Category Archives: local search

Local Search Marketing – Google Places Optimization

Its an absolute must for every small business owner. Gone are the days of customers finding you in the YellowPages.

Google is the new Yellow pages! Can potential customers or patients find you on top? 

Local Search is replacing the use of traditional Yellow Pages, in fact, the internet is now the primary source of local business information. 

According to a study conducted, more users utilize online search engines to find local business information than the number of users actually using a print yellow pages directory. 

What is Local Internet Marketing? Local Internet Marketing is suited for businesses who need targeted marketing in their local town or region. For example, a Winnipeg Hair Salon is only interested in new clients from the local area and would not benefit from being #1 in Google for Hair Salon nationwide. 

There are lots of web design companies out there, but many aren’t great at SEO (Search Engine Optimization.) There also are lots of SEO companies out there, that may be good at SEO, but they don’t know how to get you in the Google 7 Pack . We do! It takes a special multi-faceted approach that nets great results! 

Do you have a small business, chiropractic practice or dental practice that serves a local geo market? 

Are you near the top in Google where new customers (or patients) can find you? 

If not, we can help! We’ve been helping businesses leverage the power of the Internet since 1996. Call us Today 

There are no true short cuts to online marketing success, but there is considerable value in experience. Let our expertise be your best ally in your quest to reach new customers (or new patients) via the Internet. Over the years as an Internet Marketing consultant, Jerry Booth , the President has helped clients such as Microsoft, Google, Sony, Disney  as well as numerous small businesses with SEO and Internet marketing.

Penny wise, pound foolish

“Rant” I got a a call today from a Winnipeg business who decided to use another vendor 12 months ago for Internet marketing and some SEO Services and they are not happy with what they got. 

Surprise surprise, they went with them to save money or so they thought, now they are further back then ever and I’m suppose to be supportive of this.Winnipeg business when will you learn? Here’s the truth, you are already 5 years behind the eight ball on many other major countries, business has been supplying budgets for online marketing for over 10 years already, you guys are still humming and arring whether or not to do it and asking if the internet is going to still be around in 5 years. Take your heads out of your orifice.

Answer, No your web shop, IT guy, traditional media company, PR Marketing person or any other person who read a book or did a half day seminar in Winnipeg will know how to do it effectively, you need an expert to list nationally or globally, period. Any idiot can list for the town or city they live in, or the name of the company website, these are the ones that mainly work from basements or have a shingle over the door and charge $300 a month, some call themselves consultants.

The latest trend is calling themselves social media marketing or new media marketing experts and charging 1k a month. Beware!!!

Wake up, stop being Penny wise, pound foolish.

Rant over.

Google gets closer

Google has rolled out another new feature to search, and this time they’re getting to your roots. Currently dubbed Place Search, the idea is that all of the local information of Google Maps and listings are being turned into a searchable interface.

Couple in Google Instant, and the search page changes to show you their prediction as to what you’re looking for. Restaurants, appliance sales and repair or what ever else might tickle your fancy, if it’s local, it will have a new search results page. What you’ll find when the page comes up is phone numbers, address, a brief description of the ad as well as reviews if you happen to make a choice and click on a link.

Jackie Bavaro – Place Search’s product manager:

“Today we’re introducing Place Search, a new kind of local search result that organizes the world’s information around places. We’ve clustered search results around specific locations so you can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go…”
“Place Search results will begin appearing automatically on Google when we predict you’re looking for local information.”

She added:

“In addition, you’ll find a new link for “Places” in the left-hand panel of the search results page so you can switch to these results whenever you want. For example, when I’m in New York, I love to go out and play foosball, but a search for [foosball] doesn’t automatically show me Place Search results. If I click “Places” I get the new view.
“We’ve made results like this possible by developing technology to better understand places. With Place Search, we’re dynamically connecting hundreds of millions of websites with more than 50 million real-world locations. We automatically identify when sites are talking about physical places and cluster links even when they don’t provide addresses and use different names.”

Local search just took a huge leap for Google, in a way it’s their answer to FourSquare local reporting and listing power. If you’re not being found now on Place Search, it’s the next step in the powerful world of SEO, and there’s only two places in the race for the top. Page one, or page none. Where are you?

