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How to find Local Keywords using Google

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For any marketing campaign, search engine optimization starts with some extensive keyword research. After all, before you generate content and optimize it for search, you need to know which search queries drive the highest ROI. To marketers out there, there are several tools available for mining and identifying keywords but you will find that sometimes, the best place to start looking for keywords is the search engines themselves.

local-keyword-research

3 Ways to Use Google for Local Keyword Research

1. Google Autocomplete

If you need ideas on locally based keywords, Google Autocomplete is a good place to start. It is an incredible resource for mining keywords, especially in the case of local keyword research.

Basically, here is how Google’s Autocomplete works: For each keyword you type in, Google produces a list of similar keywords using an algorithm that works to match the intent of a user to indexed pages. Using this tool, you can easily identify new keywords that are related to your primary keywords but you would not have thought of them on your own.

For example, if I type in “new york iPhone repair” in Google’s search bar, Google will suggest some other related search queries. In the image below, one of suggestions is “new york city iphone repair”. If I create content around this particular search term then more power to me.  It was a previously overlooked keyword.

Google-autocomplete

2. Shifting Search Queries

Google is constantly updating the way searches are performed. One recent change to the way searches are performed is that if you enter a specific query in Google’s search bar and you then click on a link to Google Maps, Google may or may not change the search query as you follow the link to Google Maps. Once on Google Maps, if you click to view the top results, the search query may or may not change again.

In the example used above, if you follow a link from the search results page to Google Maps, the search query changes to “iphone repair near New York, NY”.

This is yet another resource you can use to identify which keywords you should use for your marketing campaign. They are search queries Google is encouraging people to use;

3. Use a Different Location to Search for More Keywords

This is related to what we discussed above for Google’s Autocomplete feature but with a twist.  Let’s say, instead of tying in “new york iPhone repair”, you type in “Manhattan iPhone repair”. Changing your location from New York to Manhattan will affect the suggestions in Google’s Autocomplete but the search terms are still valid keywords that you can target.

Equally possible if you want to look up search patterns is to use “phone repair” instead of “iPhone repair” in your search query. This will yield yet another list of suggested search queries, all viable keywords.

About Google’s New Adwords Keyword Planner

For local keyword research, marketers often use the Google Keyword Tool with geo modifiers, for example “City Name + Keyword”. The problem with this tool is that keyword research gets tricky when the keywords don’t already have a geo modifier. Plus, say for example your keyword is “iPhone repair” but you want to know how many people in the city of New York are searching for your services.

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Google’s Hummingbird | Say Hello To The Biggest Google Algorithm Update Since 2001

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The last few weeks, the SERPs have been chaotic. You may have noticed this yourself: Small drops in Page Authority and Domain Authority or big leaps up the SERPs for some previously poorly ranking content.

The reason: Google has secretly rolled out a new algorithm, the biggest update since 2001.

google-hummingbird

Unlike Panda and Penguin, Google’s Hummingbird is not merely a major algorithm update or refresh, it is, in fact, a new ranking algorithm altogether. Google remained unusually quiet about the new algorithm until September 26, 2013 when it was confirmed.

Google’s Hummingbird aims to deliver precise and fast results. At this point, specifics are vague but Google has confirmed that the new algorithm focuses on semantic search rather than keyword search based on more intelligent search requests. Put quite simply, Google is getting smarter.

About Google’s Hummingbird

Google is developing semantic search and the announcement of the Hummingbird algorithm update only goes on to indicate the speed at which Google is rolling out user-intent search at a global level. It’s time to sit up and take notice.

Basically Google’s Hummingbird takes semantic search and adds 3 new dimensions to it.

1. Complexity

Semantic search is about more intelligent and naturalistic search requests. The Hummingbird update aims to render Google search capable of processing complex search queries. For example, successive search queries about a specific topic are now analyzed and linked.

2. Comparison

The adjustment of Google’s search algorithm to account for more complex search queries means that Hummingbird can now turn Google into a comparison engine. For example, let’s say you were to compare the Empire State Building to Sears. Before Google’s Hummingbird, you would have had to search each building and then manually compare them. Google’s Hummingbird now does the legwork for you bringing up a comparison chart for the two buildings if you type in “Empire State Building vs. Sears” in Google’s search bar.

