11 Off-Page SEO Rules to Outperform Your Competitors

These are things that will affect your search engine rankings from outside of your web page. These are very important for growing the overall popularity of your site and make it easier for you to rank well for your chosen keyword phrases.


Create excellent content because it affects the following:

1. How much your content is shared on social media…this provides important clues to search engines about the quality of your content.

2. How long a search engine user stays on your site. If searches on a search engine and finds your site, but clicks back right away, it will tell the search engine that you may not be very relevant for that phrase.

3. How often your content is linked to. If you have good stuff, people will link to it…but beware, search engines can detect quality links, so old self-linking practices are dead.

4. Make sure you have a social media presence and you readily encourage your visitors to share your content on social media. It’s important that you’re being seen all over the web, if you want Google to give you favour.

Ways to ensure you’ve got quality engaging content that attracts users and search engines:

5. Each page should be on one unique topic.

6. Your navigation is clear and all your content is easily found by humans and search engines.

7. Use attention-getting headlines to grab your visitors’ attention and so they know they’re in the right place.

8. Make your content easy to read by using short sentences and paragraphs. Keep your words simple.

9. Break up your copy with subheads and bullet points, so viewers can scan it easily…instead of having them click away.

10. Use images to draw the eye in and tell a story with your content. Humans are visual creatures and photos and other images can help retain their attention.

11. Don’t forget to connect with other website owners in your niche. Friends tend to share the content of others, so this is just a win-win for all of you.

Is Your Website Ready to Sell?


In the online world, it all starts with your website. You will need a professional looking website that displays your skills and creates trust within your target market so that people will want to buy from you. That starts with the copy on your website, the look of your logo, and the copy in your tagline. Take the work here regarding your website seriously. If you don’t project a professional image people will be unlikely to hire you.

How your website looks will depend on what services you’re offering. If you offer Graphic Design services your website should reflect awesome graphic design and show a portfolio of work that you’ve done. This will give your clients a good idea of what your style is. If you provide copywriting services, the copy on your website should be above average and demonstrate what you can do. Showing some before and after rewrites would be a great idea too.


A few tips that will help you create a great website:


A Great Layout


Your website should have a pleasing layout. Try not to be old fashioned with the way your website is laid out. Gone are the days with the top banner, two side bars, and middle content but try to avoid flash and strange entry pages.

There are fabulous layouts to chose from that look beautiful and allow the content to be presented in its best light. The best system to use is WordPress.org, there are a variety of free and premium templates and themes that you can use that will offer perfect layouts to choose from.


Informative Content


Still the lifeblood of your website, your content should be informative, interactive, instructional and inspire your reader to act. When writing content for your website never forget to have a purpose for the content, and a call to action for your readers.


User Friendly Navigation

website redesign

When a potential client clicks through to your website if they cannot figure out how to get around your site they will leave. You have mere seconds to impress them, so don’t make it confusing. Have navigation above the “fold” as well as at the bottom of very page.


A Telling Domain Name

Site Review

Try not to choose hyphenated domain names, and also choose domain names that are full of keywords. It will make it easier for your potential clients to find you if your domain name has keywords in it.


Revealing About Page

About Nicole

People like to buy from those they know, like and trust, and your about page is the place to encourage these feelings. Be honest, be clear, include a nice picture of yourself, and be professional.


Contact Information Clear


Nothing is worse than going to a website and never being able to figure out how to contact the owner. Ensure that not only do you have a contact page, but you have links to the contact page on every page in the bottom navigation.


Newsletter Sign Up

email mkt1

One of your best marketing efforts can happen via your newsletter. Offer a free give away such as a report, or a checklist in exchange for collecting email addresses. You can send out newsletters as well as new product announcements.



If Your Website Was a Piano…

A site map isn’t only for the computer bots to spider your site, it’s also for the human. If you create an excellent sitemap some people will click on “sitemap” to find everything they need. But, it’s also for general indexing for search engines.


Search Engine Optimized


You want organic traffic to your site, so use the tools you have such as all of the above, “on page SEO” and include some off page SEO by guest blogging, article marketing, and creating social media accounts.


Mobile Friendly


Today, you never know where someone is looking at your website from. We are a mobile society and it’s rather easy today, especially with WordPress to build a mobile friendly site.




This is for you, but install analytics on your site so that you can see what pages and what content are working best to keep readers reading, and to attract organic search engine traffic.

Top 10 Reasons Social Media is Important for Search Engines and Website Traffic



Search engine optimization and ways of driving website traffic have changed dramatically over the last few years.  It used to be all about the algorithms.  Then Google’s all-powerful algorithms were over-ridden by the phenomenon of social search as social media developed, grew and exploded into the collective consciousness.

Google fought back, creating, scrapping, re-creating and refining its own social media platforms and apps to compete with its major competitor, Facebook.  In fact, the two giants are running neck and neck, miles above every other social network.  Facebook holds # 2 ranking – both at home and globally, according to Alexa.com.

