For business owners, there is nothing more important than being found by potential customers. It used to be easy; we just opened the phone book. Today, we open a web browser, and the search results can be frustrating when your listings are wrong. I have done quite a lot of research on the topic and been successful claiming Google+ Business Pages, fixing incorrect phone numbers on search results and gaining higher rankings by adding information to internet directories.
If you have a listing appearing incorrect in search results, chances are something is wrong at the source. My sources explain there are four main sources feeding data to the major search engines Google, Yahoo! and Bing. The first place to start is to check out your listing at one of these data aggregators:
At a recent conference hosted by Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, an SEO expert recommended that you try to match EVERYTHING in your internet listings, especially your phone number, the exact way your business name is listed, and even staying consistent on how you abbreviate your street name. Since you are basically talking to a computer, it makes sense that it would see a street name of Daphne Ave. and Daphne Avenue as inconsistent. It doesn’t make it wrong, but the fact that it is inconsistent, causes the listing to not carry as much weight as those that are consistent.
Another recommendation is to do a search for your product name on Google. For various popular keywords, Google will display a group of local listings first. Make sure your business listing appears in the list. Not surprisingly, I have found creating a Google+ page for your business helps your business appear in the list. A good example is this Google Search for shutters in Daphne, AL. The results are good for local company, Beds and Blinds, and listings show their website in addition to their Google+ page.
Sometimes, a company needs to claim a page that is appearing on Google but is not currently being managed. It is a great feeling of accomplishment to claim a listing that is already appearing high on Google listings and maximizing it to show an updated description, adding photos or even videos.
Google will often pull information, especially for restaurants, from review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor or UrbanSpoon, and display the results in an inset box. If no one has claimed the page, you can tell by the tiny print appearing under the listing that says, “Are you the business owner?” Clicking on the link will take you to a page where Google will let you claim the listing after verifying using a postcard to the address listed, or a phone call to the business phone number listed. Other sites where business information appears have a similar verification process either by phone call or postcard.
Local search strategy is complex and is always changing, but getting your information listed, accurate and consistent can help your customers find you and, may even help you stay a few steps ahead of your competition.
–By Deborah York Geiger, Content Fresh
Pulling the Heart Strings
By Deborah York Geiger, APR
They don’t call them “heart strings” for nothing, and when it comes to Social Media, nonprofits have a significant advantage and I will tell you why.
Social Media is a tricky medium. It doesn’t always generate immediate actions that result in sales. The promotions that are successful take investment not only in Facebook advertising, but a significant investment in time, creativity and budget to create an artfully designed campaign. Some things never change. Just as in the past, the promotions that work, take forethought and planning.
Many businesses have become disappointed in their social media results. The big success stories have led them to believe that all they had to do was post and sales would come! People are finicky, though, when it comes to their social time, we have to make it interesting to have an impact. They will not seek out a company that is just pushing out ad messages, they simply won’t. We have to pull at the heart strings or elicit a powerful emotion to get their attention.
One of the best articles I have read on this topic is by Eric Jaffe. He sums it up like this:
“Recent research suggests that emotions hold the secret to viral web content. Articles, posts, or videos that evoke positive emotions have greater viral potential than something that evokes negative feelings, but both do a better job recruiting clicks than neutral content.”
This where nonprofits have a significant advantage! My advice to nonprofits is to take your powerful stories, past and present, and package them in a digital manner. Make a powerful presentation with your quotes, success stories and images using free services like http://animoto.com/ or http://prezi.com/ . Build a photo collage or an infographic using free tools: http://www.fotor.com/ or http://piktochart.com/.
Once you have the fresh content developed, announce it at a board meeting or your next public gathering. Provide it to your volunteers, staff and board members via e-mail or your social networks. Encourage everyone to tune in for the latest “sharable content.” Give them something ready to share with their own friends and followers. This strategy works best when repeated often!
Need help? I have a softspot in my heart for nonprofits, having spent eight years of my career working the heart strings. I would be happy to provide a free consultation.
About The Author:
Taylor Strunk is a freelance writer and editor. A native of Memphis, Tenn., she and her family now call Fairhope home. Taylor and her husband, Troy, have two children, Jackson and Ellie.
Daphne resident brings fresh outlook to social media marketing
Last fall, as Deb Geiger was working full-time in marketing and meeting the daily demands of her young family, she decided to invest the extra time she did have into a service project that would ultimately change the course of her career.
Utilizing her creative energies and technological background, Geiger help lead the social media portion of the “Invest in Progress” political campaign for the penny sales tax on the 2012 November ballot.
“I realized through the success of social media in that campaign to influence voters, and then through the impressive swing of the votes, that there might be something to this,” Geiger said. Her feelings were confirmed when she received the Medallion Award from the Public Relations Council of Alabama for her work on the campaign.
“Receiving that award was such an honor, and it gave me the courage to take the next step and start my own business.” And that she did.
Content Fresh was launched as a full-time venture for Geiger in June, and since then she has not slowed down. “Businesses can really benefit from social media and attitudes can change, and I want to help show our local businesses how that can happen,” she said.
When Geiger graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in geography, little did she know she’d be helping others chart the course in social media years down the road.
Incidentally, Geiger’s first job was as a cartographer.
“I have always had a technology mindset,” Geiger said. “I helped the company take 3-D photos and digitize them into maps…and I absolutely hated it,” she laughed. “I liked the technology and I am so interested in traveling, but when it came down to it, but I didn’t enjoy such a technical job.”
Geiger said she started thinking about her passions of writing, working with people, and graphic design, and decided a career in PR was exactly what she needed. “I took a job with Goodwill Agencies in Colorado Springs, where I was hired as assistant to one of the best PR professionals in the country, and she taught me everything I needed to know.”
From Colorado Springs, Geiger landed a job with a language translation software company, working as part of a team that took an off-the-shelf product to online software. “I was actually the sixth person hired on, and Glenn [who would later become Geiger’s husband] was the seventh. That job was everything I always wanted: investor relations, marketing and technology.”
Geiger and her husband eventually made their way to New York but soon found themselves unemployed when the dot-com crashed. “We were in Manhattan with no jobs, and we thought, ‘Where do we go? What do we do next?’ So we moved to Mobile!” she laughed.
The rest, as they say, is history. The Geigers bought a house in Daphne, started a family, and even convinced their parents to follow them to the Eastern Shore in 2003.
“Ever since [our move], I have been trying to find job to match all of my interests. I have had a good experience along the way, but I know this is where I need to be,” Geiger said of her company. “Content Fresh is about the ability to quickly deliver a company’s important messages. You no longer have to wait months and months to develop an idea. We’re here to help create the message – through press releases, info-graphics and status updates, and then deliver that it via e-mail, the website or social media – instantly.”
Originally Published online at AL.COM: