Wednesday, 1 June 2016
Tuesday, 17 May 2016
Want to increase your websites Search Engine Ranking, without having to hire a SEO company like Zed Creative? Here are 12 of the basic steps that you can perform that will help your website! Original Article Located Here: http://ift.tt/1Xnwpii
Local search engine optimization (LSEO) is a powerful digital marketing strategy for business owners wanting to sell to local customers, if you’re not showing up in local search, you’re missing out.
Increased Web traffic, brand visibility, and an increase in revenue are all advantages of investing in SEO.
To take control of your local search results, follow the local SEO checklist and best practices below.
Local SEO Checklist
Keyword research is a fundamental step for every successful SEO campaign. It involves discovering and analyzing phrases and terms that people are actually typing into the search engines to find local businesses like yours.
Google uses the text and hidden code on a website to understand what it’s about. It’s very important to optimize a website around keywords that people are actually using.
For example, a painting company may be inclined to optimize their exterior painting page around the term “exterior residential painting” because that is the term the industry uses. However, through keyword research, they may find that people are actually using the term “home painting service.” If that’s the case, their page should be optimized around the term “home painting service”.
If you are a local business, you can also add a geo-modifier to a keyword to make it location specific. For example, “home painting service Portland” or “home painting service Portland Oregon.”
So, how do you discover which keywords to rank for?
To start, brainstorm keywords yourself or ask customers, friends, or family what keywords they would use to find a business like yours. Take your list and input them into Google’s Keyword Planner to find new keyword ideas and to get the estimated search traffic for those keywords. Google’s tool will only provide you with advertiser competition, not SEO competition, but keywords with a high ad competition will normally have a competitive SEO score. Try to find a set of keywords that has at least a hundred people searching each month, but with medium to low competition levels. Then add them naturally into your titles and meta descriptions.
True keyword research is an in-depth and detailed process. Check out Backlinko’s Definitive Guide to Keyword Research for a guide to keyword research.
Your title tag is one of the most important on-page SEO elements.
It is the main text that appears in search results. It also appears on top of your browser tab and when saving bookmarks. Titles provide users with a brief overview of what to expect when they click, and titles also tells Google what your page is about.
Your title should include the keyword you are trying to rank for, while at the same time accurately describe the page.
Here are some guidelines for writing the perfect title tag:
Keep your titles under 55 characters to ensure they display correctly in Google
Include your brand name whenever possible
The homepage title tag should always start with your brand name, followed by the services offered
Example: Sue’s Painting Company | Residential Painting in Portland
For more information on Title Tags, check out this guide.
The purpose of a meta description is to provide the user and search engines with a brief synopsis of your page. Having interesting and descriptive meta descriptions may increase the frequency that people click on your result when it is shown.
Aim to write unique descriptions that are under 156 characters in length, so your words don’t trail off…
You can use this tool to preview what your titles and meta descriptions would look like in the search results.
Next to SEO, N-A-P are the three most important letters in local search.
NAP is short for Name, Address, and Phone Number.
If you want to show up in local search, it’s crucial that Google understands where your business is located. Google is able to pick up NAP information on your website as well as on other sites around the web. It uses the consistency and quantity of NAP mentions as a ranking factor for local search.
The more often your business information is found on the web, and the more consistent it is, the higher your visibility will be in local search.
Over 92 percent of consumers read online reviews to find local businesses and services. On top of that, 60 percent of consumers judge a local business on its overall star rating with 43 percent find 3 out of 5 stars to be the minimum rating before consulting with that business. With so many people resorting to online reviews for business recommendations, it is imperative to get positive reviews.
The quantity and quality of your online reviews play a direct role in our search visibility. The more 5-star reviews your business has, the more online exposure it will receive.
To get positive reviews you will need to focus on creating an amazing customer experience. After every job is finished, politely ask for feedback.
Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, Houzz, and Angie’s List are great places to receive and reply back to reviews. Read more about how online reviews affects your business and it’s online presence.
Image optimization is an art in the SEO world.
Search engines don’t see images the same way you or I do. Because of this, we need to give them additional information to describe the image. This can help increase the rankings for your target keyword.
