Jayson DeMers of Search Engine Journal recently interviewed Sam McRoberts, CEO of Vudu Marketing, about local search engine optimization (SEO). This interview is a solid resource for local SEO and can be used by small business owners as an action plan.
"What types of businesses need Local SEO?"
Local SEO is for any business that gets at least some of its customers/clients locally, and especially for businesses with physical locations that they expect customers to go to.
"How is Local SEO different from National SEO?"
Elements that apply to national SEO also impact local SEO. Most importantly for local SEO, you need to create and claim a local profile on Google, which will show up for localized search results. Citations are also important. A citation is any place online that uses your company name, address, and phone number all on the same page, in the same format as your local listing. Finally, reviews on Google Places is an important local ranking factor.
"How does on-site optimization differ for Local SEO vs. National SEO?"
Make sure your name, address and phone number are used on every page of your site, in the same format as your Google local listing. Use your city and state names in your title tags, meta descriptions, and the content on your site. Use Schema local markup to better help search engines identify and show your location. Include a Keyhole Markup Language (KML) file on your site.
"What are the most important signals that boost local SEO rankings?"
The three biggest factors in local listings appear to be the number of citations, the number of reviews (Google Places listing, other places), and how positive the reviews are overall. Positive reviews seem to trump the other factors.
"What does the location of a business to the city center have to do with anything?"
Google gives a bias towards locations that are closest to the center of the city.
"Can you outline a brief action plan you’d recommend for new company looking to compete for local search results?"
Claim your local listing on Google Places and 100% complete it. Next, spread the information from Google Places across all the other major local platforms, in the same format. Each of these will become a citation. Claim all your social profiles. Continue to build on-site SEO. Finally, get your happy customers to leave positive reviews for you on Google Places.
"Can you recommend some ways a local business can get citations?"
Use a tool like the WhiteSpark local citation finder to locate the best citation sources for your city. Guest blog posting can give you a chance to get citations by including them in your author bio.
"Can you recommend some ways a local business can get reviews?"
Encourage customers or clients to rate their experience with you on your Google Places profile. Include links to your profile in email communications. DO NOT buy reviews.
"Do you recommend small, local companies do local SEO in-house or hire an agency?"
This depends on your budget. An agency may cost more, but might end up paying for itself through speed and accuracy.
"Are there any specific services, websites, or tools that you recommend to help companies with local SEO?"
WhiteSpark local citation finder is a cheap tool for finding citation sources. Something like MySEOTool can track your rankings with localization. Set-up Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to track what keywords are driving search impressions and traffic to your site.
"What price range should a typical small business expect to pay for local SEO, (in house or agency)?"
Local SEO via an agency could range from $100/mo for the most basic work all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars per month for a competitive space with hundreds or thousands of locations.
"Is Local SEO an ongoing endeavor, or is it more of a set-and-forget expense?"
There's an ongoing component beyond set-up, as you should be getting new citations, reviews, social mentions and links each and every month.
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With YouTube reporting a 25% increase in online video views over an eight month period, video is an amazing tool to educate and expand your audience, drive traffic to your site and increase sales. The key is having unique content and understanding how to manage optimization for that content. Optimizing your video content and making it visible will help you rank with search engines and users alike.
Content blogging has become a booming market, and yet, many small businesses struggle to fully take advantage of their expensive content. From JeffBullas.com, here are six content marketing mistakes to avoid in order to get the most out of your content.
Mistake 1 - Not Having a Plan
Most firms have little more than a short term plan that includes their next few blog posts or webpage additions. To go beyond your next few weeks of content, look at the big picture, determine how your content is adding value, make sure your content leads customers to and through the sales funnel, and track responses to your content for continuous improvement.
Mistake 2 - Wrong Purpose
"The goal of content writing is to spread valid professional advice about a topic that relates to your business." Avoid thinking that content is somehow about the writer, a random topic or a selling point. Know your audience, and write topics they want to read. The goal is to create value, not get a quick sell.
Mistake 3 - Lack of Professionalism
It should go without saying that content needs to be grammatically correct, clear and valid. Content should also be interesting, engaging and meaningful.
Mistake 4 - Incorrect Usage of Social Media
Not using social media at all leaves a lot of potential marketing benefits on the table. Overuse social media, and it can become your sole content marketing effort. Be consistent with your social media use, across all networks. Make it easy for readers to share your content by using social media buttons on your site.
Mistake 5 - Improper SEO
Improving your search engine rankings is one of the main reasons to do content marketing. But you need to be aware of the latest SEO techniques. Consider hiring an SEO expert to help draft a content policy that incorporates SEO best-practices.
Mistake 6 - Untapped Resources
Find ways to incorporate your business’s specific strengths and expertise into your content to make it unique. Employees can be tapped for ideas or to do the actual writing. Content should set your company apart.
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Google and Bing often make changes to their search engine algorithms which can affect the way a company's website turns up in search results. How does someone keep up with these changes that have the potential to negatively impact your SEO? From Entrepreneur.com, here's a video with Search Engine Land editor Danny Sullivan in which he recommends some useful resources.
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SEOmoz conducts an annual industry survey (6491 respondents) on the state of search engine optimization, internet marketing, and the marketing profession. Hubspot has created an infographic snapshot from that data.
A Closer Look at How Marketers Are Using Social Media
From SEO Peace, here's an infographic with the most recent best practices for search engine optimization.
- Use Guest Blogging Opportunities
- Fix Broken Links
- Chase Competitors' Links with High Page and Domain Authority
- Get Interviewed
- Get Social - Attract Natural Popularity and the Most Powerful Links
- Content Links on Authority Sites
- Use Web 2.0 Pages
- Use Wiki Links
- Publish eBook
- Create News Links and Press Releases
- Use Trackbacks
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