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6 Hacks To Optimize Your Local Search Marketing

6 Hacks To Optimize Your Local Search Marketing

Local search marketing is a concerted effort that uses geographically optimized web content, business listings and social media signals to draw local search traffic from your neighbourhood, town or city to your business. Local search puts your company and the products it’s selling in front of your local audience. With the increased use of mobile devices, local search is a mission critical marketing tactic that cannot be ignored. Let’s look at the 5 top hacks for optimizing your local search marketing:

1. Claim Your Place(s)

Google Places
    Multiple Locations on Google Maps

    Claim a place for your business in local listings and display authentic information about your product or service to millions via search engines like Google, Yahoo Local and Bing Places for Business.

    If your business is multi-locational, ensure each location has a dedicated page that includes name, phone number address, hours of operation and (if required) directions to the given location. This information helps search engines return the most relevant results based on the location of the user and the keywords they’ve searched.

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    List your business with a 100% score on Google My Business by completely filling in the 20+ fields. By completely filling in all the different account fields, you’re more likely to earn a place in the first page of Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

    Google My Business

      2. Spread the Word

      Go beyond Google and spread the word about your business in some of the top local information repositories:

      • Search Engine Maps (Google, Bing and Yahoo)
      • Yellow Page Directories (Insider Pages, Superpages)
      • Local Directories (CitySearch, Localeze)
      • Review Sites (Yelp, Urban Spoon, Zagat)
      • Business Directories (InfoGroup/InfoUSA, Acxiom)
      • Niche, Industry Specific Directories (Health Grades)

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      While submitting your listings, make sure your local search listings are verified, accurate and optimized.

      3. Optimize Your Profile

      Even if you’ve mentioned your business name, address, phone number and other necessary information in the listings, it won’t be enough as long as you do not optimize your profile and content for the major search engines. How will search engines decide if your listing is more visible on SERPs over that of your competitors? It depends on how well you optimize your listings. Optimization, accuracy and completeness are the three qualities that help steal a march over your competitors.

      Make your descriptions keyword rich (using location based keywords), provide maps and details of your physical store or business location and embed brand photos and videos.

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      4. Distribution Is Key

      Your job does not end after claiming and optimizing your listings. Rather, it is half done unless you make an effort to keep reaching out to a wider audience. One of the ways you can do this is by creating and distributing content relevant to your business niche and its location. The content you are distributing in the name of your business must be a fine balancing act between ‘value addition’ and ‘branding’.

      A great way to target your content for local search is to orientate your content to have a local focus. This can be easier said than done, but is achieved by including a lot of place name related keywords, information about local issues or promoting your business’ voice in the local community.

      5. Track Performance

      Local search is a cost-effective marketing strategy; but the problem is that many businesses and online marketers don’t understand it all that well. Because of this, they’re also vague on how to accurately report on their efforts and measure their effectiveness. Use tools like Google Analytics and Hootsuite to realize the full potential of local search and harness its benefits for your business. HootSuite is a great tool because it can track location-based campaigns across social platforms such as Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter.

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      How you track your analytics will be specific to your business goals, but make sure these are clear in your mind and you’re able to keep track of them through accurate reporting.

      6. Encourage Customer Reviews

      Optimize your online business by encouraging good customer reviews. According to a Nielsen study, 70 percent of people trust online consumer opinions. Reviews are also an important ranking signal for Google, and the more the number of reviews your business attracts, the better your ranking on SERPs. Authenticity is a key element here, so make sure you encourage real reviews as Google is very diligent at detecting fake or spammy review practices.

      Use the above mentioned six sure-fire tips and tap into the benefits that this local search marketing tactic provides your business. Not only will you more effectively target local consumers in your area, but your rankings on the results pages of Google will improve drastically.

      Featured photo credit: Hluboki Dzianis/Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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      Published on November 12, 2020

      5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

      5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

      What’s the most draining, miserable job you’ve ever had? Maybe you had a supervisor with unrealistic demands about your work output and schedule. Or perhaps, you worked under a bullying boss who frequently lost his temper with you and your colleagues, creating a toxic work environment.

      Chances are, though, your terrible job experience was more all-encompassing than a negative experience with just one person. That’s because, in general, toxicity at work breeds an entire culture. Research shows abusive behavior by leaders can and often quickly spread through an entire organization.[1]

      Unfortunately, working in a toxic environment doesn’t just make it miserable to show up to the office (or a Zoom meeting). This type of culture can have lasting negative effects, taking a toll on mental and physical health and even affecting workers’ personal lives and relationships.[2]

      While it’s often all-encompassing, toxic culture isn’t always as blatant or clear-cut as abuse. Some of the evidence is more subtle—but it still warrants concern and action.

      Have a feeling that your workplace is a toxic environment? Here are 5 surefire signs to look for.

      1. People Often Say (or Imply) “That’s Not My Job”

      When I first launched my company, I had a very small team. And back then, we all wore a lot of hats, simply because we had to. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly together to build, troubleshoot, and market our product, and nobody complained (at least most of the time).

