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SEO Lessons from 2014
When you work at the hardest-working internet marketing company in the mid-Atlantic, you learn a LOT. Trends and strategies can turn around in the span of a day, a week, a month. And in a company like ours, pretty much every employee is an expert on something. So if you pay attention, you glean little bits of knowledge and big bursts of inspiration that spur you to be smarter and do better.
I feel pretty lucky to be in such clever company. Here are some of the critical lessons I’ve learned about business and marketing in 2014.
Remodelers Can Rule Social Media
Remodelers, in addition to achieving celebrity status via HGTV, have a unique advantage when it comes to marketing via social media. With photos, testimonials, and educational posts, remodeling companies have the power to be incredibly adept at social media strategy. Sadly, many remodelers aren’t maximizing this opportunity.
On Facebook, remodelers can make a distinctive impression by:
- Sharing knowledge and ideas—i.e. establishing themselves as authorities
- Demonstrating what makes them stand out from their competitors
- Showing gorgeous photos and telling what’s in them and how they can work on other homes
- Building and promoting their brand
- Investing in promoted posts
Check out my comrade Jake’s blog post spotlighting a few remodelers who are doing Facebook right—and reaping the benefits. He has another one that outlines why social media is worthwhile for remodelers.
Houzz and Pinterest are also incredibly versatile social media outlets for remodelers, especially those who do high-end work. But there’s more to being successful with these accounts than just posting some custom kitchen and landscaping photos. These platforms, which rely so heavily on visual impact, take a lot of work to bring in returns for your company. To see real benefits from Houzz and Pinterest, remodelers need to:
- Engage their visitors – People post a lot of questions on remodeler photos on these sites; make sure you take the time to answer them!
- Post often to keep your content fresh and attract more visitors – This includes changing your profile picture, choosing the best photos for cover shots, and adding new projects as often as you can.
- Provide clear, accurate information about your company and give users a way to get in touch with you.
- On Houzz, encourage your clients to post reviews of your work.
And both these sites provide data for their business users. Pinterest provides analytics and Houzz provides its Houzz Pro+ users with a dashboard full of performance stats. If you’re a remodeler, you gotta get in on this!
Get more information from Blue Corona’s Houzz expert Alanna about the differences between Houzz and Pinterest.
Mobile Is Taking Over
Not only do mobile sites convert better on phones, but Google and Bing now rank mobile-friendly sites higher than traditional sites on mobile devices. That means that if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, and your competitor’s is, the competitor’s site will rank higher when people are searching on their phones or tablets. And people are using their phones for search more than their laptops now—particularly when they are looking for local businesses, services, and products.
There are two ways to get in on the mobile advantage:
- Create a custom mobile site, separate from your main website, that appears when users are searching on their mobile devices.
- Have your existing website redone to be responsive—that means you have just one site, but when it is viewed on a mobile device, it adapts to be easier for the user to look at and navigate.
Ready to make mobile a priority? Take a look at these tips for getting your site mobile-ready for 2015. And learn why Bing now ranks mobile-friendly sites higher on your phone.
Call Intelligence Is Magic
“Tell us where you heard about us.” Remember that old chestnut? It sounds kind of quaint now, although it still shows up on consumer surveys. You don’t have to ask that question anymore. You can know instantly how a prospect heard about you—we have the technology! It’s called Call Intelligence Reporting (CIR).
With CIR, you start with tracked phone lines. You set up different ones for different marketing channels: direct mail, organic search, phone book; whatever you’re doing, it can be tracked with its own phone number. With specialized analytics in place, you can see how effective your marketing strategies are.
Blue Corona’s Call Intelligence has caused some of our clients to completely revamp their marketing budgets in order to invest more strategically in marketing channels with higher conversion rates. And there’s something else—our call intelligence can show you how well your customer service representatives are handling incoming leads.
See exactly what our call intelligence reporting can do for you. And check out Lexie’s post on how call tracking can point out which of your phone calls are leads.
There Is Life After a Google Penalty
Penguins and pandas are adorable! Unless they are punishing you with wiped-out rankings. Whenever Google launches an algorithm update—usually named after a portly little cuddler—there are websites that lose their hard-earned rankings overnight. That sounds like the end of the world, doesn’t it? Luckily, with the right Google penalty recovery specialists, it’s not.
Why do some sites get penalized after an algorithm update? It’s usually for one of two general reasons.
- Your site is engaged in unethical SEO tactics that are expressly against Google’s guidelines. Sometimes business owners don’t even know their sites are doing these things (like spam link building, hidden text or links, and others) because they’ve hired someone shady to do their SEO for them. Always a bad idea. These violations result in manual penalties.
- Your site has poor-quality content. Google calls content that doesn’t offer much information or authority “thin.” It means your site isn’t offering value to the user. Your site will get what’s called an algorithmic penalty for this.
At Blue Corona, we work quickly to diagnose penalties and start recovery work on them. Every site’s situation is different; some get back up to speed fast while others take longer, but either way, we can usually help. What do we do?
- Get rid of link schemes
- Create more valuable content
- Evaluate your site’s code and structure
- Come up with ways to regain authority and rankings
Like I said, every site’s penalty is different; the same recovery strategies won’t apply to everyone. But typically, if you’re willing to do the work, you can usually recover from a Google penalty.
Learn It, Live it, Love It
At Blue Corona, we love applying what we’ve learned to helping small businesses maximize their online real estate and attract more traffic and leads. Find out what we can do for you! Enter your website below for a free SEO analysis.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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