Local Listings are Essential for Local Businesses

Google’s Pigeon algorithm


The newest Google algorithm update, Pigeon, has put a larger emphasis on local SEO and search. Well-known local listing sites like Yelp, CitySearch and SuperPages are seeing a boost in rankings, which means having listings on these sites is now more important than ever.

The biggest factors in SEO remain unchanged and you should still focus on site structure, content, link popularity and authority. But now a presence in local listings with links back to your website is an increasingly valuable supplement to organic SEO.

Too Many Local Sites, Too Much Inconsistency

Too often we see local listings that are incorrect: old phone numbers, confusing variations on your business name, inconsistent addresses. It’s been reported that one in every five local searches returns false information, and that hurts your business. Getting them all current, correct and consistent is important but time-consuming. And they’re subject to being changed as the publishers collect information from multiple sources; keeping them correct requires frequent attention.

PowerListings Addresses That

We’re now offering PowerListings — a service to ensure you have an effective and consistent presence on more than 50 local directories, search engines and mobile apps. It: can:

  1. PowerListings local sitesMake sure you’re listed on 50+ local sites
  2. Synchronize them all so they show the same name, address and phone (important for Google rankings)
  3. Allow for detection and removal of duplicates and near-duplicates (also a ranking factor)
  4. Provide you a dashboard where you can see any of the listings anytime and add updates whenever appropriate
  5. Synchronize display of additional information like logos & photos, payment methods, office hours, events, special announcements and more
  6. Monitor your online reviews at about a dozen and a half local sites that publish reviews
  7. Prevent unexpected changes to your listings as the publishers gather information from other sources; always keeping your listings current and accurate

Want to find out how many local listings you have and accurate they are? Run a free scan to see.

Want to explore this in greater depth? Learn more here.

We encourage your feedback in the comments below.

Your Website Needs To Be Mobile-Friendly

Why Should I Care?

US smartphone penetration is up to 75% as of the end of 2014. Late last year, mobile traffic exceeded desktop traffic for the first time. And according to Nielsen, 87% of mobile users used their mobile device for shopping activities like searching for a product or service, pricing comparisons, or brick & mortar address search.

not mobile-friendlyAccording to Google:

Appearing on smartphones is critical for local businesses. 94% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone and 84% take action as a result, such as making a purchase or contacting the business.

Google has also been focusing more recently on the user experience of websites, preferring those that provide a good user experience because web users like those sites better. And a website that’s not mobile-friendly provides a poor user experience for smartphone users.

Google has previously announced that whether a site is mobile-friendly is a positive ranking factor. As a hint that it might be due for increased weight in Google rankings, early this year Google started issuing warnings to webmasters if their site isn’t mobile-friendly. Then as recently as last week, Google wrote “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.” Google has already begun a rollout of alerts for users indicating which sites in it’s search results are mobile-friendly. It’s not universal yet, but seems to be increasing in coverage.

What makes a site mobile-friendly?

mobile-friendly websiteThere are four main things that distinguish a mobile-friendly site:

  • It avoids use of software that doesn’t work on phones (like Flash).
  • It makes links and buttons large enough and far enough apart to be easily clicked with a finger.
  • It uses text that can be easily read without zooming.
  • It sizes content so there’s no horizontal scrolling needed and no zooming required.

Check your site

There are two easy ways to check to see whether your site is mobile-friendly or not.

  1. Use the Google Mobile-Friendly Tool to see if Google thinks you’re mobile-friendly.
  2. The acid test: look up your site on a phone yourself and judge.

What if you fail the test?

If you fail the test, you have three options.

  1. You can talk with your web designer about a site redesign to make your site “responsive”. Responsive means your website changes how it looks depending on what kind of device is used to view it.
  2. Without a website redesign, you can use a tool like DudaMobile to create a mobile version of your site. Typically it replaces the “www.” prefix with a “m.” prefix and does a lot of the redesign work for you. You will still need to spend time tweaking it to look the way you want, and there’s an annual fee for the service.
  3. Do nothing and take your chances with your Google rankings.

