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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. and created of Yisoo internet marketing training programs. 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+.

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.

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.

Local SEO Strategies You Can Do In-House

As a local company, reaching out to new customers can be difficult. Gone are the days when most people would turn to the YellowPages to find a local solution to meet their needs. In today's digital age, people are using the Web to seek a reliable local business. This makes building an Internet presence for any virtually any local company a must. That doesn't mean you have to go out and hire a SEO or Internet marketing firm to get the ball rolling. A lot of ways local businesses are found can easily be done in-house. That is, if you have an office assistent, part-time intern, or complete marketing team, you can execute a number of local SEO strategies, in-house.

Local Online Directories

One way local organizations can be found on the Internet is via directories. Most directory listings are trusted sources for information by offering customers reviews and insights about local businesses. Additionally, many popular directories are popping up in the organic search results. So what's more than being found by a person using the actual directory, is being found be person searching Google who sees your directory listing in the search results. Creating a listing on these web directories is simple. However if your business is only listed on only a couple sites, you could be missing out on some good opportunities to get seen by local, in-market searchers.

The Local SEO Value

Each online directory that you submit your business to is one more opportunity to be found on the web. Thus it is very important that you take the time build as many directory listings as possible. In addition to the increased visibility your business can have, creating listings on these sites can have tremendous SEO value. Every individual directory listing is link back to your website. These backlinks signifiy greater authority to your site and can improve your search engine rankings as a result. Also, each directory listing represents a citation that can benefit your company when it comes to local search engine optimization.

The more citations your business has around the web, the better ranking your Google Places page can have. In essence, building citations for Google Places SEO via directories has become the new form of off-page optimization for local businesses. Below we have compiled 30 of the most popular directories for local businesses. It may seem like a lot of work to go out and create a listing for each of these sites. But all in all, the ROI of doing this in-house far exceeds that of hiring a local SEO company.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, a local SEO and organic search marketing expert here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+

 

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

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1111
Peoria, IL 61653