Thursday, September 18, 2008

Scranton SEO | From Search Engine Optimization in Scranton to Total Domination

In June of 2008, I had an idea about local Scranton business promotion that looked good. In fact, it looked so good I just had to show it to other Direct Response Internet Marketers. They flipped out! Dozens of them subscribed to a “live” case study of the process I was going through.
    The process itself is deceptively simple: seek out and dominate local search terms with cool backlinks that all point to a single focus. That focus is what I call a Front Door Page. Think of it as the place where a given business can promote the most profitable parts of their business or profession (or any underused capacity thereof).
    Naturally, since the prospective business isn't there yet, the focal page has to be a plain vanilla “placeholder” page, like this one for Scranton Golf Equipment. [Note Well: this is a blog post. By the time you look at that page, it may well have changed to a Front Door Page!]
    The real kicker of this whole approach is how easily one can dominate very profitable niches in Scranton local search, like Chiropractors, Cosmetic Dentists, Fences, Paving Contractors and Plumbers.
    Not every one of these particular niches has the #1 spot in Google every day for a given backlink, placeholder or Front Door Page. They simply dominate the first page of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP's). Practically all the other links on the page are classified listings of one sort or another. That means they have no content value.
    With a combination of blog posts, Web 2.0 references and high Page Rank classified ads (and the right keyword combinations), just about anybody who knows more about Internet Marketing than a rank beginner can do this, too! I call it Total Search Engine Domination: using local SEO to do local SEM (Search Engine Marketing) for “rich niche” businesses and professionals. Have a look at this Web page for more information: Money-Making Websites, LLC

Monday, July 14, 2008

Are We Excited Yet?

Any time you push yourself out of the "Comfort Zone" into the "Learning Zone," you get at least a little excited. Once that new location becomes a bit familiar, however, the excitement can fade. Only the work remains, for the moment. Ahead lies the reward, tantalizingly out of reach.
    In a way, it's like ripening fruit, which is a bit bitter to eat right now, but will be sweet and juicy in time. Life is like that. The things which are sweet at first often become sour after a while, like cotton candy in the mouth. The things which are sour at first become not only sweet, but nutritious. It's a maturing process.
    Hammering out the kinks for the Scranton Front Door Pages is just such a chore. Each of the "placeholder" listings is bouncing around in the search engines like a superball thrown by an overeager 6-year-old. They are literally changing from moment to moment, which makes promoting them something for the near future, but not right now. The only stable references to the listings themselves are through blog posts from "seasoned" blogs like this one and the Wordpress blog that I left laying fallow for many months (but is now revivified and flourishing).
    The willingness to see past the present and envision the future is one of the measures of maturity. Positive consequences are an example of that kind of maturity. Indeed, those who are up to their rump in alligators (who set out to drain the swamp) have a pasture to look forward to. It's fending off the alligators that can diminish enthusiasm for the moment.
    Nevertheless, having the sure and certain knowledge that Bessie the cow will be thanking you (in her cow-like way) for the sweet grass your nascent pasture will provide is just one of the perks you can enjoy. Think of all those alligator steaks you can put in the freezer!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Broomfield Concrete Contractors: Colorado Vacation Fun!

Check Broomfield Concrete Contractors in Google, and whaddya get? The same thing I'd probably get back in Scranton:
  1. Google Local Listings that all look very good -- and fade into the background
  2. Google AdWords spots that try to steal attention away from the pins in the Google map
  3. A bunch of classified ads in the SERP's.
Every organic search result is for somebody else's copy of a Yellow Pages listing for the keyword phrase.
    As an exercise for the class, guess what happens when this post about Broomfield concrete contractors gets indexed and shows up in the SERP's?
    The real value of this effect is for local search in Scranton. Never mind that there's no real competition in this niche -- yet. A local concrete contractor could really clean up if a Direct Response Internet Marketer were to promote his or her business online. That's because Yellow Pages have been surpassed by search engines, when it comes to services. That's right: more than 50% of folks Google for services, rather than haul out the YP book!
    If you're a concrete contractor in the Scranton area, you'd be well advised to check out and see if your competition has snapped up this Front Door Page!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

California Artisan Wine from My Cousin Frank Ashton: Downhill Winery

Our grandfather made wine for the family, lo these many years ago. He made "artisan wine" way before the term "artisan" became a buzzword. In fact, I've got an old photograph of "Pop" pressing grapes -- not with his feet, but in an old winepress. Sebastiano Runza made wine a part of everyday life because that was the way things were done in the Old Country. It's nice to know that feeling and tradition continue today, albeit in California, not in Sicily or Queens, NY.
    Frank (or perhaps he should be thought of as Franco) Ashton does not press the grapes with his feet, either. Quite the modern "artisan" wine maker, he marries the old and new in winemaking to craft vintage and blended wines that represent the finest grapes this side of Old Europe. He works closely with growers to ensure delivery of only the best grapes for winemaking.
    I can remember the good old days, when he was at Cal-Poly SLO. He had grown and harvested a field of fine carrots. I volunteered to help him at some fair or other, washing and peeling carrots for him while he pressed them into carrot juice, one glass at a time. I don't know if he hit his goal for sales, but he sure loved serving up the sweet drink to appreciative customers.
    He's come a long way from there. Go to Downhill Winery and you'll see what I mean about some of the finest California artisan winemaking.
Alla famiglia!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Finally! A Scranton Portal Website that Targets Profitable Local Search Traffic

