G-M-B Gone A-W-R-Y

As a local business, one of the most basic things you need to master would be your Google My Business (GMB) listing. But believe me when I say that there are so many businesses that are still doing the wrong things when it comes to GMB. Read on to see if you are also doing some questionable things regarding your GMB so you can rectify them ASAP.

What are those words in your GMB?
The tendency and temptation among those who manage and maintain websites for local businesses would be to put really good keywords in the site in the belief that their presence will make Google rank the website higher in search results. However, the opposite may actually happen.

Moreover, some local businesses have also this tendency to stuff irrelevant keywords on their website, thinking that those popular keywords can be discovered by the search engines’ crawlers and prop that website into first-page popularity. However, this move is very risky because search engine crawlers may realize that those keywords, although popular, may not be relevant to your local business at all. This is an obvious cause for your website to be penalized.

Google has added guidelines that consider putting extraneous keywords in your Google My Business (GMB) listing as gross violations which may cause your business’ listing to be penalized. What exactly are these penalties? They usually come in the form of suspensions.

Soft Suspension = This is when the business owner/agency loses the ability to manage the listing inside Google My Business but the listing is still live on Google Maps. Normally in theses cases, the ranking of the listing is unaffected.
Hard Suspension = The listing (along with all the reviews) is completely removed from GMB and Google Maps
(Via: https://abundantlifestyle.io/how-does-google-my-business-penalize-keyword-stuffing-50-examples-case-study/)

When pushing the GMB envelope goes too far
For years, there have been local businesses that have tried to one-up Google thinking that their tricks might just propel them to search engine success. One of these tricks is to set up as many GMB pages for supposedly various locations of the business, hoping that all of them will figure well in Google rankings. However, it has been discovered that some of these GMB listings do not actually correspond to an active office location, and instead are just PO boxes, virtual offices, and even residences of the owners of the business as long as they can receive the verification mail that Google sends them that as the name implies, is supposed to verify a physical location of a business.

When Google discovers these empty or fake GMB listings, these would be in violation of their rules, as there are guidelines that state that remote addresses, virtual offices, and PO Boxes are not accepted. The discovery of these inconsistencies also affects the consistency of Name, Address, Phone Number (NAPs), which means these businesses will also be penalized and they can kiss their hopes of ranking locally goodbye.

NAP inconsistencies can adversely affect your local SEO because search engines won’t be confident about the information you are providing. Basically, search engines won’t trust you.
(Via: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2021/02/04/the-importance-of-name-address-and-phone-number-consistency-for-local-seo/?sh=30ab0a902c0d)

Wrong categories on your GMB will also cost your business
As with the point on keyword stuffing mentioned earlier, there also is this practice among local businesses to prefer using more general categories instead of using specific categories as their primary category. It is thought that general categories can make GMB listing more attractive, although businesses forget that more general categories also expose the business to more competition from other businesses that use the same categories. Thus, it is important that categories should be specific and are directly related to your business.

Never add categories that don’t relate to your business. For example, if you’re marketing a pizza place, you obviously shouldn’t add hair salon as a category, or it can totally confuse Google, your customers, and even harm your rankings.
(Via: https://moz.com/blog/how-to-choose-google-my-business-categories#:~:text=When%20and%20where%20to%20choose%20Google%20categories&text=Once%20you%20have%20access%20to,select%20up%20to%2010%20categories.)


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Defining Effective SEO For HVAC Company Owners

Defining good SEO is pretty easy – it basically tends to mean a site that is well marked up, written well, loads fast and most critically, RANKS for keywords either locally in the map pack (for local businesses) or in the below-the-ads section nationally (for larger concerns).

But HVAC SEO isn’t simple on-page stuff, like ensuring the term “AC installation” shows up as 3.4% of the time on a page. It isn’t naming your images something like “furnace-installer-near-me.gif” or buying tons of crappy links from “directories” that no one ever sees. It certainly isn’t stuffing keywords into Meta tags and calling it a day.

It isn’t buying a “website kit” from a provider that claims “all the SEO is complete.” It isn’t throwing down hundreds of dollars on weak Fiverr gigs that Google is just dying to ban your website because of.

Nope, those ideas are 10, 15 and 20 years old. They were pretty sweet in their time, back when things were far less complicated (the good ol’ times!); but now, not so much. Now, those ideas work about as well as a Yellow Pages listing, which if you’re under 70, is unlikely to be your go to.

Having run SEO campaigns for over 20 years, one thing this insider can tell you is this: good SEO is getting more and more complicated, has quite a few more elements than it ever has and is a continual process. There are more assets to maintain, more links to “juice”, and more content to be written.

