Beginning on January 1, 2012, a shift in geo-local Google results will take place: websites will be required to pay for listings in Google Maps.
The charges will only impact those websites that receive a large number of clicks from the Google Maps listings. Once a website exceeds the 25,000 hits per day, Google will then start applying the charges.
The industry expected to be most affected by this development is travel. This because travel agencies often link clients to locations in which they’re inquiring about. Local businesses might also be affected as many business websites use the Google Maps API to point customers to their specific locations.
The rumor is that Google will charge $4 for every 1000 clicks that exceed the 25,000 limit. Heavy users will need to evaluate usage and take appropriate action if necessary.
Google defends its decision by disclosing that it is essential for the long term viability of the service. It is estimated that only 0.35% of all users will be affected.continue...
You down with SoLoMo? Not sure what SoLoMo means?
SoLoMo is the new buzzword taking storm in the marketing world. It's a creative combination of marketing through Social, Local, and Mobile mediums.
It is a slight spin on the once popular "hyperlocal" SEO approach, but with a little social media blended in. SoLoMo shows great potential for businesses to promote their offers, and it's also an easy method for customers to get highly-relevant search results specifically for their local area.
SoLoMo marketing is a novel concept of providing smartphone users access to locally-focused promotions and store offerings through mobile search based on their current location.
For example, if you are craving some Donuts while walking with your friends in town, SoLoMo-based apps on a mobile device can provide instant results and locations of Donut shops in your vicinity. In some SoLoMo apps, you can even see if your friends are available on the same location through Google Places or Foursquare's check-in system.
This is a very innovative way of connecting with customers in a more personalized and location-centric manner. It is also a great opportunity for businesses both large and small to promote offers, discounts, and coupons as customers seek the types of products and services they offer online.
FourSquare has an overall strategy of offering deals based on the geographic proximity of the customers using FourSquare apps for checking in to various location. They have multipronged approach of discovering what’s nearby based on local user's check-ins, and can offer discounts to incentives to loyal shoppers or those who are simply looking for a particular business. They implement cool incentives like free parking of the company's “Mayor.”
In summary, SoLoMo is a boon for businesses to offer deals for customers based on their social habits and local relevance - all by tapping into the intelligence of smartphones.continue...
More communities are realizing the importance of local sustainability and protecting their local economies. Businesses are focusing more on building relationships at a local level, and as a result marketing and advertising efforts are also shifting toward more local markets.
SEO has earned the reputation of being a highly efficient marketing channel that can provide an incredible return on investment. However local SEO, a unique sub-specialty of search engine optimization, can offer even more marketing efficiency and bang for the buck.
The concept of local SEO, also commonly called “hyper-local SEO,” is simply the practice of search engine optimization with a geographic focus.
Many businesses and individuals are seeking a specific product or service within their local vicinity. So instead of searching the keyword phrase “bike shop” to find a local cycling store, a geo-modified search query would include something like “Traverse City bike shop” or “bike shop in Atlanta.”
In essence, local SEO makes a website relevant on both the core keyword phrase and the geographic modifier. By focusing a website’s SEO efforts the local market, businesses can earn qualified search traffic from potential customers in their local area.
Like mentioned above, local SEO marketing is efficient. The geo-targeted search market is considered highly “in-market,” meaning the traffic that comes to locally optimized website is often highly qualified to take action, or in other words, convert.
But local SEO is more than just an efficient connection between a website and a search engine user. Local SEO is typically less competitive than non-local SEO, and thus more cost-effective.
Unlike traditional SEO that can require months off-site link building, sometimes all it takes is a simple on-site, local SEO tune-up to see top search engine placement.
As more and more companies and consumers advocate the local approach to doing business, the opportunities for local SEO will offer great advantages.continue...
Google search has been witnessing a lot of changes recently. The search placement of a particular website is no longer a specific number in the rankings as much as it is a probability within a range.
As a result, SEO's and Internet marketers are faced with further difficulties in analyzing SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages.) In addition to the blended SERPs of videos, images, news, and shopping suggestions, things are getting even more mixed.
Now enter "Search Plus your World," which introduces a host of factors that may further sway the search results. Location, personal preferences, search history, logged in or out as a Google users, searching from mobile device - it is almost impossible to define (and predict) the search engine rankings of a website because the results may vary from user to user.
With Google's new "Search Plus your World," its ranking algorithm has significantly changed. Here Google observes the social behaviors of users through its social network platform called Google Plus.
