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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.

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.

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+.

 

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

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1111
Peoria, IL 61653