4 Essential SEO Strategy Elements for Service-Based Businesses

Unique Elements Required for a Service-based Business to Rank Properly in the Search Engines.While big multinational companies employ SEO strategies to gain clients and customers from all over the world, a small business who deals only with customers in its geographic region only wants local leads.This article looks at what you must have in your SEO strategy if you’re one of those smaller businesses and you’re trying to gain visibility with clients local to you.1. Your websiteLook at your website and see if you can tell where your business is located and who it services.Your target area should be prevalently noted in the Home page copy, your contact page, as well as in the footer. You can even incorporate it into your business name or URL.The idea is of course to make sure that when someone gets to your website looking for what you provide, they are also affirmed you service their area.Put these terms in your META data too. It makes a difference in reaching local customers doing specific searches for your city or business service area. Additionally, when you create individual pages for each service you provide, work the locations serviced into the headlines and copy.2. Google My BusinessIf you haven’t already done so you should create a Gmail account for yourself, so you can easily log into all of Google’s apps and products.Google My Business is one such tool available for free that gets your business pinned on Google Maps and if Google sees the right signals you’ll show up high in the local rank results too. The local rank results are those results you’ll see when Google has understood your search query to be location specific.Try typing ‘plumbers near me’ into Google and you’ll likely see a few ads and some localized listings before you see the organic search results. This could be 1 – 3 ads or 3 or 4 local listings depending on how competitive the market is.Those local listings are valuable to your business and by creating and verifying your business with Google you’ll have at least initiated the steps it takes to get listed in those local listings.Once you have the account, fill in everything you can. Provide photos and use your service and locality keywords in the description and anywhere else you see a sincere opportunity.3. Local CitationsLocal citations are when your business is listed in local directories. You’ll likely only ever need to do this once and it’s very easy.Just look up your location with the word ‘directories’ after. There are some obvious ones like Yelp but you may find some niche directories for your locality as well as your service too.Don’t ever pay for these as those paid directories will have already been flagged by Google when it reviews their site. Paying for links or citations will always harm your ranking efforts.4. ReviewsWhen it comes to local customers, reviews are golden. They’re testimonials that other potential clients can trust. Requesting these from previous customers is totally fine; however, falsifying them is not.Don’t have them log into their Gmail account from your computer to leave a review or Google will see that your reviews all come from the same IP address and the reviews then won’t help your rank.There are plenty of other things you can do as well but those 4 points are staples in any local SEO strategy and if you’re a service-based business you’ll need them in order to get the right traffic.Of course, if you’re looking to really dominate the rank results and ensure you’ve got a solid strategy you’re going to want to hire someone providing professional search engine optimization. They can take things further as well as actively maintain the efforts needed to let Google know you provide what you do, where you do it, while you spend your time actually providing your service!

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Why Real Estate Marketing Fails Too Often

“Real estate marketing,” especially in real estate investor marketing, is an essential ingredient to finding motivated sellers and potential deals. If you don’t spend the time and money doing it correctly, you have just wasted your time and money! There’s not any reason to think that big results will happen from little invested. Just like the old saying, “If you sow sparingly, you’ll also reap sparingly.”But just “casting your seed to the wind” doesn’t work either! It must be well “targeted,” just like any other real estate marketing and it must be direct to the target.It must be personal. You ask, “How personal can I get with someone I’ve never met before?” Do your homework. What kind of information can you get about the targeted prospect you’re mailing to? What matters to them? What are they fearful of? What are they trying to avoid? How do they feel about the subject matter you’ll be presenting in a letter or postcard to them?The other “features” that every real estate marketing plan must include is: What benefits are you offering that your competition may not be? How are you going to solve their problem? If they have no problem, then you can’t expect to get a response from your mailing. Maybe they’re not ready at the moment of the reading of your offer, but they may be “down the road.”This is where the importance comes into play by how personal you can communicate in the letter or direct mail piece you’re sending. If they sense you’re just like every other “vulture” out there, trying to wait till they’re drawing their last breathe to pounce on them like a lion on deer, then you will have wasted your time and money! Plus, you will have assured failure in future mailings to the same prospect.When you write to a potential prospect, keeping it “real” is the absolute best way to approach in your writing style. Too many “so called” guru experts fail to mention how important this is. It’s not about who you are and what you can do for them and how quick you can do it. So many think on the level of “I’m the greatest and you’ll of course want to deal with me because I’m going to make you a deal you can’t refuse.” People are desperate at times, but even then, they will NOT deal with someone they don’t like or trust! Why should they? It’s strange how sometimes when we go out with our “real estate investor marketing” caps on, we seem to forget that we don’t have to “play a role” like a Hollywood actor, but just be ourselves… unless, you’re just a mean son of a gun!”Real estate marketing as an investor is different than being a “Realtor” and marketing, but there’s something they do, that we as investors should start to pick up on. They work to develop “personal connections” with their potential prospects. How much time and money do some of them spend? LOTS! Have you ever asked yourself if it works?The answer is of course…. YES! The ones I know that send the little “tips” newsletters are always keeping “themselves” in the forefront of your mind. They know that they’re “establishing” a relationship with you and that when you or a friend or family member need a Realtors services, no matter when that may be, you will automatically think of your “friend.” Notice, I said you’ll think of your “friend!” Have you had lunch together recently? No. Do you hang out at the ball park together? No. Do you even call each other every other week? No. But that doesn’t matter because with “personalized,” “consistent” contact (via newsletter), he/she have developed a psychological and emotional bond that “creates a level of commitment” on your part to call your friend when you need his services. Somehow, our conscience wouldn’t have it any other way. Think about these crucial little “keys” in your next efforts in real estate marketing. You’ll be glad you did!

