Tag Archive | "Search Engine Results"

Increasing Your Local Business’ Online Visibility

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Increasing Your Local Business’ Online Visibility


Have you just started to use the internet to promote your local business and want to gain more visibility online? There are several ways to accomplish this and many channels that you can use to get your business feature more prominently in search engine results as well as other sites that users interested in what you have to offer would visit. Here are some easy methods you can use to get started:

  • Get a Website

There are plenty of solutions available to create your business website. There is also a lot of information available freely online about web building that you can use. Of course, you also have the option to hire an individual or a company to create your site for you. The most important part is having a site. When you begin, you can create a simple “place holder” page for your business, with its name, address, contact information, opening hours, logo, some pictures and basic information on what you have to offer. All of this can easily fit into one page. This is perfect if you want to get online but you don’t have the time or money to get a full website done right now.

  • Be Sociable

While there are various ways of getting more attention to your business, social media is one of the easiest and most efficient ones. Before you look at any other types of advertising methods, you should create social media pages for your business on all of the main networks. Build your presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and don’t forget Google +. Creating a page for your business on social networking sites is easy. All you need to do is to input the same information than you would on a one page website that presents your business (opening hours, products, contact info, etc). Plus, you can share pictures, videos and other media on your page.

There is a whole lot more that you can do with a social media page for your business, but setting one up is obviously the first step. Be sure to link your personal profiles with your business page and share the page with your friends, or at least those that you think would be interested in your business. This will help you get some exposure and will be very beneficial in search engine rankings.

  • Create a YouTube Video

YouTube isn’t just a site for watching music videos and putting up a cute video of your dog riding a skateboard. You can also use it to draw more attention to your business. There are many ideas, but the most simple one involves a short presentation of your business, followed by a video of you walking around parts of it (if it’s a retail store) and a link to your website in the description. While it won’t be as effective as a TV commercial, it will get you one more point of exposure online and help your standing in search engine results too.

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More About the Google Panda Update

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More About the Google Panda Update


Ever since the Google Panda Update has been launched, there has been a lot of talk about it in the online marketing world. However, many people still don’t understand what exactly the update is all about and how it can affect a website. Here is some more information about it and ways to avoid problems associated with this update from Google.

 

The most important things to understand is what Panda actually is. Essentially, it is a filter that weeds out content that doesn’t have enough substance. The filter is ran on a periodic basis. Every time that it is, all the content indexed by Google goes through the filter again. Therefore, any content that has been caught up in the filter the first time can go through if it has been improved enough. If it’s still poor, then it will remain there and suffer a penalty in the rankings.

 

Some have argued that Panda is a completely new way that Google uses to rank web pages. This actually isn’t true. There are more than 200 different factors that Google uses to rank pages in search engine results. The Panda update is just one of them.

 

The main purpose of the Panda update when it was released in February 2011 was to deal with “content farms”. These are websites that have been responsible for “polluting” search results by returning web pages that had little relevance to the keywords that were being searched for by the user. A content farm is a website that usually employs several writers (can sometimes range in the thousands), which create content such as articles, reports, blog posts, etc. that are targeted towards some popular keywords being searched. These sites profit from the traffic that they receive when users click on the ads that they publish, which are usually for products that are loosely related to what the content on the page talks about. The quality of the information on a content farm can vary. Some sites have nearly professional quality content, while on others it simply reads like a bunch of gibberish written by someone who hasn’t even mastered basic English.

 

Since then, several updates to Panda have been released, by the main purpose is still the same: keeping low quality content from ranking well in search results. Websites that were penalized because of the update have a chance to change things. To get rid of the penalty, all a webmaster needs to do is to remove the content that is of poor quality, or replace it with something that is well written and relevant to the keywords that are targeted on the site.

 

The basic principles of search engine optimization still apply. Websites that provide their users with high quality content and that target keywords which are closely related to what they have on their site should not experience too many issues with this, or any of the future updates done by Google to the way they rank search results.

