Tag Archives: SEO

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Stand Out in Local Search Directories

A powerful local search strategy for your business is an essential component to a well-developed local marketing plan. Local search directories have improved in recent years, with the integration of Google+ and Google Places as well as updates to directories such as Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, etc. Incorporating local search directories into your marketing mix can improve your search rankings and help your business gain higher visibility online.

Maximizing Google+ Local: The Integration of Google+ and Google Places

Google is one of the most important directories to provide accurate and up-to-date information about your business. Google has recently integrated Google Places local listings with Google+, transitioning to a seamless Google+ Local listing. This new approach to local directories provides a social component and allows businesses to capitalize on this budding social network to improve search rankings, drive more local business, and increase sales.

Tips for Managing Your Business’s Google+ Local Listing

Updating your Google+ Local profile requires just a few steps. The first step is to define the main product or service line that you offer, e.g., furniture company in Scottsdale, Arizona. With this, compile the following information about your business: brief description, photos, place of business (physical address), and link to the business website. You will enter all of these details about your business before submitting your Google+ Local listing. You will also be given the option to select categories that are relevant to your business so that Google can better determine when to display your listing to search engine users. Once you have filled out the basic information requested by the local search directories, you should also update the rest of the information on the form such as service area, payment options, operating hours, and videos.

If this is the first time you have filled out a Google+ Local listing or your address has changed, you will also need to authorize your address. After you submit your information, Google will mail you a postcard with additional instructions. Once the postcard arrives after about two weeks, complete the steps listed on the postcard to finalize your Google local search directory listing.

Claiming and Updating Other Local Directory Listings

In addition to Google, there are several other local search directories such as Yelp, Yahoo, Merchant Circle, Angie’s List, Bing, etc. that you should submit your directory listing. Be sure to use the same information that you used in your Google listing so that all of the information aligns across online directories. Consistency will help you maintain quality and will improve your local search rankings.

Do’s and Don’ts for Managing Local Directory Listings

Finally, there are a few things to remember as you complete your local directory listings.

The Do’s

  • Incentives. Local directory listings are a great place to list special offers or discounts to new customers online. List any specials that you are currently running to encourage prospective customers to try out your products or services.
  • Visuals. Upload pictures that accurately represent the products or services that you offer. This will allow search users to identify what you do quickly and easily, and it will also provide insight into how your business operates.
  • Reviews. Manage your reviews periodically to maintain a positive reputation for your business online. Respond to every review – positive or negative – in a polite and professional way. Being responsive to customer reviews about your business shows prospective customers that you care about the satisfaction of each and every customer.
  • Accuracy. Ensure accuracy across your local directory listings. Consistency is imperative to maintaining a high local search ranking for your target keywords.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t use a non-local phone number. Make sure that the phone number that you use is a local landline and not a toll-free number. Toll-free numbers can make it more difficult for the search engines to track your place of business.
  • Don’t use a P.O. Box. Make sure to use your business’s physical address and not a P.O. box, as this can also make it more challenging for the search engines to track your location.
  • Don’t change your business name. Instead of adding location keywords to your business name, make sure to keep it intact to achieve the best search results.
  • Don’t falsify reviews. Search engines are getting better at identifying false reviews so it is important to ask for reviews from your satisfied customers rather than to create mock reviews that the search engines will notice and eventually de-value.

If you would like to learn more about how local search engine optimization can help your business, please contact Net-Craft.com at 480-563-0558 for a free local SEO consultation.

 

 

 

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Local Search Engine Optimization

Better rankings in search engines can have a significant impact on any business. For local businesses, higher visibility can result in more sales, more exposure, and accelerated business growth. From doctor’s offices to dry cleaners, local search engine optimization (SEO) has influenced the way customers are interacting with local businesses online. With the ever-expanding popularity of the Internet, more people are turning to search engines to locate local businesses. Local businesses that seize the opportunity that local SEO offers can experience measurable results and unprecedented growth.

How Search Engines Rank Websites

Before launching a local search campaign, it is important to understand the basic methodology used by search engines to rank web pages. Several factors are used to determine which websites are more relevant to a user’s search. Based on available evidence, there are two main components involved in how websites are ranked: relevance and popularity. These two components are also referred to as on-site factors and off-site factors respectively.

