10 Advantages of Using Google Places

If you aren’t using Google Places to market your business on the web, then you are seriously missing out on an unparalleled opportunity. A Google Places listing can be one of the most powerful money-making tools you have, and it’s time you claim yours. Still need some convincing? Here are ten advantages of using Google Places:

It’s free! That’s right – your Google Places listing and page won’t cost you anything to set up. When you consider how strong a tool Google Places is when it comes to web marketing, it’s almost mind blowing to know that you don’t have to pay a cent to use it.

Google Advertising. Once you have your Google Places page completely set up, you can then take advantage of the array of Google Advertising options available to you.

Customer review forum. Your Google Places page is an ideal spot for satisfied customers to post glowing testaments for all to see. It is also a great place for you to publicly handle customer complaints, so that potential customers can see firsthand that you are willing to work with your customers to make them happy.

Google Maps. Along with your Google Places listing, Google will also place a marker for your business on Google Maps, making it easy for new customers to find you.

Better than the Yellow Pages. Studies show that over 97 percent of all consumers search the web to find local businesses, making the Yellow Pages nearly obsolete. If you want to get noticed, you need a business listing on Google Places.

Mobile users. Most people these days use their smart phones to view the web even more than they use their PCs. Mobile users have full access to Google Places listings, so you won’t miss out on this valuable market.

Targeted demographics. It is possible to tweak your Google Places listing so that is it seen by those people who are most likely to visit your page and become your customers.

Virtual business tours. Google Places is now offering (temporarily on a limited basis) to send a photographer to your place of business to shoot a 360 virtual tour of your establishment. For customers who are on the fence about visiting your business location, this can be just the push they need.

You might not have a website. Setting up a business website can cost a considerable amount of time and money. If you have not yet developed a website, you can just use your (once again, free!) Google Places page as your site.

Google Offers. Google makes it very easy for you to offer customers who visit your Places page special offers and coupons. Simply click on the “Google Offers” button, complete the information you want to include, and Google Places will publish the offer to your page.

Take advantage of everything Google Places has to offer by enlisting the help of competent professionals like us, SEO Dream Team. We can be reached by phone, at 301-806-2271, or via email:

More people are relying on Search Engines to find local businesses[Study]

PEW Internet, one of the world’s leading research and survey companies, recently published its findings regarding how adults over the age of 18 find local businesses in today’s economy. The study involved 1087 adults, and each was asked about their online and offline search habits relating to seeking out local businesses, as well as which method they were most likely to use.

60% of respondents claimed that they do use the internet to seek out information on local businesses, not including bars and restaurants. Of these respondents, 47% claimed that the internet was the the search method they used the most. These findings claimed that 36% of respondents relied on search engines, while 16% relied on specialty websites. Only 1% of respondents claimed to rely heavily on social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

The survey also states that respondents who did not rely mainly on internet searches used methods which included newspapers, recommendations from family and friends, as well as local television and radio broadcasts. The statistics for these individuals were as follows: 31% used newspapers, 22% used recommendations, 8% used television and 5% used radio.

When it comes to searching for restaurants and bars, the percentage points for online searches increase slightly. Of these respondents, 51% relied heavily on the internet for information on local eateries and clubs. 38% claimed that search engines were their main source of information, while 16% used specialty websites and 3% used social media. 5% of respondents searching for bars and restaurants using newspapers claimed to use the online version most often.

What is important to remember when analyzing these numbers is that respondents were offered the option to fill in more than one answer for a question, meaning some people who gave an answer of “search engine” may have also answered “social media.” This survey also states that respondents most likely to use the internet for searches tended to be young adults and females, as well as tech-savvy urban residents.

For online marketers, this information is invaluable. Whether you’re marketing a local business or a national business on a local scale, you need to take advantage of online opportunities that can get your clients’ businesses in front of potential consumers. This means adding accurate information about your clients to sites and directory services such as Google Places, City Search, Yelp, online phonebooks and more. This information needs to be static across all online business directories in order to not only help customers find the business you’re promoting, but also to assist in building a brand.

As a marketer, you also need to recognize the potential that this data has for PPC campaigns. By developing branded keywords for your clients, you will be able to use services such as Google AdWords to help drive local traffic to your client’s local business. Keep in mind that you may end up having to bid on hot keywords, but if you’re able to get them, they should be able to provide plenty of marketing exposure and potential business for you.