Empire State Building vs. Sears

3. Prediction

Complex search queries, once they are intelligently processed and understood provide important data to Google search to widen the search results. This broadens search for a more fulfilling user experience.

The take-away: Google search is getting smarter. Hummingbird will affect 90% of searches worldwide. Google is actively developing semantic search and businesses currently relying on simple keyword strategies will suffer in the near future. In addition to that, Google has now stopped reporting keywords in Google Analytics making it more of a challenge to create a comprehensive SEO strategy without primary keywords.

The Future of Content Marketing and SEO

With Hummingbird, Google is clearly articulating the direction of travel for marketers.

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Link Building When Launching A New Site | A Quick Guide

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linkbuildingOne of the hardest tasks when launching a new site is generating a nice influx of links pointing to it.  This can perhaps be explained by the fact that when you are launching a new site, there are like 12,000 things you need to worry about especially if you are changing the URL structure or domain name of an existing website. It’s easy to overlook the fact that once ready, you will need to promote the new site to drive enough traffic to it.

1. Generate Links Internally

No matter the type of business you run, you already have a number of people who you know will definitely share any content you post pertaining to the launch of a new site. This includes but is not limited to the people who work for your company. Ask them to share your content (and link back to you) on their blogs or social accounts.

2. Teasers are Useful

Prior to launching a website, consider developing a few promotional teasers. These can be blog posts, infographics, pictures or videos posted regularly in the weeks leading up to the big day. Some people even share screenshots of their new site being built on the social media sites, especially Instagram and Facebook.

This way, you generate both social traffic AND quality links.

3. Pre-launch reviews

Another way of generating relevant links to a new site you are building is to reach out to the industry influencers for their opinion and to dry run your site before it hits the web. Your best bet for finding these relevant people is FollowerWonk. Ask the people to review your site and blog on their blog. This feedback is more valuable than most links you will get elsewhere.

4. Post-launch promotions

Based on the most recent updates to the Google Link Scheme help document, press releases and advertorials can now hurt your rankings in the SERPs. However, if you are launching a new site, that’s very newsworthy. The launch of a new website is therefore the perfect time to revisit an old time favorite link building opportunity: Press releases. They still build great links if they are relevant, useful and non-spammy.

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rel=author & rel=publisher: What do they Mean?

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In its strive to make the search results more relevant and to reward people or brands for the good content they write or publish, Google has made it possible to link web content with its creators.

rel-author-and-rel-publisher

By using the rel=author or rel=publisher tags, you can tell people and Google that it’s really you who created that content. You take responsibility for it. And in most cases, you reap SEO benefits as well (yes, in some cases you don’t; we will get to that a bit later in this article).

What, when, where, what not… This is what this article is about!

What is rel=author

The “rel=author” tag is used to connect the Google+ profiles of authors to the content they publish on the web. Talk about recognition for small-scale and low-budget bloggers!

It is basically about Authorship.

So, what does this tag do?

1. Your Google+ profile picture may show up next to your content in the search results (known as the Authorship “rich snippet”). That’s some cool recognition and reward right there.

2. Pictures attract your attention more than words right? The same applies to the search results. Results with pictures tend to draw more clicks (a lot of people will prefer clicking on your link over the #1 result without picture).

3. It allows you to gain leverage an algorithm update that some experts swear will see the light in the future, by gaining AuthorRank. Basically, your content will get preferential rankings in the SERPs as you build to show your expertise on the web.

What is rel=publisher

The “rel=publisher” tag is about becoming a Google+ Verified Publisher. This tag allows the publishers of a website to connect their Google+ brand pages to their official website. Sounds confusing, I know.

The benefits (other than looking genuine on Google+) seem to be less clear than the Authorship thing, right? Well, here they are:

1. As I’ve mentioned above, your brand page gets to be verified and official. How? By having a check mark next to your brand name on your Google+ brand page.

2. +1’s combination. This means that the +1’s on your brand page will not only be the actual +1’s on that page, but a combination of the actual +1’s on that page + your followers + +1’s on your website. Yup, that’s a lot. Oh and if you use AdWords, you can decide to have Google display all the +1’s you have in your ad. Remember, people like to click on what’s different…

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