Archive for Articles

Beware of What Internet Companies You Hire

We have recently been experiencing an influx of companies contacting our clients offering them services to “improve” their search rankings. Offering gimmicks, setting false expectations and sometimes even posing to be working for Google. Our goal is to educate you on the dangers of companies like this, and offer you some guidelines to follow when hiring a company to help your online presence.

The #1 rule to follow: before hiring any company or individual who wants to you to help improve your rankings – speak to your current internet marketing team. No matter whether you think that what you are already doing won’t be effected by what you hire this new company to do, discuss it with your current partners. The internet can be a tricky place, it’s always best to discuss these things with people in the industry.

What steps can you take if you don’t already have a company working for you? There are plenty, we recommend you do all of the following before signing up for any services.  (yes, even if they are FREE…actually, ESPECIALLY if they are free)

- Go to the Source: Go to the company’s website and look around. Be sure to read testimonials and get a general feel for the site. Chances are if they use a template for their own website, that’s what you will be getting too.

- Research: Search for their Google Place page ratings, as well as their general Google rankings. Read the reviews that are posted and check around to other sites as well (to name a few: BBB, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List).  And remember – if they can’t handle their own reputation, they certainly won’t take good care of your reputation.

- Ask for references: We cannot stress this enough. Any good business can give you at least 3 solid references. And don’t just ask for the references – CALL THEM!

- Stay in Control: Make sure that you will be given access to all accounts created for you at all times. Never let another company ‘Own’ your accounts and passwords. You need to stay in control, these accounts belong to you.

- Ask Questions: Google offers a specific set of guidelines for advertising to prevent spamming. Be sure to ask the question “Do you follow Google Guidelines?” and educate yourself on a few, so you can make sure they are telling the truth. Here are a few examples, make sure the answer you get for all of them is a resounding “NO”.

  • Can I use a PO Box as my address?
  • Can I list my business in multiple zip codes when my physical address is only in one zip code?
  • Can I have multiple listings for the same business?

The biggest claim that you need to beware of is when someone offers you a guaranteed ranking on Google, this is the biggest red flag of them all. Google itself offers you a quote to help you weed out the good companies from the bad:

Nobody, and that means nobody can guarantee you a #1 ranking on Google.

What are the repercussions of signing with one of these companies?

There can be a number of issues that can arise from using the wrong company. Here is a short list of a few things that could happen (Source: Experiences of our Clients)

- The company could create multiple business listings, which will get you great rankings at first, but then Google will mark you as ‘Spam’ and all of your listings will be taken down.

- Create a landing page for you that you have no control over or access to, that they host on their own server. (Which means if you terminate your service they take your page down-potentially leaving you with an error page or a ‘site no longer exists’ landing page)

- If you cancel your account and you do not hold the control of your accounts, the company could sell your listings to a competitor.

What is the bottom line? It’s simple. Ask questions and educate yourself. Stick with your instincts – and always remember, if it sounds too good to be true- it probably is. If you still aren’t sure, then give PinPoint Local a call, we will be happy to provide you with guidance and answer any of your questions!

Strong Pay Per Click Management Strategies Prevent Click Fraud

ppc-click-fraud

A pay per click (PPC) campaign can be an effective strategy in your comprehensive marketing package. When monitored closely, it can be affordable, as your costs are determined by the effectiveness of the campaign. However, strong pay per click management, is critical to maximizing your return on investment (ROI). Without proper monitoring, you may find you are paying for invalid traffic that yields no benefit. Before turning to automated PPC programs and software, it is important to understand a critical drawback to such programs: the increased risk of click fraud.

Click fraud happens when traffic is deliberately driven through an advertisement by parties with no valid interest in the product or offer. Although this sometimes happens by accident, one of the main sources of invalid traffic is competition. Many invalid clicks are found to be competitors intentionally boosting traffic on PPC ads in order to exhaust the marketing budgets of their rivals. If a company has alloted $1,000 toward their PPC campaign and then receives a bill for $2,000, they may decide to pull those advertisements, thereby opening a lane of traffic for competitors.

Three primary methods for preventing click fraud and maximizing your ROI include:

  • Monitor the competition. Know who is competing with your keywords in search engines at all times.
  • Know who is clicking on your advertisements. Some invalid clicks may be accidental. However, excessive traffic from competitors may indicate malicious click fraud.
  • Get picky about where your advertisements are placed. Careful research gives you insight into a site’s credibility and safeguards. Low credibility and poor safeguards attract fraudulent behavior. Limit your PPC campaign to high-value sites where unethical conduct is least likely to occur.

Each of the above strategies requires specific software, time, and knowledge. Many companies and organizations do not have adequate resources to ensure an efficient and effective PPC management program that guards against click fraud. Fortunately, PinPoint Local has everything you need in order to achieve outstanding PPC results, leading to increased business.

Contact us today and ask how our Search Engine Marketing services can help your business obtain stellar Pay Per Click Advertising results!

