5 SEO Tactics You Should Be Working On

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1. A Great Website

So many businesses are focused on simply getting themselves online that they often forget about optimizing user experience. In fact, many small business owners aren’t really even that familiar with the concept of user experience, and instead put up a website without really considering anything beyond its mere existence in cyberspace.

So why is user experience is important? Well, for starters, someone who arrives at your webpage has a goal in mind. To better illustrate this example, let’s say you sell 100% vegan, organic, dye-free doggie beds. So when a visitor finds your website, they’re probably comparing prices for different brands of doggie beds, or are curious about yours in particular because they’re 100% vegan, organic, and dye-free. That makes sense, right?

So what happens, then, when your site is slow to load? What happens when a visitor can’t find ordering information or how to contact you with questions? Or worse, what if they encounter a bunch of broken links or images that won’t load?

They “bounce”. Bounce rate is how long it takes someone who has navigated to your page to leave. When bounce rate is high, that’s a bad thing. That means your users are having a poor experience and they want out of there as quickly as possible!

So focus on creating a website that not only looks great and is filled with valuable information about your products and services, but also is:

  • Easy to navigate–menus located in clear spots, informative labeling for links.
  • Filled out completely–no “under construction” pages or broken links.
  • Structured in a way that visitors can easily parse–i.e., no blocks of text that go on and on and on; no images that take up half the screen; no unnecessary scrolling.
  • And a quick load time–in fact, studies cite a less than 3 second load time as being optimal. Yes, it’s that important.

2. Fresh, High-Quality Content

Content is king. You’ve heard it before, and unfortunately, we’re gonna trot it out for you again. Why? Because it’s still true.

Think about it: Would you rather go to a site that has content that is a) well written, informative, and answers any questions you might have? Or content that’s b) clearly hastily thrown together, written only for search engines, and basically just takes up space on the screen? Obviously you’re going to go with option a.

So then why would you even bother putting together shoddy content? Your visitors will hate it, which in turn, means search engines will hate it. Content for the sake of content isn’t helpful. Content for the sake of your visitors is.

What does all of this mean for you? It means that you should update your site regularly with only high-quality content. Make sure that your content is helpful to your visitors. If you get negative feedback, take that into consideration to improve your future content creation efforts. If you do all of this, you’re already steps ahead of the competition.

3. Social Media Presence

You’ve probably told by many sources (least of all, us) that you need to be on social media. And while some businesses can manage to be successful without a social media presence, they’re among the few and the lucky. Many older businesses in small towns often have enough clout to simply rely on word of mouth marketing. But if you’re not one of those old, established businesses, then you need to seriously evaluate why you should be creating social media accounts for your SEO and marketing strategies.

To start, you should pick a few platforms you feel comfortable on and that will benefit your brand the most. How do you know if a social media platform will work to your advantage?

Let’s go back to our doggie bed example. Obviously, pet owners will be the most likely people to buy your products. Pet owners enjoy looking at photos of cute animals and they also like talking about their pets. This makes our hypothetical business ideal for Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. These highly visual platforms will let you show off your product in a way that pet owners will relate to, and they’ll want to talk with others about their experiences with your product.

If you’re an HVAC company, though, you probably won’t have as much luck with Pinterest or Instagram. Rather, you might want to try Quora, where you can answer questions (people have lots of DIY questions that can be answered here for free), and you might want to put together YouTube tutorials detailing minor maintenance jobs your customers can do on their own time.

As you can see, a social media presence is important for most brands. But you have to choose platforms that actually benefit your brand, as well as make sure that you have enough time to maintain your updates. Nothing will grow stale faster than a dead Facebook page or YouTube channel. By connecting with your customers and marketing your work through social media, you’ll bring more traffic to your site and you’ll probably earn shares and links back to your articles in the long run.

4. Creating visual content.

So far, we’ve talked mostly about written content. And while blogs and informative product pages are all well and good, there’s a lot more link juice to be found in visual content.

Visual content includes videos, images/memes, and infographics, all of which are highly shareable. If you think about your own sharing tendencies, which are you most likely to send to your family and friends–a long, in-depth article about why vegan dog beds are the hottest thing right now, or a video showing a cute pup enjoying his new vegan dog bed? Probably the latter. And so it goes that your own customers will be more likely to share your articles and content if it is a visually-compelling piece.

If you’re not graphically inclined, that’s no problem. There are plenty of sites out there that help you design images and infographics for free. Try the following to start:

5. Most recently–be mobile friendly.

Desktop searches are trending downward compared to mobile searches–in fact, mobile outpaces desktop in 10 countries, including the US, according to Google’s recent reports. Combine that with the mobile update that occurred April 21st of this year, and you can see why you should already be focusing on creating mobile-friendly websites. And if you aren’t focusing on mobile accessibility, then it’s time you do so.

It’s easy to make your site mobile friendly. Check out our article on preparing your site for the mobile update and see how you can ensure you’ll be in Google’s good graces. If you don’t do this, you’re going to be pushed off the search results pages for people who are using mobile devices to find what they need.

