Midwest Equine

Feature Article

PART THREE: If You Build It, You'd Better Tell Somebody About It!

Andrew B. Clark, Spoke Communications, LLC

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September 2014 - Part Three - "If You Build It…,"

We all know the rest of the legendary movie line,
"If You Build It…," but for many businesses, that's a pretty good definition of how they treat they online presence – thinking "Well, I've built it, where is everyone?" *Cue crickets*

Unfortunately, that's not how business works – online or off. If you built a spectacular clinic with "State-of-the-art" equipment and included all the most current resources of animal care and rehabilitation; do you think you'd have a line of patients waiting outside on the day the doors opened?

The reality is, without letting the public know, your

first guests just might be a few family members and a handful of friends. And the rest, my friends, is history.

Thinking of your website as your online clinic is a perfect way to understand how customers think. Customers looking for services you provide will do one of three things:

  1. Go online to a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo to search "The best flea and tick solutions for Minnesota Dogs"
  2. Ask a friend "Where do I find the best flea and tick solutions for Minnesota Dogs?" or,
  3. Blindly walk into the closest clinic and know no better…
Ringing The Dinner Bell

Ding, ding, ding, ding… I can see it now; a great big iron triangle being beat with a wooden spoon, echoing over the rolling planes to signify dinner is ready! You heard it. You knew exactly what it meant. And you came a-running. That's exactly what you need to do for your clients and prospective clients.

Remember the "If you build it…" comment we wrote about above? This is precisely where those that subscribe to that theo-ry of marketing get tripped up. When much of the work is done, when the site is built and the pages are written, many sit back and wait. And they wait. And they wait… Eventually coming to the conclusion, websites and Internet marketing don't work. But you and I know it's just because they're forgetting to ring the dinner bell.

Ringing the proverbial dinner bell is a huge part of making sure search engines, and your customers know where to find you. In the last article, we talked about cooking great content and correctly setting the trap by using the keywords and phrases your customers would be searching on Google and other sites. Now we need to let those search engines know where your great content is, and FAST.

Tools for registering your site with search engines are abun-dant. The details we offer below are just a few, but we think these are the most powerful and best results-generating links available. And they're FREE!

Ding, ding, and ding… Using "The Google" to spread the word:

When you want to be recognized by the biggest players on the block, why not use the tools they're using?
Google has a number of tools available at NO COST to you to help bring your web-site and customers to-gether. For this article's purposes, we're going to walk you through the use of two of the most beneficial. The rest you can explore and discover as time allows. image of google features

To use these tools, you'll need to set up a basic Gmail account. That process is very simple and should only take 5 minutes to complete.

Just go to http://accounts.google.com and click on "Sign In." If you already have a Gmail account, you can enter the appropriate information where it's called out.

From there, you'll need to access your account and choose from the options available.

Google Webmaster Tools is the one tool that will help you serve your customers best.

Disclaimer – You can and most likely will get lost if you look at all of the tools and options Google gives you. Simply focus on the two tools we outline in this article and you'll be better off… and your staff and family will be much more appreciative.

Google Webmaster Tools for basic SEO

Google Webmaster tools is a very powerful ally. Used correctly, it can be a great add-on to your marketing efforts. With time you'll learn the complete ins and outs of these tools, but for this article, we're only going to cover the most important aspects.

In the Google Webmaster tools, we prefer to focus on the "Crawl/Sitemaps" and "Fetch as Google" link areas.

XML Sitemaps:

Just like a restaurant has a menu, your website MUST have a XML sitemap. This is the file within your website that search engines immedi-ately look for to tell the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your company (the keywords and information dis-cussed in our last article).
f you haven't had a XML site-map created for your site there are plenty of resources to do so. We prefer to use the Goo-gle XML Sitemap plug-in of-fered with WordPress content management systems. Other options are easily found on-line. webmaster tools

Having the pages listed in the XML sitemap as well as generating new XML sitemaps when the site is updated or changed indicates to the search engines crawling your sites how up-to-date and relevant it is to those searching.

Generally, Google and the likes send out what's called "Spi-ders" to crawl the web and return information found to be in-dexed in their algorithms so those searching can get the most comprehensive and relevant returns possible. But the issue there is, as the web grows and information is added, it takes longer and longer for the spiders to reach every corner of the web. Sometimes it takes up to 90 days to see any result of passive indexing. So, through Google's Webmaster tools, you can ac-tively submit your XML sitemaps for indexing, shortening the crawl wait time and getting your information in front of your customers sooner.

Fetch as Google:

Speeding up the process, the "Fetch as Google" tab allows you to go in "As Google" would, to submit specific pages to the search engines. After you've uploaded and submitted your XML Sitemap to Google, designating your most important and most relevant pages to the index would be the next step. Once "Fetched" you have the option to have the pages independently indexed for the search engines. (fig.c)

At the time of this writing, you we're limited as to the number of pages you could Fetch, so being strategic and diligent with your Webmaster tool kit activities is a must.

c.image for "Fetch as Google"

A Watched Pot Never Boils

You've just put the pot on. Now you need to let nature (or in this case, technology) take its course.

As we mentioned above, it takes time for Google, Bing, Yahoo and the other search engines to crawl the web looking for the most relevant content for your customers.

By taking the steps you have to this point:

  1. Building a Website that is content rich on a content management system
  2. Strategically creating page and post content that is relevant to your customers as well as search engines
  3. Jumped to the front of the line by submitting your site to the most powerful search engine in the world

you've ensured the possibility of being found and ranked high-ly on search engines your customers will use to find you and the products and services you provide.

In our next and final article, we'll cover how social media sites like Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn affect your online mar-keting and how to keep your customers engaged so they never have to ask for directions to your Website (or your clinic) again!

For more about digital marketing and strategies for your business, contact Andrew B. Clark at Spoke Communications, LLC at www.spokecom.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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All rights @2014 Andrew B. Clark & Spoke Communications, LLC