(505) 259-0563 slwmrktn@gmail.com

New Google Local Business Center Packages

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.

Google Local Search Tutorial

Just a quick post here for all the folks who have downloaded the free guide to creating a Google Local Business Center (LBC) listing.  First off, if you haven’t noticed, Google has changed the name and or merged with Google Places. No big deal here.

What I really wanted to talk about was setting up Google Analytics to track traffic from your Local Business Center listing. While this is covered in the free guide, it is by far the most technically challenging part of the process. It took me a few tries to get it working. So if you have any questions about that part of the effort just drop me a line and I’ll do my best to help you out.

On a side note, I discovered something very interesting after I figured out the tracking issue. On one site in particular, I saw a 100% increase to site traffic after setting up the LBC listing. I thought wow, all that traffic coming through maps? The answer was no! What actually happened is that my traffic from Yahoo and Bing took a huge jump. It appears that the other search engines are scraping content from Google Maps listings and ranking it in their engines.

Just a little added benefit for your work!

Free Google Maps Tool is a Time Saver!

Yesterday a friend showed me a free tool that saves you a lot of time setting up your listing in Google’s Local Business Center.  You can dowload the free Google maps tool here.

This tool is very easy to install and use. Here’s what it does for you in a nut shell. It tells you which keywords related to your business will trigger a listing in Google maps withing Google’s universal search. This is a free source of traffic to your website, free is good! When you go to the link above, he has a video that describes the process in detail. He also sells a product that is essentially a course on Google map listings. I’ll try and give you some feedback on that on a later date in case you are interested. After you install the program, there is a link to a video that shows you how to use it. As I said it’s very simple and works well.

In case you not clear about the ways traffic gets to your website, check out my previous post and visit this page on my site that has a picture describing traffic paths to your website.

And of course you should sign up for the free 30 page guide that explains the whole process for getting a good ranking in Google maps with Google’s Local Business Center. That’s over to the right of the page. Did I mention it’s free too!  🙂

Where Does My Website Traffic Come From?

I had an opportunity to get out from behind my computer a few days ago and talk with some local business owners about internet marketing. It’s always nice to get some prospective from the trenches, and some fresh air! One thing that caught me a little by surprise was the lack of understanding on exactly how people arrive at their websites.

Just goes to show how too much time behind this monitor can develop into a distorted perception of reality, LOL.

So I decided to make a page with a pretty picture and some explanation on exactly how visitors get to your website. I hope this helps. And of course, if you have any questions, just drop me an email, my email is on the “About SLW” page in the navigation header at the top of the page. I’m almost always sitting here working on getting more traffic to somebody’s site!

Firefox and Local Search

I’m not sure what all the implications are just yet, but when I fired up Firefox a couple of days ago it asked me if I wanted to make my location available to location aware web sites. I will have more on this in the future, but it is obviously further evidence that many things are changing for the better when it comes to small and medium sized business trying to attract customers from their local markets.

This is great news for business owners who are struggling with budgets, trying to keep the doors open. If you aren’t marketing with Google maps and local search you better get busy! There is a lot of inertia involved in getting your website to show for your most relevant search terms, but once you get it ranking the traffic is free, can’t beat free advertising!

An Example of What a Presence in Google Maps Can Do for Your Web Traffic

On of the hottest things going on right now for business owners who want to get exposure and traffic in a local market is Google maps and the Local Business Center (LBC). I’ve been involved in SEO (search engine optimization) and marketing on the internet for a few years now. Conventional SEO, while it is effective at getting lots of traffic, is very time consuming and slow.

That is not the case with the LBC! Take a look at this graphic –

This is a screen shot from the analytics account of one of my customers, a custom furniture maker here in Albuquerque. He is a small one man shop. His site traffic has always been small as he never wanted to go to the trouble and expense to get ranked high in the organic rankings. His site severed more as a photo album for his traffic and that was just fine with him.  What the graphic shows is that he was running along at about 40 – 50 visits a week to his site until the end of January. That’s when I put a simple listing into the LBC for his business. The very next week, his traffic doubled! Not only is he getting more calls, but his walk in traffic has increased as well.

The thing that amazed me the most was the speed with which this change occurred. Normally, any type of SEO is very slow. With the LBC, your changes are recognized within minutes. There is simply nothing that compares with this in terms of making your phone ring!

If your business is not in the LBC your missing the boat. If it is, make sure it is well optimized. There’s lots that can be done in the LBC to increase the number of views that it gets.


Want to Learn About Marketing?

I Just Gotta Say, Avoid Graphic Artists who want to Build Your Web Site!

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.


Google is adding features so fast I can barely keep up

The host of new Google Adwords features continue to improve marketing for local businesses!

It seems like every week Google hands us a new tool to check out. I don’t know how anyone running a small business can keep up, it’s a challenge for me and I do it full time!

I’ll just mention a few of the cool things Google Adwords has given us lately. For starters, they now show us data that tells us how many clicks or ad gets in the various positions that the ad is displayed in, i.e. – top vs. side position. This is a huge thing to consider. In almost every case the difference in CTR (click through rate) between top and side is a factor of 10 or better. Why does this matter so much? Because the price you pay for your click is directly related to something called Quality Score, and Quality Score is largely determined by your CTR. High CTR = High QS = Low cost per click = big savings for you!

