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The State of Local SEO and How to Get More Local Customers

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Do you want to acquire more local customers from search?… Of course, you do!

First, you need to understand that SEO is no longer the way it used to be. A lot of has changed. In fact, the impact of these changes are more glaring in local search engine optimization.

When it comes to Local SEO, you need to get serious with Google My Business Page and citations.

When you implement both practices, you’re telling local consumers and search engines alike that you’re open for business. And your sales will possibly increase.

Remember that local searches are more likely to lead to sales, compared to non-local searches. According to a research study by Google, 18% of local smartphone searches generated a purchase within 24 hours.

Of course, links are still important to search rankings, but the approach has changed a lot in the last 3 years. You now need to understand the on-page technicalities first, before moving out to get links.

Make no mistakes about it. Modern SEO boils down to listening to and attending to your website’s visitor – people who consume your content, after clicking on your search result from Google organic listings.

It’s no secret that you have to do more to thrive in the search these days. If you choose to manipulate search using blackhat techniques, you may end up losing your precious rankings.

That’s why I created this in-depth article, to help you understand the State of Local SEO & where to pay attention now.

Your SEO is not all about ranking #1

If you think that SEO is all about getting ranked in #1 position, then you’re making a deadly mistake. Of course who wouldn’t desire that spot – but that’s not the focus.

At the end of the day, the focus of SEO is to build sustainable rankings for your target keywords. You want to rank today, tomorrow, and even next year.

For this to happen, you need an effective social media strategy – because social signals have become an integral part of organic ranking factors.

Once you pass some social juice to your web pages, every other effort would yield better results. In fact, your CTR will weigh more – because you have a lot of people engaging with your content on social media sites.

So the #1 result in Google may not always get the most clicks. Remember that majority of your searchers, especially those outside internet marketing field don’t know the difference between organic and paid search results.

To a large extent, what determines whether a search result (both organic and paid) gets clicked on is the title, meta description, and page URL. And more importantly, the local map packs with reviews and star ratings.

For example, I searched for “plumber” but I don’t feel excited with these results. So I’ll skip them and scroll down a bit.

Scrolling down the same page, a search result in the Google maps caught my attention. I thought I should click on this one. With all these reviews and ratings from real customers, how can I go wrong?

Your localized link is your new advantage

In today’s local rankings, where you got your inbound links play a vital role in the search rankings.

More so, if you get more links from relevant directories and websites in the same geographical area, Google may reward you better.

And for that to work, you need to gain links to your brand social media, to your product page (or specific service page), and pass more link juice to your video content. [image

To surmount your competition, you don’t need the best website design or a huge marketing budget. You need compelling content and trusted backlinks. It’s your new advantage.

Compelling content will help you rank for several long-tail keywords that you’re not directly targeting. And being on Google’s first page drives more clicks to your local business landing pages.

Note that when you get few inbound links from a website with high domain authority, this can improve your rankings for highly competitive keyword phrases.

On the flip side, low domain authority websites can result in a nose dive for your web pages that are already climbing the top of organic listings. Ahrefs conducted an exclusive research study in this respect.

If you look at it closely, you’ll agree with me that modern SEO isn’t about keywords, but on the searcher’s intent.

For example, why do people search for “small business tools” in Google?

Are they looking for tools to buy, or they just want to learn how fast new tools are being released in the small business field?

An in-depth market research will answer that question.

Higher Organic Rankings depends on how much you engage your site users

Truly, links are the lifeblood of local search rankings.

But all links are not created equal.

Since 2014, brands that proactively research authority websites, build relationships, and eventually earned links to their web pages, have seen a spike in organic rankings as the year goes by.

The imminent challenge that local businesses face is the time and expertise to build these links. If you’re in the same both, the solution is to:

Build engagement with site visitors.

Engagement is so important.

For instance, when website visitors are engaged, they’ll share content, cite it, leave valuable comments, write honest reviews, and push your brand to the spotlight through word of mouth.