You might be thinking, “Well, I don’t think people will be finding me through any fancy kind of searches. I just use Google on my computer.” And while you might be doing that, that doesn’t mean others are. A lot of small businesses get web traffic through local mobile searches. It’s imperative that local businesses be accurately listed so that people who are looking for their products and services are able to locate them, no matter which devie they’re using. (And that’s what we specialize in, too!)

So it doesn’t matter whether you think your customers will be finding you on their desktops–because not all of them will be. Add tablets into the mix and you’ve got yourself several mobile devices to accommodate. Now you can see why it’s so important to be mobile-friendly!

Hopefully by focusing on these five SEO tactics, you can start to see some improvement in your rankings. Remember, SEO is a long-term investment, and it’s not going to happen overnight. But with perseverance and some smart strategies, you’ll soon see yourself improving your online presence.


Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to discover how we can help you be seen online.

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Why Search Engine Optimization is a Long-Term Investment

When it comes to search engine optimization, there are so many things to consider before you get started that it might seem like an impossible task to take on. From meta tags to building backlinks, and from content marketing to social media, it seems there’s a million things you need to do to play the ranking game–and actually do well at it.

But SEO is a long-term investment. It’s not a “set it and forget it” type of process–it’s a fluid, ever-changing industry, and it takes a lot of knowledge and dedication to keep up with all the latest strategies. Before we get into that, though, take heart–There are some things you can do to get started immediately:

  • Make sure to list your business on Google + and as many major directories as possible. Defining keywords, linking to your website, and providing vital information about what your business does makes it easier for the search engines to index you.
  • On that note, make sure your address, phone number, and business name are listed consistently across all directories. Search engines can create duplicate listings for slight variations in addresses, and this creates confusion for customers who are searching for your services.
  • Build a website with an easy-to-navigate structure and visitor-friendly photos. Make sure you include meta tag descriptions, provide search engine-friendly alt tag descriptions on photos, and submit a site map to Google periodically. Updating your blog or at least providing fresh content is a must. And you should always make sure your link structure is clear to search engines. I.e., website.com/blog/how-to-install-a-faucet is great; website.com/22560 is not.

SEO is ever-changing and increasingly complex.

But the nature of the beast is that SEO is an ever-changing process. Google is always trying to make its algorithm more accurate–for example, when you think of how search functioned in the 90s versus now, they have improved a lot at returning relevant results! Why? Because Google has invested a lot of time into researching user intent, so that when someone types in a query, he or she gets more accurate results. Naturally, the company is going to continue doing their research and honing the algorithm in the years to come.

What does all of this have to do with Search Engine Optimization? Well, put simply, SEO is the process of getting a site “Google-ready”. SEO experts take current Google data and make sure that client sites comply with it, so that they’re ranked higher in comparison to their competitors.

SEO experts must work with an algorithm that is unknown to anyone–and still try to stay in Google’s good graces.

So basically, once you’ve achieved that ranking, if you’ve hired good SEO people, you’ll likely hold that spot for a long time to come.

However, sometimes Google makes SUCH drastic changes that while you may have been ranking on page one on Monday, suddenly on Tuesday, you’re not ranking at all. You soon discover that you are lacking now-important SEO elements or utilizing outdated techniques.

For example, “keyword density” used to be a big concern for SEOs. They advised that articles and content on sites contained keyword-rich articles, using the exact same grammar structures every time the keyword was used, even if it didn’t make sense in the context of the sentence. Back then, this was actually a way some people would “cheat” Google–just stuff keywords in some text and end up ranking on page one! (By the way, this is what’s known as “black hat” SEO–doing things simply to cheat the system–and black hat techniques will get you booted from page one on Google’s next update faster than you could imagine.)

Now, Google actually punishes people for stuffing keywords. And the search algorithm has become sophisticated enough that Google can understand changes in a query’s grammatical structure. What that means is that you no longer have to JUST search for “landscapers cheap Lexington” to get relevant results, but you could search for “cheap landscaper in Lexington” and get basically the same thing.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a screenshot. Take a look at the pages:

cheap-landscaper-lexingtonlandscapers-cheap-lexington

Yep, the majority are the same links. One just has a map, so they’re listed as Google + business listings, and that’s where you’ll spy the difference. But the point still stands. Google is really good at interpreting what the user is looking for–affordable landscapers in or around Lexington. Whether you word it like Yoda or an English professor, Google wants to help you out, and does a pretty good job at it!

SEO experts are in it for the long haul–and so are you.

Because Google is always changing, search engine optimization must follow suit. There are those out there who say SEO is dead (there’s always somebody saying that about ANYTHING, though) and there are others who say it will become obsolete as search engines grow closer and closer to behaving like human minds. But the fact is, the web is always changing. People build new websites. New businesses crop up, while others close their doors forever. It’s not enough to rank on page one today. You have to work with experts to make sure that you continue to rank on page one in the future too, whether Google releases a major update or another business moves into your vicinity. So until Google can read your mind and pull up the best business to match your personality (eep–that’s some scary stuff, isn’t it?), search engine optimization will be a thing. SEO is a long-term investment, and if you have a great business at your side, it will be worth it.

Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to see how we can help you be seen online.

