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The Cornerstones to Building a Successful Blog

Building a blog, whether for business or personal interests, has become more prevalent than ever.

A blog serves as the voice of your brand. It enables you to communicate your value, purpose, and insights to the world.

Successful Blogging

However, the entire world is not listening, nor willing to read your blog.

The fact of the matter is, only a very fine and narrow audience is interested in what you have to say. Being mindful of this fact is the first cornerstone to building a successful blog.

In the rest of this article, I will share with you the remaining cornerstones to creating an effective and successful blog that actually gets read by your target audience.

Focus Your Blog on a Specific Niche Topic

Too often, businesses and individuals create blogs about general topics of interest. Although you may have many different things that you want to say, too much topical overlap will diminish the degree of audience loyalty and attraction your blog could potentially have.

Take a moment to specify the niche in which you or your business is most proficient. Additionally, define the characteristics that reflect your target audience. What types of articles will they find most interesting (and keep them coming back for more?)

For example, let's say you're thinking about building a blog about cooking and sharing recipes. (Yeah, so does else everyone else with culinary aspirations.)

Instead, think about the qualities that will make your cooking blog very unique and interesting to a specific target audience. Can you focus on a specific cuisine, such as Thai recipes or plant-based nutrition? Furthermore, can you center your blog on "cooking channel" theme that entails weekly, 5-minute YouTube videos? Successful Blog Content

Start brainstorming how you can focus your blog on a very fine niche while retaining your passion and willingness to share your ideas. Your true audience will appreciate it, and remain loyal for the long-term.

Diversify Your Blog's Content

To reiterate the example in the last cornerstone - what forms of media and content can you integrate beyond text-based articles?

The best blogs are loaded with rich media, such as quality images, graphics, and videos. These forms of content offer a higher level of audience engagement. As a result, visitors are more inclined to share your blog posts, in addition to becoming loyal visitors themselves.

Think about ways in which you can diversify your blog's content within you technical capabilities. Not everyone has access to video recording equipment, so be honest and real with respect to your resources.

Be a Social Butterfly with Your Blog's Brand

Just a like a business, your blog also has a brand and voice of its own. To magnify your blog's voice to its fullest potential, it's paramount to be active on social media.

Successful Blogging Tips

Three of the most essential social media platforms are Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. These social networks have the highest volume of users with widespread interests.

If your blog is image intensive, then you may want to include Pinterest. If your blog is video intensive, then you definitely want to have a YouTube channel.

As more and more people share, like, +1, pin, or Tweet about your blog, the greater value your content will have. Not only does this make your content more prominently exposed on social media sites, but these "social signals" can empower your content's SEO potential.

In conclusion, you want to build your blog around a very focal topic. This will make it easier to generate quality traffic to your blog, as well as build a loyal audience both naturally and on social media.

By respecting these cornerstones of blog creation, you'll be well on your way to developing a successful web presence.

 

About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is the Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group. Tyler is highly engaged in social media, organic SEO, and content marketing. You can email him directly at Tyler(at)oicgroup.net or follow him on Twitter.

Guest Blogging: Tips and Tricks for Your SEO Link Building Efforts

Search engine optimization is a house built on shifting sands at best. SEO's and online marketers have to constantly change tactics as they adapt to Google’s ever changing algorithm, and after the major Penguin and Panda updates rolled out there was a major scramble to once again refocus strategies away from spammy, black hat techniques. guest blogging for SEO link building

This has put guest blogging in the spot light as a great link building technique for SEO. However, this also means there is an immense amount of spam now associated with guest posting. In order to combat this and still get posts (and links) on high authority blogs, here are some tips and tricks that I use.

Be Real and Be Persistent

Webmasters and editors receive dozens of guest post submissions every day if they run an authority blog, and the sad truth is that 90% of what they receive is nothing more than bots emailing out thousands of emails or spammy link builders that don’t take the time of day to be personal. They simply find a blog that barely mentions guest posting, paste in their stock email, and usually forget to personalize it in any way.

Even if you take the time to write out a unique email every time, the odds are that you’ll still get lost in the shuffle - so try implementing these strategies into your outreach.

