Blog items tagged with "local-seo"
Tags: seo , local seo , citations , directories , google local , links
When it comes to off-page SEO (which makes up a majority of Google's ranking algorithm,) it's all about building and earning links to a webpage.
However, what most businesses fail to realize about off-page SEO is that citations are essential to uplift rankings in the Google Local Search results.
Although links might be more influential in Google’s organic search algorithm, citations are the bee's knees to rank higher in the local results (the listings accompanied by the Google map with little red pins.)
A citation is simply a mention or reference of your business's name or contact information somewhere on the web. A few examples of where you can find quality citations include:
- social listings, such as LinkedIn or Google+ Local
- Yellow Pages directory listings
- review site listings, such as Yelp or Manta
- local chamber of commerce
- other web directory listings, such as Superpages
Citations can have a momentous impact on a business's local SEO rankings. Even when there's no link included with a citation, Google still recognizes the mention of your business and factors-in the search engine value as a result.
Why Citations are Critical for Local SEO
Local companies that rack-up tons of citations on other websites can spike their Google local search ranking. Some of the primary reasons why Google values quality citation are:
- Community Value – Citations show that your business is a part of community on the web. In a sense, you're establishing legitimacy with Google by proving your business is real and engaged on various other websites.
- Validity & Legitimacy – Citations are sign of validity, which is arguably the main reason why Google’s local search algorithm factors-in citations.
- Niche Industries & Professions – Citations are ideal for businesses in a smaller industries or professions. Google recognizes the source of your business's citations. So if you're chiropractic business has listings on chiropractor directory sites, the value only increases.
Discovering opportunities to build citations is now always easy, and going about building them can seem like a monotonous task. Fortunately we've compiled a nice list of resources for you to use. Dedicate a block of time in your day to build 1 or 2 citations of these websites. In time, you can see your Google Local Search ranking increase for the keywords that drive quality traffic to your website.
Before you start building citations, you should ensure that you have properly set-up a Google Plus Local page for you business. This is the foundation and will help magnify the impact of your citation building efforts.
Tags: seo , local seo , google+ , google local search , google plus
Local businesses can gain some serious marketing momentum by properly setting-up a Google Plus Local page.
The process is rather simple with the right guidance. By establishing a local business page on Google Plus, you can help increase your company's ranking in the Google local search results (example shown in the image to your right.)
In this article, I will guide you through the simple steps of setting-up (and slightly optimizing) a Google Plus Local page for your business. Let's get started.
1. Claim Your Google Plus Page
Before you immediately create a new page for your business, check to see if there's an existing, un-claimed page. To do this, perform a search on Google Plus for the name and geographic location of your business.
Once you've submitted your search, use the drop-down option to select "People and Pages." From the search results, you should be able to spot your business's page, if it exists. If you do see your business page, click into the page and look toward the bottom for the option to "Manage this page."
If you do not see a page for your business, you'll need to create a new one. This option is near the bottom left of the Google Plus menu bar, under "More."
From the "Pages" menu, you can select to create a new page. When creating a new page, it's important that you choose "Local Business" as the type of page.
2. Edit Your Business's Information
Whether you have an existing Google Plus Local page or are creating a new one, you'll definitely want to tune-up the business's information.
The "Business Name" field should be a given; however if your business has multiple locations under one name, you'll want to distinguish its specific location in this field. For our example with "Nerds on Call," a residential computer repair company in central Illinois, there are five locations. As a result, we add a 'clean pipe' after the business name, followed by the location for that specific page.
In this case, we use "Nerds on Call | Peru, IL" as the business name to differentiate this page from the others. The business address is one of the most important elements on the page. And if you're claiming an already existing Google Plus Local page for your business, then chances are the address info might be slightly off.
Make sure that address is spot-on verbatim with that of your business's website. This alignment is critical to ensure your business is legitimate through the eyes of Google (and can influence your Google Local search ranking as a result.)
In our scenario of claiming an already existing page, Google had the street name slightly incorrect. We changed it from "Illinois 251" to the correct street of "State Route 251."