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How To Get The Best Life Insurance Rates For Seniors?

The insurance market over the last two decades has opened up appreciably to offer attractive rates on life insurance policies for seniors. This was not the case before when insurers charged very high premiums for people in this niche age group. With a comprehensive life policy, seniors can now receive substantial coverage. The funds from the death benefits will help cover for funeral expenses, estate planning and will also enable the policyholder to leave behind a sizeable share of money for the beneficiaries to cover for mortgage, loans, grandkids college fund and other expenses.Life insurance rates for seniors The rates of any life policy increase, as you grow older. In many ways it is better to arrange for a comprehensive life insurance policy as soon as possible. As a result 65 year healthy senior will have to pay considerably higher rates than a 45-year-old healthy person. Yet there are still many attractive life packages available for seniors to choose from. For instance for a healthy non smoking male of 65 years with a height of 5’11 weighing 175 pounds, would have to probably pay anywhere between $180 to $340 on a monthly basis for a 15 year life package with $300,000 as death benefits. Similarly for a life package with $100,000 as death benefits, the premium rates for the senior may be anywhere between $60 to $125 on a monthly basis. Though these life insurance rates for seniors are on the higher side, they are worth it when you consider the number of benefits that come with it.Guaranteed life insurance for seniorsIf for some reason you have been denied a traditional life policy, you can then apply for a guaranteed life insurance. Quite often, insurance companies tend to deny individuals conventional insurance policies, if they find out the person is suffering from a life threatening medical condition. As a senior you can go in for a guaranteed life insurance and get accepted, as the policy does not require the applicant to go through any medical tests. Although it should be noted that the premium rates for this type of policy is generally higher than traditional life policies. Coverage benefits offered in this insurance can range anywhere between $5,000 to $50,000.Tips to help get the best life insurance rates for seniorsLook for multiple quotes on the Internet for companies that offer attractive life insurance policies for seniors. All you need to do is fill out some background information and zip code details on one of the insurance sites and you can instantaneously generate multiple quotes on life policies being sold in your locality. The quotes nowadays are also presented in a tabular form, which makes it easier for visitors to compare competing products with one another. Create a shortlist of policies that you feel are a perfect match for your profile and budget.Now study in detail the terms and conditions of the policies that are a part of your short list. Go to the individual company sites of all these life products and generate more accurate quotes this time around. This way you would have developed a better understanding of the life insurance policies that are on offer to you and the rates that you would have to pay to buy them.It is also a good idea to get in touch with an independent agent who can guide you towards the right life policy in the senior’s category. Armed with a thorough knowledge of the insurance industry they would even be able to recommend suitable alternatives by looking at your medical history. For instance, an insurance company would offer lower rates on life insurance for seniors who have their BP levels within a certain count. The agent would be aware of this clause and can make a suitable recommendation for you.Before signing on the dotted line, make it a point to be thorough with all the clauses that come with you life insurance package. If you have any doubts do not refrain from asking your agent for any clarification.

