What is Your Company Online Profile?

Online Search

Nearly three in ten consumers who use site search report buying a product or service from a different business than they intended because they couldn’t find the information they were looking for online. 

LONDON, 16th June, 2021 – Yext, Inc. (NYSE: YEXT), the AI Search company, has today released research that shows a serious failure by businesses in communicating accurate and up to date information with consumers. 

Particularly during the pandemic, digital services have been vital to connecting consumers with brands online. Recent online research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Yext found that 58% of UK adults use site search at least weekly, and that 88% of respondents using site search agree it is an important tool in providing them with accurate and up to date information online. 

Yet despite the importance of site search for consumers, Yext’s research found that over half (56%) of UK adults using this tool believe that site search provides them with unrelated search results online. 

For many consumers, site search does not fulfil its aim of providing answers, with the research showing that 46% of users believe site search does not understand their questions. And another 35% believing that site search provides them with out of date or inaccurate information. 

With this level of competency and accuracy, it is no wonder that 38% of UK users become frustrated when using site search at least once a week.

“The pandemic has proven that now more than ever, the availability of up to date and accurate information online is vital in not only making the public feel safe, but in being able to engage with new and existing customers, no matter where they are in their customer journey.” said Jon Buss, Managing Director, EMEA at Yext.

“Yet site search has been taken for granted for far too long. Businesses need to wake up to the damage that outdated search tools are doing to their brand and bring it into the 21stCentury.”

What are businesses doing about this? Clearly not a lot, with 40% of UK users saying that businesses aren’t doing enough to improve their site search. 

For businesses, this has detrimental effects on customer loyalty and ultimately sales, with 64% of respondents using site search saying they would be more likely to buy from a business that provided direct answers to their questions via site search. 52% also agreed they would also be more likely to trust a business if they provided direct answers.

Outdated site search isn’t just failing customers but failing businesses. When customers can’t get the information they need online, they’ll simply go elsewhere. 

In fact, 60% of UK adults who use site search functions would be more likely to go straight to a customer’s website if they provided direct answers, with 28% stating they have frequently bought a product or service from a different business than they intended, because they couldn’t find the information they were looking for online.

What Yext’s research shows is that while consumers see site search as a vital tool in their digital arsenal, businesses need to take a more modern approach to site search. One that will allow them to cater for a 21st century consumer and save their businesses from technology that belongs back in the 90s.

Data Highlights:

  • 58% of UK adults online use site search at least weekly
  • 88% of respondents using site search agree it is important in providing them with accurate and up to date information
  • 64% of respondents who use site search would be more likely to buy from a business that provided direct answers to their questions
  • 26% of UK adults who use this tool feel site search infrequently provides them with the results they’re looking for first time
  • 38% of UK adults who use site search become frustrated at least once a week
  • 28% of respondents who use site search have frequently bought a product or service from a different business than they intended because they couldn’t find the information they were looking for
  • 56% of respondents surveyed believe site search provides them with unrelated search results
  • 46% of respondents surveyed believe site search doesn’t understand their questions
  • 35% of UK users believe site search provides out of date or inaccurate information
  • 40% of respondents surveyed believe businesses aren’t doing enough to improve their site search
  • 60% of respondents surveyed would be more likely to go straight to a customer’s website if they provided direct answers
  • Industries such as retail (41%) and entertainment services (35%) were considered to have good site search
  • Industries such as energy and utilities (24%), government services (24%) and Telecoms (19%) were considered to have poor site search

Methodology

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  The total sample size was 2098 adults, of which 1703 use site search. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th – 7th May 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Facebook and Instagram

Facebook Page

Why We Must Have a Facebook Presence

Facebook is changing. Facebook and Instagram will continue to be a critical part of any marketing strategy for small businesses.

With a huge audience of 2.27 BILLION users of whom 75% log in daily, this is an audience online looking at content that interest.  

If you sell anything at all you should have a credible and up to date Facebook page.

  • 60% of consumers visit your Facebook page before visiting a brick and mortar location.
  • 80% of consumers are more inclined to purchase from you if they find your company Facebook page credible and up to date.
  • 62% of consumers say Facebook is the most useful social platform they use.

Changes Though Are Afoot

Facebook is getting so busy it will start filtering and reducing content served to its users – this includes your content and posts, reducing your free exposure.  Therefore as a business owner, it is essential to have an active credible Facebook page.  Alternatively, you will fall for the paid advertising model to keep up with the competition. (More about this later).

