Search engine optimization, which is more commonly referred to as SEO has become a key component in helping business websites rank highly on Google and other search engines.
It is intended to improve visibility for your website, and increased visibility increases your chances of attracting new business, as well as retaining existing customers.
Jason Lazarus of Conversion Hunters is an SEO specialist who has helped a wide range of companies to improve their visibility, while also bringing their business website into the 21st Century. He shares his insights and services through his website ConversionHunters.com
“With local businesses, especially those in a service-related industry, even if they have a website, they might not have claimed it on Google My Business,” Lazarus said.
This is currently a free tool offered by Google. It allows local businesses like restaurants, doctor’s offices, auto body shops, handymen, and much more to be found by users who are searching for services from a local provider.
“Google knows where the user is geographical. It shows you the closest results in what’s called the Local Three Pack,” explained Lazarus.
Currently, the service is offered for free. However, Lazarus notes that Google has a habit of offering something for free for a few years until they find the best way to monetize it.
To claim your business website, you only need to search on google with the keywords Google My Business. “When you claim your business, you want to make sure your profile is as comprehensive as possible. Make sure you are getting the right categories for what you are about and all the things you can provide,” Lazarus explained.
When you go to claim your business on Google you can use your account information or your Gmail. Then you need to enter your address. At that point, Google will verify it either by sending you a special number code or mailing a physical postcard to the address you entered. You can also upload a logo and a detailed description.
“One important thing that a lot of people seem to miss is the section for your business services. You want to get as detailed and granular as you can about all the different services you provide,” noted Lazarus.
For example, if you are a handyman with a website intended to attract local customers. Then you want to note that you do painting, plumbing, drywall repair, carpentry, and whatever else is available in your menu of services.
Ellen Williams is often referred to as “The Data Chick.” She has spent years working with a wide range of businesses helping them to understand the importance of collecting, analyzing and securing data. She helps them implement these new systems to improve efficiency and maximize results.
Where Did You Get The Name The Data Chick From?
“It came from years of working with businesses and technology. One of the roles I had while I was working with one company, the business owner would respond to questions by saying Just ‘Talk o Ellen, She’s the Data Chick’ and it just stuck,” explained Williams. “Then when I rebranded myself in 2018 I used the phrase. It sometimes gets a little laugh at meetings!”
Of course, data comes in many forms, and there are just as many ways to interpret and utilize it all.
What Kind Of Data Do You Primarily Work With?
“Any type of data you need to run a business. It could be financial, customer, SEO analytics. Any information you can gather to make better business decisions,” said Williams.
Where Is The Data Collected From?
“A lot of businesses choose to collect their own. If you look at your accounting software, chances are you have information about your clients, your vendors, your sales, and costs. That’s data. Your Linked-In network might also have data you can use,” Williams clarified.
Simply collecting data and having it on hand doesn’t necessarily mean that you have it correlated in such a way that you can use it for maximum effectiveness. “If you look at all of it, you a start slicing and dicing to understand various levels as well as costs.”
Is Data Collection Done By An Individual Or Does It Require A Team Effort?
“In some cases, especially with small businesses, it might just be a part of your daily work. You might also have a website where people sign up for an offer and you collect their information,” explained Williams. “It’s not necessarily an individual role.”
Williams notes that the goal is to collect all that information into a database, or something like a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program.
How Often Do You Go Into A Business And Find That They Don’t Have Their Data Digitized?
“Pretty much every business has some technology in place. But you also find a lot of things like business cards, things are written down and things that just didn’t make it off the pile on the desk,” Williams replied.
“What I find the most is that it isn’t all centralized. They might have a CRM program, and a spreadsheet, some accounting software and other data in various places, but it isn’t centralized and correlated.”
This begs the question, what is a good tool for centralizing data and implementing it appropriately?
“It depends on the business and the data you are working with,” Williams said.
She notes that some of the more popular options are:
She also notes that the size and scope of the data you need to work with will be a factor in the CRM that’s best for your business. SalesForce is increasingly common for larger companies and businesses with a lot of sales data.
“A Truly effective CRM connects important touch points with things like contacts, leads, or opportunities for your sales force to have more one-on-one conversations!”
What Costs More, Acquiring A New Customer Or Retaining A Loyal One?
“Acquiring a new customer by far,” explained Williams. “With a previous customer, you’ve already done all of the leg work.
Are There Data Regulations To Be Aware Of?
“Not in the United States at this time but Europe has GDPR regulations, that we might see soon,” Williams opined.
These regulations are related to privacy protections as well as other things like your right to be forgotten, or just how long you can keep someone’s data.
What Are Some Of The Common Obstacles You Find When You Start Working With A New Business?
“One of the biggest challenges is getting clients to accept the process and see the value in organizing to use the data,” said Williams.
This harkens back to the natural human instinct and the fear of change. In a smaller company, this resistance can often be easier to address, because each person understands how what they do affects others in the company, and how what other people do affects them.
“With a larger organization, they have different levels. Some people are leery and they start to feel like Big Brother is watching. Really, it isn’t that someone is standing over your shoulder, it’s about making the most out of what you enter into the system!”