Local SEO Company Alpharetta | Google My Business Help

google my business expertDoes your business have a map listing that shows up on the first page of  Google for your target keywords?  If you don’t, then you may be missing out on thousands of dollars of new business to your competitors.  Local SEO is critical to the success of just about any business and should not be ignored.  Recent data shows over 60 percent of consumers search Google every month to find local businesses.  At Red Hot Rankings, we create and optimize local Google + listings for our clients so they can be found at the top of the search results.  Our proven strategies provide our clients with a increase in traffic from local consumers looking for their products and services

local seo alpharetta cumming

Google My Business Help

If you are struggling to be found in the local search results, contact us… we can help.

For local search we provide the following for our clients:

  • Google Account Creation
  • Google Plus Local Page Setup and Verification
  • Google Plus Local Page Optimization
  • Google My Business Page synchronized with Google Plus Local
  • Google Plus Business Cover Page and Profile Image
  • Google My Business Maps Listing
  • Google Publisher Status on Website

We take pride in our expertise when it comes to local Google business listings. With Google having over 70% of the search engine market, it makes to focus on Google for our clients. But Bing is also an important search engine since announcing their agreement with Apple, so create local listings on Bing, Yahoo, and over 50 other reputable web directories. Having a presence in all the search engines only increases your website authority and it’s reputation on Google.

 

Social Media for Local Businesses

social media expert alpharettaGoogle and the other search engines monitor social media for what is known as “social signals”, so keeping up with social media is a key part of you online presence. However, most business don’t have time to post of Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus, not to mention blogging. Most feel like they’d like to post on social media, but taking care of the day to day business comes first. We take the burden of social media posting and blogging so our clients can focus on their business and serving their customers. We are experts and content creation for blogs with unique, relevant and up to date blog posts and keeping your social media sites current.

To learn more about Local SEO and how we can help your business grow, contact us today for a free consultation. Call 678-520-9925 today.

Google Smashes Earnings Record in 2nd Quarter

Google posted record earnings in the 2nd quarter.

“We had a great quarter, with revenue up 32% year on year for a record breaking over $9 billion of revenue,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “I’m super excited about the amazing response to Google+ which lets you share just like in real life.”

Read the whole Google Earnings Statement…

While Facebook is huge, people still use Google for search and for selling ads.  They make so much money on ads because the top sites get lots and lots of traffic.  Does your site rank for high-traffic keywords?  Crush your competition with SEO combined with Social Media Solutions.  Contact Jeff at RedHotRankings.com for a free website analysis.

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Tony Robbins SEO Guru?

TonyIs Tony Robbins motivating?  Sure.  SEO Guru?  Not so sure.  Actually, I’m positive he’s not.  In fact it sounds like Tony Robbins is running a really big SEO scam.

I’ve had two calls asking if I know who Tony Robbins is (of course I do), and if I’ve heard he’s offering to get you on the first page of Google for 300 (yes, three hundred) keywords in something like 3 days.  The cost is anywhere from $3,600 to $25,000.  Wow!  Not cheap, but people trust Tony Robbins… I used to, but not anymore.

To get on the first page of Google for some long, obscure, even good-sounding keywords that nobody searches for, and therefore have no competition, is no big feat.  You may be able to get there just with linking, but so what?  You won’t have any traffic to your site since nobody searches for those keywords.  $3,600 for that?  How about $25,000?  No thanks.

Getting on page one of Google for a keyword or search term that people are actually searching for usually requires good content, a bit of on-page SEO, link building and possibly some social buzz.  But before you even start, you need to know much competition there is.  If the competition consists of big, established, highly optimized sites with really good SEO, it will take more than 3 days to rank higher than they do.

But Tony Robbins doesn’t promise you will rank higher than the “big boys” for competitive keywords, he just promises a page one listing for 300 search terms.  For the uninitiated, the difference may not be obvious until you find out that being on page one isn’t really all that helpful.  Being in the top 3 on the search engine results page is what matters.  Listings 4 – 10 get less than 25% of the clicks – combined.  Is it worth paying $3,600 to $25,000 to be in positions 4 – 10 for obscure keywords with zero search volume?

Positional click-through percentage

The following graph shows the percentage of click-troughs the first 10 results of the Search Engine Listings receive:

Search Engine Results Click Through Rate

So should you fall for Tony Robbins scam?  Business owners need good advise and guidance to be successful.  Fleecing them for $3,600 to $25,000 can wipe out the marketing budget of a small company.  They eagerly anticipate the phone ringing, but nothing ever happens.  I’ve seen too many business owners get ripped off and it limits their potential to grow, affects their employees, service levels, salaries, and everything else related to their business.

