Wisdom From The Small Business Trenches

SEO Tips by Online Marketing Muscle
Local SEO Reviews

Local SEO Quick Tip – Get 5 of These and Your Stars Will Shine

Does your business serve a local market?

If so, giving your business an edge, any edge, in Google’s local search engine listings could be quite useful… agree?

In this video, I provide a quick local SEO tip intended to point you in the direction of edging out your competition.

Hi!  Does your business depend on the local community whether it be other local businesses or local consumers for sales?  For revenue?  For income?  If it does you’ll want to tune into this local SEO quick tip for the day here.  I call this “Get 5 of These and Your Stars Will Shine”.

So what am I talking about here?  I’m talking about if you need that local community, you need to show up in the search engine results.  The local search engine results.  In order to do that effectively there are lots of things that have to happen.  You need to have a local focus on things with your website and other online presence no doubt.

The quick tip I’m sharing with you here today is for the majority of the people who will be searching for you, the majority of them are visual.  They get attracted to images.  When you pass or you get five online reviews on Google, what happens to your local SEO listing is you automatically have stars placed next to your listing.  So if you’ve got five 5-star reviews, you’re going to have five stars, gold stars right next to your name.

So if your competitors who are listed next to you whether they are above you or below you don’t have the stars, your listing is the one that’s going to draw the eyes to it the most.  Very important that you get five online reviews on Google.  That’s your quick tip for today.  That will help your listing in the search results stand out among the clutter of possibilities that your target market has.

Local SEO Reviews

3 Steps to Local SEO Domination

Does your business depend on local traffic to get clients? Dominate your local market with this 3 step process!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Video Transcript

And for those of you who would prefer to read, here’s the transcript:

Hi, this is Dean Mercado of Online Marketing Muscle and I’ve got a huge question here for you today. Do you depend on the local economy, local people, local businesses to purchase your products and services? In other words, from a more technical standpoint, is local SEO important to you? Is it important that when somebody locally searches for what you do, that your business shows up and not someone else’s, not your local competitors? If so, you are going to really want to tune into this conversation here today as it’s hugely important!

I’ve titled it: 3 Steps to Local SEO Domination. Now, keep in mind, these three steps are not little steps, they are huge steps – and I don’t expect you to do them all. I don’t even expect you to fully understand all the details about them. What I wanted to get through to you today and help you understand was what they are; so this way whether you are doing this stuff yourself, whether you are outsourcing this stuff – you know where you need to go… you know what you need to accomplish to some degree. So, let’s dive right into this.


First big step are what I call ‘Citations’. Now, that is a technical term. You may have heard it; you may not have heard it. It is one you are going to want to know what it means. Essentially what it is is another site – another reputable site – that contains your contact information on it. So in other words, sites like Superpages that has a listing on it with your business name, your address and your phone number. Or, sites like Manta that has your business name, your address, and your phone number. Even the Facebooks of the world and the Google Plus’ of the world and the Bing locals and the Yahoo locals, if your contact information is on all these reputable sites – that is called a Citation.

It doesn’t need to be a link coming back to you; just the fact that they are mentioning your business with those three core pieces of information is a solid citation for your website – your business. It is a third party endorsement, so to speak, saying that you are who you say you are. Again, your website is important, but the Google’s of the world, the Yahoo’s of the world, the Bing’s of the world – they don’t really care so much what you say about yourself – they care that other people are saying these things about you.

Online Reviews

That leads us into the second piece or the second step, online reviews. Whatever you need to do, you know…legally, right? Ha-ha, nothing silly here! Do whatever you need to do to build a deep enough relationship with your clients to get them willing to and to get them to write those online reviews for you.

There are tons of online review sites –, Google My Business – all of these are great review sites that you can use. One caveat: a lot of these sites do require people to login… have an account with them in order to do it. So, find ways to get your clients – find out what accounts they do have and get them up there to get those reviews going for you. You need to have them, folks. It is not ‘a want to have’ or ‘a nice to have’ – you need to have them. The more reviews you get, the more likely you are to show up towards the top of the local search rankings. It is very important, so set a little goal for your big action items. Set a little goal. Five… get five online reviews on one of the major online review sites.

Your Website

The third big step that I want you to take into consideration is your own website. It should just ooze local. It has to have your contact information on there – on every page preferably. It has to talk local, it has to reference local, it has to link out to local sites and local stuff that is important… have other important reputable local sites linking back into you. Have local community engaging your blog, in other words, commenting and sharing your content out to other places – very, very important. Your website plays a huge part in this as well.

So, again to reiterate the three big steps:

1. Citations

2. Online Reviews

3. and your Website

In future videos, what I will try and do is systematically break them down a little bit further for you – give a little more detail to how to do that. But, these are three core areas that you are going to want to start thinking about, talking about, learning about.

So from me, Dean Mercado and my team, Online Marketing Muscle – here’s to your success!

