Case Study: Can SEO Help Drive More Business to Local Restaurants?

busy restaurant during lunch

One of the more competitive niches in the world of search engine optimization is that of restaurants.  While they don’t command the large dollars that lawyers, doctors and dentists might, these sights often garner a large amount of genuine links independent of any outreach or link building tactics.  This is especially true of very successful restaurants as they receive a large number of reviews from newspapers, magazines and food bloggers.

Successful Online Marketing for Restaurants

Given this competitive marketplace, alternative methods of driving leads should often be considered.  In recent years Facebook has become a popular platform for advertising.  Because the platform allows for such granular targeting, it is possible to go after just about anyone you want.  This includes based on the foods they eat, their geographic location, age, and even income levels.

Where many restaurants struggle is in quantifying the results they get from their investment.  A properly structured analytics platform is essential to measure the return you are getting on your advertising dollars.  This can include using coupon codes or other gimmicks that force customers to tell the business how they heard about them.

Reviews are Crucial

One of the most important methods of increasing conversion rates is to have a large number of reviews.  Even if a restaurant ranks very well, if the other businesses around them have more reviews, they are unlikely to get much business.  This means that each establishment must have a methodology in place that encourages customers to leave reviews of their experience.  Once they’ve attained enough, it will have a significant impact on their conversions and thus their bottom line.

Getting reviews from several platforms is important as well.  Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google+ are the three most important.  This is largely because of the large number of users on these platforms.  Google+ doesn’t have nearly the traffic as the first two, but these reviews are what is displayed in the “Map Pack” above the organic search results.  This means if you don’t have any Google reviews, you’re most likely going to lose out to those that do, even if they rank below you.

Methodology for Getting Reviews

There are many ways to go about getting reviews for a restaurant.  Some typical methods are to have cards printed and left at each table the tell people where to find the restaurants various review pages.  Business cards with these sites are also a handy way of ensuring people leave a review.

One challenge that has come up in recent month is the fact that you can no longer leave a Google+ review from an iPhone unless you use the Google Maps app.  This can be very confusing and adds an additional layer of complexity to getting customers to leave their thoughts on their experience.  There are ways to shortcut this process, but they are still somewhat difficult compared to leaving a review on or

Facebook Advertising

Given how narrow Facebook allows you to target your ads, this is seeming more and more like the wave of the future.  People enter so much information into Facebook, and businesses are learning more and more how to leverage this.  For instance you can run an ad within a mile radius of your business for women that are in town visiting from somewhere else.  This is incredibly powerful technology.  It will be interesting to see how restaurants, bars, and cafes use this going forward.

So while SEO is certainly one component in successfully marketing a restaurant in today’s competitive landscape.…

Local SEO to Generate Home Automation Leads

google my business logoThe home theater and home automation industry can be very competitive.  This is especially true in high end markets like Charleston, SC.  Let’s take a look at what local businesses can do to help increase their local visibility in search engines.  Innovative Sight & Sound is a home automation contractor in Charleston, SC.

Lead Generation in the Home Automation Business

They originally opened their doors in August of 2014.  While this is their third business location it was the first in the state of South Carolina.  The traditional method of generating leads is to hit the streets looking for construction companies that are currently building higher end homes.  The idea is to form relationships with these builders in order to generate leads.  This is a highly effective method of generating new business.

Setting Up Your Google My Business Listing

But another important method is to optimize your business website to generate both leads and brand recognition.  This starts with getting  a Google My Business listing.  This property is essentially a mini website for your business that helps Google know what you do and where you operate.  In setting it up, you will want to provide as many details about your business as possible.

Name Address Phone Number (NAP)

The first and most important part of setting up your listing is to enter your business name, address, and phone number.  You want to make sure that your address information is correct and that it is consistent with what is shown in Google Maps.  While small differences such as “suite” vs “ste” may seem small to people, search engines can still struggle differentiating between the two.  Consistency is key when it comes to your address.

