Make Your Content Search-Friendly

Make Your Content Search-Friendly

Google is dependent on good search results and makes it a priority to find the fest content for its search results. To do this Google is a totally automated search engine that relies on software called web crawlers that explore the internet regularly to find sites to add to their index. Many of the websites listed on Google’s search results have not been manually submitted to be included, thanks to these automated bots that crawl the internet periodically. In order to determine if your website is already on Google’s index by searching your website’s URL. Even though Google crawls and indexes literally billions of websites, it is possible that some get overlooked. When this happens, it likely one of a few reasons; Google may have received an error while attempting to crawl the site, the website design makes it hard for Google to effectively crawl the content, it’s a new site that hasn’t had time to be crawled yet, or the website isn’t well connected from other websites on the internet.

Google offers guidelines to help build a website that is crawler friendly. There can be no guarantee that a crawler will find the website, but when the guidelines are followed it makes it much more likely that it will be crawled, thus appearing in Google’s search results. Google’s Search Console is able to provide tools that aid in submitting content to Google, and are able to monitor how the website is performing in the search results. Search Console is even able to send website owners alerts on important issues that have been encountered with a website or mobile application.

Are You in Need of an SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization or optimizer, and hiring someone to do this is a huge decision that has the potential to exponentially improve a website. On the flip side, this can also potentially damage the website and its reputation. If you are thinking about it, you should research the advantages and disadvantages of hiring someone.

Many SEO agencies and consultants will provide useful services including but not limited to:

  • Content development
  • SEO training
  • Keyword research
  • Reviewing a website’s content and/or structure
  • Technical advice
  • Information on specific markets and geographies

You need to realize that Google’s search results pages will include both organic search results as well as paid advertisements. When you choose to advertise with Google, there will not be any effect on the presence of the website within the search results—the money paid isn’t for increasing rank in search results. It is totally free to appear in Google’s organic search results pages. There are many free resources from Google to provide information about how to optimize a website for organic search results, like Search console, their discussion forum, and the official Webmaster Central blog.

While starting a search for SEO, work to become familiar with how search engines actually work. Also, the earlier in the process of creating a website that you hire someone for SEO, the better. This can be when launching a new website, or even if you are thinking about a website redesign. That way, the website will be search engine friendly from top to bottom.

What to Ask when investing in SEO

If you hire someone for SEO you need to make sure that they are trustworthy. Some topics to ask them about include previous work, their familiarity with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, their marketing services, their experience regarding the industry and location of the site, their length of time in the business, and what is the best way to communicate with them. Those who work in SEO have the ability to provide valuable services, but those unethical SEOs have tainted the industry through overly aggressive marketing techniques and attempts to unfairly manipulate search engines. It is vital to know that anyone who violates Google’s guidelines will receive negative consequences, like a lower adjustment in search results presence or even total removal altogether.

These are some things to consider when looking for someone to help you with your SEO: there is no possible way that anyone can guarantee a number 1 ranking on Google. A company should not be secretive and needs to be able to clearly explain what they intend to do. You should also not never be asked to link to their firm.

Make Your Website Google Friendly

You will need to give your visitors high-quality information, this is even more important on the main page. If the pages of the site contain information that is useful, the content is likely to attract more visitors and even provoke other webmasters to link to your site on theirs. To create the type of information that will get this reaction, the content should be helpful and rich in information that accurately and clearly describes your chosen topic.

While you want others to link to your website, you should be linking other websites on yours as well. This helps web crawlers to find the website and then give it greater visibility in the search results. This is possible because Google uses advanced text-matching software to provide pages that are important and relevant to the search. Pages that link to each other are essentially a vote of confidence in one another and shows to Google as being more important. These algorithms have the ability to distinguish natural links from unnatural links. Natural links are those that develop as a normal part of the web when other websites discover your content and find it valuable and helpful to their audience. On the other hand, unnatural links are those that are placed with a specific strategy in mind in order to make a website appear to be more valuable. Do know that only those links that are natural are the ones that matter when crawling and indexing a website in order to determine the ranking.

A website needs to have a logical structure of the links. Each page needs to be reachable from one or more static text links. It is recommended to use a text browser like Lynx to review your website. Viewing it like this is similar to how many web crawlers will see it, so just in case any extra features keep you from seeing the entire site through it, you’ll know that it is difficult for a bot to crawl it.

What To Avoid

Do not stuff your content with lists of keywords, attempt to hide pages, or make pages only available to crawlers. If there are pages, text, or links that are not intended for visitors to see, then Google sees this is deceptive and could ignore the website.

You should also not feel obligated to pay for an SEO service. Some companies will claim to give you a higher ranking for your site, while others will realistically improve the content and flow of the website. It is vital to be able to distinguish the good from the bad when looking at SEO services.

Images should not be used when displaying important names, links, or content. The crawlers do not recognize the text within the graphics. If images are needed, you should be using the ALT attributes to give information about these graphics.

You should also not be creating more than one copy of a page under different URLs. Many websites opt to have text only or printer friendly version of their pages, and they contain the same information as their graphic-rich counterpart.

Appear as a Featured “In-depth article”

These are the articles that appear when searching for things like a specific person or an organization. They are highlighted in the search results, as they provide high-quality content that will help users to learn more about a topic. This feature is based on an algorithm, but there are certain steps that can be taken as a webmaster that will help Google to discover your high quality, in-depth content for users that are looking for it.

You should have all of the following features in place: a headline, alternative headline, an image that can be crawled and indexed, a description, the date published, and a body for the article. If the content is broken up into multiple parts, it should have proper pagination that will aid the algorithm in being able to correctly identify the extent of the articles. Also, it is very important to correctly canonicalize the pages of the content broken up into multiple pages.

A logo is a great way for any user to recognize the source of content in just a simple glance. Being a webmaster, there are a few ways that you can let Google know which logo should be used for your website. You can generate a Google+ page and then link it to your website. Here, you will choose an icon or official logo to use as the default image. Or, you can use organization markup in order to pinpoint your logo. If either of these things are done, it may take a little time for the changes to be reflected in the search results.

Follow these Basic Principles

Keep in mind your target audience and provide quality content for them and not search engines. You should not be working in a way that will deceive users that visit the page—more often than not it will also try to deceive the search engine as well. You should be avoiding tricks that are used to improve rankings in search engines. One way to think about it is to ponder whether or not you would feel comfortable explaining what you have done to the website to a brand that is your competition or to an employee of Google. Ask yourself, will this help my users? Would I still do this if search engines did not exist? Think about what it is that makes your website valuable, unique, and engaging. Your website should be developed so that it will stand out among others in the same field.

Additional Things to Avoid

Some of the things that seem like a good idea, really do nothing but negatively impact a website. This is because Google’s algorithms are privy to all of the tricks.

Here are some of the things that should be avoided:

  • Link schemes. This is when links are added with the intention of manipulating a site’s ranking in Google’s search results, including buying or selling links, excessive link exchanges, and large-scale article marketing/guest posting.
  • Cloaking. This is when different content or URLs is presented to the human users and search engines. It is a clear violation of Google’s guidelines.
  • Sneaky redirects. Sending a visitor to a URL that is different than the one that was originally requested.
  • Doorway pages. These are created only to rank highly for certain search queries. They will lead to many similar pages while each result will take the user to the same destination.
  • Text or links that are hidden
  • Scraped content. Copying and republishing content from a website and not adding any sufficient original content or value to it.
  • Affiliate programs that do not add sufficient value
  • Stuffing irrelevant keywords
  • Pages with malicious behavior (viruses, etc.)

Good Practices to Follow

Doing the right things is not difficult. You should always be monitoring your website for hacking, and then removing any content that has been hacked as soon as it is discovered. You will also need to work to prevent and remove any spam that is user-generated. These things may cause your website to violate Google’s guidelines, and they will take action on it. Once the problem has been taken care of, it can be submitted to be reconsidered.

