Temporary Disablement of Google My Business Features

Temporary Disablement of Google My Business Features

The ways in which the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all are still being realised, but online, you’ll have noticed social media and news feeds changing up the ways they prioritise activity and posts. Almost every website you use will likely now have a statement or signpost to further information on COVID-19. One business marketing facility however has made some major temporary changes – and that’s GMB (Google My Business).

What is Google My Business (GMB)?

Google My Business refers to the overall management tool of a business’ presence on Google – through search results, maps and local listings. Qualifying business’ can claim their Google My Business listings for free and work from there to optimise their web presence. This includes standard SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) work, ensuring a mobile friendly offering and co-ordinating your business’ online presence across all digital channels, not just your website.

Temporary GMB Changes

There are several services within Google My Business that have been suspended currently. At present these include, but may not be limited to in the future:

  • New Reviews – Users will be able to publish and view their own reviews, but these will not be publicly visible
  • Review Replies – Entirely suspended. There will be no new reviews, but businesses will also be unable to respond to existing reviews on their profile
  • Q&A – Entirely removed. Existing Q&As have been removed and the feature has been suspended
  • Adding, Claiming and Verifying Listings – All businesses that are not health-related will be re-prioritised for these services and can expect delays
  • Editing Business Information – All businesses that are not health-related will be re-prioritised for these services and can expect delays

Although not confirmed by Google in their statement or other official comms, there is anecdotal evidence online to suggest that there may also be suspensions and/or delays in service in regards to the approval process of posts, user-generated content and business usernames (especially where reference is made to ‘delivery’ or ‘takeaway’).

Why is Google My Business Making These Changes?

Google officially released a statement on Friday 20th March 2020 detailing the changes that they would be making to Google My Business and explained why they were doing so. Put simply: Google are being a responsible employer and lessening any services that rely on their staff having to be IN the office to operate.

It’s fair to say that given the prioritisation of health-related businesses over other sectors, that Google are also being responsible toward the communities within which they operate and are supporting public health efforts, as well as looking out for small businesses who otherwise may be inundated with questions from the public on their protocol and services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic disruption.

What Happens Now?

None of us can predict exactly how this current situation will pan out or how long it will last. Therefore, there is no set time scale for the reinstatement of these facilities back to their prior service levels.

What Can My Business Do About The Changes?

Realistically … nothing. If you’re a healthcare business, make it clear in the name and/or listing information of the company. Ensure your marketing and SEO is clear across all channels and that your website is mobile friendly and adaptive.

If you’re not happy with something specific in your Google My Business (GMB) online marketing presence and are unsure how to fix it, or at least to lessen its effects on your search engine results, get in contact with a digital marketing specialist, as they may be able to advise you further. You should also log your query with Google, but if you’re not a healthcare business, be prepared to wait for an official answer.

 

Woya Digital is a digital marketing agency made up of experts in our various fields. We make business growth through digital marketing, affordable for any business!

Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy is a key issue around the world now as we increasingly rely on technology and incorporate it into our daily lives, sharing more of ourselves online than ever before. The information that others unrelated to you are able to access on you, is likely a lot more than you’ve ever considered – scarily so!

Yet unless you’re a big business or a high net worth individual, you probably do very little to manage your data privacy; instead relying on those companies you interact with, to do it for you. Introducing Data Privacy Day which we now have to create awareness around this topic.

What is Data Privacy Day?

Data Privacy Day is a new (inter)national day aimed at inspiring dialogue and empowering a journey toward knowledge and action toward better data privacy for both individuals and businesses. This means safeguarding their own data, respecting the data of others and in doing so, better enabling trust. There’s nothing to fear in the management of data privacy, but it’s a topic that’s definitely worth being aware of!

Data Privacy Day 2020 will take place on January 28th

Why is Data Privacy important?

For individuals, data is important because it’s often made up of your personal information – and the leaking of such info can result in identity theft, fraud and severely negative financial consequences.

