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Missing Town and Businesses in Google Maps

A few days a go I received an email from a local chamber of commerce that a town that they work with is no longer showing up on Google Maps. None of the businesses show up and when you perform a search on Google for a business within that area, it will give you the closest location, but obviously not the one you are looking for.

This is not the first time that this has happened and I believe it comes from data getting indexed and going through the maps algorithms. How long will it take to get back up? Great question. The best way is to let Google know on their support forum. I have had very good experiences with Google getting back to me on questions and issues I have had problems with.

There is another blog posting that was in the email I received and it seems that they are trying to follow this and let it be known: http://blumenthals.com/blog/2010/03/17/google-maps-what-happens-when-you-loose-a-town/

So, the moral of the story is, “You get what you pay for”, but I would highly recommend if this happens to your city or town, to ask a question on the Google support forums and patiently work through the problem.



Local Web Design Hints & Tips

Local Web Design

If you own a business in a specific geographical area, we have some tips for your website. These hints and tips are focused to help your website in the search engines and make it easier for online visitors to find out more about the products or services you have to offer.

Place a Google Map on your website

It is a well known fact how helpful Google can be. Their Google Map program isn’t any different. It can help online visitors get directions to your business and show them where you are located. Just a word of caution, make sure that when you type in your address, that it is in the correct location. We have had instances of the map data not being up to date!

List the names of the cities where you conduct business

This can be good information if you drive as part of your service and drive only to certain areas within a 30 mile radius. Naming the cities you conduct business in is also good information that Google likes to see. You may rank high in the search engines by just naming a small city you can do work in!

Link to other local businesses that compliment your specific business

This is a great way to build some trust with online visitors. Listing other businesses that compliment your business gives the user a little more information about other services you work with. When that user contacts you, they know they are dealing with a company that is experienced in the industry.

Write an article about how you helped a local business or consumer

This is great information to show your online visitors and it looks good to the search engines. Not to mention, customers that are featured somewhere like to brag that they are featured and it may drive traffic to your website.

List testimonials of your work on your website

This is great information for online visitors to see. Consumers like to see that the company they are dealing with has a good reputation to work with.

List your business address on each page of your website

Having your website address on each page is great information for online visitors and for the search engines. When your contact information is listed on each page, an online visitor has instant information. This can be a critical component for your website. It is also a great way to help your website appear in local search engine results.

Place pictures of your work online or of local businesses or consumers that you’ve completed work for

As stated before, online search engines like to see instances of city names somewhere in your web page. Having a picture and a description not only shows online visitors where you’ve conducted work, but also is another instance of a local city name where you conduct business.

Now get out there are let your customers know where you are so they can do business with with you!



Local SEO | Is your website being found in the local search results?

SEO For Local Search Results

Is your website being found in the local search results?

Local Search Results
It should be. Many online searchers today will search for keywords along with the city they live in to find local results. This can be a huge benefit to your business. Many people, us included, would prefer to do business locally. It is very convenient to be able to drop by and get to know the people you are working with. Having your website properly optimized can help Google locate your address and phone number and be found locally. There is also an option to add your business listing with Google and they will place it in their results as well.

Importance of having a website that is properly optimized

Show up before competitors

The search results and SEO is similar to the real state motto “Location, location, location!” There are few people who go past the third search result page when they are searching for certain information. Listing on the top, or close to the top of the first page is the ideal location for customers to click and find the information they are looking for. The faster the customer gets in contact with you by being at the top of the search engines, the faster you can let them know what you have to offer.

Conversions

Along with the optimizing for the search engines, it is also very important to have the website optimized for usability. Make sure there are no broken links, broken images, and spelling or grammar errors. Make sure the navigation is clear to the user and that the text and font are easy to read. Make sure you have calls to action, contact information on every page (preferably at the top of the page) and that the graphics are crisp and clear. All of these factors play a role in increasing the conversions on your website and turning visitors into customers.

Relevant information for visitors and search engine optimization (SEO)

Keeping the information on your website relevant to the topic of the page is important also. If you specialize in selling dog houses, place relevant information about dog houses on the first page. This will answer any questions that the visitor has about your dog houses and entice them to contact you and ask some questions, or finalize the sale. I’d be careful about also placing information about real estate houses on the same page, the user is on your website and found your website looking for dog houses. Give them the information they are looking for. Keeping the content information “tight” around a particular subject or topic increases the power of your website to show closer to the top of the search engines for particular related phrases.



