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!

Share this post!

Improve Your Local Business Search Results by controlling your NAP Citation

Improve Your Local Business Search Results by controlling your NAP Citation

Improve 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.[fbcomments]

Share this post!

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

7 Ways To Win New Customers7 Ways To Win New Customers!

New customers, clients or patients are the lifeblood of any business and, 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 nonintrusive 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? [fbcomments]

Share this post!

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

5 Tips to Get Your Business to Rank in the Top 3 of Google Maps5 Tips to Get Your Business to Rank in the Top 3 of Google Maps

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.


Share this post!

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

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!

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.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



Share this post!

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

Google Shrinks the Business Map

When 7 becomes 3 – Google Shrinks the Local Business Map

As of Friday Google made a significant change to their 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 spokes person 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


Share this post!

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

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

Benefits of Chiropractic

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 healt hcare 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.

Share this post!

8 Ways to Improve the Effectiveness of Your Website Today

8 Ways to Improve the Effectiveness of Your Website Today

Without Traffic, it doesn't matter how pretty your website is, but making it work hard for you is not always easy. Read our 8 Ways to Improve The Effectiveness of Your Website Today! | www.bigthinkingonline.com

Effective Websites8 Ways to Improve the Effectiveness of Your Website Today

On many occasions people say to us, “We have a website, we have invested a lot in our website, our website gets a lot of visitors”. While all of those statements may be true, very few companies that we speak to can tell me how many leads their website generates, how that equates to revenue or profit and how they track this.

  1. Make an Immediate Impact.

Have you ever opened the door to a retail establishment or a restaurant, walked in, looked around and after taking in what was around you decided not to stay and left straight away?

On the internet this happens every hour of every day. It happens on some websites more than others and sometimes there are some very simple reasons as to why.

When a user finds your site and they get to the home page what do they see? What is above the fold? Is there a picture of your logo? Is there an explanation of what you do? Is there any mention to the type of person you help? Is there a telephone number or contact details which someone can find easily and use to speak to someone for more help.

When someone lands on your website you have a MAXIMUM of 10 seconds to get that persons attention. If you don’t provide them with the experience they were expecting when they came to your site they will leave and move on to the next site and that will be another potential repeat client that got away.

what is next

  1. What’s Next?

A person’s main reason for visiting your website is to learn more about how you can help them solve a specific problem. If your website does that, what is the next course of action?

Do they fill in a form?

Do they call?

Do they reach out on social media?

Is it clear?

What should they do first?

And, if they would rather a different way to contact you what is the second preferred contact method?

  1. Think Of Your Home Page As A Receptionist.

When someone arrives at your offices or practice, their first port of call is probably the reception desk. A receptionist will ask them how they can help and then direct them onto the area of the business that can help them.

Your website needs to do the same. If you are a dentist and a patient has a broken tooth and they are in pain, then on your home page you could have a sign, banner or junction box that says if you are in need of emergency dental treatment call or click here.

When that person then clicks they are taken to a page that specifically highlights the problems they could be experiencing and what they can do to resolve it; i.e. call to book an emergency appointment today.

Navigation should be stupidly simple to ensure that all users can get what they want, FAST.

we are here to help

  1. How Can We Help You?

Each and every page on your website should have a clear primary call to action. If you would like more help about “problem xyz” then please call us on “telephone number” today.

And also a secondary call to action which could be in the form of an opt in box where the user can leave their query.

It doesn’t stop there though, although the rest is probably for another post about conversion optimisation or maybe customer experience! What happens to that information, who handles it, who contacts the interested user? How are they contacted? By phone or email? Is there a script to follow in order to increase sales etc?

As you can see web design is part of the overall customer experience and chances are if a lead does not get contacted within a few hours they will lose interest all together and this will really impact your results.

  1. Highlight the Benefits

Treat each and every page as if it is an “about you”, you being your customers, clients or patients. What are their problems? What are they looking for? What are the BENEFITS TO THEM if they select you as their partner of choice?

You have corporate offices overlooking London Bridge, Great how does that help me?

