iMarket Solutions Blog : Archive for the ‘Content Strategy’ Category

Tapping Into Emotional Marketing Through Storytelling

Friday, January 8th, 2021

“Customers don’t care about your story; they care about their own.” —Donald Miller

When it comes to marketing, many businesses find it difficult to engage customers on an emotional level. This is where storytelling is an important tool: customers are more likely to recall a story than a talking point because storytelling engages the emotions. The secret to marketing storytelling is to find an alignment between what you sell and the values that trigger emotions to encourage customer engagement. These stories go beyond the marketing department: they’re told through social media, email campaigns, your website, and customer experience.  

We’ll go over five steps toward building an effective emotional marketing strategy.

Step 1: Know What Gets to Your Audience

Before you tell a story, you need to know your customers’ high-impact motivators, or “what gets to them.” There are many motivators that may drive customers:

  • “I want to stand out from the crowd.”
  • “I want to feel confident in the future.”
  • “I want to enjoy a sense of well-being and security.”
  • “I want to feel a sense of freedom.”
  • “I want to protect the environment.”
  • “I want to be the person I want to be.”

Large businesses spend immense resources on marketing to find their customers’ high-impact motivators. As a small to mid-sized business owner, you’ll have the advantage of knowing a few basic assumptions about your customer pool. What you don’t know, you can find out with a few sample questions. 

Step 2: Tell a Story

Now that you know the high-impact motivators of your audience, you can develop a story. Keep it simple, honest, and make your point clear. “We help keep pets warm with our heating services,” is one example: straightforward, clear, and appeals to the emotional connections people feel toward their pets.

Step 3: Inspire Actions

The story should inspire an action that encourages other activities that can help grow your business or brand, such as sharing social media content or recommending friends.

  • Happiness makes us share: Positive content spreads faster on social media than any other type of content. When someone is happy, we tend to mirror their emotion, which makes us more likely to share the content that made us happy. Sharing leads to increased brand awareness.
  • Sadness makes us empathize and connect: Empathy leads to generosity and the motivation to act on the behalf of others. Feelings of sadness inspire us to act to help people.
  • Surprise and fear make us cling to what’s comfortable: However, these are emotions you don’t want to inspire in customers since they link negative emotions to your brand.
  • Anger and passion make us stubborn: People share content that inspires them or lights a fire under them. You’ve seen countless examples of this on Facebook, such as with local tragedies and political issues. 

Step 4: Build Excitement

You’ve evoked emotion in your audience, and they’ve listened to your story. Now you want to build excitement to inspire them. The way to do that is to lead by example and start building buzz:

  • Pursue influencers
  • Encourage sharing 
  • Engage your most loyal customers
  • Draw out the suspense 
  • Produce an experiential event

Give customers something they will want to show off!

Step 5: Drive Social Proof

Social proof helps you build customer trust, validates and simplifies the customers’ buying decisions, adds credibility to your business, and improves your brand presence. This is the “Bandwagon Effect”: people are more likely to engage in an action if others are doing it. It’s the basic motivating force behind the social proof.

  • Customers: For 50% of all consumers, their next step after reading a positive review of a company is to visit the website or get onto the email list. 
  • Experts: Some of the strongest social proof comes from credible and esteemed experts in your industry. These experts exhibit the same behaviors you want your visitors to.
  • Influencers: Content from influencers earns more than eight times the engagement rate of content shared directly from brands, especially among younger millennials.
  • Friends: People who are friends of your users/website visitors offer social proof on the most personal level.
  • Crowds: As we mentioned, the more people who are doing it, the more likely others will want to do it.

The Outcome: Change Customer Behavior

When your brand establishes a fully connected identity overlap with customers through emotional engagement, it can drive major consumer behavior changes. These customers are… 

  • 5 times more likely to follow your brand into new categories
  • 3 times more likely to prefer your brand 
  • 2 times more willing to recommend your brand to others
  • 2 times less willing to substitute

Let Us Help You Tell Your Story

It’s difficult to create content in the home services space because the audience is extremely reactive. It takes adaptability to create the narratives that help customers connect to a business. Because iMarket works exclusively in the home services industry, we understand your needs and can help you form your stories to drive market success and customer engagement.

Contact iMarket Solutions today. Dedicated to Contractor Success.

Continue Reading

Contractor Tips for Great Website Photos

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

We’ve all heard the phrase, but when it comes to website design for contractors, it can take on a whole new meaning. In a world that is actively becoming more visual, the images on your website are incredibly important in promoting your services.