I'd been examining the idea of doing a local business portal, but all the ones I saw didn't fit what I was planning to do in the local market. This was one of those times where it was either do-it-yourself or pay somebody too much for what you really don't want. Most local portal programs are pre-built with all kinds of things in mind, except one: targeting local traffic that's looking for profitable businesses and professions. I have yet to see anyone making portals for professionals, contractors and other local businesses that spend a ton of money on advertising to people with lots of money to spend. Further, these businesses and professionals spend major ad dollars with very little in the way of measurable results to show for it.
    The common lament from most businesses is, "50% of my ad budget is wasted. I just don't know which 50%! That's because Yellow Pages, billboards, radio & TV spots and the like are not trackable. Sure, you can put in a coupon on your YP ad, but how many dentists are willing to do that? Can you imagine a General Contractor offering a coupon? For what? A free ice crusher?
    Enter the Scranton professional and business portal for targeted local traffic. This portal doesn't have what all the others have -- tons of "feature rich" stuff that doesn't enhance the real value to users or the businesses they want to patronize. Instead, this portal has pre-built template pages that are keyword optimized for specific, profitable local niches where the only competition is business directories, YP listings and classified ads. These are laser-targeted niche pages with SEO techniques and methods that are usually reserved for highly competitive broad markets. In English, that means the pages show up near or at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages almost immediately as is, and will rise to the very top with just a bit of tweaking.
    Now comes the cool part. Those that wants to see what it's like to have that SPOT in the SERP's can see their own website show up there with a simple "call forwarding" change of code on my server (302 redirect -- temporary). It's that kind of result that "sells" the service. As soon as the business pays the extravagant rental fee I will charge, their own portal page will occupy that spot in the Search Results. I'll even throw in a free Google Local Listing to go with it!
    There will even be "metrics" for the performance of these landing pages as they are. Each one has a little poll the user can participate in -- which leaves a complete record in the server's stats for the site that SOMEBODY CLICKED A LINK ON THE PAGE -- and it wasn't me! When local businesses see that kind of measurable result, they rejoice -- or they ought to. Try getting that from a Sunday edition newspaper display ad!
    I'll even revamp their existing site (if they have one) so that they keep the good ranking in the search results. If they need a website, I have colleagues who do that sort of thing for me. The important part is my continuing support and maintenance of their sites' SEO -- Search Engine Optimization. I'm from the school of SEO that treats it as a blood sport!
    That whole Kevin Costner "If you build it, they will come" thing is wrong! In this case, "If you rent it, they will keep coming" is more like it!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Local Targeted Traffic for Scranton in the Search Engines

After a year and a half of slugging it out in the Search Engines for affiliate marketing and promoting my info-products, I realized something: dominating local search for targeted traffic is a breeze! In fact, some of the heavy-handed stuff we Direct Marketers do to cover all our bases can actually cover the whole first page of Google. It's like swatting a fly with a house!
    Naturally, there are very competitive niches that don't respond to a nudge or a tickle from a single, well-crafted keyword phrase on a landing page or a Social Networking site. Those broader niches need a bit more push, since they attract a lot of "browsers" who aren't looking to take local action. It's the motivated-to-act search terms that are so easy to get.
    For example, [ Scranton restaurants ] have a lot of good competition, but try going ethnic (see the post before this). Put up a blog post and you get on the first page in less than an hour! That beats Old School 1-hour photo developing and rush dry-cleaning!
    Even better, you can slide in a one-way backlink in your post for your intended target and give that domain a bit more authority. Going all out with classifieds on the "secret list" of Direct Marketing classified sites, Social Networking pages & bookmarking services, "geo location", additional blogs with posts, a press release and an article on and you've blown away all the Yellow Pages listings, business directories and local portals in one, fell swoop!
    I swear, I'm going to start giving workshops to the local professionals and show them how to use this stuff to drive motivated seekers of their services through their doors...

A Brazilian Restaurant in Scranton: Ipanema Grille, My Neighbor.

It's usually more than a short hop to a very good restaurant, no matter where you live. In this case, I walk half a block and I'm at Ipanema Grille. This is Scranton's best restaurant to enjoy a novel service: Rodizio. It's roasted meats on skewers that are presented and carved right at the table for you. It's all part of the traditional Brasilian Churrascaria (Steak House) experience.
    For the less adventurous, you can also get great American cuisine and a taste of Northern Italy, too! This is a family owned and run business that takes great pride in good service. The bar is fully stocked -- I recommend you try a Caipirinha or the Sangria. Desserts are sumptuous: try the cheesecake (Pudin de queijo) or Brazilian Chocolate Liquor Cake! I had an out-of-town guest with me when I first tried the place, and that cake was amazing!
    They're open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Call for reservations, especially on the weekends. Take a peek at their website for contact information, the menus, the pictures and full explanation of what Rodizio is all about: Ipanema Grille.

