Showing posts with label local search. Show all posts
Showing posts with label local search. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Local Search and Content Marketing - Tips Need to Know

Everyday, my company helps small business be found on the internet.  The majority of our clients are mom and pop shops that only need to target local residents within a five mile radius.  When I first meet with a potential client, they occasionally think that they need to target an entire metro area.  While that might be a goal one day, the way people are trending (especially with high gas prices) is sticking to their local areas.  The high gas prices are not the only issue to factor into the equation.  These days, our younger generations just don’t care about driving.  You can see this as fewer and fewer teenagers are getting their drivers licenses.
So, if my target market is within a five mile radius, it should be obvious that my if I am located outside of a city such as Atlanta, I should not be targeting Atlanta (usually.)  If my business is service based and travels to the client, I should want to target a five mile radius even more.  It makes zero sense to travel 30 miles to go paint a house, when there are 18,000 homes that need to be painted around my office.  Still, some business owners do not see the logic in this.  They will likely be the ones that do not survive the next few years, especially as we transition into a mobile age.
small business local SEOHere are some basic ways to build your local market through SEO and content marketing:

Home Page SEO

As it is with any large city with a metro area, locals almost never search an entire metro area when they know what they are looking for.  If I live in Norcross, Georgia, there is no way that I would ever search for a chiropractor in Atlanta.  My returned results would be 20 miles away.  So, the first thing I want to do is establish my true local market for my client.  This should be included throughout the meta code.
  • Title – Use your primary keywords towards the front of your title.  You have around 60 characters to use, so choose wisely.  If it were me, I would put the main service and local market closer towards the front.  If the market is saturated with that particular service, try winning somewhere else.  For example, if I was marketing for “apartments in Marietta, GA” (which is extremely saturated), I would win with another angle using “Pet Friendly Apartments in Marietta, GA”.  I can then position my client to win as the local pet friendly apartment community, and eventually the great content marketing and basic SEO techniques used will push my client up the rankings for “Apartments in Marietta, GA” as well.  It’s a double win.
  • Description – The description should be informative, compelling, and include your local market as well.  Include keywords, but don’t awkwardly stuff keywords.  We have all come across search engine results with descriptions that literally make no sense.  Not only will I skip over this, but search engines are working on filtering through these types of tactics.  I still come across them, but this might be due to the fact that the local market just isn’t saturated with decent digital marketers.  If this is the case, your creative description can outrank these poorly written meta descriptions.
  • Meta Keywords – This is an indicator that has been phased out by most major search engines, mostly due to keyword stuffing.  Matt Cutts recently addressed the issue, letting on that your time is better spent on creating a great meta description.  Move on.

Content Marketing for Small Business

I am still a firm believer that if your content sucks, your web presence will suffer.  Creating great content is not only an opportunity to increase your on page SEO, but it is also a great way to increase your natural links.  Putting thought into the content you produce is essential.  Targeting a local market offers you great opportunities with your content, especially when using a blog to build your web presence.
Here are a few things to consider when writing your content:

