Be Relevant to Google

Be Relevant to Google – The Rest Will Take Care of Itself

In an age of digital connectivity users want results, and they want results fast. Within this framework Google is playing an epic game of King of the Mountain, and no one is poised to knock them off that mountain anytime soon. While Google has their hands in a lot of cookie jars, their predominant core functionality still revolves around their ability to take a user supplied query and return the most relevant results in the blink of an eye. We’re going to dissect it in more detail, but the keyword that needs to be circled, italicized, bolded, highlighted above is ‘relevant’.

Be Relevant to GoogleFor a hyper local business owner that is already the accountant, HR, customer service rep, salesman, etc – it is critical that they add Google buff to that list to make sure they position themselves to be relevant for the users that are searching for their products or services. Yes, there are other search engines, but Google still holds a 72% search engine market share – so when time is tight you can find the most benefit, and highest ROI, by focusing your efforts on making sure you represent your business with the right content and on the right mediums to become relevant. Trying to understand the terminology used when discussing the algorithm Google uses for its search engine can cause many to have nightmarish flash backs to vocabulary prep courses for the SAT. So were going to keep it simple and look at the three things that a hyper local business needs to master to become, and stay, relevant.

Content is King

Forget all the high tech terms, forget all the web mumbo jumbo and remember this simple three worded statement:  CONTENT IS KING. If you truly embrace this you will put yourself in a position to succeed in the web space where so many hyper local businesses fail. There are hundreds of solutions out there to help hyper local businesses become relevant on the web, but they will all fail if they aren’t supported with engaging, concise, and consistent content. The days of keyword stuffing and link building are dead, but organic SEO is still very much alive, and by creating a site that focuses on the core services and products of your business then the more likely you will be returned in results when users are looking for your type of business or service. Take the time to really think about your business and how people talk about your business and give all of that great content to the builders who are creating and maintaining your web presence. If you want to really go next level on content then take a look at keeping an active blog on the site that speaks to consumer issues and wants to only enhance yourself as an authority within your business’s vertical.

Get Social

If you have amazing content on your site about your business it is more important than ever to make sure that you get involved in Social Media. For most hyper local businesses it is quintessential that you have at least one account set up with the big players –  Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn, preferably an account for all of them. By having your own account on these sites it gives you the ability to share the content of your site to a community of users that might not have come across it otherwise. It is also necessary that on your site you create the ability for users to be able to share your content when they want to across all of the aforementioned sites. If you provide high quality and industry/user specific content then people will naturally want to share your site, and this helps promote overall organic activity around your brand. When Google sees this type of activity around a brand name they will associate your brand with being an authority in the space and your site is that much more likely to be served in the search results for users to digest.

Mobile First

Many of today’s consumers are on the go and aren’t necessarily looking for businesses while they’re at home at night, but rather when they’re on their phone out and about. It is no longer efficient to build a site intended for desktop use and then retroactively work towards creating a mobile presence. In an age where time is the most valued commodity, a great way to make sure you have a site that is mobile optimized and still serves its purpose in a desktop environment, while minimizing upkeep time, is to make sure that you’re site is built in a responsive design. A responsive design is Google’s recommended configuration for a site build as in the most basic sense it just means you have one URL that uses the same code and changes it look to the consumer based on the screen size of the device they are using. More importantly having a single responsive site makes it easier than ever for the Google bots to read and index your site content, and when Google can read your site correctly you position yourself to succeed.

This is by no means the Holy Grail to solving the enigma, wrapped inside a mystery, that is the algorithm used to support Google’s search engine; however, it does give you some very rock solid first steps to position yourself ahead of your competition in a readily changing environment by just staying relevant.

Lynn Hughes, Product Manager at PowerSites®Lynn Hughes is the Product Manager at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.
Photo by Chris F / CC BY">

Amazon’s New Smartphone and the Focus It Will Bring to Mobile Commerce – As a Small Business What Do You Need to Know?

Amazon 3D Fire Smartphone

Amazon 3D Fire Smartphone ” by
Chris F is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In an era where online commerce is growing at an exponential rate most of those transactions have still occurred within a traditional PC environment. Within the framework of online commerce, the release of Fire Phone, announced by Amazon at an event in Washington on Wednesday (6/18/14), will push for drastically more awareness and emphasis around mobile commerce. While the phone has a variety of flashy software and hardware feature sets, including most notably the ability to render certain images and functionalities into a 3-D like appearance, there is one core functionality that promises to help change the way people view, consume, and purchase products through retailers.

With the launch of their Fire Phone, Amazon upped the ante by integrating Firefly; an image, text , and audio-recognition technology into the hardware of their phone with a dedicated button that is located on the side of the phone. This feature will give customers the ability to showroom products in a big box store and then immediately jump on Amazon to complete their purchase at a more attractive price point because with less overhead and smaller margins Amazon is often able to undercut in store pricing. The Firefly functionality will also allow users to identify songs, movies, and TV shows that they can immediately stream through or purchase through Prime. While this core functionality is obviously largely self serving to the Amazon platform and the Amazon shopping a experience a parallel effect will undoubtedly be drawing more people to becoming comfortable with transacting online, and is a feature that could fundamentally change the shopping flow for big box stores and hyper local businesses alike.

