Directory Submissions

Marketing your website for organic search relies heavily on your search engine optimization practices. Submitting your website to search engine directories is the first step to good Off-Page SEO. Only after your website is optimized for search (On-Page SEO), you should begin your directory submission process.

The standards for submission of a new website:

Google.com – Free to submit.
Yahoo.com –Free for their independent directory with no time guarantee, but fee based for the Yahoo directory with a time guarantee.
Bing.com – Free to submit.
DMOZ.com – The open source directory, free to submit.

Outside of the aforementioned directories, there are literally hundreds of directories which accept submissions—many are free, many are fee based either one-time or on an annual basis. Seeking out and submitting your site to these directories is the time and labor intensive part of the process. Not only do you have to pick appropriate directories, you need to ‘drill down’ to the exact category which is the best descriptor of your website. Also, make sure you submit to a directory that gets decent traffic and is well ranked. However, diligent work pays off in the form of valuable back links to your website which strengthens your site and positions you in a favorable light in the eyes of Google.

Local Search

When I take on a new client who only markets their product or service locally, I always run through a bevy of local search directories for submission. Many local search directories get great traffic and are well ranked—the key is submitting your listing so that it is optimized for search.
Google local and Yahoo local are again standards in this category—outside of that there are many others like Local.com, Superpages.com, MojoPages.com and MerchantCircle.com. Some give you the basics, but others let you really expand your listing and add additional content. It is usually a very tedious process of data entry, but in the long run does contribute to overall traffic—plus you get back links!

Basics of On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is the practice of placing certain keywords or phrases in the right places on your webs pages so that search engines know what each of your pages is about and rank those pages accordingly. Some keywords and phrases are in the content on your web pages. Other keywords and phrases also known as metadata are programmed into the code of your pages but are not always seen.

It’s important to remember that you need to place yourself in the shoes of the target individual/entity searching for your product or service. How would a potential customer perform a search query for you? What keywords would they type into Google?

Start by identifying keywords and phrases that people may be searching for related to your web page. When conducting your keyword research look for popular search terms and then try to add more specific words and phrases, associated keywords and phrases.


Pick selected keywords for each page and place them in the following places on your webpage:

Page Titles —The page title is key as it is the first item crawled by Google.
URL’s
--Keywords can be used to optimize a page that is a sub page of a main page.
Headings—The first words of each page

Add Meta Keywords—Hidden in code, but utilize the same keywords.

Add Meta Descriptions—Also hidden in code.

Images—Optimize all images with anchor titles/descriptions.

If you serve a specific geographic area, you should place geo-specific words in the page content before moving on to your next page.

You will want to repeat this for each page of your website as each page has a chance to rank for its own keywords and the keywords will be different as they will relate specifically to the content on that page.

Benefits of conducting On-Page SEO:

On-page SEO gives you a great opportunity to tell the search engines what your site is about. Once you have learned the process it will not take you a long time and should not be a major investment if you do it as you add new content.

If you have not optimized your website for On-Page SEO you should invest in it, as you will not be gaining any benefits from organic search.

Plan Your Online Marketing

Many businesses do a good job of throwing up a website with all the basics—a bit on who they are, what they do and how to contact them. However, most small to medium sized businesses fail to recognize the fact that their website should be working for them. Their website should be functioning as an additional sales arm to the company which, by far has the broadest reach of any sales tool they have.

Hoping that a customer is going to land on your home page (if they can find it) and pick up the phone and convert themselves into a customer is becoming more and more of a pipe dream. From a standpoint, the web is becoming increasingly more and more competitive with millions of websites and topics vying for the typical web surfer's attention. It becomes even more diluted when innocent surfers are often duped into thinking they have performed an accurate search query only to be fooled by the countless affiliate websites that have popped up recently.

An integrated approach to online marketing is critical to the overall success of your marketing efforts. The first question that should be asked is, "What function do I want my website to perform?" There are many successful companies out there whom are completely content with providing informational content to their visitors without engagement. However, if you're like most business owners, you probably would prefer to turn that web visitor into a customer or at the very least a lead.

For most businesses, the following approach to online marketing should do a good job of covering the bases:

  • Basic on-page SEO

  • Initial directory submissions

  • Continual content creation

  • Social media

  • Paid search

  • Email marketing

    In future posts, we'll dive deeper into these individual subjects, but for now, a brief overview:

    -On-page SEO:

    -Proper page title, meta description and search keywords embedded into copy

    -Directory Submissions:

    The basics: Google, Bing, Yahoo (which I heard is changing to free) and DMOZ

    Content Creation:

    The more pages you develop on a continual basis, the better. Google crawlers like to see websites with new and relevant keyword rich content.

    Social Media:

    Facebook and Twitter are excellent vehicles for driving targeted web traffic to specific landing pages on your website

    Paid Search/Google Adwords:

    A properly set up and managed Google pay per click campaign can position your company in front of potential customers immediately. No other vehicle promotes your company to individuals searching for your product or service better or more efficiently than Google Adwords.

    Email Marketing:

    Stay in front of your existing customers through loyalty campaigns and endear yourself to new ones through new product or service promotions.

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  • Executing a PR marketing strategy

    Once you have your press release written you will need to execute the press release campaign strategy.

    There are 3 stages to executing a successful PR campaigns:
    • Pre press release distribution

    • Distributing and marketing your press release

    • Post press release follow up
    Pre Press Release Distribution

    Before you actually start distributing your press release a little extra work and effort to contact key media contacts can pay big dividends.
    1. Contact selected editors and journalists who work at the publications and media outlets that you are targeting.
    2. Introduce yourself to them and ask for their permission to send them your latest press release.
    3. Ask them what kind of press releases are of most interested in.
    4. Let them know you will sending over a press release and let them know they can contact you should they have further questions.
    Distributing and marketing your press release

    Create an email to accompany your Press Release. We have included the email that we use to send out press releases, you can adapt this for your own use.