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      Because we were all in it together, with the same shared vision in mind, cooperation mattered so much more than job titles. Unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

      In some workplaces, people adhere to their job descriptions to a fault:

      • Need help with an accounting problem? Sorry, that’s not my job.
      • Oh, you spilled your coffee in the break room? Too bad, I’m working.
      • Can’t figure out the new software? Ask IT.

      While everyone has their own skillset—and time is often at a premium—cooperation is important in any workplace. An “it’s not my job” attitude is a sign of a toxic environment because it’s inherently selfish. It implies “I only care about me and what I have to get done” and that people aren’t concerned about the collective good or overall vision.[3] That type of perspective is not only bound to drain individual relationships; it also drains overall morale and productivity.

      2. There’s a Lack of Diversity

      Diversity is a vital part of a healthy work environment. We need the opinions and ideas of people who don’t see the world like us to move ahead. So, when leaders don’t prioritize diversity—or worse, they actively avoid it—I’m always suspicious about their character and values.

      Limiting your workforce to one type of person is bound to prevent organizations from growing healthily. But even if your work environment is diverse in general, the management might prevent diverse individuals from rising to leadership positions, which only misses the point of having a diverse work environment in the first place.

      Look around you. Who’s in leadership at your company? Who gets promotions and rewards most often? If the same type of people gets ahead while other individuals consistently get left behind, you might be working in a toxic environment.

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      However it manifests in your workplace, keep in mind that a lack of diversity is a tell-tale sign that “bias is rampant and the wrong things are valued.”[4]

      3. Feedback Isn’t Allowed

      Just as individual growth hinges on being open to criticism, an organization’s well-being depends on workers’ ability to air their concerns and ideas. If management actively stifles feedback from employees, you’re probably working in a toxic environment.

      But that definitely doesn’t mean nobody will air their feelings. One of the telltale signs of toxic leadership is when employees vent on the sidelines, out of management’s earshot. When I worked in a toxic environment, coworkers would often complain about higher-ups and company policies during work in private chats or after work hours.

      It’s normal to get frustrated at work. That’s just a part of having a job. What isn’t normal is when dissent isn’t a part of or discouraged in the workplace. A workplace culture that suppresses constructive feedback will not be successful in the long run. It’s a sign that leadership isn’t open to new ideas, and that they’re more concerned about their own well-being than the health of the organization as a whole.

      4. Quantifiable Measures Take Priority

      Sales numbers, timelines, bottom lines—these metrics are, of course, important signs of how things are going in any business. But great leaders know that true success isn’t always measurable or quantifiable. More meaningful factors like workplace satisfaction, teamwork, and personal growth all contribute to and sustain these metrics.

      Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be the only concern. Measure-taking should always take a backseat to meaning-making—working together to contribute to a vision that improves people’s lives. If your workplace zones in on quantifiable measures of success, it’s probably not prioritizing what truly matters. And it’s probably also instilling a fear of failure among employees, which paralyzes employees instead of motivating them.

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      5. The Policies and Rules Are Inconsistent

      Every organization has its own set of unique policies and procedures. But often, unhealthy workplaces have inconsistent, unspoken “rules” that apply differently to different people. When one person gets in trouble for the same type of behavior that promotes another person, workers will feel like management plays favorites—which isn’t just unethical but also a quick way to drain morale and fuel tension in the office.[5] It only shows how incompetent the leadership is and indicates a toxic workplace.

      For example, maybe there’s no “set” rule about work hours, but your manager expects certain people or departments to show up at 8 am while other individuals tend to roll in at 9 or 10 am with no real consequences. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that your organization’s leadership is more concerned with controlling people and exerting power rather than the overall good of their employees.

      How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

      The first thing to know if you’re stuck in a toxic work environment is that you’re not stuck. While it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to make positive changes that prevent harmful actions to employees, you also have an opportunity to speak up about your concerns—or, if necessary, depart the role altogether.

      If you suspect that you’re working in a toxic environment, think about how you can advocate for yourself. Start by raising your grievances about the culture in an appropriate setting, like a scheduled, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor.

      Can’t imagine sitting down with your supervisor to air those problems on your own? Form some solidarity with like-minded colleagues. Approaching management might feel less overwhelming when you have a “team” who shares your views.

      It doesn’t have to be an overtly confrontational discussion. Do your best to frame your concerns in a positive way by sharing with your supervisor that you want to be more productive at work, but certain problems sometimes get in the way.

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      Final Thoughts

      If your supervisor truly cares about the well-being of the organization, they will take your concerns seriously and actively take part in changing the toxic work environment into something more conducive to productivity.

      If not, then it might be time to consider the cost of the job on your well-being and personal life. Is it worth staying just for your resume’s sake? Or could you consider a “bridge” job that allows you to exhale for a bit, even if it doesn’t “move you ahead” the way you planned?

      It might not be the ideal situation, but your mental health and well-being are too important to ignore. And when you have the opportunity to refuel, you’ll be a far more valuable asset at whatever amazing job you land next.

      More Tips on Dealing With a Toxic Work Environment

      Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

      Reference

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