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Blog items tagged with "local-seo"

OIC's Newest Project Focuses on Organic SEO for Plastic Surgeons

OIC Group, Inc. has recently raised the curtains on a new website project. The new project is dedicated to providing highly-specialized organic SEO for plastic surgeons and related medical practitioners.

Optimized Surgeon SEOThe website is www.OptimizedSurgeons.com, and the purpose is to develop a well-optimized website that caters to the SEO needs of plastic surgeons. The new project runs parallel to OIC's efforts in building an authoritative network of blogs and websites geared for link generation - many of which are related to health, medical, surgical topics.

In short, Optimized Surgeons is a unique brand that's focal to providing search marketing and SEO for surgeons. Not only is the market vast for quality SEO services, but the opportunities available for surgeons are plentiful.

Practice Focused SEO for Surgeons

Many individuals are using Google and other search engines to find surgeons for breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, cardiovascular surgery, and so on. In other words, no longer are individuals searching Google for "Grand Rapids surgeon," but they're getting more specific by searching long-tails like "breast augmentation surgeons in Michigan".

Plastic Surgeon SEOThis presents a valuable opportunity for surgeons to capitalize on SEO. A surgeon who can rank at the top of the search results for their surgical specialty and geographic area can define his or her practice as the authority.

For instance, breast surgery is a common category that only select surgeons offer. If a surgeon in Grand Rapids chooses to invest in an SEO program with Optimized Surgeons, they can attain top keyword rankings for many different keywords that reflect their offering, like "breast implants Grand Rapids" or "breast augmentation Grand Rapids, MI".

As a result, this particular surgeon in Grand Rapids can acquire many valuable leads and potential new patients. This begs the question to any medical professional: what value to does SEO and web marketing have to my practice?

If a new patient yields over $4k for your practice, then a $750/month SEO program would be an obvious marketing investment. But beyond the rankings achieved from organic SEO, Optimized Surgeons can help clients realize much more with their marketing investment.

Building More Than Just Rankings, Optimized Surgeons Builds Brands

Through the use of other web marketing channels like social media and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, Optimized Surgeons can also be considered a digital branding firm. Together, these elements not help to supplement plastic surgeon SEO programs, but they help define the local online brand for their client's surgical practice. The value gained from such comprehensive programs help build the reputation and credibility of one's surgical practice for years.

Five 10-Minute Tasks to Jump Start Your Company's Peoria SEO Strategy

local seo peoria ilAre you somewhat familiar with SEO, but not sure where to begin? If so, then this blog post is for you.

Whether you're a self-employed professional or a marketing manager for a large firm here in central Illinois, SEO can offer immense marketing value to all types of organizations.

SEO is not as technical as it may seem. In fact, it's often more creative and right brained than it is technical and left brained.

There are some simple yet highly effective ways to ignite your company's Peoria SEO strategy; and many of these tasks take less than 10-minutes to complete. When executed correctly, these quick tasks can offer incredible value to your company's overall marketing efforts, in addition to SEO and higher keyword rankings.

1. Claim & Optimize Your Company's Google+ Local Page

Peoria Google Plus PINOne of the first things you should do for your company is claim and optimize its Google+ Local page. Aside from the website, the Google+ Local page is the secondary foundation of your company's web presence (and greatly impacts your local Peoria SEO strategy.)

Hop on over to plus.google.com and do a quick search for your company's name. If you see a page for your company, claim it so you can begin populating the page to it's fullest potential. For specific information on how to do this, check out this blog post that explains the simple process.

2. Make Your Primary Pages Keyword Relevant

An important step to "optimizing" your company's website is to ensure certain pages are keyword relevant (i.e. the homepage and select product/service pages.) This simple process centers on including your keywords in all the right places.

For example, lets say we're doing SEO for local computer repair shop in Peoria. We'll want to include the company's primary keyword targets in the homepage's page title, meta description, and page copy. As a general rule of thumb, we keep the page title concise and under 70 characters, and the meta description under 155. This is simply SEO best practices and ensures all of the text shows in Google's search results without being cut off.

For the page copy, there's no need to butcher the text with heavy keyword usage. By simply mentioning the keywords a few times throughout the page, we'll establish sufficient keyword relevancy.

Apply the latter techniques to all pages on your company's website with SEO value. The homepage happens to be the most important and should be optimized for your the golden (primary) keyword target of interest.

3. Ensure Your NAP (Citation) is Complete & Accurate

Also known as a citation, the NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) of your business is a critical element of local SEO that defines the tangible legitimacy of your company. It's important to ensure that your company's NAP is entirely accurate and complete.

