Custom Search

Friday, October 10, 2008

Local Search Engine

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Local Search Engine Optimization - Revisited

Roughly a year ago, local search engine optimization was all the rage - the new frontier in search engine marketing. For a while, it seemed that everyone was interested in the local search angle - even multi-national companies. However, for many companies selling products or services to the entire United States, or even globally, it seemed like a non-starter. Companies that counted on people looking for certain products or services that did not require close proximity to the company's location were unaffected. As far as local search engine optimization goes, things have changed a bit since then - at least for some.

Some time ago, Google introduced a "geographic box" at the top of its search results. This is tied in to its mapping feature, and, when it was first introduced, the engine would display three results at the top of its search results whenever somebody entered a geographic modifier into the search box ("Atlanta widgets," for example). The Google algorithm then has the intelligence to determine whether the query calls for results that are primarily local in scope.

Since that initial trial, Google has obviously found that its users appreciate the feature. The engine now displays ten local search results at the top of the listings for certain queries, provided that they have a geographic modifier attached. For example, if you type in "Atlanta gyms" in Google, you will see ten results alongside a map that shows the location of ten gyms in Atlanta.

It should be noted that you will not see local search results for all queries that contain a local modifier. In certain instances, it almost seems as if Google somehow "knows" when a geographic modifier really means that you only offer services in a particular area. Yeah, those guys are pretty good.

There are many resources on the Internet to turn to if you are looking for local search engine optimization for your regional website. However, many companies have client bases that cater primarily to a national or international field. Can they benefit from local search?

Yes, they can - in two ways (with a caveat for the first).

First, many customers prefer to deal with people that are local, even if the business is national, or even global. A businessperson that is looking for, say, marketing consulting, may be inclined to work with someone with an address in close proximity found through local search. It just feels more comfortable - if something goes wrong, he or she can request a meeting, rather than calling an 800 number.

Here's the caveat - you may not want people showing up at your doorstep. Some companies invite people to show up at the headquarters and voice concerns or sing praises, but others would prefer to keep things at a distance. This is not a value judgment by any means. With many companies that deal with thousands, or even millions, of customers, it would be impossible to service every complaint with a human smile.

The second way, which seems more customer friendly (but actually isn't), applies when a large company has many locations. This doesn't mean that your company has "walk-in" locations that are open to the public. If you have locations in many cities, each serving a different function, you can still benefit from local search engine optimization.

Say, for example, you are headquartered in Toledo. You have distribution centers in several cities across the United States. Each of your physical locations is eligible to show up in local search results on Google, provided that you supply the engine with the proper information.

Of course, as mentioned earlier, not all searches with regional modifiers attached will bring up regional results. But based on recent happenings, it's a good idea to make your regional presence known and consider the effects of local search engine optimization. After the years of talk about it, local search might finally turn out to be something that most companies can take advantage of.

About the Author: Scott Buresh is the CEO of Medium Blue, which was named the number one organic search engine optimization company in the world in 2006 and 2007 by PromotionWorld. Scott has contributed content to many publications including "The Complete Guide to Google Advertising (Atlantic, 2008) and Building Your Business with Google For Dummies" (Wiley, 2004).

Website Content

What Does Your Website Content Say About You?

As much time as business website owners put into finding a good web designer, it's amazing how little time gets spent in actually creating the website content - also known as the sales copy. This is the content that will help the customer make a decision whether to take action - or leave.

It's one of the most important keys of any successful website, and yet it's often ignored or patched together at the last minute and rushed off to the web designer to add to the site. Unfortunately, this can leave a lasting impression on that company's target audience.

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Look over your website's front page copy - as this is where most of your visitors will ultimately end up. See if any of the following mistakes appear in your site. You may be surprised at what you learn!

* Welcome to XYZ Company Website - This was the most common headline for sites established back in the mid 90's, when just having a website showed that you were "ahead of the technology curve". These days, customers can use the web to comparison shop and do research - much of this research is aimed at which company to do business with.

