Are you a small business? Read useful tips we have gathered from business owners just like you.

Why small businesses need to be mobile savvy

It’s Not Too Late For Your Small Business To Be Mobile Savvy

Why small businesses need to be mobile savvyWe are in the midst of a digital revolution and one thing is clear, an era of mobile is upon us. While technology has taught us that nothing stays the same for long, it has become abundantly clear that mobile devices will impact the relationship between consumers and small businesses for a long time to come. First, it’s important to understand the current and future impact of mobile and then take steps to make sure that your business portfolio includes a strong mobile strategy.

3 Steps to Improve Your Mobile Presence:

1. Responsive Site Design

Creating your website is the most basic step you can take in the development of your online brand. It is critical that your site is capable of being digested by users on a variety of platforms including laptops, tablets and smartphone devices. As a small business owner we know you wear many hats on a day in and day out basis so instead of managing both a desktop and mobile version of your website look for a responsive site design to make sure your brand is presented appropriately all screen sizes and devices. By leveraging responsive technologies you can create a single website (lives on a single URL) that automatically adjusts itself to fit any screen size that a potential customer is using to view your content.

2. Social Media

With millions upon millions of users interacting with social media through their mobile devices it is essential that as a small business you leverage this digital marketing channel to further support your overall digital presence. There are so many different social media sites that it can be quite overwhelming for someone who isn’t necessarily tech savvy to leverage these services appropriately. However, if you focus on the big three; Facebook, Google+, and Twitter you will more than be able to cover your bases. So do some homework, create a page for your business on each of these sites, and get your company in front of a whole new group of customers who are on the go, ready to buy, and use their mobile devices to drive their purchasing behavior.

3. Local Business Directory Listings

No two mobile users will search for a product or service the exact same way. As a small business owner with a mobile strategy it becomes your responsibility to make sure that your brand is available for digestion through as many channels as possible. You can enhance your presence within local search by leveraging local business directory listing networks. The benefit here is two-fold by creating a consistent presence across sites like Yelp, Yahoo! Local, PennySaver, and FourSquare you increase your exposure for users searching for small businesses on these individual sites as well as improving your local search rankings for organic traffic on the major search engines.

The mobile space is readily evolving and will only continue to change, but as a small business if you can take these basic steps to start establishing an effective mobile business strategy and presence, you’ll be on the right path to making sure the move to mobile doesn’t pass you by.

Lynn Hughes, Product Manager at PowerSites®Lynn Hughes is the Product Manager at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.
Local Marketing 101 - The Marketing Plan

Local Business Marketing 101 – The Marketing Plan

Marketing: (noun) The way companies interact with consumers to create relationships that are beneficial to both parties.

Advertising: (noun)  The act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service, need ,etc., especially by paid announcements in newspapers and magazines, over radio or television, or billboards, etc.

Branding: (verb) To mark with a branding iron

As a marketing manager I have helped mid to large sized companies put together marketing plans. In bigger organizations there are usually a number of people involved in the process and it can take a days or even weeks. Some companies even go as far as taking their teams offsite to develop the plan in order to keep them focused.  When it comes to creating a marketing plan for a local business, it isn’t much different other than there are probably less people involved but the questions you face and the components of the marketing plan are the same.

What is a Marketing Plan?

Local Marketing 101 - The Marketing PlanA marketing plan is the roadmap for all of your business’ marketing efforts. This is where you outline what channels you want to invest money in (i.e. online, social media, direct mail, TV, radio, etc.) and what it is you want to do via these channels. It also should encompass the message you want to deliver to your customers. The purpose of a marketing plan is to help schedule your campaigns and help keep the efforts on track. The marketing plan is a part of your overall business plan and should support those business goals. Marketing plans are typically set for a year. Outlined below are the main components of a marketing plan and some questions most marketers face when creating their plan.

Establish a Realistic Budget

To begin with, create a realistic budget. Your marketing budget should be part of the plan. If you want to increase your business by let’s say 50% but are only willing to spend a minimal amount on achieving that, the likelihood of accomplishing your goal is slim. Many business owners spend very little on marketing. Only about a quarter of business owners spend more than $500 per month on marketing leaving close to 75% of business owners spending less than $500 per month. Some spend nothing! This is according to Yodle’s First Annual Small Business Sentiment Survey. Of course, don’t spend more than you can afford but be smart about where you invest your marketing dollars. Figure out where you will get the most exposure and Return on Investment (ROI). The U.S. Small Business Association also suggests giving yourself some flexibility so that you can run an unplanned campaign when your business needs an extra boost or for when you’d like to test new offers.