Additionally, it's equally important that the NAP is mentioned in text-based form (not in an image) so that search engine spiders can crawl, index, and compare the NAP with other citations of your business mentioned throughout the web. A site-wide header or footer is a perfect place to put the NAP.

4. Create a HTML Sitemap (and Link to it Site-wide)

From a technical, non-user perspective, the HTML sitemap is often acclaimed the second most important page of a website (with the homepage being tops.) Unfortunately, many company's fail to create an HTML sitemap, and those who do often do not link to it properly. sitemap peoria seo tips

Building an HTML sitemap is pretty simply. It's essentially an index page that contains links to all pages of your website. You can create one manually if you have the right resources and direction, or you can use tools like XML-Sitemaps.com to generate one for you.

Once you have created a sufficient sitemap, it's important that you link to it on all pages of your website. Like the company's NAP, the perfect location for a sitemap link is in a header or footer.

5. Jump Start Link Generation & Create a Yext Account

citations local seo peoria

Aside from the first task of claiming and optimizing your company's Google+ Local page, most of the work we've done thus far is considered on-site SEO. However, a large majority of the SEO juice needed to rank highly in Google comes from off-site elements, primarily links pointing to your company's website.

Link generation is an ongoing process that's approached in many different ways. For local companies, directories are a great source of links (and citations). In a competitive marketspace, getting listed on directories is imperative to be a contender.

You can go out and build directory listings manually, or you can use services like Yext to do all of the work for you. We suggest you choose the latter and invest in a Yext account. That, or contact us and we can include your business on our "Agency" Yext account for a sweet deal.

So, What Are You Waiting For?!

Keep in mind that most of these tasks you can do yourself with the capability to edit the content of your website.

After you have completed these simple tasks, you can explore various resources to further empower your site's authority and SEO value. Many of these resources take place off from your actual website, but will further help increase the credibility (and traffic) to your website.

If you need help or want further direction, we offer free SEO assessments for qualified Peoria companies, in addition to ongoing SEO consulting and service programs.

About the Author:

Tyler Tafelsky is the SEO and Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group, Inc.. Tyler offers over 5 years of experience in the SEO profession and has handled a wide range of search marketing campaigns on both a global and local level. You can contact him directly via email at tyler (at) oicgroup.net or you can connect with Tyler on Google+.

Quick Tips to Take-on Review Generation for Local SEO

One of the most challenging and perplexing aspects of local SEO is review generation. Whether on Yelp, Google+, Foursquare, or Facebook, there's no question that reviews impact the authority and SEO-potential of your business. Review Generation

However, earning positive reviews (and many of them) is no easy endeavor. In this brief post, we'll share some tips to help you generate reviews and ignite your local SEO strategy.

Evaluate Existing Reviews

Before you try to generate new reviews, take some time evaluate the nature of any existing reviews your business has throughout the web. Most websites and social platforms enable you to respond to reviews. A respectful response is vital to mitigate the negative nature of bad reviews. Additionally, you can leverage feedback from existing reviews to polish-up your operations or generate new marketing ideas.

Develop an In-store Incentive Program

If most of your customers are visiting your store's location, developing a post-purchase incentive program is great way to generate positive reviews. One great idea is invest in special business cards that are designed specifically to direct people to your company's social profiles or directory listings. Encourage them to leave a positive review, and in return, you can offer them something for their kindness.

Leverage Your Lists

If you've been building lists of your customers (e.g. an email list) you leverage these contacts to prompt review generation. Equally as effective as your lists is social media. For instance, if you have a 1,000 Facebook page likes, try sharing a post that directs users to your Google+ Local page asking them to leave a review. You can even get creative and pitch a prize like the best review will receive 50% off their next purchase.

Ask and You Shall Receive (In Most Cases)

One of the most legitimate ways to earn reviews for better SEO is to ask your customers how they feel about the experience they had with your company. Most customers will be honest in their response and will appreciate your respect for their satisfaction.

This approach for review generation is most effective when you ask customers and clients whom you know are happy with your products or services. These people are almost like friends (and maybe their are,) so don't be bashful to ask for their help.

These are just a few simple ideas to help you jump-start your online reputation. Review generation is imperative for local SEO, however many businesses fail to execute on these simple ideas.

Do you have any creative ideas to share? Please let us know in the comments section below!