5 Ways to Make More Money With Your Web Site

5 Ways to Make More Money With Your Web Site

We all want to make more money with our web sites. There are ways you can invest to get quicker
results. These 5 tips are ways we have seen that are critical in order for your web site to draw
in more clients, which means more ka-ching, ka-ching for your business:

1) Get your web site built by a professional organization.

Some professional web design companies (like Midwest Web Design) have been studying the way
of the internet for years and have watched it grow into the useful tool it is today for
information and business. Getting your web site built by a professional web design company
takes advantage of this knowledge. A business can save huge amounts of time and energy
that they can spend on building other parts of their business, such as advertising,
infrastructure, future contacts, etc.

2) Invest in search engine optimization for your site.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as they call it in the business, can have a huge effect on the profitability of your web site. SEO helps a web site to be found easier in the search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN. With approximately 92% of people online using search engines to find information online, it is obvious why companies would like to rank higher up in the search engines. SEO deals with keywords, descriptions, densities, articles and other bits of information that are picked up by professional web design companies.

“Having a web site built by a professional organization does have its benefits”

Don’t be fooled by internet marketers that promise “Number 1 Spots on Google,” this is not the sign of a professional. Prorofessional web design companies that know Google won’t promise a “Number 1 Spot” and they also won’t run away with your money once you paid. We have seen clients who went with these internet marketers because of what they “offered” and have came back to us feeling taken advantage of and left with an empty wallet. Once again, having your web site built by a professional organization does have its benefits!

3) Make your site useful and easy to navigate and read for your visitors.

You should be making your site valuable to customers by showing:

  • Business Hours
  • Services/Products
  • Offers or Coupons
  • Company History
  • Email Address
  • Having the Site Easy to Navigate

Each of these are key ingredients for customers to find your web site useful. We highly recommend our clients to have all of the above.

A web site also needs to be easy to navigate. Less clutter and making your site easy to navigate can make a difference sometimes overnight. Don’t be fooled by thinking you have to have a graphically-heavy web site in order to have customers order from you. In our experience, the more simple the better, both from a user standpoint and from a search engine standpoint.

4) Add your web site to your other forms of advertising.

We are amazed at the number of businesses that do not have their web site listed on all their forms of advertising. It is one of the most valuable forms of advertising in business today. Period. The more information you have on your web site, the better. Customer make decisions while they are on a web site. Think about it, without a web site they are unable to make any decisions and you won’t get the sale.

5) Invest in internet marketing for the search engines.

Companies such as Google, Yahoo, MSN and others offer services that allow a business to be placed in certain positions that will drive targeted customers to your site. Don’t be fooled by internet marketing services that promise 800 clicks a month. You want targeted traffic to your site. Targeted traffic offers the best conversion rate from visitor to customer.

These are some of the easiest ways to make more money with your web site. Keep in mind that having a professional web design company build your web site will maximize your time and stretch your advertising dollars. They know all the little tricks and shortcuts that will help you use your web site as a tool to make more money the most effective way possible.



Organic Search Engine Listings and P.P.C Search Engine Listings: How can they benefit my web site?

Organic Search Engine Listings and P.P.C Search Engine Listings

What is all this talk about how the search engines can help my business make sales? If you are wondering how the search engines can benefit your business in terms of ROI, you’ll want to pay attention and find out the main differences between the two types of internet advertising.

First, the main search engine we will be talking about is Google. Google has a majority of the market share when it comes to searches made on the internet. There are other search engines which have similar programs, (such as Yahoo or MSN as well as others) but in our opinion, at this time Google does the best job of coming up with the most relevant results. We will use them as an example so you have a better idea of what to expect when advertising your web site on the internet.

google's organic search and price per click search breakdown

“Organic Listings”

Organic listings are the results that come up when a person conducts a search on Google. The organic results come up in the middle of the page, or the left of the screen, however you view it. Organic listings are the web sites that are most relevant to the words used by the person’s search. It is rumored that Google’s search algorithm looks over 200 factors to gauge how relevant a web site is when relating it to keywords that a user types into their search engine.

