Local Search: What is it and how does it help businesses?

Local search example
Local search example

It’s simple. Web searchers type in the name of a city and the service desired into a search engine. Within seconds, a dozen or so of business websites, ratings and reviews appear in the results. The tap of a finger on a smartphone can begin directions or make a phone call to any of these places.

It’s called local search, and it’s an umbrella term for Internet resources that help consumers find businesses in their area. Today, 54 percent of Americans use local search to help make decisions on which businesses to use for their needs.

The greatest benefit of local search is the accessibility to information. The Internet is now held in a majority of front pockets and accessible 24 hours a day. Download our white paper to find out how to optimize your business for local search.

 

How TAG can help you improve your Search Engine Optimization

SEO
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It’s very frustrating for a business owner to type in keywords related to their industry only to find his or her website on page two, three or even four of the page results. After all, most Internet users typically never go beyond page one of the search results.

Websites with low on search visibility get fewer clicks and don’t attract authoritative links from other websites. A poor search ranking doesn’t necessarily mean a business isn’t as liked or respected as its competitors. It just means the business hasn’t been taught the ins and outs of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. That’s where TAG comes in.

TAG works with its clients to improve SEO – the ability for a website to appear in top web search results. The first step is to understand who their customers are and where they come from. TAG has a great tool for this – we call it a TAGmap™.

During this process, we sit down with the client and take a good hard look at the clients’ goods and services, strengths and weaknesses and define business goals. Then we take the results and build personalized marketing strategies to maximize growth.

Potential strategies include:

  • Optimizing website content to use trending keywords in search to aid in search visibility
  • Creating social media profiles and using content to help build website traffic
  • Claiming and improving the validity of website listings

Contact TAG today to discuss your SEO options to improve your business!

Brian Marshall, Digital Marketing Specialist

Three ways Google AdWords can amp up your online advertising game

Google tops more than five billion searches daily and reaches more then 80 percent of all Internet users worldwide.

It’s no surprise then, its advertising service Google AdWords is so successful. It allows businesses to showcase their products and services on all that is Google – at a scalable fee.

Read on for three ways Google AdWords can amp up your online advertising game.

Paid Search

Google users rarely visit page two of their search results. Therefore, when a website is not organically in this top dozen or so, Google AdWords’ paid search helps boost traffic to the site by placing a link to the webpage either at the top or side sidebar of the search list.

Under the umbrella of paid search are extensions. The increasing number of blue underlined phone numbers and addresses under search results make getting into contact with businesses easier than ever. Desktop users no longer have to click on the site and search for this information and smartphone users can instantly call or get directions to the business.

Online Display

Online display allows you to show your advertisement on virtually any webpage. Simply choose your geographical target options (location, age, gender, etc.) and it will be displayed on a related site.

Remarketing

The latest addition to Google AdWords, remarketing is the process of “tagging” Internet users who visit your site, and then having your ads follow the person to where they cyber surf next.

For example, when your customer purchases an item from your website, they will see more frequent advertisements from your business on any website they visit in the future. Creepy, maybe. Effective, yes.

Specific strategies and target tactics are the backbone to a successful Google Ads campaign. The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone. Email me today for TAG Team expert assistance in managing your Google Ads.

Brian Marshall is Google AdWords certified.

Not your father’s SEO

S-E-O:  Just three letters that represent the way to get your businesses website on the map in the world of search. Google, the ultimate arbiter of all things search, has spoken on the topic of engineered SEO techniques, and the message isn’t subtle.

The most talked-about search algorithim updates (‘Panda’, beginning in February 2011 and ‘Penguin’ beginning in April 2012) are game-changers. Truth is, today’s Search Engine Optimization encompasses some things not traditionally considered as SEO just a year or two ago. On the other hand, some of the staples of yesterday’s SEO packages are all but irrelevant.  Sure – keywords, metadata and page titles are still around, but they have little to do with page ranking in and of themselves.

For today’s SEO, keywords are woven into page content instead of stuffed into the programming behind the page. That programming, known as metadata, is still relevant in areas like page descriptions (which end up being the words displayed below your search result).

Creating unique page titles (don’t begin them with your business name) for your site’s pages is also important … but more so are things like blogging, social media and integrated public relations. The ultimate goal is to make content king when it comes to page rankings. If there’s a need to get high search visibility in an area that your website really isn’t known for – well, there’s always paid search.

Staying on top of all these things is pretty tough. Need some good advice? Let us know about your challenges to being seen on the web in the comments. We’ll be happy to help out!

Brian Marshall does search engine marketing (paid and organic) and other digital stuff at TAG Communications.

Countdown to Timeline

The ever-changing social media scene has little tolerance for downtime – figuratively or literally. That should serve as enough of an introduction to the biggest change in Facebook Pages for Business since they’ve been called Facebook Pages for Business. For those of you running Facebook pages who’ve just gotten familiar with Welcome Pages, ‘Like’ Gates and those really tall profile pictures: it’s time to readjust. You’ve got until March 30 to get it down.

