Judy Kirkland, Echo Point Marketing Partners

Search engines are dedicated to giving searchers authoritative and relevant results. That’s why they’re always refining the algorithms used to rate and rank web pages, and search engines are now penalizing sites packed with too many keywords. That’s right!

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How well are search engines reading your web site? Find out with a powerful, yet free, tool called Site:Command.

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Everyone knows it’s now a “best practice” to feature Facebook, Twitter and YouTube tags on your home page. But did you know you should be tagging your offline efforts, too?

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How many of your best customers or clients have web sites? If so, you might want to approach them about posting a link to your own web site. Will they do it? Chances are they will.

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A recent McKinsey study estimated that word-of-mouth (WOM) is the primary factor driving up to 50% of purchase decisions! While most of today’s WOM is still done in person, more people are getting in the habit of asking their LinkedIn and Facebook friends for recommendations on everything from good restaurants to a great CPA.

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Web sites used to be designed “deep.” But today’s search engines and today’s web users prefer “wide sites.” Searchers want quick access to specific information and don’t want to have to click through a series of pages to get it. Search engines give higher ranks to pages that are one click from the home page.

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Are you overlooking competitors? With so many people using search engines to locate local services, anyone who uses the same keywords and phrases becomes your competitor.

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Many small businesses don’t set formal marketing budgets for themselves. Don’t skip this step: It will cost you time, money and results.

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If you have business partners who regularly refer clients to you, consider a list swap: They get your client list, you get theirs. This can be an extremely effective prospecting tool.

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Nearly 95% of consumers say free content is a major factor in helping them decide with whom they will do business, according to a recent ChiefMarketer.com study. So think about developing some free content for your site.

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