Dominate Organic Results with Google Maps and Social

For a new website it is not easy to get to the TOP of Organic Listings in Google using standard white hat SEO techniques and Ranks from Black Hat techniques do not last.  It is important for new, small website to look at alternate strategies to gain traction the web.

Local Search Optimization and Social Media Monitoring and Participation is one such alternate technique for Geography specific Brick and Mortar businesses ( e.g. Doctors, Lawyers, Restaurants, Bakeries).At the buying decision/ Purchase stage the Search Queries  for such businesses tend to have Local  Search Qualifiers or Social Search Qualifiers. For example “Sushi in Manhattan???, “budget hotel NY 11001???, “Review of The Sushi Place??? etc.

Blended Local and Social Media Strategy can contribute significant Traffic, Customers and Revenue to such Local businesses.

Did I say Blend Local and Social?? Here’s what I mean..

Local Search targets the prospects while they are exploring options. If you own a Sushi Restaurant in Manhattan, you want to be visible in the search result for all “Sushi + Manhattan??? searches. Local searches tend to have better conversion rate than other Key Phrases. These are the top sites that impact Local Search Visibility :

Maps.google.com
Yelp.com
Insiderpages.com
Local.Yahoo.com
Citysearch.com
Local.com
Google Maps
is the primary entry point into the Local Search space.

Social Media and Opinions influences the buyer’s decision to buy your product or service over competition . Positive Recommendation and User Testimonials go a long way in influencing the buying decision.
Websites and Business can dominate the Organic Results on Search Engines by Blending Google Maps and Social Media strategy with the Optimization Program.

Here are 3 simple steps to Blend Google Maps and Social Media strategy with the Optimization Program.

Step #1. Optimize your website for Local Search

Step #1.1. Add Local Information to the website
Create a page for each location of your business. Embed Google map on each page. Add driving directions, area map and local point of interest on the page. Write the meta data to include Geographic modifiers.

Step #1.2.  Submit to Google
Create Geo-Sitemap with KML reference and submit it to Google Local from an authenticated Google Webmaster Tools account.

Step #2. Optimize your Google Map Listing

Step #2.1. Evaluate and Revive your existing Google Map listings
Or, Create Your  Listing

Google Maps picks up data address and other location specific data for directories and other sources, if businesses do not volunteer data. Search for your Company Name’s name on Google Maps to get the information in Google’s database.
Rectify the information if the information is incorrect or dated. To rectify the entry one has to submit the correct data in the Google Local Business Centre and verify it over Phone or mail.
If you do not find information about your business on Google Maps create a new entry in the Google Local Business Center and verify it over Phone or mail.

Step #2.2. Spruce up the Google Map Description
Edit the listing to add description about your business or company and also key search phrases. Include city name and Neighborhood information. Include hours of operation, pricing information and other details. Add high quality and relevant images of the business.

Step #3. Monitor and Participate in the Social Media

Step #3.1.  Monitor the web for Google Maps Description
Google Maps pulls data and reviews from multiple sources ( like Yelp.com, TripAdvisor.com) for the Google Maps listing. These sources vary by the industry. Identify these sources by examining your listing and other listings in the category. Monitor the discussion and try to resolve any issues with the reviewer. Encourage reviews from happy customers.

Step #3.2. Get active in Social Space.
Monitor the Social Media and Review platforms for positive and Negative comments about your business. Participate in the discussions and defend your brand. Never fake comments. Learn from the customer feedback.

10 Commandments for B2B Search Engine Optimization

How different is B2B Search Engine Optimization compared to B2C Search Engine Optimization?  What are the Best Practices for B2B Search Marketers?
The basics of SEO like Keyword Research, Targeted Content and Meta Data is no different for B2B SEO. The major difference is in Target Audience and Intent of Search Queries. B2B Marketers address an audience that is mature, not impulsive and follow a purchase process. B2B search queries clearly reflect the searchers status in the purchase cycle (Exploring, Considering, Ready to Purchase)

B2B Decision Cycle
B2B Decision Cycle

The ultimate goal of most B2B Search Marketing programs is Generating Inquiries.  This article lists the 10 Commandments for B2B Search Engine Optimization; The Best Practice for B2B Search Engine Optimization.

Commandment 1: Know Your Customer / Target Audience.
Clearly define your Target Audience. You should know who you are targeting. Audience Definitions like “CXOs of Automobile Corporations in United States??? or “Middle Management in Advertising Agencies in Europe??? is a must for a successful B2B SEO campaign.
Difference from B2C
: B2C Target audience is far wider and generally segmented on Socio-Economic and Demographic parameters.