Even five or 10 years ago, you could put up your brochure-lite website, and pull local leads just by submitting your site to Google Places, as it was known back then.

That has changed markedly as well.

Are You Content With Your Content?

Today’s well-ranked website all but requires a strong content strategy. Google cares far more about “activity” on your website as well, meaning they care that visitors are interested in what you’re putting out there. This means the old “put up a site and redesign in 3 years”-adage that many business owners have gone with for so long is now just ridiculously obsolete.

Nope, you need to get your message out there with solid consistency. Google will reward websites that don’t let the tumbleweeds gather.

Ask yourself this: if you’re never saying anything new with your website, why should Google want to feature it?

The Maps 3 Pack Should Be Your SEO Goal

Nowadays, with Mobile search such a major part of Google’s algorithm, a slot in the local “3 pack” can mean a continual lead flow – a virtual license to print money that is NOT subject to the insane bidding process that Google Ads can create- particularly during peak heating or cooling season.

One of the most interesting parts about talking to HVAC contractors all over the world is that many of them share a sad, unfortunate view of SEO and Digital Marketing. The reason is simple. They’ve been burned.

I’ve even talked to people who were paying into the five figure range for monthly SEO, even while the “specialist” they were working with NEVER EVEN ASKED FOR THE WEBSITE’s PASSWORD!

No wonder SEO gets a brutal rap.

Sadly, many HVAC owners are sold on the concepts and potential success in a well SEO’d site, only to hire someone (oftentimes a web designer with no idea of anything SEO except that they can “add it to the bill”) that lets them down.

This makes it difficult for bona fide SEO warriors to take on new clients, but not impossible. In fact, for the right business owners that are willing to take on the right digital marketing agency, it can mean rewards beyond their wildest dreams, and enough HVAC leads that there is never any inconsistencies when it comes to generating sales.

It’s all about picking the right agency. Tune in next week when I tell you what to look for in an SEO agency that virtually guarantees you’re picking a winner.

Defining Effective SEO For HVAC Company Owners Find more on: ASGM Blog

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Take Note of These Local SEO Pointers

Are you interested in trying your hand on local SEO for your business? Here are some tips on doing it right.

Patience is a virtue in local SEO
The thing about local SEO is that the results that you will reap from putting your efforts on it will eventually be yielded to you, with emphasis on eventually. You cannot expect your local SEO efforts to bear fruit overnight, days after, weeks after, or even a month after your initial salvo. There are three things that you need to get the ball rolling when it comes to your local SEO and social media efforts: strategy, perseverance, and time – all of which takes patience. Imagine, national and multinational brands take substantial time for their accounts to take off and make a difference in their businesses. If these big brands need to exercise patience before seeing any changes in their companies, how much more with your local business?

Having said that, there is indeed a need to invest substantial effort for your local SEO and social media to pay off. If you’re doing this because everybody else is doing it and you have serious FOMO (fear of missing out) without identifying a real strategy tailor-made for your business, then you need to set your expectations at a minimum.

Before you start running reports, decide which metrics matter to you and your business. Don’t get caught up on “vanity metrics” — metrics that make you feel good but don’t help you make decisions, take action, or judge value. While it’s tempting to obsess over followers and likes, those metrics don’t necessarily serve your business goals. For instance, local businesses get more out of a small, local following than a large following that includes people who will never visit the businesses’ physical stores.
(Via: https://buffer.com/library/social-media-for-small-business/)

Local SEO and Social Media = Local Content
There is that temptation to pattern your content such as our promotions, articles, messages, etc. after the established brands, because you’re thinking, “If these types of content worked for them, it surely should work for you as well.” However, to totally base your messages and content on these multinational companies is a huge risk to local businesses because these messages may actually alienate your audience instead of making them identify more with your brand. The purpose of your content, whether on social media or on your website, is to make your business more relatable and relevant to the needs of your target audience, which is ideally the people in your locality. You may not necessarily be successful with that if your messaging is almost copied from big brands. Content marketing is a vital component in local SEO, so make sure to make your count.

Only 30% of small businesses have an SEO optimization strategy, which means over two-thirds are neglecting this vital marketing tool. SEO is crucial to help your blog rank high in search engine results for specific queries and terms, helping more people to discover your content.
(Via: https://smallbiztrends.com/2020/10/how-to-make-content-marketing-work-small-business.html)

Local social media needs to be regular
To make sure your social media assets stay relevant to your target audience, you need to make sure that you post regularly. Absence in the case of local SEO and social media efforts does not really make your target audience’s hearts grow fonder of you; in fact, you might run the risk of them forgetting you if they do not see you that active in sharing content on your social media platforms and website.

