Tag Archive | "Natural Search"

Google Places Phased Out: What this Means for Local Businesses

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Google Places Phased Out: What this Means for Local Businesses


During the last year, when Google announced that its social networking service, Google + would be usable by businesses, there was a lot of speculations about how this would affect Google’s main product: the search results. We all know how the Google search engine works, at least the basics. First, you have the “natural” search results, where the page rank is based on Google’s algorithm in determining how high a website would rank in search results. Then, we have the paid search ads, or Google’s Adwords service.

Google has, however, made changes to how local businesses show up in search results. First, they altered the way search results are displayed, so that businesses that are local to the user would have their websites appear higher in search results when the searcher was from their local area. Then there is Google Places, which is a kind of directory for local businesses. It worked relatively well and had one major advantage: listings were completely free.

But on May 31st, all the Google Places listings have been replaced instead by Google + local pages. This change is automatic and has affected 80 million pages on Google Places.

There are also a few other changes that were made related to this: a “local” tab now appears in the main Google + interface, allowing users to instantly find local businesses while they’re browsing the social network. Google has taken over Zagat and integrated their local business reviews in the Google + Local service. While Google Places had reviews and ratings of businesses, they weren’t nearly as complete as they should have been. In fact, even some relatively popular businesses just had a dozen or so reviews, even though they have thousands of customers each month. The traditional search results aren’t the only place where Google has integrated Google + local pages. In fact, they will appear in search results on Google Mobile Search and in Google Maps as well.

There are a few reasons that could be cited for this change in the way Google operates when it comes to local business search. It has been said that Google hoped to make their Places platform a complete interactive service where local merchants and customers would interact and communicate with each other. However, this didn’t fully happen as they had planned. A big reason was the limitations of the Google Places platform, that wasn’t as “social” as it should have been. Google + Local Pages gives merchants the ability to present a more complete picture of their business and also allows their customers to have more social interaction. When a user is logged into Google +, for example, they will see the reviews and recommendations made by friends before seeing other information. This encourages users to create more content on the platform, by interacting with merchants such as when they ask questions or write a review of the products and services they’ve received from them.

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Which Changes Will be Brought to Online Marketing in 2012 – Part 3

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Which Changes Will be Brought to Online Marketing in 2012 – Part 3


We’ve seen some interesting new trends when it comes to online marketing and the changes that are expected to happen in 2012. Online business model changes, rise in social media advertising, online television, as well as mobile marketing are all things that are expected to take place in 2012. But there are a few other things that are expected to be more important this year. Mainly when it comes to promoting your website through natural search results on Google. Here are some of them:

  • Content and Site Design Will Matter More

Google has recently made some changes to their algorithm which penalizes low quality websites that are built for the sole purpose of attracting clicks on search engines. This increases the quality of search results overall, as searchers are now less likely to be directed to a website that has irrelevant content or is just a dumping ground for advertisements. Quality, relevant content will be necessary. As Google is now showing snippets of websites when a user hovers over the search results, having a site that is attractive to the user is also going to be a lot more important. Working on the design elements of your site is thus recommended.

  • Google + Will Matter More For SEO

While there is some debate as to whether Google + will ever have any relevance as a personal social network and few people now expect it to be a serious rival to Facebook, it looks like Google + will matter to business users a lot more. This is because Google + results will also be indexed in search engine results and will be given a high degree of relevance, just like YouTube videos are shown in search results. Whether or not you believe Google + will be important in your online marketing strategy overall, it would be a very good idea to have an account on the network.

  • Rating, Review and Consumer Opinion Sites Will Become Very Important

While these sites have existed for more than 15 years now, review websites are going to get more relevance in search results. Already, we can see results for comments left about a certain business appearing near the top of search results when that business name is searched for on Google. For business owners, this means two things. First, offering a quality product or service, which will avoid consumers complaining about them on these sites. Second, monitoring search results for their business name, associated keywords as well as entries regarding them on review and opinion websites. Many of these sites give the chance for business owners to respond to any comments, both positive and negative. This will give potential customers that are checking out your business a good feeling that you care about their opinions and that you want to help them resolve any issues that they may have. This applies to any business that targets the consumer market, whether online or offline. Review websites for Business to Business companies, while not as popular, still exist and should be paid attention to as well if this is the line of business in which you operate in.

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Your SEO Goals Should Be Realistic

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Your SEO Goals Should Be Realistic


When it comes to SEO, there are plenty of misconceptions, especially among new webmasters and those who have just started out in online business. Some people seem to believe that just by doing the most basic SEO work or by hiring some SEO “expert” for $5 at Digital Point, they would be able to propel their site to 1st place on Google within a few days. For anyone that thinks that way, well sorry but this is just not how SEO works.

 

If you want to improve your websites ranking on the search engines, then your goals will need to be realistic. One of the ways of doing so would be to take a look at the websites that are already ranked for the keywords that you are targeting. Do a keyword analysis of your site to see which keywords you would be better off targeting. In many cases, you will be able to find some long tail keywords that are more specific to your offerings and that have less competition. If you do business at a local level, then targeting some local keywords can also be very helpful. Once again, the reason behind this is that the competition for local keywords is a lot lower than for the more general ones, thus it would be much easier for you to rank for them.

