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Review of the "Local Traverse City SEO Guide" by Top of Mind

The most effective practices of local search engine optimization (SEO) are drastically changing as we near closer to 2013. In a nutshell, local SEO is growing to become more like actual marketing.Traverse City SEO

In a great blog post by Tyler Tafelsky of Top of Mind, a local Traverse City SEO company, he underscores the evolving standards of local SEO, and how small to medium business (well, actually any business) can adjust it's 2013 SEO strategy accordingly.

About the "Local Traverse City SEO Guide for 2013"

The fact of matter is, the changes in the SEO ecosystem are making the practices of search engine optimization less of a technical mystery. In Tafelsky's blog post, he mentions SEO as marketing engagement project that can be done in-house with the proper knowledge, understanding, and direction.

In the "Local Traverse City SEO Guide for 2013," Tyler highlights five primary components that local businesses need to address for optimal results. These include:

1. On-Site Content - focus your copy more on your visitors and less on your SEO keyword targets
2. Content Marketing - producing and publishing compelling content will help build your company's online brand while helping to promote its SEO efforts
3. Content Diversification - to get a one-up on the SEO practices of 2013, start generating new forms of content like video, audio, and imagery
4. Google Plus - although a social network, Google Plus will directly impact the local SEO efforts for all types of companies
5. Establish Local Connection - reaching out to local organizations will open the doors for guest blogging and quality relationships beyond SEO

To engage in the complete article, check out the Local Traverse City SEO Guide to learn more. The potential to capitalize on local SEO, not only in Traverse City, but in all metropolitan areas are wide open. With changes taking place, the SEO playing field is being leveled, and more companies can take advantage of the local SEO benefits.

More About Top of Mind in Traverse City

Top of Mind is more than just a Traverse City SEO and search marketing company. Top of Mind also provides services and consulting for paid search advertising and social media engagement services. The company provides individually tailored solutions for all types of local business. Top of Mind also provide free SEO consultations for Traverse City companies.

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Why the Yellow Pages are Out and Organic Search Marketing (SEO) is In

Yellow Pages vs. Organic Search Marketing (SEO)In the earlier days, every business sought to be listed in the Yellow Pages. However, in the contemporary world, the Yellow Pages are slowly giving way to organic search marketing or SEO. Organic search marketing is the new trend in marketing your business via Google search. There are several reasons as to why organic SEO is replacing the Yellow Pages.

One of the reasons organic search marketing has gained a lot of popularity is due to the fact that the Internet is easy to use. When consumers are searching for products and services online, they make use of keywords. There are numerous search engines where customers type in keywords of websites offering the sought after products and services, which are then displayed. You do not require computer ingenuity to search for items on the Internet. In addition, the Internet is easily accessible in all parts of the world. With the current technological advancement, it is possible to target global customers and not just the local market.

Compared to the Yellow Pages, organic SEO is much more affordable. When consumers relied on the Yellow Pages for information, a business had to seek presence in the Yellow Pages. The technique for gaining popularity in the Yellow Pages entailed printing of large and very colorful advertisements. Businesses had to pay very high prices, several thousand dollars for instance to gain a presence in the Yellow Pages. In short, it can be much cheaper to earn long-lasting top of mind awareness via organic search marketing and SEO compared to the Yellow Pages.

With so many businesses offering similar products and services, many businesses face stiff competition. As a business owner, once you notice that your competitors have dropped their adverts in the Yellow Pages, it should serve as a signal that you should act. To keep up with the surging competition, embracing the techniques of organic search marketing and SEO is important. By giving up advertisement in the Yellow Pages, you can use the same amount of money or much less to build your presence in the search engines. Many businesses recognize the vast benefits associated with organic search marketing. For this reason, many businesses are shifting to SEO marketing as well as other channels like Google+ and social media.

It is much faster to advertise through the Internet than in the Yellow Pages. For this reason, organic search marketing can be a great way of rejuvenating your business through aggressive online marketing. When using the Yellow Pages however, it could take a lot of time before your advert gets to the customers. When using the printed Yellow Pages, you wait until the book is printed and the printing may only take place twice a year.

