Do you ever search for local things – a restaurant or other business – online? A lot of folks are. A whole lotta folks. In fact, you might be missing out on local searches if you haven’t prepared for it.
How big is it? Well, simply by the fact that every major search engine has a special vehicle for local search should tell you something. For Yahoo! you can visit local.yahoo.com. For Google it’s local.google.com and for Microsoft it’s maps.live.com.
It was easy to sign up for Yahoo and Google (register my business so that it would be listed) but even though I have a Microsoft Live account I spent about 20 minutes searching for a way to register my business so it would show up. That search proved fruitless. Both Yahoo and Google allow you to sign up for free. Yahoo offers additional services for additional cost. Google offers additional services at no extra cost. You can add coupons, upload images, and add as many services as you like.
The Google local search wants to make sure that you really are at the address you list so they send a letter with a code that you have to respond to. The process takes a week or two. Yahoo reviews your info in four to five days and then posts your listing.
We recommend getting listed in all three of these local search engines. Local search is only going to continue to grow in importance and popularity. Get in now and continue to monitor your progress. Need help getting listed or benefitting from your listing? Call EduCyber at 720 275-4646
I’ve spoken with several clients and colleagues about Search Engine Optimization lately. I am amazed at the wild misunderstandings at how to go about getting ranked well in the search engines.
One business owner I spoke with was quite excited about the concept of cross-linking (having two different web sites link to each other to help each of them improve their rankings). Done correctly, this is indeed a good way to improve your rank. But then he proceeded to describe what was little more than a link farm. If your site is linked to from a link farm, the search engines will toss you from their rankings completely. I tried to dissuade him from that path but don’t know if I was successful or not.
I spoke with another client who knew that he needed to have text on his web site because the search engines like text. The only problem is that his text was actually a part of a graphic (image file) so the search engines didn’t see any of his text. This meant he was not ranked for any words having to do with his business. When he learned that over 40% of all search is local, he was dismayed to realize the piece of the pie that he was missing.
Search engine optimization is a little bit science and a little bit art. To succeed (to get your site ranked well for key words) takes time. It takes time to understand the latest trends and technologies. It takes time to craft your site so that the content is in align with what the search engines look for. It takes time to build good links from other sites to yours.
So as you prepare your site for the search engines, give us a call to discuss your options.
Web sites don’t grow on trees. But they are organic. You are putting real money into your web site and you should expect real results. What kind of results you can expect depends to a large degree on why you created your site.
Do you have an e-commerce web site? That is a great start for setting expectations. Beyond â€œselling stuffâ€ though, you should set numerical targets. Depending on your product it might make more sense to set percentages (increase sales by 30%) or number of sales (5 more sales a week) or a dollar figure (increase sales $2000 / month). With clearly defined numerical targets, you can begin to track whether the site is effective or not.
But there are other plans you should set for your site. Are you planning to develop long term relationships with visitors? Create ways for your visitors to interact with each other or with you. Blogs, discussion forums, and voting are great ways to provide interaction with your clients.
Is your site strictly informational? Determine, on each and every page, what you want the visitor to do. Do you want them to call you? Email you? Fill out an online form? Download something? No commercial web site is â€œstrictlyâ€ informational. You want your visitors to become your customers. Plan how that can happen and then measure the results.
Once you’ve got a plan and have started measuring, evaluate on a regular basis. If the results are not what you’ve planned for, determine what your next steps are. Do you need to change what you’re measuring? Do you need to change the design or layout? Are visitors not able to do what you want them to do?
If you would like assistance in planning for success for your web site, call EduCyber at 720-275-4646 and we will help you determine what your next step is. (See â€“ we planned this article out to help you realize the questions and then to call us for help.)