Tags Posts tagged with "Google"

Google

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Google Page Rank Guaranteed

The email may start off with a simple “Hi!” or perhaps, “Dear Sir or Madam.” It will then go on to promise that, “We can get your site on the 1st page of Google; for next to nothing!” Or maybe they’ll just explain just how bad your food truck’s website is in relationship to its search engine optimization.

Spotting The Junk

Fielding emails promising professional SEO services has become part of life of most website owners. In most cases it’s pretty easy to spot these sales techniques, but we’ve recently noticed that some are getting pretty sophisticated. In fact, I received one such email recently, so I thought it was a good opportunity to bring up these kinds of SEO “promises” to make sure you understand this recent change in internet marketing.

This article is for those of you that might be a little confused by these sales pitches or unsure if they might actually help your mobile food business. If you are like many of the vendors I speak with and don’t know much about SEO; what these marketers are pitching might sound pretty good, unfortunately you are exactly who they are trying to target.

Some of these messages are really obvious that you’re receiving a bulk email that actually has nothing to do with you. In other instances, the emails are actually quite clever and make it seem like someone actually did their research  and did looked at what you’re site is doing online.

For someone to understand what tactics you need to correct to make inroads in SEO rankings, they would have to do a pretty in-depth amount of research about your food truck business. Not only would they need to know about your business but they would also need to research your competitors as well as the mobile food industry as a whole. And in all honesty, how can they begin to make any claims without ever talking with you?

The Promises

How can anyone possibly “promise” anything when it comes to SEO? If someone guarantees you a spot in search rankings, they are lying. Any SEO professional worth their salt is going to promise you one thing…that they can’t promise anything.

What you have to understand is that it is nearly impossible to guarantee anything in search engine rankings. An SEO consultant can certainly do their very best and can certainly give you an indication once they’ve done their research how much work they anticipate it will take for you to move up and then let you know about different opportunities.

But if they “promise” you anything, my suggestion is to run in the opposite direction. They either don’t have a clue what they are talking about or they employ tactics that “game” search engines using unethical, “black hat”, techniques. If that is the case, then it’s this point where you should probably sprint away.

Let’s Be Realistic

Take Mobile Cuisine for example. Yes, we do use SEO tactics when developing the site and the content we produce, but it’s not one of our main business goals to get on page 1 for certain keywords. Sure, it would be awesome to show up on page 1 for “food truck” or “food trucks.” But trust us, it is virtually impossible.

We could devote every waking moment for the next month to this endeavor and probably not make much progress. Not only are we competing with other online food truck trade journals, but every single one of the thousands of food trucks in the country, the food truck associations as well as every company that supplies the food truck industry who has optimized their website for one of those keyword strings.

So we know when we get an email that promises number 1 page 1, it’s certainly a bald faced lie.

What They Actually Do?

Some emails will offer you all types of SEO services. Some may even offer to link your site to more than 1,000 for just 5 bucks.

When it comes to SEO, your strategy and the process you implement is very important. If you haven’t done proper keyword research for your food truck website, all the link building in the world will get you nowhere. If you haven’t optimized your own site, there is no point in doing things offsite. You need to build your site as the foundation and then build up from there.

Some of the tactics being touted are actually outdated and could lead to negative placement of your site on search engines. Think it sucks when your site shows up on the 3rd or 4th page? How does being de-indexed from Google entirely sound? Google is constantly on the lookout for people gaming their algorithm, and a lot of what these SEO services are offering is exactly what could lead to Google banishment.

Search engine marketing tactics constantly change. Just because something being offered is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for your mobile food business.

With that said, we always try to keep our readers informed on different scams that take place. We hope this article opens your eyes and keeps you from responding to some of the hucksters on the internet.

We want to know: How do you handle SEO for your food truck website? Have you ever used any of these inexpensive SEO services? Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below.

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Over the years I’ve written about the importance of online reputation management on Mobile Cuisine. During the time in which the mobile food industry has seen monumental growth, there has been even more growth in online review sites that can influence where consumers eat out.

google-alerts

 

Because of this, it has become even more important for food truck owners to make sure they are engaged with their customers online. The problem becomes that there are dozens of sites where your customers could be talking about your mobile food business and there are only so many hours in the day.

I am not suggesting that you should spend your time combing the internet for every last mention of you or your food truck. What this article is intended to do is to show you that there’s an easy way to manage the most important mentions of your food truck empire and quickly decide where to respond without adding a lot of work to your already busy day.

The best part…IT’s FREE!

