Showing posts with label Local SEO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Local SEO. Show all posts

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Questions Answered About Local Search (SEO)

Whenever I speak to a group on Local SEO, I usually get several local search questions.
The quest for local SEO can sometimes seem elusive. What with Google and other search engines constantly changing their algorithms for page ranking, it’s not an easy task to, quite literally, stay on top of things. Basically, a successful local SEO encompasses a number of factors, including:
  1. Inbound Marketing Strategy
  2. Effective Keywords and Keyword Phrases
  3. On-page SEO
  4. Social Media Strategy
  5. Interesting and Useful Content
  6. Presence on Google My Business and other Pertinent Directories
  7. Customer Reviews and Testimonials, and a Strategy for Soliciting and Monitoring Them
  8. Link Building and Citations
  9. A Mobile-Friendly Website
  10. Blogging

Local SEO FAQs

In the 10 years that I have been in this business, I have heard numerous questions from clients on what really matters to be successful in local SEO. I have also learned a lot myself, sometimes through trial and error. To assist you in your determining what really matters in achieving higher local search engine results, I’ve compiled a listing of questions and answers below.

1: What Does SEO Mean / Stand For?

SEO = Search Engine Optimization. Effective SEO is the strategy, process and tactics for working to improve your company’s rank in search engine results for the keywords you most want to show up for.

2: What is Search Engine Marketing?

While it may sound like this is SEO, it is a paid marketing strategy that ends when you stop running your ads. It should be considered lead generation instead of SEO.

3: What Does Local SEO Mean?

Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a procedure for optimizing your website to help it display more prominently in the local search results pages on Google and the other major search engines.

4: What is Organic SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an inbound marketing strategy process that drives “free” or “organic” traffic and/or search results on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

5: How Does SEO Improve My Business?

An effective SEO strategy increases ranking for keyword phrases important to your business, increasing the likelihood that your business will be found online and also improving conversion rates that turn visitors into leads.

6: What is On-Page SEO?

On-Page SEO are the things you do on your overall website site structure as well as the things that you do on each and every page to provide Google information to help your site and it’s pages rank.

7: What are Key Elements of On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO for each page should include: the Page URL, Page Title, Meta Description, Alt Tags for images, keywords used in the page copy, anchor text to internal and external pages, and H1 and H2 Header tags.

8: What is “Black Hat” SEO?

Black Hat SEO is a set of aggressive strategies that don’t obey search engine guidelines, and usually ignore user experience. These are risky strategies that might result in penalties from the search engines.

9: Does Social Media Help with SEO?

Search engines view people’s positive social signals (likes, shares, votes, views, pins, etc.) on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube as trusted and convincing endorsements about your company.

10: Do Images Help with SEO?

Images can certainly help with SEO. First, they can enhance with the user experience on the web page. You can also add “alt tags” that help with on-page SEO (which tells Google what the image is).

11: If My Site Ranks Well Now, Should I Still Invest in SEO?

SEO is not static. Google and Bing change their algorithms frequently and your competitors are constantly working to improve their rankings. And things break on your site. As a result, SEO should be an ongoing effort.

12: What is a Big Missed Opportunity with SEO?

Not creating content and pages on your website to focus on the problems you solve for your customers. These create great long-tail keyword opportunities, and many users describe their problems in their searches.

13: Is User Experience a Factor for SEO?

Yes, sites that are easily navigated and keep people on the site longer have a better chance of higher ranking. If people instantly click back to Google after entering your site (bounce), this results in lower rankings.

14: Can Anyone Guarantee 1st Page Rankings?

No. You should run from anyone who promises this. SEO is complex with too many variables outside of your control including Google algorithm changes and what competitors might do and how much they might spend. SEO is an ongoing investment.

15: What Criteria Should You Use to Select Keywords?

Search volume, relevancy, and competition level.  You want to pick your keyword battles. It’s very difficult to rank for a highly competitive keyword phrase, so it is better to rank for keywords you can win.1

16: What is a Focus Keyword Phrase?

