Creative Commons image by  NOGRAN s.r.o.

Creative Commons image by
NOGRAN s.r.o.

If you’ve been marketing your business online for a decade or more, your understanding of what makes good search engine optimization strategies might be less than up-to-date. Part of keeping your SEO where it should be is keeping up with the latest trends. Here are a few tips and hints that can get you out of the Dark Ages of Internet marketing (okay, really just into 2016 and beyond).

Keywords are not what they used to be.

You already know that content quality is important and that keyword-stuffing is very much out (right?).A� What you might not realize is that when Google sifts through your content, it’s not necessarily looking for keywords in their own right. Instead, it’s looking for your intent. That’s why if you Google, “greatest show in the world,” the search engine knows that chances are good you’re looking for the Ringling Circus, which is the “greatest show on earth.”

What this means for you is that while keyword research is helpful because it can steer you in the right direction, sticking to specific keyword phrases, particularly long-tail phrases, is not important. Make sure your content is well-written and focuses on the point you want to make, and it should be classified correctly in searches.

Link wheels are a big don’t.

Ten or so years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for SEO companies to recommend “link wheels.” These were websites built for the purpose of all linking to one another. For example, if you had a website where you sold cleaning products, you might develop one site about floor cleaners, which linked to a site about bathroom cleaners, which linked to a site about window-cleaning, which linked back to the floor cleaner site. These were sometimes complex designsA� if drawn out, creating figure eights, spokes, and other shapes in addition to (or instead of) a simple wheel, but the premise was the same: Manipulate linking to boost SEO.

Nowadays, this doesn’t work. First, Google catches onto this sort of thing and will penalize sites for doing this. Secondly, backlinking works best when the sites linking back are authoritative, and not just fake sites or sites built specifically for backlinking or link-wheeling purposes. If you were wondering whether building a link wheel would be a good strategy, it’s not. It was iffy a decade ago, and it’s definitely black-hat now.

Local SEO is a completely different animal.

Between a requirement for mobile-friendliness and changes to the layout, local SEO looks almost nothing like it did a decade ago. Think about it: Ten years ago, people weren’t using their smartphones to look for a “cake bakery near me,” like they are today. Keeping your Google My Business listing up to date and making sure that your site is optimized for mobile devices are two actions you can take right now to boost your local SEO rankings, if you haven’t done them already.

There are undoubtedly many other ways that today’s best SEO practices are not the same ones you had success with ten, or even five, years ago. If you aren’t sure where to start with your digital marketing and local search, contact Most Optimal for help.


Creative Commons image by Tires 8 (Flickr).

Creative Commons image by Tires 8 (Flickr).

Yet another Google update has become active! You might or might not have seen any impacts from Penguin, Panda or Pigeon, but this one might be more likely to make a difference when it comes to local SEO. Possum rolled out on September 1, but things are still changing, so if you see a difference at the moment, you might not see one this time next month or three months from now. As with all of Google’s algorithm changes, a lot of this will require waiting and seeing. Here are some of the changes that might impact your local SEO:

 

Out-of-city-limit companies might get more business.

 

Prior to the Possum update, it was difficult for those companies who are located out of city limits to show up in the top three results for any given keyword. This was true even if their address and zipcode matched those located within city limits. Now Google isn’t penalizing these businesses for their physical locations. Instead, they will tend to show up more for certain keywords based on their postal addresses. What this means for you is that if you are located in an unincorporated area or CDP outside of official city limits but you still have a zipcode indicating that you are part of that city, you will likely get more hits.

 

Those with fake addresses and post office boxes might be penalized.

 

You’re not supposed to be using false addresses or PO boxes on your Google My Business account, but this is enforced fairly inconsistently in some cases. Now, though, businesses with false addresses (or, in some cases, duplicate addresses) will likely find themselves dropped out of the top three search results. It’s not actually a penalty, because the business will likely still be in the search results; they’ll just miss being in the “three-pack.”

