Archive for the ‘kelsey group’ tag
I will be real honest here. I get confused as to who predicted what and when they predicted it regarding things like digital ad revenues for local media. These predictions seem to roll out all the time and it can be difficult to keep track.
The most recent offering comes from the BIA/Kelsey group who garners a fair amount of credibility in this increasingly complicated space. Halfway through 2012 the research firm is predicting a healthy uptick in overall ad revenues for 2012.
In its newly released U.S. Local Media Forecast (2011-2016): Full Edition, BIA/Kelsey forecasts local online/interactive/digital advertising revenues to grow 13.1 percent in 2012. According to the forecast, several local media segments are on target to exceed this overall growth rate, such as mobile search, which will grow 77.2 percent. Online video will grow 51.6 percent and social will grow 26.3 percent. For some media, like newspapers, digital ad revenues will be the only source of growth.
That last sentence is a bit sobering but not a surprise. We are used to watching the newspaper industry struggle its way through the transitional years. What’s harder to predict is which actual businesses will come out of this transformed or which ones will simply shrivel up and die.
But what about the future of local ad revenues as a whole, you ask? Well, the report predicts that the overall pie will be sliced like this in the year 2016.
While this prediction is just 4 short years away it seems pretty conservative in predicting what percentage of the local ad revenue will go to online channels don’t you think?
Well, what do you think? Please let us know in the comments.
Every company with an online presence knows that increasing its virtual visibility is key to its success. Hiring an SEO consultant is the perfect way to outsource this vital task, but how do you know who is the best resource for your company? There are a lot of SEO “experts” out there who use shady tactics to drive traffic. You don’t want to invest your money in people who won’t get you results, and you don’t want bad search karma. Here are four questions you need to ask any potential consultant before hiring, and the answers you should hear back.
How do you select the keywords you’ll target?
SEO experts shouldn’t shoot blindly when selecting keywords. The best ones will use Google’s keyword tool and pull your site’s historical keyword searches to determine which words have the highest potential to convert visitors. These words should then be embedded in your titles, the content of your pages, and in your meta tags. Don’t overcook it — keyword stuffing is a thing of the past, and you could pay the price with a ranking penalty.
“Long tail” keywords can also be more helpful than a single word or phrase. Mixing words can assist in enhancing your ranking as there may be less competition. Search engines may have a high number of matches for “mortgage lender” or “VA,” but “VA mortgage lender” may be less competitive. Therefore, having a page targeted to “VA mortgage lender” would be a smart move. Trying to think like your customers is essential, which translates into utilizing local phrases when you can. These are also less competitive, and many consumers will look for “Chinese restaurant Cleveland OH” rather than a Chinese restaurant. A Kelsey Group study revealed that 97 percent of consumers go online to search for local services.
How do you obtain links?
Two phrases you’ll want to know about are “black hat” and “white hat.” SEO consultants who follow Google’s guidelines don’t buy links. On the other hand, “Black hat” experts will purchase links and use other shady link-building tactics. While these stolen goods may produce some short-term gains, they’re not worth the risk: your site can be penalized, or even banned, if the abuse is noted. Besides, most search engines look at the quality of the links connected to your website in order to rate your relevance and authority, and you can get quality links for free with a little hard work.
True experts will seek out sites that have content that’s complementary to yours. From there, they will get you added to directories or attached to partners or vendors who similarly meet your clientele’s needs. Better yet, they’ll obtain guest blogging opportunities for you — these are great ways to demonstrate your expertise and build trust with potential customers. Some readers also find badges and other widgets to be convincing, so your SEO consultant will keep an eye out for those that are most relevant to you.
External links are essential to SEO, as they can drive up to 80 percent of your business. These simple guidelines demonstrate what a safe bet is, and what’s less secure:
- Content links = high rank
- Header links = high rank
- Side (margin) links = medium rank
- Comments = medium to low (spam hurts this ranking)
- Footer = low
What kinds of reports do you provide?
Be suspicious of an expert who won’t let you view a sample report. A qualified SEO expert will typically provide you with a variety of data on a monthly basis. Most will be happy to show you the applicable keyword research they’ve done, as well as the search volume connected to the keywords they’ve selected. They’ll also review your current site offerings and make suggestions for upfront tweaks you can make — alterations to your URL, titles, number of clicks it takes to reach important pages, etc. They will place a benchmark on your site at the start so your ranking and visitors can be monitored.