People tend to remember up to 80% of what they see versus 20% of what they read. It makes sense considering that MIT has found that the brain processes images in as little as 13 milliseconds! So, when we say images are powerful, we mean that they really truly are and using them on your website can have a huge impact.

Chances are that your potential customers are going to form opinions about your company and your team based on those website images (i.e. whether or not you seem legitimate) in a matter of seconds. This means that it pays (literally) to make sure that those images count. Use some of the following tips to use images to your advantage on your website.

Tip #1: Be careful with your background

You might not think people notice what is in the background of your team photo, but they do. Take a moment to figure out what is in the background of your photos. Make sure there are no dumpsters, ditches, etc. that might mess with the shot. If you’re taking photos in your office or building, be mindful of excess clutter or distracting items on desks or walls. 

Tip #2: Get outdoors

Make sure that it isn’t raining outside and then get your team members out of the office. The use of natural light rather than artificial LED lights can make your photos vastly more pleasant to look at.

Also, don’t forget to stand back when you take those pictures! Giving the photo plenty of extra room around the subject matter allows your designers to crop the photo exactly the way they need to in order to ensure it works perfectly in your website design. 

Tip #3: Photograph the important stuff

What has your branding on it that would work well on your website? When it comes to taking photos for your website, make sure to include your branding every chance you get. Take that photo of your company trucks right after a good wash, snap a picture of all the staff together so people can see the strength of your team, or take a shot of your headquarters in order to make sure you get a clear view of the logo on your sign. You can also snap some shots of your individual team members while they are on the job to show how professional and friendly they are.

Tip #4: Make your team shots uniform

Did you take a few photos of some team members against the backdrop of a truck or maybe your building? If so, then make sure you keep it up. Using a consistent backdrop for headshots is always better than ones that are taken all over the office.

Tip #5: Don’t toss your “bad” shots

All too often people will take some “bad” photos of their trucks, buildings, team members or other things that aren’t quite picture perfect. Don’t hit the delete button though! Instead, send them to our graphic design team and let us sort through them. We know how to find those hidden gems that can be a great help to your website.

While stock photos can be useful to your website, it is always going to be a good idea to take custom photos for your website. Real photos of your team, trucks, and on-the-job activities can help establish trust and help you convert more leads.

If you’re interested in learning more about our services, reach out to iMarket Solutions today. Already an iMarket customer? Contact your marketing coordinator for the rest of our media guide! iMarket Solutions: Dedicated to Contractor Success.

Continue Reading

6 Paid Search Trends You Should Know

Friday, December 20th, 2019

The world of digital marketing is growing and changing every day. This is due, in large part, to the changing ways that consumers hunt for information along with the rapid advance of technology. For the business owner, this evolution means that knowing a bit more about certain online search trends can help your digital marketing strategy—especially if you are using this information to stay ahead of the game.

We’ve selected six paid search trends that we think you should know about which could help to improve your ability to reach your potential customers.

There are certainly more than 6 trends to be aware of, but these are the trends that will help you the most when it comes to adapting your marketing strategy to ever-advancing technology.

1.      SERP Marketing

SERP refers to the Search Engine Results Page, where the user will see everything from Google Local Service ads, to Paid Search Ads, to organic search results, to Google Reviews and more. One of the goals of your marketing strategy should be to dominate page one of the SERP, because this will make you optimally visible to your ideal customer.

When you are looking for methods to do this, one thing to remember is that Google is now changing how it analyzes a search term. Now, instead of simply looking at the term typed into the search box, Google is looking at the context behind a search to analyze the user’s intent. This means it can now provide personalized results.

In translation: thinking like your customers, and thinking like Google, will help you make the most of the SERP page. And that is exactly what you want. The other trends we are discussing in this post all tie back to this.

2.      Digital Marketing Personalization

When we say that personalization is vital to your marketing strategy, we really mean it. Previously, search results and ads were sales-focused, essentially the online equivalent to an ad showing up in your mailbox whether you were interested in a product or not. In contrast, now content need to be personalized to the consumer to ensure it reaches the right person at the right time.

Why is this so important? Because 80% of people surveyed have said they are more likely to do business with a company that personalizes their experience based on that consumers’ wants and needs. It isn’t surprising that you are more likely to get business from someone who is on the hunt for HVAC or Plumbing services than you are from someone who isn’t and who simply came across your ad or organic SERP result by mistake. 

