Earn Positive Reviews, Don't Pay for Them

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Earn Positive Reviews, Don't Pay for Them

Negative online reviews can ripple across an entire organization, slowing sales and impacting morale. Reviews are often the first place people look when they’re considering a product or service, and businesses are keen to receive positive words. High praise on platforms like Yelp or Google has become so valuable that some organizations have resorted to paying customers for it. While this strategy—find a happy customer, reward them for sharing their experience—might seem like an elegant solution to the problem, it only exacerbates existing issues. Here’s why.

A study published last year in Marketing Science looked at the correlation between compensation and online reviews. It found that people can feel ingenuine when paid to review a product or service, leading them to question their initial positive experience. On average, a business might end up actually receiving fewer online reviews after introducing monetary rewards.

So, paying or incentivizing people to review can actually slow things down. But it’s also a question of truth. A business owner sees a problem with reviews, and thinks money is an easy fix. But, as so often quoted on inspirational posters, money can’t buy happiness. If people are leaving a lot of negative reviews for a business, it’s probably because something is off. Reputations aren’t built in people’s wallets, they are built with smiles, kind words, and excellent service.

The best approach to gaining positive reviews is self-reflection and communication. Are your employees treating customers well? Do your processes run smoothly? Are people getting what they paid for? Are you outperforming expectations? It’s not easy to take a long, hard look at these questions, but the rewards for this reevaluation are worth it. Business owners who take the time to truly examine their system are going to earn their good reviews.

As a leading digital marketing company in Utah, TMD Management is here to help businesses grow smart in the long-term. We’re not about those get-rich-quick strategies. Get in touch if you are seeking honest, effective help with your digital marketing. 

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Secure (SSL Hosting) & Site Speed - How it Impacts Your SEO

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Secure (SSL Hosting) & Site Speed - How it Impacts Your SEO

For the past few years, a website’s Google ranking factor has been based in part on overall user experience. There are many elements to this experience, including user-friendliness, page load speed, secure hosting, and mobile responsiveness. Since these are more advanced technical processes and are often challenging to modify, they can present issues from an SEO standpoint. However, to be competitive in today’s digital marketplace, these elements should be addressed.

Secure (SSL) Hosting

To begin, it’s recommended that your website is moved to a secure SSL hosting platform. In October 2017, Google’s algorithm began favoring SSL websites, as compared to non-SSL sites. Additionally, most browsers like Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Edge have amplified their on-screen warnings to those attempting to visit a non-SSL hosted website. We would encourage you to reach out to your web host or design firm to implement secure hosting. If this is not an option, for whatever reason, here are a few other ideas:

1) Transfer Web Hosting Services: If you do not have this ability, TMD Management can take over the hosting responsibilities and employ SSL. Please note that only static sites like PHP and HTML, and/or WordPress sites can be supported in this fashion. Our SSL hosting is offered from $29/mo, which includes annual renewal of the security certificate.

2) Site Redesign: In cases with an inferior site build or challenges with moving the site, we suggest that you redesign. The combination of fresh design and secure hosting with SSL may significantly improve conversions and search engine rankings.

3) Caution: When people are unable or unwilling to alter their hosting platform, their SEO rankings will be affected, and more challenging to capture. You may still enjoy some SEO success, but not as substantial as you would have with SSL hosting.

Page Load Speed

For most websites, page load speed is only a small ranking factor. However, for very slow sites, it can be a major factor. To combat this potential penalty, solutions like minimizing code, reducing file sizes, and caching pages can be implemented.  

In some cases, access to these resources is limited, and a slow website may also be caused by a slow web host. To determine the speed of a website, Google has created a test, which can be accessed here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/. We suggest testing with this tool, and if results are poor, we encourage you to contact your webmaster to improve page load speeds. In the cases when webmasters are unwilling or unable to assist in this capacity, reach out to TMD Management Group and see if we can help. If this is a possibility, please note that it comes at an additional fee.

Our team is also able to determine whether the issues stem from the web host or the website itself. If we find problems with the hosting, we advise moving to a quicker host. However, unless you are completely certain that it would result in a significant speed improvement, don’t attempt to move your web hosting.

Other Factors

Aesthetics, mobile responsiveness, user-friendliness

Generally speaking, these issues cannot be resolved without a full website redesign. For an outdated website, a redesign can boost visibility to search engines and also potentially improve sales conversions. A more active and productive website allows you to recover costs in the majority of cases.

Reach out to us if you have questions 801-829-9181

 

 

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Direct Mail Advertising - Delivering Results

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Direct Mail Advertising - Delivering Results

Understanding your audience will help you reach the most effective person with your advertising message, buyers are unique and big data helps is find the right person and the most effective time to get the most out of your advertising budget. There are many forms of direct mail that will yield different results, including post cards, letters, data configured mailers, magazines, rewards mailers, informational brochures and more… Choose the right form to meet your business needs and budget.

 

To get the most out of your direct mail ad, your campaign or mailer should include the following:

 

Provide a strong offer to reel in new guests or reward existing customers.

  • Free - buy something, get one free, example: purchase a sandwich and two drinks and get a second sandwich FREE
  • Half price - buy something, get 1/2 price or 50% off 2nd item 1/2 price or 50% off)
  • Dollars off - convert % off to dollars (example: Instead of 20% Off, use $10.00 Off a $50.00 purchase)

Effective ad design

The ad should build value for its use and create a reason to buy TODAY! Keep the ad simple by using short and direct, easy-to understand language. Make important points easy to read and lend a definitive tone.

 

Repetition and consistency

Having a strong offer and a great ad design will help bring new customers, however a one-time approach will only provide minimum results. The success of a marketing campaign relies on repetition and consistency. The more your ad is in front of your

audience, the greater your chances of getting a response, keep in mind that a buyer is not always ready to buy when you are ready to sell.

