10 Tips to Make Your Website Stand Out From The Crowd

10 Tips to Make Your Website Stand Out From The Crowd

Today there are over 1,000,000,000 websites on the internet.


And they’re all vying to capture the attention of your customer.


I’m not telling you this to scare you. In fact I am probably not telling you anything you are not aware of already.


I’m telling you this to demonstrate that since there are over one billion websites online, the chances are there are at least ten, maybe even a couple of hundred in your niche and location alone.


And with figures like that, you need to make sure that your website is successful at helping you reach your business goals, capturing the attention of and building trust with your target audience.


In this post you will receive ten specific and actionable strategies to turn your online presence into a marketing asset so you can increase the number of leads you generate, the prospects you convert into customers and ultimately enable you to rise above the competition.


Have a Mobile Friendly Website

have a mobile friendly website


Whether it’s performing a search, opening an app, visiting a website or watching a video, people turn to their mobile device to get answers or take action.


If the website you have is not mobile optimised the user experience will be poor; it will be harder to click on buttons, more difficult to read the information and the user may not even be able to “click to call”, all of which can result in them moving on very quickly. Worse, if Google notice this, and they will, you will effectively be penalised and your website will be pushed further down the search rankings as a consequence.


Claim Your Google My Business Listing


Google is the most powerful and popular search engine, every second there are 54,907 searches globally and it has loads of great resources on offer as well. By taking advantage of Google’s resources you will also make your business more easily searchable. One of the best things to do is claim your Google my Business Profile and make the page your own


It’s important to make sure you’re including key contact and location information on your website and Google my business profile.


According to research by comScore, address and location are the primary pieces of information sought by local searchers. Here are some of the other types of info searchers are looking for:



  • Businesses by category (In other words, searchers are looking for a particular type of business but haven’t yet decided which one to select.)
  • Phone number
  • Products or services (Again, they don’t have a particular business in mind, they’re searching for a specific product or service.)
  • Opening Hours
  • Driving directions
  • Coupons and special offers
  • Ratings and reviews

Given the desires of local searchers, it’s important to keep your content concise and actionable.




claim your social media profiles

Social Media can have a huge impact as it can put you in front of a huge targeted audience in a relatively informal setting. It’s also great for backlinks, getting your content shared and increasing the awareness of your brand. Having your own profile to link to also reinforces your brand image and gives you a good link back to a very highly ranked source.


These social media profiles are very relevant for your brand and can be used to protect your reputation from other companies or unwanted press articles appearing in brand related search terms.


Exclusive Report Reveals 49 Social Media Tips for Business.

Including How to build relationships with you customers so they come back again and again and again! 

Click Here to Get Your Copy Now!


Optimse Your Website for Search


If you want your site to show up in the search engines, then you have to make sure that the terms that people would use to search for your type of product or service are on your site for the search engines to see. For example if you are a Dentist, your potential customers might be searching for “loose tooth”, “straighten my teeth” rather than just “dentist”. Find out what your customers search for, and then optimise your site for these words and phrases.


optimise your website for search

Sit down and create a list of your products and services. Take each service individually and add the problems that you can solve. You then have the basis for a content campaign.




Search engines are hungry for fresh content on websites. They see it as a measure of how up to date and relevant a site is. If you produce a great, fully optimised website don’t think you have done it once and can leave it forever without updating it. You need to add new content to your website regularly, not least because if people see that there is a lot of fresh new information they are more likely to come back time and time again.


The more good quality content you have, the greater the opportunity you have to have your website presented to a targeted user in search.


Grow your email list.


There should be a focus, a desired result so to speak, for everything that you do online. If you are going to create a website and provide educational, entertaining and enlightening content for your target audience then you should enable those targeted users to take the next step and become leads and future clients of your business.



In order to do this you have to provide the website user with something of incredible value that will help them solve their problem.


An example of such would be that a legal firm who offer conveyancing services could provide a download for a user to subscribe to called “5 Reasons Choosing the Least Cost Conveyancing Quote Could Leave You Thousands of Pounds Out of Pocket”


If you are looking to buy a new home then this is something you want to know, so you can provide the user with that information in exchange for their email address and more importantly, permission to email them and market your strengths in that area.




Social Proof is very important. Think of any major purchase you’ve made and the chances are you did some research online. Customer reviews and feedback are often more valuable than a blurb or product description. They show that real people have bought, used and enjoyed the product or experience enough to come back and review it.




The internet is a huge open forum and no matter how many happy customers you have there will always be someone who leaves a bad review or a negative comment. While you can never stop these entirely, you need to be aware of what is being said about you online and make sure that you control your image and reputation as tightly as possible.


On the flip side when customers leave great feedback about your business you need to make sure those reviews and testimonials are everywhere that potential clients may be online.





It can be all too easy to hide behind the brand, with an online presence it’s good to be visible. Let your customers know who is behind the business, let them know who they’re talking to on Social Media. You don’t need to give away anything personal, just be personable, reply to comments so that people can see they’re being listened to and engage in conversations to create a bit of a buzz about your business.




A fully optimised, engaging online presence that draws customers in and encourages customer interaction takes a lot of effort and skill. If your online presence isn’t working for you, it more than likely means customers aren’t finding you, or if they are then they don’t like what they see. Done correctly, your online presence with your website at the centre should provide a constant stream of leads and ultimately be a full time sales person for your business.


Click here to get access


Local Knowledge Panel Now Includes Reviews From the Web

Local Knowledge Panel Now Includes Reviews From the Web

Google recently announced that they were adding “reviews from around the web” to the local knowledge panel for businesses. Find out how this may affect you here: http://bit.ly/2cpHQTv

Last week Google announced that they were adding “reviews from around the web” to the local knowledge panel for businesses.

Google stated

“Whether your site publishes editorial critic reviews, best-of places lists, or aggregates user ratings, this content can be featured in local Knowledge Panels when users are looking for places to go.

Reviews from the web is available globally on mobile and desktop, Reviews from the web brings aggregated user ratings of up to three review sites to Knowledge Panels for local places across many verticals”


What is the Knowledge Panel?

