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Posts tagged: local internet marketing

6 Small Business SEO ProTips

Start With Your Budget
The single most distressing fact about small business SEO is that it requires both time and money, and the less money you can put in, the more time it takes. That’s because the effects of SEO are cumulative, and the more you pay, the more an optimization company will do for you in a given time-period. So the first thing you need to do it figure out how much you can afford to put in each month, knowing that the more you put in, the faster it’ll become profitable.

Go Local
For a small business, it makes much more economic sense to invest in local internet marketing than in broad-scale marketing. Unless your business happens to be able to ship all over the world (or offers an entirely digital service), you don’t want to pay your optimizer to get hits from London and Senegal — you want customers that will actually buy from you.

Pair with PPC
SEO taking as long as it does to work, you might want to consider a pay-per-click marketing campaign to go alongside your SEO campaign. Yes, it means spending even more money, but PPC has bottom-line results the very next day, and if you calculate your percentages right, you can use the profit from your PPC campaign to pay for itself plus the SEO work you need done.

Be Penguin- and Panda-Approved
‘Penguin’ and ‘Panda’ are (vaguely) recent Google updates that made a lot of SEO techniques invalid. Don’t work with any optimizer that isn’t able to explain why their techniques are still valid under Panda and Penguin.

Look For Similar Results
Many search engine optimizers will take any old customer that comes along, without paying much attention to the details of each customer’s unique market and circumstances. Ask a potential SEO company if they’ve had success with customers like you, and ask them to show you. If they can’t, check out their competition and ask again.

Settle In For the Long Haul
Even after your SEO efforts start showing a profit, you’re not done — if you cut off your SEO spending the moment you see positive numbers, you’re going to be overtaken by a hungry competitor who is willing to spend enough to knock you off your top spot. SEO spending is something you’ll be doing for as long as you intend to have an Internet presence — just keep looking at the RoI and remind yourself that it’s well worth every penny.

Local Internet Marketing Means Finding a Local Internet

When you first start your business and you realize that you need an Internet presence to really compete in today’s market, there are two routes you can go: you can market world-wide, which totally works if you’ve got a product you can ship anywhere or a service you can offer via the Internet, or — much more likely — if you have a localized target audience, you can use local internet marketing.

But in order to use local internet marketing, you have to have a local internet…right? Some people are snickering here, because of course there’s no such thing as a local internet — or is there? No, no there’s not; but there’s something close: there’s a way to make a search engine only pay attention to the places near you. All you have to do is add an unambiguous location name to each of your small business’ SEO keywords.

The key here is “unambiguous” — unfortunately, if you’re a vehicle wrecker working in Toledo, Washington, you’re not going to be able use keywords like “scrap yard Toledo”, because there’s a much more famous Toledo that has wreckers that have that particular keyword under lockdown. You’ll have to either use “scrap yard Toledo WA” or even go a bit out of the way and use “scrap yard Chehalis”. (“scrap yard Castle Rock” is messed up because of the larger Castle Rock, Colorado!)

Once you’ve figured how to explain where you are to Google in a way that won’t confuse the poor titanic computational interface, you can get your SEO team to start the process of getting those newly-localized keywords linked to your landing pages. That part works just exactly like world-wide search engine optimization — the process is identical, just the keywords are different.

So there might not actually be anything called a ‘local internet’, but there’s certainly a way to put strict limits on what part of the broad Internet that a search engine pays attention

Big Corporate vs. Small Business SEO: Money Changes Everything

There’s no doubt that SEO works wonders for large companies. You only have to type in some big broad brash search terms into Google to find that out. Type in the most popular toy into a search engine today, and you can guarantee that you are going to return some results from some of the biggest stores in the world. Of course, many of these companies have a head start – Google already know they are important, so give them credence even before their multi-million dollar SEO campaign has begun.

We know that these huge companies spend huge amounts of money on their SEO, and this of course means that it can be impossible to compete at times, but that doesn’t mean there’s no place for Small Business SEO. If you enlist the help of an SEO company you don’t have to have a huge budget to make a difference to the way your business operates. A few small changes to the structure of your page can often have huge results, and that’s before you even consider the possible effects of viral campaigns, ethical link building efforts and some fresh and relevant content on your blog site.