The rest of the fields are pretty straight-forward. Just be sure that everything is accurate and aligned with you company's website.
In the description field, you'll want to write concise summary of what your business offers and/or specializes in. You may also want to add a call-to-action link to help facilitate leads from the page's description.
3. Submit PIN Verification Request
Next you'll want to submit a postcard verification request to your business. This option is near the bottom right of the Google Plus Local page.
When you submit verification request, Google will send a postcard to your business's address with a PIN.
Once received (typically within a week,) you'll want to return back to your company's Google Plus Local page and submit the PIN to complete the verification process.
4. Link to Your Google Plus Page from Your Website
This last step is the icing on the cake. Near the bottom right of the Google Plus Local page, you'll see the option to "Link Your Website - Help people discover your page."
By including this link on your business's website (to its Google Plus page,) it further validates this page and helps its overall search engine authority for SEO.
The "rel=publisher" snippet in the link's URL tells Google that your company's website is the publisher for any content stemming from the site. If you publish blog posts from your website, you'll want to attribute the author of each blog post with a link to his or her personal Google Plus profile page.
In the author's link, include the "rel=author" snippet in the URL (see my Google Plus author link at the bottom for an example.) This establishes the ever-powerful Google Authorship for the blog post and will further accelerate its search engine value.
Using the "publisher" and "author" snippets in these links can help get your content crawled and indexed much faster. Additionally, you can generate the "rich snippet" author image in Google's search results (shown below.) This will make your blog post stand-out from the clutter and help increase your content's click-through rate in the search listings.
5. BONUS! Build Some Citations to Increase Your Ranking!
Building citations is an ongoing effort of creating business profiles and directory listings on various other websites. Check out this blog post for quality sources to build citations.
Having citations on other credible website is a sign of legitimacy to Google. When Google crawls these other listings, it will compare the name, address, and phone number of you business with that of its website and Google Plus Local page. When all things jive, your ranking can increase. In essence, this is the practice of “link building” for Google Local SEO, or in a more progressive sense, Goolge Plus Local optimization.
About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky has over five years of experience in the organic SEO profession. Starting his career as a copywriting for an international SEO firm and now the Internet marketing manager here at OIC, Tyler offers a wealth of expertise in the search marketing industry. You can email him directly at Tyler(at)oicgroup.net or Follow him on Google Plus.
Tags: local seo , citations , google local search , google plus , seo tips
The Google local listings are basically the new YellowPages of the Web. Now more than ever, Google users are shown local business listings in the organic search results.
These prominent local listings take up a significant amount of real estate in the SERPs and are accompanied by the Google Map. They also offer Google+ reviews and location information of each business.
To help increase a business's ranking in the Google local listings, a unique approach to SEO is required. This is because these local rankings are not only determined by a strong website, but also by an strong Google+ presence.
Take note to how the primary headline link for each business listing takes users to the company's actual website, whereas the Google+ reviews link below directs users to the business's Google+ page.
SEO in this particular context is not a mysterious, scientific formula that's unbeknownst to most marketers. In fact, this form of local SEO comprises of simple tasks that almost anyone can tackle.
Before you get started on these SEO tips, be sure that you have the capabilities to edit the content of your business's website, and that you've created a local business Google+ page.
- Add a link from the business's website to its Google+ page. The recommended code snippet for this link is found on the business's Google+ page while in edit mode, and will have the suggested anchor text "Follow us on Google+."
- On the Google+ page, verify the address of the business by requesting your Google+ postcard with a verification PIN. Once you receive the postcard at the business's address, you can submit the 4-digit PIN on the Google+ page.
- Include the exact address of the business on at least the homepage, but if possible, on all pages of the website. Two good areas for this are a site-wide header or the footer. This simple address inclusion is called a citation and it enables Google to verifies the legitimacy of the business's tangible location.
- Create additional citations, or business listings, on directory websites like Yelp, Bing, Yahoo! Local, Manta, Yellowpages, etc. Google will match-up the address information from these listings with that of the business's website and Google+ page to further ensure its local legitimacy. This is one of the best ways to help grow your Google local listing.
