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Cheat Sheet

Local Online Advertising For Dummies

From Local Online Advertising For Dummies by Court Cunningham, Stephanie Brown

As more consumers look online for local products and services (particularly using search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing), local businesses are realizing that advertising online is a necessity. Of course, local online advertising can be complicated and downright intimidating. Start thinking about local online advertising by reviewing commonly used terms and tips for creating a great Web site, as well as resources where you can get more information.

Glossary of Local Online Advertising Terms

To be successful at local online advertising, you have to understand how it works, and for that, you need to understand online advertising jargon. The following list defines some of the more commonly used terms for local online advertising:

  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors to your Web site who exit your site after viewing only a single page.

  • Call to action: A statement in an advertisement or Web page that instructs the reader to take some kind of action.

  • Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of paid search or banner ad impressions that are ultimately clicked.

  • Content network: The large network of sites associated with the Google AdWords platform where advertisers can advertise based on contextual relevance as opposed to an actual search query that's made.

  • Conversion rate: The percentage of people within a group that take a desired action in regards to your advertising.

  • Cost-per-acquisition (CPA): The total advertising expenditure necessary to acquire a new customer.

  • Cost-per-click (CPC): The amount charged to an advertiser for a single click. These types of charges are usually most common with paid search advertising on search engines and with some types of banner advertising.

  • Cost-per-lead (CPL): The total advertising expenditure necessary to acquire a new customer lead.

  • Google AdWords: The platform through which businesses can advertise in Google’s sponsored search results as well as Google’s Search and Content Networks.

  • Impression: Represents one display of an ad on a Web site.

  • Internet Yellow Pages (IYP): Any of several Internet properties that contain business listings across multiple industries organized by geography and industry.

  • Landing page: The Web page that someone is directed to after clicking a corresponding ad.

  • Lead: A prospective customer.

  • Lead aggregator: A business that generates leads for various industries and then sells those leads to one or more businesses in those industries.

  • Local listings: A special section on search engine result pages reserved for local businesses that match a particular search criteria. These listings are often accompanied by a map.

  • Organic listings: The area of the search engine results page below and to the left of paid search listings; the results are generated automatically by the search engines based on their determination of a Web page’s relevance to the search query.

  • Paid search listings: The area of the search engine results page above and to the right of the organic listings. These listings are paid advertisements that are usually charged on a pay-per-click basis.

  • Pay-per-click (PPC): An advertising model that charges advertisers when their specific ads are clicked. This model is used for a variety of online advertising channels, most notably paid search.

  • Quality Score: A score determined by various factors that is assigned by Google to AdWords advertisers. This score, combined with the amount an advertiser is willing to pay per click determines an advertiser’s position in the paid search section of the search engine results page.

  • Search engine marketing (SEM): The process of utilizing the search engines to promote one’s business, which includes search engine optimization, paid search advertising, and local listings.

  • Search engine optimization (SEO): The process of manipulating a Web site, as well as that Web site’s relationship to other Web sites, in order to improve its position on the search engine results page.

  • Search network: A network of search engines that advertisers can opt in to advertise on through the Google AdWords platform.

Tips for Building a Website for Your Local Business

Regardless of what local online advertising channels you ultimately choose to employ for your business, it’s safe to say that if you don’t have a strong Web site, achieving local online advertising success is going to be incredibly difficult. Here are a few handy tips to make sure that your Web site is set up for success:

  • Start with a good URL. A memorable Web site address can help ensure that your customers don’t forget how to reach you. Additionally, a Web address that contains your business’s geography and product or service can help your search engine optimization (SEO).

  • Keep your site professional. Many of your potential customers will come to your Web site without ever visiting your actual place of business. Make sure to put your best foot forward by maintaining a cleanly designed, uncluttered site free of errors and typos.

  • Avoid overusing Flash. Fancy Flash intros can slow down the load time of your site and increase your bounce rate. Additionally, any text captured in Flash is invisible to the search engines.

  • Provide a clear call to action on every page. Want your potential customers to call to receive a free quote? Tell them. Want them to fill out a form to opt in to your e-newsletter? Tell them. Telling prospects what to do early and often is a surefire way to increase the chances that they’ll do it.

  • Make it easy for your potential customers to contact you. Make sure to include your phone number and physical address on every page of your site. Every time prospects have to click to another page to access the information they’re looking for increases the probability they'll exit your site and go to your competitor's site.

  • Keep SEO in mind. Research what keywords your potential customers are likely using on the search engines and make sure that these keywords are present on the appropriate pages of your Web site.

  • Create landing pages for your different services or product lines. This allows Web site visitors to easily find the information they need and allows you to send traffic from your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign directly to the most relevant page.

  • Clearly tell potential customers what differentiates you from the competition. This may just sound like Business 101, but it’s especially important online where your competitors are all just a click away.

Great Local Online Advertising Resources

Seeking guidance about how to advertise on the Internet in your area? The following list provides some free resources to help you get additional information on a variety of local online advertising topics:

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