We can optimize 4 aspects of an image to ensure it’s SEO-friendly:
- Filename: This is the name of the image file when saved on your computer. Before uploading to your site, ensure the file-name has your target keyword in it. As an example: home-painting-service-photo.JPG
- Title Text: This text will display when a user hovers over your image. It should include your keyword, and describe the image. Example: Home Painting Service in Portland.
- Alt-Text: This text will display if an image fails to load. This is especially useful for the visually impaired. Again, this should include the keyword and describe the image.
- Size: Before uploading to a website, images should be compressed and properly sized. You can use a tool like Photoshop or a free web tool like Compress JPEG.
Anchor Text Optimization
Anchor text refers to the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Google uses the anchor text of a link to understand what the page is about. For example, if you hyperlink the words “Home Painting”, Google will assume that the page you’re linking to is related to home painting.
Within your website content, you can hyperlink keywords to the related service page. This helps Google understand what your pages are about, and can lead to increased rankings for those keywords. In the example above, you would want to link every mention of “home painting” to your home painting service page.
If users are feeling frustrated when visiting your website due to a poor mobile experience like small text, needing to pinch the touch screen to zoom in, slow loading time, then you should update to a mobile friendly website.
Most mobile-friendly websites feature responsive web design, meaning that it is able to adjust to fit the screen size of any device. Responsive websites are easier to manage from an SEO perspective. Alternately, you can develop a separate website designed specifically for mobile.
In April 2015, Google announced a mobile-friendly update to its algorithm, which resulted in penalties against websites that were not optimized for mobile devices. Google also plans to roll out another mobile-friendly update in May 2016.
Failing to comply with Google’s Mobile Friendly guidelines will result in a major loss in mobile search traffic.
Citations and Social Profiles
A citation is an online mention of your business with all or some of your NAP information. They generally take the form of a local listing in an online directory like YellowPages.
A social profile is like an upgraded version of a citation in that it is often more trustworthy, unique, and customizable. Examples of social profiles are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
To build your website’s visibility, you will need to create as many relevant and high-quality citations and social profiles as possible.
Follow these SEO guidelines when building citations and social profiles:
- Be 100 percent consistent with your NAP information. Always use the exact same business name, address, and phone number.
- If you move locations, you will need to update your NAP information on your website, citations, and social profiles.
- Write unique business descriptions that summarize your company’s history, niche, products, and services.
- Upload at least 5 relevant, high-quality images, not including your company logo.
- Select up to 5 relevant business categories with the first 3 being the most important.
- Use a spreadsheet to track your passwords and usernames.
- Delete duplicates. You only need one citation per location.
Google My Business
Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day. If you’re not listed on Google, you’re missing out.
Google My Business, or GMB for short, is an incredible marketing platform for small businesses.
Here are some advantages to using Google My Business:
- Manage and update how Google displays your business information.
- Access insights on how users find your business.
- Be found on Google Maps and help customers find directions to your business.
- Respond to customer reviews.
To list your business, go to Google My Business and type in your business name and address into the search bar.
If your business can be found:
Click on your business to claim your profile. Then, check the box “I am authorized to manage this business…” and click “Continue.” Review your business address and make changes, if needed. Click “Mail” and Google will send you a postcard with a verification code. Once received, enter the code in Google My Business to complete the verification process.
If your business cannot be found:
Click “This doesn’t match. Add your business.” Fill out the form with the most accurate information, then click “Continue” to proceed. After reviewing your address, click on “Mail.” Google will send a postcard with a verification code that should arrive at your business location in 1-2 business weeks. Enter the code in Google My Business to complete the verification process.
While waiting for your postcard to arrive, you can update your business address, description, categories, hours of operation and map marker. You can also upload images that will be shown in the local search whenever someone searches for your business.
To make any changes, click on the hamburger icon on the top left to open the menu. Click “All locations.” Then click “Manage location” to start editing.
Schema markup is code that you can add to your website that helps search engines better understand certain types of information on your website.
All local businesses should utilize local business schema. This special code feeds your location and contact information directly to Google. Having this schema implemented on your site adds local trust and authority, which will help increase local rankings.