 

The location of the user matters.

 

If you are in Orlando and you search for “florists in Orlando,” you’ll now get different results than if you are in Miami searching for “florists in Orlando.” This can affect your search results if you are using “florists near me” as a keyword or if you are a business that routinely gets clients and customers from other areas of the state, country or world.

 

The keywords used matter.

 

There’s not a surefire rhyme or reason for this, but searching for “Orlando florists,” “florists in Orlando,” and “florists Orlando FL” will likely bring up different results on the three-pack. It might be helpful to check out where your business is being ranked the highest when it comes to variations on common keywords.

 

Google likes to keep us guessing, and the Possum update is no exception. Stay tuned for more information as Google finishes up its testing of the various factors and makes more long-term changes to this update.

 

 

 


Creative Commons image by SEO Link

Creative Commons image by SEO Link

If you are involved in creating the SEO content for your website or blog, you know that local SEO can be the way to go for many companies. Specifying your location helps potential consumers know that you are (or are not) in their area, and it also helps you rank higher on Google search lists, because there’s less competition for “hairdressers in Cleveland” than there is for just “hairdressers.” When you create your content and ads, then, you’re going to want to think about using local SEO strategies. Here are a few hints and tips for those new to the idea.

Don’t Go Crazy Listing Town Names

If you are in, say, the Tampa area, you might consider which areas you service and come up with a very long list. Brandon, Lutz, Apollo Beach, Gibsonton, Seffner, Wesley Chapel, Land O Lakes, St. Petersburg, Largo, Clearwater… If you incorporated all of these towns into your copy, Google (and your readers) would suspect you of being spammy. Nobody wants to read a long list of towns that you service. While it’s fine to choose a couple, it’s often just as effective to state “Tampa Bay area,” or “Tampa, St Pete and Clearwater.” If someone in Lutz or Brandon wants to hire you, they’ll assume they’re included in with Tampa Bay — and if you don’t want to service homes in certain towns because they are too far outside of your radius, then you can deal with that when they call. Another option is to include a map on your site. Just avoid listing a bunch of cities, towns or zip codes in the content of your website.

Use Google My Business Appropriately

When putting your business into Google My Business for local search, you need to choose only the towns that you have a physical presence in. That’s it. Do not try to submit your listing to a variety of towns, as it’s not going to do you any good. While we’re on the subject, choose just one or two categories, as well. You can find more information on using Google My Business to boost your local SEO in an article we put up a few months ago.

Don’t Neglect to Ask for Reviews

Having reviews on your Google page, as well as on other pages like Yelp and Facebook, will give your business a needed boost. Having reviews on Google, preferably positive reviews, of course, will give people something to click on. They want to see what other people think about your business! Get into the habit of asking your customers for reviews. Do whatever works: Add a link to your outgoing email, offer an incentive for leaving a review (you could do a drawing each month for a giveaway, and each review gets an entry), straight-up ask customers face-to-face to leave a review, and so on.

Do be aware that you might need to do damage control occasionally if people leave you poor reviews. Remember that you might have to do this even if you didn’t ask for reviews, and since you are asking, you can make a mental note to stay on top of what’s getting posted about your company.

 

Keep up with your competitors by using strategies designed to boost your local SEO for better visibility. If you have questions about how you can make SEO work for you, you can contact Most Optimal.

 

 


SEO links
Creative Commons image by Adam Levine.

Creative Commons image by Adam Levine.

Whether you are new to learning about search engine optimization, or SEO, or you’ve been at this for a while, you probably wish there were a few silver bullets that would all but guarantee success. Well, there aren’t… but there are some content- and link-based strategies to try if your SEO strategy seems to be stagnating. An SEO company can help you with any or all of these tips, or you can try your hand at these on your own.

Boost your content.

