Why Invest in Search in 2012?

by Jason on December 27, 2011

With 2012 here in just a few days, many local business owners will be taking a look at what happened in 2011.  From a marketing standpoint, business owners are asking themselves the following questions:  What worked? What failed? What was the best form of marketing? What was the worst? What will I spend my money on in 2012 that will show the best return on investment?

Inevitably, business owners want to get in front of people looking for exactly what they do, instead of pushing their message to a group of people who may or may not have a remote interest in the product or service.  Most traditional methods of marketing , such as tv and radio, get the message out to as many people as possible, whether they want to hear about it or now.  For example, when I’m watching the local news and I see a loud ad for a used car lot, the advertiser has no idea if I’m in the market.  However, if I’m online searching for “used cars raleigh nc”, there’s no doubt that that’s exactly what I’m looking for, and any advertiser whose website is on the first page has a chance to capture my interest and my business.

But what exactly does it mean to website traffic if your site is ranking well on google?  Let’s compare traffic graphs for three sites competing in the used cars market.  Two of these sites are on the first page of google (and in the map results) when typing in “used cars raleigh nc”, while one of them is struggling on the third page.

used cars raleigh search traffic

Can you guess which is which?  Not exactly an SAT question here, obviously the site in yellow is on the third page.  Would it shock you to find out that the site in red is the “A” result in the maps, while the site in blue is the “E” result?  Probably not.  As you know, moving up incrementally in the search results can make a big difference.  More website visits leads to more calls, more leads, more inquiries, more pop-ins, and ultimately more sales.  All because of the investment in search, which is usually much less expensive than more traditional forms of advertising.

So in 2012, do you want to be in front of the audience that’s searching for exactly what you provide?  Or do you want your competition to be there?

Let’s look at one more example here, this time in the Raleigh restaurant industry.  Can you guess which of these five (delicious) restaurants are ranked on the first page of google for “restaurants in raleigh nc”?

raleigh restaurants search traffic

The yellow and the blue sites are both on page two of google, while the purple, red, and green sites are enjoying being on the first page.  Do you think these sites are seeing a difference in traffic to their restaurants because of their rankings?  Personally, I know I’m always looking for new restaurant ideas online.

So if you’re trying to get in front of people who are looking for exactly what you do in 2012, it might be time to invest in search – and investing in the prospects that are looking for what you do.

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How to Generate Google Reviews

by Jason on December 5, 2011

Don’t be afraid.  I know it can be very intimidating.

You don’t really want to bother a current or past client to ask for reviews.  You’re not sure what to offer them for writing a review.  And you’re just a little bit concerned that some clients that you think are satisfied with your work might not be, and they’ll give you a less-than-stellar review.  And so you simply don’t ask, and your Google Places page is left untouched, unpromoted, and mostly unvisited.

All of those are somewhat valid concerns, but overall, they’re minor annoyances that you need to overcome to make sure potential clients are comfortable with buying from you.

Think about it for a bit.  If you’re not asking your clients that are satisfied with your product/service to write a review, what type of clients are going to be the ones to write reviews?  The not-so-satisfied ones.  And do you want those reviews to be the only ones that are showing up?  No way!  You want your best clients to be shouting from the rooftops (in the figurative online sense) about how amazing you are!

Thumbs Up Reviews

Plus, generating reviews can help you out with search.  That’s right.  Part of google melding map results with the natural search results, and part of their algorithm, is how many reviews you have.  And once you have at least five reviews, you’ll get a star rating, which will show up upon any Places page impression.

So how exactly do you generate reviews?  The trick here is pretty simple…just ask.  Ok there’s actually a more refined process than that, so here are a few key steps:

  1. Ask in an email. Overall most of these will be in the Keep it Simple mode, meaning Keep it Simple for your Clients.
  2. Provide the link to your Places page in that email.  That way, in just one click, they can go to the page to write the review.  Also, use the short-code url instead of the 500-character url that most Places pages are naturally (if possible – google has been off and on recently about generating short-code links).
  3. Don’t offer anything. That can look a little cheesy and desperate.  It’s best to just be honest and ask, something to the effect of, “As we try to grow our business, positive reviews can mean a lot.  Would you be willing to write a short review about your experience with us?  Thanks so much in advance!”.
  4. Get personal if you can.  A canned email doesn’t always get it done.  If you can add a few lines to make it personal, that’s very helpful, the client will feel special, and you’re more likely to get that review. (“I hope you and your husband had a great time!”, “Don’t forget to tell Bobby to floss”, “We’ll see you again at 60,000 miles!”).

Before you know it, you’ll have dozens of reviews, and your prospects will be wowed before they even contact you!

If you need any more help, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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Local Search Webinar

We run our Local Search Webinars twice a month.  Usually they’re on a Wednesday or Thursday at 2PM or 3PM, and the next one will be Thursday October 20th at 3PM EST.  I know you’re very busy and you don’t necessarily want to commit to a half hour in the middle of the afternoon.  But […]


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