Commandment 2: Design the website for your Target Audience.
Most B2B site address multiple target audience; Prospects, Existing Customers, Investors, Job Seekers. It is very important to focus the SEO for Prospects and Existing Customers. Investors, Job seekers may not be targeted in the B2B SEO program. Design a website that the prospects and customers can relate with. Include Industry Solution, Technology Solutions, Product Application in the main navigation or otherwise prominently on the website.
Test website’s usability frequently and keep the design and content fresh. It is advisable to make minor updates every quarter and major design change once a year. A professional Site Audit helps improve usability and conversion.
Difference from B2C: B2C websites are broader in their appeal and target multiple groups for every product/ service.

Commandment 3: Keyword Research: Forget your Terminology, Forget Google’s Traffic Prediction, and Optimize for Industry Lingo.
Optimize for the search terms the target audience uses and this may vary by industry. Let your organizations internal definitions and Search Engines Traffic Predictions take the backseat.
Difference from B2C: In most B2C scenarios Search Engine’s Search Volume and Predict data gives accurate information about the search terms target audience uses to find a product/ service.

Commandment 4: Keyword Targeting: 1 Keyword per page.
Do not target too many Keywords in a page. Remember you are targeting matured audience that is not impulsive. Limit to 1-2 Keywords per page. The keywords targeted should be related and relevant to one industry, product or solution.
Difference from B2C: Recommend Targeting 2-3 keywords per page on B2C websites.

Commandment 5: Link Strategy: Go for the Hubs; do not bother about the Spokes.
Target links form Industry Hubs and Authority pages. Few links will do the job (get your website visibility and traffic). Get Links from customer and vendor websites. Use variation of your product/ service as link text.
Difference from B2C: Spread out the links over more number of Link text.

B2B Search Engine Optimization
B2B Search Engine Optimization

Commandment 6: Leverage Paid Search Data.
Analyze the paid search data to identify converting keywords, include broader variations / Generic Variations of these keywords in your SEO Program.

Commandment 7: Industry Strategy: Sub-domain/ Multiple Domains.
At times the target audience across industries is very different and it may be a good idea to have sub-domain or multiple domains. You may not be able to address concerns of multiple industries on one website. If your ERP solution is targeted for Manufacturing and retail industries, you must consider and analyze sub-domain/ multiple domain strategy.
Difference from B2C: B2C websites are generally designed to up-sell, cross-sell. Consolidating products on one domain is the preferred strategy.

Commandment 8: Competition: Track Your Competition.
Identify and track your competition. Monitor the changes in the Keywords competition is targeting to track the industry trends and Optimization Strategy.
Difference from B2C: B2C websites are generally track competition for tactics

Commandment 9: Reputation: Monitor and Defend your Brand.
Your Brand is your biggest asset on the web. Defend your brand with all your might. Optimize your website for misspellings and phonetic variations. Set up alerts to monitor copyright violations.

Commandment 10: Get Social: Blog /Network: Be Thought Leader and Follow Thought Leaders.
Blogs allow informal, interactive communication with your audience. Create thought leadership blogs and run opinion polls and reviews to understand your customer better. Also, follow Thought leaders to understand the pulse and the trends of the industry. Recruiting a CBO (Chief Blogging Officer) may be a good idea.

Ultimate Social Tool

Collaboration, Interaction and Two Way  Communication drives innovation on the world wide web. MSN, Yahoo and AOL started it all pre Y2K. Skype, GTalk took convergence further at the dawn of this century. Facebook, Twitter are the Platforms of the day for the Web 2.0.

Today your cell phone could be setup to freed your Twitter account which could be integrated with your Facebook profile and you can access your wall on Facebook on your hand held!

Web 2.0 as we know today is a mesh of platforms that ‘selectively talk’ to each other.

What would be the ultimate integration? I think in not too distant future we would be able to integrate all networks and devices to ourselves!! I am working on a Frame Work for the ultimate Messenger  I call DREAM MESSENGER.

Here’s how it works:

Problem Statement:

  1. Cross platform communication is the lacuna of Web 2.0.
  2. Human Brain utilizes only a fraction (.1- 1% depending on the intellect quotient) of the processing capability while sleeping.

Solution Frame Work.

1. Dream Messenger is Neuro-Firmware embedded in the Human Brain that talks to devices using wifi and Bluetooth ( or Whitetooth) and to the Social Media Platforms and Messengers through their APIs. Dream Messenger is Synapse Integrated to Human Brain ( I’m working on a USB like solution for integration and will discuss that in a later post).

2. Installing Dream Messenger is 3 minute procedure and the device is ‘Hot Swappable’.

3. Dream Messenger comes with a web configurator. You have to log on to a website and put in the access credentials for the Social Media platforms, Messengers and Devices.

4. You can also set the connection setting for example:

‘Send all/user name/ group Tweets to my Dream Messenger when I log off twitter.com

‘If Smart Alex (your Boss) tries to ping you on Facebook, it show your status “working on the proposal ping me only if it can’t wait”.

