October 2012

4 Reasons Business Blogging is Essential

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blog1 300x166 4 Reasons Business Blogging is EssentialIf you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know how we advocate link-building as being the primary driver of SEO.  And, the reason for that is because that’s the case.  Other factors are growing and diminishing in important, but right now, and in the future, back link building gives you the greatest bang for your marketing dollar.  Why?  It gets people to your site, so you can start making additional revenues, which you can use to further grow your business.

Long-term, however, back link building isn’t the only SEO service you need.

In fact, blogging is a huge long-term driver of additional traffic and SEO value.  Why?  I’ll outline a few reasons below.

Why Blogging is Essential for Any Business.

Google likes “fresh” content.
One significant part of your site’s rankings lies in having regularly-updated content on your site.  The Google Fresh Update, effective as of November 2011, means Google will give your site preference in the search engine rankings if you have regularly-updated content.

In another respect, the Fresh Update also ranks the most recent content highest for a given search term because usually that’s what people are searching for.  If you search for “how to fix a leaky pipe,” for example, Google is more likely (not guaranteed) to return a result from this year because that’s what type of pipe you are probably looking to fix (as opposed to a leaky pipe from the 1950s).

Customers need answers.
Searchers are looking for a succinct answer to their question – so why not position yourself as the resource to go to?  If they want to fix a leaky pipe, write an article on just that which shows them how to do it, even if they don’t have great handyman skills.  You might not get paid to make the repair, but when they need a repair they can’t handle, they’ll contact you.  If a friend or family member needs plumbing services, then your name will be the first to come to mind!

Builds long-term traffic.
You might hear stories about the bloggers who built a blog and made six figures just a few short months later.  The fact is, however, most blogs only make a few hundred dollars per year, if that.

Makes blogging sound impossible and worthless – doesn’t  it?  But it’s not!
Here’s why:  Those exceptional blogs that take off in a few months and build six figures of revenue or more are like people who win the lottery.  It’s really tough to do, takes some skill, and a whole lotta luck.  For most, by blogging consistently (at least 4 articles per month), you build a dedicated following that purchases from you and uses your services (and spreads the word about your services) over time.

You get new customers and more traction in search engines for a low cost.
A good blog article costs you $50 to write, at least.  If you do at least 4 articles per month ($200), you’ve spent $2400 on it in one year.  Keep in mind, you should have a monthly newsletter available for people to sign up for, so you can keep their contact information and make more sales in the future.  That $2400 you spend allows you to market to your e-mail list and bring in new customers over and over again, for years into the future!  Compare this to radio, TV, and print ads, which run a set number of times and stop.

Free is Always Better.
In regard to search engine traction, each post can rank highly for a targeted keyword.  If your post is particularly useful, people will share it through their social media accounts or link to it, all without you even having to ask.  Plus, you can link your post to other on-site posts, your site’s home page, or other important pages on your site to increase your on-page SEO value.  All of these little ins and outs build your search engine rankings and make it easier for customers to find you.
When you blog, don’t think of it as an additional cost.  If you do it consistently,  you will reap a number of additional freebies, turning your “costly” blog posts into a very wise investment.

Dan Stelter4 Reasons Business Blogging is Essential
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How can Internet Marketing Help a Salesman Increase his Profits?

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As a salesman, you always want to increase your sales, but what is another method that can help you in addition to the networking and cold calling you currently do?  The answer, my friend, is internet marketing.  Anyone who wants to can perform their own search engine optimization, but unfortunately, it’s becoming very complex to do so.  In fact, it’s becoming so complex that it’s a full-time occupation in itself.

But, the benefit of that is you don’t have to sit there and spend more hours working on your own.  Instead, you can hire someone to do it for you, which allows you to focus on what you excel at – selling.

Why Should Internet Marketing be Used to Help Increase Leads?

Besides the previously-mentioned benefit of having someone else do it, the most obvious reason is that everyone is searching online first for what they need.  In-person word-of-mouth rarely happens anymore – it’s all done online through Facebook, Twitter, chat, or any of a number of other methods of communication.

A salesman knows that in part, sales is a numbers game.  In order to get the profits you want, you have to contact so many people.  An effective SEO strategy will provide you with the additional leads you need in order to be successful selling what you do.

How Much Should You Spend on Internet Marketing?

This is a very difficult question to answer.  Perhaps the best thing to do is to set aside a small amount of money each month, somewhere between $500 – $2000.  The reason for this is that you can spend just about as much as you want on internet marketing, so it makes sense to start with what is necessary first.

