Getting your Business on Yelp

Yelp is a local review site with more than 30 million user-generated reviews and active communities in 15 different countries. Their reviews range over a number of verticals, including restaurants, retail, hotels and travel, real estate, education, and more. In the second quarter of 2012, they averaged 78 million unique visitors per month. With the launch of Apple Maps in iOS6 it is probably more important than ever for local businesses to start paying attention to Yelp and improving their engagement. By hooking into Yelp,

Apple Maps can not only show you nearby restaurants, but can also help you decide which one you want to eat at based on star ratings and reviews shown within the listing.

Over the past few months I’ve been participating in my local Yelp community and I decided with the recent developments I should reach out to my local Yelp community manager, Rowena Harris and ask her a few questions about her role and how businesses can be more active on Yelp.

What does your role as a Yelp Community Manager involve?

I could go on and on! Essentially, the key is in the word ‘Community’ – so I manage everything from welcoming new folk to the site, arranging off line events that help the Community bond, promote the independent business community of Leeds and even write a weekly newsletter to highlight all things awesome in the city!

Basically, Yelp is website that connects people to great local businesses, and anyone can sign up to read/write reviews about what’s great (and not so great) in their city. I’m the Community Manager for Yelp in Leeds. On a day to day basis the role involves writing the newsletter, engaging with the community online and I partner with events, to promote things going on in the city. I also organise events to promote the best of Leeds’ independent businesses to our Yelp Community and beyond.

How can people can become part of the Yelp Community?

All folks need to do is visit the Yelp! website to get involved – whether that means browsing reviews for suggestions of where to grab a craft beer, for example, or creating their own account to pass on recommendations of their own!
You can also sign up for the weekly newsletter on the site, have a natter on the Talk threads, put up cool local Events, make friends, and download the Yelp app to get involved on the go (checking in, leaving tips, and such like), so there’s tons of ways to join in the Yelping!

How can a business improve their visibility on Yelp?

From the Community side, which is where I’m at, the first thing I’d recommend to a business owner is to unlock the free business tools for their page – this is entirely cost free – to highlight themselves to the Yelp Community. Yelp aims to connect people with great local businesses and Yelp Business Accounts allow businesses to share information with the Yelp Community. Simply put, it’s word of mouth — amplified. To learn more check this page. If you are listed and your listing is unclaimed, click on the “Claim Local Business” link on the bottom the page and follow the instructions.

Another Community route that I deal with is in ‘word of mouth’ opportunities, via the exclusive Yelp events that I organise, which is a fantastic way for businesses to showcase their passions offline, in real life, to active and influential consumers (i.e. Yelpers). It’s always so much more engaging to have a real life taster and/or unique experience of a business and this is one of the best ways that I promote local independents – getting locals in the door and experiencing what they’re really about!

I also encourage any business owners to let existing or prospective customers know that they’re on Yelp, be it via the ‘Find Us on Yelp’ stickers, via Twitter/Facebook, and any other means that they wish. However, there’s a subtle, but really important difference between saying ‘find us on Yelp’ and ‘please give us 5 stars on Yelp’! After all, Yelp is all about authentic, unbiased consumer experiences, and we have systems in place to protect both Yelpers and businesses.

In addition to the above, really recently we’ve started to offer local business advertising solutions in the UK.

How to Optimise your Business Listing on Yelp

Fill out ALL the information on your business page. Add photos, business information, hours, website and contact info. Make sure you use your primary keywords too! By having a complete and search optimised Yelp profile you will increase the chances of customers finding your listing via the major search engines.

Post Announcements and Offers Frequently. Yelpers have a high rate of activity, so they will notice updates to your listing.  Also, your activity will appear in the directory for your city for everyone – not just people who visit your page – so this is a great opportunity to gain new clientele and reach out to people who haven’t heard of your business before. The more you post, the more people will notice your business, so start posting!

If your Yelp Business URL is long, you can create a short link redirect using a service such as bit.ly to make the process of typing in the URL seem less daunting, and quicker to accomplish.

As Rowena mentioned above Yelp have ways of checking if reviews are legitimate – therefore I would recommend you DON’T encourage your customers to leave reviews if they are not already signed up as a “Yelper” as there is a strong possibility that their reviews will be removed and if you get to many reviews by non “Yelpers” your business may become flagged.

