Rank on Bing

Bing-vectorA couple of years ago I started using an SEO assistance software (UpCity.com) that helped me capture some online directories and other beginner SEO tactics. Being a novice at SEO at the time I didn’t really understand the importance of ranking on any other search engines besides Google. Bing and Yahoo have merged their directories and even though you still need to have a listing on both Yahoo and Bing, Yahoo is where you will increase your rankings on Bing believe it or not.

Similar to Google, Bing has their own algorithms to help throw off all those black hat SEO cowboys. But for us white hat SEO people, I’ve discovered a fairly simple way to help increase your rankings on Bing/Yahoo. Even if it is short lived, Bing will pull down your ranking numbers if you are not consistent with your traffic, so keep this in mind. I first discovered my ranking on Bing when I set up my UpCity SEO software. I chose my industry keywords and I automatically indexed very very high (100+) with my chosen keywords, but ranked in the mid 20’s with Google with those same keywords. I just thought this was good enough, being naive to the importance of online diversity and search engines. However, slowly this number started to bother me and I began to do some research and reworked some of my website content, but still nothing. Then one day, I noticed someone wrote a review about our office on our (free) Yahoo local listing. Two days later I opened up my UpCity and noticed my numbers dropped below 100 and we were sitting at 55, which is a significant difference. At first, I didn’t realize that the impact of the Yahoo Local review but as I looked further I noticed there were two reviews.

yahooThis was no coincidence. Yahoo and Bing are lumped together, like Google+, Yahoo local is a place where people can post reviews, and Bing does not have a review platform, so they point everything over to Yahoo Local. For testing purposes, I let some time pass and after not soliciting any reviews to our Yahoo Local page I noticed that our ranking on Bing went back up to 100. Over the next couple of weeks, I solicited a couple more reviews from satisfied customers that had Yahoo accounts. The ranking went back down to 65 with one review. I updated our content as well and put in some keywords in our description and it went down a couple more points too.

Bottom line, similar to Google, Bing wants fresh content on their sites. This is understandable, and this is good and basic SEO. It’s the simplicity of SEO practices that we so quickly disregard, so don’t forget about the simple things. Content is always king and raw data and content such as reviews should never go untouched or undervalued! If you are not collecting and asking for reviews, chances are people will not partake and this is your easiest way besides blogging to create original content and authority. It’s a lot to ask someone to take time out of their busy schedules to write a review about your business. So, make it enticing for individuals to write about you online by offering a small reward for doing so.

PRO TIP: One other point, if you have not set up a Bing Local (Places) account or Yahoo Local account, do so! Also make sure to index your website through Bing Webmaster Tools. One of the biggest mistakes I see with clients who are managing their own websites and SEO, they never index through Bing. Big mistake!!!

NOTE: Yahoo Local is one of the most confusing and frustrating directory listings on the web, however it is important and essential to your business and online authority. DO NOT disregard Yahoo and do not pay for a listing with them. Use the free business listing but keep in mind every time you change something on your Yahoo local listing, it has to be approved by Yahoo. And it can sometimes take up to 7 days for it to be approved. They want you to use their paid listing, but in my opinion, I’ve used the $10 month premium upgrade listing and you still have to wait almost 7 days for change approvals and if you don’t have a yahoo account, it can be tricky to login and find your local listing. Use your Google account to login instead of creating a yahoo account, it will keep things congruent and easy to remember.

Links and Likes

Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing Places/Local
Yahoo Local
UpCity SEO
Google Webmaster Tools

Get Google to call you!

google-logo1Are you having issues with your new Google Maps listing for your business? I’ve had a bunch of questions regarding this and how to fix this. Easy, have Google call you! Some of you might have noticed something wrong with your maps marker or Google Maps or information in general. Some stayed the same, some disappeared/re-appearead, markers have moved, information didn’t stick. Whatever the case may be, if you use Google Maps and are having a difficult time getting your maps issues resolved by filling out the online form “fix your listing” with Google here’s a little trick and a not so obvious thing I just learned about Google. You can have them call you! That’s right! You heard me right, and in my experience the phone call is immediate. Here’s how!

