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STEP SIX TO SEO: Reviews

Do I have a strategy for gathering reviews from happy customers?

Happy customers leave great reviews.

The number-one, not-so-secret strategy for achieving high customer satisfaction––which causes them to leave positive reviews––is giving them the very best user experience possible.

Let’s assume you’re already doing that (of course you are).

We know your business is awesome. But every once in a while, someone comes along and says something negative about it. And they post it on the web for the whole world to see.

This is both a problem and an asset.

It’s a problem because of what Craig Bloem reports on Inc.com:

“Research shows that 91 percent of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. And they make that decision quickly: 68 percent form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews.”

Yikes! (Of course that’s good news in the case of great reviews––which we’re going to help you get).

What people say about your brand can either promote it or destroy it––sorry to be blunt, but research shows we’re more likely to report on a bad experience than a good one. Bad stuff makes better stories, and people love telling stories.

The kicker is that quality beats out quantity when it comes to reviews. One bad review is worth about three good reviews. So even ten incredible, amazing, super-duper reviews are virtually worthless if you have three bad reviews.

This is where most business owners feel a little uneasy because of their inability to control what is said about their product or service offering. Except that’s not entirely true.

Remember I said they’re also an asset?

Reviews are a bit like press exposure: even bad press is good press. Negative reviews are free user-generated content which helps SEO efforts. You might be surprised to learn that once people are on your site, bad reviews have very little to do with how long they stay or how well they engage with your site––keep reading to discover this juicy little stat.

But of course, we don’t want to generate bad reviews just to boost our ranking.

Negative reviews are the insight that helps you improve your already awesome business to make it even more awesome and enhance the customer experience, which organically influences more reviews of the positive variety––and we like those.

You can also take key steps to direct and influence the quality of reviews and ultimately, your business’s reputation. And depending on how you deal with negative feedback, you can transform it into more sales.

The main aim of the game though is to get as many happy customers as possible leaving a review so let’s take a look at how to do that.

How Can I Get Satisfied Customers to Leave a Review?

Give them a voice and let them know you’ve heard it.

Every great business has a solid customer correspondence strategy, whether it’s the people you hire to manage customer feedback or the quality of your email newsletters.

But it’s not a one-sided conversation. You have to give your customers a voice too, so you can gather insight into how to improve and maintain the quality of your product or service.

And when they leave a positive review you want to jump on it, right?

Word.

But why is that so important?

It is a simple psychological truth called positive reinforcement. People like to be acknowledged. When their “good behaviour” is recognized, they are more likely to continue it. This encourages others who are also vying for recognition, to share their experience too (if you’re not convinced, observe a class of kindergarteners for five minutes as the teacher praises one or two students for good behaviour––it’s a teaching strategy, why not a business one?)

via GIPHY

One thing to keep in mind here is that good reviews influence other people to leave good reviews. It’s something the industry calls social proof (I call it snowballing), and it looks like this:

Determine which review websites to use and provide your customers with several options.

Type “[your industry] + reviews” into Google and see what comes up in the SERP to determine which one is best for your business. Some platforms keep reviews exclusive; others syndicate them to other sites. Check out this graphic from Phil Rozek:

Source: MOZ.

Ask your customers to leave a review and make it easy for them.

This is so obvious that many business owners overlook it. If you want something, you have to ask for it. Make sure you ask customers for a review soon after their purchase so their experience doesn’t fall from memory. It’s an act of kindness on their part (though I might argue it’s consumer responsibility), they’re not getting anything out of leaving you a review. Don’t send them through a matrix to help you out. Send them an email with a simple call to action.

But go one step further here. While a good review is great, a story is even better. So, in your invitation, ask your customer to “tell us a story about your experience”. It reads like you’re more interested in them than in getting something out of them––which, of course, you are––and they are more likely to provide more details about what they liked because you prompted them to.

Digital Alchemy: Transform negative feedback into sales

Sounds too good to be true, right? I mean, how do you turn a lump of coal into a pot of gold?

More than 65% of users will read four or more reviews before they trust a brand:

Consumer trust is one of the biggest factors in conversion rates and negative reviews make your brand more trustworthy. One online source reports that 95% of people suspect fake reviews if they don’t see any negative feedback.

Further, less than 1% of consumers will actually leave a site after reading a bad review (there’s that juicy little stat I was telling you about).

