Alan Residential Contracting Service has been serving the City of Chicago's western suburbs for over 25 years. Hoping to expand their customer base, the family owned business invested in a website and an experimental advertising campaign in Google. However, they found themselves at a dead end; they simply weren't generating a lot of online traffic. Instead of giving up, the firm wanted to find out why their competitors were winning a larger share of people's attention online.
The company turned to Brandon Schwartz, a friend of the family who specializes in internet marketing. Mr. Schwartz claimed that he could boost traffic to the website by working to promote it in search engines. The reasoning behind this was the same algorithmic update Google just launched to punish so-called "content farms", or sites that publish massive quantities of low quality pages designed to dominate search results. This update also placed a larger stress on local establishments, which Mr. Schwartz suggests presents an opportunity for small businesses.
"Most small businesses attract new clients through referrals," said Schwartz. "The same logic applies online; sites that rank consistently higher in search results are sites that generate a lot of online referrals." Mr. Schwartz pointed to a number of "online referrals" including mentions by customers in reviews and discussions around the web.
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