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Blogs by date "10/01/12"

3 Reasons Why Your Local Business Needs to be on Google+

Although the Google+ social network is still in its early phases, it’s growing fast and is projected to be the next big social media platform.

A driving force behind the growth of Google+ is that it's changing the landscape of Google Search. With the advent of Google's Search Plus Your World, the social activity that takes place on Google+ can directly impact the search results that are displayed to users.

This leads into our first reason why local businesses need to jump on Google+.

1. Gain More Visibility in Google Search

Take look at the local search results below for "chiropractor Peoria Il."

These local listings, which are accompanied by the map with little red pins, stem from Google+. Notice how Justin Tuttle is really standing out from the competition. He has earned a score of 29/30 which is supported by 17 positive Google reviews.

How did Justin Tuttle make is mark at the number one organic listing for "chiropractor Peoria Il?"

Not only is his Google+ Local page verified and optimized, but he's implemented strategies to earn good reviews, as well as trigger the "rich snippets" feature (showing his picture.)

In addition to proper Google+ optimization and local verification, Justin mostly likely jumped on the Google+ bandwagon sooner than most of his competitors. This leads me into my next reason why your local business needs to hop on Google+, sooner than later.

2. Early Adopters Can Become Industry Authorities

Early Google+ adopters can gain a huge advantage by jumping on board sooner than the competition. Again, Google+ is in its early stages of growth. Those who build their social presence now are considered "1st Generation Google+ Users."

The benefit of being an early adopter on Google+ is that you'll be able to establish more followers (rather, more people will have your business in their "circles.") This goes hand-in-hand with gaining more search visibility.

Let me give you an example. My personal Google+ profile has OIC Group, Inc. in one of my circles. If I search a phrase that is highly relevant to OIC Group and the content that they are posting on Google+, I might by fed OIC's Google+ activity in search.

Think of this as social activity integrating with search. With respect to Search Plus Your World, Google is trying to feed me better quality search results that might pertain to what I'm looking for.

As a business, the takeaway point is this: the more followers you can gain on Google+, the better chances your business will be found in you followers’ search activity (so long as the keyword search is relevant, and you as the business's social marketer are promoting quality content that pertains to what you offer.)

3. Connect With New Customers & Retain Loyalty

The Google+ social media network is like a hybrid of Facebook. Not only is the user-interface very similar, but the level of interaction on Google+ is even greater.

All types of businesses, whether local or global, can connect with their target audiences and bolster brand awareness and customer loyalty. Like Facebook, this advantage hinges on the quality and relevancy of the content that you're sharing with your followers. If your audience jives with the content you're sharing, they'll most likely respect to your brand just a little bit more (whether they're conscious of it or not.)

The fact of the matter is, Google views verified local businesses on Google+ as more credible and authoritative in search. The benefits are plentiful, and more advantages seem to arise as the social network continues to grow. As a result, it's essential that your local business gets on Google+ to stay ahead of the game and ahead of your competitors.

About the Author: Tyler Tafelsky is the Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group, Inc. He offers over 5 years of experience in the SEO profession and has handled a spectrum of campaigns on both a global and local level.

Tyler is well-adept in the latest changes of Google, and advocates Google+ and other social mediums as an integral component to any SEO and Internet marketing campaign.

You can contact him directly via email at tyler@oicgroup.net or you can connect with Tyler on Google+.

 

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Better Exposure

LinkedIn is a powerful social media platform to connect with other professional and businesses. By optimizing your profile for LinkedIn search, you better you visibility when people are looking for some of the expertise and specialties that you have to offer.

Below is a video created by our Internet marketing manager Tyler Tafelsky. It's called How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Better Exposure, and results you'll see from doing this optimization are almost instantaneous. We hope you like it!

Video transcription:

Hello and welcome. This is Tyler, and in this video I want to show you how to optimize your LinkedIn profile page.

As you probably already know, LinkedIn is a very popular social network to connect with other companies and professionals, and a lot of people search in LinkedIn looking for someone to help them out for a particular service or specialty. So I’m going to show you a few ways to sort of keyword optimize your profile to show up when people are searching for some of things you have to offer.

So I’m based in Michigan and I do SEO, so those are my keyword targets: Michigan SEO. And there I am on the top of the list. And I will show you how I did that. It’s pretty straightforward, there are just few key elements that you’ll want to make sure you optimize. If you’re doing real estate in Denver, then you’ll probably want to have real estate or realtor in Denver, in your professional headline. This probably offers the most weight in terms of keyword relevancy, so I definitely including Michigan SEO in my professional headline.

The next thing you want to try optimize is your experience. Both your current and previous experience plays a big role in your LinkedIn ranking, so you’ll want to try to keyword optimize it if you can. Of course you can’t do that and be misleading or unethical, but I was fortunate myself to have a lot of experience in the SEO profession for a couple of SEO companies based in Michigan. I got SEO in the title on both of them so I’m sure that really helps my ranking. You might want to take a look at that and see if you can embellish upon your experience.

