Category Archives: Google Plus

SEM or Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing is one of the things we do best here at Windy City Strategies.  But sometimes, people don’t exactly know what that is.  So this blog post is to help explain it to our clients who may not know for sure.

A search engine is something going to and putting in a search term like “Chinese Food” in the search bar, or searching for something on the web on Yahoo, or Bing.  Google is the most popular search engine, so we will use this as our example.

According to Google:  “The primary objective of any search engine is to help users find the information, products or services they’re looking for online, quickly and accurately. When the user types a word or phrase, called a query, into the search engine, a set of results that are relevant to the query is displayed.”

So- if you wanted to find a law firm in Crystal Lake- you might type in the search field “Law Firm, Crystal Lake”.

Windy City Strategies provides consultation and services in all areas of Search Engine Marketing-

The shaded area at the top of the page is called Pay-Per-Click advertising- this is a paid section, where your advertising will be posted to the top of the search engine.

The paid results are in the pink area, and the organic  (or Google selected) results are in the green area.  You will notice that there are local listings first in this green area.  That is the location portion of Google’s results- which displays local results from where your computer is searching from.

Windy City Strategies will help your business soar in the ultra-competitive web marketplace through our proven Internet marketing campaigns. We manage Google, Yahoo, and Bing accounts and we offer pay per click campaign management services as well as search engine optimization, website development, and internet marketing consultation. Please contact us for a free proposal and analysis.

Social Media and Your Small Business

Many small businesses are utilizing social media outlets these days in order to drive their traffic and increase their sales. If you have not yet considered joining the social media world for your marketing needs, you should consider doing so now.

Here are other ways social media can benefit your small business:

Social media allows for a greater business outreach: With social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you are better able to get your business out there to the world, reaching customers near and far, as opposed to just locally.

Social media can help to build your reputation: Not only is social media a good way to manage your online presence, but it is also the perfect opportunity to gain your customers’ trust and loyalty. By giving your business a social media presence, more customers will be inclined to trust your brand, as well as look to you over your competition, especially if they are not as socially present as you are.

Social media can help with customer support: By being available 24/7 with social media outlets, such as Facebook, you can assure your customers that they can reach you when necessary. However, it is critical that you address your customers’ posts and messages as soon as possible in order to maintain your customer service reputation.

Social media can sell your business: Not only can you better advertise your product or services by using social media, but you can also provide opportunities for your customers to purchase your products or services as well. This will provide a much more pleasurable experience for your customers, which will likely keep them coming back.

If you are interested in learning more about what Windy City Strategies can offer your business’s internet marketing strategy, then contact us today.

Social Media: How It Can Be Used For Your Business

Promoting your business over social media can be an easy way to help drive traffic to your business. However, choosing the most effective platform that will have the most potential to achieve maximum mileage, can be difficult.

In order to help you make the right choice when it comes to your social media marketing strategy, here are a few helpful ideas on each leading social media network, and how it could be used for your business:

Facebook: Facebook has different advantages over the other social networks. Since almost everybody you know has an active Facebook profile, you can ensure you are being noticed. Facebook allows readers to choose the kind of updates they want and what they want to view most often and share and interact with others, which can drive traffic to your business.

YouTube: With some types of businesses, you may wish to have short and informative videos to engage potential clients, which makes YouTube a very powerful network. Google plus can achieve much stronger content that is effective and compelling.

Pinterest: Pinterest is a place to post images and creativity ideas for a future product, or services. This content sharing platforms allows members to “pin” images and videos to their own board, and is made up of a wide audience, allowing you to open up to the public.

Twitter: Twitter is simply another way to text whomever your audience is. With Twitter, you can post what you are thinking, how you are feeling, or use it as another way to post information about your business. As an added bonus, Facebook users can read what they choose to look at, and respond when they want to.

For help choosing the right social media platform for your business, or wish to get started on an effective Internet marketing campaign, contact Windy City Strategies today.

Choosing the Most Effective Social Media Platform

Promoting your business over social media can greatly benefit your business, especially when it comes to increasing your online presence. However, there are a variety of social media platforms available. Choosing the most effective social media platform can hold the potential to achieve maximum mileage, so it is important to choose wisely.


Facebook has different advantages over the other social networks due to its popularity, making it perhaps the most used social media platform. With Facebook, readers can choose the kind of updates they want, what they want to view most often, as well as the ability to share and interact with others. Facebook is also a great way to advertise your brand, special promotions, and provide you with an opportunity to be seen as an expert in your industry.


