Back to Top

Author Archives:

navah

Why Is My New Campaign/Ad Group Getting No Traffic?

Updated on by

Not getting any traffic for your new ad group or campaign? Here are 5 possible reasons why, according to Navah Hopkins.

Managing paid search and paid social requires plenty of strategic shifts.

One of the biggest is understanding that paid search favors older entities while paid social favors new things.

That said, sometimes there are legitimate reasons why a new campaign or ad group isn’t running.

In this Ask The PPC, we’ll address that question.

Rofhiwa of Pretoria asks:

I have decided to create a new ad group with three ads set, but I’m not getting any clicks or impressions for ads and keywords. What could be the reason?

Note that this post will cover common reasons an entity hasn’t gotten any clicks.

Each account is different, and it’s always best to take any concerns to the ad network support if you believe there’s an issue.

Reason #1: The Date Is Wrong

The most common and frustratingly obvious reason is we don’t always have the right date range.

That could be because we were analyzing another part of the campaign or working on a different account.

Set the date range in the top right-hand corner (true for all ad networks) to include at least yesterday and today.

You also might have unintentionally set the start date for the future.

Check start and end dates in campaign settings.

Once you’ve confirmed that you have the right date range, you can move on to other technical fixes.

Reason #2: The Ad Got Disapproved

When an ad is disapproved, you’ll get a notification.

At times, these can get lost in email filters or spam.

If you see that your ad is disapproved, check if it’s for a valid reason (e.g., editorial policies, restricted industries, etc.) or a mistake on the ad network’s part.

Valid ad disapprovals need to be corrected, and then you can appeal the disapproval in the ad interface.

Sometimes, ads get accidentally lumped into restricted categories because of wording choices.

The following words can sometimes accidentally trigger red flags:

  • Credit.
  • Housing.
  • Broker.
  • Loan.

You might also have an editorial issue and not even realize it.

These are the most common editorial issues in ads:

  • Including a phone number in the ad text (must be contained to call extension).
  • Using all caps (e.g., “FREE” or “TRY”).
  • Using punctuation in the wrong place (e.g., “!” in a headline instead of description).

Reason #3: The Keywords Have No Search Volume

There’s nothing worse than being told your ideal keyword has no volume.

Yet, some industries naturally have lower search volume because of how niche their products/services are.

If your keyword has low search volume, it won’t run.

A good middle ground is to use a broad match on your longer-tail keywords.

Broad match allows audience signals to inform how the ad network matches your keyword to queries.

This additional queue can mean the difference between enough data to serve and being stuck in low search limbo.

Reason #4: The Bid Is Too Low/Bidding Strategy Doesn’t Make Sense

Brand new accounts won’t have the benefit of conversion data.

This means bidding strategies like Max Conversions, and Max Conversion Value will struggle to set meaningful bids in the early days of an ad group or campaign.

If the bid is too high for the budget (more than 10% of the daily budget), the ad network might struggle to enter the keyword into the auction.

Be sure to set bids and bidding strategies in line with your industry and the age of the account.

Reason #5: Accidental Exclusions

Ad groups inherit the negatives from their campaigns.

You might have a negative keyword list or campaign level negative prohibiting a keyword you’re actively bidding on from serving.

Audiences can be applied at both the ad group and campaign level, so adjusting the new ad group’s targets is possible.

That said, be sure you have the right exclusions, and confirm whether you intend to be on target and observe.

Target and observe prevent anyone who isn’t part of your targeted audience from triggering your ad – which means you’re excluding audiences without actively excluding them.

Final Takeaways

There are several reasons an ad group or campaign can struggle to get traffic.

Be sure to check for these hidden pitfalls, and if you’re still struggling, reach out to your ad network representative.

Have a question about PPC? Submit via this form or tweet me @navahf with the #AskPPC hashtag. See you next month!

If you are interested in original article by Navah Hopkins you can find it here

Google Business Profile Video Verification Best Practices

Updated on by

Learn what you must show in the video if you get the Google Business Profile Video Verification Option. Here’s how to do it, step-by-step.

Verification is an important step in properly setting up a Google Business Profile (GBP).

Before your GBP will become visible to the public and you can do all the fun things with your profile – like creating posts, responding to reviews, updating your profile, and more – you must first verify it.

Verification NeededScreenshot from Google Business Profile, August 2022

When a business (i.e., merchant) sets up a Google Business Profile, Google offers a method (or sometimes several ways) to verify the profile.

This verification process helps Google ensure that the business is a real and legitimate business that is eligible for a GBP and meets Google’s guidelines for representing your business on Google.

In an ideal world, Google would actually visit each and every location with a GBP to make sure the business is real and meets all guidelines.

But that, obviously, is not possible.

One of the ways Google can verify a business is through video verification. Video verification is the next best thing to actually visiting a business.

It’s almost like a “digital in-person” check-in on the business.

The video allows Google to actually see the company and more details about the business.

Google’s video verification method tries to authenticate and confirm legitimate businesses and (hopefully) weed out spammy and fake listings that could inundate the Local Pack, Local Finder, and Google Maps and confuse or hurt consumers.

Various Verification Methods

As mentioned, Google provides several ways to verify your business.

It’s important to note that Google decides which verification method a merchant must use to verify its GBP.

Businesses do not get to choose the method of verification – Google picks the verification method for them.

Verification by postcards with PIN numbers used to be the typical method of GBP verification.

But this seems to be changing, and businesses are receiving other ways to verify their Business Profiles.

In February 2022, verifying businesses by postcards sent in the mail was listed first when Google outlined the verification process.

Google Help Document - Postcard VerificationScreenshot from Google, February 2022

However, by July 2022, verification via postcard was bumped down to last on the verification methods list:

Verification MethodsScreenshot from Google, July 2022

This might be a signal that Google is moving towards other ways to verify GBPs, and that merchants should be prepared to verify their listings in ways other than just postcards – like phone, text, email, live video call, and video recording verification.

Why Video Verification?

Google is trying hard to ensure that the GBPs set up are legitimate businesses meeting Google’s guidelines.

