Following the latest local algorithm update of Google, the local SEO rules have changed significantly. In this article, we will discuss the best options you have to improve your local search this year.

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We are already in 2015 and a lot of businesses are already looking for new ways in which to improve their marketing plans. The annual survey Announcing the 2014 Local Search Ranking Factors Results by David Mihm presents local marketers with additional information on which ranking factors are most important.

His survey points to a trend towards the more traditional factors for ranking on the web. The Local Search Ranking Factors survey of 2013 has placed a big emphasis on the Google Places and Citations, but a study from 2014 showed that the most powerful factors are on-site signals and links.

A shift such as this one goes hand in hand with the recent update of Google’s local ranking algorithm, Pigeon. Although some local SEO experts stated they were not affected by Pigeon in any way, it is highly unlikely. The reason for this is that they took a more healthy local SEO approach, and as a result, their websites gained more authority.

What we are trying to say here is that you cannot fool the experts of Google. Whatever you try to do, you should always ensure you work towards better user experience, instead of trying to cheat the search engine into ranking your pages higher in search results.

If we take into consideration what we have already claimed about the Pigeon update and add to it the results of the 2014 survey on the local search ranking factors, there are 2 obvious tips for ensuring your local search success in the current year:

– Be awesome in every sense of the word

– Acquire great backlinks

It looks simple for sure but at the same time it is not that easy for implementation by local businesses. If you examine the websites of your competitors, you will see that nearly all boost similar content, and on top of that most of these lack inbound links.

But how are you supposed to be so awesome and what can you do to achieve it?

You should gather up all your energy you normally spend into trying to cheat the search engine and use it instead to ensure better user experience on your website.

Examine both your website and the websites of your competitions and determine what you can do to make yours better in any way. Knowing exactly what your customers are looking for on these sites, makes yours better in your particular vertical.

You should also be careful not to fall for some common pitfalls. Although these are too basic, we have seen a lot of websites tripping up on them:

– Lack of content on the home page. Both the search engines and your clients need to be aware of what you website is all about. If the main page of your site only has a banner or/and a slider and very few sentences, adding more useful content is a necessity.

– Very limited text on a page. Your website is constantly being examined for relevant and useful content by both your potential customers and the search engines. You can’t simply claim that you are selling the product X. Instead, you are required to provide additional information so that your clients are informed on the product or service you are offering.

– Keyword spamming. This outdated tactic is still employed by far too many websites. Including your keyword 100 times into a single page content won’t help you rank it any better. Try to determine whether your content is meaningful and provides useful information for the visitor. Dispose of excessive keyword junk whenever you can.

– Terrible use of title tags. Your title tags have no more than 500 pixels of width. If they span longer, they are truncated in search results. Your title tags are expected to summarize your content and not represent a large stack of keywords you use to try to rank better. It is a good practice to place your main keyword phrase at the start and put the name of your business at the end. Having 100 or more keywords in your title tag won’t do you any good. It only makes you look more desperate.

Local optimization is important – don’t neglect it!

As on-site signals are becoming more and more important, it is vital that you have your local optimization in place, especially if you are a Toronto SEO company. Google expects your site to include local signals, and it won’t do you any good if it doesn’t.

Although these are all basics from the old SEO school, few sites are doing local optimization correctly:

– Your title tag should include city or state. The title tag is increasingly important for optimization purposes, and if you strive to be relevant, you should also include your city or state.

– Your H1 heading tag should include city or state. It shouldn’t take the entire heading. The important point here is to mention your city or state in the heading of the page.

– Your content should include city or state. A great number of websites exclude city or state information from their content. Local search optimization won’t work if this is the case with your site.

– City and state information must also be present in your images’ alt text. The number of websites that still use alt text in their images never fails to amaze us. Alt tags provide additional information for your images, and this is very important since Google can’t see them.

– Your URLs should include information on your city or state. Try to include this information into your URL if your site permits it. This sends a strong local signal to both Google and your local customers.

