Archive for February, 2012

Traditional SEO Now More Important to Local Search

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Google says it’s relying more on regular search rankings — ergo, on traditional SEO — to influence its local search results. This is from Google’s latest monthly roundup of search changes and covers what’s been happening during February:

It’s important to note that Google uses the word “triggering” above — regular search rankings/results play a bigger role in determining when Local Universal results will show up. It doesn’t specifically say that there’s a ranking impact, but traditional SEO already became much more important to Google’s local rankings since the Google Places Search rollout in October 2010. Places Search has gone through a lot of evolution since then, but on-page SEO remains a key piece of the local search puzzle.

In its announcement today, Google also says it has “a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably.” That means Google can better “detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.”

6 Steps to a More Marketable LinkedIn Profile

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Somewhere along the line you started treating it more like a resume. It’s time to fix that.

Overall, LinkedIn is the best social media platform for entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals. Unfortunately, your LinkedIn profile may not be helping you to create those connections.
So let’s tune yours up with six simple steps:

Step 1. Revisit your goals. At its most basic level LinkedIn is about marketing: marketing your company or marketing yourself. But that focus probably got lost as you worked through the mechanics of completing your profile, and what started as a marketing effort turned into a resume completion task. Who you are isn’t as important as what you hope to accomplish, so think about your goals and convert your goals into keywords, because keywords are how people find you on LinkedIn.

But don’t just whip out the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and identify popular keywords. It’s useful but everyone uses it—and that means, for example, that every Web designer has shoehorned six- and seven-digit searches-per-month keywords like “build a website,” “website templates,” “designing a website,” and “webmaster” into their profile. It’s hard to stand out when you’re one of millions.
Go a step further and think about words that have meaning in your industry. Some are process-related; others are terms only used in your field; others might be names of equipment, products, software, or companies.

Use a keyword tool to find general terms that could attract a broader audience, and then dig deeper to target your niche by identifying keywords industry insiders might search for.
Then sense-check your keywords against your goals. If you’re a Web designer but you don’t provide training, the 7 million monthly Google searches for “how to Web design” don’t matter.

Step 2. Layer in your keywords. The headline is a key factor in search results, so pick your most important keyword and make sure it appears in your headline. “Most important” doesn’t mean most searched, though; if you provide services to a highly targeted market the keyword in your headline should reflect that niche. Then work through the rest of your profile and replace some of the vague descriptions of skills, experience, and educational background with keywords. Your profile isn’t a term paper so don’t worry about a little repetition. A LinkedIn search scans for keywords, and once on the page, so do people.

Step 3. Strip out the clutter. If you’re the average person you changed jobs six or eight times before you reached age 30. That experience is only relevant when it relates to your current goals. Sift through your profile and weed out or streamline everything that doesn’t support your business or professional goals. If you’re currently a Web designer but were an accountant in a previous life, a comprehensive listing of your accounting background is distracting. Keep previous jobs in your work history, but limit each to job title, company, and a brief description of duties.

Step 4. Reintroduce your personality. Focusing on keywords and eliminating clutter is important, but in the process your individuality probably got lost. Now you can put it back and add a little enthusiasm and flair. Describing yourself as, “A process improvement consultant with a Six Sigma black belt,” is specific and targeted but also says nothing about you as a person—and doesn’t make me think, “Hey, she would be great to work with.”

Share why you love what you do in your profile. Share what you hope to accomplish. Describe companies you worked for or projects you completed. Share your best or worst experience. Keep your keywords in place, leave out what doesn’t support your goals, and then be yourself.

Keywords are important but are primarily just a way to help potential clients find you. No one hires keywords; they hire people.

Step 5. Take a hard look at your profile photo. Say someone follows you on Twitter. What’s the first thing you do? Check out their photo.

A photo is a little like a logo: On its own an awesome photo won’t win business, but a bad photo can definitely lose business.

