Saturday, November 11, 2017

SEO Strategies | Local SEO in 2018

5 Strategies to Improve Local SEO in 2018

Local SEO competition is heating up. 2018 is the year for you to really raise your local SEO game to enjoy the sweet fruits of high visibility for local searches on Google. 

Here are 5 strategies you can trust.

1) Capture Your Space on All Local Business Directories

Did you know – 80% consumers rely on online searches for choosing local businesses! However, not many local businesses claim their local business listings. Those that do, however, have a lot to gain. Before the local SEO search space becomes saturated, make sure that you get the early mover advantage. Here’s what you need to do:
  • List your local business on top local business directories; Yelp, Citysearch, and Merchant Circle are obvious starting points.
  • Make your business profiles as complete as possible.
  • Use this HubSpot list of high-value business directories (50 of them) and start creating your business pages on these, 5 a day.
  • Check your local newspapers and Chamber of Commerce (or equivalent agencies) websites for possibilities of creating your listing.
  • Make sure your business’ NAP (name, address, and phone) is consistent, and list it on aggregator networks like Infogroup, Neustar, and Factual.
  • Hunt down any niche specific directories for your business and make sure you secure your listings there before anything else.

2) Leverage the Power of Local Link Building

Is there anything of this sort? Yes, indeed. This is one of the best-kept secrets of local SEO that only the most seasoned local SEO experts are good at. Link building for local SEO is different from link building in general because you get a lot of value from local links even if the niche of the backlink source website is not linked to your business. Because in local business, relationships hold a key position, this reflects in Google’s search algorithm for local SEO. Getting local backlinks, however, requires you to get off the cushioned seat and take your marketing to the ground. Here are some suggestions:
  • Look for local sponsorship opportunities
  • Organize a donation drive
  • Get involved in local community events and then their websites
  • Be active on local newsgroups and portals
  • Look for creative low-cost advertisements on local classifieds

3) Measure Your Store Branding Campaigns For Better Returns

We talked about all kinds of local events, giveaway, and community efforts you can engage in with the aim of getting local mentions of your business. This can be expensive, particularly for local businesses only getting started with SEO. This is where the need for focused measurement of store branding execution campaigns comes to the fore. This is where brands have to gain a lot from local retail store process automation and reporting tools like Zipline. Using this tool, store managers can set up campaigns to measure success (subscriptions, footfall, inquiries, purchases, etc). Zipline also helps bring together information and analytics from all channels together, enabling local stores to leverage their marketing collateral from across locations for inexpensive yet consistent branding and promotions.

Social Media Tips | Social Media Marketing

3 Tips to Make the Most of Social Media 

It’s hard to underestimate the role social media plays in marketing and sales these days — it’s fast, it’s free and it’s everywhere.

For small businesses, the question today isn’t whether you should engage with social media. It’s what are the best ways to engage with potential customers using social media? The following best practices can help you set or sharpen your company’s social media strategy.


Marketing used to be a one-way street. To get information out, companies would place ads in newspapers, as well as on TV and radio. With the advent of the internet, the medium changed but the techniques didn’t — banner ads were just the new billboards.

Today, things are radically different. Social media has made marketing a two-way street: It’s just as easy for customers to reach out to you as it is for you to reach out to them. Make sure your customers’ comments, complaints and compliments aren’t falling on deaf ears. Even if you’re a small business, you can carve out a little time each day or week to listen and respond to customers.

Choose Your Platforms

Large organizations with endless marketing budgets can set up camp on every social media site. If you’re running a small business, however, you will only have the budget, staff and patience to commit to two or three social media platforms. So, how do you decide which ones would work for your business?

Guy Kawasaki, a well-known marketing specialist in Silicon Valley, recently told the American Marketing Association that he puts the most emphasis on Facebook because it allows companies to target a large number of customers. He says he considers LinkedIn second in importance, and Instagram third.

What works for Kawasaki may not necessarily work for you — after all, if you’re selling home accessories, Pinterest may be a much better social media option than LinkedIn. Before you commit to posting on a particular site,  research where your customers spend their time online, and then gravitate toward those platforms.

SEO For Beginners | SEO Tips

Small Business Marketing - Social Media

Small Biz Focus: Top 10 Tips to Effectively Promote Your Business Using Social Media

First, think of social media as a part of your overall marketing plan. It can be an extremely useful tool in your toolkit if it is used wisely. Keep the below Top 10 Tips in mind as a handy guide to ensure that your business is getting the most out of your social media efforts.

Tip #1 — Identify which social media platforms your customers, competition, and industry colleagues are on.

You don’t want to be the only one at the party. Be present where members of your field are located. Business Decision is a free online tool offered by Arlington Public Library which can help you understand what social media platforms your target market is on.