If you think that you don’t have the perseverance to stick to a schedule when posting content to your social media accounts, don’t worry. There are social sharing apps that will allow you to make a ton of social media posts and automate them so they will be posted on a regular schedule.

But having said those points above, you still should make it a point that you post relevant matters as elaborated in the second point earlier. Do not sacrifice quality for quantity. Make sure you strike a balance between the quality of your posts and how regular your posts are.

Your social media posting frequency shouldn’t be overwhelming, and it shouldn’t be fluffy. Think about it this way: you shouldn’t be posting just to prove that you have a presence. It is always better to have no presence than to have a negative, dated or out-of-touch existence on social media. If you’re wondering how often to post on Instagram, Facebook, or any other social platform, note that it may actually be better to do less on social.
(Via: https://www.ballantine.com/how-often-to-post-on-social-media-for-business-in-2020/)


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So your local business got a negative review. What are you going to do?

If you are thinking of just ignoring it and letting it blow over “the next news cycle” until a new problem comes along, you are definitely going to suffer the consequences of that inaction. This is because Google does not let things slide. Its crawlers do not forget things that have already been posted on the Internet, so unless that comment or review has been taken down, you cannot just ignore it. On the other hand, people, especially those frequenting reviews and social media accounts of local businesses, will notice if a comment has been removed. They are that keen when it comes to following local businesses.

Be quick
Customers these days have this expectation that things should be done instantly, es1pecially if happening online. So, you don’t really have the luxury of just sitting the entire matter out until hopefully, people forget. Finally, they will expect you to understand their concerns, so rude replies will reflect badly on your reputation that has already been tarnished by that negative review.

The faster the manager responds to a negative online review, the faster the reviewer is appeased and prospective reviewers can see that the manager and the firm are dedicated to solving customer complaints in a timely fashion.
(Via: https://hbr.org/2020/05/5-principles-for-responding-to-customer-reviews)

Be a pro
Hold that temper! Yes, negative reviews sting bad, especially for local business owners like you who more or less assume all roles for your company to run. But getting angry at those negative reviews will not really go change anything. If you react badly, people in your network will most likely get wind of your reaction and will earn you an unfavorable reputation. Remember that your business caters to a small audience – a local community, so news tends to spread at lightning speed. Be a professional about the review.

Don’t ever go berserk over a negative review. Or else, you will lose everything your small business has established. Using fire against fire does not always have the best results. It will be unwise to do that. Sit back, try to relax as much as you can, and take a deep breath to process what you just read. That’s how a smart business owner or an online reputation manager acts.
(Via: https://www.meegle.com/blog/how-to-respond-to-negative-reviews/)

Consider getting in touch with the negative reviewer offline
There are some issues that are best handled on the same platform. But in a majority of cases, an offline manner of handling the issue has proven to be more effective. After all, to cite an old adage, washing one’s dirty laundry in public is almost never a good idea.

Sometimes a minor issue can be resolved with a quick phone call or email. If you have the ability to do this and you feel that reaching out to this person directly will be the best approach, go for it. It all depends on how comfortable you are with this approach, how well you can take a tongue lashing without getting angry, and how good of a rapport you have with the reviewer.
(Via: https://www.outboundengine.com/blog/how-to-handle-a-bad-online-review-the-right-way/)


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So your local business got a negative review. What are you going to do? was originally published on ASGM Blog

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La Mesa

La Mesa, California is a city a mere 9 miles from the center of downtown San Diego, CA, a smallish city with a population nearing 60000 with a growing community as homeowners are pushed east because of the incredibly high San Diego real estate prices. The civic motto of La Mesa is “jewel of the hills”, and it can be a pretty place, very hilly and with a lot of classic old homes.AmayatrolleyAmayatrolleyAmayatrolley

Getting To La Mesa

Like a lot of places around San Diego County, La Mesa is geographically pretty large, but mostly residential. Driving East from San Diego, you’ll want to take the 8 Interstate to arrive at the city at its northern most areas, or you can take the 94 highway to arrive at the South of the city. A major portion of the 125 highway forms the Eastern most border of La Mesa, with Lemon Avenue extending La Mesa into the neighboring Mt. Helix area. The city is bordered by Rolando on the west, Lake Murray to the north and of course Lemon Grove to the south. Also to the South of La Mesa is Spring Valley, which reveals itself when drivers continue on the 94 instead of taking the 125 north into La Mesa.

