Directory Maximizer

Local Search Engine Optimization for Businesses

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In the past, only websites that had the resources to gather a lot of links were seen on Page 1. Local search can be viewed as an opportunity that search engines give to small businesses to shine. In 2014, with the right optimizations in the right places, small businesses can reach their customers pretty easily without having to invest the big bucks into SEO.

local-seo-business

See, 80% of people want their search requests to be made according to their specific location, according to some research conducted by some of Google’s friends.

Consumers don’t really care about how popular a website is worldwide anymore. They want to know where they can eat, or which service professional can help them in the next few minutes. And to satisfy these consumers (who are also the people who make the search engines money), the SEs had to make their results more relevant…more local.

So if you have a business and want the local people to find you more easily, this article will show you just that!

It all Starts With your Website

Most SEO experts would agree that SEO work should begin within the website first. This applies to local SEO as well.

The biggest tip we can give you for local SEO? Build and optimize a landing page for each and every location you service. This applies whether you own 1 local shop or a chain of them.

Every page should have proper title and meta tags. Then of course the business name, address and phone number. Keep those consistent wherever you are posting them (don’t use 23 Reagent Street, Cashmere on your website and 23 Reagent St., CSH on a local business listing site – use the same address and phone number format everywhere). A Google Maps of your location is a good idea, too.

One of the biggest challenges is writing unique content for each page providing the same service. The solution: Since you are writing a page for each area, why not write something about the area? Write about the landmarks, memorable events, parks, etc. as part of the content.

Last but not least, optimize the URL. Like this: https://www.myservice.com/410033-Cashmere

Last tip for this section: Use pictures that people will resonate with. A picture of your store with some known buildings on its side will help reduce the bounce rate. And if you can make a video showing the surroundings, even better!

Make Ads ‘Localized’

If you are using paid ads to drive traffic to your website, make sure to optimize them as well for the area (zip code, city or even street name). Make it easy for them to reach you.

local-seo-ads-google

60% of the people prefer using the ‘Call’ or ‘Get directions’ buttons directly from the ad rather than clicking through to the website itself, according to this data.

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6 Companies that are Getting Content Marketing Right

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The web is home to over 60 trillion individual pages. For a typical query, there are thousands (if not millions) of webpages with helpful information. As such, marketing today is about relationships. The way to do this is creating content that stands out.

content-marketing-examples

By definition, content marketing is the science and art of producing content that builds trust and authority in your industry.

Standout Examples of Good Content Marketing

1. Lush Digital Media’s LTV video series

The LTV- Leadership-Thought-Vision video series by Lush Digital Media is content marketing that stands out. Every fortnight, interviews with some of the biggest “Thought Leaders” today from a wide variety of industries including government, technology and healthcare, are published on the agency’s YouTube channel. There is no pitch there! It’s just great information to inspire motivation. The fortnightly dose becomes addictive!

LTV- Leadership-Thought-Vision-video-series

The take-away: Provide value content. It’s not all about selling.

2. ‘The Epic Split’ by Volvo Trucks

A live test aimed at demonstrating the stability and precision of Volvo Dynamic Steering, the Jean-Claude Van Damme stunt video from Volvo Trucks is majestic, powerful and visually spectacular to watch. It was the season finale of a series of 6 stunt videos by Volvo Trucks last year to test the quality of its trucks. Compared to its previous video ads (which have been documentary-style), last year Volvo Trucks invited several guest stars including World Champion slackliner Faith Dickey and Hollywood legacy Jean-Claude Van Damme to realize the ultimate ad for Volvo Trucks.

The take-away: Think outside the box.

3. Google Doodles

Doodles are fun and spontaneous variations of the Google logo to mark holidays and other special events such as anniversaries and the lives of famous people including scientists, artists and pioneers.

Google-Doodles

The first Google doodle was produced for Bastille Day in 2000. It was so well received by users of the search engine that over years, Google has created over 2000 doodles. And while for the most part, a team of illustrators and Google engineers are behind every doodle we see, users can email their ideas to proposals@google.com.

Google Doodles has turned into a much-loved tradition and makes an outstanding example of engaging content marketing.

The take-away: Ask and you shall receive. Your audience wants to feel like they belong.

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Negative SEO | Keeping an Eye Out for the Saboteurs of Search

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Negative search engine optimization! Does it really happen? Can someone who understands the rules of search actually use them not constructively but destructively to sabotage a website’s rankings up the search engine results? If so, should you be worried? And what can you do to protect yourself from potential search saboteurs?

negative-seo

Those are all excellent questions for any online business relying on Google searches for traffic. So let’s talk about negative SEO and shed some light on the subject.