  • Make Jokes: Everyone knows you’re the next Louis C.K., so let your inner stand up shine when you outreach. Granted, you have to pick and choose your moments since not every niche and blog will be open to that kind of thing, but even a flat joke tailored to the site shows that you’re trying and not a bot.
  • Don’t Give Up: If you get a refusal then by all means, thank them for their time and move on. But if you don’t hear back at all then follow up at least two more times before giving up. I like to give the recipient 3-5 days before my first follow up attempt, then another 3-5 days before my last outreach attempt. Once again, on this last one don’t be afraid to try and be funny. “Hello?! Is anyone there?! I’m having flashbacks to 8th grade dances where nobody talked to me!” You’ll find that a surprising amount of people will get back to you after this last ditch outreach attempt with apologies of having not seen or original emails (yeah right).
  • Give Them Something: At this point, most bloggers know what’s up when it comes to guest blogging and link building, so showing a little love can go a long way. It tells the editor that you’re not completely selfish. Tweet and share some of their articles, even link back to a blog post of theirs if you can to get them some link juice too. At the very least, leave an insightful and engaging comment on one of their posts.

Keep the Reader in Mind at All Times

I’ve found that bloggers are more protective of their readers than some cow moose in the spring time. With that in mind, always put the site’s audience and readers in the forefront of your mind while trying to guest blog, especially when it comes to writing the content. Look at the titles already featured on the blog, and read a few too to get a sense of the style and tone of the pieces. Then write something unique to that blog that offers the readers useful information. If you wouldn’t be proud to run the post on your own site, then you shouldn’t be trying to get it on someone else’s to begin with.

Build Local Links

For local businesses, it can be difficult to start building links with guest posts, especially if you’re trying to stay relevant to your niche. However, when you start looking at local link building your “niche” starts to change.

My rule of thumb is that if you’re targeting niche websites to build links to, then go ahead and target national and international websites and focus on your broader keywords. But once you switch your focus from “online marketing” to “online marketing in [LOCATION]” then all of a sudden your niche moves away from “online marketing” and becomes “your location.” This means your target sites become any site that is locally focused, even if it’s a mom blog or catering service.

Of course, it’s best to keep your posts more tailored to your niche in order to keep the relevancy as high as possible. So a post titled “How Stay at Home Moms Can Engage in Online Marketing” might be a better title than your favorite chocolate chip recipe (go ahead and send that recipe over to me).

The Slow Cooker Approach

If you suspect that a site is going to be difficult to get a link on, then don’t try cold calling out of the blue with an email pitch. Take a few weeks (yeah, guest posting is rarely quick) and engage regularly on the site by leaving good comments and interacting with the editor and other readers. When you feel like the editor will recognize your name in their inbox, go ahead and pitch or submit your guest post and follow up like you normally would.

Respond to Comments

Always keeping the readers in mind means not leaving them in the dark; you wrote the article so if they have any questions or comments about it you should be the one to respond to them. Don’t simply get a guest post and then never interact on the site again – this makes it clear to the editor that you only wanted to get links. It’s also important to remember that the webmasters, bloggers, and editors who post your content have the ability to go in and remove your links at any time if they feel slighted.

Another important note, I’ve found plenty of leads for further guest posts on niche related sites by following the people who comment on my posts, then asking them if they’d like an article for their website. They’re already familiar with my writing and know they’ll get good content so that hurdle is out of the way, and they typically have a strong reader base as well which is a huge benefit for any guest post.

A lot of this advice boils down to remembering one simple fact that often gets overlooked: people link to people. Websites are simply a front for people’s interests, businesses, engagements, and whatever else you want on the internet. Remember that it’s not a robot fielding your requests for a guest post, and robots will not be reading the content, people will. Remembering this helps to keep you from acting like a link building machine and keeps you focused on producing great content and earning great links.

 

About the Author:
Thomas McMahon is a link builder who uses guest posting as his primary strategy (along with this dashing headshot). He currently works for Page One Power, a link building company that focuses on long term strategies and results.