If you were to Google any business name (take your own business as an example), on the left hand side of the page Google will return a list of the most relevant sites on the internet related to your business and on the right hand side of the page there will be the knowledge panel for your business. Take a look at the example below:


Knowledge graph example of Bath Spa Dentistry


The knowledge panel will display your location on a map, the Name, Address and Phone Number Citation (NAP), your opening hours, images of the exterior and interior of your office. It will also show the customer ratings that your business has from Google My Business, as well as some snippets of those reviews and now “the reviews from the web” section that will showcase reviews from other relevant sites. Good or bad.


Why have Google Added Reviews from the Web?


Reviews from the Web is intended to increase the number of sites that can display user reviews allowing the user to gain a more informed buying decision.


When it comes to making purchasing decisions, customers look for trust signals, and so does Google. One of those trust signals is online reviews, with 90% of customers  saying that their purchasing decisions are influenced by them. Google also uses user generated content including online reviews as a ranking signal for how your website will perform for keyword phrases in search.


Here are a few examples of what “Reviews from the Web” Look Like

dental reveiws from around the web


In the example above you can see a dentist that has reviews being pulled through from NHS Choices and Yell along with the reviews they also have from Google My Business. This gives three separate social signals for any potential patients to read and decide for themselves if they are a good practice to choose.


jmw solicitors manchester knowledge graph

In the above example Google is displaying user generated reviews from Facebook and Trustpilot.


Slater and gordon knowledge graph

Slater and Gordon have optimised their website and used structured review snippet data on their website to alert Google of their user reviews.


What sites can you get reviews from?


Google has not yet provided a definitive list of sites that it is pulling reviews from. Sites that have been seen are sites such as Yell, Facebook, Trustpilot and NHS Choices to name but a few. As the roll out continues to take place we will see more and more sites being added to the knowledge graph.

Actions that all business owners should take.


  • Build Your Reputation


Put in place a system that actively asks and makes it super simple for your patrons to leave reviews for your business on the sites that are included on the knowledge graph.


  • Manage your Reputation


Understand exactly where your business is listed online and what reviews are out there. Once you know this, monitor those sites to check for new reviews, good and bad, that could alter your review score. Direct your patrons to these sites, for example Google+, Yell, NHS choices, Facebook, or industry related sites that are relevat and are present on your knowledge graph.


  • Market Your Reputation to Help you Win More Customers.


Implement the Google review snippet and use each and every one of your reviews on your website and across social media to shout about the benefits of using your business to all who are watching and in need of your services.


Google cares what people say about your business because its users, your customers, care. Make sure the information that Google presents to your next customer is strong enough to make your competition irrelevant.

The next step for you to take is to implement a 5 Star Review strategy. Find out how to do this by downloading our free report below.


Get 5 star reviews fast

How to Make it Easier for New Local Customers to Find You Online

How to Make it Easier for New Local Customers to Find You Online

How to get More Local Customers

Today the first place that people look for a business is online using their mobile phone or computer. If somebody was to search for your business category would they find you? And if they did would the information that they were presented with be compelling enough for them to call and book an appointment or buy a service from you?

People are constantly looking for places, items of interest or things to buy in and around the vicinity of where they are, the question is what are you doing as a business owner to capitalise on that?

If you are keen to have more people find your business, become customers and come back again and again then here are a few changes you can make today to significantly increase your chances.

Claim your Google My Business Listing.

To find your page, go to Google and type in “Google my business”.  Click through to the Google My Business page, then click the Get Onto Google button. You will be prompted to enter your Google email address and password to log in. If you don’t have one you can sign up for a password.  In the search bar where it says “find your business” type the name of your business and it should bring up your business listing.

Google My Business

Google will tell you whether the listing is claimed or not, and it will also say whether it’s claimed with the email address you are using. If it is, great!  You can log in and edit the page. If the email address doesn’t match then you need to claim your business.

To claim your business you will need to verify that you are the owner, which you can either do by having a verification pin sent through to your mobile (immediate), or by postcard (which can take 2 weeks). Once you have that pin, enter it into the verification page and your listing will be claimed.

Once you have claimed your Google My Business Listing the next thing you need to do is add the relevant business information in the next five steps. Before we get into that I need to explain one of the most critical aspects of Local Search: NAP citations.

What is a NAP Citation?

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone. Think of your NAP citation as the unique fingerprint that identifies your business to search engines and directories.

Everywhere your business NAP is found online is called a citation. In real terms the more citations mean there are more websites where customers can find your business. In addition search engines (like Google) see citations as a “vote”, a trust sign if you will about the authority of your business and they are a big factor in how well your business ranks for industry related keywords in search results.

correct nap

One of the biggest problems for businesses in local search is inconsistent, incomplete, or inaccurate NAP information in citations. To learn more about the importance of NAP citations for your business click here.

So now you understand the importance of your NAP citation and you have claimed your Google My Business page.  The next step is to highlight how you can improve the relevance of your business and increase the chances of potential customers finding it and selecting you.

Increase the number of Consistent Citations of your business around the internet.

Google uses data from other trusted resources around the web to categorise your business and build up a picture of how authoritative your business is.

There are hundreds of websites/directories on the internet like Yell, Yelp and 118information, that are vitally important because they share information with Google. If your information on those sites matches what your Google my business page and your website say this increases trust and can influence how and where customers will find your business in search.

Earn, Manage and Market Reviews

If you conduct local searches such as “Dentist in Watford”, “chiropractor in Preston” or simply “divorce lawyer near me”, you will see that in the listings there will be businesses that have reviews.

watford dentist screen shot

For your business to stand out in the new 3 pack you need to make sure that your business has reviews. We’re not just talking about 1 review, you need ensure that your business has more 5 star reviews than any of your competitors in and around the local area.

In the example above the the top two dentists have their reviews displaying prominently and the thrid dentist does not. Who do you think a potential patient will call?

The greater the quality and quantity of reviews you have the better. It reflects on the services that you are providing to your customers when potential clients look upon your business.

Reviews are so important in the local search infrastructure that you should consider putting in place a review collection strategy where you ask every single person that visits your business to go to Google and leave feedback about you and the experience they had.

By doing this, each customer is effectively sharing their good opinion of you with everyone they know and also potential clients who might see your business for the first time and need some assurance that you are the best in your area.

