Tag Archives: search engine optimization

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Local Search Engine Optimization

Better rankings in search engines can have a significant impact on any business. For local businesses, higher visibility can result in more sales, more exposure, and accelerated business growth. From doctor’s offices to dry cleaners, local search engine optimization (SEO) has influenced the way customers are interacting with local businesses online. With the ever-expanding popularity of the Internet, more people are turning to search engines to locate local businesses. Local businesses that seize the opportunity that local SEO offers can experience measurable results and unprecedented growth.

How Search Engines Rank Websites

Before launching a local search campaign, it is important to understand the basic methodology used by search engines to rank web pages. Several factors are used to determine which websites are more relevant to a user’s search. Based on available evidence, there are two main components involved in how websites are ranked: relevance and popularity. These two components are also referred to as on-site factors and off-site factors respectively.

Search engines determine the relevance of a web page based on the content of that page, which includes the body text of the page, the title tag, meta description, alt tag, etc. Relevant keywords are strategically placed in the content and code of the website to alert the search engines to what the page is about and what users can expect to find when they visit that page.

While on-page factors are important, off-page factors also play a significant role in how the website is ranked in the search engines. The popularity of the page is determined by off-page factors such as the volume of incoming links to the website, the quality of those links, and the relevance of those links. In order to gain higher rankings in the search engines, it is important to ensure that the website is appropriately optimized and that a quality link building strategy is used.

Five Best Practices for Local Search Engine Optimization

While there are several known factors such as title tags, meta descriptions, and incoming links that play a role in rankings, each search engine has a unique algorithm that they use to rank web pages, and as such, rankings on separate search engines can be quite different. The algorithms of search engines are updated constantly, which means that the factors that they use to rank websites today could be different than those used tomorrow. For this reason, it is imperative to utilize the following industry best practices when implementing a local SEO campaign.

Titles & Descriptions. The titles and descriptions on the company website should be properly optimized to include relevant keywords. The title tag is considered the most important on-page factor, as it is usually given the most weight by the search engines in determining what the page is about. Optimizing the title tags and descriptions is a key step to good local search engine optimization. Here is an example of how your site should appear in Google’s search results:

Location. Make sure to include the city and state in the content of the web page that the search engine will index. The location should be included in the title tag, meta description, alt tag, and the body copy.

Sitemaps. A good HTML/XML sitemap can go a long way in helping to build search rankings. The sitemap provides a list of all of the web pages so that the search engines can quickly index all of the pages on the website. The sitemap is one of the most important elements to a properly optimized website.

Local Directories. Local directory listings can help a business reach their customers directly, and it can also provide relevant, quality links back to the website to improve the website’s search rankings. There are hundreds of local directories on the Web, and businesses can enjoy increased visibility and exposure from including their business in as many of those directories as possible. In Part Two of this three part series on Local Business optimization, we will be exploring the Do’s and Don’ts of local directories and what it takes to stand out in Google Places.

Fresh Content. Search engines love fresh content, so updating the website on a consistent basis can help gain and maintain good search rankings. The best way to keep customers updated about recent news, events, product updates, etc. is to create a blog. The blog can serve as a platform to inform, educate, interest, and inspire customers and readers, which is a great way to gain more exposure to the business. The blog also serves as the social media hub, and the content on the blog can be shared on other social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, etc.

Why a Pro is Often Necessary for Best Results

A successful local SEO campaign requires dedication, persistence, patience, and a powerful strategy. A professional can correctly optimize the website while also providing expert guidance on ways that businesses can achieve more visibility and growth. With a robust link building strategy along with on-page optimization, businesses can improve their website rankings, drive more traffic to their website, and connect with more customers. A professional can help eliminate the guesswork in working with website code and can also implement a natural and effective link building strategy.

If you would like to learn more about how SEO can help your business, please contact Net-Craft.com at 480-563-0558 for a free consultation.

Marketing action plan

Implement A Marketing Action Plan For The New Year

Holiday parties are in full swing as another year comes to a close. While it seems both natural and logical to look back and review what was, I challenge companies and business owners to look forward and set goals for the year ahead. In doing so, we start the year with hope. The hope that the economy continues to improve, that business grows, and that new jobs are created.

To help spur that growth and achieve those goals, companies need to take a serious look at their marketing efforts and implement a marketing action plan.

1. Make sure your website works

Is the information on your website still relevant? Does the message speak to your target audience? Are you integrating your marketing campaign and driving new business to your site and through your doors? If not, it may be time for an update.

