Local SEO for Your Business

With Google’s new Penguin updates, local is making bigger inroads into the Google SERPs. Local SEO is relevant for a business with a local presence requirement, whether you are a lawyer, a dentist, a doctor, a restaurant or a painter.

Local vs. National SEO

Local and national SEO share a large number of factors in common such as on-page, links, social, indexing, etc. But local does have a few differences. For local, you want to claim your Google profile, which is the page that will show up in the local search results. Next, you need to get a citation. A citation is a website that uses your name, address and phone number – all on the same page. Make sure that your details are the same everywhere. Changing your address or zip code could confuse Google. Third, generate reviews. Lots of reviews. The more, the merrier. The quantity and quality of the reviews for your page are one of the most important local ranking factors.

On-Site Optimization

Make sure name, address and phone numbers are on every page of your site, in the same format as your Google local listing. Use schema markups to better help search engines identify and show your location. Also include a KML file on your site. While some of this may seem redundant, it never hurts to send as many legitimate signals as you can.

Maximizing Local SEO Rankings

The fundamental way to do this is to increase citations, overall number of reviews and positive reviews. At this point, local results are quite Google specific. So, the more you can do in terms of  getting a better page for your business, the better your outcome is going to be. Ask clients to leave positive reviews and to +1 your page, keep it updated and keep linking to it. Location being close to the city center helps, since Google assumes you are close to city center when doing a search.

Getting Local Search Results

Go to Google place to sign up for your listing and complete all the details. This includes adding images, videos and all the other information you can share about your business. But don’t get too “SEO” on this listing. You don’t want to over-optimize for SEO and make it look unnatural in any way.

Sign up at Yext. They will send out your information to other major local platforms in the same format. Each of these will become a citation, which is hugely valuable. Next, use a tool like KnowEm to get your social profiles. Yext and KnowEm do have a charge for setting up profiles, but it is well covered in terms of returns. Invest your money as you feel comfortable for your budget and start with Yext.

Along with making your profiles, don’t ignore SEO on your website. Make sure that at least some of the links you build towards your website contain your target city/state combo. And, although it isn’t entirely correct to encourage people to go to your profile and write reviews, do suggest that if your customers are happy with you they leave a review at your pages.

Tools for the Task

WhiteSpark provides services for locating local citation sources, and you can try them out. In case you are doing some local guest blog posts, you can add your bio into the post data and generate some citations from it.

Ways to Get Reviews

Let your customers or clients know that they can rate their experience with you on your Google Places profile. Have logos up in your windows or in your office showing the places where people can leave reviews. Include your profile links in your email communications (particularly in follow-up emails after a purchase or visit), direct mail and anywhere else you can think of to get in front of customers. Of course, if you want poitive reviews, you need to provide a product and/or service that warrants them.

And while this should go without saying, DON’T BUY REVIEWS. While Google doesn’t always catch fake reviews, they are working constantly to get better at it. Yelp, on the other hand, errs on the site of extreme caution and often banishes overly positive reviews.

Outsource or Self-Promote

Depending on what your budget is, you can make a few choices. From the tips above, you may be able to do a large part of this on your own. Or you can hire an agency that will take the pain away for you. While we can’t specifically make a recommendation for an agency, keep in mind that typically with SEO, what you pay is what you get. There are a large number of agencies, but as a start you can check the WhiteSpace service at $16.

Keep building up reviews and citations for your business over time, and you will rapidly see the number of visitors coming to your local business go up.

Avoid Out-of-Date SEO

To create good website content, you may try to follow all the usual SEO techniques to get a top ranking in search engines. But even after implementing all the SEO techniques you know, back linking the website with other popular sites, social networking sites, etc., you may see that your website rankings are not appearing in search engines. There can be many reasons behind this problem, among which using outdated SEO techniques is most important.

While learning about SEO, you might have followed websites that talked about older search engine optimization guides and tips which were once highly popular. But with the flow of time, technology is getting upgraded everyday and so is SEO. There are certain things that you always need to consider while optimizing a website for search engines.

