7 Great Ways to Increase Website Traffic Immediately!

Having a website isn’t enough anymore.  The build it and wait for traffic to find it strategy doesn’t work, and no traffic means no sales.  In order to make your internet presence a successful one, you need to generate website traffic.

If you already have a site and want to think that you are not getting the traffic they are supposed, then its time to review your strategy and make some important changes. If you are in a very competitive business you must be one step ahead of your competition.

To help you out in generating more traffic to your site, some here are seven sure ways to increase your traffic that you can implement immediately that will deliver results.

1) Invest in Pay-Per-Click Advertising with Search Engines

Google AdWords and Yahoo Search Marketing provide advertising programs that are very popular and assures traffic.   Pay-Per-Click programs are a guaranteed traffic source, but require research and continual testing in order to generate the best results. Every penny spent should be measured and monitored closely.

2) Exchange or Trade Links with other Sites

When exchanging links with other sites, you should focus on non-competitive synergistic businesses.  By providing your visitors with links to related products, services and most importantly information, the value of your own site content will increase.

3) Use Social Marketing

Social marketing allows you to spread the word about your company and product with low to no expense.  This is a marketing method that can be very crafty, you can attach your company name, product or link to some media or informative resource that your users could potentially share with others.   With this method, people share your content.  The key to great  social marketing is to craft your message and then stay out of the way – don’t ever try to force social marketing, it needs to grow organically.

4) Search Engine Optimize your existing Website Content

Search engines look for certain words that are shown within the content of your pages.  The right keyword and keyword phrase appearing within your content will improve your search engine results. You can write your own content or you can hire someone to do it for you.

5) Write Articles that can lead Traffic to your Site

Submit articles to article marketing directories.   Attach your information to the article in the form of a byline or closing description.

6) Participate in Forums and Online Communities

Show your expertise and credibility by participating in online communities and forums.  As you establishe your credibility, people will trust you, your website and your content.  Traffic will increase as you become a known resource for filling a specific need.  Sign your forum posts with your contact information.

7)  Offer Newsletters

Building a list of email addresses for those interested in your industry, company or specific products and services is the most important business and traffic building exercise that you can undergo.  I’ll dig deeper into email and newsletter marketing in a future post.

Good luck with your traffic generation and growing your business,

Greg Bolger
OSG Marketing


Website Analytics – Reviewing your web traffic

Analyzing your web traffic statistics is critically important for a number of different reasons. But before you can make full use of this tool, you need to understand how to interpret the data.

Most web hosting companies will provide you with basic web traffic information that you then have to interpret and make pertinent use of. Much more effective than that however is a free tool from our friends at Google called Google Analytics.   The data you receive from your host company or Google Analytics can be overwhelming if you don’t understand how to apply it to your particular business and website. I’ll help you to examine and understand the most basic data – the average visitors to your site on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

Detailed analytics can provide insight into many key areas of your website.  Generally, webhosting analytics packages provide information such as:

  • Hits – monthly, weekely, daily
  • Total unique visitors
  • Limited geographic analysis of visitor countries

A more robust solution like Google Analytics can provide very detailed information that will give you insight into your visitors, such as:

  • Visitor Information – browsers used, specific geographic location, pages visited
  • Traffic sources – which search engines or referring webisites generated traffic
  • Content – how long users spend on each page, what pages are most popular
  • Loyalty and stickiness – how often visitors return and how long they stay
  • Conversions – how many visitors performed the action you wanted them to, whether it’s making a purchase or completing a form

These figures are a resonably accurate measure of your website’s activity. It would appear on the surface that the more traffic you see recorded, the better you can assume your website is doing, but this is an inaccurate perception. You must also look at the behaviour of your visitors once they come to your website to accurately gauge the effectiveness of your site.

There is often a great misconception about what is commonly known as “hits” and what is really effective –  quality visitors on your site. Hits simply means the number of information requests received by the server.  Hits are not very useful in analyzing your website traffic.  It is in the details that you will determine how best to update and modify your website in order to improve your conversions.