Algorithm Changes Will Reduce a Small business easy reach of prospective customers.

Simple brand pages with little content and engagement will experience a drop in numbers. 

Facebook are to reduce the Newsfeed, 1500 posts could appear on average, this is expected to reduce to 300.

Be Savvier Tips

  • Post 80% helpful information directed towards your customers and 20% sales content.
  • Check and update your page as often as you can, respond to comments and messages timely.
  • Post Efficiently, quick to the point – don’t spend hours making that perfect graphic.
  • Look at Facebook Insights suggest the following optimised times to post.
  • B2B 9 am and 2 pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • B2C Noon on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • In my experience, I find other optimum posting times when working with clients.  For example; A Hobby store optimum post times are early evening at the weekend.  A Furniture reupholstery company is popular at weekends and Sunday afternoons, especially when it’s cold outside.

Include A Mix Of Posts

URL posts are simple posts, Facebook pull-in an image from the linked page automatically. The benefit of a URL post is a click of the image takes the visitor to the linked page, its fast and easy sharing.

Add some # (hashtags), your own or Facebook will suggest some from your text content.

Get some #s. You can get #s you may never of thought of online.

Add your own corporate graphics. Make some graphics optimised for Facebook posts (correctly sized images get more exposure). These posts look great and promote your brand.

Add ALT Tags to your images to describe what the image is, this text information strongly influences Google search ranking.

Spread posts at least 15 minutes apart, this is a better experience for your page visitor and is less spammy. Use scheduling to help with this.

Zedcomms are your ‘Marketing Arm’ – We will be pleased to see how we can support the company growing and benefiting online.

Gate Automation Specialist Case Study

Electric gates specialist

About The Company


Livewire Gates and Doors are a specialist in access automation and bespoke security solutions; electric gates and door automation services for domestic, commercial and industrial properties.

What We Do


We originally rebuilt the Livewire website using historical cached information from the Internet due to the original website being unavailable. We updated the branding with a new logo and optimised the website for search.

Ongoing Service

During the initial meeting, the owner mentioned he wished someone would ‘look after the website’ so we instigated one of or standard service packages that covers website maintenance and SEO of the website along with updates of the main social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter and Google Business.
(Google Business updates• Facebook manage and 5 posts• Twitter manage and 5 posts• Website maintenance and base SEO ongoing adjustment • 4 update reports per month• Yearly Update and Compare Marketing Analysis).


The client’s requirements were to promote the business in a professional manner, increasing the online profile, maintaining search ranking status and constantly refreshing the company profile within several media platforms.

The Outcome


Technical and marketing suggestions have improved business performance overall. This includes the addition of SSL certificate (more secure domain name which increases search ranking). Update of the PHP software on the website, installing the latest software is good for speed, security and search ranking. And the addition of more recently enhanced images of completed works which were not been published previously.

The website is now a much more integral part of the business, customers can see examples of completed gates and doors, the salesperson refers his prospective customers to the site and the search exposure is progressively getting bigger online

Continuous Improvement.

We report our actions to Livewire four times a month along with any additional suggestions to continiously improve the business online profile.

Good search engine optimisation (SEO) habits

SEO

Search engines strive to create the best user experience possible, providing the most relevant, useful information based on the user’s search terms. If they didn’t, users would no longer rely on them for information.

Therefore we should provide informative, accurate information to the search engines to attract that perfect customer.

Remember; The only person Google is concerned about is the user – the person searching on Google – so we need to reflect our business online neatly.

This is good news: the more relevant, informative and useful user experience we create, the better the chances that search engines will serve your website pages. By practising good search engine optimisation (SEO) habits, you can continually work to increase your search engine results page (SERPs) position. Here are some top SEO practices for SERP success.

On-page (your website) SEO best practices:

First, let’s talk about the platform you use, some website platforms do not have the option to add SEO information we talk about below. The main platforms like WordPress have lots of SEO options. If your website does not have SEO options within the back office admin area this does not mean you will not show in search results but its restrictive.

