For the average small business website, which type of search results are the most important? Maybe a better way to phrase that is: Where are your customers? If you run a restaurant in Ocala, are you going to get more customers from Summerfield, or from Hahira, GA?

Local businesses have local customers. It stands to reason that a local business website needs to have its strongest presence in local searches. So how do you give your business website greater search appeal for local users?

Mobile search is bringing about rapid change in local online marketing. The exact number varies depending on the source, but it’s a safe bet that at least 800 million location-relevant searches are conducted from mobile devices each month — and the number of mobile searches is growing every month as more people begin to use mobile digital devices. […]

Does your business really need to have a website that’s mobile-friendly, or perhaps even a separate version of the site that’s dedicated to mobile device users? That’s a question that a lot of business owners are wrestling with as they watch the mobile operating system (OS) market continue to grow at an amazing rate.

There’s no big secret to understanding the utility of a mobile-friendly website. When mobile device users search for goods or services in your market and find your website, you want to provide them with the information they need to do business with you. If you don’t help them out with pages that work for their mobile device, it will take them about two seconds to move along to one of your competitors who does. […]

When you start looking through all of the statistics regarding your website, it can be hard to sort out what’s important from what’s merely interesting. Web stats reporting packages can confront you with a staggering variety of reports. There are as many opinions on what you should worry about as there are crackpot theories about The Government hiding what’s really happening on the far side of the moon. […]

If your website is built on a content management system (CMS), you’ve got a powerful tool in your hands. You can use your CMS to keep all of the information on your site up-to-date, provide fresh and engaging information to your site visitors and manage all of your site’s resources to maximize your search engine results. As with most tools, however, content management can be used for both good and evil. It’s the “evil” part you want to avoid.

Poor content management practices can kill your website’s search engine rankings in a short amount of time. Conversely, follow a few simple guidelines every time you post or edit content and you can improve your site’s search engine optimization. Use these recommendations as a sort of checklist to stay on the SEO straight-and-narrow: […]

Contrary to what some people might think, website statistics were not invented by the Brothers Grimm. They’re not fairy tales, nor are they numbers pulled out of thin air by College Johnnies who want to show how smart they are. Website statistics are built on real-world data, and they can tell you a lot about what your website is — or is not — doing for your business. […]

Apr 5, 2012

Google Hate Me

Running your own website and trying to get it to rank well in search results can be a frustrating experience. Even though you put a lot of time and effort into your site, and you think you’re following all the rules, you still feel like you’re walking around in a t-shirt silk-screened with “Google Hate Me” in 8-inch letters.

Google, like most other search engines, isn’t out to get you. But search engines are pretty picky about the quality of their search results. Some sites don’t rank well simply because of poor SEO practices. Other sites, however, may do a lot “right” with SEO and still not rank well because they also feature very big “wrongs” in other areas. […]

When Google rolled out the initial “Panda” update to their search algorithm a little over a year ago, a lot of formerly profitable websites abruptly disappeared from the search engine. The update was touted as an attempt to sort out “quality” content from the vast wave of repetitive, duplicate and/or barely literate riff-raff on the big, wide Internet.

The definition of “quality,” obviously, is subjective. Duplicate content is pretty easy to spot, but deciding what constitutes “quality” content is a bit more difficult. As it stands, 67 percent of the search world (Google’s market share) has to play by Google’s definition of quality. Some of Goggle’s take on quality is yet being argued in court cases, but regardless of the various legal results, the basics of Panda-friendly website construction aren’t going to change for the average site owner. […]

Most business owners have heard the old saw: Marketing is the gas that makes your business go.

If consumers don’t know who you are and what you do, they can’t do business with you. Simple enough, right? But let me ask a follow-up question: What kind of gas mileage are you getting from your marketing? Don’t take a guess; speculation won’t do. Unless you want to risk a lot of wasted money, you need the hard numbers. […]

It’s one of those silly myths of cooking. Throw a pasta noodle at the wall; if it sticks, it’s done.

You don’t even have to be addicted to the Food Network or the Cooking Channel to know that just isn’t true. If a noodle sticks, it usually means nothing more than you just threw a wet noodle at the wall. Since pasta gets gummier the more it cooks, it might even mean your pasta is over-cooked. […]

Online review sites are becoming more and more vital to consumers as they research businesses and products online.  Sites like Yelp and Google Local allow customers to post their reviews for others to read, making them a powerful influence in consumer buying decisions. According to the MIT Technology Review, for every one dollar U.S. consumers spend online, another five or six are going to off-line purchases that are influenced by online research. In fact, 97% of Internet users in the U.S. gather shopping information online. Yet many business owners still have not ventured into the world of online reviews, even though their customers are researching them and making purchasing decisions based on the online reviews they find.

Here are some tips to help you get started and take control of your online reviews: […]

Social networking can be a time-consuming endeavor, so the temptation to cut corners is big.  There are tools, techniques, and add-ons available that seem like a great idea to help you streamline your social media strategy and save time… until they start to undermine your efforts to connect in a real way to your customers.  Here are 4 things you should avoid: […]

Backlinks are links from related websites to your site, and they continue to be one of the most important elements in search engine rankings.  Search engines consider websites with lots of backlinks to be “authorities” or “popular.”  Unfortunately, getting backlinks from valuable website relevant to your keywords and search terms is one of the most difficult parts of search engine optimization (SEO).  Here are some major DOs and DON’Ts to help you build your backlinks.

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