The emphasis Google has been putting on its own social networks should give us the biggest clue why social media is important for search engine and website traffic.

Namely, it works.

1.    Social Media Keeps Up with – and Enables – Trends

What’s the one consistent fact about internet culture, social platforms and technology nowadays?  It’s always in a state of change.  And one fact that is quickly becoming self-evident:  Whichever social network can adapt to the cultural mindset the quickest draws the biggest audience.

Have you ever seen documentaries that show how certain fish not only school together, but move as one fluid entity, shifting this way and that as if they possess one mind?  Well, social networks in today’s cultural climate operate exactly like that.


These networks go with the flow and are not manipulated by algorithms.  In fact, algorithms are being feverishly adapted to keep up with popular online connection practices and habits.

Both social media developers and Google programmers know this.  Changes in algorithmic practices have resulted in a shift away from rigid formulae to the phenomenon we all know by now as “social search”.  If even Google is rushing to follow social platform leads, that’s a powerful message about the importance of social media.

2.  Social Sharing is the New SEO

What makes Google sit up nowadays is the sharing capacity and performance of a site – not backlinks.  In fact, Google now penalizes backlinks from exact  anchor text, boosting sites in the ranks if their content is fresh, original, authoritative, comprehensive, spam-free – and above all, shared.

Want to rocket up in search rankings the easy way?  Follow the example of top-ranking sites such as Social Media Examiner here and install the Google+ “+1” button, as well as the “g+” follow icon.


And do install share buttons for the other major players – Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.

3.  Social Networks are where People Spend Their Time

3-mobile-and-handsHanging out on social networks has become as common in this era as watching “I Love Lucy” on TV was in the 1950s. If you aren’t sure what “I Love Lucy” is, at least now that times certainly have changed. It’s what people did, back then, to unwind after their work day.

Nowadays thanks to mobile phones, people don’t have to wait until “after work”:  They can – and do – quickly check Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter feeds any time, day or night.

In fact, Mashable published an infographic in November, 2012, showing that “social media accounts for 18% of time spent online”.  (But did you know that fastest growing segments are “males of all ages and people over 55”?)

People now habitually ask friends for opinions, check in at local businesses, complain about poor service – and visit websites promoted through social ads and social media Business Pages.

4.  Social Networking Improves Your Google Rank

There are two things you must do, to quickly advance in Google’s search rankings.  Number one is purchase a domain in your own name (if that is not already taken).  Next, join the top social networks and optimize your profile within each one.


Let’s take an extremely common name – say, “Ann Johnson” – and type it into Google’s search bar.  We have 243,000,000 results.  And out of that 243,000,000, which results come up in the top four positions?

Let’s take a look…


Top place goes to the Ann Johnson who was lucky enough to secure her namesake domain – www.annjohnson.ca.

Second, third and fourth results belong to Ann Johnsons who have profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  That’s a great example of leveraging the power of strong social sites – and the particular Ann Johnsons featured here didn’t just sign up and create any old profile.

They optimized their profiles, right down to the “Twitter” Ann Johnson creating a custom URL, “https://twitter.com/VoteAnnJohnson”.

(It’s more than probable that “https://twitter.com/AnnJohnson” was already taken, so she got creative and used a keyword –i.e. “vote” – relevant to her Twitter goal.

5.  Social Media Arouses Curiosity – and Sharing

If you are wondering how to make sure your content is frequently or virally shared (which can increase the value of your profile to Google over the profile of someone else who has the same name), then it’s time to pause before you press the “post” button.

The million-dollar dollar question to ask yourself is…

  • “Is this content share-able?”


If you don’t know what “share-able” constitutes, take a look at:

  • Posts that reap a storm of comments and shares from your target niche
  • Types of posts that gather more shares in your niche:   A particular website’s?  An incendiary topic?  A frustrating challenge?  Cute kitten photos?  Shabby-chic décor? Your YouTube Videos?  Photographs?  Instagram shares?

And above all, if people like your content, they share links to your site.

Dynamic, interactive and emotion-catching content is definitely one of the top ten reasons social media has become important to your search engine ranking

6. Social “Rich Media” Apps Make Your Content More Share-able

One of the biggest advantages social media endows, when it comes to driving traffic to your website, is in the number of rich media apps they allow you to easily install; as in videos, photos, links and sound clips.

6-twitter-cardsThis brings not only a degree of interactivity to your site – always a good thing when it comes to share appeal – but helps your site stand out and grab attention.

Not only that, but you don’t have to pay for developers or spend hours slaving over code:  The social networks have done all that for you.

Take, for example, Twitter cards.  These go in your website HTML so that when readers tweet or retweet your content, they don’t just tweet the link; they tweet your rich media too, as Adam Burrell shows in our example, left.

Not only does this drive traffic to your site, it gives you complete control on how it is presented.  To install the snippet of code for Twitter cards, visit the Twitter developers link.

Best of all, you can easily add Twitter cards through a dashboard-searchable WordPress plugin.

