Website and Marketing Help Tips https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog.html Keep updated with Website and Marketing Help Tips information. en-us Website and Marketing Help Tips Google PageSpeed Optimization https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/Google-PageSpeed-Optimization_AE424.html Google PageSpeed Insights reports on the real-world performance of a page for mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved. PageSpeed Insights evaluates how well a page follows common performance best practices and computes a score from 0-100 that estimates its performance.

PageSpeed Insights indicate the "speed optimization" of a page, not the actual load time. Render-blocking resources like JavaScript (controls dynamic content, multimedia, and animated images) and CSS (controls the look and feel of a web page) are the most common reasons for slow loading websites. And if your website is slow, not only are you hurting your search engine ranking, you are losing customers and revenue as well.

A page with slow speed might have a high optimization score because it has a low number of render-blocking resources. On the other hand, a fast page might have a low optimization score because it has a high number of render-blocking resources.

Scores are different for mobile phones and desktop computers. Now that Google is using the mobile version of a site to "rank" it in search results, it is important that the mobile experience is optimized for 4G LTE connections.

High Level Marketing PageSpeed Optimization

Google PageSpeed Insights is part of High Level Marketings core SEO and website creation process. Your HLM team will be using PageSpeed Insights to increase the speed of your site, resulting in improved SEO and real-world performance.

Great PageSpeed scores have every possible element lightened to increase the speed of the website. However, doing this may decrease website functionality on videos, navigation, images or banners.

Good PageSpeed scores do not compromise optimization. Website components (images, HTML, and CSS) are improved, allowing the website to work properly.

Poor PageSpeed scores generally occur in older websites or those with large images. Usually, considerable modification and/or a mobile-friendly redesign are required to increase your score.

Common Issues

Images
Images and multimedia tend to be the largest files on any website. With high-definition displays common on most desktops and current mobile phones, having hi-res images is crucial.

HLM uses a server-side compression system that makes image files smaller without compromising visual clarity. In other words, all images on MYCE sites are already optimized!

When you see notices from Google about images, remember that their testing tool can recommend a smaller file, but cannot tell if that image file looks worse after being compressed.

The examples below show a severely compressed image and a hi-res image.
HLM will optimize images for speed, but never reduce quality.

Analytics Tracking
For analytics tracking to function properly, the specific files that "talk" to Google analytics and the marketing dashboard cannot be compressed (also known as "minified").

While these may show in your PageSpeed report, they have very little effect on total PageSpeed score. The three files that would likely appear in your report are:

  1. Analytics.js: Googles original analytics tracking code. This file should not be minified to ensure proper functionality.

  2. Gtag.js: Googles newer analytics tracking code. Functionally, no different than analytics.js. Similarly, this file should not be minified.

  3. Tracker.js: Your marketing dashboards tracking code. This code is based on the Google tracking codes and populates the marketing dashboard.

Caching for External Modules

External modules include any advanced functionality required by your website. Excessive users or traffic congestion on the servers where these elements are hosted can cause slow-downs on your site. Some commonly used elements that can influence site scores are:

  • Google Maps

  • Social Plugins - Facebook "Like" buttons, Twitter feed integration, and similar

  • Web Fonts - Custom fonts are usually hosted by Google and are loaded externally

  • Chat boxes - All chat boxes require a back-and-forth between the provider and your site

  • Angies list and BBB badges - Per Angies List / BBB requirements, these need to be loaded via Javascript

  • Wait List and Scheduling Plugins - Any third-party scheduling plugins, from Open Table to MindBody, can increase load times

  • Autoplay Videos - Vimeo and Youtube, if autoplayed, can slow down a website because they have to download multimedia before the page fully loads

To find out more about Google PageSpeed Optimization, Contact HLM today!

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!

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Alexa, Where's My Business? https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/Alexa-Wheres-My-Business_AE423.html Amazon sold over 20 million Alexas in 2017, and by 2019, the voice recognition market will be a $600 million dollar industry according to a report from Technavio. While consumers still use search engines, they are increasingly using voice assistants (like Amazons Alexa and Apple's Siri) to guide them to the goods and services they need.

Voice search optimization

Optimizing for local search is more important than ever. With over one billion voice searches across devices per month, your business should get involved and focus on voice search optimization techniques -- because something as simple as inaccurate business listing information will cost you customers.

If you have a brick and mortar location, you already know how important it is to rank in local search results. Most voice searches are location specific and users often opt for voice search when looking for a product, shop or service near them. Voice search optimized business listings rank higher in local and "near me" voice searches. 50% of local mobile searches lead to a store visit within 24 hours. Accurate and complete location listings will increase your chances of being found when a voice search is done pertaining to your local business, location or business category.

HLMs comprehensive citation management

High Level Marketing has managed thousands of local listings for our clients over the years and our team keeps a close eye on important developments that will improve your businesss online ranking.

We update all of your local business listings for your companys physical locations, and ensure each listing of your business is accurate and complete across Google, Yelp, Bing, Apple Maps, and other relevant sources.

Our FootprintTM Core70 citation technology maintains the quality and consistency of your local business listings by continually monitoring your data on the top tier local directories. Our technology creates new citations, builds industry contextual citations, provides data cleansing, prevents online listing hijacking, and a whole lot more. HLMs Core70 increases and maintains your business credibility with search engines and expands your citation network while ensuring that your local listings are voice search optimized.