Social Media Signals

Social media has become integral to many areas of digital marketing and it is no different when it comes to increasing your businesses awareness in local search. With billions of active users, it is a great medium to build fans and followers, gaining reviews and authoritative web sites where you can get a structured NAP citation.


Social content ranks well on search engines because it is often current and relevant to people that are searching for you or your services. What happens on Facebook, Yelp and Twitter does influence how Google and other users perceive your business.

Social media is Word of mouth marketing. What people say about your business services, their feedback and reviews are publicly accessible to your potential clients. And this has a massive influence on your lead generation and ultimately sales.

Website Authority

According to Moz’s 2015 local search ranking factors, On Page Signals account for 20.3% of the signals Google use to position your business in front of local consumers.

On page signals include presence of NAP, Keywords in Titles and domain authority. We have already discussed the importance of NAP but I wanted to take the opportunity to drive home the importance even more. If your business Name, Address and Phone is not the same on

  • Google My business
  • Your Webiste
  • Local Business Directories

Then Google does not consider you trustworthy and this will be reflected in when and how your business is presented in search.

If you are a Dental Practice then make sure that on your home page you include the keyword “Dentist”, other related keyword terms and your location. Make it absolutely crystal clear who you are and what service you provide.

The more information you can provide the search engines that matches what other trusted, relevant and authoritative sites on the internet say about you the better.

Local SEO is all about getting internet browsers with commercial intent to convert, be that buy or become a patron of your business.

If you follow the advice given in this blog post you will have a strong head start in optimising your online presence for local people that need the results your products and services provide.

Why Are Reviews So Effective At Winning New Clients?

Why Are Reviews So Effective At Winning New Clients?

Being found online is tough.

No Question. But been found online and getting new clients to select your business over your competition is even harder. Especially when there are very few differences between the services you offer. While many business owners leave it down to chance, there are ways that you can dramatically improve the chances of your business winning those new clients ahead of your competition.


One of the most powerful ways to set yourself apart from your competition is by highlighting your positive customer reviews online.


So Why Are Online Reviews So Effective?

Online Reviews build trust. Whether your customers are raving about what your product has done for them, how the results from your service changed their life or just how friendly and approachable the staff were. These reviews come from a third party not from the business owner, not from a copywriter. They come from the heart and are often filled with positive sentiment and emotion that truly connects with people who are in the same circumstances the reviewer was in prior to engaging with your business.


68% Of People Say Positive Reviews Make Them Trust A Local Business More (source)


So people trust and read online reviews but that isn’t the only reason why online reviews are so important.


The number of Online reviews you have is considered to be one of the major influences on how well your business ranks in local search.  You can see how many reviews you have by Googling your business name. If you have any it will show underneath your website. If you don’t have any, it will simply say leave a review (You can also check your reviews by logging into your Google+ dashboard and clicking on the reviews tab and that will show you).

Google your business to see how many reviews you have


Where Can You Use Your Google Reviews To Increase Conversion?

Local Results

If someone in your locality searches for the services that you provide, then your star rating is front and centre for everyone to see. In order to get a star rating on Google+ you need to have 5 reviews. Once you get those five reviews, then your star rating will appear within a few days, although sometimes it may take a few weeks.



In order to get your Google+ reviews to show on your PPC ads  you need to enable location extension in Adwords. You can find the full list of benefits and instructions here. You can also use seller ratings.




Organic Results

If you have reviews and testimonials, you can help search engines understand them with schema markup. In short you provide the search engine with specific code that it can use to identify reviews. Having reviews displayed on your search results won’t necessarily impact your rankings, but it does improve indexing and can increase click-through rates and conversions to your website (See Google’s support page, Reviews Rich Snippets for details.)


The Importance Of Reviews For SEO?

The more reviews you get the better your chances of being displayed in the top 3 of the new Google snack map. Why? – to get a little technical here each review is a 3rd party citation for your business and services.


Google always wants to know that it will send its clients (searchers) to the most trustworthy and reputable search results. If your business has 12, 18 or 25 positive reviews from users in the catchment area of your business then you stand a much higher chance of being listed in the top 3. So if you have a better star rating then your competition you will be seen as trusted and win the business.


In essence getting reviews for your local business on Google+ works two fold.

  1. It is a key factor in the ranking of your business in local search.
  2. It increases the social proof of your business and thus your conversion rate.
Tip: Google loves fresh, unique content, and user reviews are a great way of getting that new content. The more up to date reviews are, the more relevant they are to both users and clients so keep it current!



Where Is The Best Place To Get Clients To Leave Reviews?

Google+ is the key directory where your business should get reviews as this has the biggest impact on search however there are other 3rd party review sites that can influence both potential buyers and your performance in search.


Some of these key directories we mentioned in our previous post about the importance of local directories in search, in short there are directories relative to your niche that have potential clients and aggregate and share reviews about your business online. Having a great reputation across a plethora of these sites will be a huge advantage in helping clients overcome scepticism and also to improve the authority of those individual listings of your business and the relevance to your position on Google maps.

Business Listings to place your NAP


What If There Are Bad Reviews?

Ok, let’s start by saying that not everyone is perfect and on occasion for whatever reason things do go wrong resulting in a client not getting the service they deserve.


When this happens. internet savvy clients are likely to vent their anger by going online, finding the first portal they come across and sharing their discontent with everyone.


And while no business owner wants bad reviews, Revoo suggested that 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad reviews. Especially if the business has reached out to attempt to rectify the situation.


To get more information on how to deal with a negative review read this post on Reevoo.


How Can You Improve Your Reviews?

The best way to improve your ratings is to make sure that your customers receive excellent customer service. Happy customers attract more happy customers, who are willing to rate you well and tell others about your business or products.


In short, rather than fretting over one bad review reach out to the reviewer express your concern and ask them to contact you directly so you can help solve the problem. To potential clients it shows that you care, to the reviewer you are taking ownership of the situation, attempting to take the situation out of the public arena and also leaving the ball in their court.


Even better than simply reacting to negative reviews when they appear, a positive and proactive approach to your online reputation and reviews is far more favourable.


After all one bad review from a total of one review is BAD. One bad review amongst 10, 15 or 20 positive reviews is not an issue at all.


