Web hints from Net Solutions of Md.

Below are various articles that we thought you might find interesting. They provide insights into search engine workings, do's and don't's for web pages, content hints, color hints and more. We hope you find them interesting.

5 Steps for SEO localizing
Effective use of open space
11 Ways to turn website visitors into buyers
Flashy sites too hot for bots
Reviews Can Help You Rank
Reviews Can Help You Rank
By Aliza Earnshaw (c) 2011

If you're running a business that depends on local traffic, you
probably know that good reviews can bring more customers through
the door.

But did you know that getting reviews - and not necessarily just
good ones - can help your business rank better in search results?

It's true. Getting customers to review your company on your
Google Places listing (
Your-Business-Appears-in-Google-Maps), in Yahoo! Local, Bing,
CitySearch, Yelp and other review sites helps you in a couple
of ways:

- Ninety percent of consumers consult the Web before they head out
of the house to make a local purchase. Yes, you read that right -
90 percent, according to digital marketing analysis firm eMarketer
Inc ( If your business has plenty of
reviews for people to read - and most are enthusiastic, or at
least positive - you're likely to get some new customers. That's
because 70 percent of people believe in the validity of reviews
written by strangers, according to The Nielsen Co (http://blog.

- Having reviews of your business in several places - including
your own website - can improve your search engine optimization
(SEO) (
and help you rank higher in search results. That's because
search engines now look at reviews as an indication that a
business matters. And if you've got plenty of reviews, you may be
able to occupy more than one place on a page of search results.

Take a look at how much "real estate" Voodoo Doughnuts (http:// up on this search engine
results page, called a SERP in SEO-speak. The company has hit gold
with the top three spots. Voodoo also has the top spot in local
results - the list headed "Places for donuts near Portland, OR" -
and yet another spot lower down in local results.

Note that Voodoo Doughnuts' place page shows 3,015 reviews. That's a
lot of reviews, and they're clearly helping this already-popular shop
get noticed by anyone searching for donuts in Portland, Oregon.

I'm Not a Doughnut Rockstar. How Do I Get Reviews?

The good news is, it's not that hard to get more of your customers
to review you. Adopting just a few practices recommended by
local-search guru Mike Blumenthal ( can
help your company's website, Google Places page (http://www.aboutus.
org/Learn/Make-Sure-Your-Business-Appears-in-Google-Maps) and other
listings appear higher in searches - and win you more business.

A quick summary of how to get more reviews:
1) Get your company listed everywhere on the Web it makes
sense for your business.
2) Ask for reviews - see suggestions below.
3) Deliver great customer service so people will want to
review you, and so the reviews will be mostly good.

First, Stake Your Claim

There have always been directories and listing sites on the Web,
though the ones most in favor with searchers tend to change over

Some good places to get listed: ( offers free
help for getting your business listed at top sites on the Web,
including Google Places, (
Your-Business-Appears-in-Google-Maps) Yahoo Local (http://local., (
com) and others. GetListed tells you which listing sites are free,
which cost money, and advises you which paid sites might make
sense for your business. The site also offers a tool called Local
Dashboard that helps you track your online listings. ( - Yelp is famous for
its reviews of restaurants and other retail and service businesses.
Local search expert David Mimh, who runs, (http:// says the site is essential for any bar or
restaurant to list on Yelp. ( - It's not
as popular as it was a few years ago, but CitySearch is still
where many people go to choose a restaurant or other local business.

Use any site where you know your customers are. Mike
Blumenthal suggests choosing the sites that your customers favor.
How would you know that? Well, you could Google your direct
competitors to see where they've been reviewed, and make sure you
have listings on those sites. If you own a pet supply business,
and you know of sites where pet owners exchange news and tips -
and you can list your business there - do it. ( has a page
about virtually every site on the Web. Each website profile has
editable fields where you can add your contact information, a
short summary about your site and your logo. There's also a
wiki section where you can write as much as you like about
your site and your business, and include links back to your
site on keywords that matter for your business. Under the
AboutUs DoFollow ( policy,
those links can become follow links, and add some SEO
value for your site.