  1. Relevant keywords: Using a keyword tool can help determine which words will help attract the most visitors based on popular search terms. Pick the most relevant, popular keywords for your business and try to rank for different keywords on your web page.
  2. Short, catchy and original title tags: Title tags describe what your website is all about while attracting the user’s attention enough to (hopefully) click through to your pages. Limit the title tag description to 55 characters so it will display well on SERPs. Keep title tags descriptive yet short and sweet to help search engines and users determine the relevancy of your page. I like to add a little call to action, see photos, contact us or simply read more.
  3. Keywords at the beginning of page title tags: Google puts more weight on the start of the title tag, so try to keep the keywords at the beginning. All we are doing here is making our key word priority.
  4. Keyword focused meta descriptions: The meta description appears under the title tag on SERPs and gives users a chance to learn more about your company before clicking into your site. Aim for a meta-description length of 150-160 characters.
  5. Proper sitemap: Make sure your website’s structure is up-to-date and easy to navigate. The better the site structure, the easier search engine crawlers can find and index pages. Aim for a three-click rule—customers should find what they need on your site in three clicks. You will need to add a site map and some websites allow multiple site maps for pages, categories and products etc. The more accurate detail you add the better as it allows search engines to know all about your company.
  6. Properly structured, SEO-friendly URLs: URLs help crawlers to figure out page topic and relevancy. Don’t use UNDERSCORE Creating short URLs with your keyword in it, using “-” instead of “_” between words as well as static words (rather than numbers) will help users and crawlers read URLs faster and easier. Also, try to use sub-directory root domains instead of sub-domains.
    A subdomain is an additional part to your main domain name. Subdomains are created to organise and navigate to different sections of your website. You can create multiple subdomains or child domains on your main domain.
    For example: store.yourwebsite.com
  7. Link internally with anchor text: Linking internally to your other web pages adds keyword-rich internal links to every page. Internal linking helps search engines crawl and index your site, provides readers with more reading options and improves ranking for some of your keywords.
  8. Outbound links: Referencing and linking to reputable (authoritative) sources shows you are a helpful internet information steward that is willing to share pagerank. On the internet, helpful sharing is caring.
  9. Website’s loading speed: Search engines do not like slow pages as they know that users will not wait long for a website to load. Provide the best user experience possible.
  10. Really helpful content: Create relevant content on your pages that is easy to read, unique, helpful, fresh and grammatically flawless. Your content should be so helpful and relevant that your target audience will want to stay on your page and others will want to link to it.
  11. Although not mandatory, using a copyright notice costs nothing, and may help to deter infringements or your website content, look professional, tells your visitor your site is up to date and Google rank sites higher with an up to date copyright notice.

Off-page SEO practices:

  1. Search engine submission: It can take a while for search engines to find and crawl your site. You can help to speed up the process by submitting your website to popular search engines.
  2. Local directory submission: Submitting your business listing information to top or niche directories creates more places where users can find you and crawlers can confirm your business information. Be sure to submit NAP (name, address, phone number). And, if possible, website and category. A high percentage of searches are by keyword rather than business name, so strive to use category information wherever possible.
  3. Social media marketing: Be present on all relevant social channels and manage your online reputation. Strive to get likes, shares and links by being 80% helpful and 20% promotional.
  4. Video marketing: Help users find out about your business by sharing your relevant and helpful videos on sites such as Youtube, Vimeo, etc.
  5. Backlink outreach: Earn backlinks by conducting content PR to get others to read your pages and possibly link to you. The more quality backlinks your web page has, the more authority it has, and the more search engines will deem the page as relevant and useful.
  6. Forums and communities: Answering questions in forums and communities can help to build your reputation as an industry expert. This can provide a possible opportunity to include your website or blog link if it is relevant to the answer.

A fantastic structured way to tap into the search engines

A powerful way to link all this together is to post to a well-structured blog type website like a WordPress website with detailed information about your product and services. Include information that your prospective customer is interested in; what you provide, the detail, location, cost, availability, results, what the problem and solution were, all along with good quality images. Reflect what is happening in your business to the search platforms and your central website. Add to this a consistent social media campaign and you will attract the perfect customer.

Find out how Zedcomms can support your marketing.

Reputation Management

Reputation Management

Managing your company reputation online.

A business’s reputation used to be what they said about themselves in their advertising and the reach their customers had via word of mouth.  Now, consumers are pushing out a company’s reputation and image collectively by providing real-time feedback online through review sites, social media, forums and other channels.  Basically, if it is an online source and a consumer can say something about business on it, then it is a channel where your business’s reputation should be managed.  In addition, your company reputation can be affected by listing accurately, or more to the point, inaccurately online.