If you have questions or need help Digital Marketology provides content services as part of our overall SEO Services.  We are here to help.

SEO vs. PPC:  Which One is the Right Choice

SEO vs. PPC: Which One is the Right Choice

Do you have a new business or established business and are not sure about how to begin promoting it properly?  Are you thinking about expanding the company’s marketing efforts to include Digital Marketing?  If the answer is yes, you may find yourself frustrated asking questions that lead to more questions, with the original questions still needing answers. What are SEO and PPC?  What is the Difference?  Which one should I use?  What should I expect?

Before getting into the specifics of SEO versus PPC, performance tracking and proper analytics need to be set up and working. It is vital to set up tracking prior to starting the SEO or PPC efforts so that you can assess the resulting performance changes accurately. One of the greatest things about digital marketing is that there is no need to ever guess how much revenue was generated, like what is needed when advertising is done through a TV commercial or ad printed in the newspaper. All of the data regarding the performance of the ad is available to you in just a few clicks.

 

Getting Setting Started with Analytics and Tracking

If you are not yet tracking your web performance, you will need to select a web analytics provider, acquire the appropriate tracking code to implement on the website, set up the goals for conversion actions that you will track, and then if applicable setup the eCommerce tracking. It is widely recommended to use Google Analytics—it is a free, comprehensive, and popular service used widely by thousands of professionals.  Additional resources for discovering information about your website’s information can be found in our Analytics and Tracking Service.

Once analytics has been set up, it is recommended to perform an audit of the account to make sure that everything is not only being tracked but being tracked correctly. It also gives users the opportunity to measure their website for other conversion actions that are to be tracked but are often overlooked, like micro-conversions like video views or newsletter signups.

 

SEO and PPC.  Knowing the Difference

Search engine optimization (also referred to as to SEO), as well as Local SEO, happens when a website is optimized so that it can achieve higher rankings within organic search results. The most used search engine, Google, boasts more than 200 factors in their algorithm that determine where a website will be ranked within the search results. Because it allows you to show up in organic search results, it is free. One the website has earned a high ranking in the search engine results page (SERP), the results will live there for a while and you will see sustained traffic from this. Also, organic results generally have a higher click-through rate than that of a paid ad. On the other hand, SEO is a long-term project that takes time to build authority and subsequently be indexed for search terms. While technically it is free, to fully optimize a website is a huge investment of not only time but resources as well.

SEO is more than just optimizing a website and its content to rank higher in organic search results via targeted keywords on the most popular search engines. It is also about being regarded as the authority on a given topic, providing a solution that is being sought. The top search engines like Yahoo, Google, and Bing will look at how individuals interact with a website, and if the visitors come back, and if other websites are linking about to your website, this makes it appear that you are the leading authority.

Pay-per-click (also referred to as PPC) is a model for advertising in which you will pay for each click that your ad gets. Advertising through search engines is the most common version of pay-per-click. It happens when you bid for your ad to show when an individual searches a keyword that is relevant to the business that you are offering. This kind of advertising can also be used on social media platforms like Facebook, where the ads are served to an individual based on their demographic, interests, or other specifications that the brand has chosen. The great thing about PPC campaigns is that once it has been launched, the boost in traffic is usually immediate.

There are many advertising platforms available for PPC, and you are able to choose an offering that targets the options that will aid you in reaching your target audience.  Pay Per Click options includes Paid Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Remarketing Search Advertising, Social Media Advertising, and Video Advertising. PPC traffic generally has a higher conversion rate than that of organic traffic. One of the downfalls of PPC campaigns is that you have to pay for your advertisements to appear. Also, the boost may be immediate but it is vital that time is invested in order to learn how to develop and optimize campaign ads. This is vital in getting the most out of a PPC campaign. Lastly, while good results for a short campaign are achievable, you should know that when you turn the campaign off the traffic associated with it will also go away.

Essentially PPC is paying for space used for advertising using targeted keywords on a search results page. Do not think that this is a “set it and forget it” type of situation—there is still search engine optimization that is done when creating a PPC advertising campaign.

 

What Gets the Best Results?  Organic Search Results or PPC

As earlier mentioned, it all depends. Long term, your web marketing strategy needs to include search engine optimization. The biggest advantage of SEO is that it will bring in better quality leads, statistically. And in fact, many users on the internet have become accustomed to ignoring the “paid results” portion of a page when looking through the web or searching Google. There is a lot of data that suggests organic search results visitors are more likely to trust you and the business or products. When you rank highly in Google’s search results pages through a keyword or phrase it is a great sign that you are seen as a more credible source and one of the important contributors in your industry. Considering this, do not trick yourself into thinking that SEO is really free. No matter how it is sliced, SEO will cost time and money but in the end, it is a worthwhile investment.

 

Which Platform Should You Choose?

Answering this questions is a bit complicated, but really it just depends. There are a handful of factors that go into deciding whether SEO or PPC is right for you. Best case scenario is that your long-term web strategy will include SEO, even if you chose to begin with PPC. For instance, some SEO efforts like improving page speed and page content will also give a better user experience for those visiting the site via PPC. These things will keep them engaged, making it less likely that they will abandon the website shortly after arriving at it. For many companies, using both SEO and PPC just are not an option when starting off, so there are some things to consider before getting started with one or the other.

In short, consider the goals of the company. Is there a lot of education involved in purchasing the product or service? Is the product or service brand new? Are you already well-known in your industry? There are just a small handful of questions that will need to be answered when considering SEO or PPC.

 

Don’t Overlook PPC Just Yet

There are a number of advantages to PPC over SEO organic searches. For instance, if your PPC campaign is set up correctly, you will see a significant return on your investment. This goes beyond who is paying the most to show up in the top ad spot—know that the top priority of a search engine is to give the best results for the user that is doing the searching—not the company that is paying for the advertisements. Another advantage of PPC is the power to advertise on other websites that have a large amount of traffic that fir your target user. If a user sees the advertisement but does nothing, and then later in the day sees the ad again on a different web page, there is a good chance that they will take a second look at the ad and consider the product.

 

Your Budget

To make it simple, SEO is free while PPC is not, though both do require a time commitment to get started.  If there is just no room in the budget required by a PPC campaign, starting with simple SEO may be the best way for you to proceed.  If you can do SEO on your own, all that it will cost is your time.  If you hire an SEO professional, that will require a monetary investment as well.  PPC is exactly that—pay per click so you will be paying for each click that the advertisement gets.

Company Timeline

If the campaign being promoted is time-sensitive, like and offer for an even or a sale, the results from SEO will simply take too long for it to pay off. PPC campaigns will see increased traffic immediately and may be turned off or deleted as soon as the deadline for the promotion is over. It is vital to begin real SEO from the inception of a website to make sure that you are not going back through old posts and pages to bring them up to par. This practice will require less time altogether in the long run.

Business Goals

If the goal is to put together a permanent informational website, SEO is the best choice. The crowning objective is for search engines to see the website as an authority. This can be achieved with high-quality content, links leading in from reputable websites, and also consistent traffic. If the goal is to promote and sell a niche product, PPC will be your best choice. Many PPC platforms can aid in reaching the specified target audience intended.

 

Conclusion

When choosing between SEO and PPC, what will work best for you really just depends on so many things?  PPC is a super way to give an initial jolt to your brand’s digital marketing efforts with an immediate spike in traffic. To make the most of a PPC campaign, it is important to take your time to get the correct training and certifications. Google actually offers this training in their process for certification for Google Analytics and Google Adwords—both of which are free for all businesses. If you do not have the time or resources to dedicate to this, it is vital that you hire someone that has experience and is trained in PPC, still understanding that when the PPC campaign is turned off, the traffic will halt as well.