Therefore make it an ongoing business concern to ask clients to leave reviews about your business, monitor that feedback and be proactive about resolving issues raised by your customers with an outcome that reasonably satisfies all parties, including you, as and when it happens.


Note: There are filters set into the review sites that are there to monitor any suspicious activity. Going from no reviews to twenty reviews overnight may alert the filters and could result in genuine reviews being removed from your listing.


Tips For Getting Reviews And Making Them Count.

  1. Be a Great Business – The best way to get positive feedback is to make sure that your customers receive excellent customer service. Happy customers attract more happy customers, who are willing to rate you well and tell others about your business or products.
  2. Ask for the review – A lot of businesses believe that reviews will appear on their own. The truth is that most people who have a positive experience need to be asked to leave a review as they don’t understand how important it is for your business.
  3. Send an email to the user asking for the review shortly after they have experienced your services and are feeling the positive impact of the results you have provided. The sooner the better.
  4. Send a follow up email. People have great intentions but often don’t realise how important to your business these reviews can be. A gentle reminder can increase the number of reviews dramatically.
  5. Don’t worry about getting reviews on all the websites that your business is listed in as this will prove too difficult to manage. Focus on those sites that are deemed authoritative by the search engines. Yell.com, thomsonlocal.com, 192.com
  6. Make the process as simple as possible – Don’t ask the user to jump through to many hoops in order to leave their feedback, make it simple and unintrusive.

Other Ways You Can Leverage Your Reviews To Help You Get More Clients

Earlier in the post we discussed how you can use reviews in search to elevate you above the competition but what if, as with many of our clients, customers send reviews and testimonials to you in the form of letters or cards or gifts?What you should do with a Thank You message from a customer

  • Take a photo of the cards and gifts and publish them on Social media.
  • Leave them in your reception area so everyone can see.
  • Reach out and thank the customer who left the review and ask them if they would be as kind to share their message with the world by adding it to an online review site.
  • Add the reviews to your website.
  • If you can, get a photo of the client and add their testimonial to the image.
  • Put several of these testimonials together and create a small slide show video which could be added to your website and social media.
  • Add a selection of reviews to your newsletter
  • Add the testimonials to the footer of your email.


There are many creative ways to leverage reviews to position you as an expert and a provider of excellent service but ultimately it comes down to asking for them and marketing them so that everyone, including new and existing customers, can see the great work that you are doing.


It’s not always easy to get reviews, but focus on what the reviews will give you: A business with a fantastic reputation online, lots of user generated content for the search engines to boost your rankings and best of all, you will be building a referral business based on trust.


Do ratings and reviews affect your choices when it comes to working with someone? Let us know!

Improve Your Local Business Search Results By Controlling Your NAP Citation

Improve Your Local Business Search Results By Controlling Your NAP Citation


Last week we discussed 5 tips to increase your business’s position in local search,

more specifically getting into the top 3 of Google Maps. One of the tips that we shared was the importance your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP Citation) has on the overall ranking of your business.


NAP’s aren’t sexy so I was slightly surprised when a follow up question arrived asking:


“I have found an incorrect listing for my business, how do I go about correct this listing and checking for any others and also how do I know where to put listings for the best impact”


Before we tackle that question for those who didn’t see last week’s post you can read it here.

Quick Recap

What is a Name Address and Phone Number (NAP) Citation?

A NAP Citation is a listing of your business online. Search engines crawl the internet to find NAP citations about your business, compare them with NAP information that is held by Data aggregators and use this to make a judgement on how accurate the data they have about your business is.

In short, the more consistent your NAP Citations are, the better for improved search results. To clarify this point, below are guidelines from the Google My Business Centre:

“Google improves search results by aggregating information about your business from all over the web. Make sure information about your business on third-party sites is accurate, and try to contact the respective site directly to correct any inaccurate information.”



Start with the correct NAP data.

Now we know what a NAP is and why it is important, the first thing to do is check that you have the correct NAP information. Go to your Google+ page and see what data is held for your business name address and phone number and check that is consistent with what is on your website.


correct nap


My NAP is different why is that?

There are many reasons why your business data could not be consistent across the web. Some of these include:

  • Business has relocated
  • The data aggregators have incorrect information
  • Different phone number
  • Different trade name or business name variations (llp, Ltd company)
  • Information was incorrectly submitted and scraped to other sites.

Inconsistent NAP data is a common occurrence because as stated above there are many reasons why the citations can be wrong and once they are live on the internet all it takes is for a Data aggregator to come along, take that data and distribute it across the internet increasing the problem.


Yes, it might be the case that it wasn’t even you that created the inconsistent data. It could have been a data aggregator. According to MOZ:


A data aggregator is a company that compiles data about businesses from multiple online and offline sources including phone bills, business registration records, chamber of commerce membership rosters, and many other sources.


How do I find where my business is listed?

There are several ways to find out where online your business is listed.  You can use software, some better than others, or you can do it the good old fashioned way.


As an example, to find out where your site is listed, you would search Google for this:

“Your Business Name” AND “Your Postcode” -site:”your Website Address including http://” 


google search command to find NAP citation


This will bring up all results of your name, address and phone number NOT on your website. You can then look through the resulting search pages and check the citation on each page to see if it is correct.

You also need to check for the following:

Duplicate listings.

Check to see if there is only one listing as two listings in the same directory can be a problem.

Inconsistent Citation:

If any of the details are incorrect then you should attempt to contact the website owner and get them to make the changes that you require, as per Google’s recommendation above.

Incomplete citation:

If there is the opportunity to add more information about your business, such as categories, descriptions, images then add what you can as this will improve the authority of the page with regards to your business.


What local directories should you be listed in to boost your authority?

First and foremost if you are not listed and verified with Google My Business then I would make that a priority. Then I would look to get your business listed in the following directories;


Business Listings to place your NAP


  1. Google+ local
  2. Bing local
  3. Yahoo Local
  4. ThompsonLocal
  5. Yelp
  6. Freeindex
  7. Yell


Remember the aim of all this is to rank higher in Google Maps, get more inbound leads, sales and have a consistent brand across the web.


Getting listed in these places is not going to result in the phone ringing off the hook, but it will increase your authority on the web – resulting in Google being more gracious as to how you are positioned in Google Maps.