With the video verification process, Google is trying to garner the following information:

  • Existence: Is this a genuine/real business? Does it exist?
  • Geographic location: Is the business located where the Business Profile says it is located? (It isn’t easy to film a video of a bookstore in New York City and pretend that it’s a bookstore in London.)
  • User integrity: Is this an authentic company? Is it a real merchant? Google is trying to determine if someone is attempting to commit fraud.
  • Affiliation: Is this merchant actually associated with the business? Do they have the authority to represent the business?

When businesses submit video evidence that proves and shows these things, Google operators can review the video to determine if the evidence presented is strong enough to verify that the business is located where it says it is, performs the work it claims it does, and more.

What Is The Google Business Profile Video Verification Process?

Google offers numerous ways for businesses to verify their GBP, but Google decides which way (or ways) each merchant must verify.

As a business owner, you must verify via the method Google chooses for you.

However, if you absolutely cannot verify via the method offered, you can reach out to the Google Business Profile Support team and see if they can provide you with another way to verify your GBP. An example of this would be if you are asked to verify via text and you only have a landline.

When you get to the verification process, you may be asked to perform the video verification process.

Verify Via VideoScreenshot from Google Business Profile, July 2022

To go through the video verification process, you’ll need a mobile device with a camera.

If you get this verification option, it’s important that you understand the rationale for the video verification.

You should know what needs to be included in the video, so the Google operator reviewing it is convinced that your company exists and does what it says it does. The operator must also be convinced the person taking the video is associated with the business.

They will also want to verify that the geographical location matches the location of the business as listed in its GBP.

It’s also important to follow the on-screen instructions and plan everything out before you start recording the video. Since the video must be done in one continuous video, planning ahead is crucial!

In the video verification process, Google asks the business owner (or someone with authority to represent the business) to create a short, continuous video that provides evidence that the business is an actual, legitimate business.

The video should be short and to the point.

Each video is manually reviewed by a Google employee and is meant to simulate an in-person visit to the business.

Google doesn’t ask you to share anything sensitive – like people’s faces or documents that contain confidential information.

These videos are kept private and are only used for verification purposes.

Don’t worry; It will never be published and can be deleted anytime.

Planning Your Video For Business Profile Video Verification

Before you actually shoot your video, you should plan out what you are going to show in the video, who will be in it, and who will record it.

Next, you’ll want to ensure you cover the items necessary to convince Google that your business is legitimate.

Here are the types of things you want to be sure to show in your video.

Keep in mind that these items do not have to be shown in any particular order – they just all must be shown in the video to prove that your business is real.

Show That Your Business Exists

For this part of the video, you need to show proof that your business exists, where it is located geographically, and other items that prove it’s a legitimate business.

Get verified with videoScreenshot from Google Business Profile, August 2022

It’s important to show the exterior and interior of your company’s building in the video.

If you’re a storefront business, you must show the outside of the building, as well as the permanent signage on the exterior and any signage/branding inside the building.

Also include the location, relevant street signs, and other nearby businesses, so Google can get an idea of where you’re geographically located.

Don’t show unmarked roads or land – that will not help Google establish your location.

Showing your outdoor signage is a must if you have a storefront location (i.e., a storefront location is when local customers visit your place of business, you have permanent signage, and you must have employees staffed at the business location during stated business hours.)

Permanent signage is a requirement for storefront businesses. Vinyl banners or other temporary signs do not count as permanent signage.

If you do not have permanent signage, you do not qualify as a storefront.

Pan your video next door and across the street to show the businesses nearby so Google can double-check with Google Maps and Streetview to ensure that your business is located where you claim it is.

Show surrounding businessesImage from author, August 2022

It’s also vital to walk into your building and show the inside of your company so Google sees that it’s a legitimate business – and not just empty rooms.

Any time you can show your company’s branding on the walls – like in the lobby or entryway – it’s great to show those types of things in the video.

If you work in an office building with multiple floors and many businesses, be sure to show the office building’s business directory pointing out your company’s listing and suite number.

If you have any professional tools that you use, marketing materials, or company branding, be sure to show those in the video as well.

If you’re a Service Area Business (SAB), you will need to show any tools of the trade that you use to perform your work for clients in the video.

For instance, if you are a solar company, you should show the solar panels you install, any installation equipment you use, branded trucks, ladders, any heavy equipment you use, tools of the trade that you have stored, etc.

Are you a lawn care company? Show all your lawnmowing equipment, trimmers, leaf blowers, etc. (The average Joe at home won’t have 10 commercial lawnmowers, for instance – but you do!)

It’s also vital to show your service vehicles with the branding on them. (A video showing a plain white van will not be acceptable.)

So, ensure that your service vehicles are branded with your company name and logo and are seen clearly in the video.

Show Geographic Location

Google wants to know that your business is located where your GBP says it is located. The Google operator needs to be convinced that the company in the video is in the same geographical location as in Google Maps.

If you’re a storefront business, you can show street signs near your business, pan over, and show adjacent companies near your company. However, showing Google a vacant lot where your business should be will not instill confidence that you are a legitimate business.

Show street signsImage by author, August 2022

If you operate your SAB out of your home, show the street signs, your home with your street number on it, your mailbox, and any other things that prove your address.

One way to prove you have a real business is by showing items in the video that only a real business like yours would have.

Get verified with video steps

For example, showing a generic software application on your computer screen will not convince Google that you’re a legitimate business.

Show professional software and your setup

However, if your company uses specific software to operate your business, like if you’re an accountant and you use professional accounting software, you’re a veterinarian and you use software specifically developed for vets’ offices, or you’re a digital marketer or design firm that creates videos or podcasts for clients using a tool like Camtasia, then showing that software on your computer screen and your audio/video setup in the video would help prove to Google that you are legit.

Camtasia ScreenshotScreenshot from Camtasia, August 2022

If you’re a Service Area Business, showing your work van with equipment in the back of the truck in the video is very helpful and useful for the Google operator as they are reviewing your video to determine the legitimacy of your company.

Affiliation: Is The Merchant Real?

For this part of the video, you need to prove that the company is real and that the merchant is actually affiliated with the company and has the authority to represent the business.

That’s why it’s so important that the person in the video is either the owner or manager.

Get verified with video stepsScreenshot of Google Business Profile, July 2022

If you have a storefront business, in the video, you need to show that you have access to employee-only locations or sections of the business.

For instance, show you opening the store/business using a key, operating the cash register, using the POS system, going into an area of the business where customers or the general public aren’t allowed, etc.