Search Engine Optimization is very important and does take a bit of time to build page authority so that the pages will be indexed for the correct search terms. In addition to this, you should not be surprised by numerous changes in your rankings—especially if the market that you are in is highly competitive. It will be anyone’s guess when any number of competitors is going to put their game in high gear to become the authority in the industry. Do not feel forlorn, as a long-term SEO strategy will bring in the most qualified leads. In addition to this, your SEO efforts will directly help any PPC results. These are things like improving page titles, content, meta descriptions, backlinking, and more.

When done the right way, both SEO and PPC will work well to get you on the front page of a search engine’s results for the desired keywords. Knowing that each strategy has its own set of costs and benefits, it is hard to give a black and white answer of which is best, because it all depends on one’s needs. Take the time to think about where you are in the life cycle of your brand (still quite new or very well established), what you are considering for your budget, and how much work you are willing to put in to make your brand successful on the internet.

 

For More Information about Our SEO and PPC Services to increase Traffic and Company Growth

At Digital Marketology We offer both SEO and PPC Services  For a complete list of our services to help promote your business Visit Our Online Sharing Services at Digital Marketology

Ranking New Websites for Popular Keywords

Ranking New Websites for Popular Keywords

Ranking a new website for popular keywords can be difficult.  So why are popular keywords so hard to rank for with a new website?  It’s a good question, although the longer you work in search marketing, the more obvious the answer becomes.

 

The Main Reasons New Websites Have Difficulty Ranking for Popular, High-Volume Keywords:

Site Authority
The amount of on-page optimization you do when targeting a specific keyword is only half the battle. The Google algorithm takes site or domain authority into account when assigning rankings. Your site’s authority depends on factors like age of domain (hence, new websites necessarily have less authority) as well as the number of inbound links your site has accrued and the authority, in turn, of the sites that link to you (aka PageRank).

 

The competition for “popular keywords” is that much stiffer
By definition, more sites are competing to rank for more popular keywords, so your site authority is even more important if you want to rank on the first page or anywhere near it. Think about it: There are sites that have been around for a decade or more, working to rank for valuable popular keywords (like, say, “car insurance” or “local weather”). It’s unlikely that some newbie is going to be able to stroll in and take one of the top spots just because they want it.

 

The web is growing all the time, and the huge increase in the number of unique domains each year – in 2011, over 50 million new domains were created! – means that popular, high-volume search terms get exponentially more competitive over time. So yes, it’s true that it’s very difficult for new sites to rank for these keywords – unfortunately for you and your site, but perhaps fortunately for users. Search engine users want the best information first and fastest, so Google ranks sites that are already vetted through the “votes” of links.  If you have a new website and you want to rank for a popular keyword, you’ll have to prove your site’s worth to Google first. Here are some tips for getting there:

 

Long-Tail Keywords First

Longer, more specific keywords – known as long-tail keywords – have lower search volume than head terms, but they’re much less competitive to rank for. For example, a new website has next to no chance of ranking for the head term “insurance,” but would have much better luck with a niche keyword like “business overhead expense disability insurance,” because fewer websites are competing to rank. Long-tail keywords also have the added benefit of revealing more intent, making it easier for you to create content that meets the user’s implied needs.

 

Real Content

SEO content is whatever it is on your site that might rank for a relevant keyword – whether it’s a blog post that answers a question (like this one), a video that shows viewers how to do something, or user-generated reviews of the products you sell. By “real content,” I mean content that is genuinely useful to people. Your content marketing strategy should follow naturally from the type of business you run, the types of keywords that your prospects use, and where your expertise lies.

 

Use Proper Link Building

Google is in full-on battle mode against SEO spammers, so be safe when building links (and I don’t mean giving your in-house SEOs condoms!). Don’t purchase links in bulk and don’t waste your time with low-quality websites that are irrelevant to your niche. Spammy link tactics are unlikely to work in the long term, but you do still need links to show Google your site is rank-worthy. So leverage that great content you’re creating and do smart link outreach to bring attention to your site.

 

Stay Committed

As mentioned above, part of what matters to Google is the age of your site. So there’s no fast track to great SEO rankings – to some extent it’s just a waiting game. But domain age alone isn’t worth very much – your site should be growing and improving all the time.

Use Pay Per Click

While you’re working to improve your site’s authority and organic rankings, consider leveraging paid search marketing, or PPC, to drive traffic. It’s generally faster and easier to place ads on the results pages for your target keywords than it is to rank for them organically, so you can use it as a stop-gap measure while your site is new and as a supplement to organic traffic later. Your PPC account will also provide invaluable data to help you better execute organic SEO.

 

Content is Essential with Digital Marketing

Content is Essential with Digital Marketing

Content is one way to demonstrate your brand’s integrity and help your audience trust you.  28% of B2B marketers & 30% of B2C marketers say content marketing contributes to business goals

The old saying that content is king might be one of the most overused phrases ever to grace the world of digital marketing; however, it’s fair to say that it’s hung around so long because it’s actually true.Content marketing seems like it’s going to be easy. You just write a few blog posts or add more pages to your site, right? But when you sit down to really think about it, it’s a lot more complicated than you originally thought. First, you need a strong keyword research plan. Buyer Personas. Bags of creativity. A no-holds-barred approach to writer’s block. A top-notch grammar game. And ideas by the bucket load. Then there’s the competition. A recent study counted three times leap in the amount of content created by brands in just a 12-month period, with one single brand creating a massive 29,000 pieces of original content in one year.

Despite the difficulties, brands are creating more content than ever before. But, why? Why is content marketing important? What does it add to a digital strategy? And more importantly, what does it bring to the bottom line?

Content is Used Everywhere and For Everything

There is no better long-term strategy than content marketing.” He gives a number of reasons for this view but what’s most compelling is his point that content is used everywhere and influences every other type of marketing strategy:

  • Your email content fuels opens and click-throughs
  • Your web content fuels rankings and encourages conversions
  • It’s essential for social media campaigns
  • Necessary for blog posts
  • And useful for creating trust, authority and establishing relationships with other brands and businesses

 

Content Gives Compounding Rates of Return

As your investment earns interest, your principal grows and you earn more interest with each subsequent round of compounding. Content works much the same way since it’s more or less “permanent.” If you publish twice a week, you’ll have 110 pieces the first year, so the first year you’ll produce 110 pieces and get 110 pieces’ worth of results. The second year, you’ll produce 110 pieces and see 220 pieces’ worth of results.” This compounding rate of return means your content is always available to you and can help to drive sales. If you create evergreen content in addition to news posts and trending topic-led pieces, you’ll also have a stockpile of information that you can turn to time and time again, whenever you need interesting, useful pieces for emails, slideshows, social posts, and other marketing activities.

Great Content Inspires Trust

In our annual local consumer review survey last year, we reported that 8 out of 10 consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation for a business, product or service. In his article for the Content Marketing Institute, Sujan Patel mused that the reason there is a such an appetite for reviews is that as consumers, we need to be assured that we’re going to get what we pay for. User-generated content, like online reviews, fills this gap.

He said, “Content is one way to demonstrate your brand’s integrity and, in turn, help your audience trust you.” With this power, it’s easy to see how content marketing drives sales. Simply by reassuring consumers, a well-placed piece of content can set your brand apart in a crowded marketplace.

Building this into a content marketing strategy can be done in a number of ways.

