How to Rank Your Business Locally

Do you have a local business that needs to rank higher in search engine results? Then today is your lucky day. Here are some vital tips on how to make sure that your all-important geo-targeted audience can find your business immediately.

Have the Right Category Associations

Based on a survey conducted by Moz, this is considered the most important factor in getting ranked locally. And, for an obvious reason. How can people locate you if your business is not in the right selected category. For example, if you are an electrician in Chicago, then you have to select electrician in Google’s (or Yahoo! or Bing) pre-set category taxonomy. If you select restaurant, then your business will not rank in relevant search terms. You can select up to 9 categories to help narrow down results.

Also remember that while describing the details of your business, make sure that you use the right keywords that describe the business; proximity of business’s address to the town/city of search; and the you include the most up-to-date information for your business.


Have On-Site Optimization


On-site optimization simply means that your website contains both locally optimized title tags and and meta descriptions. These are what people will notice when they search for local businesses since they will appear the title.


You also want to make sure that your website contains geo-targeted keywords on everything from page titles to the content that you create. Your NAP (name, address, phone number) contact information should appear on the header or footer of every page of your website. And, please make sure that all of this contact information remains consistent (same spelling, punctuation, wording and address).


Bonus Tips: Embed a map by getting a HTML code when you enter your address on Google Maps. And, make sure that you use stronger keywords. Wordstream has listed 8 tools to help you discover what people are searching for.


Get Listed on Local Search Directories


Whether it’s a hyper-local directory or a national directory, getting included in a third-party local business directory is an absolute must. Just remember that you need to submit and have your business verified first, which is why you everything that described you business is current and accurate.


Some of the most well-known local business directories are: Google PlacesYahoo Local, Bing LocalYelpMerchantCircleSuperpages and Yellow PagesCitysearchAngie’s List and Zagat are a few other suggestion. You can also use a tool like Whitespark Local Citation Finder to discover more local directories.


One final word about citations. Don’t submit your site to every directory out there. You may think that getting featured on hundreds of local business directories will cast a wider net, but that’s not going to happen. Stick with directories that can help people find your business. For example, we’re been building up citations to PBInstitute for helping children with substance abuse.  If I were to build up citations from a plumbing site…it’s really not going to help at all.  It’s actually going to hurt them in the long run.  Keep it all related and it’ll help you 10x more in the long run.


Earn Positive Reviews


One of the best ways to get your local business to rank is through positive reviews. To accomplish this, having outstanding customer service is required. Kate Morris states on the Moz Blog when you do this, you are giving “them no choice but to tell people about you.”


Other ways to have people leave reviews is by dropping hints, like including buttons/badges from sites like Yelp on your website; reminding people to leave a review by mentioning a local business directory on receipts; and/or asking customers to rate their experience via an email following a purchase.


Finally, make sure that you engage your audience through the social media platforms where your customers spend the most time. However, don’t plead for reviews. Use social media to interact with customers, such as announcing an event; resolving concerns or questions; or sharing relevant content. Also include social buttons on your website, it just makes life easier for your fans. Reviews will follow this type of engagement.


Measure and Analyze


Finally, use Google Analytics to discover information about your customers, which local sites are increasing traffic to your site and even the type of opportunities that are available to capitalize on for local search.

What is Affiliate Marketing

affiliate_marketingAffiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products.

You find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.

  • You’re happy because you earned a commission…
  • The company is happy because they have a new sale from a customer that they might not have normally been able to reach…
  • And the customer is happy because they learned about a product from you that will hopefully fulfill a need or desire.

The beauty of affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to invest the time and effort to create a product to sell. You can begin selling something as an affiliate as soon as you have a platform to sell it on.

Affiliate marketing at its very core is about relationships, a relationship between three parties:

affiliate-advertiser affiliate-publisher affiliate-consumer
In the world of affiliate marketing, an advertiser can be a company selling a product like electronics, airline tickets, clothing or car parts, or an advertiser could also be an insurance company selling policies. The most important thing to remember is that you are an advertiser if you are ready to pay other people to help you sell and promote your business. A publisher is an individual or company that promotes an advertiser’s product or service in exchange for earning a commission. Advertisers contractually agree to work with a publisher, then provide the publisher with creative – in the form of links, banner or text ads or even unique phone numbers – that the publisher incorporates into their website. The final component that completes the affiliate relationship triangle is the consumer. The consumer is the one who actually sees the ad and then makes an action (either by clicking a link or by submitting their information via a form) that takes them from the publisher’s website to the advertiser’s to complete the action, which we call a conversion.