2. Consider the benefits of public relations

If your company or business has a story to tell or expertise to share, share it. A proactive public relations campaign can increase a company’s visibility and, more importantly, its credibility tenfold. An ongoing public relations campaign will also directly benefit your online marketing efforts by successfully increasing the impact of your search engine optimization (SEO).

3. Build it, and make sure they come

Having a current website that accurately reflects your brand is only the first step. The next step is utilizing a variety of available tools to help increase your ranking on Google. You can hire experts to manage your SEO, or if budgets are tight consider using rankpay.com, a performance-based service that only charges if the company website moves up in ranking.

4. Expand your reach

Even if you are a small local retailer, the Internet provides the opportunity to reach potential customers from across the country and around the globe. If your business sells a product that might appeal to others in other geographic areas, consider adding e-commerce. According to Forrester Research, e-commerce sales grew to $200 billion in 2011. The same study also predicts that online sales will continue to grow from 7 percent of overall retail sales to nearly 9 percent by 2016.

5. Get social

If you have established social media pages, then make sure you are consistently posting and engaging. If you have not, consider which ones may be the best fit for your business to help reach your potential customer. Take the show beyond cyberspace, and get involved in the community, participate in business organizations and associations, network, speak, get out of the office and away from the computer, and connect with others the old-fashion way. One coffee, lunch or chance meeting at a networking event can result in new business.

The start of a new year is the ideal time to launch a new, proactive approach to building your business. After mapping out your 2013 goals, put together a plan that is achievable, and make sure it is measurable. And remember marketing does not succeed overnight. It takes commitment to implement an integrated and consistent action plan to generate results. If all companies would do this, imagine the job growth we might see.

For more information about marketingworx, visit marketingworxpr.com.

Twitter

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet: The Benefits Of Twitter For Business

In February 2012, registered Twitter users officially hit 500 million. Despite the significantly growing population of tweeters ― approximately 11 new accounts are added every second ― there are many business people still asking, “Why should I be on Twitter?”

The social media platform that limits posts to 140 characters appears to non-users as a cryptic code that includes “@” signs and hashtags (#); this commonly prompts the response, “I don’t really understand how it works or why it matters.”

In simple terms, Twitter is one of the fastest and easiest ways to share information about your product, service, organization or platform. It allows you to communicate, connect and engage directly with your target market in real time. So it matters. If its capabilities combined with its growing number of users are not enough to make you consider jumping on the bandwagon, every small- to mid-size business owner or manager should consider the following reasons for adding Twitter to the company’s marketing and PR efforts:

Spread the word

Twitter gets the message out quickly and efficiently. By tweeting and sharing company announcements with potential and existing customers and referral sources, you can introduce new products, promote special deals, or post info about upcoming events.

Research market trends

Twitter can keep you updated on industry trends and/or activity in your market segment. Through Twitter Search, you can find out what people are saying about a particular topic, and you can keep tabs on comments about your company and your competition.

Leverage current PR and other marketing activity

Potential customers and referral sources may have missed a feature article showcasing your company in a trade publication, but by pushing the link out on Twitter, they can not only read it, but also now share it. If your budget won’t allow for a direct mail campaign, you can run an ad in the local paper about an upcoming sale or event and then expand your reach by posting the information on Twitter.

Secure additional publicity

The print and broadcast news media represents a large number of Twitter users, so it is no surprise to learn that they spot trends that inspire stories and find sources on the social media site. A finance expert’s frequent posts about business led to an invitation to write a feature article in a trade publication. A local radio host posted news about a story and was contacted by a CNN producer to appear as a guest on a connected topic. These are just two examples of how Twitter can help position industry experts and lead to more publicity.

Enhance customer service and build relationships

Twitter is about connecting and engaging. A pool service company uses Twitter Search to learn what others are saying about its pools. A question posted about a pool turning green provides a warm lead that turns into a new customer. Monitoring and responding to what others are saying on Twitter can improve customer service with existing customers and create new ones.

Network virtually

Establishing an active presence on Twitter gives you opportunities to meet and talk to people you may never get the chance to talk to otherwise. Think about making business contacts with referral sources, people you want to start projects with or even hire, without ever leaving your desk.

Drive traffic to your website and through your door

It’s not enough to just have a website anymore. Sharing your knowledge on Twitter with links back to your website and Facebook pages can help potential customers find you. It also allows you to consistently post new content that will enhance your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and help increase your rankings in a Google search.

