I am proud to announce that RyCOM Creative has acquired Skragglies, a local digital marketing company. Skragglies clients should be optimistic about the change, with RyCOM’s graphic design, printing, photo/video, consulting, PR and branding services being added to the existing digital marketing services already offered by Skragglies.
The acquisition comes after Justin Skaggs approached RyCOM with health concerns and a need to step away from the industry. Although Skragglies was considered a competitor of our’s, we had worked on many projects together in the past, so this move makes a lot of sense for everyone involved.
RyCOM offers all of the services that Skragglies had been delivering to clients. This means that all existing Skragglies clients will not see any change in available services due to the acquisition. We actually foresee an improvement in service levels and responsiveness. Although the Skragglies name will slowly transition out, we can ensure all of our clients that the local, personal service they received from Skragglies will continue with RyCOM.
We are still in the transition phase, working with Skragglies clients to get them into the RyCOM family. During the transition, we are asking that any current Skragglies clients book a time to come in to meet the RyCOM team and discuss all the ways we can help you get more…
I am really excited about this next phase in the RyCOM story. We faced a fork in the road back in 2017 – Shoot for a national audience and automated growth path or to invest in our community and grow locally. We chose our community. This is the next step in that process.
Just when you think you’ve got your site optimized to rank at the top of search engine results, things are changing.
Changing in a monumental way.
Voice search is becoming the new norm, with Google estimating that 50% of searches will be done by voice by 2020.
Whether people are talking into their smartphone, their tablet or their personal virtual assistant, voice search is turning Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on its head.
Just because you’ve done everything you need to do to for SEO, you haven’t necessarily handled voice SEO.
You want to make sure potential customers find your site when searching for products or services, and increasingly they are doing it by voice search.
By understanding this and executing our tactics, your business will be a step ahead of the competition.
So let’s dig into how to optimize your product page for voice search.
Understanding Voice Search
Let’s start by understanding voice search, also known as conversational search.
Voice search utilizes technology known as speech recognition to understand the user’s query, and then find an online match via search that matches the question.
If the user is on a smartphone or tablet, the results will appear as webpages, giving the user options to click on what appears as the top search results.
Virtual assistants, however, read an answer to the search; there is no list because “they” choose what “they” believe is the best answer to the question.
The rise in popularity of assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s HomePod, as well as Siri on Apple’s mobile devices, means more and more people are using voice search and having the answers read to them. Windows has added the assistant Cortana into Windows 10.
According to Voicebot, the number of smart speaker owners in the U.S. rose 40% in 2018 to 66.4 million. There are now 133 million total smart speakers in use. Amazon Echo (powered by Alexa) has a 61% market share followed by Google Home at 24%.
As well, the ownership of these assistants is creating an increase in the use of voice assistants on smartphones, too. If you use Alexa, you’ll use Siri on your iPhone.
It’s clear that voice search is not a fad. They’re in homes to stay, and trends indicate their popularity and use will only increase.
How Voice Queries Impact Search Results
It’s important to understand the factors that impact results for voice search. To do that, think about how you would ask a question compared to typing in a query.
Let’s use an example.
I want to find the best place to eat burgers in my home city of XYZTown. I might type in “burgers XYZTown.”
But if I’m talking to my smart speaker or virtual assistant, I say: “What is the best burger place in XYZTown?”
Keywords alone won’t cut it, for a few reasons.
Voice searches tend to be longer than traditional searches, but not too long. Google’s voice search, for instance, favors answers averaging around 29 words per result. Google also tends to extract answers from longer content.
Also, the content also has to be easy-to-read, so that assistants are able to comprehend the answer. The ideal content is at an average level of 9th grade.
Finally, voice search tends to be used more often for local searches, and therefore will more often be location specific. I won’t be searching for burger places, I’ll be searching for burger places in XYZTown. That makes location signals important aspects of your optimization efforts.
5 Steps to Optimize for Product Search
Now you understand why preparing your business site for voice search is so important, and why it’s different than traditional web searches.
Let’s get down to the tactics that will set you apart from your competition.
Keywords are still important, but are different for voice search. Virtual assistants will often bypass the results and instead direct the searcher to a product’s action.
Using the example of a burger restaurant, a user may state: “Order burgers.” Rather than recite the list of all the burger restaurants in the area, like a traditional web search, a virtual assistant may read out the nearest burger restaurant that delivers to the user’s address.
Therefore, you need to research all the search terms that users may ask that can be answered by your website. Build a list of keywords that have brought customers to your site, and turn them into questions.