The Yell Directory for example has been around in one form or another since 1883 and has a good authority with Google so it is that type of relationship that you are looking to leverage.


Where else should you get listed?

Think Niche Specific

Well that depends on your niche. If you are a lawyer then you being listed in a Gardening forum is not really relevant, however there are plenty of legal related websites and directories out there that are relevant to your business.

Think Location Specific

If you want to be seen as the prominent orthodontist in Bristol then being listed in one hundred local directories in Newcastle may not be the best way forward. Be smart about where you list your business.

On the internet quality beats out quantity 95% of the time.

Think Competitively

Who is your main competition? Who is top on the Google Map for search terms related to your business? Where are they listed?

Final Tips to leveraging local business directories to benefit your business

Tip 1: Make sure that you update the old incorrect citation first before adding new ones.

Tip 2: Set up an email address specifically for citations. Keeps everything in place and means your main inbox is not cluttered with offers to “upgrade”.

Tip 3: Keep a track of all changes and requests to websites so that if the job of managing citations is passed on to another team member everything is in place.

Tip 4:  Keep on top of your citations. As discussed earlier, data aggregators distribute information about your business all the time. Spend 15-20 minutes each week checking your NAP citations to check that they are consistent.

Tip 5: Location, Location, Location. If you have more than one location and you want to be authoritative in each of those market places then you need to have authoritative citations for each location.

In local search terms a different location is a completely different proposition. Yes you have to repeat all of this work per location. This work can be very time consuming and tedious but don’t try to use short cuts, accuracy is everything.

7 Ways To Win New Customers!

7 Ways To Win New Customers!

Every Business needs a little inspiration from time to time - so here's 7 Ways To Win New Customers | www.bigthinkingonline.com

New customers, clients or patients are the lifeblood of any business.

For small businesses in particular, keeping a steady flow of new clients coming through on top of serving existing clients and tackling the day to day running of your business can be a constant struggle.


So, for any business that needs an injection of inspiration as to how to continually attract those new faces, here are some of the best tactics to add to your toolbox.


  1. Ask Your Customers To Refer Other People They Know.

Asking for referrals is definitely something that you should be doing. If you have given a great service to someone and they are happy, the chances are that they will know more people in a similar position to themselves who may also need your services.


If you ask every customer you work with to refer 3 people you know, you then get a “warm” introduction to a new group of people who will already have heard good things about you from their friend.


  1. Follow Up With Old Leads

We’ve all lost out on a few customers in our time, but getting a no doesn’t have to mean that you’ll never get a yes. It’s always worth keeping up a good relationship with anyone who you have never quite done business with, because as circumstances and requirements change you could find that you have another opportunity.


Similarly, just because that person wasn’t the right client for your business doesn’t mean that they won’t know someone else who might be – referrals can come from anywhere, but they typically come if you ask for them!


  1. Build Up A List Of Email Subscribers.

A list of email addresses allows you to stay in regular contact with a huge number of people cheaply and simply and in a non-intrusive manner. An email list is a great way to send out updates about what your business is working on, offers that might entice people back to you and most importantly, it’s a great way for you to build your authority by offering incredible value and be seen as the thought leader in your niche.


The next time that person needs something along the lines of what you do, they’ll remember your details because they see your emails and know that you can help, and that you want their business.


  1. Be Active On Social Media. 

No matter what your business is, social media is the main place where all your customers will be online. For many people, social media is their main experience of the Internet, it’s where they see recommendations to buy, read their news and chat to their friends.


The trick for businesses to do well on social media is to be friendly and conversational rather than sales focused. Asking and answering questions on Twitter is a good way to join the conversation there, try searching using relevant hashtags to find topics related to your business.


  1. Join And Participate In Relevant Facebook Groups.

If you manage a Facebook page for your business you’ll know how hard it is to reach more than a few of your fans with any given post. That being said, Facebook is still an incredibly powerful tool for businesses and shouldn’t be ignored. Try joining some of the millions of groups there are and joining in conversations, offering relevant advice and sharing appropriate updates from your business.


It might take a little searching to find the right groups for you, but it is worth it. Try searching for local groups if your business is location dependent, or groups geared at business owners, women, or groups for certain hobbies and interests that your business may align with.


When one of your page updates does well, consider boosting it as an advert. Typically if one of your posts gets a far higher than average engagement Facebook will ask if you want to boost it. It’s worth considering, because if your core customers and fans like the update, then the chances are that an extended group of people would also like it and you can raise your profile relatively cheaply to a much larger audience.


  1. Write Every Blog Post As Though It Is Directed To Your Ideal Customer.

Posting regular updates to your blog is a fantastic way to be seen as an expert, and to stick in people’s minds as someone they can turn to for advice, information, and eventually when they need your service, as a paying customer.


The thing to remember about blogging though is that you need to be consistent, not just with the frequency of what you write, but the actual content itself.


If your blog topics are vastly different every time you post then it will be hard to grow a regular reader base as they will be put off by the fact they never know what they’re going to get.


For example, readers of this site know to expect updates about Internet Marketing related topics, such as SEO, Social Media, Web Development and Online Reputation. What you won’t see on this blog are updates about holidays, family life or what I eat.


  1. Make Sure Your Website Is Search Engine Optimised. 

SEO is a great tool, and you should use it to your advantage. If your site is correctly optimised, then it won’t matter if people don’t know your business name, because when they search for the service that they need, your business name will appear.


It’s particularly powerful for locally based businesses, because if someone searches for a Dentist in their town you only have to compete against those few other Dentists near to you in order to show in the Top 3 of the Search results. A well optimised website can help attract a steady stream of new customers.


So there you have it, 7 ways to get new customers! I’ll even throw in a bonus number 8… Cold Calling! It may be unpopular, but it still works.


Have you tried any of these tactics for customer acquisition? What has been most effective for you? 

5 Tips to Get Your Business to Rank in the Top 3 of Google Maps [Video]

5 Tips to Get Your Business to Rank in the Top 3 of Google Maps [Video]

Need to have your business found by more people in the search engines? Here's 5 Tips to Get Your Business to Rank in the Top 3 of Google Maps | www.bigthinkingonline.com

Every Time Somebody Types in a Local Search

With a business identifier, for example, “dentist St Albans”, Google will list the businesses that it deems to be most relevant.  If your business’s client base is pulled from the local community then recent changes to the Google search results, namely reducing the number of businesses listed in the results from 7 to 3 could affect the number of customers who are able to find your business.