7.  Social Networks are Developing More Rich Media Resources All the Time

If there’s one thing social networks and developers do brilliantly, it’s creating apps designed to outdo the competition, send people to your website – helping you show up at the top of search results.


For example, not only does Twitter offer Twitter cards for your website, they sweetened your links by incorporating rich media into their own platform so you can instantly add a photo or location to your tweet.

8.  Social Networks are Competitive

And that’s good news for you!  The major players have the big bucks, staff, experts and resources to spy on and analyze each other’s results.  If you see a strategy such as rich media copied from one network by another, you can pretty much bet it’s a viable traffic-generation and engagement strategy – particularly when development competition seems to be fierce.

Another tip:  When people start blogging about a strategy or app and creating SlideShare presentations, you know that one is here to stay.  (Till the next one comes along, that is…)


9.  Social Networks Drive Online Traffic to Local Businesses

This should come as no surprise to anyone, but for local businesses who create online presences (as more and more of your competitors are doing nowadays) social media such as location apps (e.g. Foursquare) can really give an edge.


Apps such as these prompt people to “check in” and announce where they are via mobiles.  And people seem to love to do this!

10.  Reviews Drive Traffic

If you have a local business, social apps and networks are invaluable for providing your customers or clients with the opportunity to easily post reviews – particularly via Google+ Local.


Claim and optimize your Google+ Local space to attract people to your website or business, instead of your competitors’.  And one side effect will be that you attract targeted customers or clients who never would have found you, any other way.

Location, reviews, recommendations, “Likes” and photos or videos of your products or business – and most of all, the opportunity to let a wide market hear your unique “voice” – make social media not only important for driving traffic to your website, but vital to search engine rankings and results.

How to Claim Your Local Business on Facebook


In order for you to be able to manage your place, merge it with a page and in general take full advantage of your place’s capabilities, you need to claim the place as your own.

Claiming the place as yours will give you admin access. In order to do this, you need to be able to verify that you’re the owner of the business. You can do this either using the business’s listed phone number, a custom-domain email address or by sending in business documents (i.e. articles of incorporation.)

Here’s how to claim your business as yours.


Step 1: Find Your Business

Do a search for your business’s name. Click on the business in the results.


Step 2: Click “Is This Your Business?”

In this lower left hand corner of your place, click “Is this your business?”


Step 3: Click “Proceed with Verification”

Read the terms for claiming a business, then click “Proceed with Verification.”


Step 4: Verify Your Business

Enter as much of the information Facebook asks for as possible.


If your business phone number matches a listing on your website or other verifiable source, Facebook can call you to verify your ownership.

If your email address matches your business’s website domain (i.e. @mybusiness.com,) they can verify your ownership by email.

Otherwise, you’ll be asked to upload documents to prove your ownership or affiliation.
Claiming your business is that easy. Starting the verification process should take less than 30 minutes; and the whole process should take less than a week to complete.



Checklist for Using Facebook Places Effectively


If you use Facebook places well, you can generate a lot of buzz and publicity around your business, often for free. In fact, most of the buzz and publicity will be generated by your own users, with just a little prompting from you.

Here’s a checklist for using Facebook Places effectively, from the most essential fundamentals to more creative marketing techniques

1. Be an Active User

In order to really understand how people use Facebook Places, and to get into your customer’s heads so you can figure out what they want and how to serve them, you need to actually be a user of Facebook Places.

Use Facebook Places yourself to find restaurants, connect with friends and to make decisions on where you spend your time.

Pay attention to how you choose where to go, what impresses you and what turns you off about how other business owners have configured their Places.


2. Combine Your Page and Your Place

Upon completing the verification process for claiming your business, you’ll be able to join your page and your place.

Join your page and your place allows you to have a place with a wall where people can post comments, while still having a presence on Facebook Places. It gives you the best of both worlds.


3. Have Detailed, Professional Photos

Your photos will have a lot of influence over whether or not someone clicks on your place on Facebook.

It’ll also influence decisions on whether or not to go to your business. If there are three restaurants near them and one has spectacular photos while the others don’t, there’s a good chance they’ll go to that one restaurant.

Consider hiring a professional photographer and/or a professional graphic designer to help you get these photos.

Example: These cakes look delicious.



4. Description, Address, Website & Other Information

First and foremost, make sure the address, phone number and website information is complete, up to date and accurate. People will use your Facebook Place to try to find you or learn more about your business, so it’s crucial that all the information there is completed.

To add more info, just click “Edit” on a page or place that you own.


Then fill out the information.



5. Encourage Providers to Post & Host Discussions

Encourage service providers in your business to post on your wall and host discussions about their services.

For example, if you run a spa, have your masseuses post their massage times, client reviews, new techniques, etc all on your wall.

If you run a live music venue, have the bands interact with fans on your wall. Have them use it to announce up-to-the-minute news about the event.

Get the other people in your business involved. Everyone can play a hand in increasing the popularity of your wall.


