Category Archives: regional SEO

Google Places Switches to Google+ Local

As you might have noticed, Google Places is now Google+ Local. On May 30, more than 80 million listings were switched over to the new local listing format. Now that Google has integrated local listings with Google+, there are a few changes to be aware of for your local SEO:

New look and interface – Google local listings now have a similar look and feel to a Google+ page.

Google+ Local tab – On top of regular search results, Google Maps and Google mobile apps, local listings will also appear on a Local tab within Google+.

Zagat rating scale and integration – Google+ Local listings now feature a Zagat-inspired rating from 0-30, with 30 being excellent. In addition, listings will also feature any reviews that business has received from Zagat.com.

Greater social integration – Google+ Local features a circle filter, allowing users to see reviews and recommendations from their friends, family and colleagues.

It should be mentioned that Google+ Local is still a separate entity from Google+, meaning you can have both a Google+ Local listing and Google+ page for your business. However, Google has said it might allow businesses to combine the two in the future.

The Google Places-Google+ Local changeover offers interesting new local marketing opportunities for businesses, and CyberMark is dedicated to assisting businesses with the transition. If you have any questions or issues regarding your Google+ Local listing, please feel free to contact us at http://www.cybermarkintl.com/general-contact.php.

Posted in Google, regional SEO, search engine optimization | Comments Off

5 Internet Marketing Trends to Watch For in 2012

2012 Internet Marketing TrendsThe world of Internet marketing is a fast-changing one; there are constantly new products, new conventions, new opportunities for reaching a wider audience. So, it stands to bear that 2012 would usher in new SEO trends. Here are a few areas we at CyberMark predict will be particularly important for the next 12 months.

Social Media Marketing

A few years ago, having a Facebook page or Twitter account for your business was a novel way to extend your web presence beyond the company website; nowadays, social media marketing is becoming a necessity to staying competitive. The majority of companies are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or other relevant social media channels to market their business, and most believe that social media marketing is crucial to their business’ future success. If your company isn’t on social media yet, or isn’t taking full advantage of current branded channels, you could be missing out on valuable business.

Mobile Marketing

As more and more customers are researching businesses on the go, it’s becoming more and more important to optimize your mobile website. The easier and faster it is for mobile users to find out pertinent information about your company, the more likely those users will become customers. Make sure your website is mobile friendly, or take it the next level by developing smartphone apps that enhance your customer service on mobile devices.

Local Marketing

Local SEO is always something to pay attention to for companies that rely on area customers for business. However, the coming year will offer even more opportunities for localized Internet marketing, with social media, review sites and new local directories. Make sure your organization is maximizing its local marketing potential.

More Meaningful Web Content

Just as with 2011, 2012 is likely to bring more Google Panda search algorithm updates. These updates are designed to value quality web content, content that offers helpful information customers can use, and alternately, devalue keyword-stuffed, spammy content. To make sure your website doesn’t take a hit, you might want to step up your game with content that is both informative and SEO-friendly.

Ecommerce

Studies show that most Internet users are comfortable with making purchases online. Customers love the idea of being able to easily, quickly and safely (especially safely) buy items online. And thankfully, there’s now plenty of budget-friendly, reliable ecommerce software options. If you haven’t already, 2012 may be the year to expand your store online.

CyberMark can help you take advantage of these trends so that your business can benefit and grow for new opportunities. To find out more, please contact us for a free consultation.

Posted in Ecommerce, internet marketing, mobile marketing, regional SEO, social media, Website Content | Comments Off

Microsoft’s Answer to Google Places: Bing Business Portal

The Bing Business Portal offers local businesses a new, improved space to promote online.

The local search game just got a little hotter as of earlier this week. On Monday, Bing announced the launch of the Bing Business Portal (BBP), a revamped version of its old local listing service, the Bing Local Listing Center. Offering a wealth of new features, the BBP puts Bing in a better position to compete with Google Places, Google’s local listing service.

With The BBP, local business owners (or their designated representatives) can claim and enhance their listings with additional content such as special offers and links to Facebook and Twitter. Here’s a rundown of what you can do with your Bing Business Portal listing:

· Claim, create, verify and manage local business listings

· Add search categories to listings

· Enhance listings with logos, photos and more

· Create a mobile website for easy mobile access

· Create a scan-able QR Code for your listing

· Create coupons using a deal editor and promote them on Bing (PC and mobile) and Facebook

Although many of these features are standard on Google Places, the deal editor and the mobile listings are innovations that can help business owners get a leg up on the local competition as online coupons and mobile search are both very hot right now.

To claim listings, business owners (or their authorized reps) can do so by phone or using a PIN sent through the mail. The verification process usually takes about 48 to 72 hours.

If you’re concerned about your Bing Local listing, there’s no need to worry; all listings have been transferred over to the new BBP format. However, now, of course, there are plenty of new features to take advantage of.

With Bing searches now comprising 30 percent of all Internet searches in the U.S., it’s becoming more and more important for local businesses to list on this growing network. CyberMark can help create or enhance Bing listings that highlight your local business in SERPs. Contact us to find out more.

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How to Rank Higher in Google Places

Rank higher in Google with CyberMark

You may have noticed that, in the last year, Google’s has significantly revamped its approach to local search. In recent times, we’ve seen a name change (from Google Local to Google Places) and a whole new local search that factors in reviews and ratings from third-party websites such as Yelp, Insider Pages, Trip Advisor or Citysearch. If your business relies on local customers, you need pay attention to how well your Google Place page is faring in search results. Here are a few ways to ensure a higher ranking in Google Places.

Make sure your Google Place Page is accurate and as complete as possible.

Your Google Place page is a great opportunity to inform potential customers about what your business has to offer. Make sure that your business name, address, phone number and website are accurate. Also, be sure to add a company description as well as appropriate categories that will help direct more customers to your page. For even better results, you can enhance your profile by adding photos, videos, or custom details like Services or E-mail or advertising your page in Google Maps or Google for an additional monthly fee.

Get more Google reviews.

It’s simple; the more Google reviews you have, the higher your Google Place page is likely to rank in Google. Also, reviews can help potential customers decide to try your products or services. Solicit more reviews from customers by including a link to your Google Place page on your website or in your e-mail newsletter.

Get more reviews on third-party websites.

As reviews on certain third-party websites associated with your business are clustered beneath your Google Place page in search results, it is important to get more reviews from third-party websites. In order to get more third-party reviews, it’s important to have profiles on third-party websites from which Google pulls reviews, including:

In addition to these websites, it’s a good idea to list on industry-specific review websites (such as UrbanSpoon for restaurants) as well as other directories specific to your region.

If your need help optimizing your Google Place page, CyberMark can help. Our Google Places service is affordable, especially when you consider how much more exposure an optimized Place page can bring your business. Contact us today for more information.

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Posted in Google Places, regional SEO | Comments Off

5 Search Engine Marketing Trends For 2011

Local search, social media marketing and video marketing are some of the biggest trends in Internet marketing for the coming year.

As 2010 ends and 2011 begins, many of you may be looking for ways to update your Internet marketing to become more competitive in the new year. From local search to social media, the following are the hottest trends in web marketing:

Mobile Search

With more and more people searching the Internet on their phones and blackberries, being optimized for mobile search is becoming more and more important. Is your website mobile-friendly? Is your call-to-action geared toward customers accessing your website on a mobile device? These are things to think about for the near future.

Local SEO

If you’re a regional business that thrives on a local customer base, local SEO is of the essence, especially now. In 2010, we saw Google drastically redesign its local search so that it now has more weight in search results. City pages, Google Place listings, local-based social media campaigns are just a few ways you can effectively compete in your region.

Social Media

Having a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites is not just a good idea anymore; it’s becoming crucial to staying viable. Studies show that the majority of online users are also social media users. What’s more, the average social media user spends hours of their time each month on these sites. Why not tap into this lucrative, burgeoning market?

Online Deals

In the last year, we’ve seen the rise of online coupon with the explosive growth of deal-of-the-day websites like Groupon and LivingSocial. And with Facebook and Yelp’s recent entries into the deal game, online deals are becoming a more viable option for businesses of all sizes and industries. Offering online deals are a great way for small, local businesses to inform and, better yet, entice potential customers, because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a coupon?

Video Marketing

From video ads to how-to videos, incorporating video into your Internet marketing is a great way to engage customers and increase conversions. Fact is, U.S. online users watch more videos online than they conduct searches. Plus, videos are great for SEO. Videos are 50 times more likely to land you on the first page of Google than text pages. And with emerging technology, online video production is easier and cheaper than ever.

As you’re looking at your marketing strategy for 2011, we at CyberMark can help you incorporate more of these trends in your Internet marketing. Whether you want to optimize your website for mobile search, launch a social media marketing campaign or produce an online video, contact us today!