Learn more about Affiliate marketing [wikipedia]


5 Things To Stop Doing With Facebook FanPages Right Now!

Everyone wants a Facebook page, and when they launch they are so excited that they don’t think about what they should do after pushing their pages live.  People want fans, followers and everything else possible.  While I agree using social media is a great way to build a following, interact with your readers and drive traffic to your website; there are some very large mistakes I am seeing across the board with friends, companies and Bloggers.  This post will list 5 of them and why you need to stop doing these things with your Facebook marketing and FanPages.

1.  Inviting your friends to like your FanPage

This sounds weird right?  You have a company and you build a fan page for it so why wouldn’t you want your friends to see what you’re up to and like your page.  Because this causes a serious decrease in the amount of exposure your posts can have for your actual audience, your customers and your company’s fans. Here’s why.

If your Facebook page is about online marketing like mine, most of my friends don’t work in this niche.  If I invited them all to like my page, they wouldn’t interact with the posts which would in turn tell Facebook that the content isn’t relevant and it would stop Facebook from showing it to more of my Facebook FanPage Fans.  Try it, share something and ask a bunch of your fans to click like and if you want to share it (but sharing will skew this because the shares increase reach as well).  You’ll see an increase in exposure and reach.  Then post and if no one interacts with it, it should have less of a reach and get less exposure.  With that said, if you have industry friends, work friends in the same niche and role and friends that would generally find at least 90% of your posts interesting, those are the ones you want to invite to like your page.

These friends will click like on your posts, share them and comment on them.  These interactions should work with Facebook’s algorithm to say that the content is good and to keep sharing it and showing it to more of the pages Fans.  The big thing to remember is that if your friends wouldn’t click like or be interested in at least 90% of your posts, don’t invite them to like your page.  Instead wait until your customers, clients, Journalists and Bloggers, twitter followers that actually follow you (not a follow me follow you back) and industry people start to find you and like your page.

Your audience will grow over time and you’ll be fine.  Don’t hurt your page in the beginning by having people that aren’t interested in your company or services like your page and then end up ignoring your posts or clicking the I don’t want to see this in their feeds when it shows up.

2.  Talking about yourself instead of others.

The next thing is when someone starts a blog for their company or Facebook FanPage, they talk about themselves.  Although it’s great that you like yourself and your company, but that isn’t always interesting to the rest of the world or your user base.  Having some posts with your company and what’s going on helps to show that you are real people and can be fun and interesting, but not all of the time.

You have to share other people’s content and things that your Facebook Fans like, would find interesting or want to share.  If you have cool foods on your page, even if you can’t make them, they could be shareable helping to bring you more exposure and helping to show that your content is engaging.  The trick is making sure it is also relevant to your company, your products or services or your audience so that as people share it they may like your FanPage and you now have their attention and new potential customers.

On a side note, if you add images to your shares, make sure to click on each image and label them with a link so that when people click them they have a link to click through and go to your site.  The link can be the first comment or in a few other places.  This is key when doing single or multiple pictures in a post on a FanPage.

3.  Posting but not tagging the site you are sharing.

The next thing I keep seeing is that companies or social media experts keep sharing other people or companies content which is great, but they don’t tag the company, Blogger or other FanPage.  By not letting that person know you’re sharing their content they probably won’t find that you shared their content.  By letting them know you’ve shared their content or website, they may return the favor and share your site or FanPage on their page, or say something like “Check it out, we were featured on XYZ company’s FanPage.” and other times they may mention you on a post or a tweet to say thank you for mentioning them.

Being on their radar can help get them to share your content and hopefully drive more likes for your pages and customers for your business.

4.  Setting up pages with no contact information.

Many pages I come across have no way to contact you or your company.  Even if you don’t want to give your home address or phone number because you’re a blogger or work from home, give a link to your website or website contact form.  It’s great that people can see what you’re doing, but if you get them to want to use your services, give them a way to reach you.  This is even more important if it’s an angry customer so that they can come to you instead of posting about the issue they are having on your FanPage where everyone else can see it.

5.  Not using tracking or insights.

The last common mistake with Facebook FanPages and marketing is to test everything.  Facebook gives you analytics tools with a pixel to track conversions and your FanPages have insights to show everything from when your audience is active to what is working, what is not working and what people are doing with your content.

By checking out your insights once or twice a week and tracking the progress from your posts, you can start to get more of a reach into your fanbase based on actual numbers and results.  This can help you to start to be more successful with Facebook. These tools are free and show you what is happening with your content, so use them to help your company grow.

There are a ton of other issues I keep seeing with FanPages, but these are good starting points that can have an impact on pages with a large following or ones that are starting out.  Please feel free to share some of the common mistakes you find by leaving a comment below, and if you find this type of information interesting, like my page and then like this post.  (Had to put that there…sorry lol).