Not being mobile-friendly is not yet a major ranking signal at Google, but it will be increasing in importance over time as smartphones and tablets continue to displace laptops and desktops as the platform of choice. The next big jump in its importance as a ranking signal is scheduled for April 21 of this year.

If you’re not currently mobile-friendly, now is the time to fix that.

Find the article helpful? Then please share it with your friends and colleagues with the buttons above and give it a +1 below.

Need help showing up min Google, Yahoo & Bing? Rank Magic can fix that.

Tell us about your own mobile-friendly experience in the comments below.


SEO Delivers the Best ROI for Local Businesses

ROI-600x360Search Engine Land recently published the results of a survey that examines the sources of traffic and leads to local businesses. According to the 288 respondents, organic search delivers the best ROI to local businesses. The survey found organic search delivered the most website traffic and phone calls into local businesses, which justifies the effort spent on it.

Google Places/+Local (now renamed Google My Business) comes in second and delivers almost as good an ROI, although it sends significantly less traffic to local business websites.

website-traffic-600x371When asked what percent of visits to their websites come from different sources, organic search again came out on top, with local search on Google coming in second. The combination of organic search and local search account for a full 40% of all visits, dwarfing the other sources of traffic. That illustrates the importance of having good local visibility in place as well as organic SEO.

Does this agree with your experience? Or do you disagree? Let us know in the comments below.

Find this helpful or thought-provoking? Please share with the buttons above and below.

Need help with your own organic and local visibility? Rank Magic can help.

Market Your Blog with Social Media in Three Easy Steps

How you can leverage social networking sites to kickstart your blog’s promotion efforts

Social media platformsNo matter how engaging the content, you won’t build a following if no one knows about your blog. If you’re like many new bloggers, you don’t have a marketing budget to speak of. Luckily, social media is a completely free means of promoting your blog.

Today’s most popular social networking platforms each have hundreds of millions of active users who troll the social web to connect with others, seek and share information, express opinions, and be entertained. Get in on the action and show them what you’ve got with these simple steps.

  1. If you don’t have them already, set up accounts on the most popular social media platforms, creating Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles. If you’re already well established on these sites, you might also consider adding Tumblr, Pinterest, or Instagram, depending on your readership and content. When creating your profiles on these sites, be sure to link back to and reference your blog. The goal is to ensure everyone you come in contact with on the social web is aware of and has easy access to your blog.
  2. Add social media widgets and/or links to those social media accounts to your blog and your email signature. Add a Facebook Like button, a Tweet button and a Google +1 button on all your blog posts, like the ones we have at the top and bottom of our own posts. Add social media Share buttons like the ones on this blog post from AddThis so readers can share your blog posts with others.  You can also place social icons and your profile addresses on your business cards and any other literature you distribute. If you’re active on forums, web rings, and chat rooms, include them in your signature there as well. Ditto when you comment on others’ blogs (which you should do, as often as possible!)
  3. Use automatic sharing features to post links to your blog on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Many social media platforms offer features that allow for automatic sharing. External, third-party applications such as Buffer and the WP to Buffer WordPress plug-in, Zapier, TweetDeck, and Dlvr.it are also great options that offer automation features to post across your online profiles to save time and simplify your social media marketing efforts.

Remember that every time you participate in a conversation, post a comment, or tell the world what’s on your mind on Facebook or Twitter, those words and ideas should ultimately link back to your blog. When you’re online, you’re always representing your brand. (You’ll want to consider this carefully before posting anything.) And take some care to ensure that your comments are relevant, timely, and appropriate, especially when you’re adding a link to your blog as your signature. Otherwise, your post may be ignored as unwanted spam.

Blog orangeWhile there are a variety of ways to enrich and enhance your readers’ experience with social media, and plenty of more advanced methods for driving traffic to your blog, the steps above are among the first and most important you can take in order to begin leveraging social media to boost your blog’s readership. By using applications that automate your social media activity and posting your blog’s web address on your social media profiles (and vice versa) you’ll ultimately create a system that consistently puts your blog and its content in front of hundreds of potential followers who want what you have to offer.

