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Coburn Enterprises - Search Engine Marketing & Optimization
A blog for truly small businesses

Coburn Enterprises

Happy New Year! Make your website have it’s best year ever!

We are working on several minor changes in our SEO strategies. Of course, the biggest challenge continues to be how to use Facebook instead of Facebook using us. The other big challenge is that Google is really focused on “local” results.

So how do we deal with this? Well, first of all you have to look at your business – is it a local business? You’ve got it made! Just focus on adding content to your site that helps Google to realize how your business meets the needs of the locals. Make sure to include the name of your town/service area in your content where it makes sense. Use keyword phrases like “handyman services for the Portland, Oregon area” or “fitness training in Vancouver, WA” or “Home cooked food served at your favorite Vancouver, WA Restaurant“. If you are posting this content on another website (say you have a blog on Yelp or you are posting it on your Facebook page) make sure that you use these keyword phrases and make them links to your website – this really helps Google to understand what your website is about. You also need to “claim” all of your free local listings.

Are you a national company? No worries! You still serve customers in their local areas! No, you can’t claim a local listing on many sites unless you have a verfiable physical address and telephone number… but don’t worry! You can still use those keywords that tell the world you are available in their area! Create content on your website that is directed toward each of your “local” markets – be cautious about “duplicate content” though! Find unique ways to write interesting content on your site where you can be very “local”. For example you could have a page on your widget site called “Why Our Widgets are Popular in Topeka Kansas”. Now do your homework! Find out what makes people that use (or would use) your product in Topeka Kansas unique and write an article on this page that addresses them directly.

Speaking of Facebook…. yep – they have 540M (more by the time you read this) users and growing exponentially… you cannot ignore them but you can make sure that anything you post there drives traffic to your website and make sure that the things you do on your website get your content posted on Facebook in a manner that drives traffic to your website. For example, don’t say “become a fan on Facebook” and send people to your Facebook fan page – instead, say “Like” this page (article, whatever) and then that page/article/content will be highlighted on the person “liking” it’s Facebook wall!

Want to have a “pretty Facebook URL”? (i.e. http://www.facebook.com/seodominance) just get yourself 25 Fans and you will be able to create your “alias”.

How do you get fans? Use your website tools such as your blog and newsletters – INVITE them! Ask them! People LOVE to help … let them!

Look for more on these subjects in upcoming posts. If you have some specific questions please post a reply to this post and I’ll do my best to answer.

Add your content from your website automatically to Facebook

Want to share your website content on your Facebook profile or Fan Page but not click the “share” button every time?

No problem – there is a cool application called RSS Graffiti that simplifies the process. Of course, you have to know what your “feed” link is. Most blogs and many websites (including the ones we build) have this feature available by default – it just needs to be configured. You may need a little bit of help figuring that part out – talk to your webmaster. However, once you get the feed link you just sign up (for free) with RSS Graffiti and their tool will walk you through the steps to get that content to show up on your Facebook page automatically every time you update the conten on that link. You can learn more about RSS Graffiti here: http://apps.facebook.com/rssgraffiti/

Keyword rich content – do the right things and win the search engine optimization game

When you are adding words to your website, whether in a blog post, an article, your home page, product descriptions etc, you are creating “content”. You will often hear me talk about “keyword rich content” – what I mean is, use the keywords you want to get listed in the search engines for as many times as appropriate – but don’t use them so much that your readers will be irritated.

If you use this as a guide you will insure long term success. Here are some basics about letting the search engines know what keywords are important on the particular article (product description, blog post etc):

  • Use your keyword phrase in the title
  • Use your keyword phrase at least once in the first 100 words
  • Highlight the keyword phrase at least once using bold and/or italics and, if you know how, make sure your keywords are used in <h1>, <h2> and <h3> tags.
  • If appropriate, use the keywords to link to another relative article or product on your website

Use Title Tags and Alt Tags on your images and links – include your keywords (if it makes sense) but don’t use the same title and alt tags over and over again on the same page. (I’ll talk more about title and alt tags in a future post)

As the search engine computers get programmed for more and more accurate analysis of the millions of pages they are indexing and listing, it will become more and more important to “do the right thing” on your website and not just use your keywords a gazillion times.

Inbound links from relative, authoritative (meaning the search engines see those sites as consistently offering valued information) are becoming critical. The way to get these inbound links is to provide content on your website that makes people that have relevant (complimentary) websites (blogs, review sites etc) want to link to you.

Another way to get these quality inbound links is to provide the tools for people to share them on “authoritative” websites. My earlier post about the Facebook “like” button is one way to do this, but there are others I will discuss in future posts.

Another way to use Facebook instead of letting Facebook use you…

While the big boys are spending big money to set up shop and keep visitors on Facebook, spending money for ads on your Facebook Fan Page and Facebook Profile pages you can be driving traffic away from Facebook to your website!

At least until Facebook figures out that we’ve got their number :-D. The beauty is, you don’t even have to have a Facebook account (at least not yet) to do this!

How? It’s pretty simple really… add a Facebook “Like” or “Share” button to your site.

 How easy this is will depend on how your website is built but a “Like” button can be added to just about any website if you are allowed to add html code to your pages.

If you would like to do this for your own website you can create the button here: http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like. You can create one button that is a link to your primary URL and insert it in all or any pages on your website or you can create a button for each link you want people to share on your website.

If you have one of our dynamic content sites, we can add a feature to your website that will automatically add “like” and/or “share” buttons to your blog posts or pages.

Need more help? Give us a call at (888) 595 3098 or visit our Contact Us page.

We’ve stated the “social shopping” problem now we’ll share the solution

With companies like Best Buy “setting up shop” on Facebook my clients are in somewhat of a panic to compete. First of all, as I’ve said since the beginning, you cannot compete with big business on their level. If you could you wouldn’t be a “truly small business” any more – and wouldn’t need my advice.

Instead, be the best you can be and win because you are a small business that knows people buy from you because you offer better service and truly care about each individual customer. (We all know that at Best Buy and other stores like them we’re just a telephone number :-D). People shop at big stores because they are looking for the best deal. As a small retailer you are not going to have that. Instead you will have the best selection for your customers!

“Social Commerce” is going to happen – there is no way to avoid it. But instead of using the tools that are provided to “make you dependent” on Facebook (or any other social site) do the work yourself and drive your customers to your website to browse and then encourage them to “chat you up” on FB via their own profile. You can also put a “post a review” link on your site that takes them to your Google Places page and lets them post a review. Where else are you listed where people can post reviews? There are tons of local shopping sites where you can have a free listing and people can comment on your service etc – make sure you’re leveraging these free services. Granted, your site may not yet have the “rate this product” feature but you can still generate buzz on Facebook and other sites about it by introducing it as a post on your Fan page – people can still comment on Facebook about it but the link takes them to your website and doesn’t keep them on Facebook like the FB “shop” tab is designed to do.

Again, I’m not saying ditch FB – just don’t let them own you.

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