It’s not an easy recipe. I would suggest hiring a cook instead of trying it yourself. However, a general idea of what goes into this recipe of online success for a local business is important for business owners.

1. The Goal – High Rankings in Search Results. The most important form on online marketing for local business is to be found when a person searches for the type of goods or services the business offers. Businesses that appear high in the rankings on the first page of search results gets more clicks – visitors to the website. That is the all important first step in converting a searcher to a customer. This type of marketing is call Search Engine Marketing (SEM). A recipe for success well followed can result in these high rankings and more business prospects.

2, The Recipe – Search Engine Algorithms. Search engines, like Google, use algorithms to establish rankings of businesses in search results. Think of algorithms as mathematical formulas, or “recipes.” Let’s break down this recipe further.

3. The Ingredients – Ranking “Factors.” The base components of this online recipe are called ranking factors. These factors total over 200 for Google, and most are not officially published, although experts have figured out most. They include many technical factors with how websites are programmed, and off site factors such as references to the business on Internet directories like Yelp, Kudzu and YP. A most important emerging factor is the quality and quantity of online customer reviews. Knowing the ingredients – the factors – alone probably eliminates most business owners from tying to do this themselves.

4. The Measurements – Weighing the Ranking Factors. Although there are hundreds of ranking factors, the algorithmic formulas do not “weigh” them all the same. An understanding of the key factors allows an expert to place emphasis on the most important ones in executing an online marketing campaign.

5. Cooking Instructions – Timing. For recipes to turn out well, when to add ingredients and how ingredients are added, impact the taste and appearance of the final product. Knowing when to make what moves with the ranking factors is critical.

6. Taste Testing – Consistent Measuring of Results. Just as a chef may taste test his efforts, an experienced SEM marketer is always measuring results. For instance, for our clients, @tlanta inbound checks keyword rankings monthly. This allows us to adjust our work on their behalf – always tweaking the campaign to get better results.

7. The Local Ranking Layer Cake – Not One But Three Algorithms for Local Businesses. I sometimes think local businesses have the most difficult path to success on the Internet. Why? They must be concerned with not one recipe (algorithm), but three. We now measure for our clients monthly how they are doing in Google’s Organic Rankings, Google’s Mobile Rankings, and Google’s Map Rankings (not to mention Yahoo, Yahoo Local, Bing, and Bing Local). Each has a distinct algorithm. So like the  parts of a  layer cake cooked separately and put together for a final product, we have to succeed for our clients in all three algorithms to deliver them the best result.

Maybe your business should let someone else do the cooking? What do you think? Give us a call!

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