5 Simple SEO Tips a Marketing Manager Can Handle

SEO is not rocket science, folks. In fact, 90% of the on-site SEO process can be handled by anyone with basic website and computer knowledge (e.g. a marketing manager.)

In this blog post, I will share with five simple SEO tips that you (or virtually anyone on your marketing team) can handle. seo-tips

Before you get to optimizing your website, there's one thing that you'll want to confirm. That is, are you able to edit the content of your website?

If you have a content management system (or "CMS") like Wordpress, then you're good to go. If not, you'll need to touch base with your webmaster (or whoever created your website) in order to implement these SEO techniques.

SEO Tip #1: Make Your Website Keyword Relevant

This SEO tip is about as simple as it gets. It's important to ensure that your website is relevant for the keywords that you're targeting. To do this, you must include your keywords in the right places throughout the website.

The primary content elements that you'll want to include your keywords are:

  • Page URL - With the exception of the homepage, each page of your website will have a URL (e.g. www.YourDomain.com/keywords.html). Put only the primary keywords you're targeting in the URL (and dismiss words like "in," "the" or "for.") Also, separate each keyword with a dash (-) and not an underscore (_).
  • Page Title - This HTML tag defines what your page is about. The page title also appears in the search results as the main headline of your webpage listing (or the blue, click-able link in Google). For this reason, you'll want to include your keyword targets, but also be creative to compel search users to click your listing. Only about 70 characters of the page title will appear in the search results, so try to be concise.
  • Meta Description - This is the supplement statement to a page's title. Although it's debated as to whether or not the Meta description has SEO value (with respect to keyword inclusion,) the words a searcher uses will appear in bold. So regardless of SEO value, your page's search listing will appear more relevant based on user interaction. And like the page title, be creative and compelling with your words (and keep Meta descriptions under 160 characters so all is visible in the search results.)
  • Page Copy - It's ideal to mention your keywords in the page copy a handful of times, but avoid jamming your keywords. In short, include your keywords in a header and a few times throughout the copy. Keep your readers in primary focus (and not so much your keywords.) Keyword density is overrated, and too high of a density can actually be a risk.

SEO Tip #2: Create a Sitemap (and Link it Site-wide)

From a technical search engine perspective, the sitemap is known as the second most important page of any website (next to the homepage.) And unfortunately, many webmasters fail to include a sitemap on their website. sitemap seo tips

Creating a sitemap is pretty easy. It's basically an index page that contains links to all of the pages of your website.

Of course if you're optimizing an ecommerce website, there maybe thousands of pages to account for. This is when creating segmented sitemaps is a logical solution.

Once you have built a complete sitemap, you'll want to include a link to your sitemap on all pages of your website. An ideal location for this link is in a site-wide footer, or somewhere in the primary navigation.

SEO Tip #3: Implement Internal Linking

Another good way to establish keyword relevancy is to implement internal links (or "cross-links" between pages of a website). Keyword relevancy is established via the anchor text of the links (which are ideally included in the page copy.)

It's important for SEO to build internal links logically. That is, cross-link pages that are somewhat related to one another. This will naturally enable you to write keyword relevant anchor text that makes proper sense (and promotes optimal SEO value.)

SEO Tip #4: Integrate "Calls-to-Action"

Getting traffic to your website is half the battle. The other half is converting website visitors into leads. This practice is known as conversion rate optimization (or "CRO") and it takes the value of SEO one step further. call to action seo tips

A call-to-action is a simple way of saying "click here and give us your information." CTA’s are best in the form of obvious buttons or graphics (sometimes accompanied by a short form for visitors to fill out.) The trick to is to incentive visitors with something valuable, such as free consultation, audit, or eBook.

You can still manage to integrate CTA’s without designing graphics. A bold phrase in your page copy that says "click here to learn more" can often work just fine. Take some time to formulate a CRO strategy. It's an optimal supplement to your SEO strategy and making the most of your web traffic.

SEO Tip #5: Build a Google+ Page

So this SEO tip is a little of both, on-site and off-site optimization. Building a Google+ page will help generate greater search engine credibility and authority in your website.