Go through each of your pages and be sure that they all have at least 300 words of content. If they already do, comb through to make sure that your keywords are included somewhere on the page, preferably toward the top. Also, read it out loud to ensure it reads well. If necessary, hire a writer or an editor to make sure that your content is human-reader-friendly. If people are clicking away from your site in frustration because the content is not up to par, then the search engines will not look favorably upon your site. Make it reader-friendly with subheadings and plenty of white space, and be sure that what you are putting on the page is worth saying; it should be engaging and relevant to your business.

Add Internal Links

Within your content, you should have a couple of links going to other pages on your website. You should also have a navigation bar on your home page that will lead to various other pages. One good tip to keep in mind is that the higher up on a page a link is located, the more importance Google and other search engines will attribute to the page it leads to. If you are using a link to a secondary page on your homepage, try to get it in the first paragraph or two, if possible.

Build External Links

Link-building means getting other sites to link to your pages. This can be easier said than done, but there are a fewA� ways to accomplish this without resorting to black-hat methods. One is to ask site-owners who are not your competitors but who still use your keyword on their pages for links. For example, if you’re a landscaper, you might know of companies who will reference landscaping in your area even though they’re not landscapers themselves. Some examples might be real estate agents, nurseries, or companies who do siding or brickwork.

Use Outbound Links

Another way to use links is to link out to other sites. Every site you link to should have content or a product that you believe in. Another consideration is that each of these sites should be reputable. Linking to a random blog does not hold the same clout as linking to a reputable organization in your industry, and search engines are aware of this. As a side note, linking out can actually end up bringing you more external links, which will, in turn, help you score better on the SEO algorithms.

Search engine optimization can be a challenge, but if you have the time to comb through your site and work on your content and your links, you should see some improvement on your ranking. Most Optimal is also available to help you with your local visibility and search marketing. Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more!


Creative Commons image by medithIT (Flickr)

Creative Commons image by medithIT (Flickr)

Youa��ve probably heard that content is king when it comes to SEO. In a way, the adage is correct: Google looks for well-organized, engaging content that human readers find interesting and worth reading, linking to, and passing on. What if you dona��t have the time or the budget to create such content, however? It turns out you dona��t need to worry: You can still market your business and optimize your site for search engines (and for humans) without writing (or hiring someone to write) content. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Make Your Site Useful or Entertaining

There are tools and features that you can add to your website that dona��t need much, if any, content. Consider some of the sites that you use regularly. Amazon.com, for example, does not depend on content to bring in business. Neither does Google, Hotwire, eBay or many other sites. Now, you might not have the next superstar site like these listed, but you can take your cue from them and figure out a way to make your site appealing to people. Consider creating a forum where people can discuss topics pertaining to your service or product line, for example.

Make Your Site High-Quality

Consider websites that youa��ve been on that are appealing, even if you dona��t read their content. Chances are great that theya��re not only intuitive and easy to use, but the have features such as a responsive menu, an easy way to contact the company (most likely with a a�?contact usa�? form), an easy way to access reviews, and a format that is easy to see when using a mobile device. If you dona��t know how to do these things, ita��s important to hire someone who does. While you will need to make room in your budget, having a high-quality, responsive site is even more important than having good content, so make this a first priority.

Make Your Site Shine From the Back End

One of the most important facets of search engine optimization is not even visible from the main page of the site. This is the back-end SEO that only you and the other site administrators (and search engine crawlers) see. They include a title that has been carefully chosen, relevant meta tags and descriptions, good (and properly formatted) images and professional interlinking and, where applicable and appropriate, backlinking. This is another job that you might need to hire out, but once ita��s done, ita��s done, aside from minor tweaks, most of the time.

If you dona��t want to or cana��t add excellent content to your site, all hope is not lost when it comes to search engine optimization. While you might need to have a web developer or SEO specialist help you with your website, you wona��t have to worry about keeping content updated if you find another way to boost your rankings without writing articles or keeping up with a blog. Of course, these methods are also excellent in addition to having great content; ita��s not necessarily an either/or choice. Most Optimal can help you market your business, with or without content included, so contact us with any questions you may have.


