Archive: 24th February 2021

SEO

Keyword Research for Small Businesses

Keyword Research for Small Businesses explained

What are Keywords? According to Moz.com’s definition, Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, they’re the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called “search queries.”  In other words, you need to carry out research on the words and phrases searchers use online when looking for the products or services that you sell. If you are new to this concept, then our handy guide to keyword research for small businesses will be illuminating.

How do you find out about what users are searching for?

Using Google Autosuggest.

Here is an example of using the Google autosuggest feature to help you see what terminology your customers use when looking for your type of business.

In this first series I am assuming the role of a café owner in Kirkwall Orkney. This is a remote island off the North Coast of Scotland only reachable by ferry. Therefore it will not be an overly popular search term, but will be known by locals and regular visitors. What words should I use in my social media descriptions, web pages, blogs?

First I tried ‘Cafes Kirkwall’

The first result is the Google Map Pack, so I must make sure my business is on Google My Business.

Google Map Pack for SERPS
Search Engine Results aren’t just keyword based

 

But if I am a café owner in Kirkwall what other phrases are people using to search, are they any specific things they are looking for? In this next example when we look at the Google autosuggest drop down we can see that specific names are being entered, which suggests that locals or regular visitors are searching as they know the business names. So I can make sure my content is aimed at them.

Using Google Autosuggest
Google Autosuggest gives insights into types of customers searching

 

Looking for very specific phrases is what you should aim for because this gives you something that is not super popular and will be more likely to get you found as you are not competing with as many other sites who will be going for the obvious.

If you are a location based business then you will naturally want to rank for business type and location as above. So how do you go beyond the obvious? Try typing in alternatives and see what Google suggest comes up with. So still with the same theme of being a café owner in Kirkwall, I put myself in the shoes of a tourist and Googled ‘Places to eat Kirkwall’ – Now the autosuggest is getting more creative.

 

Researching Key Phrases
Trial different phrases to find more niche terms

 

‘Eat out to help out’ is topical, ‘best restaurants in Orkney’ are two more phrases that could be used in content. Putting in Cafes Orkney yielded a segment of dog friendly cafes and cafes in Kirkwall, how about being more specific again?

Keyword Research for Small Businesses
Try specific terms not just business type and location

 

Being a rural location, there are not many keywords or phrases to deviate from, so following a basic SEO strategy will yield good results.

But what of busier places like cities? You would have to be more creative. Look what happens in autosuggest if looking for a vegetarian café in Glasgow

Looking for niche terms
Where there is more competition it’s critical to research phrases

 

Glasgow being a large area – users are specifying different parts of the city and even putting in road names. Therefore, carrying out research beforehand helps you to align what you offer and how you describe your services online with what your users are searching for.

Keyword Research for Service Businesses

What if you aren’t a physical premises and you are a service? There are more tools again that you can work with.

In this next series of examples, I am now an outside catering business. First I googled ‘Outside Catering’ with no specific location. This was in the hope of eeking out some potential blog topics or subject matter for social posts that don’t have to be geographically specific.

Google suggest came up with the obvious geographical ‘near me’ but further down are some interesting angles of ‘outside catering meaning’, ‘for weddings’, ‘ideas’ and ‘company’. Therefore, if you provide outside catering services this is useful information. If you do cater for weddings, then some blogs or pages dedicated to this service on your website or social channels will help optimise your presence.

Use search for blog topic ideas
Try a search without your location for content ideas

 

Other Great Online Tools

If you are doing keyword research for a service-based business and regularly blog, then there is another feature that you can make use of for blog topics and it’s the ‘Questions People Ask’ segment of the search engine results page. These don’t always appear, it depends on the subject matter, but it’s something to look out for when carrying out your investigations.

Using People Also Ask Feature
The People Also Ask feature is invaluable for content ideas

 

As you can see there are some potential ideas above ‘What does outside catering mean?’ or ‘What is the average cost of catering per person?’ would be interesting articles to write.

Further down this page there are also other suggestions in the ‘Searches related to outside catering’ segment.

Keyword research for service businesses
Google also offers suggestions at the bottom of each page

 

 

As well as Google, Bing will also have similar information and may have different results than Google and may be worth exploring.

