Five Key Tips on How to Optimise for Google’s ‘Local Pack’

Is your business in Google’s ‘Local Pack’? This refers to the top three listings showcased during a relevant search. Statistics show how valuable this position can be, with the first result receiving 33.55% clicks per search, the second 14.96% per search and finally 9.3% clicks per search. So how do you make it into the top three businesses showcased in Google’s Local Pack?

how to get in the google local pack tips

There are three different criteria to rank the listings and dictate who will appear in the Local Pack.
1.Relevance:how much does a local listing matches what someone is searching for?
2. Distance:how fair is each potential search results from the location term used in a search?
3. Prominence: how well-known is a business?

First of all, you MUST have a Google My Business listing. Complete all of the information fields and most importantly, verify it! This will give your business credibility. Here are the top five tips to optimise your Google My Business Listing to give your business the best chance of showing in the Local Pack.

1. Reviews
Focus on receiving positive reviews. Google highly values the amount of reviews a website gets, if they are positive, and if the company responds.

2. Online Directories
List your business on as many relevant, local directories as possible. The more citations you have on other websites and directories, the more prominent your business will become. Ensure your NAP details (name, address and phone number) are identical as this will create more credibility and weight behind your business in Google’s eyes.

3. Backlinks
Focus on earning local backlinks. Local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) relies far more on local backlinks than usual SEO, so make a target of getting mentioned and linked in a particular number of other local websites relevant to your own. For example, if you were a cafe in Dunedin, it would be hugely advantageous for your SEO if you could have an inbound link on a Dunedin tourism website, or on the coffee supplier’s website that you use, so visitors will know you are a local stockist of a certain coffee or other product.

4. NAP Details
Make sure all pages of your website, your NAP details are identical to those entered in your Google My Business listing. To further increase your rating, embed a Google Map with a business marker into your landing page. These improvements to your website are important because Google’s new blended algorithm that it introduced in 2015, now takes into account your website’s SEO rating as well as your Google My Business listing.

5. Sync website and Google My Business description

Sync your Google My Business description and your website’s landing page so they both contain relevant keywords and NAP details/Google syncs all these details with the amount of reviews you have and the amount of citations/backlinks you have, and they will start working together to give your website a better chance of ranking higher.


Helpful Tips to get Your Organisation ready for GDPR

Have you heard of the European Union’s (EU) new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? It came into effect on 25 May 2018, and is known as “the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years”. While it is an EU law, it applies not only to EU-based entities, but also to any organisation worldwide (including those in New Zealand) that have personal data of EU citizens or residents, even if these residents are not living in the EU. The fine is hefty; up to $20 million euros or 4% of annual worldwide turnover (whichever is higher).

Now is a good time to review your marketing strategies that involve collecting, tracking or using your customers’ personal data. While we recommend you consult with a legal and/or privacy professional to understand the full scope of your obligations under the GDPR, here are some tips that might be helpful for fulfilling your compliance obligations.

Firstly, it’s important to understand what is meant by ‘Personal Data’.
Personal data is broadly defined in the GDPR as any information relating to a person who can be identified either directly or indirectly. These can range from from personal details such as name, address, financial, medical and location details to images and voice recordings. The Law Society of New Zealand provides a comprehensive list of all the forms of personal data included under GDPR.

What are the New GDPR Regulations?

There are multiple changes as to how a business can use personal data from now on. Three major changes that are most likely to affect New Zealand businesses are:
The customer now has to take clear, affirmation action to give consent for the use of their personal information. Inactivity does not constitute as consent.
The business must give a clear, specific explanation to the individual of what data will be collected and what it will be used for.
The data can only be collected for a specified, explicit and legitimate purpose and may not be used for any alternative purposes.

What Action Should You Take as a Business Owner?

Review these processes below to ensure they comply with GDPR requirements.

1. Update Sign Up or Subscriber Forms

Review consent with existing subscribers, and if it contained a pre-ticked box or any other form of non-action gaining of consent, run a “re-permission” email campaign to gain consent that complies with GDPR legislation.
Review your subscription forms for new subscribers and ensure they have to actively consent to the use of their personal information, such as an ‘opt-in’ box.
Ensure you have an easy “opt-out” option for users to withdraw their consent later on.