A few bad reviews peppered in amongst all the good ones give your potential customers a reason to believe the content in the good reviews––and it prolongs their engagement on your site.

But there is a critical point here––owner response to negative reviews. It is the alchemy that transforms those not-very-nice words into powerful sales pitches. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your superior customer service publicly.

Respond quickly (within 24 hours if possible).

Acknowledge the customer’s concern authentically, sympathetically, and politely.

Offer to make it right.

A few more bonus tidbits of info…

Did You Know?

  • Reviews influence your rankings in local search engines.
  • GMB (Google My Business) pages that have reviews mentioning a keyword or a city name tend to have higher rankings in Google’s local three-pack.
  • Yelp, Google, and Facebook are three major review platforms that customers can use to join an online discussion about your business.

Logical Mix Chats with Nat from Whitby’s Chamber of Commerce

I recently had the pleasure of catching a ride through Brooklin with Whitby’s Chamber of Commerce CEO, Natalie Prychitkoas, a guest on her YouTube series “Chat with Nat”.

I was a bit awkward at the start. I tend to wear an expression that makes you expect to see a couple of stray feathers sticking out my mouth, a little tweet tweet echoing from inside me. That expression intensifies when I’m a bit nervous and then I stumble over my words a bit.

For example, she asks me––

“You’ve got young kids, don’t you? You know how I know? Because your front porch is full of young kid plastic stuff,”

I reply as my usual witty self with this awkward gem:

“You didn’t think that was me?” I joked, as if to suggest I spend my afternoons wearing swimmies, splashing in a kiddie pool or practicing my golf swing with a Little Tykes 3 Wood.

Because as a guy in the digital marketing biz, that’s exactly the image I wish to portray.

But permanently-etched mental images aside, Nat was correct. Our house is overflowing with every kind of plastic toy you can imagine because my wife and I have two young boys (three, if we include my afternoon antics). The point is, I know I’m awkward but that perma-grin is really because I’m just kind of a big kid inside.

She asked me about my history and why my family and I moved to Brooklin from Toronto. My wife and I grew up in Toronto and we loved living there but once we had our first son, our house became a bit too cramped for us so we entered Suburbia. We chose Brooklin because it’s a little bit like Pleasantville––everyone waves and smiles, and smiles and waves. There are paths connecting this street and to that park and to Heber Down (if you haven’t been to Heber Down, do yourself a favor and check it out), and there are some really great burgers right in town. What more do you need in a community than great neighbours, nature trails, and good grub?

And then we moved onto business. Nat asked about what I do and why I do it and what I’m anticipating for 2018.

I love this question and it’s one of the reasons I’m happy I got the chance to chat with Nat. I love having an SEO company in Whitby and I want to tell everyone who will listen.

In addition to being a dad and a husband, I’m also a digital marketing geek who started up his own biz in 2011. Before that, I worked for a company called Contractors.com, which did internet marketing for tradespeople. It was awesome and the site was receiving 200K visits per month right up until Google changed its algorithm that removed ranking authority from domain names. I sat in on one of their meetings and was fascinated by how Internet search engines could be so strategically manipulated. That was essentially how I got started in digital marketing, which led to the creation of Logical Mix.

Nat asked––“Why did you join the Commerce and what are you anticipating for 2018?”

When I moved to Whitby, it felt like a good time to immerse myself in the community so I joined the Java Jolt––a member-led group of business people who meet up to help each other out and build a supportive network. They opened my eyes to the Chamber so I checked them out and like their vibes––Bob’s your uncle.

As for my 2018 goals––well, basically, I’m a community guy. I want to help people and the way I do that is by helping local businesses grow and build their online exposure. It’s what I know and what I do. It’s why I’m so proud of the work the Whitby Chamber of Commerce does for the community. They are true ambassadors for businesses in Whitby and the Durham Region.

I’m grateful to Nat for her time and for sharing our chat on YouTube––check it out below:

 

STEP FIVE to SEO: Local SEO

Have I built and fixed online citations for my business?

We’re reaching into the SEO arsenal and pulling out another tool for digital marketing success: Online business citations.

Don’t worry––no injection required.

The number one reason why online citations are so important––let me repeat––SO IMPORTANT is a secret we’re going to let you in on in this blog.

