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Beyond Google?

Is there a place on the Internet beyond Google?  Facebook, having recently signed up their billionth user, is making a run at them, but Google is still numero uno for page visits around the globe.  Google claims that if you add up all the services they provide (YouTube, Gmail, Google News, etc.) they have way more than a billion users.  Of course, they still dominate search.  In both in numbers and revenue, they win, and the numbers for each are increasing every day, week and year.  So to forthrightly answer the question I posed in the first place, well, no.  But is that the right question?  A better question might be: How do you compete? Asking how many websites there are is like asking how many human beings there are. New websites are proliferating, and the big sites have time, resources and expertise on their side.  So how do you compete?  Think local. There’s search, and then there is local search. Most users know that if you type a town or neighborhood or even a zip code into a search for a type of business on a computer, or if you search on a smart phone, Google will take you to a Google Map (as long as you don’t have an iPhone 5) to show you what businesses are in your area.  If you’re selling engagement rings in Peoria to someone who wants to look at and try on what they might buy, you don’t have to beat Tiffany’s, just the other local jewelers. So how do you win in local search?  A good first step is to claim...
One More Reason to Join Google Plus

One More Reason to Join Google Plus

Google is on a mission.  They keep improving the formula they use to rank almost everything on the Internet.  This is good news for true marketers like you.  The better Google gets at weeding out the spambots and automarketers, the better their search results, and the easier it will be to find real people and real businesses like you and yours. Author Rank is Coming! Without getting too technical about it, Google is about to launch Author Rank, a new wrinkle in the super-secret, mega-powerful and ridiculously profitable PageRank algorithm for producing the search results we have all come to know and love/hate.  AuthorRank will use Google Plus to help the girls and boys at the Googleplex attribute content to an author and rank it, based on a variety (they’ll never tell) of factors to rate both the content and the author.  The better the content (clear, well-written, original) the better the ranking for both it and the author.  The better the author (as represented by his or her Author Rank) the better the ranking for the content.  Confused?  Me too, but suffice it to say that Google will advance their long-term agenda of selflessly producing better search results and selfishly reaping greater search market share and profits.  I’d count that as a win for all involved.  Except Bing. So if you are already writing content for your business’s website or blog, make sure you sign up for Google Plus today so Google can start compiling an Author Rank for you and your content.  Remember, better search results means more clicks, more sales and bigger profits....

How to Choose the Right Categories for Your Google Plus Local Listing

Claiming your Google Plus Local page is a great way to expand your marketing reach.  It is not, however, as simple as plugging in your information and launching your page.  Time and effort have to be invested in optimizing your listing for search engines.  Put some thought into important items such as keywords and categories.  Google lets you choose any number of business categories to associate with your listing, and while you may be tempted to pick one that seems to fit best, understand that the categories you choose have a huge impact on how many visitors are attracted to your Google Plus Local page.  The following guide will help you choose the right categories for your listing: Selecting Google Plus Local Categories Going with Google’s categories versus creating your own.  Although Google will let you create your own business category, and although I’m sure your business is totally unique and deserves a category all its own, don’t.  Google’s category list is keyword rich and proven effective with Google’s (duh!) search engine rankings. List your possible choices.  Start with Google’s list of categories from your Google Plus Local Account link.  Be thorough – the time you invest up front will pay off in the end.  Make a list of every conceivable category under which your business may fall, even if it seems too much.  Imagine all the ways potential customers can need your products or services and come at it from many different angles. Research and analyze your list of possible categories.  Choose the strongest, most relevant categories (using keyword tools like Google’s free Adwords tool) to narrow down...

How to Set Up a Coupon in Google Plus Local

Google Plus Local is a powerful new marketing tool for your business.  Make it your top marketing priority to claim your free Google Plus Local listing.  To leverage your results as quickly as possible, here is a guide to setting up a coupon on Google Plus Local: Google Offers.  Setting up a coupon through your Google Plus Local is very simple.  Just access Google Offers and Deals under the Offers tab in the top left corner of the page, click New Offer and create your coupon. Coupon information.  On the Google Offers screen, fill out the pertinent information for your coupon offer.  Start with a headline with up to 25 characters, make sure it will grab the attention of your prospective customers, and make it rich in keywords.  You can add a sub-heading with as many as 35 characters and you should use this opportunity to further promote your coupon.  In the details section, list the essential information about the deal, including costs and restrictions, such as an expiration date.  You can only run one Google Offer at a time, but you can change the offer whenever you like.  Insert an image if you like and a coupon code to optimize results and expedite tracking. Publish your offer. You can preview your coupon as you create it on preview screen.  To publish, simply click the publish button and within 24 hours you go live.  To edit your coupon or set preferences for either mobile or print coupons, simply access the deal via the Google Offers button. Start taking advantage of all that Google Plus has to offer your business...

9 Advantages of Using Google Plus Local

Google is giving away an amazing gift to smart businesswomen (and men) and if you are not taking advantage of their offer, you are missing a huge opportunity.  Google Plus Local can become your most cost-effective marketing tool, and you need to fire up this money-making machine.  Let me show you nine benefits of using Google Plus Local. 1) It’s free!  Come on, you can’t get more cost-effective that free.  Not even a set up charge.  You know people use Google – it’s crazy not to let people know where you are. 2) Google Advertising.  Claim your rightful place on Google Plus Local and you can then access several Google Advertising tools available to you and your business. 3) Customer review forum.  Once you set up your Google Plus Local account, you have a perfect spot for your satisfied customers to post positive reviews and testimonials.  For less-than-satisfied customers, you can openly address and handle complaints to that potential customers can see for themselves that you are eager to work with customers to make them happy. 4) Google Maps.  You’ve seen a few business embedded in Google Maps when you zoom in - very few.  Be one of the few.  Google will place a marker for your business on Google Maps, and if you act now, you will be one of those identified businesses. 5) The new Yellow Pages.  You’ve seen the statistics – over 97% of all consumers search on the web to find local businesses.  The Yellow Pages is so last century.  If you want new customers to find you, a Google Plus Local listing is essential....

Understanding the New Google Plus Local

Not long ago, Google rocked the Internet business community when it announced that Google Places was changing its name.  In addition to renaming it Google Plus Local, the boys and girls at Google HQ moved the service to their relatively new social networking platform, Google Plus.  The functionality didn’t change much, but was just upgraded to provide both businesses and consumers with more options.  Here are the new features and benefits: Social networking and Google Plus Local Google Plus is a fully functioning social networking platform and Google Plus Local is nicely integrated.  Now businesses can interact with their customers and prospects by posting to their Google Plus Local pages.  In addition to posting updates, you can send and receive private messages, promote yourself to develop a following, group your followers into categories (known as “circles” on Google Plus) and even review other businesses using your Google Plus business profile.  These dynamic social networking features offer a wide range of lucrative opportunities for staying close to your customers and prospects in unique and powerful ways. Google Plus Local reviews Google Plus solves your biggest problem with the way customers review your business:  customers who want to leave reviews must be signed in to their Google Plus account.  That fact means there will no longer be anonymous reviews, which delivers two very important benefits: 1) malicious reviewers will no longer be able to operate, and 2) you will know who reviewed your business and you can respond to them through their Google Plus profile. In addition, replacing the old 5 star rating system is the Zagat 30-point rating scale that...