The 10 Biggest Small Business SEO Blunders

1. You’re not optimizing your local search listings.

Are you listed on directory sites like Yelp, FourSquare, and Merchant Circle? If you’re not, this could be hurting your rankings. If you are listed across these sites but still aren’t seeing any boost in rakings, you will want to check to make sure you have listed all your information consistently. Check to ensure your business address, phone number, and website are all spelled correctly and don’t contain any unnecessary variation in syntax.

For example, if your address is “1234 Olive Branch Drive”, make sure every listing reads exactly like that. “1234 Olivebranch Drive” or “12 34 Olive branch dr” are both different listings!

Furthermore, if you find that you have duplicate listings, make sure you claim ONE and delete the duplicates, as this could be confusing people who are searching for your business.

2. You’re trying to rank for broad keywords.

If you’re in a small area, you might be able to rank for the keyword “plumber.” But if you’re in a bigger city, chances are that there are a lot of other plumbers working there with you. That means you have a lot of competition when people are searching locally!

So what can you do to improve this situation? Well, you might want to try linking for more specific keywords. For example, instead of “Cleveland plumber”, you might want to try “Cleveland plumber residential septic”. This way, you can rank for more specific keywords–and these are far more likely to get you ranking than something that’s too simple.

3. Using the same anchor text over and over.

You’ve probably heard something about keyword density before–something like “you must have 2-5% keyword density in your article to make it visible to search engines.” And you’ve more than likely also heard that you should use anchor text on your links so that you can target specific keywords.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

First of all, the keyword density thing is long-outdated. Google is smart–over the years, the search engine has learned to look for different variations on the same phrase. So that means that if you link to one page using the exact same anchor text over and over again, search engines (or even your visitors!) might think you’re trying something fishy. A good rule of thumb for you to remember is that if it looks spammy to you, it’s going to look spammy to your readers–and to the search engines. So regardless of what you’ve read about keyword density and repeating anchor text, following this practice is not going to help you in the long run.

So what should you do? Creating high-quality content that contains your keywords and key phrases is the best bet. Don’t stuff your keywords in or worry about using them in a bizarre way (such as our “Cleveland plumber residential septic” example–how would you fit that into a natural-sounding sentence?). Just write organically about your topic and you’ll be fine.

 4. Using subpar content.

Did you hire someone to write your content for you or did you write your content yourself? If you hired someone else to write it, did you check their credentials and make sure that their work is easy to read? Or does it come off a bit unprofessional, with misspellings or poor grammar? If you did the work yourself, do you feel confident in your ability to write good content, or do you feel a little embarrassed of the work you put up?

If something seems off about your content, we have some bad news for you: Your readers will probably notice too. If your content doesn’t read well or is perceived as untrustworthy, you’re destined to stay buried under your competitors.

So if you feel confident about your writing skills, go ahead and post fresh content on your pages; just make sure that you edit your work before you post it.

If you don’t feel confident and choose to hire a writer, make sure you select a candidate who actually has quality work in his or her portfolio! Don’t just hire the “cheapest” writer because you want to save money.

Always remember that quality is key when it comes to content. No exceptions.

5. Focusing too much on getting links vs. creating content.

Most people who are just getting into SEO learn very quickly how important backlinks are.

And before you get all up in arms, we’ll make it perfectly clear that we’re NOT saying backlinks aren’t important.

K. With that out of the way, if you focus too heavily on getting links to your site, but don’t bother creating a good site, you’re kind of shooting yourself in the foot. You need a reason for your readers to want to return–a reason for them to trust you and your work. If you just get a bunch of people linking to a boring landing page, you’re not going to gain much for all your effort.

So while reaching out to other sites and building links is important, don’t forget to make your website spectacular, too!

6. Not using meta tags or descriptions.

Meta tags and descriptions help search engines categorize and cache your site. If a search engine can’t find any pertinent information, it’s not going to know how to place your site–and it won’t see it as “relevant”. That’s why you have to make sure to include meta tags and proper descriptions in every page’s header.

This probably seems like too much work or like it’s too complicated, especially if you’re an SEO beginner. But it doesn’t have to be. If you host your site on WordPress, you can get a plug-in that helps you fill in all this important information. Try Yoast or All-in-One SEO. In just a few minutes, you can easily fill in keywords and descriptions that make your site attractive to search engines–no coding required.

If you’re not on WordPress, you might have a tougher time with this, but you can read more about the usage of meta tags and descriptions here.

7. Not bothering with Google Analytics.

Have you signed up for Google Analytics? If not, you’re missing out on a lot of important data–data that can tell you just about everything you need to know about your site’s visitors.

When you use analytics, you gain access to insider knowledge: Who is visiting your site the most? Where are they from? Which pages are they visiting–and how long are they staying on each page? By learning a bit about the basics of Google Analytics, you can figure out what is and what isn’t working for your site. Once you have a basic idea of where your strengths lie, you can begin to provide more content that your visitors crave, and in turn, make a more focused plan of how you will update in the months to come.

Now that’s a good way of growing your readership, and a great way to nab some true fans.

8. Ignoring social media integration.

So let’s say you have your website set up and it looks great. You update your blog regularly. You even have a photo gallery dedicated to your company’s stellar products and services. But do you have a way for your visitors to connect with you via social media?

