Get Traction with Google Local

Local search is where it is at for service related companies. Whether your service is landscaping, roofing, dry-cleaning or computer support, it only makes sense that you would do most if not all of your business in and around your local community.

So how does local search work? While it can be quite complex to get your site listed high in the local listings, the basics are simple and sometimes that is enough.

Let’s use Google since they account for 84.72% of all search engine usage worldwide.

  1. First go to http://www.google.com/maps and in the search bar, type in the name of your company. If nothing comes up, type in your address.
  2. When you see your listing (there should only be one – if there are more, that’s a topic for another day) click on more info. Along the top on the right you’ll see a link that says “Business Owner?”. Click on that link and claim your listing.
    • If it says “Owner-verified listing” then someone from your company has already claimed the listing. You’ll need to talk to them to get more information.
  3. If you don’t have a Google account, it only takes a few minutes to create a verify one. Do this and come back to the maps. If you already have a Google account, then login.
  4. Now you’re ready to enter your company information. The more info you enter, the better your chances of being listed.
  5. Put in your complete address and ALL of your contact information.
  6. Choose two or more categories for your business.
  7. Enter your hours of operation as appropriate and check off the types of payment you accept.
  8. Upload a couple of pictures – of you, of the outside of your place of business, of the inside, etc.
  9. Upload a video or two. These don’t have to be professionally shot. Just practice a few times and take the best one you have. Introduce people to your business.
  10. Enter some additional details and click on Submit.
  11. The first time you do this, you will be asked to select whether Google should call you or mail you. Select call and be prepared to enter the PIN number they’ll give you on the phone as soon as you click Finish. Then within a day or two your listing will be eligible to begin appearing.

There are lots of things you can do to enhance your local listing such as:

  • Upload more pictures
  • Upload more videos
  • Add / Create fields for Additional Details
  • Add as many categories as you can think of for your listing
  • Try the free trial of Google Tags
  • Update your status
  • Create a coupon
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A Look Back, A Look Ahead

What did you measure this year? All of us measure the bottom line but what else? Did you measure the number of new customers / clients? What about number of leads and number of those leads that converted into clients? Number of sales online? Number of new newsletter signups? Number of fans or followers on social media?

How did your numbers measure up? Some interesting things we noticed in our numbers: With the year not yet finished, we’ve already had 16% more visitors to our site this year over last. An online store we manage has had a 5 fold increase in sales and a lot more traffic.

For our site our traffic from search engines is actually down a bit over last year but that is because we’ve been focusing on our customer’s campaigns more than our own so we’re not too upset over that one.

Whatever you measure, make sure it adds to your marketing goals. If our goal was to get a lot of traffic from the search engines, you can be sure we would have paid a lot more attention and performed a whole lot better.

For the year ahead (don’t give up on this one yet though – there are still almost three weeks left) take time to set out your Internet Marketing goals. Start with your web site itself. If it conversion optimized? That is, is your site ready to convert visitors into customers? If you want to measure newsletter signups, for example, is the site geared towards getting visitors to do that? Are there barriers that you may have inadvertently put in place (such as asking for a physical address when all you need is an email address)?

Typically you want to have a conversion and a micro-conversion. If they aren’t ready to buy from you or ask you for a quote, perhaps they’ll sign up for your newsletter so they can stay in touch. Asking for a quote would be the conversion and the newsletter signup, the micro-conversion.

Once your site is ready, you can look at other marketing venues. Do you need Pay Per Click? Would a local search campaign make sense for you? How does social media marketing fit into the picture? Should you be tweeting? Do you need to claim your business on Foursquare? Will using QR codes help you reach your goals?

If you’re not thinking about these questions, I would suggest that you ought to be. If you’re not but feel like you should, give EduCyber a call at 303 268-2245. We can help you plan for a fantastic year.

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Blogging: The Power of Now

People often ask me why is it so important to use a blogging software like WordPress. I try to explain the intricacies of RSS technology to them – not so really simple after all – at least not to some folks. But now I have a really simple demonstration.

On Monday, September 13th I posted a blog on Setting Rules for Social Networking. To be very precise, I posted it at 2:41 Mountain Time. Nine minutes later I received a Google alert telling me that “Brian DeLaet” had once again been found. . . you guessed it , from my blog that had just been posted.

That says, more eloquently than I can, why you want to leverage technology. And, I’ll put in a plug for our blog tool of choice: WordPress. WordPress is so nice because it is easy to install (most web hosts have an automated installer), is easy to update (usually just a one click update process) and had hundreds of plugins that help you do whatever you might want to do. The plugins themselves are easy even for beginners to get a handle on.

So why would a company want to blog? Let’s see . . . more people coming to visit your web site? More web site visitors inquiring about your services or products? More inquiries turning into sales?

With the speed at which information is made available, you can monitor the news and blog about what is happening as it happens. If you have a tree removal service, for example, you could blog about how important it is for those in mountain communities to leave sufficient space around their homes in case of fires like the Fourmile Canyon fire or Reservoir Road fire. This typically translates into a lot more traffic on your web site and to more tree trimming jobs.

