Julian Farley : Spread Love

What Is Local Optimization? INTRODUCTION TO LOCAL SEARCH OPTIMIZATION

What’s Different About Local Search?

seo

Google makes hundreds of updates to its algorithm each year, Search Engine Marketing is as much about staying current as it is adhering to the fundamentals.

What Google is measuring today is not necessarily what it will measure tomorrow, but through systematic testing of tactics, tools, and strategies, great search marketers have shown they can consistently achieve meaningful results.

Currently, there are three types of listings in Google. These include:

1. Google Adwords (or pay-per-click). PPC refers to using an ad network platform in which you pay every time someone clicks the link to your website. The primary advantages of PPC are immediate results and high buying intent (if campaigns are setup properly). With proper optimization you will only pay for the clicks that give you a positive ROI.

Note: Zaragoza Marketing does not currently offer PPC Management Services

2. Google Organic are the listings Google’s algorithm determines to be the best result for that specific keyword. Advantages of organic traffic include higher click-through-rates and lower cost-per-acquisition. Users tend to trust organic results more than PPC ads which means more website traffic from organic in the long-term.

3. Google Places typically takes the best results on local search result pages. These are Google’s results with star-rating business reviews, maps, phone numbers and more. For local businesses Google Places optimization is the biggest opportunities to capture market share and quality leads from Google.

GOOGLE PLACES

Google Places listings are shown on search queries where Google’s algorithm believes the searcher is looking for a local business. These results, with reviews and phone number on the listed on the search page, often result in a better user experience. Securing top rankings here is called Google Places Optimization.

The factors that affect these rankings change every week. Local optimization best practice is to optimize everything so when Google changes their ranking factors you still beat out the competition. Here is a breakdown of the most important ranking factors for Google Places:

Increases Google Places rankings when the page:

Decreases In Google Places rankings when the page:

Organic Rankings

LINKBUILDING

Active and ongoing linkbuilding is the most important part of local optimization. Google sees links from other sites to yours as a “vote” that your site has useful content. So useful, they reason, that another site has referenced you, like books do.

The secret to long-term rankings is to build these links naturally. The key to natural link-building is creating very high quality content (videos, articles, blog posts, photos, software etc.) and promote that content to groups on the internet that push it viral. This approach is different for each and every client because your content will appeal to different audience’s. Every campaign is custom engineered.

With these high-quality and 100% natural inbound links Google will begin to crawl your website more. “Crawl” means when a search engine comes to your site and reads it. More crawling means more authority for your website. More authority means easier and better rankings for your entire website.

ONSITE OPTIMIZATION

Onsite optimization is the practice of changing things about your website itself in order to make it more accessible in the eyes of Google. These things include: site title, image naming, useful and engaging content, site load speed and much more.

Because national campaigns are so competitive, onsite optimization is very important when targeting national keywords. However, local keywords are less competitive, and as a result, focusing on onsite optimization over any of the above mentioned strategies is often wasteful.

Basic onsite optimization can be completed in just a few days, and going beyond that is unnecessary. One of the benefits of local search optimization is that it is generally hands-off for the client. No additional work required.

REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

Reputation management is what increases leads for PPC, national organic and local organic leads all at once. The Big 5 review sites are: Google Maps, Google Reviews, Local.com, Yahoo Local Business Directory, Yelp.com, and CitySearch.com. Boosting your ratings here will increase your conversion rates from Google traffic dramatically. This means more qualified leads.

HOW WE DO ALL THIS COST-EFFECTIVELY

1. We set up alert services for all the review pages. When someone posts a negative review we get it immediately and respond that day.

2. You are provided Feedback Cards to give your customers. They receive a $15/gift card automatically when they provide a review of your site. This gift card is automatically emailed to them and they can either choose Amazon or iTunes Gift Cards.

3. Phone calls to past customers to get natural reviews as well as contacting any negative reviewer and resolving the issue to remove the review.

POSTED: 10.28.2011

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ALL small business owners need to see this…..