  • First and foremost, you must always remember that while creating a website never ever create a duplicate website thinking that more than one website will help you to drive double the traffic to your website. Absolutely wrong! Whenever you are creating a duplicate site of an original, search engines will raise the issue of duplicate content. In some cases, search engines may suspend these websites as well. So, ultimately your search engine ranking is held back. In addition to this, the quality of your website content is also neglected whenever there is a problem of duplicate content and your website(s) will be held back in Google rankings there as well. This is a serious problem with many top notch companies, and it is always suggested that you should focus on only one website with quality content in it to win good search engine rankings.
  • Unlike earlier SEO concepts, meta keyword tags are not as important as they used to be today. Search engines don’t depend on these keywords/tags these days. Basically, these keywords are irrelevant in modern SEO techniques. Keywords are used today in websites only to highlight to other similar websites what you are targeting. If you are not bothered about your competitors, instead of wasting time incorporating meta keyword tags, concentrate on quality content while improving your website with modern SEO techniques to get good search engine rankings.
  • Many people think that submitting websites to search engines helps in earning good rankings. But this is not the case. Simply link to it and your website will be in the top rankings if your website really reads well and has original content. Your website will get more and more exposed with the number of links you bring to it.
  • Now, link building doesn’t mean stuffing links only in one particular anchor text. Search engines prefer to see various kinds of anchor texts hyperlinked with various sources. So, look for variations in anchor texts as well as links to increase your website’s visibility in search engines. While linking, always remember to link your brand name.
  • Search engine ranking and page ranking are something totally different. Even if you get a higher PageRank, it does not necessarily mean that your search engine ranking is also high. Getting a good PageRank indicates that your links are effectively working and websites are driving relatively good traffic to your website. You need to spend time on your website to earn good rankings, not just worry about PageRank.
  • The last (and also a typically outdated) concept is to place link directories in your website. These link directories do no other effective work other than simply cluttering the website with irrelevant links. Instead of incorporating link directories, it is better to link to social networking sites.


Adobe to Acquire Neolane

For Immediate Release

Acquisition Brings Cross-Channel Campaign Management to Industry’s Most Comprehensive Offering for Marketers

SAN JOSE, Calif. – June 27, 2013 – Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Neolane, a leader in cross-channel campaign management technology, headquartered in Paris, France, for approximately $600 million in cash.

Neolane integrates online and offline marketing data from across an enterprise – performing robust audience segmentation and delivering marketing messages across channels. It offers a best-in-class platform for sophisticated automation and execution of campaigns across the Web, email, social, mobile, call center, direct mail and point of sale (POS). This enables marketers to deliver consistent customer experiences, personalized campaigns and increased ROI.

“The acquisition of Neolane brings critical cross-channel campaign management capabilities to the Adobe® Marketing Cloud,” said Brad Rencher, senior vice president and general manager of Adobe’s Digital Marketing business. “Adobe has long been the trusted partner to creative professionals and we are now extending our lead in the digital marketing space with the addition of Neolane. From campaign creation through planning, execution and optimization, Adobe technology is driving the entire marketing process.”

Neolane will become a sixth solution in the Adobe Marketing Cloud, complementing the existing Analytics, Target, Social, Experience Manager and Media Optimizer offerings. This creates an unparalleled platform for delivering rich, personalized experiences to consumers across channels and devices, and giving a unified view of the customer to marketers. The Adobe Marketing Cloud enables marketers to drive what once were incredibly complex campaigns – delivering marketing ROI that is highly measureable.

The Neolane acquisition builds upon Adobe’s strategy of combining organic innovation with key acquisitions to deliver the most robust set of solutions for digital marketers today. This most recent acquisition complements other strategic digital marketing acquisitions, beginning with Omniture in 2009 and followed by Day Software (2010), Demdex (2011), Auditude (2011) and Efficient Frontier (2012).

“Neolane has more than 400 customers worldwide, many of whom are Adobe customers as well,” said Stéphane Dehoche, CEO and co-founder of Neolane. “Combining our capabilities into Adobe Marketing Cloud will open up a level of visibility that makes these marketers’ day-to-day work easier and more effective. Adobe has an incredible vision for the future of marketing along with a connection to the creative process that no other company can match. We’re ready to help take their market leadership to the next level.”