3.      Google Local Service Ads

The days of hunting through a Yellow Pages book or scanning the newspaper for service technicians are long gone. So are the days of doing a generic search on Google and hoping that you find a business somewhat nearby. Google Local Service Ads are geared to meet consumers where they are at. When you incorporate Google Local Service Ads into your marketing strategy, you are saving time and money. 

This is because you are paying per lead rather than per click, which ends up being much cheaper. Additionally, your business will be included in any voice search results done via a Google Assistant. Add to that the fact there are no keywords to manage, and Google Local Service Ads can end up being a huge boost to your marketing plan. Google Local Services Ads should never replace paid search ads, however they’re a powerful way to work with your already existing paid search methods. 

4.      Voice Search & Home Assistants

Now that we’ve mentioned voice search and home assistant, it’s important to understand that home assistants like Alexa, Google Home, Amazon Echo or voice search assistant on your phone are becoming more helpful and commonly used than ever. And we want you to remember them in your marketing strategy because your customers are using them to find you.

By 2020, at least 50% of all searches are expected to be done via voice search, whether through a home assistant or a smart phone. This, of course, will make an impact on the wording used for the search results. What you want to remember as voice searches become more the norm is that by using a more conversational tone on your site and gearing your content towards providing answers to questions you are more likely to be the one that comes up as a result to their search.

5.      Zero-Click Search Results

A zero-click search result refers to when an individual gets the information they want without ever needing to leave a search results page. Up to 61.8% of search results are now zero-click results and are largely common with mobile and voice search results. This is why we were talking about that search engine results page so much at the beginning; most of your customers will stop here!

So, if they don’t click through to anything, how do you reach out to a potential customer with this trend? The key here is to be that featured snippet or quick answer that is featured at the top of the page. Your content, whether via a blog or webpage, should be geared to answer the question that brings up this SERP. This makes you a resource and a name they know…and are more likely to click on after they get their answer.

6.      Search Marketing & Social Media

These two trends are a unique and important pair. Search marketing is marketing that is geared to answer the question your customer is asking in order to reach them. However, you earn their trust with your social media. A growing number of people are using social media to decide whether they want to work with a company. 

Being visible isn’t enough at this stage; your social media is vital to earning the trust of your customers so they feel comfortable with that first click. Combining these trends together helps you drive both leads and awareness at once.

Remember Your Content

When it comes to search engine marketing for contractors, making sure that you stay up-to-date on these trends will help you immensely in allowing your business to grow and thrive. Within these trends though, one major point to remember is this: your content plays a huge role in who will notice you and when. 

Content that is geared the right way (i.e. personalized, answering a question or providing important information) will help you reach the right people at the right time. When you start to meet your customers where they are you’ll see that difference.

Looking for help with your search engine marketing? That’s what we are here for. iMarket Solutions helps contractors thrive in their digital marketing. Discover how we can help boost your paid search results by contacting us today.

Continue Reading

Should Contractors Have a Blog?

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

The short answer? Yes.

The long answer? Yes, but it’s complicated.

Without a blog on your company website, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Blogs provide a way to connect with your customers and community. They are an opportunity to show personality, and to give your company a voice that can separate you from other contractors in your service area.

Not only is a blog the perfect chance for communicating with your customer base, but there are literally no downsides to having a well-maintained, informed, and frequently updated blog!

Blogging Helps Edge Out Competition

There are other businesses out there that do what you do. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of consumers out there willing to switch to your service, it just means it’s harder for them to find you if you don’t have the right online presence. A well-planned blog is your way to display the personality, expertise, and voice of your company. With a frequently updated blog, you can:

  • Highlight the differences in your services.
  • Talk directly to your prospective audience.
  • Steer consumers from making poor decisions.
  • Showcase why your team is the one to choose.
  • Build trust with your community.

We’ve got the Data to Prove It

Don’t believe us? Many business owners want to ignore the idea of any kind of marketing for contractors. The fact of the matter is, the data all points to blogs being a central piece of successful business growth—and we can prove it. 

  • Blogs are trustworthy. Blogs are the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information.
  • Great blogs catch attention. 75% of search engine users don’t scroll beyond the first page of results. With a well-maintained blog, the chances of you showing up on that page increases.
  •  Blogs pull positive results. 55% of bloggers report positive results from blogging. Of those 55%, 30% report strong results. These positive and strong results vary from increased website traffic and higher user engagement, to greater revenue. 