The Importance of Responsive Web Design

responsive-web-design

As technology advances, businesses must adapt to the current trends and changes. A current, growing trend is responsive web design. This is an approach to web design that seeks to optimize websites for different devices. The site should “respond” to the device being used and adjust itself to that device. For example, a small smart phone screen and a large desktop monitor should both display the web site properly.

Responsive web design uses several techniques to achieve this. Fluid grids are used to display various site components at the right sizes. They resize these page elements by percentage, rather than individual pixels, which allows for resizing. Flexible images are used similarly. Touch screens and slower loading speeds on mobile devices should also be taken into account.

Mobile devices are here to stay. According to Pew Internet, a large number of American adults use smart phones or tablets, and the amount of cell phone owners who use the internet on their devices has been growing rapidly. Many people are even doing most of their web browsing on their cell phones. With so much mobile device usage, responsive web design has become more necessary than ever.

Image is very important to businesses. Having an accessible, user-friendly website can improve or help sustain a good image and reputation. It should always be easy for potential customers to get the information they need. Responsive web design can make this possible. It improves users’ experiences and keep customers coming back for more.

Are you ready to upgrade your website to provide your customers with a responsive experience? Contact PinPoint Local Today!

The Essential Elements of Mobile Website Design

mobile-web-design

Today, it seems as if just about everyone has a smartphone. Not only do a large number of people have a smartphone, many of them use it to access the Internet on a regular basis. What does this mean for your business? It means your website has to be optimized to meet the needs of those users who may visit from a mobile device. The elements of mobile website design are often different from your typical web design.

Your Content

Some companies think they need to cut back on the amount of content they use on a mobile website to make it less cluttered and easier to use. This isn’t necessarily true. You could be removing content your visitors want to see. Instead of getting rid of the content, you need to streamline that content so it works better with the mobile platform and allows your visitors to see the content they desire on the platform of their choice.

Easy Navigation

Easy navigation is an important element for any website, but it is even more critical for mobile website design. The screens on mobile devices are often smaller and users will be using their fingers instead of a mouse to navigate through your site. Keep this in mind when you are implementing the navigation features into your site.

The Layout

The layout of your mobile site will often be quite different from the layout of your desktop site. Your desktop site is often spread out without the need for scrolling. The mobile site, however, typically requires a single-column layout that doesn’t require your users to zoom in or scroll to see everything on your site. This can sometimes create issues with your current content, but if you get the right help, you can overcome these issues.

Mobile Features

Mobile devices are designed with specific features in mind. For instance, many of today’s mobile devices are equipped with GPS. This means you can build a location feature into your mobile design that tailors your website to the location of the Internet user. Another great option for your mobile website design is highlighting the phone number so users can call you with the touch of a finger instead of having to type in the entire phone number.

Mobile website design is a requirement if you will be launching your website on mobile devices. Because so many people are using these mobile devices to access the Internet, it is essential to the success of your business to offer this option to users. With the right help, you can build a quality mobile site that will attract visitors and give them the information they require.

Contact us for help building your mobile website to provide the most effective customer experience.

Mobile Email Marketing: Closing the gap between mobile devices and email campaigns

mobile-email-marketing

An interesting disconnect in mobile email marketing was identified in Marketing Land recently: Although there is a quickly increasing trend in the number of commercial emails being opened on mobile devices (set to surpass the number opened on PCs by the end of 2013), less than half (42%) of surveyed companies actually design their commercial emails for display on a mobile device.

Knotice, a digital marketing agency, released its bi-annual report in February, revealing that of 500 million commercial emails sent across 11 different verticals, 41% were opened on mobile devices (including smartphones and tablets). This was expected to reach over half of all commercial emails within 3-6 months.

Marketing Sherpa, in its 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, found that fewer than half of surveyed marketers designed their emails for mobile devices. Furthermore, only 21% integrated their mobile channels with their email campaigns.

Marketing Land described this as a disconnect. We think it’s a missed opportunity.

Consider another finding of the Knotice research: Only .07% of the emails opened on a mobile device were later reopened on a different device (e.g.,  PC). If the recipient did not act on the offer at the time they opened it on their mobile device, they were highly unlikely to revisit it later in order to seal the deal.

To respond effectively to the growing mobilization of our society, it is imperative that we integrate our mobile and email campaigns and to design commercial email messages specifically with the parameters of a mobile device in mind. An offer that arrives incompatible with the technology on which it is received, fails to deliver. We miss an opportunity. As use of mobile devices surpass our stationary PCs, we will continue to lose more and more opportunities to reach our consumers.

PinPoint Local wants to help you design an effective mobile email marketing campaign. Contact us today, and we’ll get started!

Resources:
Marketing Land

 

Three Solid Tips for Local SEO

local-seo

 

Local SEO is just as important for small business owners as big SEO is for the big guys. Local SEO ensures your business gets seen when people are looking for services in your area. As a result, business gets boosted, and you get more visibility. No one can argue that this is a good thing, so here are a few tips when you’re considering optimizing your local SEO.

