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Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Optimization

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					                                                   CHAPTE R

                                                                     11
     Growth, Sales, and
        Conversion



N    othing moves unless something is sold. That’s the key to any

     and all businesses, online or off. That means you need a solid

sales process and to track every aspect of it. In all your daily activi-

ties, “what is the shortest path to the cash” will be an important

question to continually ask.

   It’s fairly obvious that when you have done the work of selling

the message, you need to be able to deliver when people come

looking for you. If your internal processes break down, it won’t mat-

ter if you have a great service or product, because you won’t be able

to deliver or scale up, when and if you grow.


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                    Use the following sales process when growing a business (online or offline):
                    • Set your sales goals. (weekly, monthly)
                    • Map the sales process. (Start simple, don’t get bogged down in too much
                      detail.)
                    • Set objectives for key value points.
                    • Measure key value points.
                    • Identify critical vulnerabilities.
                    • Select your focus of effort.
                    • Decide on and take action on main effort.
                    You may notice that the process above ties back to identifying your market,
                researching the market and competition, and analyzing your place in it.
                    Measuring is an important part of your sales and marketing efforts. Measure
                those things that you can change, such as your message, your delivery method, and
                your media.
                    You can only measure things that move up or down, such as:
                    •   Delivery rates
                    •   Open rates
                    •   Unique clicks/visitors
                    •   Opt-ins
                    •   Sales
                    •   Up-sells
                    •   Cross-sells
                     Let’s assume you’re doing an e-mail marketing campaign. If you send 10,000 e-
                mails, how many are being delivered? And, if the open rates are “good,” what do
                you base that on? You must compare to previous campaigns, industry standards,
                and the overall marketplace. How many received it, or how many opened it? So, a
                strategic question would be: Should I increase “delivery rates” or “open rates”? If
                you tune the “open rate” and then increase the delivery rates, you will make more
                money just hours after sending. Building a mailing list should be one of the cor-
                nerstones of your online marketing program. Search engines change often, and if
                you are too reliant on “one-sided marketing,” you will potentially fail. Create a
                multichannel marketing campaign, and build real assets such as content, mem-
                berships, and e-mail lists. One great e-mail system is AWeber.com, my personal
                favorite.
                     Boost the numbers of e-mails being reviewed, and you’re on your way. However,
                it’s viewing everything, not just one or two metrics.


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  FIGURE 11.1–E-Mail   Marketing—AWeber.com




    It’s important to develop programs with a holistic view in mind. When you
measure every single customer action, you improve your value and your bottom line.
Likewise, you must continuously review and improve your internal processes with an
eye on growth. Will the same processes work when you go from ten customers to
500? How about when you reach 10,000 customers?
    Another aspect of conversion is the psychological issue. Many people may feel
uncomfortable or guilty “taking customers’ money.” You’re not taking something,
you are giving them something. When you offer a product or service that has value
(meets a need, preference, or desire), your customer is simply exchanging money for
access to that value.
    Finally, you convert customers when you continually look to improve the expe-
rience from the customer perspective. Don’t continue doing something because it
works, but ask, “How can I make it better?” Tracking and measuring does not only




             ONLINE RESOURCE
             See the membership at jonrognerud.com/amember site
             for more e-mail providers.




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                apply to what your customers do, but also to what you do that facilitates the rela-
                tionship. If you provide value and great products, the rest will follow, all wrapped in
                your own business processes.


                HOW TO OPTIMIZE FOR LOCAL SEARCH:
                WAYS YOU CAN GROW YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS
                This section describes the most important things you need to look at in order to
                optimize your website for local search. Local SEO is not different from “regular”
                SEO; it can be just as time consuming and competitive. The same rules apply—good
                content and quality links. However, the tactics are slightly different in areas. You’ll
                learn more about this below.
                    Local search is massive. In January 2010, Google revealed the following statistic:
                “The proportion of Google result pages that show a map in search results: 1 in 13”
                (googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/this-week-in-search-1810.html). Google changed
                from its Local Business Center (LBC) to Google Places in April 2010, and we guessti-
                mate it is serving maps over 1 billion times a month. More information about Google
                Places is at google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/04/introducing-google-places.html.
                    Figure 11.2 doesn’t reveal the local search numbers, but if you factor in the 1 in
                13, you’ll quickly realize the massive growth area of local search. Add the rise of
                mobile search and additional user tools such as Twitter, foursquare, TwitHawk, and


