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5 Ways to Effectively Market Online in Your Local Market

Search engine marketing is the single most effective way to drive local traffic to your business website. The goal with any SEO program is to get your website to the top of the search results based on keywords of your business and your competitors. When your website dominates Google search results, you can be assured that the SEO strategies you are driving the optimal traffic to your business’ website.

There are four main types of search marketing tactics: natural search optimization, paid clicks or pay-per-click (PPC), local directories, and map marketing. Each of these unique tactics offers different advantages; it is when they are strategically blended together into an SEO plan they yield the best results. A comprehensive marketing strategy that includes all of these elements gives your website significant advantage over your competitors. The end goal is to have multiple listings on the first page of Google, which is when you know you are properly optimized. This ensures that customers seeking the products and services you offer find you first; the more times you appear on the first page of search results, the better chance you have of getting the customers you desire.
Local Directories and Map Marketing
Remember when you used the Yellow Pages to find a local business? It took forever to find the category you needed, and even longer to choose the company to call. Now, people just type their local search parameters into Google or other search engines to quickly and easily find local businesses. More and more consumers each year are turning to the Internet to research companies, products and services, before they buy. Search engine marketing is the key to harnessing the profit power of your local customer base; traditional Yellow Page advertising is expensive and doesn’t drive customers to your website that provides 24×7 information.

A typical search query by a potential customer often looks like this: “Manhattan Italian cuisine restaurant.” In a Google search, the search engine displays a local map of the area and the top 10 listings for restaurants in Manhattan offering Italian cuisine. Submitting a listing for your business to the biggest local search engines is undoubtedly a great way to drive local traffic to your website and to your business location as well, without the cost of paying for pay-per-click advertisements or other expensive off-line advertisements in your target area.

Natural Search Optimization
A natural search, also known as an organic search, mostly looks like a Google search on anything under the sun. Consumers use this to research products, services and companies before they buy. Of course, if your website doesn’t appear on the first page of results, your chances of increasing sales diminishes significantly. Of course Google isn’t the only search engine that consumers use; MSN, Yahoo!, Bing and are important to note as well. Organic searches are the most reliable of all search engine marketing tactics and are the most reasonably priced to implement.

Search engines use automated software called crawlers to comb the billions of websites on the Internet and bring back the most relevant results for a certain query. These crawlers use algorithms that determine the relevance of these websites and their corresponding ranks on the search engine results page. It is for these crawlers that business websites are optimized to using various on-page and off-page SEO techniques. The most common of these is the use of relevant keywords and optimizing website content. Increasing the number of off-page links to your website is also very effective. It should be noted, though, that the algorithms used to evaluate a website change every now and then to prevent business owners from designing their websites to be fully optimized for a Google search but not for the audience.

Paid Search (Pay-Per-Click)
More commonly known as pay-per-click advertising, paid searches are the fastest way to make your business visible to your target market. Unlike a local search and a natural search, though, paid search requires an initial investment, albeit smaller than the investment you put in traditional advertising media, to pay for every time a person clicks on the link to your website. In a Google search, a paid search result appears in the form of an advertisement on the top right side of the natural search results, allowing your users to see you right away instead of having them rifle deep into the search results first.

To succeed in business today, you must have a comprehensive search engine optimization marketing plan. It is not longer just about the number of visitors you receive to your site each day, it is also about the quality of the visitors, and how your website turns them into buyers. When you are ready to expand your customer base, grow your business, and experience greater revenues, it is time to implement an SEO plan that incorporates local search, map marketing, pay-per-click, and organic search to draw potential customers from your service area.

Push Local specializes in online marketing for small businesses.  Our services include search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, map marketing, and local directory submissions. 

10 Most Common Pay-Per-Click Mistakes

Since we manage a number of Servpro PPC campaigns, I have noticed that other franchises often make silly mistakes with their pay-per-click programs. Lack of testing, click fraud detection and mistakes while creating PPC ads are a few amongst them. Fixing all these mistakes could mean thousands of dollars worth savings every month or an extra revenue up to 70%.