Some schema markup can generate rich snippets, which are enhanced elements to your result on the search results pages. By giving users a better sense of what to expect before actually visiting your website, users will be more likely to click on your page and stay on your website longer.
Google currently supports rich snippets for review ratings, recipes, organized events, videos, and news articles.
For more information on how to utilize schema markup, check out this guide fromthe Search Engine Journal.
In Google, a link to your site counts as a “vote”. The more “votes” a website has, the more often Google will show that site to its searchers.
Links pass trust and authority. For example, if Forbes, Business.com and the Wall Street Journal all link to a website, that website will gain some of the trust and authority from these publishing power-houses.
Most websites will naturally have a few links, but you can increase your links (and your rankings) by link building.
Link building is the process of outreaching to authoritative, high-quality, and relevant websites to persuade them to link back to your website. It can help establish your brand, build your online exposure, and increase your website’s ranking and traffic.
For example, your website may be mentioned in an online editorial. If the editorial website has a high authority, then it can greatly benefit your website.
Link building can be a daunting undertaking that requires regular outreach and follow up. However, you can acquire quality links for your website and foster new relationships in the process. It’s a win-win!
Following this 12 point local SEO checklist and best practices can significantly help your website outperform competitors while building your brand reputation and exposure.
Wednesday, 11 May 2016
Do you frequently ask your clients / customers to write a review for your business? If no, why not? Reviews are becoming more & more important online. Read the article below to see how customer reviews can help your Local SEO efforts! Article courtesy of: Search Engine Watch (http://ift.tt/1PU1raB)
Reviews are a massive part of the web now, and an absolute essential for online retailers.
They’re also vital for local businesses, whether or not they sell online, thanks to their sheer prominence in local search results.
Just look at this mobile search for restaurants in Chicago. The best organic listings are taken by the restaurants with good reviews:
After this the next organic listings are mainly from review sites – Yelp, TripAdvisor, Time Out, Zagat, and so on. Only a couple of actual restaurant sites make it onto the first SERP.
While not every local search is exactly like this, the trend is clear. Indeed, the Google My Business listings are so dominant that many users will not even look at the other organic results.
In summary, if you want a prominent position in the local SERPs, you need user reviews.
If you want to encourage clickthroughs, or physical visits, you need good reviews.
Why reviews work
In a nutshell, it’s the power of social proof. People need reassurance and confirmation that their actions are the right ones.
So, when people are thinking about buying a particular camera, seeing an average review rating of 4 stars, or reading positive reviews may provide the extra push they need.
For local searches, if you see a restaurant with an average score of 4.6 from 465 reviews, like the Girl & the Goat above, then it looks like a safe choice.
There are so many stats around reviews that I could pluck almost any number out to show how many read them before buying, how they are trusted more than other sources, and so on.
The bottom line is that they are used a lot and relied upon by many web users.
This, from BrightLocal’s local consumer review survey, is relevant to this article.88% read reviews to determine the quality of a local business.
Which review sources are important for local SEO?
There are a number of review sources that Google can use, or which play a part in local search visibility.
This is the most important source. These review scores are an important signal for Google.
Indeed, Moz attributes review signals 8.4% of its ranking factor pie.
A Google My Business listing is now an absolute essential for local search. It’s free to set up, it’s one of the best things you can do to improve local SEO visibility.
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to claim your Google My Business page. This isn’t the place for another guide to set up, but the following features are important:
- A long and unique description of your business.
- Choose the right categories.
- Key information on opening times.
- Lots of imagery.
- Regular updates.
- A local phone number and business address.
- Reviews from customers.
For Google to show your reviews, you’ll need at least five reviews, while Greg recommends at least 10 Google reviews before you target other sources. It also helps if you have more than your competitors.
Other review sources
While Google’s reviews may be the most important, this doesn’t mean you should ignore other sites.
Together, they create signals and links that tell Google about the relevance of your business, as well as increasing your search visibility.
Reviews on multiple sites also back up the information on the Google reviews. This shows users (and Google) that you haven’t just been targeting reviews, but you have a business that people like.
If we look below the fold on the results for ‘Chicago restaurants’ then we can see that the Google reviews were no fluke.