 

Other things to consider

  • How long the business has been around
  • Time of year, seasonal businesses
  • Competition and their advertising message
  • Frequency of the message
  • Provide clear branding with minimal clutter in your design
  • Don’t forget contact points; address, phone, website, social links, etc

 

Know your audience, develop a clear and concise message and follow through with a plan, or you can call us, direct mail advertising is our specialty! TMD Management Group 801-989-0220

 

 

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7 Ways to Improve Your SEO Right Now

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7 Ways to Improve Your SEO Right Now

When Google hit the internet in 1998, it revolutionized how search engines worked and their ability to produce quality results for their users.  While there were many leaps of technology for Google, none were more important than its strategy to use inbound links as a strong factor to determine search engine ranking. Google views each link from one website to another website as a vote of confidence, and by having more inbound links, your website has more authority and more potential to rank well on Google.  This strategy was a success and is still a major part of Google’s search ranking algorithm today.

With inbound links influencing rankings on Google so strongly, SEOs and webmasters devised ways to increase the volume of inbound links to their websites. It became an obsession, spawning a new industry with evermore creative ways to generate links to help boost search rankings on Google. For Google, it became a problem, allowing low-quality websites to capture strong rankings and forcing Google to produce mediocre results to its users.

Google had no choice but to fight back, spawning a host of search ranking updates to combat SEOs and webmasters trying to artificially alter their rankings on Google. Many ranking updates were implemented by Google, with funny names like Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird. For the most-part, Google has won the battle, making it difficult for SEOs and webmasters to shortcut the system. They now must play by Google’s rules, abiding by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and capture rankings in a more organic, holistic way.

Despite Google’s ability to identify people trying the cheat the system, inbound links are still an important factor with search engine rankings and are as important as ever. The only thing that has changed is that it is much, much more difficult to gain an inbound link than it was a few years ago.

Below are a few suggestions how you can help build inbound links in a manner that will not upset Google.

1. Business Citations:

Business citations are business listings that reveal basic information about your company. These include business directories, online yellow pages, GPS systems, voice search (like Apple’s Siri), website statistics and niche resources. The downfall is that there are literally hundreds of these business citation resources and it would be a daunting task to post your business data to all of them. Recently, new technology has emerged that allows “data aggregators” to push business data to large networks of business citation websites. What once took dozens of hours of work can now be accomplished relatively quickly. Many popular data aggregators include Moz Local, Yext and Brandify. Pricing structure varies with the level of service provided, but business citations represent a low-cost solution for building inbound links to your website. Furthermore, the benefits are stronger than simply receiving an inbound link as each resource also generates its own traffic that could lead a prospect to your website. Inbound links, traffic to your listing and broadening your online footprint are all impacted through business citations.

2. Google My Business:

This is the single most important business listing that you can generate. While it isn’t technically “link building” it provides a relevant business listing for your company that has the opportunity to capture strong local search rankings. If you do one thing to help your website, even if you are a national company, do this.

3. Great Content:

By having great content on a great website, people will naturally add links from their websites to yours. This is what Google originally intended when they began using inbound links as a signal to boost search engine rankings.  Investing in your website, wisely, will always payback strong dividends. Not only will a great website draw in links, but it will also yield strong conversion rates, referral traffic, media attention and a myriad of other things that are all good for online business. Google wishes to deliver great results to its users, and Google will reward you for the effort you put into your website. This does not mean that you give up a weekend to post a few articles. You need a dedicated website enrichment plan that delivers both quality and quantity.  Keep in mind that quality is first and foremost important. One great article can make a bigger impact that 50 low-quality posts.

4. Link Bait:

Many people believe that link bait is a bad SEO practice, meaning that it is something that Google does not like. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Google’s own Matt Cutts (former head of SEO Spam) was a link-bait advocate and recommend it as a means to generate inbound links.  Link bait works by building a website that can gain some attention and compel people to link to it. Then you link the link-bait website to your business website. Your link bait site generates online authority, which is then passed on to your business website.  Link bait can be anything that interests anyone. It could be list of the top-50 greatest wines, a how-to article for starting a new business, or tips for training an old dog new tricks. As long as the content is relevant to your business and will compel people to link to it, thenlink bait will work.

5. Guest Writing/Blogging:

Many people want great content on their websites but they don’t want to write or they need an authority figure to craft it. In exchange for great content, webmasters will provide a link back to your website providing a perfect win-win situation. However, you have to be careful that the website you are writing for is not overzealous with guest writers. If the website is designed as a resource to help people generate inbound links, Google will not like it and will discredit those links and could potentially punish your website for it.

6. Social Media:

Links are links and it doesn’t matter where they come from. Get active on social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter and start providing nuggets of wisdom for people interested in what you do. Be sure that you occasionally provide links from these social media platforms that point back to your website. In addition to your social media audience, Google will see these links and provide credit to your website. 

7. Press Releases:

Online PR was once a great way to build links, however this practice carries little inbound link value as it was abused in the past as a means to generate inbound links. While press releases still have great value for mass-public exposure, links through most PR channels will not be counted by Google.

Just remember that nothing happens if you do nothing. Keep working on your website at a pace that you can sustain for the long run. SEO is a marathon and not a sprint, and those who keep chipping away will be rewarded the most by Google.

For more information about SEO, SEM, Social Media or other advertising services for your business contact us at 801-989-0220 or visit us online at: www.tmdmanagementgroup.com

Author Bio: Chris W. Sharp is the founder and President of SharpNET Solutions, an industry-leading SEO marketing company since 1998.

 

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