Google Maps: Your Guide To Improving Your Maps Ranking

Map And Magnifier

Your website’s ranking is crucial to the success of your business – the difference between a good ranking and a bad one could be what separates you from record profits or record losses. There are some really simple steps to improving your Google Maps ranking and I’ve explained them in this guide.

Recommended reading: Why Your Best Customers Are Walking Away

Make sure your Google My Business page is correct

Your Maps ranking begins with the details you add to your Google My Business (GMB) page. If it doesn’t have all of the relevant information for your business, Google won’t be able to link your business to all the searches relevant to you. Making sure your GMB page is correct is the first step in improving your ranking.

The information you must add is:

  • Location of your business
  • Business hours for your company
  • Details of your website – including a link to it
  • Contact information

Once all this is done, you need to verify your listing. This is simple to do but crucial to complete. This is because Google won’t include your business in its results until it’s confirmed it to be a real organisation. Another important thing to get right in your GMB page are the subcategories you use for your business. These are particularly useful if your business is based in multiple locations. For more on Google My Business, check out the video below:

Review your NAP for consistency

NAP is the Name, Address, and Phone (number) for your business. Getting it right on your GMB is essential but this doesn’t go far enough. Your NAP can be found in many online directories on the internet and it needs to be consistent. If it’s not Google has less trust in your business and lowers your ranking.

The various places your business could be listed include:

  • Better Business Bureau
  • Bing
  • Google+
  • Merchant Circle
  • Mantra.com
  • Yahoo
  • Yellowbook
  • Yelp
  • YP.com

There are a range of tools available to help you find where your business is listed. After you’ve found every listing, you must ensure all of the information is the same – including spelling and grammar. Doing this will increase Google’s trust in your business and improve your ranking. Watch the Q&A session underneath to learn more about NAP:

Optimise your website to match your GMB page

Once you’ve added your website to your GMB page Google associates the two. This means Google will use your website to help determine your Maps ranking. A quickfire way to improve your Maps ranking is to optimize your website, so that it’s consistent with your GMB page.

In order to optimize your website, you must include your company name, business type, location, and the primary keywords used in your GMB page. This must be added wherever it is relevant to do so on your website, with your focus points being:

  • Title Tags
  • URLs
  • Sub headings
  • Images

This is a great way to improve the ranking for well-established and newly-made websites alike, because it’s such a quick win. For example, optimizing images is one of the best ways to increase traffic, while your title tag is the most important on page ranking factor. For more information about website optimization, watch the detailed video underneath:

Boost your Google Maps reviews

Reviews are extremely important today. Your customers value the opinions of their peers as much as those from their friends and family. Because of this Google puts a lot of stock in customer reviews and uses it as part of your Maps ranking. What does this mean to you? Boost your Google map reviews and your Maps ranking will improve. Simple.

Google’s policy is that you can’t ask your customers to leave reviews. However, there are ways around this:

  • You can offer your them a discount on their next purchase for leaving a review
  • Reply to as many of your existing reviews as you can
  • Include the link to your Google Maps review section in your email marketing

Your reviews need to look natural for them to improve your ranking. This means if you get a bulk batch at the same time Google may get suspicious, particularly if you have a new website. To learn more about the importance of reviews, check out the great video below:

Spending time improving your Google Maps ranking can pay dividends for your business. It’s an important ranking factor in local SEO and could be the difference between your business losing a customer or winning one. Now you know how to improve your Google Maps ranking, all that’s left is for you to put my advice into practice. So go away and put your business on the (Google) Map(s)!

How to get more sales from your phuket website

Do You REALLY own your website?

A large part of my time is spent working on website re-designs. Many businesses are just early adopters noticing that times have changed but their site has not. Others just need a real business focused website with clear Call To Actions and a Fast Loading, Mobile Friendly website.

Then there are the unfortunate ones that find themselves with an out of date content and an outdated looking website they just can’t access. If that’s not bad enough, they are about to discover they don’t even own their own the domain name. The company who sold them the original website set everything up for them and didn’t transfer ownership.  Now the developer is no longer in business or has left the area, country (or worse) and doesn’t respond to emails. Sometimes they claim you were only renting the domain from them.

