Is SEO the New PR?

Is SEO the New PR?
Google PR marketing

Way back before the internet had even been invented, companies hired PR firms to get their name out, build a brand name reputation, and help prospective customers learn about them. Public relations professionals would dutifully go about writing press releases, scoring feature stories, and negotiating product presentation opportunities in the name of finding more buyers.

Then the internet came along and everything changed. Press releases lost their power to serve as a news source because newspapers and magazines were folding. Feature stories weren’t read because they didn’t stand out in the sea of information. Product placement decreased in value because there were so many new ways of viewing content.

Fortunately, there is still a way of getting your name in front of prospects when they look for the product or service you offer. It’s called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. This is a way of formulating your website, blogs, and social media content to be responsive to online search queries. If someone uses Google to search for “hotels in Santa Barbara,” or “restaurants in Santa Ynez Valley,” you want your website to pop up on the first page of their results.

How to Blend SEO Into Your PR Efforts

Here are tips you can use to incorporate more SEO, increase your visibility in search engine results, and help the internet drum up more business for your business:

  • Make your website accessible: Search engines and potential customers need to be able to easily access your website. In addition to great content, you also want to get the technical parts right. You don’t want someone clicking to your website because you are the answer to their problem, only to get a “website not found” error. Check all pages for functionality, eliminate duplicate content, include title and H2 tags, and have a rich source of content.
  • Think about keywords: What do prospects search for when they need your product or service? Develop a list of words they might type into the search engine bar. If those words aren’t prominently included in your website copy, your site will not appear in their results. The content needs to be informative and natural; you can’t just add a list of keywords to the bottom of the page and hope it generates results. If there is a lot of competition in your field, incorporate plenty of terms which make your business stand out from the crowd.
  • Be a valuable resource: Look at your website as a potential customer might and ask yourself, “Does this help me?” You brought in somebody who searched for a particular term, so that had better appear right on your landing page. If you can’t see any benefits, then you’ve got some rewrites to do. Have content that is educational, helpful and easy to understand, and make sure it is current. There is nothing worse than navigating to a site that is chock full of old info. This effort helps prospects learn about you, and also signals the search engine algorithms that your site has something valuable to offer their users.
  • Provide a great website experience: Have a compelling website experience for your visitors. Most leave in seconds if they don’t think you can help, so have your prime selling proposition front and center. Make a clear learning path, avoid large blocks of content, and include helpful headlines that communicate key selling points. Include lots of pictures, graphics, and videos to quickly provide information. And make it easy to contact or buy from you.
  • Get social: Once your website strategy is in place, start bulking up your online presence through a concerted social media strategy. Have a Facebook page and Twitter account that offer useful information and drive visitors to your site. Provide the same branding experience across all outlets. This also increases the likelihood that the search engines will aggregate and incorporate additional contact opportunities for your company. Search results that include a website, Facebook page and LinkedIn page for a single company demonstrate a great deal of online flexibility. Use social media to encourage interaction and you’ll also boost search-ability.
  • Build more links: Search engines love it when other sites link to yours because this reflects your online credibility, but they can’t be random or low-quality links. Ask your current customers and contacts to link to your site if it makes sense for their business. You can provide reviews and referrals for complementary companies, and they can do the same for you. Bring in guest bloggers who will certainly link to your site from their blog, and you may even get organic links just because you have such helpful information in your blog. Make it easy for them by providing sample emails, tweets, or Facebook posts they can use to let others know more about you. You can also search for informative articles online and post comments on them that will introduce a new set of readers to your company.
  • Review sites: There are a number of online review sites that can help prospects find your business. You need to think in terms of Yelp, TripAdvisor, Open Table, Angie’s List, and other sites people go to gather insights. Initially, you just want to make sure they have the correct basic information such as address and phone number, but then you can ask your happiest clients to start posting reviews. If you’re in a more technical field, make sure your product specifications are included in industry sites.

If you’ve got a real news story, keep in mind that you can still generate PR with media outlets; it’s just moved online, too. If you’ve got a targeted customer base, check out your local media websites and look at ways you can provide news. They might have blogs or event calendars, or you might be able to email an editor or news director with a storyline about your business. SEO really can be the new PR for your company – you just need to know how to use it.