  • Work with an influencer or blogger to endorse your product
  • Create authority branded content
  • Invite a respected person in your field or industry to contribute their own content to your blog or website
  • Secure a guest post or column of your own on a respected website, blog or magazine site
  • Ask happy customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing or other review sites like Yelp or Foursquare

Content Builds Links

If your marketing or sales activity relies on any form of organic search visibility, you need content to help with rankings for specific keywords and link acquisition. Backlinks are an essential component of any SEO campaign, with a few high quality, relevant links worth their weight in gold. In today’s fierce battle for page one rankings, great links can only be acquired with the help of stellar content. Whether you create a great infographic, a thought-provoking blog post or must-read ebook, it’s the quality of your content that will determine whether or not other sites want to link to you. Top sites and influencers won’t risk sending their hard-earned traffic your way via a link unless your content provides something that is a must see or a must read. Short of buying links, strong content is the only way to earn those likes and shares that will see your site moving up the rankings.

 

Content Value is Measurable

The importance of any marketing initiative, whether it’s content or advertisements, comes down to how accurately and how easily it can be measured. Director of Editorial Content and Curation at Content Marketing Institute, Jodie Harris cites a CMI Benchmark report which found that 28% of B2B marketers and 30% of B2C marketers now say their content marketing activity has reached a mature stage where its contributions to overall business goals can be measured. On the back of this, 52% of B2B and 51% of B2C marketers expect that blogging will be their most critical tactic for achieving success in the upcoming year.

Ready For Unique Content for your Business?

If you are looking to add rich content to your marketing strategy visit our Content Marketing Section at Digital Marketology so we can develop a personalized solution for you.

Glossary of Local Search Terms and Definitions

Glossary of Local Search Terms and Definitions

We have compiled a Glossary of Local Search Terms and Definitions to help you understand local SEO.  Listed are some of the most commonly used local search terms and definitions.  

 

active
Status notation on the Google Places for Business dashboard if the listing is live

 

Acxiom
One of four primary data sources of local business data for all major search engines in the United States.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

AdWords
Google’s pay-per-click advertising program.
For more information see: PPC (pay-per-click)

 

age
Related to domains, web pages, local business listings, reviews, citations, and other local SEO factors, age is believed to have some influence on search engine rankings.

 

aggregator
A company that maintains and supplies the underlying business database for local search directories. The most important U.S. aggregators are Infogroup, Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual. These companies compile data about businesses from multiple online and offline sources including phone bills, business registration records, chamber of commerce membership rosters, and many other sources. An aggregator is also known as a “data aggregator” or “data provider.”
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

algorithm
A special formula used by search engines to rank web pages in order of importance or relevance for a particular keyword search.

 

analytics
Any tool or program that tracks user behavior, such as traffic to a website, duration of visits, and conversions. Google Analytics is a popular product. Within the Google Places for Business dashboard, the latest iteration of analytics data is called Insights.

 

anchor text
The text contained in a web link. Descriptive words in link text can be used to improve the relevancy of the page to which the link points. For instance, “Minneapolis plumber” is more descriptive than “click here.”

 

Angie’s List
A prominent user review website. An important citation source for many businesses, especially home services.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

Apple Maps
Apple’s mobile mapping application.

 

Authoritative OneBox
The single Google Places listing displayed by a large map embedded in a traditional search result page. The “holy grail” of local search optimization, this kind of visually dominant result can lead to click-through rates of double or more than the rate typically seen with a #1 organic result.  Appears when Google is more or less certain that the keyword searched implies a specific business is the most relevant result.

 

authority
A general term used to describe the influential power of a domain, a website, a citation source, a review, or other entities. Search engines are said to view some resources as being more authoritative than others, meaning that authoritative sources have an enhanced ability to influence rankings.

 

Best Of The Web
A major local business directory for U.S. businesses. Business owners can create a listing for free.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Founded in 1912, the BBB publishes reviews of the reliability of businesses in the U.S. and Canada. BBB listings can act as a citation for local businesses.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

Bing Places for Business
Bing’s local business component. Users can create listings for their businesses.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

 

blog
A form of web-based publication that allows readers to interact with the publisher via commenting. One of the most popular blog platforms is WordPress. A blog can be a component of a website or act on its own as a complete website.
See also:  Website Design and Development

 

brick-and-mortar
In the local search arena, the term brick-and-mortar is used to indicate a business model operating within a physical building. Examples of brick-and-mortar business models include dental clinics, restaurants, and retail shops. By contrast, a go-to-client or service radius business is one that serves customers at remote locations instead of within the walls of a physical business. Different rules have historically governed these two types of business models in the local search arena.

 

bug
A technical flaw in a digital medium. In local search, bugs may be reported as an issue encountered in platforms like Google Places for Business.

 

bulk upload
Typically refers to the act of creating 10 or more local business profiles at a time via the Google Places or Bing Places dashboard.

 

business description
Sometimes simply called “description.” Describes a field provided for a text description of a business on a local business listing. Length and rules about the types of content one can include in the business description field vary from index to index.

 

business title
The name of a business—specifically the name of a business as registered at one of the major local search engines or online Yellow Pages directories. Combined with a physical address and phone number, the business title represents a third of a business’s online identity
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

call tracking number
A phone number used to measure the success of specific marketing efforts and to determine the source of leads. For local businesses, call tracking numbers are not recommended, as they can lead to multiple problems, including the clouding of clear NAP signals.

 

CSS (Cascading Style Sheet)
A type of website code which allows for easier page editing by designers and faster processing of HTML by search engines.

 

category
One of a set of approximately 2,000 default business types with which the local search engines try to associate each business in their index. Although each search engine and data aggregator has its own taxonomy, many categories are based on the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS. The current Google Places for Business dashboard allows business owners to choose up to five categories, all of which must stem from Google’s pre-chosen category choices.

 

centroid
The civic center of a neighborhood or metropolitan area as determined by a local search engine. The centroid is typically close to the geographic center of a city or neighborhood. To find the centroid of your city, simply type its name in a search box and see where the pushpin shows up.

 

check-in
A digital announcement of a customer’s presence at a specific physical location, often a business. Check-ins are the key component of most location-based services including Foursquare and Path—some of whom allow business owners to offer rewards to customers who check in. Customers can also check-in on social sites like Facebook and Yelp.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

citation
A mention of a business name in close proximity to its address, phone number, or both. Used by the search engines to weigh both the accuracy and popularity of businesses in their indexes.

For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

citation campaign
The marketing practice of building citations for a local business on a variety of websites. An integral component of most local SEM

 

city landing page
A page on a website providing information about a business’s location, or about a unique location of a multi-location business. City landing pages can be useful in helping a local business achieve search engine visibility for more than one city. 

 

claim
The act of verifying one’s business information with a local search engine and taking ownership of the business listing at that search engine. Reduces risk of hijacking by spammers or competitors. Often involves a PIN setup process with the search engine.

 

click-through rate (CTR)
The rate at which users click on an advertisement, link, or other search engine result. CTR is one metric used for measuring the success of online campaigns.
For more information see: PPC (pay-per-click)

 

cluster
A search engine’s collection of information about a particular business location from all of its data sources. In some cases, a search engine’s attempt to create a cluster is too “aggressive,” causing distinct business listings to merge in its index. In other cases, its attempts to create a cluster may not be strong enough, causing multiple listings to appear for the same business.

 

CMS (content management system)
A complex platform of computer code that allows a website to be easily edited or managed by someone with no knowledge of computer code. Popular content management systems include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

 

consistency
Publishing identical core business details across the web. In particular, the consistency with which local business NAP information is published influences search engines’ trust in the validity and accuracy of this data.

 

conversion
The process of convincing a website visitor to call, email, or visit a business offline—i.e., convert to a customer.

 

coupon
A specific online discount that appears alongside a business listing and makes a special offer to customers.

 

crawl
The act of a search engine reading a page.
For more information see: On-Page SEO

 

custom category
As of April 2, 2013, the Google Places for Business dashboard ceased to accept custom-written categories. Business owners must select pre-set categories only. Other local business indexes, however, may still allow the business owner to custom-create categories that describe what their business is.