6. Rewards for Checking In & Posting on Your Wall

While Facebook Places doesn’t have “badges” like Foursquare, there’s nothing preventing you from giving out your own rewards.

It could be something as simple as giving away a free meal to the person who checks into your business the most this month.

Announce the contest on your wall, then give an update on who’s winning twice a week or so. Keep up the competitive spirit, change the prizes around every month and build up some buzz around your business.


7. Run Facebook Ads

Facebook gives preferential treatment to ads that keep users in their system rather than sending them out. It gets higher approval rates (almost 100%) and often lower CPCs.

Facebook allows you to run ads directly to pages and places. While you may not always want to be running ads, a well-timed ad right before a major event or launch can make a big difference.

8. Tie In With Events at Your Venue

One very effective way to take advantage of Facebook Places is to host events. These events, when posted on your place’s wall, will appear as a clickable link.

Having events allows you to promote the event to the users of your place, as well as promote your place to people attending the event.

9. Ask Your Customers for Their Favorite Stories!

How do you increase user participation? Just ask!

A well-placed question, like “what’s your favorite story at [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][your business]” or “what topic would you like for our next open mic?” could easily spark a cascade of discussion, responses and shares.


10. Give Your Customers Special Deals

How about a free coffee if they order breakfast on a certain day? Or announce your customer loyalty program?

There are many ways to use your page and place to your advantage. Don’t overdo it with the promotions, but a well-timed discount every now and then can help boost sales for several days or weeks.

These are some of the most important fundamentals, as well as a few more creative and advanced marketing tactics. Facebook Places is still pretty new, but business owners who’re putting in the time to learn it are finding that it really pays off.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

FourSquare – The App that Buzzes Local Marketing


FourSquare is the pioneer of “check in” technology, has over 33-million members and is growing at an astounding rate.

How can FourSquare help you as a business?


Increase Customer Return Rate

FourSquare has a moderately competitive culture to it. Friends want to have more badges, more checkins and more mayorships than other friends.

Naturally, if they frequent your business, they’re going to want to come back even more often so they can check in more, get more points, more badges and perhaps even become mayor of your location.


Bring in New Customers

Other people will see their friends checking in to your location. If one or more of their friends are regulars, they’ll of course want to check it out for themselves.

The more people you get to check in to your business, the more new people they’ll bring in.


Create Buzz & Contests

If you create special incentives for mayors, you can often get a nice competition going amongst your customers.

For example, if you give the major and his/her friends all a 20% discount as long as they’re mayor, you could get a lot of people competing for the position. The discount will easily pay for itself in terms of increased sales.

FourSquare has also recently launched a program that allows you to create your own custom badge. This does require a small fee however.


Get Spot On Feedback


It’s rare that a customer will give a manager honest feedback. It takes quite a bit of effort on the customer’s part. Usually, managers only hear feedback when it’s a complaint.

FourSquare can change that. With FourSquare’s “tips” and other people’s “check ins,” you can get to hear what other people really think about your business.

They won’t feel like they’re leaving feedback for management; just that they’re sharing their opinions and tips with their friends. But you can use a lot of what was shared as valuable data to help improve your business in the future.

In order to take advantage of FourSquare, you need to first claim your location. This gives you administrative access, so you can add events, to-dos, badges and change other settings.


Step 1: Search for Your Business

Is your business already listed in FourSquare? If so, try to find it by typing in your business name and the city.


Step 2: Claim Your Business

If your business is already in the system, click on the “Claim here” button on the right hand side.

Click “Get started” when prompted.


Finally, tell FourSquare whether you’re a chain or not.


Step 3: Verify

FourSquare will need you to verify that you’re authorized to manage the account by either answering the listed phone number or accepting mail.

They’ll first prompt you for phone verification. If you can answer the phone, click #1. If not, click #2 to go to mail verification.
Upon verifying your authorization, you’ll then have access to your FourSquare location!


Step 4: Adding a Location That Doesn’t Exist Yet

What if your location isn’t in FourSquare yet? If that’s the case, you’ll need to add the venue.

Go to: https://foursquare.com/add_venue

Add your venue by filling out the information form.


After adding the venue, follow the same steps to claim authorization.

Congratulations! You now know some of the main benefits of using FourSquare, as well as how to claim your venue or setup a new one.

10 Smart Moves for a Successful Local Marketing Campaign


Marketing for local businesses has come a long way. Just 20 years ago, “marketing” meant buying newspaper ads, yellowpage ads or perhaps billboard or radio advertisements. Marketing was costly and often ineffective.

Today, the game has changed. There are literally dozens of tools available to the smart entrepreneur for marketing his or her business. Many of these tools and techniques can drive hundreds of paying customers to your business, without costing you a single dime.

This checklist will help you get the most out of all the tools, technologies and techniques available today.


Step 1: Get on Facebook Places

Facebook places allows users to find you through their friends’ checkins. People who like your business can “like” your page or comment on your page and their friends can see that on their walls.

