Posts tagged SEO

Local Search is featured prominently on the first page

Local SEO and Your Local Online Presence

Local Search is featured prominently on the first page

Where Local Search Results are located on the first page

What is Local Search and SEO?

You may be familiar with the traditional definition of SEO, or “search engine optimization”, certainly if you are a reader of my blog. This includes the things I’ve talked about for years, such as on-site variables (right title tags and meta descriptions on pages, and great content for examples), and off-site variables (such a linkbuilding to your site). These items are and will remain critical pieces towards maximizing your site’s visibility. These variables are still important no matter who you are, where you are located, the size of your business, etc.

However Local SEO is specifically geared towards businesses that: 1) have a physical location they expect local people to visit, or 2) have offices, warehouses, etc. that are contacted by people in nearby neighborhoods and the surrounding community.

So any business that gets the majority or all of its customers/clients locally should strongly consider Local SEO services. This could be a local restaurant, retail shop, doctor, gym, dentist, lawyer, landscaping company, auto repair shops, consumer services companies and hundreds more of course.

Because Local SEO is just starting to grow and many businesses aren’t on-board yet, you have a big advantage – at least for now. But that will change, especially when others realize the things I’m talking about here. Your opportunity, to strike while the iron is hot and take advantage of what Local SEO does for your business, is now.

Almost 50% of searches done in 2014 triggered “local listings” according to how Google categorizes their product or service, and this year that number will grow. The next stat to consider is that 94% of consumers select a link from the first page. 94 percent! And since the Top 7 Local results are featured prominently on the first page, often times higher than all organic results, being here if possible should be a primary goal for most local companies.

How can I be in the Top 7? I do both Local SEO and Organic (traditional) SEO work, described as follows.

Local SEO

Is all about ranking for searches such as my personally local “St. Louis”-based ones. This is done through CITATIONS – or having accurate and consistent information in as many directories and aggregators as possible. These are any place online where we can use your company NAP (name, address, phone number) all on the same page, in the precise format as your local listings. There are many thousands of potential directories to be listed in, some of the most critical and most popular include a robust Google+ page, Yelp page, Acxiom, Infogroup, Localeze, Foursquare,  Facebook, Twitter, Bing Local, Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Factual, Apple Maps, Mapquest, TomTom, Whitepages. Yellowbook, Manta, Merchant Circle, Brownbook, Mojo Pages, Hotfrog, CitySquares and many, many (up to 30,000!) more. Each of these increases Google’s confidence in you and your business, which helps you move up “St. Louis”-based searches.

The other critical part of Local SEO are REVIEWS of your business, done most critically on your Google+ page. This is something we can work together on to solicit these great (five-star) reviews from your current and happy customers when you partner with us.

Organic SEO

Focuses on both on-site and off-site optimizations, and is still vital for top rankings too. On-site is primarily built through the addition of unique, high-quality content added to the site frequently, in addition to some of the structural aspects of the site.

How your site is STRUCTURED is key for you. When we build new sites, or work with existing ones, all these key issues will be addressed, so there is no need for additional comment here, other than to say we will also teach YOU to add content and images in a way that follows the best practices of SEO. This ensures that you are getting the maximum value for your site’s online presence.

The other vital piece of Organic SEO is CONTENT. This can be in the form of blog posts or static webpages. But you need to add unique, frequent content on a regular basis for Google to know you are “with it” and that folks are busy minding the store for lack of better terms. This can be in form of blogging as mentioned or continually adding new photos – with very detailed descriptions (Google likes 500 words or more per page) – *regularly. I am an MBA-level writer with a strong marketing agency background, so our clients receive top quality work that is designed to convert as well.

Then for off-the-site, we need to focus on back-links. Backlinks are links to your site from others, which essentially count as one “vote” for the value of your content to others, since they are willing to share your site with others. There are numerous strategies that we use to create high quality backlinks to your website.

These are the main services that we offer at Hat Trick Associates, with a strong focus on Local SEO in 2015. If you are interested in becoming part of the Top 7 and being included on the First Page of results, please give me a call at: (314 494-3494 or shoot me an email at: I’d be happy to set up a quick phone consultation to find out more about your business, your online goals, and how we can work together to help your rankings and ultimately grow your company through increased web traffic.



Content Marketing Buying Decision Process

Content Marketing Matures to Cover Entire Buying Process

Content Marketing Buying Decision ProcessWhen online content marketing first blew up, brands hopped onto the newly requisite bandwagon and published whatever online content they could muster up. Blogging became an absolute mainstay in online marketing. Websites were made-over with new, richer copy. And soon enough, content truly became king.

However, these early stages of the content marketing era were just that — early, rudimentary, and simple.

Today, just about one year after Google released the industry-changing Hummingbird update, businesses have begun mastering online content marketing. Rather than working feverishly to produce as many words as possible, content marketers are now working smarter and targeting online content to engage with customers throughout the entire buying decision process, guiding them down the sales funnel.

From need recognition to the initial search, all the way to post-purchase, savvy content marketers are covering all the bases. That means those who don’t will soon be left in the dust.