A Comprehensive SEO Strategy

For the unfamiliar, SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” which is a process by which your company can be ranked higher in web searches for your service areas. A frequently updated, high-quality blog is a great tool for your company’s SEO strategy. Blogs are a natural way to increase your search engine rankings because search engines value fresh, organic content that uses relevant keywords that meets the needs of online searchers.

More than 95% of customers find local businesses online, which means you need digital brand management that can make the changes necessary to connect with those customers. We can provide an effective SEO solution for contractors that uses the creative voice of a blog with the science of a proven SEO strategy to bring more leads and impressive results!

Constant Communication

Dialogue is a two-way process. Customers don’t just want to call a robotic line, they want to speak to other people when they’re looking for quality services. Writing a blog post provides communication to customers, but also to the community at large.

This communication can be about a topic that shines a light on the experience your team has and the great work they do. For all the effort that goes into an updated blog, the statistics say it often ends in new leads being generated.

Trust is the #1 Priority

The people scouring through a search engine for information about how to repair their HVAC system or what sort of water treatment system they need just want help.

Blogs are written by people as a way to convey information, personality, and experience. Trying to advertise your way into someone’s home might work. But many businesses out there are sneaky about it, and homeowners don’t take too kindly to this, naturally. Blogs are natural advertising. They tell consumers that there is a person behind the product, a team on the other end of the phone, someone who is willing to give them advice while asking for nothing in return.

Paid advertising is one effective way to attract leads, and blogs are how you get recurring customers. That trust is worth its weight in gold.

What Now?

Blogging is part of a comprehensive digital brand management and SEO strategy. When you choose a marketing company to manage your SEO efforts and your blog, you want a company that is knowledgeable about your business and committed to using the best practices to attract quality leads for your contracting business.

We’ve been working with contractors for years; we have the tools and experience necessary to build an SEO strategy that will yield promising results!

iMarket Solutions is your resource for leading digital solutions. Allow us to assess your current SEO and blogging strategy to see where your opportunities are. Contact us today! Dedicated to Contractor Success.

Continue Reading

Featured Client Blog Post #1: Why Details Matter

Monday, December 28th, 2015

As we close out 2015, digital marketing continues to thrive by amusing and informing customers. If you care at all about organic search visibility, then you must care about keeping your customers supplied with relevant information. Unique, information-based content will entice your readers, give them the opportunity to linger on the page, and gain their trust that you’re a reputable business who cares about what they need.

As part of our SEO services, we provide regular blogging as a service to our clients. Not only does this keep their site regularly updated with new information, but blogging is also great for SEO and it demonstrates authority. This month’s Featured Client Blog Post comes via client request. One of our ace writers, John, wrote it for a long-time client of ours, who had requested a post on the DC Sustainable Energy Utility rebate. Based in Washington, DC, Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. wanted something that would showcase this opportunity to customers in their area.

What Are DCSEU Rebates?

What I like about this blog post is that it tells you what the DCSEU is and how it came about. In a few hundred words, I understand where this rebate comes from (Sustainable Energy Partnership) and what its goals are (the reduction of energy consumption). I also have plenty of external links that will send me precisely to the relevant page if I need additional information. Details impress readers. Without them, this rebate would be a vague proposition. But having the numbers broken down allows me to see the benefits clearly on a single page.

Having a dedicated blogger behind your content marketing strategy is a great way to gain followers and impress customers. Want to know more about our SEO and other digital marketing services? Call iMarket Solutions today at 800-727-3920 for a free demo!

Continue Reading

The Keyword Cannibalization Survival Guide

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

As terrifying as it may sound, it is true: keyword cannibalization DOES exist! Even in this modern day and age, websites are falling prey to this foul act left and right. And the scariest part? Webmasters don’t even know what’s happening to them. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can change your content-writing ways, before it is too late. Through the aid of this content survival guide, I hope to teach you how to identify keyword cannibalization, and help you steer clear of it. If you choose to read this survival guide, I encourage you to consider sharing it with your social circles. You may end up saving some people from themselves!

[socialize service=’twitter’]     [socialize service=’facebook’]     [socialize service=’googleplus’]     [socialize service=’linkedin’]

[clear-line]

What is Keyword Cannibalization?

I was first introduced to the concept of keyword cannibalization through Rand Fishkin’s post, “How to Solve Keyword Cannibalization.” You’ll notice that it was written back on March 9th of 2007, and yet even today, the concept of keyword cannibalization still passes unseen by some SEO companies and consultants. Cannibalization goes beyond just similar pages though; internal duplicate content is actually one of the leading causes of keyword cannibalization.