                   FIGURE 11.2–Nielsen   Search Marketplace




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Facebook, and we have ourselves a sizable audience to satisfy! People are drawn to
local activities, and it includes search. See more tools and approaches at mashable
.com/2009/06/08/twitter-local-2/.


Where to Begin?
To learn more and to start with Google Places, get a free account at google.com
/local/add/businessCenter and make sure to watch the training videos (Figure 11.3).
Google Places has added a lot of new features, including power tools like the track-
ing of actions (how many times users showed interest in your business listing), clicks
for more information on maps, driving directions, or direct clicks, as well as impres-
sions (how many times users saw your business listing as a local search result). You
can also add your images, videos, offers/promos, coupons, and more. As you’ll see, it
will be important to get ratings and references, too.
    While much focus is placed on Google Places, don’t forget to register at:
    • Yahoo! Local (local.yahoo.com)
    • Bing Local (bing.com/local/)


   FIGURE 11.3–Google   Places Dashboard (Redacted)




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                    One easy way to find out if you are listed is to search for your brand name.
                Include the city or locale you are supposed to be listed for. Here’s an example of a
                search for my name in Los Angeles. Since there is no competition here, it shows a
                Google Local “one-box.”

                    FIGURE 11.4–Local   Search Results—Brand Name




                Eight Quick Successs Steps to Local Inclusion and Visibility
                    1. Claim your business. Close to city center is best.
                    2. Verify your information. You’ll be able to do this via a PIN number or post-
                       card.
                    3. Select the best categories that match your business.
                    4. Add as much information as possible—make it complete and be specific.
                    5. Include your services areas.
                    6. Establish your profiles in local directories.
                    7. Establish your presence with local agencies/municipality.
                    8. Build out your profile and ask for reviews—don’t hold back.


                Claiming and Verifying Your Business
                If you are not listed, that’s one of the first things you should take action on. If I’m a
                tax attorney in Beverly Hills, California—I would search “tax attorney beverly hills,”
                and see the following results (not static, may differ in your origin):




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  FIGURE 11.5–Tax   Attorney Local Search/Map Results




    The bordered area shows the “seven pack” or the “lucky seven” as it is sometimes
called. (There used to be a “ten pack,” but Google updated this to include only
seven).
    When I click result #3—Ervin Cohen, I quickly noticed that no verification has
taken place. See Figure 11.6.
    There is not a “verified business owner” link. The arrow points to “Business
owner?,” indicating it needs verification. The data (address, phone) is available as
pulled from some of the larger business aggregators like infoUSA. Google pulls this
data and tries to match it up correctly. However, that data could be wrong, and the
business owner is just letting it hang out there. (If you know this law firm, call and
offer your services.)




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                   FIGURE 11.6–No   Local Business Verification in Google Places




                Categories Selection
                Select from the categories list that best describes your business. Before you do, make
                sure to review the competition also. Check to see where the top listings are listing
                theirs.
                    You can add up to five categories to describe your business. Once you start typ-
                ing, the Google Places categories system will display related categories.

                    FIGURE 11.7–Categories   Search and Pull-Down Box Example “Dentist”




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    Continue to add as much information as possible, hours, payment types, e-mail
address, phone number, URL/web address, photos, videos, and coupons. It’s all
there—try to fill out each field if appropriate. Go make some videos, upload to
YouTube, and link them back into your local profile on Google Places. If you install
and use tools like JingProject.com, it’ll be free and easy to make an informational,
useful video. Screen cam your PowerPoint presentations. You can include up to ten
pictures and five videos.