Resist the lure of a quick fix.  A good SEO company starts with market research and develops a plan that includes a focused list of target keywords that have the highest potential to deliver the best ROI for their client.  Good content should include the keywords, and the site requires links from good sites, not sites that could be banned as a span site next month causing you to lose all your links (something that happens all too often).

It won’t take a good SEO too long to get good rankings for keywords with significant traffic, but 3 days is crazy talk.  If your SEO can explain what is needed and why, and it sounds reasonable to you, then you may be in good hands.  If they say anything about 300 keywords in 3 days, hang up the phone quick as you can.

Top 3 Reasons 92% of Businesses Fail Online

Time and money are two things, none of us, especially business owners, can afford to waste.  But after consulting with hundreds of businesses, I have found enormous amounts of time and money wasted which erodes productivity (usually of their best employees), and adversely affects their bottom which limits the possibility of future growth.

I have defined the Top 3 Reasons Most Business Owners Fail Online to help businesses avoid these common mistakes.  This information is really tailored to brick-and-mortar “offline” businesses, but can be applied to online businesses, too.

Define your goal1) A Goal Was Not Clearly Defined.

Before you start creating a website, the goal must be defined and the competitive landscape analyzed.  It is critical you know what needs to be done to achieve your goal in terms of website site, SEO, link building and social media.

Many businesses feel they need a website but are not quite sure what to expect.  The website gets created so their customers can see they are online, but without a roadmap or plan, the goal is never achieved.

For example, let’s say you have a pool service company (or alarm monitoring, IT support, etc.) with 70 clients that pay you for a weekly or monthly service.  Your goal is to build the business to a point where you can retire someday, and you and your accountant figured your business needs to be three times as big.  So our goal for the first year is to double the business, or gain 70 new clients in one year.  Once a prospect calls, you know you have a 30% conversion rate, so you need 210 prospects to call you.  But the business is seasonal so we only have 7 months or 140 work days, so you need 1.5 good qualified leads to call you per day.  Now we know what needs to be done, and we track and measure our progress based on the roadmap we created and make adjustments as necessary.

Online presence2) Mistaking a Web Site for a Web Presence

Businesses often pay thousands of dollars for website that looks good, has their branding, logo, phone number, email address and maybe a contact form, and even some good content and a strong call to action.  Most would think they are done.  After all, the website designer said it was SEO optimized.  What more could possibly be needed?

No offense intended, but I have yet to meet a website designer who was proficient at optimizing a site for the search engines.  In my experience, website designers are creative people who make beautiful graphics, appealing layouts and have the technical skills to but it all in a website format.  But SEO requires data and detailed analysis, things not very interesting to the more creative mind.

The result is your website is online, but you guessed at the target keywords (instead of using data to choose the keywords) and really don’t know if that keyword is far too competitive or if anyone is really searching for that particular term or phrase.  And nobody is tracking the website statistics to determine how visitors found your site and then using that information to make adjustments.  It is just a website on the internet.

To have a presence online means when someone types a phrase into Google that is relevant to you business, you are the first, or at least one of the top listings, in the “natural” search area of the search engine results page.  Basically, this is the area where listings are shown, not ads or paid listings.

organic google listing

To get that top listing requires not only on-site SEO, but also off-site SEO which includes other sites linking to your site, geo-targeting with Google Places, and social media sites.  For more, see our blog post on advanced integrated marketing here.  Here again, the road map comes into play.  We need to know what kind and how much off-site SEO is needed to rank higher than the competition for your targeted keyword.  Without all of this information, you may as well be shooting in the dark.

burning money3) Spending Advertising Dollars in the Wrong Places

Spending advertising dollars in the wrong places is not only  a waste of money, but it is also a huge waste of time since it can take months before you realize your mistake.  Those months could have been spent on effective online promotion.  Signing a contract guarantees you will spend your money in the wrong place for a long time and allows your competitors to gain an advantage in the market.

Offline directories, such as the phone book yellow pages, are all but dead.  Almost everyone searches online when looking for just about anything.  So the phone books have moved online.  Listings here mostly result in solicitations from other businesses.  I’ve conducted informal surveys and have yet to meet anyone that went to an online phone book to search for a business.  To make matters worse, the phone book listings generally are not shown in the search engine results.