How To Get Reviews: Make it Easy

Mike Blumenthal says you must make it very easy for people to
review your business. One great strategy is to create a special
page for reviews on your own website - for example,
'''''' - so people can leave
their comments easily on your site. You can put the URL for that
page on your business card, and hand it out to everyone. You could
even print up a special thank you card with the reviews page
printed on it, and slip it in with your customers' purchases when
you bag them.

Mike also suggests creating a QR code for your reviews page, and
having it printed up fairly large, to display in your storefront
window. A customer can then scan the QR code with her phone, and
maybe even write a review of your business right then and there.
Or have the QR code link to your Google Places profile.

Once you've listed your business at the sites mentioned in the
section above, you can also print the URLs for those listings on
a card, or use QR codes, to make it easy for people to get to your
review sites. One caution: You can't directly ask people to review
you on Yelp - that can get you banned from the site. Nonetheless,
lots of people know and use Yelp, so it's still a good idea to be
listed there.

How To Get Good Reviews

It may sound simple, but the best way to get reviews is to deliver
a good experience. Treat customers with courtesy and respect, offer
a good product or professional-level service, and most of your
reviews will be good.

Another easy way: Ask for reviews. When someone tells you how
pleased they are with your company, ask them if they'd be willing
to put it in writing. Guide them to the location where you'd most
like the review to appear. Making it easy for them makes it more
likely they'll do it.

Anticipate that things will sometimes go wrong, and give people
a way to let you know what's gone wrong, so you can put it right
immediately. Display your phone number prominently on every page
of your website, so people can call you. If the phone isn't the
best option, or you want to offer more options, put a big "Contact
Us" button on every page, and provide full contact options on the
page it links to. It goes without saying that when people contact
you with a problem, you must help them quickly and graciously.

Providing quick and easy ways to contact you engenders trust in
people who come to your website. If you're willing to be contacted
that easily, you must be trustworthy - the exact opposite of those
shady sites that offer no contact information at all.

Another big benefit: Helping a dissatisfied or perplexed customer
can earn you an enthusiastic fan who's more than willing to give
you a good review. And that review is one more building block for
growing your online presence.

Copyright © 2011 Jayde Online, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Article printed from SiteProNews:
SiteProNews is a registered service mark of Jayde Online, Inc.

Common small business advertising mistake
Have you ever seen a vehicle go by with their phone number in large numbers? Then when you get to your home or office, you can't remember the phone number. But you remember all or some of the company name. So you go to the Internet and do a search on the company name to find out more information about the company, but they don't have a website. But you may find a competitor. That original business has just lost a business opportunity. These days it is a must for small businesses to have at least a basic website.

Here's the problem.
Many sign firms have been doing business the same way for many years. They list a company name (which is sometimes hard to read), all whole bunch of information about the company in smaller type, and a phone number in large number. First of all, that makes a sign too cluttered and too hard to read. Secondly, people are trained from an early age to read and recognize WORDS, not numbers.

The solution.
In many cases, their company name provides potential customers with rough idea of their products or services. So all the other little details are not necessary on a sign. Where the company name does not indicates their business, a few simple words "HVAC specialist" will do the trick. And you must list a website address in large letters on the sign.

We can help.
Net Solutions of Md. offers multiple levels of of website presence. We will also provide you with advice on how to create a website that works for you. Please contact us to get more information. We can help you, no matter where you live in the USA.
Content hint...
When to use italics on your website. Click here for more.
Online shoppers more likely to buy when...
the site display a "site OK" emblem. Click here for more.
7 Steps to a Successfull Web Presence
This is a great quick summary of important items about doing business on the we. Click here for full article.
Small changes can make a big difference in e-mail opt-in
Click here to find out how to improve email Opt-ins.
Social Networking is a Spyware Hotbed
Click here to see the social networking article.
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