2. Update your Privacy Policy

Ensure you are transparent and clearly state what personal data you will be collecting and what purpose you will be using it for.
Explicitly state any third-parties that you will share user’s personal data with, such as analytics and payment processes.
Ensure the policy is written in simple language that is easy to understand to the user.
Explain the subscriber’s right to, at any time, submit a ‘User Access Request'. This means providing the user, free of charge, the following information: what personal information is being processed, why this information is being processed, who has access to it and how this information is being used.

3. Notify Existing Customers

Once you have updated your Privacy Policy, make sure you notify existing customers. See Creative Market’s email as an example:

How Will GDPR Affect Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

The posting of content and engaging fans will not be affected majorly by the new regulations, because it does not usually collect personal data from users who view or engage with it. However, there are still two things you should avoid doing:

  • Exporting or saving the contact details of your followers
    If you are sending traffic from your social media account to your website and using Google Analytics to analyse this, you will need consent to track visitor behaviour
  • Social advertising (or paid social media marketing) is a different story.

If you are running social media ads, and wish to use your customers’ data or track their behaviour, you must gain their legal consent to do so. This means having clear ‘opt-in’ option, which the customer must actively consent to. While most of this will be covered in the terms and conditions and privacy notices of the majority of social media platforms, it would be wise to check this and ensure you are gaining consent through their policies.

If you are using lead form ads, such as on Facebook, you will need to state what you are using the data for, how it will be processed and gain explicit consent again from the user. Facebook now allows you to add a custom disclaimer to your page, which you can use to include all the additional necessary information to comply with GDPR.


9 Top Tips on Pay-Per-Click Advertising

1. What is pay-per-click advertising?
Pay-per-click, or PPC, is one of the tools you can use to promote a business online, the most well-known is Google Adwords. It is a specific type of search engine marketing designed to drive traffic to your website. When certain keywords are entered into a search engine, your ad appears in the search results. You only pay when a user clicks on your ad.

2. Where do ads appear and what do they look like?
Search engines like Google and Bing allow businesses and individuals to buy listings in their search results (ads). They appear alongside, and increasing above the non-paid organic search results. The ads can have several different looks depending on which search engine you decide to advertise with.

3. What are the benefits of PPC ads?

  • Speed - PPC ads can be launched quickly, bringing in targeted traffic and leads to your website almost immediately.
  • Cost - You only pay when an ad is clicked. It’s easy to manage costs, track conversions, and determine your Return On Investment (ROI).
  • Reach - You can target specific target markets and bring in additional traffic to your website.
  • Control - You can modify your ads, try new search terms, pause campaigns and restart whenever.
  • It Can Be Very Effective - When set up correctly, it can really work! That is why many spend millions on paid search.

4. What sites offer PPC advertising?
Google AdWords is the most popular but there are others like Bing and Yahoo who also offer PPC advertising.

5. What are the components of a PPC ad?
Google Adwords PPC ad:

  • Headline 1 (30 characters).  Include keywords and use attention grabbing headlines.
  • Headline 2 (30 characters). More room to add to your headline or perhaps describe who you are targeting.
  • Description lines (80 characters).  Describe your product or service. It’s good to include a “call to action”
  • Display URL. Shows your website address.

Google also offers:

Sitelink Extensions
Link Text: 25 Characters
Description Line 1: 35 Characters
Description Line 2: 35 Characters

Callout Extensions
Callout Text: 25 Characters

Structured Snippets
Value 1, 2, 3…: 25 Characters

Bing PPC ad:

  • Ad title (60 characters).  Two 30-character ad titles separated by a hyphen
  • Ad text (80 characters). Highlighting the details of your product or service.
  • Display URL. Domain and subdomain automatically generated from your final URL plus two customisable URL paths.

6. How do you find the best keywords to use in an ad?
Keywords are very important. They may make or break your ad so you need to choose wisely. There are tools that help you to select the best keywords. Try the Keyword Tool or check out this list of keyword tools.