HLM Core70 management checklist:

  • Claims and manages critical listings belonging to your organization.
  • Audits your locations listings across search, maps and business directories for accuracy.
  • Identifies discrepancies and missing data, and corrects all mistakes.
  • Pushes correct location data to search engines and social platforms.
  • Prevents fly-by-night competitors from hijacking your listings.
  • Gets you voice search eligible for Amazons Alexa.

Make sure your business information is accurate across local listings (citations) to give prospects access to the correct name, address, and phone number (NAP). AI and voice search technologies continue to develop, but voice assistants like Alexa, are only as good as the data that you provide.

Lets ensure your business is voice search optimized and getting found online! Contact HLM today to find out more about HLMs Core70 services.

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!

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High Level Marketing Named One of Inc. 5000's Fastest Growing Companies https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/High-Level-Marketing-Named-One-of-Inc.-5000s-Fastest-Growing-Companies_AE422.html For the second time, High Level Marketing is recognized on the Inc. 5000 List of America's Fastest Growing Companies

High Level Marketing (HLM) has been named to the 2018 Inc. 5000 list -- the most prestigious ranking of the nation's fastest-growing, private companies. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Domino's Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known brands gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000.

"We are honored to be recognized for a second year as one of the fastest-growing companies in America," said Wes Mathews, Chief Executive Officer at HLM, a leading Michigan digital marketing firm. "Our success is the combination of a hard-working, talented team and innovative solutions that fill an ever-evolving need in the digital marketing space. We're so thankful for our clients, staff and industry partners. They are the reason we are able to offer both exceptional service and innovative solutions."

The Inc. 5000 list celebrates entrepreneurial success, leadership and innovation. The Inc. 5000's aggregate revenue was $206.2 billion in 2017. HLM's revenue grew at 80% and the company added nearly 20 jobs over a three-year span. High Level Marketing partners with Michigans small businesses on everything from SEO campaigns to paid search and social initiatives to bespoke website experiences. Our team brings every aspect of the process under one roof for a cohesive and innovative approach. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a game-changing investment -- if you choose the right digital marketing firm.

HLM's award-winning team thrives on staying ahead of the pack as leaders in the SEO industry. With our custom designed websites, you won't find anything off-the-shelf here. Whether you're looking to start a new project or redesigning an existing website, you can count on HLM, Detroit's best web design company.

For more information about HLM, visit highlevelmarketing.com

Media Contact: Shelly Conway, Director of Marketing, shelly@highlevelmarketing.com

888-717-4249, 7031 Orchard Lake Rd, Ste 301, West Bloomfield, MI 48322.

https://www.facebook.com/hlmweb/

https://twitter.com/HighLevelMarket

For the full list of Inc. 5000 winners, visit http://www.inc.com/inc5000

SOURCE High Level Marketing

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The Importance of Online Reputation Management https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/The-Importance-of-Online-Reputation-Management_AE421.html It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.
-- Warren Buffet

Owning your companys online reputation can be difficult. With news articles, employee and customer review sites, and social media, its very easy to have a negative presence online without even realizing it. Its important to manage what consumers see about your business. So you should aim to develop a positive and consistent online presence.

Your brand is online whether you like it or not

Even in 2018, offline businesses come online for the first time and have no idea what potential disasters lurk in the shadows of the internet. Companies who dont understand the importance of reputation management usually ask this dangerous question, "What the heck is an online reputation?" Negligence of your online reputation puts your company at risk and jeopardizes your credibility.

Thinking that your brand won't be online simply because you don't want to be, is a big mistake. The truth is that Google and other companies are indexing businesses and brands of all sizes, whether they like it or not. Without an online presence or management system, your reputation can spiral. With sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and PissedConsumer growing in reach every day, what are you losing by not watching your own brand reviews? If your customers are searching for you and you aren't online, they are going to find false and incorrect information about your company -- or worse, your competitors!

The power of a positive reputation

Customers research what they need before deciding on a business -- which means they will likely look at your businesss reviews and online reputation. Considering that 92% of people hesitate to do business with companies with less than four out of five stars, your reviews are certainly worth your attention. 74% of consumers credit positive reviews with making them trust a local business more. 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Even if you offer a top-notch product or service, if your brand has a negative online reputation, your business may suffer. So what consumers see about your business in regards to your online reputation is extremely important.

Your rep affects your rank

Google rewards the most popular and prominent companies within their market areas. Which means your business should be among the most talked about, patronized and recommended on the internet to get the highly coveted page one placement. If you are ranking in the three map listings on the homepage of Google and you have 20 five-star reviews, while the other businesses have two four-star reviews, you can bet that your business will be getting the call. Alternatively, Google may banish your website into the abyss if you maintain a negative online reputation.

Managing your reputation with positive feedback along with a solid SEO campaign has a higher chance of getting a page one placement. One of the reasons why many business owners hire professional marketers is because of the need to address customer reviews. Managing ratings and reviews proactively, and answering and managing the negative and positive reviews is imperative to rank in search results.

Fixing your online reputation

Now that you know how important online reputation is for your business, what can you do about it? Here are two simple ways to stay ahead of your online reputation:

  • Review Management: Be sure to continuously monitor all of your social media accounts and review sites and respond to reviews as they come in.