That said, your very first headline should be one that draws them in and perks up their interest in what you have to offer. A good example is the headline of this article. You were curious enough to click and find out what your website content says about you. Having "Welcome to Our Company" on your front page signifies that your company is "behind the times" and gives the visitor no information to go on about why they should buy from you.

* My, I and We - It's great that you want to tell customers what your company does. Unfortunately, they don't really care. They want to know what you can do for them, instead. Rather than focusing on what you can do for them, tailor your website content to emphasize the benefits to the reader.

You can do this as simply as writing sentences that start with things such as "You will learn...", or "You will find that..." and then ending them with a benefit to the customer, such as "how to improve your marriage in less than a week", or "you have a brighter, whiter smile".

Your readers will almost automatically imagine themselves better off as a result of your product or service - and this kind of "written visualization" will help them see that your offer is the logical choice to get the desired result.

* Lack of a Compelling Headline - This ties into point #1 - but a compelling, action-oriented headline gives your customer the impulse to read further. That doesn't mean you should take your headline to the extreme and dress it up with bright red text, heaps of exclamation marks and CAPITAL LETTERS. Those are major copywriting "turn-offs" for a professional business and they show that you're unenthusiastic or bored with the product.

You know your product is the best - so why not share that enthusiasm with your reader? What is it that you enjoy or admire about the product? What can it do for the customer? Say it up front in your headline. That's what urges them to keep reading more.

* Lots of Tech Specs - It's great that your product is powered by an X250Q fusion engine and 220ZX turbines. Unless your end user is intimately familiar with those products and specs - they'll simply leave...confused. And they probably won't come back.

On the other hand, if you tell them that 1. They'll never have to buy gasoline again and 2. They get the kind of hauling and drive power they need to move those heavy loads - NOW you've got their attention! When you write your website content, after everything you believe is a benefit to the consumer, ask yourself, "So what?" Eventually it will boil down to the core reason why the customer needs it - and that's the gold you're looking for!

When you keep these copywriting suggestions in mind, you not only help make your website content stronger and more compelling for your reader, but you also instantly improve your product or service's credibility in their eyes. Give these tips a try and watch your conversions go up! All the best!

About the Author: If you enjoyed reading this article, you can find even more web design tips at Sherice Jacob holds an M.A. in Media Studies and has played an integral role in creating several successful web businesses - for herself and others. She currently manages a full service web design and internet marketing firm at iElectrify specializes in creating professional, affordable and creative websites that get results. With a strong background in internet marketing and niche marketing, works with small to medium businesses to help them easily create and manage their own websites.

Your Online Reputation

Your Online Reputation

Does integrity really matter in online business? The owners of PCS Productions in Texas would likely say, "Yes!"

This company began in 1995 and has worked to develop quality audio and video productions. Their services extend to web design and hosting, audio streaming and print media projects.

This company has worked diligently to establish integrity in each form of media they present. Many of those media specialties interact with other forms of media so they must make sure they can transfer branding ideas from one concept to another.

I think what may be most impressive about this company is they have an extraordinary track record. Client testimonials are glowing and well respected.

If you are known by the company that you keep then this company visibly has a sense of integrity. Their staff has been sent on assignment to virtually every continent in the world and their work is called upon repeatedly by existing clients while others also seek them out for their skills.

So is this a puff piece about PCS Productions? No. In fact I don't know anyone who works there, nor have I visited with anyone. So, I guess you could say I am not promoting a service, but pointing to some interesting parallels I often find in the best businesses.

This company has a good reputation and that's the point of this article.

As an online business you need to work to establish a reputation that is used as a calling card for potential customers.

The web already has enough scam artists and fly-by-night operations so when I find a point of positivity I cling to it and then point it out to others.

The establishment of a strong work ethic combined with consistently providing the best possible service can do wonders for your business in the long term.