Some businesses will have short and informative videos on YouTube in order to engage potential customers. YouTube is a very powerful network. With YouTube, you can achieve much stronger content that is effective and compelling.


Sometimes images can say more than a words, which allows Pinterest to be a powerful social media platform. From posting images and ideas, to creative ideas for a future product or service, this content sharing platform allows its members to “pin” images and videos to their own board. Pinterest has a wide audience that can open up to the public, making your business, products, and services easier to find and share with others.


Twitter is similar to the idea of text messaging others. With Twitter, you can post what your thinking, how you are feeling, or post information about businesses. In addition, Twitter users can choose what they want to look at, and respond if they wish to.

If you need help deciding which social media platform is best for you and your business, contact Windy City Strategies today.

Ensuring Your Business Can Be Found Online

With the Internet, users can quickly find everything they need about your business, simply by using their tablet, computer, or mobile device. Since this is the primary way for people to find businesses today, it is essential that you ensure your business can be found online and is listed on all applicable online sources.

Be Found On Search Engines

The following list of search engines are most recommended and popular directories for businesses, which can help your business be found:

  • Google my business- Receives about 6 million searches a day and it is easy, free to register for your business.
  • Yahoo- This is the third most popular search engine and you can list your business on here for free.
  • Bing- Second most search engine used, it too is free, and easy to use. You can add more than one business location at the same time, and able to add all other content to your listings, such as pictures and videos.
  • Angie’s List- This site is a well-respected online directory  and is known to provide accurate reliable reviews for users.
  • Manta- Receives 30 million visitors a month and able to increase website traffic with paid business packages and highlight your product or brand on your profile.
  • Yelp- Best options on the Internet for users to find reviews about businesses, this is a site your able to communicate to your customers within the account.
  • Foursquare- With this site, you get benefits of a popular directory and social networking, and you are able to add a map so people can check-in when they come to your business.

Be sure your listings consist of your business’s name, address, phone number, as well as any other information that you feel is important to your users.

If you need help increasing your business’s online presence, contactWindy City Strategies for more information.


Utilizing Your LinkedIn Profile To Draw More Potential Customers!

Many professionals are still not convinced of the power of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a large professional social network that provides a way to connect with your professionals and help you stay in touch with the millions of users using this platform.

LinkedIn is used to share your ideas, exchanging knowledge, and many opportunities that are offered. This could help you find groups of interest as well as finding a job in your field.

The first step to drawing people to your LinkedIn profile is by creating a powerful one. Start by adding your professional headline, this is the area right underneath your name, 120 characters that describe who you are and what you do. Many people have their “Title” at “Company” but this is a great area to add a tagline and a couple keywords.

The next step that people notice first is your picture, name and professional headline. Whether you are responding to a message or inviting someone to connect with you; you are using that information to invest the time to make it engaging.

Many people skip over the description field of their experience section, this is the place for you to talk about what you have experience in. You will have 1,000 characters in that area to talk about your keywords. As you describe what you do and what your company does, using these keywords they are going to naturally settle right in.

Now on to your background section of your profile, be sure to use most of 2,000 characters that are offered to you to expand on who you are and what you do. With the interest’s section that is found at the very bottom of the profile, right under additional information, is the only section on LinkedIn where you can put your keywords. Limited to 1,000 characters to add both personal interests as well as a list of keywords you use for SEO.

When using the right keywords in these sections, you have a better chance of your profile showing up when anyone does a search on them. LinkedIn is actually one of the networks that can drive more traffic than Google+ and Bing. You need to make sure that you, not your competition, are being found by your prospects.

For more information about how to utilize your LinkedIn profile contact, Windy City Strategies!

Google Improving For PPC and Local Businesses

Just a few weeks ago, Google announced it has been brainstorming a few new ideas for features involving Google Shopping.  The plan is to create an emphasis on local merchants.  Local merchants include near by businesses , local storefronts, and availability for local product listing ads.

When someone searches for a product on Google, before the update, they may have seen a PLA from a local store.  They would most likely land on a local storefront page when they click it.  Once clicked, that someone would be able to browse the local store’s inventory.

Local availability and the local storefront for Product Listing Ads are mainly based upon the local product listings Google manages through their Google Merchant Center.  The Google Merchant Center lets retailers provide users with in the now items, pricing, and available information for each store location.