Take a look at your current photo. Does it reflect who you are as a professional or does it reflect a hobby or outside interest? Does it look like a real estate agent’s headshot? A good photo flatters but doesn’t mislead. Eventually you’ll meet some of your customers in person and the inevitable disconnect between Photoshop and life will be jarring.

The goal is for your photo to reflect how you will look when you meet a customer, not how you looked at that killer party in Key West four years ago. The best profile photo isn’t necessarily your favorite photo. The best photo strikes a balance between professionalism and approachability, making you look good but also real.

Step 6. Get recommendations. Most of us can’t resist reading testimonials, even when we know those testimonials were probably solicited. Recommendations add color and depth to a LinkedIn profile, fleshing it out while avoiding any, “Oh jeez will this guy ever shut up about himself?” reactions. So ask for recommendations, and offer to provide recommendations before you’re asked.

The best way to build great connections is to always be the one who gives first.

Four Tips for Social Media SEO

Monday, February 27th, 2012

You probably optimize the content at your website—but what about SEO for less formal interaction at blogs and social networks?

“B2B marketers should be looking to expand the reach of their social media efforts to drive more traffic back to their websites (and their calls-to-action),” writes Jeffrey L. Cohen at the Social Media B2B blog.
Here are some of his tips for getting social in an SEO-friendly way:

Apply your keyword strategy to social media. Whether you’re writing a blog post or leaving a comment on a Facebook page, that content is as searchable as your website copy. So take what you’ve learned from keyword research and use those terms in all your online communications.

But don’t get keyword-happy when creating profiles. Keywords belong in biographies and descriptions—not in your username, which tends to look less trustworthy if it isn’t simply your company’s name.

Encourage blog readers to share your content. “Many B2B companies focus on building a community on their blog through comments, but you are better off building a bigger community off the blog,” argues Cohen. Consider asking your readers to share your post with their friends and colleagues.

Include employees in your sharing strategy. There’s a good chance your team will want to share relevant content with their social networks. Make it easy with a pre-written tweet they can customize, or simply share as-is.

The Po!nt: The engines are always watching. Every online interaction is an opportunity to improve your reach and optimize your search engine rankings.

How to Get the Best Deal From Your Participation in Local Deals

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

“Local deals. Daily deals. Group-buying deals,” writes Amy Fowler at MarketingProfs. “Call them what you will, but they’re all the same thing: a very expensive form of marketing that can run a small business into the ground if utilized incorrectly.” Why? Because you’re not just providing a deeply discounted product or service—you’re also sharing up to 50% of the proceeds.

Many companies participate because they anticipate an instant source of loyal, repeat business. But, notes Fowler, this is almost never the case. “Daily deals attract a certain type of consumer—the type who never wants to pay full price.” So how do you get the most from a Groupon-style campaign? She has this advice:

Take control of the relationship with direct offers. When someone uses a deal to purchase your product or service, follow up—directly—with your next offer. This way, you can control the size of the discount and keep all of the profit. Restaurants can include a voucher with a diner’s check, for instance, while retailers might email a discount code for future purchases.

Create an ongoing relationship through social media. Let customers know that future deals are available when they “like” you on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter. This will appeal to their discount-seeking nature—and set the stage for repeat business.

Ask happy customers to write an online review. Even if they never return for a non-discounted product or service, deal-seeking customers will often leave positive reviews at sites like Yelp—especially if you ask nicely.

How Google’s +1 Button Affects SEO

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Since the days of Google Buzz, the +1 button has been a mystery to users and content producers alike. It’s different from Facebook’s “Like” button, in that it doesn’t directly share content to a user’s social stream. But the cultivation of a social graph has long been the goal of Google, and its connection to search was likely inevitable.

Google defines the +1 as a feature to help people discover and share relevant content from the people they already know and trust. Users can +1 different types of content, including Google search results, websites, and advertisements. Once users +1 a piece of content, it can be seen on the +1 tab in their Google+ profile, in Google search results, and on websites with a +1 button.