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Posted in Groupon, mobile marketing, regional SEO, social media, Video Marketing | Comments Off

New Mobile Marketing Study Forecasts Trend in Location-Based Applications Usage This Holiday Season

According to the Mobile Audiences Insight Report compiled by JiWire, a mobile marketing company, location-based services such as Yelp, Foursquare, GoWalla and Facebook Places will have an important role in this holiday season. More than 90 percent of those surveyed said they would be using location-based media in their holiday planning and activities.

In the report, 61 percent said they are likely to use location-based media to find nearby stores. Other key findings in the report include:

  • 36 percent plan to find product reviews
  • 33 percent plan to check inventory at nearby stores
  • 26 percent plan to connect with social networks though location-based features
  • 62 percent admitted to using “find a store location” features within an ad
  • 30 percent are willing to travel more than five miles to redeem a mobile coupon
  • 21 percent have used mobile coupons within the last 90 days
  • 49 percent are open to checking in through location-based media
  • 29 percent use location-based media to find specials
  • 17 percent simply want to share location

“It’s becoming clear that there is a huge opportunity with location, well beyond the check-in,” said David Staas, senior vice president of marketing at JiWire. “Consumers are demanding a wealth of location information that spreads across branding, product detail and discounts, allowing brands to build bigger campaign strategies. This is great news as we head into 2011 – unlocking big brand budgets and even more opportunity in location-based media.”

Is your organization optimized for location-based search? At CyberMark, we can boost your company’s profile on location-based media. Contact us for more details.

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Posted in location-based services, mobile marketing, regional SEO | Comments Off

Google Rolls Out New Place Search

At the end of October, Google introduced Place Search, a dramatic, new way to display local search results. This change is likely to have a significant impact on local SEO. Instead, the new Place Search makes Place Pages, profiles for local businesses that display basic information such as address and telephone number as well as both Google and third-party reviews, significantly more prominent in search engine results.

Before, when users conducted a Google search for a place, local search results were displayed in a “7-pack” or seven basic listings for area businesses that matched the inquiry. The locations of these listings were indicated on a Google Map at the top of search results, like so:

Now, when users search for a keyword that Google’s algorithm detects as a regional keyword, Google automatically switches to Places search. In Places search, Google displays local results, which are tagged with a red push pin. Each local search result shows the location’s basic identifying information, including street address, phone number and official website, with related results from third-party websites clustered beneath. For example, here are the results you get when you search for “personal injury lawyer san diego ca” today:

google place search image

Here’s a closer look at how an individual place displays in results:

google place search result image

The new Place search listings are more detailed than their 7-pack equivalents, displaying addresses, ratings, links to Google and third-party website reviews and more.

If it’s not clear whether or not the user is searching for places, Google will display a mix of local and regular web results. For example, a search for the ambiguous term “desert” from a computer with a Phoenix IP address displays this screen:

mixed google search results image

The results displayed are a combination of Place pages indicated with a red pushpin and regular web results such as the Wikipedia entry for desert and a web page about desert biodomes.

This change in displaying local SERPs will likely lead to major shift in how businesses market to nearby customers online. Previously, the focus was on landing in the 7-Pack. With the new Place Search, the focus is liable to shift to building fully fleshed out Place Pages as well as links from third-party websites such as Yelp, Citysearch, Insiderpages, Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor, Yahoo Local and Judysbook that will be clustered in results.

Currently, Place Search can only be accessed on desktop computers but will become available on mobile devices in the near future.

As this change was implemented recently, there are likely to be more developments in the coming months. CyberMark will research these changes and their effects to help you revise your local SEO strategy for the best possible outcome. Please contact us today to discuss how we can optimize your business online for Place Search.

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Posted in Google, Google Places, regional SEO | Comments Off

Going Local: New Study Reveals Insights on Local Search Marketing


Local Search Study image If your business depends on local customers, connecting with those area customers is key to the success of your business. Internet marketing affords you many opportunities to make more customers in the markets you serve aware of just what you have to offer. In our new blog series, Going Local, we discuss ways to build awareness of your business using local SEO.

The results of a new local search study from Internet marketing research company ComScore and online and mobile marketing firm 15 miles were revealed at the SMX East Conference earlier this month. The study followed 2,000 consumers who accessed local business information this summer. Here are some of the highlights of the study:

· 81 percent of consumers age 18 to 34, 69 percent of consumers 35 to 54 and 56 percent of consumers age 55 and older look to the Internet first to find out more about a business online.