The transaction, which is expected to close in July, is subject to customary closing conditions. The potential financial impact to Adobe of this transaction is not reflected in financial targets previously provided by Adobe. Until the transaction closes, each company will continue to operate independently. Assuming the completion of the transaction, Adobe believes the acquisition of Neolane will not materially affect the company’s forecasted revenue and non-GAAP financial results in fiscal year 2013. Due to the absence at this time of certain acquisition-related cost estimates and purchase price accounting, Adobe is currently unable to provide an estimated impact on future GAAP earnings. Neolane CEO Stéphane Dehoche will continue to lead the former Neolane team as part of Adobe’s Digital Marketing business.

For more information, see the Adobe Corporate Blog.

Forward-looking Statements Disclosure

This press release includes forward-looking statements, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including risks and uncertainties related to Adobe’s ability to integrate Neolane’s technology into Adobe Marketing Cloud. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including statements regarding: the ability of Adobe to extend its leadership in digital marketing and other anticipated benefits of the transaction to Adobe; the emergence of new marketing channels, the effectiveness of Neolane’s technology; the ability of Adobe and Neolane to close the announced transaction; any statements of expectation or belief; and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. These risks, uncertainties and other factors, and the general risks associated with Adobe’s business, could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Adobe and are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. For a discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, individuals should refer to Adobe’s SEC filings. Adobe does not assume any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements or other statements included in this press release

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information – anytime, anywhere and through any medium. For more information, visit www.adobe.com.

Understanding the importance of Content Marketing

There can be all kinds of definition for content marketing but the implementation aspect of content marketing is made up of some of the best practices. Like all practices, even content marketing has its dos and don’ts with regards to market research, process and governance, editorials, and execution and analysis.


The first important point to remember while conducting your market research is that content marketing should be all about the management of expectations. This can be easily achieved by having a road map with everything from deadlines to deliverables clearly outlined. This would ensure that everyone stays focused on their task. It is a known fact that market research is a tedious process. Nothing can be gained by rushing through it. The fallout of doing so is the irreparable damage to the persona of the firm involved in content marketing.

Proper market research is crucial for the generation of sales. It lays the foundation for the development of strong and sound strategies. For this reason, research shouldn’t be rushed, and most importantly, it shouldn’t be left incomplete. Market research is all about persona development through routes like customer surveys, groups and customer interviews, customer service division interviews, reports of external markets, surveys of readers and interviews of bloggers, and a host of other ways to develop a required persona.


Traditional publishing mediums like magazines and newspapers have been in the business of content production for a long time. They can be the perfect source for organizing your perfect content producing workforce with a clear cut demarcation of roles and responsibilities. This is essential in order to avoid any kind of internal conflict or confusion. Various teams need to work together to create content that has continuity and consistency for the perfect user experience. This is paramount for ensuring mess free content on your website.

It is essential to have a thorough understanding of your company’s legal stance in order to avoid any kind of obstacles with regard to compliance and editorial reviews. This is essential since the internet is abounding with problems like copyright infringement and plagiarism, and a marketer might unknowingly break some kind of law. Legal woes can be further avoided through the incorporation of a clear cut policy among various content producers.


There should be certain editorial standards in your content. There should be consistency in the structure and voice of your content. This is only possible if there are well defined editorial guidelines for the writer. Again, the guidelines should be the same for all the different teams. This is necessary for consistency in the content. There can be many forms of content. Content can be made different and creative through the use of different formats, topics, styles, media, and so on. At the same time, one shouldn’t sacrifice revenue for creativity. The content should be creative and should incorporate the necessary keywords, personas and funnel mapping for revenue generation.


The end purpose of any kind of content should be revenue generation. A clear knowledge of this goal and the means to achieve it will help your content to stay on track. Content should be created with the aim of improving the overall business of any firm. Before the launch of any kind of content, there should be some kind of mechanisms in place for determining the success of your content. The content list should be updated regularly. Such a practice is important for the development of new content in the future. The focus of content marketers should not be only bringing in new customers, but retaining old customers as well.
Your content marketing initiatives can only reach their full potential through well executed and best practices.