Smaller companies often choose to focus on Local Internet Marketing because they feel that they have a better chance of competing, and this is often the case. While the major corporations are likely to dominate the search listings for big national phrases, if someone is searching for a product in their local area, they are just as likely to want to go to a smaller store, which means Google is just as likely to want them to find a local store through their search. The important thing is to make sure that it is your store that is found!
A lot of large businesses are juggernauts, and there’s no stopping them, but as a small business, you don’t have to stop them to find success. A good SEO agency will find areas of the market that you can improve in through Organic SEO techniques, and will implement these to help you to become a stronger and more financially viable company. It doesn’t mean that you are going to be playing with the big boys, but increasing profits and traffic should be eminently possible.

How Google Places Is Changing Local Internet Marketing

It is quite incredible to think that these days there are around three billion local searches made on the internet every single month. This clearly means that if you are a company looking to make inroads into a local market, you absolutely have to have a focus on Local Internet Marketing. Of course, three billion searches are spread all around the world, but when you consider that there are only around 6 billion people in the whole world. This gives you some idea of just how many people are making local searches!

The great news about local searches is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to make sure you have a good presence when people are searching locally. The first thing you need to do is to look at your Google places profile.

This is a simple profile which can be accessed by signing your business into Google, and it only requires basic information. The key here is to make sure that the information you add to your profile matches the information that you may have on other directory sites. Synergy in this respect is going to do an awful lot for you in local search results. This consistency is going to be very helpful to you, so don’t just restrict it to copy. You can also make sure that you have the same images available on your multiple place pages, and you should also think about linking as many of these place pages together as possible. As well as where you are and how things look, make sure you force home your branding on all of your place pages too. You should also make sure that you fill out all of the required information too – even if it’s not compulsory. A belt and braces approach can never hurt.

Finally, you have to share the information, for a variety of reasons. People may already be aware of you, but you want those people liking you on Facebook, +1’s on Google aren’t going to hurt either, and some reviews are going to make a huge difference to the way you rank.
If you’re after First Page Placement in local search results and you don’t think you have the time to work at this yourself, find a great Organic SEO company to do it for you.

Local Internet Marketing Needs An Effective Landing Page

Landing pages have long been the crux of successful online commerce. It doesn’t matter how effective your local internet marketing is — you could easily end up with staggering traffic if you apply local internet marketing tricks correctly, but if your landing page doesn’t convert that traffic into money, it’s not worth the money you spend on it.

So what makes an effective landing page? Five things:

  • A killer headline to tell visitors exactly what you’re offering and what makes you different from everyone else.
  • A crystal-clear demonstration of what your product can do (i.e. how it works.)
  • A short statement of the value that your product brings to it’s customers.
  • Some form of social support, like a testimonial or, if your product is brand-new, a press release.
  • A call to action that tells your customers what exactly you want them to do next in order to become (or take the next step toward becoming) a customer.

Of course, there are always more elements that you could put on a landing page, but these are the five basic elements that every landing page must have in order to properly inform and motivate buying behavior in the people who land on your page.

It’s worth keeping in mind that even a killer landing page is only half of the equation — just like local internet marketing isn’t effective without a great landing page, an effective landing page isn’t anything without some SEO or pay-per-click marketing to drive traffic to the page.

The basic equation is simple: your income equals the amount of traffic you drive (i.e. SEO or PPC) times the conversion rate of your page, times the amount of money you make per conversion, minus the cost of your SEO and/or PPC. If you can get more affordable SEO, increase the cost of your product, or make your landing page more effective at converting, you make more money. It really is that simple — and it’s why perfecting your killer landing page is one of the most effective things you can do to make more money online.

Does Your PPC Management Team Give You The Roi You Need?

PPC Management: either you have someone doing it for you, or you’re not really in the PPC game. You might be risking your money at the PPC roulette table, but unless you have a talented PPC management team, the house will always win.