Outdoors In La Mesa

Although it shares a lot of its incredible climate with San Diego, La Mesa is quite a bit hotter, as it is much further from the Pacific Ocean. But, this is still an enjoyable place for a hike or a picnic, and one of the best places for that has got to be Collier Park, which is a neat little 7.7 acre park that has some pretty quality green space. The park does have lighted tennis courts, which are harder to find in the county than you might expect. It also is a great place for families to get together on the weekend for a picnic, as there are quite a few tables around and BBQs, of course.

Since we’re still outdoors here, it’s probably a good bet to talk about MacArthur Park, which is a little park just north of La Mesa Boulevard that offers some nice outdoor space. The park is fenced in, is a great place to bring your dog and does have free parking. What is also cool is that it’s within walking distance of downtown La Mesa, which is a pretty cool area if you’re looking to do shopping or just grab a drink and a meal. The park does also have a recreation center and a pretty substantial play area for kids.

La Mesita Park includes the Junior Seau Sports Complex, named after the famous San Diego Charger, Junior Seau. This park also has a good amount of space to walk, as well as tennis courts, picnic sites and a skate park, which is always of interest to those looking to rip it up on a board.

Fitness enthusiasts will want to check out the not so secret La Mesa Secret Stairs, a place that has an excellent view from the top. This is a public stairway that was installed to facilitate foot traffic through adjacent neighborhoods. But, a lot of stair climbers tend to use it for fresh air exercising, and the sheer number of stairs makes it a serious exercise challenge.

Finally, we would be remiss if we did not mention Aztec Park, which is a smaller park than either Collier or MacArthur, but has a great view and vibe and can sometimes be quite empty, despite having a child’s playground and some urban trails which are excellent for hiking in general.

Fun La Mesa Tourist Attractions

OK, so being right next to San Diego, one of Southern California’s most epic tourist destinations, isn’t necessarily going to be the best, but La Mesa does have some points of interest worth checking out. I would look to the San Pasqual Winery first, a small winery that apparently boasts great local wine and very friendly staff and servers. Check them out at the winery or a separate tasting room and gallery located on La Mesa Boulevard.

For Train enthusiasts, the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum is an excellent bet, located on Nebo drive not far from La Mesa Boulevard. The museum here is quite small, but does feature some classic looking train engines and cars, as well as a little gift shop. Apparently, this is one of the oldest buildings in California, and does sport a good deal of excellent railway history information.

Education in La Mesa

As this is a community nearing a population of 60,000, it only makes sense that there would be some quality spots for kids to be educated. So naturally, we first talk about Helix Charter High School, located on University Avenue at almost the middle point of La Mesa. Meanwhile, those of a more artistic bent may want to consider the La Mesa Arts Academy. This school actually has a lottery to select its students, so it’s probably a good idea to not leave an admissions application until the last second! Finally, younger kids are gonna need some kind of book learning as well, which is of course offered at Murray Manor Elementary School, located north of the Interstate 8 and near the unofficial border with Lake Murray. Another interesting elementary school is the Lemon Avenue Elementary School, which is of course located on Lemon Avenue in La Mesa. Finally, for folks that would prefer to place their children in private schools, La Mesa does feature the Mount Helix Academy, and is in the North East corner of La Mesa right near Harry Griffen Park.

Shopping In La Mesa

As La Mesa isn’t the smallest city ever, there are quite a few shops and shopping centers, but few as expansive and as popular as the Grossmont Center located just off of the 8 Interstate and is very near to the intersection at Fletcher Parkway and Jackson Drive. The mall is a little old school, but does have some pretty serious anchor tenants, such as Best Buy, Macy’s, Target AND Walmart. As tends to be the case surrounding larger southern California malls like this, there does tend to be a variety of restaurant and retail properties nearby, such as Office Depot, Petco, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and of course a Guitar Center, which actually apparently is still open (early 2021, anyway).

If you’re looking primarily for groceries, or at least relatively interesting and nutritious non prepared foods, the Vine Ripe Market is a winner up on Fletcher Parkway, or nearer to downtown and Spring Street, check out the Sprouts location, or even the Vons at the corner of University and Allison. If you’re from California or the West Coast, then it also bears pointing out that there is an excellent Trader Joe’s location right off of Murray Drive and about a couple minute drive from the Grossmont Center. Also, the Frazier Farms Market is a great natural grocery store with no shortage of organic and farm to table-type items.

Eating Out In La Mesa

One of the best places to walk around and hang out in La Mesa has got to be downtown, where you’ll run into such luminaries as the classic Hills Local Pub, Swami’s Cafe and the Tiramisu Trattoria for good eats. A bit off of the beaten track but an easy and total classic establishment in the area is of course the Riviera Supper Club and Turquoise Room, a classic old school steakhouse where you can either cook your steak yourself, or have them do it for you. This is one of the most high character spots in the area, so if you have to be in La Mesa, hit the Riviera, and then stay and watch a band afterwards. You won’t regret it!