Social media is a huge part of marketing nowadays. If people can’t find your company on sites like Facebook and Twitter, you might be selling yourself short–think of all those fans you could be missing out on. Be sure to make it crystal clear to your visitors how they can connect with you on social media.

And if you haven’t signed up yet, we’ve got some news for you: you’d better get crackin’ on that. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with your clients and customers simply because you’re too frightened of change or because you think you don’t have enough time to learn social media. It’s well worth it, we promise.

9. Forgetting to update your blog or post new content.

How many times have you told yourself that you were going to update your blog once a week–and then you wrote one post and forgot to update for a month?

Or, have you told yourself that you don’t care about updating a blog–you put up a website a few years ago and it’s good enough, right?

Well, that’s just no good. If you want to be found by the search engines, you have to make sure you look relevant. If you were searching for, say, a local veterinarian, and the website the search engines pulled up looked like it hadn’t been updated in 12 years, would you choose to call that vet or find another one? You’d probably head to another vet, right?

That’s exactly what Google tries to avoid. It wants to create the best experience for its users, so it will devalue your site if  it doesn’t deliver fresh, relevant content. So whether you choose to blog or you just update your site’s existing content regularly, the key is to make sure you create some new data for the search engines to gobble up.

10. Thinking SEO is just a set-it-and-forget-it strategy.

So you’ve hired an SEO to go over your site and make sure it’s search-engine ready. You’ve paid them–probably a decent amount–and now you’re good to go, right?

Unfortunately, no. SEO best practices change all the time. Search engine algorithms constantly change, and what that means is what is a-okay today might not be tomorrow. Obviously, such drastic changes aren’t occurring that frequently, but every once in a while a big update will throw a wrench into rankings, sending previously-optimized sites crashing into the depths of the search engine result pages. It’s for this reason that you should keep an SEO expert available to monitor your site and make the necessary changes. After all, they keep up with the industry and it is their job to make sure their clients see results.

And hey, on that note, that’s what we do.

So if you’re looking for help with any of this, just drop us a line and let us know.

Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to see how we can help you be seen online.

Has your Business Claimed an SEO Business Listing (US)?

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Have you claimed your SEO business listings? US businesses must be listed correctly across the internet for the greatest impact on traffic.

As we’ve discussed in previous articles, it’s absolutely necessary that your small business is listed consistently, clearly, and correctly across the internet. In order for your customers to find your store (or at least obtain your contact info if you work from a private address), they must be able to find your business listing on every search engine. If some of your customers use a search engine other than Google (and trust us, it’s guaranteed some will), a different local listing will appear by your name. So as you can see, you only make sure your listing is correct on Google, you’re going to run into some problems down the road. In this post, we’ll talk about the “3 C’s” of your local listing: Consistency, Clarity, and Correctness.

Make sure your small business’s SEO business listing is consistent.

Have you changed storefronts? Has your address changed in the last year or so? Did you just lease a new office? If you have, then you’re going to want to make sure that your new address is listed everywhere. You might change the address on one listing, while leaving another listing with the old address. And, unfortunately, if you start confusing the search engines with multiple addresses under the same business, you run the risk of hurting your rankings. This isn’t to say that you can’t have multiple addresses under the same business listing, however: If you run a business with three locations in your local city, you can specify this in your Google Places for Business page and make sure that all of your stores will be found.

So before you post your SEO business listing, make sure that:

  • You’ve gone through the proper channels to make sure that your business has an address listed.
  • That the current addresses are listed across a number of sites.
  • That your address is hidden properly if you need to hide it. Make sure it is hidden across all listings if this is the case!

An SEO Business Listing must be clear and easy to understand.

You’ve probably seen it before: A restaurant has a description on Yelp or Google, trying to entice customers with their eclectic menu and exciting happy hour. But the listing is full of gibberish, words are misspelled, and random nouns are capitalized because… well, who knows why? All of this takes away not only from the professionalism of the company, but from the ease of reading as well. Customers are less likely to visit your establishment if they can’t decipher what you’re trying to tell them. Therefore, you have to ensure that your business listing is clear and concise. Tell your customers that you have a great happy hour, and tell them that you’ve been in business since 1983 and have the best burgers in town—but you don’t need to list your whole menu and ramble on about every little detail of the atmosphere. Let your customers become interested through your description and find out for themselves how great you are when they visit.

Before you let your listing go live, be sure to do the following:

  • Check to see if your listing is too long. You might be interested in sharing every detail of your business, but your customers just want pertinent information.
  • Make sure you’re clear in your listing: Is everything spelled correctly? Have you clearly stated where your establishment is and what it provides for its customers or clients?
  • List all the information you’d want to see when you search for a service. Hours of operation, address, phone number, website, email, and a few sentences about how wonderful you are should all suffice.

Above all, make sure your SEO business listing is correct.

You can have your address listed across all major directories and listings, and you can write the best description in the world for your company—but if you have incorrect some information hidden in there, it’s all for naught. And, even worse, fixing an error of this magnitude is a pain. Before you press “submit” on any of your listing forms, make sure that you list all your most important information correctly. A great tip is to make a list before you start. What do you think is most important for your customers to know? Make sure to include it on you listing. If something can’t actually be listed, make sure that you provide a phone number or another way of contacting you so that customers can still get a hold of you if they have questions.