In essence, Google Plus users who perform a search while logged into their Google account may be delivered more personalized search results. The webpages displayed in their SERPs may be pages in which people of their Google Plus network have shared or have clicked the +1 button of the page.
Pages that have been socially endorsed by fellow Google Plus users may rank much more favorably for a searcher. In a personalized SERP, the searcher will see tiny avatars of the people in his or her network who have +1'd certain pages. Additionally, the searcher may be exposed to webpages with more local relevance.
In short, some of pages displayed in the "Search Plus your World" results have been vouched for by people within your Google Plus network.
Google’s individually-tailored search results will become very important for local businesses. As Google Plus continues to grow its membership base, typical users will have networks (or "circles") which primarily consist of family and friends, and Google+ profile pages of local businesses.
Local businesses need to avoid the schemes that offer selling hundreds of +1 votes for better rankings. Earning mass-quantity +1's from unspecified accounts will be pointless for a local business, as none of these "people" will likely be in the local network of the business. As the system was intended to be, +1 authority must be built naturally.
As a business with a local market focus, you want to encourage mainly locals vouch for your webpages with the Google +1. Exploit your creativity, and offer promotions and incentives that are tied to your Google Plus. In turn, this will enable your rankings to be favored for more by local searches. Below are three simple ways to better your local SEO performance using the elements of Google Plus.
If you have additional insights on how to encourage more +1's for a local business website, be sure to add them in the comments below.continue...
Starting an external blog for your business can offer a number of benefits. Most of these benefits center on increasing both new and reoccurring traffic.
Before we dive too deep, let’s take a look at the fundamentals of what an "external business blog" really is.
An external blog is publishing source that is on a separate domain (.com, .org, .info) from the business's website. As opposed to an internal blog that is a part of the domain (whether as a blog page or a sub-domain,) external business blogs can offer greater flexibility and additional SEO value.
Typically, external business blogs are built with theme or topical relevance to that of the business. However, what makes an external blog for a business more flexible than an internal blog is the ability to brand the external blog as its own entity.
This is where it is important to really "carve your niche" with you blog and set the stage for highly focused content. For instance, if local winery is unveiling an external blog, they will want to focus their content specifically on the wine industry. Furthermore, the winery could carve its niche deeper by focusing the content of the blog unique aspect of wine and how it relates to local interests.
Developing an external blog that flows with the brand of the business is key to attract targeted, in-market traffic. Flexibility and creativity come into play when determining just how aligned the brand of the blog meets that of the business.
All blogs should have a primary goal. The common goal for most blogs is to attract users to the blog (with solid marketing and interesting content) and funnel that traffic to the website of the business.
To do that, you need to brand your blog in a way that relates to your target market. The type content in which you plan to publish plays a big role in positioning the brand of the blog. Also a factor in blog branding is the nature of the target audience.
Does your blog seek to advise and teach visitors? Or does your blog seek to inform and enlighten visitors? The answers to these types of questions can help you determine the ideal brand image of your blog.
Referring back to the concept of "carving your niche," the content in which you publish on your blog is your way to achieve just that. Expansive blogs that cover a broad range of topics typically have a number of experts and writers populating the blog (to cover each topic.) Evaluate your goals and your resources, and start determining the target theme to position your blog.
Regardless of your area of specialty, stay focused on your niche and write content that stays specific to your blog's topic. Sometimes writing about topics that are outside the realm of your blogs topic may seem tempting, but always try to stay close to your blog's main idea.
The SEO value of your external blog comes in two ways:
The first SEO advantage of inbound traffic hinges on the quality and nature of your blog's content. Again, highly focused content that speaks to a precise audience is imperative to compelling visitors to further explore your blog and find their way to the website of your business.
Link building with your blog can help you grow your rankings in the search engines on specific keyword targets. The practice is quite simple. You must first have a blog story that relates to the link (or anchor text and URL destination of that link) that you want to build. It is important to ensure that the article or blog post has some relevancy to that of the link.
In addition to content relevancy, the anchor text, or link text, should contain the keywords in which you are targeting for the page receiving the link.
For instance, let’s say a small batch winery on the Leelanau Peninsula of Michigan is supplementing the local SEO efforts of its website with an external blog. In that blog, they are writing articles about various wine-related topics in the Leelanau Peninsula region. To make their website more relevant (and better optimized for) searches like "Leelanau Peninsula wineries," they should use the anchor text "Leelanau Peninsula wineries" in the links that they build from their blog to their website.