The more visitors that come to your website, the more accurate your interpretation will become. The greater the traffic is to your website, the more precise your analysis will be of overall trends in visitor behaviour. The smaller the number of visitors, the more a few anomalous visitors can distort the analysis.

The aim is to use the analytics to figure out how well (or how poorly!) your site is working for your visitors.  Determining how long on average your visitors spend on your site can provide great insight. If the time spent is relatively brief, it usually indicates an underlying problem.

Then the challenge is to figure out what that problem is and to take steps to rectify them.

  • Maybe your keywords are directing the wrong type of visitors
  • Maybe your message is confusing or intimidating

Any of these (and many more reasons) may be causing your visitor to exit rapidly.

Use the knowledge of how much time visitors are spending on your site to pinpoint specific problems, and after you fix those problems, continue to use time spent as a gauge of how effective your fix has been.

Google Analytics can assist you in split testing, where you can have multiple versions of content with the same objective, so you can measure which has the better impact for your website goals.

Additionally, web traffic stats can help you determine how effective or ineffective soecific  areas or pages of your website are. If you have a page that you believe is important, but visitors are exiting it rapidly, that page needs attention. You could, for example, consider improving the link to this page by making the link more noticeable and enticing, or you could improve the look of the page or the ease that your visitors can access the necessary information on that page.

If, on the other hand, you notice that visitors are spending a lot of time on pages that you think are less important, you might consider moving some of your sales copy and marketing focus to that particular page.

These statistics will reveal vital information about the effectiveness of individual pages, and visitor habits and motivation. This is essential information to any successful Internet marketing campaign.

Your website undoubtedly has exit pages, such as a final order or contact form. This is a page you can expect your visitor to exit rapidly. However, not every visitor to your site is going to find exactly what he or she is looking for, so statistics may show you a number of different exit pages. This is normal unless you notice a exit trend on a particular page that is not intended as an exit page. In the case that a significant percentage of visitors are exiting your website on a page not designed for that purpose, you must closely examine that particular page to discern what the problem is. Once you pinpoint potential weaknesses on that page, minor modifications in content or graphic may have a significant impact on the keeping visitors moving through your site instead of exiting at the wrong page.

After you have analyzed your visitor statistics, it’s time to turn to your keywords and phrases. Notice if particular keywords are directing a specific type of visitor to your site. The more targeted the visitor – meaning that they find what they are looking for on your site, and even better, fill out your contact form or make a purchase – the more valuable that keyword is.

However, if you find a large number of visitors are being directed or should I say misdirected!) to your site by a particular keyword or phrase, that keyword demands adjustment.  Keywords are vital to bringing quality visitors to your site who are ready to do business with you. Close analysis of the keywords your visitors are using to find your site will give you a vital understanding of your visitor’s needs and motivations.

Finally, if you notice that users are finding your website by typing in your company name, it means you have achieved a significant level of brand recognition, and this is a sign that you are on the road to success.

Thats it for now,

Greg Bolger
OSG Marketing


Evaluating your Website Results – A bit about Conversion Rates

Most Internet Marketing strategies begin with a website, and the success or failure of your site depends greatly on how specifically you have defined your website goals. If you don’t know what you want your site to accomplish, it will most likely fail to accomplish anything. Without goals to guide you in developing and monitoring your website, all your site will be is an online announcement that you are in business.

There are many possible goals for your specific website, here are a few common ones:

  1. Providing Information to Current and Prospective Customers
  2. Generating Leads for your Business
  3. Selling Products or Services Directly Online
  4. Provide Information to the Public

You may expect your site to stimulate some form of action, such as:

  • Visitors filling out a form
  • Signing up for a mailing list
  • Purchasing a product or service

There are steps you can take to insure that your website is functioning at peak efficiency. One of the first indicators of how well your site is working for you is finding out the number of visitors in a given period of time.  A good baseline measurement is a month in which you haven’t been doing any unusual offline promotional activities.

