How to Promote My Small Business Online?

In the last year alone- online business has become a fundamental of business, instead of just a clever way to promote your brand.

Here’s how to get on top, even if you’re tiny.

While internet marketing and website functionality has long been a business basic, in the year of covid lockdowns- it quickly became the only way many small businesses and local retailers saw any patrons at all.

With global marketing campaigns and multinational reach taking a backseat to local customers and convenient optimization.

What was once viewed as a way to bulk your business quickly became the only way to survive.

And chances are, yours isn’t the only small business feeling this renewed crunch to get online and get noticed.

But, online marketing is a different world. From posting a flyer or two, or just depending on word-of mouth advertising throughout your community- internet marketing comes with a plethora of options, techniques, and targeted ad experiences.

So as a small business, how do you know which campaigns to invest in, and when to save your money?

Perhaps the most useful tool for a small business looking to break out on the saturated online market is the digital marketing agency– or SEO agency.

These usually provide your business with a team of online marketing savvy individuals that know how to get you noticed in the places best suited for your small business.

Saving you time and money. The SEO services agency of today are probably just as useful as a Madison Avenue agency was in the ‘50s- but at a fraction of the cost.

Using AI, Google and analytics to get you the customers you want and the exposure you need.

Promoting With Google

Most digital marketing agency focus relies on using Google to help your business flourish in a targeted manner.

Which is no surprise as the search engine itself has become a verb. It’s rare that we’ll hear someone tell us to check out a library, or ask a friend.

Instead “Google it” has become the go to advice for just about anything: from how to treat a headache, to where to find car insurance.

Google Search Ads & Ranking

Getting your website noticed through top rankings and proliferous ads is the number one way to funnel traffic to your business, both for new customers, and those who are already brand loyal.

Top ranking sites are those that show up first anytime someone searches for something using Google.

With the right Search Engine Optimization tactics, your business has the same ability to show up for a search as any other competitor- including the big ones.

Most SEO agencies will optimize your website and any content you create to contain specific words that relate to common searches.

Which is just one way in which any business can gain relevancy online, and get themselves noticed in the community.

Google Search Ads work similarly to SEO practices, but instead of putting in the time it takes to reach those lofty heights organically, retailers can pay google to get their sites mentioned first.

Which is a great way to get the ball rolling while you’re waiting for other SEO techniques to take effect.

Especially if you take advantage of the many types of ad campaigns that Google offers– like Google video ads, shopping, and programmatic display advertising.

Google Shopping

If your small business is built on selling goods or products- Google Shopping can be a great way to get your products on your consumers radar.

As the platform allows consumers to instantly compare products and prices from a multitude of different vendors.

Google Shopping Campaign example
Google Shopping Campaign example

Working similarly to conglomerate marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy- with the ease and convenience of a Google search.

While the technology is still relatively new, being revamped and released last year, consumers have taken to the new experience quickly.

Particularly as it lets them price compare in a convenient way and all products advertised are backed by a Google guarantee.

But as you might have guessed- you’ll need a Google business account in order to qualify for product placement, and a bit of SEO strategy in order to rank appropriately.

Google Maps

Google maps is an incredible way for local brick and mortar shops and well as online retailers to reach their immediate customer base.

Allowing users to perform a quick search for anything they may need in the area.

Moreover, this free listing service doesn’t just work in the google maps app, but also integrates with the search engine itself- helping to prioritize businesses that may be local to whomever is searching for them.

In order to effectively wield the promotional power of Google Maps and location based services, you’ll need to establish and verify a Google Business Profile- which is actually pretty simple.

Once your profile has been established and verified- optimization once again becomes important.

As it can more easily tie your business to relevant searches, even to show up in the list of “nearby” businesses that are marked directly on a map of search engine results.

These top ranked results also offer the added benefit of showcasing any google reviews your business might have and linking directly to your website, showing business hours, and even offering promotions.

Google Business Profile

Google MyBusiness profile example
Google MyBusiness Profile example

In order to really get the most out of your Google Business Profile and Google Search Ads, you’ll need a great website.

While that sounds pretty obvious- a great website isn’t just one that has decent content and products- but one that really represents your brand and works well. Bring customers in, and keep them there.

A professional website is important, but so is a well optimized one. Which are sometimes difficult, if not impossible, to create using free web publishing services.

So if you’re going to spend money, spend it on creating an incredible, user friendly site. One that works well on both mobile and desktop devices.

A great business website can also function as an advertising platform for associated business– by allowing for programmatic display advertising.

Which can offer your business additional income and additional exposure through collaborative marketing campaigns.

How to Optimize for Google Featured Snippets?

What are Google Featured Snippets?

Google Featured Snippets are search results with an emphasized layout format that provides users concise and direct answers to their questions.