Basic Search Management tools available now – Canada

Newest Canadian start-ups have enough to worry about without having to deal with the complexities of establishing an online marketing strategy. This past week they got some help. Google Inc. offered them some help, I’m not going to say I told you so Yellow Pages but, is this the start?

The newest service to Canadian business owners, having been available in the United States since April 2009, the search giant unveiled a Canada-focused version of Google for Advertisers.

The new site, much like its American equivalent, only uses data tailored for advertising in the Canadian market. It is designed to make the various Google advertising features more easily accessible and understandable.

“It covers all of the product offerings that we have in Canada and how they all work together to create a full marketing opportunity,” said Andrew Swartz, spokesperson for Google Canada.

“For small and medium-sized businesses who may not know how to get started using Ad Words or our other products, this is a resource for them to see what they’re able to do using Google to help develop their online marketing strategy.

Some of the more useful features of the new site include insightful statistics to see what Canadian consumers are searching for, what sites they’re visiting and the specific search terms they use to find specific businesses.

Google Analytics and the Google Website Optimizer allows businesses to track their return on investment by analyzing the relative success of certain marketing initiatives and website designs.

Here at Fresh Traffic Group we are no strangers to Google and how the Big G works, after all they did buy our other company, when you need expert advice or guidance on Google products, seo, online marketing feel free to gives a call.

(If you thought YP had a partnership with Google in Canada to sell Adwords, Wrong! They have a strategic agreement like the rest of us, Oh no how are the sales staff going to sell online now?)

Local Social Media – The Webs Future

Social networking is the new kid on the internet block, with Facebook being the most obvious example of it’s popularity, it won’t be going anywhere soon. Full of games, groups, and social calendars, employers and businesses often block the websites access as it erodes their employees productivity. Users often get spam wall postings from friends who play the games like Mafia Wars or Farmville, and a general malcontent seems to be evident about such, until people are shown how to block the messages.

But is it all bad? A recent survey by Pew and Elon found that:

85% of nearly a thousand techies agreed, the social benefits of Facebook, Twitter, etc, will outweigh the negatives over the coming decade. E-mail, instant messaging, social networking, and similar Web services offer simple ways to forge and rediscover social ties that can make a difference in people’s lives.

So all the spam, time lost, and invites from long lost relatives, being sociable on the internet isn’t a bad thing. The larger agreement between the panel was that the social interaction created by the internet, and the services available, has enriched their life currently, and can be seen to help encourage this growth. It may sound like it’s a too good to be true scenario, but if you begin as a business, to think of it only in cost investment first; all of the social networks are free to join and use. Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google Buzz and apps, all quick to join, setup, and share your information with those you invite to share with.

Of course there’s the downside mentioned earlier. Time wasted on sites, not to mention the stigma of lost face to face interaction, and the recent privacy concerns of some sites. But Pew and Elon didn’t select their panel from random passing people from the public. They used the social services to reach their findings. E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs were all tapped for their answers and opinions. Clay Shirky, Esther Dyson, Nicholas Carr, Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark were only a few of the people who provided their feedback.

Newmark: “The Net is about people connecting online, for commerce, politics, and personally, and we already see that enhances real-life relationships. Location-based social networking, in particular, will be a big part of our lives.

As large as the world is, as diverse as the population seems. The more people discover about themselves, the more they wish to build, and form relationships around themselves locally. Local social media networking looks to be the way forward.

Locally Yours?

A new’ish trend in search would have to be the local aspect. Building your site with the idea of attracting local clients, is getting to be a very lucrative market, namely because if people can get what they want just around the corner, why order online and wait a couple of weeks?

Now the question is; what to do to be found locally? There is a derth of information out there in what to do and what to avoid, and in all the noise there are a few gems which should be the highest on your list of “to do”

1) Google map listing : While this is a fairly straight forward process to set your listing up and be found, optimization does in fact play a part in where you will list in this area as well.

