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Search Engine Marketing Strategies and Tips for Marin County Businesses

The following strategies and tips both help to increase your popularity with search engines and increase avenues for your customers to find you.

  1. Search for your site in the major search engines and make sure you are listed. If not found, you can submit your site through:
    1. Google (login/register to submit your website). Google also has a Google Webmaster account where you can add your website.
    2. Yahoo and MSN Bing (login/register for Webmaster account and add your website)
  2. If you are targeting a specific area, submit your site to the three popular local search engines. Submit your site where you can answer your business phone (two of them call to validate at the end of the submission process). Incorporate popular search phrases for your industry into your site description (e.g., yoga classes in marin). In general, come up with a site description that is appealing and accurate:
    1. Google Places for Business
    2. Yahoo! Local and Bing Local (aka Aabaco)
  3. Do a Google Search on your business name and update any existing company listings with your website address.
  4. Search online for related resource websites (e.g., a local website focused on providing information about your industry) and ask them to link to your site. When they add a link to your site, if appropriate ask them to include your keyword phrases - including location information - within the link text. For example: Flamenco Dancing in Marin: Flamenco-R-Us. Use different keyword phrases for each link (search engines don't like it when the same wording is always used in links to your site). Getting keyword phrases added to or near link text is one of the best ways to increase search engine popularity for those keyword phrases. Also, where appropriate ask people to link to a page on your website other than the home page. This is called "deep linking" and search engines see it as an indicator that your web site is useful and, as a result, will give it a higher ranking. Try to find websites that get a lot of visitors. The more popular a website is that links to yours, the more popular you will become with the search engines. Google has a "Page Ranking" system that calculates a PageRank for each website. If you have installed the Google Toolbar, you can set PageRank to display. Look for websites with a good PageRank (4 or higher out of 10 - hover over the PageRank bar to see the PageRank number).
  5. Ask suppliers, family, friends, and employees who have relevant websites to add a keyword-rich link.
  6. Add your company listing and website address to industry specific directories (e.g., search on "yoga directory") and directories of industry specific professional associations. Another way to find relevant directories is to do a Google search on your chosen keyword phrases for your website (e.g., real estate marin) and add your website to any directories that show up in the first or second search result pages. Also look at the "Searches related to:" section at the bottom of the Google search results page for additional search ideas.
  7. Add your company listing* and website address to the following free directories. Keep a list of the directories your site is added to and the current status of your request and any sign in information. Several directories ask for a reciprocal link from your site and/or your street address:

    * ShortKeys Lite is a great tool that you can download for free to help with re-entering the same company information repeatedly.

  8. Add your company to Facebook Pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ Page. If you have a blog, you can use TwitterFeed to automatically update Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with your blog entries. Invite customers and friends to join you on these sites.
  9. Add an AddThis share button to make it easy for people to share your site in Facebook, Twitter, etc., mention you on social sites like Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon, Tumblr, etc., email your page, or bookmark your site.
  10. Ask customers to search on your website name through Google and add reviews.
  11. Where appropriate, add Wikipedia citations linking to your website.
  12. Join local or national networking, business-referral, trade, and community organizations (one great place to find relevant networking groups is www.meetup.com) and, where available, add your company listing to their online directories with a link to your site.
  13. If your company uses sustainable practices, apply and add your website to local green business directories and take advantage of the "Gort Cloud" to market your company online.
  14. If you are marketing products, list them with relevant shopping sites.
  15. Explore offering your product or service through a popular discount (deal of the day) program in your area such as groupon and livingsocial.
  16. To market products or services, you may also want to create an Associate or Affiliate program to encourage others to market for you.
  17. If you write online press releases, articles, discussion group entries, or Blog entries - all great ways to increase exposure for your business online - include a keyword-rich link to your website. Resources:
  18. Take advantage of the many online social software, mobile apps, and web widget tools that can help to spread the word about your product or service.
  19. Include your website address (and logo) within your automatic email signature.
  20. Enter the website address of competitors through Link Popularity to see which websites link to them (Yahoo's link listings are the most helpful). It may give you some ideas for finding additional websites to request links from.
  21. Send out informational newsletters regularly with links back to pages on your site. A good newsletter service can help with newsletter creation, signup, and email management. Compare email marketing services (Constant Contact is one recommended service). You can list your newsletter at New-List and Yahoo Groups Email to draw potential customers to sign up to receive your newsletter.
  22. Add informational pages to your website that draw people in who are interested in learning more about your field. Add a links page and link to other sites as a resource for visitors and to encourage others to link to your site.
  23. If you offer local classes, you can list them in Craigslist under Community > Classes for your area.
  24. If you hold any kind of event, list them regularly in local and industry-specific event listing websites with a link back to your website. Below are local event listings for Marin County and the Bay Area:
  25. Creating a Pay-Per-Click program or Banner Advertising are two additional ways to draw people to your site. Where possible, track 'conversion rates' (e.g., the number of times a visitor sends you an information request or purchases a product) to determine if your ads are drawing relevant visitors to your site.
  26. Great report on search engine rankings.
 
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