Archive for "December, 2012"

Citations – the key to Google Places rankings

General Dec 10, 2012 No Comments

Google Places has gotten confusing.

Every time you do a search, the results look different. Every time you click on a result it takes you to some other Google website that talks about plusses and circles. You claim your listing and fill it out, but your business still languishes as a little speck on the map.

It’s understandable for a business owner with little knowledge about search engine optimisation to get confused.

This article is here to make some sense of it all, focusing on one particular factor that could be the answer to your Google Places needs. Citations.

What are citations?

Citations are references to your businesses name, address and contact details around the web. There are a host of sites in any given country that will list citations of your business. Places like Yelp and Yellow Pages are great examples of websites that utilise citations. Even Google Places itself gives a citation of your business.

These websites act as a reference point for search engines. They not only link to your site, but also give information on your company’s whereabouts, thus outlining the area that you service.

How do citations help me to rank better?

Various citation websites are crawled by Google to find your information. Ones that have full details and information about your business, complete with a link to your site, get considered and added to the database.

This in turn gives your website stronger credibility. Google knows that you really are a business operating in ‘X’ location because there are a number of other sites that affirm this statement.

The more credible websites you are listed on, the more likely Google is to rank you highly in Places.

I’ve got heaps of citations but my Places still doesn’t rank

Check that the details listed in your citations match those on your website exactly. Consistency is the key.

That means a consistent business name and a consistent address. If your address is:

1/123 Fake Street

Make sure other variations like:

123 Fake Street

Suite 1, 123 Fake Street

Level 1, 123 Fake Street

Are not used!

When this happens, Google becomes unsure if the same business is being referenced. It sees “1/123” on your Google Places page and website but “Suite 1, 123” on Yellow Pages, and won’t want to risk labeling these as the same business. That’s a strong citation down the drain.

To eliminate any confusion, pick a standardised business name and address style and stick with it across all websites:

Example Services and Solutions

123 Fake Street,

Fake Town, Fake Postal Code,

Fake State, Fake Country

Being consistent will ensure you avoid any confusion, no matter how minor you might think it is. No “this little difference shouldn’t matter” or “I’ll be OK to leave it like this.” Ensure it is all the same and don’t take the risk.

Check your own citations and see what variations are being used. Did you make some changes and see improvements? If so, share them below.

Rand Recap “Discovering Local Citation Opportunities” for Local SEO

General Dec 07, 2012 No Comments

Yesterday Local SEO Kingpin published a post offering SEO tips for the Google local listings. One of the tips focused on creating business listings, or citations, on web directories and other local websites.

In today’s SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin provides valuable insights on this very topic: discovering local citation opportunities. The video offers some excellent information to build quality citations to improve your local SEO efforts.

If you haven’t already found out, SEOmoz just acquired GetListed.org. This resource allows you to see how your business is listed on Google and other local search engines. Based on this information, you can confirm your business’s citations and explore opportunties to create new ones.

The acquistion is a good indicator of where Google search is headed. Rand’s reference to the “local one box” and keyword searches with “local intent” are becoming increasinly popular. Check out the Whiteboard Friday video below, and let us know what you think!

 

6 Super Simple Tips for Google Local SEO

General Dec 06, 2012 No Comments

The Google local search results are essentially the new YellowPages. Google users are immediately drawn to the Google local listings for many reasons.

    • The Google local listings are accompanied by a Google Map, offering a visual representation for search engine users.
    • Users can read reviews for each listing to learn more about what others had to say about a business.
    • The Google local search results are perceived with greater trust and credibility for quality information.

For any business that feeds of local customers in its market space, Google local SEO is one of the best channels to earn lead-generating advertising exposure. Just do a Google search for any keyword that has local relevance (e.g. restaurants, fitness centers, law firms, CPAs, etc.) Google delivers localized search results based on either your IP address, or if you’re logged into you’re logged-in your personal Google account, such as Gmail.

Before we get into the goods, it’s important to bring your awareness to the Reviews found under each listing. Although the main headline link for each listing directs users to the business’s actual website, the Reviews link will take users to a Google Plus page.

Similar to Google Places pages, which were replaced by Google Plus pages in May of 2012, there’s much more contributing to the rankings of these Google local listings than a strong website.

Google Local SEO Tips (That Your Marketing Manager Can Handle)

Google local SEO is not a mysterious formula or technical science. In fact, these local SEO tips are simple tasks that almost anyone can handle. Just be sure that you have the ability to edit the content of your website, and that you’ve successfully created a Google Plus page for your local business.

  • Be sure to have a link on your business’s website that points to its Google Plus page. The HTML code for this link can be found on your business’s Google Plus page while in edit mode. It will include the suggested anchor text “Follow us on Google+” along with “rel=publisher” snippet in the link’s code.
  • Include the full address of your business on all pages of its website. Two ideal places for this is a site-wide header or the footer (or put your addy on both!) Make sure that the address is entirely accurate and exactly matches what’s on your business’s Google Plus page. From a local SEO perspective, this called a citation and verifies the legitimacy of your business’s tangible location.
  • Verify your business’s address on its Google Plus page. This will require a manual submission in which Google sends a postcard to the address with a verification PIN. When you receive the postcard, you can submit the 4-digit PIN on the Google Plus page.
  • Create more business listings (citations!) on various other directory websites, such as Manta, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo! Local, Yellowpages, LinkedIn, and Kudzu. Google will align the address information from these listings with that of your business’s Google Plus page to further ensure its local legitimacy. You can research quality directory sites by using great resources like this insightful article, or try a paid tool like Yext.com
  • Keyword optimize (not keyword stuff) the page titles, meta description, and page copy of your homepage and key inside pages with your target keywords, respectfully. Try to include the city name of your business in each of these elements to help establish local relevancy for SEO.
  • Populate the Google Plus page with sufficient information about your business, and when appropriate, use your keywords and geographic targets. Also, put together a system that motivates happy customers to make reviews on your business’s Google Plus page. In most cases, Google Plus pages with a higher number of reviews will have more authority in the Google local search rankings.