PPC management teams do an extraordinary amount of work to make your pay-per-click campaigns work in your favor. They do keyword research — in and of itself a huge process involving comparing the clickrates, cost, and convertibility of hundreds or thousands of keywords — as well as constantly split-testing a variety of text ads for a variety of variables, monitoring the profitability of your existing ads, and updating the campaign as various terms and ads become more or less profitable. It’s a huge job.

The question isn’t whether or not to supplement your pay-per-click campaign with a killer PPC management team — it’s whether your PPC management team is getting you the RoI you deserve.

What does that mean?
PPC has become an extraordinarily competitive marketplace in the last few years. Major companies realized that they could easily afford to dominate a few hundred thousand of the most-searched keywords with what amounted to a drop in their advertising budget, and that’s pushed the fringes way further out into the fringes.

What that means for PPC management firms still stuck in the 2008 mindset is that it’s very easy to end up following the perfect keyword research techniques of yesteryear and end up paying too much for every click you get. Today’s PPC managers look up long-tail keywords by the thousands rather than prime-time keywords by the dozens, and they get just as much traffic at a tiny fraction of the pennies per visitor.

They’ll use every trick in the book, from geographically focusing their keywords in the same way an SEO company does for it’s local internet marketing campaigns to adjusting your daily budget on the fly to reduce clicks from a keyword or few that have suddenly become more expensive than they’re worth.

Obviously, the actual RoI of your PPC campaigns is going to vary widely depending on what you’re selling and how you’re selling it — but the one thing you can count on is that if your PPC campaign isn’t profitable enough, it’s probably the PPC management team that needs changing.

How Will Secure Search Change Small Business SEO?

Google has started redirecting people who log into their Google accounts before searching to a new, more secure form of Google search. The difference is a small as an s: it’s https://www.google.com instead of http://www.google.com — but the effects the change has on the searching process are profound to everything except the searcher.

If you run a search on the new secure Google, you won’t notice any difference at all — but the owners and users of first- and third-party applications ranging from Google Analytics to Market Samurai will. Those applications take information from Google’s database of searches and use them to tell various people about your Google searches. The new secure search prevents those applications from ever getting your data.

If you’ve got Analytics, for example, and someone uses Google to get to your site, you’ll learn that they did so — but you won’t get to see what search term they used to get there. If you use Market Samurai, you won’t see the missing data, but the data that you don’t see will be incomplete — because whatever small percentage of people that are using the secure search don’t have their data counted by MSam’s keyword research module.

So what does this have to do with small business SEO? Pretty simple: even if all your doing is basic local internet marketing, you still need to know which keywords to target. As secure searches become more and more common (and Google has said outright that this is one of their goals!), obtaining the information you need to properly target keywords is going to get more and more difficult.

That said, this isn’t something that should be blown out of proportion. To a degree, local internet marketing isn’t ever that hard — if you sell martial arts supplies to a small down like Aptos, CA, the keywords “sparring equipment Aptos” or “Aptos ninja gear” are always going to be safe bets. It’s only for the long-tail keywords, particularly pay-per-click marketing long-tail keywords, that will really suffer — making PPC an even worse bet for small businesses than it is today.

Three Simple Website Tricks To Take Advantage of Local Internet Marketing

Local internet marketing is a set of techniques that a website SEO guy can use to make sure that, when someone searches for something related to your business and puts in a place name local to your area, they see your website. It’s an amazing tool for getting real people inside your real brick-and-mortar store, because these days real people look up everything online before they drive into town to get stuff done.

There are several things you can do off-page to make sure that search engines correctly place your business geographically. But there are a few things you can do on your site to accomplish the same goal.

Put Your Address In Your Footer
Having your full address appear on every page of your website is a strong way to inform the search engine spiders of your business’ real world location. If you just stick it in as part of your site’s footer, it’ll show up automatically on every page without you having to remember an extra detail, and it will look natural to surfers at the same time. The same goes for your local phone number — 800 numbers are all wonderful and good, but they don’t tell the search engines where you live.

