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How Do 5-Star Reviews Affect Your SEO?

Businesses of all sizes, from across many different industries, can benefit from turning their attention to generating and curating positive reviews, as part of a process that we call online reputation management.

Time and again, studies have highlighted the remarkable power of positive reviews. For instance, did you know that 92% of customers read online reviews, and 68% trust a local business more if it has positive reviews? Or that brands typically see a 5-9% increase in revenue by improving their Yelp rating by just one star?

And one of the most important benefits of cultivating and sharing glowing reviews is (almost) as old as the internet itself. We’re talking about our geeky bread and butter: search engine optimization, or SEO.

What do positive reviews have to do with search engine success? Where do stars and SERPs overlap? How does getting more five-star reviews equate to greater rates of organic traffic – and more conversions – for your business?

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How to Create the Content That Your Audience Wants to See

How to Create the Content That Your Audience Wants to See

As recently as a few years ago, we had a better grasp on what “content” meant online. It referred to individual posts – blogs, vlogs, infographics – typically stored on your site and discovered or shared through different channels, including search engine rankings, social media, and email.

But today’s internet works differently. There are more social channels, more types of media to pick from, more content creators than ever before. And as a result, users’ preferences have changed over the years. The ways in which we consume content have changed fundamentally, for example; we multi-task more than ever, and are more likely to “skim” articles than read them in their entirety.

More broadly speaking, even the ways we think about content have changed fundamentally in recent years. It’s no longer discrete, but omnipresent, built into the very fabric of the way that we use the internet now. Readers and searchers have grown more savvy and media literate, and your approach to content creation needs to be as sophisticated as they are – crafted in a way that consumers find appealing and made accessible on the channels that your audience is already using.

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Launching a New Website? Don’t Forget to Check These 10 Key Elements Off Your List

Website Launch Checklist

It’s hard to overstate the importance of having a website for your brand. Today, your next customers are connecting with businesses and doing their product research online, via search engines, review platforms, and social media networks - which can all help funnel users directly to your personalized landing page. 

Having a unique, handcrafted website that is functional, responsive, and optimized for search engines can go a long way in helping your business stand out from the crowd. Your brand website is also a powerful marketing tool. It’s your calling card, your elevator pitch, and your sales funnel, all rolled into one. Your website can help your brand reach new audiences on search engines like Google, and help convert curious visitors into lifelong customers. 

If you’re nearing the end of your website design and development process, you’ve probably been over all this - and then some! You’ve talked about design. You’ve discussed creating compelling calls to action and functional conversion tools. You’ve thought long and hard about the importance of UX. 

Now, it’s time to move into the last phase, and start fine-tuning your site so it’s ready to launch. It’s time to look over the little details, to make sure your website is going to appeal to audiences, and rank highly with search engines. Before your site goes live, it’s also important to start planning for the future, and develop a strategy for all of the maintenance, performance, and security tasks to come. 

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Looking For Leads? Start With Your Content!

Looking For Leads? Start With Your Content! (Image Source: Wikimedia Creative Commons User Felixibel)

We've defined the importance of quality content on this blog before. Long story short? We believe that creating high quality content can help your business truly stand out on search engines and social media - making content creation the single most important thing you can do to get customers to your site.

But before you get cracking on that latest blog post, it would help to make sure it’s primed and ready to add value for your business. It’s important to always create content with a strategy. You should take time to identify the specific goals of your writing, and organize it in a way that will let you accomplish your chosen goal - whether that’s to expand your brand reach, to retain your existing clients, or, perhaps most important of all, to attract warm leads.

A lead is a party interested in your product, who is also able to eventually make the purchase. Sounds pretty critical to the success of your brand - let alone your content marketing - right?

Let’s look at how you can create content that helps you gain leads, from two different angles. First, we’ll dive into how you can make sure that you’re reaching an audience that’s eager to hear from you, and ready to sign on the dotted line (or at least fill in that lead capture form).

Then, we’ll focus in on the types of creative content you can craft to help sway different audiences, guiding them down your conversion funnel and helping create real value for your brand.

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How to Use Social Media and Content Marketing to Build Your Brand Authenticity

In an age of fake news and clickbait content, authenticity for your brand on social media is is more important than ever. It may sound like a no-brainer, but there are missteps you can take that can turn consumers off, and stop your next customers from choosing to engage with you online.