The same can happen for businesses, but there are also legal consequences: there is a degree of privacy and security measures that companies must implement and manage as they handle data, be it their own or that belonging to others.

How can businesses ensure they keep Customer Data Safe?

Businesses have a responsibility to keep their customer data safe – however it’s also good business to foster trust with your customers! In order to best keep their customer data safe, businesses should strive to ensure they’re constantly up-to-date with the latest data privacy legislation and tools.

The enforcement and management of this as part of a cycle of continuous improvement, is something that can always be improved upon. This will allow firms to keep abreast of the latest developments in technology and data security.

Where can businesses go for Data Privacy Guidance and Support?

Businesses looking to develop their data privacy procedures and policies should use Data Privacy Day as their first foray into the sector. You can access information and guidance through the Information Commissioner’s Office website.

There are also lots of data privacy specialists who are able to consult and offer tangible help with data security within businesses.

 

Woya Digital is a digital marketing agency made up of experts in our various fields. We believe in making business growth through digital marketing affordable for all businesses through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment. Find out more about how we can support your business growth through digital marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get To Know Your Customers Day

Get To Know Your Customers Day

Life is busy for business owners and one day rolls into the next; so it’s important that we step back and take stock once in a while. We need to re-assess priorities and ensure our ship is continuing to sail in the right direction. It is crucial for business owners to be consistently and constantly aware of changing customer attitudes and appetites – so you’re able to adapt, pivot and continue to meet your clients wants and needs. The purpose of Get To Know Your Customers Day is about doing just this – allowing us to promote business growth and customer understanding.

What is Get To Know Your Customers Day?

Get To Know Your Customers Day is a national day aimed at encouraging businesses to halt their usual work and touch base with their existing (and potential!) customers in order to address any issues, untapped opportunities and/or concerns.

This can feed into business operations, marketing and business growth.

When is Get To Know Your Customers Day?

Get To Know Your Customers Day doesn’t happen just once a year – but instead, every quarter! Usually held on the third Thursday of each quarter, it’s regular enough for businesses to keep on top of rapidly changing markets and attitudes. In 2020, Get To Know Your Customers Day happens on January 16th, April 16th, July 16th and October 15th.

Why it’s Important to Get To Know Your Customers

Customers are people, and their wants and needs change over time with changing circumstances, attitudes and appetites for products and services. Building up a trusting relationship with your existing customers fosters brand loyalty that can ultimately increase their value to you.

They’re also the audience you want to hear from to find out what they want, like or dislike – giving you distinct competitive advantage.

How Knowing Your Customers Can Impact your Marketing

The way in which you communicate to existing and potential customers is key to attracting them to start or continue on a relationship with your business. One of the things that can be gained from getting to know your customers is to find out how they would best like to be communicated with, and to identify the channels they use and prefer for communications.

You can also identify which marketing strategies are really impacting your target audience, and therefore focus on these moving forward.

This allows you to tailor your marketing to best reach your audience where they are.

Knowing Your Customers Will Benefit Your Business

Really knowing your customers will affect every area of your business! Assure those that you’re interacting with that you want their honest, open feedback on EVERYTHING. Consolidate all the information you receive and work out how the results can best be applied to your business operations and strategy as a result.

Pivoting a business’ direction based on changing markets and client requirements is key to business growth and success, and is something that every business should be reviewing at regular intervals.

 

Woya Digital is a digital marketing agency made up of experts in our various fields. We believe in making business growth through digital marketing affordable for all businesses through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment. Find out more about how we can support your business growth through digital marketing.

 

The Importance of Ranking in Google’s Local Pack

The Importance of Ranking in Google’s Local Pack

‘Googling’ has become a world-renowned verb and for brands, it’s an imperative one – if your business can’t be found on Google, your customers (existing and potential) can’t find you. Your business ranking can be a key factor to success and your marketing strategy should always include SEO (search engine optimisation). In particular for businesses serving local areas or communities, featuring in Google’s Local Pack is important so those searching in a certain geographic location are able to find you quickly and easily.

What is Google’s Local Pack?