 

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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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Why It’s Important to Avoid SEO Mistakes

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Why It’s Important to Avoid SEO Mistakes


It’s not a big secret that when you’re building a website, if you want to get it to rank well in search engines, then some SEO work is in order. This makes plenty of webmasters do their research on various websites, blogs, forums, etc. dedicated to the topic of search engine optimization. Getting information on the topic is of course the way to go and just like with anything, knowledge is power. So the more you know, the more you will actually be able to apply in a practical context on your website. But when you research information, it’s very important that the SEO tips that you read are actually good information and not some of the myths and misconceptions that keep re appearing on many sites. These actually cause webmasters to make mistakes when it comes to SEO and often make them waste time focusing on things that aren’t important.

The issue of wasting time is definitely one to consider for any webmaster. If you’re working on your site, or on your websites by yourself, then in many cases you only have a few hours a day to make things happen. You definitely don’t want to spend that time doing things that won’t matter and won’t help you achieve your goals as far as search engine rankings will go. Instead, you could be focusing on improving the content of your website or actually using SEO techniques that will work.

There’s also one big problem when it comes to bad SEO advice. If you apply the wrong SEO techniques to your website, this could end up actually hurting your chances of gaining a good position in search engine results rather than helping you. Now if you’re just making this mistake on one of your mini sites and you have 50 more of them, it may not be such a big deal, as you can start all over again. But if this is your main business website we’re talking about, then this would be even more problematic.

So the question is, how do you avoid making mistakes in SEO? The first thing would be to look for quality information. This can come from well reputed sources, such as websites and blogs of SEO experts. If you take advice from a forum or any other website where user generated content is posted, then first evaluate what’s being said and whether other members agree with it or not.

Avoid Black Hat SEO techniques. These are methods that take advantage of loopholes in search engines systems and are mainly designed with the hope of rapidly getting a website to go up on a search engine, even though it wouldn’t normally “deserve” to get to that position. Using such methods will rapidly get your website penalized as search engines catch on to them and close the loopholes that were used. If you want to build a good reputation online for your site, you should seek out techniques that allow legitimate and long term growth, not tricks to try to get ahead too quickly.

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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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Marketing For Local Businesses: Your Options – Media Buying – Part 2

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Marketing For Local Businesses: Your Options – Media Buying – Part 2


Now that we have seen what media buying consists of and the various business models available when it comes to paying for your ads, it is time to take a look at two things that are just as important: what type of ads you can run and also where you can place your ads.

There are various types of ads to choose from:

Text Ads – These are similar to the sponsored ads that you would find on Google search results, except that they are served on various websites rather than on search engine results. Depending on the network, you will have a certain amount of characters that you can use for your title and for the body of the ad. Remember, you want people who are interested in what you have to offer to click on your ad, but also to avoid those who are merely curious or looking for freebies. This is especially important if you are paying on a CPC model, as you don’t want to waste your advertising budget on non productive visitors to your site. As such, your ad should inform the viewer of what you have to offer as well as be cleverly worded and attractive.

Banner/Graphic Ads – These are another popular type of ad in the media buying industry. You basically create a graphic ad, which can have various shapes and sizes. Some are the classic horizontal banner, while others are more in a vertical “skyscraper” format. There are also banner ads available in a smaller, usually square format. When you create a banner, you want to do the same thing than with a text ad: captivate the viewer’s attention, but still give them enough information to decide whether your business offers them something they need. Banner ads are basically an animated GIF file, which can easily be created with a graphics program. Or you can also pay a freelancer $5 – $10 to create a banner ad for you.

Popup/Popunder Ads – These types of ads are still being offered, although they have lost most of their efficiency, due to the fact that browsers now have integrated popup blockers and if an ad does get past those, most people simply get annoyed and close it. As such, it is not recommended that you use them if you are promoting a local business, as they are more suited for affiliate offers.

