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Search engine ranking = Website loading speed

The website loading speed is becoming an increasingly more important factor in search engine rankings and more importantly, conversion rates.

Consider these statistics (sources listed here):

  • Customers expect your site to load in 2 seconds or less
  • 40% of customers will leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load
  • For every 1 second of load time, conversion drops by 7%
  • For every 1 second of load time, user satisfaction drops by 16%

This is definitely something to consider when building a new site but your site can slow down over time as you add and remove pages, images, badges, social buttons, etc. Check your page load times regularly to ensure you aren’t losing business due to slow load times.

Rank Higher in Local Search Results

Ranking on a local search is very similar to ranking on a standard search. You need to be one of the top companies that fit the keyword that was typed in, but the criteria for ranking on a local search can actually be much different.

Here are some of the SEO areas you must focus on when creating a local SEO strategy:

Online Reviews

Potential customers look to Google like the friend who has been everywhere and tried everything, so they’re going to consult the search bar before deciding if your business is worth their time. When Google decides which businesses to push to the top of its list of results, it is only going to consider those that consistently provide a positive experience.

If you want to see your name among the top three results, you need to get online reviews from your customers to improve your online reputation. Simply asking those who visit your store to review their experience on Google, Yelp, or Facebook can help to improve your results listing.

But beware of negative reviews. While it is not uncommon to see one or two bad reviews on a company’s page, they need to be balanced by glowing recommendations and reviews from happy customers. Too many negative reviews will cause Google to push you further down the list of results.

If you do get a negative review, do your best to make the situation right. A good reputation management strategy is to respond to the individual’s message and ask them to get in touch through a private avenue, such as over the phone or via e-mail. This can show visitors that you care about improving customers’ opinions of you but will also take the drama off the Internet.

Accurate and Consistent NAP Information

Your NAP information refers to your name, address, and phone number of the business. While it may seem like there is no way you can mess this information up, even little inconsistencies can push your ranking further down the list. You want each and every page you own online including website, social media pages, and citations; to have the same abbreviations and punctuations.

Google is very smart, but it is still a computer. It isn’t that difficult to throw Google off with minor inconsistencies. While you’re trying to make a connection between your company and your geographic location, you need your NAP information to appear the same every time it appears online. If your address appears different on your website than it does on your Yelp page, even if it is a minor inconsistency such as an abbreviated word, Google may not recognize that the two are connected.

If your pages are not being connected to Google, it may register them as entirely different businesses. The efforts you put on your website can only go so far without the additional support of a Yelp page or your social media platforms, and vice versa. Ensure that you don’t run into any of these problems by double checking that your NAP information looks the same on each of your pages.

Use Local Citation Building

Local citation building is another crucial component of developing a local SEO strategy. When you build local citations, you’re getting your company name and information listed on directory pages for your area or your industry. Yelp is one of the most popular citation pages around.

To appear higher on a Google results list, you will also need to ensure creating a Google My Business page is a part of your local citation building plan. Because it is owned by Google, the Google My Business pages will appear above all other results in a local search.

When you have a citation posted, double check that all your information is correct. If you are listed but the phone number or address isn’t correct, it isn’t going to help your business or your SEO strategy.

When creating your local SEO strategy, always keep in mind that you want to appear like you are part of the community. You should have connections with other businesses in your area, should appear in the listings of citation pages all over the Web, and your review pages should show that real people in the area are having a great time when they visit your store or restaurant.

Improve Your Web Page Load Speed

Search engines and, more specifically, Google, have included a website’s load speed to its search algorithm. Although this is not a critical factor in determining the ranking of a website, very slow loading websites are more likely to lose points with search engines. Visitors may also choose to close websites that take more than five seconds to load.

The goal of Google is to improve user experience. One of the things Google does is to look at the load speed of a website. A slow loading website is not popular with users and Google does not give such sites priority. According to research from Strangeloop, a one second delay in load time can lead to 11 percent fewer page views and a decrease of 16 percent in customer satisfaction.

Needless to say, the load speed of a webpage is very important to Internet users and has the potential of impacting SEO results. The cloud eliminates most of the limitations that cause a website to load slowly. Cloud hosting works by putting your website in multiple locations around the world, thereby speeding up the load speed because users will be redirected to the server that is nearest to them.

In addition to that, cloud hosting will eliminate the issues associated with server overstrain when there is a traffic spike. Yes, you might end up paying more for this service, but its returns will be worth the investment. Your website will slow down or stop responding.

Create Excellent, Shareable Content

Shareable content is something that your clients will enjoy enough to click the share button on Facebook or re-tweet on Twitter, helping you widen your content reach. When you create shareable content, you are getting closer to having content that goes viral, which will help bring in more clicks, likes, and, in the end, more revenue. This is precisely why it is important. How can you create shareable content? Never fear! I am going to take a look at some of the top tips just for you.

