10 Tips to Search Like a Pro Using Google [Infographic]

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Google has impacted our lives in a tremendous way.  For everything and anything, you can just go to Google and you are able to find what you need within a few seconds.  However, there are times when we have to go to the second, third and fourth pages of search results and still not able to find something we look for.

Its important to know that Google search is not just about the search box that you see on its homepage. The search engine constantly strive to create a better search experience for its users. There are many search tools like image search, blog search, news search, map search etc using which you can narrow down the search results and find what exactly you are searching for. However, there are quite a few search techniques (called Google search modifiers) which can be very handy when you search for something more specific. For example, if you wanted to find out something from a certain site, and the site doesn’t have an inbuilt search function, you can use Google to find information from that site.  This infographic explains 10 such search tips worth knowing to show off your search skills.

Google search tricks using search modifiers

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20 Must-List Business Directories for Every Local Business in the US


Joe has been running around Manhattan all day between meetings and lunchtime is rolling around. He is just dying for a great burger but doesn’t know the area very well. So he whips out his iPhone and types in ‘burger manhattan’. Thankfully you run a gourmet burger café nearby and your listing on Yelp comes up first in his search results. He clicks the link, notices you have 4.5 out of 5 stars and almost every review mentions how tasty your burgers are. He checks the address, notices you’re just around the corner and his decision is made. You just got a new, lifelong customer.

That is the power of local business directories.

Local Business Directories

What is a local business directory?

Simply put, it is a website which lists local businesses with a customized page for each of them. Here businesses can offer coupons, special deals, display their contact information, URL, owner’s name and even post media like videos and photos. They are a really convenient way to get information about a business since they’re easy to search, always up to date and trustworthy.

Why are they important?

A search engine’s main goal is to provide highly relevant search results to the searcher for a particular string of keywords. For example, if someone searches for a business name like ‘aunt mildred’s cookie factory’, their company website would definitely be one of the results the searcher would like to see.

However, it’s not the only result and the search engines know this.

In recent years Google has increased the rankings of business directory listings for local search terms significantly. In fact, you will notice they often rank right under the company’s official domain. This could be their listing on Google Places, Yelp or SuperPages and is a great way for searchers that aren’t familiar with the business to do a little research.

What are the benefits of being listed?

1. Leads

Directories can be an excellent source of passive referrals and warm leads for your business. Even if your listings only get you one extra customer per day, this can have a dramatic impact on your businesses’ growth. Not only is it more income, but it’s a larger word of mouth presence on the street which can help snowball your growth over the course of a year.

2. Ratings

What makes directories so powerful is that the businesses listed on them are rated by previous customers. People share their honest opinions and experiences about their products or services, just like on Amazon. Every business gets a star rating and/or collection of testimonials which can increase the chances of people buying – if your ratings are good that is. This allows customers to easily rely on the opinions of others instead of going on a gut feeling and hoping for the best. They can make fast, easy decisions and this can be very reassuring.

3. Reputation

Some directories even have a barrier to entry where they will only allow companies that meet certain standards or have specific certifications list with them. This keeps out low value businesses and people will assume you are a solid company if you are accepted. This can be a huge boost for your reputation and goes a long way to build trust upfront.

4. Rankings

Another great reason is that local business directories will increase your rankings for both local as well as ‘national’ searches. Google Places in particular uses them to increase your relevance for specific local keywords. For example, if someone searches for ‘ice cream parlor orange county’, and you happen to have hundreds of directory listings all over the web, chances are you will come up as one of the first results on the searcher’s phone or tablet. This is an ideal way to get more of the local market coming into your store as well as countrywide exposure on regular Google searches with very little effort.

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7 Super Smart Strategies to Acquiring High Quality Backlinks (for free!)


With all the frequent algorithmic updates being released by the search engines, they are sending webmasters and SEO service providers a clear message:

We will do what it takes to reward quality (and push low-grade stuff way down the SERPS)

They don’t mind people working their way up the rankings but not if some low-level spammy tactics have been adopted. The recent updates have made it even harder for many to get links that are valued and this is why, along with good content, the need for high quality backlinks is more now than at any point in time before.

Good content. High-quality backlinks. Better rankings. Enough said.

So, how do you obtain those desirable “quality” backlinks? There are definitely some strategies you can follow, here are 7 super smart strategies you may want to give a shot at:

Strategy #1: Guest Blogging

Guest PostingIt’s a much talked about strategy these days but unfortunately, poorly executed by most. Guest blogging is all about writing well-researched content for other blogs and you getting credit in return. Imagine having a link on a related blog or website, right in the middle of relevant content and also being mentioned as the writer of the post. How much more relevant and high quality can a link be? These kind of links should ideally be valued the most by the search engines since there isn’t any real manipulation going on.

However, do note though that there are plenty of people who have just started a bunch of blogs (on expired domains with PR) and have started accepting guest posts at a price. Writing for these kinds of blogs won’t work very well in the long run for two reasons: i) they don’t have the right intentions for their blog and will never write quality content for their own blog &  ii) they will accept any kind of post as long as they’re paid for it and this could affect the quality of the blog itself.

You want to focus on the quality of the blog and its relevance to your industry/niche. You then want to contact them, pitch a valuable content idea and then work to create absolutely high quality well-research content. Read more on how to land quality guest posting opportunities.

Guest blogging gives you the dual benefit of not only getting a valuable link but you also stand to benefit from an increase in the awareness of your site/brand – there is also the chance of getting quality click-throughs from the links in the post you put up.

We’d put guest blogging high up on our list of recommended strategies for you to build links for your site.

Strategy #2: Content Curation Content Curation

While the term may sound a bit fancy, the process itself is fairly simple. Very basically, content curation is the process of publishing highly relevant information on your blog (relevant to your blog’s theme and the interest of your target market) by sifting through a lot of information and keeping the gold nuggets (while discarding the irrelevant parts).

Think food shopping. Your shopping bag is the blog and food is the content. When you go to the market, as you pass the aisles, you only buy the stuff that the members of your family are going to eat (relevant). The rest stays out of your shopping bag.

Practical examples of content curation would be: i) 50 Of The Best Free Icon Sets From 2011 – the blog publisher has researched and compiled a list of 50 sites where you can get the best icons for free (that’s a lot of time and effort spent curating this content), ii) iOS 5 Update – The “O Where Art Thou” Reactions! – this is an example where twitter reactions were compiled on how people responded to the delay in the software update of the Apple iOS.

Proper content curation involves researching and collating information from various sources and presenting them in a usable format that would be of value to your readers.

How will content curation help in getting you high quality backlinks? If the content you’ve compiled is of value and is interesting, people will share your content and talk about it – they would either refer to it on their blog, share it on forums they are part of  or post it on their social profiles.

Strategy #3: Help Beginners

Target BeginnersThere will always be people who don’t know [what you may determine to be] the essentials/the basics of your field/industry/product/service. For instance, SEOMoz has created an SEO guide for Beginners just to help out all those new to the field of SEO. This guide has become so popular that it has been shared and linked to from many other sites on the web.

Do not neglect “the beginners” or the “newcomers”. Everyday, there is someone new in every field (and niche).

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