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All Your Startup Needs To Know About Local SEO

Google Local Rankmings require local SEO

While SEO is the result globalization, the evolution of SEO has seen the rise in importance of bringing localization to your strategy; if your startup wants the highest sales figures possible you need to know about local SEO.

Below I’ve run through what local SEO is and how your startup can incorporate it into your strategy. Read on and you’ll be a local SEO pro in no time.

Recommended reading: Local Business: Get Found and Get Chosen

What is local SEO?

You and your startup already know about traditional SEO and will have your own strategy for it. However, local SEO is not the same and has tactics and features to the SEO skills you’re already employing. Here are the headline features of local SEO:

For local searches

When your customer make a search in Google, the search engine knows which part of the world you’re in. Google exists to give its users the best possible outcome to their searches and if that means giving them a local solution that’s what it will give them.

Targeted on local keywords

Most users who benefit from local SEO have a specific business in mind when they make their searches. However, they might not be seeking a specific company.

When Google compiles the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) for these searches they target companies which have the closest match to the industry their user is seeking, along with the location their user is based in. The results are targeted around local keywords, so you need to make sure your startup is aware of how to find the relevant keywords for your locality.

It’s a mobile thing

Mobile phones and tablets now account for around 60% of all web searches made. Local SEO is particularly relevant to these devices and is especially relevant to your startup if you are based in the services industry.

Let take restaurants as an example: If a user is out and searching for the best food in their area, they’ll almost certainly be making their search via a mobile. Using local SEO means that your startup has the best chance of being the first business that your searcher sees when Google directs them to the best local restaurant.

How can my startup make the most of local SEO?

Like traditional SEO, there are many different tactics that you can, and need, to employ in order to make sure your startup gets the most out of local SEO. These are:

Make sure your startup is listed correctly in Google My Business

If your startup isn’t in Google My Business, or your listing is incomplete, then you won’t feature on Google Maps – which isn’t much use to your searcher if they’re trying to locate your business.

Getting your startup listed correctly on Google My Business is quick and easy. Check out the excellent video below for a guide on how you can make sure you’re on Google My Business.

Incorporate online reviews

93% of your customers are influenced by reading online reviews. It’s for this reason that Google loves to use online reviews to build its local SEO rankings, and that you can’t afford to add them to your startup’s strategy.

If you’re not sure how to make the most out of online reviews to maximize your local SEO, spend a few minutes absorbing the information in the handy video guide underneath…

Use City Pages

This tactic is all about getting the maximum value from the surrounding areas of the city, or town, that your startup is based in.

City Pages use LSI technology to allow you to target any combination of service, product, or metro area. The benefit of this is that it allows your startup to appear in a broader range of local searches.

For an in depth guidance on the benefit of City Pages to your local SEO strategy, spend some time watching the following video…

Add content to Google Posts

Well-optimized content is a huge part of making the most of local SEO and Google has a place for you to publish it.

Google Posts lets you develop and upload content directly on Google. You can add your startup’s products, services, and events to Google Maps and Google’s search results. Your posts can be up to 300 words and you can add a CTA (call-to-action) button, date range, and image.

You create them in your Google My Business dashboard and they will appear immediately in Google SERPs. For more information on how your startup can start using Google Posts, watch the brilliant video underneath…

Get your on-site optimization right

Onsite optimization accounts for 18% of Google’s decision making when it ranks your startup’s website in local searches, meaning it’s something you can’t overlook. What you need to know about your onsite optimization is this:

Title tags matter

Title tags are the most important part of on-site optimization. This means it is essential that you insert your locally optimized keywords into the title tags for your web pages.

Check out the video below to see how you can get your title tags right…

Write local content

Using Google Posts is a great way to link local content to your business, but don’t stop there; add local content to your website. There is a range of local content you can write for your website and this article is full of ideas to help you develop a local content strategy.

Be aware of schema markup

This is the code that you use to tell Google what your website is about, making it essential that you get this very technical aspect of on-site optimization right.

There are a number of great apps to help you with this. Schema App Total Schema Markup is an industry leader and comes with a range of great features. It makes optimizing your schema markup easy and can be added to your business in minutes.

The video underneath has even more information on the importance of schema markup…

If your startup isn’t aware of and employing the benefits of local SEO, then you won’t feature in Google’s SERPs and will lose potential customers. Thankfully, you now have everything you need to know about local SEO, so you won’t be losing any customers.