Search engines determine the relevance of a web page based on the content of that page, which includes the body text of the page, the title tag, meta description, alt tag, etc. Relevant keywords are strategically placed in the content and code of the website to alert the search engines to what the page is about and what users can expect to find when they visit that page.

While on-page factors are important, off-page factors also play a significant role in how the website is ranked in the search engines. The popularity of the page is determined by off-page factors such as the volume of incoming links to the website, the quality of those links, and the relevance of those links. In order to gain higher rankings in the search engines, it is important to ensure that the website is appropriately optimized and that a quality link building strategy is used.

Five Best Practices for Local Search Engine Optimization

While there are several known factors such as title tags, meta descriptions, and incoming links that play a role in rankings, each search engine has a unique algorithm that they use to rank web pages, and as such, rankings on separate search engines can be quite different. The algorithms of search engines are updated constantly, which means that the factors that they use to rank websites today could be different than those used tomorrow. For this reason, it is imperative to utilize the following industry best practices when implementing a local SEO campaign.

Titles & Descriptions. The titles and descriptions on the company website should be properly optimized to include relevant keywords. The title tag is considered the most important on-page factor, as it is usually given the most weight by the search engines in determining what the page is about. Optimizing the title tags and descriptions is a key step to good local search engine optimization. Here is an example of how your site should appear in Google’s search results:

Location. Make sure to include the city and state in the content of the web page that the search engine will index. The location should be included in the title tag, meta description, alt tag, and the body copy.

Sitemaps. A good HTML/XML sitemap can go a long way in helping to build search rankings. The sitemap provides a list of all of the web pages so that the search engines can quickly index all of the pages on the website. The sitemap is one of the most important elements to a properly optimized website.

Local Directories. Local directory listings can help a business reach their customers directly, and it can also provide relevant, quality links back to the website to improve the website’s search rankings. There are hundreds of local directories on the Web, and businesses can enjoy increased visibility and exposure from including their business in as many of those directories as possible. In Part Two of this three part series on Local Business optimization, we will be exploring the Do’s and Don’ts of local directories and what it takes to stand out in Google Places.

Fresh Content. Search engines love fresh content, so updating the website on a consistent basis can help gain and maintain good search rankings. The best way to keep customers updated about recent news, events, product updates, etc. is to create a blog. The blog can serve as a platform to inform, educate, interest, and inspire customers and readers, which is a great way to gain more exposure to the business. The blog also serves as the social media hub, and the content on the blog can be shared on other social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, etc.

Why a Pro is Often Necessary for Best Results

A successful local SEO campaign requires dedication, persistence, patience, and a powerful strategy. A professional can correctly optimize the website while also providing expert guidance on ways that businesses can achieve more visibility and growth. With a robust link building strategy along with on-page optimization, businesses can improve their website rankings, drive more traffic to their website, and connect with more customers. A professional can help eliminate the guesswork in working with website code and can also implement a natural and effective link building strategy.

If you would like to learn more about how SEO can help your business, please contact Net-Craft.com at 480-563-0558 for a free consultation.

social media day

Is Google+ Better for Business than Facebook or Twitter?

In the world of social networks, innovation can quickly change the field of frontrunners — remember LiveJournal?

We just saw it again as Google+ overtook Twitter to claim the No. 2 spot behind Facebook. And the new kid is already better than Mark Zuckerberg’s baby for small businesses, professional firms and entrepreneurs, says Alex Hinojosa, vice president of media operations for EMSI (www.emsipublicrelations.com).

“I knew Google+ would attract a big following because it really lends itself to business uses and SEO,” says Hinojosa, who has witnessed the value of Google+ grow exponentially in the daily operations of his PR firm.

A new Global Web Index study show Google+ grew to 343 million users globally in December, or about 25 percent of global internet users. Facebook still accounts for 50 percent of the pie.

“Facebook continues to go through self-imposed changes that are seeing mixed responses from longtime users,” Hinojosa says. “The new No. 2 has much, much more to offer than simply being an alternative to the big dog.”