If I owned a restaurant, this is the kind of search results page I’d love to see for my business. It dominates most of the page, and there are so many positive signals for prospective customers.
How to attract reviews
Well, one option is to just sit and wait for the sheer brilliance of your business or products to drive people to leave glowing reviews, but let’s be more pro-active than that..
Don’t fake it
If you’re business doesn’t care about its customers and providing a quality product or service, forget about attracting positive reviews.
Instead, get ready for lots of negative reviews. You can’t fake it. Even if you ask all your friends and staff to leave a nice review the truth will come out.
If you want reviews, concentrate on providing the best possible customer experience. That’s the most important thing you can do.
Most customers will only feel compelled to leave a review when they’ve had either a great or terrible experience. Make sure it’s the former.
Ask customers when they’re in your business
Hand our cards, print it on receipts, ask customers as they’re paying the bill. Don’t be shy.
Many stores offer the incentive of entry into prize draws for leaving reviews, but this isn’t a good idea as this is against Google’s and most review site’s guidelines.
Email to ask for reviews
If you have customers’ email addresses, then send them a follow up email can be effective.
They’re on the web to answer the email anyway, so it’s less effort to head to leave a review online.
Use your social channels
If you have a decent following, then the occasional post or tweet asking for reviews can work. Don’t overdo it though.
Reply to negative reviews
Maybe not all, as some people will never be placated.
However, if you respond to criticism in a reasonable way, seeking to understand the customer’s issue and resolve it if possible, this leaves a positive impression.
It tells potential customers that you care about their experience, and
Add notices in stores
Put up signs around stores, asking for reviews on various sites. Leave flyers around, it all helps.
Set up a reviews landing page
This is another excellent tip from Greg Gifford’s presentation, and one which makes it easier for customers to leave reviews.
Here’s an (old) example – note that reviews on Google are prioritised though, after Yelp, the others may not be so relevant now.
The URL for this page can be used on the flyers and emails I’ve mentioned, and it means you can point customers at the right page to leave reviews, and add brief instructions.
Don’t expect overnight success
If you receive a few reviews a month, you’ll be doing well. Just concentrate on making sure they’re more likely to be positive
A steady flow of reviews looks more realistic, because it is. If lots of reviews appear overnight, then this is a strong signal that something is afoot
If you need help with your online presence, visit our website: http://ift.tt/1RHxdfp
Sunday, 8 May 2016
I came across this really cool article today explaining in simple terms of what reputation management is & why every business needs it! Read more at: http://ift.tt/1T6lp5I
Remember the days when online reputation management involved pacifying angry customers with a few phone calls, apologies and handing out new products in exchange?
As a business owner, while merely exchanging products no longer satisfies customers, there are other challenges to face, especially when your customers are watching your actions online whole time!
There’s a solution – ORM (Online Reputation Management). We’ll tell you why it is necessary and also share a few Online Reputation Management tips as well.
ORM is no longer restricted to only removing negative comments. Rather, it now focuses on developing an online strategy that influences the way customers perceive your brand which creates positive impact.
While some business owners might not invest in ORM, here’s why it’s critical for your business:
- Easy for customers to post all kinds of messages, especially negativeDifficult to control the extent of damage
- Difficult to control the extent of damage
- Brands that ignored customer’s changing preferences have suffered
- As per Nielsen, 68% of customers trust reviews posted online
- 86% of buyers are influenced by negative online reviews
8 reasons why you can’t ignore online reputation management
- There’s a lot riding on customer reviews
HelpScout states that about 24% of American adults have posted comments online about the product or service bought.
While positive reviews are always welcome and help gain maximum brand exposure, negative publicity is likely to result in five times more bad word of mouth publicity among friends and peers.
- Word of mouth marketing (online) can make or break your brand
Like traditional marketing, word of mouth marketing is a growing phenomenon online, where experiences either about a product of service receive overwhelming support especially when there are unflattering reviews. 92% of customers say they believe in Word of mouth marketing if they come from family and friends.
Companies like Yelp and Angie’s List have grown in popularity purely on the basis of WOMM online.
- It impacts your bottom-line
Negative reputation not only impacts customer perception towards your business, it can also erode your wealth, leading to overnight loss. Dave Carroll is one such example.