What this means to the business owner is this:

There are many factors that are considered in order to appear in the organic listings in Google. Unless you have the time and energy to learn about:

  • Meta tags
  • Search directories (both good and bad)
  • Paid search directories that pull greater weight with search engines
  • Writing articles
  • All the other aspects relating to showing up higher in the search engines

We recommend that companies leave it to a professional web design company to make the best use of your money.

“PPC listings”

PPC stands for “price per click.” This type of listing is located on the right side of the screen when Google search results are displayed. Companies set up an account with Google and they let customers bid on keywords. When a customer bids on a certain keyword, Google looks at what others are bidding for the keyword and then circulates your ad with others according to an algorithm and the amount of a person’s maximum price per click for a given keyword.

“We recommend that companies leave it to a professional web design company to make the best use of your money.”

What this means to the business owner is this:

This type of campaign can be done by anyone, but just like anything else, what you are paying for is some experience. If you don’t know what you are doing, a PPC campaign can cost huge amounts of money and have very little return on your ROI. If you have the time to set up a PPC campaign and do the research then try it out. Otherwise you might be interested in hiring a professional web design company that knows how to optimize and outperform the competition to make the most of your online advertising budget.

What’s better Organic or Price Per Click?

To say one type of listing is better than the other is incorrect. Like anything else, a little of each is the best in our professional opinion. We believe that (and have seen a trend) that suggests that PPC will continue to grow and be the fastest way to have a web site listed higher up in search results and in front of customers who use Google to perform searches. Although most people look at organic listings, the ability to appear on the first or second page is getting harder every day. Competitors are putting more and more money into trying to achieve first or second page status on competitive keywords. It is definitely possible to rank on the first or second page of Google, but be prepared to open your wallet.

Which should I choose?

Here are 5 things to think about when you wish to do some search engine optimization or search engine marketing for your site:

  1. Main goal of your campaign
  2. Your budget
  3. What products or services are most profitable for your company?
  4. Should I hire a professional or should I try this myself?
  5. What type of image do I wish to portray?

The main goal of the campaign should be very clear. It is necessary to know what you are trying to achieve so that the steps that follow will be a smooth sequence, be consistent and will not confuse your potential customers.

The budget you have available is another key consideration to look at when thinking of taking your web site to the next level of internet advertising. Don’t think that you will have an organic first page Google ranking for a competitive keyword for $20. You are investing in your business, not buying a t-shirt at a circus. Clients usually spend between $100-$2000/month to get decent rankings for organic rankings as well as PPC. The name of the game is ROI. A $2000/month online advertising bill is not much, when it could possibly bring in $15,000-$25,000/month in new sales.

“When considering an online marketing campaign, be sure to look at which items or services make your company the most money.”

When considering an online marketing campaign, be sure to look at which items or services make your company the most money. For example, if you have a construction company and your average profit for a roofing job is $1,700 and your average profit for building porches is $5,000, then you should obviously advertise both, but emphasize porches. Invest your time in building the part of your business that makes the most money for the time invested.

The question of whether a company should track the optimization by themselves is a question that should be answered before the campaign starts.

  • Are you going to put a full time staff member to take care of all the factors in implementing and running your online advertising?
  • Who is going to take care of updating the web site and links?
  • Paid search directories that pull greater weight with search engines
  • What tools will you use to make sure you are making the most of your online advertising campaign?
  • What about all the other aspects relating to showing up higher in the search engines?

All in all, there are many factors that go into optimizing and advertising your web site online. I wouldn’t even think about building a house by myself. The amount of time and energy invested would be overwhelming, not to mention the tools, knowledge of city building codes and permits and teams of people that are needed to accomplish a project of that size. We recommend that you let a professional organization take care of your web site optimization and marketing.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many factors to consider when comparing the organic and PPC search results. Organic search results are based on the web pages’ relevancy to the keywords typed into the search engine. PPC is a quick way to have a site listed on or near the top and it is based on the keyword chosen and the highest bid for that keyword. It is recommended that organic and PPC are used simultaneously to reach different types of consumers who look at each type of listing, to draw the most visitors to your web site. We highly recommend that clients wanting to start a search engine campaign talk to a professional web design company that has experience with search engine optimization and search engine marketing that will help achieve the maximum return on investment and stretch their marketing dollar as far as possible. In the end, making yourself easy to find makes a difference. Your clients will thank you for that by helping build your business.