11 Awesome Ways to Create Shareable Content

Get your thinking cap on and prepare to learn some awesome ways to create great, shareable content for your clients.

1. Create Content that Provides Value to Your Readers. Something that people look for in content is if it provides some sort of value to their lives. This can be in the way of a DIY project, recipes, how to get healthy, and many other things. No matter what your industry is, you are always able to create valuable content that your clients can take and apply to their lives or businesses. A great way to tell if it is valuable is to think, “If I were one of my clients, would this post provide me with the information I am seeking?” If the answer is yes, then you have valuable content.

2. Keep Things Positive to Get More Shares. One of the often joked about aspects of the Internet is how negative people can be. Whether it is people trolling reviewers for books or games or if it is about a political stance, people can simply be mean and negative. This doesn’t just happen in the comments either. There are plenty of places to promote and share negative content, and it can get pretty exhausting for most people. Because of this, positive content is an absolute must when you want your content to be shareable. By creating positive content, you have more of a chance to stand out from the other sources on social media, and get more shares. Becoming a positive force on the Internet is significantly more powerful than you may realize. Try it out and see what benefits you reap.

3. Share and Create Content that Clients Have an Interest in. When you create or share a resource on your social media channels, you need to make sure your clients are truly interested in it. The best way to do this is to research your client base and learn what they like, where their interests lie, and even take some time to look over analytics. This can help you tailor all of your posts to make sure they have the impact you want. In addition, content that your clients are interested in will make it much more likely to be shared. Interesting content equals sharable content.

4. Make Your Content Look Awesome. A big part of creating sharable content is whether or not it is aesthetically pleasing. If it doesn’t look like it is put together well, people are less likely to share it. However, if your content has a put together look and utilizes high quality images or videos, people will be more apt to share it. People love quality whether it is in written format or photos, videos and any other form of media. A great way to make written content aesthetically appealing is to make sure it has a great flow that people can quickly and easily skim their eyes over. Once you do this, you are well on your way to getting more shares for your content.

5. Ask Your Followers for Their Input On Topics. You can get people to share your content, but if you have them put their two-cents in, people are more likely to share, as Social Media Examiner points out. First of all, this increases social media engagement, which is something every business or person wants on his or her social pages. Second, if you listen to the suggestions and make content based off of input, people will share and are likely to say, “This page listened to me! Take a look.” People love feeling involved and they also like feeling that they helped a business with something. That feeling of importance is something many of us enjoy, and you can provide a little taste of that with just asking, and listening, to a bit of client input.

6. Use Photographs on Facebook and Twitter. One of the best ways to get your content shared is to use images in your social media campaign. According to Jeff Bullas, Facebook posts that share an image obtain a 37 percent higher level of engagement, which shows just how important photos are. Use them in your social posts, blogs, web content, and even press releases to garner more results as well as more shares.

7. Create Content of Varying Lengths. When you write up content, you should try to provide readers with different lengths of articles. The battle over how long a blog post or piece of web content should be has long raged on, but if you provide different lengths instead of looking for that “sweet spot” you are able to reach out to a wider audience. Some people like to read short and to the point pieces where as other people want to read an in-depth article on a topic. Provide them with the choice, and even throw in a few different formats such as infographics, videos, or podcasts. It is important to remember that, while shorter content is helpful for your readers, long Web content is still winning the content length war.

8. Make Your Customers Feel Smart. Another great way to create shareable content is to make your customers feel and look smart. People aren’t likely to share something that will make them look silly, but if you provide them with content that is great at making them look intelligent, they will share it. This goes hand-in-hand with creating valuable content, as well as creating content that teaches your clients something new while helping them know they are truly smart.

9. Use Content Curation Tools to Find Great Content to Share. It can be difficult to come up with excellent content ideas all the time but, if you use content curation tools, you can come up with some great topics. Content curation tools can help you find great resources for your blogs, as well as helping you learn about topics in your industry and what your clients will be interested in. It also helps you find great sources to share on your social media accounts.

10. Make Sure You Have Captivating Headlines. Headlines are vital to any and all content because a headline can be what convinces someone to click on the link. In addition to convincing a reader to click the link, a captivating headline can also be what convinces someone to share a post. If your headline is crafty, fun, and insightful, you will find that your followers and readers are more likely to share or re-tweet. Once that post is out on their Facebook or Twitter, then the headline can convince their followers to not only click on the link but to share as well. The cycle continues, providing you with some truly excellent results.

