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  • Guest Post: How Article Marketing Can Help You Even If You Own a Local Business

    Getting global exposure for your website and reaching customers all over the world are two perks of Article Marketing, but what if global domination is not your thing?

    One of my long-time newsletter subscribers recently emailed me and asked:

    What if you own a dry cleaning business in Madison, Wisconsin?

    Or you’re a real estate agent in Ontario, Canada?

    Or you operate a bakery in Marrakech, Morocco?

    If you own a local business and you want to attract customers who are in your neighborhood or city, can article marketing still work for you?

    My answer = Yes!

    Many of my article marketing clients at own businesses that have local clients and customers. They use article marketing to increase their web presence, bolster their website rankings in the search engines, establish themselves as an expert in their niche, and also to generate more targeted traffic to their website.

    So, although you may not be looking for national or international attention, you can still benefit from a targeted article submission campaign. Now, when I say “targeted traffic”, I mean that the people who are visiting your website are the type of prospects who might be truly interested in your business. They are not just random passers-by.

    How can you get targeted traffic for your local business using article marketing?

    To be sure that the traffic you receive is targeted, write about your area of expertise and in your resource box (that’s the author bio that sits below your article) specify the location of your business. This would tell the reader that you only work with people in that location.

    Also, if appropriate you could write some articles that specifically deal with your industry in your location. For example, if you are a Real Estate agent in Ontario, Canada, there may be some unique aspects of buying or selling a house that are specific to Ontario.

    Here’s one article idea: “10 Upcoming Neighborhoods in Ontario, Canada That You Should Consider Buying a House In”

    Then the article would have to deliver on the promise that the title makes. Please resist the urge to mention your location in the title and then write an article that offers generalized info. If you mention your location in the title, you need to provide specific info about that location.

    What You Must Remember When You Are Trying to Get Local Attention Using Article Marketing

    The main thing to remember is that while we talk about a “global audience”, every one of us who is doing article marketing wants to attract a certain type of person–the type of person who is most likely to be interested in our business.

    I don’t know of any website owner who wants every Tom, Dick and Harriet coming to his or her site.

    Whether you have a local business or an Internet business that operates worldwide, you still have a target market, and you need to write your articles with that specific group in mind.

    So, don’t let the “global exposure” idea intimidate or mislead you. When done correctly, article marketing generates targeted traffic.

    You can get traffic that is targeted to your specific location (if that is what you’re going for).

    You can get traffic that is targeted to your industry.

    You can get traffic that is targeted to people with very specific needs.

    You can get traffic that is targeted to people with specific interests.

    So start writing articles for your local business. If you’re stuck, grab my Instant Article Writing Templates at

    Article Marketing Expert Eric Gruber uses the power of articles to create online opportunities for small business owners who want more publicity, prospects and profits. Now, you can get his instant article writing templates that will help you write your articles in 30 minutes or less. Get 3 of his favorite article writing templates for free at

    All opinions expressed in guest blog postings are those of the specific post’s author, and may or may not reflect those of Brian Combs or ionadas local.

  • Does Your Business Need Local SEO?

    Approximately eighteen months ago, the agency I was with at that time was hired by a company in the vacation travel space. They were seeing a twenty percent drop in traffic from Google, and a nearly twenty-five percent drop in sales from Google.

    Meanwhile, their internally-developed ranking tools were telling them that everything was fine. They were third on Keyword A that month, and they had been third on Keyword A the previous month. This was substantively the case for the several thousand keywords they watched.

    Among other things, they hired us to determine what had happened.

    The change was that Google had started returning a map with ten business listings for the majority of their keywords, which referred to specific geographies around the country. This map was pushing down the traditional, organic search listings to the point that unless you were the first or second listing, you were “below the fold”, meaning one had to scroll down one’s monitor to see the listing.

    This map became known as the “10-pack”, and are driven by the Google Local Business Center. (Note: the 10-pack has recently become a 7-pack.)

    One of the constants in SEO is that the further down the page you are listed, the less traffic you receive. Consequently, the addition of the 10-pack was a substantial change to Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). I would argue that it’s the biggest change since Google started placing paid listings above the organic listings on certain queries.

    Most disturbing for my client was that not only was traffic from Google dropping, but sales from Google were dropping at a higher rate. Clearly, it was the most valuable traffic that was being lost.

    Local SEO (aka Google Maps optimization is a new type of SEO that focuses on causing companies’ Google Local Business Center listings to be returned for particular queries.

    So, does your company need local SEO?

    If you wish to generate website visits, phone calls, or foot traffic from people in particular geographies, then local SEO is likely appropriate for your business.

