Web Marketing Best Practices for Local Businesses

Trumpet Local Media Blog

Should My Business Advertise on Yelp?

Should I be Advertising on Yelp? Many local business owners wonder if Yelp advertising would help get more customers in the door. Certainly Yelp thinks so, and the Yelp sales reps will sell advertising to ANY business – whether it’s a good idea for them or not. The problem is that for 95% of businesses out there it’s just a waste of money. I tell small business owners all the time to never ever ever spend a dime on Yelp. Even if Yelp advertising might be beneficial for your business, chances are very good that there are several better ways to spend your limited marketing budget. The truth about Yelp Advertising I personally love Yelp as a Yelper for my own personal use and also as a marketer. It’s a powerful App and I appreciate the whole Yelp ecosystem. And Yelp ranks on page 1 for the majority of local searches conducted in the US. It’s the #1 ranking business directory. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good place to spend money: #1 There are only a handful of business types that people regularly rely on Yelp for and it’s likely you are not one of them. The Yelp App home screen gives you a hint: These categories are on the home screen for a reason. Are people in a hurry to search for carpet cleaning on Yelp? Acupuncture? Personal Injury attorneys? Despite what the Yelp sales reps tell you, Yelpers care about getting trustworthy real-world customer feedback about purchases they are considering soon – as in ice cream, a bagel, coffee and gas stations. When you click on …More Categories here’s what they offer: #2 Most of America has little consumer adoption of Yelp. In the San Francisco Bay Area I personally know many people who don’t conduct searches on Google. They …

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How to Submit a Business on Acxiom

How to Submit a Business to Acxiom Submitting your local business on Acxiom is a big deal – one of the most important Local SEO tactics available. It’s not easy to find where to go to begin so let us help you. Here’s the page: https://mybusinesslistingmanager.myacxiom.com/# It’s free but you’ll have to jump through some hoops to complete the process. This is why it’s so beneficial. Less-than-legitimate companies won’t be able to complete the submission which creates greater trust at Google. According to Acxiom, submissions are redistributed: Directly to over 80 companies in the Internet Yellow Page and Local Search marketplace Directly to the largest search engines 250+ distribution partners through online private labeled solutions Directly to the top directory print publishers Hoop #1 – Your Password Is Too Weak You’ll need to create an account first and the password requirements are strict: Password must be at least 10 characters long, have no consecutive repeating characters, and contain a minimum of one number, one upper case letter, one lower case letter, and one special character. Hoop #2 – Only 1 Business May Apply If you attempt to create more than one account from your office, they will stop you in your tracks: There was an error processing your request: IP address already used by another user Auto-fill from your browser won’t work on this page and they make you start over from the beginning, those that carry on are already showing their tenacity. Boom! Now that you have your account set up you’ll search for your business. If it’s not listed you can add a new business. This brings us to…. Hoop #3 – Business License Required Basically, the business name & address you are submitting must be an actual legitimate licensed business with the exact business name & address on the license. …

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Where does Siri get her information?

Where does Siri get her information? Most people won’t even ask this question or even wonder. It goes like this: “This is my awesome new iPhone. I trust Apple. I trust Siri. Look at this killer packaging! I’m hungry. I need food now – near me.” But where does she get her information? Apple is a direct competitor of Google and billions for dollars are at stake. To search on the internet on your iPhone, you’ll need to download Google’s apps to do that. Siri uses Apple Maps to give you answers to your questions about what is “Near Me”. Don’t believe me? Just ask Siri. It goes like this: Today I was inside Melvin’s Market in Sisters, Oregon. I was in line with my local raw honey and two avocados when I asked Siri to find a “Grocery store near me.” Siri has no idea the Melvin’s Market even exists. Melvin’s does not have an Apple Maps listing. Siri is sending me 1) .08 mi down the road to Melvin’s competitor, or to 2) an ice cream shop down the street that is miscategorized as a grocery store, or to 3) some General Store at Black Butte Ranch that might have nightcrawlers and Bud Light but probably not what I’m looking for. A voice search on Google’s app on my iPhone shows me much better results. I know Melvin’s Google listing would appear since I helped Melvin claim his listing and optimize it. (Disclosure: This Google screenshot was not grabbed inside Melvin’s earlier today. I did this just now while writing this blog post and yes, I’m .2 miles away). The bottom line is this: If you have a business and want people to find it – make sure it’s listed (properly & accurately) on Apple Maps. If you just unwrapped your …

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Google My Business Phone Support 2016

Google My Business Phone Support 2016 <UPDATE> December 30, 2016 This link to get to this phone support is working again! Google My Business Phone Support   <UPDATE> November 3, 2016 On your Google Listing dashboard, click the menu icon at Top Left. Scroll to “Support” A help dialogue box will appear. Scroll to the bottom of this box. Options for Phone, Live Chat, and Email may be available. Good Luck & Have Fun! – – – – – Their customer support is awesome. Often the link to get to this phone support is hard to find. Here it is: Google My Business Phone Support I used this just yesterday for a listing verification issue. I find their reps to be very reasonable and helpful. They called me back immediately and my issue was resolved. So as of August 2016, this is working. If in the future this link doesn’t work, please let us know so we can get it updated.