Here is a list (since we all love these lists don’t we?) which consists of 10 most common mistakes committed by some franchises with their PPC (paid search) advertising campaigns.

1. Bidding Broad – when setting up your campaign it is extremely important to avoid any kind of laziness. In order to attract maximum traffic every industry has a giant keyword but there are lots of other keyword variations being searched. If you want to lessen your pay per click you should focus more on “long tail keywords”. In addition, your ads will be amongst the highest rankers if the keyword matches closely. Convert your 100 keywords into 200 by taking a look at your own web statistics to discover exact keyword variations used by people to search your product.

2. Geo-targeting – Even though what you sell is popular over the state, it is a psychological thing that people in general are more interested on seeking a local provider or at least a company which recognizes “their city”. Google and also some other search engines let you geo-target your PPC ads city wise. Create ads that include your city name in them. This way you will definitely get a greater click through rate (CTR) and consequently a lower CPC. Moreover, right from the beginning your visitors will be informed that you “recognize” and serve their location. One more “mistake related to geo-targeting, I have seen some franchises that have their ads displayed everywhere. If you don’t set-up geo-targeting, Google will automatically set your ads to display across the entire country.

3. Avoiding Display Networks – All paid search engines, be it Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc. distribute your ads to a network they have. Unfortunately, most of these networks don’t refer quality traffic. This in particular is true Servpro franchises – display clicks are wastage of money. You want consumers who are vigorously searching the search network for your service. The moment you sign up for Google Adwords, you automatically get placed in their display network. You need to opt out of each campaign, do this from the settings tab; by doing this you won’t have to pay for wasteful clicks.

4. Being Common and Boring – I have noticed many marketers go online to search a keyword, take a look at advertisers who are also competitors and produce ads accordingly to blend in with the “community”. Silly but true! Whenever you plan to generate a paid ad, first look at what all is being said by the advertisers and then come up with an idea which is unique yet relevant. It is tough but you have to realize what your unique qualities are and why people should opt for you. Just remember that it should be what your target market needs and cares about.

5. Not Bidding for Your Name – We have had great success with ads and campaigns tailored to the franchise name and cities that our customers serve. These terms are great because a homeowner may have been referred to these names by an insurance adjustor or neighbor that has had a water or fire damage.  Another benefit is that these terms are usually significantly less than the service terms of water and fire damage.

6. Lack of “Exact Tracking” – You should be capable of tracking every single visit to your website from PPC advertising through the exact keyword, ad group and campaign used. In order to do so you can combine your PPC campaigns with website analytics software or set variables such as “”. This is the only way to determine the efficiency of each keyword used to get traffic.

7. Paying for Negative and Worthless Keywords – Some search engines like Google let you report keywords for which you don’t want your ad to be displayed. If you are paying for keywords that are a “broad match” you will notice loads of visits from people who have typed your keyword along with another word like “Servpro jobs” or “Servpro stock” or “water damaged iPhone”. These are the visitors who are willing to pay $0 for your product or service; you don’t want to pay money for them. You don’t want to pay for visitors who are looking for ways to fix their iPhone. Make sure that you make use of “negative keyword folder” to prevent these worthless clicks.

8. Not Making use of Keywords in Ad Copy – Add keywords to your ad copy as they are the reason you are serving the ad. This makes your ad more relevant and also the keyword will be highlighted in bold. Simple!

9. Not Calling Google – Ok, I agree that it’s not nice to tell on someone, but my dear friends everything is fair in love and business also you have to play fair, you have complete rights to raise your voice when you notice a competitor employing bad techniques. You will see that on Google PPC result page some competitors have created various accounts and placed two ads simultaneously. This is against Google’s policy. Call Google and inform them if your competitor is going against the search engine’s rules and policies. You will be surprised to see how promptly they take care of the situation.