Digital marketing and online reputation management for businesses

Online reputation management is a part of a greater digital marketing strategy that works alongside review management, business listings, paid search/ads, social media management and SEO to help your business stay competitive and relevant online. While your business should be managing each of these segments of digital marketing to maintain your online presence and (consequently) offline reputation, many businesses are not. They really should: four in five consumers surveyed use search engines to find local information from multiple devices to find store address, business hours, product availability and directions.


Online reputation management: your business has options

Your business’s reputation can be affected at any time on just about any source across the web. You can use products (SaaS), services (outsource services) or people (outsource or hire a digital marketer) to cut down on your reputation management time expenditure. Even if your business tracks and constantly checks on social media, there may be sources that your business is unaware of such as a new review site from a listing that your business never knew that existed.

Your business should weigh the pros and cons of conducting online reputation management in-house or outsourcing, but there are definitely best practices when responding to reviews that your business should be aware of. Maintaining your business’s online presence is one of the most worthwhile services a digital agency or local media company can provide your business and is one of the most worthwhile services you can invest in.


Why your business’s online reputation matters

An online reputation needs to be backed by reviews and ratings by consumers. Without them, there would be no reputation to manage and quite frankly, it would appear as if no one ever visited the business.

Ready or not, consumers are talking about your business

Whether a business chooses to manage their reputation online or not, consumers are talking about their favourite and not-so-favourite businesses. If a business simply ignores their reputation online, the consequences can be detrimental.

Unmanaged negative responses can create an angry mob mentality and bad word of mouth spreads like wildfire. While a business may not realize how exactly one instance can affect their online reputation, it is possible that only one negative post on a highly ranked site can actually be what shows up near the top of a search results page when a consumer searches for that business’s name.

Consumers Control the Conversation and Everyone’s Feedback Matters
Social media is a two-way conversation — businesses can no longer broadcast the message they want people to see. There is a democratic nature to social, with brands, consumers and everyone having an equal voice in a shared space. Customers can rave about a business or let everyone know they had a terrible experience. Social networks have dramatically changed the way businesses communicate. Today, consumers can converse with brands and vice versa as if they were talking to a friend. As a result, businesses have had to become more personable than simply a business entity and manage their social presence in a manner that reflects as such.

Reputation drives conversion

What people see online matters. Approximately 74% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations—this is a huge shift in thinking that has become more prominent as time goes on. This trust in reviews translates to dollars, as customers put their money where their trust is. A Harvard Business School study found that a restaurant that sees a one-star increase on Yelp will see revenues increase anywhere from five to nine per cent.

As discussed previously, many businesses find that cultivating their digital profile on their own is too time-consuming. There are reputation monitoring tools that make keeping up with customers way easier, saving time and money. Whatever your business does, it is essential that you are not perceived to be ignoring your customers online. The worst thing your business can do is appear unresponsive.


What makes a good online reputation?

Being present (listed online) and having a good reputation (reviews and reputation management) go hand in hand. Not being listed on a reference site customers use is just as bad as having bad reviews on that site. Building a consistent online presence and a positive reputation is important for both consumers and search engines. Some of the most important aspects of the online footprint include:

  • number of business listings
  • consistency of business listing information (name, address, phone)
  • overall sentiment in reviews
  • frequency or current velocity of new reviews
  • the overall volume of reviews
  • social activity and engagement (especially with reviewers)

Customers now view social recommendations and reviews as more authentic, expecting \\reviews to be a mirror of the actual customer experience that they would experience themselves. This means that maintaining your business’s online reputation is gaining importance as each review is a perceived snippet of what your potential customer expects to experience.


Online reputation management: the main points

According to Google, 9 out of 10 of local searches lead to action, with more than 50% leading to sales. If businesses have a good web presence, customers will go to them rather than the competitor. Once they’re in the store, 79% of customer use their smartphones inside to look at reviews or compare prices and 74% of them end up making a purchase. Those numbers alone make the opportunity clear: online reputation management is essential for your business to get consumers in the door to make the sale.

We manage your company reputation for you

Most packages include some reputation management.

Contact us to discuss your Reputation Management requirements.