The plot thickened last month when Google launched Search plus Your World. Jack Menzel, director of product management for Google Search, explained that now Google+ users would be able to “search across information that is private and only shared to you, not just the public web.” According to Ian Lurie from the blog Conversation Marketing, in Search plus Your World, search results that received a lot of +1s tend to show up higher in results.

Google has come out and described the purpose of a +1, but hasn’t necessarily explained the direct effect a +1 has on search ranking. Here’s a breakdown of what we currently know.

Does a +1 Affect my Site’s Performance in Social Search?

The +1 has an indirect effect on your site’s search rank. This does not mean the more +1’s a link has, the higher rank it achieves in traditional search results. Take this scenario:

When a Google+ user +1’s a piece of content, he gives it his “stamp of approval.” Then, say one of his connections from Google+ searches for the same or related topic. Because of Search plus Your World, his friend is more likely to click on the same link the original user +1’d (when a signed-in user searches, his Google results may include snippets annotated with the names of connections who have +1′d the content). This is because content recommended by friends and acquaintances is often more relevant than content from strangers, according to Google.

This is also true for users who are not signed in to their Google account when they search. When a user searches for the same phrase, the results might display the total number of +1’s a link has received, which is another validation that it’s a relevant link.

How Does This Relate to SEO?

Since the +1′d link has a chance at a higher Click-Through-Rate (CTR), there is a greater potential the link will be shared, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any social network. An experiment by Rand Fishkin, CEO and co-founder of SEOmoz, tested the relationship between Twitter and Facebook shares and search results in Google. He found a positive correlation between the number of retweets and shares a link received and its search ranking. This means, the more the link was passed around on Twitter and Facebook, the higher the search rank of the page. This in turn led to better SEO.

What’s the Take-Away?
A Google +1 can indirectly lead to a better page rank. A greater number of +1’s increases a link’s potential for a high CTR, which could lead to increased social sharing, and in turn can increase its Google search rank. What’s important to note here is the correlation, not causation, between +1′s, other social shares, and search rank.

The bottom line is, the SEO effects of a +1 are very indirect, which means traditional SEO practices should not be ignored. SEO methods such as link building, relevant keywords, and URL structure have a more significant impact on page ranking.

The Google +1 feature is still in its infancy of course, and more data needs to be gathered to draw a statistical correlation to search. As Google said, “For +1′s, as with any new ranking signal, we are starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality.”

SEO experts, such as Erin Everhart from 352 Media Group, have a positive outlook on the future of social search. She says, “I don’t think we live in a world, nor will we ever live in a world, where any social cue doesn’t have influence over SEO.”

Are you seeing the effects of Google +1 on your SEO? Will the +1 eventually have a direct effect on search rank? Share your experiences in the comments.

10 Little Known Social Media Tools You Should Be Using — Now

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Social media is everywhere. It’s in our homes, places of worship, schools and, of course, our businesses. Everywhere you look, people are using social media and are talking about it. And it seems that every week a new type of social site pops up.

And as the number of social networking sites grows, so does the number of services that are created to measure, track and monitor those services. What’s a marketing professional to do?

To help you cut through the clutter, here are the 10 must-use social media tools that can not only help you make sense of your social media efforts but make them more effective.

1. EditFlow
EditFlow is a plugin from open source content management system WordPress that allows you to manage your editorial team seamlessly. With it, you can get a snapshot of your month-to-month content with the calendar feature. It also offers improved content status beyond WordPress’ default draft and pending review. And user groups can help you keep your team of writers organized by department or function.

Who should use it and why: Any business owner who manages a multi-author website should give EditFlow a look. This tool can keep all of the things that are important to a multi-author blog in one spot so management is easy, clean and documented.

2. TweetReach
This tool allows you to see how far your tweets travel. For example, with TweetReach I can search my blog and come up with these results. It breaks down how many people your messages reach and how many tweets it took to reach them. For instance, TweetReach can tell you how many times your tweets have been shared by retweets, replies and other standard tweets.

Who should use it and why: From a social media manager to a small-business owner, basically anybody who is interested in finding out how effective his or her tweets are based upon the number of people they touch should consider using TweetReach. It can also useful from a metric standpoint in terms of justifying the results of your social media campaigns with senior management or partners.