As part of a touring band, Dave Carroll’s $2500 guitar was broken by United Airlines baggage handlers which led to Dave releasing a song titled “United Breaks Guitars.” Its 2.5 million YouTube views in a week and $180 million erosion in United Airlines shareholder wealth indicate the power of the online media.
- It has a global impact
Any effort to manage your online reputation should focus not only on its local but also global impact. Even if you have a small business that is yet to scale up, there are some key takeaways that large organizations demonstrate, especially on their social platforms.
One such case is of JetBlue Airways.
JetBlue Airways takes customer convenience and comfort to the forefront by providing the same service as other airways, but with the right environment and attitude to go along with it. It also does not shy away from feeling proud of the level of customer service provided.
You can also replicate this if your business has created a unique customer delivery system or high customer value that can be showcased on your respective social network by engaging in high customer interactivity.
- Little time to bounce back from bad reviews
Building a brand can take years, while, on the other hand, a negative review can shake the core existence of your brand.
To add to it, negative comments that go beyond constructive criticism and border on accusations can create a negative perception, especially among prospective customers who would be colored with that opinion. Here are a few other ways to get more reviews online.
- Easy for a competitor to earn brownie points
If your business has already borne the brunt of negative reviews, you would know that the only ones to benefit from it are your competitors. In such cases, customers are more likely to search for a substitute product of high quality and value for money.
The best way out of such situations is to acknowledge the blunder and be respectful under whatever circumstances. Bouncing back with a better product or service will project your brand well and will help gain back customers. This will also prevent hurting your business in the future.
- Employees/Partners can post negative comments
When multiple people in your company have access to corporate social accounts, there’s bound to be an occasional occurrence of interchanging and using personal and professional usernames and passwords.
Once such incidence was of @ChryslerAutos where the employee was supposed to address Detroit Drivers through the corporate account and instead, mistakenly logged in assuming his private account. This led to him expressing his own opinion in an unacceptable language.
- Little control over what customers can/cannot say
Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
This clearly restricts your ability to control what can be said about your brand. However, as per Kissmetrics, if the following occurs, there are ways to take action.
- If there is a defamatory language used
- If there is an intent to damage the company’s reputation
- If there is incorrect information on the company
These are some of the reasons why you need to invest in online reputation management for your business.
Have you taken charge of your online reputation? If so, how are you doing it? Let us know in the comments!
If you want to learn more about our online reputation management service, please click the link.
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Here is an article taken from SearchEngineWatch.com (http://ift.tt/1qSQ6SG) It provides expert tips on how to optimise your Google My Business listing. Having a GMB listing is extremely important when it comes to local rankings. Without one, you won’t appear in the Google maps results. Read the article below to learn how to optimise it correctly for better local rankings:
Even broad queries with large volumes are now showing local results which is something small business owners can capitalise upon.
We’ve been asking SEO experts for their advice on setting up and optimising GMB listings..
The experts are:
- Greg Gifford, Director of Search and Social at DealerOn.
- Kevin Gibbons, MD at Digital Marketing agency Blueglass, and a contributor to SEW.
- Max Holloway, Senior Search Manager at Pi Datametrics.
- Raj Nijjer, VP Community at Yext.
How important is Google My Business for local SEO?
GMB is incredibly important, but it’s going to lose prominence now that they’re removing all location information from the GMB listings.
There’ll now simply be a social interface (on a social network that no one is using). But – the GMB dashboard still feeds the info to Maps and the Knowledge Box for a business, so it’s still of vital importance to claim your location and fill out your info.
The increased visibility that Google has placed around Google Local listing results on mobile has meant that Google My Business is essential for local SEO.
If you are searching on a mobile device you will see that organic results are now shown below the fold (you have to scroll down to see them) and there are now only the top three Google local results being shown – so due to the on-page real estate Google local can take up, there’s huge traffic opportunities for being listed for competitive searches.
GMB is incredibly important for local SEO. Without it you won’t be appearing on any local map listings in the SERPs which Google displays for the vast majority of local queries.
Critical. It’s the centerpiece and fundamental to any local campaign! You simply don’t exist if you don’t create a Google my business page for your local business.
