Local Business Internet Marketing
Your website design is Pretty, but is it Smart and Pretty?
How do you get internet surfers to your site?
You take a pretty website design and make it smart and pretty!
Think about it… don’t you hate clicking on Google search results to only end up looking at a screen of stuff that you don’t want to read.
One of the problems of maintaining a good business web presence is keeping up with all the changes at Google that have a dramatic effect on your site traffic. Here’s a new one for you.
Your site ranking is a very complicated math process. It has been common knowledge by people who study and practice SEO that having a lot of relevant backlinks to your site helped it rank better in the search engines. Unfortunately, this knowledge led to the inevitable abuse by some who hammered the bots with tons of auto generated, purchased, and otherwise improper backlinks. Google is particularly interested in looking for certain “footprints” of backlink structure that represent the various paid backlinking services out there. Rumor has it there have be some de-indexing of sites due to excessive use of paid backlink services. If your buying backlinks, stop now! This type of junk SEO service has been sold heavily to business owners for a few years now.
Google realizes that there should be a normal, natural variety of backlinks if it’s a good site. However, they have recently announced that they will downgrade the value of your backlinks and put more emphasis on your actual usefulness as a web site. Not a bad idea!
This also means that going into the future, more than ever, adding content to your site on a regular basis is very important to get good traffic to your site. The simplest and most effective way to do this is with a WordPress blog installed in one your sites sub directories. If you don’t have a blog attached to your site, fix it soon!
WordPress isn’t just the simplest way to post a page of content to a web site, the structure of the pages created in the blog software are very web crawler friendly. The system, if set up correctly, also pings Google and other services and says “Hey, I have some new content here”. Generally this brings the bots running in a short time and your page gets indexed.
Repeating this process consistently over time will assure great organic rankings for your site. It’s exactly the kind of site Google wants to present to their searchers, great, interesting, and relevant content. As a business owner, I understand you probably don’t have time to be blogging all of the time. Pay someone to do it! Just make sure they are creating useful, interesting content. Remember too, the content doesn’t have to be series of social blabbering. Call your blog an FAQ and use it to answer the most common questions you get from your customers. Have categories set up to display new products or services. Think out of the box a little and content creation get easier.
I admit I’ve been avoiding Yelp for a while now.
After all, why the hell do I need another social site to deal with, I barely get on Facebook anymore. When you work 8-10 hours a day on a computer, seeking relaxation on Facebook isn’t in the plan. As long as you don’t operate a business trying to market locally, no problem…
Ah, you haven’t heard the interesting facts about the new iPhone voice search feature called SIRI have you? Don’t feel bad, not many business owners have, here’s the deal. SIRI is this very cool new voice activated search feature built into the new iPhones. It’s being advertised on TV constantly. It turns out that people really like it. So what? Well here’s the kicker. When someone does a voice search for a local business or service, the search results come from Yelp, not Google! All that hard work you’ve put in to get a presence online for your website is now missing 20% – 30% of the mobile search market.
It’s probably not a coincidence that Yelp is based in San Francisco. I also find it interesting that I have two consecutive posts about Mr. Jobs. Not that I post that much, but still. It seems that Mr. Jobs was still full of interesting concepts right until the end. Apple and Co. have been in a battle over several markets, but I think they realize the huge stakes involved in search and information serving, especially in the local markets.
Until SIRI, local results were served almost exclusively by Google. You played by there rules or hit the highway. Now Yelp will be a player in the local markets. You can see efforts from Google to dominate this market, but no matter what they do, they won’t reach SIRI searches, very clever Apple!
To be fair, iPhones only control a part of the smart phone population, but do you want to throw those customers away? Probably not. Anther nice feature of Yelp is that after you claim and verify your business listing, you can reply to reviews on your company, both the positive and NEGATIVE ones! That’s a good thing!
If you don’t have time to do this, hire someone. Merry Christmas! 🙂
It happened again today, and it was my fault!
I feel really bad, but there’s nothing I can do except to warn you. I had a past local client who was very challenging to work with. He was a nice enough guy, but no tech skills at all, and not convinced he had any budget to spend. His particular business is very tough for internet marketing as well. As a result, we parted ways and he hired a new web designer. That term is very misleading to those who understand internet marketing – “web designer”.