An Advertising Ecosystem That Works For Everyone

Digital advertising plays an important role in making the web what it is today—a forum where anyone with a good idea and good content can reach an audience and potentially make a living. In order for this ads-supported, free web to work, it needs to be a safe and effective place to learn, create and advertise. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Whether it’s a one-off accident or a coordinated action by scammers trying to make money, a negative experience hurts the entire ecosystem. That’s why for the last 15 years, we’ve invested in technology, policies, and talent to help us fight issues like ad fraud, malware, and content scammers. Last year, we were able to remove more bad actors from our ad ecosystem than ever before, and at a faster rate.

We removed 100 bad ads per second

In 2017, we took down more than 3.2 billion ads that violated our advertising policies. That’s more than 100 bad ads per second! This means we’re able to block the majority of bad ad experiences, like malvertising and phishing scams, before the scams impact people. We blocked 79 million ads in our network for attempting to send people to malware-laden sites, and removed 400,000 of these unsafe sites last year. And, we removed 66 million “trick-to-click” ads as well as 48 million ads that were attempting to get users to install unwanted software.

New technology to better protect advertisers

Last year, we removed 320,000 publishers from our ad network for violating our publisher policies, and blacklisted nearly 90,000 websites and 700,000 mobile apps. We also introduced technology that allows us to better protect our advertisers by removing Google ads from individual pages on a website that violate our policies. Last year, we removed 2 million pages for policy violations each month. This has been critical in scaling enforcement for policies that prohibit monetization of inappropriate and controversial content. In fact, after expanding our policy against dangerous and derogatory content in April 2017 to cover additional forms of discrimination and intolerance, we removed Google ads from 8,700 pages that violated the expanded policy.

Fighting deceptive content online

Many website owners use our advertising platforms, like AdSense, to run Google ads on their sites and content and make money. We paid $12.6 billion to publishing partners in our ad network last year. But in order to make money from Google ads, you have to play by rules— that means respecting the user experience more than the ads.

Our publisher policies exist to help us maintain that balance, even as trends change online. For example, in recent years, we’ve seen the rise of scammers trying to take advantage of the growing popularity of online news to make money. We prohibit websites in our ad network from serving ads on misrepresentative content. Essentially this means that you can’t serve ads if you’re pretending to be a legitimate news website based in London when you’re actually a content scammer in a different city. In 2017, we found that a small number of publishers were responsible for the majority of these violations. Of the 11,000 websites we reviewed for potentially violating the misrepresentative content policy, we blocked over 650 of those sites and terminated 90 publishers from our network.  

More frequently, we see violations of our scraping content policy. This type of policy violation occurs when bad actors try to make money as quickly as possible by copying news or content from other sites. In 2017, we blocked over 12,000 websites for “scraping,” duplicating and copying content from other sites, up from 10,000 in 2016.

Does an ad with the headline “Ellen DeGeneres adopts a baby elephant!” make you want to click on it? You’re not alone. In recent years, scammers have tried to sell diet pills and weight-loss scams by buying ads that look like sensational news headlines but ultimately lead to a website selling something other than news. We suspended more than 7,000 AdWords accounts for tabloid cloaking violations, up from 1,400 in 2016.

New policies to tackle emerging threats

We’re constantly updating our policies as we see new threats emerge. Last year, we added 28 new advertiser policies and 20 new publisher policies to combat new threats and improve the ads experience online. This year, we updated several policies to address ads in unregulated or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets, and contracts for difference (or CFDs). We also updated our gambling ads policies to address new methods of gambling with items that have real-world value (e.g., skins gambling). And we will introduce a new certification process for rehabilitation facilities, allowing legitimate addiction treatment centers to connect with people in need. Our work to protect the ads ecosystem doesn’t stop here—it’s ongoing. As consumer trends evolve, as our methods to protect the open web get better, so do online scams. Improving the ads experience across the web, whether that’s removing harmful ads or intrusive ads, will continue to be a top priority for us.

Source: Official Google Webmasters Blog

Top 10 Restaurant Marketing Ideas for 2019

Top 10 Restaurant Marketing Ideas for 2019

Innovative marketing is essential to the success of any restaurant. Whether you’re launching a new eatery or have been running a successful bistro for years, you should never overlook fresh advertising concepts. So, check out these top 10 restaurant marketing ideas to get diners talking about your business and bring customers through the door.

1) Produce a professional website

Your restaurant website is the most important online marketing tool you have, so make sure it’s functional, attractive and professional. One of the best ways to do this is by selecting a top pre-made restaurant theme that you can customize to suit your business. Look for a theme that has:

  • A simple drag-and-drop page builder function
  • The ability to add menus
  • Contact forms and table booking systems
  • Review/testimonial functions
  • Slider galleries to show personalized images of your food
  • Ability to add a blog
  • Mobile-friendly functionality

Make sure you use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques throughout your site so that it ranks in search engine results. If you’re struggling to create your website, hire a professional to help.