    Make sure you include your press release as part of the body of your email, DO NOT send as an attachment as many journalists and editors will delete it based on the potential for viruses.

    In addition to sending your press release directly to contacts in your media contacts database you can also do the following to promote the press release and get more coverage.

    Distribute the release through online PR distribution sites

    The first thing you will need to do is optimize your press release so it is more compatible for search engines to recognize. We have included a basic guide on how to optimize your release below.

    Once you have optimized your release you can use a number of online distribution websites to send out your press release.

    Successful Email Marketing

    A successful email campaign will have a number of different components that you need to focus on designing. This guide is designed to give you insight into each of these elements and some guidelines on how to design each element.

    Remember if you are new to email marketing it is a very different medium to print advertising and is viewed and read in a different way.

    With a print advert or brochure you know exactly how every single viewer will see your piece and that they can take time to read it if they wish as the ad is in a print form which is tactile and more conducive to being read.

    An email can be displayed in a number of different ways depending on the viewers screen size, resolution and a whole host of email client settings and whilst you can not ensure your message will be displayed perfectly in every case you can take advantage of some of the design guidelines in this guide to give your campaign the best chance of success.

    An email is something that someone receives that interrupts what they are doing rather than a piece of collateral that they have chosen to read. Generally people are in the middle of working, surfing the internet or answering other emails.

    Should you send a graphical HTML email or a plain-text email? It depends on your objectives.

    Email Subject Lines

    The main objective of your email subject line is to get the recipients attention and have them captivated enough to go on and open the email to read more.

    Email marketing subject lines are one of the most important features of your entire campaign. If your recipient does not open or read your email, your efforts were wasted, your message was not heard, and your products were not sold. Recipients filter their inboxes faster than ever before, and decide on whether to delete or read an email just a half second after reading the subject line.

    The goal of your subject is that it has the ability to stand out in a crowded inbox while compelling the reader to open your email message. It needs to grab the attention of the recipient and communicate the purpose of the message in a creative way that makes the reader want to open the email to learn more.

    Crafting a good subject line takes creativity and imagination as the author must convey a lot of information in a few short words. However, there are some guidelines and best practices that marketers must follow in order to ensure the emails are opened and not deleted.

    Press Releases Get The Word Out

    Outside of having a huge list of personal contacts within the media,marketing consultants typically compose press releases to alert the media of newsworthy events. PR can have a marked impact on how a client is perceived by the media, whether or not their product or service is getting reviewed or not and their overall visibility online or in print.

    Well composed press releases have several benefits including:
    • Vehicle for delivering news to the media
    • Possible interview/write-up
    • Press releases become searchable items organically
    • Valuable back links
    • Creates a documented history

    Of course, the ultimate goal of a press release would be to have an article written about a client’s product or service that either gives them a great review or positions them as an industry expert—plus, it’s free publicity!

    Keyword embedded press releases also become searchable items on the internet. If composed properly, your press release will “hang out there” in Google and show up in organic search results.

    For off-page SEO purposes, paid releases through companies like PRWeb and Marketwire provide valuable back links to your clients’ website—a great way to improve overall organic rankings.

    Press releases also create a documented history or timeline of a clients’ growth, any new product or service offerings and newsworthy events. These press releases are a key component to putting together a proper press kit as well.

    Pay Per Click Advertising Bolsters Marketing Efforts During Down Turn

    Triple digit temperatures, vacationers and fleeing snowbirds all contribute to the traditional economic slowdown experienced by many businesses during the harsh summer months. Compound those realities with a flailing economy and many business owners end up struggling to attract new customers. Keep in mind, the effects on business of a blistering Phoenix summer is the equivalent of a Buffalo snowstorm.

    Traditional forms of advertising, such as the Yellow Pages, have long been a safe haven for local business marketing. Currently, with the rising popularity of Google and other online search engines, as well as forthcoming technologies like voice prompted web surfing, it seems that bulky phone books are becoming a thing of the past.

    Consumers want their information faster, more relevant and increasingly mobile. Pay per click advertising is a medium which satisfies all of these needs and is increasingly being used by all types of businesses to target new customers.

    As a certified Google AdWords Professional I consult with business owners across the country on the many advantages of pay per click marketing. When pay per click is used as part of an integrated marketing strategy, there’s really no other form of advertising that puts a company’s products or services in front of potential customers at exactly the moment that they’re searching for you - it truly takes the guesswork out of advertising.

    A well-managed Google Adwords campaign can place a business listing at the top of Google’s search engine results page. When customers click on an ad, they are directed immediately to the business’s website. In addition, pay per click advertising allows business owners to selectively target customers while offering accountability for their ad dollars. Since a business only gets charged when a customer clicks on its ad, the business can control exactly how much they’re spending and can properly calculate their return on investment.

    Driving targeted traffic to a website is only part of the equation. Converting a web visitor into a customer or a lead is the true pay off. Having a properly structured campaign that directs traffic to the correct landing page is key to turning a surfer into a customer--And in today’s economy, businesses just can’t afford to miss out on a customer conversion.

    Although search engines such as Yahoo! and the newly revamped Bing by MSN offer similar searching experiences, Google is by far the overall leader, capturing 67% of all search traffic, according to readwriteweb.com. With those kinds of numbers, it’s no wonder that local businesses are eager to put their advertising online and ditch the freebies that land on the doorstep.