Then “order burgers” becomes “what is the best burger place in XYZTown?”
Build an Effective Q&A Page
You need a Q&A page, and there are several facets of an effective one for voice search.
First, the basic questions of who-what-when-where-why-how need to be part of the content. Isolating those snippets of information allows smart speakers to answer questions quickly. If your page is the fast answer to a problem, you will be found. Your page will be the answer when asked: “Where is the best burger place in XYZTown?”
Another facet of an effective FAQ page is the use of long-tail keywords. Think about what questions you, or your customer service reps, are often asked about your business, your products or your services.
That could be questions like:
“What kind of beef makes a burger special?”
“What’s the best kind of cheese on a beef burger?”
“What is a veggie burger made with?”
Such frequently asked questions share valuable content that also provide answers in a format that a smart speaker will be looking for when searching. Phrase all the questions in the first person, as a person might ask them, with short, informative answers.
Make sure the keywords are genuinely conversational.
“Burgers in XYZTown” becomes:
“What burger restaurant offers delivery in XYZTown?”
“Where can I go for the best burgers in XYZTown?”
“What restaurants that are near my home make a delicious veggie burger?”
“What burger restaurants that offer delivery have a gluten-free bun?”
Content focused on answering questions will truly address user intent. Potential customers will reach your site because your content is relevant to their question.
Make Use of Lists and Tables
Content with lists, bullet points, highlights and tables will help search platforms understand the content and use them to provide answers to questions asked by users.
This type of page organization also makes the site more readable. It will allow readers to scan the page, and possibly stay to engage with the product instead of leaving the site.
Aim to Appear in the “Snippet”
The “snippet” or answer box is what often appears at the top of a Google search. A special featured answer appears in a snippet block at the top of the results page. This includes a summary of the answer that has been pulled from a website, plus the page title, URL and a link to the page.
The best way to appear in the snippet is to ensure your page provides the best answer to the user’s question. Aim to optimize for the snippet box by:
Building content in short paragraphs that are easy to understand.
Including lists that are also easy to understand.
Including a “how to” guide or answering questions on the page.
Having good SEO and rankings. You need to have good organic search rankings to appear at the top of the results page.
Optimizing content for long-tail, questioning keywords.
Optimize for Local Results
Voice search tends to be used more often for local searches, which is also true for searches on mobile devices, so update your local listing and develop a “Google My Business” for your website.
This is important.
People will often search using the name of a city, particularly if they plan to visit it.
But people also do local searches by asking about burger places “near me.” The addition of the phrase “near me” activates Google to track the user’s location and send the Google voice search to Google business listings.
Ensure your business name is up-to-date and also include the email address, physical address if relevant, and phone number. This helps your site rank high in local search.
You should also focus on local content, including with title tags and meta descriptions. And as always, be sure your site is mobile-friendly, since mobile devices are often used for local searches.
Technology continues to evolve. The adoption of virtual assistants or smart speakers will only increase. Voice search over mobile will also continue to expand.
Using our 5 key tactics, you will be able to optimize your site for voice search. The first result is what matters, so enhancing your SEO efforts for voice will put you ahead of your competition.
Develop your conversational format and include what users will be asking. Make sure your business name is the answer when users say: “Hey Alexa, what’s the best burger place in XYZTown?”
Author Bio: Danielle Canstello is party of the content marketing team at Pyramid Analytics. They provide enterprise level analytics and bi software. In her spare time, she writes around the web to spread her knowledge of the marketing, business intelligence and analytics industries.
This is the first post, in a bi-monthly series, where I ask industry professionals to give us the down and dirty of what they do, and how small business owners can apply working strategies to their own marketing.
What is your definition of content marketing?
A lot of people define content marketing as posting information to get people interested in your service. I don’t identify it that way. I focus solely on adding value and sharing it. So things like video, text, blogs, interviews are what I’d recommend. And the return on your content will be directly proportional to how much value you provide to your audience.
What is the biggest benefit of content marketing over paid ads?
I love both. So I wouldn’t suggest entirely one or the other. But I’ve built a 6 figure run rate business on the back of content solely because I couldn’t afford ads. With that said, the largest benefit is owning an audience and being able to help that audience without the need for a credit card and budget. That is huge for small businesses. Lots are hustling to make payroll and 1-2 extra deals as a result from content will make a big difference.
How do you determine what kind of content will be relevant, engaging and valuable for your potential customers?
So I made an entire training on this. You can find it on my website (www.kameronkales.com) for free. The high level is figure out what is working in your industry and then figure out what a beginner would want to know. If you can soak up all the beginners you will be growing an audience daily for years to come.
