How Local Businesses Can Use Google Shopping to Compete With Big Retailers

It’s an exciting time to be a local business owner. Thanks to the internet, retailers are now able to reach more customers than ever before. Customers themselves are able to buy from those businesses with ease. Google Shopping is among the most useful tools local retailers have for reaching these customers. Used effectively, Google Shopping lets local and regional businesses go head-to-head with big box and online retailers — and win. Any store has the potential to become a nationwide competitor.   There isn’t just one way to use Google Shopping, either. Here’s what you need to know about the web’s biggest advertising platform for retail businesses and how you can make it work for your store. Google Shopping Is the Most Popular Ad Platform for Good Reason Google Shopping’s product listing advertisements have become the most popular ad format for retailers. Research by competitor analysis platform Adthena found that the platform boasts 76.4 percent of all retail search ad spend and is responsible for 85.3 percent of all clicks on Adwords and Google Shopping ads combined. There are several reasons why Google Shopping is so popular with retailers and why local stores should pay particular attention to the platform. The first is visibility. Prominence is the main driver of the Google Shopping platform, according to Adthena VP of Marketing Ashley Fletcher. Since 2016, Google has displayed a carousel of image-based ads at the top of relevant desktop search results page. Today, if a user searches for something as general as “basketball shoes,” for example, a rotating selection of shoes available for purchase is displayed at the top of the search results page. As it stands now, searchers can see up to 30 related product ads from multiple retailers at the top of that search page. Mobile users see their own rich ad content, called Showcase Shopping ads, which feature big images of relevant products from both online and nearby retailers. That means local retailers get slotted in right alongside major brands and national retailers. Further, the quality of web traffic coming from Google Shopping ads is incredibly high, says Sales & Orders marketing manager Anthony Capetola. This is the second reason Google Shopping is an excellent tool for retailers. When people are searching for products on Google (and Google Shopping ads are being displayed), this indicates that those users are very close to making a purchase. Either they are in the final stages of research or they are actively looking to make a purchase that day. So, if one of these users clicks through an ad your business is running, there’s a high likelihood that user is at least price-shopping on your site if not ready to buy. It’s a great time to connect with this person. The data supports this, too. Research by Sales & Orders has found that Google Shopping ads drive 45 percent more revenue, on average, than simple text ads. Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce, reports that he has managed to deliver average returns [...]

By | 2019-05-28T20:54:46+00:00 May 21st, 2019|Digital Advertising, Digital Marketing, Small Business|

The ROI of Your LOCAL SEO

All marketing – LOCAL SEO included! – must be evaluated with specific reference to the metrics that drive revenue. If you are a retailer or restaurant, LOCAL SEO should increase the foot traffic passing through your front door. And, if you are a service business, leads or appointments probably matter the most. Regardless of the right metric for your business, we must be able to draw a straight line between LOCAL SEO expenditures and revenue. Consider that The US Small Business Administration and SCORE* recognize the very direct relationship between online success and revenue: 76% of local web searches result in a visit to a related business within a day – and 28% of those visits result in a purchase Your business needs to be prominently represented in those local web searches - and the recipe for success is no secret! LOCAL SEO describes the tactics that digital marketers use to put your business information in front of consumers when they are in the process of making purchase decisions. We discuss these tactics, prescribed by Google, in our recent blog post. Add in a sensible digital advertising campaign to gain a leg up over the competition and you have all the ingredients needed to achieving the customer metrics that drive revenue for your business. All that's left to complete the recipe is the ability to measure results and continuously refine your tactics. However, while many small businesses have made the decision to commit resources to digital marketing and LOCAL SEO, few have baked in success by implementing reliable measurement capabilities. We are here to help. Restaurant and Retail: Engage121 has partnered with solution providers that measure foot traffic so we can provide a fully integrated program. Service businesses: Engage121 develops and manages custom landing pages that measure leads, conversions and bookings. Online retailers and E-commerce: Engage121’s end-to-end Google shopping facility puts local business on par with the largest e-tailers. And, integrating measurement and digital marketing does far more than validate the marketing expense: Achieve data-driven insights into the messages that motivate your consumers; Take advantage of the ability to continually refine your marketing to achieve optimal results; Manage your inventory with the knowledge of which programs are driving traffic; and more that we are sure you will discover! Just remember the steps: Develop a LOCAL SEO program that . . . Achieves the drivers of your revenue, and Measure your results. Learn more Related Services HOT!Content – a no-cost Daily Email with content and DIY tools. Digital Marketing Assistant, (DMA) – a managed subscription service. * https://www.score.org