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Google Maps Business Name Spam Alive & Well in 2016

Google puts great effort into providing the very best possible search results, as that’s primarily how they earn their money. In 2015, their annual revenue was $74.5 Billion. So you can imagine they have a great interest in also stamping out businesses that cut corners with spammy tactics to rank on page 1. And for most businesses, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to rank on page 1 in the Local Pack. The listings went from 10 to 7 to 3 and now we’ve got 2 and 1….with more ads. It’s TOUGH! I thought there was NO WAY something as simple and familar as business name spam could still be a thing in 2016, but I am wrong. Okay let’s see. We’ll take a look at an industry I’m familiar with (Mental Health) in cities I’m familiar with. Let’s do a search for “Psychologist San Francisco” – this is as simple and easy as it gets. Remember, out of Thousands of Psychologists in San Francisco – this coveted #1 spot goes to someone not playing by the rules. Dr. Jennifer Gans has got it made. Let’s try another related search in San Francisco – “Therapist”: This is Google Maps Business Name SPAM. Whether she knows it or not – Dr. Stacy Weibley is breaking the rules but still ranking in that powerful spot where her phone is ringing daily with new prospective clients. The #3 spot is held by Uli Ramon, who appears to have a website using all sorts of tricky SEO tactics yet I’d bet just about anyone that her actual business name is not “Therapy San Francisco | Uli Ramon”. Now, come on! Let’s get more specific with our searches in San Francisco and see what happens. Let’s try “Child Psychologist”: What’s going on here? Adding Category descriptors in the …

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Does Local SEO Really Work?

Does Local SEO Really Work? Well, Let’s take a look a few Trumpet Local Media clients from 5 years ago. In 2010, Helen Knight had learned of me and called. She was an “Energy Healer” in Boulder and was just starting out to create an actual healing practice at it. As is common with most “healers” the key is to ACT like a brick-and-mortar business, even though you might work out of your home, or relocate often – or meander wherever the wind is blowing. I stressed this up front with Helen. If you want to spend this money on Local SEO, your business address/phone must stay consistent, otherwise you will need to start all over again with a new phone #. “Got it! Let’s Go.” So off to the races we went with her business Dreamtime Healings. The first step was to determine what she offered, specifically, and then match that with what the keyword research revealed. The overall winner was the word “Reiki” and related phrases. “Well, that’s not really how I’d describe what I do,” She said. “But if someone  is searching for Reiki in Boulder, CO, is it appropriate for your business to show up in the search results?”. Of course it is. For years now, Helen has been maxed out at 20+ clients per week and she’s even struggling to meet demand for her services. Here are the search results today: Get Specific about what your opportunity is for Local SEO More appropriate for Helen is that she does her own style of “Energy Healing” and while she may have training in various healing modalities, we each have our own unique gift. You’d be surprised how many people are searching for variations of energy healing in Boulder. Let’s take a look at how Dreamtime is doing online now: Just …

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Geo-Targeted Services Pages: Is This a Good Idea?

Many local businesses serve customers beyond the town that their business is actually located in. Consequently, we are often asked by our clients what is the best way to get a website to rank well for a particular service in a specific city/town. This is an important topic – especially for businesses in suburbs or rural areas populated by many smaller towns. And it’s a delicate topic due to a long history of SEO tactics used in unscrupulous ways – otherwise known as Black Hat SEO. When we’re asked, “Can you help us to rank everywhere for everything we do?”, our answer is – “online advertising”. But there are some SEO options if employed in the correct way.  Two SEO techniques to promote rankings in a wider geographic area: 1) Set your Google Business Listing to “Service Area Business”, aka “SAB”. This should allow your Google listing to show up in the Local Pack for searches throughout the service area you determine. 2) Create what we call “Geo-targeted Services Pages” on your website. If you provide a specific service to a certain location, it’s perfectly acceptable to create a web page to inform your customers about where, how, and why you do it. For this conversation, we’ll focus on #2 – Geo-targeted services pages and give an example: Our client, Promaster Handyman Services is a successful and rapidly growing business in Ohio. They now have multiple locations and provide their customers a wide array of services throughout the greater Cincinnati area. They actually do provide specific services in particular communities and reached out to Ramblin Jackson for advice on how to promote their services. We worked together to create new services pages describing how they perform wood rot repairs in Mason, Ohio and how they fix wood rot and dry rot in Loveland, Ohio.  These web pages should rank well …

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Offline Signage: Does your signpost suck?