The New “Learn From Google” for local business owners… BRILLIANT:

http://www.google.com/ads/learn/starting-business/worksheets/online-marketing-vocab.html

POSTED: 10.02.2011

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Feeding the Panda: Maximum SEO w/Minimum Work In A Post Panda World

The panda update, also known as farmer, is Google’s latest algorithm update. It was originally known as farmer because it hit all content farms extremely hard, it even knocked down a lot of article directories that are careful to be the original source of content such as e-zine articles.

Then when it became known to the public that one of the main programmers at Google that worked on this algorithm updates nickname is panda, well that, took hold and so now it is called the panda update. It should also be known that there are multiple panda updates.  There is version 1 version 2 version 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3.

panda

There’s no guarantee that we are done with panda updates, however Google does update their algorithm almost once a day. Most updates are not as large as the panda updates have been.

With panda Google has been able to take SEO and essentially upgrade the importance of the job of the SEO’er. It is now more of a complete web strategist. This is because absolutely every facet of a website will now have an impact on search engine rankings. Google is now looking heavily at usage metrics. This means that everything from your click through rate on the search engine’s to how long people spend on your site, what the bounce rate is, and even how much direct type traffic your site gets as a whole, how many branded searches your brand has in search engines count now.

The Google plus one button is Google’s attempt to get into social media, but just as they do with the chrome browser Google’s tools account for a disproportionate weight in its algorithm. So make sure you’ve got +1 buttons on your content – today it puts that much ahead of your competition.

Google has even come out publicly and said that even if your site has a lot of really high quality content if you have any bad content that they see as built just for search engines, and to take advantage of keywords, that that will turn your whole site down. They advise webmasters to take that content off, and or direct them away from this content. Obviously what they’re referring to there is disallowing those pages to be indexed in your robots.txt file, or even in your.HT access file.

Design and user experience is no longer in the background of the algorithm it is now having a primary impact on search engine rankings. This means you have to have good graphics, content that makes people stay on the site and share with their friends, and that your site has interesting blocks to read over and above just the content-so make sure that your navigation bar and any links on the on the sidebar draw the user to click through to them as much as possible.

So now when you’re creating content for your site, here are some pointers that you can take to make sure that you have content that is high-quality enough to get the usage metrics that you need to rank high in a post panda world. It goes without saying that content needs to be extremely well-written but it should also have some humor to it and a few jokes, adding in some history of whatever you’re writing about whether it is a printing business, a kitchen supply store or whatever adds to the richness of the text.  Also have 100% unique photos is not as important as everyone thinks it is, but having really really interesting pictures is much much more important.

Okay, I bet you’re thinking “why the hell doesn’t this guy take his own advice? – this post doesn’t have ANNNYY of this shit.” I’m talking about websites and pages you want to rank for real keywords. The only reason I have this blog is because (1) its fun and (2) it’s like a notebook I can reference to track what’s working.

The best thing you can do here is to weave in its extremely well-designed graphic, info graphic, illustration or anything visually appealing that appeals to your visitors is an great way to have fantastic images on every page.

So now let’s talk about how to maximize search engine rankings with minimum effort. The name of the game to search engine optimization whether you’re white hat, black hat or anything in between is to ultimately give the search engine’s exactly what they’re looking for. A lot of black hatters are going to disagree with that and this is mainly because they think it’s too much work.

Trust me, when done correctly this is much much less work. Okay, so links are still important. Without links, unless you have a extremely high authority blog already, you’re going to need about 10 to 15 high-quality links to a post if you want it if you want to get it to rank for any keyword that has over 150,000 searches a month according to Google keyword tool. So budget for that when taking the rest of my advice.

The majority of you thought now should go towards the content and user experience on the site. Become good at writing headlines, this is so you can keyword load your site titles and post titles and still get a high click through rate in the SERPs. If you have a sidebar with the most recent post or the most interesting posts than having these really intriguing headlines and titles are going to get higher click through rates all across your website.

Outsource to good, American writers that know about your industry, or are willing to learn and read/go through any resources that you can send them. Google is also rewarding active and recency on sites, so the more posts you can have this person writing about timely news in your niche the better. But if you only want to do two post a week that is plenty. Allocate some resources to a graphic designer, or some other artist to create, draw, or illustrate a picture about your specific post or content. Make sure that you have buttons on all of your content that connect automatically to people’s social media properties. There are also ways that you can manipulate the social media usage metrics however your doing everything else in this post well you have no need to do that.

Okay, summarize this is what you need to do: outsource extremely high quality content, outsource extremely high-quality graphic and/or picture, create extremely engaging post title with your keywords in it, obtain 10 to 15 extremely high-quality links.

The links will be enough to get your posts traffic from that keyword and as soon as your receiving traffic pay close attention to your analytics and improve all the usage metrics as much as possible. Make sure your content is being shared and tweeted in social media, and you’re done.

POSTED: 06.26.2011

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Custom Board Shorts – Shortomatic.com

Inc Magazine has one of my favorite sections of all magazines. They have a ‘Sales and Marketing’ section where interesting businesses are featured and experts offer up their advice.

The latest one, from March, features Shortomatic.com. Shortomatic is a really cool website where you can customize board shorts based upon pictures and/or designs that you upload. They also have about 150 designs others have uploaded you can choose from. The designers are paid a commission each time someone purchases their designs.

The sales and marketing feature asked ‘How would you increase their sales?’ Their name, brand and existing marketing efforts have been 100% driven by search engine optimization. Since my specialty is acquiring new customers with a focus on search engine optimization I think I’m well suited to take a crack at this.

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Before I give my dissertation here are the 4 Inc experts answers:

  1. Community – hold gallery shows where board shorts are the background and centerpiece. Donate the proceeds to a surf charity.
  2. Blogs – Give away free shorts to bloggers in exchange for blog posts.
  3. Over deliver – Call customers personally and ask them about their purchases, add a note into the packages.
  4. Name change – Change the name from Shortomatic, make it more hip and fun so it appeals to surfers more.

The business owner responded to them and didn’t much rate the advice. Needless to say if they see this post they will probably not like my advice either…. but I know it’s valuable enough information and strategies they can get to ROI+.

They want more customers…. here are some ways to get them with their business model:

1. Paid Search

They already understand the keyword research game, and should already know which keywords convert and which ones don’t.

Either way… paid search will not only force you to get more into the searcher’s head, give them what they want, and you’ll quickly find new keywords for your SEO effort. Test keywords you wouldn’t have thought of before.

Here are the different types of keywords:

  1. Problem
  2. Symptom
  3. Explicit Solution
  4. Product

Find problem keywords, meaning those keywords where your buyers are focused on a problem your product fixes. Examples would be “can’t find cool shorts” “where can I get awesome swimsuits” “find cool swimsuits”. Next, find symptom keywords, these are symptoms of problems that your product fixes.

Examples that come to mind are “all swimsuits are crappy” “lousy swimsuits” “people make fun of my swimsuit” “impossible to find a swimsuit”. Explicit solutions are what they sound like…. “custom swimsuits” “custom boardshorts” “dyi swimuits” “swimsuit design”. Product keywords are product examples such as “shortomatic”.

2. Media Buys

Buy media to increase your online traffic. The best media to start with is renting email lists, but you have to be good at choosing email lists.

Get a top quality broker, or hire a consultant to choose the best lists for you. Choose your best customers, and create a customer avatar.  What are their standard demographics (sex, age, income level, ethnicity etc.) and psychographics (happy, surfer, laid back, stylist etc.).

Find lists that have those target customers, when possible get lists with BUYERS. This means that 100% of people on the list have bought a product directly from the company whose email list it is.

NEVER buy an email list… you’ll have to email them from your own domain which will give you boatloads of spam complaints. You want to purchase a ‘dedicated email.’ If your avatar is aspiring swimsuit stylists, then find email lists like: Stylist Magazine or Splish.com. If you’re avatar is surfer’s then get an email list like: Billabong or Hasensurf or another similar surfboard wax.

Another type of media buy that would work well for Shortomatic is banner buys. Design banners with the best practices in mind, here is a good starting point from retargeter on banner best practices.

Since Shortomatic already has successful organic search campaigns…. Google those keywords that you know convert and find other websites taking traffic from those keywords. Purchase banners on those sites by whatever means necessary.

Sometimes they’ll sell banners directly, other times it will be sold through the Google content network. You can purchase ads on Google content network by using a placement campaign… the upshot of this is you often get MORE advertising space for the same cost this way. Google likes it when you hand pick the sites to advertise on.

3. Thank You Pages

Find stylist blogs, diy clothing websites and surf accessories websites. Get them to put a banner, or better yet an offer from you for ‘designing your own custom board shorts’ with a buy button on the page their visitors see AFTER they purchase.

The website obviously gets a commission every time a purchase is made but done right… you don’t have to pay until a sale is made.

Bottom line:

Shortomatic.com is unique enough, and complimentary enough that it should be easy to get email list owners to promote it for an affiliate commission, websites to be OK placing banners on the site even if they sell competing products that aren’t identical (surfboards, fashion advice, maybe even standard swimsuits).

Opportunity abounds! Now just to take advantage of it.

POSTED: 06.09.2011

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How Quick Must You Convert Your Online Leads?

You might be surprised to find out how short the life time is of online sales leads. This is something very near and dear to my heart because at the end of the day, when your paying hard earned $$$ for any marketing channel you’re ultimately paying for sales. If it doesn’t bring in more sales then it costs…. there’s NO POINT DOING IT! (don’t tell that I said that to the ‘branding’ folks).

Harvard Business Review just published a story on that this week, as always their research is in-depth and interesting. They stated some of obvious stuff… that “companies in financial services, automobiles, education, software, health care, professional services, and many other industries have increasingly turned to the internet to generate sales leads.” Duh! Online sales, set up correctly, becomes a money machine. Pay $4 make $8, what a concept. The online business model they show is THRIVING are (Warning: What you are about to read has been translated from HBR language into ‘normal words’ so we can actually understand it) those sites that take your information in exchange for ‘getting you the best quotes’ and all they do is turn around and sell those leads to as many insurance companies as will pay for them. It’s doing the hardest part of marketing… bringing in fresh leads. Turn on a Google Adwords account today and send it to a 3 page landing page to collect the leads. Pay $15/lead for the traffic, sell the leads for $30. I know for a fact mortgage leads are worth $200, Forex leads are worth $200-$250. It’s a legitimate business, but the ones HBR used as standup examples are those bastards responsible for spam of like 50 insurance companies and direct mail pieces for 6 months afterwards.

The true pros selling leads do it this way (at least the ones I’ve met): Rent email lists, send to landing page to collect leads (depending on the leads collect email, name, and on the 2nd encounter get home address). Say they do one drop for $5,000 to 50,000 emails. From that maybe you get 2,000 leads and 40 sales. The sales can be dam near any price point, whatever fits the audience in the email list. Turn around and rent the 2,000 leads you just got. (Hint: You can rent them out over and over again). Mailing addresses are great for the long term business, email addresses get money coming in fast. Oh and by the way… YOU can sell stuff to YOUR email list that’s growing everyday… whenever you want! HBR’s article didn’t explain any of the intricacies.

If you’re in the ‘leads business’ at all then you’ll find the results of their research: “firms are too slow to follow up on these leads.” They looked at over 22-hundred US companies. It broke down like this:

They analyzed 1.25 million sales leads, where HBR concluded a lead contacted within the hour are 7 times more likely to be a qualified lead and 60 times more likely than if contacted 24 hours or later. Think about how much these companies spend to get these leads in the first place. We call that the first transaction (aptly named), and it’s imperative it goes well for the consumer. That’s the whole basis of giving away a free report, whitepaper or lead magnet in exchange for someone signing up to your newsletter. Promise something, have the transaction, deliver on the promise immediately (via digital download that’s emailed to them automatically), and make sure the whitepaper far exceeds their expectations. They need to say upon opening it up, reading/watching it “dam, all that for just for signing up! There paid service must be AMAZING).

The rest of the article talks about the entrenched reasons why companies let this happen: pain of retrieving leads regularly, sales force focused on generating their own leads, rules for distributing sales leads among agents and partners based on geography and ‘fairness’ (bluh!). End it by saying “we’re conducting further research to more fully understand the causes and identify possible solutions.”

JULIAN FARLEY’S FINAL WORD: Be more bold HBR. Great article, but you seriously can’t figure this out?

Value your list and your list will pay for itself over in SPADES. HBR loves trumpeting the power of the internet, and I agree… but apply it.

POSTED: 05.22.2011

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