And the gooey little nugget of truth comes from SEO master Rand Fishkin, so we know it’s going to be good.

But first––

Let’s be clear––the tools defined here and in the previous four steps to SEO success do not exist independently of each other. Nor are they take-it-or-leave-it strategies that can be actioned once and then expected to care for themselves.

Think of each of these strategies as two-year-old children–they require constant parental guidance and commitment if they are to grow into human beings other people will want to be around.

These steps form the foundation of SEO success. Miss a step and you’ll trip yourself up. You want a solid stairway to SEO heaven and it requires a certain amount of devotion––and faith––to the practice.

So, let’s start with the basics of Step Five to SEO Success.

What are Citations?

An online citation is a reference to a company’s contact details and other core data found on business directories, websites and apps, and social media platforms. They are either structured or unstructured.

Unstructured citations are mentions of a business in a blog or other online publication.

Structured citations are listings on local business data platforms, such as Google My Business (GMB) and geo/industry-specific platforms, like chamber of commerce or professional association websites.

Structured citations are the ones we’re most concerned with because, as the name suggests, structuring them appropriately will boost our rankings and establish validity and trust with potential customers.

MOZ outlines four core business data platforms: Google My Business, Acxiom, Neustar/Localeze, and Infogroup.

These are the ones you want to use when building citations, which is why we included the links––so you can get down to business right after you finish reading this (and keep reading because we included six crucial ingredients for building your online citations).

Then go hand-pick your industry-specific platforms.

But the big question is––

Why should I build online citations for my business?

Good question. Rand Fishkin breaks it down for us here:

Photo Credit: Moz.

Online citations help potential customers find you or your client’s business online, particularly through the use of third-party directories.

They also achieve links and although most of them are no-follow, they validate the association of your website with your NAP (name-address-phone number) listing.

Experts agree that NAP consistency between the business website and that referenced in citations and GMB (if built correctly), can have a significant impact on local search rankings and influence localized organic rankings.

And there’s more.

Most people think online citations are about helping customers find your site.

While that’s true, you wouldn’t be reading this blog if it were the only reason. Unintended benefits often trump the original purpose of an action plan.

What’s the purpose of customers finding your site if they’re not going to visit it? You need to enhance your online citation image before people even get to your page so that they want to get to your page instead of your competitor’s.

The primary reason online citations are so important is not just that they help validate your business out there in cyberspace, but they also––

ESTABLISH TRUST

Think of it like this––

When you’re reading an online article about the use of steroid injections for sports injuries, you’re not just going to take that information at face value. You’re going to scan the article for references that validate certain information. These citations will show as links to other sites, or at the least, include the bibliographic reference, which we can consult to verify data. This helps to establish trust.

In addition to having an influence on ranking, Rand Fishkin tells us that online citations are also useful for signalling trustworthiness. This is a particular benefit for online-only businesses because Google effectively tells people that yours a legit business and your site is a real site, not spam.

Six Tips for Building Online Citations

Determine which platforms are most useful for your business. In addition to those mentioned earlier (see links), Facebook, Yelp, and IYP (Internet Yellow Pages) are also big league. Then go pick platforms specific to your industry and geography.

Ensure your citations are accurate and consistent. Mistakes or inaccuracy can hurt your reputation and lead to lost revenue. According to marketing expert James Watts, NAP consistency on major citation sites is a critical ranking factor on par with reviews and backlinks. Further, NAP consistency is one of the most critical factors in making it into Google’s coveted 3-pack/local finder (yes, 3-pack is the new 7-pack as of August 2018).

Use an automated solution like Moz Local for getting your business info into various forms to save yourself time. Such tools prevent you from feeling like you’d rather pluck each of your nose hairs out, one by one.

See Google’s guidelines for representing your business online. To get started, first claim and verify your GMB listing.

Choose the right categories in GMB and when selecting industry-specific platforms. See Moz for how to choose local business categories and HubSpot for 57 Online Local Business Directories.

Use a local area code and address. While GMB allows toll-free numbers, a few directories don’t, and GMB recommends using a local phone number. Allow your address to appear, even if you’re a service-area business operating remotely or out of your home. This makes your listing more complete, and therefore, verifiable. It also helps to establish your business as locally-focused––a main pillar in local search success. The chances of anyone showing up at your home are slim (and––a recent development––specific address and phone number don’t show in the SERPs anymore, only in the actual listing).