Did You Know? Organic Search and Local Search Are Related.

Make organic and local search work together to get found faster We recently considered whether Google has become the new homepage for local businesses. Today, we’re going to take a look at organic and local search and consider how they’re related and highlight ways that they can work in harmony to help you get found faster. It’s not surprising that 65% of marketers* agree that there’s strong correlation between local and organic rankings. The biggest similarity, of course, is that both start with a search. But both also focus on content, backlinks, keywords and website activity. What sets LOCAL SEO apart is the geographic component. With organic search, you want people to know what you do, but to get found locally, you also want to highlight where you do it. That’s where the power and value of your website comes into play, influencing not just organic rankings, but LOCAL SEO. In fact, a majority of marketers believe that companies with good visibility in local Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) have high organic placement, too. At the heart of it all is user intent. Simply put, search engines want to give users what they’re looking for. For instance, when a person conducts a search that includes both a business type and location, the search engine knows that the user has local intent. So, if that person wants to find a good pizzeria that delivers, they may search “Pizza delivery” along with their location. What happens next can make or break discovery: The three closest pizza places – also known as the “local 3-pack,” show up under the ads on the first search results page. Having the strongest LOCAL SEO presence gives you the very best chance at getting your business to display in this free local 3-pack. Why?  Because all these local SEO criteria provide the  authority to support local rank. Better together There are a few simple practices that help you get LOCAL SEO and organic search to work in harmony. Local business citations: A full 46% of all Google searches seek local information! Google places a lot of weight on having that information accurate and correct. Having a consistent business name, address and phone number (NAP) is quite important, helping LOCAL SEO by providing search engines with your correct location and creating consistent links back to your website and to all your mentions online. Local citations also help your organic search efforts since search engines consider the number of backlinks when they rank websites. The more backlinks you have, the better your chances of meeting your customers right where they are, when they need to find you. Good content: Content is king, especially when it’s structured to meet your business goals and customer needs. What’s more, search engines like fresh content. Adding rich, relevant content, including a locally focused blog post, or simply updating a page, is a great one-two punch because it helps establish your LOCAL SEO relevance and can also boost your organic search rankings. Other strategic synergies between local and organic search [...]

Get Smart About Google’s Knowledge Panel

Consumers search, a lot and fast! In this age of fleeting attention and fierce competition, savvy local marketers are looking for new ways to engage with consumers at the very first opportunity. And, most often, that opportunity is presented through Google’s Knowledge Panel. Most importantly, Google’s Knowledge Panel allows local business to engage with consumers directly within search and without any additional clicks. Even though Google presents this first, best opportunity to engage with consumers, a new Moz survey revealed that just over 50% of marketers haven’t yet taken advantage of the opportunities that the Knowledge Panel offers! We’ve touched upon the value of the Knowledge Panel in our previous post, but it’s worth digging deeper to explore the benefits it can unlock for local business.  Google Knowledge Panel. What it Is. Why it Matters. The knowledge panel is the box to the right of search results where Google displays information on a relevant business, including the company name, business hours, address and phone number. Today the panel shows up in roughly 40% of searches, and the more localized a search gets, the more likely it is that a local Knowledge Panel will appear. This means that for LOCAL SEO, you need to get smart about using the knowledge panel to help searchers discover and reach your business without any additional clicks. A knowledge panel also includes these actionable features: Q&A: This consumer-facing, crowdsourced feature is similar to the Ask the Community feature on TripAdvisor and Yelp. It allows consumers to ask questions and businesses can provide answers directly within search and without any additional clicks. Users can also give a thumbs-up vote to questions and answers, which influences where the questions and answers might appear on the panel and in search results. Posts: This feature enables businesses to create short 300-words or less blog-style posts that appear directly in the knowledge panel, providing an additional avenue for customer communication directly within search and without any additional clicks. Like Q&A, Posts also appear in search results and are especially visible in Maps search results. Posts are a great way to let prospects and customers know about new products, company news, special offers and events. Posts can include an appropriate call to action (buy now, contact us, etc.) along with a link. Note that each Post expires after seven days so it important to develop the process of posting regularly. Getting Started. If you want your business to appear in a Knowledge Panel, and also gain control over the information displayed by Google, the first and most important step is to (1) claim, (2) verify and (3) complete your Google My Business listing. Here's how we can help: Subscribe to our free HOT!Content service that delivers a daily dose of content for you to post to your Knowledge Panel, Facebook and other sites. HOT!Content also includes an automatic posting wizard – so your online content is always up-to-date – as well as other handy functions to help you build online success. Enroll here. [...]

