SEO

Got Address? SEO For Local Businesses

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Are you a local business? A florist in NYC? A pet care provider in Houston? A restaurateur in Orange County?

If geography is part of how you want to be found – this “secret” tip is for you!  

One of the best — and commonly overlooked — free SEO tool is Google Places, a free service that allows your business to show up on Google Maps.

It is also the engine behind the new HotPot service (Google’s response to Yelp), which any businesses with a local presence should watch closely.

Here is my 3-step guide to Google Places: Continue reading

What Are You Talking About?

I am on a treasure hunt for good SEO content and I invite you to join me!

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You’ve probably heard that SEO is all about your content.  And this is mostly true: Google  — and other search engines — value unique and “fresh” content.

So if you want to be seen and found by Google, you need to a content strategy for your site.

Not sure what to write about?

Here is the good news: I bet you’ve done most of the work already!

On our hunt for SEO gold, I suggest you start combing through content you’ve already written, whether for online or offline consumption. This can include:

  1. Your blog or vlog
  2. FAQs on your site
  3. Product descriptions
  4. Guides and checklists: do you publish a holiday gift guide? a new baby checklist? a new job survival guide?
  5. How-to articles in your area of expertise Continue reading

Want SEO Strategies? Play The Family Feud!

Today’s blog is a departure from my regular SEO and marketing topics. As part of my campaign to My genius husband gets credit for this one: getting your top SEO keywords is like playing Family Feud!

SEO is all about connecting your ideal client — and the way she communicates with Google – with your web presence. Sounds simple enough, right?

The tricky part comes when you begin writing down the keywords. Although Google is scary smart, it is quite literal in matching keywords that are typed in to keywords that it can find on your site.

So if you and your client use different words to describe your business – Google’s “matchmaking” program may miss the chance to connect you two.

As business owners, most of us begin by describing what we are: esthetician, holistic wellness practitioner, marketing strategist.

Continue reading

Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads – Where Is Your Ideal Client?

It’s 2 a.m. and your ideal client, Angie, is up at her laptop researching baby eczema, because her 8-month-old son Conner is miserable. Angie is a conscious “earth mama” in Austin, TX and wants only the best, most “green” products or remedies for Conner. Is Angie more likely to Google “organic baby lotion for excema” or ask her Facebook friends?

The answer to this question can help you choose how and where to position your pay-per-click ad campaign for your new line of chemical-free, organic, pediatrician-endorsed baby care products.

For my clients, Facebook Ads is becoming a bigger part of the advertising strategy we create. Top reasons: besides the worldwide reach (200+ Million users), I am a big fan of Facebook’s targeting options. If you only want to have your ad  — about 150 characters of text plus a small image – displayed to married 25- to 35-year-old women who attended Arizona State and love soccer – you can be that specific!

This is where Facebook is different (and in my opinion superior) than Google.  Remember when you filled out your profile, complete with education and employment history, and then spent a long night listing your top TV shows? Facebook has that information and much more! As an advertiser, you can tap into this wealth of information and create uber-targeted campaigns. You can choose to only for clicks (for most of my clients Google recommends a bid of around $0.80 – $1.10 per click) or by impression (this means a flat fee regardless of how many people click over to your site).

So is this the end of Google AdWords? Hardly. Google is still going strong and processes about 60 Billions searches a day! And each search is an opportunity for an AdWords ad to be served up.  So when Angie, your ideal client is up at 2 am Googling “organic baby lotion for excema” she can see your ad for your new line of chemical-free, organic, pediatrician-approved baby products alongside other search results.

Here are some of the factors I use for deciding between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads for small businesses.

  • Your industry and competition: if your industry is dominated by big players with deep pockets (such as insurance, legal, or financial) AdWords can be prohibitively expensive for small businesses. The cost can be partially addressed by selecting more specific (i.e. “long-tail”) keywords and requires some research, planning, and possible an update of your website.
  • Your ideal client: is she searching for a solution to a specific problem (i.e. organic lotion of exzema)? Then Google is your ticket.  Or, is she part of a particular demographic you are trying to reach (college seniors in New York)? If your college senior prospect isn’t googling “nonprofit internship for Spanish majors in New York” he is likely socializing on Facebook and you can reach him there.
  • Bottom line: Facebook and Google have both created budget-friendly, easy-to-use platforms to help you get your message in front of your ideal clients. By doing some homework and research, you can pick one (or both!) and create a highly targeted and campaign to bring more visitors, leads, and sales to your website. I call that “connect with your ideal client.”

SEO and Your Website: 3 Questions to Ask Your Webmaster, part 3

In this “SEO begins with your website” series, we have covered meta data, and what to ask your webmaster regarding potentially-invisible images on your site.

The 3rd question I’d like for you to ask your webmaster is:

Is there any Flash on my site?

Flash is what enables the beautiful animation and interactive features on most websites.

The problem with Flash is that Google can’t read what’s inside.  The analogy I like to use is to see your website as a book: your URL is the title, your tabs are the table of contents, and your content is the text of the book. Then image that in the middle of the book you have a gorgeous insert.  Google doesn’t know how to read it so it simply skips it!

So if your mission statement, product names, or important news are hidden inside Flash, they are invisible to Google. Which also means they are invisible to thousands of potential customers who are searching for what you offer.

SOLUTION: There is a technical workaround that may or may not be part of your website code. Much like an <alt> tag for your images, this solution allows you to explain to Google what’s inside your Flash feature. Hint: ask your webmaster about something called <noscript>.