All these tips are specific and for a reason – they serve to make your website better. Forget about ranking for a moment, and concentrate on making your site awesome in your particular niche to increase page rank and ensure better conversion.

expopppToday I’m proud to present another guest post. Our guest today is Nick Piscitello. He is running a business that creates Explainer videos for software companies and will give his take on guidelines to create an explainer video. Take it away Nick :)

Scalability; one of the greatest advantages to running a software company, being able to create a platform that can grow exponentially with the only thing holding it back: exposure and marketing.  Luckily online advertising has made it easy to get thousands of people to find your software and get to using.  This is awesome, however it has also made all of your competition jump on the same bandwagon.  This leaves dozens of options for consumers flying around out there and the core idea of your service going un-noticed due to the multitude of information.

This is where explainer videos come in.  They give the viewer your basic elevator pitch in a fun, engaging, and effective medium that cuts through all of the noise that is the Internet.  Explainer videos can help scale your business, increase conversions, and make you look extra professional.

My name is Nick and I have been running Completion Web Studios for over 4 years, in the rest of this blog I am going to detail some of the essentials to follow when creating an explainer video for your software company.

  1. Script Writing – The basic layout of your script should run as follows.
    1. Grab Attention – Best to use shock, humor or a question at the very beginning of your video
    2. Identify the problem – The most important step of the script (should consume 40%). This is how you connect with the viewer and where they really “buy – in” to your solution
    3. Present Service as a solution – List the benefits
    4. Provide some credibility – Awards, free trials, previous works, etc.
    5. Call To Action – Sign up
  2. Voiceover – You want to use someone with a bit of humor, professionalism and overall trustworthiness. Viewers see this voice as the voice of your organization.
  3. Animation – Your animation color scheme should match seamlessly with your branding guidelines, you want the video to look like it is an extension of your website. This will increase brand recognition of your company and overall just look really good

Adding screencast of your software can be a really effective way for viewers to get an insight as to what it would be like to actually use your software and see “This is a real thing” as oppose to just an idea in their head.

Overall you will need to do some customizing of your video for your company, but overall the process and the elements listed above are essential.  Feel free to check out my corresponding podcast on the topic here (https://soundcloud.com/completion-web-studios/podcast-2-how-to-make-an-effective-explainer-video-for-your-software-company128k-mp3-192k)

author
Nick Piscitello
Creative Services Director
Completion Web Studios

 

 

 

Software Bundle Tactics

soft-bundle-tactics-smallerLearn about bundled software from Linkury software marketing experts.

No doubt you know what bundled software is all about; you may have even purchased a “package” of different software on a whim one day due to the credibility of the main piece of software that you wanted in the package.

To explain further, bundled software is when software is included with another product – it may be hardware in the case of pre-installed software on a new computer or simply as a suite of software that comes all packaged together.

Marketing your software is all about getting your software out there and recognized as the quality product that it is.

One of the major problems with this though, especially as someone relatively new to the field of marketing software, is that the chances are that you are a new participant in a very crowded playing field, and it is not necessarily the best software in any particular field that is the most successful sales-wise.

Good marketing plays a major role in getting your software onto the computers of consumers or whatever your target market is.

There are numerous methods for marketing your software with one of the better known being software bundling. We will take a look at what is involved in this process and why it works.

Stealth Bundling

There are numerous companies out there not the size of Microsoft or Oracle who have managed to develop their own software over the years and have gathered a strong following.

As an additional way of generating revenue, they market software for other parties also. They already have an avid and existing client base with the entire marketing infrastructure in place to target buyers for different types of software and perhaps more importantly, they already have a credible name in the marketplace for providing quality products.

Bundling your software with companies like this enables you to quickly and easily penetrate a market by riding on their coattails. It will cost you in revenue share but will more than make up for it in time and money saved on the marketing front.

It will also allow you to develop your own reputation in your chosen field of expertise. In this instance, your software is bundled with that of an established and better known software company.

Super Stealth Bundling

By integrating a dynamic installer in your software, you are using another company’s software for marketing purposes yet your software remains the “main game.”