Google’s Local Pack (also known as the Google Map Pack or Google Snack Pack) is a selection of chosen search results related to a business search in a certain geographic area. Whenever a query made in Google has local intent (i.e. a search for ‘pizza in Leicester’ or ‘locksmith in Deptford’), the search engine curates results that it thinks most appropriate.

Why does your Google Map ranking matter?

Ranking locally on Google Snack Pack often delivers solid purchase outcomes – according to ThinkWithGoogle, 50% of those who searched for a local store on Google Maps using their smartphone visited one of the given results within 24hrs, and 18% of those searches lead to a purchase within that time period! What’s more, search queries with “near me” in the search text have increased 34x since 2011, with the majority of these searches coming from mobile devices. Further evidence of the effectiveness of the Map Pack on Google comes from a case study by Moz. They found that 44% of people clicked within Google’s Local Pack results, 29% clicked on the organic listings and 8% chose to load more listings. Ranking above your competitors means that users searching are more likely to click on your business’ result rather than them! Google Local SEO

How to Increase Ranking in Google’s Local Pack

In order to rank as high as possible in Google Map Pack, there are several ways you can signal to Google that your business is relevant to the local map results:

  • Make sure you have claimed and optimised your Google My Business listing. Ensure all of the information in Google My Business is as up-to-date and complete as possible (Google MB signals)
  • Ensure that all social media profiles are branded consistently and lead back to the same site (social signals)
  • Your website itself should mention specific local areas that correspond correctly with your business’ listed address (on-page signals), and links to and from reputed local businesses and/or press (link signals) will help, too.
  • Where you can, be sure to claim online listings and directories pages for your business (citation signals – see our Local Citation blog) as these provide a valuable boost.
  • Encourage happy customers to write public reviews (share your Google review link), and respond to every review – this indicates to Google that you have a healthy customer base and that you genuinely care about serving them.

Search marketing, SEO or search engine optimisation helps websites to rank well in Google and other search engines. At Woya Digital we are specialists in small business growth through digital marketing, including Local SEO services. We make SEO services affordable for small businesses through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment. Find out more about how we can support your business growth!

Small Business Social Media Marketing Strategy

Small Business Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social media platforms provide a fantastic opportunity for small business growth, however a considered plan is required to really optimise what they have to offer. We’ve put together this blog as a “Where to start” for business owners with their small business social media marketing strategy.

When it comes to social media marketing, the following quote perfectly sums it up: Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat – Sun Tzu

1. Establish Your Goals

You should know your business goals. Whether you manage your social media marketing yourself or have a marketing partner to manage it for you, you need to establish  realistic goals that you wish to achieve through your social media marketing.

A business generally has one or more of these 6 objectives behind their social media strategy:

  • Drive website traffic
  • Create brand awareness
  • Build audience trust
  • Provide customer support
  • Attract leads
  • Increase sales

Once you know why you are doing what you are doing, you can do it better. Each post you publish will be as a result of one or more of your established goals.

2. Create Audience Persona(s)

Many business owners underestimate the value of audience persons. You should not start a social media marketing campaign without understanding who your targeted audience is.

An ‘audience persona’ or ‘buyer persona’ describes the attributes of your target audience in as much detail as possible.

Understanding the habits and behaviours of your prospects helps you find and create personalised content especially for them. Depending on the nature of your business, you may have to create more than one audience persona.

3. Select the Right Social Media Platforms

As of 2019, 7 social media platforms dominate. Each has hundreds of millions of active users, and its own unique strengths. For example, Facebook has more subscribers than YouTube; however it can’t beat YouTube when it comes to video content marketing.

You shouldn’t limit your business to just one platform, having said this, you don’t need to be active on every social media platform. Use your business goals and audience personas to identify which social media platforms your target audience are on, and also what your capacity is for consistent content creation and distribution.

4. Identify and Study Your Competitors

Studying your competitors will help you identify market trends, establish what is and isn’t working for their audience, and which platforms your competitors are on.

