Be Aware of Google Maps Hackers

Yes, I know this article was written back in 2014…….. yet it still holds the same relevance today as it did then unfortunately. With the rising rates of fraudulent transactions and mean spirited behaviors among people, when a competitor wants to shut you down there’s a very easy way to do it. On Google Maps. They can take your Google My Business listing down in a virtual heartbeat. 

All the stories in the article I’m about to link to have either taken down the business completely or caused enough grief to the business owner to cause real financial hardship. Community edits are a main source of trouble, as are the infamous map hackers and those who change the business hours and flood the business with fake reviews.

Read original article here

The point is no one checks their Google My Business listing every day. I check it about every two weeks on my phone or iPad with the app. All has been well with my Google My Business listing for a long time. No issues.

I checked it today whilst doing social media because I thought how neat would it be to copy my Instagram post which immediately is shared on Facebook to my Google My Business listing. Lo and behold I was listed as a duplicate listing which could NOT be removed because someone else had become the manager. Which was not true because when I looked up Users it was only my account managing it. 

I had no ability to change anything and I could not obtain permission to transfer it to another account. Then I noticed 2 other listings had been tampered with as well. Bottom line after 2 hours of trying everything in the book, I copied my reviews, and finally was able to delete all listings. Then I created a new listing which was immediately suspended. I was not allowed to use LLC after my name. 

I created yet another listing and now am waiting for that pesky verification postcard. 

It really is imperative that you stay on top of your Google My Business listing because you never ever know when that evil individual who is your competitor or a hacker will strike. Sad world we live in. But one must remain vigilant. 

Getting Your Business to Show Up on Google Local Near Me Searches

It makes perfect sense for any business to be able to show up on Google when potential clients search for a local business near them. However, many businesses do NOT show up when potential customers or clients search. The typical search would be “jewelry store near me” or “dwi lawyer near me” or “general contractor near me”.

The landscape has changed in regards to the demise of Google+, sometimes referred to as Google Plus, which I personally considered pretty lame. However, the upside of this is the new and improved Google My Business. Which I am actually impressed with. And I’ll tell you why. It really enables the business owner to control their presence and to connect with their audience and potential clients.

The quick and dirty procedure to get your business to show up on the local near me listings is the following:

Google Maps Ranking Factors – fill out your entire business listing completely and comprehensively and you will see the rewards with better exposure.

1) It always pays to verify your Google My Business Information – so make sure you do this.

2) Encourage your current clients / customers to leave you reviews on Google.

3) Take the time to properly categorize your business – the more careful you are to target your niche, the easier it will be for people to find your business.

4) Optimize your listing description – this is all done under the INFO tab on the left. Categories, service areas, your hours, phone, website, appointment url (even if that is just your contact us page), description, and any photos you might want to add.

5) Using a local telephone number is preferable to using an 800 number. Many 800 or 888 numbers are robo call numbers or spam numbers. If you want to come up in local searches, use a local phone number. This also shows Google you really are a local business.

6) Embedding a Google Map on your website is further proof of credibility and legitimacy.

How to embed a Google Map on your website? Google My Business makes this super easy for you. From the dashboard of your listing, click on INFO in the left hand menu. Then, all the way to your right click on View on Maps. Next, on your maps view, look in the left hand column for the three bar menu icon at the top left of the page. Click on that and scroll down to where it says Share or Embed a Map. Click on that.

A small screen pops up that says Share. You have two choices – Send a Link or Embed a Map. Choose Embed a Map. You can choose the map size. Then click on Copy HTML and add that to your contact us page or your website footer widget or send to your website manager to do this for you.

The next step is to create posts with pictures. This is a mission critical step. Going back to your dashboard page, see Posts in the left menu. Click on that. Create a post complete with relevant hashtags, and a relevant image. Your post doesn’t have to be the Great American Novel. Keep it short and sweet.

Since we are always posting about a service we offer or a web design product that we offer, we choose What’s New. At the very bottom you can Add a Button. We always choose Learn More and put the link to the service or product in there. When done, hit Publish.

Be advised that all Google posts expire after 7 days with the exception of Event posts. So be sure to post on a consistent basis of every 3 or 4 days to serve up fresh content. Monitor your insights and watch the traffic to your listing go up. And watch your search engine visibility grow. And listen to the phone ring. It takes some time, as do all good things, but you will have done your business a great service by following these steps and maximizing your Google My Business listing.