This part of the video aims to show that the person is either the owner or an authorized person who has authority over the location.

Showing the person unlocking the business door is a very important item to show in the video.

Unlocking DoorImage by author, August 2022

You also want to go to places in your business where the general public is not allowed.

For instance, if you own a restaurant, customers are not allowed to be behind the counter near the cash register or take out food. Showing this in the video is a great proof of management.

If you have a business license, liquor license, or any other official/legal document hanging on the wall, zoom in on it. This is especially important if the document shows your business name and address as shown on your Google Business Profile. (Ideally, everything should match!)

If you operate a Service Area Business, you will need to show access to any industry-specific software, open up your branded vehicle and show the equipment or tools you use to perform the jobs you do. You can also show your team performing a job at a customer’s site using the tools-of-the-trade.

Branded vehicle showing equipmentImage by author, August 2022

If you’re a SAB and run your business out of your home or out of a building that is used for storage and not accessible to customers, also take a video of the outside of the building, show the nearby street signs, and the number on the building.

Be sure to take a video of you unlocking the door.

You can also show close-ups of any business licenses, Secretary of State documents, LLC or incorporation docs, or any other official documents that prove your company’s name and address.

Just zoom in on the documents so Google can see them. Again, the business name and address must match what’s on your Google Business Profile.

Note: If you get the video verification option and are not ready to do the video at that moment, no worries! You can complete the verification step when you’re able to – like in a day or so after you’ve had time to plan out what you’ll show in the video.

Completing The Video Verification Process

When you’re taking the video, it’s okay to put these items in whichever order makes sense for your particular situation – just make sure you cover all of the necessary requirements.

Remember, the video must be one continuous video. It cannot be recorded somewhere else and then uploaded.

The video must be created using the Google Business Profile video verification process.

If you started creating your Google Business Profile on a desktop computer, when you get to the video verification step, you will see a QR code that you can scan with your mobile device.

This allows you to continue the video verification process on your mobile device – like a smartphone or tablet with a camera. Just make sure you’re signed in with your Google Business Profile email address on your mobile device.

Scan CodeScreenshot from Google Business Profile, July 2022

When you’re ready to start recording your video, tap Start Recording.

Start Recording

And then, follow the steps to record your video.

Get verified with videoScreenshot of Google Business Profile, July 2022

After you have recorded the video, tap Stop Recording. The merchant can then choose to finish onboarding on a desktop or your mobile device. (Finishing on your mobile device is probably the simplest choice.)

Click the “Upload Video” button.

Since the video is all created in the app, you don’t have to worry about how large the video file size is. (Whew!)

Upload your videoScreenshot of Google Business Profile, July 2022

Then click Done.

After you submit your video, it can take up to five days until the Google Business Profile support team reviews your video. Do not delete the video until it’s been reviewed and you’ve received the notification that your Business Profile has been verified.

If, for some reason, the video verification method didn’t work, you will see the “Get Verified” button in your Google Business Profile. You can then try a different way to verify your profile.

Once you’re done with your video, you can delete the video if you want to.

To delete the video, follow these steps:

  • On Google Search, go to your Business Profile. Learn how to find your profile.
  • At the top right, click More (the three dots) Advanced settings > Video uploads > Delete videos.

Then you’re done! You’re now able to continue optimizing your Google Business Profile and engage with your potential customers!

Video Verification: A Better Way

Even though video verification may seem more cumbersome, it’s a much better way for Google to see whether or not a business is real – or not.

This will hopefully cut down on the spam profiles we see on Google.

What are your thoughts on Google Business Profile Video Verification?

If you are interested in original article by Sherry Bonelli you can find it here

local-marketing

13 Local Marketing Strategies That Work

Updated on by

Want your brand or offering to be found by local audiences? Here are 13 great tips for local marketing strategies and tactics that work.

You can reach valuable leads through local online and offline marketing.

You must develop effective local marketing strategies to build your brand authority and attract more customers.

A digital marketing strategy is essential, regardless of whether you are starting a new business or already have one.

Digital and social media marketing are the most crucial parts of marketing a local business since, according to Google, “83% of U.S. shoppers who visited a store in the last week say they used online search before going into a store.”

We’ll cover some of the online marketing tactics and strategies we’ve used with great success in reaching a local audience.

Great Local Marketing Strategies For This Year

1. Optimize For Local Search

Through Google Business Profile (GBP), your business will appear as soon as someone searches for your business or keywords on Google.

It is free, which is awesome.

The results will feature businesses within the vicinity of the person searching and even includes your business on Google Maps.

To start, create a profile with your company name, contact details, industry, etc.

Then, verify your GBP listing.

Once verified, you can add images and a bio, upload blogs, create offers, send and receive messages, add customer reviews, and see analytics.

Plus, it is pretty easy to update, so you always have relevant info online.

You can go one step further and set the business up with a solid, local link-building strategy.

Using citation sources such as Yellowpages.com tells Google where your company is located.

Plus, GBP has a great function that allows you to set the radius on services to a specific radius, such as 10km.

It is important to add fresh content or blog posts to your GBP account regularly.

Considering that a post expires after seven days, you’ll likely need to schedule a post at least once a week. Why is this important?

GBP posts can help drive traffic and engagement.

Do you have a sale or event coming up? You can promote anything related to the business on GBP.

If you’re not confident you’ll remember to upload a blog weekly, use content scheduling apps and tools like Semrush and Hootsuite.

As far as hyper-localized visibility goes, GBP is a no-brainer.

2. Local Reviews From Local Customers

As cautious online users, the first thing people notice is often the reviews given on the GBP listing.

A positive review or testimonial can demonstrate to local customers that you are a business they can trust.

That goes a long way in moving customers through the sales funnel towards conversion or purchase.

So, how do you get reviews?

While I don’t advocate directly asking for reviews from your existing customers – and definitely not paying for reviews – there are less direct ways of reminding customers to post positive reviews.

Got negative reviews? No problem.

You can use negative reviews as a way to gather meaningful customer information.

Not only will you get insight on how you can improve products or customer experience (CX), but you can use the opportunity to turn the negative review into a positive one by reaching out to the customer and correcting the poor experience, product, or service.

3. SEO Optimize Your Website

The next step to getting your brand and product into the local market is to optimize your website for organic search.

