Google’s New SSL Policy

If your website has an SSL Certificate, it will also usually display a padlock making it obvious that it is a secure site. This is getting more and more important now...

Google has always been very keen to make websites more secure and their new policy will actively mark your website with a message stating if it is secure or not.

Around 50% of all users are currently using the Chrome browser so there is a pretty good chance that if you aren’t using an SSL certificate on your website, your users will start noticing this.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate allows a secure connection between your website and the visitor’s browser. If the site has an SSL Certificate, it will also usually display a padlock making it obvious that it is a secure site, like so in the image below. You can also see this in the address bar in your browser.

Who needs an SSL Certificate?

Well there is only one answer to that, all websites need an SSL certificate.

In the past it was only really online shops that used them or sites that transacted money, but with Googles new changes to their Chrome browser and how this could affect your position on a search engine, it’s pretty important to get an SSL certificate.

How much is an SSL Certificate?

Well this used to be the issue in the past, they used to cost between £80 – £500 a year depending on what type you wanted, which is a lot of money. Recently however, a new type of SSL certificate has been created by a company called “Let’s Encrypt” and this is a FREE annually renewing SSL certificate, designed to give everyone access to an SSL certificate.

We do however charge a one-off fee £100 + VAT for setting up the certificate on our server and then making sure that the website is SSL ready and only accessible under HTTPS://. From then on as long as you are hosting your website on our server you will have an SSL certificate and be marked as secure on Google Chrome and other browsers.

 

So you’ve launched your website, you’ve planned your local content, and you’ve set up Google Reviews. What next? Claiming your name on social media of course!

How to claim your name successfully…

Not only will claiming your name on social help you in search results but you can protect your brand by securing your username. A good place to start is to reserve your name on popular networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. As a general rule you should create all these accounts with a neutral email account such as info@sokada.co.uk or social@sokada.co.uk.

Even if you don’t plan to use your accounts right away, it’s best to claim your name over the most popular networks first so that you can stop anyone else claiming them. Keep your name short, snappy and easy to spell, for example, don’t include a random series of letters or numbers after your name. On Instagram someone had already claimed @sokada, so we used @sokadauk. This makes sense as we are based in the UK! Most networks also have a character limit, so keep this in mind too, you may need to abbreviate.

Be consistent…

It’s also best to keep your name the same across all social networks to ensure consistency. So if your name on Facebook is ‘yourbranduk’, it should also be ‘yourbranduk’ on Twitter, Instagram and so on – so make sure they’re available before going ahead.

If you do find that someone has already claimed your name and is using your logo or other assets then they could be violating the site’s trademark policy. You can generally report this to the social platform. However, if the user isn’t violating any trademark policies, you will just have to find an alternative that is in line with your brand, or you could always ask them nicely to change their name.

It’s all in the detail

Next you need to set up your profiles with your business details, location, and website information. It’s really important to complete these fully – making no effort to do this reflects poorly on your brand – so make sure you sit down and set aside some time to do it. Include all these new social links on your website too so visitors can click through to your pages and stay connected with you long-term.

Last but not least, be sure to post any content from your blog to your social feeds. If you go on to promote these on your social platforms, you can generate a nice steady stream of visitors to your website, thus increasing the chances of converting a visitor into a customer.

If you’re not sure how to get going with social media then give us a call on 01435 817226 or drop us an email and we can give you some guidance on how to get started!

Why is this so important?

It has never been more important than now to get your customers to review you on Google. Many companies are now learning about the importance of marketing their business online and are discovering that Google reviews are really vital for them, in helping their business succeed. But how do you get people to review you on Google?

It’s not the easiest thing to do and the most ideal way is to let it happen organically. But that doesn’t always happen does it! Customers always love to complain about services or products, but they don’t always jump at the chance to say something nice.

As we are in this industry we realise the importance of online Google Reviews and will review businesses who we believe deserve one. It’s an important part of being found for Local SEO and the more good reviews you get the better. You are more likely to be contacted if you have a bunch of 5 star reviews than your competitor, who may have none.

How Do You Get People To Review You On Google

What are the next steps?

So start asking your customers! It’s as simple as that! Approach each one and personally ask them to post a quick review – it takes seconds to do, but can be invaluable to your business! Don’t just send out a generic email – make it personal so you are asking them – they may not do it otherwise. And even if you contact 20, you will still only get 2 or 3 – the conversion rate is never brilliant.

Any contacts who you have done business with or knows of your business and has had dealings with you could be asked. It really doesn’t have to be just your customers. It could be businesses who sell to you too – if they find you professional, courteous and downright brilliant then ask them too! It will give any potential customers a good overview of you as a business.

If you like reading our posts and have a Gmail account then please place us a quick Google review!

What to do if you get a bad review

Sadly, there will always be people who will run you down. It’s an annoying fact that as we said before, people like to complain. And, unless it is abusive, you cannot remove a bad review. There are two things you can do to combat this however:

  • Respond to this review, explaining your situation in a polite way, so people can see you have taken action
  • Gain loads of great reviews, so they more than outnumber the bad one and it will gradually drop down in the listings, the older it gets

What’s the downside?

You need to have a GMail account to place a review. Many people have them and they are totally free and very quick to set up which is ideal. And a company may still have a gmail account if they indeed, have claimed their Google My Business listing. But this is the frustrating truth – you won’t be able to place a review without one.

If you have a database of clients, probably the easiest way to start is sort them into a list of whoever has a Gmail account and contact these people first – you will get a higher response.

Ask Ask Ask

Remind people to write you a review – the more you have the better. At Sokada, with all our online marketing clients, this is something we consistently do for them – we ask their clients. Local marketing is vital, especially if you are targeting a local market. Don’t just stick at 5 reviews, get as many as you can. Whenever you gain a new client, then ask them to review you. Keep on top of it and it will become second nature.

Don’t let your competition beat you!

If you like reading our posts and have a Gmail account then please place us a quick Google review! (we have got to ask, haven’t we…)

 

Local Search

More and more people are using the web to look for local businesses, many of them using mobile devices to do so. Local search engine optimisation is really important if you want to stand out from the crowd, here are a couple of things you can do, to help you achieve this…

  1. Claim your Google My Business Page and Bing Places For Business
  2. Claim local name, address and phone number citations and listings in local directories online.
  3. Get people to leave ratings and reviews on Google Reviews
  4. Claim your name over all social media platforms
  5. Produce relevant local content

Local Content

Local content is probably the best way to improve your visibility and rankings in local search results. If your main customer base is local to you, you need to include local keywords, this will help narrow your competition and help you come out on top.

When writing content, make sure you include places that are local to you. For example, Sokada is based in Heathfield, so you will include Heathfield and other areas close by to this location in your pages content and blog post pages. The content needs to make sense though, don’t try to insert as many instances of it as possible! Also consider how you can link your business to relevant local news or industry stories, this will help you get further to the top of the search results.

It’s also important to know who your audience is, so that you can get your message in front of the right people. Sometimes the best way to do this is to utilise Facebook’s audience insights to identify demographics and interests of your potential audience. You can also look at Google’s Keyword Planner to see how certain keywords are performing and Google Analytics to see what your current traffic data is like.

However, despite all this, local content isn’t just a blog post; it’s also the other four things we’ve mentioned above and then some. Share user-generated content (the good stuff your customers post about your business), get people to review your business and share those too, be sure to post your blog content to all social media platforms you’re on. Maybe even promote some of the posts too. Social media is pretty crucial so make use of it!

More detail to come on the above 5 points…

If you’re not sure where to begin with SEO then give us a call on 01435 817226 or drop us an email and we can give you some guidance on how to get started!