When I did a search for plumber earlier, did you notice what inspired me to click on a search result?

Reviews and star ratings.

You’ll often find reviews and star ratings in rich snippets of the organic search results.

Reviews are hard to get.

Reviews speak volumes and show how responsive your customers and website visitors are towards your content or product.

Customer reviews may not improve your search rankings (at least Google hasn’t made it clear yet), but it improves user experience.

Consequently, the more reviews your local business garner, the more inspired and ready your customers will be. It can increase your product orders.

From the results above, I can boldly say that the trust level you have with customers can be directly or indirectly traced to how engaging your content is.

Yes the term “content engagement” has become a buzzword. So many local businesses throw it around, but only a few people truly knows what it means.

Of course engagement could mean several things at the same time. But when it comes to getting more local customers through content, the engagement that you want can be summarized in these few points:

  • Get local clients to click on your headline and read your content.
  • Your content inspires local clients to call your business.
  • Your ideal customers find your physical business address, and take steps to visit you now or later.
  • Get customers to place order on your online store.

And so forth.

At the end of the day, you want to track conversions, not some vanity metrics like reach, comments, and so on.

However, you can increase content engagement if you understand the consumer engagement cycle. This is more or less the various paths that your ideal customer must tour, before deciding on your business.

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Conclusion

Local SEO is all about telling great story of your brand without rambling endlessly. You don’t have to be a natural-born storyteller.

Great storytelling entrepreneurs thrive on a simple secret:

They understand their audience more than the average Joe.

In your page title, page description, and within your content, find reasons to tell stories that pique the user’s mind. Don’t stuff keywords. Instead, stuff your content with stories.

This is Marcus Sheridan’s strategy. Though he’s known as a pools guy, but by telling stories of his brand and the struggles he had to go through, his local business went international.

And guess what? Today, he generates more traffic from organic searches. Every challenge that you’ve experienced is a goldmine when creating content.

Tap into it – and tell the story – while driving your brand message home. Your local customers will understand it better.

 

This article was a contribution from Michael Chibuzor, who is a seasoned freelance writer. If you’re looking for long-form articles that drives traffic and sales, visit ContentMarketingUp.com.

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7 Ways to Improve Your Online Resume, Expertise and Professional Skills

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Are you a student, a part-time worker, or even an industry professional who’s in search of a better-paid position? Or are you just starting out and wondering how to break into the medical field, getting the attention of big name PR companies, or simply looking for a different workplace and career altogether?

With so many job opportunities available, it’s not just about applying and putting your name out there, it’s also about knowing how to stand out in the process. For example, there are more than 18 million health care professionals in the United States today. That is more than manufacturing and retail sales combined. Home health aides, medical administrative assistants, and doctors are in high demand.  

But how do you stand out to potential employers? Building your own personal resume website is a great way to get your name out there.

In this article, we’ll tell you why you need a professional website to find the new career you are looking for. We’ll also help you get started building a resume website from the ground up, and also focusing on some bonus tips for ranking in Google, and showing off your expertise and skills in the process.

Polish Your Resume

Professionals in every field should take the time to make personal websites. They work in your favor 24 hours per day and allow recruiters to find you. You don’t even have to fill out an application: they see your information and they contact you directly.

You should have one page on your website for your resume. It doesn’t have to be fancy or have a lot of graphics, but do experiment with the font. You want to be seen as professional and experienced. If you are familiar with WordPress or currently a user of Leadpages, this can be done in just a few clicks of a button. No tech or design skills required.

One nice perk of putting a personal website online is that you can “hyperlink” to your LinkedIn and social media profiles.

If you don’t know how to build a website, don’t worry. There are dozens of companies who can help you get your information on a resume website.  

Take Advantage of Social Media Profile

Most of us are already on social media. However, for most of us it usually stops there.

Google loves sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram — which means it’s also very easy to rank these pages higher in the search results.

