Monday, June 27, 2011

SEO - Delivering More Sales

Change one or two words and increase sales.
Months after a new site has been up, I'll get an email from a client stating something like this.
Subject: SEO
I've been looking at our site traffic and it is going up. Is there any SEO you'd suggest we can to?
What they are usually asking for help with is Marketing and sales.There is a common misconception that if you alter one or two words or phrases on a few pages, traffic will increase as will sales.

Before you tell me that this is typical, and most of your clients don't know what they are talking about I am going to say that I look at this as a failing on my part.

You heard me correctly - this is my fault that they are asking me this question.

Educating Clients.

I have not been educating my clients about effective use of a web site as a marketing tool.

I don't intent to turn every client into a SEO/SEM consultant. (There are already enough of those.) But I could take 15 - 30 minutes to give them a basic outline.

Please, the next time you are asked something similar by a client, don't roll your eyes. Take a minute to think if you could have done something to help them ask a better informed question.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Five Recommended SEO and Social Media Articles May 6, 2011

Friday is Reading Day:
If you are looking for articles related to SEO or Social media, take a look at this list. I assemble it over the week and post it every Friday.
  1. User-Generated URLs: SEO CMS Lessons Learned from Kate Middleton's Jelly Bean (searchEngineWatch.com May 4, 2011) If you use a CMS that lets you set friendly URLS, be aware of how it handles altered URLS.
  2. 5 Steps to Google Places Optimization Zen (blog.hubspot.com May 5, 2011) A quick and easy plan for achieving Google Places optimization Zen.
  3. Optimizing Your Google Places Page (seomoz.org May 1, 2011) Five things that can impact rankings in Google Places.
  4. The Role of On-Page SEO Content: Relevance, Not Rankings (searchEngineWatch.com May 1, 2011) SEO isn't just ranking and content.
  5. 10 Super Easy SEO Copywriting Tips for Improved Link Building (seomoz.org May 3, 2011) To earn links, use copywriting to organize your content.
I'd be interested in hearing about any blogs or websites you follow, which contain informative articles about Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, or Social Media Marketing.

As some of you may have noticed, I have not posted a list the past few weeks. I apologize, and I will try to post some of the articles I ran across last month in future lists.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Local Search and Home Businesses

PO Box or Home Address
If you are a home based business and want to be listed on local search, such as Google Places, then you have a decision to make. What address do you use for your business? Do you want to list your home address as the location?

According to Google's quality guide lines, you need to provide the physical location of your business. "P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations".

Bing and Yahoo have similar guidelines. I realize that they are trying to weed out fly-by-night operations or businesses that are not "full time". I think this is a mistake. I know of several self employed individuals, who have been working for them selves for many years out of their home office. They offer a range of services, from web development, book keeping, graphic design or even dog walking.

Those home based business owners do not want anyone walking up to their front door. Yet to get a listing on Google Places they need to provide a real address.

I think those companies offering Local Search should allow businesses with Federal EIN's to register. It is easy to verify an EIN, and I'm sure a large company, such as Google could manage that task.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Local Search - Promote Your Business through Social Media

Many small businesses are overlooking local search (Google Places, Bing Places, Yelp... ) as a means to promote their business; concentrating on Facebook or Twitter. This is a mistake. Local Search is important because it helps people with no connection to your or your customers find your business.

Local search accounts for 10% of new visitors on some of the websites Zajon manages.

Some Background
In 2007 Google placed local search results with their organic results. Since then they have added features to local search and improved its integration into search results, most recently including a map with search results. (In May of 2010 they renamed their listings Google Places.)

One Reason
Some published studies show people spend more time looking at local search results (ionadas.com Sept 2010) than on other information on a search results page.

In fact using Google's browser size tool and testing a search result page reveals that almost half the people need to scroll to see past the second organic result. While 90% of all user can see the local search results without scrolling.


What does that mean?

Businesses that people are likely to search for locally, and who are not in Google Places or other local search results are missing potential clients.

What To Do

  1. See if you have a listing at Google Places.
  2. If your company already has a listing, then claim it.
  3. If not, then create a listing.
  4. Find out what other Local Search directories in which your company is listed.
As  a start, if you have not yet claimed your Google Places business listing, you should do so now. Also look into claiming your company's Local Listing at Bing.

Set Up Tips

You will need a Google account and Windows Live account to set up a listing for your business on Google and Bing respectively.

Google will call the phone number enter as the business number when setting up the listing. They will also send a letter if you prefer.

Bing sends a letter to the address you supply, with instructions to verify your information.