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A Local SEO Strategy Briefing for Your Small Business

Local SEO StrategyIf you operate or market a small business, there's a lot local SEO moves that you and your team can make in-house.

Creating and implementing a local SEO strategy is actually fairly simple. Of course there are many intricacies that go into the SEO process, there's big SEO tasks that just about anyone can accomplish.

Below are five items to address for your local SEO strategy. Think of this as short briefing to lead your online marketing efforts in the right direction.

1. Create a Google+ Local Page - Google+ is a social domain that can directly influence local SEO performance for your small business. Creating a Google+ page connects your business directly to the house (Google,) and can influence the Google local search rankings (with factors that depend on amount and quality of reviews, on-page keyword usage, and amount and quality of off-page citations.)

2. Make Your Website Keyword Relevant - It's SEO best practices to include your primary keyword target (and geographic modifier) in URL (with exception of the homepage,) Meta Title, Meta Description, and visible copy of the pages you're optimizing. So if you’re a chiropractor in Atlanta, you'll definitely want to include those keywords in each of these on-page elements.

3. Construct an HTML Site Map - The site map is arguably the second most important page on your website (next to the homepage.) Serving as index of all primary pages of your website, the HTML site map is the road map for search engine spiders. For this reason, make the site map prevalent on the site by linking it on all pages of your website, preferably in a site-wide footer.

4. Build Citations (Business Listings) - Like mentioned above in tip #1, off-page citations are big ranking factor in Google local search (the search results accompanied by the Google map and little red pins.) Citations are simply listings or mentions of your business's name, address, and phone number on other websites - primarily directory listings. You can build citations for your business on sites like Yahoo! Local, Manta.com, Bing, LinkedIn, Yellowbook, etc.

5. Write Content Regularly, and Share it Socially - Google likes websites that are regularly updated with fresh content. A good way to do this is add a blog or articles section to your website. Whether you publish a piece of content weekly or monthly, such content can serve as a strong asset in building a social community, inbounding direct traffic to your site (content marketing,) and further maximizing the keyword relevancy of you website (when you produce content that is related to your site's keyword targets.)

This blog post was produced by Tyler Tafelsky, local SEO expert and content marketer. For more information, visit on local SEO strategy for small business, check out some of the local SEO blog posts at WebPresenceGroup.net - many of which have been written by Tyler.

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5 On-Page Optimization Rules from Organic SEO Experts

The best practices of on-page optimization are always under debate. It seems that everything few weeks organic SEO experts are faced with new search engine algorithm updates that ultimately influence their SEO practices.

In this blog post, we highlight 5 on-page optimization rules. These rules are simple, clear, and agreed upon by most organic SEO experts in the field.

1. Mindfully Keyword Optimize Pages

It's not uncommon to see come across pages that have been (or attempted to be) optimized for 4 or 5 different keywords. This is not ideal for SEO. Either pick the top 1 or 2 keywords for the page, or decide if it would be logical to build a dedicated page for outlier keywords. You'll find it to be much simpler to write concise Page Titles and Descriptions when your keywords are more narrowly focused per page

Keyword optimization is rather easy process. Back in the old days, it seemed keyword optimization will simply stuffing keywords in a page's content (and the more keywords the better.) The old-school days of on-page SEO are now a risk that can result in penalization.

Take into consideration rules to successfully keyword optimize a page.

  • URL's: include main keywords in the URL (avoiding words like "of" or "the.") Shorter URL's are typically preferred for SEO.
  • Page titles: include the keyword phrase only once and try to keep the title under 70 characters.
  • Meta descriptions: include keyword phrase once, but be sure to write an attractive Meta description that compels users to click your search listing.
  • Copy: try to use keywords in an H1 (header) and keyword variations in H2's and H3's. It's also helpful to use keywords throughout in the page text (but do not over-do it!)

2. Create an HTML Sitemap

Perhaps one of the most imperative website elements that often gets overlooked is the HTML sitemap. The HTML sitemap, which serves as a website index (particularly for search engine bots,) is considered by many organic SEO experts to be the second most important page of the website (with the homepage being number one.)

3. Optimize Robust Media Files

Large media files, such as images and videos, can be sluggish for load speed. A fast loading page is important for both usability and SEO performance. You can ensure that media files are optimized by condensing the files size. Additionally, you'll want to ensure that you're not using any Flash media, and that an alternative is used if such features are required on a website.