Let us know how you promote your blog in the comments below.

1 Comment more...

Tag That Tweet!

How hashtags can help you build your business, gain new followers, and showcase your expertise


The simple little number sign first began appearing on Twitter in 2000, and has since become a widely used, well-recognized Twitter topic categorization tool.  Now dubbed the “hashtag,” the symbol is used to classify an extraordinarily wide variety of topics.

You see those tags everywhere, but perhaps you aren’t sure what they are or why you should care. Your organization can leverage hashtags to meet a variety of marketing objectives. Take to Twitter to drive website traffic, build brand awareness, showcase your expertise, announce events, and keep followers engaged by enabling them to easily follow relevant tweets. (Such as, lowest prices of the year #BoulderAutoSale!). You can also encourage followers to visit your website or blog by tweeting about topics they care about. The tags can be used to link back to an article, blog post, site, or video (for example, the benefits of using your dealer for regular maintenance #dealermaintenance #BoulderAuto).

You can use the hashtag classification system to identify tweets related to the same topic. The more users who employ the same hashtag, the more the topic will trend upward. Those topics that are tagged the most will end up highlighted in Twitter’s Trending Topics page. Though the concept of tagging is relatively simple, it’s critical that you understand how to appropriately tag your posts without offending or annoying others, miscategorizing posts, or inadvertently claiming or creating a tag that’s already in use. Armed with this information, you can then get to work using the hashtag to your advantage.

If you’re looking to highlight a unique aspect of your business, announce an event or promotion, or discuss a relevant hot topic related to your organization, the first step is to choose a hashtag. Perhaps you want to join a conversation already trending in order to promote yourself or your business as a topic expert. In this case, carefully research the most popular version of the tag, which may have a variety of formats (#carmaintenance, #vehiclemaintenance, #carcare), and choose the most widely used. Or you may want to create an entirely new topic unique to your business, event, or idea. If so, choose wisely. With so many hashtags in use, you’ll want to be sure to employ a tag not currently in use. The best way to do so is to add uniquely identifying information (#BoulderAutoDecemberSale).

Regardless of the topic you choose, tag your own company’s name separately within the same tweet (#BoulderAuto), so you can begin to build a group of tweets that are all related to your company. While you want to ensure your tag is unique, take care to ensure spelling is correct and that the tag isn’t so long that others might find it cumbersome to retweet or write about on their own (especially important given Twitter’s 140-character limit).

Though Twitter is the birthplace of hashtags, it’s not the only social media site on which the symbol can be found. If you are looking to create a real presence for your new tag, consider employing it across multiple channels, such as Facebook and Google+. You can and definitely should also use tweets to link back to your pages on those sites, as well as to existing blog posts, your website, relevant articles, and more, boosting traffic on your organization’s other online “homes” and/or raising awareness of a given subject.

Before you get started, remember that it’s easy to get tag-crazy. You may assume that the more tags in your tweet, the more searches you’ll show up in, and the more folks will read your posts. Unfortunately, many users before you have been there, done that, and it’s generally considered poor etiquette to include more than three tags in your post. Those users who add too many tags or who attach unrelated tags to their posts may lose the interest of their readers or even find themselves suspended or kicked off social media sites.

Hashtags are highly effective means of categorizing and organizing tweets in what would otherwise be a rather chaotic, albeit character-limited environment. Your organization can reap the benefits of tagging by carefully considering which tags to use, following proper etiquette, and using tags as a means to not only build a following but also drive traffic to your organization’s other social media sites and website. With knowledge and understanding, as well as some research and preparation, you can easily begin leveraging hashtags to promote your business, help your customers to see you as an authority in your field, build brand and subject awareness, and boost web traffic. So go ahead and tag that tweet!

Do you use hashtags in a special way? Please let us know in the comments below.

Did you find this helpful? If so, please share with the buttons above or below.