The next thing that you can do to further optimize your profile is to edit your URL. That’s right here. The next option is a little hidden – it’s down on bottom right - this link here “your current URL.” Some people prefer to keep this as their name, and I respect that, but in my case I’d rather just be more relevant on these three words, specifically Michigan SEO. Michigan SEO Expert is actually a Google SEO experiment that I’m working with outside of LinkedIn, so we’ll see what happens. Even Linkedin knows that you can "take control on how you appear in a public search results," so that is a good tool that I recommend keeping top of mind.

The last thing you’re going to do to optimize your LinkedIn profile is to get some recommendations from other people. Recommendations are like backlinks in SEO; they show that your page is more credible, it’s more authoritative and thus it’s going to rank higher on search results.

So to do this, go to Profile, Recommendations, and I strongly suggest to skipping all this ask to be endorsed stuff and going to the bottom where you make recommendations for other people. If you make a recommendations to someone that you have school with or work with, chances are they‘re going to give you one back. I’ve done this a few times, or 3 times to be specific, in the last 48 hours and I’ve already gotten two back. So it’s just a really great way to build your credibility and to help your page rank higher. So I hope these tips have helped you out and wish you the best. Rank on, my friend.

3 Common Website Optimization Weaknesses That Hinder Organic SEO

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+.

3 Tips for Doing Keyword Research

If you have spawned an interest, need, or aspiration for search marketing, you'll soon learn that keyword research is an integral aspect to building a solid campaign. One of the best tools to start your keyword research is the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. And although the Keyword Tool appears easy to use, there are a few things that you most certainly need to know to get the best results.

Whether for SEO or PPC advertising, successful keyword research is the foundation for any search marketing campaign. In this post, I will share with you three tips to help ignite your research in the right direction.

Learning the 3 Match Types

An important part of doing keyword research is understanding the three keyword match types. The names of these three match types are Broad, Exact, and Phrase match. Although the basis for each match type is for PPC keyword bidding, learning the differences between each match type is critical for SEO.

For instance, observe my example below for research for "marble cleaner" keywords. Each match type (which can be filtered in the left-hand navigation of the Keyword Tool) is shown for the keyword "marble cleaner;" however, different search volumes are shown for each match type.

 

The reason for this variation in search volume is best denoted by defining each match type:

  • [marble cleaner] (exact match) - search volumes represent only the two-word phrase marble cleaner, and that is all
  • "marble cleaner" (phrase match) - search volumes include exact match, as well as long-tail variations (e.g. best marble cleaner, marble cleaner for counter tops, marble cleaner reviews)
  • marble cleaner (broad match) - search volumes include any keyword search that includes similar semantics (e.g. how to get marble its cleanest, cleaning marble, marble floor cleaners)

As you can see, the broad and phrase match types for marble cleaner can appear inflated, from a SEO standpoint. Broad in particular is almost useless for search engine optimization, and in some cases, PPC too. Broad match is just far too ambiguous to get an accurate gauge on traffic potential. In almost any form of keyword research, de-select broad match, and select exact match. Again, this can be done using the options in the left navigation.

Using the Advanced Settings

Depending on your target search market, you may need to modify some of the advanced options when doing keyword research. Here you can set the geographic and language parameters so that your results are more focal to your search market.

You can also filter the results based on the device used to perform a search (e.g. mobile and tablet devices vs. desktop or laptop.) This can be very useful if you're pursuing a mobile search campaign, or sticking solely with desktop or laptop-based searches.

One tip that I recommend to considering is checking the filter box (above the advanced settings) that reads "Only show ideas closely related to my search terms." The thing is Google's Keyword Tool will give you a lot of keyword insights - almost too much. Checking this option helps keep your results more focused to what you're researching.

Look-up Results in Chunks

With respect to the latter tip of choosing to "only show ideas closely related to my search terms," you'll want to segment your research into semantic-related chunks. That is, you do not want to insert the keywords marble cleaner, granite polish, cleaning marble, granite restoration, all in the same batch. The results that Google will offer will probably have too much overlap. Instead, segment your keywords into relevant groupings.

Based on our example, we'll definitely want to keep granite and marble keywords separate. Additionally, we will further segment our keywords in secondary tiers based on cleaners, polishers, etc.

So based on the image shown, we'll look-up keyword results in relevant chunks. We will do this again for a grouping like marble polish, polishing marble, marble polisher, etc. This will not only provide more focal keyword results, but help keep the research organized throughout the process.

This blog post was written by Tyler Tafelsky, SEO and Internet marketing manager here at OIC Group, Inc. You can contact Tyler directly via email at Tyler@oicgroup.net, or connect with Tyler on Google+. He's publish other content that you can explore, like How to Use the Google Keyword Planner, a project with YisooTraining.com.

 

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

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1111
Peoria, IL 61653