 

custom field
A set of “choose your own” descriptive fields for a Google Places or Google+ Local listing. For example, many business owners include their businesses’ specialties, taglines, years in business, or neighborhoods served in these fields.

 

data provider
A company with an explicit contract to supply local search engines with underlying business information. In the U.S., the major data providers are Infogroup, Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual.

 

directory
Any website which lists business names and contact information in an organized fashion, typically in alphabetical order or by business type. Directory information is frequently assimilated by the local search engines. For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

domain name
The web address or homepage of a particular business or organization. Examples: JoesPlumbing.com, PortlandDentists.com, etc. Domain names are reserved at registrars such as GoDaddy.com, Dotster.com, and Register.com.

 

driving directions
It is speculated that requests for driving directions on applications like Google Maps count as user behavior, and may indicate the popularity of a local business and thus, have some effect on rankings. 

 

duplicate listing
A problematic scenario in which more than one Google+ Local listing exists for a single business. Google allows only one listing per location, and intentional or accidental violation of this policy can lead to penalties and ranking issues. Steps must be taken to resolve duplicate listing issues.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

Facebook
A major social sharing platform. Local businesses can create a Facebook business page, complete with location and contact information, and utilize this profile to interact with customers and potential customers.

 

Facebook Graph Search
Launched in 2013, Facebook’s internal search providing natural language results. Includes the ability to search for local places.

 

Facebook Local Search
Facebook’s mobile local search application. Formerly called “Nearby,” Facebook Local Search helps users discover local businesses.

 

Factual
One of four primary data sources of local business data for all major search engines.

 

feed
A structured, automated list of content or data produced by a website. Feeds were created in order to allow users to subscribe to website updates.

 

filter
Most commonly used in the online marketing arena to describe parameters used by search engines to limit the prominence of certain types of data. For example, a review platform might hide reviews containing a certain number of links, or search engine results might filter out web pages associated with undesirable link acquisition pattern.

 

Flash
A type of website code which allows for complex graphics and animations, but is difficult for search engines to read and understand. Also not visible on Apple mobile devices and tablets.

 

geotagged
An adjective describing a piece of text content or other media content

 

Google Account
An email address and password combination that has been registered with Google. A Google Account is required to claim a Google Place Page/Google+ Local page, which may be more trusted if the domain name associated with the Google Place Page/Google+ Local page matches that of the Google Account used to claim it.

 

Google AdWords Express
A paid advertising format offered by Google to local businesses.

 

Google and Your Business Forum
The Google and Your Business Forum is a public forum where users can seek and share advice about local SEO issues. The forum is moderated by Google and Your Business Top Contributors and is frequently visited by Google staff.

 

Google and Your Business Forum Top Contributors
Commonly referred to as TCs, Google and Your Business Forum Top Contributors are volunteer participants in the Google and Your Business Forum who provide assistance to forum users. TCs have direct contact with Google staff and can sometimes escalate issues toward resolution.

 

Google Business Photos
Interior photography of local businesses taken by Google Trusted Photographers. This photograph can be turned into a virtual tour intended to enhance local business data.

 

Google MapMaker
An application that allows users to enhance Google Maps by adding and editing information that is available to the public. In local SEO MapMaker may be used as a method of troubleshooting and resolving data issues. 

 

Google Maps
Google’s proprietary mapping service.

 

Google Offers
A program that allows local businesses to promote daily deal specials to purchasing customers. Customers redeem printed or mobile vouchers at the time of service.

 

Google Places
For many years the brand name of Google’s Local product, Google Places is a free business listing service offered by Google. Business owners can submit or claim ownership of their business information. Google Places is intended to represent a broader range of geographic points of interest such as parks or historic sites, in addition to local businesses.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

Google Local Business Information Quality Guidelines
The Google Local Business Information Quality Guidelines describe Google’s rules and policies for businesses seeking inclusion in Google’s local index. Violation of any element of the guidelines can result in penalties, including removal from the index.

 

Google+
Google’s social network, launched on June 28, 2011. Pronounced and sometimes written as “Google Plus.” Some features of Google+, such as Google+ Pages for Businesses, may be merged with Google+ Local pages for a single location, brick-and-mortar businesses to create a full social local profile.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

Google+ Local
As of 2012, Google+ Local is the current branding of Google’s local product, formerly known as Google Places. Google’s local results are now comprised of links to Google+ Local pages. Both brick-and-mortar and service radius local businesses are entitled to seek inclusion via a Google+ Local page.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

Google Trends
A tool that enables users to monitor consumer trends and the popularity of targeted keywords. Can be a useful supplementary keyword research tool for local SEO campaigns.

 

go-to-client
A business, such as a plumbing or house painting company, that serves clients at their own locations, rather than at the business’s location.

 

hCard
A special kind of website code

 

head keywords
Very competitive, usually weakly targeted keywords with a high number of searches. Usually either one word, or two-word phrases, such as “lawyers,” “Tulsa dentists,” etc.
For more information see: On-Page SEO

 

header tags
The bold headlines on a web page. Also known as H1, H2, H3, or Hx tags. It’s a best practice to include keywords in the overall language of these tags, though their power relative to other on-page SEO elements is believed to have lessened in recent years.
highjacking
In the local SEO arena, the term highjacking typically relates to usurping control of a local business listing to edit its details with malicious intent. Reports of highjacking have lessened over the past few years, but in the past, instances of highjacking have led to legal prosecution.

 

HotFrog
Founded in 2006, HotFrog maintains an index of local businesses. Business owners can create a free business listing at HotFrog. 

 

hReview
A special kind of website code 

 

hyperlocal
An adjective used to describe a website or web content that is extremely specific to a particular neighborhood or town. Hyperlocal content is typically something that a traditional media outlet would not devote resources to cover.

 

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
A type of website code which is easily read and understood by search engines. HTML is the original programming language used on the Internet. 

 

 

Infogroup
One of four primary data sources of local business data for all major search engines.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

Insights
Branding of the analytics component of Google’s Places for Business dashboard.

 

internal anchor text
Anchor text on a link from a page on your own website to another page on your site.

 

internal link
A link from a page on your own website to another page on your own website.

 

IYP (Internet Yellow Pages)
The online version of a traditional Yellow Pages directory. The local search engines frequently crawl these pages to find business information, then use it to form clusters or associate citations with a business.

 

keyword
A term entered by searchers to find businesses or websites on a search engine. Keyword.

 

KML (Keyhole Markup Language)
Standardized geographic formatting of an address with corresponding latitude and longitude information. A KML file refers to a set of one or more locations coded in this form.

 

landing page
The page that a searcher first visits when clicking through from a search engine results page. Typically, this term refers to the page that visitors land on when clicking through from a local search result or a PPC advertisement. In local search, a landing page should usually include a contact phone number, the address of the business, and perhaps driving directions.
For more information see: On-Page SEO

 

 

 

load time
The speed at which any web page loads onto a user’s browser. It is speculated that load time may have a meaningful influence on organic search engine rankings and, to some extent, on local search engine rankings.

 

local algorithm / local results
Refers to the specific formula and the results returned by that formula used by search engines for ranking business listings’ relevance for a particular geographic area. This algorithm is distinct from the search engines’ traditional organic algorithm.

 

Localeze
One of four primary data sources of local business data for all major search engines.

 

LBC (Local Business Center)
An outdated term once used as the branding of Google’s Local product. The Google LBC was rebranded as Google Places in April 2010 and then rebranded again as Google+ Local in May 2012.

 

LBL (local business listing)
Generic term for a page on a search engine, IYP, or directory containing basic and enhanced business information for a local business. Google’s version of a local business listing is now known as a Google+ Local page.

