Your Competitors Are Claiming Your Business Listings!
Here is why you must not ignore your online business listings
In today's competitive environment, your business listings and/or citations truly matter. A few months ago, I've met with a GM of one of the largest car dealership networks in the country. While we discussed the key challenges related to ever-changing online consumer behavior, online reviews and digital marketing opportunities, the citation issue came up is such way that simply floored me.
His marketing department complained that some of the online business listings have been claimed by competitors whereby they don't change the name of the company, but rather change the main phone number, email address and/or a website link.
Since virtually everyone shops online prior to buying or leasing a new car, people that found the listing for a Honda dealership, ended up buying from Hyundai, because someone on their end had decided to take the extra step, and sabotage Honda’s unclaimed listing.
The worst thing was, there was no recourse and marketing folks were now admitting that it was virtually impossible to maintain accurate business listings across so many online sources.
You need to manage your listings
You need to make sure that your listings are truly managed, and it may take a tremendous amount of effort to do it manually.
At the Reputation Mart, we offer a fully automated business listing synchronization and monitoring solution that will not only synchronize your listings across dozens of online directories, but will also claim and lock your listings so that no one could re-claim your intellectual property.
Secure your business listings today >>
What is SEO, and How to Select the Right SEO Company
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a multifaceted, scientific discipline. SEO is hard to do, and even harder to sustain. It must always align with the search engine rules. You are always walking a thin line, risking to lose free traffic to your website, overnight. It requires a lot of highly specialized skill sets that takes years to hone. Somehow, every corner of the Universe is filled with SEO “gurus” and “specialists”. If you are as skeptical as I am, you are probably right.
You see, I’ve been toying with SEO for over 20-years. It started as a hobby and slowly turned into paying gigs. Still, every day I learn something new. The more you experiment, the more you learn. Over the years, the concept of search engine optimization has not changed. The search engine rules did, a lot, making it harder and harder to keep the free traffic flowing to a small business website. Since larger businesses produce enough organic buzz to stimulate the free traffic, SMBs need to work extra hard to achieve similar results.
Can an SEO Company Guarantee Results?
A few years back, we could guarantee SEO results and deliver on our promises, 100%. Back then, major search engines embarked on a journey of hoarding the advertising revenues, and the changes to the search algorithms became more and more frequent. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why the changes are being implemented, and fully support search results relevancy, or at least their attempt to be as relevant as possible.
Despite every attempt to achieve search result relevancy, and billions of dollars spent on research and development initiatives, traditional consumer search is still far from perfect. That however, does not bother the major search engines as long as pay per click advertising revenues keep increasing, keeping the shareholders happy.
Now back to the SEO.. Relevancy is a tricky thing. You can have the best, most compelling website content in the world, yet you won't rank as high as you should in the search results unless you follow the search engine rules. When I say “follow”, I mean it. Google, as an example, published and keeps updating webmaster guidelines. Anyone who reads those guidelines, immediately fires their SEO guy in an attempt to save money and that’s where the trouble begins. Alright, I’ve exaggerated a little.
To conclude, if a SEO company guarantees fast results without hesitation, run, and run fast. Search Engine optimization is a long term strategy with many unknowns which are beyond the control of your business, your webmaster and/or the consulting company.
Dissecting Google Webmaster Guidelines
While Google’s guidelines are a great starting point for webmasters, it assumes that the webmasters reading the guidelines are very experienced, and have enough experience to understand the depth of Google’s messaging. For example, Google insists that link building in any way, shape or form is frowned upon. They also suggest that if you have unique, quality content, the Internet community will find and disseminate it organically. It would be true, if anyone would look for your content on page 10 of Google search results. Another example is using the keywords in your content that no one is searching for. Thanks Google, and good luck with that.
When you are starting out, or introducing a new product or service, search engines don’t want you to be on the first page getting a ton of free traffic. They want you to use pay per click advertising to generate more revenue for themselves. It’s their business model, and it won’t change anytime soon. In fact, pay per click traffic, while follows it’s own rules, is by far a more stable source in comparison to organic traffic.
The Best SEO Strategy
It appears that the best strategy for any business is to embrace a combination of organic and pay per click traffic. So, instead of giving up, you must optimize your website to be in line with Google’s guidelines. I would not recommend doing it on your own, unless you have the necessary expertise. How many times you have done a home improvement only to later realize that you should have hired a professional? You get the gist of it.
While solid, sustainable website optimization does rely on unique, high quality content, many SEO professionals got it down to a science. They also keep up with the latest changes implemented by the search engine, and react accordingly in a timely manner, to protect the flow of the free traffic to your website. The main issue business owners have is finding the right SEO “guy”.
Here is How to Select the Right SEO Company
The following may help your selection process:
Online Reputation Rules are Changing
New browser version. New reality.
The new Google Chrome browser will be released soon. It will pack the most recent updates. Generally, most businesses have no valid reason to pay attention to every newly released browser version; this time around is different. If your business has a website, you must understand the most important Chrome update that may negatively affect your website visitors’ confidence.
To try and keep our personal information more secure, Google has introduced a notification in the address bar letting the website’s visitors know if the website is not secure. How does Google know this? Simple. If your website does not use HTTPS as opposed to HTTP (meaning that the information transferred between your website and visitors device is not encrypted), Google Chrome will display a non-secure notification to your website’s visitor. This major change follows an earlier announcement by the Google team that stated that the company will reward the websites that use SSL, a secure connection, by ranking these websites higher in search results.
What importance does this hold for your business?
If you don't use SSL currently, you have an issue concerning your website ranking within search results. When the updated Chrome browser is released, you will have a much bigger problem as your website’s visitors will be greeted with the "non-secure website" notification. Most definitely, something like that would affect your online business reputation. Since over 57% of people use the Google Chrome browser, it's the force to be reckoned with.
Protecting your online reputation.
Your business has to react quickly before your customers and prospects engage with your competitors.
To address both search engine rankings and ensure you are not penalized for non secure data transfer, you should add an SSL certificate to all public facing websites and web applications. The good news is that it's simple, and your webmaster or a web development partner can address it in a matter of hours. Over the years, the price of secure certificates has decreased significantly, so that it wouldn’t be too hard on your bottom line.
What about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Well, since Google uses HTTPS as a rankings signal, unless getting free traffic to your website is not one of your main goals, adding the necessary security must be one of the top priorities. Of course, your website optimization won't end there, though it will help you rank better.
ReputationMart.com - passionate digital marketing team.