What Do I Need?
1. A Google Places or Google+ account
2. The phone number associated with your business
3. The correct information for your Google listing

How Do I Get Them To Call?
1. Goto Google Places – use your Google login/pw
2. At the bottom of the screen you will see 5 hyperlinks, click on Google Places Help See Fig. 1
3. Click on the red button that says “contact us” in the upper right hand side of the screen See Fig. 2
4. A new window will pop up, click on the Blue button that says “Call Us” See Fig 3
5. A screen will pop up where you will need to fill out your Name, Google Email Address and of course your phone number See Fig. 4
6. Click on “Call Me” and Google will call within seconds See Fig. 4

Google 1

Fig. 1

Step3a

Fig. 3

Figure 2

Step4a

Fig. 4

TIP: You have to use your business phone number associated with your account, you can’t call from just any phone, keep that in mind. When they call you it will say press 1 for a Google specialist, and sometimes when you press one it keeps repeating it, just continue to press 1 you will be directed to a Google Specialist. More than likely, your Google specialist can make the changes to your account almost immediately do NOT let anyone tell you it will take 7 days for changes to take affect. I’ve asked Google every time I needed to make this call to make the changes immediately and they’ve done it!

Can I have Google change something else on my account?

Yes. If you have multiple business listings on the map or Google accounts you can have them combine all the listings for you. I recently did this for a client of mine. They had 3 listings in three separate accounts, they had reviews on all the sites and their maps were incorrect. Google was able to combine the accounts under one account, combine all the reviews and fix the location marker. Boom!

How often can I call?

As often as you like! I am always checking and making sure the Google listings for my clients are correct because they can change from time to time from Google glitches. If this happens Google will fix it for you and sometimes give you an email address to email them if it continues to happens.

To LinkedIn Or Not To LinkedIn

linkedin LogoSocial media is king among Marketing guru’s large and small. It is an endless marketing tool that serves almost every marketing need for all distinctive types of businesses. Nowadays, there are so many social media platforms to choose from, one has to wonder, how do we choose? To start with, you have to determine your purpose, however, the universal purpose for all of entrepreneurs, professionals, and us business owners is to be found. And the best way to begin this process is to start with your own personal LinkedIn account.

For beginners, or newbies, LinkedIn is THE professional social networking platform. If you are not using LinkedIn then you are missing out an incredible prospect. Why? Let me tell you… Even though social media has been around for over a decade now, business owners and entrepreneurs are still trying to figure out how to implement this into their everyday business model. From a professional standpoint the best way to break into the social media scene is with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is basically an online resume – coupled with a social media punch. It’s effective because well, we all work, well most people and we work with people, have worked for people and these are the connections we can maintain, discover and develop through LinkedIn. Not only can you publish your resume but you can promote yourself professionally, look for jobs, ask for recommendations, add skills, courses, certifications etc… You can add more to your LinkedIn account than you could ever add to a written resume and companies will find you through their searches. Consider LinkedIn an extension of your resume, but with the potential of 100 x’s more opportunity of being seen by big professionals, startups, entrepreneurs, and independent contractors worldwide.

So my question to you is, why not?

LinkedIn brings professional communities together across the country and around the globe. It gives you a voice, and a giant one at that. You can create your own communities, business pages, link your twitter feed directly to your LinkedIn account and vice versa. And LinkedIn does all the work for you basically. You link up your email accounts and LinkedIn scans your email addresses for individuals that already have LinkedIn accounts, send and invite to these individuals, state how you know them and you’re done! You can also send invites out to individuals that do not have LinkedIn accounts to join and link up.

In addition to the exposure LinkedIn gives you, it also gives you the prospect to construct a business page with custom banners, search for job opportunities and connect to a spider web of contacts you never the tangible reality to contact with before. For example, when you make 1 connection, you are now connected to that connection’s connections. So let’s say I have 20 contacts, and you and I connect, you now have access to my contacts and so on and so forth.

Here’s the deal, you don’t have to be a social media guru to master LinkedIn or even have a LinkedIn account. You just have to know yourself and be willing to sit down and write your professional biography. If you are still poo pooing the idea of social media, get over it because whether you like it or not, social media is a part of our lives, professionally and/or personally. This is the wave of the future and this is your chance to truly connect to the world of professional social networking. Not only does this legitimize who you are and what you do but also gives you greater opportunity of being found. So my question still remains, why not? What are you waiting for?? Google also loves LinkedIn and the more places you are on the internet the quicker you are found, whether you are a dentist, lawyer, consultant, etc.. you can and will be found, you just have to put the effort forward to make it happen!