Some businesses however have not fully shifted away from the Yellow Pages. Some business owners may prefer using more than one medium of advertising. Such businesses may thus combine SEO marketing services with Yellow Pages advertising. However, in future, more and more people are likely to entirely shift from the Yellow Pages and embrace the usage of the Internet. Therefore, though some businesses are still using the Yellow Pages they are likely to totally shift to SEO usage in the future.

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The Importance of Reviews as a Local SEO Ranking Mechanism

Local SEO ReviewsContrary to popular belief, customer reviews are not just meant to give your potential customers the right impression regarding your brand. They can also be considered as a great way of enticing popular search engines to rank your site higher.

Google loves companies with great customer reviews. One thing that you should understand is that local SEO is basically done to market your site to famous search engines like Google.

On the other hand, Google’s main agenda is to offer quality content for its users, and quality reviews are great ranking mechanism to achieve this. There are a number of ways in which you can ensure customer reviews have a positive impact on your local SEO campaign. These are mentioned below:

1. Increasing the number of customer reviews on your website: So long as you keep your website in proper order and avoid cluttering, having a high number of customer reviews is always a good thing. You should have at least few reviews on your Google Plus if you want to appear in the top rankings of the Google Local search results search engine results pages (SERPs). This is because Google prefers websites with a good number of customer reviews.

2. Earning high quality customer reviews: While you want to maintain a good number of customer reviews, it is important to check on quality. The quality of your reviews will be measured by the actual ratings they receive. All your reviews do not have to be perfect since customers want credible information. Just keep in mind that your ratings are a measure of quality and this is one thing Google really considers when ranking sites.

3. Keeping an eye on competitor’s reviews: It is highly likely that your competitors will also have their own customer reviews on their websites. This means that, some form of competition is created in the local SERP. You can be able to step up to your competitors regardless of whether they currently have the highest ranking on Google. If you come up with the right strategy, you will soon outrank your competitors.

When it comes to local SEO, or "geo-local SEO," there are a number of things you can do in order to get a good number of customer reviews. For starters, make sure you ask your customers to write a review of your product or service immediately instead of waiting to ask for it later on. You should also make sure that the method of reviewing is made as easy as possible to the customer.

For instance, you can send an email with an attached survey that is simple to fill. If this email is not responded within certain duration, be sure to follow up on that customer a few days later. However, never force a customer to give you a review. If you feel the need to force them, it is likely that there is something in your business that needs to be worked on so you need to check on that.

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Why Your Business Needs (Real) Positive Reviews on Local Listings

Local BusinessIn this post, we underscore the considerations local entrepreneurs need to know when running a business and maintaining a good local reputation.

According to a study headed by Research Corp, approximately 83% of online consumers tell that they are likely to purchase a product or hire a service provider if they have read several positive reviews about it online.

In a study conducted by McKinsey Quarterly, around 20% to 50% of consumers base their purchasing decisions on what they hear about a certain product or service. Word of mouth is still a force even in the online world;

Yelp.com, an online business directory that features customer-generated reviews, has become an avenue for customers to view a product or service before deciding to complete a purchase or try another business instead.

In a research by Harvard University said that a difference of 1 “star” has boosted or reduced a business’ sales performance by as much as 9%. Stars are gauges used by Yelp to determine the businesses’ reliability as well as trustworthiness based on how previous customers rate them.

The bottom line here is that what people say about a certain brand or service online, potential customers listen. How they deliver their experience as well as views on a particular shampoo or how they fared with the neighborhood’s auto repair center creates a huge impact on how other perceive such products and offerings, both positively and negatively.

Positive reviews from real customers not only act as magnets for local businesses. According to Jay Ehret, founder of The Marketing Spot, affirmative commentaries from actual consumers also bolster a site’s ranking in the local business listings. Search engine crawlers, says Ehret, are gravitated by the volume as well as the quality of customer reviews.

“For this reason, it would not hurt for you to encourage your customers to review your business,” states Ehret.

When encouraging customers to review their experiences, Ehret advices not to ask for positive comments. This is a huge mistake in promoting your business and could hamper your business’ reputation in the long run if such practice is continued.

Ehret also advices online businesses not to fear a negative review. While it is understandable that no one wants to receive an adverse report from a customer, such commentaries must be seen as an opportunity to improve one’s business and see what problems that require attention and fixing.

Negative reviews will come, as there is no pleasing everybody. But a negative review can be reversed to something positive, especially by handling it efficiently, properly, and timely. Responding to customers and asking them for feedback is the best route when dealing with negative reviews. However, there’s a plethora of how negative reviews can be addressed and how adverse situations can be fixed.

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A Plastic Surgeon SEO Strategy in a Nutshell

Whether you do SEO for surgeons as a marketing professional or you're tackling your plastic surgeon SEO strategy in-house, executing a solid strategy doesn't require a lot of resources. Rather, successful SEO for surgeons is the result of implementing the proper techniques in the right places.

As we approach 2015, revamping your plastic surgeon SEO strategy will be vital to succeed in the new year. Below are some foundational strategy insights to help you attain top search engine exposure for the keywords that will drive your surgical practice meaningful traffic.

1. Choose Keyword Targets Mindfully

Keyword selection will often depend on where you're located. If your surgical practice is based in a competitive geographic market (e.g. San Francisco or Dallas), then you'll want to look at more precise long-tail keywords that reflect your core surgical specialties.

Google Local SEO

For instance, a surgeon in a smaller city like Traverse City, Michigan can rank easier for "plastic surgeon Traverse City" compared to a plastic surgeon in San Francisco. The latter California-based surgeon would be better off optimizing for surgical niche like rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, or other specialized surgical procedures that people are seeking. This helps slim down the competition while helping you attract more targeted patients.

In short, it's often best to build your surgeon SEO strategy around a very specific niche. Almost every plastic surgeon wants to rank for "plastic surgeon [city]." By choosing highly-specific keyword targets, you can define your plastic surgery practice as the authority in a given surgical specialty.

There are some agencies that specialize in SEO for surgeons, and offer free audits to help with keyword selection and developing your surgeon SEO strategy. We suggest www.OptimizedSurgeons.com. Not only do they offer services in SEO for surgeons, but they offer a wealth of insights on their blog.

2. Populate Your Website With Unique & Valuable Content

Many SEO-savvy surgeons are over-concerned with on-site optimization, as many are under the impression that a strong website is what fuels top rankings. Well, on-site factors are only about 30% of the equation in how Google determines it's search engine rankings.

Plastic Surgeon SEOFocus your on-site SEO efforts on creating unique and valuable content that resonates with your target patients. Sure, keyword relevancy is important. But having a website with deep content that helps educate, inform, and/or enlighten patients is what ultimately distinguishes the authorities from the rest of the pack.

Some content strategy ideas include:

  • Start a blog or articles pages where you can regularly publish content about your surgical specialty
  • Create webpages (e.g. "Our Services" or "What to Expect") that very deep and rich with unique content that offers value
  • Ensure your homepage content has at least 200+ words of crawlable text (avoid having a lot of text in images where spiders can't crawl it.)
  • Create videos and other rich media content

You're website doesn't need to be a library. Rather, a simple 10-page website can rank just as well as deep 100-page website. It all comes down to the off-page variables that define your practice.

3. Invest Most of Your Surgeon SEO Efforts Off Your Site

Off-site variables (e.g. backlinks, social signals, etc.) make-up 60-70% of Google' search engine algorithm. For this reason, you'll want to invest most of your time and energy in external endeavors.

Backlinks are ultimately the bee's knee's to ranking higher in Google organic search. However, in most cases, Google will display the local search listings (accompanied by the Map and red pins) for desired keyword targets that are associated with a city or geographic reference. The ranking algorithm of these local search listings are determined by other factors, with citations (mentions of your practice's name, address, and phone) being paramount.

Start by getting your practice listed on major directories like Yelp, Google+, LinkedIn, Yahoo! Local, Superpages, Yellowpages, and any others you can find. You should also check out directories and websites specific to surgeons. Having a profile on these websites provides a citation which can help with you Google local rankings. Additionally, many of these profiles will provide a link back to your website, which can help increase your Google organic search ranking.