It's super easy to do and can have a momentous affect on your SEO efforts. To get started, check out this past blog post about how to set-up a Google+ page.

The Takeaway

Keep in mind that these five SEO tips center on on-site optimization. Nowadays, on-site SEO only accounts for maybe 20-30% of most search engine algorithms. The remaining 70-80% of a solid SEO strategy focuses on off-site SEO, which is far more complex.

Here at OIC Group, we can help you with both on-site and off-site SEO. Contact us or sign up for a free web consultation (in the top left of this page.) We will personally review your website and provide free insights as to how you can improve your overall web presence.

10 Rules of Thumb for SEO in 2013

The best practices of SEO are constantly changing every year. In fact, almost every month search marketers are faced with new advancements, algorithm updates, and techniques that shape their SEO strategies. SEO Rules of Thumb

In this short post, we summarize 10 rules of thumb that have seemed to remain consistent over the years with respect to SEO best practices. Each rule of thumb should be well ingrained in your SEO practice.

1. You Can't Out-Smart the Search Engines

There are no tricks to getting good results with SEO. Sure, in the past there have been some automated processes that have made SEO easier (automated blog/link building networks,) but the easy ways of SEO seem to become obsolete (if not complete risky to the website being optimized.)

2. Optimize Pages for Only 1 or 2 Keywords

It's not uncommon for some search marketers to try and optimize a page for 4 or 5 different keyword targets. Although the keywords might be related in some respect, this is not ideal. Either pick your top 1 or 2, or determine if it's logical to create a dedicated page for the outliers. You'll find it's much easier to write short and concise page titles and Meta descriptions when your on-page optimization efforts are more focal.

3. Build an HTML Sitemap

One of the most important aspect of a website that often gets overlooked is the HTML sitemap. This page, which acts as an index or reference source (particularly for search engine spiders,) is considered by many search marketers to be the second most important page of the website (next to the homepage.)

4. Link Logically

Whether your adding internal links throughout your website, or building backlinks from other sources, it's important to link logically. That is, build links that make sense from a user's perspective, not just for SEO value. The link anchor text you use is a major consideration. Instead of using exact keyword match anchor text, use descriptive text and other natural forms of anchor text. Especially for backlink building, it's critical to use a blend of anchor text so that your website's link portfolio appears as natural as possible.

5. Start Integrating Social Media

There's no question that social media is having a profound impact on SEO. Social signals (such as Google +1's and Facebook Likes) are becoming a stronger ranking factor every month. If you have a blog, social media is the place to share your content. This will help inbound traffic to your website, in addition to racking-up the social signals (and search engine authority) of your website. By the way, if you have yet to set-up a Google Plus page for you website or business, this should be a marketing priority.

6. Start Producing Content

With Google Authorship shaping the search results, content creators can earn an upper-leg in SEO. Google values strong content (especially content that's socially favored and marked-up with Authorship.) It keeps a website fresh with newness, and also helps make a website more keyword relevant. Whether weekly or monthly, starting a blog or articles section on your website can offer massive SEO advantages.

7. Keyword Optimize Consciously

The process of keyword optimizing a page is rather simple. In the old days, it was all about cramming the keyword for high density. That is now a risk that can result in your website being penalized. To successfully keyword optimize a page, consider the following rules of thumb.

  • URLs: include your primary keywords in the URL (and avoid including words like "the" or "an") - shorter URLs are preferred.
  • Meta Titles: include your primary keywords only once and keep the title under 70 characters.
  • Meta Descriptions: include your primary keywords once, but more importantly, write a compelling description that motivates users to click into your page.
  • Page Copy: try to use your primary keywords once in an H1 (header) and variations of your keywords in H2's and H3's. It also helps to mention the keyword a few times in the copy (but don't over-do it!)

8. Install Google Analytics

In order to properly track and measure visitor traffic and the level of interaction users have on your website, it's imperative that you install Google Analytics on all pages of your website. Analytics is a must for all web marketers and it can help you troubleshoot issues as well as find new opportunities for optimization.

