Archive for December, 2007

More SEO Help for the Small Business Owner

December 31, 2007

After the previous post about SEO and small business, I found a few more articles I wanted to bring to your attention. As a small business owner, you need to take some time to understand the search engines and marketing.  Now I am not saying that you need to fully understand every aspect or do the work yourself. You need to know that SEO is critical for your website and you need to know some of terms, concepts, and processes. These articles contain some great information.

11 Steps to Successful SEO for Your Business by CarstenCumbrowski at Search Engine Journal is a great introductory guide to SEO.

SEO Is Not An Option, It’s A Requirement! by Jill Whalen at Search Engine Land is another good article discussing SEO and the web design project

Here is a two part article by Matt McGee at Search Engine Land:  21 Essential SEO Tips & Techniques and SEO “Don’ts”: 20 Fatal Mistakes You Must Avoid To Succeed 

“Small businesses are growing more aware of the need to understand and implement at least the basics of search engine optimization. But if you read a variety of small businesses blogs and Web sites, you’ll quickly see that there’s a lot of uncertainty over what makes up “the basics.” Without access to high-level consulting and without a lot of experience knowing what SEO resources can be trusted, there’s also a lot of misinformation about SEO strategies and tactics….”

We Want Your Input

December 30, 2007

Our goal of the ShowMeLocal Blog is to provide you, the small business owner, with helpful advise and information on how to use the Internet to promote your business.

With this in mind, we are asking that you send us questions you might have on how to use the Internet to promote and build your business. We will pick several questions each month and answer them here on the ShowMeLocal blog so everyone can benefit. As a thank you, we will provide a link back to your primary business website or ShowMeLocal profile.

Please send you questions to larry@showmelocal.com

Thanks and here’s to a great 2008!

How to Deal with Your SEO Project

December 18, 2007

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making or creating one’s website or web page to be visible and indexed properly in the search engines. The search engines take the pages they are given and then organize them based on a number of different criteria. SEO tries to take into account this criteria.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the process of marketing ones website or web page in the various search engines and directories. SEO is usually a part of SEM. Now that we have these terms defined. I wanted to spend a few minutes discussing SEO.

Search Engine Optimization is something that every website needs to deal with. Due the nature of the search engines and the dynamic nature of the Internet, most small business owners will outsource this need. One the issues that I have experienced is that the small business owner, really does not understand what SEO entails.

Matt McGee from the Small Business SEM blog, wrote a good article, Traits of a Great SEO Client: Commitment.

“What traits make a great SEO client?” “In short, if you want to succeed with an SEO campaign, a PPC campaign, a social media marketing campaign, you name it…you must be fully involved in the entire process. “

I can’t agree with Matt more. You, the small business owner, needs to know what is going on and work with those running the SEO project…ask questions, get progress reports, etc.

Another good article is by Steve Haar at Search Engine Watch.com: SEO Expectations and Commitments . Steve provides a nice outline on how to view any SEO project you might be involved in. When working with SEO you need to:

  • plan for long haul
  • be patient
  • set objectives
  • keep people informed
  • set expectations

SEO projects will vary from business to business but hopefully these two articles have helped you on how to deal with your SEO project.

Some improvements and updates.

December 15, 2007

We’ve been working these past weeks on some minor improvements to the site and here is what we have been able to accomplish:

Profile Pages:

1. Profile Home Page got a nice image collection under the main image.
2. Pictures and Videos page has new look and feel.
3. Business Network Page – got a makeover.

Business Dashboard:

1. Now your can attach Marketing Message to your business.
2. We have increased size of upload image to 1.5MB. It applies to picture and coupon uploads.
3. Blogs, Coupons, Jobs and Specials Management Pages got a nice addition.
Now you can activate/pause/delete posts in one shot without going to the items’ detail page.
4. Now you can “feature” and “un-feature” blog post on the post detail page.

Everyone Wants to Save a Buck

December 10, 2007

With the price of gas going up and holiday shopping in full force, the ability to save some money is on the minds of everyone.

The best way to help your customer is to provide coupons. I know that if I have a coupon in hand, I am more apt to make the purchase. Small business sometimes worry about providing discounts or coupons because of a fear of losing money. Yes that is a possibility but remember the goal of the coupon is to get the customer into your shop. Once they are in your shop, maybe they will purchase something else…

What makes a good coupon?
–attractive design
–clearly defined discount
–clearly marked expiration date
–no fine print

With the Internet, it is very easy for the small business owner to have and manage his own coupons. Online coupons provide a great way to promote your business (online) but also to help drive more foot traffic to your shop. The biggest statistic that we marketers are seeing is that most consumers are doing research online for a particular product but then driving to the local store to purchase it offline!

If that is the case, it is prudent to make sure you provide shoppers with online coupon(s).

What make a good online coupon?
–ease of finding them on your site
–attractive design
–ease of printing out
–clearly marked expiration date
–current! -can’t tell you how many online coupons that I find that are out of date!

ShowMeLocal provides a very nice coupon feature to all business profiles. With this feature, you can easily create and manage your coupons, add them to your Facebook profile or any website you choose with the content widget application.

In addition to coupons to drive traffic to your shop, there are the appreciation coupons. Providing coupons as a thank you to your customer is a nice feature; ShowMeLocal also has this option in the business profile section. You can provide coupons for those who provide feedback, a review, and or leave a comment.

Social online marketing is growing rapidly, so getting customer feedback is a critical. It is a no-brainier to provide coupons as a way to build your online reputation. You can get online coupons from many locations but I am not sure if they are as easy to use at ShowMeLocal’s. If you are curious, set up a business profile and see, it is free!

Do not Skimp on Advertising!

December 4, 2007

One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses do, is that they do not advertise enough. In the article “All my business is referred” by Local Search Hound over at ConvertOffline he says:

“I understand that referred business is the best and I don’t mean to come across like search is the only answer… could be yellow pages, direct mail etc. I’m just saying not to limit yourself.  And when ALL the business is word of mouth it says as much about your lack of advertising as it does your wonderfulness… so don’t make it an ego thing… you will only hurt yourself.”

He makes a good point.

With the Internet and its many opportunities to advertise on-line, there is no excuse for a small business NOT to invest some time and money into the World Wide Web.

Some of the things a small business should consider:

  • website
  • search engine submission
  • submission of business data to local directories
  • building links
  • pay per click advertising
  • participating in on-line communities

The best way to advertise on-line (as with any form of advertising)  is to set some goals, determine how much time/money to be spent, and if you want to hire someone or do it yourself. There are many things a small business owner can do for himself while others need some technical assistance.  There  are plenty of “self-help” sites out there (simply type out what you are looking for in Google and bet you find a ton of site) or you can email questions here.

“If you build it, they will come” simply does not work. You have to be proactive in getting your name out there on-line. The biggest issue I see from the small business owner is that they “write off” the Internet before they ever look into it. If you fit into that category, take a few minutes and look on-line and see what is out there. Is your competitor on-line yet? Odds are he is or will be very soon.