Should You Avoid Hidden Content?

hidden-contentA Hidden Danger

A common web design technique may now be dangerous to your rankings.

A Common Technique

A lot of blogs don’t display entire blog posts on the blog’s home page. It’s common to see a teaser or perhaps the first paragraph of the blog post followed by a “read more” link to open the entire blog post. That’s probably okay, as the blog post itself usually includes all the content of the blog.

I’m seeing this technique becoming more popular on non-blog pages, too, as a way to attract viewers who may be intimidated by too dense text content. Insofar as it works kind of like a bullet list where a reader can skim down and click on the one or two sections they want to read more about, it works. But it may present a hidden danger to your rankings on Google.

May Be a Bad Idea

A page that has a “read more” or “click to expand” link typically doesn’t link to a new page with its own URL. Instead, it opens the hidden content right there. And that hidden content may just be more hidden than you want it to be. It may be hidden from Google completely.

All the way back in 2012, Google wrote: “we’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience.” Google went on to talk about content that’s not visible above the fold or that’s buried beneath ads and such. However, Search Engine Journal is now reporting that Google may be extending that practice by not be indexing the hidden content that’s only revealed by clicking on one of those “read more” links.

It hasn’t been 100% confirmed that Google is ignoring this kind of hidden content, so if revealing all of that content would be a major undertaking on your site it may be premature to do that. But if this is a technique you use on your site only occasionally and it would be easy to remove the hidden nature of that copy, you might give it a try and watch to see if your rankings change.

If you make a change like this, please let us know whether it affected your rankings in the comments below.

Did you find this helpful? If so, please share with the buttons above or below.

1 Comment more...

‘Tis the Season!

Season’s Greetings to all our clients and other friends.

This season is rife with holidays and celebrations in many countries and among many faiths (and non-faiths). Whatever your personal preference, we hope you have a safe and healthy holiday season and a prosperous 2015.

Merry/Happy/Joyous/Prosperous (as appropriate):

winter holiday logo

  • Boxing Day
  • Christmas
  • Festivus
  • Global Family Day
  • Handsel Monday
  • Hanukkah
  • Hogmanay
  • HumanLight
  • Jól
  • Jul
  • Junkanoo
  • Korochun
  • Kwanzaa
  • Makar Sankranti
  • Malanka
  • Montol Festival
  • Mummer’s Day
  • New Year
  • Saint Stephen’s Day
  • Saturnalia
  • Seol-nal (Korean New Year)
  • Sinterklaas
  • Soyal
  • Winter Solstice
  • Wren Day
  • Yalda
  • Yule
  • Zartosht No-Diso

I hope we’ve mentioned your favorite celebration.

Why Do I Still See Keyword Stuffing?

Some things never go away.

Avoid keyword stuffingIt’s just about 15 years since I began doing SEO under the company name of Treloar Associates.  One of the frowned-upon SEO techniques I advised against back then was keyword stuffing.  People would cram their web page full of many repeated iterations of their target keywords. It didn’t work particularly well, and when Google noticed it the offending web site suffered a Google slap-down.

I thought it was a thing of the past. Good riddance.

Well, no, not quite. I still run into websites with offensive keyword stuffing. They’re painful to read, which may be why most people don’t  — they get a couple of sentences in and leave in disgust. But they’re still out there.  Why??? Perhaps those sites simply haven’t been updated in 15 years? Maybe someone read just enough about SEO to be dangerous and doesn’t know any better?

Well, thinking about keyword stuffing and a sort-of birthday for my involvement in SEO reminded me of this great comic from the folks at Ranked Hard.

Happy Happy Birthday Birthday

Think keyword stuffing, whether accidental or on purpose, may be hurting your online visibility? Let us know in the comments below.

If you’re unsure of how to fix things, Rank Magic can help.