❝ Sometimes they claim you were only renting the domain from them. ❞

You’d think ICANN would be able to help with ownership disputes, they can and do to a certain extent but it’s not easy or cheap! So it’s best not to put yourself in that situation in the first place.

Domain Name & Hosting

If there’s one issue I see time and time again with redesign projects, it’s that clients don’t control or even have access to their domain registrar or hosting accounts. Which essentially means they don’t actually own their company website.

Rule #1 = Make sure you OWN your domain name.
Rule #2 = Make sure you OWN your hosting account.

❝ As the two most essential elements that control your website/business online, make sure you OWN your domain name & hosting account! ❞

Ownership: Does it really matter?

I won’t tell you how many times I have heard the same story. They signed a contract with a bad vendor and ended up with a site that they couldn’t update and/or didn’t get the site they expected.

The day comes when you want to move your site to a new hosting company or change DNS settings on your domain.

Faced with losing business the original provider refuses to raise a finger during the migration process or worse actively sabotaged the process. Unfortunately, this is not simply a one-time case, but a business practice where unscrupulous web providers build and host web sites but the knowing clients don’t actually own the sites.

I’ve also had lots of good experiences too. But until you start the process, you never know which way it’s going to go.

Responsibility:

It’s not just the vendors, often clients seek a hands-off solution for their website – especially when it comes to domains and hosting. It does take more time to have clients register their own accounts or to create them and transfer ownership. Sometimes even though it’s in the clients best interest there’s often resistance.

So I completely understand the temptation to do it the easy way. I just prefer to help people make the right choices because it’s in their companies best interest. Even if they don’t know it yet.

Just as it’s never a good idea to build property on land you don’t own (or have the rights to). Don’t build a website on a domain you don’t own. 

Protect Yourself: ask the right questions.

The final decision to invest in a new website or redesign is often made in a rush. There’s almost always some deadline looming, or the business needs to prepare for a seasonal sales/marketing schedule. That’s just the way of the world. But there’s no reason to skip over important details.

Protecting yourself is as easy as asking the right questions.

  1. Will the Domain name be registered to me? 
  2. Will we have full & direct access to the DNS registration (ie. username + password)?
  3. Will we have complete access to the website backend if requested? (This would include FTP, Control Panel and/or Shell access)
  4. Is the CMS or e-commerce system proprietary or is it a system that is commonly used by other service providers?

If the answer to any of those questions is anything other than YES, you could be in for an expensive shock down the line.

While you’re at it ask if the site will be secured by an SSL Certificate and use the new http2 protocols.

5. Does the hosting include SSL certificate?

Finally, ask if there will be other websites on the same server? If yes, ask how many?

6. How many websites will share the same IP address? 

If you’ve ever run too many apps on your phone at the same time and noticed it slow down slightly,  it’s common for budget shared servers to have thousands of websites running on the same server. There’s a reason these are cheap. Check how many websites are on your shared server.

Website Hosting: Fast, Reliable & Affordable

Controlling your own hosting account isn’t as vital as owning your own domain name, but it’s a really good idea. Having a fast host that’s reliable just makes sense.

As with most things, you get what you pay for. Hosting is no different but selecting the right hosting package can be overwhelming. Plus most hosting companies don’t make it easy to compare apples to apples and often the stats displayed are of little relevance.

Shared Hosting

Most small businesses only need some form of shared server. Shared hosting is where your website shares hosting space with other websites. Just as any phone or computer will start to slow down the more apps and programs you run at the same time, shared hosting shares the server resources across multiple websites.

Not all shared hosting is equal. Modern servers are impressive bits of kit, having a hundred small domains on a server isn’t that much of a problem 99% of the time. But really cheap shared hosting can often have thousands of websites on a single shared server. For hobby sites, it’s not a problem. Your site goes down a few times a week or month and it’s no problem at all.

For a business website. It’s important to be fast and reliable. Your website reflects 100% on your business – not on the hosting company. If your site is out of date, slow and frequently doesn’t work, the message you’re sending isn’t one of professionalism and reliability.