The first and foremost way of doing that is through keyword optimization.

While a lot of this will be intuitive at first, you will soon run out of clever ideas and need to do keyword research.

Competition on short-tail keywords is fierce, and someone who’s been around longer than you is almost guaranteed to be already ranking for it.

So, focus on long-tail, geo-specific keywords.

These are ideal because people who use long tail keywords usually know what they want (they’re not tire-kickers), and they are more ready to engage.

Those who use geo-specific keywords know where they want to do business.

So, say you are a digital marketing company that provides B2B marketing services for businesses in a specific area.

It would be futile to optimize just for “marketing” or ”digital marketing.” That ship has sailed!

Rather, create pages on the site that are location-based, niche-oriented, and have long-tail keywords.

For example, you can create a page or blog called “Digital marketing for B2B Companies in California” or “How B2B companies in California can benefit from digital marketing.”

You get the picture.

That means search engine results pages (SERPs) will show results for users searching for “digital marketing companies near me.”

4. Create Localized Content

Content marketing is a big part of attracting a targeted audience, which connects to inbound marketing.

We have found that the more valuable, relevant, and consistent your content is, the more your target audience will engage with it.

But where do you start?

Create content that solves your customer’s pain points and that is evergreen.

There’s no shortcut when it comes to good content creation. Do the research, write for humans, and Google bots will love it, too.

For this, we love “how-to” blogs, whitepapers, ebooks, infographics, videos, and other long-form blogs (more than 900 words).

That way, your content will help prospective customers find your website when looking for solutions.

In this example, when the person enters a long-tail keyword, “best flowers for weddings,” Google brings ads that match the search term.

It also brings organic results. Best of all, it creates “People also ask” (PAA) questions.

These could include, “What is the average cost of flowers for a wedding?”

Why not use these as a guide for fresh content ideas?

This kind of SEO-rich, high-value content attracts new visitors to your site and establishes your brand as the leader and authority on the subject matter.

You’ll see better results for your business by integrating content marketing into your local online marketing strategy.

5. Review Your Website’s Design

The look and feel of your website are as important as the words and content that make you findable on search engines.

However, while keywords will get the visitors to your site, your design and user experience (UX) will keep them there.

Use images and videos on your website that reference your location, neighborhood, and business so that there is a recognizable reference to your localized entity.

Also, the internet is evolving as rapidly as consumers’ needs are.

So, your website that was on the bleeding edge of design when you published it five years ago probably doesn’t quite toe the mark anymore.

It might be time for a redesign.

The most important thing to safeguard on your website is your user’s experience.

The site must be easy to use, easy to navigate, and easy to understand.

6. Integrate CRM Tool

Customer relationship manager (CRM) solutions ensure we have a tighter grasp on our understanding of our customers.

Most CRMs can integrate with modern websites. But how does your website feed prospect data into the CRM?

For one, you could consider adding a pop-up on your website.

It could be an invitation to subscribe to your newsletter, view a limited promotion, or announce a new product launch.

When linked to your CRM, your lead generation landing pages will also automatically update your CRM, such as HubSpot or Salesforce.

Not only does this feed your pipeline, but it also improves first-party data and targeting and thus makes your marketing messaging that much better.

Also, localized campaigns can be launched via your CRM.

You can easily identify and segment customers and prospects by region if the data has been captured accordingly in your CRM.

Remember, the quality of data you capture is the quality of output you’ll get.

That can be used for personalized invitations to in-person events and activations, for email campaigns that are area-specific, and so on.

7. Attract Local Visitors Through Google Ads

As I’ve always said, if you want sales, you need to advertise. Google Ads is just that.

While SEO is great for local organic search, you need Google Ads and other paid media channels to support your lead generation and brand awareness campaigns.

Google Ads is a keyword-driven, pay-per-click channel that allows you to target audiences based on keywords and location (amongst other things).

Your creative copy and solutions-driven content will help capture your local market until your SEO is in full swing.

When setting up your Google Ads, implement conversion tracking – which will help you optimize your campaigns and pivot toward optimal business success.

It also aligns marketing tactics with sales goals and ultimately supports business growth.

For example, one of our clients is a health and fitness gym.

We’re only targeting people within a 10 km radius around their seven gyms through Google Ads.

This way, we get maximum return on investment (ROI) on money spent.

8. Feed The Funnel With Remarketing

Remarketing is an important element of your localized digital marketing arsenal.

That’s effective if your SEO or Google ad didn’t do the job the first time or the customer is still in the consideration phase of the buyer journey.

Remarketing supports other, more geolocation-specific tactics when considering how to strengthen your local marketing strategies.

So, if your Google Ads campaign (geolocation-limited) or your paid social campaign (likewise, demographics-oriented) sends traffic to your site, remarketing supports these by following those visitors around after the fact.

In the end, remarketing increases conversions, promotes brand awareness, and helps you stay top of mind with prospects.

9. Get The Phone Going With Google Call-Only Ads

If you rely heavily on phone calls to generate business, then Google call-only ads could prove invaluable and ideal for localized marketing.

That’s because, as with other Google products, you can target a specific demographic in your call-only ads.

It’s also a good option if you don’t have any specific landing pages simply because your product or service doesn’t need it, and a direct phone call just works better.

One downside of local online marketing may be that you will not receive all qualified calls.

10. Insist On CRO-Optimized Landing Pages For Each Campaign

Contrary to popular belief, your home page is not your landing page.

Your home page is your home page.

It is a summary of your website with many exit points to other pages, many different calls to action (CTAs) – such as “learn more” and “contact us” – and many different focuses.

A landing page has one job: conversion.

If you’re spending money on an ad campaign, you need those clicks to work hard.

To do this, you need a landing page designed specifically for that campaign, with lead-gen in mind.

So, the tried-and-trusted format is:

  • Emotive copy that includes a pain point and solution.
  • An image that evokes a feeling.
  • A CTA above the fold.
  • Below the fold, you can have your trust queues, testimonials, benefits, and so on.
  • The footer can reiterate the CTA.

That’s it.

No buttons and links that take you away from the page.

No clicks are needed to expand sections. The only click available on the page is “Buy now” or “Submit” (or whatever the desired action is).

Rinse and repeat for each campaign.