You can’t please everyone all the time, and sometimes a negative review will get posted due to misguided customer frustration, or a member of your team making a mistake. As an owner Yelps gives you have the opportunity to respond to reviews to explain your side of the story. Unmerited negative reviews are usually very easy to spot. Be professional when responding to bad reviews as ultimately future customers will want to see that  the situation is now resolved and there are systems in place to prevent them from having a similar experience.

 

The Big Guide to Shopify SEO

Shopify is an affordable ecommerce platform favoured by many small businesses who want to get started with selling niche products online. It’s believed that Shopify currently powers in excess of 30,000 websites and helped to ship over 20 million items to date. The eCommerce platform allows users to easily and quickly create their own online store without all the technical work involved in developing their own website, or the huge expense of having someone else build one.

This guide is designed for SEO’s and competent webmasters who have some understanding of implementing code to websites. I don’t plan to cover off all of the basics of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) but if you are at all interested in learning more about SEO before tackling the tasks on your Shopify site then please feel free to check out the resources that I recommend below:

Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors

SEOmoz – Beginners Guide to SEO


Remember to back up your theme files and any code before making any amendments!!

Redirect non-www to www

Google and the major search engines consider http://google.com and http://www.google.com as different websites. This can mean that the search engines will have difficulty determining which version of your site to index. It can also mean that if your website has been linked to from different websites and blogs using a combination of the two URLs you are diminishing the value of the links pointing to your site.

To resolve this you need to create a 301 redirect.

On your Preferences go to the DNS & Domains page, check the option for “always redirect customers here” beside your primary domain – this will then make sure your customers and also the search engines visit the correct site.

Redirect Old Pages

If you no longer stock an item then you may want to redirect your customers and the search engines to an alternative product or category page. It’s very important that you redirect rather than return a 404 Not Found especially for pages that may have links from other websites pointing to them.

Luckily Shopify have given us a very easy to use tool for this. You can find the Redirect feature in your Navigation tab in the admin, at the bottom of the page.

You can also use this feature if you are moving your eCommerce store to Shopify from a different CMS.

Shopify URL’s, Title Tags and Alt Tags

Write title tags for humans; format them for search engines.

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Point Blank SEO Link Building Course – Review

Are you a budding link builder or are you a link building guru ninja rockstar?

Jon Cooper of Point Blank SEO has finally gone and done something a lot of people have been looking for… created a quality Link Building Course.  Jon has spent the past 4 months creating the modules for his Link Building Course to make it easy for you to find the latest and best quality material all in one easy to access online resource.

Jon is very passionate about link building and has spent the last couple of years building an authority SEO blog. He’s not one of these bloggers who talks about something, he actually practices what he preaches. If you sign up to this new Link Building Course you can follow a live case study as Jon builds links for his new eCommerce website, how often have you seen link builders sharing this level of detail?

What do I get?

Jon is the first to admit that this course is a work in progress, but don’t let that put you off investing. The main reason that this course is a work in progress is because Jon is a perfectionist and he is building a product that will stand the test of time in the ever changing world of SEO.

Currently the Modules include:

  • Beginners Guide to Link Building
  • Link Building Strategies
  • Tools
  • Advanced Techniques
  • Link Building Campaigns

As I mentioned earlier Jon will be adding new content to his course regularly to make sure you have access to the latest actionable material. There are already plans a foot to add some Video Tutorials and Guest Contributions from industry leaders which I am really looking forward to. If you have any questions or want to see a particular subject covered then you are more than welcome to contact Jon Cooper personally and make a request.

Each chapter in the course content can be extracted as a pdf so you can share it with your team members so you don’t have to spend too much time hands on training them. Jon also has included an Excel Spreadsheet with hundreds of easy to obtain High PR/DA links such as Press release sites, infographic directories, business profile pages and many more.

I have to admit I found some creative ideas in the advanced section and by taking action on one of the techniques Jon has laid out I have already found a few dozen link building opportunities.

So, for the more than affordable price of just $67 you get access to some really high quality material that will be updated with even more great content in the future. I have a feeling the price on this product will probably go up in the future as more information and link building strategies are included.

Access the Point Blank SEO Link Building Course for $67 Now.

Oh, and Jon is offering a 60 day 100% money back guarantee… what are you waiting for!

Don’t just take my word for it

 

 

Getting More Traffic and Links with Pinterest

Pinterest is a fast growing platform and one where I have been carrying out a lot more work for clients in the past few weeks. I have had some successes with getting more Pinterest traffic and even some great links from bloggers by using Pinterest as an outreach tool. So in this blog I’ll share some tips and tricks I have picked up.