1 Comment more...

Local Search Ranking Factors

The folks at Moz have completed their survey of ranking signals for local search results for 2014, and there are some changes.

local ranking factors

Here are what I think are the high points:

  1. On-page optimization and link popularity seem to be the heaviest influencers.
  2. Domain authority is increasing in importance. This is something we actively follow and report for our clients.
  3. Proximity to the searcher has increased greatly in importance. Search engines are getting better at identifying a searcher’s geographical location and comparing it with potential local search results. There’s not a whole lot you can do about that.
  4. Clickthrough rate for search results has gotten more important. This means its important that your listing in search engines be as attractive as possible so more people click on you. Of course that’s always been an extremely important thing..
  5. Clickthrough rate can easily be compromised by a high bounce rate, or “pogo-sticking” where a searcher clicks on your listing and bounces right back to the search results and tries someone else. This means it’s increasingly important to make your site “sticky” so visitors don’t immediately leave.

Have you noticed any significant changes in your own local visibility? Share with us in the comments below.

Having visibility trouble in local search results? Rank Magic can help.

Please share this post with others using the buttons above and below.

Don’t Try to Cheat on Google

Fooling Google.

It happens with regularity: somebody comes up with a new scheme to fool Google into ranking your website higher than it deserves. Often those “Black Hat” techniques work quite well at first. But then when Google discovers your chicanery, you get a well earned slap-down. And you may be totally banned from Google for many months, if not longer.

The latest scheme is an online tool that purports to rewrite a web page so as to avoid Google’s “duplicate content” filter. With this you can, supposedly, steal someone else’s work and make it look like you didn’t plagiarize it. Or you can adjust duplicate pages of your own copy so that (you hope) they will all show up in search results without Google realizing they all say the same thing.

The product is called Article Rewriter, and I’m mentioning it here not as an endorsement, but as a warning. Completely apart from the fact that it’s despicably unethical, this product clearly doesn’t work well.

I’m suspicious.

Their website nicely offers to let you test their product. Paste in your own copy and it will rewrite it for you, claiming the result will not trigger Google’s duplicate content filter.

Not so fast!

I entered the copy from my blog post dated October 9 of this year about Google’s rollout of the Panda 4.1 algorithm update. You can check the original content there, and then compare it with what this new tool produced:

Google Panda four.1 Rolls Out

Google has extended a replacement version of the Panda algorithmic rule, and it’s believed to have an effect on 3-5% of internet sites. which will sound sort of a tiny variety, however as Google algorithmic rule changes go, it’s a fairly massive one.

Google’s state capital so much proclaimed the update on his Google+ page fortnight past. He explained that it’s not a straightforward update as a result of it truly adds some additional signals to assist Panda establish inferiority websites higher. assumptive your web {site} isn’t an occasional quality site, this could add your favor. In fact, he says this update leads to a”greater diversity of high-quality small- and medium-sized sites ranking higher”.

There’s a pleasant Panda summary and guide to Panda four.1 over at The Huffington Post.

The rollout may be a slow one, not touching all Google knowledge centers at an equivalent time. It wasn’t expected to continue into on, however in line with Moz it absolutely was still rolling out as of 3 days past. square measure saying} “fluctuations and ranking changes you’re seeing are doubtless associated with that.”

There ar a series of queries you’ll raise and answer concerning any given website that ought to offer you an inspiration of whether or not Panda can am passionate about it (improve its rankings) or not (potentially drop its rankings). The Moz web log of 2 days past goes through that for a few representative sites that were helped by Panda four.1 and a few that were hurt. There are links there to some places wherever you’ll get a page evaluated … however the simplest one (PandaRisk) prices concerning $100 to judge a couple of pages for you.

How ar you doing beneath the new (and improved?) Panda algorithm? Please allow us to apprehend within the comments below.


If you know anyone who might be taken in by this, please share this post on the social media platform of your choice.

And if you need assistance with ethical SEO or recovery from damage done by less scrupulous SEO companies, Rank Magic can help.

Sign up for our Email Newsletter

It comes out monthly and highlights the best blog posts from the previous month.

Search Rank Magic:

Blog Monitor

SEO blog


Copyright © 1996-2012 Rank Magic SEO Blog. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress