How to Leverage Local SEO to Promote Your Small Business

General Jun 10, 2017 No Comments

Local SEO for Small BusinessIf you’re determined to leverage local SEO to promote your small business, then you’re making an intelligent effort that could drastically transform your company’s growth potential.

SEO is one of the most powerful marketing mediums. With people actively searching what your business has to offer, attaining top search engine placement can lead to highly-qualified traffic to your site and a wealth of new business.

Investing in a local SEO program to grow your local business requires a comprehensive approach. Below we outline some of the various strategies and techniques required to actualize a successful local SEO plan for your small business.

Establish an “Optimized” Web Presence

Optimization carries many meanings in the world of SEO. From a big-picture perspective, establishing an optimized web presence for your business includes:

  • Having a website that’s technically-fluid from an HTML perspective
  • Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly or responsive on all mobile devices
  • Leveraging Schema markup to better communicate your site’s content to search engines
  • Using CTAs and other conversion touch-points to ensure users can contact your business
  • Making use of internal linking and providing good navigation/usability on your site

The above, in a nutshell, are important aspects of establishing an optimized web presence. This will serve as the foundation for you Nashville business, while helping to ensure all other SEO strategies realize their full potential.

Get Listed

Having a well-optimized website can only get you so far with SEO. In fact, most of the factors that determine a site’s search engine rankings are off-site. These are the links, citations, and signals that are found on other websites, and refer back to your site.

When you get your small business listed on various directories and other related sites, you can earn what are called “citations.” That’s the technical term for mentions of your business’ name, address, and phone. The more citations your business earns on other websites (i.e. chamber of commerce site, Yelp.com, press release, etc.) the more credibility your business will have in the Google local search results.

Google uses citations as a ranking factor in it’s local search results (also commonly known as the Google 3-Pack.) The important thing to keep in mind is ensuring all citations are both accurate and consistent. Any inconsistencies or inaccuracies in your Name, Address, and Phone number will have diminished SEO value.

Generate Links

Link BuildingPart of getting listed on other sites throughout the web includes generating backlinks. For instance, not only does getting listed on Yelp.com provide citation, but also a valuable link back to your website.

Links, or backlinks, are referrals from other websites that indicate to search engines how popular, credible, and authoritative your site is. Having a high volume of backlinks from relevant sources will help your local SEO efforts.

While getting listed provides an easy win for link generation, acquiring authoritative links from relevant sites can take persistence and work. Networking, outreach, and guest authorship are just a few ways to cultivate valuable link opportunities that can drastically impact your Nashville SEO strategy.

Create Content

Content Marketing for Local SEOAnother way to generate links is to earn them. By creating exceptional content that gains favor among the masses, people may link to your site naturally. While this is a beautiful thing, it is much easier said then done.

In short, craft a content strategy for your business website. This may focus on weekly blog posts, monthly videos, or podcasting. At the very least, refreshing your website with new content gives Google a reason to come back more frequently to crawl and index your site.

So even if you’re not earning links as a result of your content strategy, you can still supplement your local SEO efforts by keeping your site fresh. New content also gives you something worthy to share on social media.

Be Social

Local Social Media MarketingBringing your content strategy and link acquisition efforts together is social media. You need to spread the word about your content and share it relentlessly throughout the web.

If you lack an abundance of social media followers, you can try “boosting” or advertising your posts to new audiences using ad platforms on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Think of this investment as a brand building opportunity that can increase the overall value of your business.

Lastly, SEO is more about brand building. Producing amazing content and building a strong social media presence can have a direct impact on your local SEO strategy. In a competitive local search market, these channels will be vital assets to give your business the edge it needs to be a strong contender for top rankings.

Local SEO in 2017: 3 Investments That Offer The Biggest Wins

General Nov 07, 2016 No Comments

local SEO in 2017Actualizing a successful local SEO strategy requires a multi-fold approach that addresses a number of ranking factors and optimization strategies. From citations and backlinks to social media profiles and Google My Business listings, the elements that go into a comprehensive local SEO strategy can be overwhelming.

In this post, I cut out the minutiae and shed light on the SEO strategies and ranking factors that offer the greatest ROI. So as you embrace local SEO in 2017, here are three powerful investments that will offer the biggest wins over the year to come.