Several sources of citations and backlinks are also social media sites, which is another layer of the SEO equation. Having an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and/or Pinterest, can offer a solid supplement to SEO. If you're regularly blogging and producing content, then these social sites offer the perfect medium to share your content.

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YP Unveils All-Inclusive PPC Search Platform for Local Businesses

YP PPCYP, a renowned neighborhood search provider also known as Yellow Pages, has unveiled a local pay per click (PPC) solution, which many have termed as a the one stop shop. This is due to the fact that it brings together YP's very own PPC model with paid advertisement capabilities on not only YP, but three premier search engines giants: Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Over the last few years, the YP has actually been a close companion to SMBs due to its foremost authority on aspects related Google Adwords. In addition, its also been a network ambassador for the search engine giants Yahoo and Bing.

This new technology was based on the fact that most YP's users were prone to making quick buying decisions, and the need to ensure that the whole process is incredible and not subject to any form of manipulation is what bought forth the the innovative new PPC search platform.

An Enhanced & Automated Ad Platform

This new PPC search platform actually promises an enhanced search engine, which automates majority of the sophisticated and complex tasks that are key to building and managing a web campaign across all the search engine platforms at once. It has been designed to capture performance data across all the search engines platforms in order to ensure daily management of all the budgets.

This should come as good news to most SMBs since it's a more effective and credible way to carry out web campaigns targeted at attracting more potential customers. Most business can benefit from this new PPC search platform in many ways including:

Increased Lead Potential

Advanced marketing and more creative advertising will be key to boosting the number of potential customers that will fall for your products and services in all the phases of business cycle. YP's years of experience in internet business, dealings with the giant search engines and other related aspects, is what partly contributed to the development of this new outstanding platform.

This makes the new PPC search platform the best and ultimate option for any business that aims at being at the top in their respective segments. With this new platform, it's more evident that your products and services will get more exposure and consequently gain more returns.

Spans Across Many Platforms

Most YP's users, according to statistics, were mobile phone users. This implies that having a search platform with integrated technology that can cut across a wide range of devices including mobiles, computers and many others and still manage to be absolutely effective is something any business definitely needs and longs to have. That's why the new PPC search platform makes the best option for SMBs since ads can be personalized and customized to reach every potential customer.

Remarketing Capabilities

As earlier observed, this new PPC search platform has the ability to perform even the most complicated of tasks. This may entail techniques aimed at making sure the customer gets to see the ad countless times until they are left with no option but to get behind the ad and know what it is all about. Furthermore, it may even go to the extent of ensuring customers are served with personalized ads. If you include it as part of your campaign strategy, then chances of getting more leads and customers are indeed high.

It's undeniably true that YP's new platform has been designed and customized for nearly every business need. Some of the outcomes most SMBs expect from such platforms include optimized performance, increased sales and brand awareness, waste elimination amongst many others. It therefore follows that every SMB will fall for a platform that can perform even the most complex tasks and a host of other functions aimed at achieving all the mentioned aspects. This why YP's new PPC search platform ought to be top of the priority list for any SMB.

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New Google Local "3 Pack" Prominently Owning Search Real Estate

Google LocalThe former "7 pack" refers to the local search results in Google that are accompanied by the map and red push pins (often ranked from letters A-G). These listings, which appear above the organic listings and below the PPC ads, are now modified by the Google.

The common 7 pack of business listings, which includes the business name, address, phone number, and other relevant information when they are hovered over, has now been reduced to the 3 pack.

This change has been favorable to the Google in two ways. The local 3 Pack will be more conducive to the mobile environment. Secondly, the "carousel" 7 pack will be dropped out owing to its poor connections and relevance with the rest of the results in the search page.

How Local Search Marketers Can Adapt to the 3 Pack?

In the current trend, it is important for the local search marketers and SEO's to adopt various strategies in their marketing that will comply with the new change of local packs by the Google. The three main steps involved to get appeared in the local pack includes, owing the Google+ business page, optimizing the Google+ page and building a location page on the website where readers can land at.