 

local search ranking factors
1) The components that contribute to the rankings of a local business. 2) Created by David Mihm, Local Search Ranking Factors is an annual survey of expert local SEO. From the survey, an annual report is generated identifying factors deemed to play a major role in local search engine rankings.

 

local SEO (local search engine optimization)
Specialized online marketing that increases visibility for businesses interested in ranking for geographically related keywords. A large component of local SEO is ranking well in the local algorithms. It is also important to rank well in the organic results for local keywords.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

Local University
A local search marketing seminar with events in numerous U.S. cities. Speakers include recognized experts in the field of local SEO.

 

LBS (location-based service)
A form of geotagging that facilitates or is facilitated by social interaction. The key action of a location-based service is a check-in. Popular location-based services are offered by Twitter, Foursquare, and Yelp.

 

location prominence
A technical term used by Google in its local search patent to identify some of the criteria behind its local algorithm. Location prominence is analogous to PageRank in organic search.

 

long-tail keywords
Low-volume, highly targeted, less competitive phrases used by searchers to find businesses or websites at a search engine. Examples include “Tulsa Oklahoma dentists for root canal infection” or “cheapest teenage driver car insurance Oklahoma City OK.”

 

Manta
A local business directory with an international presence. Business owners can create free profiles at Manta.com. An important citation source for many local businesses.

 

MapQuest
A mapping platform with significant early adoption due to its early online rollout. Local business owners can create a business listing in the MapQuest Local Business Center.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

MerchantCircle
A local business directory where business owners can create free business profiles.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

merge
1) When a search engine combines similar or duplicate local business listings. It is rare that listings will merge at Yahoo! Local. However, both Google and Bing have aggressive clustering mechanisms; sometimes distinct business listings might be merged. Currently, none of the search engines have a foolproof mechanism in place for businesses to merge two separate or duplicate listings. 2) When a business owner intentionally merges a Google+ Local page with a Google+ Business page in an effort to unify control of the listings and achieve full social and local features. This option is currently only available to single-location brick-and-mortar businesses.

 

meta description
A handcrafted snippet of text that can be included in a tag near the top of the code for each web page. This text sometimes appears beneath your title tag in organic search results if it matches one or more of the keywords for which the user has searched. Well-written meta descriptions usually include keywords and persuade searchers to click through.
For more information see: On-Page SEO

 

meta keywords
A list of keywords included in a tag near the top of the code for each web page. Because of susceptibility to spam, major search engines don’t use the meta keywords tag to evaluate the relevance of a page, and these tags don’t influence ranking. Title tags and meta descriptions remain very important, however.

 

meta tags
The generic term for hidden pieces of specially structured code near the top of each web page that can provide more information to search engines about the content of the page.
For more information see: On-Page SEO

 

microformat
A special kind of code that allows search engines to more easily parse the content inside the code. Popular microformats include schema and hCard for address and contact information and hReview for rating and sentiment information. 

 

MyMaps
A free Google Maps product offering that allows registered users to save particular physical locations and/or include a comment about each location. MyMaps are based on KML and being included in them may improve Local rankings.

 

mobile
Typically refers to accessing the Internet through a mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet computer. It is estimated that at least 50% of mobile queries have a local intent.

 

My Places
A Google application that enables users to organize content such as maps, ratings, and check-ins that have a unique importance to them.

 

myth
A term used in the internet marketing industry to denote a widely publicized, but faulty, assumption. For example, it is a common myth that stuffing a meta keywords tag with keywords improves search engine rankings.

 

NAICS (North American Industry Classification System)
A standardized taxonomy of business types upon which many search engines, IYPs, and data providers base their own category systems. 

 

NAP / NAP+W (Name Address Phone + Website)
The “thumbprint” of a business online. Local search engines use NAP information found by crawling the web or received from data providers to judge the accuracy of the data in their own indexes. Consistent NAP information is essential to getting more citations and improving search engine rankings.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

Needs Action
An alert in the Google Places for Business dashboard signaling that the business owner must take further steps to achieve active status on the business listing. Actions might include entering a verification PIN or resolving violations of the Google Local Business Information Quality Guidelines.

 

HERE PrimePlaces
A mobile-focused application to which local business owners can add a listing for their businesses, formerly called Nokia Prime Places.

 

off-listing / off page
Adjectives that describe criteria the search engines use in their local algorithm that is not directly associated with a local business listing or with the website specified in that local listing. 

 

OneBox
A type of nonstandard search result embedded within the more familiar “ten blue link” default results. OneBoxes sometimes show local results, image results, video results, or news results. OneBoxes first appeared at Google when they announced the advent of universal search, which returns all kinds of content relevant to a particular keyword, rather than just web or text content. 

 

on-page
An adjective used to describe criteria that you can control and adjust on your own website to improve search engine rankings.
For more information see: On-Page SEO

 

organic algorithm / organic results
The mathematical formula traditionally used by search engines to rank websites in order of importance and relevance. Distinct from universal or OneBox algorithms, including local.
For more information see: On-Page SEO

 

 

PageRank
Google’s proprietary formula for ranking web pages. It is roughly correlated with the quality, relevance, and popularity of a page. PageRank can also refer to a number that this formula assigns to a particular web page. The equivalent of location prominence in local search.

 

Panda
First released in February 2011, Panda is an update to Google’s organic ranking algorithm, primarily targeting websites judged by Google to be of poor quality. There have been numerous updates since Panda was first rolled out, affecting many websites’ rankings.

 

Panoramio
A photo sharing site owned by Google. Local business owners can geotag images as an enhanced form of local data.

 

penalty
Any type of negative action taken by a search engine against a website or profile as a result of violations of published or unpublished policies. In local SEO, violation of any of the Google Local Business Information Quality Guidelines can result in a penalty that can lead to a drop in rankings. 

 

Pending
A status notation in the Google Places for Business dashboard indicating that a listing has yet to be approved. There have been numerous reported instances of listings sitting in “Pending” status for extended periods of time, sometimes due to technical problems on Google’s part. It is also common for new listings to be marked as pending for several weeks. 

 

Penguin
An update to Google’s organic algorithm released in April 2012, primarily targeting link acquisition practices not approved by Google. 

 

phone number
Combined with business name and physical address, the phone number represents a third of a business’s online identity
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

phone verification
One of two methods to claim a local business listing at Google+ Local and Bing Local, proving you own the business. The other method is via postcard, which is much more time-consuming.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

physical address
Combined with business name and phone number, the physical address represents a third of a business’s online identity
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

Picasa
Online photo sharing site owned by Google. Images added to Picasa can be geotagged as an enhanced form of local data.

 

place label
Small graphic icons utilized in the Google Maps interface to indicate restaurants, retail shops, and other features. Local businesses must be selected by Google to be awarded a place label.

 

Place page
Google’s former branded version of a local business listing. Google Place pages have now been replaced by the term Google+ Local pages, but continue to be controlled via the Google Places for Business dashboard. Includes owner-submitted information about a business, including categories, location, and hours of operation, as well as information Google pulls from around the web, such as ratings, and nearby businesses—often competitors.

 

PO Box
A remote mailing address, the use of which can adversely affect your local search rankings. PO Boxes are expressly forbidden by the Google Local Business Information Quality Guidelines.

 

popularity
A trait of a website or business that can be quantitatively measured in a number of ways. For websites, search engines typically measure popularity by the number and quality of inbound links to that website. For businesses, things like the number and quality of citations, reviews, LBS check-ins, or MyMaps might be used.

 

postcard verification
One of two methods of claiming a local business listing on Google+ Local and Bing Local, proving you own the business. The other method is via phone, which is much faster and easier. 

 

PPC (pay-per-click)
Generic term for paid advertising programs at major search engines in which businesses are charged a fee when a searcher clicks on their advertisement—as opposed to a fee based on the number of times their ad is shown or a flat monthly fee regardless of visibility.