How To Recover From A Manual Google Penalty – A Step By Step Guide

Sometimes while designing your website, you put in a number of links to increase the website’s visibility in search engines, but you may often come across a typical problem where Google reviews your website citing a problem with your links. Here is a step by step guide about recovering from physical link problems.

Whenever there are irrelevant or unnatural links on your website, the Google Webmaster Tools starts giving you warnings. Sometimes, if a warning is not given it might be an algorithmic problem caused by Google Penguin. With Google Penguin, you will not have to submit any reconsideration requests because this is a process where you can discuss the manual penalty with Google.

Now, if you have received any waning from Google Webmaster Tools, then it is time to analyze your back links seriously. This can be a time consuming process, so you need to be very patient. First, sketch out an entire image of your back links. While analyzing the back links, you might need a number of back link analysis tools because there is no such tool that can provide you with an overall profile. Some of the useful and important back link analysis tools are Google Webmaster Tools, Majestic SEO, Bing Webmaster Tools, Link Detox, Open Site Explorer and LinkRisk.

An important thing about backlink analysis tools is that you should never ever consider Google Webmaster Tools as the only weapon that can help you out just because Google has warned you about the problem. Google only provides you with an example of the links causing problems and does not give you an entire image of the links on your website. So, you need a handful of different weapons to analyze all your back links properly.

A Google warning indicates a problem. There could be different problems: paid links, advertorials or manipulation of PageRank. So, first identify which problem Google is talking about. The category of the links will be chosen according to the cited problem. Anything in your website that is unnatural or irrelevant anything that is there just for SEO purposes, should be piled up and simply removed from your website.

The next step is link removal. Whenever you are aware of the list of links that are causing trouble to your website, it is time to remove them, but this process is very painstaking and not very effective at the same time. At the end of the removal process, you may come up with a very poor removal rate. But you have to carry out this unlinking process repeatedly to remove all the unnatural links from your website.

The next step is Disavow which enlists all the unnatural links and asks Google to reject those while providing a Google ranking to the website. This will help you to remove all those unnecessary links from your website that you could not remove. This step helps you to remove all the unnecessary links as a whole and not individually. Hence, it is easier to disavow all the links of a particular domain without deleting individual links from the same domain.

By completing all these tasks, you can proceed further by submitting your website to Google for reconsideration. But make sure that you are honest about your activities.

Sustainable SEO Strategy

How can you position yourself in a way that would allow your business to be future proof? We all know that what works well for SEO today is going to change tomorrow. Whether it’s being good with Google, managing social signals, getting the right analytics in place, UX design or just plain innovating to ensure that you’re ahead of the curve, you constantly need to be at it so that it’s moving in the right direction.

SEO is about marketing. It’s about marketing online and getting your business to the people who want to use it. The most direct clues you can pick up about your marketing efforts won’t necessarily come from your analytics program. Your sales team will know exactly how your customers are reacting to your choices. And, even better, they will advise you on what they want to see on the website. Go ahead and ask what your clients have on their website, see what their teams are doing, pick the best of their ideas and try to implement them into your strategy.

Make contact lists. You can use email forms, Facebook pages and Twitter followers. Other options like Pinterest and YouTube may not necessarily suite your business requirements. However, keep building your lists. Not only do social building efforts have an effect on your brand image with search engines, they also allow you direct contact with your clients. You will be able to directly learn from them and keep innovating your product line to suit what your demographic needs. In our view, the biggest advantage of building lists is that it allows you to be agnostic to search engine updates and ready for the long run no matter what.

Link maximization. There’s a new animal from Google’s bestiary about to make a walk onto the field. It’s a Penguin with a 2.0 outlook. The new Penguin is designed to clean out link spammers. Google doesn’t like to get fooled by people gaming the algorithm and continually uses new techniques to weed out the bad guys. If you’ve been using software to build links to your website, you need to watch out. Google launched a link disavow tool, and you should use it to remove links that you feel are not in your best interest. These are links from websites that are not naturally in your neighborhood. For example, if you notice that you are getting links from a website that has more posts about medical products or adult themes, you should ask Google to disavow the link. Keep in mind there are a lot of people who continually use the disavow tool, and Google now naturally understands what bad neighborhoods are. If you’re continually getting links from those websites, don’t expect your website to do well.