Well that about sums up this post on external blogging for you business. If you have any additional insights, or questions, please post them in the comments section below.continue...
The release of Google Engage for Agencies offers a wealth of resources for Internet marketers who work with locally-focused small businesses. Spanning from SEOs, webmasters, marketing consultants, and social media marketers, Google Engage is program designed for more than just agencies. Google Engage can up-and-coming entrepreneurs to grow and expand their business.
With Google Engage for Agencies, you can learn to use and take advantage of different marketing tools such as Google AdWords, as well as pre-existing Google advertising programs that generates income on the pay-per-click model. Not only does this offer SEOs and Internet marketers a significant advantage in promoting and executing their services, but in return, local businesses can reap the rewards of cost-efficient, locally targeted advertising opportunities.
There is no cost to join the Google Engage program, but there are some qualifications that need to be met. The person must have or be in charge of a website for a business that is already functioning and established on the web. The individual must be ready to commit to learning about the different Google resources, and also to start promoting the resources from Google to existing and potential customers.
The program will guide the individual through a training program that shows them how Google advertising and AdWords works, as well as how to become more successful at Internet marketing. In essence, the basic training phase will help increase and build marketing and advertising skills.
One of the greatest benefits of Google Engage for Agencies is that Google will give you free AdWords coupons to use for new clients. This enables marketers to show their clients the potential of local Pay Per Click advertising before having to spend a single dollar. Agencies in the program are granted up to 20 AdWords coupons valued at $100 of free ad spend which they can offer to their clients in any manner they like.
Google Engage members can also learn how to most efficiently target their audience, and how to set a solid AdWords campaign that attracts qualified leads for their clients. The program goes into advanced AdWords training concepts, such as properly setting-up ad groups, writing ad copy, and using other tools like click-to-call and mobile ad targeting. Google Engage for Agencies is a wonderful program that offers many advantages as well as reciprocity between advertisers and Google. Advertisers can take advantage of the offers in which Google Engage provides, while Google can expand its customer base and focus on building a reputation at a more local level.
Learn more about this amazing new program and visit the official website for Google Engage for Agencies.continue...
Local search is an SEO (search engine optimization) facet that targets a specific geographic location. Targeting a specific locality is advantageous in that you will advertise to people who are more likely to buy from you. When it comes to Internet traffic, quality beats quantity every day.
So, how do you optimize for location? The theory of how this is done is not very different from how SEO of websites and blogs is done. The only major difference is that the actual practice is much more focused. With local optimization, optimization is not simply for your targeted keywords or keyword phrases. Emphasis is placed on ensuring that your brick & mortar store and the site come together in an easy-to-follow manner.
Local search engine optimization techniques are aimed at getting your name, your site, and your business in sight of the most likely users of such information. These are the people who are located near where the brick & mortar store is located. Local search can be taken to be the online version of the Yellow Pages. An example of how local SEO works is that if you have a restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts, potential clients who do searches with the keyword “restaurant” followed by a local area modifier will end up getting your website as one of the results. They will also get a list of restaurants in the area on Google Maps.
Google is now penalizing websites that are over optimized. The recent Panda updates mean that the best option if you want a high ranking is to focus on great Web experience. This means greater social and local experience. Local, targeted search engine optimization is popular with small business owners since it allows them to compete favorably with larger competitors.
Do a simple search with the type of business and the local area modifier. You will find that the results, which will dominate the first page of the SERPs will be businesses that are listed with Google Places. Given this fact, it follows that incorporating local SEO techniques to your campaign will come in handy.
It is important that you know different effective local SEO strategies and tips that will increase your ranking. There are many businesses that are trying to do the same and it therefore follows that getting a high ranking is easy. There are several strategies that have been tried and tested over time and that are guaranteed to improve your ranking in no time.
There are several business directories, among the most popular being Google+ Local, Yelp, InsiderPages, YellowPages, and FourSquare. Get listed in as many of these business directories as possible. Listing in most of them is free of charge.
Business directories are great in local SEO promotion since they increase your business’s visibility. They also help in the increasing of the ranking of your website in SERPs. For instance an Illinois directory would benefit your local Illinois business's SEO efforts due to local relevancy. Also look for categories that are related. So if you own an Illinois SEO firm, seek categories around Internet marketing and SEO companies. Strong directories like Google Maps will increase your ranking on other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo!, and MSN.