Make sure that the map pointer is also pointing to the correct physical location.  Because Google aggregates data from so many sources, sometimes it get’s confused as to where things are located.  You should be able to drag the map marker directly onto your building and place it there.

GMB Setup Screen


Setting up your categories is also very important.  You want to select every category that applies to your business.  For a home theater dealer this would be “home theater store” and “home audio store”.  You could also include audio visual consultant and audio video equipment supplier.


In the description you should tell you potential customers about who you are and what your business does.  Be careful not to repeat the same words that are in your category or your location as Google might view this as keyword “stuffing” and penalize how your site ranks against others.  You can also link out to other web properties of yours such as a Yelp listing or your home page.

It can also help to include links to relevant brands in your description.  This gives Google a good idea of products that you work with and what sort of work you perform.  A great example of this would be to include a link to


Pictures are worth a thousand words.  In the case of Google you want to provide them with as much information about your business as possible.  This might include exterior shots, interior shots, pictures of your staff, and your work.  It helps to label the pictures according to what they are.  So if you’ve taken pictures of a particularly impressive home automation installation, name the picture something like charleston-home-automation-project.jpg.  This will help your Google My Business listing rank for terms associated with home automation.

All of these steps can help to ensure that you begin driving traffic to your business website.…

Finding a Reputable Local Search Engine Expert

successful local seoWhen it comes to search engine optimization there is a wrong way and a right way to do it.  Doing things the right way will increase your rankings and exposure.  Doing things the wrong way might get your website penalized by search engines such as Bing, Yahoo!, and Google.  Many businesses choose to go with national search engine marketing and optimization firms, but you can oftentimes save money by going with someone local.  Just be sure that they’re methods are on the up and up.  Here’s what you need to know to make your choice.

What Are Their Methods?

When it comes to SEO there are a few different popular methodologies.  They are classified into categories with nefarious sounding names.  They are typically described as Black Hat, Grey Hat, or White Hat.  And while the descriptions sound like the difference between good and evil, many of the methodologies are the same.

The more aggressive techniques are typically described as Black Hat.  And the slower and safer techniques are known as White Hat.  When it comes to ranking a site  you generally have to get the search engines to notice it.  This is done by creating great content and by getting links from other relevant websites.  The content tells the search engines what your site is about.  And the links from other sites let the search engines know that other sites out there consider your site worthy enough to link out to it.

How Does Local Search Work?

Let’s say you have a business in New Jersey.  You perform a search to find the best Jersey City SEO agency.  Search engines take this information and compare it against a database of sites that have relevance both from a content perspective as well as from the perspective of authority.  The algorithms involved in this process are incredibly complex, but essentially they are attempting to return the best result for your specific query.

The rankings displayed are a measure of how well the sites in your area conform to how well their sites are optimized for that particular search.  Of course the search engines aren’t perfect.  There are plenty of results that don’t necessarily make sense based on the information you entered.  But for the most part they have become pretty consistent.

How To Make Your Choice

When meeting with potential SEO firms here are a few things you should keep in mind.  For starters, because of the competitive nature of search engine optimization many firms are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.  This means that you might not be able to see a great deal of their work beforehand.  While this is often the case, any firm that is worth their salt should have a few clients that have allowed their results to be displayed.

Accurate keyword research is key.  Before kicking off your campaign you should have a very targeted list of keywords for which you are trying to rank.  These should be as specific as possible.  It only increases the liability that your site will rank well.  You also want to make sure that these keywords make sense for your business.  Certain keywords are much more ‘buyer oriented’ and therefore potentially more profitable.

Make sure they offer regular reporting.  While progress in the world of SEO often takes many months, you should receive regular monthly reports that show you that you’re getting your money’s worth.

Contracts are typical, but are certainly not required.  Just keep in mind that just like any other type of marketing like magazine ads or radio spots SEO is a pay as you go service.  If you break your contract or stop paying, your results will reflect this relatively quickly.

