January 2012 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Random Free Hosting Site

We'd like to congratulate Boerne Reservations for being the winner of this month's free site hosting. At the beginning of each month we will call up our own site's homepage. Whomever's site is the featured site when the page loads will get FREE hosting of one domain for one month. It's just our way of saying thank you.

Mobile Users Continue To Increase

The number folks using mobile devices to view the Web is growing at a phenomenal pace, and is forecast to overtake the desktop Web use in 2014. That means more users will access the Internet by mobile device than a desktop PC for the first time.

Approximately 900 million people currently access the Web with mobile devices, compared to 1.4 billion desktop Internet users. In 2014, mobile Web users should outpace desktop users and by 2015, the number of mobile Web users is expected to grow to 2 billion.

According to the August, 2011 edition of eMarketer, 33% of mobile users are looking to access local Internet content with relation to their GPS location. This means more people than ever will want to view your site using a wireless network and a mobile device such as a Smartphone or tablet computer. It also means if you want to survive and thrive, you have to adapt, and make your Web site mobile friendly.

We're here to help you. Contact us about adding some mobile friendly content to your site and stay ahead of your competition.

Beat Your Competition in Local Search

Since about 20% of searches are local and the majority of their over $30 billion in revenue comes from small businesses, Google has decided to go vigorously after local small business advertising dollars.

We've covered this topic a number of times in our newsletters, but only about 8% of local businesses have actually claimed their Google Place Search page. Even less have fully optimized their business pages. However, this is quickly changing. Many local businesses are realizing the importance of Google Places pages. If you have a local business, the first place potential customers begin to find you is on your Google Places page using their smart phone. You want to make sure your site is at the top of the list for your category and here are some ways to get a jump on your competition's local search:

1. Stake Your Claim!

Have you claimed your page? You need to claim it because it's possible the information is not accurate and the more fully your page is filled out the higher it is ranked in searches. But before you can add information to your business page you need to claim it. Google verifies your claim to the page by sending a postcard by snail-mail with a confirmation code or (faster) by sending a message to your phone.

2. Complete All Information

Once you have claimed your page you want the information to be accurate and complete. So take some time to check. Is the address the same? Have you changed phone numbers? You will want to add pictures, videos, links to your Web site, reviews, coupons and as much pertinent information about your business as possible. There are a couple of reason for wanting to do this. First you want your customers to have the most accurate and relevant information about your business. Next you want to completely optimize your Google Place Search Page because optimized pages get ranked first. The better optimized your page the higher it ranks in local search. In most cases your customers may find your Google Place Search page before finding your Web site so you want this to be as attractive and complete as possible.

3. Citations Citations Citations

Citations are listings and references made to you in other local directories. Google aggregates links and reviews from other local directories and places them in your Google Places listing. So this also is a factor in determining your rank in local search. Get listed in as many other local directories as possible to boost your rank in Google Place Search. Directories, such as Yelp, are highly trafficked directories and people may find your business there as well.

Here is a list of 15 local directories where you can get your business listed quickly. Here is a more complete list of 100 local directories.

Another trick is to use YouTube as a citation source. On your YouTube video description make sure you include the same name address and phone number that is on your Google Place Search Page and include local tags in the tag section and Google will pick this up as a local citation.

To get even more citations you can use a free service called Whitespark which will give you an even more in-depth list of local directories. If your niche is highly competitive, these extra citations may mean the difference between getting a top listing or not.

4. Get as Many Reviews as Possible

The number one rule with reviews is to be honest. Google is smart and you don't want to get caught an have your site's ranking penalized. In some cases it may be illegal.

Some business owners have their customers write hand written reviews right there in the local business. They then upload the scanned version of the review. With the customer's permission you can also just input the review online right then and there. Many customers have smart phones and they can place the review directly online themselves while they are in the establishment.

You can even incentivize your customers to give you a review. Maybe you could give 10% off or a coupon if they place a review online. Be careful, some directories allow this others do not.

The more reviews you have the higher you are ranked on Google Place Search. Also people look at reviews before making a purchase. Reviews seem to be the push that some potential clients need to fall off the fence in your direction.

New Sites Joining Us Or Completed Recently

Help these folks by visiting their site. All ya'll will remember how hard it is to get those initial "hits" so the search engines notice your site. So take a minute and visit their site.

  • Alsatian Wedding Venue & Restaurant - Alsatian Restaurant is where you can have your wedding, rehearsal or any family event at a first-class venue. We promise a fantastic experience with a full variety of settings for anyone's needs.

  • G3 Miniature Donkeys - They raise a select group of donkeys in different colors that have been bred for confirmation and temperament.