❝ First impressions take less than 50 milliseconds, that’s faster than the blink of an eye❞

I like to keep it simple. From shared to dedicated servers, there’s only one hosting company I’m confident will maintain the quality of service I work hard to provide my clients.

Siteground Website Hosting

Because of our Website Maintenance service, I still get to work with a wide selection of hosting companies, including most of the largest names in the industry.  It’s also worth mentioning that I practice what I preach. Having moved all my hosting to Siteground a few years ago, I’ve never looked back or regretted it since.

Siteground is still a recommendation I’m very comfortable to make.

Your Domain: How to check it yourself

If you registered your own domain, you shouldn’t have a problem but if it was set up by a third party then check your domain with whois.icann.org and you should see your own details under the Registrant Contact and especially the Administrative Contact sections should display an email address that ONLY you have access to.

If the details are marked as private. In which case can just contact the company who set it up and ask them.

Most times when a business/vendor has registered a domain for you, it’s because you asked them to. So now that you know better, it’s something they should be more than happy to resolve for you. Yes, it’s a little hassle, but it’s worth doing!

Without direct access to the Administrative Contact email account listed, you do not control your domain name.

Administrative Contact Email Address

Remember, if it isn’t your email address displayed as the ADMIN, then you will need the cooperation of the person with access to the email, to help transfer ownership to you.

While it is a very straight forward process, taking a few minutes to implement.  Getting a third party to co-operate in a timely manner (in my experience) takes 2-3 weeks and a dozen or more emails, messages, and phone calls. It’s precisely those bad experiences, reclaiming clients websites that prompted me to write this article.

NOTE: Moving a domain to a new registrar will involve your website going down for short time. So the best option would be to make a new account with the registrar and get your third party to process a change of ownership.

Useful Links

If you’re thinking about updating your website or have run into similar problems, we’d love to hear what happened. Feel free to add your comments and or questions below and I will respond ASAP.

Website Redesign

Did We Miss The Point Of Mobilegeddon?

Mobile Friendly Website Google Update

I previously wrote about the Mobile Friendly changes being made in an article dramatically titled Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? Countdown to Mobilegeddon!  And yes, in the weeks leading up to the change, there was literally a countdown to the mobile apocalypse.

Given that 21st April came and went without turning the world upside down and inside out, I thought it warranted another look to see if we missed something.

There’s been a lot of speculation about why this mobile friendly update didn’t live up to the hype (or threats). So what happened? Did everyone miss the point or what?

❝ This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results ❞

Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog

Expectations

To be fair, many companies had their fingers burned by Panda and Penguin updates. So when google announced changes for mobile friendly websites and described it by saying “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results”. It was a warning not to be taken lightly.

Previously the Panda and Penguin updates had been implemented to clean-up search results by getting rid of duplicate content, bad back-linking and a lot of other “black hat” or closing loopholes in various SEO techniques. And they did a great job. As a result, we all enjoy better quality search results to help find answers to our daily questions.

But this is where the ‘mobile friendly update was very different. Instead of focusing on the validity of your content, the mobile friendly update was looking at the usability of your website.

The Results – (so far)

We haven’t really seeing any devastating changes to first-page results, but some SE specialists claim they have tracked significant changes among further down the results lists (a few pages in).

Web sites with separate mobile and desktop websites have also noticed a shift in which of their sites are displayed in mobile search results compared to desktop searches (which makes sense).

Needless to say, it’s not what everyone was expecting. But there’s probably a good reason for this.

If you own or manage a site that provides the best answers or information on a subject that people are searching for, then obviously Google will want to connect those users with the information on your website, regardless of how it’s presented.

To do anything else would have devalued their own service. If you have a mobile-friendly option of your website then you should see a significant difference in which sites are displayed to users.

What happened to mobilegeddon?

It’s been theorized that in the lead up to activation, Google decided that the effects would have been too dramatic and decided to tone things down a little. While this sounds like a nice (warm and fuzzy) idea, it’s unlikely as they have been tracking mobile friendly websites for some time and would be well aware of the impact before even making the announcement. Although they may have expected more reaction from website owners.

I find it more telling that no one from Google jumped in to apply a little perspective to the situation. But then again why would they?  They have already stated that mobile usability will be a factor when calculating results. So I expect we’ll see more emphases in this area further down the line.