9. Get Listed on Trusted Directories

Being listing on trusted directories only makes your site appear more trustworthy and credible. In addition, most directory listing that you create will offer a link back to your website, which can significantly help for SEO. A few of the most trusted directories are Yahoo! Local, Bing, Yelp, LinkedIn, and DMoz.

10. Verify Google Webmaster Tools

Similar to Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools enables search marketers to check-up on the health and overall performance of their websites. You won't gain the same level of insights as with Analytics, but you can find out if your website is being flagged for certain problems like: duplicate content, short Meta titles and descriptions, HTML code errors and warning, and other SEO-unfriendly ailments. You can also create and submit a XML sitemap on Google Webmaster Tools which tells Google your website is ready for fresh crawling and indexing.

There are your 10 SEO rules of thumb to keep top of mind with your optimization efforts. Do you have additional questions or concerns regarding SEO? Ask us in the comments section below, or contact us directly to learn more.

 

About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is highly engaged in many facet's of search engine marketing. He currently heads the Peoria SEO team here at OIC Group, Inc. You can email him directly at Tyler(at)oicgroup.net or follow him on Twitter.

The Essentials of On-Page SEO for Ecommerce Sites

The competitive nature of ecommerce search marketing makes SEO a daunting endeavor for most online retailer. There's a lot that goes into optimizing an ecommerce site. But if you can handle the on-page SEO essentials in-house, you'll have a good jump on the competition before unleashing your off-page SEO strategy. ecommerce seo tips

To help you on your way to optimizing your ecommerce site, below are the essential practices of on-page SEO. The term "optimization" can mean a lot of things. But in this context, optimization is simple making use of keywords in the right places, respectively.

1. Make URLs SEO-Friendly

Depending on whether or not you use a CMS (content management system) for your ecommerce website, you may or may not have control over your page's URL structure. In essence, and like other forms of on-page SEO mentioned below, you'll want to include only the core keywords in your URLs (no need to include throw-away terms like "the" or "and.")

Your keywords for ecommerce SEO will most likely be the product name (brand/model,) type of product, and/or general category of products, depending on the URL or page. Having keywords in the URL helps to define the semantic relevancy of the page. A good tip is to keep your URLs as short as possible, and avoid lengthy URL names.

2. Keyword Optimize the Title Tag & Meta Description

The HTML title tag (or "Meta Title") is one of the most influential elements for on-page SEO and establishing keyword relevancy. It's recommended by most trusted SEO service providers that you keep the title under 60-70 characters. This will enable you to keep your pages tight and focal with respect to your keyword targets. That is, you'll only want to optimize pages for 1 or 2 closely related terms.

The Meta description is a short summary of the page that only is seen on the search engine results page, just below the title tag (or main link headline in Google.) While it's debated over whether or not the Meta description actually plays in a role in on-page SEO, the content will certainly be read if your page is ranking highly in the search results. For this reason, tailor a Meta description that is both incentivizing and keyword optimized.

3. Name Images and Alt Tags with Keywords in Mind

Images not only make your pages more appealing (and help with conversion optimization,) but images can also be optimized for ecommerce SEO. A sound tip in optimizing images for on-page SEO is name or labels your images with respect to your keyword targets. Furthermore, you can keyword optimize images' description and tags (found under the image properties) before uploading to your website.

And then there is the Alt tag for images (which stands of "alternative text.") This is text that should reflect what the image is about for users who do not have a compatible browser to actually show the image. Try to be ethical when keyword optimizing the Alt tag for SEO. That is, write an Alt tag that does indeed represent the image, but is also SEO-friendly in that it includes the page's keyword targets.

4. Tailor Unique and Compelling Page Copy

Whether for product descriptions or just general page copy for your homepage or product category pages, it's critical that the content of your ecommerce site is unique. Too often, ecommerce webmasters or site owners will use the same copy provided by product manufactures (this is particularly the case with individual product descriptions.) Instead, get creative and write unique, compelling content.

The fact of the matter is, when duplicate content gets crawled on numerous sites trying to sell the same thing, the ecommerce SEO value is significantly diminished. In short, Google will find less value in a page that has the same content on various other pages throughout the web.