1.  Make Link Building a Priority Focus

Because Backlinks Fuel Domain Authority & Enduring Search Rankings

As the fuel behind domain authority (and a site’s overall ranking potential,) link building has proven to be one of the most vital aspects of bolstering your site ranking in Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

But don’t go running out of the gate looking to acquire just any links. Research has shown that Google’s search engine algorithm crawls and assesses each link’s citation flow and trust flow, which is to say that link relativity = weight in ranking. These two metrics are thought to work in tandem to parse whether the backlinks on a given site are from quality, trusted websites.

Some criteria to consider while gauging whether a site will have a high-rating citation and trust flow:

  • How does the site rank on Google?
  • How relevant is the source?
  • How many sites link to said site?
  • Is the site updated regularly?
  • Is there good user interaction (i.e. are visitors commenting or reviewing?)

That’s great, but how do I generate backlinks?

Outreach Relentlessly

One of the most obvious and organic ways to generate backlinks to your site is by simply reaching out. Consider whether other site-owners might be interested or benefit from linking to the work or service your site provides.

Questions to ask yourself before hitting send:

  • Does your site operate in the same niche?
  • Does the site link to other sites?
  • Will the inclusion of your site add value to those you’re reaching out to?

While outreach is one of the most overlooked efforts in acquiring quality backlinks to your site, there are countless other strategies (i.e. guest blogging, event sponsorship, memberships, etc.)

Without going into detail about the latter mentioned link building strategies, the following SEO components we discuss below can lend to sure-fire methods to increase link popularity.

2. Create Great Content That Sparks Engagement

Taking a More Creative, Audience-Driven Approach to Your Content

In addition to keeping your site fresh and frequently crawled by search engines, another bonafide and necessary strategy for backlink acquisition is simply creating great, digestible content. (This is why we’re here in the first place, right?)

But beyond just great content, you’ll want to focus on audience-driven content that gains the likes, shares, tweets, etc. (social signals) of your audience.

Social Media is the new “News”, and video isn’t the future, it’s the NOW

As we trek forward as a society, traditional news and journalism mediums continue to be outpaced by the explosive growth of social media. Compelling data from Cisco estimates that a whopping 75 percent of online traffic will be exclusively for video streaming by 2020; however, we’ve already started hitting that number!

comScore’s February 2016 video streaming data states that YouTube and Facebook alone had a combined number of over 263 million unique viewers per month. And that’s only from desktop devices. As the world continues to go mobile, these numbers are slated to become even more astronomical across all platforms.

Leverage Rich Media Strategies

You want your content to be highly optimized for social sharing. Be it photo or video, it’s a smart bet to start employing the use of image-based content now. Not only can you dramatically increase your click-through rates, but you’ll add engagement to your site all whilst boosting your site’s ranking potential in Google.

Pick 2 or 3 social sites you’ve found to best connect your business with your audience (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) and keep output across them cohesive with links to your site within descriptions and captions. (It’s good to use specific page URLs as diversifying links to all of your site’s pages is beneficial). Also, can try using highly visible icon links and calls-to-action in your content to further spur social engagement.

By creating great valuable and shareable content, you’ll encourage organic backlinks from visitors and followers that enjoy your work and want to share it.

3. Increase Local Rankings with Google Maps SEO (and Google My Business)

Optimizing for Keyword + City Search Queries

It’s no secret that an incredible amount of traffic that goes through Google is based on people searching for convenient, close-by goods and services on their smartphones. The more you can optimize your business for local search results (keyword + city search queries) the better you can drive highly-qualified traffic to your site. A powerful way to go about this is via local Google Maps SEO.

google maps SEO

A big step in enhancing your company’s visibility in these local results is by claiming and optimizing a Google My Business (GMB) profile. This is a simple Google-hosted profile where you can list important information like hours of operation, website, phone number, and perhaps most importantly – an address. It’s also the primary asset that contributes to a business’ ranking in the Google local 3 pack as well as ranked Google Maps results.

The GMB profile is also great for displaying photos of your business and client reviews, which both have been known to improve your Google ranking and offer quick insights into your company identity. This easy-access information allows users to make quick decisions about their search query.