The good news is that if you are listed in the results 3 pack, you will get more calls and more inbound leads for your business. If your business isn’t in that all important top 3, this post and video will give you the advice and tips you need in order to improve the relevance of your Google maps listing yourself.



#1 Verify Your Business Listing.

The first thing that you need to do is check that your Google+ business page is verified. If your first though is ,“I don’t even know if I have one,”  don’t panic, because you probably do. Several years ago Google created 83 million business pages based upon data that was already on the internet and other business directories, many businesses never even realised the page was there and the features remain unused – until now!


To find your page, go to Google and type in “Google my business”.  Click through to the Google My Business page, then click the Get Onto Google button. You will be prompted to enter your Google email address and password to log in. If you don’t have one you can sign up for a password.  In the search bar where it says “find your business” type the name of your business and it should bring up your business listing.


Google will tell you whether the listing is claimed or not, and it will also say whether it’s claimed with the email address you are using. If it is, great!  You can log in and edit the page. If the email address doesn’t match then you need to claim your business.


To claim your business you will need to verify that you are the owner, which you can either do by having a verification pin sent through to your mobile (immediate), or by postcard (which can take 2 weeks). Once you have that pin, enter it into the verification page and your listing will be claimed.


#2 Choose the Correct Category

Once you’ve got the business page verified the next thing you need to do is to check that your business is registered in the correct category. There is no point in your business being listed as a Painter and Decorator if you are a Lawyer!


You can see what category your business is listed as by searching for your business in Google. In the search results, on the right hand side underneath your name you will see the primary business category that you are registered under.


finding your category on Google+


In the Google My Business Centre, check what category is selected and check that it is relevant. If the category that is selected against your business is not correct, then you need to edit the category by searching for a category that better suits your business needs. When you have found the correct category simply hit save.


Google always recommend that you select your business category on the premise of “my business is…“,  rather than “My business does..”


With that in mind don’t go and select all of the services that you offer as this would be against Google terms of service which could result in a penalty against your listing.


Example, If you a private dentist, then you would select Dentist and potentially Cosmetic Dentist, but  not teeth whitening, crowns and implants as these are services that you offer and do not reflect who you are.


#3 Name, Address, Phone Citation (NAP)

The next thing that you do is it is check that the name, address and phone number of your business is registered correctly. In local search this is what’s known as a NAP citation and this citation is what Google uses to recognise whether your business is trusted and relevant in the local area.




If your business has been open for 18 years, the likelihood is that it has been mentioned and recognised online by other members of the local community and will also be included in other website and local business directories. Google uses those citations to help identify how trustworthy your business is.


That is why it is vitally important to make sure that your Name, Address and phone number are correct.


Once you have verified that your NAP is correct with Google you need to check that it is exactly the same as it is listed on your website.


For example, if you’re business is 1A Church Road in Google and your website records your address as 1 Church Road, that is an inconsistent citation and Google will consider that in a negative light. This will have an impact on your position in the local listings .


#4 Citations listed in Business Directories

Once you have checked that your NAP citation is consistent on Google+ and on your website you need to consider how many citations are online and if they are all consistent.


local business directories


As I mentioned above, if your business has been around for a long time it is likely that it can be found on a variety of business directories both local and others that are specific to your niche.


If your business has moved address, perhaps through expansion or because you have merged with another business then there may be a harmful amount of inconsistent citations across the internet.


Some examples of business directories are Yell, Thomsonlocal, Freeindex and Yelp. There are literally hundreds of other local business directories and you need to see which directories have a listing or a NAP citation for your business, then check that NAP citation is consistent with the citation that is listed on both your Google + page and your website.


A number of consistent NAP citations in authoritative business directories is a good signal to Google that you are a trusted provider in your area.


# 5 Positive Reviews

Reviews are significantly important in terms of local search. Google’s mission is to provide an excellent service experience for its users. 


improtance of Google reviews in local search


Google’s users are the ones that go into Google and search for what they need. Google then pulls up the most relevant businesses that match that search criteria and then considers the user generated content around those businesses – typically the reviews.


If you conduct local searches such as “Dentist in St Albans”, “chiropractor in Edinburgh” or simply a “injury lawyer near me”, you will see that in the listings there will be businesses that have reviews.


For your business to stand out in the new 3 pack you need to make sure that your business has reviews. We’re not just talking about 1 review, you need ensure that your business has more 5 star reviews than any of your competitors in and around the local area.


The more 5 star reviews you have the better. It reflects on the services that you are providing to your customers when potential clients look upon your business.


Reviews are so important in the local search infrastructure that you should consider putting in place a review collection strategy where you ask every single person that visits your business to go to Google and leave feedback about you and the experience of they had. By doing this, each customer is effectively sharing their good opinion of you with everyone they know and also potential clients who might see your business for the first time and need persuading that you are the best in your area.


Another benefit of having a large selection of positive reviews from past clients is that if you are unfortunate enough to receive a negative review from a client then it will have less impact amongst all the positives. By proactively asking clients for reviews you are protecting your online reputation.


If you follow the advice in this post, you verify your page, you check your business is registered in the correct category, that your name address and phone number citation are consistent both on Google + and your website, that your business is listed in all the major business directories both locally and niche specific, and finally that you ask every patient to leave feedback for you in order to build up your 5 star rating, then you’ll stand a far better chance of ranking in that all important top 3.


If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments box below and I will happily respond.

Why Your Competitor’s Website Outperforms Yours In Search And What You Can Do About It!

Why Your Competitor’s Website Outperforms Yours In Search And What You Can Do About It!

Have you ever seen a website doing really well in the search engines and wondered why? Read this and your competitor's website will never outperform yours in search again! |www.bigthinkingonline.com

Quite often we consult with business owners who are frustrated,

No, down-right angry, that after investing heavily on a new website design their main competition and even businesses that they feel they are far better than, outrank them in Google and subsequently gain the majority of new business.