Why Google+ Is Important

google+You’ve seen Google transform the way we do things on the Internet. Sometimes Google takes things to an excessive extreme and has a complicated time releasing their products prematurely, but come what may Google always manages to come out on top. Google is THE #1 search engine on the Internet. And if you are not using Google+ and Google products for your business, blog, website and social media, then you are missing out on one of the most significantly effectual Internet platform/tools on the planet!

Google+

First of all let’s talk about what has changed. Being #1 on Google is always on the forefront of all business owners’ minds; significantly for lead generations and searchability. Now, there are so many Google products it’s hard to understand what does what and how.

In the beginning, Google Places was how you were found, you set up your free Google Places account, verify yoru business, made sure your business information was correct and identifiable and voila, you are officially registered on Google. Since the introduction of Google+, Google has made Google Local the new Google Places a one stop shopping if you will, one account for everything. I know it sounds very bewildering but it’s easier than you think. At first, Google was the bane of my existence when it came to SEO and web presence because you had to have a separate login and account for each Google product; this is has all changed. Google has revolutionized their product line and combined everything by allowing you one login for all your Google products. There’s a rhyme to their reason and it’s smart.

When Google+ first came out, it was clunky, confusing and wasn’t all that they promised for a stalwart competition to Facebook. For the most part it functions about the same but this is just a very small part in the scheme of things. When you have a Gmail account as a business you can create your Google+ account, and from that Google+ account you can create a Google+ Page, similar to Facebook right? Right! However, with all of this, you can create a Google Local credential as well, which is where you can create a verified business. Verifying you business is indispensable because it makes you more searchable. For example, if you are searching for a Dentist in Austin, TX, guess what, the verified business in that zip code for that specific industry show up first. By not verifying your business you are missing out on a key link to your SEO chain. Once verified, you will have access to your Google Analytics, Google Places and Google Maps. Even though Google Places doesn’t exactly exist any more you can still login and check on your impressions which you can also do in Analytics. It is important to also, check your Google Maps placement for critical information such as a duplicate location, lack of suite/unit #’s, incorrect address, and pin marker. I had a client whose pin marker was two blocks off from their location. Customers were having a thorny time locating them using GPS. Google can fix all of this for you by requesting a change they will communicate with you via email – there’s no calling Google.

There are so many products that you as business owner can utilize that are provided for FREE by Google. Here’s a list:

Google+ – Social Networking for individuals (you will need this in order to create a Google+ page)
Google+ Pages – Social Networking specifically for your Businesses, Organization, Charity, Special Interests etc.. must have a Google+ personal account)
Google+ Local (verify your business) – Simply put, Google Local highlights your business for everyone to see when they search in your area or zip code if you verify your business and have a Google+ Page this will combine these two acounts into one and show a check mark that you are a Google verified business.
Google Places/Google Maps– This is where people find you, make sure your address and pin location are correct in addition to all of your pertinent busienss information. (Google+ Local will hopefully take the place of this at some point)
Google Analytics – “Google Analytics lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.”
Google Webmaster Tools – “Google Webmaster Tools provides you with detailed reports about your web pages’ visibility on Google. To get started, simply add and verify your site and you’ll start to see information right away.”
Gmail – Google’s Free email service and where you need to start, in order to use any Google product
How to verify on Google Local/Google+

My advice is to start out small. Start with a business related Gmail account—-Google+—Google+ Business page. From here create your content and business information, follow, add people to your circles and build your network and community. From there locate yourself on Google Local by doing a search for your business and create a Google Local page and verify your business which will in turn integrate your Google+ Page with Google Local. Make sure to check your listing on Google Places which is now Google Maps, make sure your address, phone number, and pin location are correct. You can always report to Google if there is a duplicate listing or incorrect street name on Google Maps click here for a screenshot. You can manually change the pin location as well, Google will need to approve this on their end, which can sometimes take a week for the change to occur, but be patient, Google will communicate everything to you via e-mail. You can email Google with any questions or concerns about any or all of your Google products. As far as Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, wait until you have familiarized yourself with the other Google product lines. There are several tutorials and blogs that elucidate the diverse things you can do with these web tools and apply to your bigger picture.

The thing with the new Google product lines is the fact that Google might have introduced them to the general population too soon and too close together. Because of this, people have been skeptical to use them because at fist glance they appear very puzzling. However, since the all in integration things are better now, Google has made great strides to keep their products united and have managed to seamlessly integrated their product line. Like I said start our small and go from there, sink or swim, it’s worth the jump!