And what is necessary is the search engine optimization aspect of things.  SEO brings the traffic there and gets you noticed in the search engines.  Then, once you start realizing profits from that, you might choose to spend more on additional internet marketing services.  But, then again you might be happy with your profits the way they are and choose not to spend anymore.  Here are some additional areas where you may choose to spend additionally once you’ve realized some of the financial benefits of search engine optimization:

  • Increased spending on more keywords in order to generate even more leads and sales
  • Copywriting, which helps increase the rate at which people actually contact you
  • On-page SEO, which helps provide a small boost to your search engine rankings
  • Blogging, which assists in customer engagement and spreading the word regarding the products and services you are selling
  • Social media campaigns, which are an additional method for maintaining customer engagement and increasing word-of-mouth advertising

If you start adding in all of these additional services, you can run up tens and thousands of dollars in expenses.  But at the same time, your sales can increase significantly too.  As with anything, the best thing to do is to start small and test and then scale your business, if and when you are ready.

Photo by Brad Montgomery cc How can Internet Marketing Help a Salesman Increase his Profits?

Dan StelterHow can Internet Marketing Help a Salesman Increase his Profits?
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Why Doctors Looking to Grow their Patient Base Should Consider SEO

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doctor patient entering Why Doctors Looking to Grow their Patient Base Should Consider SEOProfessionals well-established and experience in their careers may not be aware of the benefits of search engine optimization.  However, for doctors looking to grow their patient base and the size of their practice, search engine optimization (SEO) presents the most effective solution.

Fortunately, search engine optimization doesn’t require a huge budget to get started.  You can get started and generate effective results for as low as a few hundred dollars per month, but it may be more effective to spend slightly more than that.

Here’s a general example of how search engine optimization would work for a doctor:

  1.  He or she would work with an experienced SEO professional to learn which keywords would work best
  2. Generally, the keywords would be geo-targeted in order to ensure people in the local area find your practice
  3. Back links are built to the website’s home page, driving up its ranking
  4. More patients call and contact you because they can now find your practice easily online

There are many more internet marketing techniques that can be used to help increase the number of patients your practice recieves, but those are the bare essentials you will need to get started.  You can have your internet marketing professional perform other techniques for you, or you can do them on your own.  Here are a few additional strategies an SEO professional might use in order to help your business get discovered online:

  • List your site in major business directories (Angie’s List, Google Places, Yelp! and many more…)
  • Develop benefits-oriented META titles and descriptions that contain 1 mention of your keyword and a geo-targeted term
  • Create a separate page on your site targeted around each geographical region you intend to serve (suburb, city, state, country)
  • Encourage your customers to provide you with positive reviews at major business directories
  • Respond to any negative reviews publicly by providing a solution
  • Build links with other local businesses
  • Use Facebook and Twitter to grow your client base

If this sounds like a ton of work, that’s because it is.  If you can use one service out of all of these, the best choice is the back linking.  Why?  Because it has a very large impact on your site’s rankings, and it might even have the largest impact of all factors taken into account when your site is ranked.  Additionally, it will cost you a fair amount of money to add on all the other tactics, and more than likely they won’t provide as great of an impact.

What is the Net Effect of SEO?

When a professional has executed a search engine optimization strategy successfully, the net effect is increased patient inquiries regarding your practice.  And, the additional revenues you generate based on those inquiries far outweigh the expense associated with search engine optimization.

Dan StelterWhy Doctors Looking to Grow their Patient Base Should Consider SEO
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How can Real Estate Brokers Benefit from SEO?

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The fact is that every business type, not just real estate brokers, can benefit from an SEO strategy. So, why isn’t everyone doing it?  The simple fact is that not everyone knows how powerful internet marketing really is.  You can literally make thousands of dollars in additional profits when you rank highly for your targeted keywords.

The level of success you experience is somewhat random, however.  SEO is not a precise science.  A good company is confident they can get you ranking high for your targeted keywords, but a smart company never promises you a particular ranking.  Why?  Because no one knows Google’s algorithm specifically, and it’s incredibly complex (it’s made of more than 200 factors) so it’s impossible for anyone to know exactly what you need to do in order to rank higher.

But, a good internet marketing company can get you ranking highly on the first page of Google in the span of a few months.  Then, once you’re ranked on the first page, you will notice much more traffic coming to your site, and of course sales.

Other business, and real estate brokers, simply are not as aware of how much money you can make by ranking highly in Google.  They are more used to traditional marketing methods involving word-of-mouth advertising, signs, and good-old-fashioned networking.  And, they probably don’t realize the extreme extent to which people are looking for businesses, products, and services they need online first.

Consider how much one sale is worth for you.  You probably stand to make several thousand, if not much more, on one sale.  Now, consider that at the most, it costs you somewhere around $100 per month to rank in the top Google position for your keyword.  To rank number one for one keyword for the entire year would cost you $1200.  And, you are sure to make at least one sale from the internet leads generated for your company.  And, this is a sale you would not have been able to make on your own, so your net profit will be somewhere into the thousands of dollars.

Now the question becomes, “Why are you not doing SEO or internet marketing?”  It seems rather silly you aren’t!  And, the best thing is that if you get into the game right now, you’re beating the competition by doing so.  Not everyone is using a search engine optimization company at this point, although most will be in the near future.

So, now you’ve learned how SEO works – think about what’s holding you back from starting sooner rather than later.

Dan StelterHow can Real Estate Brokers Benefit from SEO?
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How can Auditors Benefit from Search Engine Optimization?

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The truth is, no matter what type of self-employed professional or business you are, you can benefit from search engine optimization, internet marketing, or digital marketing, whatever you would like to call it.  People generally mean the same thing with all of the terms, although in a technical sense they cover different aspects of online business development.

What Exactly does SEO do for You?

If you haven’t had any performed already, then a decent strategy targets at least 5 keywords, and then you begin ranking higher for each.  Once you rank somewhere on the first page of Google, you should notice substantially more traffic arriving at your site.  There’s no guarantee how much traffic you will receive.

This can’t be guaranteed because no one knows how many people will click on a certain Google result each month.  Google Adwords, for example, shows you how much a certain keyword is searched in a certain month, but that’s only a ballpark figure (Google inflates the number of searches somewhat in order to get you to use Google Adwords).  Then, only a percentage of people who search on that time will actually click through to your site.

And, who clicks through depends on the quality of the title written for your content and its META description tag.  If you’re really doing a hardcore marketing strategy, you will know your customer’s pain points, and your page title and META description tag will contain messages targeted directly at those.

So, as you can see, the process of getting people to your site is actually quite complicated.  But, you do know that more people will come to your site, and very often, it’s not unreasonable to expect at least a 25% gain, with gains of 100 – 200% possible.

And That’s Just the Beginning of Internet Marketing!

There’s much more to search engine optimization and internet marketing than this.  But, search engine optimization that increases your Google rank is the first place to start because that gets people to your site.  Once you have that traffic coming in, then it’s time to figure out how to get people to purchase, call, or use your e-mail contact form.

And, there’s a variety of strategies and techniques used to do this.  You might create a special landing page, for example that requests your visitors to take a particular action.

And the Final Result of SEO is?

Everyone is looking for businesses, products, and services primarily online.  So, when you market online, you’re giving yourself a great opportunity for business growth.  You don’t have to be overly intelligent to realize this translates into increased profits for your business!

Dan StelterHow can Auditors Benefit from Search Engine Optimization?
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What can SEO do for a Psychiatrist’s Business?

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If you are a psychiatrist and you are wondering how you could expand your practice, you might consider SEO (aka “internet marketing”).  Believe it or not, there is a method to the madness of attracting visitors to your website and getting them to take the action you want.

When you do SEO effectively, your business, no matter what type, can see substantial growth.  And, now’s a great time to get in the game because not everyone does search engine optimization or is aware that it’s even important to do.

Your business might be doing well right now, but if you don’t start using the internet to your advantage in the coming years, you will be left behind the competition.  This is because all the traditional forms of advertising – talking to friends, reading newspapers, and purchasing magazines are going the way of the dinosaur – extinct!

Google and social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are the new way people get to know about your business.  And, there are special ways of using these tools that require a certain set of expertise.

Once these tools get people to your website, the next trick is getting people to actually take the actions you want them to take.  If you want people to call, what do you do on your website in order to make it more likely people will do that?  You should ask an internet marketing consultant to give you the help you need so you do things right.

It may seem somewhat obnoxious to pay fees to this person or that person, but once you have all the right SEO and internet marketing techniques in place, you can experience substantial business growth that far outweighs any fees you might pay.

Costs will continue to rise because the competition will continue to increase.  That’s why its important to get in the game now.

Of course, it’s your choice what you do, but this is the direction the macro forces in the marketplace are heading, and there’s nothing you can do about those, except adapt.

Dan StelterWhat can SEO do for a Psychiatrist’s Business?
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How Does Search Engine Optimization Help Psychologists?

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As a psychologist, you are known to a fairly select group of people, or so it seems.  Much of your advertising is done by other health services agencies, law enforcement, or former clients.  But, did you know there’s another very handy way for growing your business, if that’s what you want to do?

That method is called search engine optimization, or internet marketing, if you prefer.  Increasingly, people are looking for businesses, services, and products online before they talk to a friend, neighbor, or relative.  As a result, it’s becoming much more important to be visible to Google, so it knows where, and how highly, to rank you for various keywords.

Search engine optimization is the primary method used for increasing your rank, but it is really a small part of an overall “digital marketing” strategy.  While SEO helps get people to your website, there are many other strategies used to keep them on your site and eventually get them to contact you about your services.

First, you have to have a marketing strategy geared at showing how you can help the typical patient solve personal problems he or she is currently facing in life.  You might be focused on a particular problem, such as an addiction or mental illness, or you might be more general.

Next, your site’s writing has to reflect your ability to provide solutions in language that is simple-to-understand for the average person.  While this sounds like a rather simple step, many self-employed individuals and small business owners think they can do this writing themselves, but then end up representing their businesses very poorly.

Third, any decent internet market strategy involves a clearly-defined call-to-action, which leads to a higher rate of conversions.  There  are many techniques involved in creating calls-to-action, and that’s where the help of a professional proves invaluable.

When you combine all these factors, the net result is much more traffic to your website, and finally, many more clients.  There are of course many more factors involved in growing your online business, but these are some of the main ones.

Dan StelterHow Does Search Engine Optimization Help Psychologists?
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Attention Accountants: Grow Your Firm Quickly at a Low Cost!

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In the realm of accounting, there’s plenty of big guys available, but then again, there’s a ton of smaller players too.  You might have 10 to 20 employees or so and may be wondering how you can expand your firm.  You might even have heard of search engine optimization, SEO, and internet marketing.

You know these terms have something to do with Google and helping your business, but you don’t quite realize the full extent of the benefits.  Take a minute to learn a little more about exactly what SEO is and what it can do for your business.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization, in plain language, means making your company extremely visible to the search engines.  More technically, this means improving your search engine rankings for terms for which people are searching for your services.  An SEO expert helps you identify which keywords will convert the highest for your firm.

He or she also helps you identify approximately how long it takes to rank for each term.  This process is rather imprecise.  But, basically you want to be sure you aren’t picking terms that will take more than a year to rank on the first page for.

Somewhere around 95% of all search traffic comes from the first page for a particular term, with 5% or less coming from the second page or later.  Further, 35% of all traffic clicks on the first result, with around 25% of all traffic clicking on results 2,3, and 4.

As a result, it’s extremely important you SEO services help you rank for position 4 or higher on the first page of Google!  Ranking on the second page isn’t too different than ranking on the last one!

How Much Does SEO Cost?

Search engine optimization costs as much or as little as you want.  You can pay anywhere from $5 per hour to $1000 per hour.  The most important consideration to keep in mind is to learn how what results your SEO company can deliver for you.  Any internet marketing company worth its salt produces a net profit for your accounting firm.

As long as you know what your current revenue is, then measure what it looks like after a few months of SEO services, and you notice your revenues have increased in excess of the fees you are paying your search engine optimization company, you are working with a good company!

You could always find someone else to pay less and increase your margins, but will that internet marketing company produce the same results?  How do you know they won’t just walk away with your money?

Exercise Caution when Choosing an SEO Firm

One great way to protect yourself from getting burned is to locate an SEO firm that charges results-based fees.  Some firms only charge you once you start ranking in certain positions for particular terms.  Also, be wary of contracts, and especially long-term ones.  Be sure you know how you can cancel services and any fees that may be involved.  Unfortunately, some SEO firms use contracts to trap their clients.  If you are at all suspicious, move on to another firm – there’s only a few million of them out there!

Hopefully, this post has helped you, as an accountant, learn how SEO can benefit you and how to protect yourself from dishonest companies.

Dan StelterAttention Accountants: Grow Your Firm Quickly at a Low Cost!
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Why Should Realtors care about SEO?

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5532848433 098b85d1b0 realtor Why Should Realtors care about SEO?Realtors looking to increase their local business without a huge investment of time must pay attention carefully to this post!  SEO is the new way, especially for local and regional businesses, to grow their company.  You cannot deny the fact that more and more people are looking online first for the business or service they need.

Real-world word of mouth still happens too, but the internet is so easy, so fast, and Google is so smart at helping people find what they want, that word of mouth in the real world is quickly going by the wayside.  And, you can read user reviews about the business and check out ratings regarding its quality from independent agencies – all from the comfort of your own home!

You can know everything there is to know about a business before you even go through its doors!

As a result of all these changes, it’s important to market yourself locally in geographic terms, but this must be done from an online perspective.

You may think there’s not too much of a difference between the first and second page of Google, but there’s a huge difference.  Somewhere between 95-98% of all search traffic comes from the first page of the rankings.  In essence, the second page is no different than page 100 of Google.

When SEO services help your name come up first for a variety of search terms, this makes you more accessible to the average internet user.  About 35% of all search traffic clicks through on the first ranking.  Positions 2-4 account for about 20% of all search traffic.  And, keep in mind it’s much easier to rank higher for a local search term that it is for one that covers a larger geographical area.

The questions to ask yourself are:  If I double my internet traffic, how many additional conversions might a get?  How much do I stand to profit off of one additional conversion?

As a realtor, you know how difficult it is to sell much of anything now.  And, you are aware inflation could go crazy at any point in the future.  Sales may get harder, but inflation will drive up property values.

The point is that, for every company, SEO works.  It’s just a matter of what scale it is that you will be approaching SEO from.  And, the bigger you are, the longer it may take to experience results.  But, once you do experience those results, you will definitely not regret using internet marketing services.

Many businesses substantially increase their growth in just a few short months.  The promise can’t be made that you will experience those results, but you will experience results in excess of your costs.  If you think search engine optimization can help you, be sure to get in the game now before competition really tightens up in the future!

Dan StelterWhy Should Realtors care about SEO?
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How can SEO Help a Veterinarian Grow his or her Business?

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As a veterinarian, you know how much you depend on your local reputation to run  your business.  Word-of-mouth, advertising, and general consumer awareness of animal health are all factors helping your business grow.  However, people are increasingly finding the resources they need online first, instead of through friends or neighbors.

How do you get your name out there online?  There must be some method to the madness.  If you assumed there is a science, then you are absolutely correct.  The name of the science is “SEO” or “internet marketing.”  “SEO” tends to refer more to the idea of increasing your website’s visibility to the search engines, ultimately resulting in higher rankings and more targeted traffic.  “Internet marketing” is a little more general, and refers more to the idea of reaching people online who are interested in your services and converting them into customers.

How does SEO work for Local Businesses?  

For a local business, a search engine optimization expert would recommend geo-targeting.  This fancy-sounding term really is not all that complicated.  Basically, they would help you optimize your site for terms like “veterinary clinic [Suburb name].”  Then they would target many of the local suburb and community names in your area.

You could expect a decent conversion rate because people who are searching for those terms know exactly what they want.  If they just typed in “veterinary clinic,” yours would be hard to find because there are thousands of them all over the place.  It would also cost you much more money and take much more time to rank for a more broad term.

If you optimize for ten keywords or so, you will experience the following results:

  1. Increased reputation in the local community
  2. More customer inquiries and visits
  3. Enhanced levels of profitability

As a veterinarian, you stand to benefit substantially!  No internet marketing expert will promise how far your company will grow, but a reasonable one would say with a high degree of confidence that they could help your company grow by more than the amount of money you invested in their search engine optimization services.

It’s not uncommon to see businesses grow by several times after receiving search engine optimization services.  But, keep in mind this is not a guarantee – it’s important to have realistic expectations.

What Else Might an SEO Expert Recommend?

A search engine optimization expert would also recommend you solicit positive customer reviews for your site.  People find local businesses using business directories like Yelp and Angie’s List.  And, guess what happens when they use Google Maps?  Customer reviews of your site appear at the same time!  Get some positive reviews for your site, and then watch for the positive results!

An internet marketing expert may also recommend a blog.  Blogs are powerful marketing tools that generate long-term sales.  How?  When you blog and provide people with free information about pet care, this builds trust.  People buy from those they know, like, and trust.  It doesn’t happen over night, but a blog can generate substantial long-term sales for many different kinds of businesses.

The Time for Internet Marketing is Now!

Search engine optimization is powerful and can help your business grow substantially.  If you aren’t doing it now, your competitors will eventually overtake you.  Find the right service as soon as possible so you can take your business to the next level!

Dan StelterHow can SEO Help a Veterinarian Grow his or her Business?
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