10. Keeping away from Brand Name Keywords – Unfortunately, there are many companies that don’t know how to take advantage of their competitors. How can this be done? Bid on their company/brand name. Just imagine…anybody who searches your competitors can instead become your customers easily. Why not make you ad turn up under those keywords? What if they saw their radio or TV ad and are looking especially for the competitor’s name? So the main thing is, bid on the brand name of your competitor. The ROI on these keywords is usually excellent.

If you’re interested, we can create a turn-key campaign based on all of these best practices. Please feel free to contact us anytime at (877) 690-6467.

Push Local specializes in online marketing for small businesses including Servpro Franchises.  Our services include search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, map marketing, and local directory submissions.  Some of the organic terms we go after for Servpro franchises include: Austin water damage, Hyde Park water damage, Austin fire damage, Austin smoke damage, Austin Servpro, and Austin mold.  Push Local has shown continued success marketing for Servpro franchises with a number of clients currently ranking number one for their targeted organic search terms.  

Google Places is Now Google+ Local

Now, you could argue, and some will, that forcing local business owners on to Google+ is yet another sign that Google is putting way too much emphasis on their desire to become relevant in social media, but the fact is, it’s still very much Google’s world that we play in.

The most frustrating aspect of this in my opinion is that it took so long. I’m guessing a lot of local business owners jumped in and built brand pages, so now what?

If you’ve created a Google Place page, as I’ve been advising as part of any local search plan, then you may already be aware that Google has moved your page onto Google+.

If you’ve got a Google+ account you can find your page through either local search or through the Local button that now appears on the left sidebar when logged into Google+.

If you don’t have a Google+ account, well, I guess you’ll get one now if you still want to play with Google.

Google has already flipped the switch and is showing these new Google+ Local pages when you conduct local searches in Google and on Google Maps. While you can still gain access to and edit your Places profile pages through the Places login, my guess is that will give way to Google+ profile editing at some point.

Here are some things to note:

Clean up your profile.

Now is the time to clean up your profile

When Google moved the pages to Google+ it made a mess. A bit like moving anything does, I suppose. Go jump in and choose and edit your profile image and banner image. Right now Google is either picking from photos you uploaded or simply using a map.

You might want to add some things to your profile as some of the customization you may have done previously could be lost. Add links to your page.

Check out the reviews

Google purchased the restaurant rating service Zagat a while back and it appears they intend to inject the Zagat ratings system into the entire review process.

Visitors now have the opportunity to rate your business using a point scale. Not sure how this will translate over into the services of a plumber or insurance agency, but it’s certainly worth noting.

Reviews that came over from your previous page are very messy now. You, as the page owners, have a period of time to clean this up. When you first sign into Google+ and find your page you’ll be able to tell Google+ if you want all your photos and reviews from your Places page to be moved and be attributed to you or remain private.

So, now any reviews that you had previously will simply show up as anonymous Google user. Seems like if you really didn’t have much going in the way of reviews, this is a bit of a do over.

It will be interesting to see how much more emphasis Google puts on reviews.

Here’s the bottom line in my view. No matter how you feel about this rather forceful move, Google looks poised to make it a significant part of the Local Search landscape and you can’t ignore that. My guess is there will be plenty of tinkering, adding and tweaking in the weeks and months to come. You can bet advertising and offers will move into this somehow.

Now is the time to get in there and claim, prune, decorate and otherwise take control of your Google+ Local offering.

Push Local specializes in online marketing for small businesses including Servpro Franchises.  Our services include search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, map marketing, and local directory submissions.  Some of the organic terms we go after for Servpro franchises include: Fallbrook Fire Damage, Oceanside Fire Damage, Camp Pendleton Fire Damage, Temecula Fire Damage, Fallbrook Mold, and Oceanside Mold.  Push Local has shown continued success marketing for Servpro franchises with a number of clients currently ranking number one for their targeted organic search terms.