- Populate the company's Google+ page with adequate information and details. When appropriate, mention your keyword and geographic targets. Don't overdue do it, just a couple times is plenty enough. 6. Keyword optimize (not keyword stuff!) your webpage's titles, meta description, and page copy. Also try to include the city name of your business in each of these elements to help establish local relevancy for SEO.
Local SEO is slowly becoming more of a social endeavor with respect to Google+. It's critical that you local business gets involved on Google+ to grow and maintain its ranking in the Google local listings.
Tags: seo , local seo , website optimization , tips , sitemap , duplicate content , page title , meta description , citation
Many marketers have come to realize the immense advertising potential that organic SEO has to offer. This has made optimizing a website a marketing mission for many businesses.
But what many fail to realize is that search rankings are mostly determined based on factors that are off the website, primarily from inbound links and social signals (e.g. Google +1's, Facebook Likes, LinkedIn Shares, etc.)
So no matter how well you optimize your website, it's probably not going to rank until your do some off-site SEO work (which takes a lot of time and effort.) However, that doesn't discount the website optimization process from being important.
Website optimization is still incredibly essential for SEO, but more importantly conversion rate optimization (OIC's Marketing & Operations Manager, Chris Everett, explains it well in his article Why Top Rankings Just Don't Cut it Anymore. In short, a properly-optimized website "sets the stage" for SEO and the future influx of search engine visitors.
In this article, I want to share with you 3 common weaknesses that most marketers can address to better optimize their website. Unlike other tips that are more intricate on a specific aspect of website optimization, these weaknesses are big (but rather easy to fix,) and will have a momentous impact on you organic SEO efforts.
1. The Ever Important Sitemap
The HTML sitemap is considered the second most important page of a website (next to the homepage.) In essence, the sitemap is the search engine spider's roadmap to your website, directing the spider to crawl and index all of the optimized pages of your site.
Not having sitemap is like not having tire's on your car. It tries to move forward, but is inefficient at getting anywhere. The sitemap should contain links to all of the pages found on your website. Additionally, each link on the sitemap should use semi-optimized anchor text. For example, if you build a page on your site optimized for "Men's Road Bikes," it's wise to use that exact phrase as the link's anchor text when linking that page on your sitemap.
Lastly, make sure the sitemap itself is linked on all pages of the website, preferably in a set of footer links or navigation links.
2. Duplicate Website Content
Upon taking on a local SEO project, I was confused as to why this website was no where to be found in the search engines. It was decently optimized and offered great content, but the only page ranking was the "about our staff" page, and that was in the middle of page 3 on Google.
Come to find out, the owner of the site had another website. "Oh s**t," I thought to myself. "We got duplicate content." Sure enough, his other website was a complete mirror image of the site I was working on.
Duplicate content is a common issue that plagues a lot of websites. And it's not just an issue that involves duplicate content on other sites, but in most cases, it's having duplicate content on similar pages throughout the same site. This is especially common on ecommerce sites that have thousands of pages, many of which that overlap in relevancy.
Perhaps the most common culprit involving duplicate content stems from the page title and meta description. These are two elements that are both very important for organic SEO and can often become auto-generated based on CMS software. This auto-generation can cause duplicate content without the website owner even realizing it.
Fortunately, there's a pretty easy way to pinpoint duplicate content on your site by checking your website's Google Webmaster Tools. In the left hand navigation, click the option "Optimization," then "HTML Improvements." Here can you drill down on the specific pages that have either duplicate page titles and/or meta descriptions.
3. An Accurate Citation
The three pieces of information that define the citation of your business are its name, address, and phone number. The most essential place to mention the citation is your website's "contact us" page. However, I recommend including the citation in the footer so that it's present on all pages of your website.
Including your business's citation on your website is important to display credibility to Google. This is especially important if any of your search engine traffic derives from local search. In a nutshell, Google spiders will crawl the citation on your website and align the information with other citations found about your business on other sites (such as your Google+ page, LinkedIn page, YellowPages listing, and various other social sites and web directories.)