  • Manage Your Local Listings: Make sure your business information is accurate across local listings and review sites like Google and Yelp to give prospects access to the correct name, address, and phone number (NAP). Claim and verify your business with Google to build your businesss credibility and help potential customers find out more about you online.

Enter FootprintTM Core70 Citation Technology

HLMs FootprintTM Core70 citation technology maintains the quality and consistency of your local business listings by continually monitoring your data on the top tier local directories. Our technology creates new citations, builds industry contextual citations, provides data cleansing, prevents online listing hijacking, and a whole lot more. HLMs Core70 increases and maintains your business credibility with search engines and expands your citation network while ensuring that your local listings are voice search optimized.

HLM Core70 management checklist:

  • Claims and manages critical listings belonging to your organization.
  • Audits your locations listings across search, maps and business directories for accuracy.
  • Identifies discrepancies and missing data, and corrects all mistakes.
  • Pushes correct location data to search engines and social platforms.
  • Prevents fly-by-night competitors from hijacking your listings.
  • Gets you voice search eligible for Amazons Alexa.

Your online reputation is a dynamic part of your business, subject to change at any time. As long as you are monitoring your online reputation, you can use the power of the web to your business benefit. Take action today before your reputation is out of your hands!

Want to know more about Online Reputation Management (ORM)? Contact HLM today!

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!

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The Ideal Number of Images to Use in a Website https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/The-Ideal-Number-of-Images-to-Use-in-a-Website_AE420.html How Many Images is Too Many?

Lets face it, images and pictures are an essential part of any good website. They give the website owner an opportunity to share visual examples of their product (or work if theyre a service-based company) and they help visitors better connect with their brand. At the same time, high-quality images can make an okay site look outstanding, and poor quality images can make a great site look terrible.

At the end of the day though, the number one question were often answering or advising our clients on is "how many images should I include in the gallery (or portfolio) of my site?" While the optimal number of images included in a site depends on the nature of the business, its important to understand that too many images can be just as bad as not enough.

Not enough images is pretty self-explanatory, as visitors to your site will be frustrated that theyre not able to view any good examples of your product or work. However, too many images can be equally frustrating, as A) it can significantly slow the load time of your website, and B) it can overwhelm visitors, both of which will ultimately result in a poor user experience, a high bounce rate, and a high probability of lower rankings in relative search results.

The 3 Most Important Goals to Remember With Images

1. Give Context to Your Messaging and Content

As soon as a visitor lands on your website, they should immediately know what you do and who you do it for. While a clear and strong value proposition is critical to quickly telling visitors WHAT you do and/or WHY they should trust you, the pictures and images used throughout your site are there to visually reinforce your message.

Another way to look at pictures and images is to recognize that they give context to the words and messaging youre trying to convey. For example, a banner message for a high-end kitchen remodeler might read...

"We dont just design and build amazing kitchens, we create award-winning spaces for family and friends to connect over food and fun!"

While that message may sound pretty clear by itself, it becomes even more powerful when supported by a great image (or whats often referred to as a 'Hero shot), as it provides a clear 'visual for what that statement means. And if were being honest, people are often drawn to pictures more quickly than theyre drawn to words, so its important to make sure youre using the right image to support your message.

So, while the right image can help support a clear, coherent message to visitors, the important thing to remember here is that any images used must have a purpose. Theres no point overloading a visitor with numerous images when one really strong image is all thats needed.

2. Show Enough Examples to Reinforce Your Message, But Dont Overdo It

This idea is arguably the single most difficult judgement call for most business owners, especially those in service-oriented trades like Remodelers, Home Builders, and other 'building-related contractors.

We get it. Youre proud of your work and you want to show prospects what youre capable of. However, if you want your website to show up in the top of search results, remember that the 'load time or 'page speed of your website is one of many key factors the search engines now consider when indexing your site. Given that images are defined by their file size, the more images you include in your site, the longer it will take a browser to render those images, which ultimately results in more time required for your site to load.

Aside from the negative impact a lot of images can have on your websites load time, theres also the negative experience too many images can have on your prospects.

Its no secret... peoples attention span (in general) is significantly shorter than it ever used to be. And with the advent of mobile devices, our ability to focus on anything has been dwindled down to mere seconds. As a result, especially as it applies to service-oriented businesses, visitors to your website arent looking to view an entire library of your work. They simply want to see enough to know that you do great work and can be trusted with whatever project theyre considering you for.

Sharing too many images on your site will not only slow your site down and have a negative impact on your rankings, it will also frustrate your visitors by virtue of overwhelming them with too many things to look at. And when people feel overwhelmed, their instinct is to hit the back button to find something that is more easily digestible. This is a condition known as 'decision fatigue, and yes, its real.

3. Goals First, Design Second

Before you even think about what images you want to share on your website, its important to think about how the images you use support what you want your visitors to do. What are the primary, secondary and tertiary goals of each page?

  • Sign up for a newsletter?
  • Visit your 'Services page?
  • Read your blog articles for tips and insights?
  • Contact you for more information or request a quote / consultation? NOTE: this is typically the number goal for most B2C (Business to Consumer) websites!

Whatever the goal is that you want your visitors to complete, make sure the images youre showcasing are there to support it. The key takeaway here is to NOT use more images than are necessary!

HLM Marketing Tip: One of the easiest and most effective ways to showcase a large gallery of images is to leverage a resource designed specifically for that like Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz. Most people visit a ton of websites for ideas every day, so you should always be looking for opportunities to get your brand in front of them while creating additional opportunities to drive them back to your website.