Healthy Living In La Mesa

Last but definitely not least is mentioning access to health care in the area, which of course is fairly limited, but not by much. The Kaiser Permanente La Mesa Medical Offices are where a lot of locals see their M.D., while Sharp Grossmont Hospital is clearly the crown jewel of the area as far as medical care goes. The latter also features the La Mesa Cardiac Center and other medical specialties in the area, so if you have an issue, it’s more than likely that it can be dealt with here. Meanwhile, if you have some kind of medical situation that requires a period of rehab, the Country Manor La Mesa Healthcare Center may be a good call for you!

So, let’s have a good ol’ time in La Mesa, shall we! We’ll start by checking out the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum and then stopping for lunch at Banbu Sushi!

Good times right there, but let’s get local and burn off some of those calories at La Mesa Secret Stairs!

There’s always business to be done in La Mesa, so let’s take a quick trip to La Mesa City Hall:

With the Sun still out, we want to take in a little more outdoors time, so let’s head up to Aztec Park, which is a pretty quick drive if we take Baltimore Drive.

Having enjoyed the great weather, let’s have a quick dinner at our absolute favorite local spot, The Riviera Supper Club!

And, of course, we close out our day trip to La Mesa by driving down University Avenue to hit the offices of La Mesa’s most loved Internet Marketing Service, All Systems Go Marketing!

The blog post La Mesa is available on http://www.allsystemsgomarketing.com

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Local SEO Moves That are Absolute No-No’s in 2021

In case you haven’t noticed because you’ve been hibernating, thanks to the pandemic. It’s already 2021. Thus, we are thinking that you still might be executing some local SEO moves that are already passe and might already be considered as black hat (that’s forbidden practices in SEO language) nowadays. Read on and see if you’re doing more damage than good to your local business’ online presence.

No-No #1: Duplicate Content

When you have a website for your local business and each page more or less contains the same content with very few tweaks, that would be very bad for your local SEO efforts. First, this practice is understandably popular for a lot of local business websites, as it is a common belief among old school website owners that having a website with multiple pages, no matter what the contents are in the pages, is more preferable than a website that has only a few pages. It was a belief that these “bigger” websites get the attention of search engines more easily; thus, the businesses of these websites get ranked higher. But then, if the content of these website’s pages is more or less duplicates of each other, the search engines have become wiser, selecting which page is the “best” version of the content. Ultimately, if it is discovered that the content of a website’s pages is just the same, the whole website will be penalized, which usually includes the site being removed from the index of Google.

When there are several versions of content available, it’s hard for search engines to determine which version to index, and subsequently show in their search results. This lowers performance for all versions of the content, since they’re competing against each other.
(Via: https://www.contentkingapp.com/academy/duplicate-content/#why-is-duplicate-content-bad-for-seo)

No-No #2: Not Using Local Keywords
Not using local keywords is an obsolete practice among local businesses that should not even be considering especially since it’s already 2021. It used to be that a lot of SEO efforts just aim to use the correct keywords, which eventually attracts a substantial audience. However, this is practically useless in SEO, which actually aims to draw a “targeted” audience rather than an audience that is strong in numbers. So, for example, while investing in the keywords “nail salon” might drive potential customers to your mail salon website, you may get visitors to your website from Manhattan to Manila, who won’t really be ultimately beneficial to your shop in Mission Valley. So, don’t put your local SEO efforts to waste by using effective but not localized keywords. Get more out of your efforts by never forgetting to add your location to the keywords you’ll be using.

The first, and perhaps most important, step in finding local SEO keywords is specifying your location. You need to establish which areas you want to target for local search.
(Via: https://www.webfx.com/blog/seo/local-keywords/)

No-No #3: Slow Website Loading
According to one study, close to 3/4 of mobile internet users claim that they have used a website that takes forever to load. That so many pages take a lot of time to load only turns off potential customers to your website. Slow-loading websites affect conversions of visitors to customers. Not only that, as Google factors a high bounce rate (people leaving your site after only a few seconds) to rank websites lower. When people do not stay on your website for long because they are frustrated with how slow it is, then your local SEO efforts will only go to waste because you won’t get as many customers and your website won’t appear on the first page of search results, no matter how earnest your efforts are in using the right local keywords.

