Keyword/Keyphrase Selection – Mario Marini’s Italian Bistro

Choose Keywords and Keyphrases Wisely


While proper keyword and keyphrase selection is critical to attracting internet traffic, improper keyword / keyphrase selection can actually yield excellent search engine placement. Yes, that’s right – improper keyword and keyphrase selection can actually result in top rankings! They important thing to remember is that high search engine rankings are meaningless if your potential customers aren’t using your search terms. In this post, I’m not going to get into the details of keyword analysis, but I’m going to create some examples to help you understand

The key is to understand how your potential customers might search for your business. Let’s use an example. We’ll pretend that a friend of ours, Mario, has an Italian restaurant in Manhattan, and the name of his retaurant is “Mario Marini’s Italian Bistro.” Mario had a good friend of his design his website. It’s a nice website, but now he needs someone to optimize his site (do the SEO) so that people will find him on the web. One of Mario’s customers (we’ll call him Ralph) fancies himself an SEO expert, and says that for only $750, he can get Mario great search engine ranking. Business has dropped off a bit, so Mario hires Ralph to do the job and bring in more customers.

Mario’s Magical Keyphrase (Keywords)

About a week later, Ralph comes back with his laptop to show Mario the results. Ralph opens up his browser, types  in the keywords (or keyphrase, if you prefer)  “Mario Marini Italian Bistro” into the Google search engine, and, lo and behold, Mario’s place appears at the top of the organic search listings (go ahead and try this, by the way). Thrilled, Mario cuts a check.

The problem is, people aren’t going to search for Mario Marini’s Italian Bistro. Common sense dictates that people (unless they know Mario and just want to find his website) are going to search along more generic terms, like “Italian restaurant in Manhattan.” Mario might be lucky to make it into the tenth page in that case, unless he has done the proper SEO work. This is why a keyword / keyphrase analysis is critical before you start your SEO program. If the keyword or keyphrase is unique, it’s easy to get to the top of search results. Beware of the SEO guru who promises the top of the page unless you understand which keywords or keyphrases you want or need, and why.  Stop by our SEO/SEM page to learn more about our program.


Keywords: keyword, keyphrase

New Tools for CityGrid Subscribers

CityGrid Acquires BuzzLabs


CityGrid Media announced the acquisition of Seattle-based BuzzLabs today. A leading social media monitoring and sentiment analysis platform, BuzzLabs creates valuable content for publishers and consumers, as well as helping businesses monitor their web presence at a local level. This acquisition will give CityGrid the ability to compile and analyze the millions of pieces of information in their content and ad network. By looking at reviews, check-ins, Facebook Likes, blog posts, and other streams of consumer generated content, CityGrid can now provide their merchants and publishers with a measure of business sentiment, consumer opinion, and other trending data.

“With the explosion of local, user-generated content on the Web, it is imperative our network of publishers has real-time tools to acquire new content and make sense of it for users in a way that’s immediately valuable to them,” said Jay Herratti, CEO of CityGrid Media. “By adding BuzzLabs to the CityGrid offering, we are able to provide our publishers with relevant, real-time content and new local data that consumers now rely on to make their decisions.”

This acquisition provides CityGrid merchants a great tool to manage their online reputations. The BuzzLabs business dashboard will be integrated  into the CityGrid Media Ad Center in the coming months, enabling advertisers easily to access BuzzLabs’ social monitoring and analysis tools.

“We share CityGrid’s vision to make online content more useful; extending it to both publishers and advertisers, and helping consumers make more informed business decisions,” said Philip Lee, Founder and CEO of BuzzLabs. “The massive reach of CityGrid, combined with the deep social insight our technology provides, will now help local publishers and advertisers better understand and engage consumer audiences anywhere and anytime.”

We’re Your CityGrid Authorized Reseller

At RJM Consulting Group, we’re looking forward to adding this new tool to our repertoire. We specialize in enhancing your business web presence, and the BuzzLabs dashboard will be a welcome and valuable addition to the services we offer. Visit our Online Marketing/Local Search page for more information.


Keywords: CityGrid

Local Search, Gas Prices, and CityGrid

CityGrid Commissions Online Survey


A telephone survey conducted by Harris Interactive in March 2011, on behalf of CityGrid Media, revealed some very intriguing trends in local search. An interesting result was the significant impact that rising gasoline prices have had on this emerging trend.

87% of women ages 13 to 84 said that gas prices and distance play a role in the decision-making process when determining what businesses they visit. 67% of men in the same age range agreed. This bodes well for search platforms that contain a geographical location element, such as the CityGrid® network.

The survey reveals that while the Facebook “Like” button has become the new preference to show support for a local business online, it also shows that search is still an important factor when the buying process starts. 63% of those polled under the age of 35 perform a Google search, and about 17% of respondents click on the first listing in search results. The CityGrid ® network partners with over 250 local internet search providers, as well as interfacing with Facebook – a sound argument for a listing with their service.

52% of people under 35 visit more than two websites before visiting a local business – these sites are found most frequently via search engines, of course. 24% visit Facebook, while 21% go to review sites.

But I Already Have A CityGrid Presence Without a Subscription!

Another very important takeaway from this survey:

47% of those under the age of 35 are influenced more by the business owner’s feedback than that of a friend. Having a personal presence in online media is an important factor. The study shows that the owner’s perspective is valued equally with the opinions of friends who have tried the establishment. This reinforces our belief that a CityGrid subscription is important – businesses that do not have a paid listing do not have the opportunity to provide the owner’s message that is so critical in the decision-making process. Click to learn more about CityGrid.


