In Praise of Great Domains and the Wayback Machine

Our new real estate web site.

If you’re in a real estate, as my wife and I are, you can’t do much better than getting a domain name that looks like [yourcity]homes.com. In my experience, that’s a very common search query and having an exact-match domain is pretty much never a bad idea.

The problem is that all of these domains have been registered for years and completely unavailable. So that’s why you see some real estate agents with domain names that have 20-30 characters and/or combine 4-5 words. It can be pretty ridiculous.

Imagine my shock, then, when I somehow stumbled on an (almost) perfect domain for a Tri-Cities real estate agent: Tri-CitiesHomes.com. I had to do a double-take when it showed up as available. And then I think I did another double-take.

If I’m nitpicking, I’d prefer no hyphen in the domain … but that wasn’t gonna stop me from grabbing the domain right away. I did, and here we are just three days later with an active domain where people can find Tri-Cities hom..

The Top 7 SEO Things Small Businesses Screw Up

SEO Mistakes Are Easy
Owners of small (and very small) businesses are usually highly skilled in what they do. But they often have insufficient experience with SEO. Despite our company name, there’s no “magic” in SEO, but it’s not intrinsically obvious either. I hope it’s helpful for you to know these pitfalls.

The Top 7 Things Small Business Owners Screw Up
1) Not starting SEO soon enough
It’s very common for small business owners to recognize very early on that a website is indispensable to their business. They will often spend a great deal of time and effort in creating a website that is robust, full-featured, attractive, and even sexy. Often it will include a blog with months or years of laboriously crafted information.

But without SEO, all of that information may be inaccessible to potential customers. It’s like a Billboard in the Woods. Want to find out if your site is a Billboard in the Woods? Conduct a simple test.

Once you realize that your beautiful website can’t be found, ..

How To Write Great Meta Descriptions For Your Business

How To Write Great Meta Descriptions For Your Business

Meta descriptions are not used to directly determine your SEO rankings. However, they do convince searchers to visit your website. A bad meta description might undermine your web page — or your brand.

Below I’ve explained how your business can write great meta descriptions in order to turn casual searchers into paying customers.

Recommended reading: 10 SEO Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Why are meta descriptions important to your business?
SEO makes your web pages rank well in SERPs. You then need to convince searchers that your business provides them with the result they’re looking for. This is what your meta descriptions do – meta descriptions are your sales people.

You need to produce winning sales pitches for you business by writing great meta descriptions for your web pages. Here’s how.

Don’t underestimate the value of a great meta description to get people to click on your listing.
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Start with the PSO app..

How to Get Online Reviews

How important is it to get online reviews?

Research has shown that 9 out of 10 consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from family and friends.
Not only do consumers read and trust online reviews — they actually help you to rank higher in Google, Yahoo & Bing.
And beyond that they can even improve your conversion rate

For more on the value of online reviews, see our infographic.

People use online reviews to pick a business
When searching online, people really do take online reviews into accout when deciding which listing to click on. For example, if you were looking for an Indian restaurant in Lake George, NY, this local 3-pack might well convince you to drive ½ hour south to Sarasota Springs. But if that’s too far, it’s an easy choice between the two local restaurants.

Avoid phony reviews
There’s an understandable temptation to sort of start the ball rolling by writing a review for yourself. Or to make up for a mediocre average star rating by creating s..

Sometimes, It’s the Little 4×6 Marketing Things That Matter

I stopped using national flower services years ago, mainly after reading some of the articles on FloristDetective.com — like this one, but really, just click all the links in the left nav that catch your eye. You’ll never order flowers from a middleman again.

So, over the years, as friends have lost loved ones, or celebrated weddings and new arrivals, I always look for a local florist in the delivery area and call the shop direct to place an order. I’ve ordered directly from probably 10-15 florists across the U.S., but never before has something like this come in the mail after one of my orders.