Get Listed in Local Directories
Powerful citations from local business directories like Yelp and Merchant Circle is a
good start. See the list of directories in the Local SEO resources section below. Make
sure that all your information is correct, and keep the formatting the same across all
locations.


Reviews
Reviews, citations, and links are powerful drivers to top ranking within local search.
Much like external backlinks drive much of the Google algorithm for ranking, so be
it for local search. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews. Offer special incentives and dis-
counts for return visits to your office. Add a postcard or business card into your
office invoice mailings, asking your customer to review the visit, and talk about the
experience. Important: Don’t try to spam this system, and ask all your friends to
review you in a week! Go to White Hat—and get references from BBB.org, chamber
of commerce in your city, and the top local directories.



               INSIDER TIP
               For a low-cost fee of $30 per year, ubl.org can list your
               business. It will get you listed in Google, Yahoo!, Bing,
               the Online Yellow Pages, infoUSA, Acxiom, and more. Review the
               video introduction to learn more about this service. You can also use
               GetListed.org for free, and it’ll check to see if you are listed across
               Google, Yahoo!, and the top local search engines.



    Using pay-per-click, you can target down to your local area (via maps). This,
combined with SEO strategies from global to local, can yield strong results in traf-
fic and targeting. Make sure you track your URLs. Google Analytics provides a


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                power tool to do that: google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en
                &answer=55578.


                               INSIDER TIP
                               Searching for the city name, state, and business direc-
                               tory will yield a great list of local resources to build your
                               links. It’s generic, so you want to search/review the categories and
                               find where you should be listed.




                Local Directories Resources
                    •   bbb.org
                    •   brownbook.com
                    •   businessdirectory.bizjournals.com
                    •   citycliq.com
                    •   cityguide.com
                    •   citysearch.com
                    •   dexknows.com
                    •   insiderpages.com
                    •   infoUSA
                    •   judysbook.com
                    •   kudzu.com
                    •   local.botw.org
                    •   local.com
                    •   matchpoint.com
                    •   merchantcircle.com
                    •   superpages.com
                    •   switchboard.com
                    •   yellowbook.com
                    •   yellowpages.aol.com
                    •   yellowpages.com
                    •   yelp.com


                Niche Marketplaces
                    • Tripadvisor.com
                    • Chefmoz.org


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    •   Gayot.com
    •   Fodors.com
    •   Travelocity.com
    •   Wcities.com
    •   Frommers.com
    •   Hotelguide.net
    •   Zagat.com

Local SEO Resources
Google Places User Guide
    •   google.com/support/places/bin/static.py?page=guide.cs&guide=28247
    •   getlisted.org/resources/glossary.aspx
    •   blog.getlisted.org
    •   davidmihm.com/local-search-ranking-factors.shtml (read this!)
    •   localseoguide.com
    •   blumenthals.com/blog
    •   hyperlocalblogger.com
    •   screenwerk.com
    •   devbasu.com
    •   searchengineland.com/library/locals-only
    •   searchenginewatch.com/smb-search-marketing (small business)
    Additional resources for analytics and Google Web Optimizer that can help you
in your local optimization and conversion efforts are:
    •   roirevolution.com/blog
    •   kaushik.net/avinash
    •   webanalyticsassociation.org
    •   services.google.com/websiteoptimizer

CLOSING
I hope that by now you are as excited as I am about what effective search, social
media, and online marketing can do for your business. As you begin to apply the prin-
ciples and strategies you learned in this book, you are certain to have success but also
questions. Review the membership jonrognerud.com/amember and our website on
ultimate guidetoseo.com that is mentioned within this book, and download the
complimentary member site resources. There you will find video demonstrations,
articles, how to’s, and much more. You’ll get more tips on social media—and using
tools like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.


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                   I am standing by to answer any questions, please send them to me: contact@jon
                rognerud.com or on twitter.com/jonrognerud. What are your top three burning
                questions that still remain? Do it now.




                Jon Rognerud, Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Optimization, Second Edition, © 2011,
                by Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission of
                Entrepreneur Media, Inc.


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