Is Google The New Homepage for Local Businesses?

Consumers are searching online more than ever before. But local businesses may actually be seeing less web traffic. How is this possible? “Local search” often starts with Google and there are now numerous ways for consumers to find all the information they need right on Google’s first search results page. Google even allows consumers to interact with a local business – all without ever going to a website! This is all enabled by Google My Business listings that are becoming an increasingly vital component in creating online marketing success and attracting new customers. In fact, a new MOZ report found that 64% of local business marketers agree that Google is becoming the new “homepage” for local businesses. Search used to be all about getting a click to your website. Now, it’s also about getting a click to a Google My Business listing. Websites are still important, but keeping your Google My Business and Knowledge Panel up to date is no longer just nice, it’s absolutely necessary.  If you don’t, you’re missing a huge opportunity to promote your business. What is the Knowledge Panel? When a consumer conducts a search for a particular business, Google provide the most relevant results as well a box on the right side of the page that is called the Knowledge Panel. The Knowledge Panel for that business includes directions, phone numbers, hours of operation, and more. Knowledge Panels show up in roughly 40% of searches and are especially crucial for providing consumers actionable results not requiring any additional clicks. You can keep your Knowledge Panel information relevant and up-to-date by first claiming, then verifying, your Google My Business profile. Google My Business is a free, easy to use listing that determines what appears on the Knowledge Panel. This will ensure that your customers can find and contact you, in addition to providing an overview of your products or services. Perhaps most importantly, the Knowledge Panel aggregates consumer reviews, making your online reputation readily available to all consumes. Managing your Google My Business listing, and Knowledge Panel, has become indispensable to online marketing success, as well as putting your business in the best position to get found. Claiming and verifying your Google My Business listing requires a bit of know-how, and we’re here to help -- contact us for more information on how to get started. INSIDE TIP: Subscribers to Engage121’s free HOT!Content service can access our 1-click Google My Business claiming app. Enroll here to get started. Good local marketing in the age of Google is no easy task. But doing it right can deliver some of the best returns for your local business. Interested in learning about how we can help manage your local Google My Business listings, and more?  We’d love to talk. Learn more   Related Services HOT!Content – a no-cost Daily Email with content and DIY tools. Digital Marketing Assistant, (DMA) – a managed subscription service.