It also has to be understood that there will always be an advertising revenue factor to these decisions.  Google have been promoting the use of multiscreen websites through their AdSense feature for some considerable time.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that with the increase of mobile usage, the effectiveness of unoptimized ads within non-mobile-friendly websites needed to be addressed.  Google Adwords would also benefit from increasing numbers of mobile friendly websites. Think about it. If your website fails to convert mobile visitors, would you opt out of any mobile specific ad display options? Yes, you probably would.

❝ As small business owner, does it really matter why they made the changes? Probably not. What matters most is how these changes relate to your business, now and in the future. ❞

Lets Focus On What We Do Know

Instead of trying to speculate what’s going on behind closed doors, let’s take a step back and look at what we do know.

  • Your customers should always be your #1 priority.

    It doesn’t matter if you use your website to find and attract more customers or to provide valuable information to support your customers. All that matters is that you put them first. Ask your customers and they will tell you the same thing!

  • More people are using mobile devices to search online than ever before.

    We still use desktops at work and to a lesser extent at home, but think how about your own internet habits have changed over the last few years. Your customers are searching the web while shopping and even while they watch Tv. When someone visits your website from a social network, it’s more likely to be on a phone or tablet. So being mobile friendly is huge.

  • Google cares about its visitor experience, even if you don’t.

    We use Google because it does an awesome job of locating the information we’re looking for, any time from anywhere. It’s not perfect and if there was a search engine that did it better, we’d all start using them tomorrow. It sounds heartless but its true and Google know it. That’s why they invest so much time, money and effort into providing the best results possible. Because they live and die by visitor experience they are always looking to improve.

The first two points should be all you need to convince you on the importance of a mobile friendly website. But if you’re still on the fence, think about this for a minute. Is it too hard to imagine that Google would eventually attribute even greater value to websites that compliment their own usability standards. And when old (mobile unfriendly) website starts to affect Googles ability to sell advertising, there will be no surprised faces when those sites quickly disappear into obscurity.

So After All That. Do You Really Need a Mobile Friendly Website?

Whether you update your website for your customers benefit or because Google say you should. If your website plays an active part in your business, your site needs to be mobile friendly. It’s as simple as that.

yes to mobile friendly web design

Clearly Yes! So if you have not already made the move to a mobile friendly solution and you have a business related website. You should definitely make the change sooner rather than later.

On the other hand, if you have a hobby site that is not monetised in any way then there’s no immediate rush. You’re site clearly isn’t going to disappear overnight. But then again why wouldn’t you want to make you pages look great when viewed on a mobile device? Who knows, you may even decide to make your hobby into your business on day.

Need Help?

If you’re thinking about making your website mobile friendly there are many more benefits than just keeping up with Google and improving your visitors experience that you get from updating your website.

We develop business websites that put you in control. With minimal training you can add, edit all aspects of your website, from creating new pages to updating contact information and forms.  You don’t need to know how to code or have any technical knowledge at all.  We do all the hard work organising the structure and design to make sure it looks amazing  to ensure you make the right first impression for your visitors.

If you’d like to know more you can request a free website review or call us at +66 872 827 483 and see what we can do for you.

What is your take on Mobilegeddon?

Do you think the mobile friendly update was to improve visitor usability or to protect and improve advertising revenue on mobile devices? And does the reason change the outcome in any way?

How to get more sales from your website

Digital First Impressions. Does Your Website Need a Redesign?

website design redesign

We’ve all heard the phrase “you only get one chance to make a good first impression” and it’s as true today as it ever was. Except now your customers are making decisions about you and your business before they even get to meet or hear your sales pitch.

We are all hard-wired to make an initial first impression, from the basics of friend or foe, to spotting a potential mate. But for all the complexity of the human brain, our conscious minds can only process around 40 bits of information a second. Now that might sound like a lot, but the subconscious mind can handle 11 million bits per second and for that reason it’s the subconscious that does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to assessing and judging those all-important first impressions.

“Our conscious minds can process around 40 bits of information a second / the subconscious mind can handle 11 million bits per second”

I bet you’re thinking that surely your conscious mind will still have the final say in the matter, after all it is your mind. You’d be surprised!