A focus keyword phrase is the primary phrase that you want to try to rank the web page for.  The focus keyword phrase should be used in on-page SEO.

17: What is a Long-Tail Keyword Phrase?

A long-tail keyword phrase is a 3-4 word phrase (or longer) that is a highly specific phrase. Long-tail phrases are typically easier to rank for, and also tend to convert better. Example: Accountant St. Louis MO

18: What is Google My Business (GMB)?

Google My Business (GMB) is a web page that Google provides for local businesses. It allows you to put your company info on Google +, Google Maps, Google Search and other Google features.

19: What is NAP and Why is it Important?

Name Address and Phone (NAP) is critical for local businesses. It’s important for your NAP to be accurate and consistent not only throughout your website, but also anywhere it appears throughout the entire Internet.

20: How Can My Business Show Up on Google Maps?

Having strong Google reviews, and fully completing your Google My Business listing – adding photos and videos and selecting correct categories – improve your business’ chances of showing up on Google Maps.

21: Why Are Reviews Important to SEO?

Customer reviews are one of the top ranking factors for local SEO. They strongly affect how companies are ranked in Google’s local search results. Customer reviews reflect trust, relevancy, and timeliness to both the searcher and the search engine.

22: How Can I Stimulate Positive Reviews?

Building a review funnel is the best way to stimulate positive reviews. You can select the review sites that matter the most to your business and create a process to make reviewing your business easy.

23: Should I Respond to Negative Reviews?

It is important to consider responding to all reviews. Every positive review should have a response. Negative reviews can be addressed as appropriate, which can always be to take the follow-up off line.

24: How Can I Monitor Reviews?

The best way to monitor reviews is to implement a review monitoring service. You get immediate notification whenever someone leaves a review so you can respond in a timely manner. Social media monitoring using a tool like Hoot-suite is also important.

25: What is Review Velocity?

Review velocity is the frequency of reviews written on a particular review site. It is an important factor in determining the impact of reviews on local SEO on sites like Google and Yelp.

26: Are Testimonials and Reviews the Same Thing?

To the reader, these may appear similar, but in the eyes of Google they are different. Reviews have a particular data format that Google uses to assess your online reputation. Both help with trust.

27: How Often Does Google Update Its Algorithm?

While no one is sure but Google, major algorithm changes occur every 2- 3 months with a series of minor adjustments occurring on an ongoing basis. Last year Google made a total of over 500 algorithm changes.

28: What Review Sites Should Be Considered?

From an SEO perspective, Google My Business and Yelp rank well for most industries. Google My Business reviews directly impact how your business ranks on Google Maps. Industry specific sites are also important.

29: What Are Citations?

A citation is a reference online to your NAP – your company name, address, and phone number, as well as your website URL.

30: How Do Citations Help Rankings?

Citations are used by the search engines to evaluate online legitimacy and popularity of your business – the more accurate quality citations your business has the better.

31: What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a free service from Google that provides insights about your website such as search traffic, index status, crawl errors such as 404 errors and more.

32: What are 404 errors?

A 404 error is also known as a “Not Found” error. These errors occur when the web page is not found, which occurs because of a broken link to that page, or because the page has been removed. These should be fixed.

33: What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free service that provides comprehensive statistics on website traffic to include visitors, time on site, pages visited, conversion rate, and more.

34: What is HTTPS?

Hyper Text Transport Protocol Secure is the secure version of HTTP. It is a protocol used to encrypt the data being sent between your web browser and the web server it is connected to.

35: Why is HTTPS Important?

When connecting to a website with HTTP, your browser assumes it is connected to the proper web server. HTTPS encrypts the connection and verifies the website using a security certificate. Google also prefers HTTPS over HTTP.

36: Why is Local Web Page Content Important?