Traffic alone does not mean your site is successful – you want those visitors to actually do something there! It is equally important to monitor the number of visitors to your site who made a purchase. This figure is called the site conversion rate, and it is an essential element of the efficiency and effectiveness of your website.

To find the site conversion rate you need a few numbers:

  1. The number of visitors over a period of time
  2. The number of visitors that purchased/signed up/completed your goal over the same period of time.

Figure out the percentage of them that actually performed the action your site is set up for by dividing your goals achieved by your total unique visitors and multiply that by 100, and you have your conversion rate as a percentage.

For example, if you had 1,000 unique visitors to your site, and 20 of them purchased your product, your site conversion rate equals 2.00%, or (20 goals/1000 visitors x 100).

If your website is set-up with multiple goals, make sure to then figure out independantly – the difference is between your site conversion rate and your sales conversion rate is important. Not everyone who fills out your form will actually become your customer.

Whether your site is set-up to sell a service or product, or to get the visitor to fill out a form, the site conversion rate will measure the success or failure of your website whenever you make changes to the site.

You may find that you need to implement some additional marketing strategies if you find that traffic to your site is extremely low. There are several effective methods to improve the flow of traffic to your website, particularly launching a search engine optimization campaign. This campaign is targeted at increasing your position in search engine results so that consumers can find your pages faster and easier. You can either research the steps you need to take to improve your search engine rankings, or employ a search engine optimization company to do the work for you. In either case, after your have improved your search engine positions, make sure you keep on top of them by regular monitoring and adjusting of your efforts to maintain high positions.

Another factor to examine is how easy it is for a visitor to your website to accomplish the action the site is set-up for. For example, if your goal is for the visitor to fill out a form, is this form easily accessible, or does the visitor have to go through four levels to get to it? If it’s too difficult to get to, the customer may just throw in the towel and move on to another site. Make sure your buttons are highly visible, and the path to your form or ordering page quickly accessible.

Finally, have an Internet Marketing Professional evaluate the copy on your website. The goal is, of course, to get your visitor to make a purchase or fill out your form. Website copy must be specifically geared to your online campaign and not just a cut and paste job from your company brochure. The right copy can make the difference between profit and loss in your online campaign.

For a free, no obligation 1-hour consultation with me, you can contact me at any time.

That’s all  for now,

Greg Bolger
OSG Marketing


The Why & How of Article Marketing

Article Marketing is a pretty big topic for many reasons.  Article marketing is a type of advertising in which you write short articles related to your industry.   These articles are made available for distribution and publication online, and each article contains a bio box and byline that include references and contact information for the your business.

Well-written content articles released for free distribution have the potential of increasing your business’ credibility within your market as well as attracting new clients.  Many article sites allow you to post your original articles completely for free. Once an article is published, your content becomes available for anyone to see or reuse.

An effective article marketing strategy has several components:

  1. Articles must be keyword rich and relevant to the audience.  Lousy articles will not effectively produce results.
  2. Many articles must be written, and posted regularly over a period of time.
  3. The articles should provide information of value and establish your expertise n your industry.
  4. Articles should be posted to multiple article sites.

Getting started with article marketing is fairly easy, you need to produce articles that are 200-500 words in length.  Before you begin, you should consider the following questions:

  1. Who is your target audience and what are they searching for?
  2. What topics will you write about?
  3. Are you capable of writing or should you consider an employee or a ghost writer who is more capable?
  4. Where will you submit your articles?

Every organization can benefit from article marketing, it doesn’t take long to brainstorm a list of 20-30 article topics and write short copy for each one.  Article posts will generate traffic to your website and, ultimately, to leads for your products or services.

There are several resources and sites that are applicable for posting articles, including:

There are many more, but that’s a great place to get started.  Browse the sites and get a feel for existing content for your industry.  Write some interesting articles, post them to the article sites and monitor your website analytics to see if the articles are generating any traffic.

If you’re interested in article marketing but don’t have the time, there are plenty of article marketing specialists (including OSG Marketing) that can help you implement an article marketing strategy.