That’s when the new Timeline for Facebook Pages becomes the only game in town for page administrators…and it’s a game-changer for presences using welcome pages and multiple custom apps in a few important ways:

·         No more changing the default landing page to one of your choice. This redefines the use of Welcome Pages as a new visitor tool for like – building.             .

·         Reduced app visibility means that more creative and frequent posts to encourage engagement will be necessary.

·         Old posts and content will be a lot easier for the visitor to see with the new Timeline treatment.

Despite the challenges, opportunities to be creative abound with the huge cover photo opportunity at the top of the page, the ability to “pin” a post to the top position on a page (until something else gets pinned or seven days go by…whichever comes first) and the ability to “feature” a post and double it in size. I haven’t even mentioned the new Message feature that lets page admins talk one-on-one with your fans. If you have an active page, you can imagine how many times that one will come in handy!

For those who’ve activated Timeline on their personal profiles, this isn’t too different. Don’t worry. It’ll be fine…unless you’re one of those people who hate change.

I bet you’ll come around…just give it time.

(P.S. Have you had that irritating thing happen where the timeline keeps resetting to the top of the page when you’re trying to read? It’s probably your browser refreshing – check out this link. Don’t miss the comment thread.)

Brian Marshall is TAG Communications’ Search Engine Marketing and Social Media dude. (okay, specialist.)

With Mobile, “Why Can’t You?” How the Mobile Tech Explosion is Destroying our Excuses

Recently I and several thousand other Quad-Citians  took in a Fourth of July tradition – a barge-load of fireworks displayed up-close and personal (close enough for the still-warm debris to rain down around us!).  With rare presence of mind, I whipped out my new whiz-bang mobile phone and started shooting video. Oh, but that’s not it: I streamed my video live to anyone who went to the website my video-streaming application providesme and shared instantly via multimedia message with my son in Texas. This took almost no additional time or effort, and brings me to my point:

Doing and sharing anything, anywhere, anytime is now largely limited to how much doing and sharing you’re willing to put up with.

It’s really not that you can’t. Not so much, anyway. There’s a certain subset of today’s host of technological tools that’ll leave you scratching your head (even after you’ve watched the video demonstration)  but, honestly, they’re making it pretty easy.  And, it’s only going to get easier.

So, the next time you tell your sibling that you have no way of knowing where the nearest Chinese food is when you’re driving in a town neither of you live in…remember to look up Google Maps with Street View (for mobile) or the Layar app for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.  After your mouth drops open (it’s cool…almost everybody’s does), you’ll begin to see what I mean.  Somebody has figured out (or is working on) a way to do just about anything on the go that you can do at your house…or your desk.

Yeah, it’ll take some time…and patience. But learning a few new tricks (or a lot of new tricks) is a small price to pay for admission to the Information Age.

It’ll be fun. Trust me.

The Sprint EVO: To Buy or Not To Buy? Surviving Superphone Summer 2010

So…you’ve been caught up in the hype.  The wireless phone in your pocket/purse/pouch that was top-of-the-line just a few months ago has now reached the end of the line. The sizzle has fizzled.  I know your pain.  You are a postpaid smartphone customer like me – on the brink of decision and caught in a war zone.

The first shots in the salvo of superphones set for the summer of 2010 have already rung out: The HTC EVO 4G landed on Sprint June 4 with a dizzying spec sheet (more here), and the blog scandal – fueled speculation about Apple’s iPhone 4 became real with its public announcement June 7 (details here). There’s more heavy artillery on the horizon; Motorola is widely rumored to be preparing two new Droids – one with a QWERTY keyboard and one without – for release in the July/August timeframe(more here), and Samsung is reportedly readying the launch of the Galaxy S handset in the US in late July (details here).

The early returns are making one thing clear: There’s some all-new stuff you’ll be able to do on the go, and it’s up to us to sort through the features that define the new top tier of smartphones. The new benchmarks for comparison include:

  • Front and rear-facing cameras (hello video calling!)
  • 1 Gigahertz (or faster) processor
  • Cameras capable of high-definition video recording
  • Larger or higher-resolution screens
  • Capability to operate on the newest high-speed data networks (WiMAX, LTE, HSPA+)
  • Wi-fi Tethering (using your phone’s data to connect other things to the internet)

Most of the new high-profile phones have most of these features; some have all of them. The key benefits come to those that use the cool multimedia capabilities of the phone – you know, the streaming video and music, social networking and location integration, downloading the hottest new apps, yada, yada, yada. The pertinent questions we have to ask ourselves:

How much are you willing to spend per month?  Most of these phones will be had for $200 or less with a commitment to a 2-year plan…but it’s the plan cost that you’ll feel after you walk out of the store.  Do the math.

How much do you really want to do on a phone?  If you’re like me, you want to be capable of doing any and everything that’s possible given the current state of tech. I’ll figure out which ones to add and drop after I’ve tried everything.

Hope this gives you some of the insight necessary to make your battle plan. Fire in the hole!