Of all these business directories, Google Places is the most effective since Google is the most popular search engine and listing is free of charge. All you should do is create an account and provide the information required. You are allowed to include a brief description of your business and to provide a link to your site.
Keyword optimization is one of the most effective search engine optimization techniques. This is also true for local SEO. Keyword optimization means having the right keyword and using the keyword optimally. Optimal use of the keyword means having the right keyword density when doing SEO copywriting. Overusing the keyword will lead to accusations of spamming and under using the keyword will not give you the desired results.
Keywords are what search engines use to determine your ranking in SERPs, among other factors such as link building. Keyword research helps you get the most effective yet least competitive keyword. You should also ensure that the wording and arrangement of the keyword leads to different results in SERPs. As an example, Boston local SEO will give you different results from local SEO Boston. There are several keyword research tools that you could use to come up with the best possible keyword.
Encourage users to leave reviews, be they good or bad. This will help build a positive reputation. User reviews are also important in local SEO. Potential clients use reviews to determine the appropriateness of your products/services. The feedback you get is important because it will help you with such things as product development.
Human beings respond better to images than to text. A high quality image of your business premises will go a long way in enhancing your reputation. It is possible to optimize images for search engines. To do this, have your keyword in the image title through an image Alt tag.
What is the impact of local search in your local business?
Google understands that most people who are searching for businesses want results for businesses in their neighborhood and this is the reason why there is even a map for local businesses in the first SERP. Take advantage of this and list your business and use keywords that have a local area modifier.
According to recent statistics, 20% of all searches are local searches. You should optimize your website for local searches because you will be able to compete with larger competitors in your area. There are precious few other opportunities to compete with them since they have more advertising dollars to hire a highly professional SEO expert.
Local SEO is important because you will be exposed to a bigger audience given the fact that most people today are doing product searches over the Internet. The increased traffic will translate into more sales. Do local SEO as part of a larger SEO strategy for the best results. Consider such website promotion methods as email marketing, social media marketing, and link building.continue...
Traditionally, when it came to search engine optimization, most businesses would think of SEO based on a global perspective: how to get higher search engine results rankings worldwide.
The truth of the matter though is that you would be better placed to getting a better response if you concentrated your efforts on local SEO. So what are some of the local SEO tips that you could use to boost the growth of your business?
Below are three action-oriented local SEO tips to help you get started:
1) Get in the minds of you target demographic: While using SEO as part of your marketing strategy, you should know what it is your target audience would search for online. Before you can fully optimize your site for their queries, you should have a grasp on their thinking patterns. Take time to put yourself in their shoes. If you were looking for your product online, what would you search for? For example, if you sold golf accessories, what would your keywords be?
An Internet user that simply types the word “golf” into the search engine will most likely not be directed to your website. Even those that will search for “golf balls” would not benefit from your website. However, the search term “golf accessories” would have the highest chances of generating traffic to your site. A common mistake that most online business owners do is using keywords that are relevant but that are not popular with Internet users. They will make use of keywords that all other businesses in the same field are using and thus end up compromising their rankings on search engine results. Coming up with the right keyword that will relate to your local audience increases the chances of boosting your business's Illinois SEO performance.
2) Request for customer reviews: Another practice that could generate local targeted traffic is by having customer reviews online about your website and the products that you sell. Do not shy away from asking past customers to write up reviews on your services and products. This is an acceptable practice when it comes to Google local SEO and can greatly increase your online sales. You should mention to your clients that they can do this at their own accord.
It can be done by simply mentioning it in passing in any contact that you have with your clients. For example, if you email your clients, include a sentence saying “Please take time to review our site on this and that website”. Granted, you will not have any power over what may be said about your company. However, if you strive to proffer quality services chances are you will get good reviews and this will lend much needed credibility to your business.
3) Get backlinks to your site: Earning and building links to your website is very important to achieve top search engine rankings. When it comes to getting backlinks, ensure that you are getting them from reputable websites that are somewhat relevant to your business. The biggest part of Internet marketing is to increase your web presence. If people do not know about your business, they will not be buying anything from you. In bound links from quality websites will boost your relevance as well as your credibility thus increasing your sales.continue...
Google one of the most powerful marketing tools that you can use to help grow your business online. If you would like to give your business a boost, it is recommended that you sign up with Google+ Local. This being a local listing, you get a chance to reel in targeted traffic from your area. Another benefit of using Google+ is the local SEO benefit. Since Google Places pages have been replaced with Google+ Local pages, the search exposure can be invaluable.