That’s it for now,

Greg Bolger
OSG Marketing

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More Social Networking – Should I be LinkedIn?

In previous posts, I’ve been asked about Twitter and Facebook.  Most business owners have heard of these, as there is daily mainstream media coverage of both services.

Recently, LinkedIn has come up in my consultations a few times, and I was initially surprised to get questions about it.  LinkedIn is a social network for professionals and business men, it’s an increasingly important resource and can impact your business in many ways.

Through LinkedIn, you can create a professional network, re-connecting with past and present colleagues and classmates; find employment and business opportunities; and work with other industry experts to answer your questions and problems.

LinkedIn currently has over 38 million members, as of April 2009, and claims executives from all Fortune 500 companies as members.  Members use LinkedIn to make contact with other members, typically to find employment, form business relationships, partnerships and make sales.

For business owners, adding your LinkedIn profile is the first step.  There is a vast amount of personal information that can be used to complete a profile, and these pages generally rank fairly high on Google for searches for you name.

In addition, you can create a Company Profile, allowing you to profile the benefits of your organization and manage another point of reference for your company.  Creating and completing these profiles is a first step in getting any benefit from LinkedIn.

Once you’ve got a profile, you can begin to build your network.  LinkedIn will automatically assist you in finding your contacts.  By completing inforamtion on education, current and former employers, LinkedIn will look for people you may have gone to school or worked with and recommend them for your network.

Once you’ve started building your network, you can begin to use the system to benefit your organization.

  • Keep in touch with business associates, clients and partners.
  • Perform reference checks on potential applicants.
  • Include links to the content on your website and other social profiles.
  • Research potential business partners.
  • Participate in communities related to your industry.
  • Ask for advice from other industry experts.
  • Continue to build and grow your community.

LinkedIn can be a valuable resource if you choose to use it, and it can be an excellent communication platform for businesses and professionals.

Visit LinkedIn.com to sign up.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

That’s it for now,

Greg Bolger
OSG Marketing


What is Search Engine Optimization and how is it important?

There seems to be a lot of confusion around search engine optimization.  Both the need for it and the methods of going about it are constantly questioned, but SEO isn’t as mysterious or complicated as it’s been made out to be.

What is search engine optimization?

Basically, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making your web content more relevant to search engines (typically focused around Google).  The idea is to optimize the pages and content of your website so they’re relevant for the search terms people are using to find things online.  By ensuring that your website content is organized and optimized, you can greatly increase your chances of getting found online.

The real problem with SEO is that it is made out to be a mysterious and secretive, and that it requires a highly specialized and expensive service in order to work right. Others think that you can only get there by either spending a fortune or through using unscrupulous methods. Neither is the real case, the truth is there are far too many websites out there that look nice, but the website doesn’t generate any visitors.

Looking at your own website objectively (which is hard to do sometimes) would you understand exactly what you do? Specifically, if you sell many types of products or services, you need to provide very specific information for each product or service, written in such a way that the descriptions, titles and content are organized in a way that someone would search for them.

What Google and other search engines do when they index a website is analyze the written content and make a determination of what your site is about. The clearer that message appears in your content, the easier a job the search engines have in figuring it out.

With that being said, there are some things you should know about SEO that will help you in your online journey. While it is true that search engines use formulas and algorithms to figure out what your pages are about, there is little question that with enough research and time invested in your site you can make SEO work for you. It’s complicated, but certainly no mystery!

So, where can you start your Search Engine Optimization journey?

My obvious recommendation is to hire an Internet Marketing Professional, who can assist you in developing and implementing an SEO strategy. If that isn’t an option, or you have the time to devote to internally managing your Search Engine Optimization, there are some fantastic free resources you should know about.

1. Google Webmaster and Site Owner Help – this is the Google encyclopaedia for webmasters. Here, you can learn all about how Google views your site and some great information on making improvements.