It’s a powerful way of spreading a great business virally. It uses the interconnectivity of Facebook to a local business’s advantage.

Make sure you claim your business so you have the ability to change its information, as well as merge the Facebook Place with the Facebook Page.

Step 2: Get on Google Places

There are many great reasons to get on Google Places.

First, your business will show up ahead of other non-local businesses in the search engines.

Second, people will be able to leave reviews for your physical business.

Third, people will be able to find your place on Google Maps. For example, a user with an iPhone might type in “Pizza” into Google Maps to find all the pizza joints near them. If you’re listed on Google Places, your restaurant will show up.

Step 3: Get on Yelp

Yelp is a user-driven review site with a very active community. People who visit local businesses use Yelp to leave reviews of their experience. Other people who are thinking of going there can use Yelp to see previous reviews.

Yelp is extremely popular in some cities, like San Francisco and New York, while virtually unnoticed in others.

If you’re in a city with a strong Yelp user base, getting to the first 3 or 5 results in Yelp can bring you a huge influx of customers. Many small businesses are packed every day purely from Yelp traffic.


Step 4: Give Incentive to Review


 You’re much more likely to get a lot of reviews if you help the process along by providing a few incentives. That’s especially true if your business is relatively new.

Keep in mind that you can’t incentivize o1thers to post a good or positive review. You can only incentivize them to post a review. What they say is up to them; they get the reward either way. Naturally, if you provide a great service, most reviews you get will be positive.

What are some examples of ways to incentivize reviews?

  • First 10 Yelp reviews gets 50% off their next meal.
  • First 10 Google reviews gets a free coffee.
  • People who have posted a review for our service get 10% off all purchases.
  • Etc


Step 5: Host a Meetup

Meetup.com is designed to help bring people with similar interests together. It’s an online site with an offline focus.

One great way to bring more people to your venue is to host an event. The event can be related to what you do, or it can be one or two steps removed. Here are a few examples:

  • A co-working space – Monthly talks on marketing for small business.
  • Classy café – Monthly philosophy discussion group.
  • Dance studio – A free monthly “open floor” dance event.
  • Rock climbing gym – Free “intro to rock climbing” event.
  • Bookstore – Monthly book signings.

The list goes on and on. Talk to your customers and find out what they’re interested in. Then create a meetup to cater to that interest.


Step 6: Open Your Space to Other Organizers


If you browse through Craigslist events, Meetup events or other events sites, you’ll find that 5 to 10 event venues tend to be used over and over again in any given city.

You can bring in a lot of business by opening your space to other organizers.

For example, let’s say a restaurant makes its back room available to a Toastmasters meeting (a public speaking group.) They use the back room free of charge, and most members end up ordering food and drink anyway.

The restaurant profits from the food and drink and gets the benefit of being exposed to a whole new audience. The back room probably wouldn’t have been regularly booked out anyway, so there’s no real cost to the restaurant.

Another example might be a shared co-working office. It allows its members to use the conference space for educational events free of charge, provided that all its members can also attend free of charge.

The organizer gets the benefit of having a professional space for free. The shared office space gets the benefit of having more to offer its members. Furthermore, every person who attends that event is a potential customer.

It’s much more efficient to open your space up to many event organizers rather than try to organize many events yourself. Doing so can bring in a lot of new people to your business, as well as build general goodwill in your community.


Step 7: Market on Local Mailing Lists

email mkt1

In any moderate to large city, there will be dozens of mailing lists on a variety of different topics.

For example, in San Francisco, there are lists for hikers and runners to meetup, lists for announcements of art events, lists specifically for the yoga & meditation communities, lists specifically for the startup business community, so on and so forth.

Make an effort to ask the people in your target audience what kind of email lists they subscribe to. Write these down and do some research.

Some lists will have “open announcement” policies, meaning anyone can post to the list. Others are curated lists, where events are sent to a single curator who posts approved events all to the lists.

Some lists will have very stringent requirements on what it’s okay to post and what it’s not. Others will be rather lax.

Try to find as many large, active lists in your community as you can. Market to the lists anytime you have something significant to announce. Avoid burning out the list by over-emailing; but use the power of pre-existing communities to your advantage whenever you’re doing a special promotion or event.


Step 8: Get a Booth at Events

In person events allow you to market your products directly to your ideal audience, while building connection and rapport through face-to-face interactions.

An “event” can be as sophisticated as a trade show, conference or seminar. Or it could be as simple as a college fair or farmer’s market.

The specific events you choose depends on what market you’re in. If you run a temp agency, you’ll probably want a booth at college job fairs and at trade shows (to find employers.)

If you run a small, organic restaurant, you might want to get a booth at your local farmer’s market and appear at all the “for fun” fairs around. (E.g. The local renaissance fair.)


Step 9: Flyering and Other Local Marketing

Leaving flyers at local businesses, putting flyers on walls, putting door hangers and perhaps even mailing postcards all still work. Just because a tactic is old doesn’t mean it’s no longer effective.