Let’s clear something up from the outset. In most cases a new website means new images, new branding, more modern design. Nothing more.


And although those things might have an impact on user friendliness, which is a positive, it is not going to make your website shoot to the top of Google or other search engines for commercially viable keyword phrases that are important to your business.


“But My Competitor’s Website Looks Dreadful”

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. And just because on the surface it might not look great, or you personally wouldn’t choose to represent your business and brand that way, it does not mean that the website is low quality as it could be built with a sound architectural infrastructure, have a solid social media presence and a whole host of high quality back links that point back to the site, giving it authority and relevance in the eyes of the search engines.  


What Do Search Engines Look For In A Good Website?



When talking about search engines, specifically in the UK, I mean Google. As according to Statista, Google has an 88.58% dominance for search in the UK.


Google uses several factors to decide on how relevant a page is for any given search term. In fact it is commonly believed that there are over 200 such factors which impact how well a website ranks (no one outside of Google can truly know how many there are and comment on their Intellectual Property) These include the number of relevant inbound links, the history of the domain your website sits on and whether a sitemap has been submitted to Google or not.


However, there are other factors that can contribute to the success of your website in search such as:

How Many Pages People Visit On Your Website

If your website is good the chances are that visitors to that website will find the content good enough that they want to read or learn more on the subject matter and you.


How Often You Update Your Content

In everyday life there are advancements in technology, business, health, welfare, popular culture as well as content on the internet. A web page that was relevant two years ago may not be relevant today. A website that has not been updated for a long time may provide less relevant results than a web site or page produced yesterday.


How Long Your Content Is 

Serpiq published research that showed that the average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 search results in Google has at least 2,000 words. And it is no surprise that the higher you go up the page, from 10 to 1, the more words they have.




In the graph above you can see that on average the top result in Google has over 2400 words. The research was conducted across a range of 20,000 keywords and the results suggest that Google favours long form content.


Take a look at your website, take a look at the key pages or sales pages and ask yourself does the content provide enough depth and build enough value to keep the user engaged and build trust?


How Can You Improve Your Website To Rank Higher In Search Engines?

  1. Use Keyword Phrases That Are Relevant To Your Business.

If you are an accountant. The keyword phrases “Accountant in “Your Town Name” is relevant and important for you to rank for.


However this is not the only term that potential clients will search for related to accountancy and therefore your website should contain information that anyone looking for an accountant would find helpful, such as:

  • Tax return dates
  • Budget updates
  • Information on how to perfect a financial statement
  • How to monitor depreciation of assets.


The more RELEVANT subject matter that a user can find in one site will increase the authority of your site.


Think about the terms your ideal client will enter into the search engines when they are looking for the results that your service can provide. Make a list of them and then make sure that there is content on your website that provides the answers they are looking for.

  1. Optimise That Content For Google



In order for Google to fully understand what your website is about it needs to be labelled correctly.


There are specific areas on a web page that Google looks at first in order to quantify what your page is about and subsequently where it should index to best serve searchers.


These areas include:

  • Page Title
  • Heading
  • Sub headings
  • How Image are labelled – Alt tags
  • URL of the page


All of these elements of the page are considered by the search engines when indexing your content in the correct place so that your ideal visitor can find it. But remember that if your page is over optimised, in other words you are writing for the search engines and not for human consumption by using too many keywords, a term known as keyword stuffing, then you will be penalised.

  1. Internal Linking

Internal linking is about how and where you link a page or post to other content that is relevant within your website. The point being that the search engines want to provide the user with the best possible experience they can.


Continuing with the “Accountant” from earlier, it would be of benefit if you could then link to pages on your website containing information and references to business audits, financing options and tax optimisation strategies


By doing this you are providing greater detail for the user, which will help them make a judgement on your suitability to help them. The search engines will also appreciate this. This will result on the user spending a greater time on your website by visiting more pages , which as I mentioned earlier is a factor that Google uses to rank your site.

  1. Write GREAT Content That Attracts Inbound Links.

If you want to rank higher in Google you have to Write Great Content


An inbound link is where another web site owner provides a contextual hyperlink back to your content from their site.


Google and the other search engines rely highly on other people linking to your website in order for them to establish how popular your website is. The more popular the website, the higher your return in the search results.


The goal here is to create highly valuable, unique content that people want to talk about and share.


The more people that link back to your site signifies to the search engines the popularity and value of the piece of content.


The more people with authority on that subject matter that link back and share the better.


For example an educational body that provides accountancy qualifications providing a link to a local accountant is more valuable than a backlink from Julie’s cake bake.


The quality and relevance of inbound links is often more important than quantity.

  1. Have A Social Media Plan

Social signals such as being liked tweeted or +1’d indicate to search engines that your website and content is popular.


That is why you need to have a social media plan that includes identifying which social channels your customers frequent, tracking social conversations, trending topics, managing your online reputation and developing and sharing optimised content.


By ensuring you can easily create and post relevant content to social channels on a regular basis, you will not only improve your search rankings, but reach more potential customers when your content is linked to, liked, or shared.


Search engine optimisation techniques are constantly changing. What doesn’t change, and in fact becomes more prominent, is the fact that if you invest the time creating quality content that has value with the readers on a regular basis you will be able to improve SEO and find your site and pages getting top search engine rankings, driving more clicks and ultimately converting to a higher number of sales.

  1. Cater For Mobile.

  2. 37F02BDB97


For the past few years Google has made it abundantly clear that they have been working towards making their search engine more mobile friendly.


In February 2015 Google made this statement on their webmasters blog;

“When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns. In the past, we’ve made updates to ensure a site is configured properly and viewable on modern devices. We’ve made it easier for users to find mobile-friendly web pages and we’ve introduced App Indexing to surface useful content from apps. Today, we’re announcing two important changes to help users discover more mobile-friendly content:

1. More mobile-friendly websites in search results
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”


What does that mean?

Well quite simply that Google will provide mobile users with mobile responsive web pages first. And this makes complete sense.


If you are on a mobile searching Google and they provide you with a website that you cannot read or whose buttons you cannot click because they are too small, then chances are you will go to another site. Over time if you continue to get presented these sites that leave you frustrated and unable to use you may choose to move to another search engine that provides better results.