That’s Not All, Folks…

You know you should check your sources before making any decision––when there is a monstrous needle involved but most especially concerning which listing to click. After all, we’d hate to give the wrong impressions…

Help your customers to not only make the right decision but avoid making the wrong one. Get visitors to your site and increase your conversions by putting forth the effort required to build and maintain accurate and comprehensive online citations.

The results will be well worth your time, and you’ll avoid stabbing yourself in the ass.

Then, review steps 1-4 to ensure they haven’t fallen by the wayside.

Remember––SEO is a staircase of strategies; each step gets you closer to the top of the SERP.

Logging out,

Logical Mix

 

Step FOUR to SEO: On-Page SEO

Am I using Step 1’s insights for page targeting & structuring?

If you did your homework, you would have made some discoveries about how to rank for keywords.

If you haven’t already checked it out, see Step One to SEO Success: Keyword Research to find out how to get started on this critical stage.

If you’ve done your research, let’s take a look at what you’ve discovered.

Two of your major findings would have been:

  • How people are searching for your product or service offering and,
  • How your offering aligns with their queries.

Using as many tools as possible, you compiled a list of long-tail keywords. You ranked them by relevance and difficulty and then chose the ones that are most relevant and least competitive.

Right?

Great, what were they?

If you used a Venn diagram to display the results of a simple keyword investigation in the health supplements niche, it might have looked like this:

Now, what do we do with this? Let’s get to the nitty gritty…

What is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO is essentially structuring individual web pages around target keywords with the goal of creating more traffic and achieving a higher rank.

It’s also about responding to the people who come to your page looking for answers.

One of the most obvious ways to hit on all these points is through content so let’s start there.

You could start structuring content around the keyword “gluten-free supplements for weight loss” because it is both relevant and low competition. This is a perfect jumping off point for a review of competitors’ brands (if there are any), or an article about how gluten-free supplements are hard to come by (until they stumbled across your brand of course), etc., etc.

Let’s hope you don’t just plop this juicy keyword into existing content about the benefits of supplements.

Of course you wouldn’t because you know as well as we do that it is better to start at the beginning.

Like a plant has a seed, a keyword is the crux of great content, which is still one of the top ranking factors. It’s easy to sniff out in the opening paragraph when keywords have been stuffed or simply dropped into existing content. Readers will quickly realize that your page is not going to deliver what they came looking for.

Irrelevancy makes you unreliable, and when you’re unreliable, people aren’t going to ask you for help and Google will note that and respond accordingly.

Don’t be that guy.

Make yourself trustworthy and deliver fresh new content that answers your users’ questions.

Now, let’s take a closer look at why content is king in SEO success and how to masterfully craft content around the keywords you want to rank for.

Enter RankBrain.

RankBrain is a machine-learning component of Google’s algorithm that measures dwell time (how long users are spending on your page) and click through rate (CTR), which is the total clicks divided by total impressions (read more about Google Analytics here JOEL – PLEASE ADD A LINK TO STEP 3 BLOG ONCE IT’S PUBLISHED). RankBrain then moves your page up or down the SERP depending on those two factors.

3 Techniques for Improving Rank

There are three key ways to win at RankBrain. First, optimize your titles and meta descriptions for better CTR. Second, rank for highly relevant keywords. Third, write quality content.

Sounds easy, right? They are, and they’re also dangerously easy to overlook. Each point carries some pretty heavy weight when it comes to on-page SEO so ensure you are focusing your efforts on all three.

 

  1. Optimize titles.

The first point is so important. Time and effort are wasted on creating great content out of awesome keyword research if there is nothing to attract users to your page. A gripping title and simple, to-the-point meta descriptions are necessary. Like the department store Macy’s revolutionized the storefront window, the title and meta description can lead users right to your page, wanting more of what your virtual window promises.

 

  1. Target relevant keywords and the people using them.

Let’s highlight the second point. You can write as much content as you want but if it’s not relevant to your offering, people are going to bounce.

The word people is strategic here. We talk a lot about the user, which makes me picture a hand on a mouse, or the reader, which makes me picture a book. But when I read the word people, I imagine a face, which directs my efforts to a person with a brain and the ability to subjectively decide what he or she is going to read and why. It makes my work more personal.