 

product/service keywords
Terms typed into a search engine by users seeking products 

 

proximity
Typically describes the distance between a local business and the city centroid or business cluster. May also be used to describe the distance between a desktop or mobile user and a local business. Proximity may influence which business listings are shown for specific searches.

 

rating
A numerical assessment, often on a scale of 1

 

Regional Expert Reviewer (RER)
A highly active volunteer reviewer of Google MapMaker data. Google MapMaker RERs have direct contact with Google’s staff and can often escalate or resolve data issues.

 

rel=”author”
A form of markup language added to individual web pages to identify their author. Use of rel=”author” associates a profile photo with a web page and displays it in Google’s search results next to the web page’s entry.

 

rel=”publisher”
A form of markup language that enables a business to signal its ownership of a website to Google. In local SEO, the use of rel=”publisher” can assist business owners in associating their business with certain categories. It also helps Google associate their website with their Google+ Local cluster. 

 

relevance
The degree to which a certain business or certain website matches the intent of a searcher’s keyword. In local search, a particular business must be considered by the search engines to be relevant for a particular keyword in order to rank for that term—but typically cannot rank for terms on which it is not considered relevant. For instance, a popular restaurant may rank first in local results for “restaurants” or “fine dining,” but would not necessarily be considered relevant for search terms like “bars” or “pubs”—even though they are related terms.

 

review
A customer’s text summary of their experience at a particular business. Reviews can be left on search engines, via location-based services, or on blogs—and are often simultaneously assigned numerical ratings. 

 

review station
Sometimes referred to as a review kiosk, a review station is a computer set up for public use in a brick-and-mortar business for the purpose of encouraging on-site user reviews. Google, in particular, has fluctuated in its policies regarding the use of review stations, both approving and discouraging their use at different points in time. 

 

rich snippets
Rich snippets are small amounts of data from markup such as microdata or microformats that appear as a component of a search engine result. Rich snippets might include text, star ratings, price ranges, and other factors. 

 

robot
An automated script created by a search engine to “read” web pages.
For more information see: On-Page SEO

 

RSS (really simple syndication)
Bare-bones computer code that many content management systems produce when content is created or updated. RSS feeds allow readers to subscribe to websites and receive a ping or an email when they are updated. You frequently see RSS subscription icons on blogs. 

 

schema
A form of markup supported by the major search engines. Local business websites can utilize schema.org markup to ensure that core business data is easily and fully understood by search engines.

 

SEM (search engine marketing)
An umbrella term for improving the presence of a business and increasing its number of customers via all forms of search, including PPC, organic, local, and universal.
For more information see: PPC (pay-per-click)

 

sentiment / sentiment analysis
The qualitative component of a customer review. Google has experimented over the years with extracting and analyzing reviews for the quality of experience, and for some business types often excerpts phrases like “expensive” or “good service” and displays them prominently on that business’s Google+ Local page. 

 

SEO (search engine optimization)
Improving the presence of a business and increasing its number of customers via all non-paid forms of search, such as organic, local, universal, and mobile. 

 

SERP (search engine result page)
A page containing a list of websites and any of the following: paid advertisements, business listings, meta descriptions, images, videos, news, or other media that best match a keyword.
For more information see: On-Page SEO

 

service area
Typically used to describe specific neighborhoods, towns, or radii served by go-to-client business models. Some local business listings allow business owners to list cities served in text or to draw a radius of service with a tool.

 

service area/service radius business
A term frequently used to describe go-to-client businesses that travel to customers’ locations to render services, such as plumbers, electricians, and carpet cleaners.

 

seven-pack (7-pack)
Generic term for the set of specific local business listings within a page of organic results. Over the years, Google and other search engines have experimented with variable numbers of results within the pack, from one to ten results.

 

shares/likes
A common term denoting positive actions or affirmations made by users of a social media site. People can ‘like’ or ‘share’ data to express approval of the content. 

 

site architecture
General term for the organization or hierarchy of a particular website; can also refer to the programming language or content management system that the site is built in. Site architecture, especially a site’s internal linking strategy, is extremely important to consider in organic SEO. 

 

sitemap
A list of all pages on a website sometimes submitted to Google Webmaster Central. Essentially a site outline that search engines can read easily.
For more information see: On-Page SEO

 

SMB (small-to-medium business)
In the United States, designation as a small business is defined by the size standards found in Title 13 of the Code of Federal Regulations. In the online marketing world, SMB is loosely used to describe both small and local businesses.

 

social media (SM)
Media utilized for social interaction on the Internet. This can include blogs; sharing sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+; and review sites like Yelp and other interactive platforms. In the local business arena, social media factors are playing an increasingly important role in online visibility.

 

specialty field
Another term for a custom field associated with a local business listing. Often used by owners to list their business’s specialties.

 

spider
Can refer either to the robotic script created by a search engine to “read” web pages
For more information see: On-Page SEO

 

Street View
An application within Google Maps which provides 360-degree photographic imagery of an area specified by the user.

 

structured citation
A mention of a business name and address and/or phone number on an IYP or directory website. Structured citations may or may not be coded in hCard microformat or schema, but typically appear in a pattern that is easy for search engine spiders to read. Differs from an unstructured citation, which may appear as a one-off reference on a blog or other hyperlocal website.

 

structured review
A traditional review left on a major local search portal or IYP, accompanied by a numerical rating. Structured reviews may or may not be coded in hReview microformat, but typically appear in a kind of pattern that is easy for search engine spiders to read. Differs from an unstructured review, which may appear as a one-off reference on a blog or other hyperlocal website.

 

SuperPages
A major Internet Yellow Pages website. Local business owners can create a listing at SuperPages.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

Suspended
A status notation in the Google Places for Business dashboard indicating that a business owner has marked a listing as “Suspended” in an attempt to prevent its display. An account may also be suspended by Google due to violations of the Google Local Business Information Quality Guidelines or due to bugs.

 

testimonials
Unlike reviews left on third-party platforms, testimonials are typically customer sentiments published by a business on its own website. Testimonials may be marked up with hReview microformatting to enhance the ease with which search engines can understand testimonial content. See also: microformat, review

 

third party
1) Can be used to describe any web-based data about a business that is not published by the business itself. 2) In reference to Google’s local products, “third-party” is often used to refer to data stemming from any location other than a business’s website or its Google Places/Google+ Local listing.

 

three-pack (3-Pack)
For more information see:  Google 3 Pack Search Results

 

title tag
A piece of web page code that the search engines pay special attention to when deciding that webpage’s relevance. On a traditional SERP, the text of a webpage’s title tag is contained in the link to that web page. If you’re on a Windows computer, the title tag of a web page appears in the blue bar at the top lefthand corner of your screen when you are browsing the internet. On a Macintosh, the title tag usually appears at the top middle of the browser screen, in a silver bar. Including keywords in your website’s title tags is very important for organic rankings; many experts feel that including geographic keywords in your website’s title tags is important for local rankings. See also: organic algorithm / organic results, meta tags, meta description, keyword, SERP (search engine result page)

 

TripAdvisor
Founded in 2000, TripAdvisor is a major review source for restaurants and hotels on an international scale.

 

troubleshooter
In the local SEO arena, Google provides a small number of troubleshooter wizards that walk users through a short survey in an attempt to identify and resolve data issues. See also: penalty

 

trust
An important but hard-to-quantify ranking factor in both organic and local algorithms. Trust can be gained via the following: consistent NAP information, citations from high-authority websites

 

Twitter
A social media network on which users share short text-based messages See also: social media (SM), Facebook, Facebook Local Search

 

universal algorithm / universal results
The term for a SERP containing a nonstandard search result—such as video or shopping results—embedded within the more familiar “ten blue link” default results. Any kind of content relevant to a particular keyword may be returned, rather than just web/text content. In the context of local search, this usually means a 7-Pack, 3-Pack, or Authoritative Onebox. 