Keywords: CityGrid

Google Survey Shows Smartphones Used for Local Search

Smartphones and Local Search Go Hand-in-Hand


In a survey of 5,000 U.S. adult smartphone users at the end of 2010, Google found out that many of these users rely on their devices to perform local search, general searches, and to obtain specific information regarding retails products and services. 81% used them for internet browsing, 77% for general search, and 68% for mobile applications. A full 90% of all respondents indicated that a smartphone search resulted in a direct action, such as visiting a store or making a purchase.

Almost All Users Utilize Local Search

A whopping 95% of users said they use smartphones to perform a local search, such as the location of a restaurant or other business. Most of them (88%), use that information to take action within 24 hours. 75% said they contacted a business as a result of their search, with 61% making a phone call and 59% going directly to the retail location.

The survey also found that three-quarters of people who use their smartphone while shopping end up making a purchase, and 70% actually use them in the store. Because so many people are paying attention to their devices while shopping, Google wanted to know how mobile advertising plays in the decision-making process. About 82% of respondents indicated that they notice mobile advertising, and 33% say they notice the ads that accompany mobile searches. About half of the people who notice the ads take some form of action, whether it is visiting a website or making a purchase.

The upshot of all this? “The findings of the study have strong implications for businesses and mobile advertisers. Make sure you can be found via mobile search, as consumers regularly use their phones to find and act on information,” said Google.

How Do I Make Sure I’ve Got Local Search Coverage?

That being said, you realize by now that your business not only needs to have a strong web presence, but also needs exposure through local search engines and mobile applications. Here at RJM Consulting Group, LLC we have your local search solution in the CityGrid® network platform. Contact us today for an analysis of your needs.


CityGrid Media: A Scaled Alternative to Google?

Summary: With the Internet fragmenting, social media altering traditional search and pay models evolving toward pure performance, sellers, publishers and advertisers alike find it more complex and expensive to reach their constituents with the necessary properties of scale.

The Importance of Ratings and Reviews in Local Search

Following is part of an Article from Gregg Stewart @ 15miles about ratings & reviews and local search

How Ratings and Reviews Impact Local Search

Research from my company with comScore in our “Local Search Usage” study shows that just over 60 percent of local searchers find ratings and reviews to be important, which is up four points from 2009. This percentage increases when looking at social networkers and mobile users, specifically (78 percent of social networkers and 71 percent of mobile users find consumer ratings and reviews extremely important). Additionally, social networkers and mobile users tend to use ratings and reviews more than any other type of local searcher. Also, what is particularly interesting about consumer ratings and reviews is that, unlike other factors that influence local searches, the usage of ratings and reviews is fairly consistent across different groups of demographics. As the chart below demonstrates, no one group of U.S. Internet users posts reviews online significantly more than any other, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, September 2010.

Demographic Profile of U.S. Internet Users Who Have Posted Reviews of Products/Services Online, September 2010

% of respondents in each group

The Ratings and Reviews Paradox

Here is the paradox. Ratings and reviews are not only used by large percentages of consumers to shape their purchasing decisions, they also positively affect a local business’ search results rankings. But only a small percentage of consumers create review content. So in effect, a vocal minority currently control the destiny of a lot of the review material. Therefore, encouraging an authentic dialogue about your local business online has taken on even greater importance to a local business’ success. Here are a few very simple tips to help ensure your business gets the reviews both consumers and search engines want and need:

  1. Encourage your current customers to write about your business at the point of purchase. Once you have obtained their reviews, submit them to relevant websites/forums with other reviews (being careful not to submit positive reviews only).Feature these reviews in an easy-to-use and easy-to-find section on your site.
  2. Build a presence on sites like Citysearch and Yelp, whose cores are centered on consumer reviews (utilizing a distribution network can assist in this). This is essential, as the reviews from listings on these kinds of sites get pulled into Google Places pages. So much so that reviews from these sites are often quoted directly in Google Places results, like the below listing found in a search for pizza in Milwaukee.
  3. Pay attention to and engage your social networkers. We already learned from our Local Search Usage study that social networkers not only use reviews the most, but they also find them to be extremely important. It only makes sense that they are the kinds of customers that are more likely to submit reviews elsewhere.
  4. Once you have obtained reviews, do not forget to respond to them; take advantage of what will surely become many opportunities for two-way interaction.

Take the Good, Learn From the Bad

Above I use the term “authentic dialogue,” and this concept is vitally important. Consumers are not expecting businesses to have all five-star reviews. Instead, they are looking for a business with average to above-average ratings that address and engage consumers directly when there is the occasional less-than-perfect experience. Once you work to increase the dialogue, you need to be prepared to use the input to improve your customer service experience. Finally, nothing is worse than a review that consumers reject as non-authentic. We have all seen these before – content usually generated by the proprietor or close friend or relative that reads more like an advertisement: “…check out their lobster specials on Tuesday nights…” These tips probably sound rather elementary, but consumers are thirsting for the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth referrals that ratings and reviews provide. It stands to reason that merchants that increase the dialogue about their businesses benefit in the long run.

The bottom line is that consumer ratings and reviews are the gifts that keep on giving. When they are properly leveraged, local searchers get the reviews they want/need to make their shopping decisions, and, in turn, local businesses get the reviews they want/need to both attract these searchers and boost their search results rankings.

CityGrid Video

Learn more about the CityGrid platform


Word of Mouth

A great article that talks about the power of  “word-of-mouth”  strategy for your business.

Question: I am a licensed acupuncturist looking to grow my practice. What are some effective strategies and/or ideas for building clientele through “word-of-mouth”?

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