  • Keywords – Is your content keyword rich?  A better question might be, is your content over saturated with keywords?  Google is getting better and better at penalizing those who try to game this system with stuffing keywords everywhere.  Your keywords should come naturally.  When I include keywords in titles, links, bolding, etc, they must be used with the user in mind.  Will my keywords help the user find the content they need?  Will the keyword linked take my customer to a page that will help them?  Use keywords strategically, to not only make the search engines happy, but also to help your customer.
  • Blogging – Using a blog to help boost your site’s keyword density is a great way to boost your search engine rankings.  This isn’t breaking news.  However, last year especially, Google started pounding the companies who tried to game the system who were using content farms to try and boost their SEO.  This means that your content needs to be original.  It doesn’t need to be anything ground breaking, but it does need to be from you.  If you’re going to spend time writing content, you might as well make it useful to your clients.  Small businesses can use blogs to help solve problems that their customers come across.  They can even take the spotlight off of their business every now and then, and share exciting news about what is going on in the local area.  Creating great blog content will help you, your client, and even help potential clients find you when they search for something other than a “home remodeler in Norcross, GA”.  Great content also attract natural links.  These have been used as indicators of quality.  If you want to increase your search engine results, create great, keyword rich, useful content.
  • Video – A staggering amount of US citizens have cut the cord to their TVs.  Around 1/3 of the US population has a connected TV. The increasing adoption of streaming video into the home should light a fire under your butt.  Start making video content yesterday!  This seems to be one of the most difficult pill for small business owners to swallow when it comes to digital marketing.  Many business owners think that they need to create video series on a high quality production level.  As mentioned above, the bells and whistles don’t really matter anymore.  All that matters is that your content rocks.  Small business in a local market could kill it with YouTube if they wanted.  For example, a plumber could make a YouTube “How To” series with his iPhone.  By focusing on easy fixes, like “How to unclog your shower drain”, a plumber could earn trust and win over the client who used the video series for easy fixes, but needed a plumber for the more technical fixes.  I would imagine that for the majority of plumbers, driving out to a customer (high gas prices…), and unclogging a drain (taking him away from working a bigger job), would end up being a waste of his time.  Helping someone in your area with an easy fix, that doesn’t really pay well for the business owner anyways, with a simple YouTube video will leverage the business’s credibly in the long run for those big jobs that they really want.  For added SEO value, you can place that video in your blog with written content.  Now, if a user lands on the blog post, they are now under the small business owner’s banner and branded site.  Worst case scenario is that the person cannot perform the task, and needs to call the business owner to help come fix it.
  • Photography – Are you stumped over why Facebook would pay out $1 BILLION for Instagram?  Are you wondering why Pinterest is taking off like wild fire?  Photos, as content, are huge!  Users are no longer sending text based updates alone.  They are taking photos.  The web user is quickly jumping on with photography and video as a content source that attracts attention (natural links and social indicators).  Small businesses can make a few huge wins simply with implementing photography into their content marketing plan.  Photos pull your content marketing strategy into the mobile world like nothing else.  For your SEO needs, tagging, titling, and using content to describe your photos adds extra benefit as well.  If you’re small business client isn’t comfortable with pulling out their iPhone to create videos, take the time to train them to use mobile photo apps like Instagram.  This adds extra value to all parties involved.
If you use all of these basic local SEO tactics, you will still only be scratching the surface.  As you implement them, your client’s world dives deeper and deeper into how you can leverage SEO and content marketing into local dominance via search engines, mobile, and social media.
Written By:
Kevin Ekmark Source:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

How to Make a Google+ Page for Your Businesses

Google+ has opened the doors for business and brand pages.
In this article I show you how to set up your Google+ page and provide examples.
If you haven’t already created a personal Google+ profile for yourself, you’ll need to do that first (you cannot simply sign up a business page from the main Google+ signup screen).
Check out the How to Get Started With Google+ for more on personal Google+ profiles.
If you do have a personal profile, here’s how to create a page for your business.
Visit Create a Page on Google+ to begin, and follow the steps below to get started with Google+ pages.