A dynamic installer from a company that specializes in software marketing confers many benefits. It can place your software on the cloud with all the benefits that provides, it works from a marketing standpoint as it makes people who download the program feel as though they have purchased a quality product when they get updates without having to look for them.

And most importantly from a monetization perspective, it can generate revenues from Tier 1 advertisers whose association with your software gives it more credibility as well as revenue from downloads. From your perspective, the dynamic installer is easy to integrate and should be easy to customize to suit the look and feel of your software. A quality dynamic installer will be free to use but will cost in revenue share. In this instance, the software bundle is not perceived as a bundle in the eyes of the purchaser.

Software bundling is a proven method for marketing software. It is for this reason that it has been in existence for the time it has yet remains a valid software marketing method.

By Guest Author Joe Elton
Joe Elton is a software marketing expert writing on behalf of Linkury, in his free time he enjoys exploring social media strategies and is working on his own blog, stay tuned!

Link Building

There are a lot of activities you can perform on your own site to rank higher in the search engines, but on-site factors is only half of the equation. You also need links, and lots of them from the right websites. Hopefully with the link texts you want.

Link Building. It is simply creating backlinks to your website, thus, it can be better indexed in search engines. The purpose of link building is to increase the rankings of websites. This means a higher possibility of driving more traffic in a website. And, more traffic means there are lots of people interested in you. This will lead to a higher sales and profit.

Link buildings have been going on for so many years and below are some of the common strategies mostly used:

  • Joining forum sites
  • Using keywords
  • Writing and submitting articles to directories and PR sites
  • Link submission
  • Link exchange

Here are some great resources regarding link building.

Link Building Strategies

http://www.copyblogger.com/link-building-strategies-that-work/

http://www.seowizz.net/

http://www.seoptimise.com/blog/2011/05/30-link-buildinglink-baiting-techniques-that-work-in-2011.html

http://www.seobook.com/archives/001792.shtml

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/79-link-building-resources/

http://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/17-ways-accelerate-links-link-bait-linkable-content.html

http://training.seobook.com/link-building

http://www.seerinteractive.com/?s=link+building

Link Building Tools

Way back then, link building is done manually and very time consuming.Today there are lots of tools developed to ease this process. It comes in a free or paid service. The links below can be helpful in choosing the right tools you may need.

http://training.seobook.com/link-building

http://www.linkdiagnosis.com/index.php?q=http://

http://www.bad-neighborhood.com/text-link-tool.htm

https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer?__u=1000000000&__c=1000000000&ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_IDEAS#search.none

http://www.majesticseo.com/

http://raven-seo-tools.com/

http://linkbaitgenerator.com/index.php

http://tools.seobook.com/backlink-analyzer/

Link Building Services

If you are just running your business and has no idea of what is SEO or link building may do in your business, you may consult company that offers the service. The listed links below are some of the company well known when it comes to link building.

http://www.seomoz.org/features

http://www.searchenginepeople.com/

http://www.prospectmx.com/professional-seo-link-building-services-and-strategies-chart/

http://www.seoranksmart.com/link-building-services.htm

http://www.interactivecleveland.com/resources/best-link-building-tools-in-2011

It is time to think about being number one in search engines, more traffic in your website or earn even higher than your target, now think about Link Building.

If you are working with software marketing you can also sign up in our directory from a free link 😉

Software Marketing Directory

Until next time,

Peter – Your Software Marketing Secrets Guy

m@r!@!!x

Software Monetization TipsSoftware Monetization Tips – Built Useful Software? Learn How to Monetize It.

Software marketing experts from Linkury share some useful monetization tips

You identified a need, were inspired, used your talent, and actually got off your backside (at least figuratively) and did something about it – you created a piece of software that will make the life of other people better in some way, shape, or form.

Now, unless you are an altruistic soul, chances are that you will want to be rewarded for your efforts; and why not, that’s what capitalism is all about – build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door; at least in theory. And this is what we want to address – how to turn that theory into reality so that you get to monetize your software and receive your just reward for your vision, talent, and hard work.

The Early Bird Catches the Money

You must start your marketing efforts almost as soon as you start creating your software, as proper marketing of your software is the key to monetizing it. These days it is easier, and cheaper, than ever to make a name for yourself (and your software) thanks to social media.