[one-half-first]

The figurative fork in the road: keyword cannibalization

The figurative fork in the road: keyword cannibalization

[/one-half-first][one-half]

 

To put it simply, keyword cannibalization arises when multiple pages on your website primarily target the same keyword or theme. Imagine walking down a darkened street, and coming to a fork in the road with a sign that reads, “This Way to LA”. With no other indicators, you’d naturally assume they both lead to the same destination. So why the additional road? This is the dilemma posed to visitors by keyword cannibalization. Some Webmasters may unintentionally create these near (and sometimes completely) duplicate content pages (“roads”) with the intention of capturing as much traffic as possible. However, this practice doesn’t always lead to the best user experience, since site visitors and crawlers are often left wondering which road might be best for them to take. As a result, Google tends to rank these pages lower, since they want to direct their visitors to the most useful (and relevant) quality content.[/one-half]

[clear]

In order for your page to rank better (or at all), you must earn the trust of the search engines, and ultimately your community; only then – assuming you have provided other clear signals stating why your path is the best for people to take – can you expect Google to direct visitors down your path. I’ll talk more about this after I have shown you how to properly identify and engage keyword cannibalization.

[clear-line]

3 Steps to Surviving Keyword Cannibalization

Now that you have a clearer understanding of what we’re up against, I’ll walk you through the steps for surviving a keyword cannibalization apocalypse. iMarket Solutions actively uses these steps to identify, engage and recover from any potential or confirmed keyword and/or content cannibalization.

Step 1: Know What Tools to Use

Every expert survivalist knows you’re only as good as the tools you use. Over the years, I have encountered many powerful tools that have proven essential to identifying keyword cannibalization in the wild. Maybe you’ve heard of some of them?

[one-half-first]

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is an SEO spider tool that gathers essential data from all or a specified set of pages within a website. Although it includes many features useful to an avid SEO, I am only discussing the ones that will save your website’s “skin.”[/one-half-first]
[one-half]

Download Screaming Frog[/one-half]
[clear]

Google Search

Yes, you read correctly – Google Search represents one of the most helpful tools in discovering keyword cannibalization. Using the “site:” Google operator, you can determine pages within a site that are relevant to a certain keyword or phrase. The proper syntax for this command resembles this: ‘site:domain.com air conditioning replacement’, with the domain and keyword phrase substituted according to your requirements. The returned results include all pages within the specified domain that contain the included keyword or phrase.

Google site search screenshot

Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission.

 

Copyscape

Copyscape is a web-based tool that makes searching for duplicate content a piece of cake! Although this tool is usually used for identifying plagiarism, it’s just as useful at identifying duplicate content within your website: things that might not match exactly, but contain a sufficient amount of duplicate content to pose a threat to your website. Please note that while you can search for duplicate content on a very limited basis using their trial version, Copyscape Premium is much more effective.

Copyscape search screenshot

 

PowerMapper

We have no need for this software at our company, since we build the majority of our client’s sites, and therefore have no need to visualize the URL structure. But for people or SEO agencies with larger websites to optimize that want an easier way to determine the pre-existing URL structure, I strongly recommend using PowerMapper.

A screenshot of a demo PowerMapper sitemap

Step 2: Identify the Enemy!

With the tools needed to save your website now in your possession, we must train you to identify the enemy within. This is in no way a comprehensive list of techniques, only what I consider the best ways to determine keyword cannibalization throughout your site.

Look for near duplicate content.

On the Internal tab of the Screaming Frog interface, you can filter the data to only view HTML pages. Once you are viewing the HTML pages, sort the data by size or word count. Pages with near identical numbers in both of these fields could very well have cannibalization issues. To ensure proper thoroughness, I recommend searching within Copyscape and Google Search as well.

Look for exact duplicate content.

Duplicate content is one of the most obvious versions of keyword cannibalization: easy enough to identify using Copyscape, Screaming Frog and Google Search. Here is a breakdown of how you can use each tool to accomplish what you need:

  1. The best method for finding duplicate content. Copyscape Premium is my go-to tool in this case, as you can easily copy and paste suspected content into their search feature and find pages with identically matching content. This tool will also identify any instances of external duplicate content in the process.
  2. Second place isn’t for losers. Screaming Frog is my runner-up tool, but it is not far behind in pure awesomeness. After running a crawl on your website, click on the URI tab and select “Duplicate” from within the filter section. This exportable report will show you all the pages within the crawled website that have an identical hash tag: indicating that those pages share an identical source code. That’s a surefire way to spot the deadliest of cannibalizing mistakes.