So, What is the Ideal Number of Images to Use in YOUR Website?

As mentioned above, this depends on the nature of your business and what visitors to your site need to see in order to feel comfortable and confident that YOUR services are the best solution for them. Heres a couple of scenarios to consider...

If youre a local tree trimming service, the reality is that very few visitors to your site are there because they have a ton of money burning a hole in their pocket and they thought itd be fun to trim their trees. Nine times out of ten, most visitors are on your site because they have an immediate need. For example, maybe they have a tree, or a portion of a tree, that has broke and fallen on their home. Or maybe they have branches that are dangerously close to a power line and they need to get them trimmed before they take their power line down and create a dangerous situation for their family and neighbors.

Whatever the scenario, those visitors are looking at your site because they have an immediate need. In short, these prospects are not concerned about being able to see a gallery of other trees youve trimmed. Their primary concern is whether you can get out to their home when they need you, and if they can trust you to do great work at a reasonable cost.

Point being, unless your tree service company specializes in ornamental tree trimming, theres no need to incorporate more images than are necessary to reflect that youre honest, trustworthy, and dependable.

What About Other Industries?

Based on over ten years of experience designing, building and managing websites for over 1,100 clients throughout the U.S., and being able to regularly assess actual data relative to how visitors are engaging with our customers sites, below are some image guidelines weve identified for a few of the more common service-oriented markets our clients operate within...

INDUSTRY: Legal

IMAGE GALLERY RECOMMENDED: No

Aside from headshots or professional images of each attorney in your firm, people who need an attorney arent interested in pictures. Their primary concern is your track record of success representing clients with similar issues.

_____

INDUSTRY: Builder, Carpentry, Construction, Remodeling, Landscaping

IMAGE GALLERY RECOMMENDED: Yes

Prospects want to know what youre capable of and that you can deliver finished work that is high-quality. As a result, showcasing pictures of your work is essential to establishing a certain level of trust with someone whos never worked with you before. However, you dont need to showcase a million pictures of everything youve done. Most visitors will only need to see 3-5 pictures of approximately 5 different projects (15-25 images total) youve completed for other clients in order to get a strong impression that you do great work.

If you want to show off more projects youve done, you can then leverage additional resources like Pinterest, Instagram and/or Houzz to share additional examples. This can actually work more to your advantage, as most people in the top of the sales funnel (those who are simply looking for ideas and inspiration) use platforms like this before narrowing in on who they want to work with.

_____

INDUSTRY: Dental, Cosmetic Surgery

IMAGE GALLERY RECOMMENDED: Yes

It should be no surprise that any healthcare and/or medical discipline that exists to maintain and/or improve a persons physical appearance should include images as examples of what you can do. However, it doesnt take a gallery of 100+ photos to convey that you produce great results! Again, most people only need 3-5 examples of a given procedure to recognize the quality of your work.

_____

INDUSTRY: Electrical, HVAC, Plumbing

IMAGE GALLERY RECOMMENDED: No

Aside from headshots or professional images of your team, people who need a service specialist arent interested in pictures. Their primary concern is whether you can do the job and/or perform the repair they need you to perform, and whether they can trust you to be on-time and not overcharge them. In short, prospects searching for a reputable trade professional are often more concerned with the number of reviews you have and what they say about working with you than any pictures you may share.

_____

INDUSTRY: Roofing

IMAGE GALLERY RECOMMENDED: Yes

Roofing is often a tricky industry to determine whether an image gallery is really necessary. However, when you put yourself in your customers shoes, you understand that having a certain type and number of images is important.

When it comes to repairs, for example, being able to showcase a few before/after images can really help to establish trust and confidence that you deliver great work. At the same time, replacing an entire roof is NOT cheap, so prospects can benefit from seeing additional before/after examples of your work.

While a roof is largely functional, it also makes up a huge part of the visual attraction of any home. That being said, having great photos that demonstrate just how much of a visual improvement a new roof can make will go a long way in building trust and confidence in someone who is about to make a major investment. But again, most people dont need more than 3-5 photos of 3-5 different projects (9-25 photos total) to see that they can trust you with their home.

_____

INDUSTRY: Industrial Services, Manufacturing

IMAGE GALLERY RECOMMENDED: Yes

Whether your company provides industrial cleaning services, repairs complex robotics, or manufactures equipment used in other manufacturing processes, pictures are key to communicating what you do and why your services and/or products are superior to your competition. However, as with many of the industries listed above, you dont need to showcase every picture of every project youve ever done.

The key here is showcasing just enough visuals to help visitors to your site recognize that youre a reputable resource they can trust. As it applies to Industrial Services, youll likely only need a handful of examples to convey your skills and attention to detail. However, businesses that manufacture equipment used in other manufacturing processes will likely need to showcase 2-4 images of each product they build. Again, the key here is showcasing just enough for a business owner and/or plant manager to see that your product is the right fit for their respective business.

At the End of the Day...

DON'T neglect the rest of your site

DON'T overload the gallery

DON'T use more than one slideshow gallery per page

So as it applies to the original topic of discussion, "How many images is too many?", there is no hard rule or specific number of images any one of us can say is the perfect amount. The real takeaway here is understanding that there is an art to showcasing images within a website and finding the best balance of images and information to support what your prospects are looking for so they feel compelled to contact you and not your competitors.

