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Search Engine Marketing – Get Found Where it Matters!


*Some slides are adopted and edited from GYBO Local Guides: Partner Kits

Notes From the Linked Local Brown Bag Presentation

Thank you to those who attended the Linked Local Marin brown bag workshop, and thank you to the Marin Builders Association for your great conference space! To recap, we covered building your business online using:

  • Google My Business (local search)
  • Website Optimization (SEO)
  • Online Advertising (Google Adwords)

Most of the presentation was directly in relation to Google, because of the size and market share of their search engine, however, the principles and tactics translate to Bing, Yahoo, and other places as well. Here are the notes, along with some extras!

The main themes of the presentation:

  • Understand your customers micro-moments: I-want-to-know, I want-to-go, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-buy.
  • Mobile is HUGE! Make sure you’re mobile optimized (mobile friendly website, Google My Business).
  • Verify and update your ‘Google My Business’ listing.
  • Optimize (SEO) titles tags, header tags, image alt tags, image sizing, and URL structure on your website.
  • Sign up for Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
  • If your website is optimized, then explore keyword advertising on Google with Google Adwords.

I. Introduction

Big Cat Advertising is a advertising agency in Novato. We specialize in a wide range of online and offline advertising including: digital, radio, video/tv, print, branding and collateral, and marketing strategy. Today, we’re talking digital advertising and how to “Be There” for your potential customers when they’re looking for products or services.

Three “Be There” Strategies:

  • Get found on local searches using Google Maps (Google My Business)
  • Increase your organic ranking for searches relevant to what you offer (SEO)
  • Pay to show up in organic search for your products and services (Google Adwords)
  • 80% of consumers used a search engine when looking for information about local businesses.*
  • 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day.*

Can you relate to these situations in the video? How can you be there for your customers in these “Micro-Moments?” I challenge you to think differently, to re-frame how your potential customers think about your products and services. Keyword building is important for this reason. Take a moment to jot down all the ways that people search for what you offer, at different stages of the customer journey.

Google Search Results – Elements

Search Query: What someone types into Google to draw results. These queries can be how you think of micro-moments.

Business Listing: Listings sometimes show on the right hand side or they appear on a map below the search query. It depends on the relevancy of the search query (industry vs. brand).

Organic Search Results: Organic results are what people often refer to when wanting to rank #1 on Google. Organic traffic is generated by Google’s search algorithm that considers over 200 indicators of relevancy!

Ads: Ads that show on Google and Google Maps (and YouTube) are managed through Google Adwords. They are usually keyword targeted. This is tactical targeting!



  1. Local Search: Google My Business
  2. Website SEO
  3. Online Advertising: Google Adwords
  4. Q & A

Each section will have a primary takeaway and some tasks. I realize some people are ahead of others, so with that I’ll try and satisfy both ends of the table.

II. Be Found By Local Customers: Google My Business

Google My Business is a FREE listing that is critical to your business. Again, can’t stress this enough, it’s critical. It’s a cross platform (desktop, mobile, tablet) optimized experience. You listing may exist even if you’ve done nothing to create it! Follow the steps at to see if your listing exists, then either create it or verify that you are the owner! Once you’re verified you can add photos (interior, exterior, logo, team), and update the information. Pay special attention to having consistent Name, Address, and Phone.

Business Categories

It is VERY important to include your business category. If you don’t know your industry category, Google provides this list of categories in every language they serve. Own a limousine service? You may consider using “transportation service.” 🙂

Physical Address Concerns

If you don’t have an office and do not want to show your physical address, don’t worry, there’s a work around for that too. You will need to provide some address to setup the account and get verified through snail mail, but there will be an option to check that you “provide service to others at their business.” I found this nice video walk-through on how to set that up: How To Hide Your Address on Maps

Being a verified listing owner gives you access to data on how people are finding you. For example, direct (brand) searches vs. general discovery (category, product, service) queries. Yay data!

google my business discovery vs direct traffic
Google my Business: actions

III. Website Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Website optimization is a very big subject. We’re going to focus on where you can have the most impact. The tasks here are for people who have a website or are in the process of developing one. First off, regardless if you have one or not, you need to be thinking about mobile. That is, mobile design and mobile friendliness. Over 50% of Google searches are now done on mobile devices, you need to be thinking about their experience on mobile.

Keeping in mind SEO is a process! It takes months for Google to adjust ranking and build authority to your domain. Trust the process!

Lead with User First Design

Does your site have?

  • Mobile-friendly design
  • Well-written content
  • Logical organization
  • Compelling photos
  • A clear call-to-action
  • Contact information

On-Page SEO

Depending on the platform you use the following elements of On-Page SEO can be found in various places of your content management system (wordpress, Wix, Squarespace). Since most people use WordPress I’m going to recommend using the plugin Yoast SEO, for those of you. It will coach you through a lot of this. Let’s dive in!

Page Titles – Page title represented by the <title> tag in the code. The title tag has been identified as one of the most important things you can control in Google’s algorithm, so make sure you place your brand in there followed by some industry keywords you want to rank for!