Using Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a way to make the most popular search engine in the world work specifically for you and your food truck business.  By entering your food truck name as a keyword in Alerts; Google will keep an eye out for that name on every webpage it crawls.

Every time Google’s crawler finds a mention of your food truck business name it will save it to a report.  That report is automatically emailed to you every day where results are found.  This way you can sit back, check your email, and watch for the places on the internet where your customers are talking about.

How To Set Up A Google Alert:

  • Go to Google Alerts.
  • Click the “Alerts” under the Specialized Search section.
  • Enter the keywords you want Google to search for and the email address you want them sent to.

That’s it, you’re done.

Suddenly managing your food truck’s online reputation just got a whole lot easier.  You’ll want to still check up on business on the sites such as Yelp to make sure important comments don’t slip past.

Be sure you refine the keywords you use to search for customer comments based on what Google Alerts is sending you versus what you find when you do a search.

Refining Your Search:

  • Use quotes (“ “) around your truck’s name to make sure results match the phrase exactly and not just partially.  This will help limit the number of irrelevant results you get, but may cut out some relevant ones as well.
  • Experiment with some common variations of your food truck’s name to make sure you are catching all the references your customers might be using.

Google Alerts is a quick, free and easy way to help you manage your food truck’s online reputation.  Be sure to start taking advantage of this free tool today.

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Food trucks have become some of the most-searched types of businesses across the internet. Because of this, search engines such as Google look for specific types of content for their rankings for mobile food businesses.

Food Truck Website Menu

The number one content topic for mobile food industry websites is your menu. Menus are so important for food truck websites that you need to optimize yours so these search engines can use this content to improve your rankings.

For the few food truck sites that don’t have menus available, these mobile food vendors are missing out on their best way to get higher rankings in local searches. Beside getting hurt in your search ranking even if your website is found, since most consumers are seeking a menu on a truck’s site, you’re letting them down before they even have a chance to find your next location.

So now that we’ve determined that your food truck’s website needs a menu…how do you format it to maximize your ranking?

Here are a few tips:

Homepage Link

This part is simple, name it “Menu.” This should be a simple HTML link in your navigation bar directly to your menu page.

Avoid Flash

Having a Flash animated website may seem cool, but it creates issues for search engines to find you.

Display Prices

Failure to display menu prices can make some potential customers run from your website. We’ve heard some food truck owners are concerned about changing prices, however this can be remedied by adding a notice that online prices should not be considered always up-to-date. Google Maps and other local search engines provide rough price ranges for food truck profiles, and they might even consider it less-optimal if they can’t locate price values.

Avoid Small Fonts

Use 16 to 24 point fonts for your item names and a standard 12-14 point font for your menu item descriptions. Just like offline menus, fine print or small fonts make for a bad user experience.

Use English

Even if you’re food truck’s concept is Asian or Latin based, if you’re operating in an American city, you should provide English in addition to the country of origin menu names for entrees or it will not be as effective for both search engines and consumers.

Avoid Image Only Menus

Even though Google has improved their technology to index text in images, some search engines are not as effective so all of the text may not be made available for keyword searches.

Your food truck website has plenty of room to provide multiple menu pages so don’t worry if you get wordy in your menu descriptions.

Providing more detailed information can only help you. If you focus on locally-grown food, organics, special diets and more, provide this info in your online menu. By publishing this information, you have provided more information for search engines to index and will expand the number of keyword terms interested foodies might come to find your website and your food truck.

Use these tips we’ve provided to give you a leg up on your competition, and should help you expand your visibility for the foodies who are trying to find you.

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food truck found

Everyone seems to know the impact that search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing can have for your mobile food business website. However understanding how to get your food truck website in search results can be a mystery. In this article we’ll shed some light on getting your food truck found online and discuss the three primary factors that affect your website’s search ranking and what you can do to improve it.

Key Factors To Getting Your Food Truck Found

Website design

If your website was built using the best standards and practices for a fast-loading, optimized website, then you’ll be in good shape when it comes to Google. WordPress-powered websites are particularly well-optimized for search engines.

Flash-based websites are bad! If your website was built using Flash, it’s basically invisible to Google, so avoid using Flash.

Content

The text included in your website heavily impacts which keywords your website will rank for. The more relevant keywords you include in your website, the more likely your site will show up when someone types those keywords into Google.

For example, if you include “Your Cuisine in Your City, Your State” a few times throughout your website, there’s a good chance your site will begin ranking for this term and ones like it.

Off-site optimization

The third factor is off-site optimization, which includes things that happen outside of your website itself. A key factor is the number of links from other websites that point to yours. So it’s a good idea to make sure your site is listed in all of the key food truck websites or directories, with links pointing to your website.