Interested in learning more about the many ways HLM can help you improve the visibility and user experience of your companys website?

Let's Talk About Your Business!

Wed love to help!

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Digital Assistants and the Rise of Voice Search https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/Digital-Assistants-and-the-Rise-of-Voice-Search_AE419.html Theres no doubt that digital assistants have arrived and are here to stay. Voice searches are increasing in volume at a tremendous rate because lets face it, its faster and easier than typing.

Consumers are becoming more and more comfortable using voice-enabled speakers (like Google Home and Amazon Echo) and voice-enabled digital assistants (like Alexa and Siri). Voice is quickly becoming the go-to search method.

  • 41% of adults conduct at least one voice search per day.
  • 58% of consumers used voice search to find local business information within the last year.
  • 46% of voice search users look for a local business daily.
  • 27% visit the website of a local business after conducting a voice search.
  • 76% of smart home speaker users conduct local searches at least once a week -- with 53% performing daily searches.
  • 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

What is a digital assistant?

A DIGITAL ASSISTANT IS A COMPUTER PROGRAM LEVERAGING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE THAT CAN UNDERSTAND A VARIETY OF INPUTS (TEXT, VOICE, DATA) IN ORDER TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AND CARRY OUT TASKS FOR AN INDIVIDUAL. (BING & IPROSPECT, 2017)

Answering questions about the weather, directions, facts, and shopping lists were the initial features provided by digital assistants. However, the real power recently realized by digital assistants is their ability to take action at your request and anticipate your needs.

ORM and VSO are the new SEO

Google changes the way we search and as a result, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is reinvented constantly. Services like Online Reputation Management (ORM) and Voice Search Optimization (VSO) are now necessary. For most businesses, SEO by itself is not enough anymore. Content is still most important, however now, User Generated Content (UGC) like online reviews have a significant effect on search ranking and relevance. It is important to earn and maintain a positive online reputation.

At HLM, we employ Online Reputation Management (ORM) and Voice Search Optimization (VSO) techniques and spend time tailoring our clients sites so that they appear prominently for common search terms. We manage our client's profiles so that searches reflect the companys most positive aspects. More and more people are now speaking their search query rather than typing it -- which means managing ratings and reviews proactively, and answering and managing the negative and positive reviews is imperative to rank in search results.

Optimizing your content for voice search

The increase in voice search has far-reaching business impacts. When it comes to voice search, users want direct answers, instead of links to more information common in text searches. This change in consumer behavior means that old SEO methods will lose effectiveness, forcing companies to tailor their web content to the rise of voice technology.

Voice searches are typically longer than traditional text-based searches and are phrased as questions. For example, on your laptop, you might type 'movies nearby whereas in voice search, you might ask 'what movies are playing tonight near me? The net result is that content and semantic search are replacing traditional search-optimized keywords and phrases.

Tailor your conversational content by

1) using natural language and targeting long-tail keywords -- Long-tail descriptions (a more specific keyword phrase that contains at least three words) are important tools. The way people search using voice is completely different than how they use a search engine. Instead of typing 'pizza shop Chicago, they might say 'show me pizza shops near me. To appear in these searches, you need to target long-tail keywords that use natural phrases.

2) focusing on questions and writing in a conversational tone -- Q&A content is a great way to maximize voice query results. For example, a text search might say 'Nordstrom hours. A voice search is typically a question, like 'what time does Nordstrom open? Creating content that answers questions is a great way to capture consumers who are searching by voice.

The fight for position zero

A featured snippet is an answer to a query that appears above the organic search results in position zero -- the part of the SEO process that digital assistants are most in tune with. Position zero is a way to describe the information that appears in Googles 'Answer Box. Featured snippets provide an opportunity to own specific search phrases, even outranking competitors in the coveted #1 organic search position. Position zero powers voice search as the only answer to common questions. In other words, the featured snippet will be the only thing that shows up. Even better, it is read aloud and the source is shown. Good news! If your site is on the first page of the search results, you might end up in that box.

Digital assistants and local search

Your company must rank high enough in local search to be selected by a digital assistant. While the competition for the top organic local spot is fierce, there are measures you can take to encourage digital assistants to pick you as the right answer. Be sure that youre maintaining your local search ecosystem:

Optimize your location data -- Getting all of your location data in order is key. Digital assistants will only be as good as the data that they have. Make sure your location information is always updated, correct and consistent across the web.

Fill out all relevant business categories for Google My Business -- Make it easy for digital assistants to find your name, address and phone number (NAP) and make your Google My Business (GMB) profile as complete as possible.

Cultivate reviews -- Search engines rely on reviews for verifying the quality of a business. Monitor reviews and address complaints quickly. More importantly, cultivate reviews from satisfied customers by asking them for feedback.

In this new era of SEO, voice search will continue to transform as digital assistants become mainstream. If you want to ensure a high ranking for voice searches, your website needs to feature content that has a conversational tone and your business needs to maintain a positive reputation online.

Want to know more about the new world of digital assistants and voice search and how it impacts your SEO, or need help with any part of your website design process? Contact HLM today!

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!

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Know What Makes Your Phone Ring? https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/Know-What-Makes-Your-Phone-Ring_AE418.html Now you will -- every click and every call! Phone calls are a critical component of gaining new business and the most important step in the customer journey. In fact, 43% of all search-related conversions happen over the phone.