If you keep all of this in mind you should be well prepared to choose the right company to handle your online marketing.


Tributaries Offers Conversion Optimization and SEO for AV Dealers

SEO for home theater dealersTraditional audio video dealers have a great deal more on their plate than in years past.  The world of home electronics has come a long way from the days of simple surround sound systems.  Because their equipment interfaces with so many different systems in a home, today’s home technology integrators are required to have a working knowledge of various and vastly different equipment.  Keeping up with these changes can make it tough to keep up with all of the other necessities of running a small business.  This is especially true of maintaining and up to date and effective website.

Alternative Sources of Revenue

Most AV dealers spend a great deal of time and effort networking with contractors in the home industry.  This can range from architects, builders, and interior designers, to contractors such as HVAC and electrical.  These resources, along with customer referrals can literally make a business.  But one resource that often gets overlooked is their own website.  Every small business owner knows that they need a great looking website to tell their story and showcase their work.  But it can be much more than this.

A website that gets a steady stream of organic search traffic and effectively converts that traffic into leads is a huge asset.  The vast majority of customers (80%) look for businesses using search engines.  This means that if your site isn’t showing up on the first page of results you are missing out on a huge revenue opportunity.  But there’s even more.

Search Engines Lend Authority

Consumers have come to rely upon search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing as authorities on information.  When a business shows on the first page for a search there is an interesting phenomenon that takes place.  It’s very similar to a customer referral.  The results imply that Google is judging these particular businesses to be the best in their area for that customers particular needs.

The reality can be much different.  What is most likely taking place is that the websites that show up on the first page are the best optimized sites.  This obviously does not make them the best business.  Try as they might, search engines have not perfected the art of picking the best business for a consumers needs, just the one with the website that fits they’re template for the best search result.  So even a business with a terrible reputation can generate a great deal of business through this implied referral.

And the statistics don’t lie.  Websites in the top 3 positions get almost 90% of the traffic for any given search term.

Leveraging Your Site to Take Advantage

Tributaries specializes in helping AV dealers leverage their sites to capture this traffic.  This is a multi-step process.  The first step is to analyze the search traffic for your geographic area.  The next step is to optimize your site to target the most profitable traffic.  This often involves rewriting content to ensure that all the terms your customers are searching for are included in your site.  At this point it also makes sense to perform any redesigns on the site that may be necessary to ensure that traffic conversion rates are as high as possible.

From there off-site optimization is performed to ensure that search engines recognize your site as an authority in your industry.  This often includes getting links from other relevant websites, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and even videos from sources like Youtube.  These components build a trustworthy picture of your business that then translate into better rankings for your website.

Visit for more information on how to leverage your website to generate more revenue.…

Generating More Leads from Your SMB Website

home audio storeFor most small business owners just getting a website up and running is a huge hassle.  Of course you want your information out there so that potential customers can find you online, but unless you know someone who actually generates business from their site it seems more like something you’re just supposed to do than a way to add to the bottom line.  But a properly built and optimized website can actually deliver additional revenue for your business and should not be overlooked.

Types of Optimization

Now days everyone knows what search engine optimization (SEO) is. You hear ads for it on the radio, you see ads for it online, and you’ve probably even other business owners talk about it.  But there are multiple ways to optimize your website and they are all required if you’re going to actually generate more business.

On-Site Optimization

What do we mean by onsite optimization?  A couple things.  From the standpoint of search engines you want your site to look good and offer up lots of relevant content so crawlers from Google, Bing, and Yahoo! know exactly what your site is all about.  The better the information, the better your site will be represented in the search engines.

In the old days you could literally stuff your site with keywords like ‘best Atlanta lawyer’ and rank well.  Now you are more likely to incur a penalty for such tactics.  Search engine algorithms have become very nuanced as to what looks and sounds natural.  So if your site doesn’t read well for people, it won’t rank well in Google.  So make sure your content tells your visitors exactly who you are and what you do.  Don’t repeat keyword phrases over and over again.  It’s pretty simple.