How to prevent this problem?
Don’t clutter your web design to prevent lots of loading time. Moreover, optimizing the images on your site so that they don’t take long in opening up.
(Via: https://www.brightlocal.com/blog/improve-site-speed/)


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Rolando is a primarily residential neighborhood located in the Mid-City Region of San Diego. It borders the 94 Freeway to the south, and of course La Mesa to the east. This neighborhood is effectively two: it is divided by University Avenue by two sections, Rolando Village to the north, with Rolando Park located at the south.

The neighborhood is home to two elementary schools:

Henry Clay Elementary
Rolando Park Elementary

While Rolando is mostly residential, it does have a good degree of retail at the north end of the neighborhood on El Cajon Boulevard, including such restaurants as Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, Papa John’s Pizza and Chuy’s Taco Shop. An excellent outdoor experience can be found at Clay Neighborhood Park, which does have a lot of space for running around, playing with the kids and just enjoying the lovely San Diego sunshine.

Everybody’s gotta eat, of course, and Rolando does have a decent share of grocery stores, including the University Halal Market to the south, which specializes in African and Middle Eastern Products, plus halal meats. At the northern tip, there is a Vons, as well as a Smart & Final Extra! If one is looking to get a package somewhere, meanwhile, checking in on the USPS office here is also a pretty excellent idea.

As it does border College Avenue to the West, you can take a variety of buses and choose either Route 856 and 936. Up on El Cajon, meanwhile, you can take bus number 1, which is a pretty massive route that ends at 63rd and El Cajon.

Also on College Avenue is the all important Planned Parenthood on College Avenue, which has provided women and men with extremely low cost medical and family planning services. This is one of those places that people will want to check out, as there are not currently a ton of other medical facilities in the area.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for places to worship, Rolando does have a few folks covered, and features not only the Seminole Drive Church Of Christ, but also La Mesa Apostolic, the latter of which is oddly NOT located in La Mesa, but on College Avenue.

As this neighborhood is basically residential at its heart, there are a variety of single family homes as well as some apartments located not only in the middle of Rolando, including the Dorado Plaza Apartments, and of course plenty along the major routes bordering it, including the Belmont and Dalton Apartments.

Starting at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, you can get to Clay Neighborhood park by using a couple of paths, both of which are less than a mile.


From there, heading south and a small drive on University Avenue will get you an interesting selection of Groceries at University Halal Market.


Heading east on University will get you where you need to be!


Rolando is republished from ASGM

Ready to “Review” Your Local SEO Efforts?

So, your local business has gotten reviews. What now? Are those reviews supposed to be good? Would you need to engage with them? Are they relevant to your local SEO efforts?

Are reviews that important?
The answer to that question is yes. Reviews in Google definitely have a relation with the success of your local SEO efforts. After all, Google includes crowdsourced factors when ranking everything, and reviews are a good crowdsourced material because they are hard to spam and it is illegal for reviewers to abuse their “right” to review a business.

Your business will benefit if you have a healthy amount of reviews, a good portion of it on the positive and if the keywords and your location are included in the reviews. Also, anonymous users are not allowed to post online reviews for businesses in Google, so as a business you can be ensured of the veracity of the reviews. Finally, to prove the point that the volume of reviews is important when Google implemented its “no anonymous user reviews,” businesses that lost a significant amount of reviews because anonymous reviews were removed fell down search engine rankings.

Google Reviews can help improve search rankings and general SEO efforts. Although there are many factors involved in search rankings (over 200, in fact), online customer reviews send a strong signal to search engines that communicates expertise, authority, and trust.
(Via: https://1seo.com/blog/do-local-google-reviews-help-your-seo/)

How about negative reviews?
Yes and no. If a majority of a local business’ reviews are negative, then yes, Google will consider them in taking down the business’ rankings because of its negative reputation. Moreover, there is always this tendency for local business owners to remove negative reviews, so if a majority of a company’s reviews are negative and the owner decides to have all those reviews taken down, then as mentioned earlier, the business’ ranking will suffer because of the decrease in the volume of reviews.

Having said that, Google Search Quality Evaluators have guidelines that remind them to be cautious about one or a couple of negative reviews. After all, one experience of a customer with a rude cashier or a salesperson does not really prove that the company is a fraudulent one. This is also why the number of reviews for your local business is important. If you have 26 reviews for your business and 3 of them are negative, you can’t really ignore the 23 good comments. Be that as it may, these negative comments, although a very clear minority, should be professionally addressed by the company.

A business with only positive reviews is likely to appear suspicious to prospective shoppers. More specifically, prospective shoppers are concerned about the practice of “review gating” – the practice of discouraging or prohibiting negative reviews and selectively soliciting reviews from happy customers. Review gating violates Google’s Contributed Content Policy.