 

Casting the net wider

Below is a list of online platforms that allow you to carry out more in-depth research.

If you are a producer of regular content, written or visual, the starting point is always keyword research. If you are going to be doing this on a regular basis I advise that you embed the  ‘Keywords Everywhere’ app into your Google Chrome platform. Every time you carry out a query it will display the keywords down the right hand side automatically with some graphical data.

 

9 Top free Keyword Research Tools 2021

 

  1. Uber Suggest
  2. Google Trends
  3. Keywords Everywhere
  4. Google and Youtube suggest
  5. Bing forums
  6. Exploding topics.com
  7. Wikipedia
  8. Reddit
  9. Answer the public – this allows limited daily searches and there is a monthly fee if you need to go beyond it, but for content creation is well worth the outlay as it is a goldmine for not only keyword research but market research as well.

 

Where should you use keywords?

Don’t get carried away.

There is an online etiquette around this science. At the end of the day, we need to write for the reader not the search engines. Therefore, the algorithms look for naturally written content, so as long as you start the web page, article or advertisement with the keyword, the rest of the content can use synonyms.

Google looks for around 1% penetration, so for a 300-word article the keyword or phrase only needs to appear three times. One of those will be in the first paragraph and one will be a subheading. Leaving one to show at any other point in the narrative. Anything above this will viewed as keyword stuffing and you will be penalised.

To follow best practice, use your chosen words or phrases in the title of any page or article (which should be labelled with H1 or Header tag you can find this label in your text box editor), a subheading and the first paragraph. The longer the content then there will need to be more appearances.

 

Blind Bots

If there are images or video within the content, the keywords will need to be embedded into those as the bots that index content can only read text. The keyword labelling tells the bots what the image is about and that it is related to the wider content. There is a box called Alt Text this must be filled in along with other boxes that appear within the image such as description and caption.

 

Organic and Paid Content

Researching keywords for organic content is straightforward if you look for what people are searching for and you consistently post and create, the tip for organic is get as niche as you can. When analysing words and phrases for paid advertising it can be a bit tricky because you are bidding on them and the prices fluctuate like the stock market and it can be expensive.

Using Uber Suggest or Google Keyword Planner will give you in depth metrics on search volume, words your competitors use, their highest performing articles or pages and what receives the best engagement.

Organic content is always a long-term strategy as it takes time to perform and build brand awareness, so people know that you exist and where to find you.

If you are a new business, paid ads are a great way to get instant visibility based on keywords. If you want to know which keywords are performing well, use these tools to carry out in depth study. It may also be worth viewing the ads in the search engine results page to see what phrase they rank number one on.

The search engine results pages usually return paid ads above the Google Map Pack and above organically performing sites, they always have ‘Ad’ written next to them to indicate they have ranked based on paid positioning.

In this example I googled Plumbers Near Me and the first results were Ads, this is probably due to the time of year, the high demand for plumbers and the amount of competition, meaning it is worth their while to pay for the visibility.

 

Keyword Research for paid ads
Paid Ads always display with ‘Ad’ next to the listing

 

 

Paying other businesses to operate your search engine ranking

It can be tempting when running a business to pay agencies hundreds of pounds per month to run your ads for you. For the average small business this is not necessary. If you are a local business then make use of Google My Business, Facebook ads and other local SEO tactics. If you are an E commerce business then Google Ads will pay dividends, to begin with, try running them yourself. Google has plenty of resources, guides, tutorials and staff to assist you in getting to grips with the science of paid ads. You are best investing time in taking the Google tutorials and learning through trial and error, thus leaving more budget for ads rather than paying third parties.

Thank you

For taking the time to read our blogs. Positive Sales and Marketing is a small business in the North West of England passionate about educating the UK hospitality and freelance artist sector on understanding their marketing.

We offer training and education to enable businesses to take control of their own destiny rather than blindly relying on agencies. We can also offer transparent website design services and copywriting should this be taking up too much of your time.

We work with clients all over the UK and also operate directories for the holiday accommodation sector.

We would love to hear from you, give us a call on 01257 433331 or 01744 670055 or email Caroline@positivesalesandmarketing.co.uk

You can also find us on Twitter @Psalesmarketing or Instagram possalesmarketing  – please follow us to read our blogs or receive daily inspiration.

