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Posts Tagged ‘Local SEO Company Toronto’

Google beefs up local reviews with purchase of ZAGAT

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Google has bought successful restaurant/entertainment review publisher ZAGAT.

The move is likely to make Google Places an even more trusted authority for local, user-generated reviews. Google Places scours the web for any information it can find about every business with a mailing address. It pre-populates information like pictures, descriptions, addresses, telephone numbers, etc. With Google’s purchase of ZAGAT, all of that content is likely to find its way on to Places (if not upcoming Google+ brand profiles).

ZAGAT was founded in 1979 and published its first guide on New York City dining. On their website a note from founders Nina and Tim ZAGAT states that Google and ZAGAT plan to “optimize the potential of the ZAGAT brand while offering ‘new ways’ for consumers to ‘express their opinions’ and ‘make informed decisions.'”

This underscores the importance of reviews for local business owners. Clearly Google found that there are not enough reviews out there, and purchased ZAGAT to kick-start a push for quality reviews to make their way to the web.

What’s interesting is how ZAGAT and Google will offer consumers new ways of expressing their opinions. The possibilities are endless, but surely mobile will play a big role in populating this content. Imagine taking a picture of your meal, adding a video about how great it was and then rating it based on food, décor, service and overall value.

In the meantime, take this as inspiration to ask your customers for a review on Google Places, even try offering an incentive. A little word of mouth goes a long way.

If you build it with images, they will come

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Are you a local business owner struggling to be found online? We’ll, I’ll only feel sorry for you if you aren’t doing everything in your power to control your own destiny.

That’s the beauty of the SEO universe today. Now more than ever, you can directly influence your own search results simply by making your website better – more comprehensive, more thoroughly researched, more up-to-date and more visually appealing. Visitors to your website and search engines such as Google like that.

A study I stumbled upon this week furthers that principle. According to a recent BrightLocal survey about user behavior during local online business searches, 60 per cent of respondents said that images associated with the results made them more likely to contact or at least consider that business.

Images matter. If searchers can’t see your business, they’re less likely to search it. The BrightLocal finding reinforces the emerging truth that a business’ website is just as important as every other promotional aspect. You have your storefront displays, your radio ads, maybe a local TV spot, local newspaper ads – and your website. If you don’t put the same amount of care into your online presentation, you could be losing valuable customers.

Imagine a local business trying to get by with an empty storefront window or with a newspaper ad comprised entirely of text. It would make life awfully difficult for anyone trying to catch a customer’s attention. Failing to respect the same principle on your website could be fatal.

So pay special attention to images on your local business’ website and Google Places Page! Not only should you have images, you should make sure they’re high-quality images. The resolution should be high and the images themselves should be consistent with your brand.

Usability, high quality content and using the right keywords are arguably more important aspects of your site, but it’s now a proven fact that images increase users’ chances to consume all the other goodies your site offers.

Now go out there and turn your site into a visual experience. You’ll be glad you did!

About Ray Litvak:

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s local search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based Content Writer and Local SEO Expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow  your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

Ray writes website content and offers local seo services for businesses across Ontario and the GTA including Toronto, North York, Mississauga, Markham, Vaughan, York Region and beyond.

In SEO, Time is Money

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Stop reading about it. Starting doing it!

That’s the best possible mantra to follow in today’s DIY SEO world. As the old saying goes, time is money. So, if you want to use search engine optimization (SEO) to promote your business and make money, you’d better put more time into doing it and less time into reading about it.

That’s the mistake too many businesses owners make today. The often-misguided consensus in today’s online business landscape is that you need to do your homework and read up on the ever-changing nature of SEO. Since search engines like Google change their ranking algorithms so often (i.e. Google Farmer Update), you better keep up on what the latest and greatest SEO strategies are, right?

In theory, it’s not a bad idea, but it can only take you so far. Sure, you don’t want to dive into SEO without any knowledge. But if you spend all your time reading about SEO theory, you won’t spend enough time doing the very thing you’re learning how to do. And, ironically enough, by the time you start working away at your newly learned SEO techniques, the search engines may have changed their criteria yet again. Getting caught up in the SEO theory game can be very much like running in a hamster wheel.

So how do you buck the trend and start making money with your precious time? First, prioritize. Determine which one or two sources of SEO information are most reputable and insightful. Block off a certain amount of time per week – say, a few hours – to study those sources. But don’t let yourself go past that limit.

Secondly, and most importantly, DO IT. If there’s one thing every SEO expert will tell you, it’s that content is king. The better content you have, the more content you have, the more links you drive to your site, the more exposure you’ll get. That means click-throughs and conversions galore.  Spending your time actually walking the walk with SEO instead of learning from others who talk to the talk is the best way to turn your time into money.

So take a big chunk of the hours you devote to reading and start creating content instead. If you’re too swamped, it’s worth the investment to outsource it to an agency that specializes in SEO Copywriting, like Writing Web Words.

Doing it also means trial and error. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new keywords or content. Keep testing. The beauty of today’s online business is that there are tools to track every tweak you make to a website.

Instead of having someone theorize as to what might be wrong with your SEO tactics, try learning about your successes or failures firsthand. It’s a crazy little maneuver I like to call “doing it.”

About Ray Litvak:

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based Content Writer and Local SEO Expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and places the right words in the right places in your website to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow profit for you business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today.

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