For example, many businesses can be found on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not just for job seekers but a community to identify like-minded colleagues that can help grow your business. Artists, retailers and food-related businesses use Instagram and Pinterest (imagery) to promote their businesses to name just a few platforms.

Tip #2 — Understand the best time to reach your customers using social media.

As a business, you can see how effective your sharing of information is to your target market by immediately analyzing the analytics as to how effective a tweet or post has gone. What time did you send the information? When are most of your customers on social media? At the end of the work day? On the weekends? Make sure to monitor your social media content daily so that you can develop a strategy around “when,” is the most effective time of day to post your information.

Tip #3 — How often do you want to be on social media?

Come up with a plan and stick to it. You’ll want to be responsive to your customers; however, you’ll also want to be realistic about how much time you can effectively spend online. Think of social media as you would when you respond to emails or respond to phone calls. It is another way for your clients to reach out to you.

Depending on your industry you may want to schedule 3 posts per day or 3 posts per week. It really is dependent on how much and how often you would like or need to share information. The biggest key here is to stick with your plan. You can also use multiple platforms to distribute the same information.

Four Pillars of SEO | Technical, Content, On-Site, Off-Site

The Four Pillars of an Effective SEO Strategy

SEO can be complicated — in many cases, overcomplicated. How many ranking factors are involved in generating strong organic search results? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? Two hundred?

A quick search for “SEO ranking factors” will give you all of these answers and myriad others. There is a lot of information out there. And the reality is, while there are likely hundreds of variables working together to determine final placement, much of what is suggested is guesswork. And certainly, not all ranking factors are relevant to every business.

Point being, it is easy to get lost down an algorithmic rabbit hole. It’s information overload out there, and you can spend all your time on a research hamster wheel and achieve very little.

In this article, I want to simplify things and outline the four main areas you should be focusing on with your SEO. Really, when it comes down to it, SEO is actually pretty simple at a strategic level.

The four pillars of SEO

The four key areas of SEO that site owners need to consider are:
  1. technical SEO: How well your content can be crawled and indexed.
  2. content: Having the most relevant and best answers to a prospect’s question.
  3. on-site SEO: The optimization of your content and HTML.
  4. off-site SEO: Building authority to ensure Google stacks the deck in your favor.
Of course, these four areas have some complexity and overlap, but understanding your strengths and weaknesses in relation to them is key to focusing your efforts.

SEO - Internet Marketing | Strategy and Tips

The SEO ‘do more with less’ cookbook

“Do more with less.” How often in our careers have we heard that phrase? Ultimately, that statement always means there is a need to reduce budget while still maintaining growth (or, at a minimum, flat year-over-year performance).

The good news is that in SEO, we are the kings and queens of “do more with less.” SEO professionals today are constantly competing against significantly larger teams — unless, of course, you are working at the online gorilla Amazon or in a top affiliate organization.

Over the past 20 years working in SEO, I have worked in pureplay, omnichannel, startups and Fortune 500, and the cookbook for doing more with less contains the same recipe. Sure, the recipe may need to be modified at an ingredient level to increase servings, but the ingredients never change. What you should find in your cookbook for your “more with less” recipe is as follows:
  • Pursue position gains for head terms.
  • Maximize CTR (click-through rate).
  • Expand long-tail keyword inventory.
  • Maximize value from existing traffic.
  • Amplify external content marketing efforts.
  • Align SEO efforts more closely to the campaign calendars.
Myself, I like to add a bit of a kick to my recipe: I step back and think big picture. How can I adjust my ingredient amounts to maximize the effort to include value for all channels?

Demonstrating impact across all channels is critical in obtaining resources to support my objectives today, and it establishes credibility within the organization long-term. The nature of our profession requires that an SEO professional routinely take off their marketing hat and explore user experience, merchandising and broader technology issues. These areas of the business have a direct impact on the performance of all marketing channels as well as direct traffic.

While we are always looking for program improvements, clearly there are times where we must squeeze the most out of the program to achieve the goals assigned to us by the company. I like to use a divide-and-conquer approach to make sure I have dedicated attention to each core growth activity.

In the divide-and-conquer approach, I typically take on the global impact improvements and task my other team members to devise a strategy to tackle the SEO-specific activities. Depending on your team size, you may have to do all the activities, or you may be able to spread them out evenly across the team. Regardless of team size, every growth opportunity area must be worked. Don’t forget to include your key partners as well when assigning out the activities.

For my part, I am going to specifically look at areas of the website where the data indicates that an improvement in user experience, merchandising and/or performance can drive additional revenue. In this example data set, I pulled landing page data from Google Analytics. This can be entry page data from Omniture or Coremetrics as well. The key area of analysis in this data set is focusing on potential opportunities by evaluating engagement metrics and conversion rate.

