Archives for October 2009

You Know the Yellow Pages Are Dead When…

I am moving; for joy, for joy. I hate moving but it seems I move regularly. I think this is trait passed on to me by my parents because they never lived anywhere for more than 10 years. I think it’s part of a gypsy heritage.

When I was young I can remember how the phone book was an invaluable tool. You would find notes scribbled on the covers and circles, arrows and margin notes on the inside pages. For most of my adult life, I lived in small town America. The phone book was important to be sure, albeit a tiny book with few pages. It fit in a drawer next to the phone on the wall and was quite light to pick up.

I moved to Southern California a few years ago. One of the first things that amazed me was the huge books I found plopped on my doorstep each year. A mammoth white pages and an even larger Yellow Pages. So, anyway, I found myself moving the other day and under the guest bed was where I had been throwing these books. I didnt even give it a moment of thought when moving time came. The new ones that just showed up along with my “collection” all went into the recycling bin.

After regaining my breath from the haul out, I reflected on the fact that I hadn’t opened any of them, ever! This fact was worth considering more, given I am am marketer, who at one time, made a living placing tiny Yellow Pages ads in target cities. Perhaps, more importantly, here I was new in town and had no need for The Phone Book!

In 2007, Search Engine Land did an exhaustive study that uncovered that searches for the yellow pages online were dropping while searches for Google maps were increasing. This would point towards a double challenge for Yellow Pages publishers. Not only is their print version soon to be a dinosaur. They waited so long to create online versions, they aren’t needed here either. Ouch!

But what does this all mean for businesses? While it is somewhat hard to find statistics that validate my prognostication. 15 years ago 100% of the population used The Yellow Pages. Today it is split even. 50% use the internet and 50% use the printed books. That’s a pretty steep decline in a relatively short period of time. If your business has always done well with the printed book, you probably need to stay in it. In fact I would recommend a smaller size in more categories. At the same time, you better be getting sharp at understanding the various ways someone might find you online as well as how social media will continue to reshape how people filter information in their lives.

It’s not a matter of if, but when the print book will make no sense any more at all. I am betting it will be sooner than later. I’m a bit biased though, because I have a fondness for trees and my expectations are such that there will be somewhat less strain on them when phone books do not exist at all, anywhere, anymore.

Google Parameter Control

Good news for sites with shopping carts, reservation and booking engines, MLS and property listings, and any other website that generate dynamic urls that lead back to the same page. The Problem (SEO perspective) is duplicate content. Multiple paths (urls) back to the same content will hurt your sites ability to perform in the search engines.

This generally occurs when you site offers multiple ways of finding the products and services that you sell, for example; a landing page, a page delivered from a search result, or a page built from user criteria. Essentially, all of these paths can deliver the exact same content.

Google has just announced a new Parameter Control Tool as part of the Webmaster Tools suite. The tool allows users to define what pages should be included in the search engine results, and which pages are dynamically generated and should be excluded.

RightNow clients have Webmaster Tools connected to their websites. We will be looking at those sites that could benefit from the implementation of this new Google Tool. If you have questions regarding this tool please contact us!

Monitor Your Brand Online

Is your organization actively monitoring what people are saying about your product, service and staff on the Internet? If not, you should be! Comments and reviews can be left about you and your business on thousands of blogs, review sites, forums, local portals, and even directly with the search engines.

Daily Media Intelligence and Brand Surveillance - SAMPLE REPORTThe time to act (or react) to online narrative and opinion is immediately (if not sooner!) In the case of a negative review, it may or (may not) be too late to save that relationship. The bigger consideration is future perception – that negative comment is going to live on the Net forever. How you treat the comment is going to craft the perception that other Internet searchers have of your organization.

The first step in the process in notification. You need to know sooner than later. Google has developed a basic notification system called Google Alerts. Set up correctly, Google Alerts can notify you when your brand or product is mentioned online, and perform a variety of automated surveillance metrics. If you would like help setting up this basic system, please feel free to call us.

Reputation Monitoring – if you would like to expand the sphere of monitoring for your brand we offer a comprehensive service that includes both monitoring and management. Our system delivers a regularly scheduled report of mentions of your brand or products, from thousands of online (and offline) sources. This allows you to easily and quickly review any activity.

VIEW: A Sample Report of our Daily Media Intelligence and Brand Surveillance

Contact RightNow if you would like more information on how to implement this service.

ASA – Sailing School and Club Marketing

RightNow Communications has been helping the sailing, boating and marine industry gain a web presence since 2003. We have helped sailing schools, clubs, manufacturers, brokers, dealers and charter agents with search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), and social media marketing (SMM), which are all essential for businesses to be found on the internet. While we welcome all types of businesses, we primarily focus on hospitality and leisure oriented companies. Watch this short video below for tips on how to improve your own presence on the web, or contact us today to see how we can help you.

Use these Google Guides to help market your business online:

GOOGLE STARTER GUIDE

GOOGLE SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING

Optimize Your iPhone App

Does your team have an iPhone Ap that’s in the works? Make sure to get us involved prior to release! We are currently working with several iPhone Apps that are in the various stages of development and the release cycle.

While there are no real SEO consideration to be made in the design phase, choosing the correct path during the submission process is critical. You do not optimize the App for the Search Engines; You optimize it for the Apple iTunes App Store.

The challenge is describing your new App to searchers on the App Store network because of the limited amount of title, keyword, and description space provided during submission. Furthermore, after the App is submitted and released, you can not go back and change this data until you make an update to the App itself.

Clients of RightNow Communications – feel free to contact us if you are considering (or working on) an iPhone App. We can help!