11. Leverage Social Media

Social media can be a great way to grow local brand awareness and engagement.

For one, community groups often already have all your desired customers in one place.

Remember, you need to be active on the social media channels your target audience prefers.

It might not be your local watering hole, so you need to get comfortable with using platforms like TikTok and Instagram for Gen Z and Gen Y audiences, while Facebook is great for Gen X and Boomers.

LinkedIn is ideal for B2B targeting.

Post organic content, like status updates, photos, and videos, or run ad campaigns.

Much like Google Ads, most social platforms allow you to geo-target your campaigns.

For example, if you have a brick-and-mortar location, you can focus your social media ads on reaching all people within a 10km radius of your location.

These enable super-localized and targeted marketing tactics.

12. Video Tells Your Homegrown Story

Video is now preferred over all other visual mediums by more consumers. In fact, 95% of enterprise B2B conversions are aided by video.

Keep it personal, keep it local, and direct your video content at the customer’s point of pain that you can solve.

Your video assets don’t all need to be ads. You can have testimonials and how-tos embedded into your site or published on YouTube.

Just make sure you tell a story and that – in the story – your customer is the hero, and you are simply the guide who helps them succeed.

13. Offline Activations And Events

Offline activations and events are one of our favorite ways of bolstering local marketing.

Working in conjunction with your online activities – such as email, ads, and social – this “boots on the ground” approach yields amazing results.

Take advantage of the physical proximity you have to your local customers.

Consider loyalty cards, charity sponsorships, referral programs, networking breakfasts, and other community-strengthening events.

All of these add tremendous gravitas to your brand and allow you to connect with your target audience locally.

Final Thoughts

With so many ways to be found online locally, we are confident your local target audience will discover your products and services.

Be sure to activate and be active on Google Business Profile.

Keep your website fresh and user-friendly, and remember to regularly add content (blogs).

Find communities on social media, and create ads on Google and social platforms that minutely reach your desired audience.

Find communities in real life, and create events and activities in which the local target audience can participate.

All of this contributes to brand reinforcement.

Finally, remember always to position your customer as the hero, as you solve their pain points right where they are.

If you are interested in original article by Alex Macura you can find it here

Is social media for self-promotion over? Creatives reveal their honest thoughts

Updated on by

No, you’re not imagining it. In 2022, social media increasingly sucks for sharing content and finding work. Creatives share their views on the way forward.

Have you noticed how different social media feels at the moment? More ads. More videos. More Stories and Reels. But fewer posts you want to click on. And less engagement on any content you post yourself.

Don’t worry. It’s not just you. It’s been well documented how most major social channels have recently downgraded traditional posts in favour of the Stories format pioneered by Instagram and short-form, portrait videos reminiscent of TikTok’s. But while that may be helping them sell more ads, it’s leaving creatives somewhat baffled.

“I’ve given up on Instagram,” complains freelance book cover designer Alex Kirby. “I got absolutely fed up with the lack of engagement because I ‘only’ posted photos. I wasn’t even sure it was making a difference with getting more work. And I seem to be doing okay without it.”

It’s perhaps not surprising Alex has seen a lack of involvement in his content because other creatives feel less involved in social media overall.

“The decline of interactions since the push for viral and video content has made me engage less with platforms,” says brand and print designer Matt Lamont. “Mixing posts with forced advertising has made my feed less tailored to my interests and more about me being a customer for others.”

So, how widespread are these experiences? We recently hosted a poll on Twitter and asked our followers: “How have you seen social media change since you started using it, engagement-wise? And a massive 82.1% of you replied ‘It’s got worse’, with just 7.8% saying ‘It’s got better’ and 10.1% seeing no change.

Does this mean you’re thinking of leaving social media altogether? Unhappily, 47.2% of you replied: ‘Yes, but feel I can’t’. Meanwhile, 3.3% of you say you’re definitely quitting, and 10% are just not sure. Only 39.5% are staying – which is hardly a vote of confidence in the current state of social media.

So what’s gone wrong, and how should creatives respond? Below, we reveal some thoughts, suggestions and ideas for promoting yourself and your work in 2022, as shared by the Creative Boom community. Meanwhile, you can read the full discussion on Twitter here.

1. Try different platforms

If you’ve been unhappy with your experience of social media lately, you don’t necessarily have to abandon it altogether. Many creatives have found switching platforms to be a better way forward.

Take award-winning illustrator Sravyaa. “90% of my business used to come through Instagram until this year,” she says. “But now I find that building relationships on Twitter and sharing my work on Pinterest is working best. So I’d say diversify your platforms and the type of content. Make it specific to the audience on each channel, and have a strong CTA (call to action).”

Designer Antonio Carusone has had a similar experience. “Recently, I’ve given up on Instagram,” he says. “I was posting there daily and saw little growth and engagement. The funny thing is, now that I’ve stopped, I’m growing in followers: what a weird, broken platform! Nowadays, I’m focusing instead on Twitter, where I use Typefully to plan my tweets, and I’m seeing nice results.”

Others, meanwhile, are pivoting to Facebook. “I get more orders and interaction on my Facebook business page than on Instagram, which is dire,” says jewellery designer Lindsay. “With Stories and Reels, folks just mindlessly scroll rather than interact. Maybe Facebook is doing better for me because I’m from a small community and locals know my business.”

That’s not the case, however, for illustrator Victoria Williams. “I’ve virtually given up posting to my business Facebook page,” she reports. “Engagement on Instagram has dropped way off, and it’s becoming increasingly irritating to use, as all I see are posts by people I don’t even follow. Now, I find Twitter by far the best for driving people to my Etsy.”

2. Don’t discount TikTok

Let’s not, though, avoid the elephant in the room. One of the reasons “traditional” social channels are changing so much has been the unstoppable rise of TikTok. But while the short-form video platform is best known for its young audience, lip syncing and daft dance routines, that’s not all it’s about.

An increasing number of creatives are using the platform, which now has more than a billion users, to share design and illustration tips and mini-tutorials, as well as just film their process. Right now, the most popular names include nickq83, Serena, aka Kohi Design, and @swoopnebula.

Illustrator Sarah J Coleman, aka Inkymole, is among those who’ve dipped their toe into the TikTok waters. “First, I spent some time ‘in it’, watching others, and creating rules about what I will and won’t do, what is authentic to me,” she recalls. “I’ve stuck to those rules and now have a nice little following on my channel. No dancing, no miming, no silly voices: just behind-the-scenes, work in progress and ink nerding!”