Creative Commons image by Joel Bez.

Creative Commons image by Joel Bez.

While there have been rumblings about this for a couple of months now, Google has made it official: The search engine gianta��s second mobile-friendly algorithm boost is live and in effect, as planned. Hopefully, your site is already mobile-friendly, but if ita��s not, ita��s not too late to reap the benefits of getting it up to par. As quickly as Google crawls over your page, your could see your rankings go up, so check out these tips on how to get your site as mobile-friendly as possible.

If reading through that list makes your eyes glaze over, all hope is not lost. Web developers are increasingly expert at making sites compatible with smartphones and tablets, so hiring someone for this type of work should be pretty simple. Here are some things to look for in a web developer to make sure that youa��re going to get what you want.

Portfolio

As with any website pro, ita��s essential to take a look at your potential web developera��s portfolio. The important thing here is to take a look at the mobile versions of the websites given. Does it load up quickly? Does it look evenly spaced and attractive? Do all of the links and the drop-down menu options work? If the sites look strange or function awkwardly in their mobile versions, keep on looking. While youa��re at it, call references; make sure that the final product that youa��re looking at was completed as agreed by the developer in question. Ita��s no use to look at the mobile pages and use them to qualify a developer if the client ended up having to do some of the back-end work themselves.

Understanding

Be very clear in what you are looking for. Let the developer know who your target customer is and share your insights on how that customer uses your site. Your first priority for most mobile-friendly sites is speed; if the page takes too long to load up (and a�?too longa�? can mean more than a couple of seconds), your potential client might click away impatiently. Speed is of the essence in todaya��s world of instant gratification.

Future

This is not the first and most likely will not be the last algorithm boost revolving around mobile-friendliness, so if therea��s a good chance that your web developer will still be around for a few years, that will make future updates that much easier. No one can tell the future, so look for a developer who is serious about his or her work and who isna��t just doing it on the side, if possible. Otherwise, you might be looking for a new developer in a yeara��s time, or whenever the next update comes out, and ita��s much easier to simply hire the same person again.

If you have a mobile-friendly site, this new update should not affect you. If you arena��t sure if your site is up to par, type your URL into Googlea��s Mobile-Friendly Test page and see how it does. Either follow the suggestions or hire someone else to do it, using the above advice to find the right developer. Whether you invest your money or your time, it will be well worth it with a higher ranking and, hopefully, a bigger bottom line for your business.


Creative Commons image by Esther Vargas.

Creative Commons image by Esther Vargas.can mak

Google My Business is a free product that is essential for any business. With it, not only can you make your company more visible to those using Google, but you can also access all of your Google apps (Google+, Maps and search, for example) from one place. One thing to keep in mind is that GMB is not automatic: You have to claim your listing and keep it current. Another is that if you do not claim your business, you wona��t show up in local search listings. Here are some tips for making GMB work for you.

Make Sure Ita��s Accurate

If you have a type in the address or a misspelled (or mis-punctuated) version of your business name, it could highly impact how and when it shows up on local searches. Remember that on mobile searches, GPS is used to give the user the names and addresses of the nearest businesses in the chosen category; neglecting to put in the right street number or typing the address in as a�?Drivea�? when ita��s really a�?Avenuea�? is going to cause the listing to be frustratingly incorrect.

Also, double-check your business hours, whether you accept credit cards and other information shown. Therea��s nothing more annoying for a customer than to drive over and find out that you actually close early on Fridays in the summer, despite this information not being on the listing. If you have extended or shortened hours for holidays or other occasions, go in and change them within the listing, then dona��t forget to change them back once the occasion is over.