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Truth Issues – Manipulating Digital Data

What are some ways digitized output can be manipulated to fool people?The enormous capacities of today’s storage devices have given photographers, graphics professionals, and others a new tool the ability to manipulate images at the pixel level, For example, photographers can easily do morphing to transform one image into another, using image-altering software such as Adobe Photoshop. In morphing, a film or video image is displayed on a computer screen and altered pixel by pixel, or dot by dot. As a result, the image metamorphoses into something else a pair of lips morphs into the front of a Toyota, for example, or an owl into a baby. The ability to manipulate digitized output images and sounds has brought a wonderful new tool to art. However, it has created some big new problems in the area of credibility, especially for journalism. How can we know that what we’re seeing or hearing is the truth? Consider the following.Manipulation of Sound Could I tell whether or not sound has been manipulated?In 2004, country music artist Anita Cochran released some new vocals, including a duet, “(I Wanna Hear) & Cheating’ Song,” with Conway Twitty who had died a decade before the song was written. The producers pulled snippets of Twitty’s voice from his recording sessions, put them on a computer hard drive in digital form, and used software known as Pro Tools to patch the pieces together. Ten years earlier Frank Sinatra’s 1994 album Duets paired him through technological tricks with singers like Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnclli, and Bono of U2. Sinatra recorded solos live in a recording studio. His singing partners, while listening to his taped performance on earphones, dubbed in their own voices. These second voices were recorded not only at different times but often, through distortion-free phone lines, from different places. The illusion in the final, recording is that the two singers are standing shoulder to shoulder.Newspaper columnist William Safire called Duets “a series of artistic frauds.” Said Safire, “The question raised is this: When a performer’s voice and image can not only be edited, echoed, refined, spliced, corrected, and enhanced, but can be transported and combined with others not physically present, what is performance?,.. Enough of additives, plasticity, virtual venality, give me organic entertainment.” Some listeners feel that the technology changes the character of a performance for the better. Others, how-ever, think the practice of assembling bits and pieces in a studio drains the music of its essential flow and unity.Whatever the problems of misrepresentation in art, however, they pale beside those in journalism. What if, for example, a radio station were to edit a stream of digitized sound so as to misrepresent what actually happened?

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Guide on How to Make Money From Your Art For Free, From Start to Finish

