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Kevin Proulx

(Note: This article has also been published on Immediatement’s blog.) For a local business, having a good level of exposure on Google is an important consideration. Indeed, in 2015, few people will look for a business by using a phone book. The vast majority of people will look for it on Google. It is therefore important for a local business to take the necessary steps to be found by people searching for them on Google. Today, I will talk about an easy first step that you can take if you have not already done it which is to register your business on Google My Business.

Google My Business is Free and it Will Give More Exposure to Your Local Business on Google

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business

Google My Business is a service that centralizes your local business’ information management in order to manage what will appear on Google search results pages, Google Maps and Google Plus. The service also allows business owners to add photos and virtual tours in addition to read and respond to reviews posted on Google Reviews.

To look at a video that gives an overview of what this service is about, refer to this article that I posted when the service was launched in June 2014.

How to List Your Local Business on Google My Business

Registering a business on Google My Business is relatively easy. Here are the steps to follow.

Step 1: Go to the Google My Business Website

Visit the service’s website (https://www.google.ca/business/), and click on the Get on Google button if your company is not already registered on Google. If it already is, use the Google account that was used to register the company or claim access to the account to the person who created the registration.

Step 2: Add Your Business

After clicking on the Get on Google button, do a search to find your business by entering its name in the field. If the search does not give any results, click on Add your business.

Then, enter the requested information in the appropriate fields (Business name, Country/Region, Street address, City, State, Zip code, Main business phone, Category) and check the box confirming that you deliver goods and services to your customers at their location, if that’s the case. When you are done, click on Continue.

Step 3: Confirm the Information About Your Company and Accept the Terms of Service

The information that you just entered about your business is not complete. Indeed, you must complete them using your Google Plus page, since Google uses the information on this page to fill your Google My Business account.

For now, you need to confirm the information about your company and accept the terms of service by checking the appropriate box. When it is done, click on Continue.

Step 4: Verify Your Business

Google has set up a verification process to ensure that companies that appear on its services are legitimate. It consists in sending you the verification information by mail or phone. Choose what you prefer and proceed to the next step.

Step 5: Complete Your Business’ Information Using Your Google Plus Page

To start updating your information, press the red Edit button.
Then, you need to enter the following information so what will be displayed to people searching for you on Google is accurate:

• Business name
• Address
• Contact info
• Category
• Hours
• Maps & Search photos
• Introduction

When all this information is entered (some will already be because of the information you previously entered in earlier steps), your profile is ready to be seen by Google users. However, it is strongly recommended to take some time to do additional optimization work on your Google Plus page. You will want to, among other things :

• Choose a high quality cover and profile picture for your page
• Create photo albums that show your products, your services and your employees
• Add links to other relevant sites, like your blog, for example
• Etc.

This concludes this article on how to get free exposure for your local business on Google. Having good organic visibility on Google is not easy, so as a local company, you cannot afford to pass on the help that the Google My Business service will give you. If you would like to learn about other ways to increase your visibility on Google, read my article on Pay Per Click paid advertising. It is an excellent complement to your organic initiatives like Google My Business!

Kevin Proulx

Yesterday our partner Microsoft held a special event for its next operating system, Windows 10. The Redmond company used the event to unveil many Windows 10 features and some new products. In this article, I will summarize what has been unveiled at the event.

 

Microsoft Wants to Hit a Home Run With Windows 10

 

More Information on Windows 10

The main reason why Microsoft has invited the media to its special event was to give more information on its new operating system and that is exactly what the company did.

First, the Start menu will make his comeback in Windows 10, which should delight those who regretted his absence in Windows 8. Also, Microsoft showed an ”Action Center” similar to what is found in Android devices that will allow quick access to some useful settings such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Then, the Continuum system optimizes convertible devices by instantly adapting Windows 10 to PC or tablet mode, depending on how the user is using it.

Windows 10

In addition, Halo fans and those who are heavy users of virtual assistants with speech recognition will be happy to learn that Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, will now be integrated into Windows 10 after a successful stint on the US company’s smartphones. Indeed, it can be found right next to the Start button and can respond to spoken or written requests. Cortana will also be integrated into the Maps application and is able to proactively send information to users much like Google Now does on Android devices.

Better Integration Between Every Devices Running Windows 10

One of the main goals Microsoft had with this new version of Windows was to better integrate all devices that runs on Windows 10. To do so, Microsoft engineers have optimized OneDrive, began working on a series of universal apps (such as the Office suite) and made sure their next smartphones is running under a full version of Windows 10 optimized for mobile devices.

Windows 10 on Smartphones

Project Spartan Takes Internet Explorer’s Place in Windows 10

Internet Explorer, which has been part of the Windows ecosystem for years, will be replaced by a new web browser in Windows’ next version.

Project Spartan

This new browser is currently called Project Spartan, a nod to the successful video game series Halo, just like Cortana is. It has some interesting new features such as a note-taking module, Cortana integration and a ”reading” mode that formats the web page that the user is reading to make it look like a book.

Xbox One Fans Also Had Something for Them

If you are a ‘’gamer’’, it is quite possible that you are the owner of a Xbox One, Microsoft’s latest gaming console. If this is the case, the following might interest you.

Xbox One Game Streaming

Indeed, Windows 10 will be launched with an Xbox app that will allow players to view data related to their Xbox Live account, much like what the SmartGlass app is currently able to do. However, the most interesting feature of this new application is certainly the possibility of playing a Xbox One game on a PC or a tablet by streaming it, similar to what is possible to do between a PS4 and Vita, for example.

Surface Hub or How to Have the Most Hi-tech Conference Room

The Surface Hub is a new product intended for businesses to optimize their conference room by promoting collaboration and information sharing.