The problem is that most “web designers” have no clue about what it takes to make a site successful on the internet these days. There was a time several years ago when you could just throw something pretty up on the internet, and traffic and customers flowed to your door step. That’s history now, sorry.
I recently coined a new phrase for what I do – eCommerce Repairman. eCommerce Engineer is also a good way to think of it. Success on the internet starts with a site that is constructed with a proper understanding of search engine optimization (SEO). Unfortunately, most “web designers” have no clue about SEO. Once this step is completed, the real work starts. I can go on for hours, but there is one fundamental concept to understand. A web site is just the beginning to marketing your local business on the web. Having a pretty web site with no SEO, and no continuing efforts at refining and promoting your web presence is very much like setting up a beautiful billboard for you company in the middle of the New Mexico desert. It may look awesome, but no one will see it!
Here’s one simple test to help you when you have someone who wants to build a site for you. Contact their past customers and ask them how their web site performs. If they don’t come back with an immediate resounding “great”, find another “web designer”. Better yet, hire an eCommerce Engineer. After all, we’re talking about your lively hood here.
What does CMS mean and why do I need a WordPress blog?
Before I answer that question, I want to clarify one of the biggest misconceptions and objections about blogs. I was in a clients office about a week ago. We had told her she needed a blog to help market her business in an email message, she flatly rejected the idea. I was curious why she had made such a hasty decision, so I asked her. Her comment was something like “I don’t want to have to deal with all those jerks out there who leave bad comments!” I chuckled…
Then I explained to her that there was a little box you can check in the blog controls area that holds all comments for review and approval, or deletion! Delete all of the comments if you want, or just the crappy ones! While having an active blog including comments is the best way to get free traffic, the installation of a WordPress blog somewhere on your site offers so much more than just a social traffic generator. Read More –
Everyone seems to be talking about Facebook these days, and rightfully so. With over 500,000,000 users and some pretty outrageous data about how many hours the average user spends on the site, it’s truly an amazing phenomenon.
Of course, where there’s traffic there’s money, lots of it. So naturally all the internet marketing gurus out there are constantly telling us that they are better than Google for paid advertising. Claims of highly targeted demographics and cheap costs per click are the usual line to get our attention. So should you jump on the band wagon, throw up some Facebook ads and retire early?
Well, the best answer is maybe, but probably not! Advertising on Facebook really boils down to the mindset of the user. They aren’t there to buy things, they just want to waste some time! 😆
You see, when you use Google paid ads, they are displayed to people who are actually searching for what you want to sell them. Demographics are nice, but nothing compared to a buyer who has their credit card out ready to make a purchase.
A good question to ask at this point is how do I know this? The answer is I tested it. I run sites that sell stuff, and I use paid traffic to generate some of my sales. Facebook ads were a disaster, I tried several different ads, different demographics, you name it. The result was I lost all my money, no sales at all, zippo!
Does that mean you should forget about Facebook for your business? Nope, not at all. Just don’t give them any of your hard earned money. Their clicks are MORE expensive than Google. Just set up an account for your business, create a groups page and put some useful content up there as often as you can. You can link to your business web site and you’ll get some free traffic. Free is good!
If you want to know more about paid advertising on the internet, what works and what doesn’t, drop me a line. It’s my business to know this stuff so you don’t have to waste your time and money learning it.
As we work more and more with business owners in the Albuquerque area, getting them listed in Google’s Local Business Center, it’s always surprising to see how many established businesses do not have a web site! After several years of building websites for clients, I believe we understand the challenges that business owners face when trying to establish an internet presence for the first time.
There are so many technical issues involved that are very confusing for people who don’t spend a lot of time with the internet. Keywords, back links, blogs, the list goes on and on. We are happy to tell you that we have a very simple solution for the problem!
We’ve created a local business starter package for you that will get you up and running on the internet, and more importantly, get you into the new phone book, Google Places. This is a great way to begin your internet marketing presence for your business. It is designed to be easy to maintain and add to in the future. Just give us a call or drop an email, we’ll be happy to provide you with more information.
I’ve been so busy doing SEO for local businesses here in Albuquerque, I haven’t had much time to work on my own site! But I finally have a couple of basic SEO starter packages for you to choose from. If you have no idea where to begin the process of making your web site bring customers through the door, this is for you. So check it out and of course drop me a line or give me a call if you have any questions! 🙂