Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Shift in Local Search Engine Ranking Factors

Topic: Rising to the Top of Local Search Results

Rise to the top of local search

Podcast Episode #82 of the internet show about small business marketing

What is the secret to rise to the top of local search rankings? Only Google really knows, but luckily, there are some local search experts that keep track of the top ingredients to local search success. Each year, David Mihm releases his survey of those ingredients, which you can find here: Top Local Search Ranking Factors. It’s a golden list that can help you improve your local search ranking. But it’s not an exact science, it’s a survey.

To help us decipher the results we’ve tapped a member of the panel who helped determine those rankings. In this episode of Power to the Small Business, Mike Ramsey of Nifty Marketing joins host Jay Ehret to discuss the rankings and both their correlation and causation on local search.

Guest: Mike Ramsey – Nifty Marketing
Host: Jay Ehret – Chief Educator at
26 minutes


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The different types of search results:

Organic Search Results: The big list of results that includes everything on the internet.
Local Search Results: Search engine results that highlight local businesses.

To see the difference, do separate searches for these two terms:
“How to wash a car”
“Car Washes”

The Top Local Search Ranking Factors:

1. Physical address – In the city where the search is taking place.

2. Verifying your Google Places Pages – Claiming ownership of your listing on Google Places (as well as Bing/Yahoo)

  • Note: Mike Ramsey does not believe that this is a major factor. His own study did not reveal a high correlation. He also still recommends that you claim your Places page so that you can own and control the information within the listing.

3. Proper category association – Choosing the proper category within your Places page listing.

4. Volume of Structured Citations – Any time Google finds an online reference to your business name, your business address, and your business phone number grouped together. Structured means on a website that codes and specializes in these listings, such as Yelp.

  • Important for “location prominence, ” or the ability of Google to trust you are the business you claim to be.
  • Mike Ramsey says that one of the fundamentals of local search is having consistent information across the IYP (Internet Yellow Pages) network.
  • Mike recommends that you take your listing information exactly as it appears on your Google Places page and use it to submit in that exact format everywhere else.

5. Quality of inbound links to your website – Local search results are very tightly connected to your organic rankings and how your organic website ranks.

  • Quality Inbound Link: The link to your website comes from an authoritative site

Mike Ramsey’s Study of Top Local Search Factors:

Online Reviews of your businessMike found little correlation between local search ranking and the number of reviews. However, reviews are important for superior click-through rates.

Citations (see #4 above) – The high-ranking listing had many substantially more citations than low-ranking listings. Mike emphasizes that while he sees a high level of correlation with this factor, he is unsure of the level of causation. Mike’s opinion is that there is some level of causation, meaning having more citations causes you to have higher rankings.

*See a review of Mike’s findings at SMX Advanced: Actionable Local SEO Tactics
*See Mike’s slide deck of the findings: Hardcore Local Search Tactics


Mike Ramsey’s Company: Nifty Marketing

Free Marketing Webinars and Ebooks: The Marketing Spot

Website Conversion Science

Topic: Converting Website Visitors into Customers

Converting website visitors into customers

Podcast Episode #81 of the internet show about small business marketing

Your website exists to create customers. But how? Website visitors must be converted from visitor to customer. That’s where things get tricky, or should we say that’s where science comes in; conversion science.

In this episode of Power to the Small Business, Brian Massey, the Conversion Scientist joins host Jay Ehret to discuss how you use your website to get more leads and customers. He will describe the five primary website patterns and prescribe a conversion strategy for each.

Host: Jay Ehret – Chief Educator at
Guest: Brian Massey – The Conversion Scientist
Length: 28 minutes



What is Website Conversion?

Find someone who is not a customer and convert them into a customer. On a website, it’s taking a visitor and converting them into either a lead or sale.

Five Website Patterns and Their Conversion Strategy:

I. The Brochure Pattern

Purpose is to provide enough information to whet the desire of a prospective customer and tell them how to get more information.


  • Design – Fits the personality of your business and your customers
  • Logical, Tree –like navigation
  • Contact info must be easy to find.

II. The Portal Pattern

Overall, the primary goals of a portal are to get people to stick around, to view more pages, and to join or subscribe.



Home page – Crucial to Conversion

  • Feature specific content
  • Highlight company and products, but don’t say too much about the company


  • Site Search
  • Drill-down navigation, nested menus, links to related content
  • Highlight specific content
  • Author pages


  • Know your abandonment rate.
  • Eliminate friction and make it easy for people to sign up

III. The E-Commerce Pattern


Category Pages

  • Home page has specific offers
  • Keep non-selling information at a minimum
  • Have search on the pages

Product Pages

  • Show the product
  • All the info necessary to say “yes”

Shopping Cart

  • Flexibility and optimization

IV. The Considered Purchase Pattern

Strategy: Start a conversation by email

V. The Site-as-a-Service (Saas) Pattern


  • Sample the product
  • Use a Google style pattern to convert triers to buyers

Selected Advertising Quotes from Brian Massey:

On the importance of content in website conversion:

“He who has the best content has the best conversion rates.”

On website conversion strategy:

“We can’t really see conversion as a button color, or a landing page, or a specific event. It really is about picking the right strategy that gives you opportunities to convert visitors.”

On website conversion tactics:

“This is the key with conversion: your audience is going to surprise the hell out of you.”


Brian Massey’s Website:
Related Articles on Website Pattern Conversion Strategy:
The Five Core Patterns of Conversion Marketing

Get updates on: The Marketing Spot Group Coaching

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How to Create Great Advertising

Topic: Creativity and Advertising

Guide to advertising and creativity

Podcast Episode #80 of the internet show about small business marketing

If you want to make your cash register ring with advertising, what do you do? Get creative. But just what is creativity and how do you use it to create great advertising? In this episode of Power to the Small Business, author, advertising expert, and ad agency creative director Luke Sullivan tells us how we can create great advertising.

Host: Jay Ehret – Chief Officer of Awesomeness at
Guest: Luke Sullivan – Creative Director at GSD&M and author of Hey Whipple, Squeeze This
Length: 29 minutes

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What is Great Advertising?

The convergence of advertising that is fun, exciting and interesting, with advertising that makes the cash register ring.

Luke Sullivan’s Creative Process:

  1. Fully understand the business, what it does, what it wants to accomplish, who it targets, who the competition is.
  2. Figure out what the business has, that people want, that the competition isn’t giving them.
  3. Sit down with a pad of paper and a pencil. Face a blank wall. Don’t look at beautiful settings, instead turn yourself inward.
  4. Then draw a little square on a blank sheet of paper. Fill it with something interesting.
  5. The objective is to take everything about the business and burn it down into a single idea that is interesting. It might be a visual, and idea, a movement.
  6. If you can’t get your idea into that little square, it’s not a big idea.

Selected Advertising Quotes from Luke Sullivan:

On the necessity of creativity in advertising:

“It is not required. But that means all the weight goes on to your product… When you don’t have a great or breakthrough product, then maybe you are going to need to align some marketing in your favor. Then, I think creativity is the best business tool you have to unfairly beat the competition.”

“Creativity needs to be in service of a commercial purpose. If it’s just creativity for creativity’s sake, well then it’s just art.”

On creating great advertising:

“You need to figure out the one thing; the one thing that you can tell your best customer that will get them to lean in and talk about your product.”


Luke Sullivan’s Blog:
Buy Luke’s Book: Hey Whipple, Squeeze This

Get updates on: The Marketing Spot Group Coaching

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