What is good content? Follow up, what is bad content?
Good content transitions curious to trusting. I see very few people doing this well and it shows up in all aspects of their biz. Good content helps someone who is curious about things like:
What free tools can I use to grow my business. How to use content to generate extra sales. How to insert whatever industry you’re in here.
Anyone who clicks on, reads or watches that content is telling you with their mouse they’re curious. And then your sole mission after that is to establish trust, by actually helping them. If you can do that you can set your sales function up for success.
Bad content is out of order. Your content should solely be the lever between curious and trust. Sales should solely be trust and enrollment/purchasing whatever you do. Bad content mixes these two up and starts to sell before trust is established.
How long does it take to build an audience, and start seeing a return on the time you’ve invested in creating content?
This is a common limiting belief and it prevents a lot of business owners or potential business owners from taking action. Building an audience is a lifelong task.
The time it takes you to build an audience is directly proportional to how much value you add. If you find your audience isn’t engaging or caring about your stuff, it’s a signal you are not providing much value. You should see a return on the first day you make content. The first like, the first comment, the first share. That is the ROI. If you do this daily, which is what I suggest, that snowball will cascade and grow. Too many people make content with the sole reason to sell and your audience can smell the bullshit from miles away. If you make content solely to help, the audience will pay you back down the road.
Will content marketing work for any type of business? And what if someone isn’t a great writer, or an “expert” on everything in their industry?
I can’t say for certain it would work for every type of business. In theory in would. But I haven’t tried it for every avenue. But, the reality is people consume content 24/7. So if you make content that is valuable and helpful you have a chance at grabbing some of that audience for your content. You don’t need to be an expert or a great writer. You just share what you’re doing and be helpful. And someone who is curious will see it and decide whether or not he/she trusts you. If they do they usually opt in or buy something.
If you could offer one simple piece of advice for someone dipping their toes into content marketing what would it be?
Content needs to be like you’d approach an R&D budget. Tesla for example has been spending $1 billion dollars a quarter on R&D. You should expect to produce content and not directly track or get a return from it. The minute you start thinking a blog post will turn into $5,000 is how you lose your audience. Solely focus on adding value. Expect to not see a monetary return and anything you do get will be great. When you do this, you won’t have a pretty KPI to track and say hell yeah we’re killing it. But you’ll look back over the course of a year and your organic search results, your views, your friends list or email list will have grown. Not only in size but also in quality. And that compounds because content is shared organically. So you can wake up one day, have a blog post or podcast gone viral and have 5,000 new email subscribers.
You are stranded on a deserted marketing island, you can only use one tool to help you achieve your marketing goals – what is that tool?
Iphone. The reality of today is you don’t need a podcasting studio, a fancy camera or any of that crap. If you have a modern smartphone you can build an audience and convert them down the road. I actually think getting all of that stuff sets you up for failure because you think of the $4,000 you spent on everything and are attached to the return on investment. Content is a long game and brand exercise. You don’t buy Nikes because you got retargeted. You buy them because they’re cool and you trust them to make a good shoe. That’s who you want to be. And you’re going to get there through consistent content over time.
If you own a business, it is inevitable that you’ll have a negative interaction with a customer. No matter how hard you try, someone won’t be satisfied with your service, products or performance. Even though a negative review can hit you like a punch to the gut (especially considering that 91% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations), it’s important to slow down, take a breath, and look at this as an opportunity to put your customer service on display in a public forum.
Look at a negative review as an opportunity to show potential customers how amazing your customer service is.
Follow these steps, in order, to minimize the impact a negative review can have – and you’ll show potential customers why they should do business with you
1. Take A Deep Breath.
Responding to a negative review while angry can make you look foolish, and can scare away potential customers. No one wants to business with crazy. Amy’s Baking Company’s owners made this mistake by replying to negative reviews with insults, obscenities and threats. Thousands of people left fake reviews of the business in hopes they would be insulted by the owners too.
As much as you might want to respond negatively, don’t. It will hurt you and your business much more than it will hurt an anonymous person on the internet. Once you’ve calmed down, proceed to step 2.
2. Acknowledge The Complaint
As diplomatically as possible acknowledge the complaint the customer has. Take ownership of the mistake, and explain why it happened and how you’ll avoid it in the future. No one gets it right every time, and most customers are actually pretty understanding of unique circumstances that might have caused their problem. Definitely don’t be like Comcast. In the clip below one of their customer service representatives refused to cancel someone’s service and argued with the customer!