3. ArgyleSocial
This Durham, N.C.-based startup is a social media platform that aims to help marketers connect the business dots with the social media dots. ArgyleSocial offers a single dashboard to monitor Facebook and Twitter that allows you to delegate tasks to your team. It also offers easy reporting on the ROI of your social media efforts. If you’d like to be an affiliate, you can use ArgyleSocial’s white label brand and resell the social media platform to your clients. All of your accounts can be wrapped up into one bill and sent to you to distribute or absorb as an included service.

Who should use it and why: From the social media manager to the one-person business that needs to prove to management, clients or themselves that their social media campaign is paying off.

4. HootSuite for iPad
HootSuite users should be happy with this iPad application. It includes a stationary column in the sidebar that keeps track of all streams being tracked. Among the other things HootSuite says you can do with this iPad app include checking in using a Foursquare account, scheduling messages to send at a later time, examine click-through statistics, add geo-location coordinates to messages and shorten URLs with a built-in Ow.ly tool.

Who should use it and why: HootSuite for iPad is for heavy iPad users who want to manage their social media content and engagement.

5. TweetLevel
You might be thinking you don’t need another Tweet metric tool, but TweetLevel, allows you to specifically search for hashtags, which can lead you to insights on who to follow based upon conversation versus person. Once you’ve found someone you’d like to follow, you can use TweetLevel to help measure his or her social influence. You can also evaluate the buzz around a certain topic to determine if it’s a trend worth paying attention to. Then take a peek at related phrases around your topic to gauge the true scope of the trending idea.

Who should use it and why: Public relations managers and social media marketing professionals who want to analyze a campaign should give TweetLevel a try. This tool can help you identify the Twitter conversation, where it’s going wrong and how to correct that mistake.

6. ReFollow
When it comes to Twitter, numbers might not be as important as the people you follow and who follows you. ReFollow is an application that allows you to lock in those followers that you’ve connected with and make sure they continue to follow you.

Other features include filtering a search on Twitter to uncover insights, such as what you have in common with certain followers. This can lead you to connecting with someone who maybe you’re Twitter conversation has been close to zero, but with a simple direct message to that person you can make a connection and build a business relationship.

Who should use it and why: This can be the perfect tool for the person who wants to grow a list of highly-qualified, like-minded people. Consider using ReFollow if your concern is quality over quantity, which it should be.

7. TwitterSearch
You’ve probably heard of TwitterSearch but, more than likely, you aren’t using it correctly. New media expert Thomas Baekdal offers a number of little-known tips for using TwitterSearch. For instance, to see what people are saying about your competitors, search with to:competitor or from:competitor. Replace “Competitor” with that company’s Twitter handle. To uncover top trending topics search that topic plus –rt filter:links. For example, “digital marketing-rt filter:links”. That code will remove all of the retweets from the search.

Who should use it and why: Anyone who wants to use and search Twitter more effectively should brush up on his or her TwitterSearch skills. And knowing what’s trending on Twitter can be a useful way to generate ideas for your business blog. When you see trending topics, you can create a blog post with content relevant to that discussion.

8. Traackr
One simple way to find and follow people who are influential in your space is to use Traackr. It allows you to identify the “authorities” in your industry who can mean the most to your business or your client’s. What’s also useful about Traackr is that you can watch how social media leaders are responding and contributing to content you are sharing. An ad agency, for example, can see who it should target to help social media campaigns get off the ground, build its engagement strategies based upon Traackr’s unique intelligence and then see results of those campaigns.

Who should use it and why: Traackr can be a useful tool for either advertising agencies or brands that want to build social media campaigns that improve over time and show how they pay off in the end.

9. SocMetrics
The Topical Influencer platform by SocMetrics is a web-based tool that allows you to identify influencers, understand who these people are, interact with them and then monitor your campaign. The “Competitive Influence” feature allows you to specify brands and drill down for detailed influencers. What’s slick about this tool is that you can narrow your search to a long-tail keyword, seeing who is truly influential.

