In a world of content management systems (CMS) and plugins that can do nearly everything you want, instantly, often for free or a nominal cost it is easy to hang together a website with a raft of functionality without blowing your budget to pieces.
That’s great, it really is, but as anyone knows who works with search engines or websites for a while (15 years so far – kill me) there is no such thing as a free lunch and there are trade offs for this free functionality.
Many people have looked high and low to find the secret of being successful in local search results and we have found it… its your Google Places listing! Yes it’s as simple as that. We have created a step by step optimization guide for your Google Places listing. Your listing plays a huge part in local SEO, so it is vital to optimize your listing correctly with as much detail as possible.
Claim your listing! Google may have already created a places listing for your business so the next step is to claim your listing and verify your location.
It is fairly well documented how important citations are as part of your local SEO efforts and how the quality and the total number of citations can play a big part in raising the visibility of your business in localised search results. With this in mind most of the local SEO articles out there tend to list a series of directories and tell the business owner to dive in and get their business listed.
Now, that is fine in many cases, but it fails to address one important point: what citations already exist for your business?
We do a lot of SEO Audits here at Bowler Hat and often many of the sites we work with have multiple URLs attached to them and have multiple URLs indexed. This is problematic for many reasons with the primary one being a potential penalty due to duplication but more often you will see equity split over several different domains or sub domains. We all want links to our sites but if have 10 links to one site and 10 links to another then you are failing to pool all of your inbound link equity into the one single domain.
Luckily, there is a simple solution to this using the ever powerful mod rewrite tool that can redirect all of your many domain variations to the one single domain that you intend the site to run on.
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.