Video Ads – This is a relatively new type of ad, but is growing in popularity. It is basically a mini commercial, like one that you would see on TV. The video is played either before the user watches another video on a video sharing site, or plays automatically when the page serving the ads is loaded. You will, however, need to create a video ad by yourself and have it approved by the ad network. Since this is a new type of ad, their success rate has not yet been fully tested, so unless you have a significant budget to devote to your media buying, it is best that you try the other ad types first.

Tomorrow, we will see where you can put your ads and how to optimize them in order to take maximum advantage form media buying.

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Attracting Local Visitors To Your Website: More SEO Tips

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Attracting Local Visitors To Your Website: More SEO Tips


Yesterday, we saw that there are certain ways that a local business can employ to attract local traffic that will be useful to them. One of these ways is by doing SEO on your site. Now SEO may seem like it is something complicated, but in reality it is not. There are some very simple things that you can do to make your website look more attractive to search engines and thus rise through the rankings faster than you would have ever thought possible. Also, if you need to do some SEO on your site and don’t want to do all of the work yourself, then there are service providers which can do some of the SEO work for you cheaply.

When we talk about SEO, there are a few things that you need to consider if you want to do proper SEO for your small business website. There are two categories of factors which will affect your position in search engines. One is on site factors and the other one is off site factors.

On Site Factors

How your site will do in terms of SEO will depend on how your overall site is designed and the content on it. If you run a local small business, it is better to focus on targeting keywords that have your main product or service name, in addition to the name of the city that you service. That way, you will have less competition that you need to beat to get to the top of search engine results. This is especially true if you are in a relatively small city, then you might only have 2 or 3 competitors. Also, remember to add content to your website regularly. You may want to add a few articles related to your niche that are optimized to your main keyword and the name of your city too.

Off Site Factors

The main off site factor is the amount of backlinks that your site has. Backlinks are the amount of links coming from other websites and that point towards your site. However, quantity is not the main focus here. Quality is more important. The backlinks need to come from reputed sites which have some kind of relation to your niche.

Learning SEO

There are plenty of detailed, yet easy to understand guides on SEO available online. You can find these simply by doing a Google search. Or, you can look through internet marketing forums to find some useful guides, as well as additional advice on SEO techniques that you may want to use.

Outsourcing SEO Work

Doing SEO for your site will involve doing things such as writing articles, building backlinks and submitting your site to business directories. While these could easily be done by yourself, the main drawback is that they take time to do. If you want to outsource these relatively cheaply, then check out some internet marketing forums, as these have a section where people can buy and sell various kinds of services. You can also look at a site such as Fiverr, where you can outsource many tasks for just $5 each.

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Picking An Effective Domain Name

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Picking An Effective Domain Name


No matter what kind of business you have, it’s extremely important to have a website for it. Whether you own a local store, or you’re just starting out as an affiliate marketer, you’re going to need a website, and the first step to getting that website up and running is getting a domain name. Picking a domain name requires a little thought and effort, and sometimes, you’re going to have to spend a little extra money to get the right name.

Your domain name should directly reflect your business. Whenever possible, you should use the name of your business as your domain name.  If, for example, you have  a business called Carl’s Carpets, you would want to get carlscarpets.com if it were available. Search engines look at a site’s domain name when determining search rank, and in order to show up at the top of search engine results when someone searches for your company’s name, you’ll need a domain name with your company’s name in it. It’s not only okay, but a great idea to include a city state, or other location in your domain name if you run a local business.

If you run an affiliate site, or really any site where the name isn’t as important as the content, try to pick a domain name that contains keywords relevant to the content. For example, if you are starting an affiliate site that focuses on carpet cleaners, you would want a domain name like carpetcleaners.com. Having a domain name that contains keywords relevant to your content will help you to show up near the top of search results for those keywords.

Whenever you can, you should get a .com domain name as opposed to a .net, or a .org. Most people think of the .com address first, and if your domain name isn’t the .com version, you run the risk of having people get frustrated trying to find your site. Most of the best .com domains are already taken, so you’re going to have to do one of two things if you want a high quality domain. You’re either going to have to get creative with your domain name, or you’re going to have to buy a domain from a private seller rather than a registrar. Private owners will sell domain names at prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, so think carefully about what you’re willing to pay before you go this route.