Gary Vaynerchuk - Daily Vee | Zero Percent of Zero is 0

Hyperlocal SEO - The Future of Online Marketing

Why Hyperlocal SEO is the Future of Online Marketing

The Internet and smartphones have transformed the marketing world. Targeting geo-specific groups or individuals is quicker and cheaper than ever before. And now that Google has implemented localized listings, hyperlocal advertising will continue to grow. The following article will explain why.

Hyperlocal is Good for the SERPs

Hyperlocal isn’t a buzzword that will become outdated within a year or two—it’s been around since the dawn of marketing, and it’s going to get even more important in the future. In March, Google implemented a major update known as Fred. One of the primary changes to the algorithm involved boosting websites that were optimized for local audiences. Many global and national companies experienced significant rankings drops for geo-targeted search terms, while many smaller local companies got a rankings boost.

GPS systems and Google Maps aren’t just for getting around; they can also serve as viable marketing platforms for the mobile generation. If you don’t have a Google My Business page, get one live and optimized before you do anything else. Fill out all of the relevant contact information, ensuring that it’s seamless across the board, matches your website, and has some visually appealing pictures to accompany it.

The World is Mobile

Smartphones are no longer a luxury, but a necessity. For many, they’ve become an essential part of living, particularly among the younger generations. For example, over 77% of all Americans now own a smartphone and 71% sleep with it next to their bed. Additionally, more people are accessing the Internet using them than they are on desktop computers.

For the last few years, search engines have also been awarding higher rankings to websites that are optimized for smartphones. Therefore, if your website isn’t set up to harness the power of mobile technology, you’re selling yourself short. Optimize your website for all viewing platforms. While any website designer worth their salt will already do this, if you haven’t updated your website in a while, it’s best to give it an overhaul.

SEO | Video Marketing

SEO and Video: How Are They Connected?

You may have heard that search engine optimization (SEO) tactics can benefit your video marketing campaigns. You may have also heard that video can help with your SEO efforts. Both statements are actually true.

SEO and video marketing are inherently connected; focusing on improving one can actually benefit the results of the other when executed correctly.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at how SEO and video marketing relate to each other, and how you can use this connection to benefit your business and get the most out of your marketing campaigns.

How are SEO and Video Marketing Connected?

SEO marketing and video marketing can directly impact each other.

When you use strategic SEO strategies on your video content, you’ll boost the visibility of your video content significantly. You’ll help your video pop up more often in search engines, both on YouTube and in Google. Focusing on keywords will be crucial to getting these benefits.

Video marketing can also improve your SEO results if the video itself is aligned with your overall SEO strategy. Not only will you have more content to help you connect with customers at all stages of the sales funnel, you’ll also be able to get other potential benefits like link building and the ability to stand out in SERPs (especially if you’re using Rich Snippets, which we’ll discuss in a minute). It’s also expected that since customers are increasingly preferring video becoming more important, Google and other search engines will continue to prioritize sites that have video content in the rankings.

If you’re using third party media players like YouTube, you can also post links to your site in the descriptions of the video, creating backlinks and sending traffic to your site.

The Step-by-Step Process to Improve SEO and Video Marketing at the Same Time

It’s clear that SEO and video work well together, like the peanut butter and jelly of the marketing world. There’s a process you should be following, though, to get the full benefits that you should be seeing.

SEO Trends For 2018 - Link Building, Mobile, Voice Search

7 Top SEO Opportunities For 2018

When it comes to SEO, change is the only constant. No wonder it's tough to stand firm on its ever-changing ground, when the rules and trends are shifting if not at the speed of sound, then at least way faster than you get a chance to adopt them. In the blink of an eye, tactics that were working just fine may not only become obsolete, but even harm you. Meanwhile, some new trends may leave you too far behind to catch up, if you don't foresee it or neglect it for some reason.

Last year, we've discussed the SEO trends for 2017: waving goodbye to keyword density, confident steps into the age of semantic search, and moves towards safer and mobile-friendly web. This year, let's catch up with the shifts in older tendencies, and uncover some new opportunities along the way.

1. Link-building Is Very Much Alive (But Challenging)

A never-ending story - there will always be SEOs that claim link-building dead, and SEOs that desperately brainstorm on new ways to gain links, and turn 'building' into 'earning'. You'd better be on the second team, as there's also a never-ending flow of studies and surveys, proving backlinks to invariably remain one of the major rankings factors, and uncovering the direct correlation of sites' rankings with their backlink profiles.

Google isn't getting less strict about unnatural backlink profiles and manipulative link-building methods, so stick a fork in it. While the low-quality and spammy links are more likely to just get discounted and devalued by Google, there's still a chance of getting a manual penalty if you go for illegitimate methods.

