Internet Marketing FAQ’s

Your answer to everything internet marketing related.


What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it’s most commonly referred to (saying it over and over makes my mouth dry), is the process of making your website more easily seen on the search engines (such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.) when people are looking for your product or services. When people search on Google for something you do such as “Nashville Landscaper” or something you sell such as “buy Kindle Fire”, you want your website to show up at the top so you have the best chance for someone to click on you and buy your service or product. SEO is a strategy that helps moves your ranking up in those search engines.


What is Search Engine Marketing?

Search Engine Marketing is any type of marketing that involves a search engine with the two most popular methods being SEO and PPC.


What is PPC?

PPC or Pay-Per-Click, is a payment method for internet advertising. Essentially, your company is advertised through some medium (such as a search engine) and every time your advertisement is clicked by anyone (yes, even a competitor!) you are charged a fee for that click.


What is Conversion?

Conversion is how you turn potential customers into actual customers. In terms of the internet, that means when customers find you (on Google, through local directories, referrals) they aren’t necessarily ready to buy from you just yet. You need to convince them or, convert them. They may need to read your website more, see your prices, or hear what others are saying about your services before they’re comfortable enough to buy from you. Any tool you use to persuade someone to become your customer is a conversion tool. You use these tools to make the potential customer your customer.


What are local listings/search directories?

Local listings and search directories are the same thing. They are websites that have tailored themsleves to be easy to use for people when they are looking for local services. They have mobile websites, apps, or are just user friendly in general to make it easy for people to search for what they need. They usually have online reviews built into them so that people can get feedback from other customers about a particular business. A few you may have heard of are Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Yelp or Citysearch.


What are citations?

Citations, in Local SEO, are mentions of your business on the internet by different websites. Normally, citations come from local search directories or local listings (such as the ones above). Google crawls these websites and if they see your information on Google Places matches up with the information on, let’s say, Yelp, they will tend to rank you higher in Local SEO. Citations use to be a fundamental building block of Local SEO but as the way Google ranks Local SEO has evolved, it seems to be less and less a factor these days. However, I still maintain that it is incredibly important, just not “King” as I use to say.


Why should I invest in SEO:

Read: “Why Should I Invest in SEO”. SEO is the present and the future. Everyone is roaming around with their smartphones, ipads or other mobile devices and making quick decisions. For Global SEO (see definition below), pretty much everyone orders from the internet these days. If you’re a Global SEO, your only real means of being found is on the search engines. If you’re not heavily on Google, your business is going out. For local SEO, instead of calling a friend or consulting the local phone book, consumers are going straight to Google when they need a local service. In fact, research says 97% of consumers are consulting the internet for local services. You need to invest in SEO because, simply put, everyone is looking online. If you’re not online and on Google, your business isn’t going to survive for the future.


What is National or Global SEO?

Global SEO is for companies where their target market is global. Examples would be Amazon, Ebay, any company that has no geographical limitations on who they can sell to or serve. National SEO is in the same vein but only serves clients in a specific country. Contrast this to Local SEO where an auto repair shop in St. Louis obviously can’t service a car in Los Angeles. If want customers from all over the state, nation or world, you need Global or National SEO. It’s worth noting that Google ranks these results on a different equation or “algorithm” than they do Local SEO.


What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is for local based service companies that are trying to reach their customers. For instance, if someone needed a chiropractor in Jacksonville, instead of asking a friend or looking through the yellow pages (seriously?), they’ll just whip out their smart phone and head straight to Google. Not only does the person trust Google as a neutral third party (which is a huge advantage to you) but they also get a chance to see reviews left by others who have visited the same place they want to go. Because of this and many other reasons, Local SEO is the place to be spending your money if you’re a local business (why should I invest in SEO?). It’s worth nothing that Google ranks Local SEO on a different equation or “algorithm” than they do National or Global SEO.


Why should I generate reviews?

It is a proven statistic that word of mouth referrals convert 75% of the time. If I tell four of my friends about your business, three of them are going to call you when they need your services. Reviews are your online word of mouth. Reviews are going to convert at least 70% of people that view them even if they don’t know the person that left that review! Think about yourself. If you were looking for a local business, would you trust the business with five or zero reviews or would you trust the business with twenty plus reviews from actual customers? Yeah, you’re going to call the person with reviews and so are your customers.


Why do I need reputation management?

Once you have a top spot on Google and an abundance of reviews, your listing on Google is worth thousands of dollars easily and for each negative review not handled the proper way, your listing loses value. You need to protect that investment from false, negative and inappropriate reviews from competitors, disgruntled customers and from others in general looking to leave fraudulent reviews to hurt your business’s reputation. Reputation management, this day and age, is paramount.


What is White Hat SEO?

White Hat SEO is a group of principles and strategies to rank your website that search engines do not frown upon and in some cases, actually encourage.


What is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO is a group of principles and strategies to rank your website that are absolutely off limits in the eyes of search engines and carry significant penalties if caught (and most do I believe). Penalties include ranking penalties, being taken out of the index (your website will not show up at all) and other punishments. I encourage everyone, especially local businesses, to steer clear of these.


What is Grey Hat SEO?

Grey Hat SEO is a group of principles and strategies that are hard to define as either black or white. It is sometimes unclear as to whether search engines frown on these policies or are just keeping silent their position silent. However, many times Black Hat SEO’s will try to pass off their tactics as grey to customers. If you hear “Grey Hat” in any conversation, be VERY cautious.


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