In summary, it's important to have an accurate citation on your website that exactly matches all other citations of your business found around the web. Any misalignment in citation information will cause Google confusion, and you definitely want to avoid that.
Well those are just three website optimization weaknesses that may be hindering your site's organic SEO performance. To discover more insights on how to make your site rank higher in Google, visit our branch of website optimization specialists and sign-up for a free organic SEO assessment. They will audit your site and provide you with honest recommendations to further optimize your website.
This article was produced by Tyler Tafelsky, Illinois SEO and Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group, Inc. You can contact Tyler Tafelsky directly via email at Tyler@oicgroup.net, or connect with Tyler on Google+.
Tags: google places , local seo , webinar
The SEO and Internet marketing professionals here at OIC Group, Inc. are presenting a local SEO webinar tomorrow May 31st, 2012 at 2:00PM CST (3:00PM EST).
The webinar will underscore the importance of search engine optimization for local businesses, and will showcase many actionable takeaway points that attendees can employ on their own. Tomorrow's local SEO webinar will offer a wealth of insights for viewers in various industries and professions.
OIC Group is pulling back the curtains on many "secrets" of the trade, from techniques to optimize your website to ways on how to increase your Google Places ranking. After years of immersion, research, and testing, the SEO team at OIC Group has become an industry leader in local SEO and Internet marketing. In tomorrow's webinar, specialists of the company plan to share a number of powerful SEO techniques and specific processes.
Attendees can learn several ways to do some SEO of their own, such as:
- How to optimize a Google Places page
- Tips on how to keyword optimize a website
- How and where to build quality links for SEO
- Where to further promote your local business on the web
- There have been a lot changes taking place in online search.
In an effort to provide more relevant, better quality search results, Google has been focusing more on the local orientation of its users. That is, Google is showing localized search results (commonly Google Places) based on the IP addresses of users' locations. These shifts have not only impacted Google's search landscape, but have leveled the playing field.
No longer is Google search solely for big-business brands with powerful websites and large marketing budgets. Now, local businesses can take advantage of an effective advertising and marketing platform that offers a highly targeted way to connect with in-market consumers.
To learn actionable tips and strategies that center on local SEO, Google Places optimization, and other Internet marketing channels for local businesses, sign up for OIC Group’s webinar. The webinar is set for tomorrow (Thursday) at 2:00PM CST (3:00PM EST). To sign up for the webinar, click here.
Tags: google places , local seo , link building , citations , directories
As a local company, reaching out to new customers can be difficult. Gone are the days when most people would turn to the YellowPages to find a local solution to meet their needs. In today's digital age, people are using the Web to seek a reliable local business. This makes building an Internet presence for any virtually any local company a must. That doesn't mean you have to go out and hire a SEO or Internet marketing firm to get the ball rolling. A lot of ways local businesses are found can easily be done in-house. That is, if you have an office assistent, part-time intern, or complete marketing team, you can execute a number of local SEO strategies, in-house.
Local Online Directories
One way local organizations can be found on the Internet is via directories. Most directory listings are trusted sources for information by offering customers reviews and insights about local businesses. Additionally, many popular directories are popping up in the organic search results. So what's more than being found by a person using the actual directory, is being found be person searching Google who sees your directory listing in the search results. Creating a listing on these web directories is simple. However if your business is only listed on only a couple sites, you could be missing out on some good opportunities to get seen by local, in-market searchers.
The Local SEO Value
Each online directory that you submit your business to is one more opportunity to be found on the web. Thus it is very important that you take the time build as many directory listings as possible. In addition to the increased visibility your business can have, creating listings on these sites can have tremendous SEO value. Every individual directory listing is link back to your website. These backlinks signifiy greater authority to your site and can improve your search engine rankings as a result. Also, each directory listing represents a citation that can benefit your company when it comes to local search engine optimization.
The more citations your business has around the web, the better ranking your Google Places page can have. In essence, building citations for Google Places SEO via directories has become the new form of off-page optimization for local businesses. Below we have compiled 30 of the most popular directories for local businesses. It may seem like a lot of work to go out and create a listing for each of these sites. But all in all, the ROI of doing this in-house far exceeds that of hiring a local SEO company.
