Structured data is a missed opportunity for many companies, even those already focusing on their websites’ search engine optimization. While taking advantage of schema markup to enhance search results isn’t uncommon, many companies ignore the opportunities they have to improve their online presence. One of the best ways to use structured data if you own a business with a physical location that customers visit is to leverage structured data for your local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO refers to search engine optimization practices meant to boost the rankings of a site for keywords related to a specific region, town or city. It is often designed to boost the Google My Business listings of companies and ensure they show up in SERPs when customers search for terms related to the business.
What is Structured Data?
Structured data is data that has been placed on a website using schema markup. Google can pick up that data and display it on search in ways other than standard search results. When you search Google and see tables, graphics, business listings, calendars of events and other types of search results, it is typically the result of a website using structured data.
Local Business Cards
The best way to leverage structured data to boost your local SEO is to place “Local Business” schema markup on your site. There numerous forms of schema markup one can use to place structured data on their site, but Google recommends J-SON-LD. When a company uses schema markup to denote that their local business information on their site, they can receive a “local business card” at the top of Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Local business cards run across the top of a SERP, similar to Google Shopping ads. They are formatted into a small square box that will contain the name, address, and contact information of the local business. If your site ranks well and has a local business card, it will show prominently at the top of the page before users even scroll down to the standard organic search results. These cards’ prominence leads to higher click through rates and more traffic for both websites and existing business listings.
Ratings and Reviews in SERPs
Another excellent way to leverage structured data to enhance your search engine optimization is to ensure you’ve marked up any positive ratings and reviews for your business on your site. By adding schema for reviews and aggregate ratings into your schema markup for your local business, ratings and reviews will appear both as part of your local business cards and even under your site’s organic listing. If you have strong reviews and ratings, this can help convert more users into site visitors, as it will immediately increase customers’ trust in your brand.
Your local business’s SEO can benefit from strategic use of structured data. Enhancing your local search results will help improve click through rates and draw more potential clients to your brand. If you find out about more search engine optimization techniques to help your business, schedule an appointment with Mountain Media.
Search engine optimization and quality website design are key components of every good digital marketing strategy. However, sometimes you need more to get the results your company requires. Paid media, such as ads purchased on Google, Facebook, Bing or Amazon, can be a major boost to digital marketing campaigns as well. It isn’t always the right decision to add paid media to your strategy. Paid ads can boost your company, but it’s easy to overspend if you’re not careful. They are a more expensive route than traditional SEO and organic digital marketing. Here are some occasions when adding paid media to your digital marketing portfolio makes the most sense.
When You Don’t Have Much Time
If you need sales quickly for a venture to be successful, then paid media is likely your best bet. SEO pays off in the long haul, but PPC spending is what can get you in front of your potential customers’ eyes the fastest. If you craft your paid ads well enough and spend the appropriate money, your ads can be at the top of SERPs in only a day. If your business requires sales and brand awareness as soon as possible, paid media is not only a good investment but possibly a necessary one.
When the ROI for Paid Media Is Significant
Sometimes doing the research pays off in a big (and literal) way. If you’re thinking about using paid media to elevate your brand, then checking out how much it costs for your industry’s important keywords is essential. It’s also a good idea to check and see what typical conversion rates for ads in your industry are so you can find out how much each conversion may cost you in advertising spend. The reality is that paid media online can get quite expensive, so its usefulness to you often depends on what the typical return on your investment is going to be.
When Competition is Firmly Entrenched
Sometimes, you are entering a saturated market, or there is a very large and powerful competitor whose web presence takes up a lot of space. Trying to compete organically with SEO in these cases is especially difficult and takes even longer than usual. If you find yourself in these situations, you should still pursue an organic digital marketing strategy, but supporting it with paid media from the beginning can allow you to compete while you gain a foothold online. Paid media, when utilized property, can give smaller or lesser-known businesses a chance to get in front of potential customers’ eyes even when a large competitor has a stranglehold on the market.
Paid media can’t be the only pillar of your digital marketing campaign, but it can be an excellent investment for you company in the right situations. It’s important to consider your situation in its entirety before you determine what your complete digital marketing plan should look like and if you should use paid media as part of it. If you need help to determine if it’s the right course of action for you, reach out to Mountain Media and discuss it with our experts.
It is common for companies who have leadership inexperienced with digital marketing to be overwhelmed at the start of their online journey. If you don’t understand the necessary steps to get your brand a prominent online presence, all the new concepts, terms, and processes of getting online can be quite daunting. Even if you consult digital marketing experts to help guide you through the beginning phases of putting together a strategy, it isn’t uncommon to miss something important or make early mistakes that are difficult to recover from later on. Here are some big mistakes that you should avoid when putting together your plans.
Inaccurate Listings and Citations
One important issue that many companies miss is to make sure all the places your company is listed online have the same, correct information. Google checks to make sure that businesses’ online citations have matching names, addresses and phone numbers to the information on each company’s website. Digital marketing professionals commonly refer to these pieces of information as NAP. While Google’s algorithms are smart enough to match up slight variations in name and address formatting, altogether incorrect addresses and phone numbers can hurt a website’s rankings. If your company has ever moved its headquarters or changed its phone number, it is likely that there are still listings with bad information out there. Have digital marketing professionals perform an audit of your citations and ensure all the information about your company online is correct and consistent.
Stale Website with No Updates
Many companies believe that once their website goes live that their digital marketing job is done. While having an excellent website at launch is definitely important, truly excelling in digital marketing requires consistent attention to your website and content. Expanding your website regularly and adding additional useful content for your users is important if you want to stay relevant to Google. Google prefers websites that have fresh and relevant content on them and often pushes down sites that have stayed stale and stagnant for years. Make sure your digital marketing strategy includes regular content updates to your website.
Interfering With Your Campaign Before It Reaches It’s Potential
Impatience is a major problem for businesses that venture into digital marketing and SEO without doing their homework. Too many companies begin a marketing campaign with the expectation that major success will be quick. If you use paid media, it is possible to get leads on a short turnaround, but standard organic digital marketing requires time. Google takes several months to take stock of new websites and rank them appropriately. The investment of time and effort put in in the early stages of a digital marketing campaign pays off dividends in the long-term. However, many people get impatient and begin changing strategies or altering plans long before their website and campaign has a chance to shine. These big shifts in their campaigns can confuse Google or be seen as spam and actually harm campaigns. Trust digital marketing experts and be patient when waiting to reap the benefits of a long-term strategy.
If you find yourself struggling with the beginnings of building a digital marketing campaign, it always makes sense to reach out to professionals who can guide you on right path. If you want to elevate your brand, contact Mountain Media today and we can make sure you avoid any pitfalls while you build your strategy.