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Report: Social Media Spending Threatens To Overtake Paid Search Among SMBs

social-media-adoption-featured Borrell Associates has come out with an extensive new report about small business ("SMBs") and social media adoption. It contains forecasts and spending estimates as well as other data about SMB usage of social media as a marketing tool. There's a great deal of data already in the market about SMB adoption of social media. What they show is that between 45 percent and 70 percent of SMBs say they already have a presence on social media sites (mostly Facebook). Borrell reports that between 60 and 64 percent of SMBs have a formal presence on social media sites. An earlier 2011 study by [...]

Survey Says SEO The Single Most Important Marketing Channel For SMBs

Screen shot 2011-12-08 at 6.24.13 AM SEO: one channel to rule them all? A new "merchant confidence survey" from lead-gen company MerchantCircle/, among 2,500 US small businesses, finds that search engine optimization is the marketing channel they would choose if they could choose only one. The question asked was: "If you had to put all your marketing time and budget into only one channel, what would it be?" The list of choices included SEO, paid search, mobile, social and traditional media. As you can see below SEO beats everything else by a mile. What's also interesting is how high "traditional media" ranked. [...]

A Guide To Geocoding Images For Local SEO

One way to kick up your local search optimization game is through beefing up the local signal through images. There are a few techniques for doing this -- read on for details. Incorporating images as part of your overall content mix is a good idea for search optimization in and of itself. Images can provide additional opportunities for keyword signals on a page, and they represent good opportunities for ranking in search results under Universal Search. But, if they're also associated with places properly, they can convey additional location signals, helping a business and/or its website [...]

Local Search: Mostly A Small City & Southern Activity, Report Says

local-search-featured Do Internet users in the southern US do more local searches than the rest of the country? Are searchers in smaller cities more likely to conduct local searches than those in New York City, Chicago and the San Francisco area? The answer to those questions is "yes," at least according to recent data compiled by the online ad network Chitika. The company drew its local search queries from a sample of more than 10 million searches that brought traffic to its network of sites in the US between July 4th and July 11th. The results, at least to me, are quite surprising: Smaller cities like Cha [...]

What Will Google Plus Google Places Equal?

I have no idea what social network Google Plus (Google+) is going to kill. I have no idea if it is going to be huge or not. But I do have an idea of what it's going to do to Local Search, or at least I have a vision. Whether my vision is right or not will likely be borne out over the next few months. But I am part pundit and therefore accountable to no one but my ego, so here goes... How Google+ Could Become A Killer Local Marketing Channel The Places Stream One day, we are all going to wake up and find "Places" as a default stream in our Google+ experience and a business’ "Plus" stream [...]

MapQuest Launches Local Business Listings Center

Local SEOs have another tool to add to the "citation belt," as it were: MapQuest has announced its own Local Business Center, a place where local businesses can add and/or manage their listing(s) on MapQuest. As the video below shows, the MapQuest LBC functions very much like Google's and Bing's and offers many of the same basic features such as photo uploads, videos, categories and so forth. MapQuest is also offering two premium listing levels at $99 and $399 per year -- the latter of which includes distribution of business information to other sites like Yelp, Yahoo Local, SuperPages and [...]

Nifty Hard Core Local SEO Tactics From SMX Advanced

The panelists at last week's "HardCore Local SEO" panel at SMX Advanced, Mike Ramsey of Nifty Marketing, Will Scott of Search Influence and David Mihm of GetListed, presented some excellent data on various tactical approaches to improving Google Place Page rankings. For today's column, I thought it would be helpful to excerpt some of the more interesting ideas they presented. I was particularly intrigued by Mike Ramsey's presentation on research he had done where he compared 28 listings that ranked in the top 7 results for some local queries to 28 listings that did not rank as well. Mike s [...]

Survey: 60% Of Consumers More Likely To Consider Or Contact Businesses With Images In Local Search Results

UK based SEO firm BrightLocal reported the results of two online surveys about local consumer behavior and local SEO. The surveys were conducted in Q1 2011. There were more than 600 SEO survey respondents and 1,250 US consumer survey respondents respectively. The findings are not a surprise. Google dominates as a traffic source to local business websites, though in this survey not as much as some other surveys. Mobile was not a part of the results reported. Here's how the SEO respondents ranked the top sources of traffic to their clients' sites: That ranking is further unpacked in [...]

BrightLocal Conducting Local SEO Survey

UK based SEO firm BrightLocal is conducting a local SEO survey. The survey covers the US, Canadian and UK markets and asks specifically about local SEO practices. We haven't participated in formulating the survey questions but we'll release the results when they become available in the next couple weeks. The survey essentially is trying to find out basic things about local SEO attitudes, metrics and clients. It takes about 5 or so minutes to complete. If you're interested, you can start here. [...]

9 Ways To Start A New Local Business Using Facebook, Twitter, Groupon And Google*

Ever dream of being your own boss? If you've got a good idea and are willing to take the plunge into starting your own business, it's now easier (and cheaper) than ever to get a local business started. Put Up Your Website (<$100/yr) You'll probably want your own domain, so you'll have to shell out $12 or so to a domain seller like GoDaddy and get a shared hosting package for $7/month. After that, there are a number of free website builders you can use such as Weebly. You don't need to be a techy to do any of these things, but it helps if you are not afraid of trying to figure out how t [...]