Jam and Ali, aka Hello Dodo, have been giving it a try too. “Obviously, we miss the golden days of Instagram when follows and engagement were amazing,” they say. “But these platforms weren’t built for us to market our business, so we try not to moan about them and keep showing up and having fun on our TikTok channel.”

3. Give LinkedIn a go

People don’t always think of LinkedIn as a social network, and certainly not somewhere aimed at creatives, given its ugly and confusing layout. Yet, in 2022, many are finding it useful for self-promo.

As designer and animator Neil Grunshaw puts it: “Twitter and Instagram are like busking in the hope that an A&R walks past and give you a record deal… in other words, pissing into the wind.” To him, LinkedIn is much more practical and targeted. “You’re selling to a network of professionals who may actually commission you,” he points out. However, there is a caveat. “It only works if you’ve got a network in the first place, which isn’t the case if you’ve just entered the creative industries.”

Artist and designer June Mineyama-Smithson, aka Mayumi, recently had a similar epiphany. “I started to focus on Linkedin after listening to Creative Boom’s podcast with Craig Black,” she explains. “I’d been wrongly fixated on Instagram because it’s visual, but I realised I had more meaningful connections from my agency years on Linkedin. I’m not putting too much effort into Instagram right now: it’s currently too disheartening. But when things change, I might come back.”

For others, it’s a case of using different platforms for different purposes. “I see Instagram and Twitter as a way to connect with and support other artists,” says freelance animator and illustrator Rosie Phillpot. “This can lead to recommendations: other freelancers recommend me because we’ve communicated or follow each other, and they like my work. I do the same.”

At the same time, she sees LinkedIn as a better way to connect with prospective clients. She boosts her chances in the following ways. “I ask for a recommendation at the end of a job to put on my LinkedIn profile,” she says. “I put keywords in my headline. I search ‘freelance animator’ and filter to posts to find shoutouts. And I put my website and email in my About section.”

4. Make connections outside social media

That last point highlights a broader truth: finding work via social media alone is often a hiding to nothing. There’s so much noise here that it’s easy for your message to get lost or ignored. This is why combining social media activity with old-school methods is an approach more and more are taking in 2022.

“Social media very much feels like a lottery versus the more tangible connections you can make with real-life people,” says illustrator Amy Lauren. “Even an email updating an individual person on my work has been more reliable than a flash in the pan on my social links.”

Designer Megan Vickers agrees. “Honestly, social media is a weird one in terms of engagement,” she says. “I feel like it really is a lottery because sometimes I can post the same thing on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and they all have different levels of success. So I think moving to a place where you can control what is seen is the way forward at the moment, in terms of websites or Behance. Social media is great for promotion, but can’t be the only form of promotion.”

“With social media, we easily forget that we’re using someone else’s free offered facility,” points out printmaker and graphic designer Paul Wolterink. “It may feel satisfying and autonomous, but of course, we’re just padding out their wallets. So, I think it’s important to always have your own website, as a rock in the surf, where you are the dealer.”

In short, as we’ve said on Creative Boom for some time now, building your own platforms is important. Those may be subscriber lists, newsletters, or websites – but whatever they are, they’re yours alone, which means you’re in control. For more ideas, read our marketing guide for freelancers fed up with Instagram).

5. Revisit traditional methods

Many creatives, of course, remember when that was the only way to do it. “I use all of the social media platforms and have done since my first Facebook forays in 2008,” says Sarah J Coleman. “But before social media, I used traditional methods: postal promo, regular newsletters, a well-maintained ‘Mothership’ website, shows, cold-calling, personal projects and more.”

She still does today and for good reason. “I’ve always adapted and gone with the flow with the subtle but insistent changes in social media’s modus operandi, but never felt comfortable relying on it,” she explains. “Someone recently said building a business solely on social media is like renting an office where the rent doubles every 18 months.

“What’s always worked for me is direct newsletters. Written by me, and only me. Each one is considered. And always to a permission-based address book compiled across almost 30 years of working professionally. It’s my precious resource, and it’s constantly being updated and reviewed.”

Illustrator Ben Tallon tells a similar story. “The Instagram algorithm change served me with a great reminder that all of these platforms are not owned by us,” he recalls. “So, while I still use them, I have returned focus to my website, mailing lists, and developing relationships in a direct manner.

“I feel it’s important to only use the socials as secondary,” he adds. “Even if they bring direct business, print sales and the likes, it surely drives home the need to distil them into some offline record. As long as that’s permitted, of course.”

Neil Grunshaw concurs. “In my experience, good old-fashioned ‘referrals’ are the best way of getting new business,” he maintains. “In short, I tell the kids today to keep doing their cool shit but to have patience and play the long game. Social media can work if you’re lucky, but usually, there are no shortcuts.”

6. Ignore the algorithm

We’ll end with one final point. For decades, people have stricken to work out how to please social media algorithms. But nowadays, they’re changing so fast it’s hard to keep up. So instead, brand strategist and creative director Tom Berry offers this advice for getting the best out of social media in 2022.

“Focus on what you can control and the energy you put in,” he says. “Some things never get old, including helping people out, being a nice person, starting conversations with people and making friends.

“Give away everything you know,” he adds. “That might sound counterintuitive, but it’s really a win-win. You help people, become an expert, and grow an audience. Finally, don’t take it so seriously. It’s easy to get caught up in all the numbers and stats. And seeing your numbers turn red and go down can make you feel terrible. But everybody is just winging it, not just you. So zoom out; focus on the big picture.”

If you are interested in original article by Katy Cowan you can find it here

twitter

How To Use Twitter To Increase Your Google Search Visibility

Updated on by

Twitter is an effective tool for numerous brands. This article will show you how to use Twitter effectively to improve your Google rankings.

Twitter has become a powerful marketing platform for businesses. It helps them connect with customers, build relationships, and promote their brand.

Integrating pictures and links to products or services, store locations, contact information, special offers, and much more helps brands communicate vital information quickly.

The key to success on Twitter lies in finding ways to effectively engage with consumers while incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) tactics.