Yellow Pages in Trash

Lead providers for service companies often provide the same lead to multiple businesses.  Business owners have told me the quality of their leads has deteriorated over time, but the quality of leads to their own sites have increased dramatically.  There was a time when these companies provided an invaluable service, but it seems their time has passed.

Money down the toiletLocal online directories can be tempting to a local business owner.  It seems like being in a local directory would eliminate the need for SEO, social media and the rest since the local directory will create plenty of exposure to your target market, right?  The truth is local directories pose no competition to a company with a goal, a road map, a plan that is being executed.  A local directory listing is along side all the other local companies, and more importantly, nobody uses local online directories.

Here is the market share for the popular search engines according to hitwise.com.  It equals nearly 100%, meaning local directories are largely ignored.

  • Google.com  72%
  • Yahoo.com 14.96%
  • Bing.com 9.43%
  • Ask.com 2.18%

If your company is in a local directory, the listing for your company, and not your competitors, would have to show up in the search engines and rank higher than a highly optimized website.  This rarely, if ever happens.  Signing a long term contract for thousands of dollars with a local directory is one of the biggest wastes of time and money a local business owner could make.

To summarize, businesses that are successful online have a clear roadmap, we call it the Market Research Report, an online presence that includes effective SEO and Social Media marketing, and spend their marketing dollars where the ROI can be measured, adjustments can be made, all without expensive long term contracts.

Google Panda Update: What Affect Will It Have? (Google Farmer)

Google-Panda-UpdateThere has been a buzz about an update called “Panda” to the Google search algorithm.  It is also called “Farmer” in the news media.  It has many website owners, online businesses and Internet Marketers frantically wondering what effect it will have on their business.

The change is designed to reduce the rankings of low-quality sites.  What is a “low-quality” site?  Sites with little or no original content, content copied from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. The update will benefit high quality sites that provide a good user experience.  Sites with good original content, in-depth analysis, useful reports, interesting research and the like, should see better search engine rankings.

The big question many people ask is this: Will Google consider my site ‘low quality’ and penalize my site with a low ranking?”

Google seems to “play it close to the vest” with what seem to be intentionally ambiguous answers.  Matt Cutts, head of the webspam team at Google gives general guidelines, but nothing too specific. With the size of the web and huge variety of websites, getting too detailed would cause a great deal of questions and anxiety among website owners.  So we are left to trial and error and sharing our results.

Here is the main goal of the Panda:  “Thou shalt not run a website that is a content farmer”. This begs the question “what is considered a content farm?”

News sites are a good example of content farms since many are simply aggregator sites.  The DrudgeReport.com gets over 35,000,0000 hits a week and publishes no original content.  Will their ranking be affected?  Frankly, I don’t think it matters since the site is so well established, but smaller sites could certainly feel the impact.

Article directories and press release sites are two examples of sites typically considered content farms.  Article directories receive articles from submission services that submit the same articles to literally hundreds of other article directories. Ditto for press release sites.

But chances are your site is a legitimate business, often a brick and mortar business with an online presence, and not a directory.  So how will the update affect your site?

Google_Panda_UpdateHow Can You Benefit from Google Panda?

While low quality sites will certainly be affected, sites that offer unique, quality content are experiencing an improvement in their search engine rankings.  Better rankings mean more traffic and more revenue.

Here are some practical tips you can implement in your business to get the best results from Google Panda:

1. Content is still King!

Good quality, original content will yield the best results.  What you know about your business, industry or market is your most valuable asset.  Create good blog posts, web pages or articles using what you already know… just don’t make it into a sales pitch.  Just write about what you know and you will probably meet your visitor’s expectations.  A little controversy helps, too!

Focus on making your content:

  • Enlightening
  • Entertaining
  • Educational / informative

These are 3 key elements for good content.

2. Humans first and search engines second

If you or your SEO specialist is focused on keyword stuffing (I’m not talking about keyword targeting, but keyword stuffing, which is different) or any other gray or black hat techniques to “game” the search engines, knock it off.  Next algorithm change could destroy all your work.  Good content that is still keyword targeted, meant for humans, will give you the best results in the near and long term.

3. Check your old content

Do you have old, stale or out-dated content?  You may want to freshen it up.  I wouldn’t delete it since you may have links to the page, but add some updates.  If you have duplicate content, delete it or rewrite it.  Not sure if you have duplicate content?  http://www.copyscape.com/ is a good resource to check for duplicate content.