Surface Hub

It is a large, 4K resolution touch screen (that can be used with a stylus) with cameras, speakers and microphones. The screen is also compatible with Bluetooth and NFC protocols and is available in 84” and 55” sizes.

HoloLens, Augmented Reality According to Microsoft

Microsoft surprised the media at the event by unveiling its virtual reality helmet and more precisely, its ability to create holograms with which users can interact.

HoloLens

HoloLens is a wireless virtual reality headset that does not need a phone or a PC to operate. According to Microsoft, the helmet is a computer in itself and with the help of sensors, allows users to create holographic images with which they user can interact with by moving, rotating and ‘’clicking’’ on objects, etc.

If HoloLens is able to realize its full potential, the applications will be multiple. To generate interest towards it, a demo video shows, among others, what Minecraft might look like while seen through the virtual reality helmet.

According to the Redmond company, HoloLens will be available in Windows 10’s launch window.

My Opinion on the Event

I think that many interesting things were shown during the event. First, Windows 10 seems to be the culmination of what Microsoft wanted to do with Windows 8, which is to integrate PC and mobile devices together. While Windows 8 was not unanimous liked by users because of some of the choices made with it, Microsoft has made many changes to satisfy PC users while continuing its work to achieve its original vision. Moreover, the idea of universal apps is, in my opinion, essential today as we use more and more devices to work. This is the kind of functionality that we will not want to live without once we start working with it. Finally, all of Windows 10’s improvements in addition to the ability to upgrade Windows 7 and Windows 8 to Windows 10 for free during launch year have raised my interest level to update my operating system, which was not the case during Windows 8’s launch.

Then, as a ‘’gamer’’ and owner of a Xbox One, I also cannot wait to see the spread of Xbox One game streaming in action in an uncontrolled environment. To me, if it works as well or even better than what is being done by Sony now, Microsoft could prompt more people to become Xbox One owners.

Finally, I cannot wait to try the HoloLens virtual reality helmet. Obviously, applications are what will decide if it remains relevant or if it becomes a bust. If Microsoft and other developers are able to create interesting applications for HoloLens, this product has the potential to be a product that can change the market.

This concludes my article on what was unveiled yesterday at Microsoft’s Windows 10 event. At Kezber, we cannot wait to get our hands on these new products to try them. What is your opinion on Windows 10 and the other products that were exhibited during this event?

Kevin Proulx

The end of 2014 is fast approaching. It has undoubtedly been a year full of challenges and remarkable achievements for your company and 2015 will likely be as interesting. Who says new year says New Year’s resolutions and as a manager, you probably have goals for your company that you would like to accomplish in 2015. Today, I suggest that you take 5 resolutions to improve your company’s online presence.

 

These 5 Resolutions Will Help You to be More Efficient on the Web in 2015

 

2015

 

1)      If Your Website Was Designed 10 Years Ago, an Overhaul is Needed

I’m not just talking about aesthetics here, although what was fashionable on the web 10 years ago is not today (no, your website should not have a visit counter on the home page).

Indeed, navigation standards on websites that visitors expect to see on your website as well as their behavior when they use the Internet has greatly evolved in recent years. Also, if you have not updated your website for several years, the information found there are probably not accurate anymore and may have caused you to lose sales.

In short, if your website is outdated, 2015 is the year it is getting an extreme makeover!

2)      Regularly Publish New Content on Your Website

It is possible that your company has a new website or one that was redone only a few years ago. In this case, a redesign is not necessary.

However, too many companies are being guilty of not updating their website regularly. Indeed, your website is not a sign, it is an extension of your business. For example, would you be a regular customer of a store that has not received new products since 2010? Certainly not.

You should regularly publish content on your website to show your potential customers that your company is dynamic. A good way to integrate new content to your website is using a blog. Indeed, a blog will allow you to share content that your target audience cares about while signaling search engines that your site is active. It will also provide other significant benefits for your business, including the conversion of visitors into leads.

In 2015, your website will become a source of information and interesting content for people who are in your target market!

3)      Use Your Social Media to Leverage Your Content

Social media is an excellent lever for your website’s new publications. So when you publish content, you must share them on your company’s social media accounts, adapting your message to each of the platforms, of course.

This brings me to the next resolution, which concerns the largest social network in the world, Facebook.

4)      Forget the Myth That Facebook is Free. It is Not!

Opening a Facebook account is free, this is true. However, being successful on Facebook is not.

Indeed, for years, relying on Facebook’s organic reach for success is no longer viable because each post on your page reaches a very small percentage of people who have chosen to like your page. This means that if 400 people like your company’s page, not all 400 of them will see your post.

It is therefore important to learn how to use Facebook’s paid advertising tools to gain new fans for your page and promote your posts so that your business favorably stands out from each one of them who compete for the attention of Facebook users.

Finally, organic posts are still relevant, especially when you have a large number of fans and high quality content. However, you must integrate paid options to your Facebook initiatives to achieve satisfactory results.

5)      Launch PPC Campaigns (Pay-Per-Click) on Google

Google launches numerous updates to its algorithm each year in order to increase the quality of the results obtained following search queries made by its users. This is a noble goal. However, this also makes it more difficult for small and medium businesses to position themselves well organically, especially those that just launched.

You need to complement your organic efforts with paid PPC advertising campaigns to attract more targeted traffic to your website and convert more visitors into customers.

This concludes my article on the 5 resolutions you need to take in 2015 to improve your company’s online presence. If you follow each of these resolutions, I sincerely believe that you will get good results. Meanwhile, if you have any questions about the content of this article, do not hesitate to contact us!

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