Retailers that wish to invest with this will pay for clicks on the Product Listing Ad to the local storefront, paying for the service by each click.  This is called a Pay Per Click program that allows businesses to only pay the company they are using for internet optimization each time their site is visited by a viewer.

With Pay Per Click (PPC) you know you are only paying for the services if your website is actually generating traffic, giving your business more cash flow.  At Windy City Strategies, we provide your customers with internet marketing strategies that really work, just like PPC.  We know how important it is that you business is seen and used by the public, especially local businesses.  This is why we strive to put you at the top of the list.  With PPC you will be generating traffic through your website, allowing people to take advantage of your goods and services, helping your business grow!


Social Media Management

With so many social media platforms sometimes, it’s hard to stay on top of them all. Managing social media is tough, and more than ever businesses are hiring social media managers. If your business is considering hiring a social media manager, Windy City Strategies suggests ways to scout out social media experts. The following skills are crucial to an effective media manager.

1. Strong Semantic Skills: Writing is a major element to social media. Communication is key when you’re trying to get your business’s message across with quality content. Whoever you hire, their language skills should be at a professional level. Having the understanding to use the correct tone and vocabulary for your audience and writing for a niche while still having range is important. It makes your business approachable and gives your viewers an understanding.

2. Customer Service Experience: Having the skill to write clearly and concisely a necessity, but you don’t want a slew of hot headed replies on your social media sites to tarnish your image. Words are powerful, so your social media manager should understand how to handle complaints.

3. Their Social Media Networks: Understanding and knowledge comes best with experience, so ask for their social media links. If  they’re active on social media already, then they should already know how to use the platforms. Using it for a different purpose will be easy, and they’ll require less training time. You can also see if their social media practices align with your plan.

4. Familiarity with Internet Marketing: Your social media manager should understand how they fit into your business’s presence online. Your business’s branding across all sites are key to Internet marketing campaigns. Letting your manager know how his or her posts fit into your business’s image gives a clear sense of what’s being done.

5. Commitment: Social media takes a lot of time; you probably already know if you’re searching for a manager. Whoever you hire, however, should also know what’s expected of them. How often do you want to them tweet on Twitter, post on Facebook, pin on Pinterest, write a blog? What about retweeting, live posting, responding to mentions, commenting back? Getting all of this completed can take time, so hiring part time or on commission can be difficult.

To improve your business’s online presence overall, contact Windy City Strategies today.

New Organic and Paid AdWords Reports

Last Thursday Google announced two new reports within Google AdWords to help businesses better understand how people are finding their business online. Windy City Strategies shares how the new paid and organic reports can evaluate your business’s search engine performance.

1. Finding more keywords. The organic report will show where your business appears in organic search results that have no paid ads.

2. Optimizing high value queries. Within this report, you’ll be able to improve your presence with paid results and track organic results.

3. Reviewing made easy. Using these reports, you’ll be able to see the impact from bid adjustments, budget changes, or keyword variations.

4. Track trending traffic. In efforts to integrate multiple Google services, Google has offered the report to evaluate trends over any time period – daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.

With last month’s Google AdWords change to Enhanced Campaigns, mobile marketing has taken center stage. Internet marketers are encouraged to start their mobile campaigns and pay mind to their business’s image on mobile. Google is trying to provide businesses with as much information as possible to help businesses understand even the small details of their business’s performance.

Success online is hard to achieve if you don’t understand your current standing. To start your business’s Internet marketing campaign, contact us today.

Google Gets Personal

Thought Google was smart enough to answer just about any question that came to mind? If you didn’t think that before you should now. Today Google announced a new feature that will be implemented when using the search tool. It allows you to find your own personal information through Google search. Google will now enable you to get information regarding airplane flight numbers, reservations at a restaurant, or the tracking number for a package delivery you are expecting.

Instead of this being a multiple step process to get information for any of the following listed above, Google has created a one-step process where you can get all of that with the click of a button.  When you use this new feature there is one thing to keep in mind.

Google has to be pulling this data from services that the user uses such as Google+, Gmail and Google Calendar. Google notes however, that you must be signed in to one of the previous accounts mentioned in order for this feature to work. Much of this information is pulled from your Gmail account with the exception of photos, which are pulled from your Google+ account.

Any user will have access to this new feature and will be available on any platform including desktop, tablet or mobile device.

Keep yourself informed with all the latest technology updates from Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and more through Windy City Strategies.