Over the last couple of years Google has been more aggressive in cracking down on dodgy SEO practices and in particular link building. This has been a several pronged attack against link networks, directories, link wheels and other low value sources of links (that often worked to some extent) and has culminated in the Penguin update and the loss of lots of traffic for lots of businesses.
Google has also been advising people not to concentrate on links and to focus on building a great site and earning those links and have recently updated the ranking guidelines article in the Webmaster Guidelines to remove the advice to “increase the number of high quality sites that link to their pages” and replace with advice to “create high quality sites that users will want to use and share”.
Internet marketing and SEO is a confusing business. It is full of TLA’s (three letter acronyms), buzz words and there are far more cowboys and snake oil salesman out there then there are good, honest consultants.
In the midst of all of this confusion one area that I have found folks struggle with is the concept of remarketing or retargeting so this article is going to give you the basics of what retargeting is and how you can use it.
If I could pick one thing that most people get wrong when first looking at Internet Marketing and SEO it is the tendency to try and turn marketing, what should be a largely creative endeavour with the some technical overtones into a procedural, bullet pointed list of tasks that must be acted on with rote repetition.
Blogging certainly falls under the Internet Marketing / SEO umbrella and therefore we end up with people trying to take this procedural approach to writing Blog posts and it is this approach, this mindset that leads these people to fail and try ever more desperate and hopeless measures (*cough* buying links *cough*) in an effort to ‘market’ their website.
In principle, SEO is pretty simple – build a really great site, research the keywords your customers are searching with, do some basic optimisation and let Google do the rest, right? In an ideal world that is how it should work but the reality of having a website and marketing your business online is somewhat different.
Fact is, in most cases, you are probably going to get it wrong the first time, maybe even the second time, heck, some folks never get it right and many small business owners give up on search without ever really giving it a real chance (through no fault of their own).
Once you have a consistent name and address, have optimised your site for local traffic and have got a series of high quality citations in all the right places then sooner or later you need to think about getting reviews on various online portals starting with your Google+ Local page.
Now, reviews are important for local SEO but they are also different to the other elements in your marketing in that they are not directly under your control and to get good reviews you have to ask for them.
I broke one of my own golden rules yesterday and launched a new website for a long term client on a Friday afternoon.
Of course, doing this on a Friday, everything went horribly wrong just to remind me why I created the rule to never make any kind of technical changes to anything on a Friday afternoon.
How important are reviews for small business and local SEO? Pretty important it would seem and there are plenty of folks out there in Googleland that will tell you this. But, what is somewhat harder to find out is why they are important? What is it about reviews that is important for local search rankings and? The remainder of this post will take a look at what it is that makes reviews important for Local SEO so you can use that knowledge to improve your own local rankings.
The most important part of SEO? Organisation? No, surely not. Organisation? Boring!
Show me links from .org sites; give me citations from Yell.com; show me some 301 redirects from expired domains; expired, well linked domains relaunched as microsites with some new content on them and some outbound links - do anything, but just keep those ‘strategies’ coming fast and furious and whatever you do, keep it edgy and interesting. I want to here what you have planned and go ‘ooooohhhh’.
One of the most important aspects of local SEO is building high quality citations and there are some UK usual suspects but sooner or later you will get to the point where you need to take a look at what your top competitors are doing so you can further refine your approach.
To do this we can use some advanced search queries (that are really pretty simple) and find out what structured and unstructured citations the top players are using and importantly what they are doing with them.
Once people have understood what a citation is in relation to local SEO then the next question we hear is ‘what are the best UK citation sites?’.
Well, if you Google around you will find plenty of folks giving their opinions but the fact of the matter is that Google removed visibility of external citations from Google Places listings in June 2011 so no one (outside of Google) knows which citations are best for Local SEO in the UK or anywhere else for that matter.