At the earliest possible opportunity you must find a community relevant to your software and start to not only frequent it but use it as your community to make yourself known as an expert in your field. In conjunction with this, you must have your own blog to which to refer community members.

Write articles for different blogs and communities and show the world that you are an expert in your field. Consequently, when it comes to marketing your software, you will have an audience ready and waiting to buy it.

Plan from the Start

Different versions of your software are a key and proven monetizing technique. You can give away the basic version to whet the public’s 16-Sep-13 5-11-11 PMappetite or give a free trial of the enterprise version so that power users can see all the functionality of your software. Obviously you must plan what each version of your software will comprise from the start.

Another nice touch is to incorporate a dynamic installer in your software. These can be found for free and, assuming the installer is cloud based, facilitates quicker and more secure downloads as well as ease of updates and potentially other monetization opportunities due to advertising that you may not have previously considered.

Partner Up

Sometimes you have to realize what your limitations are. You may be a great programmer but not such a great marketing and sales person.

This is nothing to be ashamed of; it is actually a very important part of business to know your limitations. If this is the case there are companies that specialize in monetizing software and can help you maximize the monetary potential of your software.

By partnering with someone you will have to give away part of your sales revenue but you will also be free to create other software as the marketing will be left to others.

Also, given that these parties specialize in software monetization, you may even earn more by not receiving 100% of the sales proceeds due to higher overall sales. This option is definitely worth considering if you don’t fancy yourself as the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

Monetizing your software is important business. Consider how you want to go about it almost as soon as you have thought up the idea for your software.

By Guest Author Joe Elton

Joe Elton is a software marketing expert writing on behalf of Linkury, in his free time he enjoys exploring social media strategies and is working on his own blog, stay tuned!

Today we have an excellent guest post by one of my favorite software marketers, Andy Brice. Andy has done some testing on adding new versions of his software at higher price points.

How much should you charge a customer for a product? From a pure economics point of view – as much as the customer is willing to pay. The airlines are masters of this. The people on a typical commercial flight pay a wide range of prices depending on factors such as: which class they are travelling, whether they are returning before the weekend and how far ahead they booked.

The smug businessman in first class (who booked a week before and is returning the same day) might be paying more than 10 times as much for a seat as a someone in economy (who is going on holiday for 2 weeks and booked 6 months in advance). The businessman probably isn’t spending his own money, so he doesn’t care that much what the price is. Does the business traveler cost the airline 10 times as much? Of course not. The airline is simply maximizing its profits by charging more for the people who are prepared to pay more.

Supermarkets also use multiple price points by offering value, standard and gourmet versions of common products. The gourmet version has pictures of smiling farmers and tells you how it was lovingly hand-picked from a sun drenched hillside in an exotic country.

The value version looks like UN emergency rations. The supermarket hopes the less price sensitive customers will buy the gourmet version, but they still want something they can sell to the more price sensitive customers. Is there much difference between the 3 products part from the packaging? Probably not.

When you start to look around you can see there are lots of different strategies businesses use to charge according to how much the customer is prepared to pay. Does aUpgrade hardback book cost significantly more to produce than a softback book? No. But if you really want to read the book you will pay the extra for the hardback, rather than wait 6 months for the paperback.

The gaming industry doesn’t even bother to change the product. Hardcore gaming fans will pay £40 for  a new blockbuster game. A year later you can get the same game (probably with bug fixes and add-ons) for £15. Two years after that it will be in the bargain bin for £5. Discount coupons are another common method you can use to charge price sensitive customers less.

I decided to try multiple price points for my table planner software. The graph below shows the 12 monthly cumulative sales[1] of my product for a year before and a year after moving from 1 to 3 price points. The red arrow points to the month I made the change. The revenue for the 12 months after the change were almost exactly 50% higher than the 12 months before.

multiple-price-points

Before September 2009 there was only 1 edition of PerfectTablePlan and it cost £19.95. Initially PerfectTablePlan was aimed at people planning their own wedding, bar mitzvah, Quinceañera etc. Typically they would only use the software once, so £19.95 was a sensible price. But as the product matured and improved it was increasingly being used by professional planners.