Adopting Twitter as a communication and marketing tool provides companies the ability to present and develop their image and define their brand.

The Illinois-based start-up, Foiled Cupcakes, is a great example of the power of Twitter. Introducing a Twitter campaign prior to the launch of its website, the owners began posting interesting and engaging conversational information and building followers that met the demographic of their target market. The build-up led to more than 2,000 followers before the business was off the ground. While it is often said that Twitter doesn’t lead to sales, owner Mari Luangrath has a different story:

“90 percent have come from social media. We also have a pretty intense follow-up system, so by the time a customer has gone through the process, we’ve had seven opportunities to figure out how they’ve heard about us.”

Targeted engagement works both ways, adds Luangrath. “Twitter makes it so easy to reach out directly to people.” In addition to attracting customers, Foiled Cupcakes’ social media campaign has also caught the attention of the press. “We’ve been approached by Investor’s Business Daily, American Express Open Forum, Entrepreneur Magazine, and appeared on NBC and The Food Channel,” as a result of Foiled Cupcakes’ transparency and accessibility on social media platforms like Twitter.

If that isn’t reason enough to tweet, then consider what you are gaining by holding out.

For more information on marketingworx, its services and/or how to begin your own Twitter account/campaign, visit marketingworxpr.com  or follow her @julietstraker.

SEO — A Quick Guide to Search Engine Optimization

SEO — A Quick Guide to Search Engine Optimization

This infographic illustrates several Search Engine Optimization components from keywords to link building to pay-per-click campaigns.

SEO ( Search Engine Optimization ) has become a major catchphrase in today’s Internet-driven market. But what exactly is SEO? And how does one build a successful campaign?

Study over this guide for some beginning tips:

A Visual Guide to Search Engine Optimization, courtesy of Visual.ly

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A Visual Guide to SEO, courtesy of Visual.ly:

Source: Visual.ly
Published by: BloggingPro
Designed by: Unknown

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Maximizing Public Relations Efforts

Lessons From Apple: Maximizing Public Relations Efforts

When you are investing in real estate the mantra is, “location, location, location.” When it comes to an investment in marketing―and marketing is an investment―timing can make all the difference. Whether you are introducing a new product, opening the doors to a new business or simply wanting to promote existing products and services, a successful public relations and marketing campaign requires planning and coordination.

What many don’t realize is, to secure publicity for a company event or promotion it must first be considered newsworthy (and while it may seem newsworthy to a business owner, the media may not see it that way). Secondly, you must allow enough lead time to alert the media prior to their deadlines. Even daily and weekly publications and news shows plan stories and news segments weeks in advance; and editors of monthly publications are working on issues as much as three to six months before going to print. Allowing enough time in advance helps increase the possibility of traditional press coverage.

Landing press can provide a great boost to your business; and at the very least a boost to your credibility (and SEO). But to maximize public relations efforts, the additional benefits come in the follow-up with the marketing effort. If you are promoting an expansion of services, make sure your website is updated with the new information, have an email ready to send off to your database of customers and posts on your Facebook and Twitter pages.

You need to develop an integrated marketing campaign where public relations works hand-in-hand with advertising and promotional activities to convey the message of your company and/or product. Public relations can bring your story to life, build credibility and help increase visibility; while advertising helps build brand awareness and sells specifics, promotional efforts grab attention and generate buzz.

Under the direction and inspiration of Steve Jobs, Apple demonstrated some of the best practices in brand marketing and public relations. Jobs understood the art of a coordinated campaign and the results it could achieve.

A new product introduction from Apple is often unveiled on-stage in a theater of sorts packed with journalists, industry bloggers and technology insiders. The company typically avoids industry trade shows, opting to create their own events in the weeks prior.

 A product launch and publicity campaign is accompanied by traditional print, broadcast and outdoor ads, along with in-store displays and signage.

Apple’s website is poised for announcements with supportive pages and videos providing a firsthand look at their latest and greatest. Of course, emails are sent to a finely-tuned database prior to launch day, encouraging customers to get online to buy. 

An outreach of direct and indirect advertising orchestrated with public relations not only creates awareness and buzz, it creates demand. Apple’s seamless multi-channel, multi-touch approach demonstrates one of the best and most integrated examples for a successful marketing formula.

While most marketing budgets are significantly more limited than Apple’s, advance planning and coordination on any budget can still make or break the impact.

For more information about maximizing your public relations efforts, visit www.marketingworxpr.com.