Need help setting up a blog or hosting your blog? We can help. Call us at 303 268-2245.
 

 

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Leverage Your Web Site

Tough times got you worried? Is the recession sending you into a depression? I’ve been asked quite a bit lately about how what EduCyber does can help a company through tough times.

This is undoubtedly one of the unique times when smart business owners will position their web site to capture market share and solidify their position so that when the recovery takes off, they’re in a position to benefit. So what can you do? First take a good hard look at  your web site. What is working? Do you have a strong call to action on each page? Have you updated it lately? Does it look fresh?

Take some time to go through your site yourself. If you’ve had your site for a year or more, there will undoubtedly be pages that you haven’t looked at in awhile. Make sure that any old data is removed and that you have current information about your products and services.

Then you are ready to start. Search rules. Get your site ranked for your key words now and keep them there. Doing that will pay benefits far into the future. If you carefully define the key words that you wish target, you might find that it is not as difficult as you might believe to get ranked.

Visit Google’s webmaster tools to learn how to do it yourself or contact EduCyber if you’d like assistance to start your new year at the top of the search engines. In fact you can come to our seminar on December 11th to learn how to “Start your (search) engines”.

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Title Tags for Web Pages

One of the things that many people overlook when creating their web site is coming up with good title tags.

First let me make sure we are on the same page. A title tag is the title of the page that appears at the very top of the browser window. For example, if you visit www.microsoft.com, you’ll probably see “Microsoft Corporation – Mozilla Firefox” or “Microsoft Corporation – Internet Explorer”, depending on your choice of web browser.

Now for Microsoft, that might be all you need. But for us little guys, we need to let the world know what it is that we do. Visit EduCyber.com and you’ll see the title “Denver Web Site Design, Internet Marketing, Web Hosting, Denver Search Engine Optimization.” Note that the name of the company doesn’t appear in the title. Instead we have let people know what it is that we do here at EduCyber.com.

Also, if you click on a link, such as the link to this blog, you’ll see that the blog page has a different title. The title here is “Search Engine Tips, Internet Marketing and Web Design: EduCyber blog”. Yes we have used the company name but notice that it doesn’t come first. Also note that every page on your web site should have a different title.

It appears, from a brief visit around the web site that a lot of companies want their site to be ranked high for “Welcome!”. You can often find Welcome in the title of web pages as well as having it be the first word of text on the main page of the web site. Do a search at Google for Welcome and see what I’m talking about.

What should you do? Write a list (10 – 50) of key phrases that you should be ranked for. Choose the two or three most important ones for the title of the main page. Look at the various pages of your site and craft a different title for each from your key phrases. Then do a search. Are you listed? If not wait a week and try again. This isn’t the end all to Search Engine Optimization but it can be one factor to help you get listed.

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Google Knows Everything

It was bound to happen. Google officially knows everything. They have indexed more than ONE TRILLION web pages. They announced this stunning bit of information last Friday on their official blog. If they’ve indexed that much, they must know everything, right?

Much is made of Google and the information they bring to your fingertips with just a touch of a key or click of a mouse. But just like a teenager or earlier 20’s college graduate, they’ve got a lot of knowledge but not  a lot of wisdom. “Knowing” lots of stuff and understanding what to do with it is a different matter. Take, for example, the valid complaints of SEO Expert Aaron Wall. In recent blog posts he has complained that ads on his Gmail account have been trying to entice him to date lonely married women because the content of his emails have been about his happy married life as he is a newlywed. Another complaint he had was about a new Google site that, simply because it is a Google property, trumps others sites in search.

I’ve taken to re-using my favorite Spiderman quote “With great power comes great responsibility.” when dealing with this issue. Google has been a tremendous success. They have built a powerful search engine that has changed the way we communicate and get information. They were definitely in the right place in the right time with the right idea. But as they have grown, they have tended to rely to heavily on their content (their knowledge) and not used wisdom to use this content in a manner that is healthy and consistent with copyright ownership.

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8. What colors and images or logos do I have that can be used to keep my BRAND in front of people?

Brand. Brand. Brand. It really IS all about brand. We’ve worked with several small businesses who started out saying that they were too small to need a brand. As they saw it working though, they realized that even their small business benefited from having a brand.

There are lots of good resources for building your brand and understanding how to build your brand.  Here’s the first video in a series of videos on branding your small business.

Are you saying “But I don’t have a brand”, let’s stop and think about it for a minute. Pull out your business cards. Take a look at  your brochure. Point your browser to your web site. And ask yourself these questions:

  1. What images do you see?
  2. Are there similar or identical images?
  3. Do those images / pictures / clipart resonate with you?
  4. What colors are you using consistently? Do they represent who you are?
  5. Are there other images that more accurately reflect your business?
  6. Are there colors missing from our schemes?

If you need help with your brand we can help you and partner with some of our colleagues who specialize in this area. Give us a call if you’d like some help or a referral. Once your colors and brand are determined, make sure that you integrate it or have your web designer integrate it into your web site.

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