Sincerely, Vince Runza

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Squidoo Lens for Local Business Websites in Scranton and Beyond

Along with blog posts like this one, having as many alternative ways to find your working Web page is a very important part of SEM -- Search Engine Marketing. One very effective way to add to your marketing efforts besides having websites is a Squidoo lens that points to your business. Along with the "social networking" exposure, Google loves Squidoo!
    Local searches for products, services and the like are actually outperforming "Yellow Pages" type publications and other print advertising. Plus, websites for local businesses that are keyword optimized and don't come across as "spammy" to the spiders can outrank major business directories in the SERP's (Search Engine Result Pages). This includes social networking site pages like Squidoo lenses.
    A local business located right across the street from me got a rude shock when he viewed his latest edition of the Yellow Pages. The listing misspelled his company name in the display ad, the alphabetical listing and the White Pages listing, too! A "hat trick" of mistakes that can't be repaired until the next edition, next year. With a Squidoo lens, if you goof it up, fixes are a snap and get published immediately!
    If you're a marketer who uses an online presence to promote your business (just your websites) and you don't know about Squidoo -- shame on you! You're leaving money on the table, dude! If you haven't tried to promote your business online in any fashion and want to try yourself without committing to a website, hosting, fancy content or paid SEO services, try a lens! Click on the title of this post and you'll be whisked away to Squidoo's lens on this subject. You can get more info about your online presence for both local, Scranton business websites and everywhere else here:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Local Websites, International Reach -- Niche Website Creation

It's a bit tough to hit the streets and approach local businesses about building a website if you don't like "cold calling." Unless you have an existing relationship or a referral from a current client, you may very well be treated like a salesman. The fact is, you're a fellow business owner who happens to make websites that make money.
    Looking at this from a different perspective, there's a way to do this business on an International level -- target a niche of businesses and specialize in building websites for each local area you can reach. Think about this: if you pick accounting, for example, you can seriously consider making a website that's SEO friendly, powerfully directed with a call to action and with backlinks from authority websites for just about every locality in the world! Further, you can develop sub-niches like business accounting, personal finance, tax accounting, etc., for each area. Obviously, there's more to business than accounting. Find a niche for yourself that has these sub-niches, and you'll be golden!
    Here's how I'm starting to develop this business model: Money-Making Websites, LLC. If your online business efforts are not up to your expectations, may I suggest you explore this method of monetizing your knowledge, expertise and experience with helping a niche of businesses get online with a direct marketing approach.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Local Small Business Websites in Scranton, PA, Made by a Marketer!

If you have a local "brick and mortar" business (in Scranton, PA, for example) and a website built by a designer who wins awards for design, be afraid -- be very afraid! While your site may look beautiful, can people find you in Google for your products or services? If your designer doesn't really understand SEM (Search Engine Marketing), chances are when people search for what you sell locally, your competition's websites come up first.
    Think about it. If you train German Shepherds as guard dogs, what will people see if they go to a search engine and type in "guard dogs Scranton", for example? Even if they find you, does your Web page have a call-to-action for your readers? It's more likely your page just "We We's" all over them: "We do this and we do that and we are great, etc." Go here for a test of your Web page's customer-centric focus. Just a simple change from being self-referential to other oriented can make your online presence more attractive to people looking at your business's websites for the first time.
    How about getting your readers to contact you? Do you give a phone number that's actually answered by a person who specializes in helping people? Could you use the email address, phone number and mailing address of your readers? You'll need to have an effective way of capturing that information in a way that doesn't scare off readers. After all, giving up your email address to the wrong folks means tons 'o spam.
    Fortunately, there's a solution for local business owners in my area -- me! Marketing savvy + connections to Web professionals = a great way to make your online efforts profitable. You don't even have to be in Scranton, PA, to benefit from this kind of optimization of your business's websites. Pay a visit to my International portal for this service over at Money-Making Websites, LLC.
    Oh, yeah -- if you're an IM pro who doesn't do this kind of thing for local businesses, you're leaving some serious cash on the table (that's IM speak for, "You're an IDIOT!")

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happier New Year!

While it's de rigueur to wish all and sundry a Happy New Year, may I suggest an upgrade? Why not have a happier one? Chances are, last year you were wished a Happy New Year -- and did so, because you were told to do so! Being obedient and obliging, you chose to make 2007 happy. Right?
    Here's a thought: instead of striving to meet last year's happiness quotient, target a new plateau. Go for happier. Seriously, any fool can grab ahold of regular, standard happiness and make it their goal for the year. Isn't that a bit banal? Seriously, out-of-the-box happiness is as inspiring as that fruit cake you received that you suspect was re-gifted.
    Demand more from 2008. Insist on a measurable increase in happiness (or any other positive metric you choose) as part of your New Year's Resolutions. Become highly resolved to raise your expectations for yourself and your pursuits. Push yourself out of your "happy" Comfort Zone and stretch out your arms towards a Happier New Year. You'll thank me next year.