It seemed crazy to be charging professional planners such a low price for software they might be using every week. So I decided to add additional price points at £49.95 and £199.95. The higher price points having additional features aimed at frequent and professional users.

I choose 3 price points because this seems a natural fit for the different types of people using my software (one-off users, frequent users on a budget and professional users spending someone else’s money).

This turned out to be a big win for me. Not only did my average order value shoot up, suddenly I had more credibility with professional event planners, who might not have taken a £19.95 product seriously, no matter how good it was. Price is a signal of quality, after all.

Having 3 editions of the product with different feature sets also allows me to offer an increasingly sophisticated product to ‘power’ users without overwhelming more ‘casual’ users. This is a big bonus for all my customers and it reduces my support burden considerably.

There are various ways I could have set the price points. For example I could have set the price points based on the maximum number of guests at an event or on the duration of a licence. Charging according to the number of features seemed to fit best with my market and existing licensing.

I thought carefully about how to introduce the extra price points part way through the life of the product so as not to confuse or alienate existing users. I decided it would be too complicated to add the new price points at the same time as doing a major (paid) upgrade from v4 to v5.

Instead I released the new editions at the same time as the v4.1 upgrade. I announced ahead of time that v4 would become v4 Home edition and that 2 new products were being released: v4 Advanced edition and v4 Professional edition. I was careful to ensure that I added plenty of new features and didn’t remove any existing features between v4.0 and v4.1 Home edition, so users who didn’t want to upgrade didn’t feel cheated. They were few complaints. I encouraged existing customers to pay the difference to upgrade edition and many did.

All 3 editions of the product are contained in a single executable and customers can switch between the editions dynamically at runtime. This was more work initially than using #defines to create 3 separate executables, but I think it was worth it as it allows the customer to easily trial or upgrade to a different edition without reinstalling or re-starting PerfectTablePlan.

A lot of software products have 2 or 3 editions, with the most expensive edition costing 1.5 or 2 times the cheapest edition. This seems far too narrow a range to me. I’m confident that a professional event planner can get at least 10 times the value from the product compared to someone planning their own (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime wedding event. So I decided to go for a 10:1 difference between the cheapest and most expensive edition. If the airlines can do it, why can’t I? In retrospect I think this was a good call.

Having multiple price points is not without its downsides. It makes the sale more complex and it is an extra decisions for the customers to make. People are demotivated by having too many choices and I think having multiple price points has reduced my visit:sale conversion rate slightly.

So don’t add too many price points. 3 is probably plenty in most cases (the supermarkets should know). But the slight drop in conversion rate has been made up many times over in a significant increase in average value per order. Also I should point out that the increase in sales wasn’t ‘free money’.

I had to do a lot of work to add the extra features to sufficiently differentiate the 3 editions of the software, overhaul the licensing, tweak the website etc. But it was definitely worth the effort for the increase in sales. I think it also been beneficial to my customers as they now have a choice of which edition of the product best fits their budget and requirements.

Guest post By Andy Brice  View Original Article – How I increased sales 50% by adding extra price points

Competition, a bad thing?

I spent about 5 years at university learning the ins and outs of marketing, psychology and media. One thing that I was taught was that competition is a good thing. It improves the end user experience and forces manufacturers to continuously improve upon themselves and their products.I have pretty much agreed up until recently.

Not so any longer, or?…

In Iphone 5 Apple removed Google maps and replaced it with their own map software. Google maps is currently not available in the ITunes store either.

Among the user complaints regarding Apple’s maps:

Users have complained about the quality of satellite images in the new software

  • Some towns appear to be missing, such as Stratford-upon-Avon and Solihull.
  • Others, like Uckfield in East Sussex, are in the wrong location.
  • Satellite images of various locations, particularly in Scotland, are obscured by cloud.
  • A search for Manchester United Football Club directs users to Sale United Football Club, a community team for ages five and above.
  • Users also reported missing local places, such as schools, or strange locations. Another screenshot showed a furniture museum that was apparently located in a river.

