Local SEO in 2013

Search engine optimization is ever changing and in 2013 it will continue to evolve. Last year Google made over 30 changes to their search algorithm in an effort to bring users the best experience and remove potential spam websites. With all this rapid change it can be difficult for businesses to know what to do and what to avoid when it comes to marketing for search engines. One thing remains certain, if you have a physical business you need to be visible via Google’s local results.  There are countless case studies that show that local results and local reviews can have a tremendous impact on a business’ revenue.

Local SEO vs Normal SEO

Search engine optimization, or as we call it SEO services is considered to be organic because it brings in website traffic without having to pay for it directly. When someone does a search for a term and finds your website they have found you in the organic search result listings. Paid search results are those that are sponsored on the sides and top of the results pages. Those results will cost the website owner each time someone clicks on the link.

Michigan SEO search results show up when a user is looking for a place or business that is specific to a particular location. Examples of places that show up in local search results are restaurants, flower shops, dentists, chiropractors and any other type of physical business. The way that Google finds results for local search is different from the way they get results from normal organic search results. They pull information from different directories as well as look for information about your businesses location on your website.

Google also takes into consideration your business’ reputation; if you have many good ratings then your level of trust will be in good standing. If you have several bad rankings then your site may be overlooked in place of another business that has better ratings.

The Rise of Mobile

Every year the rate at which people access the internet through their mobile phone increases dramatically. Tablets and mobile phones are becoming a normal part of everyone’s life due to their ease of use and convenience. When people are out and about it is very easy to look for places to shop or eat with their mobile device and most even allow you to speak the search and it will provide results. The results of these searches are Google’s Places or Plus results and this is why you need to be optimized for such searches.

If Google cannot find enough information about your business to pin point its location then you are not likely to rank in local search results. A mobile user does not even need to input their current location. Using GPS Google will know where the user is at the time they search the internet and therefore show them the appropriate results.  This is huge for local businesses in 2013.

How to Get Ranked Locally

So how can you take advantage of local search? You must make use of all the resources that Google will pull information from. Submit your business to as many directories as you can. Google gets their information from websites like Yelp in order to display local search results. If you cannot be found on these websites then you have little chance of ranking well in local search.

Submitting your business to these sites alone is not enough either. You must be very certain that all the information is filled out and it matches across all websites you submitted to. An example of the wrong way to do it is with a local supermarket that also has a pharmacy. On one site they give their business name as ‘x supermarkets’, on another site they list ‘x supermarket and pharmacy’. This small oversight will cause confusion to the search engines and could hurt your local rankings.

Submitting your site to the hundreds of business directories and web sites can be tedious and monotonous work. However it is work that needs to be done in order to get the most benefit from local search. The cost benefit you will receive from putting in the time will be well worth it. It is not just your business name that needs to be consistent as well, all your information including address; phone number etc. must be accurate and matching.

In Conclusion

In the ever changing world of the internet you can keep up with the times by making your business web site visible to local search results. People will be searching for places to spend their money on mobile phones and they will browse local places search results. Mobile phones and tablets are quickly becoming the device of choice for gaining internet access and that trend is increasing greatly. Staying up with the times and ranking well for local search is the best way to get targeted website traffic as well as physical shop visits throughout 2013 and beyond.

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Local SEO Tips

If you are looking for a way to get more targeted leads in 2013; Local SEO company is where you should start. You can get a very good return on investment with local SEO because the out of pocket expense could be fairly low over the long run for the lasting results it provides. By taking advantage of a few simple local SEO tips you can rank your website in Google Places and get seen by the many people browsing the internet on their mobile devices. Mobile devices are becoming the method of choice for searching the internet so it is important you start now to rank for local SEO.

Get Involved With Local Online Communities

This means actively participating in local sites, social sites or even local forums. This will give you an edge because search engines will see that you are associated with forums that are talking about your local area.  This would be considered above and beyond what your competition is probably doing. This is a big factor because it proves that your business is actually in the area you claim to be in and you are an active part of that community. By participating in local forums you will also not just boost your Local SEO but you could build a stronger local brand awareness, gain a positive reputation and even earn some online testimonials which will further help your cause.

Make Your WhoIs Information Public

WhoIs is a database where people can go to look up the owners of domain names. Many people choose to make this information private to avoid people knowing their real names and contact information. Keeping your WhoIs private could save you from some spam emails or even spam snail mail but it could do more damage than good. Having a private WhoIs is like a red flag to Google because it will be wondering why you are hiding. By making this information public it shows Google that you are trust worthy and it also proves that your information is accurate. WhoIs is another way for search engines to verify that you are who you say you are and you shop is where you say it is.  Just make the WhoIs information all about the local business and don’t include any of your personal information and you will be fine.