Local web page content gives you an opportunity to use local search phrases (which include geographic terms) in pages and posts on your website. Having content for these local search phrases increase find ability.

37: What is Link Building?

Link Building, also referred to as Inbound Links and Off-Page SEO, is when another website links to your website for content and relevancy.

38: Does Linking to Other Sites Help My Website?

Linking to other websites is not nearly as beneficial as other websites linking to your site. It is a good practice to link to quality external sites that add value to the content on your page or post as it boosts your authority as an expert on than topic.

39: What Is Structured Data?

Structured Data is a format for data about your web page that makes it easier for Google to crawl and index that page for search results.

40: What is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority is the measure of a domain name’s power and is based on popularity, age, and size.

41: What are Title Tags?

Title tags are the meta data that tell Google what the title of the page is and should include a strong keyword phrase. This is extremely important for SEO. Title tags are visible when you hover over a browser or tab.

42: Does Google Penalize Websites That Are Not Mobile Friendly?

Websites that are not mobile friendly tend to not rank as well on Google, especially when the search is from a mobile device. With more than 50% of searches from mobile, it may not be penalizing but it is hurtful.

43: How Important is Page Load Speed?

Page load speed has become an important factor for SEO because it impacts user experience, especially on a mobile device. Since more than 50% of all searches are done on mobile, slow page load speeds hurt SEO.

44: How Many Words Should a Web Page Have to Rank Well?

It is recommended that every page you want to rank have at least 500 words. Blog posts should have between 500-3000 words depending on competition for the keyword phrase and your link building strategy.

45: How Does Blogging Help My Website?

Blogs are already well designed for search engines. Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages.

46: Can My Blog Be on a Different Website?

You can choose to host your blog anywhere. But when it comes to SEO, it is important to have your blog properly integrated into your website. If your blog has a different domain in it’s URL, you don’t get SEO credit for your website.

47: Do Page URL s Matter for Search Rankings?

Yes, page URL s are an important factor for SEO and should include the focus keyword phrase for the page to be most effective.

48: What are Ranking Signals?

Ranking signals, or ranking factors, are characteristics of a website used by search engines that determine its position in search results. All ranking signals combined form the algorithm of a search engine.

49: What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the word or phrase that you hyper link to go to another page on your website, or to a relevant page on another website. Ideally anchor text is done using an important keyword phrase for the website.

50: What are Cornerstone and Skyscraper Pages?

Cornerstone and Skyscraper pages, commonly referred to as resource pages, contain a lot of content. These pages typically exceed 2500 words and are developed for critical keyword phrases and to build links.

Hopefully these Local Search Questions and Answers will help you on your journey to rank for local search phrases! Let us know if you have any other questions about local search engine optimization.

Feel Free to Get in touch about Local SEO or Organic SEO.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Local SEO Tips and Tricks

Every day we see harsh competition between globally recognized brands on the Web. So when it comes to starting a small local business, your first thought might be They’re going to tear me apart! But then you begin to understand that the local approach to SEO is different.

Today we’re going to discuss local SEO tips, tricks and life hacks with our special guest Muhammad , SEO, social media and e-commerce consultant and CEO of Muhammad Aneel Aslam. Let’s find out what strategies small businesses can implement to successfully compete with large brands in the local SEO field!

What Are the Key Factors That Impact Local SEO?

If you look closer at the known Google ranking factors, you can see that localizing your business becomes more and more important.
You may also notice that almost no factors are solely related local SEO. So it’s fair to say that the key factors for local SEO are still the same as for international SEO. But they need to be implemented a little bit differently.
  • On-page Factors — titles, descriptions and alt tags matter in both global and local environments. If you want to beat the competition in a particular city, district or even country, localize all these parameters.
  • Keywords — it should come as no surprise that local keywords should include geographical locations. So, make sure you’ve added enough relevant keywords that include the names of countries/cities/districts you are targeting.
  • Citations — in international SEO, the quality of referring domain means the most. When it comes to local SEO, it is essential to be listed in local resources. Your strategy could include local directories, digital media and manually reaching out to local influencers.
  • NAP Consistency — your name, address and phone number are vital for local optimization. Make sure they’re crawlable by search engine robots (in text format, not image format) and consistent throughout all your listings.
You can perform a quick audit of each of these factors by following the steps laid out in this article. Also, study the infographic created by Rachel Howe explaining why Starbucks dominates local search:

What Should Small Business Owners Focus on If They Have Only 30 Minutes a Day for SEO?