***HINT: To make your posting easier and a more streamlined process, we create our original post in our business Instagram Account with all of the appropriate hashtags. We then share it from Instagram directly to our business Facebook page. From there, we copy the content to our Google My Business post. Upload the picture, and we are done. 5 minutes. Literally. And painless.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Is It Time To Turn Your Business Around?

Every business reaches a point where processes and tasks could be done more efficiently making better use of time and resources. Employee morale is directly tied to the company culture and what flavor of the company Kool-Aid is being served. Sometimes these things need to be changed up a bit so that the business can experience sustainable growth and take things to the next level. 

As a business consulting firm here in Northern New Jersey, we help clients throughout Bergen County and Rockland County New York turn their businesses around from stagnant to viable and growing. Sometimes it’s a simple issue such as the company or culture having gotten stuck in a particular groove that’s old and not very apparent until you look at it from the outside – and begin thinking out of the box.

Other times it’s a little more serious. Maybe some financial concerns because profits are down, or e-commerce is not what it should be, or new programs need to be introduced to breath life into the business. We are actually working with a local company now who’s mantra was “but we’ve always done it this way” and in the same breath “but everything we try never works” which simply screams “help we are stuck in the mud!!!!”.

How you do what you do sometimes also needs to be kicked up a notch or two. If processes are too clunky there would be a call for streamlining and efficiency and creating an easy to follow routine. This not only encourages efficient usage of time and resources but also can bring up employee morale which encourages teamwork and camaraderie. Maybe your employees would benefit from work at home flex time, a revamped company culture of a more relaxed and productive atmosphere. Rewards for jobs well done. Who knows? Some companies expect their employees to drink the company Kool-Aid while ignoring the fact that many are pretending to like the culture simply because they need the job, not because it’s actually an enjoyable experience.

The last thing your company needs is a negative tone. This is picked up by employees and customers alike. You don’t need production slipping, you need it to grow. You don’t need staff turnover, you need staff to be happy and productive and to do their best every day.

Working with Maureen McCullough LLC, we help you:

  • Identify the challenges
  • Develop a customized plan of action
  • Create a make-sense execution strategy
  • Build an operational groundwork for success and growth

We will help you implement systems and processes while providing common sense guidance, enabling everyone from the executive wing on down the line to cultivate a thriving and sustainable business.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

3 Reasons Why A Large Marketing Agency May Be Dead Wrong For Your Business

Many small businesses are correct in knowing that they need to hire a marketing agency to beef up brand recognition, search engine visibility, handle email campaigns, setup and monitor pay per click PPC campaigns as well as organic campaigns, and much more.

In the same breath, many of these same small businesses, regardless of industry – be it attorneys or manufacturing or food and hospitality – make a critical mistake when choosing what type of marketing agency they will work with.

Many are under the misconception that the MORE they spend means they will get more at the end of the day.  Many feel it’s worth it to spend $3000 a month as opposed to $300 a month just because the $3000 simply MUST be better quality. They could not be more wrong. 

Let’s examine this for what it’s worth.

A) Let’s get the basic cost bit out of the way. Large marketing agencies have overhead, employees, consultants and more high maintenance costs. So by the nature of the beast they MUST charge more. And they do.

Small hometown marketing agencies do not have these costs. Many work out of their home office, and do not have employees and consultants but instead have teams that work remotely from their home offices. Sure they still have to pay themselves and their remote team members, but the cost to expense ratio is far diminished. 

B) Large marketing agencies are hung up on numbers, flowcharts, pie charts, funnel charts besides which THEY tell YOU what keywords they are going to list you for or spend your ad dollars on. They do not take the time to explain Google Analytics to their clients who actually have an interest in understanding it. They are SO caught up in the numbers game with their clients, caught up with feeding the client all possible industry buzzwords, they actually brainwash the client to an extent. 

Small marketing agencies operate the exact opposite way. They realize the client really doesn’t care about all the intricacies of Google Analytics, or industry buzzwords, or charts. They realize the client wants one thing to happen.

The client, at the end of the day, wants the damn phone to ring. That’s it.

That’s the point of first contact. The phone ringing, even if it is a tire kicker on the other end, is a good thing. The tire kicker may be converted to a customer or client. Maybe not. But the phone is ringing. 