Creating a website that converts traffic to leads is an entirely different story.  Potential clients are looking for specific information when they visit your website.  They trust search engines to point them to relevant and trustworthy sites, so if you’re site is well laid out you should have a high conversion rate.

A couple of items that can be of enormous help in terms of conversions are customer testimonials and prominent contact information.  Sometimes potential clients just want a phone number or an email address.  They’re ready to call.

Others will want to know more about you before they call.  This is where testimonials are crucial.  These immediately lend credibility and trust to your business.  Typically a visitor will only need to see one or two testimonials before they make up their mind to pick up the phone.

Off Site Optimization

You’ll notice that we referenced trust a couple times above.  This is what search engines are all about now.  They want to know that your site is legitimate and deserves to be ranked.  There are a few common things that they look for to establish this trust.

Social signals or social accounts from websites such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Youtube show that you are legit.  Every business has these accounts to stay in touch with their existing customers and to attract new customers.  Setting these up and linking them back to your website is a must to let search engines know you are a real business.

Having your site mentioned on industry websites is another way to establish trust.  Say you are an AV dealer that installs home theater systems and the like.  It probably makes sense that different audio equipment manufacturers would link to your website.  This creates a picture for search engines that you are what you say you are.  The more well rounded your profile, the more authority your site will have.

This will result in an increase in your overall rankings in the search engine results.  And while you should start on this as soon as you can, don’t expect the results to come overnight.  Patience is key here.  But with a solid long-term plan your site should start to get more traffic and convert that traffic into customers.…

How a Small Fabric Producer Leverages On and Off site Optimization

up and upThe world of small online business has literally exploded over the last decade.  Sites such as Amazon and Etsy have allowed small sellers to get their wares to market without massive overhead such as storefronts, distribution, and supply chain management systems.  But one of the big challenges for small retailers like Natalie V Mason is getting found in a web that’s full of clutter.

Getting Found Online

Sites such as Etsy and Amazon utilize their own internal algorithms to show search results when their users search for specific products.  While not as sophisticated as those used by Google or Yandex, these still perform a relatively complex task.  Unfortunately they’re not perfect.  Sellers have found ways to game the system, and sometimes search results just aren’t as accurate as they should be.

Benefits of SEO for Online Retailers

Online retail is a tough area for search engine optimization.  Search engines utilize complex algorithms that have to sort through content to find what is worthwhile and what is not.  Duplicate content penalties are very common.  This is especially difficult for online retailers since so many of their products and pages necessarily contain the same information with only slight variations.

Even with these difficulties it is still worthwhile to invest in search engine optimization.  While the big search engines definitely lean towards large brand names for many items, long tail or more specific searches often get sorted out to websites that specialize in those sorts of products.  A perfect example is Boho Chic decor.

Boho Chic Decor

Boho is basically what it sounds like.  It’s a bohemian style of decorating that is both eclectic and laid back.  It utilizes a variety of colors and has a sort of thrown together look about it.  There are literally hundreds of producers of these sorts of items online.

If you are willing to acquire numerous things from these tiny producers they are likewise far more likely to offer you a mass price cut. This is something that you will certainly never obtain from a big chain store or chain.

One more advantage of choosing a small producer is that you could ask for a personalized shade palate that will certainly mach the remainder of your decoration precisely. While this isn’t always needed, specifically in bohemian room design, it can make suitable items in much easier.One of the most trendy strategies within the boho chic style is Shibori.

These artists uses ropes or rubber bands to tighten the textile just before plunging it into a dye bath to create appealing patterns. While Shibori materials were usually made utilizing indigo, any kind of shade will certainly do.You can locate any kind of variety of Shibori cushions and materials at specialty sites like Natalie V Mason. It’s an excellent area to start searching for these sorts of products.

