Doing a Business Blog?

March 9th, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

If you are not doing a business blog, you could be missing out. And a new survey suggests you should.  According to The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing by HubSpot,

Businesses are increasingly aware their blog is highly valuable. 81% of businesses rated their company blogs as “useful,” “important” or “critical.” An impressive 25% rated their company blog as “critical” to their business.

This survey of 972 professionals familiar with their business’s marketing strategy revealed that

Blogs had the highest instance of being reported as “below average cost.” 52% of companies who blog indicated leads from this channel were “below average cost.” Trade shows, direct mail, and telemarketing were most frequently ranked as more expensive.

The small businesses polled also said they plan to spend dramatically more of their marketing budgets on blogs – about 11% of their budgets in fact.

A key to successful blogs that drive traffic is to optimize them with appropriate search terms.  Why is that important?

In order for your business blog posts to be found by searchers, they need to contain the keywords those searchers are using in the right places.

Is this really important to leads and conversions? Absolutely!  HubSpot’s survey also reveals:

SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound sourced leads have a 1.7% close rate.

SEO leads are eight times more likely to close into customers than outbound leads.

Leads from inbound links (referrals) are five times more likely to become customers than outbound leads.

Ok, but how often should your business write blog posts?

The survey also shows that there is a direct correlation with blog posting frequency and the number of new customers acquired. You should write a minimum of once per week.

So just how important is a blog to your business?

25% of blog users polled rated their company blog as “critical” to their business, while 81% rated their company blogs as “useful” or better.

If you aren’t doing a business blog, now is the time to start one.  No time? Don’t know how to optimize it?  Call on your Search Engine Optimization and Blog Post Writing professional to help.

Use Efficient Online Marketing Tools

March 4th, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

The Write On Point SEO team specializes in the effective promotion of your products and services online, whether you are interested in direct or affiliate marketing. We have the right tools and skills to use them to boost your page rankings, backlinking results, and constantly add fresh content to your website or blog. We know just how essential powerful SEO can be and we are here to lend you the hand you need. Our unique, keyword-rich, relevant and 100% useful articles, press releases, newsletters, blog posts, or PPC types of advertising are part of your package. Take your time and decide which of them you could use first or let us guide and council you while you sit back and relax.

 

Get The Return On Investment You Deserve

 

We focus on both online and offline marketing needs. And we know just how important getting the desired return on investment truly is. So we have come up with a clever system that will allow you to also save some important money while significantly strengthening your brand name.

We can use advanced SEO for your affiliate marketing needs. Keep in mind that affiliate marketing basically refers to attracting traffic and converting that traffic into sales. Affiliate marketers can use advanced search engine optimization tools and strategies to boost their traffic acquisition values.

Remember it is important not to lose your PageRank due to affiliate links that might not be followed on you content page on your site or blog. These links must also not be crawled by the search engines. This is a requirement of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Also pay attention to the affiliate-related content on your site, which needs to load at fast speeds no matter what. Your links, banner ads, and image carrying links must not in any way interfere with the loading speed of pages.

 

Important Affiliate Marketing Strategy Tips

 

Select the best keywords that your affiliate marketing site can benefit from. These keywords need to be fully relevant to the products and/or services you are promoting with the help of your websites or blogs and social media platforms. Use the Google keyword tool or other similar tools online to determine which are the most popular and highest ranking keywords. Look at all possible keyword combinations and use them wisely. Only upload original and highly relevant content that revolves around the previously chosen keywords. Use relevant videos that will also positively attract the attention of search engines and visitors. Don’t ignore the importance of product reviews.

If you are promoting a certain product, make sure you write a personalized review on it and add a video of you using the respective products, so you can get closer to your visitors and bond easier. Use public domains to build back links to your affiliate marketing promoting website. You can visit here and discover an idea for an excellent affiliate marketing program that relates to casinos. If you are a big gambling fan, you can take advantage of their unique promotion tools and professional team of experts and get in touch with us for some excellent marketing ideas.   

Yext Reviews

March 2nd, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

A while back, we told you about Yext Advertising, a new way for small businesses to be found online through local search.  At the time, Yext was offering highlighted listings on some of the top local directories – all managed from one single Yext dashboard – for $99.95 per month.  Well now, Yext has tweaked their platform and is offering what they are calling PowerListings.

Yext’s PowerListings

According to Yext,

PowerListings™ are premium listings on local search websites, mobile and navigation devices, centrally controlled by the Yext PowerListings system. With PowerListings, your local search results are enhanced with description, photographs, other rich content, and a highlighted Special Offer. PowerListings are available on leading local search sites like Yahoo!, MapQuest, and Yelp and
mobile apps such as Foursquare, HopStop and Co-Pilot.