Make sure your social profiles are not only active and professional, but also being used to your advantage as well. It’s very likely that any employers you are looking to get hired by, are likely to take a look through these profiles and see what you’ve been up to.

At the end of this article, we will also five into how you can take advantage of social media profile pages to rank higher in Google, and maybe even own the whole first page for your name.

Build Your Brand

Resume websites are useful because you get a chance to control your image. You can add pictures of yourself in your scrubs or working with patients.

If you’re going for a career as a medical administrative assistant, a personal website allows you to post your certifications. If you’re considering the medical admin career path, you can view here for more information. With so many people graduating from higher education and applying for these jobs, it’s important to know what your employer is looking for, and to not waste their time during the hiring and research process.

You should always include your certifications and educational background on your website. You’re trying to stand out from the crowd, so feel free to brag about yourself.

If you don’t have a lot of job experience, just include your high school or college clubs. You can also include internships and volunteer experience.

Make sure to put contact information on every page so recruiters don’t have to search for it. All you need is your work email address and your business phone number.

Expand Your Network

One of the best things about personal websites is they give you a chance to expand your network. You can connect with colleagues in person, or you can join chat boards and network from home. It’s one thing to have a social profile for your business or personal brand, but it’s a whole new level when you have a dedicated site.

Opportunities for online work have increased 200% in the last 10 years. Even if you work in the medical field, you could end up doing online work with patients.

Putting together an online resume will help you connect with your colleagues all around the world. You can join networking groups and go to job fairs, all from your living room.

If you want to do some outreach, attend some in-person networking events. It may seem old-fashioned, but invest in some business cards and hand them out.

The business cards should have the same colors and font as your website, and you should include your basic contact information.

Build a Following

If you think you might start a business one day, an online resume is for you. You can link to your website from your social media, then ask visitors to join your email list.

When you get your private practice started, all you have to do is email your followers to gain clients. This tactic also works for freelancers who work from home.

To build a following, there is one thing that works very well: video. Video content is a must for any professional portfolio. You can record a short presentation describing your work experience.

Don’t feel like you have to make a long video, either. Just keep it to about three minutes or less and try to have some fun with it. You should post videos to YouTube as well: it can help you rank higher in Google searches.

If you’re trying to attract a larger audience, try to remember that lots of pictures take a long time to load. People are very impatient and will leave a page after three seconds if the page doesn’t load quickly.

Include Recommendations

When you’re building a professional website, try to get written referrals from past employers or teachers. You can devote an entire page to them, and they will help you get hired.

The less work a recruiter has to do, the better. Before they even call you, they’re able to look at your job history, past projects and education, and your references. For more tips on this, also take a look at my reference guide on how to build a great About Me page.

If you use patient recommendations, make sure to change their first and last names. Due to medical privacy laws, you have to include them anonymously.

Again, it’s okay to showcase your accomplishments on a website. Recruiters typically receive more than 100 resumes for every job opening. You have to figure out ways to polish your website and shine brightly online.

It’s not hard to get recommendations – all you have to do is ask. Everyone has at least one teacher, employer, or co-worker who knows you get the job done.

Own the First Page of Google

If someone searches for your name online, what are they going to find?

Depending on how popular your name is, they might be able to easily find your content, or simply get lost in a mix of other people that might have the same name as well.

From a branding and expertise perspective, this can be a disaster. If you put in the time and effort to follow each of the recommended tips above, you could possibly dominate the first page of Google for your name. Again, this will be easier/harder based on the competition around your name.

However, if you were to accomplish this, it would look something like this in Google’s first rankings.

  1. Your main website/blog
  2. Facebook profile
  3. Twitter profile
  4. LinkedIn profile
  5. Instagram profile
  6. YouTube profile
  7. Expert article or interview
  8. Expert article or interview
  9. Expert article or interview

As you can see, the easy part will be getting your main page and social profiles to link at the top of the search results. You can also swap in/out any of these with other high ranking profiles or trusted platforms. Then after that, you should focus on any articles or interviews you may have done on any other sites. With some social sharing and backlink promotion, you should be able to push all of this content up higher on Google — thus owning the whole page for your name.