Who should use it and why: Any marketing professional who wants to build an effective social media campaign based upon influencers in a specific industry should give this a look. SocMetrics can help you harness the power of thought leaders, which in turn can help you build your brand and sell more.

10. Social Scope
For BlackBerry users who’ve longed for an app that combines Twitter and Facebook on one screen, such as TweetDeck for your desktop, consider trying Social Scope. And on that same screen you’ll see a thumbnail image if someone shares something from TwitPic. It also has a built in retweeting feature, hash tag search and will also let you see the entire URL to know where a truncated URL is pointing.

Who should use it and why: Anyone who owns a BlackBerry and has a Facebook and Twitter account is a prime target for this app. It’s probably the closest you can get to a desktop-type app on a BlackBerry.

Less Than 10% Of The Web In 2012 Is Mobile Ready

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Mobile’s overall share of Web traffic in the United States has increased to about 9% (according to StatCounter) which is also the same percentage of Quantcast’s Top Million sites that are deemed ready for mobile in 2012 according to data from the Mongoose Metrics Data Series.

Since there wasn’t the same data pull last year, it could be compared loosely to data from Brand Anymore in late 2010, which determined that of 7,000 retail websites only 4.8% were mobile ready – a nearly doubling of the Web’s mobile readiness in a year.

In the Mongoose Metrics data set, 118,000 of the 1,000,000 sites could not be crawled for a variety of reasons, resulting in approximately 882,000 sites that could be used for this data.

As 79,133 sites either rendered a mobile version on the same URL or redirected to a mobile version of the site under a different URL when a smartphone user agent was detected, this number dropped to 76,241 when a feature phone user agent was used.

Interestingly, these sites used a JavaScript mobile redirect more often for feature phones than smartphones.
The two user agent types being used were the same that Google uses to determine a site’s rendering for the two mobile phone types.

Why this is important is due to consumers preferring a mobile website over an app for price comparisons, reviews and actual purchases on their mobile device, according to the results of Adobe’s Mobile Experience Survey in 2011, which means they are most likely to use a search engine.

When a consumer does click on your site in the search results, over half of these potential customers would not recommend a business with a bad mobile site and furthermore, 40% would then visit a competitor site after a bad mobile experience on yours.

Some tips were provided here at Search Engine Land to understand and prepare for mobile search in 2012.
Is you site ready for the estimated 1 out every 4 searches in 2012 coming from a mobile device, or are you part of the 91% of sites that aren’t?

10 companies with insanely great marketing

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

(MoneyWatch)

COMMENTARY Marketing is like sex — everyone thinks they’re good at it. In reality, of course, very few really get it. So few, indeed, that I had to struggle to come up with 10 companies that really know what they’re doing and deliver the goods, year in, year out. Oddly, coming up with 10 companies with insanely bad marketing was far easier. Go figure.

Keep in mind that just like with sex, everyone has a different definition of what marketing’s all about and what constitutes great marketing. Here’s my definition: Marketing creates and promotes products and services customers will pay for. Great marketing does it consistently better than the competition.
What makes my definition right? Absolutely nothing. I’m not even saying it is. But once upon a time, I was in charge of the function for a few technology companies. And I’ve always found it to be a fascinating, if not highly subjective, discipline. Also, it’s my blog — so here’s my list of 10 companies with insanely great marketing:

Apple. Apple (AAPL) stands as the one technology company that truly gets marketing. It defines the next big thing and creates game-changers in existing markets before people themselves even know what they want. It doesn’t use focus groups or research; Apple is its own focus group. It controls its channel and message better than any company on earth. Not to mention the 1984 Super Bowl, Think Different, and iPod silhouette ad campaigns.

Nike. Let’s face it: Nike (NKE) is a sneaker business that somehow became the world’s largest sports footwear and apparel company, one of the top brands in the world, and a $48 billion S&P 500 component. How? Great marketing: the swoosh logo, “word of foot” advertising, and, of course, sponsoring athletes. I don’t know, I guess Nike Just Did It.