Know Your Audience

Find out who your customers are and what they are interested in. This will give you better insight into what your message and value proposition should be to your customers. What is it that most of your customers respond to the best? Use that information to help you acquire new customers and retain current ones. Market research is also important in identifying segments that are important to your business. What types of customers do you want to attract? Research can be conducted via direct mail, surveys and personal interviews with customers.

Select the Right Marketing Channels for Your Business

Determine which channels work best for attracting your target market. The most common channels businesses utilize for marketing purposes are:

  • Direct Mail
  • Classified Ads
  • SEM (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Directory Listings
  • Website
  • Email
  • Mobile
  • Social Media
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Radio
  • TV

Depending on the type of business your running and budget you might use all of these or just a few. In deciding which channels to use, think about where you can get the most visibility by your target market. That is exposure and geography. So for example, if your target market is 18-24 year old females within a given zip code, you might consider using a combination of social media, mobile, SEM and your website.  Nowadays, it is imperative to have an online presence even if this is the only channel you use to brand and market your business. Having a website for your business not only adds credibility but it makes it easier for your customers to find you. Keep in mind that although Radio and TV will get you mass exposure, it is difficult to target your message to a specific segment of people and it is also difficult to track its impact on revenue. The key here is to optimize the mix of channels and offers you are using. Only testing will help you figure out that sweet spot.

As mentioned earlier; you also have to think about ROI (return on your investment). Measure the impact that your campaigns have had on your revenue and compare that to a time when you were either not running a campaign or running a different campaign. This will help you figure out which campaigns worked best for you. It is important to make campaign analysis and reporting part of your marketing plan. Without it you can’t tell what worked and didn’t work. When building out the plan, Consult with all of the business stakeholders. This can be business partners, employees or vendors. They might be able to share insight that you may not have which will help make your plan stronger.

Revisit Throughout The Year

Marketing plans are living, breathing documents. They are fluid and can change as your business and the market change. The plan should be revisited periodically throughout the year.  As you test and optimize your campaigns, you may decide that you’d rather invest in only some of the channels (or different channels altogether) that you initially started with. The key is to analyze your campaigns and see if they are paying off.

Iliana Angel, Marketing ManagerIliana Angel is the Marketing Manager at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.

Don't let a bad review hurt your business

The “Don’ts” of Dealing with a Bad Review

Don't let a bad review hurt your businessThere’s nothing worse than putting all your effort into something and then getting heavily criticized for it. In these situations I would put “my temper” in the top 5 easiest things to lose, right next to “my keys”, and “my left sock”. However, when it comes to your business, and your brand, that’s the last thing you want to lose. So here’s some tips for things you want to avoid doing when you receive a negative review of your business.

  • Don’t email the reviewer

    At least not immediately. Give yourself time to soak in what the reviewer is saying about your business and take it as constructive criticism. Time and time again you read stories of reviewers receiving caustic emails from angry merchants, and this never ends well for the merchant. The best response is to reply to the review directly in the public forum, let everyone that reads the review see that you’re willing to work with customers that may have had a bad experience. Spin the negative review into a positive outcome.

  • Don’t blame the reviewer

    Sure it may seem odd for the customer to order a cheese pizza without cheese. However, blaming the customer will just give you a bad reputation. Instead focus on the main issue that the reviewer is complaining about, and see what you can do to fix it. Unfortunately though, sometimes there is nothing to fix, you just made a mistake. Which leads to my next point.

  • Don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong

    Probably one of the hardest things to do. We’re all human and no one expects you to be perfect, mistakes happen. Admitting when you’ve been wrong or made a mistake is an admirable trait. Be willing to admit when you, or your business has made a mistake, and be sincere about it. Offer them a free cheese-less pizza as an apology, bring the customer back into your business and do your best to make sure they’ve had a positive experience.