This in itself will greatly impress any employer that you are looking to get hired by.

How to Get Started with a Resume Website

If working with computers is your thing, then just go online and get a domain name (your personal name). Modify your website and optimize it for SEO. Then you’re good to go!

On the other hand, if that sentence made no sense to you, you might want to find a resume website company who can help you get started. There are plenty of resume WordPress themes out there as well.

Try to find a current copy of your resume and transcripts. Make a list of all your certifications and recommendations, and bring it to your meeting.

A professional portfolio company will help you get online, build a following, and maintain your website. They know what recruiters are searching for and will help you develop videos, infographics, and blogs.

As simple as this whole process is, some people will simply want to hire out and not waste their time with it. If this is the case, feel free to try out any of the services mentioned on the blog, or simply reach out and we can provide you with website development services, or recommendations on how to best accomplish whatever it is you are looking to do.

Drop us a line and not only can we help with the launch of your resume website, we can also get it to rank at the top of Google in the process.

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8 Retail Tips to Boost Sales and Help You Finish the Year Strong

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If you work in retail, you may be feeling the pressure to finish the year strong with a major sales boost. However, success in retail selling doesn’t happen on its own. It requires creativity, hard work, and some killer retail sales strategies.

But did you know that there are some simple sales tips and tricks that can help you achieve your goals quicker than ever? It’s easier than you think.

When it comes to marketing any type of product or service to an audience, it’s all about the perceived value, call to action, and the marketing strategy put in place. This is what makes the online marketing space so amazing. Not only is it easy to go live with a new ad campaign, but it’s also easy to split test and target your exact audience in the process.

Keep reading for eight must-know retail tips that will help boost your sales and finish the year on a high note. Let’s dive in!

1. Focus on Making a Positive First Impression

If you work in retail, then you know that first impressions can make or break your sales. But did you know that forming a first impression can take as little as a tenth of a second?

It may sound shocking, but it’s true. Although this impression is solely based on facial appearance, it matters. Whether it’s fair or not, it plays a huge part in how others treat us.

If you’re working on boosting your sales, keep this fact in mind. You can create positive first impressions by maintaining a pleasant facial expression and proper grooming habits.

2. Re-familiarize Yourself with Your Products

If you’ve worked in retail selling for a while, it’s important to keep your relationship with the products you’re selling fresh. After all, if you’re excited about them, others will be, too.

Take some time to reconsider each and every item. What’s special and unique about them? What can they offer people?

Allow the answers to these questions to inspire you and reinvigorate you as a salesperson. Passion and enthusiasm are at the core of how to be successful in retail sales.

3. Create Tangible Sales Incentives

A great retail sales technique to boost your end-of-year sales is to entice potential buyers with some alluring sales incentives. Let’s explore some effective options.

– Discounts

Discounts are a surefire way to catch the attention of retail shoppers. Use the upcoming holidays to your advantage and create stellar deals that buyers won’t be able to turn down.

– Added Bonuses

If you don’t like the idea of discounting your items, consider adding bonuses to your customer’s purchases. Partner with other local brands who would like to spread the good word about their products. They may be willing to give you products or samples to pass onto your clients for free.

– Free Shipping

If you’re using e-commerce to boost your holiday sales, offering free shipping is a great incentive for buyers. You can even encourage higher purchases by giving free shipping to those who buy over a certain price point.

– Competitions

To conjure up some buzz around your products, create a giveaway competition. For the best results, make sure that you’re giving away an item with a high price point. This is a great way to get ahold of potential customer’s information for marketing purposes as well.

Guarantee the Quality of Your Products

If possible and appropriate, provide your customers with a guarantee of quality for your products. This will instill confidence in potential buyers and boost your sales.