**UPDATE 5-10-2015** It appears that this business is now closed. Trada was shut down by their creditors. Perhaps it’s safe now to link to my true feelings from 2012 about how this is the worst logo of all time. Perhaps some of the $19 Million they raised should have been spent on a new logo. That would not have made much of a difference on their bottom line, but having the worst logo of all time might be a signal that other things aren’t doing so well either. If you are a business owner, you may have found yourself driving around town looking at signs of other businesses – and judging them, studying them, and understanding what makes a good sign vs. one that sucks. It’s amazing how terrible some signs can be. Really, what were they thinking?? Elements of a good signpost: 1. Can people read your sign? Is it understandable? Pronounceable? Clear? Legible? 2. Does your sign convey what your company does? What service it provides? Is it a mystery? 3. Does your sign look great? Is it attractive? Appealing? Catchy? Noticeable? Special? Cool? 4. Will your sign stick in my head when I need the product or service you are offering? Let’s look at a few signs: 1. McGuckins Hardware in Boulder has some awful signage. Yes, it’s true everyone LOVES McGuckins and we all know what it is and where it is and that they sell everything awesome. But take a look at their signposts: This sign above the North entrance  is not sexy – but it’s clear. I know what’s going on here. What is this above the West entrance? Is that a Logo? A fancy “M h”? Is this clear? The rest of the sign is behind a tree. I’m not really sure why this …

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The Elements of Local Search Optimization

In a Nutshell, these are the elements of Local SEO campaign: 1. Search Engine Listings: Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local Search – Most important of these is Google Places (now called “Google My Business”). Having accurate and consistent information is critical to your online presence and rankings. 2. Accurate & Consistent information in what’s known as Google’s “Trusted Data Providers” – business directories online where Google collects data about your business. Inconsistent data (especially Name, Address, Phone) can ruin local rankings. 3. Citation Building: Citations are online mentions of your business. More citations are better but they need to be consistent and accurate. 4. Niche Industry & Hyper-local directories: In Googles opinion, if your business (Chiropractor in Denver for example) is legit then it would be listed in (specialized directories of chiropractors and also denver-specific directories). 5. Other Local factors: Having online reviews about your business is very helpful, as it enhances trust that customers are engaging with your business. Quantity of reviews matters. Has anyone included your business on custom Google maps? Are you engaged in Social Media locally? 6. Website SEO & Link-building: Currently the top 3 or 4 listings in Local are known as “blended listings”. Blended listings take info from Google Maps algorithm and the Googles Organic Search Algorithm to establish ranking. The strength of the businesses website SEO & inbound links are very important factors for ranking. Potential Issues with Local SEO that may need to be addressed: 1. Reputation management: If your business already ranks well, does your ranking positively reflect your business? 2. Inconsistent Information. Inaccurate data diminishes trust and thus reduces ranking potential. Citation “clean up work” can be tricky and exhaustive. The culprit is often an address change or the previous use of call-tracking phone numbers in advertising. 3. Mystery Problems: There are …

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How to Get Online Reviews for your Business

Yes, online reviews are important. In fact they can make-or-break your business! Here’s the scoop: The words in the review itself give [ranking] signals to Google – so keywords do matter, and thus, longer reviews are better. Good reviews are great. Bad reviews are not the end of the world. The more reviews the better – no matter if they are good or bad. If you solicit reviews – send people to more than one place to write reviews – Google, Yelp, Citysearch, Superpages are good ones (in that order). I’ve been lately hearing from local businesses in Colorado that Yelp reviews are generating lots of new customers. Don’t ignore Yelp! Most Businesses struggle with reaching out for reviews. We don’t recommend just adding a mention of reviews in your email newsletter. It’s just not effective. Don’t just put up a small sign in your office or on the door. Nobody cares that your business is on Yelp. What people want to know is that you care about them. Set a goal to get 5 reviews. Be inspiring. Make it easy for your reviewers. Start now.   The very best way to get reviews is this: Reach out individually to your customers or clients and ask for a review. Period. I’ve got a great example for you – it’s from a medical clinic here in Boulder who had accumulated a considerable number of reviews on Google. Their practice ranks really well and is operating at capacity. Most of their new patients found them online and each had read the reviews to make their decision. How did they know? They Asked! How did they do it? I too had become a patient of theirs after a minor whiplash episode, so I experienced it first hand. It went like this: #1) A few days after my first visit to the office, I got a phone call – a follow …

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