Domain Name Strategy

Choosing a Domain Name Strategy That Gets Results

Part 1: The Do’s and Don’ts of Picking Domain Names

Getting ready to choose your domain name? Typically people will Google you first when they’re searching for information on what you do and your business. That being said, you can probably surmise just how important it is to not only have the people you want to find you, find you, but also to have them find the information you want them to find both quickly and easily – And having great domain names is a critical step in making that happen.

Now over the years I’ve coached a number of small businesses as well as independent professionals such as authors, real estate agents, network marketers, and sales representatives of larger corporations, and I’ve seen them choose and/or use all kinds of effective as well as ineffective domain names – most of the time, not really being aware of how important and powerful a properly chosen domain name can be.

So here a couple of do’s and don’ts to help you choose domain names that get results:

Prefer to listen to this post?

Duration: 3 minute, 29 seconds


  • Learn what keywords people search for when looking for what you do and look to use those in your domain names.
  • At less than $10 a pop per year for most domain names, allow yourself to buy more than 1.
  • Choose domain names that are memorable.
  • Choose domain names that make it easier to find you online.
  • Use specific domain names for specific promotions or ad campaigns.
  • Shorter is not always better but in many cases it is – I know I don’t like typing long URLs – do you?
  • Buy common misspellings of your domain name.
  • If possible, to avoid confusing your target market, spell the domain name exactly how it sounds.
  • Even though alternatives are available (e.g. “.net”, “.info”, “.org”, etc.), buy “.com” addresses whenever possible – this is still the commonly assumed domain name extension of the masses.


  • Unless you’re a big company with a recognizable brand such as an IBM or EDS, using an acronym for your domain name is probably not a wise choice.
  • Stay away from hyphen and underscore characters between words in a multiple word domain name – it just complicates communicating your website address as well as making it more difficult to find.
  • Be careful when substituting numbers for the actual spelled out version of the word (e.g. using the number “4” instead of spelling out the word “four” or “for”). Again, it just complicates communicating your website address as well as making it more difficult to find.

Part 2: Using a Multiple Domain Name Strategy

Prefer to listen to this post?

Duration: 4 minute, 55 seconds

I’m a firm believer in using a multiple domain name strategy for a whole host of reasons but let me just share with you five of my core ones:

  1. To create an overall better experience for my target market
  2. To create a strong brand for myself and my business
  3. To protect my brand and online identity that I’ve worked so hard to create
  4. For search engine marketing and optimization purposes
  5. To gain a competitive advantage in my marketplace

With that being said, let me share with you what I feel are some possible domain names you should consider owning:

  • Your name
  • Your business’s name
  • Your major product names
  • Catch phrases, monikers, or tag lines commonly associated with you, your business, or your industry
  • Trademarked words or phrases – so long as you are the owner of the trademark
  • Major benefits your business provides
  • Major problems your business solves
  • Key words or key word phrases that your target market would use when searching for what you do

Now do you need all of these? – Probably not. However for many small businesses and independent professionals, using some combination of a few of these properly could prove very rewarding.

As for my business Online Marketing Muscle, I own and actively use several domain names. As part of my strategy, instead of having my target market try to remember and type a long cumbersome URL of a page buried deep on my website, I like to use shorter, more memorable, keyword-rich ones – hence my core concept of creating a better experience for my target market from the get-go. Then I simply use the free domain forwarding service provided by my domain registrar to automatically forward visitors to the actual page on my business’s main website.

Let me explain a bit further:

I use as a shortcut to the “small business coaching programs” page of my business’s main website. This is a way for me to strengthen my brand “Clone the Owner” as well as make it easier for people who may know about my coaching program methodology but not by my business’s name to find me easier.

At a minimum, I highly recommend that you use a similar approach. It definitely serves as a differentiator between you and someone else who does what you do. So instead of having one of those long, complicated URLs that the company you represent assigns you, use your name dot com or your product name or product line name and place that on all of your marketing materials.

One word of caution here, if your company has a compliance department, run your plans by them to ensure you’re not breaking any company policy – I wouldn’t want to get you fired over this.

I use as a shortcut to my blog hosted on my business’s main web site. The “Motivational Marketer” is a moniker I use for myself. Notice also that it gives people a fairly good idea of what type of content to expect on my blog, motivational marketing advice.

I use as a shortcut to the sales page of one of my main information products hosted on my business’s main website. Notice also that besides being the name of my product, it also happens to contain the keyword “website” in it.

And I can go on and on and on here however, I hope you’re starting to get the gist of what I’m sharing.

I would also like to point out that if your core focus for your domain name strategy is search engine marketing, then you might want to consider taking things up a notch and by hosting each of your domain names as separate websites using different web hosting services. You’ll most likely see better results with search engine placement with that approach.

So in closing, we’ve only just scratched the surface here. There’s much more to choosing a domain name than meets the eye – And having an overall domain name strategy that helps you choose which domain names you’ll buy, how you intend to use them, and why, if implemented correctly can lead to big-time results.

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