The Value of Local SEO for Your Peoria Marketing Strategy

According to Google, 97% of customers search online to find local businesses in their neighborhoods and communities. For local businesses in Peoria, this means growing your online presence is more important now, than ever before. Local Search Results

One way of doing this is by implementing a local SEO in your Peoria marketing strategy. Since anything and everything can be found online, competition (even in Peoria, IL) is tough, and will only continue to increase as time goes on. This is why a local SEO strategy is massive game changer for small to medium sized businesses.

As a local business in Peoria, your marketing budget might not be that great. But given the ambiguity and lack of analytics offered by traditional forms of marketing and advertising, SEO is no brainer. At as little as a few hundred dollars per month, you can increase your business's search engine rankings and start experiencing an influx of web traffic. In addition, you'll be able to track and assess how the SEO strategy is working, and thus calculate the true ROI of your expenditure.

Drive Local, In-market Traffic to Your Site

Local SEO drives relevant, in-market traffic to your website, which could easily turn into paying customers. Because search engine users who search local or geo-modified keywords (like "dry cleaners in Peoria,") they are often seeking an immediate solutions to their needs. Being on the top of page 1 in Google's search results will help to drive those leads to your local business.

Consumers use the Internet to find items such as appliances, services, restaurants and more, right in their local neighborhoods. For example, it would benefit a local custom cabinet-maker in Peoria to focus their marketing efforts on local SEO in Peoria, and optimize their website accordingly. If someone is searching online for custom cabinets in Peoria, search engines will provide the most relevant and authoritative websites. The local custom cabinet maker can make their presence known with the right approach to local SEO.

Integrating Local SEO in Your Marketing Plan

The local search feature will populate businesses meeting the specific search criteria. This allows the customer to choose from a number of businesses in their community, instead of selecting a business located several miles away. As you see, a local marketing strategy not only benefits businesses by ensuring they show up in local search results, it benefits the consumer by returning the most relevant search results first.

Aside from the obvious benefits of driving targeted traffic to your website with a local marketing strategy, another perk is mobile users can easily find your business while on the go and conveniently get your business phone number & directions. Also a local marketing strategy creates a customized search experience which improves the customer search experience.

By optimizing your website for your city and surrounding areas, you give your business an edge over local competitors, get more quality leads and create authority within your community.  When done correctly using the right resources, optimizing your business website for local SEO in Peoria brings added value to your business and should be part of any solid website optimization plan.

D.I.Y Local SEO in About 10 Minutes or Less

local seo peoria ilLocal SEO is not rocket science, folks. Sure, there's the complex technical side of things, but for the most part, local SEO is a straightforward process that almost anyone can do with the right direction.

In this blog post, I am going to steer you in the right direction to lay the foundation for a well-optimized website that's geared for local SEO success.

These tips might sound elementary or unrelated to local SEO, but without implementing each step in the process, your website won't reach its fullest SEO potential.

Take Care of the On-site SEO Basics

The first step to optimizing your website is to ensure it's keyword relevant in all the right places. In our example, lets say we are optimizing a business' website that sells custom tank tops in Atlanta.

We'll want to include these keywords in the homepage's page title, meta description, and page copy. We keep the page title under 70 characters and the meta description under 155 (as a general rule of thumb for white hat SEO) so they don't get cut-off in the search results.

In addition to ensuring these elements are keyword relevant, we also tailor this content in such a way that entices search engine users to click the listing. 

As for page copy, we don't need to keyword stuff the text. Simply mentioning the keywords a couple times on the page is all you need (too much is actually a risk for over-optimization.) We'll attempt to get the keyword in a header and couple times in a paragraph, if it makes senses.

We can apply these simple techniques to all pages on the site with SEO value. Although the homepage is paramount, we may also have a page on "neon tank tops" in which we'll want to keyword optimization. As a last tip for on-site SEO, we'll want to ensure all page titles, meta descriptions, and page copy is entirely unique per page.

Ensure Your NAP is Complete

A complete NAP in a local SEO context is full, entirely accurate citation (or mentioning) of a business' name, address, and phone number on its website. To further ensure its completeness and purpose for local SEO, including the NAP on every page of the website is critical. The header and/or footer is a perfect place to put it.

Evaluate Your NAPs

Now that we've ensure the NAP is accurate and properly placed on the website, we will then want to evaluate our NAPs on other websites, particularly directories. Any inaccuracies and inconsistencies with the business' NAP on these directories will cause confusion with Google and discredit the legitimacy of our business. 