Add Details

When you choose your category, be specific. If you sell leather shoes, dona��t just choose Apparel, for example. Also, add photos; people are more likely to be interested in a company if they can see what the stock looks like and if they see a few friendly faces of employees. Find information more on wesbite online echtgeld casino. An image of the storefront or sign gives them something to look for as they drive down the street, too. If you have a restaurant, include a menu.

Combine GMB With Other Products

If youa��re trying to boost your visibility, youa��ll need to go beyond relying only on Google My Business. Combine it with an AdWords campaign; listings on Yelp, Bing and Yahoo; and ask customers for reviews on any and all platforms youa��re using. Make sure your social media accounts, directory listings and anywhere else your business appears online all have the same information: Be sure the phone number, email address, business name spelling and business hours match to avoid confusion. You dona��t want your customers seeing conflicting information and deciding to go elsewhere.

Making the most of free products that can boost your local visibility is something every business should be doing. Take some time to check the accuracy of all of your listings and to update your GMB details on a regular basis to keep coming up in local searches.


Creative Commons image by Olga Berios

Creative Commons image by Olga Berios

Google has a way of keeping us guessing, and while there are definitely SEO practices that can boost your ranking with the search engine superstar, no one has actually a�?cracked the code” of the exact algorithm used. Still, there are some tips that anyone who knows anything about SEO will tell you if you ask. Recently, Andrey Lipattsev, the Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google Ireland, answered some questions about the top three characteristics that Google is looking for. They come as no surprise to those in the know, but here they are, in no particular order, for your consideration.

Content

Remember a few years ago, when a common catchphrase was a�?content is kinga�?? Well, it turns out that this is still a valid and large piece of the algorithm. If you have a web page that doesna��t actually give any information, is stuffed with irrelevant keywords, or is poorly written, Google is going to take notice and send you careening toward the recesses of the double-digit search result pages. So, what are the characteristics that your content should have? A few include:

  • Scannability and a clear, easy to read font.
  • Compelling. Include information that people will want to read and share.
  • Concision. Dona��t go on and on about nothing. At the same time, though, strive to keep your pages over 300 words.
  • Original. Plagiarism? Dona��t even think about it.
  • Accuracy. Make sure what youa��re including in your articles and blog posts is actually true and verifiable.

The takeaway here is to write for human readers and Google will soon follow.

RankBrain

Speaking of human readers, youa��ve probably been aware for some time that artificial intelligence is rapidly catching up to, and in some cases even surpassing, the brainpower of humans. RankBrain, Googlea��s AI system, is an important piece of the algorithm puzzle. You can take a look at what RankBrain is all about and how it works, on Search Engine Watch.

Backlinks

Sometimes considered a gray-hat SEO technique, making sure that other sites are linking to yours is actually important when it comes to ranking well on Google search results. The actual links are a good thing, if you handle it the right way. If reputable sites are linking to you, Google will assume that you have good, actionable, useful content. If you are posting your link as spam all over other peoplea��s blogs, however, ita��s not going to work. Here are some link-building strategies can can work for you.

Ita��s important to keep in mind that there is no simple formula for ranking well with Google. Even if you have solid backlinks, great content and a good rating on RankBrain, you still might not make it to the top of the first page of results. On the other hand, if you arena��t achieving these basics, then ita��s almost definite that you arena��t going to find the success you are looking for. Google uses the best tools available to put engaging, actionable sites toward the top of the results page. Ita��s in your best interest to write for human readers, incorporate some SEO techniques into your site, and contact a reputable SEO company, such as Most Optimal, to help you get the best results out of your efforts.


call tracking or SEO?
call tracking or SEO?

Creative Commons image by Abie Sudiono

As a business-owner, you might have heard conflicting advice about call tracking and SEO. Your call tracking company might say that the practice does not impact SEO at all. On the other hand, your local marketer recommends against the practice, saying that it always negatively impacts search results. Who are you to believe? And what can you do as a happy middle ground? Here are some tips on this controversial — and confusing — topic.

What Is Call Tracking?