A simple way to start a reply to a negative review is with this statement: Thank you for the feedback. We always aim for 100% satisfaction, and we are sorry if we fell short.
That statement takes ownership of the problem, acknowledges it, and immediately builds rapport. It isn’t angry or argumentative. It’s supportive, and understanding. It opens up dialogue.
3. Make It Right (If Possible)
Respond to online reviews the same way you would with an in-person complaint. If someone is unhappy with something they ordered from your restaurant, at the least you’d remove it from their bill. You can use this same approach with online reviews. If someone leaves a 1 star review, complaining about their dinner – offer them a free meal or gift certificate. Ask them to give you a second chance, and then don’t disappoint. If a product is broken during shipping, send out a replacement.
4. Follow Up (Offline)
After you’ve publicly addressed the complaint reach out to the person directly. Be sympathetic towards their situation, but be earnest in your desire to make the situation right.
Your business’ service shines when dealing with an unhappy customer.
tldr; 1. Calm Down. 2 Acknowledge The Complaint. 3. Make It Right. 4. Follow Up
The best way to fight the occasional bad review is with consistent positive reviews. We’ve got a tool that can help your happy customers leave feedback, and help you resolve any complaints customers might have before they leave the dreaded 1 star reviews. For more information check out, Skragglies Reputation Management
If you haven’t noticed that mobile traffic is conquering the internet you may want to take a quick look at your analytics. According to Search Engine Land, nearly 60 percent of search is from mobile devices. Mobile is something that can’t be ignored.
What may have worked great for your users on a desktop could be failing your business on mobile. If you haven’t been looking at mobile marketing, lets dig in a bit and show you a few tactics that are, in my opinion, great ways to improve your conversions for mobile users.
Create a Sticky Header
With the new mobile first index a number of marketers have decided to avoid pop-ups (at least on mobile) to ensure that rankings don’t suffer. After January 10, 2017, in an effort to improve mobile search, Google decided that pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on mobile devices would not rank as highly.
Some of the examples provided by Google included a popup that covers the main content, either immediately, or while they are browsing later. You can read more about this update here.
With pop-ups being out of the question for some, sticky headers can be a useful tool for those trying to:
* Capture emails
* Get phone calls
* Create urgency
* Promote a sale or contest
* Direct people to a specific landing page.
A sticky header remains at the top or bottom of your site as a user scrolls, so it is never out of sight.
One of the reasons why some users might be ignoring your pop-ups is because they are annoying. Nobody likes them, but let’s face it, if it didn’t work digital marketers probably wouldn’t be using them. Instead of using the traditional pop-up that is triggered by a new visit, time on site, or activity, why not let the user initiate.
Try this. Create an image with a compelling offer. When a user views the image they will ideally click on the button within the image, and a pop-up will be triggered. The pop-up can ask for their information and the visitor will be more inclined to fill it out since they were the one who initiated the action.
Create Signup Forms within Blog Content
As a generation that grew up on desktop computers, you might be used to seeing opt-in forms that a nicely placed within a sidebar of each blog post. This is great for desktop users but as soon as you convert this over to mobile where does that signup form go? Depending on your template, your signup form might be excluded from mobile, or added to the very bottom, or worse it ends up at the top of the post before the content.
As you look through your content on mobile check to see where your opt-in forms are being placed. One of the best places you might consider placing opt-in forms is within your content. Maybe after the first or second paragraph, or at the end of the article before the comment section.
Reengage Your Audience to Close the Deal
If you run an ecommerce store you may have noticed that a good portion of your traffic doesn’t convert. MobileShopTalk wrote an article back in 2016 that claims nearly 80% of mobile audiences don’t complete their purchases online.
So how can you improve your conversions and get more of your traffic to convert? Well, the first step is to ensure that they don’t leave your site. Secondly, give them a reason to convert now. This is especially true considering that EmberTribe claims 95% of first time visitors to your site won’t return.
To help with your mobile conversions, consider adding a pop-up offer that appears when all activity has stopped. A lack of activity might be a signal that a user is about to leave. Try offering them a discount that expiring soon, give them something free with purchase, or offer them a chance to leave their email for special offers in the future. Don’t let them leave you empty handed.
Reviews determine how people perceive a business, whether or not they would buy from it – even it’s visibility in search engines!
Maybe you have a great business, great products and lots of happy customers, but… Other than hoping and praying what can you do to make sure your customers share their positive experiences about your business online? Is reputation management out of your control?
Now, it doesn’t have to be. Skragglies’ review management platform gives you a simple review funnel process. It’s easy, and effective.