Improve Your Business Exposure with SEO Expertise

One of the most effective ways to grow your business in this highly digital age is through search engine marketing.  No one uses the phone book anymore.  So if you want exposure to the millions of people that search the Internet each day you need to be in the top of the search engine results for your particular industry.  The best way to do this is to have an SEO expert optimize your site for the searches related to your particular business.

SEOs Can Help Drive Leads

search engine optimization expertRegardless of what business you are in, you can benefit from more exposure on the web.  And the only way people can find you unless they know your website is to look in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.  It’s not enough to just have a website that is optimized for the terms people search in your industry.  Search engines want to see social networking metrics from Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.  They want to see ownership from Google+.  All of this tied together can help drive your business to the top of the search engine results.

All of this may sound fairly simple, but tying it all together into a coherent strategy can be extremely difficult.  And let’s face it, you have a business to run.  So you have better things to do with your time.  But if you’re looking for SEO for AV Dealers you would hire an expert in that industry.

That’s why it’s crucial that you find an authority in this field that can help you drive more traffic to your website.  Not only will they get more traffic, they can help ensure that you capture more of this traffic as customers.

Organic vs. Pay Per Click

There are two ways to show up in the search engine results; paid and organic.  Organic searches receive nearly two to one clicks over paid ads.  This means that it is crucial that you rank your site organically.  This is about creating quality content and getting your name out.  An expert SEO can help you do just that.

One way to look at what you might be missing out on is to multiply your closing rate of new business times .34 of the local searches for a term.  So if one term gets 1000 searches per month roughly 34% of those people will click on the first website of the organic searches.  So then multiply 340 by your average job revenue and then multiply that by your closing rate.  You’ll quickly find that you are missing out on a lot of potential business.

Utilizing Web Properties

A companies website is only one property with which to leverage with optimization.  Most businesses also review pages from sites like Yelp and Yahoo.  Business profiles on Google+, LinkedIn, and even Facebook are great properties to rank in order to grow exposure for a business.  Taking this approach insures that search engine users see the full brand of the business.  This makes it a hugely important part of an overall strategy.  Take a look at a home theater business in Santa Rosa Beach Florida.  Innovative Sight and Sound has three offices in two states.  Utilizing properties such as Yelp and Manta allow them to reach customers that might never see their website.

So if you’re considering search engine optimization for your business, make sure that your strategy incorporates more than just your business’s website.


How Do You Listen To Music?

I’ve been seriously listening to music since I was about 11 years old.  My first cassette tape was Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi.  Some friends of mine told me about the album, and within a couple days I had my very own copy.  I was in the fourth grade.

Obviously many things have changed in the years since.  Walk-man’s were all the rage then, then CD Walk-mans.  Then hard drive based music systems came along.  I had something called the ‘Keg’ from Kennwood in my car at one point.  All I had to do was upload all my music to this piece located in my trunk, and it allowed me to take all my music with me in my car.  This came not a moment too soon, as I was sick and tired of shuffling through CD cases looking for a CD in order to listen to a couple of tracks.

Fast Forward to Today

Jumping forward in time about 15 years, things have become infinitely easier where music is concerned.  iPod’s are the ubiquitous music player of choice.  But I’m not huge fan of the iPod.  I can’t stand having to put together playlists, and it’s incredibly annoying to have to shuffle through songs looking for something you want to hear.

I’ve started using a Sonos music system at home.  It allows me to connect to a whole host of music services including familiar names such as Rhapsody and Pandora.

Pandora in particular is my favorite.  It doesn’t get any easier than typing in the name of a song or artist, and having this remarkable service create a station based around that songs genre.  The controls allowing you to fine tune your station are easy to use, and amazingly accurate.

The Sonos System

Coming from a background in whole house audio and home theater, I can tell you from experience that there is no better system than the Sonos music system.  It absolutely rocks.  Controlled from an iPad, iPod, iPhone, or any other smart phone platform, this system makes listening to your favorite music an absolute breeze.