An easy and free way to do this is to hop on over to Yext and perform a scan. The scan will tell you which (of the top 50 or so) directories have any inaccuracies that need to be fixed. You can do this manually, invest in Yext to help you do more efficiently, or hit us up to fix them (or consult you on how to do it in the most SEO-friendly manner possible.)

In essence, this step in the local SEO process is called a citation audit ("citation" meaning a mention of a business' NAP.) Auditing and fixing any inaccurate citations is crucial to thrive in Google's local search results (the listings associated with the Google map and red push pins.)

Create a Content Strategy

In addition to keyword optimizing the content of the website (the on-site SEO stuff mentioned above,) we'll also put together a more long-term content strategy that focuses on consistently publications. The most popular means of executing a content strategy is via blogging. But we can take this one-step further by creating rich media content like graphics and video.

A content strategy fuels local SEO in couple different ways. By publishing content that relates to our core services in custom tank top services, we can further increase the keyword relevancy and authority of the site (e.g. creating an inspiring article about ideas around creative custom tank top designs.)

The other way in which a content strategy can help with SEO is via social media. Producing content internally gives us something meaningful to share on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterst, and any other social media platform we want to include.

Make Time to Be More Social

Whether for enterprise-level ecommerce SEO or simply local SEO, having an active social media presence is a big deal for any SEO strategy. The keyword here is active. Too many businesses create a social media account but just leave it hanging assuming it serves its purpose as it stands.

We'll dedicate a portion of our time and energy being socially active in sharing content, engaging with people, and building relationships. Not only does this layer of social credibility influence our search engine ranking potential, but we can establish meaningful connections that result in future customers as well as link opportunities.

Generate Links to Your Website

The last component to doing local SEO on your own is finding ways to generate links to your website. Performing the Yext scan above and help you pinpoint some good local directories worth getting your business listed. Most directories will provide a link back to your website (in addition to a citation.)

Other good resources for local SEO links are chamber of commerce websites (which typically require a membership, but offer an authoritative and locally-relevant link,) local newspaper sites, press release sites, and blogs. Doing some guest blogging is often effective, but under some scrutiny in the SEO profession as this practice is being relentlessly exploited by spammers.

Generating links to your site takes some time and efforts. In our example situation, we'll want to scout for sites related our local area of Atlanta, as well as topics around clothing, custom designing, screen printing, and various relevant topics. The trick is to find creative ways to reach out to site owners and webmasters in such a way that gives them a reason to link to your site. Whether you can offer some content or perhaps a link exchange, link generation is an ongoing effort that will significantly fuel your local SEO efforts.

Want to go deeper with your local SEO practice? We're happy to further educate you on applying the best practices of SEO on your website. Just contact the OIC Group's SEO department to learn more.

5 SEO Resources to Empower Your Local SEO Strategy for 2014

Whether your business is in food services, professional services, or retail, the Peoria area is competitive in many Google search markets. To ignite your local SEO strategy and turn your business into an online authority figure, it's critical that you use the right SEO resources.

Local SEO Peoria IL

In this article, I share several local SEO resources that will empower your Peoria SEO strategy in 2014. You'll learn many of the great tools that we use here at OIC Group to provide results-oriented SEO in Peoria, IL

Local SEO Resources for On-Page Optimization

Schema.org

Perhaps one of the most commonly discussed resources for all forms of SEO is Schema. Visit Schema.org (particularly the local business Schemas) and absorb all that you can apply to your website.

Schema markup enables you to better communicate what your website is all about to search engines. Because Google crawlers can only interpret the content of your website to a limited extent, Schema offers definitive markup that tells Google crawlers precisely what a piece of content is about.

Although it's a bit code-heavy for the average marketer or business owner, Schema.org explains how it works in fairly simple terms. Gather your webmaster or search marketing team and hold a schema learning session. It will definitely empower your business's local rankings.

CopyBlogger.com

Whether for copywriting or content marketing, Copyblogger.com offers a wealth of resources for on-page SEO. Blogging and producing content is becoming more and more valuable for SEO. Content marketing is also the fuel that fires a strong social media marketing campaign (an element that's starting to correlate to greater credibility, authority and higher rankings.)

In addition to Copyblogger's article and posts on subject matter around blogging and content marketing, also be sure to check out their SEO Copywriting eBook. In this eBook, you can learn the best practices of SEO copywriting and optimizing your Peoria website.

How to do Local SEO Guide

The last big on-page SEO resource worth diving into is the How to do Local SEO in About 5 Minutes or So article written by local SEO king, Andrew Shotland. In this gem, Andrew explains just about everything you need to know about local website optimization, as well as what your site needs to thrive (both on-site and off) for local SEO success.