Not sure what call tracking is? Simply put, ita��s a way of tracking which ads (or other sources) are responsible for generating the phone calls that users make to your company. It can help you determine which strategies are most effective in bringing in leads. In addition, call tracking will show you where, geographically speaking, callers are from, which can help you concentrate on the most effective local marketing practices. Youa��ll see how many unique callers youa��re getting, and you can even determine which times of the day are most profitable.

How Does Call Tracking Impact SEO?

The way call tracking works is that it displays a different telephone number on the tracking end, depending on where the call is originating from. Since Google wants your NAP (name, address and phone number) to match on all directories, having different numbers on various platforms can confuse the bots. This can push you down on the local search page.

If done correctly, however, using technology to your advantage, you wona��t have to worry about call tracking negatively affecting your search engine rankings.

What Is Dynamic Number Insertion?

By using JavaScript, you can actually have your consistent number (the one displayed on all of your directory listings, as well as on your website) shown on every web page and in all search results, while having users actually ring in on another line. This script will allow you to implement call tracking and enjoy all of its benefits without anyone (including Google bots) knowing that a different incoming phone number is actually being used. While it sounds complicated, your webmaster can set up the scripts needed. For more information, check out this guide to maintaining your local search integrity while practicing highly useful call tracking strategies.

If you have questions about how you can take advantage of call tracking technology without hurting your local SEO and Google rankings, please contact Most Optimal. We can script your site to allow for dynamic number insertion, as well as talk to you about other ways to boost your local marketing strategies for greater success. Get in touch with us today!

 


Creative Commons image by Brian Moore.

If youa��ve been using Google to run Internet searches, youa��ve probably been accustomed to seeing paid ads, called sidebar ads, in the right-hand column of the search page. Over the past week, however, Google has changed the way the search pages look and function. The sidebar ads have been eliminated, and more paid ads have been added to the top and bottom of the page.

The result is two-fold; first, fewer paid ads are visible when a user first clicks on the page. This means that if you are using Adwords or another PPC campaign, your ads might not even be seen until the person searching scrolls down. Since there are also fewer total ads, this can have an effect, as well; competition is likely to become more fierce (and more expensive) in some industries. Secondly, organic search results that once appeared on the first page might now be pushed onto the second, because with the three new ad spaces at the bottom of the page, the number of organic results on each page has been reduced.

What Does the Elimination of Google Sidebar Ads Mean for You?

Well, that depends on what your current marketing strategy is. If youa��re currently relying a lot on Adwords, it might be time to diversify your approach. While no one is sure why Google made the change or exactly how it will affect users and advertisers, one thing is for sure: Your organic results are going to become even more important than before. Here are some things you might consider focusing more attention and energy on, strategically speaking:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Never before has SEO been more important. If your goal is to land on Googlea��s first page (as well it should be, since the majority of Google users rarely click off of the first page of results), youa��re going to need to make sure your site is optimized appropriately. This might mean going through your entire site and updating your meta tags, descriptions, images, header tags, and so on. It also might mean revamping your blog, putting in better or more relevant category tags and updating it more frequently. In short, the more you can make your site attractive to Google, the better you will fare with this change.

Email/SMS Marketing: Dona��t forget about other types of marketing that have nothing to do with Google or the other search engines. Sending out emails or texts can be another great way to bring in business. Dona��t just jump into sending out random messages, though; there are several considerations to keep in mind. You can also visit this site lady charm kostenlos spielen. You can find out more from this Kissmetric beginnera��s guide to email marketing.

Content Creation: Focusing your efforts on creating useful, engaging content (generally on your blog) is a great inbound marketing strategy. People will look forward to reading what you have to say before they need your services, so when the time comes for them to buy, youa��ll already be on their mind.

As with all of the other Google changes, Most Optimal is ready to roll with this one. Please contact us to find out how we can help your business succeed with the current algorithms and best practices when it comes to digital marketing.