Featured snippets appear above the number one result position on the search result page, also known as the “Zero Position”, thus gaining a privileged spot among all searches.

In fact, “what’s different with a featured snippet is that it is enhanced to draw user attention on the results page”, says Google.

This type of search result includes a precise answer, the source link, page title, and URL.

There are four main types of Google Featured Snippets:

● Paragraph

The Paragraph snippet is the most common type, with 82% of presence on Google search. To expose this snippet, Google extracts a text between 50 and 60 words long from a page that answers the user’s question.

Example of a Paragraph Featured Snippet

● List

The list type of snippet helps the user to achieve a goal within a methodical action. It can be formatted in two ways: numbered or bulleted. The first is a numerical list where you can follow a step-by-step order. The second follows organized topics but the order is not relevant.

● Table

The table type is ideal to show collections of data. If the data is available on your site, Google will automatically produce the table format for the snippet.

● Video

Video featured snippet is the most recent type of snippet provided by Google. It selects relevant videos that fulfil the answer to the user’s targeted question. Hence, it’s possible to see a highlighted clip suggesting the specific location of the answer.

Example of a Featured Snippet Video

How to Optimize for Featured Snippets?

There’s no procedure that allows you to reach directly the “Zero Position”. The only certainty is that creating well-structured content that gives direct answers to a certain query, helps your business to reach that privileged position.

With that said, let’s see how you can optimize your content on each format:

● Paragraph

First, before you start creating content for a paragraph snippet, it is advisable to follow these types of queries:

  • Who is…
  • What is…
  • Where is…
  • How is…
  • Comparing A and B

After choosing the type of query, it’s important to place it in an H2 or H3 tag and write the answer directly below.

Answers should be confined to between 50 and 60 words, using the <p> tag. This tag defines a paragraph –  it’s an HTML essential attribute.

● List

To optimize the content for the list featured snippet, it is advisable to outline the steps with the proper list tags in your post and for each action or step, use a heading.

In fact, Google has better readability when lists are well-structured. Thus, it’s important to set up the information you provide with the specific list tags such as <li>, <ol> or <ul>.

For example:

<ul>

 <li>Bread</li>

 <li>Apples</li>

 <li>Fish</li>

</ul>

We defined this example list as an unordered list.

Once you have your content structured and steps lined up, remember to put a suitable incentive with the following brief phrases: “here are”, “follow these steps”, or “start with”.

● Table

Table type snippets are ideal to display collections of data your business may have. There isn’t any specific way to get Google’s attention on each site’s data. However, it’s important to:

  • Organize the data in a table;
  • Start the table with a relevant heading followed by the table itself and data;
  • It is also important to guarantee that the table has between three to four rows, to increase the chance of people clicking through.

This will not only improve the user experience that you must provide but will also make it easy for Google to find your data.

● Video

Since Google favours video content, it is quite easy for you to optimize this type of featured snippets by:

  • Organizing the content in a step-by-step format;
  • Uploading the video closed captions;
  • Optimizing the video description with long-tail keywords;
  • Inserting the answer to the query at the beginning of the video’s description.  

In order to help you optimize your content, here are some useful tools you can use:

●  SEMrush

SEMrush is a software that provides a wide variety of intelligent and useful data for your business. Website traffic information, site audits, and topic research are some SEO specs available on this online service.

With this tool, you’ll be able to efficiently track and supervise featured snippets that already exist. Plus, you can discover and identify new potential opportunities to rank your content.

Example of SEMrush
Featured Snippet Tab by SEMrush

By clicking on the feature snippets tab you’ll be primarily provided with an Opportunities list. This list allows you to check the potential keywords that will help you rank your content.

● Answer The Public

Answer the Public is an online tool that provides queries about a certain topic you may want to develop content on. To use this tool you just need to type the keyword on the search area and get the results right after.

This autosuggest tool is provided by Google & Bing and it gathers search queries users are using on the internet.

For example, in this case, we typed the word SEO, and this was the result:

Image Provided by PeopleAlsoAsk

The results follow 10 types of queries: When, Why, Who, What, Which, Where, Will, Can, and Are. This gives you significant insight and sources for content ideas.

● Search for the query on Google search results

Google is constantly changing its parameters, so it’s important for you to search which type of snippet Google is displaying at the moment.

Is Google showing video featured snippets? Ordered lists? Tables of data?

By doing this, you can optimize and try to rank for the specific format that Google will be featuring.

● Google Search Field

Typing on the search bar will provide ideas of what people are searching for.

● Google People Also Ask

Example of People Also Ask

The “People also ask” box is a Google universal SERP result that answers questions related to the searcher’s initial query.

● Google Related Searches

You can find this suggestion box down under the first result page on Google search result page. The box will show you topics related to the term initially searched, which might give you useful ideas about what users are asking.

