Today there exists an unprecedented opportunity for local retail businesses to market their services and products online. Many small business owners will miss this opportunity. They are either not advertising online, or they are so caught-up in their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts and Yellow Page and other directory listings that they don’t see the problems or the new opportunities that lie before them.
Now before I go any further let me say I’m all for SEO and directory submissions. I’ve written several articles about those aspects and they need to be a part of your online marketing efforts. However, today it needs to become a smaller part of your overall Internet Marketing. Before I tell you about this new opportunity let’s take a look at the problem with these traditional Internet marketing methods.
If you advertise your jewelry products and shop services on the Internet and work really hard to optimize your website to get a high ranking in Google or the other search engines, you’ll be rewarded with a top 10 listing. Maybe you have worked really hard and are rewarded with the #1 top spot for your keywords in your local area. The problem with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is that after all your hard work; there you are, listed with 9 of your competitors.
The same is true of online Yellow Page and other local directory advertising. Sure you can (and should) get a free listing in all the online directories, but there you are listed with all your competition. Even if you pay exorbitant fees for a featured or enhanced listing, you are placed at the top and all your competitors are listed below you. In addition to all your local competition, the Yellow Page directories have the audacity to place online jewelry company ads around your listings. They then charge you a premium to have those ads removed.
Today there is a window of opportunity for business owners to completely dominate Google and the other search engines. It is possible to not only get listed in the top 10 of a search, it is possible to secure 6, 7, or even all 10 of the top positions on a search page. By doing so they push all the Yellow Page directory listings and competitors’ websites to the second or third page of the search results, effectively neutralizing their value.
This window of opportunity exists for one lucky business owner in each local market who is wise enough to jump on this bandwagon before any of their competitors. Once a local business dominates Google for searches in their product category all their competitors are not only left behind, they’re left out.
In order to understand how a business can dominate Google and the other search engines you need to know two facts about search engines.
First, search engines DO NOT list websites! They list web PAGES. Therefore any page you put on the Internet, regardless of where you put it has a chance to be listed on a search result page.
Second, search engines will typically list only one web page from a website for a search. On occasion they will list a second or rarely a third page from the same website. If they do, they put the pages together and indent the second and third pages so that everyone knows that they are related and from the same website.
So in order for you to get 7, 8, or more of the top listings you cannot just add more pages to your website. If you do, the search engine will list the most relevant one to the search and ignore all the rest. To get around these rules, smart marketers are using Web 2.0 websites.
Web 2.0 websites allow you to put pages on their website about your business. Since these new pages are on different websites, Google and the other search engines will list them on their search results pages along with your website. The more of these pages you create the better opportunity you have to get all of the top 10 positions on a search result page.
Although each page has a chance to show up on a search results page, many of them will not. It is kind of like throwing mud on a wall. Some of the mud will stick but a lot of it will fall off. In order to get a lot of mud on the wall you have to keep throwing more mud at it.
As with all Internet marketing there are NO guarantees. How effective this type of marketing will be and how much effort will be needed to become successful depends a lot on the size of the market area, the number of competitors, and how aggressive they have been marketing their websites.
Some of the best types of Web 2.0 websites to use for your marketing are:
Social Bookmarking Websites – Websites such as delicious.com, digg.com, folkd.com, faves.com, mix.com and propeller.com all allow you to create a listing (a bookmark) telling everyone, including the search engines, about your webpage. It is free to sign-up and list your webpages. You should bookmark every page on your website and every page you create on other websites in as many of these types of websites as possible. Bookmark pages already on your website gradually over time, then bookmark new pages as you create them.
Every bookmark you create provides one more link to your website raising its value to the search engines. Plus it is a new page that can also be listed in a search engine results page.
Blogs – Blogs are an important aspect of your online marketing and a good way to keep in touch with your customers. Every business should have a Blog and post to it regularly. Every post you make on your Blog is a new page for the search engines to index, and list on their search results page.
You need one main Blog that you post to and have a place for your customers to subscribe to your postings. But don’t stop there. Websites like Blog.com, Blogger.com, WordPress.com, and Ning.com allow you to create Blogs for free. So sign up for one or more Blogs on each one. You can have a Blog for your diamonds, one for colored stone jewelry, one for engagement and wedding rings, one for jewelry repairs, one for custom jewelry designs, and more for any additional products or other services you offer.
Place links in your Blog post to different pages on your website and to other social media pages such as your Facebook page.
Once you create a new post be certain to bookmark it on all the Social Bookmarking Websites on which you created accounts. Each post on a Blog is a separate webpage and needs to be marketed as such.
Social Media Websites – Social Media websites are those websites like Facebook.com where you can create a separate page about your business or the products and services you offer. Facebook Fan Pages are the most popular, but you should not stop there. Create pages on Hubpages.com, Squidoo.com, Xanga.com, WetPaint.com, Weebly.com and others as well. The more pages each month you create the better chance you have of dominating Google and the other search engines when someone searches for the services you offer.
Place links in your social media pages to different pages on your website and to your Blog post. Don’t forget to bookmark all the Social Media pages you created.
Online Video Host – Online video ads placed on video hosting websites such as YouTube.com is one of the best ways to advertise your products and services on the Internet. Online Videos get some of the top rankings faster than any other type of webpage. When you submit your video be sure to include a link to your website in the description of the video, also include information about your jewelry, your address and phone number.
YouTube is by far the largest video host on the Internet, but it’s not the only one you need to use. Some of the best listings come from video hosts other than YouTube. Some of the video hosts you should use include Revver.com, MetaCafe.com, LiveVideo.com, DailyMotion.com, Kewego.com, and Veoh.com.
Create a new video or two each month and submit it to each of the video host websites. It’s free to create an account and to up-load your video. After you have up-loaded your videos make sure to bookmark all the videos from each host on every bookmarking website on which you have accounts.
In addition, the videos playing on these host websites can easily be placed in a Blog post or on a Social Media webpage. This is an easy way to develop new content for these pages, and by placing the video on your page it creates a link to the video on the host account helping it rise in the rankings.
Good News and Bad News – The good news about these Web 2.0 websites is that Google and the other search engines constantly monitor these websites and quickly list new pages. It is common to see your new page listed in the top 10 in a few days, sometimes sooner.
However, the bad news is that the search engines are looking at these websites to provide current, up-to-date information. Because of this they don’t typically list these pages for more than 3 or 4 months. After that time they start to lose their luster and begin to slip in the rankings.
The way to avoid this downfall is to constantly make new pages month after month. As one page starts to slip in the rankings you have another new page to take its place.
If all this sounds like too much work for you to accomplish, since you are already busy selling jewelry and running a business, Internet 4 Jewelers has programs especially for retail jewelers. These programs start at $247 per month. Which program is right for you depends on your market area and how aggressively you want to advertise. For more information on the services they provide contact Brad Simon at www.Internet4Jewelers.com/marketing.