You use Nitrous Oxide on your patients. Fantastic, but what does that mean to me?

You will highlight all your patient’s joint dysfunctions. Thanks, and that helps how?

Remember nobody goes to buy a drill, they go to get a tool that will help them make a hole!

  1. Use Video to Highlight How You Can Help Clients.

Video is powerful. Really, really powerful and consumers are watching more videos online each and every month. It is not just teenagers that are watching video.

80% of Executives are watching more video online than last year.

In fact don’t just read what I have to say watch the video below.

Users are more inclined to watch a video than read text. If that is the case then a short video explainer highlighting how you can help them will aid your conversion.

Video is a much quicker way of highlighting the problem your audience is experiencing and providing the proof that you have a solution that can help them.

  1. Provide Social Proof.

Consumers, clients, patients all want proof. They want proof that you will deliver on time, on budget and more importantly, solve their problem. It is one thing you saying you can do it, but it is another thing if a client of yours says it for you.

Get feedback from your clients and use it as marketing collateral for your business. Over the past five years there has been an explosion in social media and online review sites where anybody can say anything about you, your business and your culture.

Make it your business to leverage the great work that you have done for others to grow your business. After all that is what word of mouth marketing is, this is just leveraging technology to do exactly the same.

Have testimonials on your home page, put them on your about us page. If you can, get video testimonials of clients talking about the excellent experience they have received.

Using testimonials and reviews will increase the number of website users that pick up the phone and call, book and become repeat clients of yours.


  1. Think Mobile

Mobile web traffic is growing. More and more people are using mobile devices to search for information on the internet. If your website does not cater to those then you stand to lose out on a lot of traffic.

That is not a scare tactic it is fact. Google prioritises sites that are mobile friendly. Therefore if a website is not mobile friendly and user searches from a mobile device, your website will not get listed. And even if people who do know you are looking from their iPad or mobile phone then when they land on your site they have to pinch the screen and push to the side and up and down.

The user experience is absolutely terrible. Existing clients might put up with it but will new clients?

Make it easy for people: provide the ability for mobile users to click to call. Provide one click to Google maps to get directions from where they are. Provide clear and accessible buttons the users can click to get more details on whatever they need.

Mobile search traffic will continue to grow as users become more connected so arm your business website to accommodate these changes and satisfy the needs of your existing and potential clients.

If your website has all of these then great, the next step should be to focus on your conversions, understand your numbers; cost per client acquisition, life time spend of a client and then once you have these variables work out how much you can invest in marketing your business website; increasing traffic to drive business growth.

Change is not always for the better

At this point I am sure you are expecting me to say that if you don’t have all this then you need a new website immediately. Well I’m not.

Change is not always for the better. And if you don’t know your numbers to start with then what do you have to compare to if you decide to change provider or you make changes to your website?

How many new calls do you receive from your website each week? If you don’t have a phone tracking system in place then tell your receptionist that every time a new client calls to ask where they got your details.

How many email leads do you receive from your website each week? Do you know where the email goes? How long does it take for someone to respond with the relevant answer?

As a business owner you cannot manage what you cannot track.

If you have got this information but are struggling to understand the detail behind it, or if you’re not sure where to start with even getting hold of your numbers then contact us on 0161 851 403 and we will be more than happy to help you understand how your website could be helping you drive more business.

Power your business with a website that sells


Share this post!

Google Make Big Changes in the Local Space.

Google Make Big Changes in the Local Space.

There was an important Update to Google Recently, If you run a local Business this could affect you! Google Makes Big Changes To The Local Space | www.bigthinkingonline.com

google makes changes in the local space

Google Make Big Changes in the Local Space.

The past few months have seen Google make some big changes in the local SEO space. Most of these changes stem back to the fact that Google has finally accepted that Google+ will never be Facebook and all their attempts to effectively ‘force’ people to use Google+ including tying YouTube to the platform are starting to be uncoupled.

And while that will not impact most users or business owners the fact that Google has also announced that they are going to “unverify” inactive Google+ Local pages could have an impact on local listings.