The price for these PowerListings is $499.00 per year.  You can create and manage your listings on all of the Yext partners in the single Yext dashboard – so it is quite a time saver.  As anyone who has created listings on online directories knows, it is a very time consuming process.  So is the price worth what you get?

Yext Reviews

Recognized local SEO expert Mike Blumenthal conducted a very thorough review of Yext’s PowerListings platform, which rather than repeat here we strongly suggest that your read.  Through his personal experience using Yext PowerListings for two clients, he concluded that the time saved and the efficiencies gained provided a real value, but many small businesses will likely find the cost too prohibitive.  Yext works best for businesses that can recoup their cost from a single, or couple of, transactions generated by the service.  He thought this was a valuable service that is probably a good option for some, but not all types of, businesses.

We agree with Mike.  While Yext may not be the best solution for smaller mom and pop type businesses, it could prove very well for businesses such as wedding and event venues, lawyers, jewelers, car dealers, web developers and the like whose return on investment from one or two transactions could be great.

What are the top 5 search engines?

February 22nd, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

Clients often ask on which search engines they need to monitor their rankings. So we figured we would share our thoughts on the subject, as well as those of other search professionals.

comScore recently released the January 2012 U.S. Search Marketplace figures for the top five search engines in the country. Their findings are set forth in the chart below.

US Search Marketplace

There is an interesting forum thread going on at HighRankings.com about which are the best 3 to 5 search engines at this point in time.

Of course Google is number one. But there were some other interesting answers, such as Yandex the Russian search engine and Baidu, a Chinese language search engine. Others also mentioned Ask, Blekko and DuckDuckGo.  We wrote about Blekko when it first came out, but it really hasn’t seemed to take off.

We tend to agree with the HighRankings.com forum administator, who simply said, “There aren’t 3-5. There is Google and Bing. (Yahoo uses Bing as well.)” In case you didn’t know, there is now a single Bing/Yahoo search engine.

So what are our top 5 search engines? Google, Bing, Google, Bing, Google!

List of Free Online Directories

February 15th, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

Make Sure Your Company is On Them

If you are a small local business, it is important that prospective customers can find you when they do a local search, ex. “farm market vernon nj or bookkeeping chester ny.” Adding your business to free online directories is a great way to enhance your web visibility.  Take a look at the graphic below.  Because of online directories, our client is in EVERY single result on the first page of Google for the term preschool pine island ny.

Local Directory Graphic

Our Top 10 – OK 13 – List of Free Online Directories

You don’t need to upgrade your listings in online directories to gain a benefit.  All of the directory listing results in the graphic with the exception of one are FREE basic listings.  Some directories play a greater role in visibility than others.  Here is our top 13 list of free online directories – not in any specific order – that you should submit your business to:

  • Google Places
    Yahoo Local
    Bing Local
    Insiderpages.com
    Citysearch.com
    Local.com
    Localeze.com
    Superpages.com
    Yelp.com
    Merchantcircle.com
    Yellopages.com
    Yellowbook.com
    DMOZ.org
  • We recommend that you also submit your business to any local, regional and industry related directories.  Some of these may require a fee, such as warwickinfo.net in our graphic, but their visibility may make the expense worthwhile.

    Google Places PO Box Update

    February 9th, 2012 by jkardell No comments »

    PO Boxes Picture

    As we covered in our previous post Can I Use a PO Box As My Google Places Address?, Google does not approve of using a PO Box as an address in you’re your Google Places listing. Google reaffirmed this position in an update to the Google Places Quality Guideline stating:

    Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. If you operate from a location but receive mail at a mail box there, please list your physical address in Address Line 1, and put your mail box or suite number in Address Line 2.

    Thankfully, this revision makes it easier for businesses who receive mail via PO Boxes rather than at their physical location. So while a PO Box cannot be your sole Google Places address, it can now be included in your address – hopefully without any issues.

    Claiming Google Places Listing

    December 15th, 2011 by jkardell 1 comment »

    Although businesses have been able to claim their Google Places Listings since 2005, the number of businesses claiming them since April of 2010 is tremendous. Over 1 1/2 years ago, only 4 million listings had been claimed. Last March the number jumped to 6 million, and now just nine months later the number has jumped to 8 million. According to Google, that is 16% of all the business locations throughout the world.

    A Google Places listing doesn’t just include your address, phone number and a link to your website. You can describe your services and products and upload logos, pictures and videos. Customers also have the ability to write reviews, which can greatly help with your rankings.

    Claiming Google Places Graphic

    If you haven’t claimed your Google Places listing, what are your waiting for. It is FREE web visibility.

