One of the simplest ways to decide if Local SEO is right for your business is to figure out if people are performing searches for your products or services online If you find they are not, other forms of advertising such as radio ads, TV commercials or print publications may be better for you. If you are a local business that provides familiar services (ie lawyer, plumber, restaurant, etc) to your region, then you’ll defiantly want to keep reading.
The majority of local businesses we work with think it’s incredibly difficult to promote their website online. That’s why they come to us. They get uncomfortable thinking about taking on the task of building links, ranking in search engines, and ultimately driving traffic to their websites. Most local companies also have limited marketing budgets, making the task even more difficult. But promoting your online presence is often easier than most think. Many of the tasks can be completed by you, the local business person and better still, the majority of them are free. The big secret is, many businesses don’t even need that much work to get their site to page one. Using the following resources, local businesses can get a great start on the local search optimization process and the best part is, they can do it all themselves.
Get in the routine, optimize your blog!
On my journey throughout the blogosphere, I’ve come across many blogs that just don’t get the traffic they should. In doing a little more research I find that the blog posts are often well written, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However the page rank is zero and there’s a number of indicators leading me to believe that nobody reads this blog.
If you happen to find yourself in a situation similar to this, there are a few tactics you can begin to use in order to better optimize your blog. By following a simple, straightforward optimization routine, your blog will progressively improve over time. Implementing some standard SEO tactics will increase the chances of your blog ranking better in the search engine results, and in turn increase traffic to your site.
Why are local directories important?
Customer review sites are quickly becoming an important part of the research and decision making process when buyers decide to purchase a product or service. It’s not enough to just appear in these vertical directories, but companies need be maintaining complete, optimized profiles that rank well on these web properties as well.
The Local Search Results Page See’s Dramatic Changes with Places Search!
Wow, Google completely changed the local search game yet again. This should really come as no surprise to those who follow Google closely. My earlier blog post spoke about the importance of not putting all your eggs into one basket when it comes to Google places. So many businesses have been neglecting to optimize their natural organic rankings, instead placing a total emphasis on only optimizing their Google Places listing. In the local search world we call this “mapism”. This is going to come as a complete shock to many who have been benefiting from first page exposure do to their local listing, as well as a those those who relied on Pay per Click for first page traffic.
This full scale change by Google effectively puts an end to “mapism”. Those local businesses who only optimized to get into the 7 pack have to change tactics. Now, the local and general search algorithms have been combined (now called Places Search or Places Mode ) to generate listings based on results from both.
Lately, local search seems to have become all consumed with the Google Places Local Business Directory. The reason being, Google lists their Places results at the top of the page ahead of the traditional organic search listings. This has created a dynamic shift in the way Internet marketers and local business owners use the Internet for community based customer acquisition. Many local businesses have come to find themselves struggling in a stagnate economy, and know they have to look beyond the phonebook for new customers.
Google Places is such an attractive marketing channel because of its absence of cost and the tremendous potential ROI the platform can offer local business. Within the past few years, Google has been working extremely hard to identify “search intent”. This is the process of understanding the meaning (or “intent”) behind a keyword search as well as the search engine users motivation for performing the search. So in other words, if a New York based searcher enters the keyword phrase “dentists”, Google understands that they are not looking for a dental practitioners based out of L.A. , and serves their results accordingly. So instead competing for search engine positions on a national scale, these local business owners are now vying for position amongst only their regional competition. This has leveled the playing for businesses that before felt it was impossible to compete on such a national scale.
Where did all my links go?
There are widespread reports from many webmasters that Yahoo! Site Explorer has recently lost or at least stoped displaying a vast quantity of the backlinks reported by the tool.
But according to Search Engine Land, the data that’s missing now is unrelated to the Yahoo/Bing integration. Yahoo! reps said, “Yahoo! is investigating this report and will work to resolve it quickly if an issue is found, however it is unrelated to the longer term question we previously addressed regarding future support for backlinks.” Yahoo! reiterated that the long-term plan is to continue to provide external link data via Site Explorer.
Quality Content is Good SEO
If you want some great advice for writing blog posts, “write for your target audience – not the search engines”. This is a statement that we as Internet marketers need to always remember.
It’s common to get caught up thinking about how to rank higher in the search engines, what pages/posts to write in order to rank higher and so on. But once you switch your thinking from “what would the search engines like” to “what would my audience like”, your pages seem to index higher and you attract more traffic.
This makes sense because Google and the other SE’s are trying to best serve their target market, the web searching public. In an effort to better satisfy their customers, they work hard to rank and return the most relevant, well written content based on the search terms.
Everyday they get smarter and better at doing just this. Thats why you hear so many of the top Internet marketers talking about “quality content”. It is my opinion, that in order to be a proficient Internet marketer, you must be a good writer.
Search engines like Google really do not care whether your website has been deliberately over optimized, or if you’ve simply inadvertently over stepped the boundary of proper common sense optimization. The result will likely be the same, with a deduction of points from your algorithm score and as a result lowering your page ranks. There‘s even a chance of even being banned from the search listings. Figuring out the process of what’s appropriate and what’s not acceptable is part of the SEO process. It’s vital to adhere to those methods as closely as possible and in order to avoid problems in the SERPs.
I would undoubtedly consider myself a prosperous small business owner. Am I an incredible small business proprietor? I doubt this, however my company does indeed cover my living expenses as well as pays for the unusual treat once in a while. Developing a profitable business means that I get questioned a good deal by associates and friends exactly how I deal with all my time commitments but still manage to generate a revenue. Most of the time I find myself telling them to stick to what they’re good at, never to get distracted and delegate or “outsource” the jobs that you aren’t so adept at. Such straightforward guidelines have saved me more hours and heartache than any others, and I encourage you to read on and consider the way in which each point can apply to your own personal situation.