Google LogoWhen people are searching for a business in their local area, more often than not they are going online rather than flipping through the traditional Yellow Pages.  Local businesses can use this to their advantage by creating a well optimized Google Places page.  Google Places gives your prospective customers the convenience of getting to know you in much less time than it would take to explore your website. It provides them basic information about your business including phone number, address, hours of operation, etc…

A Google Places listing is claimed and filled out by your business. However,  in order to fully optimize your profile, you need to acquire reviews from your past customers.

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As web marketers, we are always trying to find new ways to generate exposure for our clients. Until recently, I’ve only been using StumbleUpon as a hobby of sorts (despite my boss’s insistence it was a powerhouse), viewing recipes in my spare time and my favorite category “bizzare/oddities.”  But recent stats from the growing social bookmarking site reveals it’s underlining potential.  In the USA, StumbleUpon is trumping use over all social media site referrals holding over a 50% share of the top 7 from August- November 2011.

On average, people spend 69 minutes on a session; that’s more than three times the average time on Facebook! What’s most interesting is the longevity of a link on the site. The average half-life is exponentially larger than Twitter (2.8 hours) and Facebook (3.2 hours) at an astonishing 400 hours. Read more…

An image of Micheal Blumenthal - aka Professor Maps because he is a Google Places ExpertOn their radio show, SEO 101 on WebmasterRadio.FM, Ross Dunn and John Carcutt had the opportunity to speak with Mike Blumenthal (AKA, “Professor Maps”); the guru of Google Places and blogger of “Understanding Google Maps and Local Search.”

If you are a business owner with a local presence, you are sure to find this 60 minute interview invaluable. Below is a summary of what was discussed. To listen the entire show, you can download it for free on iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/seo-101/id280183060

Important note: These interview highlights have been paraphrased unless quotes are used.  

Ross - Mike Blumenthal has spent the last 6 years studying Google Places; how it works and how it affects the entire local ecosystem.

John - He is known as Professor Maps because he literally knows everything there is to know about this. I am really excited to pick his brain today. Read more…

A photo of John Mueller - Google Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst

Ross Dunn and John Carcutt had the opportunity to speak with John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trend Analyst from Google Switzerland, on their popular radio show, SEO 101 on WebmasterRadio.FM. In their exclusive 60 minute interview they covered topics including Google Webmaster Tools, the Plus One button,and Google+. Below are just some of the interview highlights.

To hear the entire show (it is well worth the listen) download it on iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/seo-101/id280183060.

Important note: These interview highlights have been paraphrased unless quotes are used.  

Dunn: John, you are a Google Switzerland Senior Webmaster Trend Analyst. What exactly does that entail?

Mueller: My primary role is to connect Webmasters with engineers at Google. I try to make sure everyone is speaking the same language and all the feedback we get from Webmasters  is communicated effectively to our engineers.

Dunn: How did you start working at Google? Read more…

 

There are so many invaluable charities doing amazing work but needing help either with finding volunteers, funding, publicity, and overall visibility. With tight budgets, traditional marketing is becoming more and more difficult. However, creating a presence online can cost nothing more than time, and if you have the right online tools and education it makes things a whole lot easier.

This past April, StepForth’s CEO, Ross Dunn, traveled across BC with Sociability’s Terri Davies and Accent Inn’s John Espley to present to charities and non-profits about improving their visibility online; this is Ross’s second year as a featured speaker on this charity road tour. This event, called “Charity in Changing Times,” was sponsored by Accent Inns “InnAid” initiative designed to educate charities on marketing themselves through social platforms.

This event covered:

  • Tips to improve your website
  • How to set up a Facebook and Twitter account
  • Social media etiquette and strategies
  • Tools for tracking and monitoring your online activity
  • Successful case studies of charities implementing social media campaigns

Read more…

I always wanted to work with charities and non-government organizations; I find their sincere dedication to causes they’re passionate about an inspiration. Last year I had the opportunity to pursue this interest and flew to Hanoi, Vietnam to work for an NGO (Non-Government Organization) called “Center for Development of Community and Children.” This experience made me realize locating funding and raising awareness is hair pullingly tedious, exhausting, and beyond frustrating. To get any funding from governments or private sponsors was painstakingly time consuming and rather impersonal. Of the several projects I was working on, my primary donation hunting efforts were for building a school in the rural area of Dien Bien, North Western Vietnam.  All of the funding applications I spent hours filling out consisted of budgets and past organization reputation.  Understandably, these are important but I never felt like the reality of the project was communicated to the reader which was how badly these tykes wanted to learn how to read and get a basic education.

When I started working in online marketing, I realized quickly, these barriers I’d faced didn’t need to exist.  An online presence is so powerful for charities. It makes them visible, allows them to engage with their donors, and acquire donations faster than if they were to wait for government assistance.  Below, I’ve put together 5 tips I’ve found to be most significant when a charity is trying to build a presence online. Read more…

I have been with StepForth Web Marketing for just over two months now working as the Sales and Marketing Assistant. I had just graduated from university and thought I knew a thing or two about Marketing. Little did I know the Marketing being communicated in university classes was really more of a “History of Marketing.” What was taught was interesting: concepts, theories, ideas and maybe it’s great to learn how things were but if you don’t understand how things are then what use is it to you? It’s like taking lessons on how to use a DOS program or program a VCR. You know how to do what used to be relevant. Staying with the times is difficult in this day and age. Especially because what people did yesterday is SOOOO yesterday. How are you supposed to know what bandwagons to jump on? Read more…

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