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The Best Local SEO Strategies for 2015

Any business with a physical location needs a good SEO strategy. Whether you’ore a lawyer, dentist, doctor, retail outlet, or local restaurant, if your best demographic comes from your local area, then local SEO is a must. I want to discuss some of the best local SEO strategies you can implement in the year 2015.

The best local SEO strategies for 2015

Major Differences Between Local and National SEO

While both are based on backlinks, on-page factors, indexing, and social media, local SEO differs from national SEO through several unique elements. For local SEO you need to claim a local profile on several platforms, including Google and Bing. This local listing of your business will show in localized online searches. Another important element of a local SEO strategy is what it is called a citation. This is any mention of your business online, including the exact company name, location and phone number. And the third important element in a local SEO strategy is having reviews and online testimonials from your customers.

In order to implement a good local SEO strategy for the year 2015 you also need to remember several important details. You have to ensure that your company name, phone number, and address are listed on each and every page of your website. They should be listed in the exact same format you see in your local listing on Google (very important). Your Meta descriptions, title tags, and content on your website should include your city and state names. You should also use Schema local markup in order to show your location to search engines. A KML file may also be useful on your website to send as many signals as possible.

The factors that have the greatest impact on local listings are: the number of reviews, the number of citations, and how positive the reviews are. Positive testimonials and reviews imperative to your brand reputation.

Let’s list out all these mentioned factors so that we can outline a good SEO strategy in 2015:

  • Create a local listing on Google Places and ensure you complete it 100 percent. Do not use any location names or keywords in your business title or description that are not part of your official business name.
  • Use a listing service such as Whitespark to syndicate the information from your Google Places on other major local citations. Each of these is a signal that provides tremendous value for your local SEO.
  • Use a tool like this one on fiverr to build out your social profiles to show your company name, phone and address. These are all useful local citations.
  • You can also use a tool such as the Whitespark local citation finder to research the best citation sources for your city. You also can get citations on guest blog posts.
  • Ensure that you have good on-site SEO and that several of the links you build also contain your city and state.
  • Ensure you get happy customers leaving positive testimonials and reviews on Google Places. Encourage your customers to rate their experience with your services and products.

As a small business you may want to consider hiring a specialized local SEO agency. Local SEO can often be too complex for a beginning online marketer. However, if you cannot afford this, I would suggest you check out some of the online resources I mentioned above. Good luck with building your local SEO, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Fannit for more info.

The Terrible, No Good, Dirty, Rotten, Awesome, Amazing, Fantastic Future of the Google Algorithm

Google has now made it impossible to detect specific algorithmic updates to Panda, and subsequent penalties by pushing out updates in near-realtime.

The internet marketing world has also just gotten confirmation that Penguin will follow suit. Pidgeon, Pirate and so on will likely follow in due course as well.

This means that there is only one truly safe bet, as far as SEO is concerned…

…following the rules.

google algorithm updates

SEO’s have, up to this point, been able to navigate the haze of google penalties relatively effectively. Using tools like the Moz algorithm update tracker and a good keyword tracking system, you can correlate dips and drops, rises and climbs with the various updates. Also courtesy of the Moz update tracker, we can get a sense of the effect the update has on specific factors, which gives us an idea of what to fix to get out of penalty.

Unfortunately, the ability to make predictions is soon to be made obsolete.

Google’s algorithms are now being set loose in a near-realtime manner, without the same level of observation that prior major updates have had. The implications of this are two fold.

One, simply correlating the date of an update with a drop in rankings isn’t going to work anymore. Because of the new nature of the beast, you won’t know what specific problems you have.

The traditional method of forensic SEO just won’t help.

It also means that Google is more confident in their testing. This could also mean that we will begin to see more and more aggressive changes to the algorithm being implemented as time progresses. It seems likely that Google, with it’s truly mind boggling datasets, is capable of finding and fixing these sorts of problems rather quickly.

For those of us internet marketers who have gone past mere SEO, the new realtime nature of Google is both a good and bad thing. It means that SEOs that focus on the technical aspects alone will no longer be able to rank effectively without crafting a full on marketing strategy. On the bad news side, It also means that, in order to stay penalty free, your site will have to follow every guideline to a T, whether it’s technical or user experience, backlinks or people.

I’d be very, very careful from this point onward.

13 SEO Mistakes You Might Be Making

Search Engine Optimization is often a constant game of just trying to figure out what really works and that’s why I am going to be showing you some of the biggest misconceptions beginners tend to have ..

SEO

1. Thinking Paid Search is Search Engine Optimization

While there might be many similarities from a marketing perspective, paid search is drastically different in how you optimize your campaigns. Both can be quite lucrative for your business but both require a very different approach to campaign optimization. Often paid search is also misunderstood from a cost perspective as some marketers believe SEO is not as expensive as paid search. Paid Search tends to bring in more immediate traffic while organic optimization is a long-term  marketing ploy.

2. Expecting Quick Results from SEO

When I mean long-term I mean about a year. While it’s true SEO’s tend to try to get early wins for their clients the fruition of those wins really do not come into maturity till about a year after services have started. It’s possible to get sales conversions before that but ROI should not be expected for at least the first 6 to 8 months.

3. Cheap SEO is Good SEO

“You get what you pay for”. I understand most businesses are trying to bootstrap their companies but you really can’t bootstrap your SEO. If you have cut corners with your SEO (i.e. India link building) you’ll probably want to consider buying a new domain very soon as your site will probably be penalized by Google.

4. Considering SEO Only at the End of Building a New Website

In any new website project, SEO should be your first consideration.  It’s a mistake to first design a website and afterwards consider SEO strategies for better search improvement. One of the biggest elements of importance is understanding how your site hierarchy is going to affect both your SEO and how people move through your website for conversion.

5. Not Budgeting for SEO activity

Engaging in SEO for free is possible in theory, however for a beginner it is recommended to set a budget for hiring a professional SEO agency.Depending upon your industry,  your budget should fall between five to ten percent of your entire company revenue for online marketing.

6. Skipping Keyword Brainstorming

Keywords are a critical factor in SEO. Skipping the phase of keyword brainstorming is a potential mistake a beginner can make in an effort to rush service page rankings. Bad keyword research affects your ability to implement content with proper latent semantic indexing “LSI”. Google likes to rank pages based upon the relevance of the category of keywords a page is going for. Use Google Suggest and the free AdWords Keyword Tool for a better understanding of the context of keywords you need to include in your service pages and blog articles.

7. Forgetting to Address Duplicate Content

Duplicate content dramatically hurts your search engine rankings. You need to take care of avoiding duplicate content especially in sections such as about us or privacy.

8. Incorporating too Many PDFs on Your Website

It is recommended to always choose HTML pages on your website rather than PDFs. It is more difficult to optimize a PDF than an HTML page. Studies also show that users are more likely to share an HTML page rather than a PDF.

9. Excessive Use of Flash Content

Flash might look pretty to you but it’s invisible to search engines. Don’t use flash on your website. Flashy websites are proven to take away from conversion anyway. Spend extra effort on a quality value proposition with fantastic content that helps your target demographic (persona) move quickly to conversion.

10. Ignoring Social Media Elements

Today, social media marketing is an important factor that can increase your ranking as it improves trust signals to your website. Link often to your social media pages that link back to your money site. This is a fantastic way to rank organically in your local area without having to build a single back-link to your website.

11. Having Thin Content

After the latest Panda update, content has become more important than ever. Make sure your website provides high quality, original and useful content. As a rule, never write an article that’s less then 350 words. Also, write more consistently by writing about the latest news events in your specific industry. It’s a great way to keep your readers engaged.

12. Not Using Proper Redirects

A 301 redirect indicates to both search engines and browsers that the page has permanently moved. Improper redirects make your page impossible to reach by browsers and search engines.

13. Not Focusing on the Bigger Picture

SEO strategies are based on a combination of several factors. A common mistake made by SEO beginners is to focus on details instead of focusing on the bigger picture. You need to optimize your website as a whole rather than focusing too much on specific details.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these common mistakes. If you have any questions about your own SEO, please feel free to contact us for help.

Are You a Marketing Manager or a Marketing Leader?

I just read the most inspiring blog today called 3 Ways Marketers Can Stay Informed and Inspired, written by Jay Baer, President and Founder of Convince & Convert. Among other things, Mr. Baer discusses the difference between running your business and being a leader.  It got me thinking; what is the difference between running a company’s marketing and being a marketing leader for a company?

marketing manager leader

As Jay describes, “running a business is about the tactical” – completing tasks to get something accomplished. And “being a successful leader is about juggling all the demands of the business and staying ahead” of everything else. Although Jay’s article was more about how marketers can stay inspired and ahead of the marketing trends, I thought about the business owners and marketing managers out there that are busy running marketing, but not being marketing leaders.

Here are three things that every successful marketing leader does well in setting the direction for their marketing plans and managing execution of their plans.

1. Managers think about “the what” Leaders focus on “the why

Everyone who works on a marketing team has their own version of why they are doing the tasks they are completing. For a content writer, they might like the fact that something they created is consumed by people to educate themselves. An SEO might like the science behind how to stay up with Google’s algorithm. Leaders are tuned into each individual’s why and works to create an environment where each team member is put into the specific role that satisfies their why and works well with the team’s why.

