Mastering The New Yellow Pages - Tricks to Get Noticed on the Internet7 Jan, 2008 By: Darrell Amy imageSource
Mastering The New Yellow Pages - Tricks to Get Noticed on the Internet
Ten years ago, if you wanted people to find your dealership, all you had to
do was put a gigantic ad in the yellow pages. The bigger the ad, the more
credible your company looked and the more your phone would ring—at least
according to the yellow page sales representative.
Most dealers that I talk to have significantly cut back their yellow page
advertising over the last few years as they began to see dwindling results.
Think about the last time you wanted information on a product or service. Where
did you go? Chances are you opened up Google, Yahoo or MSN and did a search
online. According to Mike Moran and Bill Hunt, authors of Search Engine
Marketing, Inc., 59% of business people use Internet search at least once a day.
This brings up one important question: how well does your dealership rank in
internet search engines?
Unfortunately, getting results with search engines is not as easy as anteing
up a wad of cash for a yellow page ad. It involves a little more knowledge and a
lot of work. However, the payoffs can be dramatic. For example, in one of our
recent search engine tests, we monitored the word “copier” in Google in the
metro LA area for three weeks. We found over 5,000 hits.
The Basics of Search Engine Optimization
In this article we’ll explore the basics of Internet search and offer some
insight from ways we help our clients with a sound search engine optimization
(SEO) strategy. For as long as Internet search engines have been in existence,
web developers have worked to increase the ability for internet users to quickly
find the websites they develop. This process is called SEO or Search Engine
Optimization. SEO is nothing more than the process of increasing the quality and
volume of traffic to your website from a search engine.
Search engines return two types of results: “natural” and paid. Natural
results are the main results returned, generally in the center section of the
page. Natural results receive the majority of traffic, and sites listed
naturally are generally more trusted by searchers than paid results. Unlike paid
results, getting natural listings on a search engine is not under the direct
control of site owners. The goal of search engine optimization is to increase
traffic by optimizing your natural rankings on search engines.
How do we do this? First, we have to understand that we really don’t care
about the search engine. There are too many to worry about to try to optimize
our web presence for every search engine available. What we really care about is
traffic to our relevant content. We want people to find us based on our content
so that we can ensure that our visitors are looking for products and services we
Although SEO can be a complicated process, there are three key areas that you
can focus on today that will set you down the right path of search engine
optimization. These three areas are: meta tags, inbound links, and relevant
Meta tags are descriptors or information about your website that is
available for search engines to catalog but is not visible to human visitors.
When a search engine looks at your site for indexing, meta tags are used to help
classify your site for future searchers. Each page should have a different set
of meta tags, focusing on the specific keywords for that page. For example, you
may choose to identify your home page for copiers, printers and document
management, but your document management page may include different meta tags
like “barcode recognition,” “paperless optimization” and “workflow
The pitfall that most web developers fall into is they think that if a few
meta tags are good, then more are better. When a web site tries to be all things
to all search engines, they, like people, tend to tune out. Too many meta tags
can actually have a negative effect on your search engine rankings and, thus,
can reduce your optimization. The goal is to have between eight and ten meta tag
keywords per page.
It addition to meta tags, you can add a site description to your site that
can help to identify your key business areas to search engines. Your site
description should be written in a human readable format and should be limited
to about 40 words or so. This description will most likely be what search
engines display to searchers in natural rankings. Keep in mind that you are
writing for both the search engine and searchers–so use your keywords, but be
careful of “over-optimizing” your description by repeating keywords too often.
No one would click on a result for “Printers Printing all Your Printing Needs.
Inbound links are critical to raising your site’s ranking. The number of
sites that draw a link to you can enhance how a search engine will present your
site to searchers as search engines will recognize that you have relevant site
Some key inbound links are relatively easy to obtain. First, your
manufacturing partners should be willing to provide links to your site. High
ranking websites, like your manufacturing partners’ sites, add weight to the
value of your site. Second, contact your strategic partners for link sharing.
For example, if you are in Los Angeles and you work with a dealer in Phoenix,
share links with each other. Both of your sites will benefit. One thing to note
is that there is a way to code the link on a website such that the search
engines will not consider that link when searching for inbound links. When the
link is set to “no-follow,” then the inbound link will provide no benefit to
search engine optimization.
There are services available to purchase inbound link with the idea that you
can purchase inbound links to positively affect your page ranking. Search
engines are not in favor of this approach. When links are purchased, search
engines request that you report that to them so they can flag the link and not
optimize based on that. Although the chance of them knowing is small, the
penalty is to reduce both site page ranks.
When someone uses a search engine, what that person is actually looking for
is content relevant to their needs. Search engines understand this, so as they
index it for potential searchers, they are looking for relevant content… content
that people might search for. Again, be careful not to “over-optimize” for
content. Write your content for people, not search engines, and people will find
The more often you update your site with new content, the more often the
search engines will index your site. The more often your site in indexed, the
more people will find your site. So, the key is to always write new content.
Some of the easiest ways to provide new content on your site is to publish
articles from other sources on a regular basis. For example, reposting news
releases from your manufacturers can provide a constant stream of new
information. You can even subscribe to fresh content written by others that
might apply to your products and services.
By far, the most effective way to develop content for your site is to write a
blog. Blogging allows for you to provide your customers with relevant and timely
information. You can use your blog as a newsletter service that your customers
can subscribe to via a Reader (like a Google Reader) or via email. By writing a
blog, you are constantly infusing your website with new, fresh content that
people will come back to over and over again. In addition, you will find that
people will naturally want to create inbound links to your site because the
content will be relevant to them.
There are certainly more areas where you can increase your search engine
optimization. It can be a never ending battle as search engines constantly
modify their requirements for SEO. The end result of this work is positive.
Your dealership gets noticed, and you begin to generate inbound leads, like the
good old days when everyone used the Yellow Pages.