 

One thing that you will need to understand about SEO is that it is more of a long term process, rather than an instant solution to get traffic to your website right away. If you have just created your website, then it can take several weeks or even months before you are able to get any decent amount of traffic from natural search engine results in certain high competition, popular niches.

 

For this reason, you need to consider using some other advertising methods in the meantime to bring some traffic to your website. Pay per click search advertising obviously comes to mind here. Many would say that it brings you the same results than SEO, but is able to do so a lot faster. The major drawback, however is that you will need to spend some money on it, sometimes considerable amounts if the keywords that you are targeting are quite competitive and thus very valuable.

 

If you truly want your website to bring you the money that you want, then you would need to understand that online advertising is a very diverse environment, where you have dozens of different ways to generate traffic to your website besides using SEO. Using media buying, article marketing, social media marketing or video marketing are all things that you can do alongside SEO to make your site more popular. Remember what the main focus behind creating a website is: to make money for you. By employing the proper strategies to get the visitors that you need, you will be able to improve your ROI by getting more visitors and turning these website visitors into profitable clients for your business.

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Are MLM Opportunities a Good Way to Earn Money? Part 2

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Are MLM Opportunities a Good Way to Earn Money? Part 2


We have previously seen some of the drawbacks of taking part in an MLM program. While there are some ways to make money from such MLM activities, there are a few obstacles that you would need to overcome before you are able to profit from them. Here are some more:

* A lot of competition both online and offline

The thing about any type of MLM system is that you will not be the only one promoting it. This is especially the case if you will be using the internet to get leads in order to recruit participants. Simply search for the name of your program on Google. You will come up with thousands, sometimes even hundreds of thousands of results. You will see reviews, lead capture pages, information about the program, as well as thousands of different websites set up by individuals who are promoting the same offer than you. While many programs will give you access to a pre built website that you can use to get leads, simply using that will not be enough, unless you have gotten in really early and are among the first ones to push that particular program. If your website is very similar to others with the same search terms, you will simply not be able to rank very high in natural search results and will need to resort to other means of marketing your offer online in order to get the results that you wanted.

The “offline” world is not quite different. Almost every person has had a friend, family member or even complete stranger try to solicit them to join an MLM opportunity in the past. There are plenty of “Make Money Working From Home” ads in newspapers as well. Therefore, once again you will need to be quite creative in your marketing approach if you would like to stand out from the crowd and get your ads noticed to get you the leads that you are looking for.

* Being Successful with an MLM Program is Not Easy

Even though the advertising materials for them often tell you a different kind of story, being successful with an MLM program will take countless hours of hard work developing your business. Because after all, this is exactly what you will be doing: building a business. You will need to find people who will buy your products, as well as find ways to market these products successfully. You will also need to get people to join in the offer and become distributors just like you. While it looks like all you need to do is to create a pre-fab website and then let the prospects come to you, this is not how it works in real life. You will need to find ways to advertise, get leads and then spend time communicating with these leads by phone, email and sometimes even give presentations in person if you would like to recruit enough people to make you some good money in the end.

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Is SEO Important For You?

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Is SEO Important For You?


As we all know, any webmaster wants their website to get traffic, and as much targeted traffic as they possibly can get. Of course, there are certain ways to get that traffic and a webmaster needs to do some actions in order to receive it. People will not just randomly type your website address in their browser to get to your site. They have to somehow find it first. One of the most common ways for people to find a website online is to make a query in a search engine for a keyword that they are interested in. In order to get your site as close as you can to the top of the search results, you need to do some SEO work. But SEO is not always the right solution to get traffic to your website. Let’s take a look at for what type of webmaster is SEO important for:

  • You are building a long-term business centered around 1 main site

If you expect your website to be the online address of your main business, then doing SEO will have many advantages. You will not need to spend as much money advertising, as people will be able to find your site through natural search results. By doing proper SEO, you will be able to eventually get ahead of your competitors on search engines like Google. Since you have long term plans, then you have a bit more time to get your site to get a decent amount of traffic.

  • You don’t want to spend too much time or money on advertising

There are many solutions available online where you can advertise your site and pay either for the number of views that your ad has received or the amount of clicks that it gets. But, not everybody wants to spend time tracking and optimizing various ad campaigns so that they will yield the maximum results. Also, not everyone has the budget necessary to constantly pay for online advertising. In that case, focusing on getting traffic from natural search results could be the right path for you to go on.

  • Your business is in a niche that is not very competitive

If your business is in a niche that is quite specialized and doesn’t have many competitors, then using SEO techniques to get your site to the top is a great way to get the traffic that you want. Since you do not have a lot of competitors, it will be a lot easier to get your site to number one of the search results on Google. You will also spend far less time on SEO work than someone who is operating in a very competitive niche.

But are there cases where SEO is not the best choice? Yes, it depends on what kind of site you are putting up. We’ll take a look at these cases tomorrow and see what other ways you could use to bring traffic to your website in these cases.

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