Picking the right domain name is the first step to a successful website. By starting with a strong name, you are starting off right.

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General SEO Tips and Information

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General SEO Tips and Information


SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a group of techniques to make any sort of content on your website appear higher on search engines such as Google or Bing, meaning more towards the first page of search results.  There are many different ways to achieve higher search engine rankings.  First off, the text of your webpage as well as your title will both bring your page into the search engine database.  Using a keyword or phrase multiple times on that webpage will easily boost the ranking of said page.  Usually, about an overall 4-6% keyword phrase density is recommended in the text of the page to receive maximum results of this technique.

Linking is another very popular SEO technique that is easy, yet effective.  All three types of links (inbound, outbound, and internal) can help boost your page rankings.  Links from sites that also specialize in the same keywords, as well as links from .gov and .edu websites are especially beneficial as far as links of the inbound type are concerned.  Your internal links’ anchor text can also make a huge difference.  Instead of using the word “here” as many webmasters tend to do, try using your keyword instead, as it can really make a difference, especially down the road.

While many argue that meta tags are one of the most important factors in SEO, they are still secondary to content.  Remember, content is king!  Sure, meta tags can help you out initially, but keeping your pages updated with fresh content and proper keyword density will help you out much more in the long run.  Unique content that is updated frequently, combined with the proper meta tags, will be able to outs higher ranking sites that never have their content updated, no matter how well the meta tags are done for the previously higher ranked website.

Finally, file names as well as URLs are also fairly important.  Using key words in both of these will also easily boost your SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).  This might seem like common sense, but think about how many broken links you encounter when browsing, or how many pages are simply named “1” or “2”, and think about how search engines index websites.  They go through every page and file, and record what it’s called.  If a page is called “2” it won’t be entered for the keyword that it is aimed at, same with broken links.  So, remember to name your pages and files appropriately, and to double check all of your links.

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New Google SERPS Means More Traffic For Your Website

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New Google SERPS Means More Traffic For Your Website


Some of you may of noticed Googles new results page and have you wondered how this might affect your websites search engine results position ?

Google has for the last year have been slowly changing the way their search works, for example the search results are more tailored to the individual using the computer.  The new design is very similar to bing and yahoo.  But Google still dominate the search engine niche with last month being one of their best months in terms of users using Google compared to other search engines.

The new SERPs may make SEO webmasters a little worried as to how users will now start to use the new tools that Google provides users and how results will be displayed.  I can say that my traffic stats to my website haven’t changed much since the new Google changes have been introduced but my enquiries and sales have dropped a little which makes me think if this is a result of the recent Google changes, but i doubt very much as my bounce rate is still the same so im just guessing its a seasonal issue.

The options in the left panel of the new look Google pull from “everything” – classic Google results (universal, organic, paid, etc.), blogs from Google Blog Search, Books from Google Books (which includes magazines), Images from Google Image Search, News from Google News, Maps from Google Maps, Shopping from Google Product Search, Videos from Google Video (which includes videos from YouTube and other sources), and Updates from Google’s real-time search.

You will also notice that at the end of the search results page it will show live results from Twitter and match any keywords from a live feed directly from Twitter.  Google is moving more towards giving you live results as its constantly improving the way it gives the end user results.

I recently ran an experiment using Twitter as a way to get traffic from using the live twitter service on Google by using a plugin on my wordpress blog that updated my twitter account every 15 mins with new articles and this brought in alot of traffic as Google was picking up my keywords in my tweets and giving them tops spot on the results of Google helping direct organic traffic straight to my blog.  The only drawback on this was the plugin i was using crashed my server as it was using alot of bandwidth as it was an autoblog adding 7 new articles every minute, so you can image what this did to my server.  However at the time i was getting around 500 clicks, many from very competitive keywords on Google via the Twitter live feed.

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