  • Don’t do anything

    Now this last point doesn’t apply to every review, in fact probably doesn’t apply to most reviews, but I want to mention it anyway. It’s like what your mother said to you about the bully at school “just ignore him and he’ll leave you alone”. Sometimes the reviewer could just be a troll, if your site is doing well on review sites like Yelp, then a review out of left field is posted ripe with personal attacks, it’s likely this person is a troll. The best solution is to ignore them. Most people can tell when a reviewer is being a troll and will likely do the same.

I’ve listed out four “don’ts” but hopefully the message is clear. Losing your temper, especially in a public forum, could wreak havoc on your brand. So before you start putting words to paper, make sure you’re calm, read it twice before sending, and ask yourself “Is this the kind of message I would want to receive?”

IMG_9375_600x600Michael Baaske is the Digital Product Coordinator at PowerSites® who has received a bad review or two. PowerSites® is an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.

Create Your Facebook Page

Social Media Monday: How to Setup a “Kick-Butt” Facebook Page

Getting your business on Facebook is easier than you think. All you need to get started is a few key bits of info, two high quality images that meet Facebook’s image guidelines and you’re good to go!

Just follow these easy steps:

  1. If you don’t already have a personal Facebook account, you’ll need to create one…
  2. While logged in to your personal Facebook account, on the “Home” screen, look to the left side of the page, for “PAGES” and click on “Pages Feed”.
  3. Once on the “Pages Feed”, click on “Create a Page”.
  4. From here, you’ll be given the option to choose what kind of page you’d like to create. For the purposes of helping your business be found online, choose, “Local Business or Place” (this option will also give Facebook users the ability to “check in” at your business when they’re there).
    Create Your Facebook Page
    After selecting “Local Business or Place”, you’ll be prompted to select a category from the drop-down menu of choices. Don’t take this step lightly; the fields you have to populate will depend on the category you choose. Don’t see your specific industry? Try picking something more broad, like “Professional Services” as this will allow you to choose up to three subcategories; these won’t appear in a drop-down menu as before but you’ll be able to start typing key phrases and if Facebook has a subcategory that aligns, you’ll be able to choose it.
    Choose Your Business Category
  5. Continue populating this section with as much information as is being asked for; the more info you give, the less users will be wondering about your business.
  6. Choose Your Profile ImageNext, choose a “profile image” for your page. If you have a logo, this is the place to put it; that way when you post comments or photos or, users are sharing your posts, your business logo will be the image everyone sees.
  7. The “cover image” is the very large picture that sits behind your “profile image” on your Timeline. This should be a large, high quality image of something relevant to your business.
    NOTE: Facebook has strict guidelines about cover images NOT being used for “advertising”. If your cover image contains more than 20% text, Facebook could elect to remove your page with or without notifying you. Blogger, Scott Ayres, provides some nifty tools to check if your cover image makes the cut.
  8. Your Facebook page is now up and running; invite all your friends to “like” it and you’re off!

Kelly Flores, Customer Service RepresentativeKelly Flores is a Customer Service Representative at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.

How to Prepare an Emergency Plan for your Small Business

How to Prepare Your Small Business for an Emergency

In light of the unpredictable, like Hurricane Sandy, you should take the time to review your plans to protect employees and your small business in the event that a natural disaster strikes. Whether the disaster is a fire, flash flood, or some kind of crazy earthquake, any natural disaster will greatly impact a small business, and employers must learn how to be ready.

Start with an Emergency Fund

How to Prepare an Emergency Plan for your Small Business
To protect your business, you must set up a nest egg, have coverage and have plans arranged. If you don’t have one, start saving now. You don’t have to devote $5,000 monthly to the fund, but every little bit helps — set aside $15, $20 or $100. Here’s some basics:

  • Pick a bank that caters to your small business.
  • Track all of your money and manage all of your cash flow. Try a service like American Express for small business credit cards instead of your personal card.
  • Resist temptation: As much as you want to treat all your employees to a nice meal, use that money for a back-up plan, instead.

Plan for any Potential Natural Disasters

Nothing is as unexpected and sudden as natural disasters. You can never be prepared enough, so if you’re at risk for any one of the following disasters, take necessary steps to get ready:

Hurricanes: Protect all windows with storm shutters or nail plywood over, and place masking tape over the windows to reduce the risk of flying glass. Bring all outside furniture and decorations inside; unplug all equipment and turn the gas, electricity and water off.