Someone once told me, "You really should take the high road. There's a lot less traffic." At first I smiled, but it's true. We all know someone who is adept at cutting corners. Perhaps we have encountered a business that left us high and dry after they got our money. We like those 'high road' companies.

What we want as business owners are those glowing testimonials that profess the depth of our commitment to excellence. These are words that may well encourage others to buy our product or use our service. Those precious words will not come if the customer is just another dollar figure.

As a business owner you place your name and reputation on every order you ship out. You stake the trust others would like to place in you on the way you handle issues that come up.

It's a whole lot easier to lose a reputation than it is to gain it back. Reputation is an investment in your future. It's an investment that can go away if you don't protect it wisely. What that means for a business owner is you have to put your customers first. Their concerns need to be a concern for you. Their issues require you be a problem solver. Deliver more than you have to and show absolute respect to your customers. After all, they are the ones you serve.

About the Author: Scott Lindsay - Make A Website or Make Your Own Website Fast at Start a Home Business and Sell Ebooks at

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

SEO Tips

On Page SEO Tips

It requires a lot of effort in designing and building a site, but it can be all in vain if you can't attract enough traffic towards it. You put all your efforts in an attractive design of your website and the next step you do is to put it in front of the online world.

You can't get success only by uploading your website on the www; the target is to attract well-qualified visitors towards your website, which can't be done unless you put your site in the eyes of the search engines.

Today, all of the internet users use search engines to find the site relevant to their interest. For example, if a person is interested in finding information about on-going and up-coming cricket events, he/she can easily do so by typing in the keywords in Google, Yahoo or any other search engine. The search engine, as a result, will present a list of most relevant websites on the basis of their keyword. So, in short, to get more traffic towards your website, make it more optimized and put all efforts into keeping your website in the eye of the search engine. This traffic is, without any doubt, the life of a business. No e-business can run without adequate traffic.

How to optimize your website for search engines?

There are two ways of doing it.

* Off Page Search Engine Optimization

* On Page Search Engine Optimization.

This article will focus on the tips useful for On Page Search Engine Optimization.

All search engine optimization techniques are usually classified into On Page Optimization Techniques and Off Page Optimization Techniques. Both help in achieving one common goal; to get higher ranks in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

Useful On Page SEO Tips

Following are some of the most common tips for better On Page Search Engine Optimization:

The most important word; The Keyword: it is always suggested that before you upload your website, put all your efforts into the keywords since users will be using keywords to find websites of their interest. Each page of your website should be treated as a separate entity having its own title and targeted keywords.

Always try to name your webpage files starting with your targeted keyword like crickethome.htm etc. For instance, if your website is about Telescopes then the title of each of your webpage should always start with the word Telescope and name each webpage file starting with word Telescope like Telescopereview.htm because the search engine robots look at filenames.

Always remember that you have to make your website attractive for the human visitors as well as for search engine robots. Attractiveness for both of them can be achieved through better keyword optimization.

You should keep in mind the keyword density and never over-optimize your web page. It is not necessary that the greater the optimization level of your web page the better it will be.

Title Tags are considered to be one of the most important factors of On Page Optimization. You can say in other words that it is mandatory for you to include the main keyword as part of your title.

You should always use Header tags with lots of care. Most of the SEO experts recommend having a single H1 header tag that should contain the main Keyword in order to attract human visitors as well as the search engine robots. Other H2 tags can contain secondary keywords.

Putting the main keyword in the URL is always beneficial in the eyes of the search engines. Most of the users are usually not bothered with that but it will help in better SEO. If it is not possible to include the complete keywords or a phrase in the URL then try at least to include the most important keyword in the URL.

There are many more On Page SEO tips but the above mentioned tips are the most common and recommended by experts. You can add additional features on your website to make it more Search Engine Optimized, for instance, adding blog sections, feedback areas, guestbooks etc.

