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When it comes to business marketing, even small mistakes can lead to substantial consequences. This is especially true in the digital age, where factors like search ranking and online reviews can make all the difference in a company’s success. Whether you’re starting a new business or revamping an established one, consider (and avoid) these all-too-common mistakes:

1. Choosing a generic company name

Having a generic name might not have made a difference 30 years ago, but nowadays it can directly impact a company’s ability to compete in the consumer market. With the majority of consumers using the internet to find goods and services, keywords play a major role in determining which businesses show up in search results. For this reason, a company with a generic name like “Construction Services” is going to struggle. Not only is its name contained within countless other companies’ names (Bill’s Construction Services, Greenhill Construction Services, etc.), it’s also a general search query. These eponymous disadvantages will make it difficult for this company to vie for optimal search ranking.

Similar naming gaffes include vagueness about what the company does (ex. a plumbing company named Joe’s General Services) or close similarity to another, more prominent brand or company (ex. House Depot). Ideally, you should choose a company name that a) is unique, b) makes it clear what kind of work you do, and c) references the geographic area it serves (if applicable). That way, when a customer enters an “industry near me” query, your company will be more likely to show in search results.

2. Not having a website

Step one of doing anything in the 21st century: get a website. If your company still doesn’t have one, you’re way behind the curve. The good news is we can bring you up to speed.

3. Having a poorly designed website

The only thing worse than no website is a bad website. OK, maybe that’s not true, but other than establishing your company’s digital presence, a subpar website isn’t going to do you many favors. From visual design and user experience to page structure and search engine optimization, there are many ingredients that go into a well-designed website, so make sure these have all been properly addressed on yours.

4. Ignoring digital tools

If a website is live but hasn’t been indexed, does it exist? As far as Google is concerned, no. When a website isn’t in Google’s index, it won’t show in search results, which is a big problem if you want consumers to find your business. So, how can you tell if your website is being indexed? Just use Google Search Console. This resource lets you keep tabs on your business website’s performance and verify that your pages are being properly indexed. It also notifies you about any security issues or potential site violations so you can have these addressed directly.

Not sure how to set up your business website with Google Search Console? No problem—just read this article we wrote about it.

5. Having inconsistent info in online listings

Another crucial aspect of web marketing is ensuring your company’s name, address and phone number (known collectively as NAP) are consistent across online listings. This includes local directories, major directories like Yelp, social media sites and your Google My Business listing (by and large the most important listing of all). Since Google references NAP as an indicator of a business’ legitimacy, inconsistencies can cause confusion and potentially hurt your search ranking. The simplest way to ensure consistency is to “claim” your online listings by registering with each directory as the company’s owner. That way, you can personally confirm that these details are correct.

6. Ignoring online reviews

It’s understandable why many business owners don’t want to deal with online reviews, but it’s nonetheless important. Customer reviews on sites like Google and Yelp greatly influence consumers’ decisions on which companies to hire, stores to shop at, and products to buy. That means even a few bad reviews could be sending your potential customers elsewhere. Fortunately, you can do something about it.

If your company has bad reviews, your best move is to respond and try to make things right for the disgruntled customers. If this doesn’t work, at least your responses will be posted so consumers can see you made the effort. You can also improve your online ratings by inviting your customers to leave positive reviews for your business on Google and other sites. After all, a lot of good reviews can overshadow a few bad ones.

7. Hiring a subpar digital marketing company

For business owners who lack the time, knowledge and/or confidence to handle the digital marketing side of things, hiring a professional firm can be a wise investment. However, while there are plenty of good digital marketing firms out there, there are also plenty of not-so-good ones that are likely to waste your money. For instance, some agencies will simply throw money at Google AdWords, but without taking the time to research and create an effective campaign, this tactic isn’t likely to bear fruit. That’s why it’s wise to do your homework and find a digital marketing firm that’s worth its fee.

To learn more about small business SEO and digital marketing, read our other blog posts.

Want to revamp your business website or launch a digital marketing campaign? We can help!

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