    AdWords or SEO? Is Google killing off natural search in the name of money?

    December 13th, 2011 by jkardell 1 comment »

    Google has always said it wants to provide the best search experience. Well, that statement may no longer be true. Apparently, it is placing more and more pay per click ads and Google’s own pages on the search results pages. Google is even running an AdWords ad that states: “Forget about SEO. To be visible in Google today, try AdWords.” What about content and credibility? Check out this blog post from Aaron Wall, one of the leaders in SEO. Will you now have to pay in order to be found? Do you need to decide between AdWords or SEO? They have always complimented each other. Will that no longer be the case?

    Google SEO Updates as of 12/1/11

    December 6th, 2011 by jkardell No comments »

    Last week Google published another round of search improvements. They advised that this was the first of a monthly series where they will be sharing information about their algorithm and feature enhancements. Their new monthly blog posts will be highlighting the approximate 500 search improvements Google makes each year. So you don’t have to add another blog feed to your home page, each month we’ll be summarizing the posts for you.

    Here are the Google SEO updates (and feature updates) for December 2011:

  • Related query results. Google sometimes shows results that are similar to the search terms that you used. It has refined the algorithm so that it is now less likely that related results will rank highly if the original search term had a rare word that was not in the alternate query.
  • More comprehensive indexing. Google is now including more long tail documents in its index. As we always tell our clients, going after long tail terms – such as “birthday party places in orange county ny” – is a great SEO strategy, especially for new websites or competitive markets. This refinement will make it even easier for searchers to find you.
  • A “parked domain” classifier. Parked domains are really placeholder sites for companies that have not yet created a website to go with a domain name. They can also be placeholders for companies that buy up domains as a competitive strategy, which they never even plan to use. These “placeholders” typically are filled with ads and are really not at all relevant to a search. This new classifier will help weed out parked domains from the search results.
  • Autocomplete predictions. As you may have noticed when you type in your search terms, Google tries to predict what you are typing and provides a list of search terms that may match what you are looking for. They have refined their prediction algorithm, making it a little more flexible.
  • Blog search results. Google changed its blog search index. Now it provides blog results that are more current and comprehensive.
  • The original content battle. In the last six months, Google has been addressing the duplicate content issue. They just added some new signals to its algorithm the help them determine which web page has the original content and which sites merely duplicated it.
    Image freshness. A change will not make it easier for Google to find the most recent images for news searches.
  • Local SEO For Small Business

    August 31st, 2011 by jkardell 1 comment »

    You have heard it all before. If you want to be found online by prospects, you need to optimize your website with search terms related to your products and services AND your local target market. Maybe you have put off doing so because you weren’t sure how much you bought into the whole idea of search engine optimization (SEO). Or perhaps you thought it was too expensive or not worth the return on investment. Well, here is an interesting fact that just might change your mind!

    According to a study by the Pew Research Center, Americans trust small business owners over 13 other institutions! A whopping 71% of those polled said they trusted small business. Only 25% trust large corporations. And only 25% trust the federal government.

    Pew Research Center

    In this tumultuous climate, people trust local small business for a reason. Why? Because you are not some large inaccessible corporation. You are their neighbor, their son’s little league coach, and a face. But you need to get that face seen if you want to be recognized. So join your local chamber of commerce, volunteer for local organizations, join local networking groups. AND make sure your business can be found online.

    That’s Where Local SEO For Small Business Comes In


    You don’t have to tell people to shop local, this study already shows that people WANT to shop local. So make sure they can easily find your website when they are searching for your products and services. Don’t just rely on what you think your ranking is – remember personalized search can inflate your search engine rankings. Get a website visibility analysis and see how you are fairing. Learn how you can improve your site’s Internet presence and then do it! Here are some tips:

    1. Make sure you are targeting terms that people are actually searching for
    2. Don’t forget to include your market, such as dry cleaners warwick ny
    3. Then make sure those terms are placed in the website’s coding and on the page itself
    4. Create local business listings on Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local and optimize them with the appropriate search terms as well
    5. Submit your website to the top directories – Yelp, SuperPages, InsiderPages, and more
    6. Submit your website to any local directories
    7. Submit your website to industry specific directories
    8. Create a Facebook page, optimize it, and post often

    Local SEO for small business is important and it doesn’t have to be break the bank expensive. The local business listings are free. The directory listings are free. Facebook is free. If you’re tech savvy, you can attempt creating your listings and optimizing your website yourself. If you’re not, you should find an SEO consultant who can help. Depending upon the size of your website, SEO services can be minimal with great ROI.

    Local residents want to support your small business, so make sure they can find it.