Other Considerations for Ecommerce SEO

The above on-page SEO tips are essential to ensure your ecommerce site is well-optimized for search. This, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. In addition to off-page SEO (that focuses on link popularity, content marketing, and social engagement,) other considerations for ecommerce SEO include:

  • Making use of videos for product reviews and other ways to engage your target market
  • Building a complete HTML sitemap on your ecommerce site
  • Analyzing and optimizing the steps in your check-out process
  • Establishing an authoritative social following, emphasizing Google+ and Facebook as primary platforms for engagement

Ecommerce SEO can be a tough playing field. Be sure to build your foundation by implementing the tips above. For more information, tips, and resources, visit Click Centric SEO, OIC's ecommerce SEO and marketing branch.

How Web Presence Optimization is Reshaping SEO & Internet Marketing

Web Presence OptimizationA new buzzword in the Internet marketing is becoming increasingly popular. That word is "web presence optimization," and it's redefining the SEO and Internet marketing industry.

The definition of web presence optimization is a comprehensive strategy of optimizing all relevant touch points in an effort to help grow and sustain a better online brand.

SEO Evolved

Unlike traditional SEO practices that solely concentrate on keyword optimization, link popularity, and better rankings, web presence optimization blends other elements that are evolving the standards of SEO.

Now to be successful in SEO, many channels overlap in their core purpose and objective. For example, social indictors (or "signals") such as Google +1's, Facebook Likes, and Tweets can influence a pages ranking in the search results.

Furthermore, great content that integrates Google Authorship is more likely to be rank-able asset over a simple webpage trying to sell a product or services

As a result, social media, content marketing, and SEO are all interconnected in some way. This marriage has evolved the focus of search engine optimization into what we call "web presence optimization."

Other Elements of Web Presence Optimization

In addition to SEO, social and content marketing, there's more to achieving a powerful web presence. This includes marketing channels and touch points like:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising - another medium to maximize your brand's search engine visibility for profitable keywords
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) - the interactive content and calls-to-action on your website that drives conversions
  • Mobile Optimization - ensuring your brand's web presence is well-suited for mobile visitors

If you're seeking services for SEO and Internet marketing, this new buzzword is your leverage to pinpoint the right provider for these services. Ideally, a good SEO will incorporate social media and content marketing into their mix, (whether or not they've heard about web presence optimization.)

For the consultants, experts, and agencies who offer SEO and Internet marketing, this should your insight to evolve your optimization service programs. You'll look awfully smart and savvy when you say "SEO is really evolving. In essence, we're now optimizing brands' entire web presence, beyond search."

About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky has over five years of experience in the organic SEO profession. He offers a wealth of expertise in the Internet marketing industry and stays well abreast the latest changes in the profession. You can email him directly at Tyler(at)oicgroup.net or Follow Tyler on Google+.

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.

The Evolution of SEO is Google Authorship

If you're under the impression that SEO is all about keywords and website optimization, then you have some serious catching-up to do.

In its very essence, SEO is evolving into what is more like REAL marketing.

That is, SEO is less of technical mystery of 'optimizing a website,' but rather a creative process of producing exceptional content that gains favor from a target audience.

Evidence in the SEO Evolution

Now when you search a keyword phrase in Google, it's almost guaranteed that you'll find an article/blog post, video, graphic, or some form of content that's not necessarily trying to sell you something.

This SEO evolution is simply Google's way of cleaning-up its search results. You see, some SEO's have really dirtied-up Google search results by optimizing crappy content with sketchy, keyword-focused practices. The fact that their content still ranks is purely fortune (because Google's Webspam Team is pretty stellar at placing good content atop the organic search results.)

Over the last year, over-optimized pages have bombed and fresh, quality pages are seeing top search placement. If you pay attention, you'll see that many listings are accompanied by images of authors and a Google+ link denoting how many people in are in their circles ("social authority," if you will.)

The Essence to a Successful Adaptation

To adapt to the evolving standards, SEO providers need to change their ways, extensively. As an organic SEO expert myself, this presents a challenge in many ways.

