Remember sometimes smaller is better – research engagement not just follower count
  • Develop a specific value prop that you know is delivering more value to them than you
  • Be open to new ideas from influencers
  • Offer to sponsor them for a few months to tryout a relationship and build trust within their audience
  • Support their goals of growing their audience
  • Find a way to measure against your goals

If you do your research, nurture relationships and deliver value, you will build a brand that brings consistent long term ROI before you know it.

We Love StewartsShops.com

Hi Stewart’s,

We are big fans of your new Liverpool, NY location. It’s a prime coffee stop for us on the way to the office. We know that you are a great company that prides itself on fresh, home-grown products available whenever we need them. That’s why we thought a mobile-responsive website that engages the Syracuse audience a little more might be something that you would find valuable.

We mean no harm, just have some fresh ideas cropped up in our head that we thought might help grow your brand.

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LET US KNOW IF WE CAN HELP YOU GROW!

 (315) 433-9099

john@thegoodmonster.com