Visual Cues v Written Information

It’s easier just to show you than explain it (see what I did there) but even telling your conscious mind in advance that the photo below depicts the SAME PERSON and that he is just dressed in two  different outfits won’t be enough. Your subconscious mind will still judge them differently based on visual appearance.  I’m not saying its fair, just that it happens. To everyone!

First Impressions

Visitors judge the quality of your business / service based on the information you provide on your website and how you present that information. These first impressions are made in less than 50 milliseconds, that’s faster than the blink of an eye.

Even though your conscious mind has already been told that these are just photographs of the same person, your subconscious mind will still insist that the one dressed as a medical professional is the more trustworthy of the two. Who would you want to remove your appendix if you had to pick between the two?

The shocking reality is that the same judgement is being made of your business every time a visitor lands on your website. Within 50 milliseconds, they have already started to formulate a basic visual impression of your company. If your website looks too different from what they expect to see (ie ugly or outdated or even too radical), visitors are unlikely to even start reading what you have to say and simply leave.

Your Websites First Impression

You’ll never know exactly how many customers shy away from your business because of your badly designed website. They won’t tell you, they will just go to your competition.

(I’m guessing that if you haven’t kept your website up to date, then its highly unlikely to be connected to Google Analytics)

  • First impressions are 94% design-related. Good quality content does matter, it matters a lot to the overall success of your site. You can have the best content available but if it’s surrounded by poor design you’ll be turning away customers that are ready to buy. Studies of visitor behaviour have found that visual appeal and website navigation have the biggest influence on people’s first impressions of your brand.
  • Positive first impressions lead to higher satisfaction. A visitors first impression of your website can have a priming effect on how future interactions with your business are perceived. In fact research also shows that positive priming can even boost customer satisfaction.  Obviously, when the shoes on the other foot and a negative first impression is generated there’s considerable knock-on effect which drags on through to user satisfaction.
  • First impressions last. First impressions can last for years and they are very difficult to change, so its best to go out of your way to make a good one the first chance you get. So it’s true to say “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

The majority of consumers will view a company’s website online before making a purchase, even more so if your website is service related or is a Business to Business website. You should also keep in mind that most customers when looking for a local service will use a mobile device to search on google.

With so many screen sizes it is impossible to develop a website for each screen. This is why responsive designs are gaining popularity so quickly. Yes, your static website can be viewed on a mobile phone and you can zoom in and out to read content but it’s not as convenient for the end user. And as of 21st April search results on mobile devices will no longer display websites that are not mobile-friendly. Just another reason to redesign your website!

The Good News

The good news is that you can change how your website looks and you don’t have to start from the very beginning.  You can review your existing content and update it, you can identify any backlinks that point to your current website and make sure you factor those pages into your new design.  Web sites have changed a lot over the years and what was once good practice isn’t necessarily the case anymore.

If Your Website Is Dated & Looks Unprofessional Confusing For Visitors To Navigate Not Generating Leads Or Sales Not Exactly Mobile Friendly

Changing the visual appearance of your website is just the tip of the iceberg! If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right! Stop driving away your customers and Activate Your Potential with a website re-design!  Hue Marketing deliver practical solutions to fit your business and your budget!

Website Redesign For BigMove Phuket

Website Redesign For BigMove Phuket

A Professional Business Needs A Professional Website

The number one reason that visitors indicated why they wouldn’t use a companies service after visiting their website was because it had an unprofessional “look and feel” that lacked credibility and did not “feel” trustworthy.

Understandably this affects businesses that use their website to sell products and services directly but it also affect businesses that use their website to highlight service options and their location, a great example of the latter would be restaurants or dentists. First Impressions Really Do Matter!

It’s an all too common problem especially for small and medium sized business, they started a website because everyone had one and just left it to stagnate. Old design, Poor Usability and even Outdated Content (text). You’d be amazed at how many websites promote specials from 3 years ago or even have the wrong contact information on them.

You’d be even more amazed to know just how many companies with outdated websites still regularly spend money on advertising. It’s just crazy.