Top 8 things Marketers need to know about QR Codes

QR codes are popping up everywhere. If you have met with us in person or at a networking event then you have seen our business cards:QR Codes

Here is our list of tips, tricks, and tools to help you get an advantage over the  competition.

  1. A QR Code is actually a 2D barcode
    A QR Code or Quick Response Code is a matrix two dimensional code. It was first designed for the auto industry.
  2. A QR Code is not the only 2D barcode
    QR Codes as of 2011 are being used in commercial tracking, entertainment, marketing and in store labels.  Real estate agents even use this code on their signs, easily sharing information to their potential clients.
  3. Your 2D barcode should add value to your customer
  4. More than likely your end user will need help reading your QR code
  5. 2D barcodes can be beautiful
  6. Always test your code!
  7. You can track usage on your QR code
  8. There are Free resources to make your QR code
So what now?
Maybe you have a few questions about QR Codes? Leave us a comment below and we will answer the most common questions in our next articles.

Explanation of how do Search Engines Work?

If you are getting ready to embark on your Internet Marketing journey you must know how the search engines work!

1. Crawler-Based Search Engines

The big 3 search engines, (Google, Yahoo, & MSN) are known as crawler-based search engines. Crawler-based search engines have three major elements. First is the spider, also called the crawler. The spider visits a web page, reads it, and then follows links to other pages within the site. This is what it means when someone refers to a site being “spidered” or “crawled.” The spider returns to the site on a regular basis, such as every month or two, to look for changes.

How do search engines work with the spiders? Everything the spider finds goes into the second part of the search engine, the index. The index  is like a giant book containing a copy of every web page that the spider finds. If a web page changes, then this index is updated with new information.

Search engine software is the third part of a search engine. This is the program (also known as the ranking algorithm) that sifts through the millions of pages recorded in the index to find matches to a search and rank them in order of what it believes is most relevant.

2. Search Engine Ranking Algorithms

All crawler-based search engines use a ranking algorithm to rank sites for any given keyword. The ranking algorithms of the major search engines can consist of hundreds of factors. However, for purposes of simplicity, rankings algorithms consist of two critical components: 1) Document Analysis and 2) Link Analysis.

In document analysis, search engines look at whether the search terms are found in important areas of the document – title tag, meta tags, heading tags, and in the body of the text.

In link analysis, search engines not only measure the number of links pointing to a site or page, but the importance of the site or page that provides the link.

The most well-known system for ranking sites based on link analysis is “PageRank”, which was developed by Google. As described by Google: PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”

Google’s toolbar (available here) includes an icon that shows a PageRank value from 0-10.

3. How do search engines work: PPC vs. SEO

It is important to know the difference between Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). PPC is a form of Internet advertising where advertisers only pay when a user actually clicks on their ad. With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. When a user types a keyword matching an advertiser’s keyword list, the advertisements get displayed. Such advertisements are called sponsored ads, and they usually appear to the top and right of the “natural” or organic results on search engines (as depicted in the graphic below).


PPC advertising can be very expensive as target keywords cost in the upwards of a few dollars per click. This can really add up especially for keywords that receive thousands of clicks per day. Most small to medium sized companies hire SEO experts so they can boost their site’s “natural” or organic rankings, especially because their is no “per click” cost associated with organic rankings. Generally speaking, small to medium sized companies try to avoid PPC advertising, because it’s extremely expensive. This creates an even greater need for SEO services.

The most popular PPC advertising programs include: Google AdwordsYahoo Sponsored Search, and MSN adCenter. Other PPC programs include Ask Jeeves Sponsored Listings,ABCSearchMIVA, and SearchFeed. And this our explanation on How do search engines work?

[Local SEO] How to claim and update your Google Local Listing

How do you claim your Google Places listing in the Google Maps?

As you may or may not know Google has an area specifically for local business owners to showcase their business.  This is called Google places or Google Business listings.  Google automatically populates its listings many ways (yellowpages, superpages, your business phone company, ect.) and other sources as well.  All of the listings are initially unverified and may contain errors about your business.  The most important factor for your listing is to claim it.

If you haven’t claimed your business listing you should do it as soon as possible.  There are many reasons to claim your listing such as better rankings, updating contact information, and listing specials ect.  One of the main reasons you should claim your listing is to ensure spammers, prankers, and worse your competition! There have been many horror stories of company’s listings being marked as no longer in business and that company losing potential clients.

If your business is not currently listed then you can sign up for free and get listed also.