Unfortunately, without a physical location, it may be a little more difficult to rank for your preferred local Google SERP; however, there are ways to work around the lack of a business address. Search Engine Land suggests that you create a GMB page on your site that’s dedicated to the city or area you service in combination with the keywords you’re targeting. Linking to this added page from within your site and propagating solid backlinks will help you build authority and improve your ranking.

Although there are many ways to improve your Google ranking, these local SEO strategies will surely give you a great start. They’re also ongoing pursuits to help ensure that your site continues to build authority and social momentum for lasting search engine value.

This article was contributed by Bret Bowerman.

Local Google Maps Optimization & Search Marketing Tips

General Oct 17, 2016 No Comments

Google Maps is undoubtedly one the best and most widely used apps Google has to offer. But it’s provides far more than just getting around without a road atlas or finding the right restaurant for lunch. Google Maps has become an incredibly powerful marketing tool for all types of businesses. google maps optimization

In essence, Google Maps marketing is a way to use Google Maps functionality to become more visible. It’s not only helpful to large businesses, but also for medium and small businesses on the local level. However, Google Maps is less about visibility, more about positioning of your business. If used in a proper way, Google Maps optimization can play a big role in your online marketing strategy.

In this short guide, we will walk you through how digital marketers use Google Maps optimization and marketing as a part of their much wider digital strategy. We will cover many essential features and things, which you need to do, as well as few lesser known, nifty tips and tricks to help your customers find you.

Google Maps Optimization Tips

Usually, most businesses are listed on Google My Business, but often fail by provide incomplete information. This results in diminished visibility and weaker rankings. You can boost your Google Maps listing with the following Google Maps optimization tips. These tips are focal to certain ranking factors that will impact your business’s visibility in the Google Maps search results.

USPS-Approved Business Address

When entering your business address, use only the one used by USPS. This includes suite, room, or subdivision details, a full 5 (or 9) digit zip code. Also check for formatting errors, as slight mistakes can affect your Google Maps ranking. You need to check whether your address is actually displayed on Maps listings. There’s a checkbox in My Business settings that states whether you would like your business details displayed. Ensure this is checked to help bring more credibility to your listing.

Specify Areas You Serve

Usually businesses have a location or storefront, so it is important to state the areas you service. You can include names of nearby towns and cities served by you, and their geographical radius from your location. You can also specify whether you service customers at your primary location, or are just a phone-only company.

Verified Google My Business

Having a verified Google My Business listing is vital to rank in the search results. This essential item in the local Google Maps optimization process is important and can take few weeks. You will receive a postcard that has a unique PIN to your Google My Business profile to your physical address from Google. In some cases, Google may allow you to verify ownership by phone.

verify google business maps optimization

Relevant Business Categories

Not only should you choose a primary category (that most clearly represents your business,) but also any additional categories that are relevant to your business, especially if you offer wide range of services. This will increase the chances of ranking for these related services, helping to drive more traffic and business to your web presence.

Optimize Your Introductiongoogle maps marketing optimization

Your Google My Business introduction is a summary of your business, the services or products it offers, and what sets it apart from your competitors. So make your introduction attractive, but avoid keyword stuffing or cramming links. Use only relevant keywords in your introduction and make it naturally well-branded more than uber-optimized for SEO.

Optimize Media for Google My Business Listing

Google Maps is a visual platform so make it more appealing by including photos that make your business stand out. It can also be an optimization opportunity for you. For comprehensive Google Maps optimization use third party apps to add some metadata to images, making them much easier to find. For instance, try adding the following media properties to make each file as optimized as possible.

Solicit Customer Reviews

User reviews Google My Business profile can help solicit new business and achieve higher Google Maps rankings. This is definitely a great form of Google Maps optimization in a competitive search market. So encourage your satisfied customers to post positive reviews about you online.

reviews google maps optimization

New Google Maps Ads

Now you can use new ad features offered in Google Maps. They are in-store promotions, promoted pins, local inventory search function and customizable business pages. These ads are shows on Maps search results on any Google Maps app, mobile and desktop versions of Google Maps site.

Lastly, be patient with the actualization of Google Maps marketing strategies. It will take some time to show but with persistence you can soon outrank your competition.