2) Get reviews on Yelp

Word-of-mouth has long been known as the most powerful marketing tool. Recent surveys show that word-of-mouth reviews influence purchasing decisions for 74% of consumers and 88% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from personal contacts. Yelp, which ranks businesses according to customer reviews, is one of the best tools for word-of-mouth marketing. So set up your Yelp business profile today and always remember to personally respond to customer reviews.

3) Interact with customers on social media

You can’t ignore the power of social media in today’s internet-obsessed world where two billion people spend over an hour and a half every day on social networks. Plus, having a social media presence makes it easy for customers to find and connect with you. So, if you haven’t already, set up your profiles on key platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and integrate them with your website. Next, take the time to really connect with your customers on social media; share relevant content and news with them, reply to comments and run special offers. Social media can also be a useful tool for gathering customer feedback, so don’t forget to ask your followers questions so you can improve your restaurant experience.

4) Localize your SEO

Make sure your website ranks highly on Google when people search for restaurants in your local area. For example, if you run a Mexican restaurant in Santa Barbara, you want your website to show up when people type: top Mexican restaurants in Santa Barbara into Google.  Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Use the free Google Keyword tool to find out exactly which phrases people are searching for related to restaurants in your area, such as: where to eat in Santa Barbara, or best Santa Barbara restaurants. Include keyword findings on your website in title tags, H2 tags, meta descriptions, content and alt tags.
  • Make sure your business is listed on Google Places by signing up to Google My Business.
  • Add your business NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) to every page of your website. Make sure this information is consistently listed and formatted across all social media platforms and review websites.

5) Create a blog

Produce an engaging blog for your website to increase organic traffic, restaurant bookings and boost your search engine rankings. Make sure you update your blog consistently with original content including plenty of personalized images and videos. Use your blog to share restaurant news such as seasonal dishes, write about topical food subjects, and post recipes and ideas. Promote all of your articles on social media and ask food bloggers to guest post on your site. Make your blog easy to navigate and ensure readers can comment on posts and share your content with the click of a button.

6)  Engage with local food influencers

Find out who the biggest local food bloggers, Youtubers and Instagrammers are in your area and invite them to dine at your restaurant for free. They’ll photograph, review and film the experience to share with their food-obsessed followers, which is marketing gold dust. Recent studies show that collaborating with social influencers has become one of the most powerful ways to reach customers and over 80% of companies who’ve already tried this strategy say it was successful. You can also partner with food influencers by rewarding them to mention your restaurant or one of your promotions on their channels.

7)  Grow your customer database

Build up your email database by placing call-to-actions across your website asking people to sign up to your newsletter for special offers. Send out tailored deals to encourage bookings or share news about upcoming events. You can also email out your latest blog articles, top monthly dishes and advertise current contests. Run a special meal discount for all new customers in exchange for signing up to your newsletters. Remember not to spam your subscribers and only email them useful and engaging content. You can take this tactic a step further by collecting the phone numbers of local customers to send them offers via SMS.

8)  Run social media discounts and contests

Reward your loyal customers and drum up extra business via your social media channels. Make eye-catching graphics to promote time-limited discounts and offers especially for your followers. Get creative with your deals and run social media contests and sweepstakes with prizes. This will create excitement around your brand and keep customers coming back to both your social media pages and your restaurant. Give your campaigns an extra boost by promoting them in a Facebook Ad for maximum exposure.

9)  Host events at your restaurant

Draw a crowd by hosting exciting events and entertainment at your restaurant. Think live music every Thursday, monthly comedy nights, or speed dating evenings. Get involved during key holiday seasons by offering special menus for Thanksgiving and Christmas or sponsoring the local Halloween parade, for example. Publicize all your special events on your social media channels, website, and e-newsletters.

10)  Run Google Ads around the holidays

Give your business an extra boost around key holiday periods by running time-limited Google Advertising campaigns. When you use Google Adwords you’re paying to have your restaurant show up on the first page of the search results, along with your address and contact information. Adwords allows you to send out geo-targeted ads to people in your local area and easily reach mobile customers. The great thing about Google Adwords is that you can easily control your campaign budget and analyze its results.

Which of these top restaurant marketing ideas will you try? Share your comments below.