The Easy Way to Get to the Top of Google

Posted May 9th, 2011 in Online Marketing, SEO, Small Business Tips by Mara
Image by Jeff McNeill

Image by Jeff McNeill

One of the absolutely most popular questions we get asked by customers is “how do I get on Google?”

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a complex game and sometimes it can take a while to get search engines like Google to notice you. It’s a delicate balance of targeting the right keywords, having the right content, using the right elements to build your website, and having the right sites link back to you – you can see how it can be challenging.

While SEO is definitely something you should focus on and ranking naturally through search engines is a fantastic goal, there’s a faster way to do it – it’s called advertising.

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SEO Building Blocks: Use your Headlines

Posted October 15th, 2010 in SEO by Mara

headline What you don’t know about headlines may be hurting you and your small business. No, really.

We’ve talked before about using effective headlines on your website to entice customers and state the value of your business. But they also have another valuable attribute: the H1 (or <h1>) tag.

H1 tags are one of those things that search engines look for in your website when they’re crawling your pages and trying to figure out what your site is all about. The logic behind it is that if you’re emphasizing that information on the page as a headline, it probably means something – which is why you should always include keywords in it.

H1 tags are found in the HTML code that makes up your website. If you’re using a website builder like, the HTML is created automatically for you and there are ways to apply the H1 tag without having to mess with any code – keep reading to find out how.

Here’s the Golden Rule:
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How to Fit Tough Keywords into Your Small Business Website

Posted July 20th, 2010 in SEO by Mara

puzzleWhen you’re trying to optimize your small business website for keywords, you sometimes end up with phrases that just don’t fit in to the flow of the page.

Strange word combinations, odd plurality and missing articles can make writing for exact keyword phrases a pretty difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be impossible – you just need to start thinking of it like a puzzle.

Here are a few suggestions for fitting in those challenging keywords:

1.    Break them up
Although punctuation means a lot to me and you, search engines aren’t that fussy about it. If you’re having trouble fitting the words of a keyword phrase in one sentence, break it up into two separate sentences.

Keyword phrase: San Francisco Real Estate

Looking for a new home in San Francisco? Real Estate can be hard to come by without enlisting the help of an expert.

2.    Use bulleted lists
Not only can bulleted lists be used to simplify information for your visitor, but they can also help you use keywords less awkwardly.

Keyword Phrase: Dog Training Articles

Looking for more information? See the following:

  • “Max’s Guide to Dog TrainingArticles about teaching your dog the basics.
  • “Penelope’s Puppies: All about dog trainingArticles for owners of puppies under the age of 6 months.
  • “Jane and her Litter” Everything you need to know about dog training.

Articles can help you get a lot of the information you need as a new dog owner.

Some keywords just can’t sound natural when written from the third person perspective. In that case, try including them in a quote.

Keyword Phrase: Make my own wine

See what our customers have to say about our services!

“I wanted to make my own wine, but didn’t want to spend a fortune. Grapestompers was affordable AND my wine is fantastic!”

Fitting keywords into your small business website is often a challenge, and these are just a few ways you can do it. Try to be creative and flexible without sacrificing readability – it’s important to remember that your visitor is just as important as the search engines, so be careful not to ruin their experience for the sake of fitting in your keywords.

[image by liza31337]

3 Easy Ways to Optimize Your Small Business Website for Local Search

Posted March 2nd, 2010 in Getting Visitors, SEO, Website Builder Features by Mara

2010-03-02-localsearchIs the location of your small business important to your customers? If so, your online marketing efforts need to include optimization of your website for local search.

Not sure what local search is? A great example is Google Local. When you do a search for a local business on Google (i.e. “dog walker Seattle”), on the search results page you’ll see a list of local businesses beside a little map. They are businesses that have been submitted to Google Local who are relevant to your search.

Here are some great ways to optimize your site for local search:

1.    Submit to Local Search Engines
We already mentioned Google Local, but there are many more and some may be more popular in your area than others. Consider the following:

2.    Include Your Contact Information on Every Page
This is easier than it sounds. Just create a site-wide footer for your pages and include your address. User Tip: Create your page footer by going to ‘Edit Site’ > ‘Page Footer’.

3.    Use Geo-Descriptive Keywords
When researching your keywords, make sure to see what people are searching locally, then use those keywords on your website. Make sure to include them in your title and description tags.

When you make a website that’s optimized for local search, it’s easier to get your business to the top of the search engines – simply based on your location! As a bonus suggestion, consider getting a localized domain name to compliment your existing one.

How Your Small Business Can Make More Money Than Ever in 2010

Posted January 18th, 2010 in Selling Online by admin

It’s the end of January and looking back on last year, most small business website owners are glad that it’s over! The even better news is that if you survived, there are many ways that your business can come back bigger and better than ever.

Here’s how:

Review Your Product Offering
After a rough economic year, is your product/service still in high demand? If not, is there something you can do to make it so? Or, is there another opportunity that might work better for you?

Expand Your Reach
How far and wide are you spreading the word about your products/services? If your only form of advertising is in the yellow pages, start exploring more opportunities. With search engines and social media, there’s no reason more people shouldn’t be talking about you.

Streamline Expenses
When’s the last time you took a good look at where your money is being spent? Carefully go over your numbers and see where you can cut back. For example, try trading in your long distance phone package for Skype.

Build New Relationships
Sometimes talking to new contacts can really provide you with ideas for or insights to your business. Whether it’s chatting up a potential supplier or finding a business mentor, open up those channels to freshen your approach to your business.

Listen to Customers
You customers make your business, so if there’s something they’re piping up about, listen and let them know you’re doing so! If something’s not working for them, chances are that same something might be a roadblock for other potential customers.

To stay competitive, you and your business need to be dynamic and able to change with the market. By getting in the habit of reviewing and planning each year, you help ensure that you stay ahead of the game.

Tag, You’re It!

Posted March 19th, 2009 in News, SEO, Website Builder Features by admin

Are you feeding the search engines the right info to help your ranking?


Meta tags are one of the hidden elements in the code of your web pages that search engines look for your keywords. By including your keywords in your Title, Description, and Keyword tags, you tell the search engines that those words are hot topics on your website. The best part is, with the CityMax website builder you don’t have to mess with any code to make it happen!

To change the tags on your small business website, just click ‘Internet Marketing’ when you’re editing a page. You can then customize the Title, Description, and Keywords tags for that specific page.