 

 

 

Linked In Guide 2021

Linked In Guide 2021

Linked In is the social platform favoured by professionals and is usually more geared up for Business to Business networking.  Although Positive Sales and Marketing supports the hospitality sector, there may be individuals or businesses within this sector that will make use of Linked In. Maybe you are a caterer that serves local offices and events, or you are an event management company that uses suppliers from hospitality. Therefore, we have put together this quick Linked In guide 2021, listing the features you can utilise to raise your personal profile and to showcase your business. The company and showcase pages are a great alternative if you don’t have a website, where you can demonstrate your expertise and professionalism in your field.

Personal Profile and Company Page

Linked In has two elements, first the personal profile to build your personal brand. This is ideal for professional freelancers and employees that build relationships with customers. It is a platform for networking and keeping abreast of industry news. It also allows you to exhibit your expertise and thought leadership. Secondly you can set up a company page as a business overview and then make showcase pages for each of your services.

Linked In’s Guidance

Linked In itself makes recommendations on how to put together your personal profile. One thing it isn’t is an online version of your CV. It is a platform to tell your story, share your ethics and values and how you can be of service to your industry based on your current skills and attributes.

Here is a summary of Linked In’s recommendations for your personal profile

  • Your profile picture should be professional and high quality resolution
  • The background photo should be of your business
  • The headline is not just a job title – explain the why and what of your role
  • Summary – this should tell your story, narrate your ethics, values and vision
  • Avoid common buzzwords
  • Sync up with your email list – connect to clients you already know
  • Keep your skills relevant
  • Complete Linked In Learning courses and display certificates
  • Share case studies
  • Use the publications section to share your blogs, e-books or whitepapers
  • Add comments when you like and share posts
  • Share and comment regularly on other posts to share expertise

Other Features of Linked In

Once you have completed your personal profile if you are a business, you can set up a company page and link it to your personal profile. The company page shows information about your business, its mission, values and proposition. From your company page you can set up showcase pages that can reveal what your services are in more depth, the norm is one page per service. You are allowed up to 10 pages.

Showcase pages are also great for your clients because they can choose to simply follow the page they are interested in rather than the company profile.

To set up showcase pages first set up your company page, then click on the edit drop down menu on the right hand side and choose ‘create a showcase page’.

Linked In Guide 2021 Top Tips

Below is a checklist of tips to enhance your profile and company listing.

 

  • Optimise your profile – say what you can do for others
  • Engage – share/comment/like (not sell)
  • When you connect – personalise the default message and put in a call to action – meet for coffee etc
  • Use the publishing platform to educate/inform/inspire
  • Create and build business relationships – build smart network rather than a large network through connections based on relevance TO YOU such as location/industries you have worked in/suppliers
  • Don’t just have a profile – be active, because 350m people are on Linked In
  • It is the top B2B tool for generating leads (especially if you upgrade to the paid for version)
  • 40% of users check in daily
  • Customise your URL – so that it is easy to transfer to other channels or print on business collateral
  • Fill in profile fully, there is a graphic within your dashboard showing how complete it is
  • In your summary – tell your story, include keywords and answer basic questions
  • Add media – documents/photos/links/presentations/videos
  • Don’t forget to encourage endorsements of your skills
  • Encourage happy customers to leave recommendations
  • Include any honours, awards or publications you have
  • Post once per day as it immediately makes you more visible than your competitors
  • Set up a company page and use ‘showcase pages’ to segment your services
  • Use the publisher stats on the publishing platform for a breakdown of the demographic of readers
  • Include calls to action in your posts
  • Promote Linked In URL on other media
  • Consider some of the features that you need to pay for such as Sales Navigator that links you to your potential leads
  • Join Linked In Profinder Network for Freelancers

 

Linked In is a platform that requires an initial investment of time to set up and maximise but only needs a once per day check in to engage and share, so not time intensive. If you publish regular articles and blogs its publishing platform is the best of all the social channels.

Thank you

For taking the time to read our blogs. Positive Sales and Marketing is a small business in the North West of England passionate about educating the UK hospitality and freelance artist sector on understanding their marketing.

