SEO & Local SEO

How to Find a Direct Link for Customers to Leave a Google Review

It is often helpful to post a link in emails or on a small business website for customers or clients to post a review on Google Reviews. If you have enabled the new Google Short Name for your business/website in Google My Business (GMB), you don’t need the rest of this post: you can get the link right there in your GMB dashboard. It will look something like this: https://g.page/psychlinks-web-services/review. If you don’t have a GMB account set up, or for some reason you havben’t set up a Google Short Name, here’s how to get a direct link to leave a review for your business: Go to https://developers.google.com/places/place-id Google Placeid   Enter the name of your business and you’ll get a dropdown to confirm the location (or I think you can use the address as well). Press enter and you’ll get a popup with the the placeid, which will be a long string of letters and numbers looking something like this: ChIJrTLr-GyuEmsRBfy61i59si0 Simple copy that placeid and append it to the end of the following URL: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid= That’s your direct link to leave a Google Review for your business. Unfortunately, this method does not seem to work for a Service Area Business (SAB) or a business which is not yet on Google Maps. For that, there’s a bit of a convoluted work around outlined here: Can’t Find Your Google Places ID? Learn The Trick To Find Any Place ID – Launch 2 Success  

Using Events and Wacky Holidays to Attract Customers

Use Events and Wacky Holidays to Attract New and Returning Customers by Dan Magill, Woocommerce Blog June 27, 2019 Wacky Holidays and Months Looking for something to say in the next few months to boost your eCommerce marketing? Find a weird holiday that can connect to your business in some way. Sure, you can go after major holidays like Labor Day and July 4th in the US, or back to school week. And you probably should. But what about July 6th – International Kissing Day? Or how about these: July 2nd – World UFO Day July 7th – Tell the Truth Day July 12th – Simplicity Day July 28th – Milk Chocolate Day If July is too soon for your planning, here are some great ones in August: Aug 2nd – International Beer Day Aug 13th – Left Handers Day Aug 21st – Spumoni Day Aug 31st – Eat Outside Day July is also Ice Cream Month. And, if you’re in finance, July is Bank Account Bonus Month. Have a salon business? August is Anti-Frizz Month. It’s also Peach Month and Inventor’s Month. Where to Find Weird Holidays and Months So many goofy months and holidays exist these days – you’re sure to find several creative ways to capitalize on them. You can find complete lists of wacky holidays on Days of the Year and Time and Date.    Read more…

Going Online to Win in Canadian Business

Businesses in Canada, especially small local businesses in Canada, cannot hope to compete today unless they have a strong online presence. Read on for advice from Google Canada. Future proofing your business: Why digital is the way to win in Canada Think With Google June 2019 By 2023, Canadian digital commerce will grow by 30%.1 That’s a $60-billion market. The opportunity is there for the taking — and there’s room for all retailers to thrive whether they’re traditional, pure play, or brand-focused. When it comes to online shopping, Canadian consumers are, in fact, already leaders in many ways. According to new research by Google and Deloitte on the eCommerce landscape, 77% of Canadians go online to discover the things they want to buy, compared to 72% of Americans.2 And 82% of Canadians research and purchase online, which is on par with the U.S. at 85%.3 Plus, Canadian consumers want to buy Canadian products. Are you making it easier for them to purchase yours? There’s a great divide out there between the retailers who can quickly adapt to and thrive in this environment, and those who can’t. But the good news is, your business has more opportunity to build on than ever before. Sources: 1 eMarketer, May 2019, Retail Ecommerce Sales, Canada 2019 – 2023 2 Deloitte/Google, “”Future proofing your business: Why digital is the way to win in Canada”, Canada and USA, March 2019 – April 2019, n = 1009 Canadian Shopper 18+ and n = 1000 US Shoppers 18+ 3 Deloitte/Google, “”Future proofing your business: Why digital is the way to win in Canada”, Canada and USA, March 2019 – April 2019, n = 1009 Canadian Shopper 18+ and n = 1000 US Shoppers 18+ 4 Download Google/Deloitte Whitepaper, June 26, 2019 (PDF)   Read more…