Google wants to provide the user with the best possible search results, coupled that with the fact that in the UK the Smartphone has become the most important way for people to get online. Therefore, how your site ranks will also depend on whether it caters to a mobile audience.


Search engine optimisation is a constantly evolving landscape. What works today may not necessarily have the same effect tomorrow and that it is why SEO is an important part of any online marketing plan.


To make sure that your site out performs your competitors in search and not the other way around then you need to be producing quality content on a regular basis that is relevant and builds you and your brand to be the authority in your niche.



A website’s performance rises or falls depending on the implementation of the factors discussed in this article, but there are also many more.


This Leaves You With Three Options To Improve The Status Quo:

  • Option1: Do It Yourself
  • Option 2: Task an employee to take charge of it.
  • Option 3: Employ a professional to do it.


Do you want to spend the time writing a two thousand word post, optimise that post for search engines, spend hours marketing that post on social media sites, emailing it to your list of subscribers or clients, looking for relevant sites that may be interested in sharing or linking to your content? Not many business owners have the time or the inclination to do that.


And that is why those select few businesses that choose to either invest the time or invest in the services of a professional search engine optimisation consultant will stand a far greater chance of gracing the top spots of the search engines for commercially viable keyword terms.


So next time you look at a competitor’s website that ranks above yours in Google and you consider it ugly, there might be a lot more time and investment gone into gaining those search engine results than meets the eye.


If you want to know more about building a website that works for you then download our FREE Blueprint!

Click here to turn your website into a client generating powerhouse

When 7 becomes 3 – Google Shrinks the Local Business Map

When 7 becomes 3 – Google Shrinks the Local Business Map

If you run a locally based business, Google's latest update could affect your search traffic. Find out more here. www.bigthinkingonline.com

As of Friday, Google made a significant change to its search results.

Now instead of having 7 businesses represented in search results with local intent, there are only 3.

google local seo


What’s different?

Well first and foremost the map has moved from the top right of the Google search results to the left hand side. This would be in keeping with the view that users get on a mobile device and as reported last week, in the UK mobile usage of the internet is greater than desktop usage. So to keep congruency for the user, regardless of the device they are using, makes sense.


Another difference on the desktop version is the fact that your business phone number is now no longer displayed. Instead the options are to click directly to the users web site or get directions.


Oh and of course, the big one. What was 7 business listings on last week is now just 3.


Using the same search criteria on a mobile device you can see that the website and directions buttons have been replaced by a phone icon, which is a click to call feature. 


google local mobile view


How Will the Change Impact Businesses?

It will only impact businesses that were in the 7 pack prior to the change. After all if your business wasn’t there before the change then it will have no impact. If you were in positions 4-7 on the map then you can expect fewer calls and inbound leads via Google.


If you are on the new listing in positions 1-3 then I would suggest that the change will have a positive impact for you.


Put simply, your business is only going to be competing with 2 others in the area meaning the chance of you getting a phone call from the map has increased roughly 2.5 times from 14% to 33%.


How can you increase your chances of getting more calls?


To increase the chances that your listing will be picked over the other two then you need to optimise your listing to stand out from the other two. Ways in which you can do this include:

  • Introduce business photos:
  • Add Videos
  • Add updates to your listing.
  • Get and respond to Reviews


If your business is not in the new local listing of 3 then the following is a good place to start.

  1. Check that you have a Google My Business account.
  2. Verify the account.
  3. Update all details including; business name, address, postcode, hours of business, main business category.


Chances are this alone will not get you into the top 3 positions but will provide the foundation for a local search engine optimisation strategy.


Final Thoughts

The cynic in me is saying that this is all about Google digging deeper into the pocket of advertisers. As there are a lot of businesses that were in the old 7 pack that will no longer be on the first page of Google for their service and locality at all. Meaning that if they do want visibility and to continue getting the inbound leads and calls they were getting then one of the options is to pay for that privilege through Google Adwords.


In a blog post on Search Engine Land, Barry Schwarz shares a quote from a Google spokesperson with regards to these changes that says:

“We are constantly exploring the best way to bring a better search experience to our users. This update provides people with more relevant information, including photos, reviews and prices, for searches that have multiple results for a given location.”


Is this a trial by Google? How long will it last? Will it benefit Consumers? Will it benefit businesses? Only time will tell….

Click here to turn your website into a client generating powerhouse

It’s Time to Shout Out the Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment!

It’s Time to Shout Out the Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment!


For many people,

the world of chiropractic treatments is a vast unknown, and as its use by the NHS is limited it’s something that many people are missing out on. 


In a recent interview, Andrew Lloyd Webber talked about how visiting a chiropractor completely turned around his outlook on life as it solved problems he’d been having for such a long time that multiple surgeries had done nothing to ease.


After having 18 general anaesthetics in one year (2013) alone he said,

“Then I met a chiropractor and I’ve never looked back. I saw him every day for about eight weeks. And three months later I thought it was time we did Cats again.”


How do Chiropractors Get their Message Out

So how do chiropractors get their message out to a wider audience, who are probably in the dark about chiropractic and don’t know that it could help them?


A Great Web Presence

Being online isn’t just about having an old website from 1998. You need to have an easy to find, user friendly website that allows patients to find you quickly and easily. You also need to make sure that you can be found by new patients who may not know about your treatment, but who may be Googling their symptoms. Many people spend the majority of their time online using social media, so if you want to be seen make sure you are on social media too.


Reviews and Testimonials

Show the world the great things your practice does! Reviews from satisfied patients are great because they speak directly to all those other potential patients who are looking for affirmation that coming to your practice will be a good experience.



A short video will go a long way to showing the true character of your practice. Consider making a video of a happy patient or a behind the scenes at the practice video. Video helps to make things seem more real, and patients know that video testimonials are hard to fake. It will also give patients a glimpse of your practice so they can see for themselves what it looks like. (click on the image below to see a video from one of our private dental partners)



We’ve worked with businesses in the healthcare practices across the country to improve their Online Reputation and to help them reach out to new patients. If you would like to know more about how you can improve your practice’s reputation, grow your reach and win more profitable patients then call us today on 0161 850 4413 and we can help you make some immediate improvements.