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Issue 19
Sunday, October 16, 2011





Letter from the Editor

Welcome back to the latest issue of the Shoestring Entrepreneur Newsletter!.

There was no issue published last week and I apologize for that. I was very busy with some consulting work and didn't have a chance to create an new issue. All of that is resolved this week as the Shoestring Entrepreneur is back and ready to go.

In this week's newsletter, I'll share an article titled "The Importance of the Search Engine Connection." In it we'll look at the reason SEO is so important for you no matter what business your in.

To your success,
Brian Carson


The Importance of the Search Engine Connection

by Brian Carson

It's a well-established fact that most consumers search for local products and services using the Internet now instead of the Yellow Pages.

Now, let’s look at a couple of specifics when it comes to consumer search engine usage:

  • Surveys show that 85% of Internet users find websites through search engines.
  • 98% of people searching for something online never go past the first page of search results.


These powerful statistics show how crucial search engine visibility is when it comes to connecting with your local customers.

Most people today go straight to the search engines to find local businesses. So naturally, this should be a major focus when it comes to marketing.

Google.com, Yahoo.com, and Bing.com are the three largest search engines in the world - Google being the largest.

In fact, there are approximately 250 million searches for products and services performed per day on Google alone.

You probably understand how the search engines work if you use a computer. But just in case you don’t, here’s a brief description of how Internet search engines work.

  • People go to their search engine of choice and enter a few words to describe what they’re looking for in the search box. These are called “keywords.”
  • The search engine returns results based on those keywords.
  • The person doing the search scans the list of results to complete their search.

Obviously, the higher ranking websites receive the most attention, so this is where you want to be.

There are several different types of results that come up in the Google search engine:

  • Sponsored/Pay-Per-Click Ads - ads that you pay for
  • Google Places - free local business directory
  • Organic Results - websites that rank naturally (also free)

Your goal as a business owner should be to own a high-ranking spot in all of them.  Organic (natural) search result listings receive 85% of all clicks, as opposed to only 15% for Pay Per Click (PPC), so shoot for organic rankings even if you decide not to do PPC.

The higher the better... Since 98% of consumers don’t go past page one when doing searches, you at least want to be on page one.

So, how do you boost your search engine rankings to attract new customers?


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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Many of the methods discussed in this report are considered “search engine optimization (SEO).”

Some business owners shy away from SEO thinking it’s some huge monster that’s going to eat them alive.

However, SEO is something that can help them generate more leads, customers, and sales for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising methods.

SEO is a process of optimizing a website to improve search engine rankings.

In a nutshell, this is the process of getting traffic to your website.

This is achieved through “on-site optimization” and “off-site optimization.”

On-site optimization should include the keywords that your business would like to rank for as well as a few other key components.

Keyword research is the most crucial part of the SEO process because the keywords you target mean everything.

Get it right and you will see major results!!

Get it wrong and it will be a waste of time, energy and money.

You can do keyword research in the Google Keyword Tool. Simply enter your main keywords into the tool and review the results.

The results will show what keywords people are searching for and how many times each keyword is searched for each month.

This is powerful information for you because now you know what keywords to target in your SEO campaign.

Off-site optimization involves getting relevant backlinks to your website as well as establishing a strong presence spread out all over the Internet.

This includes articles, press releases, videos, Facebook, Twitter, and any site other than yours. The more you have out there, the better.

All of these sources will contain a link back to your website will help your website rank higher in the search engines as well as giving you stronger online visibility.

You can even create a network of “mini-sites” for your business that targets different keywords and link back to your main website.

SEO is one of the most important ways to improve your profits while reducing your advertising costs. While you can try to do SEO yourself, most businesses opt to hire a professional SEO firm to help them achieve faster results.

Google Places

Another excellent way to get great search engine visibility is by listing, claiming, and verifying your business in Google Places.

Google Places is a local business directory that allows you to profile your business and share information such as videos, photos, and hours of operation.

Google automatically lists most businesses in Google Places with very generic information - some of which is inaccurate.  

Therefore, it is extremely important for you to claim and verify your listing.

This process will allow you to correct any inaccurate information as well as share additional information about your business.

In order to claim and verify your listing, you simply fill out your profile and then submit it to Google.

They will contact you via phone or postcard with a verification PIN number to activate your listing.

You will enter this PIN into your Google Places account to complete the process.

Google Places works 24/7 for your business when it comes to connecting with local consumers.

This powerful platform gives your business “credibility” in the eyes of local consumers. Complete Google Places profiles simply receive more attention than those that are not.

Google Places is also extremely mobile friendly. Mobile users are constantly searching for products and services in their local area while on the go.

Google Places allows your business to come up right on their mobile devices.

Your customers can even reviews of your business on your Google Places page.  Even better, you can actually respond to those reviews and build a strong relationship with your customers.

This will look good to people who find your page before calling you up to do business. We will discuss reviews in more detail later in this report.

Google Places business listings come up in search engine results when someone searches for your type of product or service online. In fact, Google Places usually gets more attention than organic listings when it comes to local products and services.

Usually, the top 3 results gets the most attention so you should strive to rank your website as high as you can.  Of course, the number one spot is the ultimate goal.

If you decide to setup your own Google Places account, here are a few tips just to recap:

  • Be sure to fill out the complete Google Places page including pictures, videos, coupons, and any other information you can.
  • Include relevant and accurate information about your business on your listing.
  • Select the right categories when completing your listing for maximum effectiveness.
  • Try to get as many customer reviews as possible. Offer something to your customers in exchange for them posting a review on your Google Places page.

Brian Carson

Brian Carson is the president and CEO of the Market Ownership Group. Before founding the Market Ownership Group, a marketing consulting/business coaching company, Brian owned three brick-and-mortar businesses that he ran profitably for over 15 years. Brian sold them off to focus all his attention to the formation of the Market Ownership Group, founded in 2008. Brian has created marketing strategies, done for you marketing materials and given advice in a diverse range of businesses, from restaurants to barber shops to online only businesses to small retail stores, and financial advisors. If you would like to grow your business to new levels of profit and growth, or if you need help starting a business from scratch, email the Market Ownership Group at bricar@marketownership.com.

 

The Brian and Lee Show

On this week's episode of THE BRIAN AND LEE SHOW, our guest will be author and entrepreneur Wayne Breitbarth. Wayne is the author of the new book, “The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success”. He’s a Certified Public Accountant who received a BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an MBA from Marquette University. He is an owner of M&M Office Interiors in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

 

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