2. Yahoo Site Explorer – this is Yahoo’s website indexing information. You can use these tools to review exactly how Yahoo sees your site, and there is plenty of information here to assist you in making your site more relevant for Yahoo searchers.

3. Microsoft Live Search Webmaster Center – Like Google and Yahoo, Microsoft offers tools and resources to assist you in getting the best possible results for your business or website.

Following these guidelines and understanding how your content is viewed and indexed currently is the starting point for development of an SEO strategy. Once you’ve begun to understand your position, you can begin to form a Search Engine Optimization strategy.

Here are the important components of any Search Engine Optimization Strategy, which we’ll review in depth some point in the future.

1. Determine the objective and goals of your website.

2. Determine your target audience.

3. Determine the keywords that your target audience is using to find the products or services you sell.

4. Determine the competition for your audience as part of your keyword research.

5. Determine the value of your existing content.

6. Determine a vision for your website content and necessary optimizations.

7. Implement your content and optimizations.

8. Review your revised content, keyword results and continue to optimize.

The secret of Search Engine Optimization is that it requires ongoing review and content adjustments. The job of search engine optimization is never finished; it requires constant monitoring, review and modification in order to achieve desired results.

Depending on the competitiveness of your keywords, SEO can be increasingly more difficult. Learning SEO basics isn’t overly complex, and you can learn as little or as much as you feel necessary in order to achieve the results you’re after. Understanding the basics will be of great benefit for you and your organization especially if you’re considering hiring an outside SEO company to assist you.

From my perspective, the truth is that you would benefit much more from running your business than learning Search Engine Optimization. Know enough to keep anyone you hire honest, and you’ll benefit in the long run.

That’s it for now, but best of luck and feel free to send me any questions you have on your own site – OSG Marketing offers a free, no obligation SEO review for a few pages of your existing content, and that can give you a head start on planning for your success.

Take care, and much more later.

Greg Bolger
OSG Marketing


How Can Twitter Benefit My Business?

Twitter is a free social networking site.  It is a micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets.  The updates are currently limited to 140 characters in length.

Twitter was originally conceived as a platform for communication among individuals, however as the user base continues to grow (Twitter is estimated to be the 3rd largest social networking site) businesses have been Tweeting and very actively participating in the Twitter community.

I’m frequently asked how business can utilize Twitter, and there is no simple answer to that question.  There is no doubt that organizations are attempting to do things on Twitter, there isn’t a clear defined method for using it.

Twitter uses range from  ”what am I doing right now” to “things that I like” to “websites I’m browsing”, or anything else you can think of in 140 characters or less.

There is no specific rule for how a business can use Twitter, but here are a few significant ways that businesses are approaching it at the moment.

  1. As a communication platform within a business. I’ve seen Twitter used as a communications platform, where coworkers can chat with one another, collaborate with one another and update groups on projects.  The obvious risk in doing this is Twitters public nature, and there is no guarantee of the security of your Tweets.  Mostly, these conversations are general and creative in nature, and can promote teamwork and cohesiveness on projects where participants are located geographically apart.  Followers of this type of Tweeting are given a feeling of insider information or participation in a community they wouldn’t normally have access to.   A good example of this is the Marvel Comics Group (@Marvel on Twitter).  There are dozens of writers, artists, editors and insiders that banter back and forth on Twitter, generating a Marvel community and giving real time access that blogging and websites can’t really provide.   Marvel is very actively participating on a slew of social networking sites – besides Twitter, they are active on Facebook, MySpace and have a YouTube channel all actively promoting Marvel characters and the Marvel brand.
  2. As a direct marketing tool. A business could Tweet out daily specials, deals, exclusive promotional coupons, advance access to goods and services, previews of upcoming work and more.  There are many examples of this on Twitter.  Dell (@delloutlet) frequently Tweets refurbished computer deals.
  3. As a Customer Service tool. Comcast has a Comcast Cares (@comcastcares) account.  Comcast is monitoring Twitter for information relating to their organization, and has a dedicated Twitter account to support clients.  This type of interaction can be invaluable, customers can get support, access to real people and the public nature of the system can promote improved customer service.