That’s the florist I used a couple months ago to send my mom birthday flowers a couple weeks after my dad died. She was hospitalized at the time, so there are other florists closer to her home that I’ll be using for Mother’s Day flowers next weekend. But still, what a nice touch to follow up with a postcard and a 10 percent discount. If they were closer to my mom’s home, I’d be calling them a..

All Your Startup Needs To Know About Local SEO

All Your Startup Needs To Know About Local SEO

While SEO is the result globalization, the evolution of SEO has seen the rise in importance of bringing localization to your strategy; if your startup wants the highest sales figures possible you need to know about local SEO.
Below I’ve run through what local SEO is and how your startup can incorporate it into your strategy. Read on and you’ll be a local SEO pro in no time.
Recommended reading: Local Business: Get Found and Get Chosen

What is local SEO?
You and your startup already know about traditional SEO and will have your own strategy for it. However, local SEO is not the same and has tactics and features to the SEO skills you’re already employing. Here are the headline features of local SEO:

For local searches
When your customer make a search in Google, the search engine knows which part of the world you’re in. Google exists to give its users the best possible outcome to their searches and if that means giving them a local solutio..

PPC: Sometimes “set it and forget it” works!

This has historically been an SEO-focused blog, but that hasn’t stopped me from writing a few PPC posts over the years … and for the first SBSM article in a looooong time, I’m gonna share a little PPC story.

As a reminder, my wife, Cari, is a successful real estate agent here in Tri-Cities, Washington. She received a call today that went to voicemail (because she was with another client) from a gentlemen wanting to talk about buying a house. Early in the voicemail, he explained how he found her:

“You must be doing something right, because your ad came up first when I searched on Google, so here I am calling you.”
Cari is going to try to find out what his search term was, but that’s not the real story. What’s amazing is that her ad(s) are driving any calls whatsoever. Because we literally haven’t touched her AdWords account in more than a year. I’m not kidding. I never bothered to update her account to those expanded text ads that went live in July 2016. We’ve never transitioned the o..

Respond to Reviews and Get More Business

Online reviews and your responses can bring more business
Search Engine People recently reported on how the number of online reviews of your business directly impacts your rankings in Google.
The more review sites that feature your company, the more back links your website attracts. Spending time responding to reviews and communicating with customers increases engagement and brand mentions, resulting in a positive impact on your search engine rankings.

Studies show that 92% of consumers now read online reviews and that 68% of these cite positive reviews as a significant trust factor.

Read more about the importance of online reviews.

Your response to online reviews increases your conversions
Search Engine Land recently reported on an experiment on review responses in terms of their impact on “conversions”. Conversions are customer actions on your website: form fills, email inquiries, requests for quotes, etc.

Businesses with an average rating of close to five stars get 25% more conv..

Bing Maps, We Have A Problem

It’s been many years since I’ve done local SEO, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t good:

(click for larger version)

My wife has not one … not two … not three … but four listings in Bing Maps for her real estate business. This can be directly attributed to her having worked for three different brokerages in the past 4-5 years, one of which changed addresses while she was with them.

Looks like we have some cleanup to do. Anyone know how well Bing responds to requests to remove old, outdated listings? Guess we’ll find out soon…..

This is a post from Matt McGee's blog, Small Business Search Marketing.

Bing Maps, We Have A Problem

10 SEO Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Small business SEO isn’t obvious
I often explain that despite the “Magic” in our company name, SEO isn’t magic, and there really should be no secrets about how it works. Nevertheless, it does require a little shift in how you think about your website to understand what works and why. Small business SEO mistakes can be pretty easily avoided if you know what they are.

Startups and small business owners, especially those with cash flow concerns, often try to do things for themselves. We found that there are some common SEO mistakes that small businesses make which are easily avoidable. Here’s a list of the top ten things small business owners often mess up when trying to do SEO. (Needless to say, if you want or need professional help in optimizing your site without making these errors, Rank Magic is here to help.)

Much of what follows comes with a tip of the hat to the folks at Search Engine Watch; if you’d like to read a bit more about this from their perspective, here’s their article ..