Example of Google Related Searches

Ready to optimize your content for Google Featured Snippets? Find out which type of Feature Snippet best suits the sort of content you produce and how you can adapt it for delivering your message more easily. With these tips, we’re sure you’ll manage to achieve results in no time.

In case you have any doubts about this or other matters, please don’t hesitate to contact UniK SEO. We would be happy to help.

The Impact of Augmented Reality on Local SEO

Augmented reality has seen significant improvements over the past few years, and its effects are beginning to be felt in digital marketing and local SEO.

For most people, AR is a fantastical geek concept that will never be integrated into the mainstream culture or affect their lives in any way. Andy Hughes, CMO at PBN Pilot recently said: “Most SEO experts don’t know the first thing about it let alone if and how it can go hand in hand with local SEO.”

In this article you will be introduced to augmented reality and how experts predict it will transform local SEO. 

What exactly is augmented reality?

For people who know a thing or two about augmented reality, the confusion most likely comes in when virtual reality gets involved.

AR and VR are inverse reflections of each other with what they are meant to achieve for the user. While virtual reality seeks to offer a recreation or simulation of a real-life situation, augmented reality puts layers of digital enhancements on the real world to make it interactive and useful.

Augmented reality may have picked off more slowly than VR but it is now being integrated into real life, and its applications have been phenomenal over the past three or so years.

Pokémon Go – a game that places digital game characters in real-life environments and locations with the help of your phone’s camera – is perhaps the most popular and sophisticated AR-based application thus far. Others include the Snapchat filter tool, which uses the older face detection technology to paint digital decorations on your face in a mesmerizingly realistic manner.

In marketing, home improvement stores like IKEA are already using augmented reality to superimpose appliances in home spaces before purchasing them, which effectively does away with the need for pre-purchase in-store product inspection.

The Impact of Augmented Reality on Local SEO

4 ways in which augmented reality will impact local SEO

Not much has been done yet as regards merging the two concepts, but projected applications of the technology in search engine optimization don’t look all that far-fetched.

Here are four ways AR can transform local SEO:

1. Google My Business Listings

When a customer searches your business online, the information they are likely to see first is what you have on your Google My Business Listing. Businesses should brace for the changes by optimizing their businesses with high-quality images, contacts, working hours and other relevant information.

So, where does augmented reality come in? Well, one workable way is that when a customer scans a business premise, the listing will appear superimposed on the building providing them with all relevant information before they can make their decision.

The more comprehensive and compelling the information is, the more likely it is that the business will attract more customers.

2. Location

Geolocation is the practice of determining the exact geographical location of a device or person with regard to the location of other known objects. Augmented reality can be used by businesses to alert people in the neighbourhood with AR apps of the business, its exact location and what it offers.

Businesses can use compelling graphics to provide information instead of just plain text, which can be tedious to go through if there are many businesses sending notifications.

For instance, you could be walking down the street, and a McDonald’s store a few blocks away sends a notification with flashy images of milkshakes and French fries hovering on your screen.

Sellers can also make their products more interactive by providing important information using animated images whenever a customer focuses their AR devices on the product. Used another way would be, users get to view a short video of a computer game above its pack right from the shelf by just scanning its cover in the store.

3. Reviews

AR can be a platform for customers to provide feedback on their experience using a product or service. For instance, you could be in a shopping mall, and every time you scan a store, the latest user reviews pop up on your screen to help you decide if you should shop in the store or not.

Customer feedback is an essential aspect of local SEO which rewards business owners with quality customer care. Most businesses are relaxed with their quality of service because not many customers take their time to check customer reviews online before making purchases.

AR simplifies the system and encourages businesses to adopt practices that attract positive reviews, which is a win for both the business and the customers. Also, companies will ease the customer complaint management process to prevent customers from directly airing their grievances in reviews.

4. Citations

Citations make for all the mentions your business gets on the internet. Getting your business on citation apps that offer enhanced augmented reality experiences to potential consumers might become a necessity in the near future, according to experts.

One of the reasons citations matter in local SEO is that Google and another search.

engines trust the major citation sites, with increased citations significantly boosting your rankings.

Citation sites such as Yelp are expected to develop AR apps through which consumers can view ratings and reviews of different businesses in the same industry. Businesses on Yelp will undoubtedly have the edge on their rivals prompting them to seek citations as well.

Even currently, when you do a local search, online business directories fill the first results page, and this is the same weight you would expect AR apps to carry.

The Impact of Augmented Reality on Local SEO

What can you do with Augmented Reality?

You may be the owner of a small business wondering how AR can be integrated into your local SEO strategy to keep you above your competitors. Well, most of these applications are just projections, and nothing beats getting ahead of the curve with new technologies.

Companies such as Amazon and IKEA are beginning to make use of AR, and it won’t be long before your direct competitors wake up to the seriousness of it and decide to migrate.