1. Think about what type of competition you have in the area. Look at your competitors’ websites and blogs, even, before you start optimizing. Look at the types of keywords they’re using and try to find similar ones to use yourself. The key to good local SEO is to find keywords that are searched for often, but not used a lot. An easy way to do this is to find keywords your competitors are using, then find similar ones with a high search volume. Google trends can be a godsend here, because it’ll allow you to see which local SEO words are trending.

2. Repeat your keyword often, but not too often. Google’s algorithms are complex, and with this, repeating your keyword too often can actually hurt your search ranking. The term used for this is ‘keyword density’ and it represents how many times your SEO term shows up compared to the total number of words in whatever content you are providing. there is no magic number that gets hits, but 5% is a good number to shoot for. For local SEO, your keyword density should never exceed 10% of the total words in your content.

3. Don’t try to game the system. Google’s search algorithms are robust and smart, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are smarter. There are plenty of tips that will give you a temporary SEO boost, but not all of them are good tips. For example, repeating your keyword over and over, adding irrelevant meta tags, and adding keywords in text that is the same color as your background will all temporarily drive up your search rating. These techniques will also get you banned from Google’s search algorithm entirely, because they are considered spamming. So play clean.

If you need more local SEO help, be sure to contact us. Here at PinPoint Local, we represent the best of local SEO. We’ll be happy to get your local business the best search rating possible.

Social Media Engagement: Right vs. Wrong

social-media

Social media engagement done right can be tricky, but Walmart’s recent Facebook failure has reminded us of some of the major pitfalls of a large organization. For some larger organizations the issue is finding an individual store’s niche within the local community. Yet for some big companies, it’s finding how to balance a corporate mentality with no localbility in their stores to social media.

 

The purpose of any business outreach is to drive consumer action, but steps like engagement, awareness and reputation take place before any action is even thought about in the mind of a consumer. Social media by definition generates awareness and sustains engagement - probably the most important aspects of a organization’s reputation. However, generating engagement with your consumers has to be earned. Your company has to have the appropriate look and presence, so that users will want to communicate and feel like their efforts to connect matter. If these things are missing, consumers will not feel it worth their while to engage, thus you’re business’s reputation will diminish or remain stagnant.

 

This is where Walmart failed, they made their local Facebook pages look too generic and stiff. Naturally, users felt it not worth their while to engage. As a result all action-based efforts the store was trying to drive probably failed. What Walmart failed to realize was that this type of engagement probably should have never been in their social media strategy to begin with.

 

Users who desire to connect with local businesses on social media do it because they feel they and the company are stakeholders in the community. This could mean a store hosting exclusive local sales or sponsoring a local baseball team they watch. But big companies that have identical stores and don’t perform community outreach in the first place, shouldn’t try to reach out locally on social media. Marketers need to evaluate what social media strategy best fits the company and engage users on social media accordingly.

 

Ultimately, we can not stress enough how important it is to engage with your online audience. It’s also vital to make them feel connected and special to your organization, whether that’s using localbility or corporate initiatives, if you want to drive them to action.
We have the tools and knowledge to make your organization’s social media experience successful and drive consumer action! Contact us to discuss our service or strategies! We’d love to hear from you!

Be Careful Who You Trust!

Our firm had personal run-ins around March with fraudulent companies approaching us and our clients.

As a result we wrote a blog post explaining how to determine the legitimacy of these firms. We also recorded the call from one of these firms to increase awareness of these disturbing organizations.

If you would like to see our informational post to learn about this, check it out and for the recording follow this link.

What Makes PinPoint Local Different?

What makes PinPoint Local stand out from all of the other Digital Media  & Local SEO Companies?


· Vertical Exclusivity
- PinPoint Local will not work with any competitors in your industry.

· Manual Updates - We claim all listings by hand, we do not use bulk uploads.

· Communication - We conduct weekly calls with you to discuss results and challenges. In addition we have monthly calls with all Franchisees.

· Duplicate Deletions – During the claiming process we delete all duplicate listings.

· Ranking Reports – Each month we provide ranking reports to the Franchisees as well as to corporate.

· Google Guidelines – We strictly follow Google Places Guidelines, eliminating the chances of account suspension.

· Monthly Updating – We make monthly changes and updates to your listings, to keep the content fresh and active.

· Review Management – Assist Franchisees with review building and responses to negative reviews.

· New Features – Additionally, we now include Facebook , Twitter, and Google+ for business to the list of data sources we update.

Audio Follow Up: Beware of what internet companies you hire

As a follow up to our last blog “Beware of what internet companies you hire” we have an audio clip of exactly what types of pitches you should look out for.

*Please note that the Name & Phone Number have been removed for Privacy Reasons*

Click here to listen now!