Pick a category

Google+ Pages - Create a Page
Pick a category for your Google+ page to fall under.
The first step in getting started creating your Google+ page is to choose from the following five main categories.
#1: Local Business or Place
Local Business or Place includes any local business—hotels, restaurants, places, stores or services. If you choose this category, you will be asked for the country in which your business is located and the primary phone number.
If Google finds a matching result in Google Places with your phone number, it will use this information for your Google+ profile. If not, you can add your business info to Google and continue.
Google+ Pages - Local Businesses and Places
Add your local business information to Google+.
#2: Product or Brand
Examples given by Google+ of pages that would fit under Product or Brand include apparel, cars, electronics and financial services.
Google+ Pages - Product and Brand Options
Add your Product or Brand info and choose the most applicable category.
Here, you would enter your page name and website, and choose an applicable category which includes anything from Aerospace and Defense to a Website, or you can simply choose Brand, Other, Product or Service.
#3: Company, Institution or Organization
The next category, Company, Institution or Organization includes pages for companies, institutions, organizations and non-profits or similar entities. Here you also enter your page name and website, and choose an applicable category with the same options as a Product or Brand page, or you can simply choose Company, Institution, Organization or Other.
#4: Arts, Entertainment or Sports
Pages for movies, TV, music, books, sports and shows are considered a good fit for the Arts, Entertainment or Sports section. Again, you will enter your page name and website, and choose an applicable category—this time with options ranging from Album to Website, or you can simply choose Entertainment, Other or Sports.
#5: Other
If you don’t feel your page fits in any of the above-mentioned categories, you can simply select Other, where you can enter your page name and website without any additional narrowing of category selection.
For pages in any category, you must also choose whether your page’s content is suitable for any Google+ user, users 18 or older, users 21 or older or specifically note that the content will be alcohol-related. Then you will tick boxes to opt-in to updates for Google+ pages and agree to terms and conditions to continue.
Google+ Pages - Content Settings
Determine the appropriate age group for your page to be visible to based on content.
Be sure to actually check out the Google+ Additional Terms of Service to see their notes on Authority, Access, Content, Data, Contests and Suspension & Termination.

Customize Your Page’s Public Profile

Once you’ve selected your page’s category, you can start customizing your page’s public profile.
#1: Add Your Profile Photo and Tagline
First, you will be asked to add your tagline (the 10 words that best describe your page) and your page’s profile photo.
Google+ Pages - Tagline and Profile Photo
Add your Google+ page’s tagline and profile photo.
After you have added these items and clicked on Continue, you will be asked to spread the word about your new page through your personal Google+ profile. If you’re not ready yet (which you probably aren’t, since you haven’t completed your profile), click on Finish to be taken to your new page.
#2: Editing Your Page Information
Once you’ve perused your page’s welcome screen, you will want to edit your page’s information. Go to your page’s profile by clicking on the Profile icon at the top, left of the Search Google+ box. Then go to your About tab and Edit Profile.
Google+ Pages - About Your Page Information
Edit information for your profile’s About section.
Here you will be able to click on everything from your page name to your links to enter relevant information about your page within Introduction, Hours (for local businesses or places), Website and Contact Info (phone, email, Skype, etc.). Also be sure to enter additional links to your page in the Introduction section using the Link button and under Recommended Links to link to your other social profiles, blog, blog posts and so on. Keep in mind important keywords for your business – if you are a digital marketing agency, be sure to include digital marketing in your profile.
#3: Adding Your Photostrip
Last but not least when it comes to your Google+ page design is filling in your photostrip. These five photos will be displayed underneath your page’s name and tagline.
Google+ Pages - Adding a Photostrip
Add photos that best represent your page in your photostrip beneath your page name and tagline.
It’s similar to the five photos you can have on your Facebook page. While editing your profile, click on the photo area where it says “add photos here” and upload a photo in each of the five photo spots. You can use different photos that represent your business or creatively cut one photo into five pieces and spread it across the area.
Congratulations! Your Google+ Page Is Ready.
Once your profile is ready, you can start posting to your profile by adding status updates, links, photos and videos just like you do on your personal Google+ profile. I would suggest writing a post or two before you use the “Spread the word” option in your right sidebar to announce your page to your personal profile connections.