Victoria Greene


Victoria Greene
is a branding consultant, freelance writer, and SEO content specialist. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, you’ll find an array of articles to help your startup make the most of ecommerce tactics to increase your revenue.

 

We welcome your thoughts and observations. Join the conversation in the Comments below!

How Long Does it Take to Rank in Google? [Infographic]

How long does it take to rank in Google?

This is a question we get asked a lot. A LOT.

And there are so many variables, it often feels like an unanswerable question.

To the rescue comes Ellie Summers in the UK at The Website Group and the research folks at ahrefs. She’s created a helpful infographic that covers the answer (such as it is) very well. The infographic below is reproduced from Ellie’s website with her permission.

Need help getting your small business onto the first page at Google? Contact us to see how we can help.

Share with us what you learn from your own experience in the comments below.

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Why hire a professional copywriter? One word: Conversions

Not sure of the value of a professional copywriter?

Copywriters create cintent your customers will love.Everybody thinks they can write, and to a degree they have a point. Anyone can write. Most people can add, too, and know how to use scissors. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re equipped to prepare their own tax return or cut their own hair.

As veteran copywriters, we’ve seen firsthand how poorly constructed writing can derail your communications and position your brand in a less than stellar light. Imagine an ad for an Ivy League college began with the headline, “You Can Never Have To Much Knowledge.” Readers would view the typo as a reflection of the school and the quality of the education they might receive. This is the type of mistake spell check doesn’t catch.

But effective copywriting is about much more than mechanics. Most businesses don’t know when it’s better to use short, snappy sentences versus long-form copy. Or how to incorporate keywords into a blog post to boost the chances it will rank in organic search. Or why headlines are more effective when you use sentence case rather than initial caps (another strike against our fictional Ivy League example).

Good news — an experienced copywriter knows all that and more, including how to boost conversion rates with targeted, high-value content. So, in the age of “content is king,” why should you hire one rather than do-it-yourself?

SEO rankings are heavily related to the quality of your content.Copywriters are a quick study.

A professional copywriter knows the ins and outs of writing for various industries and is skilled at quickly getting up to speed on a new subject. Regardless of the topic, we also know the right questions to ask to uncover valuable market differentiators and showcase your product or service in the best possible light.

We’re objective and persuasive.

Business owners are often so immersed in their product/service/industry, they find it hard to step back and be objective. As a result, you might not be doing your business any justice when it comes to writing content that generates leads and sales. It’s the copywriter’s job to get inside the head of your ideal customer, understand what motivates them to buy, and turn your product features into irresistible benefits.

Copywriters can help you make the most of your content budget.

Why hire a professional copywriter? Conversions!

Today’s copywriters don’t just write; we strategize ways to give you the most return for your content marketing investment. For example, you’d like to develop an e-book and a landing page to capture leads. But you may not think to craft each section of the e-book so it can also serve as a stand-alone blog post. Or turn a hefty research report into a series of quick-read infographics that appeal to more visual learners.

We understand the sales process.

Your content marketing should be leading prospects down the sales funnel — bringing them step-by-step closer to a purchase. By digging into how your buyers buy, we can produce content that answers questions and addresses concerns at the right time in the sales cycle. The result? Higher conversion rates.

Writers understand the power of language and storytelling.

Professional copywriting increases both readership and conversions.Do you know the words or phrases that can maximize response? Or that a single user story can be exponentially more memorable than a laundry list of features? From anecdotes and word play to sentence structure and even punctuation, clever content strategies are second nature to experienced copywriters — and we can implement these tricks of the trade to engage your customers and build your brand.

We leave the grammar mistakes to the amateurs.

Whether it’s a typo, a mixed metaphor or random capitalization, even the most minor mistake can ruin your credibility. Most copywriters are also skilled proofreaders, so your marketing content is as flawless as it is persuasive.

There’s no doubt that creating and distributing consistent, high-value content is a significant commitment. But the value is clear — research from Aberdeen shows that those who become authorities based on content receive nearly 8X more site traffic than those who don’t.

The right copy partnership is a collaboration, helping you cost-effectively leverage your professional expertise without wasting countless hours crafting subject lines, calculating keyword density or writing compelling tweets. For us, it’s all in a day’s work — and lets you focus on what you do best.

About our guest blogger

Professional copywriter Lisa FahouryLisa Fahoury is Chief Creative Officer of Fahoury Ink, a New Jersey based content marketing agency that provides B2B and B2C content strategy and development services to mid-market companies. The former creative services manager for the New York Daily News, Fahoury is also an in-demand speaker and corporate trainer on content marketing. When she’s not creating content, she spends her down time  plotting to win the Pillsbury Bake-Off and convincing her husband that three cats really did seem like a good idea at the time.