The Solution – Start To Rethink Your Website Today

Understanding that your website must be functional part of your business and not a separate entity is your first step. Your second step is to contact us!

Get in touch with Hue Marketing for a free review your current website. We’ll ask all the right questions to ensure we fully understand your business and the role your website will play as part of your business growth. We’ll find practical solutions that will work for your business that you can build on. We don’t just deliver websites, we see the bigger picture and then make sure you’re business is part of it.

Your website can be a powerful marketing tool when its used within a modern business strategy. Pound for pound you won’t find any medium that will offer better value or reach when its done right.

Click on the free website review button above or call us at +66 872 827 483 and talk with Stephen.

How to get more sales from your website

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? Countdown to Mobilegeddon!

Your Website Must Be Mobile Friendly by 21st April

The Countdown Is Over! Make sure your website is Mobile Friendly.

For a long time already Google’s algorithms have factored in mobile compatibility into their search results, but on the 21st April there’s a big change coming. So big, some are calling it Mobilegeddon!

Beginning on April 21st, Google will no longer list non-mobile websites in mobile search results

Source: Google Webmaster Central

Currently around 60% of all searches are made on a Mobile Device of some sort, so it only makes sense that Google want to make sure that the results they display on these devices are mobile friendly.

How Does This Affect Your Business?

If you currently get most of your traffic from mobile devices, it’s going to have a dramatic effect. If your website is mobile friendly and your main competition is not, that’s going to be very good for you. However, if the shoes on the other foot and it’s your website that is not mobile friendly then you’re going to experience a significant drop in traffic.

Check to see how much mobile traffic you are getting on your Google or other Analytics Tracking Dashboard. For GA go to Reporting > Audience > Mobile > Overview, the combined number from mobile and tablet is what you could be losing if you don’t have a mobile responsive website.

Zineb Ait Bahajji, a member of Google’s Webmaster Trends team, was quoted at SMX Munich as saying that the new mobile-friendly algorithm change will have a greater impact on search rankings than Panda or Penguin did in the past.

Google have kindly provided a quick tool to let you know if your website is mobile friendly or not:

Mobile-friendly

A Special Note For Phuket Businesses

The 60% average quoted above will be considerably higher if your customers are tourists. Desktop PC’s in hotel lobbies have limited appeal when you have access to the internet on your phone or iPad. Anyway, when was the last time you saw a tourist without a mobile device in their hands?

Most of your customers will not be familiar with the area, so naturally their first source of information will be the internet (via their mobile device). For quite some time now Google have localised their search results for mobiles using the devices location to show only the most relevant results.  There are still many local businesses in Phuket that don’t take advantage of this so that’s also something to address when checking on your websites mobile friendliness.

Do Not Panic! – Not Yet Anyway

Before you start to panic it’s worth seeing where you stand. Google’s Free mobile-friendly test

  • Ensure the mobile version of your site is active and functional. Responsive designs are the most popular, but you can also have a separate hosted mobile version of your site. Google doesn’t have a preference, as long as mobile users’ experience isn’t interrupted.
  • Ensure Google’s mobile bots can crawl your site. If Google can’t see it, it may as well not even be there.
  • Check each individual page of your site on a mobile device to ensure navigability. Just because your home page is mobile friendly doesn’t mean the rest of your site is.

Google have also provided some great information and options for mobile friendly websites. If you manage your own website have a read through and take your options from there.

Time To Take Action!

If your website isn’t Mobile-Friendly then you probably haven’t updated your site in quite some time, which likely means old and outdated content too. So if the tools above have raised a few red flags, then it is time to hit the panic button. This will be a big shift for a lot of websites and if yours is more than a couple of years old, now is the time to upgrade your site.

But there’s a silver lining! Instead of feeling like your hand is being forced to update your website. Take the opportunity to re-activate your online presence and embrace the chance to really make a difference to your business. Your website is the most cost-effective communication tool you have if it’s done right.

Modern websites are mobile friendly and have the benefits of being easy to update yourself, plus they look amazing  and will easily outperform your old website in usability and create the right first impression for your visitors. Well, ours do!

Click on the free website review button above or call us at +66 872 827 483 and talk with Stephen.

How to get more sales from your website