Clean content. Ensure that the new content you are putting on your website is not just for search engine ranks but has an overview for all the customers that will use your website. For example, if your website is about food, you may naturally have something written about travel even though the two are not necessarily related. Make sure your content is original and that you’re adding regularly. This isn’t just an idea that works for search engines. It also naturally works well for your customers.

Write good content. Ensure that you cover current and relevant trends. Visitors will read your content, stay longer on your website and return. These demographics are easy to track for Google. For example, if the first search result always causes the user to search for the same term again and then not search after he has visited say the tenth website, Google understands that the website at results number one isn’t covering what the users wants to know but the tenth one is and will automatically start pushing the tenth one up in the results.

Most of the tips we have suggested are quite natural in terms of progression for your website and will happen over the course of time for any business. Just as in real life a brand would make a name for itself over varied references and marketing efforts, it’s much the same online. By spending time and effort, you will naturally come out on top!

Black Hat or White Hat SEO?

You’ve probably heard about the search engine optimization being divided into two camps, “white hat” and “black hat.” The distinction between the two changes over time. However, there’s always an approach you can choose based on the target you have in mind and your mind-set. Today, we’ll look at how these camps stand apart and what you need to know to make a better decision on the course you want to take.

While we are going to speak about both black and white hat SEO, when we talk about black hat, we are talking about tactics and rules that are not part of Google’s set – activities like hacking websites and other outright illegal methods. To be clear, while we are putting general ethics aside, we are definitely not endorsing any activities that are illegal.

Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO refers to various methods of rapidly gaming Google into believing that your website is as genuine as the established players. Keep in mind that, while these may work, they are generally short lived and Google is getting far better at catching on to these tactics. Google is on a continued offensive to find people who are trying to con their domains up in the rankings. That being said, here are a few tactics that are in use.

Link farms – These are websites that are programmed to link to each other within the group. They are obviously quite easy for search engines to catch onto.

Blog and forum spam – There are automated programs available that will visit several websites and submit comments while leaving a backlink to other websites. These are generally nonsensical comments which are easily caught and removed manually.

Hidden text – This is the practice of having links within pages and then hiding those links by using color or blocking the block via CSS so human visitors can’t view the links but search engine spiders can.

Cloaked and doorway pages – Cloaking is illegal and is the activity of presenting one version of a web page to search engines while showing completely different text to human visitors. Doorway pages refers to webpages with some text for search engines and some programming for web browsers that will redirect to a different domain. Both these activities will result in domains being kicked out of Google if caught!

White Hat SEO

White hat SEO means using methods that are okay with search engines and avoiding automated pages or any of the methods mentioned above. While some agencies will tell you that they use only white hat methods to ensure your pages never slip in search results, keep in mind that these terms are often changing. For example, it used to be acceptable to have keyword-rich domains, links in the footer or paid links with no penalties until quite recently. Now all these activities are frowned upon.

Guest blogging – The process of writing posts for other websites in return for a link to your website will help your rankings and generate relevant traffic as well.

Viral campaigns – If you have ideas and infographics to share on your website that are of importance to your industry, you can be sure they will be shared, tweeted, bookmarked and passed along.

On-page optimization – Ensure that your pages have the correct titles, are named correctly, have well written HTML and do not employ hidden links.

Well written posts – Make sure your domain has regularly updated and well written content. The more relevant your posts, the more traffic you can get from search engines. A five-page domain can attract only so much traffic.

Sitemaps and internal links – Have a sitemap that search engines can use to link all the pages in your website. The easier you make it for content to be found, the quicker you can get indexed and bring visitors onto those pages.

SEO is an evolving field, and there may never be a clear-cut definition of what is right and ethical. However, following a slow and steady link building practice from relevant domains will never get you into trouble. There are tempting advantages of black hat SEO. It may allow your domain to get ranked quickly, but you may tank just as quickly. At the end of the day, your moral compass allows you to decide on which side you want to be and how much risk you want to take with your marketing campaigns.