By practising good SEO techniques, you are getting yourself braced for when the technology takes over SEO and marketing. Early adoption has always paid generously when it comes to SEO.

Google Shopping Ads will Start Appearing Automatically on Google Images

The users with shopping ads will start seeing their ads appearing automatically on Google Images. This change is good news for the clients using Google Shopping Ads, as they won’t have to activate the feature manually anymore. Google announced the modification last week, through an e-mail sent to its users. The adjustments will be up by the end of March.

What changed in Google Ads?

Until now, if you wanted to place your Google Shopping Ads in Google Images, you would have to do it manually. It was necessary to activate the Search Partner Network so that the ads would appear in the image search.

This week, however, we learned that these mechanics will be changed by the end of March. From now on, shopping ads will automatically appear on Google Images.

To clarify, what will happen is that Google’s image section will not be a part of the Search Partner Network anymore – it will become part of Google’s Search Network. Hence, it won’t be necessary to activate the Search Partner Network to place your ads on Google Images. Because the images section will integrate the nuclear search network, the ads start to automatically appear in this space when the users search for relevant keywords.

What does this mean for Google Shopping Ads users?

Google Shopping Ads will automatically and mandatorily appear on Google’s image page. This is not an option and it is not possible to deactivate this feature.

As a result, Google writes in the announcement e-mail, the Google Ads of campaigns that don’t currently have the Search Partner Network activated will start appearing on Google Images. Google’s team says that this change will bring more qualified traffic to the users’ websites, as well as it will increase the traffic volume. In the e-mail, they say that it may also produce a 3 to 10% traffic increase at a lower CPC and comparable conversion rates.

What should happen, concretely, is that the traffic in the Search Partner Network decreases, since this network will no longer comprehend the image search traffic. Consequently, the image search traffic will be transferred to the Search Network, whose total traffic will experiment with an increase.

UniK SEO is officially certified in Shopping Advertising. We offer specialized services that assist Google Shopping campaigns. If you think Shopping Advertising may be an adequate strategy for your business, don’t hesitate to ask us a free SEO analysis.

SEO Strategy: Are you the egg or the chicken?

If you are reading this article, I’m pretty sure it is not the first time you have been hearing about SEO strategy. (Just in case I’m wrong you can check our previous post first here).

In which case I won’t bore you with “the greatest strategies of SEO” or “The hidden secrets” that you already know! Instead, I will help you analyse your SEO in order to define which strategies are the best for you. Where are you at you’re best and when are you failing.

This will allow you to occupy your precious time with the best SEO strategy for you!

This SEO strategy will tell if you are the egg or the chicken!

Recently, someone got to the bottom of this question and after I don’t know how much time, but I’m betting a lot,  he figured out the answer. So what the hell does this have anything to do with SEO strategy?

First, don’t you want to know the answer? The answer is as simples as this: an egg can become something that is not a chicken, and because of that every chicken had to be first of all and egg, but not all of the eggs came from chickens.

So the answer is: First came the egg.

Now to the point: If you are used to SEO techniques you are the egg, if you are new to this whole thing, you are the chicken!

Best SEO strategies for eggs

The strong thing about “eggs” is that they understand what is happening, they’ve seen it arrive and they know how to deal with it.

The problem with this type of SEO marketeers are the “old habits”. They forget to do their homework and keep looking for new and better ways to have things done.

Even if you are the best, you’ve studied, you’ve read. It is not enough, the digital age is transforming everything at overwhelming speed, including itself. So the best strategy for the “eggs” is to keep informed.

Generally, this type of marketeers also differs from the “chickens” when it comes to technical skills. So take advantage of that and work on content and innovation.

Do not settle! Now that you know your strengths here is a list of current and amazing tools to help you keep up with SEO changes.

Google Webmaster YouTube Channel

Local SEO Changes

SEO Patents

Google or HubSpot Analytics

Google Search Console (aka Google Webmaster tools)

And then came the chicken…

A totally different story is the chicken SEO strategy. Actually, it’s the opposite. Unlike the egg, the chicken came after and is working hard to keep up. Because they are new, they research a lot, they keep reading, asking questions and learning about different and new ways to do things.

The problem with these chickens is that they are all over the place. Trying to fix everything and learn everything and they do not focus. Also, they can’t really tell if something is great or terrible advice and just go for it. On the other hand, those tend to have the most interesting contents because they are writing genuinely from their hearts.

I’m the chicken, now what? Well, if you are the chicken, the answer to your problems is focus and practice. Focus on your SEO strategy, and practice until you know it by heart. Otherwise, you will be wondering around in between tips and techniques and nothing will ever become strong enough to work.

Hope you found this useful!

If you want to check out some more of our SEO related articles, we suggest the one on “Keyword Research Tools“.