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4 Essential Tips for Local SEO

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.

Local Michigan SEO Expert

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.

1. Get Listed in Local Business Directories

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.

2. Do Keyword Research

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.

3. Encourage User Reviews

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.

4. Use Business Photos and do Image SEO

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.

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3 Action-Oriented Local SEO Tips

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.

Local SEO TipsThe 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.

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The Importance of Google+ Reviews for Local SEO

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.

Be a Local Leader via Google+

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.

Google+ Reviews for Local SEO

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.

Generating Google+ Reviews

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.

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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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How to Generate Reviews for Better Local SEO Results

Peoria SEO CompanyReviews are a great tool for local SEO. The significant thing about reviews is that they are not under one’s control, and they should not be. As such, it becomes a bit hard to get the type of reviews you want whenever you want. In this case, a business should use proven stratgies to ensure they generate positive reviews for their reputation and overall SEO efforts.

The first thing to note is that people rarely ever give positive reviews, but they often give negative reviews. Customers find it easier to express dissatisfaction in a company than satisfaction. As such, the only way to get good reviews is to ask for them. This is actually the first tip.

Ask for review

Reviews are good for business but they have to be positive. Negative reviews ruin business by turning away potential and some existing customers. Positive reviews attract more customers and breed loyalty in existing ones. A business should always ask for reviews. To get positive reviews, first ask customers that have been satisfied by your products and services. They most likely definitely give positive reviews.

Also, ask other customers to give you reviews about their experience with your business. For the mere fact that you have asked them kindly, they will definitely give a positive review to help with local SEO. In case of any dissatisfaction, it will be put more mildly. Peoria SEO company OIC Group is highly proficient at doing this and has helped many clients acquire positive reviews using these simple strategies.

Provide feedback

Currently, local SEO is inclined towards providing an interactive platform between customers and businesses. This is different from the initial strategy that was only aimed at pleasing search engines. A business should more often than not, respond to reviews given by customers.

Acknowledge positive reviews with gratitude and invite the customer for another experience. Politely respond to negative reviews and promise to address the source of dissatisfaction for the customer. Questions should be answered effectively.

This interaction gives the business a human feel that customers can trust in. Local SEO is a big fan of interaction, prompt feedback especially. Prompt feedback will generate more reviews since customers are assured of getting a response as soon as possible.

Use review links

Businesses tend to establish a local clientele base with whom they constantly interact with through social media, emails and blogs. These loyal customers and followers are some of the best people to get reviews from.

Email or share a link to them that will direct them to your reviews’ page on your website. Use an attractive and interesting message to ensure the link is not missed.

Attract positive reviews

This tip stays true to the clause of if you can’t beat them, join them. Customers often get attracted to simple offers. You would be surprised at the large following a free samples offer will attract. To get positive reviews, promise a certain offer to your customers. Using an incentive is better than paying for fake reviews. This is because incentives attract real customers and internet users that are legal for local SEO usage.

The most important thing to note about reviews is that they should be real and that feedback is an important factor. With these simple tips, a company will be able to attract more reviews and more customers for its business.

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5 Prove SEO Tips for Local SMB's

Local Small Business SEOMost local SMB's are starting to realize the importance of SEO to be competitive in their local marketplace. However, few of the companies are taking the proper approach to generate sustainable rankings and lead-generating results.

Whether or not you're working with a local SEO company or handling all optimization in-house, below are proven SEO tips that you (or your local SEO company) can employ for better results.

1. Do Localized Keyword Research

Keywords are the phrases that customers submit on major search engines while looking for your type of business or service. The trick to doing keyword research is to keep it locally-specific to your area, so instead of research keywords like "chiropractor," you can try researching keywords like "chiropractor in Berkeley CA".

By signing up for a free Google AdWords account, you are accessible to the Keyword Planner tool where you can easily explore the number of average monthly searches a keyword phrase gets. From this information, you can optimize your content appropriately.

In addition to researching localized keywords, such "Berkeley chiropractor" or "chiropractors in Berkeley CA," try adjusting the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to your local area (i.e. so it only show's data reflective of search volume in Berkeley, the Bay Area, or the entire state of California,) and see how often general or broad keywords are searched per month, such as "chiropractor" or "chiropractic". Get started by visiting the Keyword Planner on Google AdWords.

2. Implement a Content Marketing Strategy

You probably have a nice looking website for your business, congratulations for that, but is that enough to bring you clients? The bad news is, NO! There is more to be done. A well laid strategy to generate quality and consistent content and get it out to the world is your only bet for success. Increased ROI, increased authority and brand awareness, lead generation, backlinks and greater traffic are some benefits of this strategy.

First, do thorough research of your client industry. Get enough information help plan for your blogging and the general marketing piece. Secondly, together with your team, brainstorm and get solid campaign ideas. Next, create relevant content to include videos, written posts, quizzes and reports. Finally, do a strong willed campaign on social media. Relentlessly plaster this content on every social platform.

3. Create Offline Review-Generation Strategy

60 percent of clients will discover your business through your online profile. Even you depend on offline referrals, most of these prospective customers will do an online research of your business before making a deal. With that in mind, lack of reviews or negative reviews will plant a seed of doubt in prospective clients.

Creating an offline review-generation strategy will go a long way into feeding your business with great links. Enlist incentivizing and creative ways to solicit for reviews from happy clients. Having a reputation marketing strategy will also build a strong name for you.

4. Get Listed On Industry-Specific Directories

This is a very simple and effective manner of attracting clients to you. It is an effortless way of ensuring you do not spent your entire day leafleting at the local area but rather in the therapy room doing what will really fill your bank account. It is an invaluable way of exposing yourself in places sought by prospective customers hence building your brand in the industry.

Looking at it from a technical perspective, industry specific directories have a higher chance of appearing on top search engine searches hence boosting the number of would be clients clicking through your profile. The quality of the increased SEO rankings and citation is undisputable.

5. Create a Google+ Local Page

Creating a Google+ Local page offers many benefits to local SMB's. In doing this, you give Google the correct information about your business. When a client does a search, it is easy for Google to show your business directly on both the Google search and Google maps. This also serves as a citation and social media platform that can also help supplement your local SEO and inbound marketing efforts.

Without marketing strategies like SEO, a business would be hard pressed to survive in today's digital age. SEO is the bloodline of digital marketing a the power of search engines connects customers actively seeking a certain business, service, or solution with the brands that can provide these services. Start implementing these proven SEO tips today to increase your Google ranking tomorrow.

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