Before you press submit on your business SEO listing, make sure:

  • You’ve made a list of all the information you want to include for your business.
  • You’ve spelled everything correctly and included your most recent company info.
  • You’ve filled out complete information and no partial addresses, phone numbers, or business hours!

With these tips, you should be able to create well-rounded, effective, and helpful SEO business listings. Your customers want and need accurate information—and as a small business owner, it’s your job to make sure they get it. Your accurate listings will also make sure that your site (or at least your Google Places for Business page, if you don’t have a website) ranks higher in searches. You can’t go wrong with these strategies!

As always, if you’re simply too busy to manage writing content, listing your sites across the internet, or updating your website/Google Places for Business page, you can ask Internet Local Listings for assistance. We have over 50 years of combined experience in the SEO industry and would be happy to help you with whatever services you need. From social media marketing to building you a custom website, we have the skills and expertise necessary to get your small business site visible on the internet. Call or fill out a contact form today for more information on your services—or feel free to start building your own SEO business listing using these tips! Be sure to subscribe for more updates.

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Back to Basics #11: 5 Small Business Marketing Ideas Anyone Can Do

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If you’re looking for small business marketing ideas, don’t fret–there are plenty of affordable ways to go about it.

Small business marketing is a tricky thing to get the hang of: Small business owners often struggle knowing when or how often to post updates on social media; what to post about or how to gather content ideas; or even when to start blogging or how to connect with potential readers. It can be overwhelming, to be sure, especially when you are strapped for time and have a limited budget. So in this article, we’re going to talk a bit about a few small business marketing ideas that anyone can do easily and cheaply—whether you’re completely new to online advertising or you’ve been trying your hand at it for a while and just aren’t seeing the results that you want.

  1. Develop a PR Strategy. As this article from Entrepreneur suggests, it’s important for all companies, particularly small businesses, to make sure that they have a PR strategy in place. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to have a large budget or spend a ton of time on it—in fact, small businesses can implement great PR campaigns into their social media strategies. Take the Kleenex example cited in the article: In 2011, Kleenex searched Facebook to find fifty people who posted about being sick. After getting into contact with friends and family members, they sent care packages to the ailing cold-sufferers. The recipients were so pleased that they posted happy pictures of their care packages. Great PR and usage of social media in one shot—and a very cheap maneuver.
  2. Start a podcast. Have you ever subscribed to a podcast? They’re great to listen to on the commute to work or in the morning while getting ready to head out for the day. And they’re also easy to make! As Inc.com suggests, you might want to try interviewing other business owners for their point of view on marketing or advertising. Or maybe you’d like to put together a podcast series of how-to’s—for example, plumbers or electrical contractors do very well with these types of podcasts. You can teach people how to do things they want to learn more about, while still drawing attention to your company. It’s a win-win situation!
  3. Forget advertising like the big brand names. While it’s perfectly fine to draw inspiration from popular advertising campaigns, you have to remember who the big companies are marketing to. They can reach far more people than you are able to, and they have the budget to pull it off. Don’t waste your time trying to dissect everything a large company does—instead, focus on how you can connect with your local customers in the best way possible. You could try hosting a photo captioning contest on Facebook where the winner gets a coupon. You could try running a “special offer” for a day if one of your tweets gets 50 retweets. Maybe sending out a postcard to your loyal customers is a good idea. Think about these types of marketing techniques and choose one that works for you.
  4. Networking with other small business owners. Nowadays, you can easily network online through sites such as LinkedIn. But nothing will ever replace the face-to-face value of networking in person. To meet other people in your industry, attend local seminars. Offer to speak at colleges or other events. If there are conventions in your area, look into speaking on a panel—or if not speaking, attend and ask questions. You could even try going to a book club or submit a press release to your local newspaper. By connecting with other small business owners, you’ll be able to better navigate the local scene and make yourself a go-to brand name in the town.
  5. Claim your online listings. Believe it or not, your business could already be listed on places like Google and Bing. The problem is that you haven’t claimed the listings yet. By claiming your own listings, you let your customers know that you exist, and you provide consistent information so that no matter which search engine they use to find you, your information will always be correct. Furthermore, claiming listings helps with online rankings, and once you are listed consistently across the internet, you’ll see more traffic being driven to your site!

Want more information on small business marketing ideas? Subscribe to our posts via email, or you can also like us on Facebook, follow Follow @InternetListing on Twitter and Pinterest, and circle us on Google Plus! Let us know how Internet Local Listings can best assist you with your small business marketing needs!

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Following Your Website’s Ranking Progress

Following Your Website’s Ranking Progress
Are you ready to start following your website’s ranking progress?

If you’ve put the time and effort into SEO practices such as blogging, listing your store in directories, and promoting your store on social media, then you know how important it is to keep track of your progress. You need to see if your efforts are paying off, after all—why waste energy and perhaps even money if you don’t see any positive results? There are a lot of reasons to keep track of ranking data, but if for nothing else, you’ll want to know to make sure that your marketing campaign is going in the right direction.

So, with this in mind, what is the best way to follow your website’s ranking progress? In this post, we’ll go over a few ways you can do this without knowing a lot about SEO, coding, or even marketing.

  1. Google Analytics. You can sign up for a free account with Google Analytics and have most of the hard work taken care of for you. All you have to do is insert a simple code into the “header” section of your website and Google will begin tracking all the visitors! You can see where they’re coming from, how long they’re spending on your site, which pages they’re looking at, and more. But perhaps the most valuable thing in terms of rank checking is being able see which keywords clients are using to find you. And if you’re paying for ads, Google Analytics will also show you which paid keywords are helping people find you. This is simple, cost-free, and a very powerful way of keeping track of ranking data.
  2. Search and find method. If you’re not as technically inclined, you can definitely do a simple search and see if your site is pulled up. Now, this is inferior to using something like Google Analytics because you will have to type in every keyword that you want to check. Analytics, on the other hand, might find an obscure keyword or phrase that searchers are using to find you—ones you may never have thought of. But if you’re still set on searching for terms on your own, then take comfort in the fact that it’s possible to check choice keyword rankings simply by Googling and seeing if your site appears. It’s best to then keep track of your progress by searching once every two weeks or so and logging position in an Excel spreadsheet.
  3. Find a reliable page where you can download or utilize a rank checker. Sites like moz.com and alexa.com allow you to check your rank with their online tools. It’s easy to use them—simply type in your URL and view your results. The only downside to this is that to get the in-depth stats that you’re looking for, you’ll have to pay. With Moz, it’s free for 30 days, and then $99 a month; Alexa also offers a free 30-day trial with tiered plans available after the trial ends, starting at $9.99 a month for the basic package and going up to $799 a month for the most advanced package.
  4. Talk to a web developer. If you want the best results but you don’t know how to use Google Analytics, and don’t want to pay for an extra service such as Moz or Alexa, your best option is to talk to your web developer. A good web developer can set up your Google Analytics account for you and show you how to follow your website’s ranking progress, or they can prepare special reports for you. This is part of a web developer’s job, so if you’re already paying for someone to handle the coding for your site, you can have them handle rank reporting as well.
  5. Call us. At Internet Local Listings, we take care of compiling the ranking progress reports for you. Any time you want to know about your website’s standing, we’ll run a ranking report and email it straight to your inbox for you. Everything is presented in an easy-to-read format, complete with comprehensive details. It’s rewarding to see all that hard work paying off—and you deserve to know where your site stands. And, the best news of all: It’s included with any of our packages!

Finally, if you want the full website experience, you’ll be pleased to know that we also build premium websites for our clients. If you choose the website package, you’ll get to have professional web developers working on your site to ensure it ranks well. Google Analytics can easily be implemented by our team, so you’ll never have to worry about figuring out code. View our pricing and plans here or simply fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We’ll happily work with you to make sure you reach your ranking goals!

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Working Effectively with Internet Marketing Experts

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How can you best work with internet marketing experts?

So you’ve hired internet marketing experts to take over the marketing strategy for your small business. You’re excited to see results and you’ve already begun paying for your marketing team to begin the work. You check your rankings the next day, and it seems that you haven’t moved up at all. You check again after a week, and things still don’t seem to be going as planned. At this point, you’re frustrated and ready to tell them you’re finished—you want to work with a different internet marketing company. If you feel like this, you’re not alone. Many small business owners have felt the exact way you do—so in this article, we’re going to talk about making the most of your experience with internet marketing experts, and what you can reasonably expect while implementing your marketing strategy.

Internet marketing is not an overnight process.

When you hire a gardener to plant your garden and tend to the plants as they grow, you know the process will take time. You don’t expect a seed to germinate into a blooming flower the next day! The same thing goes for marketing. Internet marketing experts need to take a look at your individual case and plan accordingly. For example, some clients have zero presence on the internet—no website, no local listings, no blog. Others have been doing their own work and simply need assistance managing social media or content distribution. By the same token, there are industries in which there is a lot of competition—HVAC, roofing contractors, and auto mechanics. Other industries have an easier time ranking because they are one of a few businesses that provide a service in an area—people like dentists, medical specialists, or even psychics. Everyone’s case is different, and everyone takes a different amount of time to begin appearing on the first page. So how is this possible? Well, Google combs through data on a daily basis, and it begins to compare this data over time. So it makes sense that it’s not going to find your site, immediately deem it the “most relevant” and put it at the top of the search results above all of your competitors. It takes time for Google to weigh and determine site relevancy, so you must be patient as this process takes shape.

Changing things without consulting your marketing team can result in setbacks.

If you’re feeling antsy about a particular keyword not showing up, you might feel like you want to get rid of it and choose another. But if you go into your blog or Google Places and begin changing keywords around, you’ll eventually find that you can easily undo all the hard work you’ve put in already–even if you meant well. This isn’t to say you can never (or should never) change keywords—sometimes, you find that you’ll just stay on the second or third page indefinitely with the amount of competition you’re facing. In this case, talk to your marketing team and determine new keywords to use. Over time, you’ll hopefully see improvements for these terms. If you don’t see any new traffic growth over the first few months, then you definitely need to take a look at what’s going wrong and make adjustments accordingly. The main lesson here is to not go ahead and do things without consulting your team. You are, after all, paying them to help you rank. You should always understand one another and what your goals are. If there is no communication between you and your marketing experts, then you’ll essentially be throwing away money. You need to work together!

Get involved and learn about the process.

Obviously if you’re hiring internet marketing experts to manage your marketing strategy, it’s because you don’t have the time (or desire) to learn how to do marketing on your own. And that’s fine! But if you take the time to learn just a few basics about internet marketing, you’ll find that you can more easily follow along with the process and even enhance it. At Internet Local Listings, we do manage many clients’ Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. However, our clients often ask to be involved with the process, and we encourage it. By tweeting, updating your Facebook status, or writing content for your own page, you’re helping the process along and learning more about how to work with your internet marketing team as you go. That’s a great thing! By combining ideas and discussing tactics, you can enhance your team just like you would with traditional or word-of-mouth marketing. Give input, feedback, and get your hands “dirty”, and you’ll get a lot more out of your internet marketing experience. If you would like to learn more about digital or online marketing, check out our Back to Basics series, where you can learn about SEO basics and discover simple changes you can implement on your site to help boost your rankings. If you want to hire a team of qualified internet marketing experts, simply give us a call at (888) 770-3950 or visit our contact us page and fill out a form. You can also use our scanner to see if your site is listed correctly across the internet! So contact us today to discuss your marketing concerns with our experienced, qualified internet marketing experts!   Check out these pages for more information on internet marketing tips:

 

Back to Basics #7: Website Rank

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Note: If you’re an internet marketing expert, this post will probably not be of much help to you. But you can feel free to check out our other marketing tips and tricks here, or learn about our internet marketing services here.

If you’re a beginner, we welcome you to read our Back to Basics series to learn more about internet advertising and small business marketing.

And be sure to follow our blog for posts delivered to your inbox!

Website Rank: Which Factors Are Most Important?

At Internet Local Listings, we strive to help small businesses get more visibility on the internet. Since 2011, we’ve helped thousands of businesses learn more about website rank and the effort and strategy that goes into the process of getting your site to show up on the front page of search engines. As you probably already know, getting a website to rank on Google can be tough—there’s often a lot of competition, and if you don’t know much about running a website, it can be overwhelming to try to figure out the formula to rank—only to find out that there is no magic formula. It takes time and consistent effort.

So if you were to choose a few factors to focus on, which ones should you choose? Which factors are most important for your website rank?

Website Rank Factors

1. Getting your local listings in order. There are lots of places to list your business across the internet. As mentioned in a previous article, you can be listed on places like The Yellow Pages, WhiteSpark, Brownbook, eLocal and more. Between desktop and mobile, local listings found in searches are among the top foundational ranking factors—and seem to make the biggest difference in terms of competition. So if you have a storefront, make sure that you list your business—complete with physical address—across as many free listings sites as you can.

 Some tips to keep in mind for local listings: 

  • Ensure you’re listed in the proper categories.
  • Optimize your listings with keywords relating to the services your business offers.
  • Make sure your physical address matches the city you want to rank in. You’d be surprised at the number of people who forget this.
  • Verify your business listing wherever possible. There may already be existing listings that you can claim once you verify yourself as the business owner.

2. Updating your site frequently. We’ve also mentioned this in previous articles, but it’s so important to remember that it needs to be mentioned again. Many small business owners think that blogging is pointless and don’t bother with it. This is one of the things that hurts their website rank the most. Google looks for relevant search results. So think about it: if a site never updates, why would Google consider that relevant? It’s gathering dust, while other sites work hard to provide fresh data and content. Of course it’s going to rank those higher than it would a site that hasn’t been updated since 2007.

Some tips to keep in mind:

  • You don’t need to blog every day to provide fresh content for Google. However, you should aim for at least once a week. A great way to make sure you do this is to sit down and write about 100-150 words a night. By the end of the week, you’ll have 500-750 words to put into a blog post. When you break it down like this, it becomes a much more feasible task.
  • Talk about topics relevant to your business. Many business owners give personal status updates—their new puppy, their Easter dinner, etc. And while it’s important to give your customers that personal connection, it’s not going to help your business rank. If you’re a pet groomer, talk about the Westminster Dog Show. Ask people to send in pictures of their pets after visiting your store. There are plenty of ways to get creative and still help your website rank higher!
  • Posts with images tend to do better. Make sure you include a nice featured image at the top of your post and name it something descriptive—Google prefers posts like this.

3. On-page SEO is still relevant. There’s been a lot of debate on whether or not on-page SEO will matter in the future. Skeptics say Google will always try to shut down efforts to game its algorithms; fatalists claim SEO is dead and there’s nothing that can be done about it. As long as search engines try to return relevant results, SEO will not die. The rules will change, and the game will get tougher, but there’s always going to be ways that improve your chances of being placed higher in search results. Everyone wants their website rank to improve—that is something that will stick around for years to come.

You can do on-page SEO by updating content, ensuring the “about us” and other static pages (i.e., “products and services”, image galleries, etc.) are optimized, and your site is easy to use and easy to navigate. Make sure your site loads quickly and that your customers can always find a way to contact you, whether by email, phone, or a contact form.

Some tips to consider:

  • Define your keywords before you even begin building your website. Know what your services are and how you’re going to advertise them. Consistency is key to getting your website rank higher.
  • Develop a plan B in case your first attempt doesn’t turn out well. Many times, you simply won’t see results for a specific keyword. SEO isn’t magic. There’s no way to guarantee results. Instead, switch to another option and try again.
  • Remember to include links on your site—to your other pages, to helpful sources, to your sponsors and suppliers. This is an important part of on-site SEO because Google wants to see sites that contribute valuable information. The whole point of the internet is to find and follow links!

No matter where you are in your website marketing process, the most important thing to remember is this:

You must have patience.

If an SEO company tells you that you’ll be ranked overnight if you use their services, they’re lying. If a friend tells you they got their site to rank in a week, they’re using illegitimate tactics. Google rewards sites that use honest, consistent, and quality SEO practices. Your site should be among them. You owe yourself that.

Furthermore, Google changes its algorithm often. Even if you rank highly right now, you need to stay caught up with the algorithm changes and make adjustments when needed to keep your website rank secured.

As always, we hope this has been helpful to you. Remember that Internet Local Listings offers a wide range of internet marketing services, from free websites with the purchase of an SEO package, to directory mega-boosts and social media management services. Feel free to browse our site or contact us here for more information. We look forward to helping you make your site the very best it can be!

Back to Basics #4: Why Your Company Needs a Digital Marketing Firm

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A digital marketing firm can help you reach your target market.

It used to be that a company could place an ad in the Yellowpages or the newspaper and almost immediately see their marketing efforts paying off. But those days have drawn to a close. In order to keep up with marketing in 2014 and beyond, you need to get your business online. Websites allow customers to find services and products at any time of day, and it gives you a chance to make a great impression before anyone even walks in your door.

Think about it: TV shows and music can be streamed online. Blogs and social networks deliver relevant, recent news and interesting articles. You can even read your favorite books on electronic devices. And when you search for a product that you need, where do you go first—to the phone book or to your favorite search engine? We bet you go online and search for services. So it makes sense that as a small business owner, you need to be where your customers are—online. But there’s one problem: Once you’ve set up your website, how do you make sure that your customers are finding you online?

That’s where a digital marketing firm comes in. A great digital marketing firm can mean the difference between customers finding your business instead of your competitor when they search online.

A Digital Marketing Firm Can Guide You

At Internet Local Listings, we know a lot about digital marketing. After all, it’s what we do—we work hard to get our clients’ websites visible across the web. We understand the ins and outs of local listings, boosting Google rankings, utilizing social media marketing, and building links. This is something that you, as a small business owner, probably don’t know a lot about. And that’s fine—you’re an expert on running your business, and you need to make sure you stay on top of those responsibilities.

What a digital marketing firm can do is help you run your business more efficiently. We’ll work with you to make sure your business is presented the way you want it to be. We’ll make sure your social media accounts are reflecting your desire to connect with customers. And we’ll be happy to let you participate in whichever way you feel comfortable. That way you can focus on running your company while we channel you passion for your business into a more prominent online presence.

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There’s a lot that goes into digital marketing! We can help you understand.

A Digital Marketing Firm Can Save You Money

Have you ever tried to advertise your business online? Maybe you bought ads on Facebook or Google, or maybe you paid to have your website listed somewhere. Whatever the case may be, if you’ve thrown money out the window on failed advertising endeavors, you may be feeling frustrated or even hopeless. But don’t worry. You can still market to your customers and not spend a fortune.

A digital marketing firm like Internet Local Listings can help you spend your marketing budget in the right way. There’s no need to pay for expensive advertisements that aren’t guaranteed to work. With packages starting at just $199 a month, Internet Local Listings has some of the best prices available on top-quality digital marketing services. Packages are customizable and you can get involved to any extent you feel comfortable. Want to send us pictures to use on your social media? Go ahead. Want to write your own content for a custom website? We’ll be happy to assist you (it’ll still need to be optimized!). Just let us know and we will be happy to work with you.

By working with a digital marketing firm, you’ll see real results. Putting ads up on Facebook or Google is a short-term solution to drive curious people to your website. But getting your website in front of your audience organically is much more worthwhile and a wiser investment in the long run, because it costs less and has a much wider impact.

A Digital Marketing Firm Can Connect You to Your Community

Small businesses are generally not concerned with appealing to customers all over the world. Small business owners tend to sell to local customers. From word of mouth advertising to old-fashioned window displays, local companies have different methods of capturing the attention of their customers. That is great—but to get a leg up on your competitors, you’re going to want to be on the front page of popular search engines as well.

That’s where a digital marketing firm comes in. We can get you listed all across the internet and help you rank higher in search engine results so that you can connect with your customers. Even better, you’ll rank organically in local searches. That means that when people in your town (or nearby towns) search for a service that you provide, your name will pop up. They’ll be able to find your store address and hours, and that makes it easy for them to contact you or to drop by to shop.

Why not cover all your advertising bases with digital marketing services? Increase website traffic and your web presence, and you’re well on your way to being found instead of your competitors. Call or visit Internet Local Listings today to speak with our digital marketing firm about your small business advertising needs.