Okay, maybe not that face exactly. This one is a little closer to human (and looks a little like my grandma):

This point is, I’m not directing my efforts to the Google Machine, I’m addressing the needs of the people who ultimately determine what Google does with me. Right? This is a critical mind shift with which to lead.

 

  1. Create quality content.

High-quality content is one of the top ranking factors. But quality is a bit of an ambiguous, static term, isn’t it? Let’s go with engaging instead; it’s a bit more active.

Content that engages draws the reader in right away with a hook phrase that is both relevant and interesting. It keeps the reader wanting more by providing useful bits of information that are easy to absorb and answer the readers’ questions directly. It often tells a story to which the reader can relate. It also leads the reader to helpful resources that explore their query further.

Now, great content needs a bit of decoration. Something that yells out READ ME. Because let’s be honest, no one has time to fart around looking for the juiciest tidbit of meat.

When I land on a page, the first thing I do is cut the fat. I quickly scroll through the content to see if anything jumps out. What do I notice?

Three things, mainly: Images/videos, length, and headers.

We love images. They’re the eye candy that break up the text.

Length is often a good sign that a chunky chunk of content is going to feed me what I’m looking for.

Headers offer a place to start if I’m looking to pinpoint specific information. If the headers aren’t relevant to what I’m looking for (i.e., they don’t match my keyword query) then bouncy-bounce I go back to SERP and right into RankBrain’s time-out chair.

Rand Fishkin outlines seven elements of an optimized webpage. They are less quantitative than the SEO methods of yesteryear that called for specific keyword placement so they may seem a little loosey-goosey. But they’re not.

Qualitative strategies take center stage as the algorithms that assess relevance increase in complexity.

So, what makes a page brilliantly optimized according to Fishkin and Logical Mix?

  1. Offers uniquely valuable content and images
  2. Provides excellent user experience
  3. Targets specific keywords
  4. Easily shared through social networks
  5. Optimized for every device
  6. Accessible to crawlers
  7. Includes authorship, rich snippets, metadata, and schema

Fishkin created this genius, though mythical, perfectly optimized page, highlighting his seven factors, mentioned earlier:

Pretty cool, right? I’d love to land on more web pages like this: perfectly structured to answer my question and oh so pretty.

So there you have it. On-page SEO is actually a bit fun. Maybe not as fun as the keyword research it took to get here, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

What is the main takeaway?

Remember, you’re doing this for a living, breathing human being (or several thousand if you’re doing it right). Not a doll, not an ape (though possibly some monkey brains). Google is a machine, and although we want to please the machine, we’re still the ones ultimately in control… for now.

Appeal to your customer and find out how you can deliver what they want through super-duper on-page SEO.

When you’re structuring your pages, always keep this in mind:

People have questions. Be that place where the answers are.

Logging Out,

Logical Mix

 

Shopify logo

What Lessons Can We Learn From Shopify?

What Makes Shopify One on the Most Innovative eCommerce Solutions on the Planet?

We’re glad you asked.

Did you know that in just one year, Shopify increased their revenue by 90%? It’s probably why some short sellers are questioning the business model.

In the matrix of digital marketing, Shopify has found their niche: customized, SEO-rich lures that have made them one of the most innovative and effective ecommerce solutions in the world.

Find out how Shopify cracked that egg better than the other guys in the industry–but who are they again?

They Help Customers Before They’re Even Customers….

Shopify’s “try before you buy” free trial provides time and tips to get your business up and running before you’ve paid a cent. Once hooked, their pricing system has budget-friendly options.

Then, they break down new business start-up step by step, right from the home page, and provide real examples that everyone can relate to.

Shopify discovers what people want and own it. They create ToFu content and subdomains from highly searched keyword phrases. Their useful content draws in and assists all kinds of folks.

Daily blogs. In-depth guides. Instructive podcasts. Video courses taught by industry experts. All expertly optimized. Shopify create interesting, usable, and varied content, a little something for everyone, without email opt-in. One stop shopping for ecommerce education.

Shopify address new business owner concerns through a seven-day email series. Each one takes you one baby step further in set-up. But it’s not entirely altruistic. The introductory email congratulates the new business owner, while the CTA button reminds of the extra goodies available with a paid plan.

