Long term success in search engine optimization, or SEO, can only be achieved by continuously being updated with the latest in search engine algorithms. As search engine algorithms become more complex, its filtering and ranking methods are also becoming more sophisticated in order to yield relevant results.
It is important to first learn the underlying principles that make search engines work. This is in order for one to understand how to optimize its SEO strategies for maximum benefit.
The Anatomy of a Good Search Engine
A good search engine should be smart enough to return results, that are not solely based on keywords or number of link relationships, but from an account of relevance and answering a question. In short, search engines aim to directly provide the most relevant answers and solutions which may arise from the concept of the keyword or phrase that one has written in the search task bar. A good search engine has the capability to “understand” in some sort of extent, the purpose behind the search, through a number of factors. An article published on Backlinko.com about the Google’s ranking factors will be helpful to come up with your own solid local SEO strategy. There are 200 of it, but here is the summarized form for one to have an idea:
Domain factors such as age, keyword related, length and exact match.
Page-level factors which consist of:
- Title tags
- Description tags
- Keyword frequency and density
- Content length and duplicate entries
- Page loading speed
- Image optimization
- Content date or update
- Number of outbound and broken links
- Quality and quantity of inbound links
- Grammar and spelling
- Syndicated content
- Supplementary content
- Multimedia content
- Reading level
- Affiliate links
- Human editors
- References and sources
- Bullets and numbered lists
- User friendly layout
- Useful content
- Site reputation
Backlink factors such as:
- Linking domains (authority, quantity and quality)
- Alt tags for images
- Competitor links
- Social and neighborhood shares
- Guest posts
- Nofollow links
- Diversity of link types
- Contextual links
- Anchor texts
- Schema markup
- Trust rank of actual site and link sites
- Word count and quality of linking site and content
- Organic clicks
- Bounce rate
- Direct and repeat traffic
- Number of comments
- Length of dwell time
Special algorithm rules
- Browsing history
- Search history
- Geo targeting
- Safe search
- Google + circles
- Local searches
- Brand preference
- Number of tweets
- Authority of user accounts
- Number of Facebook likes
- Number of Facebook shares
- Authority of Facebook user accounts
- Pinterest pins
- Votes on social sharing sites
- Number of Google + 1’s
- Authority of Google + 1’s user accounts
- Social signal relevancy
- Brand name and anchor text
- Branded searches
- Social media accounts for brand
- Social media account followers
- Official LinkedIn company page
- Employees listed on LinkedIn
- Legitimacy of social media accounts
- Brand mentions in news sites
- Number of RSS subscribers
- If there is an actual business location (physical office or site)
- Tax paying business website
On-site WebSpam factors
- Google Panda penalties
- Links to bad neighborhood
- Pop-up ads
- Over optimization of page
- Over optimization of site
- Hiding affiliate links
- Auto generated content
- IP address flagged as spam
- Meta tag spamming
Off page WebSpam factors, including an unnatural influx of links, number of Google Penguin penalties and a link profile that has a high percentage of low quality links.
Knowing the specific areas that affect your local SEO techniques can help you make informed decisions on how to implement better and more effective local SEO strategies that yield tangible and long term results.
Key Areas in SEO
In a ConstantContact’s Single Platform division small business SEO survey, it was unfortunate to know that nearly half of 350 small businesses mentioned that they have never updated their online web listings at all.
Maybe, small businesses are as confused, or sometimes skeptic, about the benefits of gaining online visibility for their marketing strategies, yet 70% of them claimed that the reason is because they don’t have time for it. Sadly, this implies that these small businesses are missing out on some valuable opportunities in enhancing their customers’ experiences over purchasing, and to reach out to more types of audiences that are flocking online.
Local SEO is entirely different from what we accustomed to in dealing with general SEO. Local SEO strategies have grown alongside with the popularity momentum of mobile devices and easily accessible mobile internet access. Local SEO is not platform based, or just focuses on mobile search engines. It returns results that are majorly based from your area or location, which is more possible to know with the integrated geolocation feature of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Local SEO focus on yielding search results for local businesses in relation to your current location for increased relevance and convenience.
