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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Don’t Forget the ‘Info’ When Creating Infographics

By John Joyce on July 18, 2012 - Comments 0

What are the best infographics of 2012?

Check out some of the top infographics for 2012 over at HubSpot.

Infographics are quickly becoming the bane of the web mostly due to the lack of actual or accurate data to support the pretty picture that has been designed as a delivery vehicle.

You need look no further than recent comments by Matt Cutts in an interview with Eric Enge where he discusses the importance of not only creating original content but making sure you’re bringing unique and valuable information to the table.  And by ‘valuable’ I mean accurate insight that is easily consumable.  Matt voices his apprehension with infographics, “What concerns me is the types of things that people are doing with them. They get far off topic, or the fact checking is really poor. The infographic may be neat, but if the information it’s based on is simply wrong, then it’s misleading people.”

Visual.ly, the website that brings together designers and businesses in need of infographics, understand the need to create compelling and accurate data visualizations as a part of an effective content strategy.  If you haven’t checked out Visual.ly, you should definitely give it a try.  You can create some fun Facebook and Twitter infographics but, if you want to create truly compelling infographics for your business, you should probably leave that up to the 32K designers in the Visual.ly community.

Anybody can create a PowerPoint presentation but that doesn’t mean anybody should.  We’ve all learned in business that it’s best to leave that type of project to the professionals and now we can say the same about infographics.

Do you have any infographic stories to share?

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Ex-Google Lawyer Says New Google Search “Bad For Internet”

By John Joyce on January 12, 2012 - Comments 0

Oh, and did I mention that he currently works for Twitter?

“We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone,” the company said in a statement. “We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.”

If you haven’t heard about the new Google+ Your World, check out this article over at Venturebeat.com.  I’m not really sure this is a big deal at the moment, as Google+ adoption as slowed considerably, but, if it continues to gain mindshare, we could see another antitrust suit levied against the search giant.

What are your thoughts?

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3 Ways Small Businesses Should Leverage Location-Based Marketing In 2011

By John Joyce on October 13, 2010 - Comments 0

Small business owners have an opportunity to take advantage of several great technologies to broaden their local reach and position themselves as the big fish in their respective small pond.  I’m going to assume that most local businesses are listed with the three major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) but, if not, refer to this white paper for instructions.  Each of these platforms has local search embedded, to some extent, so you want to be able to take advantage of this free marketing platform.

To go one step beyond simple search, let’s take a look at ways you can proactively deliver your message to prospective customers based on their geographic location:

1)  Twitter

I just read an article this morning about a local bakery, Sugar Coated Bakery, that has managed to thrive in this difficult economy even with the rising cost of ingredients like flour and sugar.  They have a Facebook page but no Twitter account listed on their site and I immediately thought of a product I read about last year, Baker Tweet, which enables you to scroll through your list of baked goods and Tweet when a new batch comes out of the oven.  Also, Advanced Twitter Search allows you to identify people based on their location, follow them and, hopefully, they’ll follow you back.

Give people the opportunity to friend, follow or like you in any way they choose and then make sure you keep the conversation going.

2)  Foursquare

I’ve written about Foursquare before and it has defined the location-based marketing space by proving the value of building a participatory community as opposed to the more conversational platforms like Facebook.  This is a solution where you can reward your best customers and build an army of evangelists simply by letting them take part in your success.

This is one of the best ways to build loyalty and generate repeat business from your most loyal customers.

3)  Location-Based Advertising

If you’re having trouble building a following within social media platforms, help may soon arrive in the form of location-based advertising from Twitter.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could reach your core demographic within 20 miles of your business with a very focused value proposition?  Foursquare has stumbled in their efforts to deliver location-based advertising options but maybe it’s a sign that their platform is best suited for DIY campaigns only.  Google just announced that Marissa Mayer has been promoted from VP of Search and User Experience to a new role focused on location-based services.

Three big players all vying for your advertising dollars.  Let’s hope at least one of them comes up with a solution that delivers.

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Why Are There Bad Reviews Of Your Business In Google Maps?

By John Joyce on April 20, 2010 - Comments 2

Did you know that people can post a review of your business in Google Maps?  Google also pulls reviews from other sites (Citysearch, Insiderpages) and automatically posts them to your business listing.  Strangely, as the business owner, you have very little control over these reviews so you’ll have to add this to your “watch list” for online reputation management.

Are there negative reviews of your business online?  Find them and  fix them.Sentiment Analysis is a quickly growing data set that listing services are collecting and publishing, so, what are your options when dealing with negative feedback that finds its way into your business listing?

  • If a review was posted directly to your business listing in Google, you can flag it and then you’ll have to prove that the post violates published terms and conditions.
  • Are you able to identify the person who posted the negative comment?  If so, reach out to them, listen to their feedback and try to address their concerns.  Ask them if they would be willing to change or delete their negative review.
  • Google suggests you contact the webmaster of the 3rd party sites if the negative review wasn’t posted directly to your business listing.  Some of these sites do allow you to post a “response from management” but that won’t show up in Google Maps.  (Google does not allow you to post this type of response)
  • Google lists 5-6 reviews so  you can solicit new reviews from satisfied customers in an effort to push the negative ones off the page.  Be careful, though; too many reviews being posted in a short period of time will trigger spam alerts and hurt your ranking.