Case in point: A colleague and I were discussing this and she pointed out the case of Proctor & Gamble and also Unilever. Proctor & Gamble cut $200 million of it’s marketing spend and they reduced spending with what they called several “big players” by 20% to 50%.  The cuts enabled Proctor & Gamble to eliminate 20% of it’s ineffective marketing and actually INCREASED the company reach by 10%. 
Read original article here.

C) The Personal Care Aspect. Large marketing agencies do not preach nor do they practice the personal care aspect. They do not take the time to get to know you, the client. They do not take the time to get to know your business, your goals, needs, aspirations for success, or wish lists. They take your money, assign you to an account manager who may or may not be the same account manager the next time you call, and they do not focus on you. Often the marketing efforts are not closely tailored or even closely focused on what your business needs but instead are focused on what they feel is best for you at this time.

Small marketing agencies embrace the personal care aspect and the hometown feel of “we’ve got your back and if what we are doing is not working we’ve got a Plan B in the lineup”. With many if not most smaller marketing agencies, you are taken care of personally by the owner or a dedicated account manager who knows it’s your 5 year old’s birthday this coming Wednesday. If you are local to them they are willing to meet with you on a monthly basis or whenever schedules permit to discuss what’s working and what’s not. 

If you are not local, they are willing to Skype a meeting with you to accomplish the same goals. Small marketing agencies don’t tell YOU what’s good for you. They instead LISTEN to you, and create a personalized plan accordingly. They exhaust all organic methods before spending your money on pay per click ad campaigns. Small marketing agencies work WITH you and FOR you, taking a sincere interest in your business and your success. NO ineffective marketing tactics allowed.  

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Leveraging Google My Business for Business Success

Google is finally doing away with Google+, which in my eyes, was fairly useless as far as business is concerned. Up on the up side, they have made Google My Business much easier to use, more clear cut, and have incorporated the posts feature from Google+ into Google My Business.This is a key selling point in why your small business should take advantage of this and leverage this tool for your business success.

The key to using Google My Business correctly for best business exposure is simple.

  • Fill out your INFO section as completely and thoroughly as possible. Don’t have a dedicated appointment URL? Use your contact us page. Be sure to pick the most relevant categories for your business.
  • Reviews. Respond to your reviews, both good reviews and not so good reviews. It shows you’re keeping up with your client feedback.
  • Turn on messaging. Get the Google My Business App so you can respond quickly to any inquiries that come your way.
  • Upload some photos of your business. They don’t have to be images of your office if you prefer not. They can be images you use in your blog posts or social media as pertains to your business.
  • They give you a free website. We don’t need it because we have one of our own. However, you can turn this one page freebie into a useful landing page for your business. Food for thought.
  • Above all, take advantage of posting POSTS. What we do is we post on Instagram, share it to our Facebook business page, then copy it to our Google My Business Posts. All posts expire after 7 days so it is important to keep your feed fresh. Save images from expiring posts in your photos.

Be consistent and watch your INSIGHTS grow and your phone call rate go up!

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Why Blogging Matters to Your Business

Why does blogging matter to your business? No one has any time to do it, and no one wants to put forth the extra effort to do it, much less take the time to conjure up original content.

How many times have we searched on Google for anything, and see 10 – 20 websites that have the same blog content posted. Not exactly original content.

So back to the original question of why blogging matters to your business.

It doesn’t matter what kind of company you run………… construction, the arts, landscaping, food and drink, jewelry, fashion, attorney services or medical practitioner. We’re all in this together. Every business type needs to blog, end of story. Here’s why.

  • Credibility – the more you blog and provide original content of value, the greater your overall credibility becomes on the Internet.
  • Visibility – it doesn’t matter whether you are peddling your products or your services………. providing your reader base with quality content increases your visibility.
  • Search Engine Value – yes, the Gods at Google like fresh quality content to be in constant circulation on the Internet. Even though they do not crawl or index all pages that are pumped out, and when they do crawl or index it is on Google’s time frame and not ours, it’s still a good idea to provide fresh quality content.

What if you are just starting out with your blog? There’s always that classic excuse of “I have no subscribers”, or, “No one will read it”.

First off, everyone has to start somewhere. No one got anywhere who didn’t at least make an effort.

Second, there’s social media. Put your blog posts out on social media. Post on your business Instagram, share it to your business Facebook, and share that to your personal Facebook. Post on LinkedIn. Post on Google My Business. Oh that’s right, I forgot. It takes too much time. Are you serious?