Tornadoes: Establish a person in charge of monitoring weather alerts; have an interior location set to gather for all employees; keep blankets in your shelter; take immediate cover when you hear the term “warning.”

Flooding: Keep computers, electronics and important files raised off the floor; always be prepared to move critical items above flood level during a flood alert; speak with an insurance agent on how to ensure flood protection as most insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. Some floods develop slowly while others such as flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes — so be cautious.

Wildfires: Keep roof and gutters free of clutter and clear of debris; attach non-flammable, fine-gauge screening over any chimneys; keep the grass mowed and irrigated.

Earthquakes: Unlike tornadoes and other natural hazards, earthquakes strike suddenly and without any warning. Preparing for earthquakes involves knowing what to do before, during, and after earthquakes. So, make sure anything with a drawer or door has a latch with a manual release. Use flexible gas and water lines and secure all equipment to the floor or walls to prevent tipping.

Have a Supply Kit Handy

Having a well-designed supply kit can be invaluable to you and your employees during a disaster. However, a basic emergency kit could include the following items:

  • Water
  • Food
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlights
  • Radio and batteries
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Plastic bags
  • Camera for documenting damages
  • Duct tape
  • Blankets
  • Tarps
  • Tool kit
How can SEM benefits your business

How Does Search Engine Marketing Benefit your Business

What is Marketing?

Marketing is a way to promote your products or services. The purpose of Marketing is to get the message of your brand, and offers delivered to as many people as possible that may be interested in what products or services you have to offer.

How Does SEM (Search Engine Marketing) play a role in this?

SEM allows you to market your product and offers through the Search Engines, like Google, Yahoo, and Bing for example. Search engine marketing is one of the most effective marketing techniques that allows us to drive qualified leads to your business. With SEM, we can provide a quick and effective way to be found on the search engines because we are able to bid on specific keywords related to your products and services. We can target people who are already interested in you, and with SEM we can provide exactly what they are searching for.

How can SEM Benefit your Business?

How can SEM benefits your businessWhen people search online for a product or service they are usually in a buying stage. We use SEM to target your product and services so that when someone searches for a specific product your ads will show in the search result listings. SEM allows us to literally place your business in front of the people looking for you and bringing these prospects to your websites and converting them into a customer.

  • Lead Generation: SEM will drive targeted traffic to your site 24/7. The Internet never sleeps. When your site has visibility on search engines, you are going to get targeted traffic every hour, of every day. Millions of searches are conducted every day as people look for websites, information, products and services. With search marketing, you can definitely get more targeted traffic to your website.
  • Cost Effective: When compared to other traditional advertising media, search marketing is definitely more cost effective. Search engine traffic is more targeted which makes it easier for you to convert prospects to customers. We are also able to measure your response with Google Analytics so that you know how effective your campaign is, and with SEM you can see results right away.
  • Brand Building: When your website has high visibility on search engines, you are showing your prospects that your business is an authority in your respective brand or industry. When searchers see your website often, they will remember your brand. Even if they do not need the product or service now, they will think of your brand first when they need it in the near future.
  • Stay Competitive: Do a Google Search with some keywords related to your business. You will see that most of your Competitors are already leveraging SEM, and are taking business away from you. Stay competitive in your industry with SEM.

Major search engines like Google account for more than 90% of all search engine traffic. SEM allows you to leverage your business in Google’s playground to get the maximum exposure to your business. Be seen in your industry with Search Engine Marketing. To find out how you can get started contact PowerClicks SEM today!

Article Source:

Rejane Thayer, Search Engine Marketing SpecialistRejane Thayer is the Search Engine Marketing Speicalist at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.

Google+ and How it Affects Local Search

Social Network IconsHave you considered the thought of creating a Google+ page for your business?  What have you been waiting for?  Google + is one of the fastest growing social networking sites ever and it greatly increases your websites SEO ranking.  Millions of people search Google everyday for local businesses and services. What better way to make sure your business gets in front of those potential customers!

Get Found By Your Customers!

Your Google+ page connects you with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps, Google+ or mobile device.  97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Your local Google+ page connects you with customers on Search, Maps and Google+, no matter what device they are using.  Also having a Google + page for your business gives customers the right info at the right time, whether that be driving directions to your business in Maps, hours of operations in Search or a phone number they can click to call you on mobile phones.