Thats why HLM created a powerful call tracking product that integrates with your 24/7 Performance Dashboard -- so you can monitor calls to your business and stay better connected with your leads and customers.

What is call tracking?

Call tracking is the process of attaching a unique phone number to a companys marketing efforts. This allows a company to assess the ROI of various marketing initiatives and determine which ones drive the best results.

What are the benefits?

  • Track Your ROI -- Determine what your actual return on investment is for different marketing campaigns.

  • Determine Peak Call Hours -- Pinpoint exactly which days and hours you receive the most calls to more efficiently schedule your staff.

  • Target Your Demographic -- Determine exactly who your customers are and where they live.

  • Call Recording Information -- Discover what kinds of problems your customers are experiencing and what products they prefer.

  • Measure Your Website Effectiveness -- Determine exactly which landing pages are actually producing calls.

  • Refine Your SEO -- Collect information regarding your pay per click marketing and see exactly which keywords are producing calls.

  • Manage Your Staff -- Assess the quality of customer service your team is providing.

How does call tracking improve customer service?

Your team will provide better customer service when they get a head start on helping your customers. Your representatives can find out who is calling ahead of time from a whisper message or a pop up on the screen. A whisper message can provide information such as:

  • Where the customer is calling from
  • Which of your campaigns they called in from
  • A customers account number

When your team knows who is calling and why, it can reduce your customers wait time by as much as 43%. This could also lower the cost of your call by as much as 35%.

A great feature to use in conjunction with analytics is call recording. Call recordings can be easily added to a report and linked to a recording of the call as it happened. Hearing how your sales and customer service representatives interact with customers will provide valuable insight that allows you to identify struggling reps and coach them to improve their performance.

How does 'click-to-call work?

Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) allows a prospect to connect to your business with one click. Unique call tracking phone numbers can be placed on your website or landing page to help you understand how visitors arrived to your page(s). With this method, call analytics tracks which campaign, keyword, app or search engine led the most customers to your site. Using dynamic number insertion can also help improve your overall SEO efforts.

Whats included in a call tracking report?

In a typical campaign, we track:

  • Total number of calls made by phone number
  • Call date, time
  • Dialed number and campaign information
  • Callers location (name, address, if available)
  • Call duration

Do I need to install hardware or software?

By nature, call tracking is SaaS (Software as a Service) Theres no need to install hardware, or worry about upgrading your systems to get set up. As soon as you have the number you want, you can start using it in your marketing campaigns.

Lets get your call tracking solution started! Contact HLM today.

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!

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Why Not Answering Your Phone is Killing Your Business https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/Why-Not-Answering-Your-Phone-is-Killing-Your-Business_AE417.html
Obviously, your business doesnt work without customers. What is not obvious is the way those essential relationships are built and maintained. And since a phone call is still the number one method customers turn to when they need to reach you fast or a prospect uses to make first contact, the last thing you want to do is deliver the disappointment of a missed call.

Your businesss reputation

Regardless of the size of your business you want to establish trust. Your customers need to believe that you are organized and in control. Failing to answer your phone frustrates them, leaves their issues on the table and convinces them that you dont have a solution for them.

Sound familiar?

  • A customer calls, and it rings until they lose interest and hang up.
  • A customer is put on a hold and either put in a queue, or offered a call back at a later time.
  • Your voicemail service kicks in and the customer is given the option to leave a message.

Your customers and prospects dont care if you are short-staffed or if no one is there after 5 p.m. Unanswered calls send a signal to customers and prospects that they are not important to you, or that you cant be trusted to handle their business reliably or effectively. 75 percent of callers will not leave a voicemail, and about 85 percent of callers, who dont reach you on the first call, will not call back. Instead, they will call your competitors.

Missed calls = lost opportunity

We did a little research of our own and of the 50 law offices we called, only 3 of them actually answered their phone!

In this digital age you might think that emails or social media messages have surpassed the phone, but in fact, 80 percent of all business communications still take place via a phone call.

More than 60 percent of unhappy clients will take their business elsewhere. Around 70 percent of people will stop dealing with a firm whose customer service is unreliable, and more than 60 percent will go on to do business with a rival company.

Considering the fact that every call is a potential sale, this amounts to a significant source of lost revenue. Just one missed call each week equals 52 lost sales opportunities every year. Those numbers can soar when you take into account the missed calls that may have led to repeat, loyal customers who referred your business to others. Whats more, if you are paying for SEO or PPC campaigns to drive leads to your website and then fail to answer customer calls, youre losing potential revenue from sales.

Although digital customer service strategies are important, answering every call promptly and professionally should be your top priority. Not doing so can have a huge -- and lasting -- impact on your business, from lost revenue and bad customer service to negative reviews. A good rule of thumb: Answer your phone within three rings. If you dont, 7 out of 10 of those callers will not only hang up but wont call back.

Your call tracking solution is coming soon!

In the immortal words of Peter Drucker: "If you cant measure it, you cant manage it." And if you cant manage it, how will you ever be able to improve it?

At HLM, we understand that promptly answering and returning phone calls is critical to the success of your business. For this reason, weve been developing and testing a powerful call tracking product that integrates with your 24/7 Performance Dashboard -- so you can monitor calls to your business and stay better connected with your leads and customers. Stay tuned for more information on HLM call tracking. Questions? Contact your account manager today.