Hinojosa reviews the merits of Google+ as a business tool, and why he believes the social network will continue its meteoric rise:

• Power: Google+ may be the new kid when it comes to social media – it’s not even 2 years old yet — but Google has become synonymous with anything online. The “new kid” offers something that no other social media platform can: Google power.

• Overwhelming advantage: “Google loves its newest offspring and it favors any post, article, picture and link posted on Google+,” Hinojosa says. “If you post a link on your Google+ about asthma remedies, and one of your connections is logged in to Google+ and searches for asthma remedies, your post will show up high in his Google search results.”

• In action: Let’s say you own an art gallery full of nature photos. Your website for promoting the gallery highlights “mountain photos,” “wildlife photos,” and “waterfall photos” and you’ve created matching URLs for each page, such as bobsnaturephotos. com/waterfallphotos. Now you head over to post your newest update on Google+. You post a message about the waterfall, then you add the link to your waterfall page, bobsnaturephotos. com/waterfallphotos. Now, whenever one of your connections types “waterfall photos” into a Google search, whether it’s days, weeks or months later, there you are on page 1 of the results. Your post shows up, your profile picture shows up, and your link shows up.

“Once upon a time MySpace was king, but over a period of about a year the world made a seamless transition onto Facebook, which may very well see a mass exodus of users,” Hinojosa says. “If your business or employer is not already on Google+, it’s time to make the move.”

Alex Hinojosa is the Vice President of Media Operations at EMSI Public Relations, where he oversees the creative process and execution of print (traditional & online), radio, TV and social media campaigns.  He has an extensive background in radio, working as a national talk-show host and executive producer for CBS Radio, Clear Channel Media & Entertainment and ESPN in major markets.  Alex is also a (social) media coach and fill-in talk show host for Genesis Communications Florida.

Marketing action plan

Implement A Marketing Action Plan For The New Year

Holiday parties are in full swing as another year comes to a close. While it seems both natural and logical to look back and review what was, I challenge companies and business owners to look forward and set goals for the year ahead. In doing so, we start the year with hope. The hope that the economy continues to improve, that business grows, and that new jobs are created.

To help spur that growth and achieve those goals, companies need to take a serious look at their marketing efforts and implement a marketing action plan.

1. Make sure your website works

Is the information on your website still relevant? Does the message speak to your target audience? Are you integrating your marketing campaign and driving new business to your site and through your doors? If not, it may be time for an update.

2. Consider the benefits of public relations

If your company or business has a story to tell or expertise to share, share it. A proactive public relations campaign can increase a company’s visibility and, more importantly, its credibility tenfold. An ongoing public relations campaign will also directly benefit your online marketing efforts by successfully increasing the impact of your search engine optimization (SEO).

3. Build it, and make sure they come

Having a current website that accurately reflects your brand is only the first step. The next step is utilizing a variety of available tools to help increase your ranking on Google. You can hire experts to manage your SEO, or if budgets are tight consider using rankpay.com, a performance-based service that only charges if the company website moves up in ranking.

4. Expand your reach

Even if you are a small local retailer, the Internet provides the opportunity to reach potential customers from across the country and around the globe. If your business sells a product that might appeal to others in other geographic areas, consider adding e-commerce. According to Forrester Research, e-commerce sales grew to $200 billion in 2011. The same study also predicts that online sales will continue to grow from 7 percent of overall retail sales to nearly 9 percent by 2016.

5. Get social

If you have established social media pages, then make sure you are consistently posting and engaging. If you have not, consider which ones may be the best fit for your business to help reach your potential customer. Take the show beyond cyberspace, and get involved in the community, participate in business organizations and associations, network, speak, get out of the office and away from the computer, and connect with others the old-fashion way. One coffee, lunch or chance meeting at a networking event can result in new business.

The start of a new year is the ideal time to launch a new, proactive approach to building your business. After mapping out your 2013 goals, put together a plan that is achievable, and make sure it is measurable. And remember marketing does not succeed overnight. It takes commitment to implement an integrated and consistent action plan to generate results. If all companies would do this, imagine the job growth we might see.

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