How Online Reviews Impact Local SEO and Why They Matter to Your Bottom Line

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In today's digital age, how would you feel as a small business if you found out that 90% of customers say that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews? 

I'd imagine that you'd perk up and either pat yourself on the back if your business already has a strategy in place for acquiring reviews and managing your online reputation, or you'd scratch your head and think 'dang, I better get on this.'

Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, online reviews are important for a number of reasons, and have major implications through their ability to affect:

  • Your rankings in local search engines
  • Which search results actually gets clicked on
  • Consumers purchasing decisions

That makes online reviews as critical to your local SEO strategy as building citations and on-site optimization. In my previous posts, I covered the nuts-and-bolts of building citations, and provided a primer for local SEO to help you digest some of the concepts. 

In this post, I'll be covering how online reviews affect modern-day consumer's decision-making, along with where they fit into your Local SEO campaign, how you can go about acquiring them, and how to proactively manage your online reputation.

Let's get started.

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Warning: Are These Four Ecommerce Conversion Killers Hurting Your Sales?

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Do you have lots of visitors but not a great deal of sales? In other words, are you having trouble converting customers?

It’s a condition that affects many online stores. But don’t worry: It can be fixed.

There are lots of reasons for people being hesitant to buy from you after they visit your online store. In this post, we diagnose the most common issues for why someone would fail to make a purchase after they visit. Then we propose solutions so that you can make your customers feel more secure and more comfortable buying your products.

Here are common problems, as well as their solutions.

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5 Data-Driven Tips for Smarter Pinterest Marketing

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Pinterest and ecommerce are like peanut butter & jelly. You’re selling things people want, Pinterest is a place for people to pin things they want. You have product photos, Pinterest loves photos. It’s no surprise that in 2012 Shopify found that the average order value from Pinterest traffic was $80, double that of Facebook.

We recently conducted a Pinterest analysis of our own. While our data set didn’t include revenue, it did reveal some interesting (and applicable) insights on Pinterest user behavior. For example, we found that:

  • Pinterest is dominated by women: 92% of all pins are made by women
  • Pinners keep on pinning: 84% of female users are still pinning in their fourth year of using Pinterest
  • And quite a bit more…

In this post we’re going to share five data-driven tips for smarter Pinterest marketing.

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Where to List Your Business Online and Why It Matters for Local SEO

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Just how important is local SEO for small businesses with a physical location? According to a recent study, 78% of local searches on mobile and 61% of local searches on laptops result in offline purchases. 

If you take a moment to consider the 7 billion monthly unique local searches that take place on Google in the US alone, that's a pretty decent conversion rate no matter how you slice the data.

So what exactly are these people searching "locally" for? Here's a breakdown of the top tasks that consumers perform when searching locally:

  • Searching for address/location
  • Finding a business with desired product/service
  • Searching for a phone number
  • Finding out hours of operation
  • Getting driving directions
  • Discovering coupons/special offers
  • Reading ratings and reviews

If any or all of those above tasks apply to your small business, then you'll undoubtedly want to pay attention to local SEO and make sure your business is covered when consumers are on-the-go or doing their research. Previously, I wrote a post that was intended as a primer on getting started with local SEO and all the different components that you need to pay attention to. 

In this post, I'll be getting into the nitty-gritty of what some consider to be at the core of local SEO, creating, double-checking, and optimizing local citations across the multitude of local business listing channels out there.

Let's take a deep breath in and dive right into it. 

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The Definitive Legal Guide to Ecommerce

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Whether you're starting a brand new business or you're an established company, taking your business online is a fantastic and exciting growth opportunity.

In fact, there has never been a better time to start an ecommerce business.

However, with all of the advantages an online business brings, there are also some complex legal issues that go along with them. Different countries have different laws and knowing which ones apply to you is critical. In addition to the large variety of laws to take into account, you must remember that the law is fluid and subject to change. In order to reap the rewards that a successful online store can bring, it's important to stay informed and protect yourself and your business.

And that's exactly why we created this guide.

The Definitive Legal Guide to Ecommerce is a comprehensive - but easy to understand - resource that outlines the most common legal issues online business owners face.

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How Two Ecommerce Entrepreneurs Generated $91,470 in Three Months Selling Cloud Notebooks

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Marshall Haas and Jon Wheatley are two serious entrepreneurs.

Their company Need/Want specializes in physical products. There are half-a-dozen ideas between the two of them, including a novel dice game, classic paintings like the Mona Lisa re-painted with your face, and their most recent product, Mod Notebooks, physical notebooks that can be synced to the cloud.

