8 Local SEO Tips To Improve Local Search Rankings

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How can a small business get more visibility online? Look no further than the local search pack, which is made up of Google My Business (GMB) profiles featuring prominent local businesses within close proximity of a searcher.

Local search results level the playing field for small and local businesses. Ranking for competitive keywords can be a tough task for a small business going head to head against a large enterprise.

So if local search is a way to get more visibility, where should a small business start? To help answer this question, we asked for local SEO tips from eight search engine optimization experts and small business owners.

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PPP Borrowers — Be Aware of Potential Fraud Threats.

On December 1st the Small Business Administration (SBA) was ordered by a Federal Judge to release data on all SBA PPP borrowers. 

The timing of the release of this information by the government is awful because it is the beginning of the forgiveness application window. The SBA complied with this order.  The information released by the SBA includes: 

  • Borrowers Name
  • Borrowers Address
  • Loan Amount
  • Lender Name 

There are already confirmed efforts by fraudsters and scammers to approach the borrowers impersonating the Financial Institution listed as the Lender in an effort to get information they can use to take advantage of the borrower. 

PPP borrowers shouldnot divulge any details in calls or emails from unknown numbers or email domains and contact their financial institution directly if they receive any contact from an unknown person or source. 

Thank you Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce for sharing this information.

Social Media Marketing Tips

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Focus on The Platforms Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out

by Valarie Harris, Varris Marketing

Social media is the fastest way to cast a wide net to catch the attention of potential customers and create a community. There are more social media platforms than any one entrepreneur can tackle effectively – even if they had all day to devote to being social.

When you began your business, you likely got great advice to narrow your niche and focus on a target audience. These are the ideal clients and customers who want what you have to offer. Furthermore, you should have been told to market to this ideal audience and focus on their needs, their wants, and solving their problems. If you agreed and followed that advice, then you have a pretty good idea of who you want to engage and where they hang out.

This is an important step as it relates to social media. Knowing where your audience hangs out is the key to building a social media presence that maximizes your time and marketing budget. Once you know where your customers naturally hang out, you can simply master those specific platforms and dominate the market.

SBA and Treasury Announce Simpler PPP Forgiveness for Loans of $50,000 or Less

On October 8, the U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
  • Click here to view the simpler loan forgiveness application.
  • Click here to view the instructions for completing the simpler loan forgiveness application.
  • Click here to view the Interim Final Rule on the simpler forgiveness process for loans of $50,000 or less.

Tips for Driving Small Business Success with Strengths-Based Leadership

The philosophies surrounding business leadership practices have changed dramatically over the past several decades. Years ago, it was common for a single owner to call the shots and dictate orders to his or her employees. Today, the research is undeniable, showing that the most successful companies are the ones with leaders who focus on taking care of the team so the team can take care of the business.

Small business ownership is less about running a company and more about leading a team.

One of today’s most respected business leadership approaches comes from a landmark study on leadership strengths that sought to better understand how successful business leaders lead. Tom Rath and Barry Conchie’s international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0 distills 30-years of their research on strengths-based leadership into one of the most thorough accounts of what it takes to successfully lead an organization.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 reveals the study’s discovery of three keys to effective leadership: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting a set of basic needs of those who look to you for leadership. Continue reading

Three Things You Should Understand Before Hiring a Search Engine Optimization Expert

A website is a critical sales and marketing tool for just about every business. It’s a hub for product information, a conversion point for capturing leads, the holding place for marketing materials and company news, and many times serves as your potential customer’s first impression of your business.

However, before any prospect can interact with your website, they first have to find your website. This discoverability is the culmination of a strong SEO, or search engine optimization, strategy and an SEO expert behind the scenes.

Most business owners are digital marketing novices making it hard to know what you’re really buying when you hire an SEO expert.

If you’re like most business owners, you understand the role of an SEO expert from a high level but aren’t as familiar with the full scope of what’s involved or the time required. This makes it a lot harder to confidently hire the right SEO expert and forces owners to take these professionals at their word. Continue reading

WA State Biz Fair Is Going Virtual 202

This year the event is VIRTUAL for the first time!

Join hundreds of experts and thousands of small business owners and managers from home – or anywhere.

MEET with mentors, advisors, trainers, educators, fellow small business owners, and entrepreneurs. 

LEARN from savvy business experts who will share their knowledge and real-life experiences. 

CONNECT with federal, state and local government agencies to find out about starting a business or contract opportunities. 

FIND OUT how non-profit organizations can help you with funding, legal support, and more. 

NETWORK with Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Authorities and statewide Business Associations. 

CHECK OUT the Digital Marketplace for products and services to help you do business.

NO COST TO ATTEND! – NONE – NADA – ZIP

For more information go to www.bizfair.org        Questions? Email info@bizfair.org

 If you would like to register to attend the 24th Annual
Washington State Small Business Fair, use this link. Register Here

Changes to Kitsap CARES Grants

IMPORTANT UPDATE!

Kitsap County officials have greatly eased the eligibility requirements for the Kitsap CARES Small Business Grant and are now offering up to $10,000 to qualifying businesses based upon eligible COVID-19 impacts. Businesses who were previously funded at a lower amount may be eligible for increased funding from Kitsap County. Must meet eligibility requirements for either program and a reapplication is required.

Eligibility Information as of 9/21/20:

  • Up to $10,000 to qualifying businesses
  • COVID-19 related PPE retrofits & supplies now eligible for reimbursement.
  • Employee cap now up to 50 with no minimum. Owners may be considered employees.
  • Receipt of EIDL/EIDG and PPP do NOT disqualify businesses. Double-dipping on reimbursements for the same months is still prohibited.
  • Reimbursements may be for rent/lease and/or PPE paid March 1 through October 1, 2020.
  • Application Portal opens at 8am September 21st
  • Funds will be awarded on a first-come-first served basis to businesses meeting all eligibility and application requirements.
  • This final application period is open to ALL small businesses with a physical location in Kitsap County.

APPLICATION PORTAL
Portal opens Monday, Sept. 21st at 8am.

Small Business Rental Relief Grant Program

KITSAP CARES

The Kitsap Economic Development Alliance  is partnering with Kitsap County, the City of Bremerton, and the City of Port Orchard to distribute federal CARES funding to offer up to $5000 rental relief assistance to local small business owners negatively impacted by COVID-19.

City of Bremerton Phase 2 Application Portal closes @ noon Aug 31

Stay tuned for Kitsap County Phase 4 with expanded eligibility criteria

NEW program – KEDA CARES Grants

(Businesses located in the cities of Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island should check with their local Chamber of Commerce for details on local CARES assistance.)  

Criteria and timelines vary according by jurisdiction.

Successful applicants may receive up to $5,000 based upon eligible COVID-19 impacts.

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