Advantages Of Having a Google Plus Page For Your Business?

Well, it is owned and operated by Google.  That should be reason enough. And as a generalization, like YouTube and Google Places for Business, Google+ profiles do have some perks in getting ranked/indexed by Google. You increase the odds of getting highly targeted visitors from Google’s organic search results if you have a Google Plus account.  A recent study released by Social Metrics shows the advantage Google Plus has on a business’ SEO.  They researched and compared pages that ranked well in search and which did not, the most important factor in regards to social signal was the number of Google +1 a page received.  If you look closely at the study Facebook has a big factoring in rank as well but it was the combination of likes, shares, and comments. A Google+ plus one alone was at the top! 45 percent of web page ranking is related to social media! That means the biggest part of SEO is how well it is received on social media!

Chris Olson, Digital Marketing ConsultantChris Olson is the Digital Marketing Consultant at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.

Promote Your Business Without Hurting Your Bottom Line

Government Resources to Help Small Businesses

Last year, I attended an event hosted by the Board of Equalization at a local college campus, and I was astonished by the turn out at the event. Over 1,000 people attended to learn about how to start a business. Although the theme of the conference was “Connecting Women to Power” the information shared was good for anyone who was interested in becoming an entrepreneur. I’ve worked in the marketing field most of my career, working for someone else, so I never knew how much went into starting a business. The most important thing I learned (and the most comforting) was that there are many resources out there for people with the desire to start a business.

One such resource is the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Their site offers information on everything from research and planning to registering for permits. You will find sites to a number of other government organizations that can help you get your business started.

  •  US Small Business Administration – The SBA guarantees loans made to small businesses by private and other lending institutions. You can find out more about applying for a guaranteed loan at their site. You can also find information on how to create a business plan on their site as well as a Business Plan Tool which offers a step-by-step guide. A business plan is usually the first thing a bank asks for when deciding to give out a loan.
  • Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) – The Centers assist with business plans, marketing, finance questions, and other business issues.
  • The California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Alliance – The leader and champion for CA disabled veterans interested in building and expanding business opportunities and for those entities pursuing partnerships with these businesses.

The Board of Equalization also offers resources such as free in-person and online seminars/workshops on different topics. You can also find Industry Tax Guides on their website. The guides offer information for business owners on tax and fee issues relevant to your business. You can also download a general small business tax guide.

One more note regarding the website. What I liked the most about it, is that there is a community that you can register to be part of. There are discussion boards where you can post questions, as well as a blog that is kept current with useful information such as “10 Essential Ingredients Every Startup Needs”

This is just a short list of some resources that can be referenced when starting a business. There are thousands of other resources (free and paid) that can be of help so do your research but I hope these give you a good start.

Iliana Angel, Marketing ManagerIliana Angel is the Marketing Manager at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.

What is SEO?

What is SEO?

What is SEO?

Photo Credit: SEOPlanter

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of affecting a business’s ability to be seen and ranked by the search engines through controlling content and code on your website (aka On-Page SEO) as well as managing relationships with other websites who may write about, or link to, your website (aka Off-Page SEO). The search engines will chose to display your website’s content within the search engine results page, or SERP, if it thinks the topical nature of your website content is relevant to the keyword or phrase a user has searched. It will then use a complex formula, or algorithm, to determine what content to show first.

The age old formula for winning in SEO has always been Authority + Relevance = Rank.

  • Authority can be determined by how large your website is (how many pages are on your website) and how credible you are (how many other websites are linking to your website).
  • Relevance can be determined by the overall topical nature of your website to the search being conducted, how relevant a specific landing page or article of content is, and how recently the piece of content being considered was created.

SEO is all about letting nature take its course and doing things organically. Paying for placement on a website or advertising will not have any impact on your organic ranking. And, trying to cheat the system, i.e. developing linking schemes or paying others to link to link to you, rarely has an impact anymore as the search engines strongly prohibit this practice. In some cases, they will even black list your website if it is connected to the use of prohibited, or black-hat SEO practices.

When SEO was born in the early 2000’s, SEO was really all about trying to manipulate data on your website or developing link schemes within pages on your website and with other websites. Today, SEO is somewhat different, thanks to the constant updates and optimization of the algorithms or formula’s search engines use to determine what content to show you. SEO is less about trying to affect your rankings and more about simply making sure your brand is well established, professionally represented, your website is easy to navigate, and you are hosting unique content that is relevant to the products or services you offer. The more useful and unique content you host on your site, the more opportunity to have for others to find your content and share it with others.