4. Treat Everyone Like a Friend

Sales success is all about persistence. However, there’s a fine line between not giving up and being pushy.

Keep yourself in check by remembering to treat everyone like they’re your friend. This will create a pleasant, welcoming demeanor that will attract people to you and your products.

5. Aim for Open Body Language

In addition to treating everyone in a friendly manner, focus on your body language as well. And this doesn’t just mean smiling. Here’s how to keep your body language open and engaging:

  • Keep your back straight, but your body relaxed.
  • Maintain steady eye contact, but break away once in a while to keep things casual.
  • Lean in toward someone while they speak to communicate interest.
  • Avoid crossing your arms.
  • Try to project confidence at all times.
  • Give a firm (but not painfully firm) handshake when you meet someone new.
  • Keep the tone of your voice even and calm.
  • Study others’ body language and learn how to spot when they are uncomfortable or annoyed.
  • Get to know your own habits when you’re excited, unhappy, nervous, etc. Keep your habits in check while working in retail and stay neutral.

6. Use Management Software for More Retail Tips and Assistance

If you feel that you need some extra help managing things, try a retail management software program. These programs provide a streamlined, clear way to manage all aspects of your retail operation.

Many also offer easy-to-use-apps that don’t require training. In these apps, you can communicate with team members, access information about each of your retail locations, and share photos, files, and documents.

7. Offer Customers Fewer Options

When trying to boost your retail sales, it can be tempting to offer potential customers tons of options to choose from. However, it’s important to resist this temptation.

Instead of appreciating the selection, consumers tend to become overwhelmed when presented with a lot of choices. Keep things simple to make shoppers more comfortable.

8. Learn from Your Mistakes

As a salesperson, your education never ends. It’s important to continue learning from both your successes and your mistakes as you grow.

So, whenever you make or break a sale, ask yourself why. Use each and every outcome as an opportunity for further learning.

The Bottom Line

If you want to boost your sales and finish the year on a high note, simply follow the eight simple retail tips above. These tricks will not only help you meet your end-of-year goals, but they will also help you to become a stronger salesperson for the remainder of your career.

For the best results, remember to focus on your body language at all times and to treat everyone like a friend. Refamiliarize yourself with your products and streamline your inventory wherever possible.

And if you make a mistake, don’t worry. Take it as an opportunity for learning and growth instead!

Do you have any questions or comments? Don’t hesitate to reach out.

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What is Performance Management? 9 Strategies For Your Small Business

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Running a business isn’t always about making big money, traveling the world, and reaping all of the benefits it has to offer. Sometimes there are less exciting tasks and components involved in the day to day operations of these businesses — especially if you are running a big company with employees.

One such area that large business owners and corporate teams will have to focus their efforts on are team evaluations and performance management. Evaluations at the end of the year can be daunting and stressful for you, your supervisors, and your employees.

Performance management doesn’t have to be a dark, looking matter in a business. In fact, it should be something that continuously encourages growth and improvement while handling negative matters in a professional manner.

Are you asking yourself right now, “What is performance management?” It’s a way of creating an ideal work environment to reach optimal productivity. It’s definitely something you need to incorporate into your small business.

Below are 9 strategies of performance management to help your business succeed. Keep reading for more.

1. Accurate Job Descriptions

Whether you’re in the process of hiring or have had a set staff for a while, keep job descriptions up-to-date and accurate will help things to run smoothly and effectively. Everyone needs to know what is expected of them.

Not only does this help things get done, it can highlight certain skills in individuals. Allowing everyone to be in a position where they can use their best skills will create a more positive work environment. If people are unhappy with their job or are experiencing unexpected tasks, it could cause stress.

Sit down and update job descriptions. Then meet with your employees and explain what is expected, and allow them to ask questions and voice concerns.

2. Consistently Review Goals

Time is precious, whether you are an employer or an employee. Make the most of your time and consistently go over goals and milestones with everyone on an individual basis.