11. Share Various List Posts with Followers. Along with photographs, people love lists. When someone clicks on your content, they are more likely to stay on it if it is in list format. This makes it easier to skim the content and find the bits of information that are more valuable to the reader. Once someone has been able to skim over your list, they are also more likely to share it with others, according to Convinceandconvert.com.

Creating Sharable Content

Your ability to reach target customers is limited to email databases, to past customers and to social media followers. It’s also limited by budgetary constraints; yes, you can pay to be displayed to a large network, but only if you can afford it.

Sharing takes this dated view of marketing and flips it around. It makes it possible for your brand to be displayed to an infinite number of readers without stretching your budget or working tirelessly to increase online followings.

To understand how valuable sharing is for your business, it’s important to check out a few statistics. According to The State of Social Sharing, social media sharing is second only
to strong content in terms of increasing search engine rankings.
Furthermore:

  • 46% of adults who use social media networks share or repost statuses on a daily basis.
  • Up to 80% of content on some networks – like Pinterest – is reposted, or shared.
  • 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute.
  • The +1 button on Google+ is used 5 billion times every day.

From these statistics, it becomes clear that sharing isn’t limited to a single network; in fact, it easily crosses between networks. Furthermore, it’s active and ongoing. Content is shared every second across the world.

What Makes People Share Content?

Content is shared constantly. Great. But, as a brand, unless you understand why that content is shared, or what makes certain people more likely to share certain pieces of content, your reach will remain limited.

According to an article published by the Association for Psychological Science, the following motivators are factors in content that is shared:

  • People are more likely to share positive articles than negative pieces.
  • If something creates a feeling of “awe” it’s likely to be shared.
  • Social media users are on the lookout for emotional connections. If a piece of content contributes to this sort of connection, it’s likely to be shared.
  • If an article relates closely to how an individual feels defined, or what he or she believes in, it’s likely to be shared.
  • Shock appeal matters. If something will elicit a strong reaction – negative or positive – it’s more likely to be shared than an article that does not elicit such a reaction.

How to Make Your Content More Sharable

You understand the prominence of social sharing in our society and now you have more of an idea of what makes certain articles more likely to be shared than others. What do you do with this information? How do you move forward by creating sharable content on a regular basis? Follow the tips below for measurable, positive outcomes.

1. Inject Some Personality

You want your social media followers and those new to your brand to understand what drives you in the hopes that that driver will also motivate them to action. The goal here is to become relatable. If customers can feel as though they are able to “get to know” you and your personality through the content you create, they’re more likely to be drawn to your content, to relate and
to share. Insert personal opinions, make strong statements and write like you talk for best results.

2. Be Consistent

Your personality shouldn’t change from one piece to another. If you’d like to add variety, add a second author. However, when writing from your own perspective on your brand’s page, maintain consistency. Readers begin to rely on a certain style when reading your posts, it’s what makes them feel safer in sharing the content you create. To focus on consistency, create a style guide for yourself. Write down certain phrases that are okay, certain words and formats to avoid and word choices in describing specific actions, products or other jargon that make you sound like yourself.

3. Tell a Story

Who doesn’t love a great story? Why not use your blog to tell one? Write about a customer’s experience, create a monthly team member spotlight or tell about how a certain group is using your brand’s product to make a difference. The options are endless; however, if you’re able to use your blog to tell a story, you’re more likely to allow customers to feel a connection, a connection they’re likely to share.

4. Consider Shock

This one is tricky. However, the article mentioned previously makes it clear that when something is likely to elicit opinions – negative or positive – readers might be more prone to sharing it. Consider your brand and think about topics that you’re passionate about. Be careful, if your “shock value” is too strong or too negative, it could work against you. Try starting small and writing about a more insignificant topic to test the waters. Watch how your followers react and try again in the future.

5. Create Something New

No one wants to read the same story 10 times. It gets boring; reading the same facts with the same view over and over is old news. Old news doesn’t get shared. New news, on the other hand, can spread like wildfire online. Consider investing in a customer survey or third party group to collect data. Ask questions about how your products are being used, find out more about your target market and their interests, look for new patterns and pieces of information. Then, create content accordingly. When you have something new to say, you will have an audience of potential readers that are willing to take the time to digest that information and to share it with their own networks.

6. Write for Your Followers

If you’re not taking the time to learn from your existing followers, you’re missing out. Use your social channels to ask questions and start discussions. Ask your followers what they’re interested in and what answers you can provide. Then, create content tailored to those answers. The more relevant your article is to your reader base, the more likely they are to share it with those around them. They’ll also feel more like they are part of the process, which is never a bad thing.

Understanding what makes content sharable and why it is important to your business is the first step toward actually creating sharable content. Ready to take a stab at it? Follow the tactics above and try out your own methods to find what works. Remember, if it can’t be shared, it’s probably not worth your time.

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