When using these tactics, the most important thing is to make sure you’re reaching the right people. If you’re promoting a nightlife event, flyer outside nightlife venues. Don’t leave your flyers in restaurants.


Step 10: Negotiate with Groupon or LivingSocial

Groupon, LivingSocial and other group-buying organizations can bring you a lot of business. In fact, it can bring you hundreds of orders in a 48 hour period.

Generally these sites will want to only work with established businesses. They need to know that you can handle the sudden volume that they’ll send you.

They also need to know that you’ll be able to give their users a significant discount, while still paying them a percentage.

Let’s say you run a health and massage spa center. The standard price for a massage is $90, but for Groupon members you’re offering it for $55. In addition, you need to pay Groupon $5 per sale.

If you’re hiring your masseuses’ for $60 an hour, you’re essentially breaking even. If you’re paying them $65 an hour, you’re losing money. You need to know that even if you spend $5 to get someone through the door, you’ll still make money in the long run.

In other words, Groupon is such a high volume business that it takes experience, knowledge of your customer behavior and strong financial muscle before you can work with them.

All that said though, if you can get your business to meet their standards and criteria, the amount of sales you can get from Groupon or LivingSocial is simply astounding.
These are some of the most powerful methods available for marketing an offline business today. Try to apply as many of these tactics as possible, identity the ones that work best for your business, then rinse and repeat.

Google Places – Navigating & Understanding Stats

 local business

Google Places offers Analytics data for local listings. To check the stats, you have to login to Google Places and then click on “Dashboard” tab.


At the top of your dashboard or stats page, you’ll see two date areas. The first is the custom date range where you can select any stat date range. The second is the recent dates, where you can choose to click and show stats from the last seven days or 30 days.


To change the page view to show a custom date range for your stats, click on the beginning date (the first box) and choose your date from the dropdown calendar. Choose the ending date (the second box) by repeating the process. After the dates are changed, click the “Apply” button.



Activity Graph

The activity graph gives you an over view of the number of impressions (blue) and the actions or clicks (green).



Totals Breakdown

The totals area gives you the totals for the impressions and actions, as well as a breakdown of the actions. This section tells us that there were 19 impressions and 6 clicks were made during those views.

Under the actions section, we see a breakdown of what the viewers were interested in on your ad. From the information below, we can tell that 2 clicks were for more info on Maps, while 4 clicks went to the website.


Top Search Terms

In the top search queries section, there are three columns. The first column contains the search terms. The second column shows the number of impressions that showed for that term. The third column is a bar graph that represents the number of impressions.


Driving Directions

When someone clicks to request driving directions to your business address, this section will show where they would be coming from.


7 Steps to Use Google Places to its Full Potential


Creating a Google Places listing is just the beginning for local marketing. In this tutorial, you will learn how to add photos, offers and reviews to a Google Places page. (If you haven’t created a listing yet, then check this guide first – How to Claim Your Business on Google Places).


Step 1: Log into Google Places

Use your login to access the Google Places dashboard.


Step 2: Edit your page

When you signed up for Google Places, you had the opportunity to add photos to your page, if you didn’t include them at that point, you may add images by clicking on the edit button, above your business information, on the right.



Step 3: Collect photos for your page

If you have a brick and mortar business, you may want to add photos of your shop. Helpful photos may include the front of your shop, the parking area, specialty products, etc. Remember when adding photos, keep safety in mind. There are photos which you wouldn’t want to include such as the registers and security system components.


Step 4: Add photos to your page

Once you’ve collected or selected your photos, scroll down the page to the photo section. You may choose to upload photos from your computer or add a photo that is already online. Here we are uploading a photo from the computer.

Select add a photo from your computer. Click the browse button and then the add photo button to upload it to your page. Click the submit button at the bottom of the page when finished. You may upload up to 10 images.




Step 5: Create an offer

You can let your Google Places audience know when you are running a special or have a coupon. From your dashboard page, you should click on the “offers” tab.


You will be taken to the offers page that will give you a brief overview of offers. To begin creating your offer, click the “add an offer now” button at the bottom of the offers page.


Step 6: Add offer details

You will be taken to a page where you can add information about your offer or coupon. You can add headlines, offer details, coupon codes, expire dates, photos and more.

Begin by adding a headline, sub-heading, details, and an image. When you add an image, you will see a popup which allows you to choose and edit the image. This image is placed in the top left corner of your printable coupon.


Next you will insert or select the expiration date, offer code, distribution type, and redemption location.


As you add details, you can preview the offer at the right. There are two types of previews. You can see the printable view or the offer view as it will show on Google maps.

The printable preview looks like this:

Note: When adding a photo/image, it’s best to use a square image. Although the image looks skewed on the preview, it looks fine on the actual coupon. Be sure to check it when you’re finished.