Geico. The road from the niche Government Employees Insurance Company to 10 million policyholders, $28 billion in assets, and one of the most widely recognized insurance brands in the world, is all about two things: Warren Buffet and marketing. Geico also has some of the best ad concepts on the planet: The Gekko, the Caveman, the little piggy, and my current favorite, the electricity-generating guinea pigs in a rowboat: “It’s kind of strange. Such a simple word. Row.”

Budweiser. There’s simply no other way to explain how such a horrendously bad product — in my sole and humble opinion and with all due respect to anyone who actually likes the stuff — became an American institution and perhaps the most powerful and successful alcoholic beverage brand of all time.

FedEx. Commentators are forever saying how dumb corporate name and logo changes are. Well, they’re clueless. As with anything else, name changes range from dumb to brilliant and everything in between. Adopting the viral conjunction “FedEx” allowed Federal Express (FDX) to capitalize on its leadership in express mail while diversifying into ground and other business services. It was brilliant. And its advertising has been groundbreaking, as well.

Southwest Airlines. By focusing on the customer, doing things the right way instead of the way they’ve traditionally been done, allowing its staff to have a little fun on the job, flying short-haul routes to regional airports, and becoming the first no-frills carrier, Herb Kelleher broke the airline industry mold and made deregulated air travel profitable. Southwest (LUV) broke the mold. And not only that, but hey, Bags Fly Free.

IBM. I never thought I’d say this, but the evidence is irrefutable. When Big Blue avoided bankruptcy by combining its hardware, software and consulting businesses to become the world’s first vertically integrated IT services e-everything company, by creating a ginormous market out of thin air, IBM (IBM) became a de facto marketing company and an awesome one at that. After all, who doesn’t want a smarter planet?

Adobe. Few software companies survived and thrived through Microsoft’s (MSFT) predatory onslaught: IBM/Lotus, Oracle (ORCL), Apple, SAP (SAP), and Adobe (ADBE). Somehow, this relatively small company has come up with products that practically every “knowledge worker” needs to use on a daily basis. It should come as no surprise that its current marketing chief, Ann Lewnes, launched Intel’s (INTC) vaunted Pentium product brand and managed the “Intel Inside” program. Also, its founders are great guys.

Toyota. By launching the Lexus brand, beating Mercedes and BMW at their own game, bringing “ergonomics” into our vocabulary, marketing “quiet,” and making the dealership experience something more pleasurable than getting a root canal, Toyota (TM) became a great marketing company. It also popularized the luxury crossover SUV (Lexus RX), took the world by storm with the Prius hybrid, and aggressively integrated hybrid technology into many of its vehicles. The company that began life as Toyoda Automatic Loom Works in 1926 became the world’s top automobile maker in 2010.

Samsung. The Korean company has slowly and steadily grown to become a premier consumer electronics brand. It used to have annual strategy sessions where all its top executives got to spend time with the best competitive products they were up against from the likes of Sony (SNE), Nokia (NOK), Panasonic (PC), and Apple. I don’t know if it still does that, but from day one, Samsung eschewed the traditional technology-driven Asian model in favor of becoming a market-driven and market-leading company.

Mobile becomes a core component of AdSense

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

We launched AdSense for mobile content before the smartphone revolution when everyone had aflip phone. Our goal was to help pioneering publishers monetize their mobile content. Since then, we’ve seen mobile technology advance and an increasing number of consumers are viewing content from “smarter” mobile devices. To make it easier for publishers to use AdSense to monetize mobile web pages, we’ve migrated all mobile ad unit sizes, including the mobile banner ad unit, into the core product.
All mobile ad sizes, including the 320×50, will be available through AdSense for content.

The new AdSense ad code automatically formats the ads for the device. We will continue to support high-end ad requests from our AdSense for mobile content product until May 1, 2012. We strongly encourage publishers who have designed mobile web pages for high-end devices to use the new AdSense ad code to avoid disruptions to service. Note that publishers with mobile websites built for WAP browsers should continue to monetize using AdSense for mobile content.