Not going over your goals until the end of the year could open up space for issues that could have easily been prevented. Plus, not reviewing goals can cause people to lose interest or become fearful of the unknown.

It’s always best to keep everyone on the same track, and consistency makes for better performance management. If you need help staying on track, don’t be afraid to turn to outside help — check it out!

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Praise

People are more inclined to work harder at their job when they know they will receive praise for it. Giving praise to an employee doesn’t make you look weak, it shows you care about good performance management.

If you notice an individual making great efforts at his or her job, don’t hesitate to throw them a compliment. Make sure you are being sincere because everyone loves a genuine compliment.

Want to go the extra mile? Get to know your employees personally. Tell your employee how proud you are of them for doing a 5k the past weekend.

4. Offer Payment for Work

Compliments are great, but one of the best motivations for anyone is money. Let’s face it, everyone wants to make more money.

A great strategy for better performance management is creating monetary rewards for the employees going beyond their goals. For example, offer them a small bonus every time they exceed a weekly sales goal.

It doesn’t have to break the bank for your business, but you’d be surprised what people will do for an extra 10 dollars.

5. Critique in Private

One of the most humiliating moments in performance management for any employee is being critiqued or punished in front of large groups. It lowers their self-esteem and creates an uncomfortable atmosphere for everyone.

If a problem needs to be addressed, schedule a time to talk with the individual. Don’t intimidate them or scare them into thinking they are about to get the automatic boot. Approach them by stating the issue and give them a chance for any explanation.

As reported by Motley Fool, there are three big reasons why you will want to avoid this:

  1. You’ll alienate the employee you call out — and possibly the rest of your team
  2. You’ll be less effective
  3. You’ll come off harsher than you probably mean to

It’s also a great idea to come to the meeting with possible solutions, and ask them for solutions that may motivate them to do better next time.

6. Highlight Top Performers

When setting goals for your small business, keep track of who is meeting the goals. If you notice certain individuals consistently meeting goals, make a point to highlight their successes. This will create a friendly sense of competition to motivate others to work harder.

You can set up a whiteboard in the communal area of your offices and write the names of top performers. If you wanted to create a sense of fun and goofiness in your performance management, you can purchase funny hats or ribbons for top performers to wear.

When it comes to overall goal setting for your business and how to highlight top performance, Inc has the following recommendations.

7. Establish Open Office Hours

Feedback is only effective when it goes both ways. To create an open and inviting atmosphere for your employees to voice concerns or ask questions, establish open office hours, giving them a chance to walk into your office and talk.

This will give you a better view of what’s going on in the business and gives your employees plenty of chances to ask for help or fix an issue. Being open to feedback gives you more respect and boosts the office atmosphere.

If office hours become extremely popular, give everyone a time limit and request they come with notes. This will help you stay on track and keep things efficient.

8. Keep Records

When it comes to the time for evaluations, you need to have quantitative evidence for your evaluation. Throughout the year, keep records of each employee.

Note some of their problem areas as well as highlight what they are good at. Your employees will appreciate a performance management system with solid evidence and support.

Also, it can be easier for some employees to make adjustments for the future if they can visually see records of their past performance.

9. Eliminate the Weak Links

As harsh and scary it can be, eliminating the individuals causing the problems will be the best for your company. With this said, don’t storm into your office one day and start firing people, but if someone is not improving even after speaking with them, it’s okay to let them go.

By letting someone go, you are opening up the opportunity for someone with stronger skills and a greater passion for the job role.

If someone is constantly creating drama or a negative work environment for everyone else, let them go. You don’t want one person ruining it for the rest.

Discover What Is Performance Management at It’s Best

If you have been sitting around and thinking, “What is performance management?”, look no further. It can seem like a tall task to take on, but with preparation and consistency, it can be simple.

Make sure to sit down and create a plan for performance management. Address concerns, praise the success, and create an atmosphere of productivity and diligence.

Do you need more help and tips on your workplace or a boost in online marketing? Check out this article on 101+ expert growth tips!

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