4. Social Media

Effective use of social media provides proof that people like your site and your content.  This is very powerful.  If you see and article that dozens of people “Like” with the Facebook thumbs up, you may want to take a look at it. Google notices too and indexes Facebook.  If you have not figured out how to use social media, now would be a good time to outsource that task to an experienced SEO firm.  In fact, you can give this article a “Thumbs Up” at the bottom if you like it, and I hope you do.

What is the verdict?

For news aggregators, affiliate marketers and others who use copied web pages, article directories and the like, it could be game over, or time for a change in strategy at least.  Google Panda is a friend to those of us creating quality content for our visitors.

Search Engine Optimization Overview

SEO OverviewSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) is about improving the volume and quality of traffic to your website. SEO gives your site “web presence” by optimizing pages so that, when a potential customer performs a search, your business will appear higher in the search results listing, making it more likely that you will be contacted before your competitors. Pages can be optimized for global searches, local searches, image searches, video searches, or industry-specific searches.
Basically, SEO uses the knowledge of how search engines work, and the way people search, to benefit your business. Optimizing a website or webpages for searches involves editing the actual content of the site as well as modifying the coding of the site (such as HTML) in such a way that its relevance to certain keywords is increased. Barriers to the effective search engine indexing are also altered or removed.
Optimizing your website also involves are variety of other techniques to increase its search ranking. Pages within your website may be cross-linked (one page links to another in the same site) to give prominence to the main page. The meta-tags of a page, those descriptors that exist in the code but are not seen, are also altered to advantage.
The two parts of SEO are on-page and off-page.  On-page is related to content, header, description, meta tags and meta keywords.  More importantly, off-page SEO is about how many authority sites link to your site to give your site page rank.  The more links from authority sites, the more Google Pagerank your site will have.  Link building requires more effort than most website owners have time for.
To get your site optimized for maximum traffic, Contact Us to get started today at 678-520-9925

List Building and E-Mail Marketing Essential To Your Business

email marketingMost people think that the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 ended the ability of unscrupulous marketers from selling your email address to thousands of other businesses and clogging up your email server with unwanted email pitches for Viagra and every online multi level marketing business you can imagine. With the advent of social networking and business networking sites and the explosion of people using these sites daily, the ability to build an email list for your prospective newsletter is a much easier than you think.

From a professional stand point you will want to build an email list the proper and ethical way by using an Opt In system on your website.  If you are creating content that your potential customers would be interested in via newsletter, blog or regular articles you can offer a free newsletter subscriptions to anyone who signs up with their email.  Always try to make additional offers and incentives for people to sign up, however make sure you assure them that their email address will be protected and not sold to third parties.

Make your newsletter sign up stand out on your home page with graphics and colors to help draw the reader’s eye to the sign up area. Placing a newsletter sign up graphic on every page is another way to maximize building your email list. Something to consider is to always want to offer your newsletter in either HTML or text format as some people like the look of text versus HTML depending on when they became computer literate.

It is also important to let the reader know why he/she should sign up, you should even offer something for free like a white paper on your subject matter, a one time discount on product or services for signing up or even a drawing for an MP3 player or something in that nature.  There are also manual ways to build your email list.  If your business takes you to trade shows or you sell products to the public in a store front you can ask people to sign up for the newsletter or company rewards program when they check out.  You can even offer a raffle at the trade show where they have to include their name and email to qualify for a chance to win a prize that is drawn at the end of the show.

Make use of your imagination when using hard copy methods to build your email list. Email addresses gathered from most trade shows are not as effective as those gathered online.

Social Media: How To Use The “New Buzz” In Your Business Today

Social Media BuzzSocial Network Marketing is the new buzzword for marketing professionals and companies trying to cash in on the mobile professionals who use the various social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. They are trying to push the products and services of those professionals onto those particular sites. For you, as a business owner, to try and create the buzz on your company via Twitter could take several months as you learn the ins and outs of gaining followers and getting them to gain additional followers for you that actually notice your “Tweets”.

Social network marketing has to be much more subtle and entertaining than any traditional marketing plan. Social network marketing is a completely different kind of environment than traditional product marketing. If you don’t speak the language of Twitter and other social networking sites using a social marketing agency or a web marketing agency with social networking experience to handle your program will be a great benefit for you. They can provide excellent results in a relatively short period of time. The members of most social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are not interested in regular commercial pitches via “Tweets”.