We continue to be committed to helping our AdSense publishers monetize their content as the mobile ecosystem evolves. For more information about AdSense or to learn more about how this transition may impact you, please visit our AdSense Help Center.

3 Ways Local Small Businesses Can Use PPC

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Local small businesses rarely use Google’s AdWords program to its full potential. Want to learn three cool ways to use AdWords, even if the local business doesn’t have the world’s most robust online presence? If you help local businesses with their online marketing, these strategies will be very useful arrows in your quiver.

1. Straight-up AdWords for Traffic and Leads

First, there’s the obvious reason for setting up an AdWords account for a local client: nearly instant traffic. AdWords is now more important than SEO for local searches, since between ads, maps, and local listings (the “7-pack”), the top organic listing is often below the fold, as this screenshot below demonstrates:

A compelling ad can start generating traffic right away. Notice the uninspiring headlines in the above screenshot? “Dentist.” “General Dentistry.” Dental Care Provider.” “Find a Local Dentist.” Wow, talk about “Mad Men”. If you’re advertising a dental practice, use the headline to differentiate your ad:

• Big Benefit: Gentle Dentist for Cowards
• Social Proof/Story: “I Woke With a Toothache”
• Great Offer: Get $300 Whitening Coupon

In conjunction with a prominent Google Places listing and lots of favorable reviews, AdWords can produce a prominent presence on the search results page.

Unlike national campaigns where keyword selection is a complex job, local markets don’t require hundreds or thousands of medium- to long-tail keywords. Instead, if you geographically limit the campaign to a city or metro area, you can successfully bid on broad match short-tail words like “dentist” or “oral surgeon.”

As a bonus, Google rewards this sloppy bidding strategy by letting you know the exact search phrases that triggered your ads. You can add those keywords to you AdWords account, optimize just those phrases for organic SEO, and make sure the pages that receive this most targeted traffic contain specific, relevant, and compelling content.

2. Test Messaging For Other Media
Even if the local search volume is so low that the number of new leads is negligible, AdWords has another trick up its sleeve. By split testing different ad copy, businesses can find the best copy for their print ads, radio and TV scripts, and yellow pages listings.

It’s not unusual for one ad to perform 2-5 times better than another. Imagine leveraging that improvement across all advertising platforms – especially the ones where testing is unwieldy, expensive, or just plain impossible.

Since most offline media is of the “interruption” variety (print ads, radio and TV commercials, billboards, etc.), you can take advantage of the interruption arm of AdWords, the Display Network. Not only does the Display Network generate about 10 times the traffic of search, the clicks are also cheaper (typically half the price of clicks from search). So the Display Network is the perfect place to find the messages, offers, and calls to action in offline media.

3. Remarketing for Lead Gen and Branding
Remarketing is one of the most powerful AdWords features – and one of Google’s best kept secrets. You’ve experienced remarketing if you’ve ever seen an ad “follow” you around the web. Here’s what happened: you visited a website and Google planted a remarketing cookie on your computer. Now whenever you visit a page in the AdSense network, Google checks for cookies and often shows you ads based on sites where you’ve already demonstrated interest.

Remarketing done well can make you seem ubiquitous, like a giant billion-dollar brand, even if your ad budget is a couple of hundred bucks a month. Because you’re only ubiquitous for the very targeted and highly qualified people who have already visited your site, and didn’t convert on their initial visit.
Imagine sending your local business client a screenshot of their ad on the New York Times or Washington Post – while keeping their advertising budget under $300 per month.

Here’s a powerful local twist to remarketing: when you get an inbound call, try to take the prospect to a page on your website where you have a demo, a price list, a feature list; whatever can help educate your prospect and further the sale.

Stick the Google remarketing code on that page, so that your ads now follow the prospect around the web. Instead of being one more forgettable contender for the prospect’s business, you soon become the dominant player; the obvious choice.