2) Local SEO onsite : On page optimization is huge in being able to generate quality content to compel visitors to link to / remain on your site. Being able to have that type of content *and* be locally optimized is a delicate touch, so as not to upset your balance. And as always, just adding a bunch of local addresses or slang to your pages doesn’t help your case, so much as damage it.

3) Social Media? : If you have a Facebook/Twitter account, and chances are you do, you can and will benefit by including as much localization to your profile as you can muster.

There is so much more than just these few tips to bear in mind as you gear your site for local dominance in the organic search results.

Location – Cost versus Worth

“Location, location, location” — William Dillard

Also known as the three most important rules in real estate, location, is everything in business. Manhattan, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, and such, all infer an immediate sense of value. But what if your new business partner told you that his street address was 123 Pickles Street, Noname USA; but that they rank for all of their terms in search in Googles top 5 organically?

Location, whether it is physical, or electronic, is a key to your success in the business world. A shift however, is in motion. Physical address, is becoming less important, as search results location. There are some key differences in the two, and they all come down to cost vs worth in the end. Having a physical street address like Macy’s 151 West 34th Street, New York, sounds impressive, but at what cost? With a price tag average of around $50 per square foot (4Q 2009), and one million square feet of retail space, Macy’s in New York has a hefty price tag to just keep the doors open. Macy’s is a global brand, the name has been in the public for a great many years, but that they don’t even appear in the top 100 listings of Manhattan shopping in Google? The top 10 is populated with primarily information sources, tourism sites etc.

Macy’s, who made close to $25 billion dollars in 2009. doesn’t appear on the first page of Google for Manhattan shopping. It begs the question; why? They rely on their physical location and brand history, to pull them through. But physical location, like street address, is old business. Just like advertising with the radio, newspapers and billboards are dwindling, so will the importance of physical location begin to crumble.

So what is the cost to be in the top 10, or top 5 even on Google? Time, and tenacity and a fraction of the investment of a prominent street address. Online marketing, online branding, and organic search engine optimization needs to be the focus of business in the Information age. The 13-18 generation lives, breaths, interacts, and learns online. Attention spans are lower than ever, but retention rates for products and services deemed worthy, are higher than ever. Building your site properly, marketing it effectively, and being ready for the rush of traffic, can make your business, the newest brand online.

Page 1 is the new “Location, location, location”, what’s your location?

Halfway SEO, halfway results

Many local businesses look online to take advantage of SEO/SEM marketing tactics to “try it out”, and to see if it works. Newsflash! It works. But it doesn’t work if you’re just “trying it out”. You have to want to make it work, and that requires a level of seriousness and dedication, just like it does for the rest of your business.

Here’s an example of “trying it out”. Your local fire department shows up at a house fire with their gear to “see if it works”. How long do you think they need to keep their hoses on the fire before they decide it’s working? Five minutes? A half hour? Three hours, maybe? I’m no firefighter, but I know enough to know that every fire is different. Some fires can be put out in 30 minutes. Some can’t be put out with water! So how long should your fire department remain on the scene before they decide that firefighting works?

Search engine optimization isn’t anything like fighting fires, but it does require a commitment, and is much different than other forms of marketing and advertising. How long will you only go through the motions before you realize if you only go halfway, you only get half as much?

Local Search Myths

There are certain myths associated with local search that many businesses unfortunately, get wrapped up in. Bruce Clay, the President and CEO of Bruce Clay, Inc., explains why these theories are false

First of all, small businesses do not always realize that they are competing with businesses with large budgets. Small businesses naturally have small budgets, but they need to provide the same level of optimization as their competition in order to adequately compete.

Secondly, small businesses think that they only need to do local search optimization. Clay points out that, just because a business is small and local, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to fix its entire website. He says:

“No matter what, the work is pretty much the same. No matter how you want to cut it, SEO is SEO.”

Small businesses still have to do technical work, build links, provide good and relevant content, and demonstrate that they are experts in their field. To help small businesses with their local efforts, the search engines offer many tools to assist them, such as maps.

At a local level, Clay says businesses need links from other people and businesses in their same region. In addition, the content should be specific and localized. However, if a business wants to rank internationally, then it needs to have links from other countries