What does this mean for business owners?

Back in 2012 Google made the decision to combine what was Google+ Local pages and Google Places together and automatically provide 80 million businesses with Google+ Local pages. While that might seem a little confusing the crux is that whether you know it or not you probably have a Google+ Local page.

If you have never verified that page or Google perceives the page owner to be unresponsive then the page might be shut down.

According to a message that has been in the local search forums:

In the past few months, you may have seen some changes in the look of Google+ pages that have been associated with Google My Business (GMB) accounts. These changes, including how we treat business pages without owners, are part of Google’s ongoing effort to simplify people’s experience with our tools. We are constantly working to provide only valuable and rich content to our users.

On July 28th, Google will begin shutting down those GMB–associated Google+ pages that have not been associated with user accounts and are also not verified. You may find that some of your Business View tours also sit on such pages, but note that after their removal of unverified Google+ pages, the Business View tours will still remain available on Google Maps and Google Search.

How does this affect your business?

First off it depends whether you have verified your Google+ pages.

If you haven’t verified your Google+ local page then here is some advice for you to follow from the Google Maps team:

Encourage your business customers to verify their listings if they wish to retain their Google My Business page.

If a business owner decides later that they would like to have a Google My Business page, please advise them to create a new page and verify their listing. The Business View virtual tour can be then transferred to the new verified listing.

Please log a case to our support teams to request that images for your business customer be forwarded to the new GMB page. Please point your business customer to their images in Google Maps.

If you have verified your Google+ page then you will have nothing to worry about. In fact I would hesitate to suggest that if your page is verified and optimised then you will be getting an advantage over your competition as more and more competing pages will be removed from the Goole+ listing. Leaving customers and clients in need of your services a greater chance of finding your business first.

If you have any questions or thoughts on this topic put them in the comments box below.


Share this post!

Are Your Patients So Scared Of You They’ll Use Superglue On Their Teeth?

Are Your Patients So Scared Of You They’ll Use Superglue On Their Teeth?


This week there was a story that made the national news about a lady who was so terrified of the dentist that she spent 10 years trying to fix her own teeth with superglue.

Fear of the dentist is one of the most common phobias in the UK, with more people afraid of their regular check up than they are of spiders (Dental Health) and about 1 in 4 people overall admitting they dread visiting the dentist (NHS).

While many dentists are acutely aware of these statistics and are doing as much as they can to prove that dentistry doesn’t deserve its scary reputation, the message still isn’t getting through to a vast number of people. So how can individual dental practices reach out to those people who are really scared and make sure cases like the one this week just don’t happen?

On answer is to make sure that you are making the most of your online reputation. This might seem like it has nothing to do with dentistry, which it wouldn’t, if it weren’t for the fact that is has everything to do with your patients.

Think about the last time you wanted information about something. You probably searched for it online. That’s exactly what countless potential patients are doing.

When someone Googles your practice, one of the first things they will see in the search results will be the 2015-06-03_1429reviews and star ratings left for you by other patients. If those reviews are bad, the chances are that potential patient will not want to call your practice.

It may be that your business has no reviews whatsoever and you think you aren’t affected by negativity, but think again. Having no reviews is also bad. It means that someone who is looking for information about your practice has nothing to see. These patients who don’t find what they want to see will most likely continue to suffer in silence. Alternatively they will continue their search for another dentist who has more positive reviews to put their mind at ease.

Show nervous patients what they need to see:  examples of other people you have treated who were nervous but are now happy and pain free.

Make the most of social media. For every person that likes an update that you post, that update will be seen by their friends and family, many of whom will also live in your catchment area. When the time comes for those friends and family members to make a long awaited and much needed trip to the dentist they will remember seeing that their friend has liked or commented on your dental practice.

Dental Phobia isn’t going to go away any time soon, but it’s never been easier for dentists to reach out to those people who would never usually set foot within half a mile of a Dental practice. If your online reputation isn’t up to standard then you’re doing your practice, and those fearful patients a huge disservice.

Power your business with a website that sells

Share this post!