There is a new division of Salton – the makers of George Foreman grills, Applica Consumer Products that has produced a filter water bottle for the general public under the brand name of Clear2Go.  This bottle has a filter that is good for up to one hundred gallons before changing.  This will keep as many as 757 plastic water bottles out of landfills.  To get the word out they have set up social networking sites on Facebook and MySpace and are using Twitter in a very interesting way.

Lance Armstrong, of Tour de France fame, endorses both the Clear2Go filter water bottle and the Clear2o filter pitchers.  Applica is running a “Win a Ride With Lance” promotion to drive even more awareness with the public.  Lance has almost one and a half million followers on Twitter and unlike most people with many followers they actually take the time to check his Tweets out on a regular basis.  Applica’s social marketing agency has set it up so that Lance will Tweet on the opening of the promotion and on the day it opens on Facebook as well.  In a recent Tweet from Lance he posted that he was going to ride at 5:30 pm at a local park in Dublin, Ireland the next day.

Over 1000 people showed up to ride with Lance and the police blocked the park off so that more wouldn’t come.  He rode for two hours, signed autographs and had many pictures taken while riding.  If you can get a social marketing agency to use Twitter and Facebook to this extent imagine the revenue your social marketing campaign can generate.

Does Search Engine Optimization Really Work?

SEO ResultsSearch Engine Optimization can attain the results you want, but it must be understood and directed accurately. Increasingyour search rankings for your business can really pay off with the assistance of a Search Engine Optimization Agency. Do not believe any offers that claim they can get you placed at the top of a search engine, as this is nearly impossible. With the use of key word optimization and the many services that your Search Engine Optimization Agency provides, you can increase the number of viewers that see your business online, as well as the products and services you offer.

Without strong knowledge of web development or coding, it is very difficult to reach your goals. This is why counting on a company with Search Engine Optimization expertise will be very beneficial for your business. There are many marketing companies online that will suggest the use of their wide range of services, such as business blogs, a subscription service to help add to your email list and many more services to bring more traffic to your website.

When a person is searching for a service or product online, the words they use, which are called key words, are found by small automated programs called spiders. An example of this process would be if you are searching for a pool installation company, and type in pool all by itself, the number of results will be so large that it will be very difficult to find what you are looking for. If you type in the entire line, pool installation company, the list will be more directed towards what you are looking for.

A Search Engine Optimization Agency will use their programs to ensure that the content of your company site is located by these spiders to transport you up on the search engine results. This will move you ahead of a company like yours who does not use Search Engine Optimization.  The farther you are up in the results, the more people will click on your site, and you will gain more business.  The first of the 3 levels of search engine optimization is a system which is automated that transfers to numerous sites. This actually provides few good results for you.

Another way to generate results is to use doorway pages. Although this can possibly provide good results, search engines will most likely cancel your rankings within a couple months. The best way is also the most pricy way, and it is done by analyzing your website’s content in order to optimize it for search engine results and to provide specific key words for your content, which will increase search engine rankings. This will increase your web traffic and amount of customers, with the help of your Search Engine Optimization Agency.

Article Marketing? How Can That Help My Business?

Article MarketingArticle Marketing Services refers to using a third party to prepare the content for your website.  It is extremely important to find a company that can offer you well written articles on the subjects that are important to helping drive traffic to your website.  If you have a site that offers plumbing services you want a company that understands the difference between re-piping and bathroom remodeling and the difference between maintenance and new installs.

There are several key areas that need to be addressed and to keep in mind when deciding on a company to hire for article marketing services.  You will need to ask them for samples in your particular industry or if they have not written much in your industry of expertise, they should at least offer you samples of similar industries or complexity.  A good article marketing service will have a multitude of free reprint articles for the any consumer to use as they please.

Providing new content to a website is an easy way to attract new customer’s to your website and keep them on your pages longer.  If you have ever wanted to add a blog to your site, offer a newsletter or augment your product and service offerings, working with an article marketing expert is the best first step you can make.  You can add articles as content directly to your website, as an addition to your blog or even in the form of a newsletter that you send out weekly or monthly with specials to bring your email subscribers back to the site to spend more money.

By adding additional content to your website with key words designed to help you get your website noticed you can move your site up in the rankings on all major search engines.  Making sure that the content you are purchasing is original is a key to your success.  Any articles you purchase should be able to pass through any of the plagiarism checking services online like Copyscape.  Ask your article marketing expert how their content is checked for originality.

Another consideration is originality and the style of writing.  The writing style should be easy enough for the average reader to get through without many technical terms that need to be explained.  Originality speaks to the plagiarism mentioned in the previous paragraph, but is also very important that the articles do not sound the same every week.