Look for pages that share a theme.

Air conditioning experts and air conditioning specialists – does each keyword deserve a unique page that explicitly describes the target keyword in detail? Of course not. And thanks to Google’s Panda algorithm, we are seeing less and less of these examples slipping through the cracks. Perhaps your own pages have disappeared from Google’s search results, which is why you’re here reading this blog? Then I suggest you make sure you have your online ducks in a row. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Understand the URL structure of your website. Do you have pages in the heating section of your website that also appear in the air conditioning section, such as thermostats or zone control systems? Unless you need to discuss distinct differences, you shouldn’t separate them onto different pages. Screaming Frog can help you crawl and export all files within your website, which shouldn’t take too long to organize if you use proper URL hierarchy. But again, if you’re looking for the quick fix on viewing your URL structure, then PowerMapper is the tool for you.
  2. Understand the intent of each page or post. Google Search, allows you to perform a site: operator search to find pages within your website that mention a specified keyword. Once you have a list of these pages to review, you need to understand their intent. Pages with the same targeted keywords are a cause of keyword cannibalization, and when mixed with identical user intent can be a recipe for disaster.

Look for Incorrect Internal Linking

How websites link to you speaks volumes about how Google ranks your website, but how you link to yourself is equally important. Linking to three different pages with the same anchor text makes it difficult for the search engines to ascertain which page is most useful for anyone searching for that term. So when linking pages within your website to one another, use anchor text accurately and consistently (though not so consistently that you never change up the anchor text).

Screaming Frog can make viewing all internal links within a page much easier than doing it by hand. Have the software spider your targeted website, and then within the Internal tab, select “HTML” from the Filter drop-down box. You are now looking at only the content pages within the website. Go ahead and click on any of the URL’s and select the In Links tab at the bottom of the bottom window pane. Within the below window, you can now see all of the internal hyperlinks used on the URL you previously selected within the top window pane, including their destination page, anchor text, alt text (if the internal link is an image that was assigned alt text) and the nature of the link (follow or nofollow).

Keyword Cannibalization Tip:
Each page on your website should follow a theme, which is reiterated in the content and Meta tags, as well as internal and external linking!

Step 3: Strategize and Launch the Attack Against Keyword Cannibalization

You’ve learned how to identify keyword cannibalization and the most common occurrences of this malpractice. Now it’s time for you to do something about it. Take a stand and let it be known – you WILL NOT fall to keyword cannibalization!

  1. If dealing with near duplicate content – unless there is a small amount of duplicate content, you want to delete this page and then 301 redirect the URL to the next most relevant post you would like to rank within the SERPs. If there is a small amount of content, then consider how you could add content to differentiate the target from the cannibalized page. And if deleting the page is not an option, and there is a significant amount of duplicate content, then you can specify within the canonical tag which URL you would prefer Google to index.
  2. If dealing with exactly duplicate content – unless you have a canonical tag in place informing Google that this page is a duplicate of another, and that they should instead index the latter, you should delete and then 301 redirect this page. After all, you want to provide your visitors with the best possible path to follow!
  3. If dealing with a similar theme – change the intent of the page or post! Remember, each page should target a unique theme. Multiple pages that target the same theme or keywords make it difficult for Google to determine which page is the most relevant, useful and of the highest quality. Just like they say in the UFC – don’t leave it to the refs! If you do, you may be disappointed with the outcome.
  4. If dealing with incorrect internal linking – unfortunately, there is no quick fix to this issue, unless your site is built on a custom CMS with programmed internal hyperlinks. That makes it even more important to develop a content plan that you can consistently maintain in your internal linking. I recommend exporting into Excel a complete list of all HTML pages using Screaming Frog, and enter within the adjacent column of each URL the target keyword or theme of that page. This makes it easier for you to determine which anchor text needs to be changed, if any, when you go through the Screaming Frog UI one page at a time.

[clear-line]

Gaining the Trust of Google and Your Community

Now let’s get back to that fork in the road. Google is having a difficult time ascertaining which path is best to send users down. What are you going to do? I hope your answer was, “make it easier for them!” Figuratively speaking, using clearer signs and lighting the path will increase Google’s chances of directing visitors to your website – so let’s bring some life to this semi-fiction! Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes and pave them a road they’d be willing to send their friends and family down. Perform keyword research to identify the best keywords to target, and start building a well-balanced URL structure for your website. That puts you well on the way to building the trust in Google and your community that translates to better organic search visibility.