The Concept of Negative SEO

Negative SEO is the name given to the process when someone (a search saboteur or a competitor) makes an attempt to lower a website’s rankings in the search engine results.

But does it really work?

Hypothetically, if a new website gains thousands of links over the course of a weekend, the site will look like it’s engaging in unnatural link building and pushing its rankings up the SERPs artificially; a tactic known to attract the disfavor of the major search engines including Google in a post-Penguin world. In response, it is highly likely that Google’s search algorithms will punish such a website by pushing the offending website pages into the deep invisible layers of the SERPs.

So, if buying or selling links and excessive link exchanges you engage in can harm your website rankings in the SERPs, it follows that similar unnatural links created by a search saboteur can have the same negative effect.

As a matter of fact, prior to January 2003, Google had statement on one of its website pages. It read:

“There is nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.”

In 2003, that statement was modified. It now reads:

“There is almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking….”

Clearly negative SEO is a real threat and under certain circumstances, it is actually possible for someone with a vindictive agenda to harm your website by, say, changing your robots.txt file so the search engines don’t crawl your website anymore. As for negative SEO via link building, Google has things included in its algorithms to help them determine whether links are self-made or not and ensure that a competitor cannot hurt your site rankings in the search engine results. But even Google admits that they may not get things 100% right all the time.

The conclusion: Negative SEO is real and if you see a situation where you feel that negative SEO is actually being effective, it does not help to bury your head in the sand. You need to recognize the warning signs.

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How to Optimize Content Length for Maximum Engagement

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Blog Posts

One thing bloggers are often conflicted about is this: How long should my blog posts be? The answer is: It depends. The blogging community is divided on the issue and with good reason. At the end of the day, it depends on what you hope to accomplish through your blog.

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The Case for Short Blog Posts

Short blog posts (posts with 200-400 words) have many supporters. In truth, these are perfectly acceptable for a blog aimed at selling a particular product or service. These short blog posts are effective because you get straight to the point with a clear call to action. And because people tend to have short attention spans, you want to get to the point before they forget why they are on your blog.

If you need inspiration on how to properly construct a short blog post, the flawless approach of Seth Godin and David Vandagriff might be of great help. Conveying high quality and valuable information that will inspire interest and trust in 300 words or less can be deceptively challenging.

The Case for Long Blog Posts

In contrast to people who endorse short blog posts and make them work are those who are of the opinion that longer blog posts are meatier. We’re talking about 1,000 words or more here.

The question is: If short posts work, why would anyone sit down and write content with 1,000 words and above?

The answer is simple: It’s good for search engine optimization.

According to a research by serpIQ, for most SERPs, at least 1500 words for blog posts is a good target.

The reasoning: For some years now, Google has been trying to favor fully fleshed out site with a lot of quality content. With longer posts, you have more flexibility with keywords. So in a typical 1,500-word blog post, it’s highly likely that you’ll include a lot of keywords that may not be specific but still related to the theme of your post as compared to limiting yourself to one or two specific keywords. To Google, this will qualify as content designed to provide valuable information to users rather than please bots.

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How to Search for and Fix Low Quality Content on Your Website

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When Google rolled out the Panda update in 2011 it was aimed at websites with low quality content and designed to prevent thin websites from ranking high in the SERPs. The Google Panda update was meant to be a huge wake up call; a glaring reminder that content should be written for the users and not for the search engines.

low-quality-content

Since then, Google has been increasing clear about the fact that if you want to improve your site’s ranking in the Google search results, one of the most important steps is to ensure that it contains plenty of rich information. But still some webmasters attempt to improve their rankings in the SERPs and ergo attract visitors by creating pages with many words but little substantial value.

Thin content and shallow pages with little value will kill your website rankings. Maybe you’ve been lucky so far in escaping penalizations but each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times.

Examples of content with little value include:

  • Auto-generated content
  • Doorway pages
  • Scraped content (and low-quality guest posts)
  • Thin affiliate sites

Automatically Generated Content

“Auto-generated” content is by definition content that’s been generated programmatically. It will most often consist of paragraphs of random text that contain the right keywords sprinkled at the right intervals but overall, the content will make little or no sense whatsoever to a human reader. Examples of auto-generated content include:

  • Text translated by an automated tool
  • Text generated through Markov chains and other automated processes
  • Text generated using automated synonymizing
  • Text generated from scraping RSS feeds
  • Content from different web pages combined without human review

Thin Affiliate Sites

Often times, affiliate websites feature content such as product reviews that appear, verbatim, on sites across that affiliate network and do not have enough unique content to differentiate them from other sites on the web. Such “thin” affiliate websites do not provide value for web users and create a frustrating user experience. It therefore makes sense that pages with product descriptions and reviews copied directly from the original merchant can suffer in Google’s search rankings.