About the Author: Colm Byrne has been working in the SEO arena for 4 years now and runs a blog to give tips on Internet Marketing and how to do Ethical Link building. His numerous articles provide a wonderfully researched resource.

Smart Search Engine Marketing

Smart Search Engine Marketing - Some Guidelines

Search Engine Marketing, whether it's paid or organic, is a science.

While it is true that you can put together an ad on Google or Yahoo!, pick a few keywords that describe your business, then bid on them and be up and running with a Pay Per Click campaign in a few minutes, the actual process requires considerably more thought. Here are a few key points to consider:

What is the goal of your ad? If you are an e-commerce merchant selling mainline products, you probably want to generate a sale. If you are operating a decorating business, your goal more likely is to generate a lead for follow-up. That goal will shape how you structure your campaign.

What kind of landing page do you want the user to click through to? Is it a specific product page with all the information necessary to complete the order or do you want your customer to land on your home page in order to get more information about your company? You may want your ad to be product specific or have a more general message.

Is there a special "deal" that you can offer in your ad? Phrases like "free shipping", "save 10% now" or "sale ends tomorrow" create a sense of immediacy that can increase the likelihood someone will click on your ad.

You don't have to have the top ad listing in order to be successful. While being #1 likely will bring you more clicks, you don't want to overpay for them. Typically, as long as your ad appears in the first five positions, and has a compelling offer, you will get your share of clicks.

The keywords you select for your ad are critical. In fact, the difference between a cost-effective campaign and one that just costs you money often are the keywords you select.

Try to avoid buying general terms, unless your site has a very, very broad selection of product. The keyword "cars" might bring anyone who is looking for anything having to do with a car - that probably doesn't do you much good if you are selling radiator hoses.

Stick to words and phrases that relate as specifically as possible to what you are selling. A good rule of thumb is that the more general a keyword is, the more expensive it is.

The page customers land on when they click on your ad should contain similar words to those used in the ad. Reinforcing the ad message is important for two reasons: first, it tells people they are "at the right place" and second it will help your Quality Score on Google and Quality Index on Yahoo!.

Google in particular attaches great importance to the relevance of your landing page and you may be able to secure a higher ad position with a lower bid than other advertisers.

Monitor your campaign regularly. This is particularly important at the outset when you are establishing what works and what doesn't. Pay per click advertising isn't day trading - you don't have to be glued to the monitor but you don't want hours to go by without seeing if your clicks are converting into your desired result of sales or leads.

A large search agency might suggest that you need 1,000 or more clicks to determine if your campaign is working. As a start-up or small business, you (or your agency) should be able to draw conclusion with far less clicks than that.

About the Author: Richard Teich is the owner of, a Search Engine Marketing Agency based in Los Angeles, CA. He has worked with business in different e-commerce verticals, as well as in the health information and business to business sectors.

Build Customer Confidence with Testimonials

Build Customer Confidence with Testimonials

Every person in America has bought something that either broke or stopped working after a few days. Because of this, today's customers want to feel reassured that you are selling quality products and services. Customers do not want to lose money or feel like they've made a bad decision. The best way to do assure customers is to have good, strong testimonials.

If a business has happy customers and a lot of return clients, it should have testimonials. You wouldn't hire a contractor to remodel your house without checking references. Therefore be proud of the work you do and get some testimonials. Customer testimonials will help increase sales as well as boost the confidence of potential customers.

The Difference Between Good and Better

In order to have testimonials work for you and increase clientele, you must be careful how you phrase them. Testimonials are a marketing effort, which means that they need to be geared toward making your company look spectacular. For example, instead of writing "I love their vitamins", write "Taking these vitamins everyday gives me lots of energy and keeps me feeling great all day long." The latter testimonial is a lot more eye-catching and will be more effective in gaining a customer's confidence than the former. Ask customers who are willing to write testimonials to be specific.

