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Anatomy of a Search

“I can get you on the first page of Google.”

How often do you get calls promising to get you to the top of Google? Before signing up with one of these vendors, it is critical to understand the three different areas where a business can appear in a typical local business search. Achieving a top-ranking position in each of these areas requires a different strategy for each area:

LOCAL LISTINGS
The most effective way to achieve visibility within your own local town is to appear in the short list of businesses near the top of the page.
Local Listings appear for all common business categories, such as “dentist”, “pizza”, or “lawyer.” They do not appear for other search phrases such as “TMJ treatment”.

Local Listings are limited to three businesses, which means that you will probably need to bump someone else off the list, which can be a challenge.

To determine which three businesses to list, search engines considers many different factors, such as the domain name, proximity to downtown, seniority and others. (Note that the content of your website is not one of them!) Perhaps the most important factor is the number of online reviews a business has received. Search engines assume that the businesses that receive the most reviews must be the most important.

With this is mind, the most practical and effective way to achieve a top position in the Local Listings is to get as many reviews as possible. The most important review sites for this purpose are Google, Yelp and Yahoo.

COMMON TRAP
Many marketing companies charge a high monthly fee for doing nothing more than registering your business with the search engines. This is a one-time activity that you should not pay a monthly fee for.

COMMUNITY COMMUNICATIONS
As part of every project, Community Communications will submit your listings with the search engine companies, being sure to add the content that will give you the best chance of appearing in the Local Listings for your business category.

Further, one of the most effective ways to improve your visibility in Local Listings is to increase the number of reviews you receive at popular online review sites, such as Google, Yelp and Yahoo. Community Communications has a program specifically targeted at soliciting online reviews from your customers for Google, Yelp and Yahoo. In addition to boosting your search engine results, this will increase the number of positive reviews you have, offsetting any negative ones. For more information on this program, go to www.erepmailer.com.

PAY PER CLICK
To gain visibility outside of your own town, Local Listings are not an option. For this, you will need another strategy.

The easiest and most predictable way to gain visibility in other towns is to pay for it. With a Pay Per Click ad campaign, you specify the towns that you want to appear in and then create a list of relevant search phrases (called “keywords”). When a customer from one of your specified towns searches for any of those keywords, your ad will appear and lead them to your website.

The nice thing about Pay Per Click advertising is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You can also set a daily budget to ensure that you don’t overextend yourself.

The quirky thing about Pay Per Click is that the pricing is based on a bidding system. The search engine vendors will initially recommend a bid price for each keyword and then let you decide how much to bid. If you bid too high, you will burn through your budget faster than necessary. If you bid too low, your ad will not appear. The appropriate price for a keyword can change frequently based on how many other companies are bidding on it. Therefore, it is important to monitor Pay Per Click campaigns on a regular basis.

Another factor to consider is that the search engine companies do not allow you to control exactly when and where your Pay Per Click ad will appear. You will often be sharing your keywords with other advertisers, so your ad will not appear every time someone searches for it. Also, for popular keywords, your ad may appear over to the right or at the bottom instead of at the top.

COMMON TRAP
Many marketing companies promise to “get you on page one of Google”. Then they simply act as middlemen between you and the search engine companies. They make money by charging you a high monthly fee regardless of how many clicks you get. They also lock you into long term contracts, ensuring huge profits for themselves.

COMMUNITY COMMUNICATIONS
Community Communications will work with you to create a comprehensive list of search phrases and to set appropriate bid prices that will maximize the effectiveness of your campaign. We will also monitor the results and make ongoing recommendations to improve your campaign’s performance. Most importantly, you will pay Google directly, ensuring you are receiving the lowest cost per click, and can cancel the program at any time.

ORGANIC SEARCH
Organic Search results appear on every search page and, therefore, an SEO campaign focused on Organic Search is often the most powerful strategy. This is especially true for keywords that search engines do not recognize as business categories. For example, a dentist may want to appear in searches for “TMJ” or “Invisalign”.

Search engines use sophisticated algorithms and hundreds of criteria to establish their Organic Search results. However, the most important criteria generally fall into two categories:
  • Content of your website
  • Links from other sites to yours
Therefore, an effective Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign needs to cover both of these areas.

The content of a website is a major factor in determining where the site ranks in Organic Search results. Important considerations include the number of times a keyword appears on a website as well as the positioning and emphasis of the keyword. In addition, search engines use sophisticated algorithms to reward websites that contain natural, easy to read content and to penalize sites that try to manipulate search results.

A second major factor in determining Organic Search performance is the number and quality of links that a website has pointing to it from other sites (called “backlinks”). Search engines consider links from other sites to be votes of confidence that the target site is important. However, the quality of the linking sites is also considered. Links from “link factories” are actually harmful to a website’s ranking so it is important to be careful in this area.

Performing well in Organic Search results requires a relentless search engine optimization (SEO) campaign over an extended period of time. Search engines are constantly changing their algorithms, and competitive websites are continuously improving as well. It is important to undertake SEO as an ongoing investment.

COMMON TRAP
Many SEO companies lock customers into long-term, expensive contracts with no guarantee of positive results.

COMMUNITY COMMUNICATIONS
Community Communications provides a comprehensive Organic SEO service. We will fine-tune the content of your website to maximize the use of important search phrases. We will also set up backlinks from other reputable websites to yours.

Most importantly, Community won’t take any money unless you appear on page one for your chosen keywords. You are also free to terminate our service at any time.

SUMMARY

Summary
Community Communications helps websites attain top performing positions in all three critical areas of search engine results. Unlike other SEO companies, we won’t waste your money applying a single strategy to scenarios where it won’t pay off.

In addition, we’re fully accountable and you won’t be locked into any long-term contract; you can terminate our service at any time:

Local Listings
You will be notified when anyone writes an online review of your business, allowing you to keep track of the program’s success

Pay Per Click
You only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad, and you pay the search engine companies directly to ensure you are getting the lowest possible price.

Organic Search
We only get paid for performance. If you don’t get on page one, we don’t get paid
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