5. At the end of the day when you log off the social media platforms and your machines and switch off your cell phones and Blackberrys  Dream Messenger takes over. All alerts, nudges and messages are redirected to the Dream Messenger and you could set Dream Messenger on Auto mode ( to reply or react based on historical behavior!- remember Dream Messenger is powered by your Brain) or Manual mode while you are awake. In the manual mode the movements of your facial muscle would convey your emotional state ( Version 2.0 will have kicking and Kissing features integrated.

6. When you sleep the dream Messenger will update its database ( stored in your brain or the Dream Messenger Data farm, if you are dumb), Synchronize you profile across platform and devices.

7. Dream Messenger comes with an alarm clock with Virtual Bose Stereo Speakers . I am meeting Mr. Bose next week to share my speaker design. He emailed me the NDA this morning.

8. As soon as you get up in the morning the Dream Messenger dumps the updated data on the Social Media platforms and devices and self Hibernates.

Current Status:

  1. Integration issue with MSN and MySpace. There seems to be some problem with their APIs that reboots the Dream Messenger early morning. I am meeting Bill and Steve next month to get a fix.
  2. I’m working on the advertising and Revenue model. Lab Rats have reported feeling of Hunger when Food and Beverage ads are displayed. This may be a huge opportunity or challenge. I’m very hopeful that we’ll have the revenue model sorted out before Facebook and Twitter make money.
  3. Extremely Confidential..The Dream Messenger is currently being tested on lab rats. You may have noticed humans smiling, screaming when they are alone at airports and other public places. These are my lab rats and I’m analyzing their social behavior and Dreamoticon* integration. In fact I have already started testing the ‘digging the noses’ Dreamoticon on the my lab rats. This is a version 2.0 feature.

Dreamoticon* are Emoticons for the Dream Messenger.

Buzz Quotient

Social ain’t fad no more. Social Web is the present and the future of  the world wide web and Internet. However, there are questions about  ROI of the Social Web Investments.

In this post I would like to introduce a method to quantify a website’s Social Web footprint and discuss Social Web strategies.

Definitions:

Buzz: a measure of website’s visibility on the Social Web.

Buzz Quotient: Normalized Score/ Index of  a website’s Social Web Footprint.

Concept:

Measure the width and depth of  website’s Social Media Engagement ( The Buzz)

Social Engagement Width is the spread across channels

Social Engagement Depth is the intensity of engagement

Calculate the Buzz Quotient by normalizing the Buzz.

Social Web Strategies
Social Web Strategies

Social Web Strategies:

Social Novice: Try out the top 4-5 Social Channels. Run Pilots to sell the program within the organization. Define success matrix and define budgets. Recommended for Starters.

Social Explorer : Build your foot print across as many channels as possible, keeping the depth of engagement shallow. Works for brands that have appeal across  socio economic segment and advised on diet budget.

Social Selective : Build your foot print across few channels, engage, entice and seduce your customers and prospects  . Works for niche brands.

Social Champ: Build your foot print across as many channels as possible, engage, entice and seduce your customers and prospects. Works for brands that have appeal across  socio economic segment.

Of Swine Flu & Swine Flew

Should you optimize for misspellings ?

I find analyzing Search Intent and Search Queries  very intriguing. Answer to the question why people search they way they do presents low hanging opportunities to marketers. While Brand key Phrases, Generic Search Terms get bulk of the Organic traffic to websites, alternate Keyword Strategy adds the punch to the Optimization Program.

One such alternate keyword strategy is Optimizing  for Misspellings. Marketers have used misspelled words in their programs and Search Engine Crawlers and algorithms are growing increasingly sensitive to Misspellings.

I feel there is a definite case for including misspellings in the Optimization Program.

One of the most searched term in the last 6 months is ‘swine flu’- a pandemic that threatens every country on the planet, its variations and misspellings. Here’s my 2 cents on Search Engines, SEO and Swine Flew/ Swine Flu.

Until March 2009, ‘swine flu’ and ‘swine flew’ were equally searched for terms on the Internet. In the 4th week of April search for  ‘swine flu’ took off.

Swine Flu Search Peaks in 2009 April
Swine Flu Search Peaks in 2009 April

However,   ‘Swine Flew’ still had currency ( in native English and not in call centre countries)

Global Swine Flew Searches
Global Swine Flew Searches

Meanwhile Google raked in the moolah with average CPC  of  $3 for ‘swine flew’ related searches.

Swine Flu CPC
Swine Flu CPC

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End Note:  Search Engine Algorithms are driven  by commercial interest. (period)

Google: Michael Jackson misspelling e.g. michle jacksin

Michael- Jackson Misspelling search
Michael- Jackson Misspelling search

There goes the intelligent Web 2.0 with spelling suggestions..

now Google ‘Swine Flew’

Swine Flew Google no suggestion
Swine Flew Google no suggestion

No spelling suggestions…Back to the dumb web 0.0??

I Rest my Case..