Grammarly Adds Junk Code to WordPress Posts and Pages

Grammarly Adds Junk Code to WordPress Posts and Pages By Kris Gunnars, SearchTraffic.com April 4, 2019   When you enable the Grammarly extension in your browser, it scans the text that you type for spelling and grammar errors and underlines them. This is what your text looks like if you have spelling errors with Grammarly enabled: When you hover over an underlined word, Grammarly shows a suggestion for a fix. You can simply click the suggestion and Grammarly corrects the text for you, which is very useful. Junk code added to the published pages If I publish the text block above, with the spelling errors still highlighted, Grammarly html code gets added to the published page. If you get a lot of Grammarly suggestions in your code and don’t take action to fix them, then your pages will become bloated with a lot of this type of junk code. I call this code “junk” because it doesn’t serve any purpose whatsoever on the live, published page that is consumed by real users and search engines. All it does is increase the size of your page, which can negative effects on site speed. Taking action on the code errors usually gets rid of the code, so you need to hover over each word and either select the suggested correction or click the “Ignore” button. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work. Even if you take action on all of the suggestions, chances are that you will still find a lot of this unnecessary html junk code on your live pages. Some junk code may remain on the page I noticed while doing some article cleanup that most of my published articles had a bunch of this junk code added, including for parts of the text that didn’t have any errors. Here’s an example:

Page Load Speed: Benefits to Ranking in Mobile Search & User Retention

User experience improvements with page speed in mobile search Google Webmaster Blog April 4, 2019 To help users find the answers to their questions faster, we included page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches in 2018. Since then, we’ve observed improvements on many pages across the web. We want to recognize the performance improvements webmasters have made over the past year. A few highlights: For the slowest one-third of traffic, we saw user-centric performance metrics improve by 15% to 20% in 2018. As a comparison, no improvement was seen in 2017. We observed improvements across the whole web ecosystem. On a per country basis, more than 95% of countries had improved speeds. When a page is slow to load, users are more likely to abandon the navigation. Thanks to these speed improvements, we’ve observed a 20% reduction in abandonment rate for navigations initiated from Search, a metric that site owners can now also measure via the Network Error Logging API available in Chrome. In 2018, developers ran over a billion PageSpeed Insights audits to identify performance optimization opportunities for over 200 million unique urls. Read more… How does your site measure up when it comes to mobile loading speed? Check your load times at PageSpeed Insights. Check Google’s Chrome User Experience Report to see how you measure up to other web pages. See Google’s article on Why Performance Matters. If your site doesn’t compare well to your competitors’ sites, you are almost certainly losing potential customers in a world where increasingly people have abandoned desktop and laptop computers and are searching for products and services on tablets or smart phones. Contact us today for an evaluation of your business website. We won’t mislead you and we will never try to sell you anything you don’t need. But if

Google Reviews Widget for WordPress

I recently started a test drive of a neat WordPress widget plugin called the Google Reviews Widget by RichPlugins. I’m using the free version at the moment which you can download from WordPress.org here. The plugin boasts the following features: Display up to 5 Google business reviews per location Keep all reviews in WordPress database Shows real reviews from G+ users to increase user confidence Easy search of place and instantly show reviews Nofollow, target=”_blank” links Zero load time regardless of your site Works even if Google is unavailable The plugin does what it claims and creates a nice display in your sidebar of up to 5 reviews. The current free version is a bit quirky. I hadn’t really promoted my Google My Business page for this site other than registering some basic information (the cobbler’s shoes phenomenon) so I only recently started supplying the Google Reviews link to clients). When I first installed it, there were only two reviews and the plugin grabbed and displayed those just fine in the sidebar. However, when a third review was added, the plugin didn’t pick that up, even though obviously I was well within the 5 reviews limit. An email to the plugin support page was answered promptly on Monday morning, instructing me to add a sec0nd instance of the widget to force an update (see below) and then delete it once the reviews in the database were updated. This worked, although of course it would be a pain to have to do that repeatedly. I’m not certain whether the authors were suggesting this as a fix if the plugin gets stuck or whether this is a known bug that might get fixed in a future update. According to their support forum, Both plugins (free and paid) use the Google Places API