When brands take the time to learn about these tactics, they can more easily get to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

In this article, we’ll take you through some basic guidelines to help you achieve maximum exposure for your tweets.

1. Build Your Brand Identity & Awareness

So first, let’s talk about brand identity and awareness by completing a short exercise.

Google your brand’s name. What shows up?

Most of the time, you will see something similar to this on the first page of search results:

What you’re seeing is Google’s Twitter carousel.Screenshot from search, Google, August 2022

What you’re seeing is Google’s Twitter carousel.

This can be highly beneficial for users to get to know a brand by browsing through some of their most recent tweets.

And it also gives you direct control over what appears in search results around your brand’s name. That’s a big deal!

How often do we get a chance to control what users see in search results? Rarely.

Note: If you don’t have a carousel appearing for your brand already, this article provides some helpful tips.

In addition to getting a positive message in front of potential consumers, it’s another way to build awareness, strengthen thought leadership, and humanize the brand.

It helps you to connect with your audience in a more authentic and easily digestible form.

This is another reason why it’s important to share content that your audiences will find interesting and valuable and show your personality.

It’s also essential to ensure your tweets align with your brand messaging and overall business mission.

2. Leverage Twitter Carousels

Look for ways to leverage a Twitter carousel by using relatable and relevant content.

Your brand can implement one of the numerous trending tactics. But here are a few of the most important ones to consider:

Discuss Trendy Topics

This is your chance to grab the attention of new audiences and help retain your current ones. So, ensure your tweets reflect how timely, exciting and trendy you are!

What are people in your industry talking about? Do you have a new product or event coming up? Try creating engaging copy and imagery reflecting that through a Twitter carousel.

Deliver Content Your Audiences Care About

In addition to being trendy, ensure you’re sharing extremely relevant content with your audiences. Keep in mind their everyday challenges and main responsibilities.

Then ask yourself, “What would my audience want to learn more about? Why do they enjoy our products or services?” And highlight those aspects in a carousel.

Mention Other Accounts & Encourage Other Accounts To Mention You

Interacting with other relevant accounts and tagging them in tweets will help increase search presence.

Think about the key publications, thought leaders, and influencers in your space, and make sure you’re regularly engaging with them on Twitter.

Try finding things you have in common or aspects you can collab on.

These interactions can help get your content in front of new audiences. It also brings more authenticity to your brand when people see someone they recognize using a product or engaging with a brand they follow.

Use Relevant, Popular Hashtags

Incorporate relevant hashtags in your tweets. This will give you a chance to rank on SERPs.

Exemplify Your Brand Message

You want to make sure your audience isn’t confused by your tweets. They should clearly understand what your brand is all about and why they should care.

Targeted keywords and a clear call to action will help grab their attention and keep them engaged.

Encourage Team Members To Share Content

The Twitter carousel appears for individuals as well.

With this in mind, encouraging your internal team members to promote content can impact your brand’s search visibility.

3. Remain Active & Build Your Following

Remaining active on Twitter and across all your social media accounts is essential to keep your audiences engaged.

The key is ensuring that tweets are relevant and valuable and that you’re not just tweeting to get content out there.

We know the importance of social media legitimacy and its potential impact on Google rankings.

For example, a social media account with 10,000 followers and two posts differs from another 10,000-follower account with consistent interactions and posts.

Even more interestingly, Google filed a patent to determine whether social media accounts were real or fake. This can help get rid of the clutter of fake accounts and followers.

Nevertheless, the focus should be on building a following and establishing a more vast audience.

By doing this, you can increase the likelihood that users know your brand and will trust and click on your content in search results.

And do you know what directly impacts Google rankings? Click-through rates.

4. Promote Content

Creating a Twitter strategy to distribute and promote content long-term is essential. This requires more than just sharing content on a daily or weekly basis.

Promoting evergreen content, or brand-specific content, over a month or even a year will help increase visibility on social media and in search results.

Also, generating shares on social media will help from a link-building perspective.

The more reach you have on social media, the more opportunities users have to see your content, like it, and be motivated to link to it.

Links also directly impact Google rankings. And again, encourage your internal team members to promote your content, especially anyone who’s an established thought leader in the space.

This will help reach new, relevant users and appear in search results around those individuals’ accounts.

5. Optimize Your Social Media Bio

Twitter also discusses how you can impact search visibility on Google, not just through your posts but through what you put in your Twitter profile.

It’s not only essential to optimize your brand’s Twitter bio for Google but because it’s the first thing anyone will see when they click on your profile.

Considering that your brand’s Twitter profile often appears on the first page of Google, you want your first impression with new users to describe your brand and mission accurately.

This presents the opportunity to provide a concise overview of your brand and a link to your website. And it allows you to incorporate keywords, emojis, and hashtags that will get their attention.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many ways to use Twitter to grow your audience and establish authority for your brand on the platform.

And if you’re looking to improve your search visibility on Google, a Twitter strategy can be an effective method.

Following the steps outlined here, you can increase your followers’ engagement rate, find new audiences, and boost your SEO ranking.

If you are interested in original article by Kristen MVaugn you can find it here

12-WordPress-site-settings-that-are-critical-to-your-SEO-success

12 WordPress site settings that are critical to your SEO success

Updated on by

Want to set up your WordPress site for better traffic and rankings? Make sure you’re following these site settings to improve your SEO.

WordPress is one of the most SEO-friendly content management systems today. If you have a WordPress website, there are many things you can do to improve your SEO. But if you’re not careful, you could also harm your site’s ranking without realizing it. 

In this post, you’ll discover 12 settings to consider if you want your WordPress website to reach its full SEO potential.

In SEO, security is an often overlooked but important consideration. Beyond general SEO settings, we’ll review some necessary security settings that can help prevent negative SEO attacks. 

SEO settings for WordPress

Below are simple settings that should be the foundation of all WordPress sites looking to improve their SEO efforts. 

1. Set up homepage and blog settings

Before you start building out the pages and posts, you must ensure that your homepage and blog pages are set up and ready to go. This may seem like a minor detail, but it’s essential. Your homepage is the first thing people will see when they visit your site, so you want to make sure it makes a good impression. 

Likewise, your blog is a great way to connect with your audience and build an engaged following. By setting up these essential pages before you start adding content, you’re more likely to end up with a successful website that people will enjoy visiting.