In addition to baiting new customers, Shopify go fishing… at the competitor. They identify and solve the primary pain problem competitors’ customers have with straightforward copy.

And of course, Shopify make good with their old friends too.

Their Twitter support channel broadcasts their awesome customer support, which makes them look really good too, like that 22nd selfie…nailed it!

They Take Smart Risks….

Shopify inspired the entrepreneurial spirit of thousands through Build a Business. Seemingly crazy, and $uper risky, it was the motivation behind the start of thousands of new, successful businesses, for a total revenue of $3,543,191 by shop owners. BOOM.

They make evergreen webinars available almost as soon as you sign up. Then they advertise them as a limited time offer (except they aren’t). This creates a speed-laced dangling carrot that turns traffic into regular users.

They Roll With the Big Guys….

How about a brilliant affiliate marketing scheme that benefits everyone? Shopify’s done it. With their affiliate referral system, Shopify have turned their customers into a mass-marketing, super-bomb Shopify team. And they use industry innovators to create awesome apps and designs just for Shopify–so they can hoard the good ideas for themselves.

And, for every app they partner with, they create keyword-rich, integrated landing pages that lead potentials to their free trial.

They Juice Up the Dry Stuff….

Shopify get how significant those little CTA buttons are. Theirs use a different kind of speak to respond to email subscribers. Totally refreshing. But who cares about the newsletters? It’s all about the free-trial, right?!

They have designed an attractive, interactive, and current product update page that gets thousands of social shares without any buttons.

They make meat of ToFu with perfectly-matched ad copy, super specific PPC landing pages, and MoFu keywords that lead the searcher to exactly what they want.

And all those little things, like logging and out stating the terms of service (yawn)… They take them to the next level, to be just that bit better than the other guys–remember them?

This all just smacks of clever business sense.

*All material researched and used can be found at: Shopify’s Website

Logging Out,

Logical Mix

Birthday cake with 6 candle

6 Years In The 6

Today is the 6 year anniversary of Logical Mix.

It has been an awesome ride. Helping small to mid sized businesses grow their online presence has been one of the most rewarding things our company has offered the world. We pride ourselves on customer service and reliability, and that is what has kept us alive and well. Spending our clients money like it’s our own is our secret to success.

The online marketing world is an ever-changing one. We are constantly reading, listening, educating and going to conferences to learn about the digital world. We pass this knowledge on to our existing and new customers. We don’t focus as much as we should on our brand, because we are so focused on your brand. If your brand grows… Logical Mix grows.

SEO marketing in Toronto has been our bread and butter, but we do whatever it takes to get companies the exposure they deserve online. Whether it is web design, getting on local listings or directories, pay-per-click or social media…search engine marketing is what we do! (We stated that six years ago).

6 years in the 6 just sounded like the right title for this article.

This adventure has been incredible. We owe everyone we have had the opportunity to work with everything.

Thank you Toronto and the GTA (and Vancouver, USA, England, Thailand and China), for allowing us to work and build your economies.

Logging Out,

Logical Mix

3 boats at a beach

FIND A GREAT LOCATION

You hear it again and again, the importance of finding a prime location when choosing where to open up a business, yet many still find themselves tucked away in a corner far from main intersections or anywhere where people can view their signage. Being a SEO company doesn’t need a prime location, but your retail shop or restaurant sure does.

So you may wonder why location is of such importance. Location is important for both large and small businesses, and it has a direct effect on the operations cost as well as reaching the target clientele and customers, resulting in creating necessary revenue. In addition, once you choose a location, it is often costly to undo – picking up your business and moving somewhere else has its downfalls, which is why the first spot you choose needs to be in a prime location. The costs of moving can cost you customers, and result in losing staff if you move to a farther destination than where they are willing to commute to. The risk of inconveniencing staff and customers is not a risk you may want to take, so being sure that the spot you choose is the right location the first time around will save you from a lot of stress and hassle.

While there is no such thing as the “perfect” location, there is something called a “prime location”, a location surrounded with the right clientele and good general traffic. Being near a main intersection, for example, generates a great deal of traffic (both pedestrian and car), traffic which can be converted into customers when they view your business when driving across town or walking around a neighbourhood. Ensuring that your business is in a good location does have its benefits, benefits such competitive unit costs.  This means that an acceptable location allows for access to inputs such as supplies and raw materials.  A prime location results in optimal revenue opportunities, as both clients and staff are not inconvenienced to travel to your location, but rather enjoy entering your business as its location is easy to access and in a convenient spot.  Finally, a good location allows access to a labour force and therefore enables your business to achieve its goals in workforce planning.