Cherry Pick Your Testimonials

If you don't have any testimonials, check your company's email inbox for customers who sent compliments. If you can't find any ones you like, look at your client list and find out who is buying your products and at what frequency. Call or email a handful of your best customers and ask them to write a specific testimonial. Have them send a picture as well. This will give potential customers further reassurance of the validity of the testimonial.

Testimonials will not only improve your business, but will also improve your company's image as one that values customer satisfaction. So make the effort to get some strong testimonials.

Four Tips for Effective and Eye-Catching Locations

1. Once you have the testimonials, you need to figure out where to put them on your site. Placement is key, particularly when using flash. You want your testimonials to give maximum impact. The most common place on a website is for them to have their own navigation button titled either "Testimonials" or "Rave Reviews". This way more testimonials can be viewed on their own page.

2. Another option is to use flash testimonials on a sidebar on the homepage along with the customer's name, job title and company or logo. If you are using the testimonials in the masthead, they should rotate every 7-10 seconds then stop after all testimonials are shown. You don't want a testimonial to be so distracting that it takes the emphasis off of the content and what you are selling or offering. By having the flash cycle stop, you are allowing viewers to see the testimonials and then freely look at the content without the excess flash.

3. An alternative way to present testimonials is to sprinkle them throughout the site, highlighting them within the content using graphics, such as a color block background, upper and lower bar, etc. These visual stops are equally effective in reinforcing your credibility and can act as an additional selling point for specific products or services.

4. If you have the option for audio or video testimonials, this can be very effective in boosting your company's credibility. Audio is easy to record using Audio Acrobat. Video, on the other hand, requires more thought to positioning and angles. If you are at a trade show or with a client, you may want to pre-plan these testimonials for more impact.

Remember that in order for a testimonial to be effective, it needs to be specific, believable and placed in a credible location. With these three tips in mind, your testimonials will build customer confidence and web success.

About the Author: Converting visitors to buyers is the ultimate objective of most websites. The Web Success Team has an arsenal of online direct response marketing techniques to entice visitors to take action while on your website. Contact the Team today and we'll show you how to beef up your online marketing efforts make your website capture more buyers and generate more income for your products and services.

SEO Changes

SEO Changes - Are Your Sales Dropping as Your SEO Rankings Soar

Let's look back at a bit of history with search:

Traditionally, SEO was all about gaining higher rankings for the most important keyword phrases. That was early in the game and back then, some people believed that was ALL you needed. After all if you show up number one for the best keywords then you must become a winner. But then as search engine marketing evolved, people learned that it was not enough just to have top rankings for the right key phrases, but we learned the importance of being able to provide content that compelled the visitor to take action. No one benefits if they click on your number 1 page and just leave again by clicking the back button.

More and more search engines began to reward Webmasters who created in depth, high quality content that served a useful purpose and actually satisfied the reason why the searchers initiated the search in the first place. It still amazes me when I hear people trying to decipher some kind of secret coding when Matt Cutts talks. "Hmmm, I wonder what Matt really means when he talks about quality content," they puzzle. He is simply telling you the truth. Google can recognize the context of a message through Artificial Intelligence. Write content that is written well for a human reader and you will be rewarded with some relevancy.

Let's not forget the advent of the Pay Per Click process which was a pretty big trend when it was first introduced at the time too. I remember some people saying that they would never do Pay Per Click, but it evolved into what it has become today. A well accepted form of paid advertising.

Your job as an SEO professional is to keep up to date in an ever changing environment and keep yourself apprised of current and future trends. You want to keep yourself aware of what is coming next because that way, you'll always be able to assist your customers with up to date skills and advantages regardless of the changing search landscapes.

This time around, we examine a few of the challenges that SEOs will face in the future with the growing popularity of personalization of search. Personalization is the option that people can toggle on to improve their search results based on their personal interests. With personalization turned on, the search engine can gather information about the history of your searches and as the time you use it increases, it can actually become accustomed to your searching habits so as to present information that is more important or more interesting to you personally, than to someone else.