Powerful Product Portrayal

Earlier we blogged about how to use snippets for your ecommerce based website, and we got a flood of responses. This week, we will delve further into how you can work with your ecommerce website to achieve higher rankings and sales.

On-page SEO is an important part of the strategy for ranking. Content that will help your consumer feel connected to your product is key in making a sale. Keep in mind that it isn’t just the content on your page that is important. It’s a mix of content and presentation. Your website functions like a brochure for your products, and if that brochure doesn’t catch the consumer’s eye, sales are going to be that much tougher to drive.

Tuning Your Product Portrayal

The first step is to take a look at your website’s listing on Google by typing in site:domain.com, where domain.com is your domain name. This will show the default pages that Google has stored for you. You need to decide whether that description is acceptable or you need to edit it by adding a meta description tag to your pages. If your site is a few thousand products wide, it will take some time. However, the investment is worthwhile. And you should get started now!

Next, take a look at the way you’ve presented your product. If you haven’t offered at least a few paragraphs about why your product is interesting to your buyer, you’re missing out. Even websites selling showers offer more than just technical information.

Also, make sure you have a few high-resolution photos of your product so the end user knows what they are going to get. A great way to set yourself apart from the competition is to create a video for your product. It doesn’t need to be very long, just 20 to 30 seconds focusing on how the product functions and its selling points.

Market Terminology and Tone

Keep the end user who will be buying your product in mind, and think the way they would. Ensure that you have a description they would understand and relate to. Think of the words your customer would use to search for the product. They can be general to start with to generate traffic for long tail terms. Then you can add more specific terms like model number or other specifics in the text for someone who is looking for details.

Don’t Duplicate Content

Most manufacturers will provide a default description for their products. If you’re just going to copy and paste that text, you’re not getting very far. A lot of other websites have probably already done the same, plus there’s a chance you’ll get a negative ranking because you’re duplicating content. So stay away from those default descriptions.

Real Benefits vs. Feature Lists

Be creative about how the product you are selling will help solve a pain point that a customer may have instead of listing a set of product features. Most users are not expert enough to understand the technicalities of the products they are buying and are looking for general information on how they will benefit.

SEO-Friendly Descriptions

At the end of the day, you want to make sure that your descriptions are doing more than just the task of ensuring that your customer buys the product. You also want to rank your page for relevant search terms. The key, as we’ve said before, is using terms that you feel people would actually use for the product. Over time, you will see multiple phrases from your search history that are being used to find your website. Based on those terms, you can edit your product descriptions to maximize your SEO potential as well.

Test and Tweak

Finally, test and tweak your pages to the best of your ability. Google allows you to A/B test pages via their Analytics product. You can use other methods such as Multivariate and Taguchi tests as well. However, a simple split test is a great start to see what converts best for you.



Reasons to Invest in SEO

There’s never a time when your website couldn’t use a little more love at the search engines. After all, is there such a thing as too much traffic?! From time to time, you’ll notice some onsite factors that are a clear indication that you should start spending more time on your website before things get out of hand. Many of us see our websites as a backyard garden, something that we’ll tend to one of these days but just never really get down to doing.

Here’s a quick list of issues and tips for fixing up your website.

Dead Pages with Links Pointing to Them

During the course of maintaining your website, you will add new pages, update pages and remove pages. You may have removed pages because you stopped offering a product line or service. However, each page of your website can have external pages pointing to it, and search engines like to use these links as a signal about the quality of your website. When you have dead pages, you will generally have a new page that has come up in its place. You can set up a simple page redirect via your .htaccess file or via your CMS to ensure that the links you already have don’t lose potential and that your visitors have a seamless experience.

Slow Loading Pages

When your website loads slowly, it makes a difference in the end user experience. It also makes a difference in search engine rankings. If search engines notice your website can’t take the load, they will stop sending you as much traffic as you would like. The simple answer to fixing your speed problems is to get a better hosting company. The technically correct way of figuring out why your website is not working the way it should is to do a test on the loading pattern. You can run a test at tools.pingdom.com. Pingdom will give you a stat on how long each part of your website takes to load. The initial time taken is generally because of the programming code/logic. If you have a high first-byte time, you need to ask the programming team to clean up their code by caching or optimizing. You can also add a subdomain to store images, CSS and JavaScript files. This will make the load time quicker as you won’t have overhead data in your requests.