The Opportunity

To be on a safe side with Penguin (which is real-time since 2016), make the regular backlink profile cleanup a part of your routine. 'Could it get more boring?' - you may wonder, but that's not much of a burden, while a good chance to be one step ahead by not being one step behind (as those who don't bother).

The recent link-building survey conducted by SEO PowerSuite shows that most of SEOs are now struggling the same way with the lack of opportunities, ideas or experience, but there are still some old and new tactics worth trying, with an emphasis on common sense. The advice for 2018 would be like:
  • Not wasting time for grey-hat and spammy tactics,
  • Growing your link profile at a natural pace,
  • Creating useful and cornerstone content worth linking to,
  • Establishing relationships within the niche instead of just rushing to get as many links as hands can hold,
  • Turning to legitimate paid methods, but reasonably.

2. All-things-Mobile

Nowadays, mobile search has become ever more integral to people's lives, and Google is known for its aspiration to be reflective of users' needs. In the end of 2016, the so-called Mobilegeddon (expanding the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal) was followed by the announcement that Google starts testing the mobile-first indexing. While 2017 has been a year full of controversy around the topic and delay notes from Google, 2018 seems to be the year when it may finally take effect, and the rankings may be determined based on the mobile version of a site.

Load time remains the factor that drastically affects user experience, and has at least some effect on the performance of a page in the SERPs and further interactions and conversions. To prevent a huge shift from mobile browsing towards apps, Google has introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which may load 4x faster than the regular pages and improve the user experience with little hints (like displaying ads in a mobile-friendly way). Case studies show that AMP implementation improves user-behavior factors like CTR and bounce rates as well. So, AMP is not a ranking factor now, but it well may become one.

The Opportunity

With mobile-first indexing, Google incessantly calls not to panic. However, in case your site is not fully responsive, and 
primary content and markup vary across mobile and desktop, it's high time to consider some changes, and make sure your mobile pages are not clumsy, void or less informative in comparison to desktop ones.

If you haven't considered implementing AMP yet, it's also a great time to get on board. According to Google, more than 900,000 domains have adopted the AMP framework by now, but that's a really small fraction of the 1.2 billion websites on the internet. So that's a one more benefit you can get with basically no risk, while your competitors may regret missing out on it one year from now.

3. Voice Search Is On The Rise

The number of tools based on voice recognition continues to grow - we have Siri and Cortana to give us a hint on 'where to go for best pizza near me' and to tell us a joke, Google Home and Amazon Echo to let us shop almost hands free.

The accuracy of the voice recognition continues to improve as well - Microsoft reported reaching a 5.1% word error rate, Apple SVP Phil Schiller in his interview with John Gruber made a joke that he's not afraid of saying 'Hey Siri' on stage anymore.

As it becomes more convenient and less frustrating, we observe the amount of voice searches growing real fast. Over 70 percent of respondents to recent HigherVisibility survey admitted using voice search at least once per month, and nearly half is using it weekly or daily. According to Google, 20% of mobile queries are made via voice now, and ComScore even predicts that it will make up 50 percent of all searches by 2020.

The Opportunity

Unlike text-based queries, the voice search queries tend to be longer and more specific in intent, and the searchers await clear immediate solutions. To adapt to the shift and optimize for voice search, there are several changes you may consider applying to your content:
  • Incorporate long-tail keywords to address the more precise queries
  • Use more natural language and conversational tone, answer the What, Where, When and How questions,
  • Add a FAQ page, phrase the questions the way real people would ask them, and provide comprehensive clear answers,
  • The four most common intents behind the voice searches are 'I want to know', 'to go', 'to do' and 'to buy'. Understand (research) your users' needs and offer solutions,
  • Take good care of your local SEO, as most voice searches are local in intent.

Social Media - Content Marketing in 2018

4 Trends for Social Media Content Marketing in 2018

Social media content marketing is continually evolving, and businesses around the world need to make sure their marketing campaigns are keeping up.

As a quick reminder for all beginner marketers out there, good content is good content, no matter what kind of platform you implement. Our main goal should always be to create appealing, resonating content with our targeted audience, otherwise, we’ve failed.

Setting that aside, we also have to acknowledge that even great content needs to be delivered the right way. Choosing this can be a big headache for most companies. Just as conventional publishing evolved decades ago, the digital marketing world is following the same path. However, there are two main differences: the rate of this change and the fact that most digital businesses are forgetting to be human.

There is no denying that creating and delivering compelling content on social media platforms is crucial for most branding endeavors. The trick to grasp modern social media marketing relies upon using a more humane approach.

Here are four trends for social media content marketing that are expected to make a big impact on 2018: