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    Crash Course: What You Need to Know About Searching on Google

    Last updated 1 year ago

    As a local business owner, you know it’s important to market your business online so that you can be found by local consumers. But, it’s also important to know how sites like the Google search engine work and how to conduct searches that can help you – as a business owner and a consumer – find the information you want and need.

    To help you become a better searcher, Google has put together a series of six online courses aimed at helping small business owners do just that, complete with video lessons and activities to practice what you learned. Here are a few lessons from the courses to help you learn a little more about how Google search works and how to get more out of it as a searcher.  For more in-depth information, make sure to check out the entire program on Google’s power searching site.

    How Google Search Works

    What exactly happens when you conduct a search on Google? From spiders to indexing to PageRank, this video from Matt Cutts illustrates the process to help you better understand exactly how Google search works. 

    The Art of Keyword Choices

    When you search something on Google, how do you choose the keywords you want to search in order to get the best results? This is a critical skill to learn in order to become a more effective searcher – and it’s important to understand how consumers are selecting keywords when they search for local businesses. This video recommends three simple tips for picking the right term to conduct a search on:

    1. Think about what you’re trying to find
    2. Choose words you think will appear on the page
    3. Put yourself in the mindset of the author of those words

    Reading the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

    Have you ever heard or seen the term “SERP”? This stands for search engine results page, and it’s the result you will see after tying a search term into Google. This video offers more information on understanding SERPs and how to read them. 

    These are just a few of the informational resources that Google has put together to educate people about getting more out of search. Check out their entire course to get even more details and become a Google Power Searcher.

    Do you have a favorite Google search tip or trick you use? Share your insights in a comment!

    150 Awesome Online Stats, Charts, and Graphs

    Last updated 1 year ago

    You’ve probably heard how important it is for your business to have an optimized Web presence in order for consumers to find you when they are searching, surfing, and socializing online. But what exactly does consumer behavior online look like today?

    In the latest ReachLocal ebook “150 Smart Stats: Online Marketing Trends Every Business Needs to Know,” you will see the latest online stats about online marketing and how and where consumers use the Web. Plus, you’ll discover how these online marketing trends are changing the way consumers are buying products and services so you can market to and reach more potential customers online.

    This ebook includes beautifully illustrated and easy to understand stats about online marketing, local marketing, social media marketing, and mobile marketing. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the stats you’ll see:

    • 75% of searchers never scroll past the first page of search results.
    • 66% of adult Internet users in the U.S. access social media sites.
    • 52% of consumers were more likely to use a local business with a positive online reputation.
    • 66% of respondents use a tablet or phone while on a computer while watching TV.

    To see more and learn about how these online marketing stats affect your business, download the ebook today!

    Download a free copy of “150 Smart Stats: Online Marketing Trends Every Business Needs to Know”

    What online stats do you find the most surprising? Let us know in a comment!

    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how small business owners can reach local customers through online marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.


    ReachLocal Client Takes Part in Olympic Torch Relay

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Today marks the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. While we are excited for all the competitions to get under way, we’re even more excited to share that we played a small part in the tradition of this year’s Olympic Torch relay.  One of our clients, UK-based Ton Hire, received two contracts to follow the Olympic flame on its 69-day journey across the country. In this review video, they discuss this exciting privilege and related results they’ve achieved from their ReachLocal campaign. 

    This is a great example of how a local business has played a pivotal role in such a global event. To hear from more local clients around the globe, visit our ReachLocal Reviews webpage.

    How To: Scope Out Your Business Competition Online

    Last updated 1 year ago

    No matter the size of your business, it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your closest competitors online. Especially since research shows that 66% of U.S. adults have used the Internet to aid in a purchase, a business’ online presence is more valuable than ever.

    If you don’t already know who your local business competitors are, you can conduct a search for your own products or services in your area to see what other businesses appear in the search results, check local listings, or even ask friends and family if they know of other nearby businesses similar to yours.  Then, once you determine who your top competitors are, here are a few places you can check to gauge their effectiveness online.


    Your competitors’ website is a good place to start when assessing their Web presence. It will tell you many things about them, such as some of the keywords and phrases they are using to optimize their website copy for search, their main value proposition or key message, their featured products or services, and their target market. This can not only help you understand more about your business competition and what differentiates you, it can also help you compare your online marketing efforts. Is it easy to identify what they do within the first few seconds? What products or services do they offer? How are they similar to you, and how are they different? Are they promoting themselves more effectively than you are? Understanding these key factors can help you develop a marketing plan that will help you bring customers to your business instead of theirs.

    Search Engines

    Gauging your competitors’ placement on search engines isn’t always an easy task, especially since algorithms are continuously changing. However, it can help your own search advertising strategy to see the results of your competitors’ organic and paid search tactics. Keep in mind, it’s best to perform searches in a private browser so the search engine won’t take into account your browsing history and you’ll see generic results. Here are a few things to look for:

    Shelf Space – Search for a competitor’s business name online to see how much “shelf space” – or links on the search results page – they own, and what type of content is displayed, such as their website, blog, videos, reviews,  and even text ads. Remember which local listings, social media sites, and content sites are displayed and compare them against the ones that show up when you search for your own business name.

    PPC Ads To see what your competitors may be doing in paid search advertising, start by identifying a list of 5-10 top local keywords and searching for them on top search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing If your competitor is also bidding on their own business name in search advertising, chances are their paid search ad will show in the sponsored section of the search results when you search for their name as well. Bidding on your business name is a cost-effective way to quickly get your brand to appear on the search engine results page. 

    Organic Rank – Also look at the organic listings when you search for those local keywords, as well as the keywords you are optimizing your own site for. Where do your competitors rank in comparison to you? What kinds of content are ranking – is it just their site, or do other content and social sites show up as well?

    Reviews & Local Listings

    Take note of your competitors’ online reputation by looking at their reviews online. You can check out review sites like Google + Local, Yelp, Citysearch, or industry-specific sites and see how they are ranking compared to you and if those sites are optimized for search. In addition, conduct a search for your competitor’s reputation terms, like “Business Name Reviews” on a search engine and see what turns up. Do your biggest competitors have more reviews than you? Is their reputation overall positive or negative? Either way, you may want to start asking some of your happy customers to leave you reviews on some of these sites, so that when a consumer is researching both you and a competitor, your glowing reputation can speak for you online.

    Social Media Sites

    Another place you want to audit your competitors online is on social media. Start by looking for their Facebook page, Twitter profile, and Google Plus pages. Do they have these pages created and optimized? If so, what types of profile photos and “about” information are they using to represent their brand? In addition, take a look at how many fans they have, how frequently they post on each social network, and what kinds of content they are sharing. It’s important to know the kinds of messages they are sharing and how often so you can determine what’s most effective for your business type. You can also use this information to create unique messages for your social fans that will set you apart from your business competition.

    Content Sites

    Content sites like a company blog, YouTube channel, or photo site, are also key ways businesses can boost SEO and engagement online. See which of these of these sites your competitors have created and which they are using to their advantage. What types of blogs, images, infographics, or videos are they sharing? Are they using relevant descriptions and keyword-rich tags? Because these types of content can rank well in search engines and provide backlinks to a business website, seeing which sites work for your competitors can help you decide the types of sites you want a presence on as well.

    Now that you have a good idea about your competitors’ Web presence, you can take this information into consideration for building your own online strategy. What tactics work well for them that you can try in your own marketing? What are you doing more efficiently than your competitors that you can focus on to give your online presence a boost?

    Have you ever scoped out the competition online? What did you learn, and what did you do with the information? Share your thoughts in a comment!

    Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.


    Related Articles

    ReachLocal Reviews: International Edition

    Last updated 1 year ago

    As a global company, we’re committed to helping local businesses around the world reach more customers online. And, we see businesses of all types, sizes, and locations get results from their online marketing. Here are some of our most recent testimonial videos from happy clients across the globe.    

    Australia: St. George Motor Boat Club

    “ReachLocal has really optimized our Web presence. What we had before was a lot of traffic through our website with very little return. What we have now is our leads actually turning into sales.” – Adrian Vermeulan, CEO


    UK: Remland Carpets

    “The national campaign has actually helped us increase online sales by a massive 40%. And as a company, that’s helped our figures go up by 20% over last year alone. Our online presence has changed the company in a really big way.” – Trevor Ballard, Managing Director


    Australia: WoofPurnay Veterinary Hospital

    “In our first month with ReachLocal, we were receiving about 100 calls, which we thought was outstanding. Eight months later, we’re up to 400 calls a month, which is phenomenal.” – Lisa Marchant, Co-Manager


    You can get more ReachLocal reviews just like these by visiting our ReachLocal reviews playlist on YouTube or our website

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