The next logical question you should be asking yourself is how do I get my ad to show on top? I don’t want to give away the farm here, but it boils down to your bid price, copy writing skills, and keyword relevancy. Master this skill set and you will get lots of clicks and traffic to your web site for less per click than the guy who is listed below you! Now, this is certainly no simple feat, but it can be done in any market, and I have data to prove it if you’d like to see it.

Adwords has also done some cool things that show us a lot more about different platforms that people use to find you, I’ll save that for the next post! 🙂

Google Adwords Express for Local Business Advertising

If you haven’t heard of Google Adwords Express you’re losing business!

I call it Adwords for dummies. There is certainly no question about the difficulty of trying to master a normal Google Adwords account to promote your business. I run several accounts for clients and it’s just about a full time job. How many business owners have that kind of spare time? None that I know of. But if you want to get your feet wet with Adwords, Adwords Express is a great place to start.

Adwords Express is a fairly new feature for advertising a local business that is built right into your Google Places account (don’t have a Places account – better get on the stick!) The way it works is you log into your Places account and find the fairly obvious link that say “create an Adwords Express ad”. You create a few lines of copy for your ad, choose a category for your business, set a monthly budget and say go.

Usually within a couple of minutes, the Google bots will build several ad groups, load up several hundred broad match keywords and you’ve got traffic! Now it’s important to understand that this is not the most efficient means of buying traffic from Google to promote your business. A well managed Adwords account will out perform an Adwords Express account hands down.

However, if you would just like to see if Google can make your phone ring, this is a great place to start. Using the data you get from an Express account, you can build a regular Adwords account, and drive sales and customers to your business.

As always, if you have any questions or need some help, just give drop me an email. My address is on the “About SLW” tab!

The Newest scam involving your google places listing and Google maps

The scammers are after small business again – now it’s your Google Maps listing!

I will talk more about Google Places soon but for now ignore phone calls from people offering to keep your Google Maps listing active in exchange for money.

small business scamsIf you don’t know it, small business owners have a target painted on them right now. Everyone is promoting small business owners as a place to make money with a wide array of services and products. While some are legitimate, most are just crap.

Google is actually calling people and offering money right now if you try out Google Boost, an enhancement to you Places listing. I am currently testing this with a couple of my clients and will have more on it soon, but it looks promising.

Cool WP Plugin helps track local search effectiveness

There’s a WordPress plugin called WP Download Monitor that is very useful for small business owners!

One of the biggest challenges for small business owners is making sure they get value for the money they spend marketing online. This means that everything needs to be tracked. Having Google Analytics installed is of course the first step. But if you’ve messed with Google Local Business Center (LBC) you know that Analytics and LBC don’t play too well together!

This subject came up for me recently when I was asking some questions about Google Boost. For those who don’t know, Boost is a sort of “Adwords for Dummies” program. No insults intended here, I was a tad in the dark about Boost until just a couple of days ago, but that’s the subject for another post – coming soon I promise!

This post is about the plugin remember? It’s called WP Download Monitor. This free plugin solves a very important problem for the small business marketer. Here’s what it does. After some fairly simple set up, it will track and record how many times a pdf is downloaded from your site. You can have as many downloads entered into it as you need. Why is this useful?

Because these downloads are PDF versions of your coupons! That means there is an easy way to create separate channels to track downloads for all of your coupons, one for each traffic source, i.e. – Adwords, Craigslist, and now Boost. Put a little text on the very bottom of the coupon to key it, and when some hands you a coupon, you’ll know exactly which traffic channel brought you this customer! Very cool…

Of course it also allows a lot of other great stuff like testing different versions of the coupons, and measuring different traffic channels with different sales copy. Over the next week or so I will try to get a short video up showing new users how to set this up, and I’ll talk more about Google Boost and why you should be using it with or without Adwords. Hint – part of the reason is because Google has a nice promo going on and they will give you $100 worth of impressions if you spend $50. I’ll take that offer any day of the week.

Is Adwords worth it for my business?

There a lot of people who will tell you that Google Adwords doesn’t work, that it’s just a scam for Google to rake in cash!

Having used Adwords for several years now, I can understand how some people who tried running ads with Google were not happy. It’s not easy to do well. But just so you know that it works, I have uploaded this screen shot from one of the campaigns I manage:

adwords works

If you’re a business owner who doesn’t use Google Adwords, you should look at this carefully! First know that I pay an average of $0.22 per click or visit. That means that for this period, 30 days, I spent 883 x $0.22 or $194.26 for traffic. Now look at the revenue generated – $4343.27. Now look at the conversion rates for some of my search phrases, several are around 20%. One in every five persons that clicks my ad after searching on that phrase buys! I have two phrases with a per visit value over $8.00, it costs me $0.22 cents to get them to my site!

If these kinds of numbers would help your business, call me or drop me an email. I’d love to talk to you!  🙂

On of the hottest things going on right now for business owners who want to get exposure and traffic in a local market is Google maps and the Local Business Center (LBC). I’ve been involved in SEO (search engine optimization) and marketing on the internet for a few years now. Conventional SEO, while it is effective at getting lots of traffic, is very time consuming and slow.

That is not the case with the LBC! Take a look at this graphic –