 

Universal Business Listings (UBL)
A major paid local listing services. Distributes local business data to a large number of search engines and directories.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

unstructured citation
A mention of a business name and address and/or phone number on a website that is not an IYP site or other traditional directory containing standardized listings for many other businesses. Examples would be a newspaper or magazine article, hyperlocal blog, or social media profile.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

unstructured review
A text summary of a customer experience on a website that is not a traditional directory of standardized review information alongside business listings. May not be accompanied by a numerical rating. Examples would be a newspaper or magazine article, hyperlocal blog, or social media profile. 

 

URL (uniform resource locator)
Geeky acronym for an address of a web page.

 

user behavior
Any online action taken by a user, including clicking on search engine results, time spent on a web page, leaving a review, using a check-in service, asking for driving directions, and many other factors. The influence user behavior has on actual search engine rankings remains a matter of speculation and debate.

 

velocity
The speed at which a local listing or a website accumulates outside references, such as links, citations, reviews, or check-ins. Most experts believe that a consistent velocity for each criterion—rather than a flood—indicates to the search engines that a business is vibrant without trying to be manipulative.

 

Venice Update
A 2012 update to Google’s algorithm that appeared to increase the number of local results being returned for generic queries, as well as altering the ratio of first page rankings given to distinct local businesses.

 

verify
The process of confirming your online business listings.
For more information see: Local Directories and Citations 

 

visibility
A generic term used to encompass the overall presence a business has established on the Internet. Local businesses seek visibility via search engine rankings, social media profiles, review profiles, and other platforms.

 

virtual office
A purchased address not physically occupied by a business. The most popular virtual office provider in the United States is Regus. The Google Local Business Information Quality Guidelines forbid the use of virtual offices for businesses seeking inclusion in Google’s Local index.

 

Webmaster Central
Free service offered by Google for users with a Google account to claim ownership of a particular website. Bing’s and Yahoo’s versions are called Webmaster Center and Site Explorer, respectively. Allows users to submit verified sitemaps for that domain.

 

We Currently Do Not Support The Location
An error message signaling that Google lacks data about a local business or is choosing not to display it. There have been ongoing issues with this error message appearing due to technical issues on Google’s part, but this message can also stem from violations of the Google Local Business Information Quality Guidelines. 

 

WHOIS
The contact information kept on file by a domain registrar for the official owner of a domain name. Can be made private, but public WHOIS information may be viewed by the local search engines as a particularly trusted citation.

 

WordPress
Originally released as a blogging platform, WordPress has become a popular platform for the development of whole websites

 

WYSIWYG
Stands for “What You See Is What You Get.” Usually, refers to interfaces in content management systems that allow someone who doesn’t know computer code to create and edit web page information.

 

XML (eXtensible Markup Language)
Bare-bones computer code that is very easy for search engines to read. XML is similar to HTML but is not really intended to be read by humans. Sitemaps are usually uploaded to Google Webmaster Tools and are in XML format.

 

Yahoo! Local
The local business listing center of Yahoo.com.

 

Yelp
Founded in 2004, Yelp has become a dominant player in the world of local business reviews. Most local business owners will wish to create a Yelp profile. Yelp has earned both considerable popularity and a measure of criticism for marketing practices which have resulted in legal settlements. 

 

Yext
Founded in 2006, Yext offers paid local business listing management tools.

 

Yodle
Founded in 2005, Yodle offers a paid lead generation and advertising service to local businesses.

 

YouTube
A video sharing platform owned by Google and cited as the second largest search engine in the world. Local business owners may invest in the development of video content which can be published via YouTube as a social media tactic and form of advertising.

 

YP.com
An Internet Yellow Pages website to which local business listings can be added. 

 

Zagat
A business rating service purchased by Google in 2011. Zagat ratings on a 30-point scale are currently displayed as a component of local listing data in Google’s search results.

 

For Additional help with developing a proper Local Search and SEO Strategy for your business, we are here to help.  Visit your Local SEO Page

Good Content Means Good SEO

Good Content Means Good SEO

It can be very effective in increasing traffic, generating leads, enabling sales and contributing to SEO. Which brings us to the main question ‒ how can I use it to improve my search rankings?  When done well, content marketing can contribute to boosting a site’s position in search rankings. Although this may not seem like the most obvious benefit to a successful content marketing strategy, it’s an effect that no business can ignore. Let’s take a look at how to make full use of your website’s content to rank higher in the SERPs.

 

Creating new content

Having a website is not enough; it constantly needs to be updated for it to rank well. And this is where new content comes in handy. A site can never have enough content. There is always an opportunity to create new pieces of content, and the newness of content is also one of Google’s ranking signals.  Fresh content as a ranking factor is not just judged by the publication date of the page, but also based on new pages, an increasing number of links towards a page and ultimately the increased level of traffic reaching the page.  These criteria show that older posts can still be valuable, especially if they offer an in-depth analysis on a topic or have been regularly updated to keep them relevant, which leads us on to the next tip.

 

Repurposing old content

There’s no reason to ignore the older content you’ve published in the past, especially if it still gains a significant amount of traffic.  Repurposing content can help you analyze a topic in more detail, by allowing you to create multiple types of content without losing their value or becoming repetitive. This saves you time spent coming up with new content ideas and also gives you a regular supply of fresh, valuable content to boost your ranking.  Going beyond blog posts, you can create videos, infographics, podcasts, lists and more from your older material. Your target audience might be more receptive for example to infographics rather than a blog post, or you may discover that you can achieve higher conversion rates through a list rather than a podcast.

 

Using visual content

Visual content has become very popular on the internet due to our own ability to process an image faster than any written text. This wins the first impression and it can be very powerful within the context of a page.  Previously used mostly to accompany written content, visual content has reached the stage where it’s now considered a form of content in its own right, standing on its own to increase awareness, engagement, and leads.  On top of this, it can be optimized for search, offering a new opportunity for a business to stand out from its competitors via images and videos. The optimization of your visual content can lead to surprisingly positive results, provided that you follow a series of small steps that ensure that they are SEO-friendly.  Search crawlers cannot “read” images, only the text that accompanies them. This means that you must focus on:

• Image title (don’t upload an image with a filename 4fogowr.jpg, but rather rename it to something more relevant, e.g. contentforseoguide.jpg)
• Alt tags (the tags that describe the image for screen reader users, or if the image fails to load)
• Image size (large images affect a page’s load time, which can have a negative effect on your search ranking)

 

Choosing the right keywords

Keyword research can turn into a useful ally, especially if you bear in mind that you don’t always need to target the most obvious keywords.  Targeting highly sought-after keywords can make it harder for you to rank higher in search, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t become an authority on a topic by using different phrases for the same concept.  How about picking words and phrases that are less competitive but still high in rankings? Find the keywords that best suit your content, and think outside the box when deciding on the focus keywords you want to target.

 

Create link-worthy content

Link building helps your content reach a broader audience, increasing both your site’s visibility and its authority. It can help grow your search traffic, as the number of unique domains linking to your site helps search engines understand whether your content is informative enough to rank higher in the SERP.  Not all links are equal, as high-authority sites contribute more heavily in this regard. This means you should aim for more reputable mentions – but without snubbing any lesser sites that might link to you, as it all adds up. It’s easier for a source to link to your content if it’s authentic, interesting and well-researched, so always aim for quality over quantity.

 

Conclusion

When done right the creation of good Content helps with your overall Local SEO and Search Engine Optimization Strategies.  We are here to help click here to visit our Content Marketing Section at Digital Marketology