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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?

Why Your Web Site May Die if You Don’t Have a WordPress Blog

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 –

Why is Marketing My Small Business on the Internet So Complicated?

Local search, social media, content creation… how are you supposed to learn and do all of these things and still run a business?

Like anything worthwhile, you have to just chip away at it, one step at a time. That’s one of the concepts of marketing on the internet that is frustrating to small business operators. In the good old days you just bought as much Yellow Pages space as you could afford, maybe run some newspaper ads, and life was good.

Now, not only do you need a website to market your business, but you have to work to get traffic to it, and then figure out how to get them to take some action…Read More –

Google Adwords introduces new instant preview for your ads!

I just wanted to take a couple minutes and tell you about a cool new feature in Google Adwords.

Look at this screen shot-
The graphic you see on the right section of this screen shot pops out when the searcher clicks on that little magnifying glass at the end of the first line of my ad. This feature has been available on organic search results for a short time now, but the Adwords option is very new. In addition to giving the searcher a preview of the landing page for the ad, it shows a short text snippet as well. It’s up to Google what text it thinks is most relevant but some experimentation cold be done to optimize this.

There are a couple of things to note here. First is that gray box on my home page. For some reason Google doesn’t capture the still image from my Youtube video. You wouldn’t want that to be at the top of the page, too ugly. Also, the image at the top right of my page isn’t showing, but the buttons are. They’re just linked images, not sure why the difference.

I think the main take away is that if your running Google Adwords (and you should be, more on that soon!) you should check your preview and optimize your landing page so that it is attractive and compels the searcher to click on your ad.

The SEO Sharks are After Your Money!

Do you need SEO (search engine optimization) help with your business web site?

If you’re like most business owners the answer is yes! You see, most sites have been built by a web designer whose primary goal was to build a site that you thought looked nice, a sort of art show you might say. The problem is that the vast majority of web designers out there don’t have a clue how to build a site with the proper SEO to get the free traffic flowing from Google search results.

So why not go for one of those many offers you receive almost weekly to have an “SEO Expert” do their magic and get you on page one of the SERP’s? They make a lot of nice promises, and they work pretty cheap too. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them are fly by nights who just got turned on the the idea of selling their services to help local businesses with their sites.

Many of the things they advertise doing for your SEO will actually hurt your rankings, especially if you’ve had your site online for a while. My suggestion is simple. When you’re ready for some real SEO work, hire someone local so you can meet face to face with them. Then ask them for references of other business owners that you can talk to. When you talk to the business owners, ask them how much improvement they saw from the work done and how much traffic their site gets. If they can’t answer these questions, don’t hire the person who did the work!

SEO is not cheap, but done correctly it will bring and endless flow of free traffic to your site. If your site is designed right, you’ll see more sales and leads. That is the only bottom line that maters, skip the art shows.

For more ideas on where to start with SEO for your web site see my page on SEO Packages here!

Google – Sometimes They Just Make You Say Huh??

Sometimes you see things that just make you laugh. I was poking around an adwords account just now, check out the graphic below:

You can’t always believe what Google tells ya! Notice the warning that two of my bids are below the estimate to get my ads to appear on the first page of the SERPS? Now look at the Avg. Pos. for those same keyword phrases, 2.1 & 1.9. Last time I checked position 2 was still on page one, lol. just remember that all the data Google gives you is average date, not really specific to your account.

Thinking of Advertising on Facebook

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.

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 –