Tim Rose brings his expertise to next year’s highly anticipated event.
So much commerce and many referrals now happen on mobile smartphones by prospective clients always online. The goal is to be at the top of your market.
There are two ways you can achieve this: 1) Pay for it through the use of programs like Google Adwords; or 2) Use organic methods to make your company the most relevant.
Option 1 is the easiest way. Google Adwords is by far the most popular “pay-to-play” program, although there are others such as Yahoo Bing Network. This option might be considered if you are a brand new company as the suggestions in this article tend to work more for businesses with an established audience.
When a company pays to be listed in the SERP (search engine results page), its listing contains a small designation next to it that says “Ad.” Two methods determine how much you pay to be included in the SERP, and neither method will guarantee you will be at the top. The least expensive is called “CPM” or cost per impression. In this method, you see how much you are willing to pay for your listing to show up in a SERP to a thousand searches. If someone else is willing to pay more, you end up underneath them.
The Bidding War
The second method, by far the most popular, is a pay per click (PPC), also called cost per click (CPC). In this case, you select keywords that identify with your company offerings and place a bid on how much you are willing to pay to have your company name show up at the top of the SERP. If another limo company in your market is willing to pay more, it might get listed above your company. Google will place a minimum dollar value on the words you select.
You can set a daily budget amount you are willing to spend, and Google will automatically adjust your bid amount to stay within your daily budget. However, no matter how much you bid, you can never be guaranteed the number one spot because someone can always outbid you, and other factors determine where you appear on the SERP.
What Determines Your SERP Position
If you don’t want to pay to appear at the top of the SERP, you have to work on your content and make your company the most relative to the search. When someone does a search, the search engines immediately began evaluating the words you used to search and delivers the results that most closely match what you are looking for. For instance, if you were to perform a Google search using the term “limos in Boise,” you would be provided with a list of all limo companies in Boise. The SERP will likely include network companies such as limos.com that serve Boise through its affiliates. Google also provides a quick list of the top three “relevant” companies in a box. Diamond Limousine is listed first with a five-star rating. Showcase Limousine, a 2016 LCT Operator of the Year award winner, is listed second with a four-star rating.
Search engines basically see you as a “relevant” company if many people interact with you (click-thru), search for your company by name, and provide the most relevant content to the search term used. It comes down to who is the most popular. What makes them the most popular? The same thing that happened on your high school campus. When everyone is talking about someone, then everyone wants to hang out with that person, and everyone knows her name. So the more content you have on your page, the more people search your company by name, and the more people who click-thru to your website from the SERP, the more relevant your company is considered by search engines.
How Reviews Can Help
Anytime someone reviews your company online, whether it is Yelp, Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, or any other site, it means people are talking about you. Whether it’s a good or bad review, it gets the attention of search engines. In our earlier example of Showcase Limousine, it was listed beneath a competitor, but appeared above them when searching for a pink limo although it had a slightly lower review rating. So whether you have five, four, or three stars is not that relevant.
In fact, quite the contrary. It’s a good thing for making you more relevant to search engines. For this reason, you should encourage people to review your company, and you can even manipulate your ratings on a particular site such as Google. If you send a post-ride thank you to each passenger, you may ask them to provide a star rating and a review. You can set up this request to publish only five-star reviews directly to Google and anything less can be directed in an email only to you. This allows you to reach out to the client to discuss the rating while posting only five-star ratings online. Your SEO manager should be able to set this up for you.
While sending a post-ride email is one method for getting people to review your company, asking people on your social media page is another way. You need to post the request regularly. As visitors come to your Facebook page, you want them to see it often to motivate them. Don’t forget to say thank you when you are notified of a review. You might also consider adding call-to-action buttons on your emails and on your website that will take visitors directly to Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, or Facebook to complete a review. Remember, even if they don’t give you a five-star review, they are helping you in your organic growth simply by talking about you on the Internet.
Getting people to search for your exact company name propels your popularity level. This is why it’s very important to keep your website fresh and interesting. Posting a daily or weekly blog might keep people coming back if the content is interesting.
Posting photos of recent activity such as wedding services (with permission) can get the newlyweds and their families and friends to visit your website to see the photos. The same can be done by taking pictures of people during wine tours and advertising the fun. Photos of pets and babies are big draws as well. Anything you think of that can be changed out or updated regularly will drive traffic to see what you have added.
You may consider creating a page on your website called Secret Saturday Sales. It’s not really a “secret,” but if people think so, and they can get a deal not offered to the public, they will come looking every Saturday. Using a web address similar to www.mycompany.com/secretsaturday achieves even higher ratings because it’s one-of-a-kind and search engines use uniqueness in algorithms to place your relevance even higher than a limo company without anything original to offer.
Tim Rose brings his expertise to next year’s highly anticipated event.
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