By default, WordPress has your latest posts page as the home page. You will need to select ‘A static page’ option and select which page is your home page and which is your blog page.

WordPress Reading Settings.

When you set up your blog, one of the first things you need to decide is how you want your URLs to be structured. 

A scalable URL taxonomy will make it much easier for search engines to crawl and index, and it will also be more user-friendly. As a result, it is worth taking the time to choose a permalink structure that will work well for your blog in the long run. There are a few different options, so take some time to experiment and find the one that works best for you and your blog.

You may choose whichever structure works best for your site, but I recommend using a custom structure and staying away from a date-based structure. A permalink structure that uses month and day or day and name can create a convoluted site architecture. 

WordPress permalink settings.

3. Dynamic sitemap

A dynamic sitemap is an essential tool for any website. It helps search engines index your site and makes it easier for users to find the information they are looking for.

On the other hand, a static sitemap is a lot less effective, can be difficult to keep up to date, and doesn’t offer the same level of scalability. 

Plenty of plugins offer dynamic sitemap options with various customizations. So if you’re looking for the best way to improve your website’s SEO, a dynamic sitemap is the way to go. 

4. Set up an automated image optimizer

To maintain a fast WordPress site, you need to have optimized images. The SEO benefits of having optimized images are numerous, from increased website speed to better search engine rankings. The simplest way to optimize your images is to use a plugin.

Many WordPress plugins will automatically optimize images as you upload them. While some are paid, many free options work just as well.

5. Set up default title and meta descriptions

Many SEO plugins offer default settings for titles and meta descriptions, guaranteeing that all new pages are optimized for search. This is a lifesaver for large websites with many pages or teams unfamiliar with SEO best practices. By taking advantage of these tools, you can help to ensure that your website is visible and easily found by potential visitors.

In the screenshot below, I’m using Yoast to set defaults for my blog posts. In my title, I put a structured format to make it user-friendly. 

For meta descriptions, I’m pulling an excerpt from the beginning of the blog post. This is a simple default setting that anyone can deploy.

WordPress fallback titles and meta descriptions.

Protect your SEO with these WordPress security settings

SEO is starting to become a crucial element of website security. Website security has always been important, but it is becoming even more so as the web becomes more and more a part of our everyday lives. 

Websites are now being used for everything from online shopping to online banking, and if a website is not secure, the consequences can be serious. 

Google has penalties for websites infected with malware and those that may be practicing social engineering. If your website is not secure, you could be losing out on potential customers and rankings in Google’s search engine. Website security is, therefore an important element of SEO and should not be ignored. 

6. Deactivate comments

While the SEO value of comment sections has been debated, there is no doubt that they can be a security risk. 

Spammers often use comment sections to add links to their websites, which can contain malicious code. Hackers can also attempt SQL injections and XSS attacks through online forms. 

As a result, it is vital to be aware of the risks associated with comment sections. If you choose to use a comment section on your WordPress site, monitor it closely and delete any spam or suspicious comments. 

You should consider disabling the comment section if you are unwilling to put in the extra effort to keep it secure. Below is a screenshot that shows how to disable the content section.

WordPress Discussion Settings

7. Deactivate and remove XML-RPC

One of WordPress’s most common security vulnerabilities is brute force attacks on the XML-RPC file. By default, this file is activated and can be used to access the WordPress site remotely. 

However, it also provides a perfect target for hackers using automated tools to guess the username and password. Once they gain access, they can wreak havoc by deleting files, installing malware, or even taking over the entire site. 

An easy way to protect against these attacks is by deactivating the XML-RPC file. Doing so will prevent remote access to the site and disable some features such as pingbacks and trackbacks. 

SEO experts believe that the increased security outweighs the drawbacks. So if you’re concerned about brute force attacks on your WordPress site, deactivate the XML-RPC file.

There are three ways to deactivate the xmlrpc.php file on WordPress sites.

  • Use a plugin: Search the plugin directory for “remove xmlrpc”
  • Add this code to functions.php file:
    add_filter('xmlrpc_enabled', '__return_false');
  • Disable it in the .htaccess file:
    # Block WordPress xmlrpc.php requests
    <Files xmlrpc.php>
    order deny,allow
    deny from all
    </Files>

8. Set user permissions

As a WordPress site manager, you must ensure that the site runs smoothly and that all stakeholders have the necessary access. That said, not all stakeholders need access to every aspect of the site. 

Setting user permissions allows you to give each stakeholder access to only the sections they need – keeping the site organized and preventing unauthorized changes from being made. 

In addition, you should review user permissions regularly to ensure that they are still accurate. 

WordPress provides an excellent summary of what each role can do.

9. Ensure all users have secure passwords with 2FA

Having secure passwords and enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) are effective ways to make a WordPress site more difficult to hack. 

Hackers attempting brute force login attacks use large password lists that contain millions of the most common passwords. Having a complex password can help render these password lists ineffective.

If a hacker were to get access to your password, having 2FA enabled can help act as another method to prevent hackers from gaining access to your site. 

Many security plugins offer 2FA settings.

10. Set up limit login attempts

A brute force attack happens when an attacker tries to guess a user’s password by repeatedly entering different combinations of characters. One way to prevent brute force attacks is to configure your WordPress site to limit login attempts. 

This security measure will block an attacker’s IP address after a certain number of unsuccessful login attempts, making it more difficult for them to gain access to your site. 

Limit Login Attempts.

11. Auto-update plugins

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that their plugins can be a security risk. If a plugin is outdated, it may be vulnerable to known exploits. This is why it’s ideal to go with auto-updating plugins.

Plugin auto-updates

12. Set up recurring backups

You shouldn’t overlook a solid website security plan in today’s digital age. One of the best ways to protect your site is to ensure that you have daily backups taken. If your site is hacked or experiences any other security breach, you’ll have a recent copy of your site that you can restore. 

While many plugins offer this service, it’s often best to find a WordPress host to manage backups. This way, you can be sure that your backups are being taken care of regularly. 

Wrapping up

As your site gains more visitors, ensuring its foundation is strong will be increasingly important. Applying the settings mentioned in this article is essential to start SEO on WordPress. By following these tips, you are taking a vital step toward creating a scalable website that will grow with your business. 

If you are interested in original article by John McAlpin you can find it here