Furthermore, according to Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, negative reviews are completely normal and expected.
(Via: https://www.widewail.com/local-seo)

So, how to deal with these negative reviews?
For local businesses, any comment or review is personal, consider the scale of their entity. As a local business owner, you may usually have to assume most, if not all the responsibilities for your company – the social media marketer, the manager, the public relations officer, the janitor, the salesperson, and the cashier. So, when a customer drops a comment that doesn’t put your efforts in the best light, you will most likely get offended. And that sucks. If the negative review is legitimate and all about your business and is not an attack on you or some sort of sabotage, the best thing to do would be to momentarily put your hurt feelings aside (just put them aside temporarily, don’t ignore and forget about them) and address the matter professionally.

If someone is upset enough to leave a negative review, they usually do it pretty soon after the negative experience takes place.
And they’re going to expect a fairly swift response back.
It’s the right thing to do and it also helps limit the damage done.
(Via: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/tips-handling-negative-customer-reviews-online/353470/)


For all other local SEO matters you should know about, read here.

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Is Marketing on Facebook Hurting You?

There was a time when Facebook was considered the silver bullet in online marketing. In the late 2000s to the early 2010s, you will be in a bind if you look for a business that hasn’t found success or hasn’t benefited from using this social media to market their business. It was pretty much the heyday of Facebook, so everyone, including businesses who hitched their wagon to it found a lot of positive effects in using the platform for their online marketing efforts. Businesses were quick to form an audience with Facebook users and actually interact with them through their pages, so the engagement was very effective, resulting in more brand loyalty.

But of course, as with any other business, things change, things get complicated, and things will never be the same again. Facebook became a business that saw the opportunity of profiting from businesses that use their platform by restricting the organic reach of the business’ posts so these brands have no choice but to invest more in paid advertising. Facebook has gotten embroiled on data security concerns and lately on issues alleging the platform to promote the proliferation of fake news. Various businesses actually staged a boycott, cutting their Facebook advertising budgets, which although wasn’t that successful, signaled a huge problem with the platform. On the users’ side, Facebook’s reputation has gotten a beating with its involvement in the previous elections and the surfacing of so many pages peddling fake information.

But despite this, it cannot be denied that Facebook is still the top social media platform in terms of user population. The concern now for businesses is if it is still wise to advertise with the biggest social network platform in the world.

Are small businesses getting hit?

With the various issues Facebook must face particularly in the areas of security and authenticity of its user database, the platform has no choice but to constantly upgrade its security efforts. There have been regular efforts (monthly or weekly, it seems nowadays) for fake accounts to be taken down and pages related to these fake accounts to be disabled. While these efforts are well and good, small businesses may have become victims of this. As recently as November 2020, business pages of some small businesses have been blocked by mistake by AI algorithms that mistake content on these small business pages as offensive ads. With their pages unusable during the biggest sales events of the year, businesses struggling from the effects of the pandemic yet took another hit that has caused them so much anew.

For many small businesses, Facebook has become a potent financial lifeline, but there have been drawbacks that include problems with the company’s content-moderation software, limited options for customer support and lack of transparency about how to fix problems.

(Via: https://nypost.com/2020/11/27/facebook-mistakenly-bans-some-small-businesses-ads/)

As the growth in Facebook advertising continues it is tempting to think Facebook Pages are not a great way for a business to gain engagement. However, as with any social media platform, it all comes down to understanding both the functionality and the culture of the people using it. Facebook has always been a place where people connect with other people: friends, acquaintances, and (more recently) those who share common interests through groups.

(Via: https://brandastic.com/blog/are-facebook-pages-still-useful/)

Effective use: Facebook Groups

With Facebook’s pages being strictly (and in a lot of cases erroneously) policed by artificial intelligence algorithms, small businesses might want to look for other venues in the platform to seek the right audience and engage with them. One good idea for this is through Facebook Groups. Groups usually get moderated by its own administrators and members also get screened, so the chances of interacting with more authentic accounts who are genuinely interested in topics of that particular Facebook group is better.

Here’s a hot fact: customers are loyal to companies that treat them well. Inviting fans to be part of a community and engaging with them directly and regularly shows you care and builds invaluable loyalty and trust. If you want to take your relationship with your customer to the next level, a Facebook group is a great way to get serious.

(Via: https://blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-groups-business/#benefits

So, how about your own biz’s FB page?