    To test this theory, you might search on Google for your most important keywords. Is the 7-pack (or one of its cousins) coming up? Even if it isn’t, if your keywords contain local intent, the map will likely be added in the future.

    You even might be able to cause your Google Local Business Center listing to be returned for particular keywords, if you work the system correctly.

    But that’s a topic for a later post.

  • Guest Post: Using the Internet to Tell Your Customers About Special Offers

    Thanks to the Internet, there’s no longer any need to spend money on mailing postcards to your customers to announce sales and special offers.

    If you have set up your web marketing capabilities, you can simply tweet on Twitter and send an email blast through your email marketing service.

    Let’s look at an example:

    Imagine you own a local fabric store and you have just received a much larger shipment of cotton plaids than you expected. Where will you store the inventory? (And we’re not even talking inventory carrying costs.)

    Instead you tweet in 97 characters (leaving you 140 more characters to add your website URL, etc.):

    Large shipment of cotton plaids with no place to store. Come in today for 50% off these fabrics.

    Then you send out a somewhat longer email message explaining your predicament with the same offer. And how have you gotten the email addresses to which to send out this message?

    You’ve gotten the email addresses through an email opt-in system on your website in which you offer, for example, a 10% off coupon if the person gives you his/her email address. And the email marketing software system you use stores the addresses in a database, helps you format your email message so that it more easily gets through spam filters, sends out the message for you, and keeps track of open rates.

    Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have a website for which you can easily make changes, you’ll also post the announcement in large type on your home page. Anyone clicking through to your website after seeing the tweet or getting the email message will be reminded of why he or she is visiting the site.

    By using your website and email marketing system and by sending tweets on Twitter, you can easily make special offers that help you out and make your customers happy.

    Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is an Internet business consultant whose company website is If you liked this article, you’re going to love her free report on “The Top 3 Internet Marketing Elements” – download the report now from

    All opinions expressed in guest blog postings are those of the specific post’s author, and may or may not reflect those of Brian Combs or ionadas local.

  • White Paper: Avoid Local SEO Mistakes

    A quick glance at the Google Maps Help Pages shows how easy it is to run into problems when optimizing your local business listings.

    A few of the current entries include:

    • What happened to my business listing in local results?
    • Rec’d Postcard from Google: Password Entered in Invalid
    • Problem With Local Business Listing…
    • Address shows the wrong place now
    • Our business has disappeared from Google Maps. What happened?

    While many of these problems are not the fault of the business, some are certainly self-inflicted, whether due to violating Google’s terms and conditions or due to sending confusing signals to the system. Local businesses of all sizes should read our new white paper on Avoiding Local SEO Mistakes so that they don’t have to wait fruitlessly for a reply from the understaffed and overworked customer support department at Google Maps.

  • Are Google Local Listing Ads the Death of Internet Yellow Pages

    Last week, Google announced Local Listing Ads, a paid alternative to the free business listings within Google Maps. The ads sit above the free maps listings, but are smaller than traditional AdWords, and are below the top AdWords listing, at least in many cases.

    In the above example, the listings marked with bubbles #2 and #3 are Local Listing Ads.

    Currently, the test is running in San Francisco and San Diego only, but I expect the test area to spread quickly, if Google views it as a success.

    Google Local Listing Ads represent a significant threat to Internet Yellow Pages such as CitySearch and Yelp. The IYPs rely heavily on organic search traffic from Google that is directed to their advertisers. In fact, in many cases they sell on the idea that advertising with their service is a way to have one’s company come up in the organic listings (albeit a page from the IYP’s site, not a page from the advertiser’s site).

    And, for a few years now, this model has worked well. The IYPs have well established sites with lots of links, and they know how to optimize their pages for the search engines. Advertisers with the IYP have received a great deal of targeted traffic.

    But with the Google Maps listings being added to Google Universal Search, the organic listings are generally pushed below the fold (even on a large monitor).

    The IYP countered this by purchasing AdWords to continue to push traffic to their site.

    Google Local Listing Ads could be a major problem, however. If they work as Google hopes, small, local businesses will go directly to Google to purchase advertising. And if the traffic at the IYP drops, the advertisers may drop that channel.

    There is no guarantee that they will work as Google hopes, however. Small businesses require definite hand-holding when it comes to advertising, and customer service has never been Google’s strong point. The IYP’s however, are generally quite good at customer service.

    They are also out in the community actively selling, while Google has always relied on its advertisers coming to Google without much individual enticement.

    It’s too early to say where this all will go, but hopefully the IYPs will view it as an object lesson in the dangers of relying solely on Google for your business model.

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