Obviously, it helps to have a solid customer support system in place and an easy process for sharing feedback directly with you so these types of issues are not broadcast to the general public.  Reputation management is an important aspect of your daily marketing life and should be treated as such.

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Get People Talking About Your Business: Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part XIV

By John Joyce on April 7, 2010 - Comments 0

You need to get people talking about your business.  Period.  Your product/service must offer an experience that compels customers to talk about you and recommend your business to their network of contacts.  Of course, there’s a flipside to this equation and that’s when someone has a negative experience with your business and they decide to share that information on social networks.  If you experience the latter, don’t run and hide; address the issue head-on and diffuse the situation within the same public forum it began.

To get started, visit each of these sites to determine if your business is listed and what people are saying.  Claim your business, manage the conversation and address issues as soon as possible.  You can’t make these sites go away so your best bet is to develop a strategy to make them work in your favor.  This is an yet another social medium that isn’t perfect and is continuously evolving and your strategy will have to do the same.

customer reviews and ratings services for small business

Click to see interactive online marketing ecosystem.

By now you’ve heard all the hoopla about Yelp having “long faced criticism that it gives preferential treatment to businesses that advertise with the company.”  Although Yelp maintains that there is no connection between the two, they did announce significant changes to the service this week.

Service providers like Yelp have proven how lucrative the local search advertising market is and Google is currently testing Enhanced Listings in Google Local Business Center that would allow business owners to create a unique, differentiated listing.  Google’s beta service currently offers the following:

  • Add yellow tags to promote coupons, a photo of your business, and more.
  • Stand out in local business results on Google & Google Maps.
  • See your performance in your account anytime.
  • Cancel anytime. Pay just $25 a month.

Will Google face the same scrutiny as Yelp?  We’ll have to see how this plays out but, if Google can collect $25 per month from a large percentage of small business owners, there’s a good chance we’ll see this rolled out in the near term.

The bottom line for businesses, especially “local” businesses, is to be aware of all these feedback sites and to monitor your reputation regularly.

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Optimizing For Google Images To Strengthen Your Keyword Exposure

By John Joyce on March 19, 2010 - Comments 0

Optimize Images For Better Search Results

Make Sure Images Help "Tell The Story" To Search Engines

Always be optimizing. This is the mindset required to drive and strengthen your online presence to the point where you are always “found” wherever people are searching for your keywords. This includes prospects who are searching Google Images.  You have to view images as additional mechanisms for delivering your keyword content.

Believe it or not, images do more than simply make a blog post more appealing to the eye. They actually allow you to include additional “search engine friendly” content within your images that compliments your overall page/site SEO goals.  Once you implement this process in your overall routine, you’ll see it become more and more automatic over time.

Content management systems (CMS), like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal help automate the process of optimization and keep you from having to write any html code yourself.  If you are actually writing your own code, the syntax is very straightforward and you can learn more here.

The main theme here is to treat images like the rest of your content and make sure you do the following 3 things:

  1. Give your image a descriptive title.  As soon as you download an image from a service like iStockphoto, change the cryptic file name that looks like 08948istockphoto23bizimage.jpg.
  2. Make sure the body content and image content are consistent and working toward the same target audience.
  3. When possible, choose content that is very popular at this moment in time and somehow relates to the information you’re presenting.  See my post regarding Susan Boyle.

Just remember that content is still king and there’s no excuse for missing an opportunity to boost your exposure/rank with the search engines by delivering the most optimized content possible.  If you’re posting images on your websitesite/blog, you must now add “image optimization” to your regular operating procedures.

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Windows 7 + Outlook 2007 + Google Sync = Not So Much

By John Joyce on March 14, 2010 - Comments 0

Microsoft and Google fighting is hurting the customer

Hey, what’s a raining Sunday morning without a little REGEDIT action, huh? I don’t know who’s ultimately at fault here, so I’m giving both Microsoft and Google red cards for childish behavior and losing sight of the needs of their customers. Luckily, I have a customer generated fix.

This is a quick tech support bulletin for small business owners who, like me, purchased a Droid because they use a wide array of Google services like “sync” and figured going with a Google-based mobile device was a no-brainer. As soon as I upgraded to Windows 7, I was greeted by “Could not connect to Microsoft Outlook: error -2147467259″ and the Microsoft “Help Center” link was dead.

So, I went to the Google forum and was able to find the following solution: (not specifically for Windows 7)

1. Close Outlook.
2. Click on the windows button (extreme left bottom corner of the taskbar).
3. Click on ‘Run’.
4. In the ‘Open’ box, type ‘regedit’ (without the quotes).
5. Click on the ‘OK’ button.
6. In the ‘Registry Editor’ window, click on the ‘+’ sign next to ‘HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT’.
7. Search for the ‘TypeLib’ entry under ‘HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT’ registry key.
Note: Keep pressing the ‘T’ key on your keyboard until you find out the entry ‘TypeLib’.
8. Expand (Click on the ‘+’ sign) the ‘TypeLib’ entry.
9. Under ‘TypeLib’ search for the entry ‘{00062FFF-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}’ and expand it by clicking on the ‘+’ sign.
10. You should find an entry with the number ’9.3′.
11. Right click on the entry ’9.3′ and choose ‘Rename’.
12. Rename the entry from ‘9.3’ to “DoNotUseThis9.3″.
Note: If you do not find the ‘TypeLib’ entry in step #9 above, do not rename any other entry.
13. Close ‘Registry Editor’ window.
14. Open Outlook and check if you are still getting the same error message.

I can’t offer any guarantees but it worked for me. Good Luck!

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Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part II: Start The Conversation

By John Joyce on March 2, 2010 - Comments 1

Previously, I discussed building the foundation for your online marketing ecosystem by crafting your core message and consistently communicating it to your target audience by using the many online tools available to small business owners today.  But what are those tools?

Online Marketing Ecosystem for Small Business

Click Image to View Interactive Online Marketing Ecosystem

Several weeks ago, Chris Brogan wrote about using mind mapping to collect his thoughts and organize information for blog posts, speeches, etc.  I did some research and found a product called MindMeister that has allowed me to create a graphical representation of the online marketing universe.  Since there are so many communication tools/services/platforms available, I’ve decided to break it down into bite size pieces starting with the easiest and most cost effective way for you to begin promoting your business online.

Blogging

The most powerful tool in your “let’s get found online” arsenal is a blog.  The top six blog platforms are listed in the graphic above with the most popular being WordPress.  ( I use WordPress for my blog and also as the Content Management System for my website)  I think WordPress is the best platform simply because of the seemingly endless supply of useful plug-ins and widgets that extend its functionality.  But, regardless of the platform, the most important advice I can offer is to make sure you choose a self-hosted solution. (see my post from Friday for more details)  And, finally, here are six reasons why your business needs a blog:

  • Boost your organic rank (by consistently reiterating your core message and keywords)
  • Position yourself and/or your business as THE subject matter expert(s) which increases your “authority” with the search engines.
  • Start conversations with prospects, customers and peers by posting thought provoking advice, stories and anecdotes.  Believe it or not, blogging is very much a two way street.
  • Firmly establish and manage your online reputation by consistently sharing useful information with the very people who are searching for you online.
  • Your site visitors can choose to subscribe to your blog and receive the information in a way that suits them best – via email, straight RSS feed, or within their favorite feed reader.
  • The only cost you incur with blogging is time.

Start the Conversation + Maintain Consistent, Quality Content = Acquired Authority and Trust

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Need Real Time Analytics? Announcing Small Biz Insight

By John Joyce on February 25, 2010 - Comments 0

Small Biz Insight is a real time web analytics service allowing you to view up to the minute data on the traffic to your web site. Most services don’t allow you to make split second decisions because of a substantial delay in their delivery of your website data.

Real time data lets you react to changes in your traffic as they occur. For example, if you had an article that hit the front page of a popular site like digg.com, you would see the traffic spike in Small Biz Insight immediately, along with links back to the sources sending you the traffic. Knowing this, you could make changes to your site or to the article itself to take advantage of the situation.

If instead you relied solely on a service like Google Analytics, it would be up to 24 hours before you even knew about the traffic, and by then it would be too late to do anything about it.

Here is a partial list of the real time information available to you in Small Biz Insight:

  • Customizable dashboard
  • Filtering and segmentation
  • Twitter analytics
  • iPhone version
  • Goals and conversions
  • Campaign tracking
  • Support for Google Analytics tags
  • Information on each individual visitor

Small Business Real Time Analtyics

There are two versions of Insight available – Self Serve for $9.95/month and Managed for $19.95 which will include customization and reporting services.  If you’re interested in learning more, please send us an email at info@thesmallbiznest.com or call us at (800)277-1187.

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Is Bing Better for Local Search than Google?

By John Joyce on January 11, 2010 - Comments 0

I was reviewing analytic data for my website last night and was surprised to see that a visitor had arrived at my site by searching on “internet marketing consultant” from Bing.  The search term is obviously relevant to my business but it’s a fairly broad and competitive search term for which I don’t show up on the first page in general search engines.  When I followed the search link and scrolled to the bottom of the page, I noticed the local search result:

internet marketing consultant local search in Bing

Bing automatically served this result based on the geographic location of the searcher.  This is really very intuitive since local search has become a large percentage of total activity on the big three search engines.

I would have to visit http://maps.google.com to get a similar result from Google and if I were to start at the main Google search bar, http://www.google.com, I would have to use the “long tail” search phrase, online marketing business near shirley, ma, to finally get the following result:

Internet marketing consultant local results

It’s very frustrating that Google Maps and Google Search are two separate entities and there isn’t a way to configure the presentation of results.  Using Bing, I can choose “all results” or “local results” from the left menu pane.  At the very least, Google needs to add “Local” to the list of options like video, news, etc.

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