Google Local 3 Pack

With the new change by the Google, it cannot be assured that the local internet marketers may find a place in the 3 packs during the search even when they are relevant. So, the local SEO's are required to make their websites optimized for local searches in order to sustain in the competing world. This is also important to get enough online traffic to the website. Some of the strategies of tackling with the new Google local 3 pack has been discussed in the next section.

Does Local PPC Have Greater Potential?

The option of PPC will be helpful in that they are proven strategy to increase the online traffic for the local marketers websites. This is useful especially in the cases where the business websites need to find a place in the top sections of web search results. It is obvious that the local SEO would not be able to find a place in the limited 3 packs of the Google.

Local PPC may be the best alternative option for the local marketers to progress in their business. It is also worthwhile to note that the top search result that will be seen by the users will be the PPC ads. The 3 pack is supposed to be the second to be viewed. The organic results come third in the order in which the browsers see the results.

This order is unaffected even if the keyword makes the local website eligible to be placed in the top organic position. So, PPC is sure to help in the business progress for the local marketers and SEO's. If that doesn't shake things up for you local search marketing strategy, then scope some other non-traditional strategies and tips below.

Other Considerations About The Google 3 Pack

The star ratings will play an important role for the local business people to boost their website traffic. Google has provided the option of selecting the businesses that are above certain ratings. The searchers are exposed to those businesses that have received high ratings from the customers. This could be the best strategy for the local marketers to grab more traffic to their websites.

If they are able to receive more ratings from the current customers, this can pave a way for their development. The sponsored results are also being considered as an alternative solution for displaying about the local businesses by the Google. These results will show up the various local marketers associated with a particular field.

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Embracing a Socially-Oriented Ecommerce SEO Strategy

Social SEO Ecommerce StrategyIt's been about 2 decades since marketing agencies started offering SEO services to different clients in order to help their visibility in the search engines. This is not a news to anyone working online and it became pointless writing repetitive blogs.

A lot has changed over quite some time, and if you're following updates coming from Google, then you'll realize your ecommerce SEO strategies are constantly evolving. Of course, if you are running a business that needs online attention, you'll first seek help from a SEO expert. But regular optimization is becoming outdated.

If you want to compete with big companies that have a brand to support their product your ecommerce business will be ruined if you don't look a bit outside of the box and find a new way to expand a bit more into their turf. You won't forget and throw away everything you did so far, you'll just need to upgrade your system a bit more and the results will be there for sure.

Adopting Social Strategies to Facilitate SEO Outcomes

If you consider yourself a serious entrepreneur with a strong desire to success with your ecommerce business you have to be present on well-established social media platforms. Social media goes hand in hand with SEO and just as marketable web presence optimization can affect your visibility in search engines. The quality of content on your page should be the same just as what you are currently doing with your SEO, but on the social platform this content can be made more striking.

When you are just depending on keywords, tags, and links, you can't be sure is your website visible at all and how high is rated in the search engine, but with help of social media you can aim more precise to your future customers. When you get enough attention with social media you'll get it on Google as well.

Establishing The Foundation to Your Ecommerce SEO'cial Strategy

First and basic thing you need to pay attention to when cultivating social ecommerce SEO strategies is a number of followers you have on your page. A number of followers can be picked by a simple campaign without any spam-like invitations. Other, a bit trickier tactic is using external links that are channeled through your social media.

Your social SEO strategy mission should be getting unique and relevant content from different sources leading back to you in some point. Using hash tags can be quite handy as well spreading the word even more. The more external links you have the bigger you get on Google's radar.

Another way to increase your size on the online map is also provided by social media which all have like, share, favorite, etc. options. The bigger engagement you have on every of your posts the bigger is the chance you'll be noticed by your search engine. In order to get more interaction, you can organize a giveaway which requires all of the options mentioned above.

Last but not least strategy you should try is local social media action and strategy. Of course, you would want a global success, but it's good to start with smaller steps through your community or region first. Targeting options provided by social media can be quite handy for this kind of approach. Once you gain trust from customers physically closer to you there is a good chance you will attract the attention of the outside world as well.

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