So where does the challenge come in with SEO you ask?

The challenge is that as the popularity of personalization grows so will there likely be a diminishing effect on your ranking reports. In simple, it means that 4 people in the same household could all be taking turns using the very same computer and doing searches for the very same keyword phrase, and yet each person would typically see completely different results because of their personal use of the Internet and a growing history of different interests.

What this means is that you no longer can tell exactly what your ranking reports mean because where you rank for one person will not be the same as where you rank for the next person or the next. Thus ranking reports could very well become meaningless in time.

It should be understood that with personalization turned on, the search engine is not using a different algorithm. Instead, the algorithm is the same, but there is a shuffling of results based on the particular individuals history of usage. The search engines attempt to serve up even more relevant content to that individual based on their personal interests.

This in turn means that it could become very difficult to determine where your ideal buying audience is finding you because you will no longer be able to simply do a search and see who is ranking number 1. Obviously if you are interested in your own products and you own industry, you site may come up in the top results when you search. But what is the rest of the world seeing? With personalization growing in popularity, there is no way you can use the traditional methods to know.

Personalization of Search may bring a new dimension of satisfaction by providing the user with much more personalized results. After all, everyone wants the best search results. However, it is bound to pose a few challenges for those who have never thought out what is really happening and the far reaching impact that it will have with posing certain challenges with respect to traditional search engine marketing. As I mentioned in part 1, there are solutions. But we feel that it's important to help SEO students grasp the implications of how much things could possibly be affected.

So what are others saying about how big this change will be?

Michael Marshall is a respected SEO associate educator and advanced mathematician who has taught with Robin Nobles and I over the last several years. Michael is a technical expert who often teaches at our Ultra Advanced Symposiums.

Here is a recent quote from an article that Michael published he states that:

"Without a reliable means of rank checking, traditional SEO loses its foundations for optimization decisions. They can't tell who the leaders are. They've lost sight of the bellwethers. A bellwether is any entity in a given arena that serves to create or influence trends or to presage future happenings. Without a bellwether, for example, sheep might be left to wander aimlessly. Without a reliable means of rank checking, traditional SEO also loses its metrics for determining its success or failure regarding changes made for the sake of optimization. Traditional SEO is a process the methodology of which is predominantly trial and error."

To read Michael's full article, please see "Personalization of Search and its implications for SEO."

In his article, Michael Marshall does far more justice to the topic than I can, on a technical level but also see full quotes he has from an IBM Distinguished Engineer Mike Moran and how large he estimates Personalization will affect the future.

The solution to the challenges of the effect of personalization is being able to grasp the big picture. Gone are the days of counting characters in a Title tag or Description tag. Trying to measure SEO influences separately one at a time will be obsolete.

Advanced competitive intelligence is not just a new "buzz" word.

The type of solutions to these challenges will actually have a variety of excellent benefits other than just gaining genuine visibility.

Try and imagine being able to do search marketing and optimization in only the minimum of moves, making only the minimum of changes for your exact search landscape and making maximum impact.

Will these techniques really be possible in the future you ask?

No, actually they are available right now so you can begin to stabilize your results and prepare for the changes. No one can say for sure the rate at which personalization will make it's impact. The sad thing for some who are unawares is that with only slow and subtle changes over a given period, they may never even realize what is happening other than their traffic is dead and sales have stopped. So we start by making our students and readers aware.

About the Author: John Alexander is Co-director of Training at offering live, SEO Workshops with his partner SEO educator Robin Nobles, author of the very first comprehensive online search engine marketing courses John has taught SEO skills to people from 87 different countries world wide. John is also Director of Search Engine Academy,


There are many steps to take when you are trying to make money online through affiliate programs. The most tedious and most important step will always be the marketing aspect. Beginners affiliate marketing should begin with knowledge. Read everything that you can to find out the different paths that are available.

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