How to Cover All the Bases of Content Marketing

First, make sure you’re familiar with the buying decision process. There are five key steps:

  1. Need/problem recognition: Let’s say a window in my bedroom has broken. Suddenly, I have one of two needs. Either I need a professional installer to help me replace the window, or I know how to replace it and I simply need to purchase the new glass.
  2. Information search: Since I like to save money and do things myself, I want to purchase the new glass pane and install it myself. I need to search online to find out what I need to buy. I type into Google “how to replace bedroom window”.
  3. Evaluation of alternatives: I’ve done my research and I know what I need. Now I need to decide what product I will actually purchase, and who I will purchase it from. To decide, I’ll search for the product and compare different vendors.
  4. Purchase decision: I know what I want to buy and I’ve found the perfect online vendor. I’m ready to fill my shopping cart and enter my payment information. Hopefully, this will be an easy step, but I still haven’t looked at the shipping costs or tried to use the shopping cart. Hopefully, both fit my needs.
  5. Post-purchase behavior: My purchase from my preferred vendor went smoothly. I have the new glass and I’m ready to install it. First, however, I’m going to search online for an installation guide.

Creating Your Full-Coverage Content

Cover steps one and two in the buying decision process. In order to capture the attention of potential customers as soon as they enter the market for your product or service, you need to publish online content that answers their initial questions.

  • Who manufactures the best glass?
  • Who offers the best price on the glass I need?
  • Which vendors offer quality customer service?

Next, your content marketing strategy should target the “evaluation” step in the buying process. Again, create content that answers the questions your customers are asking at this critical stage.

  • How does one replace a bedroom window?
  • Am I capable of doing this myself? If so, can you give me the basic instructions? If not, what should I do?

Finally, don’t forget to address your customers’ post-purchase needs. By providing a an installation guide, for example, you can outshine your competitors and keep customers coming back to you. Cover the entire buying process, and you’ll have a hook-line-sinker content marketing strategy to boost your business well beyond the publishing date.

What’s Next For Content Marketing

Plain and simple, content marketing aims to answer customers’ questions before they even think to ask. Businesses have to anticipate what type of information will attract their target market to their product or service.

Consequently, content marketing will continue to grow more sophisticated. It is a staple of online business. So what’s next? It’s sensible to expect that King Content will really cozy up to Big Data. How, of course, has yet to be seen!

If you want to learn more about advanced content marketing strategies, please don’t hesitate to contact Hat Trick Associates. Our content marketing experts specialize in helping businesses achieve their online marketing goals. Give us a call anytime at (314) 494-3494 or email Jim Haynes at

Web Content Pyramid

Tips to Becoming a Better Becoming a Better Web Content Writer

Web Content Pyramid

There are always many business owners, marketers and others who wish to improve their writing skills as they create and distribute their web content online, and even for those that don’t plan on making writing a profession, there are still good ways to hone your skills to become more effective with your ability to communicate via the written word. Here are 3 good ways to evaluate your writing skills.

Write the Article, Then Come Back in 2-3 Days

A great way to know if your writing is at the highest level is to write about a topic that you’re passionate about, and then step back and leave it for a bit. Come back later to review what you’ve created two to three days later. You can’t truly evaluate the quality of your written piece if you review it right after you finish writing. The tendency to be emotionally attached to your own web content writing is too strong at this point, and can affect your judgment on the piece. If you write a blog, publish your article or essay, and then come back to it when your emotional connection has subsided. This can allow you to be in a better position to make an honest evaluation of your work.

Take Your Direction From Search Engines

Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing can help to make a rough evaluation of your web content writing kills sometimes. Recent search engine algorithms on all major engines are now equipped with the ability to determine relevancy and quality of web content. Their spiders are constantly sweeping the web to index sites and rank them according to the quality of their online content. When you receive a good Google ranking or Yahoo, Bing ranking etc…this is an indication your content is gaining favor from both readers AND search engines.

Post Content on Social Media

Share your web content with friends and contacts, and gain the extra exposure it brings on sites like Facebook and the many others. If it gets a lot of “Likes” and “Shares”, you can be pretty sure that your article or post is well-liked for its information, quality, and substance.

Objectively Evaluate Your Work

Try not to judge your work as “good” or “bad”, because it can blind you to areas that need improvement. Make an objective evaluation of your work instead. Set a criterion where absolutely flawless equals 100. Then deduct points from every error that you find. These results can assist you in measuring your improvement as you travel along on your web content writing career.

Also remember, being a good writer takes practice! Which means, you need to exercise the “brain muscles” that create your wonderful content often, as you would any other muscle. Sticking to a very regular and frequent publishing calendar for web content creation and distribution can be challenging, for sure. But in the end your business will prosper because of it, as will your confidence in your own writing abilities over time.

And of course, if ever you decide that you’d like a partner to assist you with your web content writing/creation, there are many resources available to you, including Hat Trick Associates of course but also many other experts as well.

And if you do decide to be your web content writer on your own, remember that practice makes perfect. Or maybe we shouldn’t say perfect, as mentioned above…since there is always room for improvement as you continue your journey as a writer!

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