But what does brand authenticity even mean when it comes to business?

Defined by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, brand authenticity refers to:

“the extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be faithful toward itself, true to its consumers, motivated by caring and responsibility, and able to support consumers in being true to themselves.”

The meaning is right there in the name: if your content marketing and social media efforts remain authentic, people will recognize you. The more they recognize you, the more likely they’ll be to engage with you. The more they engage, the more likely they’ll be to recommend you to friends and followers. We could keep going!

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The 3 Keys to Designing and Optimizing Landing Pages

The 3 Keys to Designing and Optimizing Landing Pages

In terms of the online buyer’s journey, a landing page works a bit like a gateway, guiding your prospective customers to take the all-important steps that get them from “curious visitor” to “lifelong customer.”

Whether your users find you from search, social media, or email, the landing page is a critical keystone – so it’s important to make sure that yours are up to scratch.

Here are three huge things to keep in mind as you begin the process of designing and optimizing your landing page for maximum impact:

1.) Know the Goal of Your Landing Page

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How to Start Getting More Reviews for Your Business

As anyone who knows us Geeks would tell you, we’re huge movie fans (as if our multiple posts about Star Wars weren’t enough to make that clear). And we’re from Chicago, home to some of the greatest movie critics ever, including Roger Ebert.

One of the most amazing things about the late, great Ebert was how much power he held with his reviews. His writing could make or break a film’s opening weekend. But more than that, he wielded influence with just his thumb. A simple “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” could forever cement the reputation of a movie, forever.

Well, today, critics like Ebert are everywhere. And they’re not just professionals reviewing movies - they’re everyday people, turning their texting thumbs to businesses like yours.

Across industries, reviews matter more than ever for the success of your brand. Reviews, rankings, and testimonials are crucial for getting your next batch of customers in the door, and they’re coming from more sources than ever.

So, what can you do to get more online reviews for your business? And how can you help ensure that these reviews are working in your favor? Read on!

The Importance of Reviews

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The Power of Branding for Your Small Business

The Power of Branding for Your Small Business (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

Whether you’re a big fish in a small pond trying to cultivate your own niche industry, or a small business looking to bring your own unique approach to an existing field, it’s important to stand out - for the right reasons.

The secret to standing out? It all comes down to one key – branding. More than a buzzword, branding is at the heart of what we do here as digital marketers, and developing a strong brand is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your business finds and keeps customers.

There are many aspects to “branding” today; for our purposes, we’ll think of in terms of the content that your business produces, and how that content reflects who you are and what you represent. Practically speaking, when we discuss branding with our clients, we’re referring to logo design, photography, graphic design, and copywriting, all of which should be consistent and unified across your website, your email marketing, and your social media profiles.

So, why is having strong branding so important to your small business? Here are three big reasons to focus on creating your brand right now:

Stand Out in a Crowded Field

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Optimizing Your Site for Lead Generation: Here's What It Takes



Is your website primed for lead generation and conversions? Let’s dive in and talk about what this important question really means - and how you can take concrete steps towards generating more leads right now.

Conversions: A Major Part of the Digital Marketing Puzzle

When all parts of your digital marketing strategy are working in harmony, something amazing happens. Your website is well-designed and responsive. It hosts stunning, informative content, which you amplify over email and on social media to extend your brand reach. Your on-page and off-page SEO are on-point, generating consistent, quality traffic to your site. Everything operating like clockwork - that’s a beautiful thing. 

But even in cases like this, it’s still possible that you’re not seeing the conversion rate that you might be hoping for. And at this point, worry sets in. 

After all, you may be thinking, what use is all of this traffic and brand engagement if people aren’t actually signing up or buying anything? 

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Social Media is Free, Why Should I Pay for Marketing?

Social Media is Free, Why Should I Pay for Marketing?

For a long time, Facebook leaned heavily on the idea that it was free – and always would be. Similarly, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram have absolutely no barrier to entry for individuals or organizations, as long as they’re old enough to sign up.

This low bar is what, in many ways, led to the social media marketing boom; potential customers signed up, and brands followed suit, leading to an online ecosystem full of constant conversations and access on both sides unlike anything that had ever been seen before.

So if social media is free, why do so many businesses hire marketers to handle their profiles? Well, the reality now is that…

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).