On top of that, it’s easy to set up.  While most home audio systems require speakers located all over the house, the Sonos system can operate without wires.  Each speaker has it’s own wireless receiver built in, allowing it to connect over a mesh network to other units in the house.

There area a few models available, and some do require speaker wires.  These are perfect for homes that already have speakers in the walls or ceilings.

Another nice feature is that you can quickly and easily set up music throughout your entire house.  So if you’re having a party, you can choose your Pandora station and have hours of music playing with no work required of you.

There’s really no better way to listen to music.

You can also listen to multiple sources at the same time in different rooms of the house.  If you’re in the exercise room working out and your wife is in the bedroom, you can both listen to different sources simultaneously.

Our CrossFit gym uses this exact same setup.  Through 3 different Sonos zones we can listen to 3 different things, or the same thing.  It’s a pretty slick system.  Those on the rings and pullup bars can jam to whatever they want while those on the Olympic lifts can listen to something else entirely.  They even have an outdoor zone, for when we’re outside the building.  Oddly enough you’ll even occasionally hear ads about the best training shoes for women.  All in all it’s a great system.

Survival Tips for the Great Outdoors

adirondacksNo matter how much you enjoy your job and the city, the human mind and body sometimes needs a break from all the hustle and bustle.  So even if you consider yourself a true city-dweller, it can sometimes be a good idea to get out into the woods.

While our minds and bodies have adapted amazingly well to the changes our world has undergone over the last 50 years, on the evolutionary timeline, this short amount of time is totally insignificant.  We are able to live in the fast-paced world of cities because of our unique ability to adapt.  But just because you’ve adapted doesn’t mean your thriving.

Every once in a while you need to take a break.  Get out.  Breath some fresh mountain air.  Enjoy silence for a change.

But before you go charging off into the wilderness, there are a few items you should consider taking with you.

Survival Tools

Even if you’re only going for a day-hike, having the basics of survival gear is a good idea.  You never know what you’re going to run into along the trail.  For this reason having a basic survival knife is a great idea.  Most people think of knives as some sort of weapon, and of course they can be.  But they are also immensely powerful tools.

Knives can be used to cut wood, light a fire, cut food, dig a fire pit and much much more.  It’s obviously not the kind of thing that’s going to help you in a bear attack, but it can help you cut down small tree to use as a makeshift crutch if you twist your ankle.

Keeping your knife sharp is also important.  For that reason, you should carry some sort of knife sharpener.  This is especially helpful if you’re in the woods for days at a time.  The best knife sharpening system is one that allows you to repair, sharpen, and hone a variety of blades.  One particular website that does a good job explaining this whole procedure is

Water Water Water

The human body can go for days and even weeks without food.  But it can only go 36-48 hours without water.  Water is essential to just about every function within our bodies.

Therefore, having clean water supply is a must.  There are any number of tablets you can add to water to make it drinkable.  There are also devices such as the Lifestraw that filter out microbes that are harmful, allowing you to drink directly from rivers and streams.

High Energy Food Source

For decades we’ve been taught that carbohydrates are the key to energy.  But as far as energy goes, fat contains twice as much as both carbohydrate and proteins.  For that reason, many outdoor enthusiasts are starting to turn to higher fat food sources when they are in the woods.

Saturated fats in particular (mostly from animal sources) are stable at even warmer temperatures.  While it may sound counter-intuitive, something like a paleo cookie can be a great fuel source when backpacking.  Check out for a wide selection of cookies that are perfect for a trip into the wilderness.  Low in carbs and high in natural fats, they’ll satiate your hunger, and give you long lasting energy.

While these tools are probably not necessary for a hike through Central Park, if you’re heading out into the woods they can be extremely handy, and maybe even save your life.  Yes, even the cookies! :-)