It’s time to take your doodles and scribbles and turn them into cash by selling your art online, and now it can be done without any cost to you at all. Do you like to draw? Paint? Did you know you can make money from your hobby and not be a professional artist?Thanks to the internet and improvements in technology almost anyone can now self-publish their work, whether it is a book or a painting. One of the largest new markets being provided via the internet is Print On Demand, sometimes known as Publish On Demand (POD for short). To put it simply, POD is when a manufacturer provides the raw material (paper, coffee mug, shirt, etc) and you provide the content (writing, painting, graphic, etc. Some POD suppliers even provide an online store or gallery for you to sell from, some which are provided free while others will charge a very small monthly fee. They handle the product manufacturing, shipping, and billing, but it is up to you to create the content and to manage the marketing.While setting up my own art store, PackRat Graphics at Zazzle, I did a lot of the same research you are probable working on now. By sharing some of the information I collected in this blog, I hopefully will save you some time and frustration. I am going to assume you already know how to do the media of your choice, but how do you get it on the computer and on the internet for others to see and buy?Where to sell your art online?While there are a lot of different Print On Demand publishers available, during my research I narrowed my choices down to RedBubble, Imagekind, Zazzle, and CafePress. I am not going to do a pro and con comparison of the available POD publishers; others have already done this and have done a much better analysis than I could. But if you want to see numbers try the following review website, Art Business AdviceEach Print On Demand service has their own particular strengths and weaknesses, and are targeted to different crowds, markets, and artists. But for fine art prints RedBubble and ImageKind have already established themselves has the leaders of that particular market. These two are well established art communities, with a large number of members and very good internet traffic rates, but I was looking to hit a wider market share than just “fine art” and I personally tend to lean more toward Graphic Design rather than traditional fine art. I finally settled on Zazzle. Zazzle and CafePress both provide other types of products than just fine art prints, but Zazzle gives you a full unlimited gallery with as many products as you can design, for free. CafePress is better known, but for a full gallery or store you need to pay about $7 a month. But I was interested in the challenge of starting an online business for as little cost as possible so I went with Zazzle. I may open up a CafePress store some time in the future to test it out.Once you decide on what type of artwork you will be selling, and what market you want to target it should be easier to narrow down your choices of which POD distributor you will be using.Get your art on your computerOk, now that you know WHERE and WHAT you are going to sell, HOW are you going to get it there? Here’s a checklist of stuff you will need.Required* computer (if I didn’t list it someone would point it out)* internet connection* photo editing programSince you reading this the computer and internet connection requirements are already taken care of, so that only leaves one thing, a photo editing program.A lot of people think PhotoShop when they read “photo editing program”, and if you already have it that’s great, you are good to go. And I’m sorry, but I don’t count Microsoft Paint as editing program. So let’s keep this to the theme of the blog and examine some alternatives.My number one recommendation is GIMP. I use it more than I do Photoshop Elements. GIMP and PhotoShop Elements each have their strong points, and are useful for different things. GIMP can be a little confusing at first, since the program operates via “blocks”, separate windows depending on the function. For example the toolbox, image, and layers will all be in their own separate windows. Requires some minimizing and maximizing at times but since it’s free it’s worth the cost. It is even compatible with a tablet and pen if you want to paint or draw directly on the computer.If GIMP seems a little intimidating or complex, a simpler alternative is Paint.NET. Using it is pretty self explanatory. If you are interested in vector graphics like Corel Draw, a free alternative is Inkscape. Even if you don’t intend to produce commercial products with it, its still fun just to play around with.With this collection of programs, you can do just about everything someone else can do with PhotoShop whether you are photo editing or creating computer graphics from scratch, but at least you still have some money left.Optional* scanner* digital cameraThese are listed as optional since it depends on what media you are working in. Neither one is needed obviously if you are concentrating strictly on computer graphics. But if your media is painting or sketching, you will need access to one or the other. If you plan on just doing a few art pieces, it would be cheaper to pay a service to scan them (Wal-mart, Kinkos, etc). But since I believe you should create digital backups of any serious work of art anyway, I consider this as a cost of living expense and not a business expense. And the need for a digital camera is again dependent on what media you are working in and of course your ability to use it.HERE I have already compiled a larger list of free and open source programs that I believe are useful to have. And if you are interested in expanding into 3D graphics, HERE is an introductory article I wrote that may provide some useful information. Both of these links are to pages on my website PackRat Graphics.com.Is that all it takes to sell art online?So by now you should have your POD picked out, some editing programs, and you have your art creations. So now is it just log in, upload your work, post your products, and you’re done? Is it time to sit back, relax, and wait for the money to come in after all your hard work creating your art?Nope, sorry, you are not even half way done. The internet is unbelievably HUGE, and your gallery or product page is a tiny little speck on the World Wide Web. No one is going to know about your work unless YOU tell them. Some PODs do some of the work for you by getting your gallery to show up in a search engine, but that’s only if someone searches for the exact name of your gallery or shop page. Hopefully this isn’t where you drop off the hook when I tell you creating your art is barely half the work involved. You can, and probably will, spend more than half of your “business time” marketing and networking, and NOT doing the enjoyable stuff like painting or drawing.Are you still there? Good.The marketing and networking side of an internet business is going to be something you need to do, whether you have put money into your online business or not. For Print On Demand products, there are some specialized marketing strategies just for this. For