How to Protect Your SEO During a Website Redesign

Protect Your SEO

Google rankings drop after a website redesign.Your website search rankings have been earned through time and a significant amount of effort. There are a number of situations where a change to your website runs the risk of jeopardizing those rankings.

  • A redesign of your website
  • Changing your website to be responsive and mobile-friendly
  • Changing your domain (e.g. BobAndJohnsPlumbing.com becomes BobsPlumbing.com)
  • Changing your top level domain (e.g. from .net to .com)
  • Switching to a secure HTTPS website from an insecure HTTP website

Any of these changes involve a very real risk of losing your hard-earned search rankings. When the URL (the website address) of any of your pages changes, all of the links that pointed to that page still point to the old URL. That means the new URL suddenly has no external links pointing to it, and link authority (domain authority, page authority) drops to zero. That link authority is a critical part of your search rankings. When it drops to zero, so does your Google ranking.

When you begin any website maintenance that’s going to change your URLs, you need to pay special attention to protecting your SEO by protecting your inbound link profile.

How to Protect Your Link Authority

301 permanent redirects are used to protect link authority during a website redesign.A 301 permanent redirect is something your web designer should be well familiar with. It tells anyone looking for an old URL where to go to see that information in its new URL. Unlike other ways to redirect people, the 301 redirect also allows the new URL to inherit the link authority that had been earned by the old page.

So the first step is to compile a list of the URLs of all the pages on your site before you switch over to the redesigned version. Next to each one, annotate the URL of the new version of that page. If any of your old pages are disappearing, annotate the URL of the closest matching page in your redesigned website. If there really isn’t a matching page in your new website, then use the URL of your home page.

Each of those pairs of URLs represents a unique 301 permanent redirect which your web designer needs to create. Those need to go into effect at the same time as your redesigned website goes live. If you want to test any of your 301 redirects to make sure they’re working properly, there’s a redirect testing tool here.

The inheritance of link authority isn’t instantaneous, so expect a loss of rankings for a few weeks. But there are some things you can do to combat that.

For any of your inbound links with whom you have a personal or professional relationship, contact them and ask them if they would change the target of their links to point directly to the new URLs. that can work to speed up how quickly your rankings will return. And as always, link building should be an ongoing activity. New links to your new URLs are very important after a website redesign.

More information:

This is an update to our original post from 2007.

Your perspective adds to the value here. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Frightening News about Page Speed and Bounce Rate

Page speed and bounce rate – a couple of definitions

  • Page speed: the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific web page.
  • Bounce rate: the percent of visits to a site that look at only one page.

Measure your page download speed and keep it under three seconds

How page speed and bounce rate are related

Impatience drives visitors to leave a web page that doesn’t display on their computer or phone as quickly as they want it to. That’s a bounce. The rule of thumb currently is that you begin to lose significant numbers of visitors when your page speed exceeds two seconds. Pingdom says:

… the average bounce rate for pages loading within 2 seconds is 9%. As soon as the page load time surpasses 3 seconds, the bounce rate soars, to 38% by the time it hits 5 seconds!

Graph showing the relationship between page speed and bounce rate

This graph illustrates the bad news. As page download time increases beyond 3 seconds, bounce rate increases dramatically.

A high bounce rate represents lost business.

If your goal is for visitors to take an action on your site, such as filling out an information form, contacting you, or buying something  — then bounces  represent lost customers.

But it’s actually worse than that.

Ranking factors on Google

It’s been well known and reported here that page speed is a ranking factor at Google. We began warning about it way back in 2009. All else being equal, a fast downloading page will outrank a slow page.

We’ve also pointed out that a high bounce rate is a negative ranking factor on Google as well.

Update June 2018: If your market is international, it may help to know what your page speed is overseas. I recommend a test at DotCom Tools that will test your page speed at over 20 international cities.

Why it gets really bad

The frightening thing about all this is that these two negative ranking factors compound one another. It’s bad enough if you suffer a ranking penalty because your page is slow. But that slowness raises your bounce rate, resulting in a double-whammy to your ranking in Google search results.

Our recommendation is to work to make sure your pages all download within three seconds at the most. Two seconds is ideal, but three seconds is usually tolerable.

We always welcome your perspective. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

We offer a free SEO review of your website, including page speed and many other factors. Call us and let’s set it up.