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Why your business should be listed in online directories

As part of the search engine optimisation (SEO) and web design services we offer to clients, we add their business details and website links to online directories, which are called “citations” in SEO lingo. Think of sites like YellowPages, TrueLocal, HiPages, HotFrog, and the like.

Sometimes our clients say that they get most of their business from word of mouth, referrals, a particular partner, and so on, and ask whether they need the online listings at all. But there are many reasons for having them, some of which actually have nothing to do with SEO or web design services, and are simply good business practices. Here’s a brief outline of those reasons.

1. Trust

It’s a well established fact that the more your brand is seen, the more a customer will inherently trust you. This makes sense, because people are more comfortable when they’re familiar with something, than a completely new or different experience. Having your business in as many (high quality, local, and appropriate) online directories as possible means that you can be seen by potential customers more easily, which builds that trust. This can be especially useful for longer-term searches; for example, if someone searches for a product or service they need today, sees your brand a number of times, puts the search on hold and looks again in a few months, they may remember your logo/business, and trust you more than the competition.

2. Reputation

Many online directories have a verification system to ensure businesses are who they say they are, but many don’t. It’s also not foolproof; anyone can create a listing with a business name and phone number, and have that number verified automatically by the directory listing system. In other words, your competitors could create a listing under your name, and then direct the traffic to their own websites or even deliberately make your business sound incompetent. Your reputation could be tarnished very easily, so creating your own listings ensures that your underhanded competitors can’t.

3. Accuracy

Another potential issue with online directories is that many of them can automatically generate listings for businesses, by gathering your business details from other directories or sources. When this happens, you’ll normally have the option to claim the listing as your own. But until then, your details could be out of date or incomplete.

A recent study from BrightLocal found that 93% of consumers are frustrated by incorrect information in online directories, and a whopping 68% of consumers would stop using a local business if they found incorrect information in those directories. Creating/claiming your own listing means you can update it as your business changes. If you’re working with an SEO company in Brisbane, or have someone providing other web design services, they can probably help give you more details on how to claim those listings.

4. Visibility

SEO isn’t just about getting traffic to your website. It’s about increasing your business revenue, so it’s easy to get bogged down in thinking about seeing your website ranking high in Google. But online directories, if nothing else, offer an easy extra way for your business to be found online. Potential customers can find you either in search engine results pages, or when they directly search for local businesses on the directory sites themselves. Some of those sites may actually be ranking higher in Google for your business name and other searches, than your own site, so why not get the free traffic?

5. Backlinks

In SEO, one of the keys to improving a website’s visibility online is through backlinks. This basically means the number of websites that link to yours. Google is pretty clever, so firing off your website address to every possible other website is usually a bad idea; it’s important to pick and choose the right websites for backlinks. Many of the larger online directories, and especially local ones, have great online reputations, so when you create a listing on those directories, search engines consider this a thumbs-up for your website. In turn, this helps your own website rank better in search results.

As you can see, there’s no downside to creating directory listings (if done correctly), but plenty of potential benefits. Not just for your SEO campaign but for increased sales conversion rates, customer satisfaction, reputation management, and more.

GO Creative is an Australian SEO company which offers corporate web design services with all staff based right here in Brisbane, and with 20 years’ experience, we’re happy to have a chat and help your business grow. If you need a hand improving your online presence, get an instant quote today. You can also get a free SEO audit within minutes!

Is Search Engine Optimisation suitable for every business?

I had lunch with a colleague a few days ago, and we were talking about the services GO Creative offers to its clients. One of those is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which is the process of improving the ranking of a website in search engines (e.g. Google) for particular search terms. The goal is to be more visible, which gets more traffic to the website, and ultimately to increase the number of enquiries or sales.

We ended up discussing whether SEO was the right choice for small businesses (and, in particular, micro businesses). There are lots of things to consider, but we basically both reached the same conclusion.

There’s no “one size fits all”

At the end of the day, there are various reasons why a business might engage an SEO provider to help increase enquiries and sales via their website. But many SEO providers will take on every client who comes their way, even if there are better options available.

At GO Creative, our team of Brisbane website developers and marketing specialists asks lots of questions up front so that we can understand your business. It’d be silly to offer a solution when we don’t even know what the problem is. For example, some businesses are looking for a quick spike in sales and are prepared to pay more for that — so we’d be more likely to recommend Google AdWords (pay per click advertising in Google) instead of SEO. If they weren’t so concerned about a quick return on investment, and were more focused on improving the visibility of their brand, social media may be the way to go.

But we need to know all of the variables before we make a recommendation, so we run through a questionnaire with all of our clients to make sure we have the full picture.

Why SEO may not be suitable

An SEO service may not be suitable for some businesses due to:

  • a very limited marketing budget
  • an extremely competitive industry where results may take longer than the business can afford
  • operating in an extreme niche, which means there aren’t enough Google searches for their products or service
  • already engaging heavily in content marketing, and SEO won’t offer enough additional benefits
  • a very low quality website which needs to be redeveloped before commencing any marketing activities.

Calculating your return on investment

The easiest way to work out your “break even” figure is to simple take your average lifetime customer profit, and work backwards from the SEO budget. So if you’re considering spending $1000 per month on an SEO service, and your customers are worth $500 in profits, you’d need to get two new customers per month from the SEO service to break even. It may take a couple of months for the results to emerge (that’s just how the SEO process works), so take that into account as well. Your selected Brisbane website developers or digital marketing agency may be able to help with other variables as well.

In summary

For many small businesses, SEO is extremely cost-effective and really helps them grow. For others, it’s just not the right option. Marketing agencies who push SEO on every business as though it’s some kind of guaranteed path to success is a negligent approach. This is how small businesses get burnt, thinking they’re putting their money into a service which is going to bring them a solid return on investment, but that’s not always the case.

There’s no guarantees when it comes to marketing; you have to weigh up all of the options and see what works best for you. Phone us today on (07) 3333 2932 for a free chat, or get an instant online quote to see how our team of Brisbane website developers and digital marketing experts can help your business grow.

How can emotional connections increase your social media following?

Building a social media network for your business is an important part of marketing today, however this is not always as simple as it might sound at first. As an SEO company in Australia, we have a lot of experience in managing social media accounts, and we know that the easiest way to build a successful network is to connect emotionally with your target audience.

When you connect on an emotional level with someone, that connection becomes more meaningful and can last for many years into the future. This means that you have a better chance of building a loyal following, if you move away from dry posts filled with facts and figures, and instead focus on bringing emotions into your posts. It doesn’t matter whether you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other network, emotions will trump boring, any day of the week.

In fact, many clients who hire our SEO company in Australia are often amazed at how easy it is to build a social media following, just by engaging with their target audience in a more meaningful way.

Choosing the right emotions for your posts

When you understand your target audience, you already know the type of emotions that will speak to them, but you need to choose the context and the emotions wisely. For example, a company that sells home security systems can hook into fear as an emotion, emphasising the increase in home burglaries in the local area. A better idea might be to focus on the sense of security that people will feel when they know that their family is kept safe at home with the installation of a professional security system.

As you can see, positive connections can be built using positive emotions and you don’t have to stick with one single emotion, you can add in a variety depending on the situation. Humour is a very workable emotion, but even here, there is a time and a place. In the end, all you need to do is to focus on posting interesting content that appeals to your audience, mix in a little humour or other emotional hook and you will start to build a loyal following in no time at all.

For help with social media marketing for your business, call GO Creative, a leading SEO company in Australia, on 07 3333 2932 or get a free instant online quote.