3 Insights to Help You Rethink Your Local SEO Strategy in 2014

General Dec 28, 2013 No Comments

Local SEO Insights for 2014Local SEO is a unique subset of search engine optimization. The way in which Google determines local business listings (paired with the map and little push-pins) is different from traditional organic SEO.

In 2013, local SEO strategies centered on citations and ensuring your business is listed on several top directories (i.e. Google+ Local [formally Google Places,] Yelp, Yahoo! Local, etc.) While investing the time to get listed on the top local business directories is important, it will only take your local SEO efforts so far, especially if your in a competitive marketspace.

In short, you need start looking at your local SEO efforts from a different perspective. Below are 3 significant insights to keep top of mind when embracing local SEO in 2014.

Be Active and Involved on Social Media Sites

Although many local businesses see the importance of having a presence on social media sites, many of them fail to be active and involved. The narrow-minded SEO perspective would think “Okay, our Yelp page is built. We now have a citation and a link back to our site. Done.”.

But what if you could do more to increase the authority of your Yelp page, and thus the SEO value of that citation and link back to your site?

You can.

By being active and involved with your audience, and optimizing your social media pages from every angle, you can greatly empower their SEO potential. How, exactly? Start by:

  • Reaching out and connecting (following, liking, encircling, etc.) with other respectable businesses and professionals
  • Optimizing images and uploading them to your social media pages
  • Encourage reviews from satisfied customers (perhaps by implementing an incentive program)
  • Build a following (or better yet, a community) and engage with your audience
  • Take advantage of promotions via social media networks (like Google Offers or Facebook Coupons)

Social media business pages offer immense authority for local SEO. Heck, there are some business Yelp pages out there that have a Google PR (PageRank) of 5 (and the link is DoFollow!). That’s some serious link juice compared to commonly stagnant PR 1 Yelp pages.

Lastly, earning social credibility (or social authority) is becoming a strong factor that Google uses to determine search engine rankings. Many organic SEO experts are seeing a correlation between search engine rankings and the number of Twitter and Facebook followers, Google +1’s, etc.

Local Citations Are Good, But Links Are Better

Just like traditional SEO, the amount and quality of external links pointing to a website is ultimately the greatest influence of its search engine rankings. Once you’ve gotten your business established on the top local business directories for SEO, spend some time determining various link assets for your business’s website.

Some of the best assets for local SEO include:

    • Investing in a membership at your local chamber of commerce. Members often get a listing (and a link) on the chamber website (which is both authoritative and locally relevant.)
    • Reaching out to other local businesses and professionals for guest blogging opportunities. Building these relationships are huge long-term asset for not only SEO, but marketing in general.
    • Becoming a local source for news, information, or advice. If people see value in the content you’re publishing, you can actually earn links back to your site. Think of your business as the online authority figure of what you do. If it’s DUI law, own it with videos and articles that help individuals understand their legal rights.

The last tip above stems into our next insight: becoming a content marketer.

Create Purposeful Content That Offers Value

You may be familiar with the old SEO catchphrase “Content is King!”. While that concept still holds true, its focus has changed.

It’s less about writing 700 word webpages that are jammed with keywords. Rather, it’s more about producing purposeful content that offers value to your target audience. More bluntly put, it’s all about mastering the craft of content marketing and creating meaningful content that resonates with other people.

Get yourself in the right mindset by contemplating the following questions:

        • What problems, issues, or questions does my target market have?
        • How can I help those individuals based on what I know and the resources that I have?
        • What forms of content would best get my message across in the most engaging manner?

Think about the local businesses that are owning it in both Google Search and social media sites. They are typically businesses that are constantly producing awesome articles, blog posts, videos, graphics, or podcasts, and they’re actively promoting this content on social media.

Rethink Local SEO in 2014

To rethink your business’s local SEO strategy in 2014, view your organization’s entire marketing plan. How much time and money do you have invested in traditional forms of marketing and advertising?

Perhaps you can generate ideas that can put greater emphasis on building an online content marketing strategy and building a legit social media presence. Although these efforts might seem like exclusive tactics, both most certainly influence local SEO (and will even more in 2014.)