Archive for the ‘small business’ Category
For Toronto Small Business Owners – Google Changes and Impact on Web Site Performance
If you are a Toronto small business owner there are issues that can impact the effectiveness of your Web Presence as a lead generator for your business. I have a little mantra that I apply to websites: Capture – Convince – Convert:
- Capture: Bring traffic to your site from search engines, social media and ad campaigns
- Convince: Encourage the visitor to stay on your site with quality content
- Convert: Provide some kind of Call-To-Action that the visitor takes so that you have at least a name and and email so you can begin building a relationship.
Today I’m going to focus on the “Capture” element. As you know, Google continues to be the top way to search for information, with over 70% market share. Their search algorithm (Google’s highly secret application that translates what you type into the search box into a list of clickable search results) contains over 400 “signals” (says Google) to help determine how your website will rank relative to your competitors for a particular search term.
Over the last year Google has been under pressure on several different fronts, the two most notable being:
1) Search Results. Users were complaining that there were a lot of junk sites showing up in search results – poorly written articles, texts that were so packed with keywords so has to make them “reader-unfriendly”. As Google depends on people using their search engine to be an audience for Adwords, Google had to do something to improve search results.
2) Social Media. Last year was the first time people were spending more time on Facebook than on Google properties. As well, Facebook is a “walled garden” i.e. Google can’t index and rank Facebook content and is therefore missing out on measuring user behaviour inside the world’s largest social media site (900 million users).
Google has responded to these pressures by carrying out a number of adjustments to their algorithm that:
- devalues certain types of links that point to your website
- places greater weight on recently posted content
- places greater weight on the contextual page content and less on the traditional on-page SEO elements.
- places greater weight on links coming from social media platforms.
What this means to you and your website:
Blogging on your website is important. Regular postings containing keywords relevant to your business will satisfy both the relevancy and current “signals” for search engines in addition to keep past visitors interested and coming back for more. Make sure you categorize and tag each post using your proven keywords.
Claim your business on Google + Local. Google has merged Google Places (their local search/map service) with Google+ (their social media platform). Cross-linking between Google+ and your website is a good thing.
Getting links from other social media to your site. Satisfies Google’s new emphasis on social media.
Your Next Steps
Most professionals simply do not have the time to keep up with current SEO practices or where their website ranks and what they can do about it. Also, effective blogging on a regular basis is a serious time commitment and often one of the first things to fall off your “to do” list.
Over 80% research the Internet first prior to making a decision.
If you’d like to have a no-obligation 15 minute chat and “health check” of your website and your rankings, please contact me
Yours in business success
Business, Franchise & Investment EXPO & Conference
The Business Exchange is hosting the Business, Franchise & Investment EXPO & Conference on Saturday, April 28 2012, 11:00a.m. – Sun, Apr 29 2012, 11:00a.m. at the Queen Elizabeth Building, Exhibition Place in Toronto.
For those entrepreneurs considering taking on proven business models via franchising, this would be a good opportunity to do so.
Franchise EXPO Info & Tickets
Twitter adds Business Pages Along With Redesign
Twitter is allowing brands to create Facebook/Google+ style brand pages. This feature, along with a redesign focused on usability & discoverability of content, was rolled out this week
Twitter is following in the footsteps of Google who recent launched Google+ brand pages.
List of Twitter features
Toronto Small Business Workshop Series
Debbi Arnold of D.A. Consulting is presenting Small Business Workshops at the Miles Nadal JCC (750 Spadina Ave, at Bloor). The next two are:
Time Management: November 4, 2011. 10:30am-12:30pm. Learning effective time management skills to set yourself up for success
Marketing 101: November 11, 2011. 9:15am-12pm. Learn marketing fundamentals to build a successful business.
Each seminar is $40. Register online via Paypal at http://www.daconsult.ca/
Content Marketing – Good for Small Business
Here’s a good article that covers the kind of things we do for Toronto Small Business clients after the essential web site optimization has been done. Content curation, blogging, white papers, photos, videos and article syndication all support the promotion of a small business’s expertise in a particular domain:
Why Content Marketing is King
To find out more, contact bernie
Deal Sites – another Internet Flame-out
While an on-line “daily deal” from the likes of Groupon can increase the exposure of your small business, there are three downsides:
- You damage your brand with poor on-line reviews from one-time users of your service or product
- You can negatively impact your value proposition with existing customers, who will now expect to pay less.
- If not careful, you will lose money on your discounted offer.
For more, read this New York Times article on deal sites
Free Business Assessment Tool for Small Business
Bruce Hunter, CEO of Lighthouse 360 reports that 93% of business owners have no plan on how to increase the value of their business. Much of this stems from the entrepreneur ”working in the business” rather than “working on the business”.
Bruce has a useful tool on his website – a free business assessment tool that can get a small business owner started down the path of thinking more strategically around the growth and how to manage it.
Will “Daily Deals” Hurt Your Small Business Site’s Reputation?
The number of daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial continues to grow but research shows that deep discount offers may be doing more harm than good for a small business’ on-line reputation.
According to a study by Boston University and Harvard University, small businesses that run ‘daily deal’ promotions on Groupon are likely to see their ratings on Yelp drop thereafter.
The data gathered included over 56,000 reviews for 2,300+ merchants who ran 2,500 deals on Groupon. The analysis seems to show the two sides of the deal-of-the-day website – from one perspective, the number of reviews for the business on Yelp goes up because of the daily deals (which for some could be seen as a good thing). However, the average rating scores from reviewers who reference daily deals are 10 per cent lower than scores coming from “business as usual” reviews.
There’s no explanation offered for why the customers using Groupon gave less positive reviews on Yelp, and the report leaves business owners pondering the question: is it worth running daily deals (expensive but can bring in new customers), if it’s at the expense of a lowered on-line reputation on user review sites like Yelp?
Auto Makers use Social Media as part of R&D
While world-wide car manufacturers don’t fit the profile of most Toronto small business (especially when it comes to social media marketing resources), I found this article instructive in showing several ways how investing time in social media actually has business payback:
- Kia redesigned the seats for their Optima SX sedan after noticing complaints from consumers and automotive writers on the Internet.
- Ford invites consumers to submit their vehicle improvement ideas directly to the automaker via a website called thefordstory.com.
- Nissan (with three Twitter streams and Facebook pages for each of its vehicle brands) social media is becoming the de facto process to receive and resolve customer-service issues.
Rest of Article from Industry Week
BOSS Toronto Business Networking Event
BOSS System, a premier B2B Toronto business networking organization in the GTA, is having their big quarterly event this Thursday Sept 7 at the Old Mill Restaurant/Convention Centre in Toronto’s West End. There will be presentations, vendor exhibits, structured networking to build business contacts and give-aways as well.
TorontoSmallBusiness.com, in partnership with SouthCostaRica.com, is giving away one week’s accommodation at the luxury vacation Villa Mariposa as a draw prize.
For event details, visit the BOSS website