Happy customers don’t often write reviews. They never thought to do so, or they simply forgot, or it’s just too difficult. These are all problems our system can solve!
We automate the tasks of asking, reminding and guiding your customers through completing reviews on the review sites that matter to you.
What about unhappy customers?
Of course things happen, and there are those customers that you’ll simply never please. Our review funnel process gives your business a second chance to fix any problems and to recover angry customers before they vent online!
The net result is more and better reviews for your business from your real customers. Finally, giving your business the online reputation it deserves.
Reputation management doesn’t have to be like the wild west, crawling with characters making vague claims about what they do and how they do it. Then charging an arm and a leg for their services. Our system isn’t pie in the sky. It monitors your reviews across scores of sites and alerts you whenever reviews are posted. (Even on review sites specific to your industry!)
We capture all of the data and show you exactly how your business is doing with intuitive up to the minute charts and graphs. It even supports large multi-location operations. The system works for organizations of any size – and to get more mileage out of each and every positive review your business earns – we can automatically stream your latest and greatest reviews to your website in a way that will give you big SEO benefit!
And, it’s all done for you!
So maybe you can’t control what customers say about you online. But you can do more than just cross your fingers and hope for the best.
We made a lot of mistakes building our company, far too many to count, but one thing we did right was put social responsibility into the DNA of who we are from the start. It was those early discussions before we even filed as an LLC that allow us to take part in things like the “Coding Boot Camp” we helped put on with CNCT Rockford, and Rockford’s 2nd Police District.
It was the same spirit that allowed us to launch our Skragglies Web Designer Scholarship, and to offer free logo’s, websites, brochures, and a ton of other great things to non-profits at no cost.
The “Coding Boot Camp” is a 6 week course, that gets these kids to a point where they know just enough to get started on their journey’s as the next generation of programmers, coders, designers, and developers. The goal is for these kids to have a real working website they built themselves, which our company will host for free.
As business owners, we always measure how much return we get on the investments we make. If we spend money or time on something, we like to know it pays off. Things like this Coding Boot Camp might not bring money in to our business, but the difference we make in other people’s lives is the single best paycheck we could ever get.
All in all, I love working at Skragglies. I love that we put people before profits. I love that we measure success not just in dollars, but in the real difference we make in our community. It’s all in a days work, here at Skragglies.
Watch the video below for more information about this program, and definitely check out CNCT Rockford, and the many other great projects they have going on!
We wrote this a few months back. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive guide on SEO, really more of a primer on the many facets of on page SEO & how dramatic a few changes can be in getting your website in front of the people you want to see it most.
The SEO Checklist and Reference Guide for Local Businesses
This SIMPLE Checklist and Guide will help you:
Get More Traffic
Start Generating Leads with your Website
And… Get New Customers!
You can download the checklist and reference guide here
Skragglies.com is a Rockford website design firm specializing in the design and development of custom WordPress websites. A Skragglies site is built with these objectives in mind:
It has to be beautiful – On Any Device.
It has to generate new customers for our client.
It has to be easily found in Search Engine Results.
It has to have Soul.
Looking to Generate More Revenue & Qualified Leads?
You’re in the right place. Rockford has many great web design companies, and we’d never speak negatively of our competitors – we’re actually friends with most of them, but when it comes to your marketing dollars you need to invest in an agency with a solid history of creating only the most effective websites and digital marketing campaigns.
We want to revolutionize your marketing.
Your customers are searching for you – and they’re using smart phones to do it.
Every website we build looks great on mobile devices. In fact, we actually got featured on themeisle.com, for one of the designs we built because of how well it performs on any size device. If your customers are using phones, shouldn’t your website look great on them?
Right here in Rockford, people are searching for your company.
We’ll build a website that will help them find you. We can also market your company through social media, and pay-per-click advertising campaigns. We’ve worked with companies and brands across the globe, and earned a really solid reputation (5 Star Rating on Facebook,5 Star Rating on Google+) for helping our customers revolutionize their marketing, and learn how to use the internet to help their businesses make money.
“They built a really amazing website for our non profit. They didn’t charge us a dime and even gave us some insight on how to best utilize social media to help our program grow. We’ve helped many more veterans [in Rockford] than we could have before Skragglies helped us get online.” – Courtney R. from Circle of Change Veteran’s Dog Program
“They got our store completely online in no time, at a really great price. So glad we went with Skragglies!” – Jeannette R. of Rockford’s JR Performance Parts Store
Get in touch with us today, for a free quote, free advice, and to revolutionize your marketing!