We offer training and education to enable businesses to take control of their own destiny rather than blindly relying on agencies. We can also offer transparent website design services and copywriting should this be taking up too much of your time.

We work with clients all over the UK and also operate directories for the holiday accommodation sector.

We would love to hear from you, give us a call on 01257 433331 or 01744 670055 or email Caroline@positivesalesandmarketing.co.uk

You can also find us on Twitter @Psalesmarketing or Instagram possalesmarketing please follow us to read our blogs or receive daily inspiration.

 

 

 

 

SEO

Guide to Google My Business

Guide to Google My Business

Google My Business is the number one on your to do list if you are a business serving a local community and you want to enhance your local SEO strategy to make sure you get found. There are two aspects to operating it which we cover in this guide to Google My Business.

  1. Set Up
  2. Maintenance

This may seem like stating the obvious but 95% of small businesses we have worked with to help set up their GMB then neglect it. It is important that you develop the mindset early on that this a platform similar to your social profiles, it requires maintenance.

The best way to contextualise GMB in your mind is to see it as your virtual shop window. Searchers are people walking down the high street, they land in your area virtually and then you appear on the street amongst other similar businesses at the same time. Searchers can peer through your shop window by looking at your images, opening hours, reviews and services, all whilst still in Google. If they like what they see they can go into your virtual shop by clicking on your website.

If you don’t have a listing then you are not visible and if your competitors are then you will be losing valuable leads.

Here is an example – We Googled ‘Pubs Orkney’ this is what we got back as a search result – a map with pins on and the list of entries matching this description, straight away we can see key information. Name, photograph, reviews, opening hours.

 

Guide to Google My Business
When carrying out a search you will see the Google Map Pack

 

Then when we click on a particular listing we get more information, again without leaving the search engine

As you can see this is promotion gold and it costs nothing to set up and maintain. Naturally, Google are a business, and they want you to pay to boost your listing, this will become more prevalent in years to come. However, many small businesses see the benefit of having the free GMB listing in getting enquiries from people they don’t know.

 

Users can see important information such as directions, save, call, breakdown of reviews and a description of the cuisine.

Guide to Google My Business
When searchers click on your listing they can see more information in the search engine

 

As we scroll further down the listing we can see feedback from customers, address, phone number and health and safety information.

 

Guide to Google My Business
All the information about your business can be seen quickly

 

So if this is something you have used yourself as a consumer but haven’t yet claimed for your business, here is our guide to setting up and maintaining your Google My Business account.

 

Setting Up Your Google My Business Account

  1. Head over to Google My Business
  2. Click Manage Now Button and fill out information as it takes you through the set-up wizard. Once completed it will take you to your profile. This needs to be verified either via phone or card through the mail. Sometimes Google only offers the mail option.
  3. Make sure you complete all the fields

 

Guide to Google My Business
Claiming your listing means filling out your profile fully

 

The main focus at first is Info – make sure you use keywords in this section.

Then insert photos to showcase your business, use the correct placeholders for each image. Your logo has a logo placeholder and this is the only place it should appear. There is a cover photo which will need to be an image that showcases what your business does. Then other photos include exterior and interior photos if you have a physical premises that customers visit. Then other images should be added regularly to keep your listing up to date. Like you would a shop window, you wouldn’t leave it the same all year round, you would refresh it according to the seasons.

Next list your products or services, depending on your type of business.

The website tab gives you a free website based on the information you provide. At time of writing this is pretty basic and only includes information from your posts and updates, not products and would not be a great alternative to a full website.

Then go through your dashboard to make sure that you have completed everything that you can. Here is a checklist of how to make sure that you have fully utilised your profile.

 

Guide to Google My Business
Use this checklist to make sure your GMB profile is functional

 

 

Google Compliance

If you follow this guide to Google My Business you will keep Google happy. Bear in mind you don’t own this listing, Google can remove or freeze your listing without warning. They also remove images they don’t think are appropriate to your business. They will also not show reviews they think are fake

If you set your account up on a desktop computer, you can download the app for a tablet or phone and this has quite a few more features that you may not get on desktop as it is predominantly a mobile first platform.

If you are a physical business, hotel, guest house, self catering accommodation, salon, pub, restaurant, shop – it is highly recommended you invest in the 360 degree tour service. This will increase engagement, visibility and enhance the likelihood of receiving bookings.