Like Google Places pages, attaining a wealth of Google+ Local reviews can help promote your business's search engine listing. However, not many businesses understand how to attract more reviews from their customers. Before we get into reviews, first lets talk about how Google+ Local can enhance your business.
What is Google+ Local Reviews? Before getting into the local reviews bit of it, it is pertinent that you first understand how Google+ local works. Essentially, this is an extension of the popular feature Google Maps. It is a way of fostering interactivity with Google Maps. Google Maps is made up of locations globally. Each location will link back to a Google+ Local page. Thus, anyone can learn all they need to know about a business in brief by clicking on the business’ local page.
The information that can be gleaned on this is not simply about what the business offers though. You can get a wide range of information including directions to the physical address of the business, videos pertaining to the business and more. With Google+ Local Reviews, customers get a chance to post about the experience that they had with a particular business.
There are a number of ways that reviews can be generated. For one, a business can request their past customers to post about their personal experience with the company. This is a great way of getting positive reviews especially if you strive to provide excellent services. However, you should keep in mind that you cannot dictate what type of reviews will be posted. Another way that reviews can be generated is through Google itself.
Google has taken it a step further by aggregating reviews from third party sites that specialize in reviewing businesses. Thus, you will find that a wide range of reviews will come up for different businesses on Google+ Local reviews. This will give potential clients a chance to see what type of business they will be dealing with. For instance, if you operate a Michigan SEO firm, you may want to encourage your clients to offer reviews so that you're perceived as a credible Michigan SEO expert.
Can the reviews be edited or removed? As aforementioned, a business has no power over the type of reviews that will be posted about them. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find that negative reviews will also be posted as these reviews are largely based on a matter of personal opinion. Although a business’ first option would be to get rid of negative reviews, this is not an acceptable practice with Google.
It is always best to get two sides of a coin since everyone will have their own opinion. However, in the event that a review was illegal, was incorrect, or perhaps it was irrelevant, you have the opportunity to flag the review. Google will then investigate it and decide on whether or not it should be pulled down.
To learn more about the importance of integrating Google+ with you local SEO strategy, visit SEO Illinois experts, Online Innovative Creations. The provide free SEO and web assessments for all types of businesses.continue...
SEO is constantly evolving. One thing that's for sure is local SEO in 2013 is going to center on real marketing. That is, no longer will automated link building strategies or keyword optimized content win the game.
Instead, your 2013 local SEO strategy will need to focus on legitimate marketing principles of attracting a real audience and establishing real connections. In short, this will center on quality content and social media engagement.
With that said, below we share with you five tips for building your local SEO strategy for 2013.
There's no doubt that local social media is going to have an immense impact on your 2013 local SEO strategy. One social networking platform that you must address is Google+. Google+ will (in fact already does) have a direct impact on the organic search results. For this reason, you'll want to create and verify you Google+ page as a start.
Like we mentioned above, SEO is becoming more like traditional marketing in the sense that success will hinge on real relationships and interactions. The best insights you'll gain for your local SEO strategy will hinge on getting to know your true local market and what drives them to take action. What types of social media platforms are they using? What keywords are they searching? Ask yourself a lot of questions and do some market research to reveal everything you can.
The content of your website, spanning from the images to the copy, should be assessed when revising you local SEO strategy for 2013. Conjure up a strong sense of empathy and really get a solid idea of the perception and motives of your target market. Ask yourself: what style and tone of content is going to appeal to them the most? Additionally, you may also want to consider the design and layout of your site to ensure it's up-to-date and attractive.
Your 2013 local SEO strategy must definitely incorporate content marketing. But what's more than just articles and blog posts for inbound market is rich media content like videos, slideshows, infographics, and podcasts. Get creative with content marketing, and develop a strategy that's best aligned with your target market, as well as your capabilities.
Local relevancy plays a huge role in generating quality link popularity for local SEO. By establishing local connections for guest blogging, you can add links back to your website that will have incredible SEO value. Reach to local business websites that have blogs, even if their focus is slightly different. The idea is to get creative and find ways to make you content applicable.
You have plenty of time to start building you 2013 local SEO strategy, but it doesn't hurt to start brainstorming now. We hope these insights will give you solid direction to plan and execute a successful SEO campaign for you local business.continue...
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