Website Performance and Site Speed Tests Revisited

In a previous post from April 2018, Testing WordPress Performance and Site Speed, I discussed an article describing five online tools for testing the page load speeds for your website. Google PageSpeed Insights Pingdom GTmetrix WebPagetest YSlow Browser Plugin Most of these simply test a webpage from the URL submitted and report relative site speed of that page (it’s not always clear relative to what exactly – presumably all other webpages that tool has tested) and then make suggestions on how you can improve the performance of that page. Pingdom allows you to select from one of three locations to use to test your page load speed. WebPagetest expands on this by offering a choice of several locations around the world and in addition allows you to check your page speed with a choice of browsers and devices. More recently, I learned about a new online tool which is similar to those discussed above but with several significant improvements: Website Speed Test | Dotcom-Tools. Dotcom-Tools adds the following features to those offered by their competitors: Tests browser-based load time of all page elements Detects slow or missing elements Tests from your selection of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or  various mobile web browsers Provides a complete waterfall report with  charts and graphs Displays results from nearly two dozen global locations all in the same report Conducts tests from each location twice, with the second visit cached to allow you to estimate the effectiveness of the various caching systems used by your page These tests are all absolutely free with no sign-up required. Dotcom Web Site Monitoring also offers a selection of various paid plans as well. In addition to the features of the free service described above, the Pro plans offer Website Performance Monitoring starting at $7.99 USD per month for

Social Media Outperforms Google for Small Business

Google still dominates the search market but for small business social media, especially Facebook, may be the best marketing tool. How social networks usurp Google’s local search dominance by Wesley Young, Search Engine Land June 18, 2018 Google may dominate most results, but not local search: How Facebook and other social networks take a significant share of local search away from Google. Google claimed that at the end of 2013, it had 540 million monthly active Google+ users. According to SmartInights, quoting data from StaticBrain (paywall), in 2017, it was estimated that only 4-6 million were active. Compare that to almost 1.5 billion daily active Facebook users. In other words, Google’s social media presence is less than 0.4 percent of Facebook’s. Why social will win local search market share A Local Search Association study conducted by Burke in 2016 showed that word of mouth or referrals from friends and family was tied with company websites for second place among resources that consumers used to look up or learn about local products and services…. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Trust in Advertising study, consumers trusted recommendations from friends far more than any other source…. In the US, 82 percent of respondents trusted recommendations from people they know. For comparison, 66 percent trusted online consumer opinions (reviews), 61 percent trusted branded websites, 49 percent search ads, 47 percent video ads and 39 percent mobile ads. …. Is it more likely for Google to attract social users or for Facebook to adopt search and commerce into its platform? Based on results to date, Google hasn’t been successful in several attempts at social media. Yet Facebook has incorporated maps, reviews, recommendations and search functions into its platform. Edge: Facebook. And it seems that the changes are having their desired effect. A recent study by

Facebook Users Visit Local Business Pages Weekly

Here is another study showing the importance of both smart phones and social media in how the potential customers of local small business research and conclude the purchase of products and services. If you don’t have a responsive internet presence coupled with social media marketing, consumers won’t find you. But they will find your competitors! Nearly 2 in 3 Facebook Users Visit Local Business or Event Pages Weekly by Courtney Dobson, LSA Insider May 29, 2018 A recent Facebook study of over 6,000 local businesses and over 10,000 people around the world found that 2 in 3 people on Facebook visit the page of a local business or event at least once a week. The study defined local businesses as, “one that isn’t part of a chain, franchise or non-profit and isn’t purely online, but has fewer than five store locations in a single market.” Additionally, while ecommerce is seeing growth, in-store experiences offer a personal appeal that is unparalleled to digital experiences. In fact, 87% said trust and security was the main motivator for local-based purchases, and 40% said that the store offers a more personal customer experience. When looking further into the motivations for in-store vs. online, people prioritize things like conveniences, ease and cost savings. According to the survey, the top three reasons people shop in-store are goods being immediately available, goods that are close by and not having to pay for shipping costs. On the other hand, the top reasons for shopping online included not having to leave the house, not being limited to shopping during store hours and comparing costs easily. Mobile-first shoppers, however, pave the way for opportunity, as they seek to interact with and learn more about a business and its offerings. Eighty percent of people surveyed said they use their smartphones to

Listing your local business to increase visibility

Creating a web presence is just step one. Now you have to make sure your business is visible in search engine listings. Here’s one important component of achieving that. Best Local Citations by Country – A 2018 Update by Nyagoslav Zhekov, Whitespark.ca April 12, 2018 Find out Which Sites Are the Most Important For Your Business In: The United States Canada The United Kingdom Australia Germany The Netherlands France Ireland New Zealand Singapore South Africa Spain Italy Brazil Poland Visit the top citations page to download our full list for all 15 countries, as well as learn more about our process for qualifying the sites that are included in our resource. Read more…
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