If your business doesn’t have a dedicated page yet, it is high time you should have one already, or you might get duped by someone who already made a page with your business name, maintained it for years already and will sell it to you at an exorbitant price. With the concerns mentioned earlier, just exercise control over maintaining your page. Make sure that the quality of your page is consistently high so that it doesn’t become a platform of followers with fake profiles and users from content farms who proliferate fake news.

Visit http://www.Facebook.com/Business and click on “Create a Page” in the top right corner. Keep in mind, you’ll need to link this business page to a personal account. Typically, the account of your social media manager (if you have one) is the best option. If not, use the account of the employee who will spearhead your Facebook marketing strategy.

(Via: https://learn.g2.com/facebook-business-page)


If you have decided in making Facebook a major platform of your marketing efforts, get in touch with us.

Is Marketing on Facebook Hurting You? was originally seen on https://www.allsystemsgomarketing.com

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Ready to Have a Part in Some TikTok Action?

Unless you’ve been living under the rock, you’ve probably heard of the app TikTok. Even in this pandemic where most of the world’s population has been under varying degrees of lockdown, TikTok has been making waves in the tech world, with the pandemic actually furthering its popularity. Despite the app being embroiled in a lot of controversies, with actual countries (e.g., India) banning its use in their territories and President Trump also threatening to stop its use in the USA, TikTok’s popularity has not waned, if not gone stronger. To think that only a few years ago, it was a promising app, but not as huge as it is today. From 13 million videos being uploaded when it was still Musical.ly in 2014, the number of uploaded content pieces has dramatically increased with its user base growing by close to 800% today.

With millions of users uploading millions of videos every day and being seen by millions of other users who are in the app just to consume videos, it would be a mortal sin for online marketers to ignore the audience in this app and not use it to promote their businesses. Of course, the potential for advertising businesses in the app is huge, something that has not escaped the observation of various businesses who have actually found success in using the app for their online marketing efforts. Moreover, the app itself has realized this promising facet of its business, so much so that it has TikTok For Business, a platform for businesses to use exclusively for them to maximize the app for their marketing efforts.

So, now, the question is, should your business also jump on the TikTok bandwagon?

TikTok for Business: An Intro

Simply put, TikTok For Business is a sort of one-stop-shop for marketers to use the app as an advertising medium. By using this platform, there is no need to make a thorough, planned strategy as the platform will instead help business with going through the entire process, including the creation of ads, itemization of budgets, effectively reach target audiences, and interpretation of campaign data. So, the goal of TikTok for Business is to help businesses with the technical side of using the app so they can give more attention to creating more effective content. TikTok for Business makes all types of advertising available for businesses and depending on the data, businesses can then decide on which type or form they could use to be more effective in amassing a larger audience and engaging with them.

Apart from promoting a product or service, the hashtag challenge also gives customers a voice, an opportunity to express their views and emotions. Perhaps the biggest benefit is the connection that develops between the brand and its customer.

(Via: https://justcreative.com/2020/08/29/tiktok-marketing/)

The Variety of Advertising Options in TikTok

You might think that advertising in TikTok is boring and does not offer a lot for business marketers since the platform pretty much only hosts videos. However, TikTom for Business encourages businesses to make these videos in five different formats, making the platform way more exciting than it seems to be. Businesses can roll out TopView ads, which appear once daily when users open their apps for the first time that day. There are also In-Feed ads that appear on the For You page of users, branded hashtags that businesses can use to generate content from the app’s users based on the hashtag they promote, brand takeovers wherein the app features only one brand daily and that business takes over everything -from top view ads to branded hashtags so users will only be exposed to that business the entire day, and  Branded Effects where 2D, 3D, or AR images of a business can be used and included into user’s TikTok videos.

In fact, with a little bit of hard work, determination, and knowledge about your target audience, you can easily start getting your brand name in front of the right people.

(Via: https://boosted.lightricks.com/the-ultimate-tiktok-marketing-guide/

Is it right for your HVAC business, though?

With the app’s current popularity with most businesses, it must be tempting to say the least for HVAC business to join the bandwagon and ride in the app’s popularity to benefit them. Just don’t forget that this decision ultimately depends on whether your business goals are in line with the benefits and outcomes you might reap from advertising on TikTok.

HVAC contractors who experiment with TikTok need to keep their posts light, Jacobs said. Quick instructional videos on topics such as tying a fish fly or cooking an easy recipe prove popular. Jacobs suggests doing something similar to promote an HVAC business.

(Via: https://boosted.lightricks.com/the-ultimate-tiktok-marketing-guide/


Curious if TikTok should be in your digital marketing mix? Contact us for consultation.

Ready to Have a Part in Some TikTok Action? is republished from http://www.allsystemsgomarketing.com

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