Furthermore, the government actually offers grants and assistance to businesses that locate to areas that suffer from low employment ratings. Incentives often include grants to help the start up of your business, loans which are repayable over many years with low interest rates, and various tax breaks.  There is a lot of thinking that should go into choosing the location of your business as receiving tax breaks and grants can help you a lot with your overall start up costs.

Finally, a very important part of choosing a prime location is the amount of parking space surrounding your business. Pay parking or meter parking is not ideal and could very well deter customers and staff from entering your location. Customers look for convenience and pay parking is not ideal as many will choose to visit a competing business if they offer free parking and an easy to access location.

Location is extremely important, and finding yourself in an undesirable location can be stressful and upsetting to a new business owner, especially when first starting your business. You want your name to get out there and you want to be seen – whether it’s your signage on the street corner or the signage plastered to your windows, you need customers to be able to see what you are offering in order to attract them. It’s a shame when you run into a great business or service doing poorly because they are not gaining the recognition they deserve simply because they are hidden away from traffic and potential business. If you find yourself in a situation such as this, be sure to find other ways to allow your business to be seen, whether it is going door to door or handing out coupons, you want your name to be out in the public generating discussion. By thinking hard about the location and taking the time needed to make the decision on where your business will be located, you can avoid issues later on and can ultimately generate a great deal of revenue with increased amounts of business.

Oh yeah…don’t forget to put that location on Google and every searchable platform possible.

Logging Out,
Logical Mix

Spices with seafood

THE PERFECT SEO BLOG RECIPE

Blogging is an art, just as writing can be a form of art. For the last decade plus, blogging has slowly taken an upward transition to paving the way as a medium that is both interactive, informative and SEO friendly. However, just like writing is an acquired skill, blogging is a form of writing that targets a specific audience to engage them in an online source which is well written and insightful. There are various ways to grow a following on the internet, blogging being one of those ways; however, many may wonder in which ways one makes a blog to be as successful and well read that it can be.
1.       Content vs. Frequency
When creating a blog, especially in the initial stages, frequency is extremely vital. Not only does it show your reader that you are committed to updating your site, but it acts as a way to develop a following on the internet. It allows Google to crawl your website regularly to improve your SEO properly. Whether you are annoying your readers by posting and updating on a daily basis or whether you are updating once a month, frequency plays a crucial role in the number of readers your blog will encounter. However, this being said, rich content is of even more importance. For instance, having a friend on Facebook who updates their status multiple times a day stating exactly what they are doing such as “making a sandwich” or “doing laundry” is annoying and can even cause you to unfriend that person. However, say you like a news page on Facebook and they post the exact same number of times as your Facebook friend, but their updates are informative and interesting. The chance that you will unlike the news page because of their frequency is not as likely as the option of unfriending the annoying Facebook user who posts multiple pointless statuses. This shows the importance of content – your frequency can be often if your blog is informative and educational; this is solely because readers want to read what they find is most interesting. Content is central to having a solid base of followers who view your blog on a continuous basis. The content created on your blog will have a direct and powerful impact to your ongoing SEO efforts. Update regularly, but have quality content, content that will drive your reader to want and to need more. Content that you can link within your website will add SEO value as well.
2.       Original vs. Generic
How often do you see news channels retelling the same news stories over and over again, and then see a different channel retelling what you just heard on the previous station? To be original is to be unique and different, and as it was once stated by Coco Channel, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” You want your blog to be irreplaceable, you want it to be so that when a reader chooses whose blog they should visit first to be most informed, it should be none other than the one you have created.  Nevertheless, to be irreplaceable is to be different, and to be different means that one must take the initiative to dig deep for things that others may not see as important. It is your job to make the interesting important, and the important interesting. Original pieces of art attract attention, just as original and unique writing attracts a reader to want to know and read more. A generic blog post about the new iPhone 7 is not as interesting as the latest malfunction that has been found within the Galaxy 7. Don’t be generic writer, but rather, be a unique writer and write to entertain, write to capture your audience.  Following headlines is boring, every other person has done that, instead, take a unique angle on an already popular story and give it a twist.
3.       Blog Struggle vs. Blog Triumph
Blogging is a form of writing, and as any writer will know, “writers block” is a troubling and sometimes stressful form of block that can detour a writer from their ultimate vision. As a blogger, you know where you want to see your blog and how you want it to develop over time, however, “bloggers block” can sometimes distract you from your goals. The easiest way to deal with this is to continuously be watchful of what around you can be used within your blog. Whether it is a quote you recently heard or even the phone conversation the man next to you is having, if it can correlate into your blog, write it down. Once something is written down, you then have the ability to expand on that and to take the small piece of information and transform it into any direction you want it to go. Use the note pad function in your phone or carry a pad and pen on you at all times, write your thoughts and your ideas when they come to you on paper.
Creating a blog takes time and diligence, but if done correctly, you will quickly reap the rewards. By targeting the needs of your specific audience, creating quality blogs, and updating them to suit your readers, you will have a blog that catches eyes and dominates the search engines.