In 2018 it is expected that online commerce sales, on a global level, will top $638 billion, which for reference that figure is approximately the entire size of the online commerce market in 2013. With such growth in dollars available in the mobile experience what does this mean for hyper local businesses? It means that in an era of fierce competition for online retail and service dollars it is of a quintessential nature that if you already don’t have an online commerce strategy that you start to think about how to implement and execute one. This is not only true for brick and mortar stores that need to be concerned about their online selling experiences, but it is also necessary for service based business to really evaluate how they can capture a sliver of that online revenue pie. Mobile commerce will undoubtedly boom within the physical product spectrum, but these types of technological advances will also lead the way for service based offerings to be shopped and paid for through mobile environments.

At PowerSites® we understand this necessity and are working vehemently to be able to provide you the product offerings you need to support your business online in any capacity that you deem fit.

Lynn Hughes, Product Manager at PowerSites®Lynn Hughes is the Product Manager at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.
Why small businesses need to be mobile savvy

It’s Not Too Late For Your Small Business To Be Mobile Savvy

Why small businesses need to be mobile savvyWe are in the midst of a digital revolution and one thing is clear, an era of mobile is upon us. While technology has taught us that nothing stays the same for long, it has become abundantly clear that mobile devices will impact the relationship between consumers and small businesses for a long time to come. First, it’s important to understand the current and future impact of mobile and then take steps to make sure that your business portfolio includes a strong mobile strategy.

3 Steps to Improve Your Mobile Presence:

1. Responsive Site Design

Creating your website is the most basic step you can take in the development of your online brand. It is critical that your site is capable of being digested by users on a variety of platforms including laptops, tablets and smartphone devices. As a small business owner we know you wear many hats on a day in and day out basis so instead of managing both a desktop and mobile version of your website look for a responsive site design to make sure your brand is presented appropriately all screen sizes and devices. By leveraging responsive technologies you can create a single website (lives on a single URL) that automatically adjusts itself to fit any screen size that a potential customer is using to view your content.

2. Social Media

With millions upon millions of users interacting with social media through their mobile devices it is essential that as a small business you leverage this digital marketing channel to further support your overall digital presence. There are so many different social media sites that it can be quite overwhelming for someone who isn’t necessarily tech savvy to leverage these services appropriately. However, if you focus on the big three; Facebook, Google+, and Twitter you will more than be able to cover your bases. So do some homework, create a page for your business on each of these sites, and get your company in front of a whole new group of customers who are on the go, ready to buy, and use their mobile devices to drive their purchasing behavior.

3. Local Business Directory Listings

No two mobile users will search for a product or service the exact same way. As a small business owner with a mobile strategy it becomes your responsibility to make sure that your brand is available for digestion through as many channels as possible. You can enhance your presence within local search by leveraging local business directory listing networks. The benefit here is two-fold by creating a consistent presence across sites like Yelp, Yahoo! Local, PennySaver, and FourSquare you increase your exposure for users searching for small businesses on these individual sites as well as improving your local search rankings for organic traffic on the major search engines.

The mobile space is readily evolving and will only continue to change, but as a small business if you can take these basic steps to start establishing an effective mobile business strategy and presence, you’ll be on the right path to making sure the move to mobile doesn’t pass you by.

Lynn Hughes, Product Manager at PowerSites®Lynn Hughes is the Product Manager at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.
Improve your Sales with these Marketing Tips

Should You Turn Your Mobile Device into a Cash Register

Did you know that 180 million Americans carry credit cards, and that is the most popular form of payment. It’s also been found that customers spend more when paying with card over cash. This info shows that it’s absolutely crucial for small businesses to accept credit cards, and if your small business isn’t accepting credit card payments, then you’re potentially missing out on a lot of sales and revenue.

If you don’t have a cash register that can accept credit card payments, and you’re worried it may be too expensive, PowerSites is here to present an alternative option–turning your mobile phone into a cash register that accepts credit card payments.

Smart Devices as Credit Card Terminals

SquareWhen businesses choose to accept credit cards, they expand their potential customer/client base dramatically. This is the number one reason so many businesses choose to accept credit cards.

Merchant service businesses are businesses that process credit cards for merchants. Companies that specialize in using smart devices such as smart phones and tablets usually provide a card-reading device at no charge that simply plugs into the businesses smart device, like the Square Reader.

In addition, when companies use landlines to process credit card payments there is normally a monthly fee, a fixed transaction fee, and another fee that can be as high as four percent of the total transaction. However, where smart devices used for credit card processing there is only a single fee that is less than three percent of the total transaction.

Businesses That Can Benefit From Smart Device Credit Card Acceptance

In the United States, businesses that are attracted to smart device credit card acceptance are primarily businesses that deliver to or work at customer’s residence or business. These businesses can be quite varied ranging from a butcher who delivers meets to your home to an electrical contractor that installs electrical fixtures. Other great candidates for using smart device credit card acceptance are repair people. Merchants that attend trade shows, county fairs, and street festivals or farmers markets to sell their products find that using smart device to accept credit cards is an affordable way to expand their customer base.

Anyone that works on the go and accepts payments for services or goods would be ideal candidates for turning their mobile devices into cash registers.

Smart Device Credit Card Acceptance Technology

Mobile credit card acceptance technology is in its infancy. A merchant services company gives a small reading device; frequently called a “dongle”, that easily plugs into a smart device. Once the card is swiped, the merchant services provider who receives the information over a mobile phone carrier’s network or the Internet, then processes it. Once the card is approved for, the transaction customers use a stylus or their finger to sign on a touchscreen. In addition to processing the card merchant services company also provides reports such as gross sales and best-selling products. It also benefits the customer and reduces the waste of paper with features like being able to email a receipt, instead of printing one out.