Header tags – Header tags are represented by the <H1> in your code, and if you’ve ever written a blog post you’ve probably used them in your content. Most people use them to highlight areas of their content because of the size of the h1 tag, but note, Google ranks for these keywords so you can optimize them by making sure you include relevant keyword combinations in them. In my experience this is highly overlooked.

Write Quality Content – If you’re using Google Analytics then you want to track time on site, and Pages per Visit, and Bounce Rate. Write quality content that answers your potential customers questions, keeps them engaged with your content, low quality will lead to low conversion and lower ranking on Google. Video is great too!

Image Alt Tags – images usually have an alt tag description behind them in the code. Make sure you utilize that space for keywords that you want to rank for, but don’t keyword stuff. Just make it relevant to the image you uploaded. While we’re on the subject of images… make sure you optimize the sizing of your images, meaning use the correct size. Large images take more resources and slow down your page load speed and slower sites don’t rank as well as faster sites. Test yours here:

Meta Descriptions – These don’t necessarily, but they DO effect your Click Through Rates! They are shows as the descriptive text under the main link in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s). We like to think of them as the 11 o’clock news teaser, “find out the thing you’re doing right now that is really bad for you!…tonight at 11.”

Want to go deeper down the rabbit hole? Check out Moz: The Beginners Guide to SEO

SEO Tools

There are two essential tools that you need to hook up to your website:

Google Analytics – ( – Google Analytics is your window into your website traffic. You absolutely need to at least have it hooked up and tracking. Check out Top Pages, or Default Channels to see where people are going to the most and where they are coming from.

Google Search Console – ( – Once you have Analytics setup, you can verify your site using Google Search Console. SC will allow you to submit your sitemap to Google, view crawl errors, see search queries where you’re ranking, and see a host of other metrics that you can use to rank better. Another absolute must add.

MozBar – ( – Ahh yes, adding this one too. Moz is one of my favorite paid tools, but this MozBar is free and will help you look at your meta data (Page Titles, Header tags, etc.).

IV. Google Adwords: Online Advertising

Google Adwords is a powerful tool to those who measure the quality of clicks and to those who track conversions (call to action: form completions, sales). At it’s most simplest form, Adwords is Pay-Per-Click keyword targeting way to get your services or products in front of people. By targeting the search queries we discussed above, you can show your ads to searches relevant to you and those you may not rank highly in. When you drill into however, here are a host of networks, targeting methods, extensions, and ad formats at your disposal. Let’s touch on some general best practices.

Adwords – Best Practices

If you’re a new account you can likely find a voucher for a free $100 when you spend $25. Talk to us and we can help you out there – as we are a Google Certified Partner.

Campaigns – At the highest point of architecture are your campaigns. At the campaign level, you set a daily budget, geographical target, bidding strategy, and ad network (search, display, shopping, video). When structuring your campaigns, if your monthly budget is less then $250, considering creating only one campaign, you can always expand to more later.

Ad Groups – Within each campaign you have Ad Groups that will each contain a unique set of keywords that match the ad copy in those Ad Groups, hence, the tighter the list of keywords in an Ad Group the better they will all match your Ad Copy. Try using the Keyword planner from Google to get ideas of how to structure your keywords into Ad Groups.

Keywords – Your keyword lists are the triggers for your ad copy. There are four methods of triggering ads, called match types: Broad (most exposure, but lower Click Through Rate), Broad Match Modifier (a bit narrower target), Phrase Match (word order matters), and Exact Match (only the words in same order will trigger). Try some tests out when you’re creating your lists.

Ad Copy – In each Ad Group create 2 to 3 ad copy variants. Ads should contain your keywords in your Headline and/or description. You’ll get better CTR and Cost-Per-Click if you have them in your headline, because they will appear as they search for them. Your landing page (the place where you’re sending people to should also have those keywords represented somewhere on that page to ensure good Quality Score.

Sample Structure:

(Campaign) Insurance: Search Network
    (adgroup 1) Life Insurance
           (keyword) “life insurance”
           (keyword) “life insurance agents”
           (keyword) “life insurance sales”
           (keyword) “purchase life insurance”
           (keyword) “life insurance quote”
    (adgroup 1) Auto Insurance
           (keyword) “auto insurance”
           (keyword) “auto insurance agents”
           (keyword) “auto insurance sales”
           (keyword) “purchase auto insurance”
           (keyword) “auto insurance quote”

Ongoing Optimization

Don’t just set it and forget it, because if you don’t check-in with your account and view your actual search terms you could be wasting money on irrelevant clicks. Look at the performance of certain keywords, and if you’ve linked your Google Analytics account, then you can look for low quality keywords and optimize accordingly. Work on creating new ad copy and change bidding strategy when appropriate, as a result, Google will increase your position and lower your Cost-Per-Click!

In Conclusion

Today we looked at three ways you can increase your business online. We looked at driving local search through Google My Business. Remember verify! We took a dive into optimizing your website with some basic SEO improvements. Remember mobile! And we looked at some best practices with Pay-Per-Click and keyword targeting with Google Adwords. Remember micro-moments!

Don’t want to manage this yourself? Let Big Cat Advertising be your digital partner.

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