Local SEO Resources for Off-Page Optimization

GetListed.org

Most local SEO professionals will agree that getting a business listed on the major local directories is very important. A great resource to find new local directory listings for your business is GetListed.org. Powered by the true SEO-authority, Moz.com, GetListed.org is one of the most a prized resource for SEO enthusiasts and common marketers alike. Just plug-in your business and discover a wide spectrum of opportunities for local SEO.

Yext.com

Similar to GetListed.org, Yext.com offers a free tool that will enlighten you about your business's presence on local directories (or lack thereof.) Perhaps most valuable aspect about the Yext's free tool is that is shows you how your company's information appears on each directory. Because the accuracy of your business listings is critical for local SEO, these insights are invaluable.

You can also opt for the paid version of Yext, which makes your Peoria SEO efforts even more efficient. Because Yext has affiliations with most local directories, you can add a listing to (or correct listing information) on all of the directories (like 30ish) in the entire network with one simple swoop. It's a wickedly-powerful tool and it's something that we use here at OIC Group for our local SEO services.

MyBlogGuest.com

Getting links is incredibly important to put the icing on your SEO cake. Although directories offer a link, most of them are "NoFollow" links and thus do not pass along much link juice for SEO. One of the best ways to spawn link building opportunities is to build relationships with other webmasters and blog/site owners.

Search MyBlogGuest.com for relevant blogs and sites that you feel you could contribute a blog post to. In most guest blogging relationships, the owner will allow you to include a link or two back to your websites. The trick is be creative and empathetic. That is, what type of post would be relevant to your link, but still something valuable to the blog and its host.

Other Places to Get Links

Guest blogging, although powerful, is time consuming. Diversify your site's backlink portfolio by leveraging these additional resources to get links

  • Peoria Chamber of Commerce
  • Peoria area newspaper websites
  • Relevant partners or vendors
  • Other local business groups in the Peoria Area
  • Friends with websites

The Last Word

Your local SEO strategy should also be very adaptive. Google and other search engines are constantly changing how they rank websites and display local search listings. Like I hinted at above, social media is a bid deal that will help glue your SEO and content marketing efforts together.

Spend some time building an active presence on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. You may also want to consider Twitter and Pinterest if it's relevant. You're social endeavors might seem a bit aimless at first (especially if your business lacks a lot of followers,) but an active presence alone will help your SEO in Peoria.

Tyler TafelskyAbout the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is the SEO & Internet marketing director at OIC Group, Inc. Tyler is well-versed in various aspects of local and enterprise-level SEO, link building, social media and content marketing. Feel free to email Tyler directly at Tyler @ oicgroup.net or connect with him on Twitter or Google+. You can also visit TCTopofMind.com to see his Traverse City SEO company.

7 Google Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses

7 Google Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses

One of the best small business marketing sources to obtain lead generating search visibility is through the local organic search results. Local organic search results refer to the Google search listings that appear with reviews and a corresponding Google map.

Local SEO is a key marketing tool for small and medium sized businesses and is also one of the most confusing SEO strategies to implement. The fact that Google's local search algorithm is different from traditional organic search makes it even more challenging for local businesses to understand the techniques that work.

A local business can gain a big upper-leg on its competition by optimizing its web presence for local organic search. When showing local search listings, Google employs a number of factors to render the best and most relevant results possible.

For example, if you do a keyword search for "breweries" (or something that implies local relevancy) without including a search geo-modifier (such as a city like "breweries in San Francisco" or "Portland breweries"), Google will use your IP address or the Gmail account with which you are currently logged in to display results closest to you. Only the breweries that have put effort in building a solid web presence will have a prominent showing in the local organic search results.

Taking a Closer Look at the Local Organic Search Listings

Although each brewery's headline link will take you to the company's actual website, it is worth noting how the Google reviews link will take you to the Brewery's Google+ Local page. So there is more that contributes to the local search engine rankings other than a business's website, one being a business's Google+ Local page. Although creating a well-optimized website is very crucial for achieving better results on search engine pages, a solid Google+ Local page plays an important role.

In addition to a Google+ Local page, there are other elements that need to be considered. Below are seven valuable local SEO tips that will help to make your local business presence more prominent in search.

1. Optimize the website for your keywords respectfully and avoid keyword stuffing. The first thing to do is research on your main keywords extensively so as to come up with key phrase combinations that your customers use when searching for local businesses. After deciding on these, optimize your website's page titles and meta descriptions respectfully so as to meet local search terms. Avoid over stuffing these keywords and also try to include a geo-modifier (your city name) to each of these keywords.