Are you a contractor who needs help with identifying and fixing keyword cannibalization?

The SEO team at iMarket Solutions is well equipped and experienced at handling technical issues of this nature. Speak to a representative to learn how we can positively influence the online experience for both you and your website’s visitors!

Continue Reading

Adding a Personal Touch to your Content With a Little Help from Al Capone!

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

We love blogging for our clients – but we also love it when you take a little time to get involved to add personal touches to the blogs to make them even more share-worthy.

One of our newly launched clients, Lee’s Foodservice Parts & Repairs went the extra mile this week and wrote their own blog post that involved some history, a famous gangster, and a speakeasy… and the post still had to do with a service call to install a walk-in cooler in Chicago! Here’s an excerpt from the post to grab your interest:

As we walked the site I was told that Al Capone once operated a Speakeasy in the building. Aha, a mystery! Maybe “hit list” was a poor choice of words but now I was really intrigued! Once the client mentioned Al Capone and Speakeasy I was hooked. I always felt that I was born in the wrong era (and if you saw my iPod playlist you would agree). But Chicago in the Twenties, prohibition, Al Capone, okay I admit that suddenly images of old gangster movies started playing in my head…but I digress.

After reviewing the site there were only two options; either run a copper-drain line eighty feet through two walls at an excessive expense to my client or install a Condensate Pan at a much lower cost. Not surprisingly our client chose option two and that was in his best interest and ours. We truly believe we cannot build lasting relationships by only looking out for our bottom line. We are in this together! Okay back to the cool stuff…

Sales Manager Dan Mindo penned the post and has definitely contributed quite a gem to his website’s collection of content.

How can you do the same? We suggest looking around to find the unique or exciting in the everyday mundane details. Sure you go on several service calls, but can you put your finger on something that made it unique? Or are there fun details about other experiences you have had in your industry? Our advice is don’t be shy! Feel free to send your Online Marketing Coordinator a post any time and we’ll have one of our expert SEO Specialists take a look to make sure it has a catchy title and can contribute to your online marketing strategy.

You can also post your own blogs any time if you like – but we’re always here to do it for you.

What original content ideas can you think of? Remember, you’re the expert in your area. What makes it a great place to work and live? Share that with your readers, and the search engines will love it too!

Continue Reading

iMarket Solutions celebrates first year of business with incredible growth

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

iMarket Solutions celebrates its first anniversary July 28, 2011, counting more than 100 businesses to its client roster. It’s been a year of incredible growth for the internet marketing firm, which specializes in HVAC, plumbing and electrical contractor websites.

In July 2010, the fledgling company had one client, an aggressive business plan, and three partners who were intent on offering contractors a way to use the Internet to bring in leads. One year later, the firm has a host of clients across the U.S. and Canada and partnerships with some of the biggest names in the HVAC business, including Mitsubishi and Goodman (Amana/Whirlpool). The company has also signed multiple deals with large distributorships and is a member of several national associations, including Quality Service Contractors (QSC) and Plumbing & Heating-Cooling Contractors (PHCC).

Overwhelmingly, the most popular product the marketing firm offers has been the “Domination” website, which includes a bevy of tools aimed to climb the ranks of the Internet search engines. This package has been so successful because it allows contractors to draw in leads from every town in their service area. iMarket customers that have subscribed to this package have seen the number of leads generated by their website increase by over 100 per month.

“Our sites have been incredibly successful in the Google rankings,” said Nadia Romeo, president of iMarket Solutions, “But more importantly, these sites prompt customers to pick up the phone and call.”

Romeo attributes the success of iMarket’s websites to them being extremely well optimized, but also for containing relevant content. “I’m fond of saying ‘content is king,’ ” said Romeo. “We make sure the sites not only have the keywords that will bring in customers, but we also make sure the content inspires their confidence, so they will follow through by contacting these contractors.”

iMarket Solutions’ websites have drastically reduced the average cost per lead , which for traditional media averages at around $200 nationwide. “Some of our clients have seen the cost per lead drop to a tenth of that,” said Romeo. “They’ve had to add staff to keep up with the demand. In this economy, I’d say that’s a testament to how well our sites work.”

In the last six months iMarket has added numerous staff members and the company is interviewing candidates to fill additional positions. iMarket is conducting a nation-wide search to add another salesperson to keep up with the demand for new websites.

iMarket Solutions has offices in Las Vegas, Seattle and the Burlington, Vermont area. To learn more about the company visit https://www.imarketsolutions.com or email contact@imarketsolutions.com or call 800-727-3920.