It seems to me that the new competing landscape is being fought by locking out competitors and using lawyer armies on court room battlefields.

The outcome – competition is no longer a good thing. It means inferior products for the end-user rather than development and creativity.

A sad day indeed. Or what do you think, please comment below.

Peter Gillberg
Software Marketing Secrets

More about apple maps from BBC

 

 

Check out 10 creative videos on online advertising.

The internet is a very good area to introduce information about the company and brand awareness among the public thru Banner Advertising.

In the advertising business, the more the viewer clicks on the ad the more there is a chance for a product or services to be sold.

The success and effectiveness of an ad can be measured by click through rate. A click through rate (CTR) can be calculated by dividing ‘the number of users who clicked on the ad’ divided by ‘the number of times the ad has been presented to the user’. The Higher the click through rate, the higher it has been viewed by the users. This implies that, the banners are desirable and the chances for the products or services to be bought are higher.

On banner advertising, it is important to determine what kind of products or services the company is going to advertise in its webpage before making banners. Firms can try to examine buying habits, website visits, and then use the internet to build a company image. These provide good knowledge on what kinds of ads they should make, depending on the target group the company chose to sell its products to.

It is recommended to try different ad formats, colors, sizes, timing and to place banner ads in different places like mobile ads, search engines, social media pages, in-games, etc. and then observe how users react to it before deciding on what kind of banners should be used to come up with better ads than what you might already have or what you might want to use in the future.

By placing banner ads in different places, it can gain brand awareness and could lead to high click through rates.

Being exposed to different campaign ideas could give you some good points on how to go about with your ads in the future. Here are some of the most effective and up-to-date ways that can enhance the company’s Ads performance as a media seller, and that could provide high click through rates for its customer ads.

This collection of videos all demonstrate different ways to use the web for marketing purposes.

1. Ikea
The Website that’s also a banner. “Make the most of ANY space”.

2. Nissan’s House Hunter Test Drive.
Find a new home and test-drive a Nissan in just one click!

3. Cadbury Dairy Milk.
To say thank you to the 1 Million people who have liked Cadbury Dairy Milk on Facebook, the company combined their product and a ‘thumbs up’ gesture that Facebook fans understood and created a giant chocolate thumbs up, built live over a 2-day-stream.

4. The First Commercial on Twitter
The ad was composed of 140-character tweets, which created the image of an animated car moving through the city.

5. Acura Banner Ad on Wired.com
The background music sounds pretty cool and the ad itself is just super cool, need I say more?

6. A Mac-Pc Banner Ad by Apple (U.K.)

7. Apple’s “Get a Mac” Banner
“Leopard is better and faster than Vista” on The New York Times Webpage. Just Clever!

8. Stride’s Ridiculously Long-Lasting Banner Ad
Stride and agency JWT played on the gum’s “ridiculously long-lasting” claim with this ad. Epic!

9.Ikea’s “Unbox the Banner”- DIY
To promote Ikea’s discounted products and get the people to visit their online store, they used the online medium for an experience people usually have online: Get a good deal by assembling it yourself!

10. Met Life Banner Ad
“Help Schroeder with his Big Performance”, Met Life’s “I can do this” carried into effect! Just awesome!

I hope you liked them. Please comment your thoughts below.

If you are a little bit like me you are also always a somewhat late in starting to plan the new year.

When making great plans good tools can be really helpful. I was scouring the web for a good Calendar with which I could plan my marketing activities for 2012. I came up short…

I wanted a Calendar that gives me enough room to put my own comments in continually over the year and at the same time give me a large scale overview of what is coming on the horizon.

So I had to put it together myself. I think it came out pretty good and I thought maybe you’d find it helpful too. It’s spread over 2 pages with some Holiday’s and special days included if you want to tie in your marketing activities with for example Halloween or Valentine’s Day.

Please subscribe to my Software Marketing Secrets News and I’ll email you the download instructions.

Please comment below if you like it or if you have any suggestions to make it even better. I’d love to hear your opinion!