Ask Your Customers For Reviews
Every time a customer interacts with your webpage, they should get a nudge toward a review site. Avoid Yelp, because Yelp doesn’t post reviews that were solicited — but Bing, Yahoo, Google, Amazon, and other review sites certainly don’t mind. And even if you get the occasional bad review, that’s actually a good thing — it lends credibility to the good reviews. Part of the review process involves telling the review site where you live, which is another source the search engines will use to place you.

Have a Separate Landing Page for Each Branch of Your Store
If there’s a Jay’s Farm Stand in Aberdeen, Washington and another one in Olympia, Washington, there should be a landing page for the Aberdeen branch and another for the Olympia branch. Each should have it’s own address and local number listed, and each should have it’s own separate reviews. That will help the search engines establish which searches should be directed to which locales.

Article Writing and Distribution is the Foundation of Long Term Success

When you get going with a Web-based business, there are two separate tacks that people take in order to establish their success. The first is to spend money on advertising, get people to come visit their sites, and hope that they make more than they spent on advertising. The second is to work, spend a lot of time building backlinks and raising their rankings through organic SEO, and hope that they rank high enough to start bringing in enough money to pay the bills.

Then, there’s article writing and distribution. It’s both at once, and it works wonders.

In general, you can pay someone to write the articles, to distribute the articles, or both — though frequently it won’t be the same person doing both parts. That’s because the kind of people who find it easy to string words together with flowing eloquence tend not to enjoy sitting there and mindlessly clicking “submit” over and over on dozens of different article directories, and vice versa.

Once you find the people who can tag-team the job appropriately, however, you’re golden. Here’s why: when you have a well-written article and you submit it correctly to an authoritative article directory, you get the total package. Your article will likely rank quickly for it’s chosen keyword (assuming you did your keyword research correctly, of course). Once it’s ranked, you’ll start getting organic traffic through it as people click from it to your homepage.

That’s targeted traffic, and it’s worth quite a bit. Moreover, every article provides you with a context-controlled backlink with the anchor text of your choice, generally from a quite reputable source. (If you’re submitting to Jackopff’s Article Bucket, you might want to reconsider and see what it takes to get onto EZineArticles.com or another major article directory.)

Repeat the process, coming up with quality topics, solid keywords, and reputable directories every time, and you’ll soon find yourself with a quite functional web-based business. It’s a lot of effort, and it takes both creativity and technical knowledge, but once you know the game, it’s very very worth your while.

The Power of Conversion: A Lesson in Targeted Email Marketing

Let’s do a little bit of basic math. Let’s say you’ve got a website, and for every 200 visitors that come to your site, you make a sale. (People spend a little time on your site, so you know they’re not just bouncing as soon as they land — there’s clearly something attractive about your copy that has them engaging, they just won’t buy.) You’ve got yourself a conversion rate of a meager 0.5%.

Let’s say you’re selling an ebook that doesn’t cost anything to produce, but you have to make at least $1200/month to pay your bills and whatnot. Every sale makes you $30. At this point, in order to make ends meet, you need 40 sales — or 8,000 visitors each month. Sound likely? Not unless you’ve got a lot of money and one hell of a PPC management team.

Solutions to the dilemma are obvious: get more visitors, or improve your conversion rate. Getting more visitors is going to get exponentially harder — but there’s an easy tool you can use to improve conversions; it’s called targeted Email marketing.

With targeted Email marketing, you collect Email addresses from the people who visit your site, and you send them Emails regarding the topic they visited about. For example, if your site sells a product designed to help them pick up men at a bar, you might send them Emails about common problems with bar patrons or how to drink without getting wasted.

At some point, you slip in a sales pitch for your product — and because they’ve had the chance to get to know you through your Emails, they’re a lot more likely to buy from you. The longer you wait to pitch them — and the higher-quality the material you send in the interim — the better it works.

The result, if done correctly, is a massive spike in conversions. Because after all, if you can convert a whopping 3% of your visitors through targeted Email marketing, you don’t need 8,000 visitors each month anymore — you only need 1,334. That’s an incredible decrease in the effort you need to put into marketing, all for just a little extra put into conversions.