Nicholas Melillo Veteran SEO Consultant and Web Designer

26Apr/11Off

Facebook Launches “Social Deals” to Directly Compete with LivingSocial and Groupon

Facebook Social Deals

Finally, after a long period of anticipation from the masses; Facebook has announced that they will be launching Social Deals to directly be competitive with Groupon and LivingSocial.

This is their second approach to this type of system and while it is a good idea, I personally think they are making some mistakes; which I will get into later.

The good thing is that they are integrating more geocentric functionality and the system will operate similar to Facebook Places only with coupons added into the mix.  They are trying to focus more on "social" (niche) type deals than more standard ones, to attractive a more selective audience.  This can be good and enable people to access unique discounts on events that normally would not be advertised in more traditional channels.

However, one major negative aspect about this system is that you must purchase vouchers online with real money or Facebook Credits and then redeem them offline.  In my professional opinion this is not a smart decision on Facebook's part.  Seriously, who wants to "buy" coupons?  Good luck with that Mark Zuckerberg...

You can subscribe to Facebook Deals directly through your user profile and get updates on deals near you, when they are published.  Right now, deals are only available in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and San Fransisco; so FB definitely has a long way to go before it EVER can be competitive with Groupon and LivingSocial.  But hey, its a start and you can't blame them for trying.

Eventually I think this can be a great system for the following reasons:

Like Before You Buy

Another thing to notice about the ACL deal is that there’s no associated discount, a hallmark of traditional daily deals: “50 to 90 percent off.” However this is precisely the type of offline social experience that Facebook is seeking to promote with the new program.

Another difference: you can Like deals without buying them — or before buying them. If you Like a deal it will be exposed through your feed.

You can also share and privately invite selected friends and ask them to join you or expose them to a deal. Facebook users can message each other and discuss the deal as a group before collectively buying. (Not all deals will be targeted toward groups.)

Like traditional daily deals Facebook Social Deals will come through email but also through the Facebook news feed. And they may potentially be exposed via Facebook Ads as well.

More Merchant Control, Including Caps

The notion here, as with Facebook check-ins, is that the new deals are supposed to be “social from the ground up.” Beyond the effort to to make them more social for consumers there are also important differences from conventional daily deals on the merchant side.

As mentioned Facebook Social Deals won’t always involve discounts. Merchants will also be permitted to set caps on how many deal vouchers can be purchased. This is typically not allowed on more traditional daily deal sites.

Another interesting angle is that merchants will be required to have Facebook Pages before they can participate. While many already do — 40 percent to as much as 60 percent-plus of SMBs have some sort of Facebook presence — this requirement creates a more structured way to capture and retain new customers.

Preventing the “One Night Stand”

Small businesses have sometimes struggled to translate daily deal buyers into repeat customers. By connecting deals and Facebook Pages, the company makes an effort to solve the problem of the “one night stand.”

With Facebook Social Deals local merchants can direct new customers to Like them on their Page and — voilà — they have a CRM platform. Merchants can then potentially start a “conversation” with these new customers.

While many SMBs set up a Page and then wonder “What now?,” Facebook’s Emily White says deal buyers (new customers) will help flesh out and populate content on SMB Facebook Pages. Indeed, this is the secondary mission of Social Deals — to get more SMBs to create and then really use Facebook Pages.

The new program will obviously compete with Groupon, LivingSocial and other deal sites, including the new Google Offers. While many who write about Social Deals will be tempted to use the headline “Facebook launches Groupon Killer,” there’s room for multiple winners in the deals space.

Read more about this topic at Search Engine Land

Personally, I am not going to start recommending this feature to my clients until it has proven its viability to exist, be competitive and most importantly...create profitable results that make sense for their businesses.

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13Apr/11Off

Financial Aid? There’s an app for that.

Facebook has recently announced that they will be launching an application called Connect Fund, which will use the individual user's demographic information to inform them about grants available in their area, student loans, financial aid and assistance, etc...including FAFSA applications.

According to Fox Business, the application is set to officially launch sometime around January 2012.

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13Apr/11Off

How the Google Panda Update affects Search Marketers

Back in February, Google announced that they were making a dramatic algorithm change that would forever change the search results. Its primary focus is on targeting low quality pages and sites with text that may be relevant for a particular query, but not necessarily designed with the best user experience in mind.  These are known as content farms.