The Google map preview looks like this:


Your actual map listing may look something like this:


Note: Here you see a link to the offer and a review. To see the offer, click on the link and you will see the previous image. Click the new link and you will see the printable coupon.


Step 7: Respond to reviews

Now that you’re curious about the review, let’s talk about replying to reviews when a customer adds a review to your page.

There are two ways you can get to the appropriate screen where you will add your reply. You may either click on the “view” link in the top of the sidebar or you may click on the “review” link, found in the section below.


You will be taken to a new page. On this page, scroll down to the review section. Click on the “Respond publicly as the owner” link to open the reply box.



Add your reply and click on the “publish” button.


This is how the review and reply will look from your “owner” screen after you publish.


Note: If you have and want to respond to “Reviews from around the web,” you must visit the respective website to do so.

Now that you know how to add photos, offers, and reviews , you can make your Google Places page more interactive and profitable.

10 SEO Authority Websites You Should Add to Your Reader


Every online business owner wants their share of free search engine traffic. The problem is, it seems like the search engine game is changing every minute or two. Thankfully, there are a number of resources to turn to when you need up-to-date SEO information. Here are 10 of the best ones.

Site #1: The Moz Blog



The Moz Blog is actually the developer of search engine optimization software, but they also happen to have a very informative and well-read blog. Content is written by a variety of writers and the comments are often just as informative as the posts. Definitely a must for the RSS feed.


Site #2: SEO Book



Known to tell it like it is and even ruffle a few feathers, Aaron Wall has never shied away from providing advice, even when it hurts. Aaron’s posts are always very detailed and offer proof, just about every step the way.


Site #3: Search Engine Watch



This extremely information rich website is updated multiple times daily. It can be a little overwhelming to keep up, but if you’re looking for the latest news, you’ll likely find it here.


Site #4: Search Engine Land



Search Engine Land was created by Danny Sullivan, a journalist who has been covering search engines for over 11 years. They run a very active blog and host several in-person events throughout the year.


Site #5: Search Engine Journal



Another very active site with the latest search engine news and advice. With many guest contributors there is always plenty of variety and thorough coverage of a wide variety of topics.


Site #6: Michael Gray



Known as “Graywolf,” Michale Gray knows his search engines. His site is not updated as frequently as some of the online search engine magazine sites, but the advice is powerful.


Site #7: Matt Cutts



Matt is the head of the Google Search Quality team and is one of the few people who answers public questions about Google online. However, anything he posts or says comes with a disclaimer that he is speaking personally and not for Google. His blog isn’t updated too frequently, but following him on Twitter and Google+ can prove quite useful.


Site #8: Nick Stamoulis – Search Engine Optimization Journal



Not to be confused with Search Engine Journal, this one-man blog by Nick Stamoulis. He’s the head of his own SEO company and shares useful information with the readers of his blog.


Site #9: Rae Hoffman-Dolan – Sugarrae



Now the Sugarrae website is not actually an SEO site. It’s intended to be an affiliate marketing blog and sadly, she doesn’t update it all that often. However, that’s because she is very busy with actually working on websites for her own company and her clients. If you’ve ever heard Rae speak or read an interview, you know she knows what she’s talking about.


Site #10: SEO by the Sea



SEO by the Sea is quite a technical blog created by Bill Slawski. According to Bill, “The SEO by the Sea blog keeps an eye on information directly from the search engines such as patent filings and whitepapers, to share some of the assumptions and processes behind how search engines work, how they rank web pages, and whether or not they might have some surprises for us in the future.”

Top 10 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Mistakes



Many people will tell you that search engine optimization (SEO) has changed dramatically over the years. They’re talking about Pandas and Penguins…it’s a little hard to keep up, isn’t it? The interesting thing is that the basics and long-lived strategies haven’t changed much at all in the past 10 years. What has changed is that the tactics which were used to game the system no longer work, giving people a sense of uncertainty and the need to change strategy.

The good news is that if you stick with the basics that have always worked, you can enjoy free traffic for many years to come. The first step though, is to avoid the mistakes that many people make when they approach SEO, and that’s what this guide is all about.

Avoid these top 10 mistakes and apply our alternate strategies instead for long-term, free traffic from the search engines. Let’s get started.


Mistake #1: Not Using a Description Tag

Now this mistake isn’t going to create any penalty for your site and it also probably won’t make you rank any better, but it could cost you some click-through traffic. Always use a compelling and relevant description tag for each page of your website.


Search engines generally don’t use the description tag as a ranking factor, but many do display what is written in your description tag in their search engine results. This is what your potential visitor sees when they see your listing, so you want to ensure it’s on target, interesting and makes them want to click.

To write an effective description tag, think of the end user. If they were looking for information on a certain keyword, what would they expect to see? Include your keyword phrases as well, because they will be in bold in the search results, drawing the user’s eye to your listing. Google will show about 160 characters of your description tag, including spaces, so keep that in mind.


