More people now use mobile phones than desktop computers. The dramatic increase in use of mobile devices requires you to control the user experience of your website on phones as well as on computers.
Your search rankings may be affected
Google implemented its ranking penalty for non-mobile friendly sites last April. Since then, Bing has started showing mobile friendly labels in its search results and has started to roll out its own ranking penalty for sites that aren’t mobile friendly.
Bing is paying so much attention to this that they’ve developed a quick web app that will tell you whether Bing considers your web site (or a specific web page) is mobile friendly. Just copy and paste your URL into their tool here. Just for good measure, you might want to test your pages at Google as well.
If your website fails Bing’s test (or Google’s), you need to fix that now. That’s especially important if you’re a local business, but more about that another time.
Duplicate listings are one of the biggest negative ranking factors in Local SEO. If your business has more than one listing for a single location in an online directory, those are duplicates. You may think duplicates increase the chances of someone finding you online, but just the opposite is true.
How they hurt
Confusion: often duplicate listings display old addresses or phone numbers, or odd variations on your business name.
Betting on Chance: which of your duplicate listings will actually be presented to a searcher is up in the air. You hope they see a current, accurate listing but it’s a gamble which one they’ll see.
Reviews: if any of your listings have reviews, they may be split up among your duplicates. One listing may have most of your reviews and the other few or none. If the one with lots of great reviews is not the one shown, those reviews are wasted.
Contagion: depending on what site the duplicate listing is on, it can be picked up by others, spreading the bad information even further.
Google’sLocal Stack: whether you show up as one of the three listings beneath a map in Google is largely dependent on the number and consistency of your citations across local directories. Inconsistent duplicate listings hurt your chances here.
Organic local listings: if search engines find your NAP data (name, address, phone) inconsistent across your citations they may not be able to tell which is right — and they may not show you in the organic rankings at all.
Search Engine Land, in their Definitive Guide to Duplicate Research for Local SEO, offers instructions on how to identify duplicate listings. The identification process is a somewhat complex eleven-step manual procedure involving online research and working with an Excel spreadsheet.
If you subscribe to our PowerListings service, we solve that problem for you and automatically discover and highlight potential duplicate listings. You can easily review the potential duplicates and if they’re true duplicates PowerListings will suppress them for you.
The goal with duplicate listings is to get rid of the one with bad information or, if both are accurate, to get rid of the one with the least information about your business. In most cases you can claim the duplicate listing and once you’ve verified that the listing really is yours you can delete it. (You should also claim the remaining good listing.) The procedures vary somewhat among local sites, but it’s not a very complicated process and is usually easy to accomplish. It takes a few steps, including responding to a phone call or an email from the local site.
PowerListings saves you that trouble and lets you suppress duplicates with just a couple of clicks but admittedly that convenience comes at the cost of a modest monthly fee.
I’d like to recognize some of the relatively new Rank Magic clients that joined us in 2015.
Black River Landscape Management specializes in landscape and garden design, and the creation of beautiful backyard hardscapes in Morris County, New Jersey. They also provide lawn maintenance and snow removal services.
Laurel Lund is a professional personal image consultant serving Des Moines, Iowa. Operating as LL Style Studio, she offers a Dress for Success program helping women select professional business attire whether dressing to impress on the job or for a job interview.
CMT Sound Systems specializes in full-service audio visual and sound system rentals, including movie projectors & screens, video equipment, PA systems, DJ equipment, lighting, staging, and more. Serving customers throughout New Jersey and New York.
Inroads to Opportunities specializes in all types of unit packaging, as well as both hand assembly and conveyor assembly services, including product labeling, hand sorting, and collating and inserting for businesses throughout the New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut area.
JEMco Reglazers offer expert bathtub restoration, resurfacing & repair, and shower tile reglazing for customers in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Union counties in north and central New Jersey.
ACAP is the Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysisproviding mental health counseling training and graduate education in northern New Jersey including CEU/continuing education for teachers, nurses, MFT, social workers, mental health counselors, and psychologists.
The folks over at Huffington Post recently wrote about six important reasons small businesses need SEO.
I encourage you to read their article to fully understand the six reasons; I don’t want to plagiarize it here. It’s worth the quick read, though, especially if you’re a small business. As a teaser, here are the six reasons in bullet point form.
We usually optimize home pages for the organization or company name and perhaps one specific keyword, and not much else. That’s to guarantee that someone learning about you from another customer or client of yours will find you at the top of the results when they search for your name.
Clients ask us:
Why don’t you optimize my home page for all my important keywords?
There are reasons both practical and behavioral.
First, the practical SEO reasons:
The Title Tag is the most powerful place for your keywords to be. It shows up as the text in the tab of your browser, sometimes in the top border of your browser window, and almost always is the headline of your listing whenever the page shows up in search results. You need to get all the individual words from your optimized keywords into the title tag. Anything past about 70-80 characters is treated as less important than words near the beginning, so this limits how many keywords can be fully optimized. And only the first 55 characters or so will be visible in the Google search results.
Optimized keywords need to appear in a number of places on the page. Many of those places are in the code, and there’s a limited number of opportunities for that. But they also need to appear in the readable text copy on the page, in headings and sub-headings, in paragraph text, and in the clickable text of links. In order to cover all of your keywords on the home page and have them be used in a natural, readable way would require you to write a tome. And people just aren’t going to read your page if there’s that much text: it’s intimidating. When that happens, people click back to the search results and try something else — probably your competitor.
Search engines need to understand that your page is really “about” the keyword phrase that was searched. If your page covers dozens or hundreds of keywords, it can’t really be “about” all of those things. It ends up being about everything and nothing. Then search engines won’t be able to tell what searches your page is a good match for.
People don’t have to always come in through the front door. Our objective is always to have well-focused internal pages for our most important keyword groupings.
Let’s take a law firm, for example. There may be many attorneys, each focusing on a small set of legal practice areas: criminal defense, wills and trusts, business contracts, real estate closings, personal injury litigation, employment law, and so forth. Each of those practice areas needs its own page in order to be optimized for all the keywords related to that topic. If you land on a page that lists all the many and varied things the firm does, you may need to scan down the page, scrolling down “below the fold” to see if they do what you need. Most people won’t take the time.
But if you land on a page that’s all about real estate closings, that page will be immediately recognizable as what you want: both from it’s headline in the search results and from the headings and sub-headings on the page itself. That focus is essential for search engines to know what searches to show any web page for.
Now the behavioral reasons:
First impressions happen fast. Depending on the research, you have between 50 milliseconds and three seconds to convince the new visitor that they’re in the right place. If people are searching for a child custody lawyer, it needs to be immediately obvious that they’ve landed on a page about family law, focusing on child custody issues.There’s no way your home page can convince them it’s a match that quickly. It may mention child custody but the searcher would have to take the time to scan through the home page to find it among all the other things your firm does — and people just don’t do that anymore. They simply won’t take the time; they’ll click the back button on their browser and pick another listing from the search results hoping for a better match.
When someone clicks a search result and then comes quickly back to the search engine results to look for another choice, that’s called a bounce. Bounces are bad. They tell the search engine that your page was actually not a good match for the search term. Search engines learn from user behavior and will reduce your rankings as a result of a high bounce rate.
It’s as simple as that.
That’s why I won’t encourage you to spend a lot of time and energy working detailed keywords into your home page. It won’t necessarily hurt the home page’s rankings, but it won’t help it appreciably to rank for focused keywords. And it won’t help convert those visitors into paying customers. Your internal pages are where you need people to end up, and those are the pages that will include calls to action and encourage them to reach out to you to become a client or customer.