Content farms are websites that simply create content for the purpose of keyword catching, in the hopes that it will either get highly ranked for their desired search term or to use for link farming as well.  Building links to client websites from relevant content on other websites has been a well known tactic for years and works really good if the content/website has good PR and is very relevant.  However, link and content farms will now lose out as Google no longer views them as credible sources.

The Google Panda update is now officially live for all English language queries across the world. Personally, myself being a professional internet marketing consultant; I think this is a great move in the right direction for everyone.  Content and link farms are a waste of time for any quality SEO to focus on and quite frankly, don't get anywhere near the same level of results as highly relevant, unique content on a credible website does.

Building links on content farms....seriously, who does that anymore?  The time has come to move on people.  Get with the program!

Focus your efforts on generating extremely high quality content on unique domain names, optimize for the search engines but keep in mind the end user experience!  This is critical to your success online.  Having a clear vision about what the user wants while also understanding the needs of the search engines will get you those top results you are striving for.

This is a great move on Google's part and I couldn't be happier.  By eliminating all of the garbage out there, this helps the quality sites truly stand out from the crowd and get the rankings they deserve.  Nothing is worse than having a top notch website get outranked by a content farming link spammer...

Its time to hire more English majors with journalism backgrounds people.  Think quality not quantity!

To read more about this topic, check out this great article by Vanessa Fox at Search Engine Land.

http://searchengineland.com/google-rolls-out-its-panda-update-internationally-and-begins-incorporating-searcher-blocking-data-72497

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15Nov/10Off

6 Tips for Improving Local Search Engine Rankings

About the author:

Nick Melillo is a Local SEO consultant in Greensboro, NC who specializes in helping small businesses of all types get highly ranked both locally and organically on the search engines for keywords which bring them customers and ultimately more sales.

Local search engine rankings are critical to the success of any business in their natural market, because of the relevance factor.  People using local search features are looking for a company in their area who can service their needs or provide the products they require without having to go outside of their region.

Local search engine optimization is a great way to help improve rankings in the local market, build brand awareness for your company and increase market presence; which ultimately results in more business and sales overall.

Here are some quick tips to improve your Local SEO campaign and help generate more business:

  • Use keywords in the META Title Tag.
  • Use keywords in the META Description Tag.
  • Use keywords in the web page URL you wish to get ranked.
  • Use keywords in the content and make sure you have good density (around 7-10%).
  • Submit your site to local business directories and websites (IYPs or Internet Yellow Pages).
  • Build links with keyword specific anchor text including both target keywords and local keywords (i.e. Greensboro SEO Consultant).

These 6 things will enhance your presence significantly and put you above your competitors in the rankings quickly.

For more detailed information about exactly how to go about doing this (because obviously its not that simple), please contact me and I will personally walk you through the process.

Send a Message

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Filed under: Local SEO No Comments
10Nov/10Off

Google Maps – Local SEO Best Practices

About the author:

Nick Melillo is a Local SEO consultant in Greensboro, NC who specializes in helping small businesses of all types get highly ranked both locally and organically on the search engines for keywords which bring them customers and ultimately more sales.

First things first, you need to have a legitimate business address.

Secondly, it is vital that your location is a commercial property because the search engines differentiate between commercial and residential addresses.

Thirdly, make sure that you fill out your business listings accurately and do not "over do it" with keywords.  If your listing looks like spam, they will treat it like spam.  Simple as that.

Here are some good tips quoted directly from Google's Local Business Center Quality Guidelines:

Ownership

  • Only business owners or authorized representatives may verify their business listings on Google.

This is critical because in order to maintain a sense of balance and fairness, not to mention eliminate the risk of false advertising; you must be an authorized representative of the company you are listing.  Verification is very important because an unclaimed listing will not get the same value placed on it as one who has been verified and confirmed by the business owner or representative.  This security measure is also in place to help deter people from claiming listings which are not theirs, which presents an identity protection issue for business owners.

Business Name

  • Represent your business exactly as it appears in the offline world. The name on Google should match the business name, as should the address, phone number and website.
  • Do not attempt to manipulate search results by adding extraneous keywords or a description of your business into the business name.
  • Do not include phone numbers or URLs in the business name.

Google is a stickler about having accurate, honest information on their search engine and integrity is big in their eyes.  Make sure that when you create your listing that you are honest about the content you put in and do not try to misdirect the search engine, because they will know about it and ultimately suspend your Google Places account.

