Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

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3 Ways to Learn Effective SEO — Effectively

A guest post by Murris Johnson

Learn effective SEO — effectively.Why SEO is so mysterious

Although digital marketing is a billion-dollar industry that seems to be growing each year, one of the most commonly known sectors — SEO (search engine optimization) — is still something that very few people have a full grasp of. This could be due to the fact that there is no well-known schooling, curriculum, or certification for SEO currently available that’s widely accepted within the industry. It’s for that reason, and others, many individuals and business owners have a hard time completely understanding SEO best practices and the methodologies and strategies that are most effective.

Why learn how SEO works?

There are a variety of benefits to learning SEO, even from the most basic things like content creation, keyword targeting, keyword research, link building, navigation structures, etc; read more about the SEO process here. One of the largest benefits to getting an idea of what search engine optimization is all about is the fact that applying SEO techniques allows you to get your target audience looking at your product or service organically; when they are searching for what it is that you have to offer. Instead of using other advertising methods that require you to put your offering in front of people even when they’re not interested, with SEO you can make sure your website is easily found when the people that want what you have are looking for it.

With that said, here are 3 ways to learn SEO effectively; doing so in a way that won’t waste time but will get you the information you need to succeed.

1) Talk to an expert

More and more we’re finding that successful people in just about any industry are talking about the importance of having a mentor, and how much time a mentor’s advice can save you. When it comes to learning SEO, it’s not often that you’ll be able to find an expert to hold your hand and mentor you, breaking down all the steps you need to take to put in place a successful marketing campaign.

Learning about SEO is an investment in your business.Your time, like theirs, is valuable, so making a financial investment on your part and in return them making the investment of time to help you is a win-win for both parties. By working with an SEO specialist who has a wealth of experience in the digital marketing industry you can ensure that your SEO campaign will have greater success, since they have experience with working on numerous marketing campaigns competitively and in different industries. To get a clear sense of what an SEO consultant can  add to your short term and long term marketing goals, here’s an interesting article on why more people are choosing this type of consultancy.

2) Analyze the SEO strategies being used by websites ranking well

This seems be the easiest and most obvious option when trying to learn SEO. Yes, there might be an initial investment needed to purchase the necessary tools to help you do analysis of the websites ranking well, but it is literally the best teacher there is. You’ll notice an article published some time ago of how this is directly connected to keyword selection and research.

Examine high ranking websites.To put yourself in a position to do this type of analysis, spend some time getting a clear understanding of the ranking factors that search engines most commonly use to rank websites the way they do. Once you have a grasp of this, you can literally search for ANYTHING and begin to analysis why the top 5 or top 10 or top 20 sites rank in the order that they do. Most people find themselves only doing this type of analysis in the industry that they want to rank well in, but an even better way to learn is to search numerous industries and analyze the best ranking websites in all of them.

When you do this type of analysis, you’ll begin to see the same “patterns” over and over; which will further drive home the point of the type of tactics you’ll need to put in place to rank well in your industry of choice.

3) Be willing to read AND implement

Although there are a variety of videos that can be read on the subject, as well as some audio books, this is an industry that has unexpected changes; sometimes from one day to the next. In order to keep up, and stay on top of what’s working and what isn’t you have to be willing to read and analyze what’s happening.

Along with reading, you need to make implementation a priority once you have a clear understanding of how to rank. One of the most common issues people run into when they’re trying to start out with SEO is endlessly reading, and learning, and watching, and asking, and doubting — and ultimately wasting time. Even if you were to research everything that’s ever been said about SEO, and you spent 20 years doing so, it would serve no benefit until that wealth of knowledge was applied and implemented to whichever website you choose to work on.

Learning about SEO can improve your online visibility.One thing that will help with this is to keep in mind that there are no “secrets” to be discovered when it comes to the best SEO strategies. Yes, the algorithms that search engines use to rank websites the way they do is “technically” a secret, but no matter how much research you do, you’ll never discover all of the ranking rules. So instead of endlessly looking for something that will never be discovered, get an idea of why search engines rank sites the way they do by looking at high ranking sites in different industries. That will provide more than enough information to put you in a position to compete and rank with just about any website in any industry.

But again, you have to take action; which is so much easier to say than it is to do. For those of you that need help to do so, here are 5 quotes that can help with that very thing.

In Conclusion…

We’re living in a digital age, and many people consider the internet as a NEED. So learning SEO can be one of the best career decisions you could ever make; even if you have no plans of doing SEO full time — or doing any SEO at all. Maybe you want to learn SEO so as to put yourself in a better position to hire a vendor or a consultant to drive the digital marketing strategy for your business.

Whatever you motivating factor is for making an investment of time for this form of internet marketing, there is a way to do so effectively in order to set yourself up for a marketing campaign that will ultimately succeed. The three ways of doing so described above just scratch the surface of what the possibilities are. But you have to start somewhere, and I hope that these reminders will help you get on the path of doing so effectively.

About the author: Murris Johnson is a digital marketing expert who has been in the industry full time since 2003. His passion for all things digital marketing is fueled by the life it’s allowed him to live while traveling with his family.

A good start to learning SEO is this very blog. We have How To articles dating back as far as 2005, all neatly categorized.

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How Do You Get Your New Website on Google?

Google’s the biggest, but …

Google, Yahoo & Bing logosDon’t ignore Bing and Yahoo! As of last month, Americans conducted 64% of their searches on Google, 22% on Bing, at 12% on Yahoo. That comes to 98% of all the searches done in the US, so there’s no need to worry about any other search engines. But don’t dismiss Bing and Yahoo. Even at only 12%, Yahoo handles more than 500 million searches a day in the US.

Fortunately, the things you need to do to get listed on Google are pretty much the same things that Yahoo and Bing need.

How do I submit my site to Google?

You don't need to submit your site to Google to show up and move up in rankings.You don’t. It’s worth repeating: you don’t need to submit your site to Google, Yahoo, Bing, or anywhere else. Submitting to search engines is kind of a scam from the past and a persistent myth. It’s not necessary as long as you have links to your website from other websites the search engines already know about. We explain that here.

6 Steps to Get on Google

  1. Figure out what keywords you need to be found for. These are the phrases your customers will use to find what you do or what you sell. Think in specifics. The best  keywords are probably not the one or two word basic searches like limousine. That’s too broad. Better would be limousine service in San Diego or car service to O’Hare airport.
  2. 6steps to get your brand new website on Google.Make sure your website is search engine friendly. That means your pages download quickly, your site works well on a phone, navigation is easy to follow, you have a sitemap the search engines can follow to get to all your pages, and so forth.
  3. Block search engine spiders until your site is ready for prime time. Important note: this applies only to brand new websites, not a redesign of an older website. You never want an existing site to become invisible to search engines.
  4. Create lots of content. Make your pages about specific, narrow topics. Focus them on the keywords you determined in step 1, and use logical variations on those phrases. If you do or sell more than one specific thing don’t try to cover all of it in one or two pages; flesh out your site with rich, engaging and helpful content.
  5. Keep creating content. Don’t feel you need to constantly tweak your pages or freshen them up, instead add new pages. The most natural way to do that is with a blog. Be sure your blog is on your domain and not hosted separately someplace like or
  6. Promote your content across the web. The easiest way to do this may be with social media: write posts on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, mention (and link to) your content on Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Each one of these gets the word out to a different population, and each adds a new link to your website.

Search Engine Journal has an excellent article on this topic with good explanations about each of these six steps.

That’s just the beginning …

These things will get your website into the indexes for Google, Yahoo & Bing, an essential first step to being found easily by customers. Once in the index, you should show up when people search for your keyword phrases. But if you’re showing up on page seven or eight, that’s probably not good enough. We have lots of ideas in this blog on how search engine optimization works to get you near the top of the rankings. If that’s a concern for you, this is a good place to start.

If you find you don’t have the time or inclination to do your own SEO, Rank Magic can help.

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Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The Yext Location Platform Now Includes Google

Some of the sites in PowerListingsLocal Listings in Google Are Now Easier to Maintain

Our Yext location platform subscription service for local businesses has been expanded to include Google My Business, Google+ and Google Reviews. You can now make changes to your listings in the Yext location platform that will be instantly reflected across Google search, Google My Business, maps and ads.

You can even indicate which photo from Google My Business should show up with your listing in Google search and Google maps. And you can respond to Google and Facebook reviews directly from the Yext dashboard.

The Yext platform is important to locally focused businesses because how widely and consistently your business is mentioned in citations directly impacts the likelihood of showing up in local searches and the Local Stack. If you’d like to check how well you’re cited across local listings, you can run a free scan here.

If you’re not currently a subscriber to Yext, you can learn more about it here. Or contact us to discuss your concerns.

We’re interested in what you think. Start or join the conversation in the comments below.

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75 Techniques for Small Business SEO

So much to know and do for small business SEO!

Our readership closely reflects our target market: small and very small businesses. While most of our readers hire us or someone else to manage their SEO and online visibility, a few choose to do it themselves. They often find the subject daunting.

This may help

Whether you want to try to do it yourself or just want to better understand the things we and other SEO companies may be doing for you, we hope you find this infographic helpful and informative.

SEO checklist: an infographic for small businesses.

[Thanks to Nirav Dave for all the work that went into this. He is the co-founder of Capsicum Mediaworks, a digital marketing agency based out of Mumbai, India, that specializes in all things WordPress & SEO. For some elaboration on the points above, Nirav has explanations beneath the infographic on his website.]

There’s a lot here. If you find yourself overwhelmed trying to implement these techniques for your own website, Rank Magic can help.

If you have comments, observations or questions, please join the conversation in the comments below.

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New! Google Tells How to Improve Your Local Ranking

Local Ranking Advice From the Horse’s Mouth

Increase your local visibility on Google.Google recently published some advice for local businesses on how to be more visible when people do a local search for what you do. Proper SEO for your website is essential of course, but there are some other specific things you can do to make sure people find you easily when they do a local search on Google.

Start with Google My Business

Google My Business logoGoogle relies pretty heavily on your listing in Google My Business and offers some suggestions on how to make sure your listing there is optimized for local search. These suggestions will help you show up higher in the organic listings and will also improve your odds of showing up in the Local 3-Pack.

Here is your six task to-do list:

  1. Add or claim your businessGoogle has video instructions.
  2. Enter complete data — fill out as much as you possibly can of all the information Google My Business accepts: your address, phone number, category, and more.
  3. Verify your location — again, Google has video instructions.
  4. Include you business hours — be sure to include any special hours for holidays and the like and keep them current.
  5. Add your logo and photos  — they help attract visitors to your listing, and can help them understand how you provide what they’re looking for.
  6. Manage your reviews  — encourage delighted customers to leave reviews, and be sure to respond helpfully to any negative reviews promptly. We have some advice on that.

The 3 top local ranking factors

According to Google, there are three main factors controlling whether you show up near the top in local searches:

Relevance (SEO)

We’re talking about keywords here; the search terms your customers are using to find what you offer. Keyword research, analysis and selection should always be an integral part of any SEO program. Make sure there are pages on your website that are clearly about the most common and most important search terms. Also make sure your pages include your location address. Be sure to use them in your listing on Google My Business and any other local sites.

Google's Local Stack is the most prominent place your local business can appear.

The Local Stack on Google


In a local search, distance is very important; we are talking about local search, after all. Always specify your location, and be sure it’s consistent every place you’re listed. If you don’t see customers at your location but provide your services at their locations, you can specify that so your street address doesn’t display and send unwanted visitors to your home or private office.


This has to do with how well known your business is. Google bases this on your organic rankings from SEO and on information Google has about your business from all across the web: reviews, links, and local directory listings.

Some of the sites in PowerListingsOne approach we recommend to our own clients is a PowerListings subscription. That provides a convenient dashboard where you can enter all of the kinds of information Google says is important and synchronizes it across about 70 local search engines, directories and apps, including the essential Google My Business. It also presents you with all your reviews so you can effectively manage them.

If you’d like to see how well or how badly you show up among local citations, run a free scan for yourself.

Thoughts? Comments? Start or join the conversation below.

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Need help with your local visibility? Rank Magic can help.