Another form of off-site optimization is social media activity. Google now factors in the number of Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and other social media chatter about your website, so as we also explain; it’s a good idea to be active on at least a few social networks.

Improving your search engine results

Now that you understand the factors that affect your ranking in Google and other search engines, let’s look at how you can start getting your food truck found:

Key words/terms

Think about key search terms that people might search for that should lead them to your food truck. Key search terms would probably be the type of cuisine you serve, your city name, and of course your truck’s name.

Be sure to include these terms within the pages of your website, so that Google will detect and index your site.

Title tag optimization

The title tag contains the text shown at the top of the web browser. Your homepage title tag should include your food truck name, the city you’re located in, and perhaps the type of cuisine you serve.

For example, a good title for a food truck’s homepage would be: Your Food Truck | Gourmet Italian Cuisine in Your City, Your State.

Please note that editing the title tags of your website may require some code editing on your website, so you might need to ask your developer about this.

Fresh, new content

When it comes to your food truck website, don’t “set it and forget it.” Google rewards websites that come out with fresh new content on a weekly or monthly basis. Use your Content Management System (WordPress is what we and many truck owners use) to regularly post new content like blogs, upcoming events, or even just a couple new photos each month.

Google Places

Be sure to register your food truck with Google Places so that you show up both in search results as well as in Google Maps. It goes without saying that you should include your website URL and contact info in this listing.

Food truck directories

Mobile Cuisine, Yelp, Roaming Hunger, Urbanspoon, as well as local food truck directories — not only do these provide great exposure to your target audience, they’re a great source of off-site links pointing to your website, which will help your ranking in Google.

The Bottom Line

To be completely honest, getting your food truck to show up on the first page of Google results for relevant keywords is no simple task and can take weeks, if not months, to achieve (this is why there are so many SEO consultants these days). It’s not a simple switch that can be turned on overnight.

But with the use of the easy-to-implement tactics we’ve shared in this article, coupled with a well-optimized website design, new and existing customers will be able to find your food truck on Google, Yahoo or Bing in no time.

Do you have any other SEO tips for getting a food truck found online? If so, please share them in the comment section below, Tweet us or share them on our Facebook page.

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In the mobile food industry, referrals are the No. 1 resource that our prospective customers seek out. That starts with family or a friend, but the online world has definitely broadened what a ‘referral’ means. If somebody sees enough positive reviews for a food truck, that helps people validate where they should go for lunch or dinner.

online-reputation

The opposite also holds true. For many mobile food businesses, reputation management includes not just tracking positive news, but also guarding against the negative. These days, feedback on sites like Yelp!, Google+ and Yahoo! Local can make a big difference to a food truck business.

If you own a food truck, there’s no way around it: You need to follow general and industry-specific review sites. These are front-row seats to what your customers are saying about you specifically. That’s really valuable insight into customer perception, issues you may need to resolve, and even things you are doing well.

Buzz Builders

While ethics prohibits seeding a site with positive reviews, it is still possible to build up one’s online reputation. Food truck owners should encourage their satisfied customers to make their opinions known with gentle urging of their online feedback, without putting any pressure on them.

Every food truck business should be actively asking customers to share accurate, honest feedback on review sites. Not every review will be positive, but your results will normalize over time, meaning the positive and negative reviews will come into a balance that reflects the reality of who you are offline. If you’re a good business, your reviews will reflect that. If you have some areas for improvement, reviews are your opportunity and impetus to pick up your game.

Coping with Criticism

online reputationThe occasional negative review is almost inevitable. What matters is how the mobile food vendor chooses to respond.

While no food truck is perfect, it is a great business if they are willing to admit their mistake and correct it as best they can.

On sites that allow responses, food truck owners have the chance to show the world that they’re on their game. They can post in detail their actions in dealing with the issue, demonstrating that they are ready and willing to step up when things go wrong.

Where a public response isn’t possible, successful business owners will make personal contact, talking through the problem to ensure the patron reaches a satisfactory resolution.

Be courteous and professional. Acknowledge the problem and the customer’s feelings: It’s important, in most cases, to make sure the customer knows you understand their perspective. It’s also worth noting that in some cases, it will be clear that a customer is totally unreasonable or unwilling to work with you. In these extreme cases, it’s better not to engage at all.

Even online, the old adage holds true: You can’t win ’em all.

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Google+ is more than just Google’s answer to Facebook. It’s also an all-in-one communication tool and office taskmaster. From filtering email to collaborating with colleagues to hosting video conferences, the search giant’s budding social network offers features some food truck business owners might not be aware of.

google-plus

Here’s a look at four ways to use Google+ for your food truck’s everyday business tasks:

Filter and organize your Gmail with Google+ Circles.

Digging up important messages from a constant barrage of emails can be daunting. But Google+ Circles — the tool that allows you to group people by relationship or category — can help you filter and prioritize your inbox. You can quickly find emails from people you’ve grouped together in Circles based on their roles in your work or personal life.

To begin filtering your Gmail messages via Google+ Circles, log in to your Gmail and click the down arrow adjacent to your Circles. Click on one of the Circles you created to view all of the Gmail messages you’ve received from individuals in that particular group. You can then filter emails from individual members of that Circle.

Make Hangouts interactive with virtual sticky notes and whiteboards

Google+ Hangouts are essentially online video chats for up to 10 people. They can make it easy to streamline meetings. But you might not know they can improve collaboration with the addition of a digital whiteboard and sticky notes to visualize and track your team’s progress. You can do this by adding the Symphonical app. The free app lets you and your colleagues create, move and comment on virtual sticky notes on a virtual whiteboard, all while a video chat is in progress. Symphonical sticky notes can help you organize brainstorming sessions, group tasks, individual action items and more.

If you haven’t hosted a Google+ Hangout before, you’ll need an account linked to Google+. Next, install the Hangout plugin from Google. Log in to Google+ and launch a Hangout with your Google contacts, or anyone else you invite by email who is also on Google+ and has installed the Hangout plugin. You can also stream a Hangout publicly through Google Hangout On Air.

Group edit Google Docs

Editing documents and presentations with your partners or staff members doesn’t have to involve a lot of emails back-and-forth if you use Google+ Hangouts’ new Google Docs feature. It lets you create, comment on and revise multiple documents in real-time, while you simultaneously do a video chat.

To begin, log in to your Google+ account and choose “Start a Hangout.” Next, access Google Docs by clicking the Docs button. You’ll see a list of Google Docs and a list of video chat participants below. Select the documents you’d like to group edit. You can add an existing document to your Hangout, or click Add to create a new one. Use the list on the left-hand side of your Hangout to toggle between the documents you’re group editing.

Plan and organize food truck events

Whether you’re doing a local non-profit event or a large event in your city, make sure everyone is invited by using a tool called Google+ Events, which was launched the summer of 2012.

To create an event, open your Google+ account and select Events. Next, click on the Create Event button and add your details such as event title, a start time and an invite list. From there, choose a background design and add a map and directions using Google Maps. You can send the invitation to people in your Google+ Circles, as well as individual email addresses from your Gmail contacts list.

Your event will automatically appear in your Google Calendar. You also can share event photos with fellow attendees during and after the event with Google+ Party Mode.

 

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The chart below shows the stunning growth in the number of Google hits for the search term “food trucks” over the last 4 years.

Food Trucks Growth

I even had to cheat a bit on the chart to get the 83,000 hits in 2008-2009 to show up.

The rise of food trucks is being driven by a variety of trends, many of which we’re seeing across the small business space.  These include:

  • New Localism, which the trend Americans relearning the value of community and reestablishing stronger ties with family, friends and their communities.  Part of the new localism trend is a growing interest in local and unique products, which includes meals from gourmet food trucks.
  • Local food, which is part of the new localism movement.  Consumers are increasingly focused on what they eat and where it comes from, with a focus on quality, freshness and organic.  Many of the new gourmet food trucks offer high quality food sourced from local producers.
  • The New Artisans, which are people starting artisan businesses and focused on exploring new ideas and approaches and creating high-quality, authentic products.  Earlier this week we posted on another example of this trend, Artisan Distillers.  Many of the gourmet food truck owners are artisan chefs looking to explore and develop new recipes and menu items.
  •  Social Media, which allows food trucks to create an audience and keep them up to date on their location, new menu items, etc.
  •  The Great Recession, which has made it much harder to finance and start a traditional restaurant. This has led many budding restauranteers to start food truck operations instead.  The costs and the financial risks are much lower – and food trucks can be used to test out menu items and concepts that, if successful, can become brick and mortar restaurants.

While we’ve only recently started our deep dive research into the food truck trend, we’re confident it’s a long lasting trend and not a short term fad.

So if you haven’t had a chance to try out a food truck, we strongly recommend you do.  As part of our project we’ve recently eaten at dozens of food trucks (it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it) and the food is, on average, excellent.