· 86 percent of consumers use multiple resources to research a business before deciding using the business’ services.

· 69 percent of consumers said they are more likely to use a company if they can find their information on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

· Regarding desired behavior on social networking sites, 81 percent of consumers want companies to respond to posts and messages; 78 percent want to see coupons, specials and promotions; 66 percent want to see pictures.

· 60 percent of consumers, including 78 percent of social networkers and 71 percent of mobile searchers, said they factor in reviews and ratings of a business online into the decision whether or not to use their services.

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Posted in Going Local, regional SEO | Comments Off

Google Places Separates and Categorizes Reviews

Today, Google unveiled a redesign to its Place Pages, local search profiles linked to Google Maps. In the newly designed Place Pages, Google user reviews and reviews from third-party websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor are displayed separately. Reviews from third-party websites, indicated with a favicon, are displayed in a section titled “Reviews from around the web.” As an example, here’s the Place Page for Green Restaurant in Scottsdale:

google place pages reviews

On its LatLong blog, Google says this about its new Reviews from around the web section: “This section highlights reviews from a variety of sources, and helps you identify the sites that have high-quality, relevant information about a particular place. In many cases, this newly formatted section also provides a quick summary of what you can expect to see, including the number of reviews from each source and the average star rating that reviewers on that site gave a place.”

Google goes on to say, “We hope these changes to the way reviews are organized help you discover the most useful information about the places you care about from a diverse set of sources and voices.”

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Going Local: Social Media Marketing for Local Businesses

If your business depends on local customers, connecting with those area customers is key to the success of your business. Internet marketing affords you many opportunities to make more customers in the markets you serve aware of just what you have to offer. In our new blog series, Going Local, we discuss ways to build awareness of your business using local SEO.

In order to connect with more local customers on the Internet, you need to direct your marketing efforts to where customers are most likely to be online. And, these days, chances are that many of your target customers are using social media. According to a recent Nielsen study, the average Internet user spends nearly 25 percent of their time online on social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter. In addition to helping you promote your business to area customers, social media marketing can grow your online presence, make your business appear more accessible to customers and even boost your website’s SEO efforts. The following social media sites are particularly great for cultivating a local following:

Facebook

With 500 million (and growing) users, Facebook is one of the most visited websites on the Internet. Its members include people of all ages, races, ethnicities and income levels. In this day and age, having a presence on Facebook is becoming necessary to compete with other businesses. Set up a customized Facebook page for your business to reach more customers in the areas you’re trying to target.

Twitter

Like Facebook, Twitter is growing in popularity among a diverse range of people all over the world. Having a Twitter page allows you to share short, timely updates with current and potential customers, including those in your area.

MerchantCircle

At first glance, MerchantCircle may seem like a slightly kicked up version of an online yellow pages. But MerchantCircle can offer so much more than a simple phone book listing. By claiming their MerchantCircle listing, businesses can customize their listing layout, add links to their website, blog and other social media sites, post pictures and even connect with customers and other local businesses.

Yelp

Particularly in big cities, this review and check-in site is very fashionable among savvy, early-adopting consumers. More and more customers are turning to Yelp to help research area businesses – from restaurants and clothing boutiques to auto mechanics and lawyers. If your business is already listed on Yelp, go ahead and claim it if you haven’t already. By claiming your business, you can not only respond to customer reviews both publicly and privately, but add descriptions, about us statements, photos and other informative content.

Groupon

Groupon offers a great opportunity for businesses of all sizes to promote their business in a way that gets customers’ attention – with coupons. Every day, Groupon features a customized deal from a business (i.e. $25 for $50 worth of food) in each one of its major markets. In order to take advantage of that coupon at a later date, customers must purchase that coupon for its face value in advance. But the deal is only valid if a pre-determined minimum of customers purchase the coupon. Otherwise, customers are refunded their money. By being featured on Groupon, businesses with successful deals not only receive revenue upfront, but it’s a great way to inform local customers about your business.

If you’re part of an organization that thrives on the patronage of local customers and would like to find out more about how social media marketing can positively impact you business, contact us at CyberMark. We can custom-design a social media strategy for your business that will help you connect with more area customers.

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Posted in Going Local, regional SEO, social media | Comments Off