Take out time to thoroughly analyse what your competition is doing. Do not go out to copy what they are doing, but to do it better, and learn from what they are doing.

5. Set Up Your Social Media Accounts

You will need data from all first three steps to implement this step efficiently. While setting up a business profile on a social media platform is not difficult, there are ways to optimise how you do this. It’s worth doing a bit of research.

This step will include having logos properly sized and header images created, and completing text boxes with company information overviews. Much of the information should already be on your website – don’t feel you need to re-invent the wheel!

6. Plan and Schedule Content

Planning and scheduling are two different parts of content marketing.

In planning, you have to determine the content that is relevant to your business and attractive for your target audience. In scheduling, you have to plan which content to publish, and when. You also need to establish how many posts you are going to post each day, to each platform. This again will be determined by your capacity to create relevant content.

Consistency is an essential element of social media posting.

7. See What Works and What Doesn’t

Marketing is a continuous process, and you are guaranteed of constant changes and development. An important part of each social media marketing campaign includes gathering and analysing data and using it to improve upon the next one.

8. Run Social Media Advertisements

After you have succeeded in creating the initial presence of your business on social media channels, include paid advertisements. Organic social media reach has plummeted over the past few years,  so an element of paid advertising is critical

Every platform offers paid promotion, and it should be a part of your social media marketing strategy. However, make sure you first fully understand your market and audience to get maximum return on investment.

There is more to each point highlighted above when structuring your small business social media marketing strategy, however you need to start with understanding the basics, and then work into the detail from here.

 

At Woya Digital we believe in making business growth through digital marketing affordable for all businesses. We do this through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment. Find out more about us and how we can support your business growth!

Local Citations to put your Business on the (Google) Map

Local Citations to put your Business on the (Google) Map

Businesses (especially smaller ones) have to do whatever they can to get their name heard, and with the internet providing everyone the opportunity to carve out their own little space online, it can often be difficult to stand out from the crowd.

When targeting customers or potential customers in a specific geographic area, local citations can be key to a business ranking highly on Google maps. A small focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can boost your profile on Google and help you feature higher than your competitors.

What is a Local Citation

A ‘local citation’ isn’t a Google term, but instead refers to a really basic form of marketing on the internet. It is simply an instance of your business’ NAP (that is: business Name, Address and Phone number) appearing online – be that on your website or on others. This may be in business directories, press articles, advertiser sites or reviews of your firm.

How does a Local Citation benefit a Local Business

Aside from it being a small ad boost, every time someone sees your information; a local citation helps reiterate to Google (and therefore Google Maps) that you are a leader in your area and that you are a genuine business. Google’s algorithms are well developed to identify spam and disingenuous entries and so good, organic reach through local citations is an easy way for it to understand proper local businesses.

What are the Elements of a Local Citation

The three main elements of a local citation are your NAP: business Name, Address and Phone number. The key is to keep them entirely consistent throughout all citations online – any differentiator will break the link between the citation and it relating directly to your business. It may be worth considering therefore if you have a ‘Ltd’ in your name or a space/unusual capitalisation/sub-brands, that you instead revert to one shorter name for your public-facing communications to avoid any confusion.

Other elements that may be included in citations (but aren’t imperative) include e-mail addresses and links to social media profiles. Where you can, keep the names of such profiles consistent and ensure you refer to yourself in the same way across all of your marketing.

Why Local Citations Matter

Local citations are the best way for Google’s automated algorithms to understand who you are and where you are; and that you’re genuine! The internet is full of bots and false entries, and citations are genuine reviews to show you’re not one of them. Citations alone are responsible for about 10% of Google’s decision in who to rank where on Maps, and with 76% of visitors accessing local results and then visiting one of the businesses featured within 24hrs, it’s a no-brainer that it’s an area of your online presence worth investing in!

 

Search marketing, SEO or search engine optimisation helps websites to rank well in Google and other search engines. At Woya Digital we are specialists in small business growth through digital marketing, including Local SEO services. We make SEO services affordable for small businesses through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment. Find out more about how we can support your business growth!