2. Leaders make sure the team is all working toward the same goal(s)

First, everyone must know what the goals are and be clear on the plans to get there. Strong marketing leaders paint a great picture for others to see where they are heading, but also follow up with the specific metrics they are trying to achieve. For example, (the picture) we want to move our ABC prospects down the funnel with an outbound calling campaign followed by email nurturing campaign that addresses the issues we think they are having – the goal is to get them to qualify themselves. We need (the metrics) to obtain 1,000 new prospects in order to get 70 new leads over the next 90 days with this campaign because we know we can close 10% (7) of those new leads. Each new customer is worth $36,000 so we are going to spend $25,000 to get $252,000 (10% of sales) given our traditional sales closing rates.

You see the vision and you know success metrics.

3. Managers make sure execution on tasks get finished, Leaders guide the priority

There is a time and place for everything. Have you ever been around that person that spouts off ideas like machine gun fire? Great marketing leaders choose when to deliver messages about new concepts or ideas in a way their team can handle them and be inspired about executing those concepts. The marketing manager is the person who makes sure the concepts are delivered on.

Whether your hire a marketing agency like Fannit to execute your marketing or have a staff of your own, make sure you have someone playing the roles of leader and manager so you know where you are going, why you are going there and can get there.

Lead away! … but manage to get-r-done!

Blogging to Increase Local Awareness and SEO

Let’s face it: Blogging is not the most popular thing to be doing these days. But it is not without its uses. While it may seem like the only people left blogging are health food fanatics and those seeking simply to express themselves, blogging is an incredibly effective tool when working to publicize your business to your local community.

No matter what kind of shop you run or service you provide, keeping a current blog might be just what you need to reach more customers in your local community.

blogging

Blogging to Benefit Your Business

Blogging is a surprisingly common tool used to attract customers and readers to your business or program. This is accomplished by strategically writing to target your local SEO. Here are several benefits that this kind of writing can produce to help increase your community’s awareness of your business and boost your credibility.

Crisp Content

Many of the people that are involved with blogging know the benefits that result from continually putting out fresh content for their viewers and for search engines. Old articles or out of date information will not attract clientele, nor will it be what search engines want to offer to searchers. By keeping a blog up to date with fresh, interesting information that is relevant to your business and local community, you will increase the chances of people reading your content and coming into contact with your services.

Exhibit Expertise

When interesting or instructive content is discussed on your blog, it is an opportunity for you as the business owner to demonstrate your knowledge about your particular product or service. When readers see your skill and familiarity related to your work, they will automatically trust you as a local businessmen and consider you in the future.

Keywords

By strategically writing about local events, popular topics, or simply about your own business, certain keywords will frequently appear throughout your post. This high ranking of keywords will increase the likelihood your post being selected by search engine when those particular keywords are searched for by users.

By strategically blogging to target certain keywords, you can increase your chances of local clientele viewing your content and becoming familiar with you business.

blogging content marketing for small businesses

How To Blog Locally

Business owners today are taking advantage of blogging’s potential by having professional writers produce content. Even on a monthly bases, writers and owners release fresh content that will keep their blogs current. If all of the benefits listed above are benefits you would like to see your business experiencing, here are a few tips on what to write about to attract your clientele.

Local Events

Discussing local events or projects will not only rank high in a local keyword search, but it will also communicate to your community a sense of awareness and involvement in your area. Many people really appreciate community participation, and value discussion and perspective  on local happenings. Readers will become familiarized with your business and come to trust you as a neighbor.

Local Places

While this may require a bit of travel and effort on your part, a familiarity with your city or town can have the same affect on your blog rankings and business awareness as writing about local events.  This does not have to be a huge commitment, but it can have considerable benefits for you business and your credibility. As you frequent various local businesses, you build a network of relationships. These relationships can result in blogging backlinks, increased brand awareness, referrals, and a host of other benefits.

Local Businesses

People like to see that you are interested in the lives of their family and friends when you invest in other local businesses. A positive recommendation or comment about another business can not only benefit their services, but it is very likely they will also recommend you in return, making your services known to their entire clientele base and establishing comradery between your businesses.

Blogging may seem like an obscure and irrelevant form of communication, but in actuality it is an incredibly effective tool when seeking to increase local awareness of your business and boost your SEO.

Here at Fannit, one of the many services we offer is to partner with your business to produce clean, fresh, relevant content for a blog of your own. If you are interested in learning more about how our services can help your business reach new heights, visit our website at http://seattleinbound.com.

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