Scraped Content

Content taken or scraped from other sites on the assumption that a large volume of content on a website is a good long-term strategy regardless of factors such as relevance and uniqueness provide no real value to users. Additionally, this practice also constitutes copyright infringement.

Sites that republish content from other sources or modify it slightly, for example, by substituting synonyms, are obviously shallow.

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4 Creative Link Building Ideas for Ecommerce Websites in Boring Niches

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Since the late 1990’s search engines have used link data in complex algorithms to evaluate sites and pages and their relative popularity and importance. Obviously links are not everything in SEO but many search professionals estimate that link-based factors constitute a large portion of the search algorithms used by popular engines such as Google. Through links, Google can not only measure the popularity of websites but also other metrics such as trust, spam and authority. After all, trustworthy sites tend to receive links from other trusted sources while spammy sites receive very few of those.

link-building-seo

Some of the popular link building strategies for ecommerce websites include:

1. Getting your loyal customers to link to you by sending out graphic icons that link back to your site

2. Maintaining a business blog; making it a fresh and entertaining source of industry news and information.

3. Creating content to serve as “linkbait”. In the SEO world, “linkbait” refers to content that inspires viral sharing such as humor.

4. Be newsworthy. Staying in the news by periodically releasing a great product or giving away something for free is a very effective way to earn links.

But what happens if the industry you’re in is very boring? Are some industries too boring to develop a cohesive and long-term link building strategy?

Link Building Opportunities for Websites in Boring Industries

Amid terrific stories being shared and linked to every minute in dynamic industries such as home improvement, footwear and fitness, link builders in the more challenging niches sometimes get stuck on how to even come close to competing.

But boring is a very subjective tern. If you really think about it, you’ll realize that any business, no matter how boring it may come off as on the surface, has interesting stories.

  • Every business has customers with problems they need to solve
  • Every business owner has a story to tell
  • Every employee face challenges at work everyday

All these make interesting human stories. The challenge is for a link builder to be creative enough to leverage and exploit these stories.

1. Do a Google Search and Sift Through What Comes Up for Inspiration

Building and maintaining a business blog is one of the few link-building strategies personally recommended by the engineers at Google. Blogs are unique in their ability to contribute fresh content on a consistent basis. These then go on to participate in conversations across the web and earn links from other blogs.

But if you’re in an industry like, say air filters, chances are, you don’t have much to say let alone something to say everyday or periodically. So it helps to do a Google search and read through the stories that come up. Occasionally you are bound to come across a piece of information or a statistic that would make a link-worthy piece of content.

For example, did you know that according to the EPA, indoor air contains 2-5 times more contaminants than outdoor air? Don’t you think this piece of data has the potential to interest a lot of people and inspire a really nice blog post?

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A Handy Guide to Local SEO by Directory Maximizer

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As a local business user, your SEO budget is one of the most important things you manage each month. A website’s listing on search engines provides peace of mind to thousands of business owners around the world by enabling them to get in touch directly with local customers, where word of mouth or physical advertising wasn’t cutting it.

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But local business owners tend not to overlap with technology experts or software engineers, but we do think that traditional businesses need to go through the learning curve of setting up a local SEO campaign. Here are some vital tips that will help with your local search rankings and enable you to get quick access to hungry customers.

1. Optimized Local Place Pages are Key

The first and most important step to take to ensure high rankings in local search pages is to build “Place Pages” for all the search engines you’re targeting. (Here are the links to Bing, Yahoo! and Google Places)

This ensures that the search engines understand you run a local business, which will then allow them to incorporate your listing into their search results.

However, it is vital for you to optimize your places page with accurate and targeted information, to make sure you are placed above your customers.

  • Categorize your business into the relevant category – uncategorized businesses are NOT listed in search results!
  • Ensure all of your information is accurately specified – you have the same NAP (Name, Address, Phone) everywhere, in all the listings, for consistency’s sake
  • Make sure you upload plenty of high quality photos
  • Detail your hours of operation
  • Specify the services you offer

2. Reviews Matter. A Lot.

Reputations make or break businesses. A highly rated business will get more clicks than a 1-star or 2-star listing – which is very important as far as SEO goes – a competitor who is getting more clicks will rise higher in the rankings. Moreover, it is becoming more and more apparent that Google is looking at ratings as a factor for rankings. Make sure you invite all users to your website to leave a review! Be proactive about responding to reviews – your involvement in the websites reputation is a very positive sign.

Don’t post false reviews! This is the easiest way to get penalized – let the reviews flow in naturally and honestly.

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