Following and Engaging With Your Fans

So what’s the difference between a Google+ page and a Facebook page? The big one I’ve noticed so far is the fact that you can follow your page’s fans back and add them to Circles.
To find out who has added your page to their Circle, you can check your Notifications under Stream in the left sidebar. You can also look under your Circles > People who’ve added you area by clicking on the Circles icon.
Google+ Pages - Adding Fans to Circles
Follow your Google+ page’s fans by moving them into Circles.
In this screen, you can drag your fans into one or more of the four default circles.
  • Team Members—The people you will share the inside scoop with. This could be a great way to share company news with only the people you want to see it.
  • VIPs—Your most loyal customers and closest partners.
  • Customers—All the people or organizations you want to build deeper relationships with. You could possibly use this Circle to send out special discounts and promotions!
  • Following—People you don’t know personally but whose posts you find interesting.
Just as you can with your personal profile, you can also create new Circles.
There are a lot of ways you can successfully use your custom Circles for marketing and messaging, such as creating Circles of fans in a specific location and sharing updates with them about geo-specific offers.
Universities can create Circles for professors, alumni, undergraduate, graduate and prospective students and then share updates with them about news related to their current status with the university. The possibilities are endless.
This also means you can follow your fans’ updates, comment on your fans’ status messages, and +1 their updates as your page. The functionality for a Facebook fan page to interact with a personal profile on Facebook isn’t there, but it is in Google+. Your fans will even see your interaction with their updates in their notifications!
Google+ Pages - Personal Profile Notfications
Google+ users will see your page’s interactions with their profiles in their notifications.
This, in my opinion, is going to be a very powerful way for businesses or brands to communicate with their audiences.
For example, if there is a complaint, the Google+ page can reply publicly on their page, and then privately to the Google+ user by sending a status update directly to them. With Facebook pages, the page can only reply on the wall update but not directly communicate with the Facebook user.

Connecting Your Google+ Page to Your Website

You can connect your website to your Google+ page using the Google+ badge configuration tool. Currently only the icons are available, but official badges are coming soon.
Google+ Pages - Direct Connect
Connecting your Google+ page to your website.
Regardless of whether you want to add a badge to your website, you will want to connect your Google+ page to your website simply for the search benefits.
Google+ Direct Connect will allow visitors to find your Google+ page and add it to their Circles, directly from Google search results. To do this, simply add the following code between the <head> </head> tags on your website.
<link href="{plusPageUrl}" rel="publisher" />
Replace {plusPageUrl} with your Google+ page URL. Then visitors will be able to add your Google+ page to Circles simply through their search results.

7 Google+ Page Examples

If you’re in need of some creative inspiration, here are a few established Google+ pages for social media enthusiasts.
#1: Social Media Examiner
Google+ Pages - Social Media Examiner
Social Media Examiner’s page gains instant popularity on Google+.
A list of great Google+ pages would be incomplete without Social Media Examiner!
#2: Social Media Explorer
Google+ Pages - Social Media Explorer
Social Media Explorer’s Google+ page uses photostrip images to convey education.
Social Media Explorer‘s page marries its tagline of education and information perfectly with its photostrip images.
#3: Mashable
Google+ Pages - Mashable
Mashable was one of the first brands to put its presence on Google+.
Mashable appeared, then shortly disappeared in the early days of Google+, but has once again emerged.
#4: Search Engine Land
Google+ Pages - Search Engine Land
Search Engine Land breaks the latest news about Google+.
Although its focus may be search marketing, Search Engine Land also offers extensive social media coverage, especially when Google+ is concerned.
#5: HootSuite
Google+ Pages - HootSuite
HootSuite uses its Google+ photostrip to represent a worldwide user base.
HootSuite displays its diversity through a variety of expressive icons in the photostrip.
#6: Google+
Google+ Pages - Google+
Google+ positions its page as an authority for its own network.
Another page that is a must-have for any list of Google+ pages is that of Google+ itself.
#7: Twitter
Google+ Pages - Twitter
Twitter is just starting up its presence on Google+.
Although it isn’t active yet, Twitter is on the ball by creating a brand page on Google+.

What Are Your Thoughts on Google+ Pages?

Have you begun experimenting with Google+ pages for your website, brand or business? Please let us know your experience so far, additional tips you would like to share with those getting started and the best Google+ pages you’ve seen thus far!
By: Kristi Hines Source: