Saturday, December 31, 2011

Google's Website Trust Factor

By James Hobson
Matt Cutts does a great job of producing videos that explain in easy to understand terms, many of the mysteries of how Google views and manages online content. A topic of ongoing discussion concers the "trust factor" and what determines the "authority factor" of a website. The following Matt Cutts video addresses this topic. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Google Places Help & Google Places Optimization

By James Hobson
When we first meet with our clients the subject of local search listings is always a lively topic. We are constantly amazed at the number of business owners who either are unaware of local search pages, have no idea that these pages can be claimed, or disregard their importance. Based on our ongoing experiences we're taking some time to write a piece on local search pages, and Google Places in particular. Making a minor investment to get Google Places help for Google Places optimization is money well spent.

What are local search pages?

When you do a search for a product, service or type of business that includes a geographical qualifier (i.e, any service in dallas tx), the search engines immediately recognize that where the business is located is important to you. This is when the search engine results show business listings that include address and phone information. These local search results are formatted differently among search engines but the purpose is the same - identify local businesses that match the need of the user.

Where are local search listings?
Local Search is a generic term, and search engines or other web properties each have their own name for their local search listings. Google has Google Places, Yahoo has Yahoo Local, and Bing has the Bing Business Portal. There are at least 200 other websites with directory style listings where your company should be included. While having just a Google Places listing is quite valuable, having a well developed collection of these local search sites strengthens your total online visibility.

What Should You Do?
You have two primary options. One is to take a LOT of time to research the numerous sites where you should get a local search presence. Learn and organize all of the types of information that is required for these listings, and then embark upon a time consuming venture to complete the task. Bear in mind that just doing this is a good thing however, unless you know how to optimize local search listings they may not achieve high enough placement to do much good for your business. Your best option is to hire an Atlanta internet marketing company to set-up and manage your local search project. If the company specifically states that they offer local search marketing, and in particular offer Google Places Help, they are probably worth a quick phone call.

If you are a do it yourself person, before you start working on your listings, be sure to develop a list of all pertinent business information such as business name, address(es), phone and fax numbers, logo and photos, business description (200 characters), define your service area, list any specials or coupons, and make note of any links you have to videos on YouTube. Google Places page optimization, or optimizing other listings involves far more than we can explain here.

Hiring A Good Local Search Company
Hiring a good local search marketing company means taking a little time to check out their credentials such as a BBB rating, length of time in business, how many employees, do they have a real business office, do they have a business license.

If you have not yet taken the time to create or claim, and optimize you local search listings you need to make it a top priority. Be sure to keep a list of sites where you are registerd, along with your login information. The year 2012 is almost here and local search pages can improve your sales in 2012!