Local Search: Fish Where The Other Fishermen Aren’t

Most businesses tend to focus on the big channels when it comes to local SEO efforts. While it makes sense to optimize your Google Place Page and pay attention to your presence on other big local search services (e.g. Bing Local, CityGrid, DexKnows, Insider pages,, Merchant circle, Superpages, Yahoo Local, Yellow book, Yelp,, etc.), because of the fragmented nature of local search, there are plenty of other services that generate great local traffic and can provide you with SEO benefits. Here's a brief overview of some "off the grid" opportunities. Facebook Places. So Faceb [...]

Call Analytics Bring Sophisticated New Data, Insights to Search Marketing

Many search marketers have experimented with call tracking and measurement as a way to capture online-to-offline consumer activity and determine which ads and campaigns are generating calls. But there has also been debate about whether unique phone numbers required by call tracking harms SEO especially for local advertisers. Some new developments in the field make a compelling argument for call tracking and analytics, at the very least among enterprises or large advertisers trying to generate calls to call centers. Search marketing platform Kenshoo earlier this summer introduced what it cal [...]

Local Search Marketers Share Ranking Factors

Nearly three dozen local search marketers from around the world have shared their opinions on what matters most this year when it comes to ranking well in Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local. David Mihm has published the results of the 2010 Local Search Ranking Factors survey. The survey asks local search marketers to estimate the positive or negative impact of things like claiming a local business listing, having a keyword in your business name, the value of user-generated content such as Google's "MyMaps" service, and dozens of other potential factors. The respondents surveyed believ [...]

Year In Review: Local Search & Maps

While analysts and practitioners have been prognosticating the imminent arrival of local search for the last several years, 2009 was finally the year that proved us right. A number of innovations and developments in mobile search, such as the widespread adoption of the iPhone, the release of Android, and a burgeoning number of location-based apps like Foursquare have certainly helped fuel local search's rise. But local has gained mind share among SEO's, marketers, business owners, and perhaps most importantly, searchers, in its own right as well. Let's take a loo [...]

Which Internet Yellow Pages Site Has The Best Rankings?

One of the challenges for a local business that wants to rank for phrases like "reno dentist" or "nashville accountant" is that the large Internet yellow pages sites and similar local directories often take up a lot of the real estate on search results pages for "city category" phrases. Ergo, one of the most basic pieces of local SEO advice is to piggyback on the authority that these IYPs and directories already have. Two recent blog posts take a shot at trying to determine which IYP and local directory sites have the strongest rankings. In his IYP SEO Rankings Report 2009 post, Andrew [...]

Clean Up Your Local Data!

Local search is a huge opportunity for many businesses, particularly those with hundreds (or more) of locations. In this article, we are going to cover one of the most difficult aspects of that - getting your data to show correctly in the search engines. This turns out to be an extremely important thing to do. In David Mihm's recent Local Search Ranking Factors report the top two items listed where: Local address in City of search (e.g. a user search on "boston rental cars" will favor rental car companies located in Boston) Citations from major data providers, IYPs, and other local in [...]

Does Including A Physical Address On Your Website Help Rankings?

As businesses become more virtual in organization and structure, and more workers become digital nomads, the question of  whether having a physical, real-world address on your website will have any effect on your rankings becomes more important. In this article I'll take a look how a real world address can have some impact on your sites organic listings. Let's look at the auto repair sector. We'll be looking at national chain/franchises, whether they have a corporate address in the footer or on the site, public or private whois data, does the whois data match and do they have a crawlable/i [...]

SEOs Dissect How To Rank In Local Search

Twenty-seven local search marketers from the U.S., Canada, and Europe have shared their opinions and insights in the second edition of the Local Search Ranking Factors. Organized by David Mihm, it's a project that aims to help local businesses understand how Google and Yahoo rank local businesses. David sent out a questionnaire listing 49 possible factors that affect local search rankings, and invited the participants (disclaimer: I'm one of them) to rank each factor on a scale ranging from "very important for ranking well" to "can hurt your ranking/lead to penalty." According to the panel [...]

Google Showing Local Results On Non-Local Queries

Google is rewriting the local search space. They're now showing local search results -- a map, business listings, and more -- even when searchers use generic terms that don't include a local word. This was spotted in London last week, written about on Saturday by a California florist, and spread widely yesterday when Mike Blumenthal wrote it up on his blog. This has potentially huge implications for searchers, local business owners, big businesses with a local presence, and search marketers, too. As I wrote on my own blog yesterday, Google is changing the game where local search is concerne [...] Aims To Simplify Local Search Marketing

Many small business owners realize the need to market online to local customers, but few know where to begin. A new web site that offers a much-needed launch pad for local businesses launched this week. operates with a simple premise: It should be as easy as possible for small businesses to find and claim their business listings on local search engines. To that end, the process begins with only two demands of the small business owner: enter your business name and enter your zip code. With that information, the site looks for the company's business listings on four local search [...]

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