How to Drive More Traffic from Pinterest

The first thing to do is make sure your content on Pinterest can be found easily.  A lot of Pinners don’t add a description to the images they are pinning and therefore it is hard to find them when you conduct a search in Pinterest.

You want to treat your description as if you were writing an excerpt for a blog post, so make sure you advise of the benefits of the visitor clicking through to your site. You have a maximum of 500 characters but I have found keeping descriptions around 50-150 characters, you can also add a web address and hashtags in your description.

Next you want to add a Pin it Social button to your website so your visitors can pin any images they like on your site. Navigate to the Goodies area and scroll down to the Pin it Button for Websites area.

Fill in the relevant fields and then an embed code will appear which you can add to your site.

If you have a WordPress site then there are a number of Free Plugins you can install on your site.

Now you have optimised your blog or website for Pinterest you want to visit your evergreen content that still receives traffic from search engines or referrals. If your site doesn’t have too many images then you want to add some nice looking photos and pinnable images, such as memes or inspirational quotes.

For one of my clients who were a food blog I created some funny quotes based on the recipes on the site; if you aren’t au fait with Photoshop or other image editing software then hop on over to Fiverr there are lots of designers who will be more than happy to provide you with some cost effective images based upon your requirements. With in just a few days of adding these images to the site referral traffic from Pinterest was up by 65% & the average Pinterest visitor stayed on the site for about 6-7 minutes and there was a reasonable bounce rate of 42%.

If you are looking for more ideas to developing content for Pinterest then I recommend this post on SEOmoz by Coby Almond.

Is it time to invest our budgets in Pinterest content?

A lot of businesses are starting to invest their marketing budgets in creating boards, contests and Pinterest targeted content and with the news that Pinterest is now driving more traffic than Bing, Twitter or Stumbleupon you can start to understand why. Shareaholic is one of the main providers of social sharing buttons and collates their data across 200,000 websites. They have a reach of approximately 300 million so are a fairly reliable data source. From the below figures you can clearly see that in June Pinterest over took Twitter in driving traffic to websites but when you actually look closer at the numbers you see an interesting set of results.

Source: Shareaholic All Traffic Sources Report

It is clear to see from the table above that the total traffic driven to websites via Social Media is approximately 10-11%, with Direct traffic driving almost twice that amount and Google search bringing in 45% of all traffic. So I wouldn’t be making a significant reduction in my search budget to start to focus on expensive Pinterest friendly content just yet. But that’s not to say you can’t create something small scale and affordable to increase the likelihood your content is shared.

Source: Repinly

However if you are running a business within a niche that is popular with the stereotypical Pinterest user e.g. Food and Drink, Women’s clothing or home decor then it is more important that you begin to define a clear strategy than if you are a car mechanic or health care provider.

Who is Pinning my Content?


Once you have devised your Pinterest content strategy you want to begin to understand who is pinning your images to their boards. You can do this yourself by going to Pinterest.com and adding your domain name after source.

There are also two tools that I have used recently when carrying out this type of analysis. The first is by Gaz Copeland which is a simple bookmarklet that allows you to see which images have been pinned and by who when you are browsing a website.

 

Gaz’s Pinterest Tool

 

The other bookmarklet is by Aaron Friedman and Josh Nankin which does a very similar job to Gaz’s bookmarklet but instead of taking you to Pinterest to view this data it creates a CSV file you can download and manipulate in Excel.

 

Pinterest CSV Tool

 

To add these bookmarklets to your browser just drag and drop them to your bookmarks bar.

Once you know who is pinning your content (or your competitors content) you can begin to devise an outreach strategy to obtain more Pins or links.

Using Pinterest as an Outreach Tool

The great thing about Pinterest is how personal it is. It really is an insight into the lifestyle a person either lives or aspires to live. You can find out what food’s they like, what cars they want to drive, the holidays they enjoyed and the books or movies they love. This information is absolutely gold to an outreach specialist or link builder.

For example if I was carrying out an outreach campaign for a “link building infographic” I can run a simple Pinterest search for my keywords. For this example I will use the keyword phrase “Link Building Infographic”.

From this search I can find out the pins that have received the most re-pins, likes and comments. I can also click on a pin and see what the source URL is; so I can begin to create a list of blogs I might want to target with my blogger outreach campaign too.

Another useful insight I like is the fact you can find the most common people who your target re-pins. Which gives you more influential people to add to your target list.  Once I have created a list of pinners I then try to segment them even further to find the really heavy hitters. I do this by asking myself the following 4 questions.