Find the original article by Steve King at Small Biz Labs <here>

 

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If you’ve checked out the new social network by Google, Google+ (or Google Plus) and been invited to follow some people, you’re already seeing a full range of updates in a more interactive stream than you’ve ever seen on Facebook or Twitter. This article will help you to figure out the best ways to use Google+ and decide whether it’s the right social network for your food truck.

google-plus-logo

As of this writing, if you don’t already have a Google account, you must receive an invite from someone who does if you want to use Google+. So nudge a friend who uses the service to invite you to join. Once you’re in and you’ve created an account, you’ll be prompted to log in with your Google account username and password. The first thing you’ll see when you log in for the first time is the opportunity to add some details about yourself — fill out as much as you feel comfortable sharing.

The best way to get familiar with Google+ is to just get in and play with it! Follow some influential people, comment on posts or share interesting things with your friends! The more you use it, the more you’ll discover new and interesting things to do on it.

Posting on Google+

To post on Google+ just click the Share what’s new… box and start typing. You can attach links and photos by clicking on the corresponding icons in the status box.

Before you can click Share to post your message, you have to specify who gets to see it. Select Public posts if you want the entire world to see your message (Google will also index it in search results). Or, you can share only with the people who belong to the circles you choose. (See the upcoming “Expanding your Google+ Circles.”). You can type in an e-mail address, or even just a contact’s name. Who sees your post is entirely up to you.

Selecting Google+ users to follow

The easiest way to choose people to follow is to look at the suggestions in the right column of your Google+ home page. Google is very good at guessing what types of people you might be interested in, based on your contacts in Google and other criteria. To follow someone on Google+, just mouse over their name, and mouse over again on Add to Circles and choose which Circle to add that person to.

You can also type names of people you know in the search bar at the top, click Find and Invite under the Circles page (the little icon at the top with three circles), or mouse over the names of the people who comment on the posts that appear in your stream and add them to a Circle.

Scouting the Sand Bar

All Google products now have what’s called a Sand Bar at the top of the page that you can use to access all your Google accounts. Click Share on the Sand Bar and post to Google+ from whatever Google service you’re using at the time.

The red notification icon in the upper-right notifies you when new comments appear and when people mention you in posts, as well as when new people add you to their Circles.

Expanding your Google+ Circles

View your Circles in the left column of Google+ under Stream (click a Circle to see only the stream of the people in that circle!). To edit and manage your Circles, click the icon with the three circles at the top of the page.

To create a new Circle, mouse over drop here to create a new Circle to open a link that says, Create a new Circle. Click it to create your Circle and add people to it. Alternately, drag or mouse over names from the top of the page into the Circles you choose.

If you have any other suggestions for Google+ you would like to share, please feel free to add them to the comment section below.

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Many food truck operators seem to neglect any type of online business marketing for their truck if it isn’t part of their social media strategy on Twitter or Facebook. Unfortunately, those who do miss out on a fantastic way to be discovered outside of those channels, Google.
For those unaware, a first page listing on Google search results is the Holy Grail when it comes to search engine marketing. Many companies invest big dollars to appear on the first page by advertising through Google Adwords. For example, to achieve the top ad position when a user searches for “seafood New York,” the advertiser is paying $2.35 each time someone clicks on their ad. This can become very expensive very fast. Wouldn’t it be better if there was a way to appear on Google for Free? The good news is, there is, and Google wants you to do it.The Google Local Business Center is designed as a way for local business owners to provide information about their business, so Google Maps can deliver more relevant findings. But in the Google tradition of ‘more is better,’ it goes far beyond a simple location description. This is an essential online marketing tool that is provided to your food truck business for nothing.

Beyond listing your business, you can add important business information including your phone number, website, description, category, payment options, business hours and service area. But it doesn’t stop there. You can also add photos and videos, and now they also give you the option to provide both printable and mobile phone coupons. And here’s where it gets really interesting because they provide information on your results – how many viewed your listing, what actions did they take, and where did they come from. And did we mention this doesn’t cost you anything?

Here’s how to take advantage of this great Google resource:

1. Visit http://local.google.com

2. Click on “Put your business on Google Maps”
3. Sign In with your Google account. If you don’t have an account, it’s simple and Free to sign up for one.
4. Click on the “Add New Business” button.
5. From there, you start adding your information. It’s as easy as that. We suggest listing your food truck business’ mailing address because at this point there is no means to provide your mobile locations which may change daily.The results appear with the “Local Business Results” map that you often find at the top of a search. Take the few minutes it takes and add your food truck to Google Local. We promise, it is well worth the time spent.

 

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