Jon and Marshall are radical, and not only for the number of businesses they work on. Along their journey starting these two businesses they’ve provided unparalleled transparency of their progress, and sometimes lack thereof. These posts included the detailed thought process behind cancelling a Kickstarter campaign, the profit from leasing apartments and listing them on Airbnb, and most importantly for ecommerce entrepreneurs, the costs and revenues of launching their businesses.

After they announced that their most recent product, Mod Notebooks, made $91,470 in three months, we decided to catch up with them to see if they may share their advice for other entrepreneurs.

Here’s the interview, spliced with a few of the choicest excerpts from our favorite Need/Want posts.

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Ecommerce Shipping Toolbox: Apps, Tools, and Resources to Help You Streamline Your Business

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You've spent months building your online store and preparing your marketing strategy. You launch your business and cha-ching!, you make your first sale. Now what? 

Many new ecommerce entrepreneurs tend to neglect their fulfillment and shipping strategy. The reason tends to be the fact that the world of shipping is complex and confusing. However, a well educated shipping strategy is a core element of every successful ecommerce business.

In this post, we round up of some of the most practical and important tools, resources and apps to help you develop a rock solid shipping strategy for your business.

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Make Your Pins Count: 7 Ways to Drive Sales and Traffic with Pinterest

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It is Pinterest’s fault that I now own a 1970 camper trailer.

It all started quite innocently at the apex of the glamping trend, when my childhood nostalgia collided with a romance for adventure travel and a Pinterest Board called “Mobile Abodes”. It climaxed in a parking lot cash-for-goods exchange. This is discovery commerce.

On Pinterest – the social platform built on beautiful, shareable imagery – opportunities for shopping come cleverly disguised as outfit inspiration and smoothie recipes and DIY centrepieces and VW bus renovations and french bulldog puppies. These collectible, bite-sized visuals feed our human instincts to covet and hoard and categorize. For consumers, it’s a place to hunt and gather. For brands, it’s a goldmine. Take my money.

Last year, we told you why your business should be using Pinterest. Since then, the reasons to join become more and more impossible to ignore. We recently analyzed data from over 529,000 Shopify store orders to find that Pinterest was the second largest social source for traffic (over Twitter), and resulting visits had the third highest average order value (beating Facebook).

If you’re still not convinced, consider this: sales and traffic from Pins can occur long after the item is pinned. In fact, 50 percent of visits happen after 3.5 months, according to Piqora. Compared to Twitter and Facebook where the content half-life is around 5 minutes and 80 minutes, respectively, Pinterest is more bang for your social buck.

As a merchant, there are several ways to maximize your efforts on Pinterest, including choosing the right content, running contests, and engaging with your community. We’ve compiled seven ideas to add to your Pinterest marketing strategy now:

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Pinterest Rich Pins Now Automatically Enabled for Shopify Merchants

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We’re pleased to announce that we have partnered with Pinterest to automatically enable Rich Pins for all Shopify merchants.

Rich Pins are enhanced Pins that make your images even more shoppable. They contain additional information right inside the Pin. There are five types of Rich Pins – Movie, Place, Recipe, Article and Product. Online retailers can benefit from Product Pins which include real-time pricing and stock availability.

Previously, setting up Rich Pins for your site involved adding meta data to your site’s code and validating the Rich Pins on Pinterest. We’ve partnered with Pinterest to make the process much easier for our merchants. As of today, any images Pinned from your product pages (by you or anyone else) will be automatically published as Rich Pins.

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Shopify Merchants Can Now Accept Bitcoin Payments With Coinbase

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Today we’re pleased to announce that we’ve integrated with Coinbase, giving Shopify merchants more ways to accept bitcoin payments online.

Coinbase is an international bitcoin wallet and platform service already used by companies like Overstock.com, Expedia, and Google. Our new Coinbase integration can be used alongside other payment services, like Shopify Payments and PayPal.

Coinbase offers a two-click checkout experience and simple refunds that make accepting bitcoin payments easy and convenient. All Shopify merchants can currently use Coinbase to accept bitcoin and anyone with a U.S. bank account can convert their bitcoin to USD.

A select group of Shopify merchants have been beta testing our new Coinbase integration including Soylent, Leap Motion, and iOgrapher.

Since enabling bitcoin support earlier this year, thousands of Shopify merchants have enthusiastically adopted it as an alternate payment method.

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