Checking Alternate Keywords

When you’ve optimized your website for a few keywords and have hit the sweet spot at search engines for traffic from those terms, you can always do more from there. A quick method to ensure that you are not leaving out ancillary products for your competition to snatch up is to look at your keywords log. Look at what phrases your customers are looking for when they visit your site, and see if you can create a product or service that would be useful to them. Quite often you will notice that people search for slightly similar terms to your products, and search engines will send you traffic thinking that your website has the required services available. It would be wise to invest some time and effort into making the most of that traffic and having something that your customers can use in those niches as well.

Mobile, Social and More

If you haven’t already created a mobile experience for your users, you need to look into that  soon. Mobile browsing isn’t just a fad anymore. It’s here to stay and it’s everywhere. People are looking at your website from their phones, and they need to see the data that is relevant to them quickly and easily before they move to alternate providers. Social websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are a great connection point. There’s nothing like hearing the pain and pleasure points so quickly from your end users and making changes to ensure that you are ready for the next big wave that people are looking for. The new media options available today allow us to hear what people want in an instant. If we don’t adapt to those demands, someone else will.

Getting Customer Reviews

Reviews are an excellent way to tell if a business is legit or not. A recent market survey shows that as many as 72% of people find reviews as valuable as personal recommendations. Reviews are important for search engine optimization as well, and they help as local ranking factors. When your website has reviews with Google, those pages will land higher in the local search engine ranks.

With social media allowing us to have our say so easily about a product and with review websites making reviews so easy to generate, it’s time to put a plan into action. Motivating your customers to post a review takes some strategy. Here are some basic points to follow to encourage your customers to provide reviews that will raise you above your competition.

First, try to get your website reviewed at a few different websites. Google+ is ideal to start with. After that, you can move to other sites like Yelp, ReviewCentre, Brownbook, Qype, Tipped and FreeIndex.

Ask for reviews at the right time. Most of your customers won’t have more than a few minutes to review your website, so it needs to be easy and convenient for them. The best time to ask for a review is the way the big guys do it – right after a purchase is made. Websites like eBay and Amazon include this function as part of their shopping cart, and it’s easy to integrate for your website as well. If you have a manual process, make sure you have your email ready to send as soon as your product sale notification goes out. Most customers are quite excited to receive their notification and will be happy to take part in a short review at that time.

Use your social media profiles creatively to evoke responses from your customers. Most of your customers will have social media handles as well. Although most people use Facebook, you can leverage all the media you can to get reviews. Google+ is definitely the top one to look for. With Google+, you rely on your client having an account with Google. However, the integration with search engine results is far better than with other providers. Since these reviews can improve your local search results, make sure you ask for reviews with your circles.

Facebook has a review tab that allows anyone who visits your company page to see recommendations from other users. They can also leave their own review for your products. To enable the review tab, you need to be a local business, list your address and check “show this map on the page.” Since Facebook has a billion users and climbing, getting people to review you should be quick and easy to do. Then, make sure to keep the review URL handy to send to your customers.

LinkedIn also has a great review system. It allows you to display recommendations on your company profile page or on your name as an individual. The only condition for LinkedIn reviews is that your clients must to be on LinkedIn and connected to your profile.

Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube do not have review sections. But they can contribute to your review strategy. With Twitter, you can post snippets of your reviews and ask for retweets from your fans. When your fans see these reviews, they are encouraged to write in as well. Pinterest allows you to create specific boards for your reviews. So if you have images or written testimonials of your reviews, you can post them into your boards for people to see. YouTube is the toughest one to get a review on, of course, but a video testimonial goes a long way. And they are great to have on your website.

These are just a few ways you can generate reviews for your website. Be open to a mix of approaches on how to engage your customers. But keep one rule in mind: strike when the iron is hot, catch your customers when they’re feeling good about your business, and make sure they have all the options they need to review your business.