Physical Location

  • Do not create listings at locations where the business does not physically exist.
  • PO Boxes do not count as physical locations.
  • Do not create more than one listing for each business location, either in a single account or multiple accounts.
  • Businesses that operate in a service area as opposed to a single location should not create a listing for every city they service. Service area businesses should create one listing for the central office of the business only.
  • Businesses with special services, such as law firms and doctors, should not create multiple listings to cover all of their specialties.
  • The precise address for the business must be provided in place of broad city names or cross-streets.
  • A property for rent is not considered a place of business. Please create one listing for the central office that processes the rentals. If you'd like, you can add your real estate properties to Google Maps so that they are available on our Real Estate layer.

These are all very critical aspects of the Google algorithm and must be obeyed if you wish to maintain a good ranking on the search engines locally for the keywords which bring you business.  Having accurate company information is essential to success and will get you ranked higher than someone who is attempting to cheat the system because they know that you are an honest business and will reward you accordingly.

Multiple listings are a quick way to get your Google Places account suspended and that is a giant pain in the butt, because you will have to appeal and that can take up to 3-4 weeks for them to manually review your account.  In the meantime, your listings are held in a "pending review" status; which you do not want at all.

PO Boxes do not count as physical locations, so make sure you have an office (physical location) and if you don't have one, get one!

Creating multiple listings per city you service will also put you on the fast track to getting banned real quick.  If you have physical locations (offices) in each city, then yes you can do this.  If not, don't do it!

URL & Phone

  • Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location as directly as possible. For example, you should provide an individual location phone number in place of a call center.
  • Provide one URL that best identifies your individual business location.
  • Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or 'refer' users to other landing pages or phone numbers other than those of the actual business.

Your phone number allows Google to pull a lot of data about your business and this is essential to having a solid listing.  Don't use a cell number, we highly recommend a land-line.

Having a URL is a no-brainer, you want people to check out your website...right?  Of course!  Make sure you put this in there, otherwise you are missing out on valuable web traffic that you COULD be getting but aren't due to this oversight many people make.

Custom Attributes & Description

  • Use the description and custom attribute fields to include additional information about your listing. This type of content should never appear in your business's title, address or category fields.
  • Please see this page of Google Places User Guide for examples of acceptable custom attributes.

Custom attributes are highly recommended to improve visibility for keyword search terms, just don't go overboard or you will get a slap on the wrist and it won't be pretty.  If you do create custom attributes, use them to tell customers more about your business and add information that is not found throughout the rest of the listing.  DO NOT use these sections to keyword-spam!

Best Practices

  • Use standard capitalization & punctuation, unless your business name or address in the real world contains unusual capitalization & punctuation.
  • Use a shared, business email account, if multiple users will be updating your business listing.
  • If possible, use an email account with a domain that matches your business URL. For example, if your business website is www.giraffetoys.com, a matching email address would be you@giraffetoys.com.

Of course, spelling errors and improper capitalization, punctuation, etc...can get you points deducted because it is not good quality content.  Google likes accuracy of information and you need to make sure you provide them with it!

Don't use an account that will be limited access only, because it will prevent other people in your organization from being able to access the listing for editing purposes (if you choose to delegate that service) and if you hire an internet marketing company or consultant (like myself), you'll need to give them access and you wouldn't want it to be your personal account would you?  Of course not.

Email accounts from domains which match your URL add credibility to the listing, which enhances performance accordingly.

Of course, these are just the basics; stay tuned for more advanced tactics coming soon.

For more information about Google Places, please visit the Google Places user guide.

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Filed under: Local SEO 1 Comment
3Nov/10Off

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Nicholas Melillo and I am an experienced internet marketing consultant with a special love for SEO (search engine optimization).

I specialize in developing highly optimized websites that perform well on the search engines for the keywords which my clients wish to target.  My company gets amazing results for people in as little as 30 days, depending on the level of competition we face in their search market.

This blog will be used for publishing information about local search engine optimization and organic SEO to help raise awareness, increase the level of education that business owners in the Piedmont Triad receive about internet marketing and to help companies of all sizes increase their profit margins and sales potential by leveraging the power of the web to their advantage.

I own and operate a full service web development and internet marketing company here in Greensboro called Triad Search Marketing.  Our reputation speaks for itself and we have a substantial client base in the area. Our team is on the cutting edge of online marketing and web design, so stay tuned for lots of useful information and resources to come on this website!

Register with the site and subscribe to the RSS feed to stay in touch with us, you will be glad you did!

Also, follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

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