Continue Reading

Inbound Marketing: The Future of Marketing Part IV: Maximizing Your Blog’s ROI

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Last week we claimed that blogging is an affordable way for non-professional marketers to enjoy some of the benefits of inbound marketing. This week, we’ll offer some statistics to back up our claim.

Here are some great numbers from the recent HubSpot survey of small business owners and marketing professionals:

  • Most businesses now have a blog – 65%. Businesses without a blog are now in the minority. Chances are, your competitors have a blog – and you should too.
  • 57% of companies using blogs reported that they acquired customers directly from their blog.
  • 55% of respondents said that the leads generated from their blog cost less than the average cost-per-lead for their business.
  • Respondents were more likely to say that blogs were a low-cost source of leads than any other marketing channel, inbound or outbound. If you only do one form of inbound marketing, a blog is the one to choose.

So how do you make a blog work for you? Once again, the statistics have the answer. If you walk away from this article with only one fact stuck in your mind, make it this one:

The more you post to your blog, the more likely it is to generate leads for you.

Fewer than half of survey respondents who posted to their blog once a month or less had acquired a customer through their blog, but 72% – nearly three-quarters! – of businesses that posted once a week had acquired at least one customer through their blogs. This number increased to 76% for respondents who posted 2-3 times a week, and to 89% for respondents who posted to their blogs more than once a day.

If you’re not posting to your blog at least once a week, you’re leaving a lot of leads on the table.

Looking at these statistics, we’ve concluded that for a small business owner who is writing his or her own blog posts, posting once a week hits the “sweet spot” for maximum ROI. If you post less often than that, your lead generation drops off significantly. If you post more often, you will probably get some increase in leads, but you have to invest several additional hours a week to do it, and the ROI might not be there.

However, if your company is larger and has more resources to devote to marketing, the more blog posts, the merrier. You should experiment until you find the “sweet spot” of ROI for your particular market.

(Of course, if no one in your company wants to write the blog posts, you can always hire professionals to write them for you. This is often the easiest and most affordable way to go – and it is usually the best way to be sure that your blog posts stay on schedule.)

Next week: The Yellow Pages – Your Grandmother’s Inbound Marketing?

Continue Reading

Inbound Marketing: The Future of Marketing Part III: Blogs: Inbound Marketing for Everybody

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Last week, we talked about how companies that do outbound marketing are like lions wandering the jungle hunting for elephants, while companies that do inbound marketing are like lions that cleverly wait by the watering hole where all the elephants come to drink.

Of course – to continue the analogy – there are a lot of different watering holes in the online jungle. You need to figure out which ones are worth staking out. You also need to have the right tools to catch your prey when it gets there.

In some cases, the methods for choosing the watering hole and catching the prey can be pretty high-tech and can’t be used by laypeople. You’ll definitely need professional help to use all these tools and run a complete and maximally-successful inbound marketing campaign.

(Some people find inbound marketing off-putting because it requires professional help to do it well. But if you think about it, you need a whole team of professionals – graphic designers, film crews, producers, printers, etc. – to do high-quality outbound marketing. The professional help you’ll need for inbound marketing is usually much less expensive.)

However, even if you can’t afford a professional inbound marketing campaign, there is still one cheap, easy way to lurk by the watering hole: blogging.

Why are blogs so great?

First of all, you can do them yourself. Blogging is the most “low tech” of all the inbound marketing channels. It does require a computer, but it doesn’t require you to purchase expensive software (many of the lower level, but perfectly adequate, blog systems are available free of charge) and it doesn’t require specialized skills. All you need to do to get results is set up a simple blog and post to it regularly.

Blogs are affordable because search engines love to include blog posts in their free results – i.e. if you write some good blog posts, the search engines take care of it from there. Search engines want to deliver accurate and up-to-date information to their users, and a nice fresh blog post fits the bill perfectly. A solid blog post will put your name – and your expertise – in front of people who are already interested in buying what you offer.

Second, well-written blog posts offer searchers what they want: information and tools to help them make a good purchasing decision. Of course, you have to make sure not to ruin the whole effect by giving a blatant sales pitch (the elephants won’t take a drink if the lion jumps out at them before they even get to the water). If your blog offers real information in a low-key way, consumers will start to trust you, and they’ll stick around and buy.

Next week, we’ll look at what the HubSpot survey revealed about optimizing your ROI from your blog.

Continue Reading