example Zazzle is partnered with Facebook allowing for what is called a Merch Store application to be used to promote your stuff. Java applications can be put on your MySpace page, blog, or website to show off your stuff (just don’t Spam on MySpace or Facebook, that’s rude and will get your MySpace account suspended).CafePress also has some affiliated applications for both of these social networking sites. And some of the POD communities have, on their own, put together and established separate websites strictly for promoting that particular POD designers and artists.The larger POD communities work together in promoting each other, even rewarding you for referrals. So don’t be all Me! Me! Me! Imagine getting paid when it is not even your product that sold because you supplied a link to SOMEONE ELSE’s work on your gallery, website, or blog. So get active in your POD’s communities, make friends, socialize, and start building your network. It takes time so I’m telling you now, don’t expect huge changes overnight.It is going to be up to you just how much time you spend on marketing, but always consider that marketing is one of those activities that you only get out what you put in. A little effort = little reward, a lot of effort = lots of reward. There are several strategies you can do to help get you exposure.Blogs – for now it is shown that blogs are IT when it comes to exposure and promotion. There are a variety of free blog suppliers available, and if you decide to make a blog for promoting and marketing you are going to have to learn something called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is one of those things that determine whether you are on the front page of a search or on page 120. The blogs with good SOE are near the front and are the ones that get all the traffic. And in internet marketing traffic is the Number 1, end-all be-all goal. Even a stick man drawn with a crayon will sell if it has enough traffic and enough people see it. For learning SEO and applying it to blogs I haven’t found a better place than reading almost everything this guy writes; Blogger BasicsHe also provides some good tips on where and how to start promoting your blog, with various article registration sites and link exchanges. The following are other sites you might consider incorporating into your marketing mix.Squidoo – is very similar to a blog, but seems more centered toward shopping, business promotion, and money earning, and that’s exactly what you want. They even have modules to incorporate into your lens, Amazon, eBay, de.icou.us, etc. Your webpage there is called a lens, and not only can you promote your own products but others as well. The more related content you have on your lens the better chance you have of showing up in a search.Spynbuy – is a social selling site. Think of it as the yellow pages of online business, but besides using regular text ads you can do picture and even video ads of your products.Thisnext.com – A website for discovering, recommend, sharing, and promoting products. Kind of like Digg but for products. Also allows for shopcasting on your website or blog.Research Product Related promotion/shopping sites – there are several shopping sites that are product centric, whether it’s t-shirts or fine art.Digg and Stumbleupon – if it’s compatible with your gallery, at the very least install it on your blog or lens if you have one, it won’t hurt.Google base – one of the first things I would suggest is to see if your POD gallery and products are Google base compatible (allows for the use of RSS Feeds). By registering a feed into Base you are inputting your products directly into Google Product Search. It also provides reports on how often your product shows in a search, and if the searcher clicked on your product(s). Very useful for determining which are your “dead” products and which are your active products in case you have gallery size or storage issues. The product searches are based upon the attributes you attach to your product. Attributes, or keywords, help search bots identify what type of product you have and where to put it in a search.Example, for fantasy painting of a dragon the keywords or attributes could be;
fantasy dragon mythological medieval “dragon art” “dragon illustration”
“fantasy creatures” etc…..It is very important to keep your attributes related, search bots are smart and will flag your product as Spam and not list it if you over do it or exaggerate on the keywords. Google Base has an excellent Help Section that can help you set up your product feed correctly, or see your POD’s forums.The Website Owner Zone – Free social network for web owners to make friends while learning to increase traffic, SEO, exchanging links/banners, making money and more.And this are just a tiny portion of some of the marketing strategies and mixes that are available free on the internet. Just keep in mind the market you are targeting and adjust your promotions accordingly.Miscellaneous Tips-n-Tricks:* PayPal – especially useful if you live outside the United States and your POD is in the U.S. This way you can avoid the exchange charge by your local bank.* RSS feeds – feeds allow for repeat visitors to your sites/blogs. Repeat business is Good! Even if the visitor doesn’t purchase anything the first 25 times they come to your site, they may purchase something on the 26th time. And even those non-purchasing visits are useful to you; it shows to search engines that your site is active and in-use.* Email – simply a useful business organizational concept. Set up a free email account under your business/gallery’s name. Even if you don’t have a real life business and are just doing this for fun, the separate email account is very useful for keeping your business email and account activities separate from your personal life.* EBay – a lot of PODs are not directly compatible with incorporating into EBay, but if you want to go through the trouble you can purchase your own product, then turn around and post it on EBay, if for anything good advertisement.* I will list more tips or tricks as I discover them.As you can see marketing and networking can take up a lot of your time and effort. 2/3 of this article is about those two subjects, with only a third on how and where you can sell your art.Selling your art on the web will reward you with exactly what you put into it. The more you market and network, the better chance you have of making a sale. But after that first sale you may end up spending all of your spare time thinking of new ways to market your product and how to get it noticed so you can get more sales. Be warned though that the first sale may not happen for weeks, or it may happen the very first day. But there is nothing like the feeling of knowing someone was willing to pay money for something YOU made.If you have any questions or would like something from above clarified I will do my best to provide an answer or more information as needed.Sell your art online; make money doing something you enjoy, all without having to spend money to do it, how can it get any better than that?

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