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!

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https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/Why-Not-Answering-Your-Phone-is-Killing-Your-Business_AE417.html
Would You Spend $5 Million for Thirty Seconds? https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/Would-You-Spend-5-Million-for-Thirty-Seconds_AE416.html More than 100 million Americans tune in to watch the Super Bowl every year. People actually look forward to Super Bowl commercials, a rarity in the days of skippable ads. The live broadcast presents marketers with a golden opportunity to reach a huge amount of consumers -- making it possible for the network to charge $5.2 million to run a 30-second spot during last years game.

Just in the last decade, the cost of Super Bowl advertising has nearly doubled. Which means advertisers are paying nearly twice as much for an ad today as they did in 2008.

http://superbowl-ads.com/cost-of-super-bowl-advertising-breakdown-by-year/

Google and Facebook advertising costs have been on the rise too - why?

Supply and demand. Theres more demand today for the same amount of advertising spots. This means that advertisers have fewer opportunities to connect to consumers and websites offering ad impressions have

less inventory to sell. As the available supply decreases, the price to advertise on these platforms has been increasing. This means the most effective ads are getting the most clicks.

In addition, consolidation of advertising networks into fewer players, an increase in competition for available inventory and an increase in the use of ad blockers (up to 18% of all US consumers use some form of ad blocking technology) also contribute to increased digital costs.

Were in this together

Despite the rising costs of digital advertising, HLM continues to provide unparalleled digital marketing strategies while keeping costs as low as possible for our clients.

How does HLM combat the rising costs of digital advertising?

1. We perfect your prospects landing experience

Since your competitors are competing for the same exact keywords, we make sure clicks lead to a relevant and compelling destination landing page.

2. We leverage extensions

Maximizing all possible Google Adword extensions allows us to take up more real estate, allowing your business to stand out and get clicked on.

3. We monitor your progress

Scrutinizing your search query reports to identify which keyword variations are working and which arent provides opportunities to make adjustments and increase your visibility.

Digital is changing at a breakneck pace, and none of it is straightforward. Fortunately, HLM has experts observing the trends and responding with nimble, calculated moves to keep our clients ahead of the curve.

We understand the small business journey, and developing long-term partnerships is the cornerstone of what HLM stands for. So we will always evolve our business model to provide the best value to our clients.

Establishing a strong web presence is key

Were the team who will dive in, analyze your sites strengths and weaknesses and help you build an affordable yet game-changing plan for improved performance, ranking and conversions through a completely optimized website, PPC campaign and long-term SEO monitoring solution.

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!

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Topic Clusters = The Future of SEO https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/Topic-Clusters-%3D-The-Future-of-SEO_AE415.html As trends continue to move towards mobile, search engines have changed to accommodate search terms we now use. Keywords lost their importance in favor of topic-based content. Most questions (queries) posed to search engines nowadays ask about a topic rather than a keyword. This caused influential search engines, like Google, to change their algorithms to favor topic-based content, called topic clusters.

Your team of topic experts

As an HLM client, you already benefit from this topic cluster approach. As SEO practices have shifted, weve tripled our team of industry certified strategists specialized in website writing, UX and SEO. Our content experts have implemented a new way of linking related content under the topic clusters model -- thinking in terms of the topics you want to own, not just keywords. We focus our efforts on topics that are highly relevant to your challenges and goals.

Your success is our success. That's why HLM built a team of uniquely qualified experts to optimize your content by writing concise, benefits-driven copy to drive more traffic and increase your conversion rates.

So what is a topic cluster?

A topic cluster is a group of interlinked web pages built around one piece of pillar content targeting a broad topic, linked to several related but more narrowly-focused pages. Here's a great video explanation:
https://youtu.be/xOGxyw9DSa8

Search engine semantics

Keywords ruled for many years because they comprised of only one word or a short phrase that search engines could easily search. Keywords act as shortcuts summarizing an entire web page. Search engines have fundamentally changed the way they provide results when a user searches. Search engines, like Google, became "smarter" and can now index an entire web pages content to answer a question (query) or search an entire subject (topic). Thus, keywords alone are no longer as valuable for SEO.

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/understanding-difference-queries-keywords/126421/

In the past, a search engine would only show results that included the exact phrase someone searched for. A search for "plumber in Michigan" would only show results for "plumber in Michigan." As technology progressed, search engines became better at semantics and understanding what the user wanted. They began showing maps to businesses, product results with prices and links to purchase them and great videos on Youtube. Searches became centered around what the user intended to do with the information, rather than just matching the exact search words.

Beware of SEO companies claiming "We Get You Ranked #1!

Ranking is important, but a great SEO strategy takes into account not only what the user wants, but how they are asking for it. This is the topic cluster approach.

Users search many variations to get exactly what they want, exactly how they want it. Answer the Public is an amazing tool that shows how users search for topics. A search for "marketing" returns this matrix of long phrases that users are searching to find marketing-related information:

This is a daunting list, but illustrates how one word can be used in hundreds of different ways. Imagine how many opportunities would be lost if you only focused on one of these keywords!

Neil Patel, Founder of KissMetrics, discusses this in his past SEJ Summit discussion on "queries vs keywords." Patel explains that a single topic can drive many different query variations:

The example above shows that, while skinny jeans may be the target, theres actually a number of different queries that relate to the topic. A great SEO can research these and optimize for them, driving more than just a single keywords worth of traffic, but potentially hundreds of different ones.