Here we will show you how to find your local listing, claim and edit it so that you can be found with the most relevant business information.

Is your business listed?

Finding Your Google Listing

The first step is to search to see if you have a local listing with Google.  You can search your business name and address.

Unverified Local LIstingunverified gooogle listing

Once you find your listing you will see whether it is verified or not verified.

If your business listing doesn’t show up when you search then you need to submit a listing.

You might find that your information isn’t correct, don’t worry once we have claimed your listing we will be able to edit all the information.

The next step is to click more and then click the edit link to start claiming your local listing.

View and Edit local listing Details

start claiming local listing

Start your business claiming process

If you currently have a google account log in, if you don’t you can easily create a new account.

Once you have logged into your account select claim and start editing your business information.  Correct any information that isn’t up to date.  You can also add photos and videos of your business.

enter google details here

Once you have done this you can validate your business listing.  You can either have a postcard sent to your location or have them verify you by phone.  Many times your listing must be verified by postcard if you are a new business or if you have changed a phone number.

verify by phone

Once you have received a post card you can enter your pin and your listing will be live within 24 hours with up-to-date information and will ensure that your listing isn’t hijacked by someone you don’t want to have control over such an important Google benefit.

Now that your local listing is up to date we can start talking about optimizing it for better placement.  You can now compete with big name businesses so contact us today for Google maps optimization.

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Are you a Maryland Auto Detailer? We are currently running a promotion for a free website redesign. Auto detailers can benefit from a full website redesign and mobile site.  If they need to generate leads online straigt to their phone.

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[Local SEO] 5 Tips to boost your Local Rankings

No matter what your business size is you can benefit from a Local Listing on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. There are several factors that can not only boost your web presence but can help get your phone ringing and orders coming in more often.Local searches such as “Elderly Caregiver in Maryland” Or “Dog walker Manassas” can be found via the local maps section with a few edits to their local listing profiles. Try these out and watch your listings improve.
Tips to boost your local rankings
  1. Spread yourself like the plague- Making sure your address is on your website. If you own any other websites for your business make sure you include your main location on each website. Don’t forget if you have multiple business locations that you setup your local listings for those as well.
  2. Join your [Online] Community- Websites that relate to your business or your location that have forums or directories are great to list your business on. The search engines take into account your importance in your area by the mentions you receive on these websites.
  3. Don’t pass on the smaller guys- Yes Google does have a huge share of monthly searchers. However don’t forget the smaller players. There are still a large percentage of people using Yahoo and Bing search features. Don’t let your competition grab the searchers you might be missing.
  4. Encourage the happy customers-to leave reviews! There is no hiding the fact that your customers love your product and services than by showing the world. Just like links are votes for your websites reviews are visible votes. Having a few positive reviews will help the potential buy make their decision.
  5. Update your Whois- Many experts believe that having the most up to date contact information can help your local listings. Are your online properties matching? Making sure you have matching Local Listings and Whois information will help you grow in the rankings.
The SEO Dream Team is a full service Search Engine Optimization agency. 301-806-2271

Fairfax SEO Company

You may be wondering why your website doesn’t rank as high as you would like or even worse as high as your competition. There is no magic sauce its very simple, your website isn’t optimized for the search engine spiders. They are not sure what to do once they get to your site and that is why they don’t properly “index” you. We test your website in our our tool to see if you are properly optimized for the search engines. The tool emulates a search engine spider coming to your website and scores you on how well your website is optimized. If your score is low, then you are missing out on the traffic and the sales that you would be getting from your website. That is where the Fairfax SEO Company you choose has to be an expert!

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We specialize in more visibility for less cost! What business wouldn’t want that? The next question is how can we offer that? The answer is simple: We raise your relevance for your main target keywords, improve your organic placement in the search engines(on the left side where 80% of people click) which drives more traffic to your site! Why does this cost less? Our clients typically spend a fraction with us compared to what they were spending on their PPC campaign. What they were spending in 2-3 months is what they spend with us over 12 months and they usually see 5 times the amount of traffic.

Exclusive Fairfax SEO Company

Your website’s relevance is a key component. The more relevance your website has then the higher it will rank in the search engines. Your relevance is scored in four major categories- Traffic Rank, Coding , Content, and Link Popularity. Yes there are 100′s of other pieces to the puzzle but if you learn to master these four, your website will rank higher and that means MORE VISIBILITY!