7. Keyword Match Types: What’s the difference between broad, phrase, exact and negative match?

  • Broad match. With this option, customers will see your ad if they enter searches that are “similar” to your keywords. Ads may show on searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations.
    - Example keyword: web design
    - Example search: hire web designer
  • Broad match modifier. Ads may show on searches that contain the modified term (or close variations, but not synonyms), in any order.
    - Example keyword: +web +design
    - Example search: design for web
  • Phrase match. Ads may show on searches that are a phrase, and close variations of that phrase.
    - Example keyword: "web design”
    - Example search: a great web design example
  • Exact match. With this option, customers will only see your ad if they enter the exact keyword, or keyword phrase that you selected.
    - Example keyword: [web design]
    - Example search: web design
  • Negative match. With this option, you can select keywords that you don’t want your ad associated with. If these words are entered into the search bar, your ad won’t show up.

8. How can I target my PPC ad?

  • Device. Choose which devices you want to target (phone, desktop or tablet).
  • Location. Target people within a certain geographical area.
  • Language. Select a specific language to target.

9. Where can I find more resources on PPC advertising?


Introducing Our New Designer

Johanna joins us with over 9 years of UX design expertise from agencies and in-house marketing teams in Australia, New Zealand and England. Her most recent role was the Senior Graphic Designer in a Brisbane Marketing Agency and is excited to have moved back to New Zealand and closer to family.

Johanna has taken on the challenge of her new role with enthusiasm and has already created some amazing design work for our clients. Her pro-active and quality-driven approach is evident in her work to date.

Her industry knowledge and creative flair will undoubtedly prove an invaluable addition to our team.

 


Google URL Shortener Tool Being Replaced

Are you using the goo.gl tool to shortener your URL links for social media? Google have stated that from April, 2018 only existing users will be able to create short links on the goo.gl console. You will be able to view your analytics data and download your short link information in csv format for up to one year, until March 30, 2019, when this service will be discontinued. However, previously created links will continue to redirect to their intended destination.

Example of the URL, the shortened URL and the number of link clicks on the goo.gl console.

Google launched the URL Shortener in 2009 as a way to help people more easily share links and measure traffic online. Since then, many popular URL shortening services have emerged and the ways people find content on the Internet have also changed dramatically, from primarily desktop webpages to apps, mobile devices, home assistants, and more.

Google is replacing this service with Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL). FDLs are smart URLs that allow you to send existing and potential users to any location within an iOS, Android or web app. From now on it would be advisable to switch to this new service or to use a different URL shortener such as Bitly as your existing shortened links will not be transferred over to Google’s new FDL.

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The New Year Website Review Checklist

You probably have made some personal new year resolutions but what about some for your business too? Take the time to reflect over your business website. Review your metrics, such as Google Analytics, and use this valuable information as you plan campaigns for 2018 and beyond.

This is the ideal time to take a retrospective review of what has and what hasn’t worked during the past 12 months. Spend a few minutes going through our Website 7-step checklist – customers’ expectations are higher than ever and this could make all the difference for 2018.

  1. Develop a clear, specific, actionable and measurable 2018 website marketing plan. 
We all know businesses must take a strategic marketing approach to be successful but often this important step is overlooked. The purpose of your marketing plan is to identify 1) who your target customers are 2) how you will reach them 3) how you will retain your customers 4) what your unique selling proposition is 5) how you will measure your action.
  2. Online Research:
    1. Check out the top 4 ranking websites in Google for the keywords relating to your industry and look at what they’re doing well online
    2. Research all online directories and search engines to make sure you are listed and investigate if there are any key ones you should pay for an upgrade
  3. Challenge your views as to what your customers think about your business and their requirements – does your website content cover everything when you know nothing about your products/services?
  4. Ensure that all your printed marketing material includes your web and social media addresses and that your social media platforms link back to your website from the about section and from posts.
  5. Refresh your design
Does your site look fresh and consistent with what your brand is aiming to portray? Have some of your competitors’ sites started to look better than yours? Maybe it’s time to upgrade some imagery, add new page layout or do a complete overhaul.
  6. Discuss with your web designer/developer that there are back ups available should something go wrong.
  7. Finally, schedule a monthly reminder to track your performance against your planned objectives. Analytics is a great tool to monitor your web results. Your original plan may not be working as well as it should or factors outside of your control may mean that it is time to revise and refine your plan.
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Does Website Speed Matter for your Web Rankings?

Watch this useful video about the importance of speed, how to reduce page load time and improve conversions. It may not make total sense but it will give you an understanding and put you on a better footing to discuss such issues with your web developer. In fact, you can check the speed of your site and other factors by grading your website with this free tool goo.gl/UJDfLL

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Breaking News From Facebook – the End of the Newsfeed as We Know It

Mark Zuckerberg announced on the 11 January 2018 that significant changes to the Newsfeed are about to be implemented over the next few weeks. The focus being on posts from friends and family shown over businesses and publishers: "..prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people."  The key here being people and no mention of organisations.

As for the future of the Facebook Newsfeed, Zuckerberg states users will see "less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses." See Mark's Facebook post below revealing this latest, significant update that will impact ALL businesses and organisations who use Facebook as a marketing tool to reach fans.

Mark Zuckerberg announces the end of the newsfeed for businesses as we know it

Due to the declining space availability in the Newsfeed, Facebook states that it wants to focus on "showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses."

Interestingly, when I shared this article on my personal Facebook page a friend commented how relieved she was that "Facebook listened" about how she was sick of seeing "sponsored ads" in her newsfeed. Many like her will be thinking the same -  they don't realise that it's the organic reach that Facebook is severely cutting back on. They certainly aren't reducing paid advertising. Now, more than ever, Facebook is a "pay to play" platform.
facebook announcement zero organic reach

What Will Be the Impact on Business Facebook Pages?

This latest announcement has caused a huge stir in the social media marketing world. And so it should.  ALL Pages will notice a significant drop in organic reach as Facebook clearly states "As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease."

We have seen a declining organic reach for the past few years, with reach dropping from about 16% to 2% with speculation rife that it would drop even further, potentially to 0%.

Develop New Strategies

Let's be 100% clear about this annoucement - Facebook is effectively deprioritising business' posts. There are some who say it won't matter as much as the hype leads us to believe - we just need to "post relevant content and generate meaningful conversations" However, most businesses don't actually understand what this means and have been getting it wrong for awhile now. It's absolutely critical for businesses and organisations to develop a Facebook strategy that covers how to get around the algorithm - and that businesses will have to 'pay to play.'

Your emphasis must absolutely now be on posting highly relevant, entertaining content that appeals to your target market and definitely do not use 'engagement-baiting' techniques. Any posts that have a 'passive experience' in other words, no interaction from Fans, will definitely lead to no organic reach and will impact negatively on future posts. Properly understanding how the Newsfeed and algorithm works is vital. According to leading Social Media Expert, Micheal Stelzner part of this update will affect the strategy of linking to your blog from Facebook "The days of traffic from the Newsfeed to blog posts are dead."

If you have engaged a social media company or individual to manage your Facebook Page, and, if they haven't been in touch, make sure you initiate a meeting to discuss a revised strategy for your Page. Don't have a social media company? We offer consultancy, private training or you can attend a Facebook Group Training Session coming up in February 2018 in Dunedin.

If you want further information or advice on what to do for your Facebook Page, you can email philippa@cre8ive.co.nz

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SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and is a structured planning method that evaluates those four elements of an organisation. This analytical framework that can help an organisation face its marketing challenges and find its most promising new markets.

STRENGTHS

Within the organisation and external strengths, such as client relationships.

  1. What are your strengths?
  2. What unique capabilities does your business posses?

Possible strengths in marketing might be:

  • An innovative product or service
  • The location of the business
  • The reputation of the brand for being trusted or perceived as being of high quality

WEAKNESSES

Weaknesses are aspects of your business that detract from the value you offer or that place you at a competitive disadvantage.

  1. What are your weaknesses?
  2. What do your competitors do better than you?

Possible weaknesses might include:

  • Lack of a clear product/service differentiation
  • Weak distribution compared with competitors
  • Inadequate social media presence

OPPORTUNITIES

Factors that could lead to your business prospering.

  1. What trends may positively impact you?
  2. What opportunities are out there?

Potential opportunities could include:

  • The use of technology to develop new products
  • Growing demand from overseas markets
  • The use of new social media platforms to reach new target markets

THREATS

Includes external factors beyond your control that could place your strategy, or business, at risk. You have no control over these but you may benefit by having contingency plans in place.

  1. Do you have solid financial support?
  2. What trends may negatively impact you?

Possible threats could include:

  • Competitors introducing new products at lower prices
  • Changes in the economic environment
  • Changes in customer tastes and fashions
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