Logging Out,
Logical Mix

Business road sign

WHY IS SIGNAGE SO IMPORTANT FOR BUSINESS

Let me share a personal story regarding business signage I encountered a few years back. When I was living in Vancouver, BC, there was a unique and delicious family owned pizza restaurant. It was a pizza place where they prepared the pizza for you, and you took it home and cooked it, making your entire kitchen smell like freshly baked pizza. The idea was brilliant, the pizza was amazing, and the customer service was out of this world. I visited the restaurant on a regular basis until a year after opening the owners moved north, and they ended up selling the business to a new set of owners. The new owners kept the same idea, used the same ingredients, and appeased the already existing customers, yet one simple poor marketing choice cost them their business as it ended any potential for attracting new customers – they changed the signage. The original owner had a simple but bright sign that could be seen from the nearest intersection, as well as handed out flyers and coupons door to door every Saturday morning. Their strategy was simple, but it worked. The new owners however did not upkeep these strategies and changed the sign to a black and white, non-visible, size 10, Arial font banner.  They then complained about not reaching people, but the reasons were evidently clear. Simply put, their signage cost them the entire success of their business.  Soon after their six month of opening, they shut the business down as it was costing them too much to operate and they were making little to zero revenue. The spot still remains empty and vacant to this day.
Now you may believe this case to be an extreme and rare, but the experience taught me at a young age the importance of signage, especially if you are taking over an already existing business. A sign can either attract someone in such a way they want to enter your business and learn more about what you offer, or in the case of the pizza store, your sign may cause them to laugh in embarrassment at the printed paper you have draping over your windows. The importance of advertising is vital to the overall success of a business, especially with small businesses. Signage is extremely important and can end up being the make or break in the overall success of your business. Here are some simple questions you should ask about your current signage on a monthly basis:
1.      Does this sign send the right message to my customer?
2.      Is the message relevant and eye-catching?
3.      Are the colors and design bright, vibrant, and noticeable?
4.      Is the sign visible in the early morning or late evening? Does it light up in the dark hours?
5.      Is the signage in tip top condition?
If your answer to any of these questions is no, then it is time to either invest in new signage or fix your current signage to accommodate the needs of your customers. If your signage does light up, but some of the bulbs are burnt out, the overall first impression from your customer is that your business does not have the time or care to replace the bulbs and update the sign.  More often than not, customers base a business purely off of their signage because it is the first thing they notice and it is their first impression. By ensuring that your signage is noticeable and in good condition, you will have a better chance at attracting the customers you desire to attract. Have good signage (logos/branding) online too. Get noticed.
Logging Out,
Logical Mix

water on rocks

Blog About Needed Content

When blogging, you want to be the expert in your field. Own it!

Create content people are looking for or have a need for. If you are missing quality content to write about…avoid writing altogether and repost other peoples interesting articles.

Try searching your topics before writing. If they are already saturated with blogs, maybe rethink another strategy.

People want to be entertained and/or educated. Sometimes both. Get outside of the box if you have to.

Even though we should be taking our own advice. Blog on a schedule. Once per week, bi-weekly, per month, etc.

Write about relevant content.

Blogging can be done anywhere you want. This blog was written in the woods after working remotely around Ontario.

Remember…

Be the expert in your field!