There is no right way to use Twitter, and I’d highly recommend signing up for a free account and trying it out.  Find businesses and individuals you are interested in and follow them.  Look at other business accounts and see if they are doing anything that you find interesting.

Promote your Twitter feed and your intent to your clients – you can link to it on your website and in your printed literature.  If you have something to Tweet worth following, your clients will find you.

This isn’t meant to be a complete how-to guide for Twitter, just my observations on how I’m seeing businesses participate and benefit in the growing community.  As Twitter becomes more mainstream, the uses will continue to evolve.

I’d recommend businesses at least sign up for an account and reserve your business name, you never know when it may come in handy!

Thanks for reading, I’ll be reviewing more social networking marketing ideas over the coming days.

That’s all for now!

Greg Bolger
OSG Marketing


5 Steps to Search Engine & Directory Inclusion

Assuming you have a website and you’re looking to expose your products and services online, it can be a difficult task to figure out how and where to list yourself.  Being listed online in search engine results and in directories is important, but listed doesn’t equal found.

Floating around online there are many, many articles about how search engines surpassed printed directories as the first choice in how people find the products and services they are after.  It’s becoming increasingly important (and increasingly confusing!) to figure out how to help people find your business.

Here is a five-step program to get listed in various places on the internet.  It’s a great start to cover the major sites at least.

Step 1:  Get listed in Google.

There are 2 main ways to accomplish this, you can simply choose one and monitor the results.

Method 1 – Submit your URL (webiste address) to Google here.

Method 2 – Get linked from a site that Google crawls (indexes) regularly.  This is Google’s preferred method of finding new websites and content.  The easiest way to get a link to your site is to look for sites already containing related links and content them to ask them to link to you.  You can also use social media sites to link to your website.

Step 2:  Claim your YellowPages.ca Listing.

A YellowPages.ca free listing is included if you have a business phone.  Here is a link to registration insctuctions from the YellowPages.ca site.

Step 3:  Get listed in the Yahoo! Canada Directory.

Instructions are here.   Yahoo Canada is the default search engine for Rogers users in Canada.

Step 4:  Get listed on MSN.  

Here is the page link.  MSN is the search partner for Sympatico users in Canada.

Step 5:  Add your site to The Open Directory Project.  

The Open Directory Project is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by volunteer editors.  DMOZ Directory feeds results to hundreds of searches, including Google results.  Here are instructions for DMOZ submission.

That’s 5 steps for getting listed in the major search engines and directories for free.  Next time, I’ll break down the major local search and mapping services and discuss how to claim or create listings in more detail.

That’s it for now!

Greg Bolger
OSG Marketing


Facebook for my Business? Yes!

Facebook is interesting.   It’s growing as an incredible rate worldwide, but many people dismiss it as a resource for businesses, and most people are unaware of exactly what Facebook can do for a business or brand.

I frequently discuss Facebook as an opportuity for small businesses to connect with people that are interested in the things they do, through participation in relevant groups and through creating company and product pages for the important parts of your business.

You have a phone number (probably a few!), company email addresses, hopefully a website and maybe even a blog and Google local page to maintain, so why should you consider adding anything additional to augment your online presence?

Facebook is a bit different.  Facebook can bring your company and brand something that other sites really can’t provide – it’s a social network that can introduce you to an entirely new audience of people, automatically and with incredible efficiency.

If you have a great product or service that you are offering, you need to spread the word to your target consumers or businesses.  I won’t go in to the multiple ways which that can be achieved, but we all know there are countless things that can be done to promote companies, products, services and brands.

So, Facebook… the demographic of a Facebook user is changing – where it was once viewed as a younger audience, the fastest growing demographic is currently the 25 and older user.  More and more people are going online and sharing previously unavailable and frighteningly large amounts of information.  They’re joining groups, participating in discussions, and they’re talking about products and services. 