Mistake #2: Artificial Link Building

bad-habitsFirst it was link exchanges. Then people bought links and sought out one-way links. Now it has been proven that links you seek out yourself generally don’t carry much weight with search engines. Don’t go for the fake stuff. You would need to spend endless times on forums or commenting on blogs, hoping to grow the number of links back to your site. And while these activities can be useful to your growth and creating connections, they do nothing for your ability to rank well.

Instead, put your focus into real link building.

This means creating great content that your audience willingly shares and links to. This means building your audience and connections through social networks and other opportunities, so you have people who will gladly spread your content around. We’ll talk more about that later in this guide.

Mistake #3: Ignoring Social Media

IdeasThat brings us to the next mistake, and that’s ignoring social media. Search engines are taking more and more cues from what is being shared in social media to decide what content is truly popular and what should be in their results pages.

No, that doesn’t mean you need to be on Facebook every day, but it does mean that you should at the very least offer your readers sharing options. Make it easy for them to post your content to Google+ and other social sites.


Add to that, social media provides you with the opportunity to connect with people who run websites in your niche, in addition to the people who are simply interested in your niche. Knowing these people increases your chances of getting real links to your website and that’s what we all need, right?

Mistake #4: Trying to Use an SEO Formula

errorIf you’ve ever been told you need to mention a keyword phrase a certain number of times in your content or to follow any other formula, I’m afraid you’ve been duped. Either that, or the person who told you that, didn’t have the proper information at hand.

By using a formula, you alert search engines to the fact that you are trying to game their system and that’s not going to be good for you.

Instead, be natural in your content creation and throw away any preconceived notions of how your content should be structured.


Mistake #5: Not Making Friends in High Places

business_trustIt may seem unfortunate to some, but who you know can have a great impact on how well your content does in search engines. You don’t have to befriend a celebrity, political figure or anyone like that. But the more influential friends you have, the more likely your content is to be seen on the web and in search engines.

Just think, if your friend is the top blogger in the fashion niche and she decides to share your blog post on fashion trends, you get instant credibility with your target audience and the search engines.

It may seem difficult to approach the more influential people in your niche, but the key is to open up a conversation. You can offer to help that person in some way, or better yet attend an in-person event they will be at. Face to face is still the best way to make friends. It always will be.

Remember, it takes just one connection to make many more through introductions. The more you get out there and meet people, the better your results are going to be.

Mistake #6: Worrying About Word Counts

Just like it’s an error to follow a formula, there is no reason to worry about the word count of your content. Content should simply be as long as it needs to be to make your point and be useful. Search engines don’t care if you use 300, 500 or 1500 words. The most important thing is that your content is good.

In the past, a larger word count helped you make sure that you could easily insert your keyword phrase a number of times without sounding any alarms about a high keyword density.

Today, search engines simply care if your content is good. They want to see that if people click through your link on their search engine, that the visitor stays and doesn’t click back right away. They also want to see content that is readily shared.

By worrying about word counts, you can sacrifice that quality. So put your abacus away and focus on your message instead.

Mistake #7: Lack of Unique Title Tag for Each Page

It’s a rookie mistake and people don’t make it as readily as they used to, but it still needs to be mentioned. Each page of your website should have a unique and descriptive title tag.


That means a title tag that is absolutely and completely relevant to the particular page. Include your chosen keyword phrase(s), but also make sure the title makes sense and isn’t simply a string of keyword phrases. You shouldn’t have your company or website name at the beginning of the title tag because that is the key piece of title tag real estate, and you need to use it well.

Title tags are also not only important for ranking, they can also impact your click-throughs in the same way a description tag can. It’s what people see at the top of your listing in the search engine results, so make it count. Title tags should be up to 65 characters, including spaces, to ensure your full title tag appears in the search engine results.


Mistake #8: Not Doing Keyword Research

Keyword research not only helps you optimize your content, it also helps you come up with topics for your content. You can use tools like Wordtracker, Keyword Discovery or even the free Google Keyword Tool. Analyze your competition and be realistic in the keywords you choose to optimize for…but above all, make sure your content is highly relevant for those keywords.


Mistake #9: Writing for Search Engines Instead of Humans

Following along from mistake #8, make sure you always write content for your visitors, rather than search engines. So while you want to do keyword research and use your chosen phrases in your content, it’s more important that you create useful content for humans. After all, it’s people who read our content, share it and help us rank better in the first place.

See mistake #4 (Formulas) and #6 (Word Counts) for more details.


Mistake #10: Not Updating Regularly

Search engines like to provide up-to-date and fresh content to their users. You should do likewise by keeping your site up-to-date and adding new content on a regular basis.



As you can see, there are no tricks and there is no magic to getting search engine traffic. It takes putting out solid content, making connections on the web and earning your place in the rankings. Sure, it’s hard work, but isn’t free traffic for years and years to come worth it?

It’s your business and how you run it is your business. You can attempt to game the system for a few temporary rankings now or you can avoid the top 10 mistakes and enjoy long term results. The choice is completely up to you.