Entrepreneurs are busy people. They’re people of action, and they spend a lot of time solving problems and establishing connections in their respective niche. Some companies are so small that they can’t afford a full-time SEO specialist and they have to deal with search engines by themselves. Sometimes you can only dedicate 30 minutes per day to optimization. If so, you should focus on the following aspects:
  • Local sites listing - local citations have direct impact on your SEO, and they can become a good traffic source.
  • Content - the more educational, informational or simply entertaining your content is, the more people will engage with your website. For SEO, this means decreasing your bounce rate, which is a strong signal that your materials are worthy of being at the top of SERPs.
  • On-page SEO - check your website with an audit tool and deal with errors and issues one by one.
  • Reviews - getting your product or service reviewed is the first step toward local success. Among other benefits like more traffic and possible conversions they can improve your rankings among other companies.
  • Social Media — make sure you are present on all relevant social media channels. Use hashtags that include the name of your city to better engage with your local audience.

What  Strategy is Best for Local SEO?

Now let’s concentrate on keyword research as a crucial activity that helps small businesses coordinate their SEO efforts. First of all, you need to study competitors in your niche.
Here are some examples of questions you must answer when studying your competitors:
  • Who are your competitors (globally and locally)?
  • What keywords are they using to make it to the top of the SERPs?
  • How do they use backlinks and structure their content?
  • What are their unique keywords?
  • Which of their keywords are similar to yours?
  • What are your unique keywords (brand keywords, etc.)?
To rank well locally, you should add geo-location cues to your keywords. For example, “buy mens shoes” can also be “buy mens shoes in Nevada,” or the phrase could be narrowed down to the name of a city or even a street. Try different keyword variations (maybe even local slang) and you’re ready to go.

How Can Small Businesses Use Content Marketing to Earn Backlinks?

  • Write something new and original. There’s no sense from either an SEO or a marketing perspective to copy texts that are located at the top of SERPs. Instead, try to incorporate your expertise: use real life examples and case studies, make your audience talk and share their experience with the product, and use storytelling.  Good content will earn backlinks in a natural way.
  • Post on local blogs or city media, because they’re already targeted to the appropriate geo-specific segment of your audience. Charity projects are also a point of interest, because of their non-commercial nature.  Use them to both increase brand awareness and earn inks from non-commercial, reliable sources in your city or region.
  • Ask for reviews and testimonials. Encourage your clients or partners to write testimonials and share stories. You can also contact local bloggers and journalists and offer them the chance to try your product in exchange for a review.
You can find more ideas for link-building opportunities in the article “How to Get Quality Backlinks for a Local Business.

What SEO Technique Has Had the Highest Impact on Your Local Rankings?

It’s time to turn to the personal experience of marketers. It’s sad, but true – most of them agree that there is no “silver bullet” for local SEO success. Yet, Jaydip Parikh listed some key ingredients:
  • A Google My Business listing
  • Implementing local Schema
  • Listing your business in Yelp and other local directories
Here are some other suggestions:
All these factors will build a solid foundation for your local presence, but real success can only be achieved through research and experimentation.
Mastering local SEO is much like mastering international SEO — the more you get into it, the more you understand what should be done to dominate SERPs. By using the right ranking factors, a  business has all the chances to establish itself on the local filed. And the advice above will help you establish a strategy and identify areas you should delve into deeper.