The growth rate is spectacular, and businesses are participating in these conversations now as well.  There are countless companies, brands, products and services for you to comment on and share stories about.  As a business owner, you need to actively participate in these conversations and engage your clients.

The Facebook model is simple, you create an account, and become a “Friend” of people that you know, connecting with your past and present and finding new ways to keep in touch with people. 

With Facebook, you can also create an information page relating to a specific brand, product or company.  As an example – OSG Marketing has a fan page on Facebook.  People can become a fan of my company, have discussions about experiences and interact in ways previously not available.

The pages are customizable, can have as much or as little information as you want.  When someone becomes a fan of your brand, everyone they are friends with can be exposed to your information.  It represents a tremendous opportunity to interact with the community, and open communications are welcomed by anyone looking to do business with you.

Facebook is an ideal platform to Inform, Advertise and Promote your business.

There are a number of additional tools and resources available, but I’d recommend exploring Facebook and getting comfortable with the content.

Here are some resources to get you started -

Official Facebook for Business Guide

Create a Page for your Business or Brand

Advertise on Facebook

Finally, here are some tips for using Facebook to connect to your target audience.

  1. Use Facebook as a soft selling tool.  Don’t use it to push products, provide a resource to answer questions and communicate without pushing.  It’s a soft sell environment, pushing will alienate your Fans.
  2. Don’t expect anything out of a Facebook profile.  Use it as an education tool, build brand awareness and build a strong relationship with your clients through open communication.   Don’t expect Facebook alone to increase sales.
  3. Use the status updates to update your business.  Communicate effectively and efficiently, but appropriately.  Use status to get information across easily and effectively.
  4. By making the page personal, you’ll get a lot more interaction.  Focus on the people behind your business, and respond to inquiries and give information as an individual, not as a company.
  5. Update the content frequently, keep people interested.
  6. Promote your Facebook page offline as well as on your website.  These tools are not of much value if they’re not promoted.
  7. Finally, ask your fans to refer you to friends!  Effective growth is built on referrals, it’s a critical component to any effective growth.

My simple advice is to try it out.  It costs nothing except time, and the results can be fantastic.  Sign up for a page, spread the information and let it go.  Let go and grow.

Thanks and bye for now!

Greg Bolger
OSG Marketing


The Amazing Power of Finding your Website!

More and more people are turning to the Internet to find what they’re looking for.  Things may have been easier (as a business) when the options were limited, when you had to choose between how many printed directories to list in, and how big the entries should be.  There are an incredible number of options available for businesses now, and things are tougher than ever.

There has been a shift in the marketing methods, it’s not just about having a listing in a relevant category anymore, now you need to look at online directories, search engine submissions and the growing online mapping business listing resources.

In each of the 3 categories, there are some important things that Canadian businesses should consider, so as a follow up to the 10 items I discussed in my last post, here’s a list of places you should consider at least checking to see if your website is listed.

I certainly can’t make any claims as to the effectiveness of these services, but they do appear to be well established and credible.  Many of these are free services, some may have fees associated with inclusion.  The idea behind these listings is to increase online exposure and create links to your website, which are measured and monitored by the search engines to determine how relevant your website content is compared to your competition.  More links in relevant places should have a positive impact on how search engines view your website, but irrelevant and unnecessary links will likewise have a negative impact on your site.

Online Directories

There are a few Canada-specific directories that it makes sense to list your business. 

Check out national directories like http://www.canadianbusinessdirectory.ca/ and http://www.scottsinfo.com/.  There are others worth a review, many of which offer a free business listing.  Thes include  http://www.yellowpages.ca/http://www.goldbook.ca/, and http://www.411.ca/.  There are also local directories, like http://bramptonbusinessdirectory.com.  Many online directories are used to power other website directories, for instance Yellow Pages listings are used for determining content on both Yahoo Maps and MSN Live Maps.  A search for “Canada business directories” or other similar search keywords on Google, MSN or Yahoo will reveal dozens of online directories.  