2. Get your business's address verified on its Google+ page. Verifying your company address on your company's Google+ page will also make it easier for Google to identify your location whenever someone searches for your keywords and rank you appropriately. Verification of your address is as simple as submitting it through your Google+ page, after which Google will mail you a postcard with a PIN verification code.

3. Link your website to your Google+ Local page. Including a "Follow us on Google+" link on your website will also go a long way in increasing your presence on Google's search engine results page. This link code is normally found on your Company's Google+ profile (when in edit mode). The link tag also contains the very essential "rel-publisher" snippet.

4. Populate your Google+ Local page with accurate and sufficient info about your company. Include relevant info about your company, what it deals in, and a few other things that customers may need to know about your company. Where appropriate, deploy your main keywords and geo-modifier.

5. Earn or ask for reviews from some of your customers. In some cases, pages that have more customer reviews (whether good or bad) will typically have more authority and rank highly on local search engine results listings. Put in place some creative and innovative ways of getting your customers to review some of your products.

6. Include the address of your business on all pages of your website. Be sure to include your company's address in the footer of every page of the website, and make sure that there is no difference between this address and that on your Google+ Local page. Make sure that your address is accurate to avoid any legitimacy issues that may arise.

7. Get your company listed on relevant directory sites. Create your company's listings and profiles on other directory sites such as Yellowpages, Manta, Yelp, Yahoo Local and LinkedIn just to mention a few. To ensure your company is legitimate, Google will search and match your company's address on its website, Google+ Local page, and on other directory sites. This signifies that you're a real business, and the more listings you have the more authority you can earn in Google local search.

As you may notice, a solid and well optimized website is not all it will take for your company to attain high ranks on Google. By carefully addressing each of these Google local SEO tasks, your business will be better placed to appear higher in Google's rankings.

How Social Media Influences Google Search Rankings

It goes without question that social media now has a significant influence on Google's search engine rankings.

"Social signals," (also commonly referred to as "social indicators") are redefining how Google values quality, rank-worthy content, and thus the best practices of SEO. These are the Facebook Likes, Google +1's, Tweets, Pins, Shares, etc. that you often see on blog posts. Social Media SEO

That's not to say other ranking factors, such as inbound links and keyword relevancy, do not play a role in the SEO practice. But rather, SEO has becoming very socially integrated.

In order to achieve top search engine rankings, it's critical that you understand how social media impacts the game. Below we reveal some of the primary ways social media shapes SEO.

How Social Media Influences SEO

Of course social media in itself serves as a powerful marketing medium. However indirectly, social media can contribute to better search rankings.

  • Social Signals - This one's worth repeating. As a webpage earns more social signals, Google finds the page to have greater value and authority (and thus better ranking potential.) In addition to having a strong social media presence, you'll want to share your prized website content from time to time. This will help generate social favor (and thus SEO value) for your domain.
  • Citations - Also known as "mentions," are simply a company's name, address, and phone number found on other websites. From Google's perspective, citations represent greater credibility and legitimacy in a website. This is particularly influential for local SEO and increasing a business' listing in Google's local search results. Social media sites are a simple way to build citations.
  • Backlinks - These are inbound links that stem from other domains (such as a Twitter or Pinterest profile page.) Backlinks have been a huge topic of discussion in the SEO community. Now more than ever, it's important to generate backlinks organically. Building a presence on various social media sites is perfectly natural way to generate backlinks to your website.

Quick Tips to Leverage Social Media for SEO 

  • Build a blog, produce awesome content, and share it with your social audience.
  • Leverage Google Authorship in your content marketing practice.
  • At the very least, include Google+, Twitter, and Facebook in your social media portfolio. These social sites have the largest volume of users, and offer the greatest potential to generate social signals.
  • Integrate social sharing icons on your pages to make it easy for visitors to Like, +1, or Share your awesome content.
  • Reach out and build an strong, loyal community of social followers. This will only magnify your ability to generate social signals, as well as make your profile page an SEO asset in itself (social profile pages can rank very well in Google search.) You can use promoted tweets on Twitter, or Facebook advertising to help building your audience.

Want to learn more? Drop us a line here at OIC Group. Our social media marketing experts will be glad to assist you in creating a socially-integrated SEO campaign.

The Driving Force Behind Google Local SEO is Citations

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.

How to Set-Up Your Google+ Local Page for Optimal SEO Performance

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.

 

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