Third, attract an audience by using appropriate hashtags. How on Earth would you know which hashtags to use? By researching hashtags and also Google keywords.

Now that we are done with the excuses of why it’s too much trouble or too much work to blog, let’s move on.

Is blogging something you should be paying someone to do, or is it something that should be done in house at your company? It depends. Some types of businesses work better if the blogging is done by staff in house. Others, you can feed content to the marketing agency you’re paying and they will polish it up and put it out there. It is entirely up to you.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

10 Tips to Make Your Attorney Law Practice Successful

An attorney law practice, like any other business in the world, is subject to the same set of rules as any other business – an extremely competitive environment. So how do you make your attorney law practice stand out from the competition?

Having worked with lawyers throughout Northern New Jersey for over 7 years as their Business Coach and Marketing Agency, we have some marketing tips that can help you IF you are willing to put in the extra hours and effort. If not, your law practice will just stagnate and go nowhere.

Tip #1 – Get yourself a customizable website that can grow and evolve with you and your business. Customizable means exactly that. No cookie cutter template nonsense just because it’s free. If you want to set yourself apart from the rest, you’ve got to walk the talk and look the look. Find out more here.

You think you’ll pass on having a website? Then you may as well pass on the business cards, and the overhead………. like the rent of your law office. And while you’re at it, figure out a different way to pay the bills.

Tip #2 – Figure out your niche target markets – what areas of law are you going to practice in. Understand that over time this may change and evolve. In order for you to become a successful law practice, you need to excel in a few areas and become the expert. If you feel like you’re just going to jump in and practice in all areas, you’re just branding yourself as a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Tip #3 – Populate your website with quality content, and lots of it. Each area of practice needs strong positive content, letting the public know what you can do for them. Potential clients are not interested in you patting yourself on the back. They are in trouble and need to see what you can do to get them out of said trouble. End of story. It’s not about you. It’s about your clients.

Tip #4 – Blog on a fairly consistent, constant basis. Your blog posts need to focus on your targeted niche markets. Your blog posts need to detail aspects of relevant cases, case outcomes, new laws and how they can and will affect various criminal court outcomes. The more information you make available in a professional helpful manner the more your law practice comes over as a leader and expert in the field.

Tip #5 – Make your branding consistent across the board – using the same handles and branding hashtags on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Your law office should be instantly recognizable by your consistent brand hashtag. Potential clients may not remember your name when they go looking for you, but your hashtag will be your saving grace as they very well may remember that and find you that way.

Tip #6 – Populate your website with meaningful informative videos. This also establishes you as the expert that people can turn to for their legal issues. Whether they video is a lecture you gave, part of a round table session, or a short video on your chosen niche areas of practice, this goes a long way in establishing you as the expert. Plus, people like the visual. They feel like you are talking to them and this makes you much more approachable and relatable.

Tip #7 – Get involved with your local Bar Association, get on some committees. This brings up your visibility within the law circle itself. No, it’s not just schmoozing and nonsense. It’s networking, gaining peer respect, and getting referrals from other attorneys.

Tip #8 – Populate your website with all of the professional memberships you belong to, speaking engagements, education, continuing education seminars you attend over the course of your career. This is another very valid tactic to establish yourself as the pre-eminent expert in your field. This goes a long way in gaining potential client’s trust because they feel you actually know what you are talking about. Remember, they don’t know you from the next attorney and they have many other potential choices to take their legal issues to.

Tip #9 – Hire yourself a good marketing agency that will work with you to either build your website for you, or do a complete audit of your current website. A reputable marketing agency will identify all issues and weaknesses with your website after a thorough audit. Your marketing agency will then work with you to implement all organic methods possible to establish your presence in the search engines through proper white hat SEO, organic marketing techniques, local geo targeted SEO, reputation management and responsible social media marketing.

Tip #10 – Take advantage of your free listing on law directories. Don’t spend thousands of dollars a year on paid listings. Even on paid listings there are still other attorneys appearing on your page. This leaves the door open for a potential client to still click on one of them. Take the free listings, encouraging your clients to leave reviews for you there as well as on Google, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Remember, people like 5 star ratings. The more legitimate 5 star ratings, the stronger your reputation will be without you breaking the piggy bank.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

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