 

  1. How popular is my target on Pinterest?
  2. Are they regular contributors?
  3. How active are they on other social media networks?
  4. How good is their personal website?

Now, I have segmented my targets I can now begin to start my outreach.

Source: Repinly

I have found the best way to begin a conversation with a Pinner is by commenting on their pins. Most popular bloggers will receive hundreds of emails and blog comments every week. But the great thing about Pinterest is that not many people are commenting on the site (just 0.5% of Pinterest users spend time commenting), so by doing so you really will stand out. Once you have let them know who you are, you can take the conversation to email or another social media platform.

To obtain the best results from your outreach you want to consider following my A, B, C’s of blogger outreach:

  1. Association –How can I develop a long term relationship? Could I offer a series of guest posts? Could I run a contest?
  2. Be Specific – Bloggers are pressed for time so what do you want them to do? Pin your content? Publish a guest post? Do an Interview?
  3. Content – Is my content unique or adding value? Is my content informative or entertaining? Is it relevant to their community?

Here is an example of an email I used for a recent infographic campaign once I had started to develop some basic relationships with my target bloggers:

Hi <redacted>,

I came across your site via Pinterest and wanted to share this new <redacted> infographic.

I was wondering if you’d be willing to share the infographic with the readers on your blog? I think <redacted>

Anyway I have published it here: <link>

If you do want to share it, here is an easy to copy embed code:

<embed code>

If you have any trouble with the embed code or have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thanks for your time,

Chris

As you can see I was brief and gave them clear instructions as to what I needed them to do.

I hope this blog post has gone some way to helping you use Pinterest better as part of your social media strategy. If you have any questions or great Pinterest case studies please drop them in the comments below.

 

How To Track WordPress Signups and Comments With Google Analytics

I’m sure you have heard of Google Analytics which enables you to track the behaviour of a site.  The key to success with Analytics is using website goals.  This allows you to conveniently measure the success of your website to criteria you dictate.  For a blog (for me), 2 goals would be a user registration – and a user posting a comment on a page or post.  For this, we need to ensure tracking is on all appropriate pages and that the goals are correctly configured.

If you haven’t already – you should be using the Google Analytics code (which looks something like the following).

<script type=”text/javascript”>

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);

document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’

type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

</script>

<script type=”text/javascript”>

var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-XXXXXXX-X”);

pageTracker._initData();

pageTracker._trackPageview();

</script>

Install Google Analytics

Firstly, make sure the Google Tracking Code is on all pages.  You can do this by editing your themes footer.php file.  Simply paste the Google Code before </body>.  But you’re not done yet.  You need to edit wp-login.php.  Search for </body> and before every instance add your Google code here too.  This will put tracking not only on your blog contents, but also registration and various front end forms too.

Configure Goal Tracking For Blog Registrations

You are now ready to configure Google Analytics to track goal actions on your blog.  To start with, we will setup the goal for a user registration.  Remember the additional code we added to wp-login.php?  This is where it comes into use.  Create a conversion goal based on the screenshot below.  I always give a goal conversion like this a value of 1 – due to reporting and keyphrase / traffic reports – which assigns a calculated money value field to various keywords and traffic sources to work out profitable items.

To make sure this goal is only counted when people register (and not just visit the page), add the following funnel configuration too;

There we have it.  If you leave this goal running for a while – you will be able to see exactly what keywords / traffic sources are driving registrations – and infact – whether your registrations are growing or falling…

Configure Analytics For Blog / Page Comments

The new version of Google Analytics allows us to track onclick events.  Every comments box has a submit button or image.  We can track when this button is clicked using Google Analytics.  To get your head around this concept, we setup what we call a virtual page view (a page that doesnt actually exist – the submit button) and we link this virtual page view to a goal in Analytics.

The first thing to do is edit your themes template file – namely comments.php.  Unfortunately, you will need a little bit of HTML knowledge to find the HTML code for the submit/image button.  Once you have located this, add the following code to the input object;

onclick=”javascript: pageTracker._trackPageview(’/goal/wordpress.html’);”

Thats it! Now – everytime the submit button is pressed on the comments form – analytics will log that /goal/wordpress.html has been visited.  This leaves the logical conclusion to add a goal conversion to this page.  See the screenshot below on how to do this;

 

That’s all there is too it.  You have now setup goal tracking on your WordPress blog.