If Your Focus is Local, It’s Not Just About Google Anymore

Today's consumers are more empowered than ever before, researching products and services in a multitude of ways -- and smart local marketers are there at every touchpoint. While it's true that search will always be at the heart of local marketing, it isn't just about Google. Think about it: With most local businesses laser-focused on Google, it can be hard to stand out. The ability to embrace other opportunities and diversify your local marketing mix can be a game changer for your business in 2019 and beyond. That's why more and more savvy local marketers have broadened their scope significantly, with a new focus on other platforms including social, directories and online reviews. And with competition fiercer than ever, there's no better time than now to leverage a cohesive, versatile local marketing strategy that gets you in front of the right consumers with the right messaging at the right time. Let's talk about what that looks like: Other Search Engines: When consumers are in the market for a product or service, they research on their phones, tablets or desktops. These searches take place on various engines, including Google, Safari, Bing, Yelp, Apple Maps, TripAdvisor, YellowPages and many more sites. In order to meet consumers anywhere and everywhere they're looking, your business needs to be prominent on all of them. Consumer review sites: Reviews are very much a ranking factor and send a strong signal to search engines and potential customers that you are a trusted, quality business. That's why it makes good sense to be active on key consumer review sites. And once you get reviews, responding to them promptly is an essential component of careful reputation management. No reviews? No problem! Contact us for quick tips on how to build a solid base. Online Directories: Up to date directory listings are crucial, so be sure that your contact information, phone, website URL and company details are current and correct across all business directories. Not only does this matter to major search engines, it's an important way to build brand awareness and establish local consumer trust. Social Media: You simply can't do local marketing without social. Social media connects your business to the community in a way that not only raises awareness for your products and services, but also strengthens your branding efforts. By interacting with the community, you get a chance to build authenticity and nurture a genuine connection with consumers instead of just marketing at them. So be sure that your social sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, are active, vibrant and up-to-date. Optimized Content: Once your business is found, the content you provide to consumers can make or break your business. It must be relevant, accurate and fresh, not just on your website but across all platforms -- on GoogleMyBusiness and social sites like Facebook as well as Yelp, TripAdvisor and more -- presenting a consistent, professional, up-to-date and compelling face to your customer. The Takeaway: Be in All the Right Places The change in consumer [...]

6 Ways to Power Your LOCAL Search Results

Increase Visibility, Get Found and Drive Sales When people are in the market for a product or service, they search. They're already in the mood to buy; all you need to do is stand out. And you will stand out – if you add six simple but powerful local search strategies to your small business marketing mix. It's a fact: 46% of all Google searches seek local information. What's more, "near me" searches have grown 130% year-over-year since 2015, translating into a whopping 34-fold increase* in single local search queries. That's a big deal! These stats mean that now, more than ever before, local search engine optimization (LOCAL SEO) presents significant growth opportunities for every small business. Not only is LOCAL SEO an especially effective way to generate visibility, it also helps you boost site traffic, increase engagement and drive sales. What is LOCAL SEO? Like traditional SEO, LOCAL SEO focuses on content, backlinks, keywords and website activity. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. What sets LOCAL SEO apart is the way it leverages the geographical component. While traditional SEO concentrates on the "What" of your business (your product or service) LOCAL SEO also prioritizes the "Where" – further refining search to meet the demands of today's connected consumers. By combining What + Where, LOCAL SEO optimizes your online presence and puts your business in a position to show up in local searches and meet potential customers right when they're looking for you. The next step is to understand and implement the six key components that help you power LOCAL SEO: Google My Business: This free, easy to use listing helps you manage what appears on the right side of the page when customers search for your business on Google, including your business name, address, phone number and reviews. Website Backlinks: When other web pages -- including review sites and social business pages – include links back to your website, it strengthens your value and relevance. Search engines take the number of backlinks into account when they rank websites in search results; the more backlinks you have, the more positive the impact on your site's rankings. Good Online Content: Engaging content brings your products and services to life. Informative posts, images and video created and optimized to resonate with consumers help you reach your business goals. Most of all, good, relevant content captures early stage awareness queries and helps your business get found. Directory Listings: These online entries contain a local citation: the name address and phone number (NAP) of your business along with other information to help consumers in the discovery process. Citations also help your search rankings by telling search engines where you're located and validating your business. These listings can appear on other business pages, review sites, or social media platforms. Reviews: The influence of reviews on purchase decisions is strong, clear and measurable. A full 84 percent** of consumers trust consumer online reviews as much more than a personal recommendation. Furthermore, every one star [...]