Search engines like Google, are gathering all possible sources of information associated or linked with your business in order to return the most relevant and updated results for the queries they receive. Local SEO aims to have your business’ web page or web site to take part on that “most relevant” category whenever a search calls for it.
As previously mentioned, Google, as one of the most popular search engines today, is utilizing a powerful search engine algorithm in order to make a complete and satisfying search engine query that not just informs, but engages the user to take action. In a business, the tangible aspects in implementing local SEO tactics are lead generation and sales.
Perhaps, NAP is the most essential aspect of your local SEO. By the way, NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone number, which holds the key information about your business. An impression of a good local business is initially reflected on how well it is able to disseminate correct information about its NAP, which should be consistent and accurate at the same time. Your business’ online presence works in the absence of physical contact and face to face transaction, so the idea here is that you engage and build a credible profile in an atmosphere of trust and reliance with impressions.
In a local SEO checklist, having a complete and accurate NAP in your local web listing accounts is a good measure for web page optimization. It is also an important indicator for a business’ active presence in web engagements, guaranteeing customers that its online presence signifies that a business is reachable through many communication channels. But in order to exhibit all of this positivities, a business must make sure that the information (web page listings, citations, mentions) that users can access about you are uniform, consistent and aligned with each other.
It is important that you remain to stay on top whenever changes in NAP information took place. Either you do if yourself, or hire somebody, to update all listings or links that include your information on them. Yes, that is hard work on your part but remember, search engines like Google sees it as a negative impression about you when it encounters inconsistencies and inaccuracies in your page or site, and penalizes it accordingly. So when these changes did happen, map out a remediation plan to be implemented immediately. Track down your local citations and listings and make the necessary changes right away.
- Directory Information
In order to get listed, one must supply the pertinent information across all of their listings in the web. It is vital to make everything accurate and as detailed as possible. Directories establish the first point of reference, so make sure that you provide it with the right information all the time. Small businesses tend to overlook this aspect, so it is important to remind yourself that giving away inconsistent information may hurt your online profile severely and give you low web page rankings as a consequence.
- Phone number
- Proximity to the user’s location
- Operating hours
- Prices of products or services
- General information about its products or services
- Ratings or reviews
- Comparison of features
- Modes of payment
- Brands or trademarks
- Other company and product information
It is important to fill out as much in this list for customers to find a useful point that will engage them further to contact or try out your business.
- Business Website or Social Media Account?
When running a small business, it is quite challenging to employ a lot of tools, no matter how useful it can be, that constitute additional costs in the process. Because most small businesses find that running a website is costly in time and money, they omit the idea altogether, diminishing a bigger opportunity in online marketing. Gladly that today, local SEO tools doesn’t necessitate a website anymore to gain the advantages of being present “online”. All you need are local SEO optimized web page listing and social media accounts.
Customers nowadays are attracted towards a socially impacted business activities, therefore their behavior move towards checking if you are active on the social media networking channels that they engage in. The good thing is that search engines incorporate your social media account information with what they display on their search result listing, so there is no need for a separate website to achieve the same advantage.
This is one that requires creativity in ways to motivate customers to make reviews for you. One way is to offer freebies in exchange for a short review. One can also organize a blogger’s event that encourages blog owners to make reviews out of their own experience. The good thing here is that normally, a blogger uses the social media too in posting their own experiences with these kind of events, so you have better exposure too.
Reviews are essential for a successful local SEO guide, because it strengthens the foundation of your business’ credibility online. Search engines like Google also return these reviews in local search results, and can affect the rankings either positively or negatively.
The services of a local SEO agency might be necessary, in order to establish the basic strategies where a business can start implementing right away. The best local SEO agencies continue to invest on newer strategies in order to optimize the methods they implement, and help other businesses maximize their online visibility.
Check out CrowdReviews.com’s reviews of local SEO agencies to help you gauge with your own set of criteria which local SEO company will best fit your business specific needs.
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