You don’t have to register for them all, but here’s a tip for you:

Look for your business through keywords on Google/Yahoo/MSN.  Look at the listings that come up and see if there are directory listings included in those results, visit the directories and put some consideration into registering.  You may find industry specific links, provincial directories, general listings and more are ranking higher than your actual website.

Search Engine Registration

The best way to get indexed into a search engine is to have your website found from a link on another site.  The search engines are constantly crawling the Internet for new content, so if you’re actively promoting your website online it should get indexed.  The more active you are within your online industry specific communities, the more relevant your website content can appear to the search engines.

It’s also possible to tell the search engines about your website.  The 3 most important places to check and make sure your website is found are Google, Yahoo and MSN.  Each of these companies has a Canadian specific service, and each offers a free submission utility.  Here’s a simplified step-by-step list to making sure the search engines are aware of your website.  The concept is basically the same for Google, Yahoo or MSN Live.

  1. Before you consider submitting, make sure your site isn’t currently indexed already!  Do a search in each of the 3 search engines for your website URL (your address).  In my case, a search for “gbolger.com” or “osgmarketing.com” would show me if there are pages from my site indexed to be found.
  2. If the pages are there, that’s a success!  Google, Yahoo and MSN will continue to index pages on your website ongoing.  The more often you update the content, the more often you’ll be indexed.  If you’re not updating content regularly, or haven’t in the past, you may have to wait a while between updates.
  3. If you are not there (and you’re sure you’re not there!), you can use these links to let them know about you.
    Google Website Submission
    Yahoo Webiste Submission
    MSN Live Website Submission
  4. It’s never an instant indexing, it may take days or weeks to get the site indexed and found.  The much, much faster way to get indexed is for the search engines to find your website URL through another site that is regularly indexed.  The search engine indexing programs (“Spiders” or “Crawlers”) will follow the link and index the content.
  5. As an additional note, it is important to know that these services are always subject to change, and there are far more extensive toolkits offered by Google, Yahoo and MSN for webmasters.  Basic site submission is a critical compontant of a successful website, but it is only a starting point.

Map Services and Local Search

I’m going to focus this portion mainly on Google Maps, since both MSN and Yahoo listings are related to Yellow Pages listings (which makes your free basic YP ad very important to your business.).  Google Maps is a tool that is a critial componant of helping people find your business.

As an example, if you add a geographic location to a search you’re doing on Google, the results page will almost certainly include a small map and list of businesses that Google feels are relevant at the top of the listings.  You can control the content of your business listing, and you can help Google to find your business more relevant through that content.

The entire process is fairly simple, and requires that you have a Google Account.   This time, I’ll discuss claiming or registering your business with Google Local.  

Check out this video Google has provided and see how simple it really is:

  1. Go to the Google Local website.
  2. Click on the “Put your business on Google Maps” link on the page.  This will take you to the current signup page.
  3. Sign in with (or create) your Google Account.
  4. Click on the “Add New Business” Link
  5. Complete the New Business Listing details in the Local Business Center and click “Next”.
  6. If Google finds a close match, it will ask you to verify if your business listing exists already.  You have two options at this point – “Claim Listing” or “Add Listing”.  Choose the relevant option.
  7. Enter the details of your business into the provided areas.  If some information is missing, make a note of what you requre and come back to it later.  A completed listing should appear more relevant than an incomplete business listing for businesses in the same geographic area within the same industry or category.
  8. Once you’ve submited this information, Google will require that you verify the business either through the main telephone number (instant addition to the list) or they will mail you a postcard (1-2 weeks generally for listing completion).
  9. Once the ownership information  is verified, you are free to add and edit the content of your map listing any time.

There isn’t much required to get a listing, but the results can be fantastic.  You can be assured that your business information will be found with local searches.

Next time, I’ll discuss some additional webmaster tools that should be considered, and in the coming weeks we’ll begin to cover Search Engine Optimization of your website.  The entire key to a successful internet marketing strategy is to ensure that those that are looking for what you do or sell can easily find you when they’re looking.

Until next time,

Greg Bolger
OSG Marketing