Use Your Location and Address in Your Blog

It is obvious why you want to have your address on your website; this allows search engines to verify your business for local search results. You should also use your address in other places on your website in order to gain further local a Michigan SEO company. The easiest way to incorporate this is through the use of your blog. You can blog about local events in order to make your location that more prominent. By adding blog posts about your local location, that location will act as keywords that search engines can easily find in order to match up your physical address. This is just another way to ensure that search engines know where your business is located and it will give you an edge over other businesses that are not taking advantage of such tactics.

Incentivize Positive Reviews

Positive reviews are an important part of local search results. This is a huge trust factor in the eyes of the search engines. This is part of online reputation management that you need to take seriously. Google adds these reviews directly to the results pages for local listings now. This makes it hard to hide from unhappy customers but also makes it easy for the world to see happy customers and good reviews.  People take these reviews very seriously, so make sure you know how you’re doing. Make it worth the while for happy customers to mention you in a review. This will help you get more traffic in a big way. If you do not rank in the number one spot in local search but you have the most positive reviews, you are likely to get the majority of the traffic, even though you are not in the top spot.

Match Information throughout Your Directories

There are many directories you can and should be submitting your business to in order to get the most out of local search results. It is not enough however to simply register your business and call it good. You should make the most out of these directories by filling out all the possible input boxes with keyword rich information. Remember as you are filling out these profiles that all your information must match over every web site you submit to. If you have even slightly different information in your name, description or contact info, it could lead to confusion from search engines and you could lose an edge to another competing business.

By taking advantage of these tips you can rank well for local search results on your own and you will not have to spend much money to do it. These benefits will last for a long time into the future as search engines evolve.  You should also try to network with all local businesses and see if you could receive a mention in one of their blog posts or other onsite announcements.

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Small Business SEO Guide for 2013

In 2013 search engine optimization continues to be one of the most cost effective ways to get potential customers to your small business website. The methods of taking advantage of SEO services are evolving however and you need to keep up with the best practices in order to build the most trust between your web site and the search engines. This article will act as a guide for small businesses to create the most cost effective and safe campaign. Follow this guide to gain free (also referred to as ‘organic’) web site traffic.

Get Friendly with Social Media

You have probably heard it before but you need to be using social media. Social media has many benefits including direct traffic referrals, building a community and brand awareness. As far as search engine optimization goes, social media is a must. Search engines have caught on to the popularity of social media and therefore placed social signals in their ranking algorithms.

A social signal is when someone interacts with your social media posts or page. Every social media site has a different method for interacting with one another. On Twitter you have hash tags and re-tweets, on Facebook there are ‘likes’, shares and comments. When you post a link to content on your business page directing them to your website and people interact with it – that is a social signal.

Another SEO benefit of social media sites is that there are so many of them. By creating profiles on many of these sites you are connecting your site to them which will increase your authority. One caution however is that all the information on these profiles needs to be exactly the same. The information in input boxes does not need to be identical but should contain the same keywords. All the contact information including your name, address, phone number etc. does need to be identical however.  If your competitors are doing this and you are not, that could be enough to put them ahead of you in the search results.

Learn to Link Internally

Internal linking and structure is a big deal that many web site owners have no idea about. You can do everything right but if you do not have proper internal linking on your site, then it could all be for nothing. Linking internally means linking to pages within your own website. The benefit of doing this is that it gives search engines a path to follow in order to find all the pages of your website. If they do not have this path, they may never be able to index the internal pages of your site.  This is a method to help a common practice of having a Sitemap.

Also by using keyword anchor text from your home page you can pass along the authority of your home page to your internal pages thus making them easier to rank themselves. The best way to practice this internal link structure is to create a pyramid starting with your homepage. Plan out this pyramid on paper and how you intend to link to the lower pages, then take your plan to your web site and add the links.

Create a Blog and Use it

As a small business owner you are probably not excited to take on another task that needs to be done daily or every other day. However, blogging is one of the most important parts of the cost effectiveness of search engine optimization today.

Most small business seo web sites do not have much content on them because they were not intended to deliver much diverse information.  Essentially, they are a larger business card that sits online for most. The idea of a small business web site is to convey the message of the company and contact potential customers. A blog gives you an opportunity to build as much content as you can. The benefit of this is great. First of all you will give search engines more pages to view thus building trust with them. Second you will have an opportunity to update your web site often. Updating your website often will cause search engines to view your website often too. This alone gives you yet another trust factor in the eyes of search engines. A website that is updated often means the owner is interested in the topic and invested in it. Also by updating, you will have a better chance at ranking for topics that are time sensitive.

By following these steps you will be practicing the most cost effective way to get new customers. These tactics are completely safe and will not draw any red flags from search engines. Take the time to practice these SEO tactics and you will be sure to see an increase in free traffic.

About the Author

Jas Saran is the founder of G Web Pro Marketing Inc, a Web Design and Small Business SEO Company in Toronto, specializing in a complete online marketing solutions.

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