Plus it is unlikely your competitors will have gone down this route, giving you a visual advantage.

 

Guide to Google My Business Profile Maintenance

 

Maintaining Your Profile

It is important to include your GMB as part of your scheduled tasks of maintenance alongside your other social media profiles. It won’t require as much attention. Changing images once per month or updating them and posting once per week is enough.

Posts

There are 4 staple post types on GMB

  1. Events
  2. Update
  3. Product
  4. Offer
  5. Then an additional Covid-19 update

 

Events

Naturally if you are holding events you would advertise these on Facebook, possibly Eventbrite but remember to also update your GMB listing. People looking for events will see your events first probably as part of GMB as Google collates and summarises local events in the search results from a number of platforms. This has an inbuilt calender so the listing will expire once the event has taken place.

 

Updates

These are for general updates and news of your business. If you blog you can put an image, introductory paragraph and link to blog behind a Call To Action button. These disappear after 7 days so it is important to keep this fed at least once per week.

 

Offer

If you are in the habit of posting special offers and incentives, this is a great feature. This is has a scheduler built in which means you can run the offer between certain dates and it will disappear when the listing expires

 

Product

If you have a new product to add and you want it to be highlighted or you want to feature particular products due to seasonality use this post feature.

 

Reviews

Find ways to encourage your customers to leave reviews. Ask for a truthful review, don’t encourage them to only leave positive reviews and don’t incentivise this goes against Google’s guidelines. It is healthy for businesses to have slightly negative or constructive feedback and it reassures potential customers that you are authentic, after all which business never has a disgruntled customer? None!

It is important that for every review that is left that you respond openly to it, both positive and negative.

Don’t ask friends and family to leave reviews and don’t post negative reviews on competitor sites.

 

Messaging

Most customers these days prefer instant messaging features as a way to engage. For GMB you have to activate the messaging feature once your profile has been verified, so don’t overlook this and forget or you will be missing valuable enquiries.

 

Insights

Regularly review your insights to see what traffic you are getting and what type of customers are viewing your profile. See how many have rung or got directions straight from your listing.

 

Use Questions and Answers function

This function is not within your dashboard as it is a feature that is open to the public to post questions to you and anyone can answer them (Yes, we know! Anyone). Therefore keep an eye on what questions get asked and naturally you respond to them first if you can. But a good tip is you can also post questions on there, so if you have FAQs post them as a question and then post the answer. This is great for your optimisation as it provides quality content in the eyes of Google.

 

Sync with Bing

You can set up a similar account with Bing, the other major UK search engine for those using Microsoft Edge. All you need to do is claim your listing by clicking the new user button and it will ask if you have GMB account.

 

 

 

You click Import button and it will pull all that information through without you having to retype everything in. However, any changes you make to GMB, remember to manually sync with your Bing account, you do this by going into your Bing and pressing the Sync button.

Thank you

For taking the time to read our blogs. Positive Sales and Marketing is a small business in the North West of England passionate about educating the UK hospitality and freelance artist sector on understanding their marketing.

We offer training and education to enable businesses to take control of their own destiny rather than blindly relying on agencies. We can also offer transparent website design services and copywriting should this be taking up too much of your time.

We work with clients all over the UK and also operate directories for the holiday accommodation sector.

We would love to hear from you, give us a call on 01257 433331 or 01744 670055 or email Caroline@positivesalesandmarketing.co.uk

You can also find us on Twitter @Psalesmarketing or Instagram possalesmarketing please follow us to read our blogs or receive daily inspiration.

 

 

 

Landing Pages for Small Businesses Explained

Landing Pages for Small Businesses

Landing pages for small businesses, what are they? You will have interacted with these many times when looking for information on products or services. Big brands use them as standard. Here are some examples.

 

Independent Landing Page for subscription

 

Landing Pages Explained
The Independent Landing Page

 

 

Mark Manson Author

 

Landing Pages Explained
Mark Manson Landing Page

 

 

Woolrunners Product Landing Page

 

Landing Pages Explained
Wool Runners Landing Page – Shop Now

 

 

Using Landing Pages

Landing pages are a great way to build an email list. In the advent of GDPR customers are more reluctant to share email addresses and they are harder to collect.

If you run paid adverts on Facebook or Instagram or have a blog that talks around a certain service, you may generate interest and people may want to know more. At this stage they are seeking information but may not necessarily want to contact you. Offering some useful information or tips, or offering a free trial is a great way to get prospects to engage with the only risk to them of supplying an email address. They are looking for you to earn their trust. Having effective Calls To Action (CTA) on your social posts, print and digital adverts will help drive traffic to a landing page.

Having a landing page allows them to go directly to the product or service you have advertised or written about and allows them to dip their toe in the water by getting a free sample, trial or report that they would find useful.

 

Where are landing pages housed?

For those with a website you can put a landing page on your site by using either your web builder if they offer that as a feature. For WordPress and other sites you may want to check out third party options.

Knowing which one to use will be determined by your technical knowledge and budget. Read this article to find out the latest best options.

Wix, Weebly and Site123 are good if you don’t have a website and want a landing page to promote certain products and services and want to generate leads.

 

Thank you

For taking the time to read our blogs. Positive Sales and Marketing is a small business in the North West of England passionate about educating the UK hospitality and freelance artist sector on understanding their marketing.

We offer training and education to enable businesses to take control of their own destiny rather than blindly relying on agencies. We can also offer transparent website design services and copywriting should this be taking up too much of your time.

We work with clients all over the UK and also operate directories for the holiday accommodation sector.

We would love to hear from you, give us a call on 01257 433331 or 01744 670055 or email Caroline@positivesalesandmarketing.co.uk

You can also find us on Twitter @Psalesmarketing or Instagram possalesmarketing please follow us to read our blogs or receive daily inspiration.

 

Why You Need AIDA

Why You Need AIDA in Your Business

 

AIDA – Is Your Business Using It?

AIDA is a long standing marketing model that is used by businesses to track the customer journey from awareness of your products and services through to purchase that is also replicated in marketing communications. It is an acronym that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. This blog highlights why you need AIDA as part of your marketing communications strategy.

In the context of planning a communications strategy, this structural format should be followed when putting together blogs, advertisements, web pages, flyers, posters.

Attention – Decide who the copy is aimed at and what their most pressing problem will be (the reason they need your product or service). Write an attention-grabbing headline that shows empathy to the target audience, make use of questions and statistics. Make the headline around 5 or 6 words and use a sub headline underneath.

Interest – Start to persuade and build your story – describe how your product or service offers benefits to solve the problem identified in the headline. Use language that can persuade and entertain.

Desire – Demonstrate how your product or service is going to solve their problem, what you can do above competitors to make the purchase easy and what customer service they can expect. Use testimonials, case studies, reviews to demonstrate how happy other customers have been, create a sense of belonging or a feeling of missing out if they don’t purchase your product. The key here is ‘show’ not ‘tell’.

ActionCall To Action – this is an instruction to act on the above information that will take prospects further towards purchase. ‘Sign up for newsletter’ or ‘Download free brochure’.

 

Consider your buyer journey – Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action – bear in mind that at first your potential customers are only aware they want to buy the product or service that you sell, but at the early stages they will not have decided WHO they are buying it from. Therefore the role of your advertising is to grab their attention while they know they want what you sell, then persuade them to look closer at you as a contender. It is like an audition, you are in the mix with many others, but your messages through advertising will be what determines getting down to the final 2 or 3. If you follow the AIDA structure for your communications you are more likely to engage your audience and get them to make contact with you.

Click on this AIDA example to see how you can lay out your advertising, blog or web page.

 

Thank you

For taking the time to read our blogs. Positive Sales and Marketing is a small business in the North West of England passionate about educating the UK hospitality and freelance artist sector on understanding their marketing.

We offer training and education to enable businesses to take control of their own destiny rather than blindly relying on agencies. We can also offer transparent website design services and copywriting should this be taking up too much of your time.

We work with clients all over the UK and also operate directories for the holiday accommodation sector.

We would love to hear from you, give us a call on 01257 433331 or 01744 670055 or email Caroline@positivesalesandmarketing.co.uk

You can also find us on Twitter @Psalesmarketing or Instagram possalesmarketing please follow us to read our blogs or receive daily inspiration.