Before social media, really the only way to share content was via writing an article on a website and then referencing someone else’s website or content by linking back to them. Social media has really changed things as a majority of content is shared on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and LinkedIn and linked back to the originating source. All of these back-links, or inbound links, provide signals to the search engines that others have found your content useful, or credible enough to link to you. Although not every link holds equal weight, receiving this organic flow of traffic from these other websites back to your website lets the search engines know you are indeed an authoritative source.

Although the fundamentals of SEO have remained somewhat the same, the search engines have dramatically changed their formulas, or algorithms over the years. Besides inbound links and content on your website, there are dozens of factors and variables that can affect your website’s ability to rank organically. The search engines now take into account:

  • Who is actually conducting a search
  • Where they are physically located
  • What types of websites they are more likely to frequent than others
  • What sort of content is being used (text, photos, video, audio)
  • Who is linking back to you (social influencers, educational institutions, news/media sources)
  • How recent your content was published
  • How rich your content is vs. others
  • How well your website is built
  • And the list goes on and on…

As a business with a website you must be thinking “wow, trying to keep up with SEO is easily a full-time job.” Well, it’s true – there are hundreds, if not thousands of companies, who specialize in helping businesses of all sizes climb the ranks of the search engines. And, although SEO can seem quite daunting and complex, it’s important to remember that the search engines’ ultimate goal is quite simple – to think like you! The goal of the search engines is to show you exactly what you are looking for. Sure, some of you may have been thinking that the search engine’s goal is to make money, but the reality is that they can only make money off of advertising if they constantly strive to create a great user experience that keeps search engine users coming back time and time again.

Part of the user experience is showing content from credible sources. So, keeping to the simple mantra, if you focus on making sure your brand is professionally represented online (across your website, social media, listings, etc.), you take care in regularly updating and providing unique, relevant, and rich content, and you make an effort to share your content and encourage others to digest and share your content, you shouldn’t have to worry about SEO as things will just happen naturally.

Is there more to SEO? Sure there is. However, the search engines are getting smarter and smarter at determining what content to show when. In fact, Google’s latest updates have started to take away much of the control of SEOs, making many of the technical components of SEO industry standards that come with most any website hosting or website creation service. SEO is now more increasingly less about gaming the system and more about focusing on managing your brand and your reputation. Pretty soon, we may see a world absent of any mention of SEO at all!

Drew Fortin is the VP of Marketing at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings.

google rankings

The Not-so-Secret Secret of How to Rank Well on Google

So you want to rank well on Google? Well, look no further because PowerSites has the answer. To rank well, or even just rank on Google, it’s best to understand what Google is trying to do. Google as a Search Engine has one goal, to provide the best results to their users as possible. They take in the search query as provided by the user and try to find a list of websites that best fit what Google thinks the user wants.

So how does this help you? Well, as Bill Gates famously said back in 1996 “Content is king.” By having more and relevant content on your website you make it easier for Google to understand what services your company provides. When Google better understands a website they’re more comfortable sending their users to that website.

We talk about a little bit throughout our blog posts about SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is simply, making it easier for Search Engines (Google, Bing, etc..) to understand the content on your page. So even from an SEO standpoint there is a focus on good quality content. As Google’s Matt Cutts states in a Q&A, even without good SEO Google can still find your content and use that to make sure they provide the best results to their users.

So How do you Rank well? Put yourself in the shoes of your customer, what do they want to know about you and your business. Your website is you, online. What services do you provide? Do you do anything special? What makes you better than your competitor? But don’t forget the basics like where are you located, and when are you open. By providing as much information as possible about your business, Google can understand you, your company, and your website better, which will make it easier for them to refer you to one of their customers.

IMG_9375_600x600Michael Baaske is the Web Product Coordinator at PowerSites®, an all inclusive website-hosting, creation, and marketing solution that helps local businesses establish their brand, drive leads, and track success. PowerSites® is a leading resource in print, online and mobile for hyperlocal advertising, and brand management with our Business Directory Listings. Michael’s worked at the PennySaver for 9 years and is a computer nerd and fan of the cord cutting movement.