In short, SEO experts need to work with their clients to produce amazing, audience-focused content.

Becoming less of a provided service, the new frontier of SEO is a team effort of establishing achievable goals and assigning responsibilities both internally (client) and externally (SEO "provider.")

Enter: Google Authorship

Now when I develop SEO strategies for clients, I place a high degree of emphasis on Authorship. That is, I visualize my client's search traffic deriving from a high ranking article with the client's picture right next to the listing.

In most scenarios, the client is the most knowledgeable about their target search market, as well as the in's and the out's of their business. The teamwork in SEO stems from collaborating to create exceptional content that's properly optimized and published in the right places.

It's what Google likes, right? What better way to turn a curious Google searcher into a lead than enlightening them with your words of wisdom? That's called content marketing, and it's redefining the best practices of SEO.

Establishing Google Authorship is pretty simple, and it can have a tremendous impact on a company's SEO strategy.

I encourage your to check out this blog post to understand the importance of Authorship and preparing for AuthorRank.

About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky has over five years of experience as an organic SEO professional. Starting as a copywriting for an international SEO firm and now the Internet marketing manager here at OIC, Tyler offers a wealth of knowledge in the search marketing industry. You can email him directly at Tyler(at)oicgroup.net or Follow him on Google+.

Your Checklist When Scouting for Quality Website Optimization Services

If you're seeking website optimization services to help your site perform better, there's a number of considerations to keep top of mind.

In some cases, website optimization services can focus solely on usability and conversion rate optimization (CRO,) whereas in other situations, website optimization can include organic search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and other inbound marketing techniques.

Depending on your company's needs, you'll want to be a bit picky in the website optimization services you choose. There's a number of companies that offer more usability-based website optimization programs, and others that focus more on SEO and inbound marketing.

Below a simple checklist of considerations that you can use as questionnaire or resource when scouting for a proficient website optimization company:

  • Design and Aesthetics - In today's digital age, you need an attractive web design that symbolizes your brand. Only full-service website optimization companies offer design and creative services. These firms are typically a bit more expensive than more marketing-focused firms, but they offer a lot of efficiencies for large projects.
     
  • Development and Coding - The HTML structure or mark-up of the website can ultimate determine how search engine friendly the site will be. It's good to know how adept a provider is with web development when inquiring about website optimization. Strong developers can optimize the HTML code as it stands, whereas other providers support using a CMS. Just be sure that the CMS being used is SEO friendly.
     
  • Structure and Navigation - The organization of pages throughout the website (also known as the site "architecture" or "blueprints") showcases the navigation paths and overall structural layout of the site. Not only is the important for usability, but also for SEO and website optimization. In short, the structure of your website's navigation can influence on-page SEO and establishing greater keyword relevancy.
     
  • Copywriting - Writing great copy is both time consuming and sometimes costly. You'll want to know if your prospective website optimization company provides copywriting services. And if so, ask for examples of the copywriter's work. In some cases, it's best if you or someone of your company writes the page copy.
     
  • Social Media Marketing - Very few website optimization specialist provide ongoing social media marketing services. Firms that offer services in social media are ahead of the curve and know that social integration is paramount for future web marketing success.
     
  • SEO and Inbound Marketing - Some website optimization companies only provide on-site services designed to make your website perform faster and more efficiently for users. Some website optimization companies only focus on conversion rate optimization (CRO) and post-click activity. And then there's a few who only specialize in SEO and inbound marketing. Be sure to learn the core competencies of your prospects and ensure they align with your company's best interests.

Very seldom will you find a SEO and website optimization company that specializes in all of these facets. The definition of "website optimization" is too broadly interpreted for there to be a clear-cut definition and perspective.

I hope this checklist educates you on finding the ideal provider for website optimization services that will meet your company's objectives.

About the Author

Tyler Tafelsky has over five years of experience as a SEO expert. Beyond SEO, Tyler offers skills in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, content marketing, copywriting, and social media engagement. You can learn more by connecting with Tyler on Google+, or following Tyler on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

Peoria Web Design Company Offices:
OIC Group, Inc.
Phone: (309) 680-5600

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1111
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