Content is king at HLM

As SEO experts, we look at visibility across a topic, as opposed to a specific keyword. Through building content within topic clusters, were able to capture a large amount of search traffic across an ever-increasing pool of relevant keywords/phrases. Our SEO topic-driven strategy drives important metrics like website visits and user interactions.

If youre with a company that promises big rankings but delivers little traffic, contact High Level Marketing for an SEO strategy that actually works!

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!

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Celebrate Your Small Business Independence https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/Celebrate-Your-Small-Business-Independence_AE414.html Running a business, no matter what size, is a way to gain financial and personal independence. As the owner you take control of the reins, set your schedule, make your own decisions and chart your own path. But lets face it, being a business owner is grueling work. It requires bravery, self-motivation, transparency and unwavering enthusiasm. No small-business owner can be successful without these traits. Theyre essential for growth, development and profitability.

Too often we focus on what is going wrong with our business, and dont spend enough time reflecting on our wins. We applaud all of the small business owners out there, as well as tomorrows entrepreneurs for the courage it takes to be a part of a small business. This 4th of July, have a beer, and lets toast to the things youve done well to secure your independence!

A few tips to help you emerge victorious:

Take a day off and disconnect

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are working longer hours than ever before. Even if you love what you do, you cant live on work alone. Taking time off is critical to refresh and recharge. Disconnect for at least a day and spend time doing what you love with the people you love. Youll be happier, healthier, and more productive for it. https://www.inc.com/news/articles/200604/overworked.html

Take time to celebrate the milestones

Working long hours and making sacrifices to grow a company requires tremendous dedication. Company-wide achievements should be celebrated with friends and family.

Dont go it alone

Learn from other business owners. Shared experiences and struggles provide invaluable insight that help you construct a strategy that works for you.

Here are a few resources I pull inspiration and information from:
https://joshlinkner.com/blog/

https://articles.bplans.com/what-you-can-learn-from-the-worlds-most-successful-business-owners/

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/books-for-small-business-owners-2951373

Dont forget to work on your business, not in your business

Most small business owners wear many hats and handle the day-to-day tasks; making it very hard to grow or move your business forward. Create dedicated space in your schedule to work on your long-term vision for the business. Focusing on the big picture and long-term strategy is the best way to ensure you remain independent for years to come.

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!

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Are You Ready for Google's "Speed Update"? https://www.highlevelmarketing.com/blog/Are-You-Ready-for-Googles-Speed-Update_AE413.html In 2016, mobile web browsing officially passed desktop traffic in volume. Roughly 60 percent of search queries globally now come from mobile devices. It is likely that mobile traffic will reach a full 2/3 of all traffic by the end of 2018. So if your website is not optimized for mobile devices, your business is missing out on literally thousands of prospects.

What is the Google "Speed Update"?

In an effort to provide the most valuable search results, Google will give preference to fast, mobile-optimized, responsive websites starting in July 2018. Googles "Speed Update" will make site speed part of Googles core mobile algorithm. Previously, Google was only considering page speed as an official ranking factor for desktop websites. Starting in July, it will also be the case for mobile websites.
https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/01/using-page-speed-in-mobile-search.html

This Google update to push its "mobile-first" indexing to the web fundamentally changes the landscape of organic search as we know it; where the desktop ranking of a site pre-2018 would inform the ranking of its mobile version, now we are seeing the opposite.
https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/03/rolling-out-mobile-first-indexing.html

Boosting Mobile-Friendly Pages - Not a New Idea

In 2015 Googles mobile-friendly update, aptly named "mobilegeddon" by the industry, gave preference for responsive websites or those with mobile-only versions (commonly created with an m. subdomain). The continued focus on mobile is both predictive and responsive to shifting user behavior - that mobile devices are the preferred method of web browsing over desktop computers.

Google alluded to this in their most recent announcement, stating, "We continue to encourage webmasters to make their content mobile-friendly. We do evaluate all content in our index -- whether it is desktop or mobile -- to determine how mobile-friendly it is. Since 2015, this measure can help mobile-friendly content perform better for those who are searching on mobile. Related, we recently announced that beginning in July 2018, content that is slow-loading may perform less well for both desktop and mobile searchers."
https://searchengineland.com/library/google/google-mobile-friendly-update

The July 2018 update adds an additional layer to the aforementioned changes to Google rankings: mobile-optimized doesnt just mean a website sizes appropriately to the device of the user; it also means fast. Users that have experienced slow websites on their mobile devices would immediately identify this as a pain-point in mobile web browsing. Most websites scale appropriately, but often take too long to load. Page speed is important to users because faster pages are more efficient. For a business owner, faster page speed is imperative for search engine optimization (SEO) and driving leads for your business.

Keeping Up With Google

Weve been building websites, both responsive and site speed optimized, for years!
Every responsive website we develop is built to attract the highest possible amount of new customers from search engines, like Google. This creates the foundation for effective SEO mobile marketing. Because most phones are GPS enabled, search engines can pick up your site targeted close to the customer. HLM websites are optimized for all devices and ready for this new Google update.

Is Your Website Mobile Ready?

We encourage you to test your websites mobile-friendliness at https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly , input your website URL, and click "test."

Need a mobile-friendly website? Contact HLM today.

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!

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