After these initial reports have been analyzed and you’ve launched a marketing plan, your SEO expert will report completed projects and the results that were achieved. They will also outline their upcoming plans for your site, report where all your links have originated from, and (most importantly!) provide you with insights regarding what new opportunities you could pursue. This is where outsourcing this expertise is valuable — don’t be short-changed on future opportunities.
How much will my traffic increase?
Nobody can promise you a No. 1 ranking. Google’s keyword tool helps SEO experts estimate the current traffic a keyword is generating. By assuming a No. 1 ranking, a consultant can predict your future traffic. Although this seems illogical, it’s not — the No. 1 site can receive more than a third of the traffic on the internet for the keyword. While your expert cannot guarantee top rank, they will shoot to get you in the top five — right in the center of traffic.
Remember that it’s not all about traffic. Good content and information that your audience can use is better. Long-term growth generated by content can have a better overall impact on your company than a short-term page ranking.
SEO is an essential strategy for businesses today. It’s important to be an informed consumer and ask the right questions. When hiring a consultant, you want to find the best. Your company deserves nothing less.
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This is one of the long-running questions in my local search peer network, and perhaps one of the more important questions going forward when it comes to small businesses and online marketing. The general consensus is that there are more small businesses with Facebook Pages than with claimed Google Place Pages. That comes from anecdotal evidence and various survey estimates, but not from hard, reliable statistics.
Google: 8 Million Claimed Place Pages
Earlier this month at the ILM West conference, Google self-reported a big number: eight million claimed Place Pages. See David Mihm’s coverage and the Kelsey Group’s coverage for confirmation, as well as other Google local/mobile numbers.
Mike Blumenthal has posted about the growth of claimed Place Pages, based on what’s now three times that Google has self-reported statistics over the past 20 months. In a nutshell, the number has doubled in that time frame from four million in April 2010 to the current eight million.
Facebook: ??? Businesses with Pages
Unfortunately, the number of businesses with Facebook Pages is a mystery. Facebook isn’t saying — I’ve emailed the communications team twice in the past couple weeks and received no reply — and, to my knowledge, never has given a number.
There’ve been numerous surveys and similar attempts to guesstimate the number of small businesses with Facebook pages. Greg Sterling wrote earlier this year about one survey that said 54% of SMBs have a Facebook page. Some surveys peg the number higher, while others have it lower.
Before some of our GetListed Local University workshops, we poll attendees and ask if they have a claimed Google Place Page, if they have a Facebook page, etc. As Mike Blumenthal reported from our recent Western New York event, the numbers skewed pretty heavily toward Facebook. (Admittedly, that was a very small sample of SMBs, but my memory is that the responses always seem to reflect similar percentages.)
One of the problems with any survey, though, is the possibility (likelihood?) of mistaken self-reporting. How many SMBs who take these surveys actually have a personal Facebook profile that they use for business purposes, but don’t really have a Facebook Page?
As of 2007, the US Census Bureau estimated that there were about 27.7 million small businesses in the US. If we use the 54% statistic that I mentioned two paragraphs above, that would give a rough estimate of about 15 million SMBs with Facebook Pages.
That’s a little less than double the number of claimed Google Place Pages. I don’t really want to put a lot of stock in that but, for now, it may be the best we can do.
Your thoughts? In your experience, do more small business owners that you know have claimed Google Place Pages or a Facebook Page? (Given that a fair amount of local search folks read this blog, I’m guessing the replies will tilt towards Google more than they do in the general populace.)
This is a post from Matt McGee’s blog, Small Business Search Marketing.
Which is More: Claimed Google Place Pages or Businesses with Facebook Pages?
The internet lets you reach billions of people around the globe, but if you’re like many small or local businesses, world domination isn’t really on your radar (not yet, anyway). What makes your business tick is your local community, whether on the town, city, county, or state level. So with all the choices consumers have nowadays for where to get their products and services, how do you ensure they find your local business first? You do everything in your power to get your website in the top search engine ranking positions! And luckily, there’s a lot you can do to tip the scales in your website’s favor. From on-page optimization to inbound link building to social media involvement, here is the ultimate guide for how to optimize your website for local search so you can dominate the SERPs.
Why Optimize for Local Search? It’s in the Numbers.
- Approximately 3 billion search queries contain local terms every month. (Source: comScore) Tweet This Stat!
- 70% of online searchers will use local search to find offline businesses. (Source: Kelsey Group) Tweet This Stat!
- 20% of Google searches are for local information. (Source: HubSpot via Google) Tweet This Stat!
How to Optimize for Local Search on Your Website
- Blog, blog, blog. Every new blog is a new indexed page for your site, a new page on which to target a geographic search phrase, and a new opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages (SERPs). If you’re having trouble coming up with geo-targeted content, consider highlighting customer success stories and case studies.
- Write about complementary local services. If you sell screwdrivers, talk about someone in your area who sells screws. It lets you write helpful content about your geographic area in a relevant way so you’re not faced with awkward keyword stuffing that Google’s algorithm punishes. Plus, it builds good will with local businesses that can introduce you to new customers, and possibly result in an inbound link in the future.
- Optimize the 5 crucial on-page SEO elements. That means your page title, URL, header tags, image alt text, and page content should be optimized with local terms. Here’s an example of a page that is well optimized for local search. You can also make use of the vertical bar in page titles as an easy way of consistently indicating your location to search engines.
- Target long-tail keyword variations for your geographic area. If you’re selling unicorn costumes, you might want to cover unicorn costumes in Detroit, unicorn costumes in metro Detroit, and unicorn costumes in southeastern Michigan. Cover all the ways people might refer to your city in your keyword research so you can capitalize on all the different ways people find you on the web. You can perform long-tail keyword research in Google’s Keyword Tool, or if you use HubSpot software, use HubSpot’s Keyword Tool to help find variations you might not have thought of before.
- Write about local and industry news. Stay up to date on what’s happening in your community and in your industry for blog fodder. This will win you big points in the SERPs, as Google Panda’s recent freshness update started rewarding timely content more than it has in the past. Even if nothing has happened that directly relates to your industry or location, look for local spins on industry trends, and comment on how local events could affect your industry.
- Mobile-optimize your site. Local search and mobile search go hand in hand. 40% of Google Maps usage is on mobile devices, and it has a total of 150 million mobile users. Some of the most common ways people will use your site in a mobile environment is looking up reviews, finding directions to your location, and searching for contact information. Make it easy for them by making your site mobile friendly.
How to Optimize for Local Search Off Your Website
- Register your business with Google Places. According to Google, there are nearly 50 million Google Places pages, and just over 4 million of the business listings have been claimed by business owners. This is a huge opportunity for local businesses to appear in the Google Places results for a given search term. But to do so, you have to register your business on Google Places and have a well optimized site.
- Submit to local directories. The more local directories to which you submit your site, the more opportunities to get found and receive inbound links. Use this list of 50 business directories to get started!
- Be a celebrity. The more of a fixture you are in your community (both online and offline), the more people will talk about you. Be a guest blogger, talk to and about (positively, of course!) other people in your industry, and act as a resource provider for the community. If you’re an active participant in community conversations, the buzz around you grows in the form of inbound links, social media growth, and media coverage.
- Publish your content on social media outlets, especially Google+ business pages. Google considers content shared on social media more important now than ever before. And now that Google+ has business pages, social and search are even more closely aligned. Most importantly for local businesses, Google+ business pages are starting to show up in Google Places search results. If you haven’t started your Google+ business page yet, build one now.
- Be on local review sites. 77% of online shoppers use reviews to make a purchasing decision. If your customers are looking for opinions on you, make it easier for them to find out how awesome you are by embracing your presence on online review sites. Claim your listings. Ask customers to post about their great experiences with you. Yes, some negative reviews may slip in there, but wouldn’t you rather be an active participant in achieving a positive online reputation than take a passive role in maintaining a lackluster one?
Local businesses do have the power to have a top presence in the SERPs, but like any effort to gain and maintain organic visibility, it’s hard work! If you can start checking a few of these tactics off your marketing to-do list every month, though, your website will see great improvements in online visibility.
What tactics have you used to increase your website’s visibility in the SERPs for local terms? Which ones worked, and which ones backfired?
Image credit: toastmonster
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