4. Start Publishing Quality Content

With new features like Google Authorship influencing the organic search results, content creators can gain a massive jump on their SEO competitors. Google places a high degree of value on strong, socially-favored content (especially content that's been marked-up with Google Authorship.) Regularly published content keeps a website fresh and can also help to make a site more keyword relevant for on-page SEO. Whether on a weekly or monthly basis, blogging or publishing articles can offer an expert advantage for organic SEO.

5. Install Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools

To efficiently track and measure web traffic and the level of engagement visitors have on your website, it is crucial that you install Google Analytics on your web pages. Google Analytics can help you troubleshoot technical problems as well as find new opportunities for SEO and conversion rate optimization based on certain performance metrics.

Parallel to installing Analytics is also integrate Google Webmaster Tools. This enables webmasters and marketers to assess the overall health and technical performance of a site. Although you want earn the same degree of marketing insights with Analytics, Webmaster Tools helps you to pinpoint certain problems, such as duplicate web content, HTML code errors and warnings, and too short of page titles and meta descriptions.

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SEO Site Audit Template: The Ultimate Framework

SEO Site AuditThe basic fundamentals of Search engine optimization (SEO) are constantly changing. If you are a site owner, only an experienced and savvy SEO professional can accurately assess your website. You can use free tools to conduct your own SEO site audit, but tools and data can only provide so much. 

If you opt for the services of SEO companies, reliable providers should have a basic framework on how they will organize SEO site audits and deliverables to prospective clients. So below, we outline five key concepts that digital marketing companies and blooming SEO companies alike should cover in providing comprehensive SEO site audits.

1. Technical Analysis

If the popular search engines can't crawl and index a given website, they can't list it. A comprehensive SEO audit should therefore verify primary codes that support any site. A professional SEO company should:

Analyze How Duplicate Content Is Identified

Almost every website online has some duplicate content. Some have some content syndicated from other sites. The audit should advise on the use of canonical tags to save such sites from penalties.

Validate Sitemap

This is important because XML sitemaps give the search engines the relevant information, as well as page rank. This also includes public pages to be crawled and when last the pages were updated.

Assess Site Speed

How fast or slow a site loads is important. Slow websites will send visitors away while those that load faster can give any site a ranking bonus.

Perform A Backlink Analysis

This is a key aspect in SEO site audit because links leading to any website can also influence its ranking. If links to a site come from poor quality websites or unrelated sites, it damages the site's SEO.

2. Usability Audit

This part of a professional SEO site audit checks whether visitors find the website easy to use.

Ease Of Navigation

Every website is different and so is navigation structure. Whether the site's menu is fancy or uncomplicated, the audit should consider whether visitors can find what they are looking for.

Proper Internal Linking

Links to other pages on the site are great for reducing bounce rates and keeping users engaged. SEO professionals should ensure that pages are not saturated with internal links and such links should also not be blatantly optimized.

Content Grouping Analysis

This is an organizational system that allows URLs for related pages to be grouped. It is a logical approach that SEO companies should use to structure websites well especially retail ones. This will help users to narrow down from a general category like "Shoes" to a specific category like "Men's Slippers."

Schema Markup

This will enable HTML tags to effectively inform search engines about specific details. Schema markup will help search engines index any site more accurately. It also helps create rich snippets to help visitors find what they are looking for.

3. On-Page Audit

A comprehensive SEO site audit should analyze the content on all pages and provide valuable SEO guidance. Key on-page SEO aspects include:

Title Tags

Title tags are often helpful especially if they are concise, unique, and descriptive.

Meta Descriptions

For many users, this often decides whether they should click some links or pass them up. Since page titles and URLs can be misleading, a good Meta description shows the user precisely what to expect on the page.

Headers & Subheaders

Header and sub-header tags contain text which should be optimized and not just for the reader. Headers with keywords will become categories that search engines can easily recognize.

4. Page Layout & Design Review

How a page is laid out is also key factor SEO professionals should consider. Do the pages help search engines recognize onsite content? The audit should evaluate overall design, including calls to action and ease of use. Ideally, pages should flow naturally.

5. Content Analysis

Whether content is customer or industry focused or brand specific, a comprehensive SEO site audit should analyze content for value and consistency.

A professional SEO site audit should consider aspects like keywords, Meta data, back linking (incoming and onsite links), navigation, content and user experience. The purpose of a good site audit should be to identify key areas on a website to immediately improve its organic search engine visibility. A Traverse City SEO company that addresses these essentials adds a great value to any site owner.

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