What are the most important things businesses can do to optimise their Google local listings?
It’s absolutely important that the number listed is a local number, and that it matches the number displayed on the landing page it links to.
It’s super important to use the actual business name and choose the correct categories as well. Beyond that, my suspicion is that nothing else will matter after the change.
I wrote a guide on this last year which should be a good starting point, but to pick out some of the key points – I would strongly suggest:
- Firstly claim your listing, as often many people don’t.
- Ensure your details are up-to-date (previously you might not have accepted Credit Cards).
- Double check your opening hours and phone number as these often change over time or the business has new owners or management
- Check the business images you are using and consider refreshing them or uploading higher res versions.
- Check no-one has made an edit to your listing and changed the businesses’s website to their affiliate link, have seen this too!
When it comes to choosing your categories be specific. You have a much better chance to rank for “Fresh grocery store” or “Organic butchers” than for generic terms like “Shop” or “Groceries”.
You should also add photos of the business, or its customers and the people who work there. As well as opening hours and any other useful information such as parking locations.
It starts with getting NAP (name, address, phone) right and then creating citations (listings) on every other site like Yelp, Bing, Yahoo etc. Category is also important so the consumer can find you. Most recently Google announced their ranking methods at a surface level.
Adding more information about your business always helps with click through rate. My advice has always been to get the website right and then copy all the information into GMB like description, hours, menu, photos etc.
Having the same NAP information on your website is absolutely critical, especially marked up with schema.org so your website speaks the same language as Googlebot.
What advanced tactics can businesses use to improve local visibility?
Advanced tactics? Stick to the basics… have awesome content, a kickass link profile, and consistent citations…
- Pick a picture or logo that will make your listing stand out and get clicked
- Check the popular times of the day and use paid social or AdWords to drive more visitors during times your business is open but you are not as busy.
- Encourage local reviews and social checkins from your customers.
- Encourage visitors to upload photos of your venue/business.
- Use services like Yext to build relevant citations to build up the profile of your business and its physical location.
- Consider employing a Google certified photographer for a Indoor Street View tour of your business, this is something we did this for our own office recently which helps to show a more personal side to the business.
To really improve your local rankings you will want to build citations for your local listings, these can be on local business listing website (LBLs), other websites or even your own website i.e. in a store finder section.
Another big ranking factor is to encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your GMB listing. Your star rating is also displayed on the map to searches so a high rating can also improve your click through rate from the SERPs.
When this feature was first introduced it was very easily scammed; adding a large number of positive or negative reviews would have a huge impact on your ranking, and you could see small business on the outskirts of London ranking for terms for “Hairdresser London”. Fortunately this has now been fixed.
To further improve your local visibility you will want to build pages about the services you offer in certain locations and theme those pages appropriately generally along the lines of [service] in [location].
If you notice some of these pages are having a hard time getting good rankings you’ll need to start building links into them. Often links from other local sites can have a bigger impact on the ranking than more generic or high authority sites, as Google will weight their locality higher than most other factors (when it comes to local rankings).
First, Prominence – reviews and exposure. Google wants to translate offline popularity online. Getting positive reviews is critical these days so it’s a must that business owners work with their best clients to get positive reviews that mention their products and service.
Second, Duplicates – since there is no master record, publishers are constantly compiling and recompiling data which creates duplicates. Many of these duplicates have the wrong Name, Address or Phone. This can really harm your ranking! Suppressing these duplicates is a MUST because Googlebot is a machine and it can’t infer which listing is right.
Finally, I call this approach the CAN principle.
- Consistency – having the same NAP data on directory sites and search engines. It’s something I evangelize at Yext.
- Accuracy – correcting your Nap data across the local ecosystem to make sure it’s consistent. Also, getting rid of duplicate listings which can harm your ranking because it confuses Google.
- Number – having authoritative citations (listings) across as many cites as possible. There are over 50 sites where you can create a citation for your local business and many more vertical specific sites.
Thursday, 25 February 2016
We are working really hard to create our blogger site. So please stay tuned.
For more info:
4/30 Lawrence Drive Nerang Queensland 4211
(07) 5641 4243