- Merchant Circle
This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, a local SEO and organic search marketing expert here at OIC Group, Inc.
Tags: google places , local seo , citations
In today's digital age, there are few alternative to improving your business's online visibility if you want great marketing ROI. SEO and Internet marketing have evolved, and now Google Places is taking the hot seat for online advertising exposure. As a result, Google Places SEO (or Google Places optimization) has become a high demand marketing solution for local businesses.
Google Places Optimization via Citations
One of the most effective ways of improving a business's ranking in Google Places is by citations. Many interested in search engine marketing often confuse Google Places citations with links, but the two are not the same. Google Places citations help local businesses earn higher ranking in Google Places results.
A citation refers to an external listing (outside of the Google Places page) of company's name, address and phone number (NAP). In essence, Google will compare the citation of a business's Google Place page with that of the business's citations on other websites. The more citations that exactly match the NAP of the Google Places page, the greater potential to rank higher in the Google Places listings.
The Righteous Path to Building Citations
There are several ways and resources for building citations. As you begin to build citations on other websites, it is absolutely imperative that you keep your NAP's consistent. You should note that using multiple phone numbers often hurts your ranking, as does changing the name of your business in the heading.
Additionally, be as specific as possible in your NAP, as to include suite #'s and other details that might conflict your NAP with that of another business. So remember, the same NAP in every citation is critical. Some of the best places to build citations are through local directory listing sites other than Google Places. Google pulls a lot of information from these directories. You could try such directories as Open Table, Yelp, Urban Spoon, Kudzu.com, YP.com, CitySearch.com, Merchantcircle.com, and Superpages.com.
Simply establish your business's listings in these directories that apply to your company. This alone can drastically increase your chances of earning a higher ranking in Google Places. These directories and Google Places combined show the world that you are credible, legitimate business with an actual place on the planet and that benefits your local SEO optimization strategy.
There are also many other variable that go into the Google Places optimization process. Most of these factors surround the word choice of your business's description, the images and videos that you use, and the "offers" you post on your Google Places page. The www.webpresencegroup.net offers valuable services and resources that focus specifically on Google Places SEO. You can visit the website optimization company to learn more.
This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.
Tags: google places , local seo
Search engine marketing, particularly local search engine optimization (SEO) is an ever-changing endeavor that demands constant awareness of the local search landscape. What may have worked six months ago could be obsolete today.
Effective SEO's and Internet marketers must stay up-to-date on the latest trends that are impacting the world of search. One of the trends that is taking over the local SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages) is Google Places. Accompanied by a local map with little red and blue pins, the Google Places listings are becoming the most popular search results that Google offers to its users.
Google Places growing popularity is mostly due to the value that search engine users see in these types of results. Unlike the natural or organic listings that offer national-based results, the Google Places listings merge relevant consumers with the local business that can meet their needs.
What is Google Places Optimization?
Like local SEO, Google Places optimization is the effort of increasing a business's ranking the Google Places listings. This practice utilizes some of the same concepts as local SEO, as well as some more unique strategies. Keyword relevancy is still a factor on a Google Place page, among many other factors. For local businesses and entrepreneurs looking to dominate their local search marketers, Google Places optimization should be atop their list of marketing priorities.
What Are The Major Benefits Of Google Places Optimization?
- Having a Google Places page is a major boost to a website's reputation and search engine credibility (added local SEO value)
- Google Places offers an advertising opportunity that is virtually free to use
- Prospects can efficiently find the types of businesses that will meet their needs (highly targeted exposure)
- The Google Places listings are favored on mobile search results. This is huge for business who feed off instant response search engine marketing and mobile advertising.
- Within a Place page, businesses can showcase their products and services through rich media like videos and images. Google Places optimization is no doubt the new, primary form of local SEO.
If you are interested in learning more or would like information about Google Places optimization services, feel free to contact the SEO experts at OIC Group today.
This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing and SEO Peoria IL specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.